Since Kitchens are still the heart of the home it is no wonder it is the most popular room in the house to remodel. Here are the items my clients ask for most:

1. An open floor plan is the number one must have for today’s families.  Family and guests love to mingle and converse with the cook so a good floorplan includes them but keeps them on the other side of a counter so they are not underfoot. An island, eating bar or a pass-thru can accomplish this.

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2. Islands are also very popular but they have scaled down in size since they were first introduced.  If the room is very large sometimes two smaller islands are used.  The minimum size of an island is 24″ x  48″.  A peninsula may work better if there is not enough room for an island.  Aisles need to be minimum of 36″ where there are no appliances or chairs and 42″- 48″ is more comfortable.  Where there are chairs or stools allow 48″-60″ of clear space.

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3.  Eating areas are usually requested.  If there is not enough room for a table and chairs, perhaps a banquette will work or often an eating bar is the only solution.  Depending on the size and needs of the family, arrange the seating so you can talk to each other and also have pleasant views.  Some people want to be able to watch TV while eating.

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4.  Good lighting is a major concern.  Layers of light and proper placement must both be considered.  Ambient lighting will evenly light the room, while more focused task lighting is needed in specific areas for function.  Lastly, decorative lighting softens the room and adds some interst to all the hard lines in a kitchen. Use decorative lighting sparingly – do not have it at the bar, island and eating nook all at the same time unless the room is very large or has definate separate spaces.  Select the main area for a focal fixture and use recessed lighting in the other areas. Do not overlook undercabinet lighting, which needs to be located at the front of upper cabinets to light the work surface – not the backsplash.  Lighting on top of the cabinets also adds nice ambient lighting and can be used as night lighting as well.

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5. Larger windows are wonderful for bringing the outdoors in and capturing natural daylight but don’t forget that they eliminate some cabinet storage. Try to incorporate a pantry, if possible, to compensate for that.  Even if the daylighting is wonderful be sure to allow for nightime lighting as well.

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6. Pantries are a favorite of today’s homeowner.  Walk in pantries can store so much more than food and are easy for retrieval when needed.  They are ideal places for vacuum, brooms, large pet food bag storage and little used appliances.  If there is not room for a walk-in pantry there are full height pull out versions from 12″ – 24″ of cabinet width.  The weight that will be carried on these shelves is a major issue so be sure to buy quality hardware for this application.

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I hope this gets your creative juices going!