Appliance Driven LayoutDream. Plan. Do.
Appliance Driven Layout
Blog Post 06.16.16
According to renowned Canadian interior designer and contractor, Ramsin Khachi, the first step in designing your dream kitchen isn’t really a design decision at all. Before you determine layout, select colors, or pick out your Cambria countertops, you should start by deciding which appliances you want for your space.
“Clients have to go and understand what their needs are,” says Khachi. “Everybody’s needs are different – especially in the kitchen…Me? I don’t like microwaves, so I don’t have one. I want my food to stay fresh, so I opt for a smaller fridge that gets me out grocery shopping more often. I love wine, so a wine chiller is pretty essential as far as I’m concerned. It was important for me to make these choices first – before any of the actual design work could begin. And that’s what I recommend for anyone considering a kitchen redesign.”
Once clients choose appliances, then Khachi moves forward with them in the design process. He starts with the placement of the “working triangle,” where meals are prepared, and draws paths where people walk. Then he breaks the kitchen up into zones for different tasks. What emerges is a kitchen layout that seamlessly integrates every unique appliance and complements the clients’ unique lifestyle.
What’s Hot (and Cold) in Appliances
Shopping for appliances can be intimidating and overwhelming. To help make your life easier, here’s a list of what we think is hot (and cold) in three of the heaviest hitters in the kitchen – the refrigerator, range, and dishwasher.
When choosing a refrigerator, your choice will likely be between two models – the side-by-side and the French door. The side-by-side style allows for freezer and refrigerator access at the same time. This keeps food nice and close, preventing the inevitable back-of-the-freezer food graveyard from forming.
The French door style has become the go-to for designers because of its refined look and functionality. This type of fridge commonly has a pull out freezer on the bottom, which allows for maximum storage up top and down below. But that’s just the start. Additional options include a drawer in the middle for drinks, doors within doors, ice and water dispensers, speed chilling, and advanced temperature controls.
In terms of finish, stainless steel never goes out of style and can be bait for potential homeowners. However, in luxury kitchens, décor panels are becoming popular. They come in an array of finishes and colors and can seamlessly blend the refrigerator and other appliances with cabinetry.
There are two styles. There’s the combination range, where the cooktop and oven are part of the same unit, and there’s the separate built-in wall oven and cooktop. Depending on your kitchen’s layout, both can look great.
But for cooktops, the biggest decision homeowners are faced with is whether to go with gas or electric. Gas is still the go-to for a lot of homes. Foodies love cooking with gas because of its precision temperature controls and ability to heat up quickly.
For a long time, electric cooktops have gotten a bad rap because they were generally considered lower quality compared to their gas counterpart. But the new induction cooktops have made electric cool again. Unlike a traditional electric range that relies on a heating element, an induction range uses an electromagnetic field to heat pots and pans. Pretty futuristic-sounding stuff. No matter how hot you get your pots, the cooktop itself stays cool to the touch. Safety!
For ovens, the ideal option is convection ovens. Traditional ovens have the heat source radiating from the bottom. But in a convection oven, a fan blows heat in all directions, cooking food more evenly and quickly. Some people say convection ovens even make cookies taste better. Bonus points.
Who likes washing dishes? Nobody. That’s why we have dishwashers.
Here’s what we think you should look for in a quality option. First is configurability. You want to be able to fit odd-shaped dishes and silverware inside. Also, listen to the dishwasher. Top-of-the-line models will be quieter. There’s nothing worse than having a dishwasher kicking in during the best part of a movie. To keep your kitchen sleek and clean, opt for a model with a touch panel. Just make sure the panel works properly. Some models utilize this technology better than others.
Pull-out drawer models are increasing in popularity because they are easier to fill and can hold more dishes and silverware. Some models have more than one drawer and allow you to wash one drawer at a time.
Of course, these are just the essential appliances. Into coffee? Consider an espresso machine. Love wine? A wine chiller might be for you. No matter how unique, the most important thing to remember is that choosing appliances early is one way to ensure the design process will go more smoothly.
Want to learn more about kitchen design? Sign up for Cambria’s free online course “Dream. Plan. Do. The Inspired Kitchen,” taught by TV host and contractor, Scott McGillivray.