The internet and home design magazines are flooded with picture of gorgeous kitchens that we all look at, fall in love with and dream of having. But let’s face it, most gen Xer’s (myself included) cannot afford such a kitchen. Designers are finding that most Generation X families value function over fashion. Also noted by Designers, easy to clean and maintain are top priorities.
Let’s talk first about non-kitchen design ideas for the kitchen. In the past this room was closed off from the rest of the home so that “the mess and work” could easily be hidden. This is not the case anymore. Lives are busy, and in order to keep up with family and life, it is important to multitask. This means: cooking dinner, helping with homework, chatting about the upcoming dance, and planning for the weekends schedule all at the same time, in the same room. This room would be the kitchen. Kitchens are not just about cooking anymore, they need to be very multi-functional. Here are some tips to promote this new facet of kitchen use while maintaining the kitchen’s true function.
1. Kitchens for Generation X must have a drop zone/organization center. This is an area that homework, mail, grocery lists, schedules can be tucked away in order to make room for cooking. Without this area, counters become cluttered with daily life. By designing an area to keep paperwork organized, you can save yourself time and stress. This area could be a desk, or some pockets on the wall, even the inside of the pantry door can be used to organize your life, as shown in the picture.
2. Another key design feature that shouldn’t be overlooked is a charging station! My children do not have phones yet, and I’m dreading the time when I will be fighting for outlet and counter space to charge my lifeline. A dedicated area to charge phones and other electronic devices that have become such a huge part of life helps reduce clutter and eliminates the stress of “Where’s my PHONE?!” Some charging stations also have an area to hang keys…
3. Many Gen Xer’s have included an office area into their kitchen design. Homework is often completed in the kitchen, and while most homes now have wireless networks, having laptops clutter counter space is not convenient. Having a space designed into the cabinet layout that matches the style of the kitchen is the perfect solution. If designed well, this office area can take care of the above two tips as well.
4. We have looked at how our children may use the kitchen, but there is another group of beings using the kitchen space… pets. Many times the kitchen is not only where we prepare food for our families, but it is where our dogs and cats are fed. Keeping this in mind, while you are designing your kitchen space will ensure that you are not tripping over Rover during his meal time.
In our next blog, we will discuss design tips for the kitchen (in it’s true function).
As the years march by, the use of space within a home may change for Generation X. However, the need for organized, accessible storage is constant. From kitchens to bedrooms, to garage & basements there are easy ways to add storage without adding square footage to the floorplan or taking away from the room itself.
- Invest in closet kits!!! Think about how each closet in your home will be used and browse the wide area of options for closet kits available at any home good store as well as online. Closet space can easily be doubled or even tripled by using the right layout of shelves, rods, and drawers. Once you have decided the best use of space for each closet, get accurate measurements of each closet. Using graph paper to help you draw the closet layout will help ensure the closet is built to your expectations.
- Use the space traditionally used to “catch dust” above the top of standard kitchen cabinets. Design your kitchen with taller upper cabinets, this will give you an additional shelf in each cabinet. Now, this shelf is not within convenient reachable height, so reserve this shelf for use for the most seldom used items in your kitchen. Also, consider incorporated drawer base cabinets instead of the standard. This will allow you to store pots, pans and covers all within easy reach, with no need for you to sit on the floor to reach all the way to the back of the cabinet! Browse the internet for other space saving kitchen cabinets such as spice cabinets, cookie sheet racks, sink tip outs, under cabinet wine glass holders…
- Mainers are notorious for parking their vehicle at their garage doors, never in the garage. This is due to a lack of planning and forethought into what you will be putting in your garage. The minimum parking space in a parking lot will be about 8’x18′, this would be for a compact vehicle. If you are driving a S.U.V you WILL need more space. As you plan your garage space, use graph paper to draw out the space. Make sure you have room to open vehicle doors, get bicycles in and out of the garage with a vehicle parked, and store the snowblower and/or mower. Then look at the space you have left over on the plan and decide if there is there enough room for the extra stuff you plan to store in the garage.
- Basements are another area to look at when you consider storage. This space is extremely open, and fairly empty, with convenient, easy access. However, there are some drawbacks to consider. Basements in Northern New England are notoriously cold, damp and yes, sometimes wet… Use caution when storing items in your basement. I highly recommend using Rubbermaid (or similar) tubs and shelving systems. Cardboard boxes offer no protection. Wood shelving will absorb moisture, metal will rust and deteriorate. Never, never, never put boxes directly on the concrete floor.
Once you have your closets, cabinets, garage and basement storage properly designed, the key to staying organized is to use the systems you have in place.
In our next blog, “Kitchen Design Tips (kind of) for Generation X”, we will take a close look at design tips to make your kitchen more useful.