View Full Version : Article courtesy of Urban Home Magazin

09-29-2006, 01:14 AM
Article courtesy of Urban Home Magazine

In the Zone

Often the goal in redesigning a kitchen is to improve the traditional “work triangle”—the path between the refrigerator, the food prep area, and the cooking area. The standard work triangle puts the sink midway between the refrigerator and the oven, with a food preparation surface between the oven and the sink. Designers have even defined optimal lengths for the sides of the triangle for maximum efficiency so the cook does not feel cramped or need to take unnecessary steps.
http://www.wsoctv.com/2005/1221/5597764_240X180.jpgThis traditional conception is being challenged by a new approach that focuses on ergonomic workstations, like those found in the workplace. Contemporary kitchens create functional zones for food preparation and cooking, clean up, and eating. For example, a freestanding island might be dedicated to food preparation, with storage for utensils and cutting boards. It might also incorporate a second, smaller sink used exclusively for food, like those found in restaurants, thus avoiding cross-contamination.

"Well-placed appliances and storage mean less wear on the back and joints. Counter heights can be adjusted to the cook to reduce strain, and drawers can be used in place of cabinets, innovations that appeal especially to older homeowners," said Suzann Thompson of Cabinetcraft.

http://www.wsoctv.com/2005/1221/5597765.jpg Above and Below Kitchen floors get a lot of traffic and often need to be replaced. The old standbys, vinyl and linoleum, look better than ever and are among the most comfortable surfaces. They are matched in durability by wood floors coated with polyurethane. Stone and tile floors introduce colors and textures reminiscent of Mediterranean kitchens.

"Kitchen lighting affects the mood of a room and tops the list of many homeowners’ lists of things to change. A good kitchen design will balance efficient lighting for the workstations and dining areas with the overall lighting of the space, " said Hans Joubert of Lighting and Bulbs Unlimited.

Recessed lighting is less popular than in the past. Where once track lighting on rails was employed, now several smaller lights are suspended from the ceiling, providing directed lighting with stylish shades. Pendant lamps are also very popular and come in styles to complement every decor—from Asian to French Country.

http://www.wsoctv.com/2005/1221/5597767.jpgSurface Area "A strong trend in kitchen design is the use of natural materials. This is evident in the consistent popularity of natural stone countertops (and even sinks). Stones such as soapstone, slate, granite, quartz, and marble are resistant to scratches, burns, and wear, and they are unrivalled in beauty and elegance," said Daphne Fryday, interior designer at The Tile Collection.

Many new kitchens mix more than one surface material: for example, quartz based Silestoneâ„¢ or Zodiacâ„¢ counters may be in the main surface area with granite or stainless steel existing on an island. Stainless steel adds a strong commercial flavor to a kitchen and also provides a seamless, nearly germ-free surface.

"These days, kitchen sinks are becoming a distinguishing feature. Manufacturers are making an array of sinks in various materials, configurations, and colors. Showrooms display long, thin sinks, designed to look like troughs or streambeds; professional apron-front sinks; sinks that join countertops with no visible transition; and sinks in bold colors," added Wanda Jackson of The Majestic Bath.

Added Tammi Whitby of Crossville Tile & Stone, "Once upon a duller time, the backsplash—the wall space between the back of the counter and the bottom of the cabinet—was painted or wallpapered to match the rest of the kitchen walls. Today’s backsplashes might be an extension of the countertop or decorated with tile that matches the flooring."

Good Space

Homeowners are as eager to maximize the kitchen’s storage space, as they are to change the room’s look and feel. Creating the best use of space may mean introducing organizational systems in existing cabinets and drawers. Older well-built and well-placed cabinets can be refaced or painted for a fraction of the price of new cabinets. However, if the cabinets are awkwardly placed or poorly designed, it is better to replace them completely. "Most new cabinet systems incorporate the latest in organizational trends, like dividers and sliding trays," added Sam LaVergne of South End Cabinets.

Knobs, pulls, and handles for cabinets and drawers are an outlet for the homeowner’s self-expression. Once an afterthought in the hardware store, these accessories now take up their own aisle at large home-improvement stores. The effect these pieces have on a kitchen is not proportionate to their diminutive size. A kitchen with white ceramic knobs looks very different when refitted with brushed chrome knobs.

Clever Appliances

The options offered on appliances rival those on James Bond’s car: for example, a sampling of new refrigerators finds French doors, freezer drawers, and even televisions in the door. Noted Bill Pleasants of Plaza Appliance, "The all-in-one range and oven can be replaced with two ovens in the wall—with features like a built-in rotisserie—and a separate glass-topped range or an industrial-size gas range. This trend toward commercial-kitchen features in the home is reflected in other extras like wood-burning brick ovens."

Stainless steel appliances, which can bring an aura of professionalism or a vintage feel to a kitchen, continue to be popular. Contemporary kitchens even feature appliances in strong colors like blue and red. Another trend is disguising appliances by having their exteriors match the cabinetry for an integrated, uninterrupted look. And because kitchens are more likely to be part of an open floor plan than they were in older designs, appliances are getting quieter.

Just for You

When you realize just how wonderful a new kitchen will be, you may want to start renovations immediately. Experts suggest that you take your time planning your renovation because making changes once you’ve started can be expensive. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, "Roughly 30 percent of readers regretted not spending more time planning, learning more about materials, and screening pros."

Get a look at the hot trends in kitchen design by perusing magazines, touring model homes and showrooms, checking out the kitchens found in gourmet cooking stores, and touring impressive home kitchens in your area on local tours. Take time to reflect on how the kitchen is used and how it fits with the other rooms of the house. Start a running list of things to change or add in a renovation, and keep it in the kitchen so family members can add to it as things come to mind.

Once these needs are addressed, allow yourself to dream beyond practicalities. Set aside space for displaying a collection, such as antique yellow ware bowls or exotic baskets. Designate one wall to hold an extra-large chalkboard for family communication like the one in your childhood home. Add a small wine cooler in the space opened up when the dishwasher moves to the new freestanding island.

The good news is that many kitchen designers say that the hottest trend is to disregard trends and strive for a personalized space! With the endless combination of lighting, flooring, storage, surface, and cooking options available, you no longer need to sacrifice appearance for function.

Your kitchen can and should reflect your personal style no less than any other room in the house does.

09-29-2006, 01:19 AM
This is cool.
Can you now wrap the text around the images like i did over on my site http://www.huligar.com/nsraweb/forum/showthread.php?t=2553 and even give us the option to use or not.