If you're an Iron Chef fan, chances are you have a completely different level of expectation for your kitchen layout and its appliances. Today’s chef’s kitchen is a mix of innovative design, creative use of space, high-end appliances and upgrades to make cooking an enjoyable experience while entertaining company. No matter the kitchen’s size, all homeowners want a well-lit room, organized and decorated according to their preferences.
Here are the top 20 ideas to create an unforgettable chef’s kitchen in your Naperville home:
1. Upgraded pantry. The addition of a breakfast station or wine bar built into a full-sized pantry can be used to store all the food you need, or serve as a place to prepare your morning coffee or an evening cocktail – and remain hidden behind closed cabinet doors for when not in use.
2. Custom-made cupboards and cabinets. Custom-designed cabinetry helps you achieve the style you want in the kitchen, while ensuring that everything stays organized.
3. Multipurpose island. The use of an island for cooking prep, serving, and dining itself has its advantages. Add library shelves for cookbooks and knick-knacks, or a built-in pet feeding station so your pet doesn’t spill its water or food bowl.
4. Multipurpose table on wheels. Used as a rolling sideboard or a breakfast bar when entertaining extra guests, such a table can be stored discreetly beneath an island countertop, hidden from view by bar stools.
5. Make your own rules for storage. Store everything according to your own tastes, regardless of the intended use. Who says you can’t store a standing mixer in a roll-out countertop cabinet, or pull-out drawer?
6. Break up the monotony of shelves and cabinets. Create a focal point by strategically adding a long shelf for displaying items of interest. It will automatically break up the wall of cabinets and counters, giving the kitchen a cleaner, more vibrant look.
7. Hang vertically to save space. Hang your pots, pans, utensils, knives, and other items vertically, instead of using up horizontal space on shelves. You can do this along the sides of counters, cupboards, or cabinets and inside cupboard/cabinet (or pantry) doors.
8. Combine colors and styles. Avoid having a washed out, boring kitchen by designing your chef’s kitchen element by element instead of making everything match. Bring variety to the room by not being afraid of using bold color schemes, wallpaper prints, and having upper and lower cabinets with contrasting styles, color, or hardware.
9. Room shapes. Layout options are generally a U-shaped, L-shaped, straight run, galley, open galley, and an open galley with an island. There are advantages to all of these layouts, and more and more Naperville homes have an island in a galley or open galley as a means for additional counter space, storage, and a breakfast bar, while adding more depth to the room.
10. Premium countertops. It’s not about how fancy the surface is, but how you use it. Concrete, granite, engineered stone, wood, solid surfaces, tile, laminates, stainless steel, marble, or soapstone are some of the most popular finishes for kitchen counters, all with various price tags and advantages as well as disadvantages. Of the most durable and least problematic is engineered stone, which is 93% quartz, and comes in a wide-range of colors and finishes to match your décor. Non-porous and scratch-resistant, you won’t have to worry about stains, pitting, or cracks on its surface, and it will last you for many years to come.
11. Appliances matter. Great cooks rely on the most durable and convenient appliances for their kitchen. A quality range hood that minimizes kitchen odors is a must; an induction stove with storage drawers underneath the range for pots and pans is handy, and so is a warming drawer, a combination double wall oven that can cook with steam, or a 30 inch 5 burner gas range. In terms of refrigerators, a counter-depth fridge (if you have the room) with a bottom freezer makes for a more stream-lined look than other models. A microwave with sensor cook technology and a dishwasher or two with vertical jets for maximum efficiency will save time in prepping, cleaning, and serving.
12. Embrace technology. Since your chef’s kitchen is one of your most-used rooms, it is in your best interest to include retractable power points that remain hidden when not in use, along with an electrical charging station for your devices. The best place to include them are the undersides of upper cabinets, the side of an island, or inside hidden compartments of counters.
13. Ample lighting. Windows keep kitchens full of light and provide a pleasant backdrop by day, and at night, or during Naperville winters, electrical lighting is vital to the room’s functionality. Add interest and a splash of light by hanging a chandelier or two, or multiple pendant lights, in addition to track lighting, with separate switches or even dimmers.
14. Sinks. The location of a type of sinks you have make all the difference in how you move around the room. Deep double sinks with a gooseneck facet featuring a pull-down spray and touch technology enable you to move from prepping, to cooking, to cleaning, with ease.
15. Timeless backsplashes. Available in a variety of styles, colors, textures, and materials, a backsplash against the range or sink serves the dual purpose of protecting your wall from damage from food or water splashes, but to also draw attention to the area. Use a hexagonal design for more flair.
16. Floors. It goes without saying that every kitchen must have a clean, neat floor. Try hardwood or tile for a durable finish that completes the overall theme and tone of the room.
17. Built-in seating. Since more people tend to eat in the kitchen with their families and friends, it makes sense to opt for stationary banquette seating with storage and/or benches. Either built into an island, or in a corner of the room as a breakfast nook, you might not even need to add additional chairs, thus saving you more room (and furniture).
18. Bottom cabinets into drawers. Save yourself the trouble of stooping over lower cabinet shelves and turn them into serviceable drawers, instead. That way, things like cutting boards or baking pans and any other unusually-shaped cookware can fit in drawers of their own, so they are always within reach.
19. Hidden ice maker. Install an ice maker in the pantry or breakfast station so you can always have ice ready for parties without making guests go to the fridge.
20. Baseboard central vacuum system. Save time and vacuum storage by sweeping up messes with a conveniently located central vacuum system that has broom suction capability.
Here's some advice for Naperville homeowners -- if you're remodelling your kitchen in order to increase the resale value of your home, do you research before investing large sums of money. According to Remodeling Magazine (http://www.remodeling.hw.net/), in the hottest real estate markets like Chicago (Naperville), spending on a kitchen remodel is a sure fire way to get a return on investment. However, you need to think 'traditional' - it would be best to invest in all-wood cabinets, hardwood or stone floors, commercial-grade appliances (usually stainless steel), and more. CLICK HERE to visit the HGTV article for more information.
Are thinking about selling your Naperville home? Call me, Teresa Ryan at 630-276-7575. As a Naperville luxury real estate expert and Managing Broker/Owner of Ryan Hill Realty – www.RyanHillRealty.com, I have the experience and tools to help you sell your Naperville Luxury home.
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