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Grand Style by Erica Gelman

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When did the kitchen start taking priority over every other room in your house? And, why is the kitchen such a valuable piece of real estate? Well, to answer those simply, I would have to say it was perhaps around the time when formal dining became more casual and the breakfast table began serving as an office desk, homework area and meeting room. It was also around the time when your kitchen island became the buffet serving station, the cocktail platform and most likely the first spot your guests gather around upon their arrival. I’d say the kitchen is a pretty impressive space and making it functional is paramount.

Meeting with new clients means we discuss ways to incorporate form and function without losing the desired “look”. It often surprises our clients how many bad decisions were made on their original kitchen that ultimately resulted in an outdated, unattractive and sometimes even unusable space. Our goal is to always design timeless interiors while catering to our client’s needs, and creating efficient, comfortable and beautiful kitchen spaces. Where to start? Avoiding costly mistakes at the beginning will save you money, heartache and time in the long run. Keeping these few pointers in mind may be invaluable to your project.

First and foremost, don’t obstruct access to the kitchen triangle. Professionals will refer to the sink, stove and refrigerator as the “working triangle”, the area of greatest activity. Of the three, the sink will see the most action and therefore needs to be installed in close proximity to major appliances and a flat workspace. Regardless of kitchen size or layout, the distance of a work triangle should not be less than ten feet and not greater than twenty-five feet. Doesn’t that sound simple? Well, the reality is we’ve come across plenty of workstations where the sink is located too far from the fridge to remove groceries and have them washed within seconds. The sink and dishwasher should also be as close to the dish cabinet/storage as possible.

STORAGE

The most important factor when designing a kitchen. Don’t waste storage space or overlook it. Kitchens typically contain lots of “stuff”. Finding a home for your kitchen equipment while keeping it easily accessible can be a tricky proposition. One big design mistake is not including enough storage. That can mean accommodating small appliances or pullouts for the everyday necessities. If the kitchen is small, consider installing extra long upper cabinets for additional vertical storage. It may not be used everyday but it will accommodate those appliance manuals, your special occasion china or those party platters you may only need once or twice a year. If you do not have enough storage it won’t matter how much you’ve invested into your finishes, the kitchen will undoubtedly feel smaller than it is, as you will constantly be trying to find more space solutions.

LIGHTING

Every room in your home needs sufficient light. However, the kitchen is a top contender, it is the one area where you cannot afford to have poor lighting. The kitchen requires task and ambient lighting, as well as overall illumination. You especially should evaluate the work areas and focus on how you can provide each spot with the light it needs. Consider adding lighting directly above all the main working areas such as under-cabinet lighting to ensure that the counters have sufficient illumination for common kitchen tasks. After all, the more light you have in the room, the better you can show off all of those design elements you’ve added to the space. Imagine designing the perfect kitchen and having it hidden by darkness.

With so many options and opportunities to create the ideal kitchen there is an equal amount of chances to make costly mistakes. Not addressing your needs with a professional may be one of those. Designers can get you going, start you off with a dynamic plan, assist you with identifying your specific necessities and translate them into perfect details. They also may be the ones who dazzle your kitchen with that flawless backsplash; it is inevitably the jewelry to your kitchen.

By Erica Gelman inside the Winter 2014 issue of NICHE

ERICA GELMAN, Principal of House of Design by Erica Gelman specializes in both large and small-scale full service residential design projects. Erica contributes regularly to, and has been profiled in many local and national lifestyle publications. She combines her formal training with an impeccable sense of colour and flawless taste to create truly unique spaces. EricaGelman.com

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