Kitchen Design Planning Tips

A kitchen-design expert shares tips on planning a kitchen layout, all while showcasing some clever new storage options and a sophisticated French-country style.

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

What Are You Going to Do in The Room?

Finishes, fixtures and appliance aren’t the only things you need to consider when designing a kitchen. Cabinetmaker/kitchen designer John McGilvray shares some planning tips and storage options to make your kitchen not only beautiful, but functional. "First thing you need to do create a list of how you will use the room, not just how it will look," says McGilvray. For these homeowners, the number-one wish on their list was a large center island on one level with plenty of seating and work surface where the whole family can eat and cook together. This island and its single slab of marble provides space for five stools, plenty of storage, plus a full-size sink.

How Will It All Line Up?

“Layout is usually the most common issue and there are a lot of considerations many people often overlook,” says McGilvray. "Make sure there is ample room to move around the space freely and that there is enough distance between the center island and the wall cabinets so two people can walk by each other comfortably especially when carrying food, knives and hot cookware. Also, if you plan on centering the sink on an island that is across from a cooktop, this will dictate the size of your island because you're probably going to want to center the sink on the island as well as across from the stove."

Group Functions Together

"The homeowners didn't want the freezer in the kitchen. They felt it would take up too much precious space so they put it in the garage instead," explains McGilvray. A drink station/wet bar was created with the main refrigerator (left), an ice maker (center, bottom) and the clear-door fridge just for drinks. The mini fridge provides easy access for the kids to get juice boxes and water bottles. A microwave, oven and warming drawer are stacked up in between the drink station and double pantry doors.

Handy Side Sink

To make the drink station even more convenient, an undermount hammered stainless-steel sink was tucked into the corner.

Make Storage Elegant

"The pantry doesn't always need to be hidden," says McGilvray. This one makes a statement with set of elegant French doors. The glass panel doors allow natural light to flow from the pantry’s window into the kitchen and vice-versa. Antique-style glass knobs add to the charm.

High-Tech Island

The kitchen island is full of hidden surprises. The garbage and recycle bins are in the cabinet left of the sink. Even though there’s a big handle, the cabinet will open just by bumping the center of it with your knee. This way if your hands are all messy, you don’t have to get the cabinets all messy too. “This mechanism was new to the market. I showed it to the homeowners knowing they have small children and like to cook a lot. They had never seen this feature before and we're thrilled to incorporate it into their design,” says McGilvray.

Dishwasher Drawers

The double-drawer dishwasher is also housed in the kitchen island. “Consider your daily activities; locate the dishes you use every day close to the dishwasher. You don't want to put dishwasher on the left side of the island if your everyday dishes are on the right side of the wall,” advises McGilvray. “Also, it sounds simple, but people don't always consider how appliances line up, like making sure the dishwasher isn't across from the oven.”

Paper Towel Drawer

“This may sound like a small feature, but it was important for the homeowners to have the paper towel holder easily accessible but mostly hidden, probably because they have small children,” says McGilvray. “So I created this open-face drawer with a built-in paper towel dispenser.” The kids can easily reach it but it doesn’t have to be an obvious part of the kitchen. (Click the next slide to see the drawer open.)

Paper Towel Drawer Open

When one roll runs out, a new one is right behind it.

Step Stool Hidden in Toe Kick

The upper wall cabinets extend up to the 10-foot ceiling. To put them within easy reach, a folding step stool was cleverly incorporated into the toe-kick underneath the sink. “This feature can often be retro-fitted into an existing kitchen,” says McGilvray.

Step Stool Open

The little step stool is also great if you have small children in the house. It can be pulled out and unfolded fairly easily.

Column Pull-Outs

Also hidden in the kitchen island are two pull-out columns. They look purely decorative, but they’re totally practical with their pegboard-style storage.

Cabinets Rest on Countertop

To give the kitchen a classic high-end look, the upper cabinets that frame the cooking wall extend from the ceiling all the way down to the marble countertop.

Six Burners and a Griddle

White subway tile was installed with practical black grout — a very smart choice for a cooking area. The classic rectangular tile paired with the commercial stove and pot-filler faucet gives the space that French gourmet vibe.

Add Personal Touches

Inset into each panel on the island and on the hood range is a custom-made metal crisscross with a fleur de' lis center. The homeowners are originally from New Orleans and wanted to incorporate the symbol of their old home into their new home.

Continuity in Design

The crisscross pattern is repeated in the glass-paneled cabinets to give the room’s design a cohesive look.

Pretty and Practical

Practical details in this kitchen make life easier for the homeowners and beautiful design keeps it stylish.