Kitchen Essentials — Kitchen Re-Do

By / Magazine / April 12th, 2010 / 2

Kitchens have become the place where everyone seems to congregate. That’s great if you have a large kitchen that can offer space for food preparation and a comfortable seating area. Having enough room for everyone is ideal, but certainly not always possible. My house, for instance, was built in 1952 when the prevailing concept in home design was that kitchens were after thoughts. My 10 x 10 foot kitchen had minimal countertop space to facilitate food prep, a fridge, oven, stove, sink and a table shoved against the only free wall (which functioned as the eat-in portion of the kitchen as well as the walkway between the dining room on one side and the hallway on the other). The last time the kitchen had been updated was in 1961! Any lovers of retro out there?

We gutted it about 10 years ago shortly after moving in. Since both my husband and I love to cook, we turned it into a working kitchen. We eliminated the eat-in portion, added a floor-to-ceiling pantry and a as much counter space it could hold. Here’s something to keep in mind if you’re embarking on a renovation. The only constant in life is that things change. Someone once told us that we would regret not having any seating in the kitchen. We scoffed at the time; but, I have to admit that person was 100% right. At parties, people hang out in the kitchen, making dinner preparations tricky. Add a child to the mix and, suddenly, our dining room floor was taking a beating. At the time, adding on to the kitchen wasn’t in the cards, so we had to find other solutions. After all, even the best designers find small spaces difficult to work.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for your kitchen reno.

• A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Paint the walls, cabinets and even the floor. Neutrals are hot now, but that’s no reason to limit yourself to shades of beige. Check for greys, reds, greens and blues that sit mid-palette and which have a neutral base.

• Consider islands, counters and cupboards as furniture. The space will become more human-scaled and will look more like a family room.

• Cork floor tiles make for a comfortable surface to stand on. They’re also easy to keep clean and aren’t easily damaged by food and water spills.

• Move large appliances around. If the fridge can be moved to a little used part of the kitchen, then the space it leaves behind can be filled up with an extended countertop and more storage space.

• Purge. Do you really need all of the varied appliances, dishes, glasses, etc. that you’ve been storing in your kitchen. If the answer is yes, consider how much use each item gets. If you only use something a few times a year, find an alternate storage area for it.

• If you’re planning on staying put for a while, think about how your needs and wants might change over the coming years.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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