For many of us, myself and my favorite people included, the kitchen is the room in which we spend the most time.
It is, as they say, the heart of the home and it often serves a greater purpose than simply a space in which to prepare food.
A beloved kitchen has likely seen its fair share of early morning coffee rituals, late-night snacks, cram sessions, craft projects, and dance parties.
Additionally, the ability to work from home has recently become a permanent reality for many people. This major cultural shift has meant that the kitchen now doubles as a breakroom, a boardroom, and everything in between in households throughout the country.
What other space in your home plays host to as wide a range of activities? Based on that alone, I believe that your kitchen should be as beautiful as it is functional.
Tips From a Cook’s Kitchen
As a lifelong cook, the kitchen has always been where I felt most at home. Even in the kitchen of a complete stranger, I can find my way around, discovering information about the occupants like an anthropologist.
Prior to moving to Colorado, I spent the first part of my professional career pursuing the culinary arts (more on that here).
During that time I developed a unique appreciation for and intimate understanding of a well-designed kitchen: the layout and flow, the lighting plan and appliances, the way that certain hinges, doors, and hardware come together to create superior cabinetry.
While I could wax poetic about the merits of what I consider to be a perfectly designed kitchen, the fact is that no two dream kitchens are the same.
In fact, the ingredients for your own dream kitchen might change over time.
I work with clients to create highly personalized kitchen design plans that work for the way they live and make it extremely satisfying to work, cook, entertain and just be in their homes.
But you are not here because you have that kind of kitchen. You are here because your kitchen is less than ideal—or worse, a source of stress, annoyance, and anxiety—and you are ready to do something about it.
Even when clients come to me for a whole-home renovation, the kitchen is usually the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
How to Prepare for Your Kitchen Design Project
If you are considering a kitchen design project, it is important to mentally prepare yourself. While a kitchen renovation is exciting, it is also one of the most involved and potentially overwhelming spaces to tackle. The process is long, the decisions are numerous and the trades involved are many.
My role, in addition to designing a beautiful kitchen that functions as an extension of you, is to help you break down the steps, information and details so that you can make educated decisions and feel confident in moving forward. I have leveraged my studies (culinary, design, and human development) and tools to really understand my clients’ pain points, how to solve them, and what they truly desire from their kitchens and their homes.
It all starts with a conversation, during which I will ask you many questions. I have chosen a few of my favorite questions to highlight here. They will give you insight into my process and how I can help you like no one else can.
#1 | What does beautiful mean to you?
My design process revolves heavily around helping you articulate your aesthetic preferences. If you are interested in learning more about what that looks like, you can read about it here.
#2 | How do you need the space to function?
This question applies to every space in your home but nowhere is it more relevant than in the kitchen. Here we are asking a lot of the square footage we are working with.
We will discuss the activities that will take place in the kitchen, how many people will regularly occupy it, as well as the devices you may want to incorporate into the design for working, education, recipe following, and entertaining.
#3 | What is your real tolerance for mess and noise?
Think about the ways in which you and the members of your household occupy a space. Are you a tidy bunch who despise clutter? Or are you more relaxed, preferring to spread out and straighten up only when called for?
And what about noise—do you like a busy, noisy home or prefer calm and quiet? Now think about how that translates to the kitchen.
Are you the type to clean up while you cook? Do those rules change or stay the same while you are working or entertaining?
#4 | What is your budget?
This is a tough one and it can be difficult to nail down a number. Start by finding out what other kitchens of a similar style and quality have cost in your area.
If you have recently relocated and you are working with numbers based on work you had done to your previous home, it is especially important for you to update that information.
We can then decide which items or areas to prioritize—an amazing stone for the counter, sophisticated hardware for cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances, backsplash tile, etc.—and plan your budget accordingly.
#5 | Are you doing this project to improve your own quality of life or for resale value?
Answering this question honestly will help immensely when it comes to making decisions about quality, cost, and style.
Where to Find Kitchen Design Inspiration
Now that you have given your kitchen dreams a reality check, it is time to get excited again. Start by looking for design inspiration in magazines and blogs (and our portfolio!).
Visit your local bookstore or library to find niche publications from around the globe that will offer fresh perspectives. Have fun searching the web for home content with a unique point of view.
Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube and visual search engines like Pinterest and YouTube can also be great sources of inspiration.
Keep in mind that the moment you mention a potential home design project, it’s likely that family, friends, and even complete strangers will offer their suggestions. Smile, politely acknowledge their contribution, and then promptly change the subject. There are so many dynamics at play in these relationships that may interfere.
It may seem counterintuitive, as a culture we are used to crowd-sourcing and looking outward for approval, but looking inward is the best way to discover what speaks to you.
Get quiet and listen to your instincts. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.
Undertaking a kitchen remodel or renovation is a major endeavor; it is worth it to hire an expert who really gets you, someone who will save you time and money and make the process enjoyable.
If you feel that I might be the right fit for your project, I would love to have the opportunity to confirm your suspicions.
Click here to book a discovery call or visit my Services page to peruse the menu. I look forward to serving you.
Theda Shaw| 17 May 2022
I am building a house in Boulder creek area of Superior. I live in Hollywood Florida and I need local help to design whole house. The foundation is there and house projected to be done in October. I will be there about 1 week a month and will go back and forth from Florida. Have you done any long distance jobs? Is it possible to zoom or FaceTime? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Anna Collins| 3 June 2022
We recently moved into my grandmother’s old house, and we’re slowly doing renovations on it, starting with the kitchen. It’s good that you mentioned how it would be best to research kitchens of similar styles as to what you’re going for so you can estimate the costs to fit your budget. I’ll be sure to do this before I contact kitchen renovators for the project.
Beth Strongwater| 23 June 2022
Anna, How thrilling to get to reinvent your grandmother’s old home and make it your home. Best of luck and let me know if I can help in any way via a consultation. All the best, Beth
Eli Richardson| 23 June 2022
Lately, we feel like we don’t have enough cooking space, so my wife and I want to invest in remodeling our kitchen. It’s great that you explained what we should ask ourselves before starting our renovation, so we’ll look into that right away. We appreciate your insight on how our renovation’s main purpose affects our materials selection.
Beth Strongwater| 23 June 2022
Eli, Congratulations on deciding to renovate your kitchen! In my opinion, the most important room in the house. I am so glad my blog was helpful! I do virtual consultations so would be more than happy to work with you if that would be valuable to you in your process. All the best, Beth
Iris Smith| 4 August 2022
Your statement in the article that many people can now work from home on a regular basis struck me as fascinating. My mother wants to convert the bedroom into an office space so she may work remotely. I’ll send my mum this information and ask her to find home remodeling professionals.
Beth Strongwater| 9 August 2022
Dear Iris, Your mum is a lucky lady to have you looking after her. Let us know how her bedroom to office transformation goes! -Beth
Henry Killingsworth| 5 August 2022
You made an interesting point when you explained that social media platforms can be a good source of inspiration when it comes to remodeling your kitchen. When you are looking for a contractor to hire, I would think that it would be a good idea to check out their online portfolios. I would imagine that you could get inspiration by looking at online portfolios.
Beth Strongwater| 9 August 2022
Hi Henry, Thanks for the comment. I absolutely agree with you. Contactor’s portfolios are super helpful when getting a sense of his/her attention to detail. That said, nothing beats word of mouth recommendations! -Beth