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Kitchen Renovations

This Briargrove kitchen update by Remodelers of Houston features a spacious island with a wet bar, combined custom walnut and painted cabinets and a separate butler’s pantry. Stainless steel appliances by Wolf. (Photo courtesy of Remodelers of Houston.)

The heart of the home deserves articulate planning

This Briargrove kitchen update by Remodelers of Houston features a spacious island with a wet bar, combined custom walnut and painted cabinets and a separate butler’s pantry. Stainless steel appliances by Wolf.

The kitchen is said to be the heart of our home. It’s where family members prepare daily meals and bake cookies during the holidays, and work on projects and homework. While entertaining, we are drawn here to eat and drink, and to converse and socialize with friends. So when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, it’s a good idea to nail down your top priorities.

A recent study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders reveals what kitchen trends are among the most wanted this year. The survey asked first-time buyers and existing homeowners to rank several kitchen features based on how essential they are to make a home-purchasing decision. More than half of homebuyers ranked a walk-in pantry as the top desirable feature in the   kitchen. The second most wanted feature was a double sink, followed by a table space for eating, central island, and granite/natural stone countertop.


Home buyers put walk-in pantries at the top of their wish list when it comes to kitchens. The ideal walk-in pantry is located within the kitchen’s workspace zone where food will be prepared. However, it’s a good idea to keep it on the outer edge of the kitchen to avoid having people cross the busy work area.

Today, the walk-in pantry is creatively designed to not only store food, but to accommodate pots and pans, bulky cooking appliances, cookbooks and more. Shelves are strategically placed for easy access for the average person and for wheelchair access which is also an important consideration.➝ An unobstructed walkway space of a minimum of 36” allows comfortable access for a single person.

We continue to depend on our kitchen cabinets to provide plenty of short and long term storage. Cabinets should be placed strategically to accommodate your working and cleaning routine. Many convenient features are available such as pullout cabinet shelves, a trash bin hide-away, vertical dividers, spice pullout with tiered shelves, and a lazy Susan corner unit, just to name of few. Ask your remodeler to help you determine what works best for your kitchen style and layout.

Double Sink

A double sink is another popular item on the wish list among homeowners ready to remodel. The versatility of a double sink allows for practical multitasking such as having a smaller sink on one side for a garbage disposal and a larger one on the other for washing, which can also save you countertop space.

Island Style

The kitchen island ranks third on the NAHB’s most wanted list from homeowners for kitchen features. People love the extra counter space, storage and seating they provide. Determining the style and shape depends largely on how you intend to use it.

The type of kitchen island best suited for your layout depends a lot on the space you have. An “island” stands alone, is not connected to a wall or counter, and is a good choice if you have a larger space to work with. It allows you to utilize all four sides of the island and can easily include a sink if needed. The more popular shaped islands include the L-Shaped, the U-Shaped, the Galley, and Circular.

When space is limited, a “peninsula” style island is an option that works quiet well. This format juts out from an existing wall or counter and can have seating on one end and preparation space on the other. Both styles can offer eating bars and provide a nice dividing line from the kitchen to the next room without the intrusion of a wall.

According to Kevin Vick, owner of Vick Construction & Remodeling, peninsulas and eating bars are still all the rage. “Our clients like the rest of society, are very busy and want to spend time with family and friends as often as they can. These features allow cooking and dining time to be spent more intimately.”

Keep it Bright, Natural & Automated

More than a third of homebuyers preferred a white kitchen cabinet color followed closely by medium and dark brown. Unlike kitchen cabinets, homebuyers have a strong preference for color and type of appliance. Two-thirds of buyers say stainless steel is their preferred color. Homebuyers were also decisive when it came to kitchen countertop material. A majority says granite or other natural stone is their favorite. Homeowners are sticking to white cabinets, light-colored walls and more lights. Sherry Pruitt, owner of Whodid It Designs, said clients want light and an open space with a lot of flow.

“Adding lights is another popular and➝ money saving change,” she said. “People are realizing they have many options, such as including LEDs, which add warmth and brightness.”

Homeowners enjoy the perks of the latest technology and are equipping their newly remodeled kitchens with intelligent appliances. Technology has made it possible for us to remotely connect to our espresso machines, refrigerators, ovens, security monitors and more.

The Kitchen Layout

According to William Cole, CAPS, CGR, president of Divine Renovation, “The layout will make the difference in how efficiently you use the kitchen. A functional kitchen will make cooking and entertaining more enjoyable, while a poor layout may result in retracing your steps and adding time to your tasks.”

If you are about to remodel your kitch­en, it’s a perfect time to rethink your current layout and consider making it a more useful and accommodating space. Some questions to ask yourself are: How many cooks are in your family? How many people use the kitchen at the same time? How often do you entertain guests?

Cole advises, “When determining which layout will work best, keep in mind three basic areas: Food preparation, cooking, and cleanup.” Traditionally the work triangle consists of the refrigerator (where the food is stored), the stove (where the food is cooked) and the sink (where cleanup takes place) at the points of a triangle. This creates an efficient kitchen space.

Popular layouts include:

U shape: This layout uses three walls to create an efficient work triangle. This allows cooks to maximize their time doing tasks because appliances will be closer together. However, having multiple people working in this layout may be difficult depending on the size of the kitchen and if there is a kitchen island.

L shape: This layout uses one or two adjacent walls and works well because two or three of the work triangle functions can be on the same wall. This shape allows for better entertaining because a peninsula can be added in place of a wall. If the kitchen is large enough, an island can be added for more storage and function.

Galley shape: In this plan the walls are parallel and have all of the work triangle functions. It is very efficient because everything is closely located. It is not the best layout if a lot of people are in the kitchen at the same time. This layout may be difficult when entertaining, unless one wall is open to an adjacent room that may have a counter with seating.

Open layouts: This layout is a popular choice for today’s kitchens. The obvious advantage is the ease of entertaining and the cook’s ability to stay connected with family and guests while preparing food. The lack of walls increases the ability to have natural light in the space. The disadvantages to this layout are lack of privacy, noise and smells that travel. From a remodeling standpoint, an open plan can add to the cost because of the need to remove walls and rearrange plumbing and electrical.

(above) This Texas-sized kitchen, by Charanza Contracting, Inc., and Chairma Design Group, maintains an intimate feeling that is engaging and inviting for family and friends. (Photo – Analicia Herrmann.)

(left) A frosted pocket door obscures daily messes in the pantry without impeding natural light from illuminating this functional space. (Photo – Analicia Herrmann.)

In this galley-style kitchen by Vick Construction & Remodeling, Inc., and designer Januari Works of Design Works, a large central island offers ample storage and countertop space for food preparation on one side and comfortable guest seating on the other. Wood flooring and marble countertops add a warm touch. (Photo – Harry Durham.)

(above) This updated kitchen, by Premier Remodeling and Construction, stays true to its contemporary style by utilizing modern tile, cabinet and lighting options. The colorful turquoise backsplash features subway tiles laid in a chevron pattern; the cabinets are sleek, dark Zebrawood and provide a perfect contrast to the white tile floor; and the pendant lights bring a cool, modern vibe. Appliances are Thermador and Ventahood; cabinets by Accent Cabinetry. (Photo – GINDESIGNS.)


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