By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer

Any man can understand how difficult and frustrating it is to try to complete a project without the right tools or the proper work space. The same principle applies to the kitchen.

Martine Smith was sick of cooking in her small, dark kitchen.

“Our old kitchen had one outlet against one wall,” she says. “That is where I plugged in the fridge. There was no place to sit and people were always standing in the way. With the narrow doorway, the traffic flow in the kitchen was jammed. People were always bumping into each other. It was awkward.”

Open Deisgn, Kitchen Design Reignites Owner's Love of Cooking

In their recent kitchen remodel, the Smiths new kitchen design required gutting the small kitchen and taking out two walls to open the kitchen to the dining and family room.

In their recent kitchen remodel, the Smiths new kitchen design required gutted the small kitchen and taking out two walls to open the kitchen to the dining and family room.

“I loved to cook,” she says. “But in the old kitchen I was totally isolated. I got to the point where I hated to cook. Now I love to cook again.”

She says she loves the openness of her updated kitchen. Now cooking and cleaning the kitchen doesn’t have to be a solitary event. Her husband or guests can sit at the island and talk while she cooks. The open floor plan also offers a view of the TV from the kitchen. “I am a news junkie,” she says. “So I like to watch the news while I work in the kitchen.”

The Smiths did it right. They understood their kitchen’s shortcomings and with the new kitchen design planned to fix the aesthetic flaws while enhancing flow and function.

Do you know your kitchen’s functional flaws? Are you always bumping into a counter, screaming for more storage space, piling papers on the bar or getting trapped by bad flow?

If so, then your kitchen lacks the functional design you and your family need.

To help improve the function of your kitchen, ask yourself some questions: Do you want a one-cook or two-cook kitchen? Do you want room for a table and chairs or a bar and stools? Do you want a bigger pantry and more cupboards? Do you want to improve circulation with an island rather than a peninsula? Do you need room for a desk, wet bar or laundry? Your answers will help an architect design your dream kitchen.

There is a wide range of options when it comes to updating your kitchen’s design. You can choose wood or metal cabinets that are stained or painted, with flat or raised panel profiles. You can trade plastic laminate counters for granite, soapstone, tile, quartz, concrete or stainless steel. Then you can finish it off with floors of wood, cork, tile, stone, linoleum or vinyl.

How much is it going to cost? In general, you are looking at spending $25,000 to $100,000 on a kitchen remodel, depending on the materials and appliances.

Typically, cabinetry will take up the bulk of the budget. Other costs include labor, countertops, appliances, flooring, fixtures, faucets and lighting. Structural, plumbing and electrical costs will also affect the budget.

Don’t forget to budget some of your resources for design fees. An architect should be involved if you are making structural changes, such as removing walls to open your kitchen, or relocating your kitchen altogether to fit in the larger design of a remodeling project.

Interior designers and cabinet designers can specialize in kitchen design and become certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. If you use the services of a professional, you will be charged either an hourly fee or a percentage of the total cost of the construction budget or the goods purchased (usually 10 to 15 percent).

As we have said previously, the design and remodeling process takes time. So start planning now. Martine Smith understands how it is tempting to want your new kitchen or new bathroom the moment you start the process but it doesn’t work that way.

“Allow enough planning time,” she says. “When you sit down with the architect, understand you won’t be starting the project in a month. You have to be patient but taking time to plan is worth it in the long run.” As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at as*@re*******************.com.

Open design: Kitchen design reignites owner’s love of cooking