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Useful Vs Useless Counter-Tops

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

One of the most common items on homeowner’s wish lists is the desire for more counter-top space.  While no one wants exposed clutter out in the open for everyone to see, there is still a desperate need for more work space.  The trick here is in the “work space” not just more counter-top space.

There’s not much need for counters that we can not use as part of the kitchen.  If we have 40 square feet of counter located on the other side of the kitchen as the cook-top or sink area it quickly becomes a drop zone for the family.  We also affectionately refer to this area as the family “crap catcher”.  A bit crass but yet every family knows exactly what area in their kitchen this is referring to.  It’s OK, we all have one.

Our goal is to improve counter-top space WHERE YOU NEED IT MOST.  Check out the below examples:

There is quite a lot of counter-top in the above photo.  Unfortunately it’s not where you need it.  The sink has useful space flanking it but the cook-top was totally robbed of fulfilling it’s full potential.

Then there’s this classic arrangement above.  No counter-space, a wall (oven tower) built next to it, no chance for success.

It is our job as kitchen designers to make sure that we are getting you the quantity of counters you need but also the quality.  The kitchen must be laid out in a way that maximizes the square footage of the space but more importantly makes the most out of the square footage gained.

The Power Of Negative Space

Monday, January 19th, 2015

We’ve all seen works of art and illusions that use negative space. Negative space is defined as “the space that surrounds an object or an image” and can be as important as the subject of a composition itself. It helps define boundaries and can bring balance to a work of art. Much like the space created in the attached drawing or the power of silence in the middle of a song – It creates tension and excitement and can elevate the appreciation of a subject matter. Let’s take a moment to discuss a simple topic in astrophysics, matter vs. anti-matter… No wait, let’s not.

Why the heck are we talking about this?

I was standing in a kitchen this morning with a potential client discussing a new layout for her space. I found myself saying the same thing I’ve said so many times before in tight kitchens, “We need to increase the negative space in order to enjoy the positive.” The positive space would be the cabinets, counter-tops, etc., the work space, the storage. The negative space is where we walk, we stand, the space our bodies take up while walking, working or entertaining in our kitchens.

One of our goals is to increase the negative space in a kitchen while enhancing the functionality and visual beauty of the kitchen as well. As an example, we often delete peninsulas in order to reconfigure kitchens for an island. Done right this leads to increased storage and counter space while providing an additional walkway into the kitchen. We want a family to be able to gather and not feel crowded while maintaining good traffic flow. Elbowing each other in the ribs may be your idea of an action packed family get-together but I like my space.

Let the places where there is “nothing” highlight where there is “something”. Increase the negative to enhance your appreciation of the positive.

Kitchen Functionality For The Holidays

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

So you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house this year. Awesome!… Except for the fact that you have to feed 15+ people while somehow finding room to even put / keep the food. Not to mention the house has to look clean and somewhat festive (for you over-achievers) if not at the very least presentable (the rest of us). It would be nice to avoid the criticism from – or should I say “please” – your mother-in-law for once.

…Oh snap! I am really hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year! What am I going to do?!
Don’t panic! Breathe. Here are some tips to make the holiday season a little easier this year.

Determine where each activity will take place, such as dining, serving, gathering, football watching, you name it and set it up accordingly. Organizing – Check!
If you have an extra sink fill it up with ice and place cups nearby. You can put canned drinks in the ice or simply set large bottles next to the sink. Drink station – Check!
Use your island or peninsula that is usually a place for seating as a place for prepping and serving food this holiday season! Buffet – Check!
Take a few small boxes and drape some fabric over them to “display” your family’s favorite dishes down the serving line! Looking like I actually tried – Check!
Only helping hands in the kitchen! Make sure that you allow yourself plenty of space to sprawl while preparing food and kick out any unnecessary people because you need your space, and Uncle Bobby needs to learn his boundaries as well as patience because we ALL have to wait to eat! Sanity – Check!

Most of us know how to use our kitchen in an everyday manner, but we must accommodate for the hand full of times we actually entertain or host guests in our home. Ideally you would have a single level bar, island, or peninsula because it is optimum for preparing and serving, plus it makes your kitchen look huge. An extra sink comes in handy for vegetable washing on most days but can have a dual purpose for gatherings as well. And of course, space and functionality! These are all things that we try to incorporate when remodeling a kitchen because the benefits are endless!

Before I forget, this is the last and most important tip I can give you for the holiday season: Take a minute to enjoy the company around you and focus on making memories with the ones you love.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Platinum Kitchens & Design!

Nutter-butter turkeys

Kitchen Soffits

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Do you have a home built in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s? Chances are you have an 8′ tall ceiling in your kitchen AND often a bulky overhead soffit or bulkhead located directly above your upper cabinets? For whatever strange reason, this was all the rage in building during these three decades. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, investigate having this “design element” removed. The likelihood of it containing any plumbing pipes or HVAC ducts is often low and it’s removal allows for extra cabinetry height and the addition of decorative moldings. Not only does this alteration distinctly transform the look of your kitchen into the modern era, it also allows for cabinet storage that you didn’t have previously. With a 9′ ceiling, this would allow for what is called “double stacked” cabinetry – great for display if glass fronted or for tucking away seasonal items if solid wood. With an 8′ ceiling getting rid of the soffit simply provides taller upper cabinets and an improved look. I can’t recall a renovation in many years where we didn’t pull out the soffit – it’s often the easiest visual change we can make in a kitchen renovation.

