Kitchens Go Out of Style Fast
Nothing can be more discouraging than to find out that your brand new kitchen is already considered passé as soon as you have finished your kitchen remodelling. It is such an involved process but too many people have taken up the challenge too lightly. To start with, very often, the motive to replace a kitchen was to get new appliances, especially a new cooking range, or that you have seen and loved the new kitchen in a friend's place, or that you simply hate your existing kitchen. But to look for inspiration in your friend's home or in the local kitchen manufacturer's showroom is really not enough. Many kitchen designs on display are already outdated. And you know once you have your kitchen redone, you will be stuck with it for at least the next ten years. So take your time. Do your research thoroughly.
In school we were taught to design kitchens with the 'triangle rule' : the refrigerator, stove and sink were to be arranged in a triangular schematic, as if the shortest distances between the three items were of paramount importance. It ignored the fact that cooking sometimes involved more than one person, that the process of cooking resembled an assembly line and counter space is needed to layout ingredients and dishes under preparation. Since the 1980s, European kitchen designers have been advocating "galley-style" kitchens which are getting longer and sleeker. The Triangle Rule still holds but the triangle is somewhat stretched. Upscale kitchen manufacturers such as Smallbone, Clive Christian and SieMatic are having a hard time competing with the 'ultra-modern' manufacturers such as Bulthaup, Valcucine and Boffi. Ornaments are out, hardware and hi-tech gadgetry are in. Furthermore staunch supporters of traditional brands of appliances such as Viking, Thermador and Sub-Zero are switching over to Miele, Gaggenau and Bosch, whose appliances stylistically fit new kitchen designs like a glove.
Not To Worry About Cost of Kitchen Cabinets
Typically a Miele appliance can cost many times more than an US brand model. But people consider that as a 'must have'. When it comes to kitchen cabinets, they would choose the cheapest locally made versions which usually come with standard melamine boxes fitted with a choice of a dozen wood panelled-door styles. While a Boffi kitchen can easily set you back quarter of a million dollars, the choice for an ultra-modern kitchen is not a dead-end. For over a quarter of a century, we at Po Ku Design Build have been : 1) Importing European manufactured goods directly from the countries of origin 2) Custom making casegoods locally 3) Buying casegoods & furniture made in the Far East and adapting them for use in our projects. Option 3) obviously would be the least expensive alternative. By adapting, we mean having metal and stainless steel hardware and parts that are essential in transforming a mundane set of cabinets to an up-to-date and chic assembly, custom made locally to our specifications.
Do Worry About Overall Scope of Work
To build a modern kitchen, you will need a space of the right size and shape. You may need to add space by building an addition. If you can consolidate kitchen, family room and dining room into one large space, then building an addition may be avoided. You may also need to knock down existing walls to open up the space. Walk-in pantry is a popular feature. Be prepared to add a room. In any case, you will need to add lights, switches, electrical outlets, exhaust fans and wiring for new appliances. Ductwork may have to be moved or added. Drains and water lines will have to be installed. The floor may need to be ripped up and have new subfloor laid ready for flooring. New flooring can be marble slabs, porcelain tiles, hardwood or vinyl sheet goods. So the subfloor needs to be straight and level. And if the existing house is uninsulated, you may want to strip the exterior walls and ceilings and put in insulation and vapor barrier.
Features of A Modern Kitchen
The linearity in the planning of a modern kitchen requires a space of an elongated rectangular shape to accommodate long counters and island. We are currently planning a kitchen for a client with twenty foot counters. The hi-tech elements and "wow factors" are the prominent exhaust flues, the LED back-lit open glass shelving, the fridge columns, the counterbalanced upper cabinet doors that open upwards (awning), the modern European appliances, the long drawers with organized compartments within and the breakfast preparation counter with coffee machine, toaster, kettle, juicer, sink and exhaust fan. The colors of choice are : white, black, brushed stainless steel, polished chrome, light natural wood with linear grain, clear or opaque glass in black, white or colors, stainless steel and black appliances, white appliances, white or stainless steel flues, white marble, solid color natural stone and some richer wood : ebony/rosewood/teak/walnut.
In the Projects section, you can see some of the kitchens we have built for our clients. The counters got longer over the years. Shown to the right are images of :
A Wall of Built-In Pull-Out Pantries - Lights come on when you open the door of the pantry. Pull-outs are feather light and glide smoothly. When the doors are closed, the cabinets resemble a panelled wall.
Open Shelving With Decorative Grille - A see through unit that allows daylight to go through backlighting the stemware put on the shelves.
Structural Details Of A 12' Long Island Counter - The truss design and leg supports are to provide knee space for counter seating for six.
Drawer Details - Our traditional drawer construction : dove-tail joints and wood dividers inside the drawers.
Full View Of The 12' Island - The island contains a large stainless-steel farmhouse sink and eating counter for six.
Curved Kitchen - The entire kitchen was laid out on concentric curves : this shortens the travelling distance from fridge to stove. Notice the sink with the step-on faucet control, the pop-up TV in front of the island sink on the counter and the 8' long custom-made stainless steel curved range hood with the four stainless steel exhaust flues above.
Our kitchen designs range from ultra-modern to retro and period style. Whatever the outward styles are, the planning and the fittings are always the most up-to-date and forward looking. As mentioned before, once you have built your dream kitchen, you will have to live with it for at least the next ten years. So choosing a style that is slightly ahead of its time is not a bad idea. In fact it may be the only prudent thing to do. If you plan your new kitchen wisely, even using Ikea cabinets can give you a sharp looking kitchen and no one will be any the wiser.
Related Section : Scandinavian Modern Kitchen