Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

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For today’s lifestyle, the kitchen is the hub of family activity. During a kitchen remodel, the lack of a usable kitchen poses many challenges. If you frequently prepare meals in your kitchen, consider setting up a temporary kitchen. While this may not allow you to host a dinner party for 20 people, it will help with daily living and help avoid the need to eat out for the duration of the project.  A few items to consider if you set up a temporary kitchen.

  • Keep critical items accessible. This might include coffee, coffee maker, non-perishable food like soup, meals that work in a microwave, utensils, dish soap and rags, napkins, cereal, and disposable plates & cups, and garbage bags.
  • Water. You will be without your kitchen sink for the duration of the project.  Think about an alternative location to do dishes, get water for coffee, etc.  This could be a sink the laundry room or a bathroom. As an alternative, you can use disposable items and avoid washing dishes.
  • Use small appliances. Microwaves, toasters, small electric grills are very helpful in preparing simple, home-cooked meals.  Like the sink, find a convenient place to set these up. Be aware, the outlets in this area may not be able to handle all these appliances running at the same time.
  • Move your refrigerator. Find a convenient place for your refrigerator. This, combined with the small appliances will facilitate making simple meals and provide a place for snacks. A small, mini-fridge may also be useful.

During a remodeling project, a part of your home is thrown into complete disarray, chaos and clutter increase, household routines are disrupted, and everyday items are packed away. At some point during the remodel, stress levels in the home will increase, leading to arguments or the proverbial “kicking the dog.”

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The best way to handle remodeling stress is to anticipate it and prepare for it.  A few simple suggestions to reduce stress are:

  • As mentioned in a previous post, keep the end in mind. You have undertaken the remodeling project for a variety of reasons.  When it is complete, you will have a wonderful space for your family to enjoy.
  • Ask questions and clarify any issues. Being persistent in getting answers to your questions will reduce stress during the remodel. Leaving issues unaddressed only increases your frustration and may leave a feeling that the work was not done well.
  • Don’t be surprised when arguments occur. Remember the argument is likely due to the disorder in your home and is not personal.  
  • Help your children manage the disruption by engaging them in the planning process. This can help them view the project as an adventure, reducing their stress.
  • Pets are also impacted by remodeling. Like the rest of the family, their routines have been disturbed and a variety of new people are coming/going. A little extra attention will help them cope with the situation.

Murphy's Law ... "If anything can go wrong, it will" ... was coined at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949.  Its namesake, Captain Edward Murphy, was an engineer working on a project to determine how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. Upon finding a transducer wired wrong by a technician, he remarked, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." The project manager added this to his list of "laws," referring to it as Murphy's Law.

So, how is Murphy's Law connected with remodeling projects?  Like the Air Force project, you can expect to have some aspect of a remodeling project go wrong. This can even include items outside the area being remodeled.

For example, in one of our kitchen remodeling projects, electrical work was required for the relocation of appliances and lighting, and the addition of undercabinet lights. In the process of completing this work, it became apparent that during a previous project in the home, shortcuts were taken with the electrical work. Breakers and wiring were overloaded creating a significant risk of fire. Not a pleasant or inexpensive surprise for the homeowner. As you would expect, the electrical issues were corrected before continuing with the kitchen renovation.

As you get ready for your remodeling project, here are a few "surprises" you should prepare for:

  • Products delivered late, damaged, or with missing parts
  • Incorrect products delivered to the job site
  • Miscommunication
  • More dust than expected
  • Mold/moisture from plumbing leaks
  • Finding termites or carpenter ants
  • Structural issues including insufficient support for load bearing walls
  • Need to remove asbestos or lead paint

Preparing yourself for project surprises will help minimize your stress and frustration when they occur. Including a budget item in your project for contingencies and surprises will allow you to deal with the problem without feeling like your budget is busted.

Cabinet Inspirations & Ideas

Universal Design in the Kitchen

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In many areas of life, we tend to think in terms of the here and now. This is often evident in the areas of buying, building, or remodeling a home. We seek out design elements that are representative of our current stage of life. Life, as we know, is fluid and ever changing. Our situation today may not be our situation tomorrow. That is where Universal Design comes in.

Popularized by architect Ronald Mace, Universal Design is the idea of taking a space, then designing it in such a way that it is functional and practical for all age groups, ability levels, and life stages. With Universal Design, you are designing your home so that it not only works for you today, but also in the future. You are planning with tomorrow in mind.

   Universal Design does not need to be clinical or institutional-like in appearance, nor should it be. When implemented correctly, its features will flow smoothly into the overall design of the house, almost to the point of not noticing them. There are a number of areas within the kitchen where you can implement Universal Design and demonstrate that functionality can also be stylish.

Appliances

  • Microwaves built into base drawers below the counter, making them easier to reach.

 

  • A raised dishwasher to prevent bending over, OR a drawer style dishwasher to make loading easier than traditional dishwashers.

 

  • Wheelchair accessible cooktops. Cook with ranges with front or side mounted controls to eliminate reaching over dangerously hot burners. Also, consider having a pot filler installed at the stove to keep from carrying heavy pots of water from the sink.
  • Wall ovens installed at various levels.
  • A refrigerator/freezer with the frozen food compartment in a bottom drawer OR a side by side unit.

Cabinets/Drawers

  • Oversized hardware on doors and drawers which are easier to grab, OR magnetic touch and release cabinet doors.
  • Adjustable height shelves, pull down shelves, and Lazy Susans.
  • Open storage or glass doors, making things easier to locate.
  • More base cabinets with drawers as opposed to doors.

 

Countertops

  • Lowered countertops, two tiered islands, or countertops at various heights, making them accessible to everyone.

  • Easy to clean surfaces such as granite of laminate.

 

Sinks

  • Open space beneath the sink, giving knee clearance for wheelchairs.
  • Single lever or touchless faucets.
  • Variable height sinks between 32” and 40”.

Other ideas in Universal Design include lowering light switches, using slip resistant flooring such as cork or ceramic tile, and widening doorways to 36”.

Universal Design is all about making sure your home will be as perfect for you in the future as it is today. Implementing this concept in your home design or remodeling project will help ensure your kitchen remains both functional and enjoyable whatever the future may hold.  Stop in to The KitchenWright in Carmel, Indiana showroom and let us help in designing an accessible space for you.

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