The 7 Kitchen Es­sen­tials

(and 19 of to­day’s hottest trends to try)

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS - by Donna Peak

(and 19 of to­day’s hottest trends to try) Ex­perts weigh in on the lat­est and great­est ideas to out­fit your log home’s kitchen per­fectly.

Kitchens, like fash­ion, are al­ways evolv­ing. Color pal­ettes come and go; cab­i­netry heights raise and lower faster than hem­lines; and counter cov­er­ings are like crow­ing jewels. But kitchen com­po­nents are a lot more per­ma­nent than the lat­est suit or pair of shoes — at least they’re more in­volved (and costly) to swap out.

The good news is that along with all of the cool fads, there are a num­ber of fun­da­men­tals that will never go out of style. We con­sulted with nine kitchen de­sign au­thor­i­ties to de­liver their timeless es­sen­tials, as well as the trends they’re lov­ing now.

1 Thought­ful De­sign Be­fore you start think­ing about the clas­sic cab­i­nets, gleam­ing coun­ter­tops and flaw­less fix­tures that will adorn your new log home kitchen, you have to start with the ba­sics, and that’s good de­sign.

Ce­leste Ray­gosa, de­sign man­ager for Boise, Idaho’s M.T.N De­sign, the firm be­hind Pre­ci­sionCraft Log & Tim­ber Homes’ in­no­va­tive floor plans, says, “Open lay­outs are still trend­ing up­ward. Clients want open spa­ces that are ideal for en­ter­tain­ing.”

Roberta Richey, owner of DGN In­te­ri­ors/ Lodge Looks in Mis­souri, not only agrees, she takes it a step fur­ther: “My top de­sign es­sen­tial is to place the kitchen in the heart of the home. As a cook, I know I want to be where the ac­tion is — the cen­ter of at­ten­tion.”

Ge­or­gia’s Mod­ern Rus­tic Homes’ owner Michael Grant de­clares that with more than 100 cook­ing shows on TV, it’s no sur­prise that the heart of the home has be­come syn­ony­mous with the cook­ing arena. “Ev­ery­one loves good food, and they want to be part of the prepa­ra­tion, so in­volve them,” he says. “One of my clients en­joys hav­ing her fam­ily sur­round her while she cooks, so she wanted a U-shaped is­land with an­other is­land in the mid­dle. You can get very cre­ative.”

Hav­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ous chefs does have a de­sign ram­i­fi­ca­tion: The “kitchen tri­an­gle” — the holy grail of de­sign that places the stove, re­frig­er­a­tor and sink at each point of that tri­an­gle — is no longer ideal. This con­fig­u­ra­tion was cre­ated to make it easy for one per­son to flow ef­fort­lessly be­tween the kitchen’s key com­po­nents. But put sev­eral peo­ple in this space and you’ll just be in each other’s way. So smart kitchen de­sign­ers are now re­or­ga­niz­ing the kitchen into zones.

Michael ex­plains: “The prep zone, for ex­am­ple, has its own ded­i­cated sink. The bak­ing zone now has two ovens and a wood or marble sur­face for work­ing the dough. A serv­ing zone pro­vides am­ple room for large gather­ings and food dis­play. A kitchen li­brary, some­what re­moved from the ac­tion, boasts book­cases, a small desk and data ports. And spe­cialty zones like grilling sta­tions, pizza ovens, built-in fry­ers, etc., serve the res­i­dent chef ’s pas­sions.”

To build on the zone-de­sign con­cept, Allen Hol­comb, pres­i­dent of MossCreek, a Knoxville, Ten­nessee-based de­sign firm, says that ev­ery­one wants an over­sized is­land these days, whether it’s to whip up a big meal or pro­vide the fam- ily with a spot to gather. “These kitchens are too large to main­tain the tra­di­tional ‘work tri­an­gle,’” he ex­plains. “To add func­tion, think about re­frig­er­ated draw­ers, veg­etable sinks or a microwave drawer in the is­land to al­low for more ef­fi­cient ca­sual cook­ing.”

Allen gives his clients this sim­ple but smart ad­vice: “The most im­por­tant thing is to match ‘your’ style of cook­ing. Whether you are South­ern, Kosher, Italian, etc., your cook­ing style should de­ter­mine the nu­ances of your kitchen’s de­sign. Think about your process and how to max­i­mize ev­ery step.”


Space Al­lo­ca­tion

Hav­ing a good lay­out won’t mean much if your kitchen is too small or too large. Al­lo­cat­ing the proper amount of space to it within your home’s over­all foot­print is es­sen­tial. Determining how much space that will be de­pends, again, on how (and how fre­quently) you will use it.

