Home Design Kitchen – This Dallas dream home designed by Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects features this stunning kitchen with custom cabinetry and a marble backsplash. Photo by Max Burkhalter
Cindy Black, of Austin-based Rick and Cindi Black Architects, married her design expertise with her love of cooking in 2008 when she opened Hello Kitchen. The Hello Kitchen design team provides personal kitchen design for clients, local and remote, with a “Renovation Recipe”, which includes a detailed scheme that you can install yourself or hire a contractor to implement.
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To date, the team has completed more than 200 kitchen packages. Here, Black shares nine essential ingredients for creating the perfect kitchen.
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Black starts by assessing the situation in the kitchen and checking certain elements, such as doors and windows, that will affect how the kitchen should be arranged. They also consider how the house is used in general and how the kitchen relates to the adjacent rooms.
“We started with a plan already in place to see how everything works and what doesn’t work well,” says Black. The new design will address the flaws and usage patterns found.
Next, he sketches a few very different layouts to see what the client responds to, such as a U-shape versus a kitchen versus an L-shape. Once the rough layout is fixed, the appliances are chosen, as their size affects the counter and cabinet measurements.
“He’s the biggest piece,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a surprise down the line.” Black recommends a Bosch dishwasher and a 30-inch Big Chill Pro oven.
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When designing the schedule, Black wanted to know how her clients cook. “Why are you here? How is your morning routine?” Crni asked.
Some people may not use the stove as much as others, or may need a separate station for activities such as juicing, roasting or making espresso. “All of that affects the counters that require the most bandwidth,” Black said.
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Since the 1940s, the kitchen triangle idea has dominated. The sink, stove, and refrigerator form the point of a triangle and should be some distance apart for efficiency. Instead of a strict triangle, Black thinks of related group activities.
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He recommends that the sink, prep counter, and stove be grouped together, with an optimal length of at least 42 inches. “I think you might be going too far,” he said, warning that eight feet of distance between the sink and the stove might be too much.
They believe that prep areas should only be used for prep activities (such as cleaning food, cutting and mixing ingredients), have easy access to trash, and should not overlap with stock of dirty dishes.
He paired the refrigerator with the pantry for food storage groups. “While the sink and the range are obviously close, the refrigerator will be a bit further away, usually because it is a large feature and needs to be hidden,” he said.
He recommends the Fisher & Paikel model for its sleek look and efficient size. With refrigerators around the store, other family members can get snacks without disturbing the chef’s workspace.
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Sink and stove elements should be placed so that, if possible, they are protected from the main road. “It’s chaos. There’s fire. There’s water. You don’t want your little hand in the hot zone,” says Black.
The plan was to keep the area as hidden as possible. In addition, “Everyone wants to know how to have a more social kitchen,” which is why he defined a place that allows people to linger without stepping on the cook’s toes. Finally, plan for easy access to outside trash cans so you don’t drag your dripping trash bags around the rest of the room.
“We always prefer daylight if possible,” Black said. When organizing the layout, he ensured the kitchen took advantage of natural light and outdoor views. In one of my past kitchen designs, this meant floating shelves around the nearly six-foot window so that the homeowner could get plenty of incoming light, extra storage, and easy access to plates for dinner plates.
For artificial lighting, Black personally avoids recessed cans and has purchased products from Schoolhouse Electric and Rejuvenation. He prefers to install alternative styles such as surface mounts, sconces and under-cabinet strips, aiming to “focus light on important places.” Installing a dimmer switch ensures that the lights can be task-oriented as well as atmospheric.
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The cabinet should include two full drawers and vertical storage. Both have a purpose. “Drawers are great for reaching into the back of the cabinet,” he says, making them ideal for plates, mixing bowls and small pots. “But some things don’t work well in drawers, like baking sheets, cutting boards, and sometimes pots,” says Black.
Deeper vertical cabinets, sometimes equipped with slots, can accommodate more awkward shapes. Take inventory of your kitchen equipment so you know exactly what you need. Black commemorates Bloom for his system of cabinet organization.
When choosing countertops and other finishes, Black likes to get a sense of the homeowner’s housekeeping preferences, as well as how much evidence of wear and tear bothers them.
“This often happens with marble slabs,” he said. “It will show wear, it will chip a little and it will have nick marks.” There are certain personalities that are good,” while others want to rip them off right away.
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He warns that despite the industry’s claims, no material will look pure forever. “Nothing is indestructible.” Everything will look broken,” he says. “Ask yourself what you want to feel and see every day?” To that end, he likes fireclay tiles and wood panels from Devos Custom Woodworking. Before you decide, see a sample of the exact item you have in mind.
In terms of style, Black takes cues from the existing architecture of the house, so that the kitchen “fits” with the whole. In a 1950s home that featured multiple red brick walls, Black made sure the kitchen’s finish choices “tied” with the existing brick.
This wood-focused kitchen certainly fits the busy mid-century cabin vibe. Photo: Ball & Albanese
“The kitchen needs to be connected so it doesn’t look like it fell from the sky,” says Black. He doesn’t believe that kitchens have to “match” either. If you are drawn to a certain trend, think about why you like it and try to adapt it to your existing home style, not just copy it.
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Black likes to create an intimate dining room and recommends a very large table. “You don’t want a floating table in a great room,” he says. The path and space around the table should be at least three feet.
Hang pendants or chandeliers 30 to 34 inches from the table to create a pleasant pool of light and attract visitors to what matters most: good food and good company. Your kitchen is probably the most used room in the whole house (and if it’s not, we’ll change it with these irresistible remodeling ideas!), so it should be designed in a way that makes life easier, more comfortable, and more stylish. In addition to functional appliances, a kitchen design that you will enjoy for years is very important. So, whether you’re renovating or just looking for inspiration to make yours more efficient, we’re sharing 95 kitchen design ideas to help you get the most out of them—and the best lessons you can learn from them. From country casual to sleek and modern – and literally everything in between – we’ve got all the kitchen makeover inspiration you need. Beautiful countertops, unique backsplashes and signature lighting, we’ve got you covered. And if you’re looking for kitchen layout advice, keep scrolling to the end for an overview of the best kitchen layouts and shapes.
The kitchen in Liz Lange’s New York home isn’t huge, but she wanted it to be light and airy despite its smaller footprint. “Instead of going for pre-war aesthetics, we gutted it and became very clean and modern,” she said. He painted all the cabinets without hardware in white lacquer and used white plaster paint on the back, which looks simple and not too expensive.
Designer Cameron Schwabenton gave this kitchen a burst of energy with fun vintage pieces (those chairs!) and brass accents. The glossy navy blue cabinet originally from IKEA – Schwabenton gives it a unique twist with brass hardware (see here for more examples and IKEA kitchen makeover ideas).
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Lauren Lothrop Caron of Studio Laloc added warm brass accents and Roman shades in Darby Rose fabric by Jasper to make the space more inviting. He also snuck in as much storage as possible with a slim floating shelf for spices and then a corner above that for larger tools.
Designer Mallory Kaye modernized this ranch kitchen while the original architecture shines. they
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