As any cook will tell you, the design of the kitchen makes a huge difference in how well the kitchen functions. The basic layout of the kitchen is a work triangle measured from the center of the sink, refrigerator and cook top or range. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that each leg of the triangle be between four and nine feet and the sum of the legs should not exceed twenty-six feet. Omit obstructions in the triangle and through traffic. Design counters to be a minimum of 42” apart for one cook and 48” for two cooks. Consider two sinks and therefore two work triangles for kitchens with multiple cooks.
There are three options in cabinet door construction with significant price differences. In Flush Overlay construction the doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet box. It has clean contemporary lines and hidden hinges. Flush overlay construction is always used for a contemporary look but can also work with a traditional door panel. It is the medium price option and creates a great look for the money spent. Reveal Overlay doors and drawers partially cover the cabinet box. The reveal dimension can be varied by the designer. Hinges can either be exposed or concealed in reveal overlay construction. This is the least expensive cabinet construction type. Flush Inset with Face Frame construction is the most expensive due to the care necessary in fitting the doors into the frames. The doors and drawers are flush with the cabinet box and are crafted as well as a piece of fine furniture. Flush inset cabinets create a very traditional look with an exposed butt hinge.
The Architectural Woodwork Institute defines three quality levels of construction for cabinetry. Premium Grade, the highest level generally reserved for special projects or features. Custom Grade is specified for most cabinetry and provides a well defined degree of control over the quality of craftsmanship, materials, and installation. Economy Grade defines a minimum expectation of work.
The next cabinet decision is whether to use stock cabinets or have them custom made by a local cabinet maker. Stock Cabinets generally have a multitude of door designs, woods and finishes, and hardware to choose between. They come in 3” increments, so you might have to use a filler panel to fit a particular wall. Custom Cabinets can be designed as a major detail component of your house. You have an endless choice of door designs, woods and finishes, as well as hardware. They can also be made to perfectly fit the dimensions of the space. We often find that custom cabinets are not more expensive than good quality stock cabinets.
The goal of any room design is for the first impression to be “Wow, what a nice room”. Only after the pleasing impact of the overall design should you then begin to notice the details. One important detail in the kitchen is the cabinet hardware. Traditional Hardware brands include Baldwin, the very popular Rocky Mountain Hardware, and Sun Valley Bronze. Contemporary Hardware is typically stainless steel and favorite brands include Häfele, Valli & Valli, and Linnea. There are many Fanciful Hardware companies. The company Modern Objects gets its inspiration from nature; they have twigs, branches, shells and stones. Susan Goldsmith creates little works of art of for each cabinet pull. Soko Studio has dogs, people and all sorts of fun pulls.