Analena Mandlsohn


Let's Talk Kitchens

It’s no secret that one of the most important features in a home is the kitchen. The kitchen is that magical space where impromptu gatherings take place, where stories are shared over coffee, and where culinary delights are given life. More than just a functional space, the kitchen is the social hub and the heart of the home. From a real estate perspective, it’s a well-known fact that it holds crucial importance as a selling feature. In fact, it’s not unusual to hear realtors say that kitchens sell homes. Today’s home buyers, therefore, have very high expectations when it comes to kitchens, and a modern kitchen with tons of wow factor, can add significant value to a home.

Having said that, if you’re considering renovating your kitchen, before you start planning, you should consider the market and neighbourhood in your home is in and decide whether a low-, medium-, or high-end kitchen renovation makes the most sense. The cost of a full kitchen reno can run the gamut from a few thousand dollars for a simple cabinet reface and hardware upgrade, to tens of thousands of dollars if you’re installing custom cabinetry, fancy stone countertops and high-end appliances. Knowing your market and neighborhood will help to keep you from overspending – you may not get your investment back installing a $100K kitchen in your 2-bedroom starter home. On the other end of the scale, you also don’t want to underspend – laminate faux-wood countertops in your multi-million-dollar mansion is an equally incongruous mistake. Do some research and once you’ve decided on a price point, stick to your budget.
When it comes to planning, keep these points in mind:

Think function first. 

Not only do you want your kitchen to feel inviting and open, you also want easy access to the surfaces and appliances you need. Superstar designer Elizabeth Roberts recommends that you create a “working triangle” – the arrangement between sink, fridge and cooktop should form an equilateral triangle when mapped out. When cooking, those are the three points you will repeatedly visit, so it’s best to keep them equidistant from each other. In general, paths within the cooking zone should be a minimum of 42 inches wide, so keep this in mind when planning where to place a kitchen island for example.

Choose an appropriate size island.

If your kitchen space allows for it, an island is a great addition.  Islands provide extra counter and storage space, and some even have bar-style seating room. Remember to keep at least three feet between the island and opposing cabinetry or appliances to ensure sufficient space for doors and drawers to open completely. For a smaller kitchen space, you may consider a peninsula island, which offers the same benefits as a centre island, but occupies less space. If your space is too limited for a fixed island, you might want to try a moveable island on casters instead.

Countertops and backsplashes should complement your design and theme.

When considering counter tops, the options abound. From laminate to natural or engineered stones, recycled glass and butchers’ block, there really is no shortage of alternatives at every price point. Your choice will depend to a large extent not only on cost, but also on design. And the same applies to the kitchen backsplash – from clean minimalistic to chic vintage, there are countless options to choose from to reflect the desired mood and feel of your cooking space. Don’t be tempted to forgo the backsplash. Budget-permitting, it’s an essential feature, as it not only protects the walls, but also serves as your kitchen’s décor focal point and the central defining aspect of your overall theme. 

Install sufficient outlets.

Be sure to install multiple electrical outlets throughout the kitchen, mainly along the backsplash and on the island, so that you have electricity where you need it.

Don’t mix ‘n match appliances.

When buying new appliances, stick with the same brand or, at the very least the same finish, to achieve a designer look. A firm favourite in terms of re-saleability is the stainless-steel finish.  With a little research, you can find relatively affordable appliances that look very high-end and help increase your kitchen’s wow factor.

Base your colour palette on your kitchen’s size.

If your kitchen is small, choose light colours for your walls and cabinetry, as dark colours tend to shrink a room or space, while lighter colours tend to visually expand a room.

Don’t Skimp on Hardware.

Get the best possible hardware for the finishing touch. A modern designer series faucet with a pull-down spray head merges a strong design statement with functionality. Similarly, cabinet knobs and handles are an extremely important design feature, and the style that you pick can really impact the overall feel of your kitchen.
Stick to one consistent finish throughout – such as satin, chrome, or bronze for example – and choose hardware that completements your décor and architectural style.
The importance of the kitchen to home buyers cannot be overemphasized – it is the go-to space for everyone; it is the room where ingredients are transformed into favourite culinary delights that nourish the bodies, minds and souls of family and friends and where countless good times are shared and memories made. Given the importance of this space to everyday family life, its ability to provide a complete experience and potentially increase the value of home, your kitchen reno should be well thought out and researched.

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