Kitchen Renovation – Getting it Right
February 20, 2010
I make a GREAT pizza, and love every minute of the cooking process. Kneading the dough and waiting for it to rise, while the oven and baking stone heat up…some of my favorite memories in my home include making pizza with one of both of our boys hanging out with me, sketching or chatting away, while I work that dough.
The Kitchen! One of the most central spaces to our lives, the room that provides sustenance and satiation to us and our family, a place where the cook’s creations come to life, and the focus point of most of our entertaining, whether we like it or not! A kitchen renovation grounded in the creation of a beautiful environment and on the practical efficiency of the layout and selections will add enormous value to quality of life in the home. In recent greenbridge blogs we’ve talked about big picture design and master planning; once those items are in place, it’s time to start focusing on the spaces themselves, starting with the kitchen.
image: greenbridge architects
At GreenBridge Architects or at our partner design-build company Riverview Builders, we ask a lot of our clients early in the kitchen renovation project. While we are measuring and drawing the existing conditions, we assign our clients the task of thinking about their personal goals for their kitchen. We then meet with them to review their goals for the space. What follows is a summary of the items covered in a kitchen renovation:
Pull out all those clipping or copies of kitchens you’ve been enjoying in the magazines and newspapers, or even online. (We have great magazines and books to lend if you haven’t been doing this yet.) Make a quick note on each describing what you like about that kitchen. (example – ‘love this floor’ or ‘great light’ ) These notes are invaluable for the designer who will pull these items together for you. Don’t worry if there are conflicts or if you aren’t sure about some items – your architect or designer is there to help you. We love a million questions at this stage!
Before our initial design meeting, we’ll ask that you give some thoughts to the items below – again, you don’t need to have an answer of even a strong feeling about each item, but if you do, we want to be sure we’re including those items that are important to you.
What words describe your dream kitchen? Historic, country, modern, charming, warm, cool and clean?
How does your kitchen work for you now? If it doesn’t work so well for you, what have you thought about as a solution?
Even though color can be selected far down the road, early design is a great time to consider a color palette – that palette may drive some of the big selections, like appliances, countertops and flooring.
Cabinets and countertops
What style and materials do you like? What color? Will they be all alike, or will you vary the style and color around the room? Will your appliances have door panels to match the cabinetry? What style of knobs will you use?
What style and finish to do like? Will you have any appliances in addition to the major appliances (stove, refrigerator and dishwasher)? Will you install door panels to match your cabinets?
Sinks and faucets
How many sinks do you need? Have you chosen the size, style, and material for each? Do they work with your countertop? Does the faucet complement your look and work the way you like? Selecting low-flow faucets is an imperceptible water-saver.
What material will give you the look you’re after? Can it be laid in a pattern and do you wish to use it that way? Will it be comfortable to stand on and easy to clean?
Will you use decorative or unobtrusive fixtures, or a mix? Consider the color, finish and size of whatever you choose as well as the style. Will they take energy-efficient bulbs? Will they work with dimmers?
Do you prefer paint or wallpaper, or have some other treatment in mind? Will you use tile for backsplashes or wainscoting?
Use them for privacy or to complete your look. If they’re near the stove or a sink, keep them simple and easy to clean.
Greening the Process
The early planning stage is the best time to consider opportunities to ‘green it up’, or to make selections or decisions that will improve the environmental impact and energy and water use for the space. Items to consider when renovating a kitchen include:
In General –sustainable items included as part of our standard practices and detailing:
· A well-designed and ‘timeless’ space won’t need to be renovated again, saving energy and resources for the future.
· A kitchen renovation usually involves demolition of the wall surfaces – this is a great opportunity to not only improve the wall, ceiling and floor insulation, but to also better insulate all plumbing and heating pipes ductwork.
· Sealing leaks in doors, windows, plumbing, ducting, and electrical wire, and penetrations through exterior walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets will save additional energy.
· Insure air quality by proper ventilation at the stove or cooktop.
Sustainable opportunities to think about while making selections:
· Are there any items in the kitchen that can be reused such as cabinetry or appliances? For the items not being reused, we donate or recycle the items when possible.
· Use low-flow faucets for water savings and improve water quality by adding a carbon filter to the faucet
· Shop for Energy Star rated appliances.
· Use halogen and LED lighting for light quality and energy efficiency.
· Make sure that cabinetry built with plywood (which often contains a urea formaldehyde glue which can cause a range of health issues) is properly sealed before entering your home. Better yet, use solid wood cabinetry and solid surface countertops to avoid the use of plywood.
· Use low VOC paint and wood finishes.
· Wood flooring, recycled content ceramic tile, stone tile, or exposed concrete are desirable surfaces. Natural linoleum is made from natural materials can be finished in a range of colors, and can be installed without the use of adhesives.
A kitchen renovation is life-changing. The process is an exciting one, filled with many decisions, each having impact on achieving your initial goals for the space. At GreenBridge Architects and at Riverview Builders, we are passionate about getting you there, by providing all design work, helping with selections, and by providing coordination and guidance through what can be a challenging, but enormously rewarding process.
We’d love to talk with you about your upcoming kitchen project, even if it looks far down the road. We can provide an initial design and cost estimation to help you launch your dream kitchen.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss your upcoming project, or to chat about your favorite kitchens and kitchen memories, or about New England pizza. Next month’s blog will take on the ultra-important bathroom renovation!