By Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D. , C.R.
A long time ago, in a garden far, far away, a bright, young woman was tempted by an evil, possessed reptile to go off her diet…and it spoiled everything. And, it wasn’t enough that she consumed a forbidden piece of fruit. To make matters worse, she made her husband eat it too. G-d was not too pleased and so he punished the young couple severely. Not only were Adam and Eve evicted, they were forced to start preparing the very food they ate. And, their kids, when they came along, weren’t too thrilled about the living situation either. They developed their own self-esteem issues, but that’s another story. (See Genesis 4:1-8).
So thanks to A & E, we all need a place to prepare food, and with the new year coming up this place becomes the focal point of your home. Where are you going to prepare the feasts? In your kitchen, of course, but, is it up to the task? Will you have trouble finding space to prepare the break fast? Will you be embarrassed by those cupboards that look like they’re 5,000 years old? Sure, you can tidy up before the family arrives, however, wouldn’t it be nice to have a new kitchen for 5780? (That’s year not price).
Since the unfortunate episode in the garden, a select group of dedicated artisans have devoted their lives to create perfect kitchens. Time after time, these masters have blended available space and families, combining function and beauty, to create their masterpieces. These artisans, now referred to as Kitchen Designers, have broken down a remodeling project into five distinct steps: planning, designing, preparation, construction and finishing touches. The age-old secret to creating the perfect scheme for your kitchen is taking your time during the planning and designing stages. The initial planning stage primarily involves your own research. Establish a budget that you’re comfortable with (and then deduct 10% of it for unforeseen expenses). Next, analyze your existing situation and make a list of what you would like to change. Do you need more storage area? Do you need more counter space? What types of appliances would you like included in the new kitchen, etc.? Pick up some kitchen magazines and while browsing through them, tear out whatever interests you or go to www.Houzz.com and start collecting ideas to show your Kitchen Designer.
The design stage is really the key to success and this is when you need to interview and hire a designer and/or contractor. They will work with you to develop a detailed floor plan, combining both your ideas and their own, based on your budget and lifestyle. You’ll also select the cabinets and finalize the choices of counters and appliances during this stage. Do not rush this process! The more time you spend planning, the happier you will be with the outcome.
Once the layout of the cabinets and appliances has been completed to your satisfaction its time to look inside each cabinet. Where are you going to put the Passover dishes? It makes more sense to carefully plan what’s going where before the cabinets are in place, and if necessary, revise the design to accommodate your needs. Simple things, like the glasses being stored close to the dishwasher will save you valuable time, everyday, for the rest of your kitchen’s life! Unlike plates, which can be stacked when moved, you can only carry two glasses at a time so store them within arm’s length of the dishwasher.
We can all thank A & E for having to go through this process, and of course don’t forget the snake (who was also punished). However, if you take your time and plan your new kitchen carefully, preparing meals (which we were never meant to do) will be much easier and more enjoyable. L’Shana Tova!
Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com.