Strive for project success by completing interior designer Gail Blackburn’s three-part kitchen questionnaire. Walk through a typical day in the kitchen, making sure every action is accounted for and can be performed in a location that works best. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Kitchen Details
- How do you typically work in the kitchen? One cook or more? You may need two or more workstations if multiple people use the kitchen at once.
- Do you want one main sink or a main sink and prep sink? If you have the space, two sinks allow for clean up and food prep to simultaneously take place.
- How tall are you? Having a prep area tailored to your height will make work less tiring.
- Do you prefer an island? Would you like it with or without seating? You need more space to accommodate seats at a work island but perhaps not as much as a separate dining area would take.
- Are you right- or left-handed? Keep it in mind as you arrange your appliances.
- How will venting be accomplished? Good ventilation will keep grease out of your house.
- How much food-storage space do you need? If you live in a city, perhaps you don’t need as much storage as someone who lives further away from shopping.
- What appliances would you like to incorporate?
- Will there be a separate food pantry or butler’s pantry?
2. Decorative Details
- What is the general look and feeling you’d like to accomplish?
- What type of cabinetry style, inset, overlay, etc., do you like?
- Do you want natural woods, painted or mixed?
- How do you entertain; how many people?
- What counter surfaces do you prefer? Can the surfaces be mixed?
- Would you like closed cabinets, glass fronts or open shelves with cubbies and a plate rack?
- Where would you like to store small appliances?
- Would you like a bar area? If so, do you want it to have a sink, refrigerator, wine storage and/or ice maker?
- Do you need a desk area, phone or TV?
3. Design Considerations:
- How much natural light is there; where will you need to supplement lighting?
- How much natural air circulation does the room offer?
- Is there enough space for good work areas? Enough counter surfaces?
- Is there room for sitting areas?
- Can you achieve an overall balance and symmetry in each area?
- Do the work zones and seating areas create a whole?
- Can you relate the kitchen cabinetry to adjacent millwork and colors?
- Have you considered the ceiling detail as it relates to kitchen design and the organization of the space?
- Have you considered the height of the cabinets and the ceilings in relation to your own height?
- Have you chosen flooring material and decided on color and finish?
- Do you plan on living here into your older years or sharing your home with your aging parents? If so, you may consider incorporating Aging-in-Place concepts into your kitchen plan, such as higher kick plates and accessible storage cupboards and appliances.
By Catherine Titus Felix
Photography by Mark Tanner