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Kitchen Lighting

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Does the bad lighting in your kitchen drive you crazy? Does the lighting always seem to come from behind you and you create an inescapable shadow over whatever you’re trying to prepare? Did you know that there are three types of lighting important to a well functioning kitchen? Ambient lighting, task lighting & accent lighting. A fourth if you count natural lighting from windows or skylights. Muted overhead lighting like the builder’s special fluorescent box create shadows – without any directional task lighting, this can be both annoying and potentially dangerous while cutting up your carrots!
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A well designed kitchen takes lighting into account by incorporating all types of lighting like overhead recessed can lights, under cabinet task lighting, accent lighting like pendant lights over an island or illumination of a glass front cabinet. Not only is a good kitchen lighting scheme functional, but the visual warmth added is often the difference between a good renovation and a top-notch magazine-photo-ready renovation.
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The “Work Triangle”, The “Work Square”… How About The “Work Pentagon”?

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Who hasn’t heard of the legendary work triangle? It’s an important concept in kitchen design. After all,it’s been around since the 1940’s! But do you think your kitchen is the same as it would be in the 40’s? Probably not. You can go to Wikipedia and read all the in’s and out’s, history, origins and rules of the kitchen work triangle so I wont bore you with all those fascinating details (read as sarcasm). I’m simply throwing out that the concept of the triangle may not be the gospel for today’s spaces.

The triangle was formed to create a flow between three key points in the kitchen; the sink, the fridge and the stove. But kitchens were smaller with less appliances. Now we have microwave ovens, double ovens, etc. So if you have a microwave do we need to have a work square? Or even a work pentagon if we have double ovens? Possibly a work octagon if you have a second sink, pot filler, cappuccino machine? So that may be a bit ridiculous but there is point to all this …somewhere…

The flow of the kitchen needs to work within the geometry of the walls and for you, the homeowner. Don’t get stuck on the concept of the work triangle. Anyone can draw a triangle out of any three points in space. It may not be a perfect or even a good looking one but a triangle nonetheless. As kitchen designers we look out for a certain flow that comes down to, no more than, common sense. It is based on listening to the homeowner and keeping with the geometry of the area (unless walls are being knocked down). Do you cook a lot? How do you like to work? Do you like to entertain? What appliances do we want to incorporate into the design? The answers to these as well as the structure we’re dealing with help us determine the final design that is right for your kitchen.

Not Sure How Big Your Island Should Be? Make A Template.

Monday, March 17th, 2014

island template

Some of us have a gift for visualizing what’s not there. Most of us don’t. Many people need some sort of aid to help them see “what could be.” Here at Platinum Kitchens, we love our design software – It helps us get our vision across to a client who may not be seeing the same thing in their heads as we are in our’s. However, sometimes even our software doesn’t quite paint the picture it should. On occasion people need a little more.

Since islands are so desirable due to functionality and aesthetics, we try to maximize island size. Often times a kitchen will already have an island but we feel that it’s 90 degrees in the wrong position. Other times the kitchen has a peninsula (connected to a wall) but has enough room for an awesome island (not touching any walls). Of course, we draw these designs up and show them to clients but sometimes the homeowner will have to make a template to get a better feel for the proposed island. That’s the case in the above photo. While a template doesn’t provide an accurate sense of volume it does show walk spaces and work surface. It may provide enough information for you to feel confident pursuing a specific direction.

So You Think Your Kitchen’s Small?…

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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Mistretta_after (7)

This is to show you that there is probably something that can be done with your space too. This kitchen was defined by a peninsula that stuck out into the room, cutting the space in half. With some imagination and creativity this space was opened up to become a really nice space. We didn’t need to blow out the exterior of the house just had to look at things a bit differently. Moving appliances around and using walls more efficiently gave this homeowner a great kitchen to cook and entertain in.

Is your kitchen being defined by what you see or what could be?

Creating the Illusion of More Space!

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Does your kitchen feel small, dark & crowded? Here are a few tips that work like magic to create the look of more space in your kitchen:

The first is obvious: Declutter!

Beyond that, painting the kitchen and all adjoining rooms in the same, non-boring, neutral tone unifies the areas creating the illusion of more space. We like these rich tones from Sherwin Williams: Latte, Balanced Beige, Basket Beige & Tony Taupe.

Lastly, if you have a raised bar area in your kitchen, it is creating a visual stopping point to the eye, interrupting the space and making it seem smaller. If you are in the market for new counter tops or a kitchen renovation, simply changing this area to become all one level can eliminate this barrier AND give you more counter top space!

January Design Tip

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Do you have a kitchen pantry filled with that white builder-grade wire shelving? Are your cereal boxes and canned goods constantly tipping over? Measure your shelves, take your measurements to your local hardware store, have them cut melamine shelves or plexi-glass to fit and re-set them on top of your existing shelves. You’ve avoided the hassle of installing an entirely new shelving system, solved a major annoyance AND organized at least one frequently used area in your home.