Creative uses of space evident in remodeled older kitchens and bathrooms
If your home is not large — what can a kitchen/bath remodel do for you?
Well, some of the most creative and efficient kitchen designs occur in the smallest spaces. Older homes typically have smaller kitchen and bath spaces than newer homes. These spaces were designed for a time when we just didn’t need as much storage space, and we didn’t utilize the spaces in the same way that we do now.
But, in the intervening years, the kitchen has become a central gathering place, and the bath has become more of a retreat. Today, kitchens and baths are designed with this in mind. In addition, these older smaller homes often suffer from the least functional layouts, at least from today’s perspective.
The good news is that older, smaller homes can often be remodeled with less investment than newer, larger homes, simply due to the decreased size. It’s all about the design creativity. This can allow the homeowner to invest in higher quality materials than they might otherwise be able to afford.
Older kitchen designs also have some typical frustrations, such as dead spaces and barely accessible blind corners. These can almost always be improved with the use of the modern cabinets and the creativity of a good designer.
“If you have a kitchen that really has space and design constraints, you really need to talk to a designer/remodeler that can look at all the options,” notes Bob Ender, Willwerth’s partner at DreamMaker. “Sometimes, even a small structural or mechanical change can allow the designer to totally transform the functionality of the kitchen. If your designer is limiting you and telling you it’s the best you can do in the space you have, you may want a second opinion.”
“We also see a lot of older kitchens that have pantry closets,” says Willwerth. “Removing these and replacing them with large pantry cabinets not only looks better, but supplies much more accessible storage as well.”
What are some kitchen and bath trends we can expect in 2011?
“In the kitchen, we are seeing the desire to make the space work for multiple cooks, and/or handle the guests that inevitably congregate there,” explains Ender. “Opening up closed in kitchens allows the cook to feel part of the action without having guests directly under foot.”
Improved lighting is also a huge thing. The use of well placed ceiling lights coupled with LED or Xenon under-cabinet lights can provide bright lighting for work, gentle ambiance for the evening, or anything in between.
In bathrooms, there is a huge trend toward exchanging that old cast iron, built-in tub for an elegant and more user friendly shower. From acrylics to solid surface materials to stylish ceramic or stone surrounds, a well designed shower can be much more in sync with today’s lifestyle.
“We also see a much increased use of Euro-style heavy glass shower doors as the shower itself becomes a visual focal point in the room,” adds Willwerth.
The bottom line? Kitchen and bath remodeling improves your home environment and value today and tomorrow. The key to success is working with a creative designer that can identify options that you may never have thought of on your own.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Southeast Michigan is a not-for-profit trade association committed exclusively to the service of the professional remodeling industry and its customers. For more information about NARI remodelers in Michigan, click here.