Customizing Your Dream Kitchen

In a previous article, we discussed basic kitchen style. The article discussed open-plan and separate kitchens, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of either type, depending on your preferences and lifestyle. In this article, we will take a look at some of the features you can install in your kitchen to customize all of its features to make it ideal for the way you live and entertain.


From the Basics to the Bespoke


Modern kitchens have more options than ever before. Of course, you will need essential appliances, including a refrigerator, freezer, stove, oven, dishwasher, and range hood, in addition to a sink, pantry, and cupboard space. But even with those appliances and features, you will soon find that the variations in sizes, features, and styles are almost endless, from the highest high-tech to the accurate retro.


Today, many appliances have “smart” features that allow you to control them with your phone or an integrated home automation system. Smart refrigerators can track what your refrigerator “inventory” is, helping you create shopping lists and even order groceries. Ovens have Wi-Fi connection capabilities, allowing you to turn them on and off remotely. Stovetops can be gas, electric, or induction, with precise temperature control. 


Modern ovens have multiple user-friendly features. They can allow you to adopt many cooking methods, not just baking and broiling but air-frying and convection. Some feature customized settings for baking specific items like pizzas and cakes or even provide recipes on a screen. Many have app connectivity, allowing you to remotely control the oven by turning it on and off and setting the temperature. Recent innovations even include a range that can snap photos of the food so you can check what’s going on remotely! 


Dishwashers are more water- and power-efficient and offer multiple options for cleaning everything from heavily soiled pots and pans to your most delicate crystal and China. Many have adjustable racks to fit tall items in your load, and many now offer a third slim rack for utensils so that your utensil tray does not have to take up valuable space for dishes. You can buy dishwashers with bottle-wash jets or holders that protect your stemmed wine glasses. Many dishwashers now run more quietly, and the latest innovations include a lever that allows you to raise the bottom rack to the same height as the upper rack to make it easier to load and unload the dishes.


Going Above and Beyond


As fancy as new appliances are, you don’t have to stop with just essential appliances. Today, you can design into your custom kitchen a host of specialty features and devices, including steam ovens, microwave drawers, espresso machines, warming drawers, speed ovens, produce refrigerators, wine refrigerators, drawer dishwashers, toaster ovens, pizza ovens, and ice makers. Many kitchens also feature multiple sinks for separate use for cleaning dishes, washing hands, and food preparation. 


You can design specialty features in your kitchen space that suit your lifestyle. Do you eat a lot of pasta? Consider installing a pasta faucet near your stove. Are you a coffee enthusiast? Create an espresso, coffee, and tea station in your kitchen. Do you bake a lot? Design a designated baking area to keep all your specialty pans and baking ingredients in one convenient location. Why not create a blender station where you can concoct all your favorite smoothies and frozen cocktails? If you love your dogs, why not create a specific eating and food storage area for them? 


No matter what your particular interest is, you can build a specialty area or install an appliance that will make pursuing your particular culinary interest convenient. Think outside the box, and make your kitchen your own. Compartmentalizing work areas and adding specialty appliances and tools can make it easier and more efficient to prepare and serve the food – and the people and pets – you love.


Cabinetry Defines Your Style


There is no question that kitchens require a lot of storage space for dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, pans, slow cookers, dry goods, and what-have-you. Never underestimate the amount of storage you need! In many cases, custom homes feature a separate pantry space accessible from the kitchen where you can store non-perishable food and seldom-used implements like the apple peeler, breadmaker, and paper goods. 


In the central area, you can create cabinets and drawers with built-in spice racks, cookbook shelves, pan lid holders, casserole dish drawers, and glass-fronted cabinets for your China, vases, and serving bowls. Many cabinet-makers have innovative and clever mechanisms and slides that help you store more and easily access whatever you need, including in corners that are traditionally hard to reach. 


Cabinets come in all designs, and appliances like refrigerators and even dishwashers can be seamlessly blended into your kitchen with cabinet fronts for a more modern look.


Ambiance and Work Lighting


Lighting is a critical kitchen design element, both for optimum utility and aesthetics. Light up your workspaces with clean, bright lights that enable you to see your tasks, but also add other lights in strategic locations that can create a warm ambiance when the work is done, particularly if your kitchen is a guest space. Well-placed under-cabinet lighting illuminates your workspaces and adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen. Recessed lighting, pendant lighting, and even chandeliers can all be used to dramatic effect when positioned strategically in your custom kitchen.


Flooring, Backsplashes, and Countertops


Another critical feature of kitchens is flooring. Because your kitchen is a working space, select hard flooring that will stand up to a lot of traffic and be easy to clean. Today, many materials will fill the bill, and you can find a suitable flooring material that will match almost any style and color scheme you choose.


Countertops should also get some attention. Not only do you want to pay attention to the surface material – from polished granite to marble to butcher block to synthetic surfaces – but you will also have to ensure that you have sufficient counter space to tackle the sorts of kitchen projects you like to handle. Countertops often make an impression, so get something aesthetically pleasing and meshes well with your cabinets, flooring, sinks, and appliances. Ensure that it is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to heat, scratches, and other damage if you want it to last a long time. 


Backsplashes may seem like an afterthought, but they are anything but. Today, backsplashes can be used to make a statement. If you use tile, you can get almost any shape, size, or pattern, and it comes in many materials, including glass, ceramic, slate, stone, and even metal. Backsplashes can define a kitchen’s style and appeal, so research different ideas in catalogs and magazines if you want your kitchen to be a showplace.


Your Kitchen, Your Life


Perhaps more than any other room, kitchens are where you will have to make many decisions when customizing. However, it also means that kitchen costs can range from the economical to the astronomical. Unless you have a bottomless budget, you will have to prioritize when selecting what you want to put in your kitchen, so expect to spend a sufficient amount of time planning this room.


At Aspen Homes, we enjoy designing and planning custom homes with our clients. Kitchens can be a challenge, however, as people soon discover how much effort goes into selecting the right appliances and features, given the myriad options available. Even something as seemingly simple as choosing a kitchen faucet can turn into an all-day effort! At the same time, it is essential to realize that getting the kitchen right is a big part of building a home you will love for many years. 


If you are interested in building a custom home in Coeur d’Alene or other communities in Northern Idaho, please get in touch with Aspen Homes. We would love to help you build your dream.

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