WHIPPING up the KITCHEN of your DREAMS
BY CHRISTOPHER BARSON INTERIOR DESIGNER
People ask me to renovate their kitchens
for a number of reasons. Some have
kitchens as out-of-date as "I Love Lucy"
twin beds, others want to merge their
kitchens with a family or living area, some have to
renovate because their ovens don't stay warm or
their dishwashers have ruined their 20 year-old
tiled floor. Here's what I suggest.
MIX AND MATCH
Don't try to put a square in a circle; work with
what you have. If you have a brick colonial with
shutters, or your furniture style leans towards
Queen Anne, refrain from highly-stylized
modern cabinetry and mirrored back splashes.
On the other hand, if you have a contemporary
space, avoid raised-panel arched cabinets with
brass knobs and faucets with criss-cross handles.
Renovations to an existing structure should
maintain the integrity of the house. Poggenpohl
in Georgetown and Bethesda uses the concept of
integration to incorporate kitchens and dining
areas into one entertainment space. Through
cabinetry and other custom furnishings, they are
able to tailor their designs. The company also
offers a variety of top-of-the-line brands such as
Viking, Miele, Subzero and Gaggenau.
KEEP IT OPEN
In new construction, kitchens are incorporated
into family or living areas. Most homes or
condominiums feature open floor plans with
family or living areas separated by kitchen islands.
Consider removing a wall and expanding your
concealed kitchen. Think about how you live.
Most guests congregate in the kitchen when they
attend a party. Take advantage of that and allow
them to seat themselves in a beautiful space in
view of the kitchen. It makes entertaining more
relaxed. Select cabinet finishes, appliances, and
lighting that complement the adjoining areas.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Select kitchen finishes that will blend with your
home furnishings. Seek out cabinets with a warm
wood finish: think maple or cherry wood with
a medium stain. Steer towards a refrigerator and
dishwasher that can be concealed with decorative
cabinet panels. Visit your local granite yard and
hand pick a set of slabs that have beautiful swirls
of amber, rich plums or soft grays. Adorn your
countertop with a backsplash of hand-made
glass tiles or marble, and illuminate all of it with
halogen under-cabinet lighting or track lighting.
Use separate dimmers to create unique lighting
patterns. Focus your attention on the dining
room by dimming the kitchen lights An island usually can be designed with pendant
lights or mini chandeliers. Install those lights on
a separate dimmer as well so your guests won't
be blinded. Invest in barstools upholstered in
fabric that coordinate with a nearby sofa, dining
chair or window treatment. Another idea: consider
selecting a complementary cabinet finish or
accent color for your island, something that sets
it apart from the other cabinetry.
To maximize counter space, place tall cabinets
and refrigerators towards the ends of the kitchen.
Counter space will be lengthier and more usable,
decorative backsplashes will be fluid, and the
overall area will be more linear. Avoid placing a
cook top in the island; instead, a sink and dishwasher
will create less heat and less visible mess.
WHERE TO PUT YOUR MONEY
It's possible to create a beautiful kitchen on a
budget, but you need to prioritize. Stick with a
good stock cabinet, such as Merillat. The Culpeper-
based company puts out a quality product.
(With good installation and a finished crown
molding on top of the wall cabinets, no one
will know you saved a bundle of cash). Avoid
the paneled built-in appliances and stick with
good quality from a company such as Viking. If
you purchase appliances in a package, you can
typically get a group discount or rebate. Invest
in high quality granite counters, but paint the
backsplash instead of having a decorative tiled
backsplash. Use recessed lights on dimmers, but
forget pendant lights. Install fluorescent instead of
halogen task lighting. Select neutral classic finishes
instead of sophisticated color schemes.
QUICK RECIPE FOR
KITCHEN REMOLDING WITH
Managing Director (Mid-Atlantic)
WL: How long should remodeling take?
AF: Usually about four to five weeks for a
small kitchen. If you have specialty lighting,
that requires another week. For a large
kitchen, plan on six to eight weeks.
WL: How do you find a good contractor?
AF: Always look at their background, and
make sure they come recommended. It's also
important that they have the proper licenses.
Never make a large deposit up-front, and
make sure you know what the steps are from
A to Z when you sign a contract. It's not
science, just logic.
WL: How much does a kitchen cost to remodel?
AF: Depending on the size of the project, it
could run anywhere from $35,000 on the
low-end to over $70,000. You have to factor
in the cost of materials; what you choose for
wood, countertops, etc. Always make sure you
know what you are getting in your bid.
For more information on Poggenpohl's innovative
designer kitchens contact Amir Farazad at
(202) 342-9111, or go to www.poggenpohl-usa.com.