Tuesday, March 19, 2013

No More Peninsula

Small kitchens have numerous challenges for the homeowner and the designer.  Kitchens must be functional.  You must be able to move around them as easily as possible and in today's world they often need to be multi-purpose and multi-generational.  That's allot to ask of a small galley kitchen.  For this kitchen the homeowner just wanted an updated kitchen look initially.  She was tired of the oak cabinets and the pale green ceramic tile used on the wall and as the countertop.

The picture to the right shows the refrigerator side of the kitchen.  This is also the side where the TV was within a shelf. In this  picture you can barely see the TV but you can see it better in the picture below.  You can see how it is angled so they can watch it from the table.  As you can see farther down the picture  is a floor to ceiling cabinet where they stored glasses and small dishes. At night this area was too dark for them.

Here are a few of the challenges with this kitchen:
*Not enough counter space
*TV was hard to view
*Not enough light by the eating table

On my first visit to this home we talked about what the homeowner liked and didn't like about the kitchen.  The oak cabinets, the countertop and the crowded feeling were her main concerns. 

Because of the size and shape of this kitchen, the peninsula is not a very good fit.  It divides the kitchen and limit access to walking between the eating area and the cooking area.  But I couldn't just remove it without providing counterspace somewhere else.  In the initial conversation the TV never came up.  On my second visit I asked how often they used it and discovered it was used everyday.  Two people lived in the house and one was often at home during the day and enjoyed watching TV in the kitchen.  As soon as she said that, providing a better spot for that TV became a mission for me.

My client never came into the showroom.  Upon my first visit I brought out cabinet brochures so she and I  could discuss door style and color.  We talked about the budget and what door style would best fit within that budget.  It's important to talk about the budget as soon as possible because it saves time.  Sometimes a client will fall in love with a door style or a finish that can just blow the budget to smithereens.  You need to talk about the budget if it needs to guide the process.  If budget is not a big deal than you don't need to worry about it.  After the initial interview I created and initial design that would be beneficial for our next meeting.  
 The oak cabinets are gone.  The cabinet the homeowner chose was  the Sedona shaker door style in a dark Kaffe finish on cherry wood.  It's one of best priced cabinets that Kraftmaid offers. And that pale green ceramic tile has been replaced with Caesar stone as the countertop and noche tile as the backspash with a decorative 1"tile design above the sink.

The picture to the right is the remodeled version of the kitchen without that  peninsula.  If you follow the soffit you can see where it ends we now have a 15" deep cabinet.  When we removed the peninsula I came out into the room just enough to give us a 24" cabinets upper and base. Before I could remove the peninsula from the kitchen I had to make sure the homeowner had more kitchen floor tile or if she wanted to include a new floor in the remodel.  This is a budget consideration.  Changing the footprint of a kitchen often requires additional tile.  So, if the homeowner doesn't have extra tile some decisions need to be made to insure the floor looks good.

Another significant item in this area  is the microwave above the counter.  I designed it to be part of the upper cabinet. This gives her space below so she can safely take something out of the microwave and place  it down on the counter.  One occupant  in the house is an elderly woman who frequently uses the microwave.  In order to determine if this would be beneficial for her I stacked several books on the counter to see if lifting dishes a certain height would be an issue for her.  As long as she was comfortable with this we could do it.  Rule number one in kitchen design is that it must be functional as well as meet the code requirements.

The refrigerator side of the galley kitchen also went through some changes.  No TV in the area  anymore. The cabinet above the refrigerator was brought out so that it can be used.  Beside the refrigerator is an 18" wide utility cabinet with pull out shelves for ease of  item retrieval.  On the left of the refrigerator is some counter space so that when you take something out of the fridge you can have some place to put it down.  There is more counterspace to the left of the range. 

To the right shows the replacement idea for that floor to ceiling oak cabinet.  I gave them some additional counterspace and a place for the TV so they could view it without straining their neck and eyes. I also put glass in the upper cabinets and devised a hinged cabinet area about where a light could be installed.  They are very happy with this arrangement, which is the main goal of the whole process.

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