Monday, 26 September 2011

Kitchen Design Dilemmas Solved

This guest blog post was written by Tracy Tesmer, founder of Tracy Tesmer Design • Build • Remodel • Repair, a design/build remodeling company specializing in kitchen remodeling. Tracy has over 30 years experience in the construction industry and also hosts a weekly home improvement radio show on WDUN in North Georgia.

The kitchen is where most people spend the majority of their time while at home. It’s no longer just a place to cook meals – it’s evolved into a hangout room where kids do their homework and friends and family congregate. Because we are requiring more out of a kitchen these days, it’s important to have a space that is both comfortable and functional. The following are 3 frequent kitchen complaints and ways to solve them, both with some DIY elbow grease or with the assistance of a home remodeling professional
  1. Insufficient Lighting. This is a common problem, especially in older homes that may just have an overhead florescent light and a light in the vent hood.
    • DIY: Replace your dated florescent lighting that is probably collecting bugs with some more stylish fixtures that give off more light. Since the hookup is already installed, this can be installed relatively easily. Make sure to completely cut the power before beginning to work on it and note you may have to do some paint touchups if the new fixture is a different size. You can also add some under cabinet lighting that either plugs in to your wall socket or is battery powered with no wires to mess with!
    • Professional: Unless you are a super handyman, you will probably need to hire somebody to tackle the installation of new recessed can lights, or new pendant or track lighting where there were no fixtures before. You may want to also consult with a kitchen designer to make suggestions on the look and feel of the space.
  2. Lack of Storage Space. For many people, lack of sufficient storage space in their kitchen is a major complaint. Whether the builder failed to take full advantage of the storage space or the usage of your space has changed over time, it’s important to have a kitchen that is organized and not cluttered.
    • DIY: Before doing anything, take a few hours to sort through your current kitchen items to see if you can get rid of or reorganize some of your clutter. You may have just solved your problem! If you still need more space, consider an overhead pot rack to free up some shelf space, adding some shelving for the inside of your pantry door, or purchasing a rolling kitchen island with storage cabinets.
    • Professional: If the installation of an island sounds like the right thing for you, but you want to go the permanent route, hire a remodeler to build and install one for you. You can also replace your upper cabinets to reach to the ceiling, often adding a shelf or two of storage space. For smaller improvements, adding a Lazy Susan to corner cabinets will help you fully use the awkward space to your advantage.
  3. Impeded Work Flow. It’s important to be able to have a flowing kitchen that works well. Even though today’s kitchen serves as a place to entertain, organize one’s day, and communicate with family and friends, it is above all else still a place to cook. The "kitchen triangle" is the area between the refrigerator, sink and stove.
    • DIY: Although it may be difficult to fix much of the floor plan with DIY skills, you may be able to save on the cost of remodeling by doing some of the demolition, painting, or appliance installation of this remodeling project yourselves.
    • Professional: Most professional remodelers are excellent at figuring out how to maximize the functionality of the “kitchen triangle.” Common renovations include adding a wall unit oven to replace a standard stove, installing a cook top, veggie sink, and/or dishwasher in an island, or moving the location of a refrigerator.
Before you decide whether you want to take matters into your own hands and give your cooking space a makeover yourself, or call a licensed remodeler, it’s important to first identify the source of the problem and then decide which logical solution works best for you. Whether you need a major renovation of your existing kitchen or a simple quick fix, there are many opportunities to make the kitchen more efficient as well as more enjoyable.