Storage needs: Do you buy groceries in bulk? Do you have any large pieces of equipment that need to be considered? For example a frequently used blender or mixer that you don’t want sitting on the counter. If there is room, would you like a walk-in pantry?
Physical limitations: Do you or a family member have trouble bending or reaching? Eye level ovens, pull out shelves, pulls rather than knobs & pull down options for upper cabinets are just a few of the possible ways to increase accessibility. A place to sit for prep is another.
Whether you plan to expand the family: If you plan to have children after you remodel, a place to have a high chair should be considered. Additional appliance capacity & grocery storage should also be considered.
Appliance preferences: Do you prefer a range or cooktop & wall ovens? (Eye level ovens are better both for accessibility & multiple cooks, but are more expensive both to purchase & install. Available space is also a consideration.) What size range & refrigerator do you prefer? What is the smallest you would find acceptable if there is limited space? Do you want a microwave, & if yes, what size? Would you also like a wine refrigerator? Newer options that could affect the remodeling plan should also be considered such as an induction cooktop or steam/convection.
The types of cooking you do: If you do a lot of baking in your kitchen, you may want a lower surface to roll out dough. If you do a lot of high flame cooking, a more powerful hood would become critical. Storing utensils & other equipment where you will use it should be considered.
How often you entertain & style of entertaining: If your style of Bay area entertaining is more informal, opening up the kitchen to the dining room could be a remodeling consideration. Counter space for serving, seating for guests inside or just outside the kitchen & perhaps a bar sink are a few of the possible options.
How many people cook at the same time & what tasks do they generally perform: If multiple people will cook/prep, they should not need to cross paths.
Seating/dining space desired: How many people would you like to be able to eat in the kitchen? Would kitchen counter height seating or a breakfast nook be OK? Higher seating isn’t quite as comfortable & nook seating limits ease of access, but both can be more space efficient. (If you do higher seating, be sure to have a railing foot rest – either on the stools or on the support for the countertop.)
Other activities that you would like to take place in the remodeled kitchen: Is space needed for pet feeding, laundry, a planning desk, plant care, a TV?
Finishes: Cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and plumbing fixtures mixed in new and unexpected ways.
Appliances: Popular options: Commercial type ranges; built in refrigerators; warming drawers; microwave drawers and convection microwave ovens. Steam ovens and speed cook ovens are gaining popularity. Induction cooktops & ranges are also growing in popularity due to their energy efficiency & ease of cleaning. Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important. Other appliance trends: under counter refrigerator & dishwasher drawers; multi-function appliances; electronic controls with LED lights; fingerprint resistant stainless steel; smart technology (see below).
Cabinets: Wood cabinets remain popular, with dark finishes as one newer option, although white is still popular. Soft-close doors and drawers are becoming standard.
Cabinet Storage: Trash/recycling pull-outs, spice pull-outs & roll-out & pull-out shelves are increasingly popular.
Countertops: Natural stone is still the #1 countertop material. Most in demand is granite, followed by limestone. Mixed materials are being done more often, with stone on some counters, wood, glass, stainless steel or concrete on others. There is a trend toward green/sustainable countertops such as Caesarstone and other quartz products. These products vary in properties and I recommend you review the latest comparisons and try spilling various substances you use on a sample before finalizing your choice.
Smart Technology: Internet and cable service to allow integration with computers; video; smart phones; tablets and appliances via WIFI. This integration is being used to pay bills; do homework; access email and recipes; play music; get service center alerts; start dinner and see who is at the front door.
Space Planning: Along with the work triangle, which is concerned with the proximity of the range, refrigerator and sink, workstations such as a baking center; recycling/composting center; electronics charging station and coffee bar are being employed. If a desk area is included, it increasingly will be planned for a laptop rather than a desktop computer. Fresh storage considerations are also being given to the primary zones in the kitchen: consumables; non-consumables; cleaning; prep and cooking.
Universal Design: Counters of different heights, including a lower counter that could accommodate a stool, wheel chair, baking, a shorter adult and children. Wall cabinets that come down to the counter; appliance garages; front controls on ranges or cook tops; raised dishwasher 6” – 18” and a lower microwave or microwave drawer.