“The gal­ley kitchen is a pro­fes­sional chef’s pre­ferred lay­out due to its efficiency,” says Allen. And, typ­i­cally, this style re­quires the least amount of ded­i­cated square footage within your over­all plan. But the gal­ley can quickly

get claus­tro­pho­bic if your com­pany tends to gather in it.

While re­cently de­sign­ing a log home for clients who love to cook to­gether, Michael Grant sug­gested spac­ing the is­land more than 5 feet away from the coun­ter­top/sink be­hind it. When the clients ex­pressed con­cern that this dis­tance seemed ex­ces­sive and wanted to cut it to 3 feet, Michael of­fered this amus­ing ex­pla­na­tion: “It’s a two-butt kitchen.” He in­sisted that they would re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the ma­neu­ver­ing room the ex­tra 2 feet would pro­vide them as they worked side by side, and now that they are in the home, they agree that he was ab­so­lutely right.

Space al­lo­ca­tion isn’t just about the space within the kitchen foot­print — it’s about the place­ment within the over­all scheme of the home, too. Ce­leste can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the kitchen and the rest of the home. “Typ­i­cally, clients want public spa­ces ( kitchen, great rooms) sep­a­rate from pri­vate spa­ces, like bed­rooms and baths,” she says. This helps con­tain noise and aro­mas, and it keeps the pri­vate ar­eas truly pri­vate.

3 Ap­pro­pri­ate Ap­pli­ances

Pro­fes­sional-grade ap­pli­ances may look strik­ing, but they have an im­pres­sive price tag to match. If you truly love to cook, high-end equip­ment may be worth the in­vest­ment — both from prac­ti­cal and aes­thetic points of view. “It could be a re­stored stove from France or the lat­est and great­est from Wolf or Vik­ing,” Michael says. “They aren’t just func­tional; they’re art pieces as well. And to­day’s ex­haust hoods have gone from be­ing purely util­i­tar­ian to be­com­ing fo­cal points in the kitchen.”

If you plan to go pro, you need to let your ar­chi­tect or de­signer know early on. “The num­ber of burn­ers on your stove will af­fect the size of the ex­haust fan and flue,” Allen says. “Very large stoves re­quire plan­ning for the route of flue pip­ing.”

For most peo­ple, how­ever, stan­dard ap­pli­ances will sat­isfy all your needs and still look great while do­ing it. But there are a few mod­ern con­cepts that you may want to con­sider no mat­ter what path you take.

For starters, Allen Hol­comb of­fers a very prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tion: “Con­sider two dish­wash­ers if you en­ter­tain large groups.”

Cas­san­dra Chris­tian­son, Wis­con­sin Log Homes’ in­te­rior de­signer and project co­or­di­na­tor says a re­cur­ring re­quest she’s get­ting from her clients is to hide the microwave. “If at all pos­si­ble, clients pre­fer not to see this ap­pli­ance in their kitchens any­more. One so­lu­tion we’ve come up with is to utilize a microwave drawer in an is­land, so it’s only seen while work­ing in the kitchen and it’s not as no­tice­able be­cause it’s lower,” she says. “An­other way to hide the microwave is to cre­ate a place for it in the pantry. You can build a coun­ter­top or shelf for it to sit on, which cre­ates a func­tional so­lu­tion to hide it away in this space but still al­lows it to be ac­ces­si­ble.”

Some peo­ple are opt­ing for al­ter­na­tive ap­pli­ances. Ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by the Na­tional Kitchen & Bath As­so­ci­a­tion, steam ovens are on the rise in the ap­pli­ance mar­ket, be­cause the con­sci­en­tious buyer views them as a health­ier al­ter­na­tive to mi­crowaves for warm­ing food. In a sim­i­lar vein, in­duc­tion cook­tops and con­vec­tion ovens are gain­ing ground on gas-fu­eled ap­pli­ances.

Even re­frig­er­a­tors are get­ting a re­tool­ing. No longer lim­ited to one hulk­ing unit, home­own­ers are cus­tomiz­ing their cool­ing needs with “point of use” re­frig­er­a­tion. That could mean adding a re­frig­er­ated drawer for pro­duce in your prep zone, a wine cooler in a but­ler’s pantry or a juice/soda fridge for the kids.

4 Am­ple Stor­age

If kitchen stor­age isn’t al­ready a big pri­or­ity for you, it should be. As most de­sign­ers will tell you, plan as much stor­age space in your kitchen as you can … then add some more. But don’t just add on; be sure to fully use ev­ery square inch of space in your de­sign. With smart plan­ning, even small cab­ins can ex­po­nen­tially in­crease their stow­ing power.

