Add spice to the log home kitchen of your dreams using this recipe for success!
By Pricilla Salley Walsh
Photos by Hardwick Post & Beam
The kitchen, once hidden behind closed doors, has now evolved into the primary room of the home. No longer just a place for cooking, kitchens have become the heart of the home--a comfortable place for visiting with friends, overseeing homework and gathering as a family.
Careful planning is essential when building or remodeling the kitchen in your log home. Consider hiring an interior designer or kitchen planner to give you guidance, because mistakes can be very costly. A kitchen will work well only if the space has been designed to meet your family's needs.
When planning your new kitchen, decide how it will be used. Do you cook alone or do you need space for two cooks? Will your kitchen be the gathering room for your family and a place to entertain friends? How much storage space do you need for canned goods, cookbooks and small appliances? When you cook, do you like everything in sight or stored away?
Will the kitchen be used by anyone with physical limitations? Do you need to childproof the kitchen? How much light do you need? What colors and style do you want to use in the kitchen? How will efficient work zones be set up? Will family traffic patterns through the kitchen interfere with you working there?
The two-cook kitchen isn't a new trend, but it is growing as more and more husbands and wives cook together. Today, more than 30 percent of all new kitchens are designed for two cooks. The primary feature of the two-cook kitchen is two distinct work areas with separate sinks. Both zones are near the refrigerator and other appliances that each cook regularly uses.
When beginning the planning process for your kitchen, start a notebook and clip pages from shelter and home improvement magazines that depict kitchens you find appealing.
Visit kitchen showrooms?ask questions and take notes on countertops, cabinetry, appliances and flooring. Keep track of prices.
Installing or improving your kitchen may be one of the most expensive projects you will undertake in your home. Fortunately, this investment is very rewarding, not only from a lifestyle perspective, but in resale value as well, as long as you don't go totally overboard. Depending on the products you choose, costs can vary widely. Work up a budget with your first and second choices for all the products and materials involved.
White appliances are often the least expensive and the most versatile. Appliance color fads are generally short-lived. If money is limited, spend it on durability and efficiency, and set priorities. When selecting appliances, focus on energy- and water-saving features that may lower utility bills.
With countertops, keep in mind that the more cut-outs you have, for sinks or built-ins, the higher the cost of installation. Simple edge treatments save money.
Cabinets can be the most expensive component of a kitchen, often accounting for more than half of the total cost. Open shelves are a money-saving alternative.
Almost any decorating style is appropriate in the kitchen, from formal to very casual. A classic country kitchen is very popular for log homes. No longer typified by geese and ruffles, today's country kitchen has an international flavor.
The dream country kitchen is large enough for a long harvest table, a comfortable sitting area and, the ultimate luxury, a fireplace. Rag rugs accent wood or tile floors. Butcher-block counters, with painted or antique cabinetry, give the kitchen a country feel. An antique sideboard or cabinet provides display areas for your collectibles and china.
Traditional kitchens are more formal in design and classic in appearance. Cabinetry with recessed panels and darker wood finishes enhance a traditional-style kitchen, as do polished wood floors, Oriental rugs and rich window treatments.
Contemporary kitchens are generally streamlined with plenty of closed-door storage. Laminate or solid-surface countertops enhance the contemporary look. Counter seating with designer stools adds high-impact style. Lacquered wood cabinets with magnetic latches complement the sleek lines. Color schemes are generally monochromatic or neutral. Warm browns, camel, gray, cream and black look sophisticated accented with copper, stainless steel, chrome or gold.
Kitchens are the perfect place for displaying collections of baskets, copper pots, graniteware and other collectibles or heirlooms. You might decide to decorate around a hobby or an activity typical to the area where your log home is located. If you live on a lake, a fishing theme might be fun, for example.
Today most kitchens are decorated with color, fabrics, artwork and furnishings that reflect our interests and lifestyles. Don't be afraid to try something different in the kitchen, but choose a style that makes you feel comfortable for this special room that is the heart of your home.