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Kitchen Fun

Hellooooo ladies (and gentlemen?!)!!  I am so excited to have the opportunity to blog periodically for Lisa.  In case you missed the last post, my name is Kari Ewersen and I am an Interior Designer at LIVV Interior Designs here in Toledo.  I love everything about design and interior trends and am especially fond of DIY projects.

Lisa and I met through her husband Jeff, who I've worked with for the better (or should I say worse... kidding!) half of the last 9 years.  As you all probably know, Jeff is a tennis instructor, and I am still also working with him at Shadow Valley Tennis Club.  I think Lisa is a bright young woman who yet has a lot to achieve in her life.  How she accomplishes all that she does on little sleep with limited time is absolutely mind boggling to me.  (you go girl!)  As many of you readers might agree, I find her life interesting and inspiring.  I am tickled to be allowed to post on this blog in her place! 

Now I am able to share all of my fun tips and ideas with you!  Aren't you lucky??!!!  Wink  There is so much that is incorporated into design, and many people are always shocked to know all the different areas we actually study and practice in school.  Did you know that I had to take an entire class dedicated to color theory?  Or how about two whole classes about art history including furniture types and styles of different eras?  I even had to construct a chair that I had to sit in out of just glue and cardboard!  There is a theory on design elements and principles too!  But don't worry, I will NOT be conducting a class here... Instead I want to share the fun and inspirational side of my passion with you.

The kitchen...  in my eyes (and probably any designer!) the most important room in a whole house.  Ever have a gathering at your home and notice everyone tends to end up congregated in the kitchen area?  This is not by coincidence.  The kitchen is typically somewhat of a central area of a home; a warm, inviting space in which people feel comfortable and sociable.  This is where food and beverages are found, as well as the chef or host of the party. 

Kitchens even see their fair share of every day use.  How many times have your children done their homework at the kitchen table or island?  Or maybe even your own work or crafts at the table/ island?  Bottom line is that a conducive kitchen is essential, and is proven to offer the highest return on investment.  When selling a home, potential buyers want to see a nice, updated kitchen.

Here are my top 10 kitchen design tips:

1. Be Aware of the Kitchen Work Triangle

There is an area known as the "work triangle" that says if you draw a line from the refrigerator to the stove to the sink (not necessarily in that order), the overall distance of each side added up should not be greater than 27 feet.  Too much space between these 3 major areas can be tiring and inconvenient.  For best efficiency, the space from one work station to another should be 4-9 feet.  So, do not put the refrigerator so far away that going from the stove to the fridge is a workout in itself... well, actually, that might not be such a bad idea....!



2. Utilize Storage Space

Minimize wasted space as much as possible- we all know how quickly it gets filled!  Use adjustable shelves to allow for stacking of dishes, or purchase racks that you can insert pot and pans lids into.  Tension rods used vertically are great for dividing up large cupboard spaces for baking sheets, large platters, or serving trays.  Or use them horizontally under the sink to hang cleaning supplies from.  There are also many over the door caddies available to help provide extra space.  Get creative!  If you do not have enough storage or have awkward, wasted space, build custom shelving!

tension rod storage

3. Get Organized

Yes, I know that many of you have children and husbands that are notorious for interfering with your organization tactics, but these tips are helpful for even them!  GET DRAWER ORGANIZERS!  These inexpensive tools can help organize that crazy, something always gets stuck, utensil drawer.  Use plastic containers to house smaller items such as cookie cutters and decorating tips.  How about that junk drawer?  How does all that stuff get in there anyway?!  One of the best (and cheapest!) purchases I made for my kitchen was an organizing system for my junk drawer.  Now all batteries, paperclips, pens, chip clips, and more each have their own designated space.  Wicker baskets are another great tool for organization, plus they look nice on open shelving!


4. DO NOT Overlook Lighting

Lighting is a VERY important aspect of ANY room, especially the kitchen, where so much work and interaction takes place.  In interior design terminology (ok, I may have lied slightly about conducting class, but isn't this FUN learning?!) there are "layers of lighting" that each space should have:  ambient for overall light; task for specific work stations; and accent for added detail and aesthetic value.  Accent lighting can be used in a functional setting as well.  A kitchen should be well lit to promote safety and enhance productivity.  Direct lighting over the sink and island are ideal, and under cabinet lighting is handy and looks very sophisticated. 

kitchen lighting

5. Choose the Right Island

If space permits, an island is a must!  A kitchen island is such a highly functional area and provides more counter space and storage.  It is a great place to put a few stools for casual eating and entertaining.  Choosing the right size and location is key to an island.  Think about the flow of traffic and the kitchen triangle.  Can you add a sink to the island for extra ease?  To be most functional, the island should be at least 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. 

6. Proper Ventilation

Last night's broiled tilapia smell should not still be lingering in the morning (yuck!).  Proper ventilation systems should be utilized to help keep the air clean and fresh.  It is important that they are properly ventilated as well- check with an installation specialist or contractor on that one- to get the bad air out of the home, rather than circulating it throughout.  This is an area where it is in your best interest to splurge and go for that really cool looking ventilation hood that you've always wanted!  A range hood can serve as a decorative and/ or focal point in the kitchen.

range hood

7. Even a Small Budget Can Make a Big Difference

You don't have to break the bank to spruce up your kitchen.  There are many simple and cost effective ways to makeover your kitchen.  Swap out your towels and rugs or mats in the kitchen.  Paint can go a long way- applying a fresh coat of paint in a new color can really make a world of difference.  If you are dying for new cabinets but don't have the budget for it, consider purchasing new doors for an easy face-lift.  You could even paint or stain all of the doors and cabinets (just be sure to research techniques first!) to help transform the appearance.  One of my favorite tips is to either completely change or spray paint all of the hardware in a more modern color- instant transformation!

kitchen beforekitchen after

8. Consider the Trash

Ok, I'm guilty.  Our recycling containers are outside, which means I have to tread through the back porch, cold, and sometimes snow or rain to throw my containers in it.  So of course I do not go running out there every time I have a piece of plastic or glass to throw out!  Why do that when I can just pile them on the counter top so that they take up much of the little counter space I have and look super attractive?!  When designing a kitchen, it is wise to plan under the counter space for trash cans.  A slide out base cabinet or under- the- counter nook would be ideal, and large enough to fit two bins- one for regular trash, and one for recyclables.  It is important to help the environment and properly discard the recyclable items!


9. Avoid Going Too Trendy

Current design styles and trends can be quite inspirational and appealing, but use these trends in moderation!  Trends are not meant to last.  I would never recommend going out and buying colored appliances or cabinets unless you are SURE that you will still like them in 10 years.  If you want to incorporate current trends, do so with curtains, cushions, or other accessories that can be changed easily once that style passes.


10. Seek Professional Design Help When Inexperienced

Sometimes you are just better off to just face the fact that not everyone is capable of pulling off interior design planning and details.  There are many components that go into design, and tackling everything DIY style can end up costing you more in the long run.  Hiring a designer can save you time and prevent you from making costly errors.  The expertise of a designer will give you comfort and great satisfaction in the end.  Trust the designer- you'll be happy you did!


 For more inspiration, photos, and ideas, follow me on Pinterest or check out the LIVV Home Page!


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