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  • Writer's pictureJim Butz

Where to start when remodeling your kitchen

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? It’s quite an experience with the dust, the noise, and all the workers coming into the house. And of course, you have to live without a kitchen for a few months. But when it is all done it is worth it. People tend to spend most of their time in the kitchen with family and friends.

You can’t do anything until you figure out how much you’re able or willing to spend. That means doing your homework — read magazines, visit showrooms, talk to friends and neighbors who recently remodeled. It takes a lot of time to do all this. But I can tell you, it’s worth the investment.

Pretty much anything you dream up can be executed with the help of a contractor or design professional with a creative eye. Whether your space is large or small, you'll do best if you stick close to the following basic recommendations:

Try to keep the work triangle length between the sink, fridge, and cooktop between 12 and 23 feet.

Position the sink between the other two appliances, since it's used most often. (The sink's location may depend on pre-existing plumbing lines.)

Allow for 36 inches of counterspace to the right and 30 inches to the left of the range and sink if at all possible; if not, allow a minimum of 24 inches and 18 inches.

It's tempting to place a tall fridge and built-in wall oven next to each other, but try not to; the refrigerator needs its own landing space on both sides of the appliance for safety.

Try to include a minimum of 10 linear feet of both base cabinets and upper cabinets.

Utilize lazy Susans to make potentially wasted corners fully functional. Blind cabinets are not very functional.

Use pull-out drawers rather than reach-in, conventional cabinets for greatest convenience. If you're retro-fitting existing cabinets, have pull-out trays installed.

Consider barrier-free design and products. They make life easier for you, your children, pregnant women, and seniors as well as individuals with disabilities. They'll also add to the longevity of your kitchen.

Trash, dishwasher open and sink have to be accessible at the same time.

Improve lighting – General lighting, task lighting and accent and ambient lighting should all be used.

What are (or will be) your traffic patterns.

Child safety consideration: Avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height—3 inches below the shoulder of the primary user but not more than 54 inches from the floor.

Over powered exhaust fans can cause serious health and safety risks to your family including back drafting of your fireplace snuffing out pilot lights. 300 - 400 cfm is suitable for most decent size kitchens. Over 500 cfm requires a fresh air replacement intake device.

Outside access consideration: If you want easy access to entertaining areas, such as a deck or patio, factor a new exterior door into your plans.

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