Posted in Counter tops, Hot Topics, Kitchen Storage, Noteworthy Links, Planning, Windows

Recipe for success

Whipping up a functional kitchen? I am asked all the time what is the first thing to consider when remodeling. I like to think designing a kitchen is a lot like buying a good pair of shoes. What one person considers essential is another person’s drudgery. I personally haven’t worn pumps (intentionally) since the 80’s and would be very grumpy if forced to wear them every day. Getting a good fit for your kitchen and new appliances is as important as getting a good pair of shoes! Style and trends are fun to look but if it isn’t your style then you could be very disappointed in the long run. First and foremost make sure your new design and appliances suit your personal style.

“The friend of the family expert”. Everybody’s got one! Be it a sister, an aunt, uncle Lou, cousin Bob, neighbor Ned. If I had a dollar for every time a client started to second guess what they wanted because the “family expert” came over to critique their decisions, I would buy myself a yacht and sail away. Sometimes enlisting unsolicited advise derails the process of getting a great design; and who’s kitchen is this anyway? Don’t be swayed to buy into someone else’s idea unless you are absolutely certain it’s your style.

Size is important, how big is your kitchen? Bigger kitchens are not always better. Too many steps from the cold storage to the prep area or cook top makes cooking a chore.

Interior designer Ann Jones (picture above) finds the wood counter tops in her Sonoma kitchen attractive, practical and inexpensive.
What I love about Ann’s kitchen is the warmth of the wood tops, the open and airy brightness to what would typically be a narrow, confining small space. Notice the walls are absent of standard wall cabinets. I like the open shelves! Chronicle photo by Eric Luse. Cooks Kitchens

Use: who is cooking, how many cooks, what’s your cooking style? I noticed those who enjoy cooking want “visual” access to plates and pot and pans. Remember Julia Child’s kitchen?
The visual cook prefers pot racks and open shelves and have fresh herbs in pots at the kitchen window.

The meticulous cook may be clutter phobic and more prone to ask for appliance garages and methods for containment to conceal everything.

Counter surfaces: are you considering bigger appliances? Make sure you are not sacrificing counter top landing space. Also important is storage space. Taking down that wall may mean an open space to the den, but what happens to your glass and dinner plate storage? Don’t overlook using a hutch in place of wall cabinets to contain glassware and dinner plates. Immediate picture above and below courtesy of Smallbone of Devises, typical bespoke handmade fitted kitchen designed cabinetry.

Mary Risley (shown above) has a large kitchen for entertaining (shown) and a small, everyday kitchen, just beyond her dining room table. Chronicle photo by Jerry Telfer. Notice in Mary’s big kitchen, (great for dueling cooks and entertaining), two sinks, two ovens, two cook tops. Any where she turns around their is a landing space, a prep space and she is close to a water source for clean up. Nice! And I love the big farmhouse table.
Now if you are jealous of Mary’s BIG Kitchen, after all this is far from the norm, take stock of what is in your cupboards? What do you refuse to part with and what can you mark for a garage sale? Make working in your kitchen easy with enough drawers and roll out trays to retrieve items out of the base cabinets. Make space for cook books, the microwave off the counter, a pantry, and don’t forget about the family pooch! Family pets not to be overlooked!

Limestone floors were a durable, easy-to-clean choice for architect Heidi Richardson’s client who has large dogs. The beige and gray floor colors even camouflage shedding. Photo by Colin Mcrae. Full article available at COOKS KITCHENS/ Professionals share their recipes for design success.



Laurie Burke, connected to the design and construction industry since 1996. A seasoned residential kitchen and bath design specialist , Laurie has designed thousands of kitchens & baths as well as other cabinetry projects requiring technical precision in design drafting utilizing state of the art 2020 software for creating accurate plans and elevations. Through on- going product knowledge training and a desire to always stay current with an evolving marketplace, Laurie Burke maintains a strong command of knowing the appropriate Fit & Finish materials required for a residential remodel to meet the budget, the timeline of a project and a client's need for a finished product that meets their satisfaction. Kitchen Designer by trade, foodie, techie, weekend traveler for fun. For more information contact me at

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