“To max­i­mize just 6 square feet of floor space, a floor-to-ceil­ing pantry with pull­out shelves is an easy so­lu­tion,” sug­gests Roberta Richey. “The pull­outs al­low to­tal ac­cess to its con­tents from front to back.”

Pull­outs also are a god­send when it comes

to ac­cess­ing pots and pans. Draw­ers lo­cated be­low a cook­top or along­side a range make for easy ac­cess to bulky cook­ware.

Ce­leste Ray­gosa sums it up well: “Think about ef­fi­cien­cies, how you plan to use the space and cir­cu­la­tion within that space,” she says. “Get cre­ative with stor­age and make sure you have enough.”

5 Good Or­ga­ni­za­tion

Cas­san­dra Chris­tian­son says the es­sen­tial that ev­ery kitchen needs is a plan to min­i­mize clut­ter. “There are so many ways to solve or­ga­ni­za­tional is­sues in a kitchen now, and they can be very help­ful in keep­ing the room clean and tidy,” she says. “For ex­am­ple, a pre­cisely de­signed space can help with this is­sue by stor­ing large ap­pli­ances or dishes that are not needed ev­ery day.” These in­clude dou­ble-decker drawer trays, ex­pand­able un­der­sink or­ga­niz­ers, door-op­er­ated cor­ner-cabi­net lazy Su­sans and more.

“Or­ga­ni­za­tion is para­mount,” em­pha­sizes Michael Grant. “As the adage goes, a place for ev­ery­thing … and ac­ces­si­bil­ity is key. No one wants to get on their knees and dig around to find the right pot. Drawer or­ga­niz­ers are boons for plates, bowls, etc. And pantries can be seg­mented into dish pantries (this is for the six sets of table­ware you in­her­ited), food pantries with a sep­a­rate freezer and the but­lers pantry for a sec­ondary food prep area, bar or stag­ing.”

Not all homes have the space for a des­ig­nated pantry in the kitchen, but pantry stor­age, es­pe­cially for large items, may be cre­ated in an ad­join­ing space like a laun­dry or mud­room.

6 Ad­e­quate Light­ing

Noth­ing can re­place pure, nat­u­ral light in a heav­ily used workspace like a kitchen. How­ever, mak­ing sure your de­sign al­lows for plenty of win­dows has added ben­e­fits. “I want to en­joy the view of the out­doors as I’m cut­ting and chop­ping,” says Roberta, “so it’s es­sen­tial to place as many win­dows in the kitchen as pos­si­ble. To me, it’s worth loos­ing a lit­tle up­per-cabi­net stor­age. You can make up for it in a well-de­signed lower bank.”

In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to pop­u­lar home im­prove­ment web­site, rib­bons of LED light­ing are show­ing up in the weird­est — and most won­der­ful — kitchen places: along toe kicks as night lights; on the in­side of cabi­net doors to show off grandma’s china; con­cealed in crown mold­ing to wash ceil­ings with light — there’s al­most no limit to how they can be used.

LED ropes come in a rain­bow of col­ors, from bright to soft white, red, blue and green, so you can get cre­ative about where and how you in­stall them. LEDs emit vir­tu­ally no heat and they’re energy ef­fi­cient, last­ing 50,000 hours on av­er­age, which is about five times longer than CFLs.

7 Mul­ti­func­tion­al­ity

For those who work from home, a ded­i­cated of­fice space is es­sen­tial. But for ev­ery­one else, a small workspace off the kitchen likely will suf­fice. Bays and nooks are good spots to carve out an of­fice, but you also can de­sign a sec­re­tary-style desk into your cab­i­netry that folds out only when needed (it should be placed at stand­ing or counter height for ease of use). Wher­ever you put it, be sure to in­clude space to cor­ral and charge your elec­tronic de­vices. An en­closed ap­pli­ance garage (with a tam­bour door) can stow print­ers and other un­sightly of­fice equip­ment. And for sup­plies, draw­ers of var­i­ous sizes (like apothe­cary draw­ers) will keep things well or­ga­nized.

LEFT: A com­bi­na­tion of nat­u­ral, over­head, pen­dant and task light­ing not only brings out the beauty of this kitchen, it makes it a safer place to work.

OP­PO­SITE: This large kitchen uti­lizes zone-based de­sign su­perbly, with ar­eas for cook­ing, bak­ing and clean­ing. Dou­ble is­lands cre­ate sep­a­rate spa­ces for food prep and en­ter­tain­ing. RIGHT: This plan breaks down how a smart kitchen is con­fig­ured,...

TOP LEFT: Pull­out draw­ers in a pantry or cabi­net pro­vide to­tal ac­cess to the con­tents from front to back.

BE­LOW: Fur­ther en­hance your kitchen’s stor­age power by in­stalling pull­outs and lazy-Su­sans where you need them most.

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