We know the kitchen is the heart of the home – it’s why contemporary design has embraced open-concept floor plans and why those with older homes seek to transform a compartmentalized layout to a modernized, open space.
And this spring and summer, while we’re staying closer to home and cooking more, the kitchen has become more important than ever. It’s also shone a light on what works and what we desperately want to change, says Azucena Saavedra, award-winning designer and project lead with MAC Renovations.
If it’s time to consider transforming your OK kitchen to a space you’ll love, Saavedra shares her tried-and-true process:
- Create your list. Begin by sitting down with your designer to review your space and create your list of nice-to-haves and must-haves, the foundation of any floor plan. While it’s easy to get caught up in fixtures and features, functional essentials like the work triangle, which essentially positions the stove, fridge and sink for their most efficient use, are what ensure your kitchen will work best, Saavedra explains. And if your wishlist calls for removing walls or other potentially challenging steps, Saavedra typically tries to consult an engineer early in the process to avoid unexpected issues later.
- Organize your space. Do you entertain or have family gatherings to consider? You may want a design that provides space to work while engaging with guests. Maybe you’re sharing your love of cooking with children or grandchildren? Organization plays a key role in kitchen design – so consider both what you have to store and how you use it. Do you have large countertop appliances to store but also keep readily accessible? Maybe you’re a baker who needs space for cooking sheets and tins? Or a wine lover who wants to incorporate a wine fridge or bar area. Avid cooks may also want to consider features like prep sinks and pot-filler taps. “I ask clients to write a list of everything they use, so we can make a space for it and make it accessible,” Saavedra says.
- Light up your life. Lighting plans are another key part of the design. Beyond task lighting or a design feature, lighting – like the kitchen itself – needs to incorporate both elements.
- What’s your style? Moving to materials and finishes, consider your design style – what you like and don’t like: Clean lines and sleek finishes? Natural tones and rustic materials? Those observations help your designer move forward into material selection. “You gain a lot of product knowledge when you work with a designer, not only what will work well for your design goals and what won’t, but also new options you might not know about,” says Saavedra, pointing to her current fave countertop product: porcelain! “I first used a porcelain countertop three years ago as the island countertop and kitchen backsplash. There are more porcelain countertop manufacturers today, so it’s important to look at more than just the price – look at the quality of the product itself and the look of the porcelain. Some look more like real stone than others.”
- On-site solutions. With plans in place, a site meeting comes next – a chance for the construction team and trades to look at the space, take any necessary measurements and flag any potential concerns. Based on feedback, you and your designer can now adjust and finalize your design, and get you ready to enjoy your new kitchen!