Friday, April 25, 2008

Find Your Function

Find Your Function

Don't focus so much on style that you forget the other half of the kitchen remodel equation: function. Sure, you know you want your new kitchen to work better…but how? Our quiz will help you settle on what you want your kitchen's primary function to be—and how to get there.

1. When it's time to cook, do you:
 Crack open one of my many cookbooks
 Have the kids help prepare the meal
 Set the kids up with crayons to keep an eye on them
 I rarely cook

2. During dinner, do you:
 Discuss how well the recipe turned out
 Try to get the kids to eat their peas
 Chat with guests
 Eat out

3. Do you prefer your countertops to be:
 Covered in the latest mixers, blenders and gadgets
 Bare, save a well-placed vase 
 Ready for company to see at any moment
 Clutter…I'm realistic

4. Is your typical dinner closest to:
 Takeout from the local gourmet grocery
 Frozen chicken nuggets and French fries
 Homemade lasagna and garlic bread
 Salmon, asparagus, wine

5. Is your pantry stocked with:
 Campbell's soup, peanut butter, paper towels
 Not much
 Dried cranberries, couscous, sesame oil
 Crackers, mixed nuts, seltzer water

6. Would your dream island:
 House a cooktop and refrigerator drawers
 Have two-tiers for buffet-style serving
 Feature intricate mouldings and corbels
 Incorporate a casual breakfast bar

7. Do you eat out:
 Once in a blue moon—I'm all about home-cooked meals
 A weekly trip to the pizza parlor with the kids
 We're often having dinner with friends or at restaurants
 Take-out, delivery, dining out—all regular occurrences

8. On my table, you'll generally find:
 Colorful plastic placemats
 Le Creuset baking dishes
 Cloth napkins and a decorative centerpiece
 Nothing—the table is impressive enough on its own


Your score:      

Family-focused kitchen (8-12)

You need a gathering space that your family can be comfortable in, one fit for the kids to play in and you to be in as well as for cooking and eating. When selecting your products, look for functional materials that can stand up to a little wear and tear: easy-to-grasp pulls; durable quartz or solid surfacing; vinyl or laminate flooring; darker wood cabinets that hide smudges better. 

When it comes to design, consider incorporating a lowered countertop surface that puts dinner preparation and cookie making in the reach of the little ones. Include a base cabinet earmarked for coloring and play materials. If you're including an island, make sure extra-high bar stools aren't part of the equation—they're easy to topple off of. Placing your cooktop there also deserves special consideration—you need to make sure it's well out of reach. Lastly, have a little fun: bright colors and plenty of windows ensure that the room will be a place the family will want to gather in.

Cook's kitchen (13-20)

You're most comfortable with a whisk in one hand and a spatula in the other, and your kitchen should be a space that lets you get to work. When choosing products, function should be foremost in your mind: bakers will want to install a marble countertop area for rolling dough; a butcher's block section works equally well for chopping. The interiors of your cabinets are even more important that the exteriors: make sure you include plenty of tray, pots and pans, and pantry storage. Consider two sinks—a large single basin for washing and a smaller prep sink. You appliance purchase demands much consideration; be sure to consider how many BTUs you want your burners to crank out, how many zones you'd like your refrigerator to have, and what capacity dishwasher you need to handle your mess. 

Serious cooks will also want to consider small luxuries like refrigerator and warming drawers to keep frequently used ingredients on hand and the final dishes warm before dinner begins. Consider including an appliance garage or pop-up mixer stand in your design to keep some of your counter appliances out of sight. 

Entertainer's kitchen (21-28)

Life's a party, and you like to be the one throwing it, from casual dinners with the neighbors to festive holiday events. You want a kitchen stylish enough to show off to guests, but comfortable enough to stand in while munching on spinach dip. When selecting products, consider great-for-entertaining appliances like warming drawers (for keeping those appetizers warm), refrigerator drawers or wine refrigerators (for keeping soda and wine chilled) and icemakers (no frantic rush to the corner store for another bag). 

Design-wise, you'll want to make sure there is plenty of roomy gathering space. Two-tier islands, with an upper level that can serve as a buffet space, are a wise choice. 

Showpiece kitchen (29-32)

You may not be one for cooking, but you want a kitchen that looks like it could whip up a gourmet feast for 12 and looks magazine-ready—in short, a kitchen that impresses. Still a well-equipped workspace, this formal entertaining space suits chefs who trade cookie baking for elaborate—or even catered—dinners. Product-wise, opt for heavy, impressive cabinetry, like cherry Old World cabinets or ultra-modern stainless steel. 

Because there's not a daily risk of spills, consider including Oriental rugs or artwork to ornament the space. Wine refrigerators and professional appliances give the space rich finesse, as do granite countertops. Design-wise, oversize cabinets and large islands will emphasize your room's grandeur.

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