Cooking Up a Family’s Dream Kitchen from Scratch


The Challenge: I’m a busy mom to two even busier children – a five-and-a -half-year old and a seventeen-month old. I also love to cook, and my kitchen has always been a place where friends and family gather no matter how crowded it got. So when we decided to build a new home, we knew our kitchen should be the featured room of the house. It needed to be big enough to comfortably hold lots of people while simultaneously allowing me the functionality to prepare daily meals.

Although I’m not a professional, I think I have a good eye for design. I know what I like, and I considered designing the kitchen on my own, but the number of options available today is almost overwhelming. Plus, my husband (a neat freak) and I (a not-so-neat freak) prefer different styles: he’s modern and I’m rustic. We wanted a look that would be a happy compromise. Combine those challenges with our busy lifestyle and the pressures of building a new house, and we decided that hiring Kitchen & Bath Design Studio was the way to go.
The Process: When we began working with my Kitchen & Bath Designer, she asked a lot of questions: What do you cook? How do you cook? How often do you cook? I cook family meals five to six nights per week (my husband loves my meatloaf, last night I made red chicken curry, the night before that, chicken and broccoli lettuce wraps). Since I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day, adequate prep space and convenient storage were integral to the design plan. Of course, my Designer also made sure to take into account our personalities. I confess: I’m a messy cook. The solution? Place the trash receptacles directly under the prep area so I can immediately dispose of waste as I work.
To my delight, my Designer also asked what absolutely drives me crazy in the kitchen. When I mentioned how I hate having to remove multiple casserole dishes or pots and pans to reach the one particular dish I’m looking for, she included a pull-out rack that houses each individual dish. Brilliant! Those clever storage solutions also appeal to my husband’s love of organization; there’s a place for everything, and (unless I’m in the middle of making a meal) everything is in its place.
The Result: True to our vision, our new dream kitchen is enormous. We specifically created an open floor plan so that guests can gather around the center island or sit in the kitchen’s seating area before going further into our living room.
The kids’ playroom is adjacent to the kitchen, enabling me to easily keep an eye on them while I prep, cook and clean.
As for function, there are almost too many favorite features to name: I never have to hunt for spices thanks to the smartly designed spice rack;
my husband’s separate beverage fridge allows him to keep his beer cold while freeing up space in our main fridge; and the chilled water dispenser over the wet bar sink is a family favorite. It is accessible to everyone (even while I’m cooking) and it eliminates those annoying drips of water on the floor in front of the refrigerator.
The Final Word: We’ve been in our new home and kitchen for about six months now, and we all love the space and convenience. Next month, I am hosting my first party – a baby shower – and I am eagerly anticipating our big annual Christmas party. Perhaps the only thing I question is: “How did I ever think I could do all of this on my own?” There is no way on earth I could have ever created such a beautiful, functional space that is a perfect blend of our styles. Thanks Kitchen & Bath Design Studio! —Katie Lanier