Whether you’re thinking of the attractiveness of your home to potential buyers or its value to your family and your lifestyle, the kitchen sits near the top of the list of most important areas in a house. The number of possible upgrades is almost limitless, of course, so you need to think about what you really need, and why you’re upgrading your Portland-area home.
Return on Investment
As Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report continues to show, most home improvements don’t pay back in increased resale value what you put into them. So don’t pour buckets of money into top-of-the-line upgrades if you’re getting ready to sell your house. On the other hand, well-thought-out improvements really can make your life in the kitchen less stressful and more enjoyable over the long haul.
[ Read More: How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost in Portland, Oregon? ]
As you think about a kitchen remodel, be honest about your real needs. Just because a “gourmet kitchen” sounds impressive, putting out the money for commercial-grade equipment isn’t worth it if you’re not spending significant time cooking, you have a small family, and if you don’t entertain much. Even if you really would make use of high-end appliances, keep in mind that there is a point of diminishing return. Certain top-of-the-line gadgets and tools can be way more expensive than the choices one step down that are still of very high quality.
Homebuyers often look for a roomy kitchen, so you can make yours more appealing for when you eventually sell, and more useful right now, if you spend the money to enlarge it. Open floor plans continue to be popular, and you can gain space by removing walls between your kitchen and other rooms without having to add onto your house. A good designer or architect can help you figure out how to improve the flow of your kitchen and expand its usable space to fit your lifestyle.
[ Read More: Remodeling Your Kitchen for Maximum Storage ]
Upgrade for Beauty, Utility
Whether it’s made of granite, marble, or the increasingly popular engineered quartz, a stone countertop still says “classy.” The benefits are numerous, including ease of care, long life, and choice of aesthetics, and most homeowners who can afford it are happy they upgraded to stone. Another obvious upgrade is the floor: A tired-looking or damaged floor will diminish the value of your kitchen and detract from your enjoyment of the space. Again, the upgrade choices are numerous and include solid or engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl tile, stone, and ceramic tile.
Twice as Nice
If one sink, dishwasher, or oven is good, two is better, right? A secondary sink will allow one person to rinse dishes or produce while another handles heavier chores at the main sink. Installing two drawer-style dishwashers, while easing the amount of bending over you’ll have to do, also gives you the option of loading dirty dishes in one while the other one is washing. And two wall ovens will allow you to bake different dishes at different temperatures or broil in one while baking in the other.
Lots of Light
An important factor in any kitchen remodel is the lighting. Flood your kitchen with daylight if you can, using windows, skylights, and solar tubes. And install enough lights to give you full illumination at night, plus task lighting in every area where work will be done. Under-cabinet lights make a big difference when working at a countertop, and lights inside the cabinets give a classy look and help you find what you’re looking for. Finally, pendant lights and unique chandeliers and fixtures can add beauty and visual interest in the kitchen.
In Kitchen Dining
Many of us use our kitchens for quick or casual meals. It might be to grab a cup of coffee and a bagel on the way to work or school. Or it might be a quick sandwich for lunch. Other times we might have a full sit-down dinner together that’s simply easier and faster to serve in the kitchen. That makes both serving and clean-up a lot more convenient.
If you’re thinking about remodeling your Portland kitchen to better accommodate your various dining needs, you’ll want to make sure you create those options in your kitchen without sacrificing valuable floor space. Here are a few options you might consider.
Design Around a Conventional Kitchen Table: The picture you see above is one option you could choose. It allows a conventional seating arrangement around a table that’s conducive to conversation. But it also keeps things casual and makes serving and clean-up easy. You’ll want to keep the positioning of light fixtures in mind and allow enough space for chairs (and for scooting them back).
Island Seating: Another option is to add a kitchen island that has an overhanging countertop to accommodate chairs. An advantage of this option is that the space you create can serve multiple purposes. It can be an extra workspace in the kitchen and double as an eating area.
A Built-in Booth: Yet another option could be to build in a booth in a corner of the kitchen. Booths are great natural conversation areas. That also makes them a great place to grab a cup of coffee with a friend or a family member. Plus, a booth takes advantage of “lost” space because it goes all the way into the corner of the kitchen.
The option you choose, of course, depends on the layout of your current kitchen and how much you’re willing (and able, due to structural limitations) to make big changes, such as eliminating existing walls. That's where working with a design-build remodeler pays off. We don’t just look at replacing existing features with new ones. We’re used to looking at potential space that you might not have e considered.
Your Own Café
Coffee bars are showing up more and more in new and remodeled kitchens, matching people’s insatiable desire for a caffeinated cup. Having a separate niche outside the main kitchen area allows you to keep all the paraphernalia in one place and keeps caffeine seekers out of the way.
Of course, choosing the right coffee maker can add the perfect finish to your personal café. Consumer Reports lists these units as the 10 best out there at the moment:
- Calphalon Special Brew BVCLDCG1
- Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew DGB-700BC coffee maker
- Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000
- Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200
- Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Brewer SS-10
- Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R coffee maker
- Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S
- Ninja Specialty CM401
- Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101
- Technivorm Moccamaster Cup-One Brewer
Put in a Pantry
Installing a pantry in your kitchen can be a real game-changer. By allowing you to easily store larger quantities of food—and larger, seldom-used kitchen appliances—the rest of your kitchen will be less cluttered and feel more spacious. You have a couple of options when it comes to a pantry. Space permitting, you can install a walk-in pantry or add a "reach-in" pantry that's easily accessible. Whichever option you choose, you'll want to make sure you include adequate lighting. Consider keeping your lower shelves high enough to be able to handle large items such as dog food bags.
With recycling now ubiquitous, it makes sense to have a place to separate your discards as soon as you can. A three-compartment recycling and trash center that’s hidden but easy to open—and to clean—is invaluable in a remodeled kitchen.