When my two kids come home from school each day, the first place they head is the kitchen. It is the room where I go when I wake up in the morning and the last place I turn off the lights before I go to bed. It is where our mail gets sorted, the phone messages stored, medicines dispensed, groceries processed in, and garbage and recycling processed out. The kitchen is the hardest-working single room in our home, as I am sure it is in yours. It is the eddy where all the details of our lives collect and it is the bay that harbors all of the important things that make our houses into homes.
But, if we are to believe many of the magazines we all read, the key ingredient to designing a good kitchen is size, as if we are all subject to some sort of manifest destiny that requires our kitchens to spread ever outward. For those of us not living in 10,000-square-foot homes, a ballroom-size kitchen is not an option. Even if it were, a grand and opulent kitchen, big enough for an army of caterers, finished in extravagant materials, and more appropriate in a French chateau than in a simple family home is not a good use of space and resources. And it is not smart design.
What each of us wants in a new kitchen grows out of our own peculiar blend of fond memories, culinary ambitions, domestic dreams, and magazine-driven fantasies. The purpose of this book is to help you decipher this mix of emotions and aspirations, to sort out whats possible from what is not, to separate the practical from the frivolous , and, quite simply, to help you get your own kitchen project started.
In this book we emphasize kitchens that place function, craft, and intelligent design over grandeur and extravagance. By showing you twenty newly remodeled and hard-working kitchens built within typical-sized spaces, we hope you will be inspired to pursue your own mix of dreams, hopes, and needs. We also hope you will pick up some fresh ideas from the inspired minds of the homeowners who have been through the process: the professional cook in Wyoming who holds classes in his kitchen; the emergency-room nurse in California who designed her kitchen to replicate the efficiency of a hospital; and the Texas couple who got rid of the obligatory kitchen island to simply have more space.
These kitchens represent a highly informative cross-section of what is happening right now in kitchen design, material choices, style trends, appliance selections, and clever new storage strategies. But more importantly, the stories that follow will give you a truer sense of what goes on in real kitchens and a clearer sense of what is truly possible in yours. We have included only remodeling projects where all of the choices have grown out of a desire to create smart, good-looking kitchens rather than out of a need to impress and awe the neighbors.
How you go about creating your own new kitchen depends on the one you have now and the resources available to you to change it. Regardless of what your situation is we have found that all kitchen remodeling projects tend to follow five basic steps. Understanding these simple stages of planning and building will help you focus your ideas and sorting through the options that apply to your kitchen. The Five Steps are:
1. Taking Stock
2. Finding Your Style
3. Working with a Professional
4. Defining Your Space
5. Making It Happen