Kitchens are the center of family life these days. In times past, they were simply places to cook food. Now, they’re family gathering spots where kids do homework, or you entertain friends while you create good things to eat or you celebrate Saturday mornings.
The journey to your new construction home kitchen begins with knowing exactly what you need and want and ends in the kitchen of your dreams. Your goal says Duval Acker, Carolina One Realtor and certified Kitchen Designer is “a space that thrills the user every time they enter it.”
A bit of self-assessment and kitchen “window-shopping” is a good place to start when planning your kitchen. You may gain inspiration from watching HGTV or reading home design magazines. Or, using Pinterest and Houzz to find examples of what you like. Make a list of the features you’d like to have and ones that are a must have in your kitchen, prioritizing your essentials and “good to haves”. Think about how you use a kitchen. Do you cook with your partner or are you a solo chef? Do you only microwave water for your coffee as opposed to cooking dinner every night. Your answers will inform your design decisions and floor plan choices.
Look through the builder’s photo galleries on CharlestonNewHomesGuide.com then if you see something you like just follow the provided link to go directly to the home builder’s website to study and/or choose the floor plan with the kitchen layout that suits you. Most new construction builders cannot add space to a floor plan, so choose wisely.
Most every designer and Realtor we consulted said that of all the rooms in the house to spend money on, the kitchen is one of the primary ones where it makes a difference. Though remember not to get too carried away planning your kitchen, because it’s easy to spend all your budget in this single room.
Your kitchen layout is critical
A good kitchen is one that works for you. It’s one where you have carefully thought out your movements and planned accordingly. Whether you’re washing dishes, baking cookies with kids or preparing a meal, consider the placement of appliances, work surfaces and prep areas as well as clean-up areas so that the relationship of one area to another makes sense.
Take time to visit Lowcountry home builder’s model homes to see different kitchen layouts to help you decide what feels the best. When evaluating kitchens in the builder’s model home, walk around and envision yourself working there. Is there adequate space to easily accommodate you and whomever you invite to join you in your kitchen tasks?
“If you have to retrace your steps or walk around obstacles to get to three major components that make up the ‘work triangle’ [the sink, the ‘fridge, and the stove comprise the work triangle], then your kitchen layout is inefficient,” shared Donna Gustafson, a Realtor with Luxury Simplified Real Estate in a recent article.
Your builder will have planned the kitchen’s primary layout of sink, dishwasher, refrigerator, and stove into the home’s floorplan. Your task is to choose cabinets and additional features, and incorporate them into the plan so that makes functional sense. Any additional feature needs to be planned to be installed near where it’s used. You may, for example, want warmer drawers in the island, or you might prefer to house your microwave there, or include a wine fridge. To illustrate our example, if you choose the wine fridge, your kitchen design should place the wine fridge near the drawer that holds your corkscrew.
Why should you have plenty of storage space in your kitchen?
Having ample room to store all your plates, utensils and gadgets is fundamental to a working kitchen. These days many homeowners are opting for Butler’s Pantries where they can store all their dishware and cutlery like the one pictured in David Weekly Home’s kitchen.
In your new home, you probably don’t want to stack your spoons on a countertop or leave Tupperware on top of the stove. Though these days there is a design trend towards open shelves, having these means you should be very tidy and keep things dusted if not using them for long periods of time. Sure, the open shelves look pretty with all the decorative arrangements of pitchers, glassware and table accessories, but, how practical are they? Could open shelves become clutter catchers? Duval Acker said that the best kitchen is, “One where there is no clutter (for everything’s in its planned place), yet exhibits an appearance that excites, inspires and encourages one to come in, cook and enjoy it.”
Kolter Homes Design Consultant Donna Seighnan suggests when planning your home’s dream kitchen, you should choose cabinets first because all your other design choices flow from that choice. “Choosing mint green cabinets because you’ve seen them in design magazines and love them, is very different from selecting them for your home.” She explained, coordinating flooring colors, countertops and paint to work in harmony with mint green cabinets is not necessarily an easy design job. Because most kitchens are open to the rest of the house, what goes in your kitchen needs to coordinate in color, texture and tone with all the other finishes in your home.
Will your kitchen be easy to maintain?
Let’s face it, kitchens get dirty. From spaghetti sauce splatters on back splashes to eggs dropped on the floor, you’re going to get messes in your kitchen. Tile floors with wide grout lines catch grime and dirt, requiring regular steam cleaning. Rough travertine backsplashes have uneven surfaces and may be hard to wipe down. When designing your kitchen, choose low-maintenance surfaces that resist dings, scratches, and are non-porous. Choose ones where you can sanitize and clean without affecting the beauty of the finish.
Adding features to make life easier
Beyond cabinets, countertops and drawers, there are many extras you can add to a kitchen to suit you.
You might want to add a desk where you can do your household accounting or work on your iPad while waiting for dinner to cook. This TrueHomes kitchen includes a great work zone for you or someone doing homework.
If you feed a crowd for Thanksgiving, double ovens are just what you need and many builders can include them in your home. Dan Ryan Builders includes double ovens in this kitchen.
Not every kitchen plan will accommodate two ovens, so ask your design center coordinator for help if this is a feature you want.
Pot fillers allow you to avoid lugging a sloshing pot of water to the stove. This Saussy Burbank kitchen has a great pot filler right where you need it.
While it may seem like a lot of work to make your lists, shop model homes and review designs online, the result will be you get the kitchen designed exactly for you. And when your new home is completed, you’ll love showing off your culinary skills and hosting friends and family for gatherings in your stylish, well-designed kitchen.
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