While gourmet and entertaining kitchens certainly can be outfitted with family-friendly features, some households focus entirely on creating a space that works for the hectic daily lives of everyone who lives there. This means accommodating children who might fix their own after-school snacks, a parent who needs a space to organize meals and activities, and even pets that eat in the kitchen. (After all, their food and treats need to be stowed away somewhere.)
Questions to Ask:
- How many children do you have, and how old?
- How does each family member use the kitchen?
- Do children prepare their own snacks and/or meals?
- What about pets?
- Who hosts the family gatherings, and how large are these events?
- Do you cook for family gatherings (or order take-out, rely on a caterer)?
- How many family members cook in the kitchen at one time?
- What is each person’s role in the kitchen? (For example, dad cooks on weekends, mom makes everyday meals, children prepare their own breakfast, etc.)
- Describe a day in the life of your kitchen. What works? What doesn’t?
Easy-to-clean surfaces. “Wipe-ability” is key with a family-oriented kitchen remodeling. Quartz surfaces, a man-made product, are durable, not as porous as natural stone (so less likely to stain). For budget-savvy households, laminate is available in a variety of colors and patterns that can even emulate granite. It’s not the real deal; so don’t expect to fool homebuyers if you put the house up for sale. But it does stand up to spills. When choosing materials, consider their forgiveness if glasses are carelessly clunked on the countertop. For example, glass tile is not shock absorbent; and quartz is not as dense (hard) as granite.
Accessible pantry. Storage for groceries is a top concern for families, and the “consumables” zone often doesn’t get the attention it deserves during planning. Pantry cabinets with drawers that fully extend make it easy to reach items. Perhaps children have designated pantry drawers that are lower and contain parent-approved foods. “Promoting self-sufficiency in the kitchen and healthy eating habits is important to consider.
Open plan. The kitchen and living room are practically synonymous in a family’s home. One should flow into the other, and the lines between the two are getting more and more blurred in contemporary kitchen design. The whole point is to build this beautiful kitchen that is user-friendly, but now you also try to incorporate those comforts that you are used to enjoying in your living room.
Snack bar. Features like an island will multi-task in a family kitchen, serving as a snack bar, dining area or place for children to do homework while a parent prepares dinner.
Refrigerator drawers. Refrigerator configurations that include separate drawers are convenient for families that stock specific items for children, giving them permission to help themselves to food in the kids’ drawer. Also consider point-of-service refrigerators placed in convenient zones—even mudrooms.
Convection microwave. Speaking of multi-tasking in the kitchen, this microwave works double-time as a device for reheating and cooking, and a fast-speed oven. A microwave can take up a great deal of real estate in the kitchen, whether installed over an oven, in a pantry or built into cabinetry. The ability to use the microwave as a real convection oven takes the use of that microwave one step further. It acts as a small oven, which saves you money as opposed to putting in a double-oven.
Other Considerations for your family-friendly kitchen remodeling project:
- A 30-inch baker’s height countertop in one zone; or a pullout countertop that is lower and gives children ample workspace
- Floor surfaces that are easy to wipe down, such as porcelain tiles
- A family seating area, such as a breakfast nook, small table or even lounge chairs and a coffee table
- Media such as a computer or flat-screen television
- A family organization center that can be hidden away in a cabinet space, containing calendars, a bulletin board and other scheduling/messaging tools
- Pet food storage bins built into cabinetry
Hammer contractors is ready to start discussing your new family-friendly remodeling project. Contact us today!