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Front Page » March 3, 2005 » Home & Garden » Separate fact from fiction when remodeling
Published 3,484 days ago

Separate fact from fiction when remodeling


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As a certified chef, Certified Kitchen Designer, Design Instructor at UCLA, as well as the author of "Kitchen Design With Cooking In Mind", Don Silvers knows his way around a kitchen. And with the recent publication of the "Consumer Reports" August issue dedicated to kitchens, Silvers believes "the article will provide their readers with an enormous amount of misinformation."

First and foremost, the article begins with how much money it takes to remodel a kitchen. "Consumer Reports" writes that kitchens cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 to remodel. Silvers disagrees. Silvers said, "If you remodel a kitchen for $15,000 to $25,000, it is a small kitchen, a very small kitchen. It will not be designed but will merely replace what exists. There will be no changes to walls, doors, plumbing, or electrical. And of course the poorest of products will be used for replacements. In reality, the average newly designed midrange 10' by 10' kitchen will probably cost around $40,000 to $50,000."

What Silvers found most misleading in the "Consumer Reports" article was the section on ranges, cook tops and ovens. Silvers believes this article was apparently written without understanding that each client, as well as their home, may have very different needs based on how large the house is, the kind of cooking they do, how many are in the family, and how much they like to cook or bake. He believes that to compare medium and low-end equipment to high-end equipment and claim the medium and low-end equipment is better is unjustifiable.

Silvers has often seen the mistake made that we think of a kitchen as a static environment. He explains that, "Kitchens must be able to compress to cook for one and expand to cook for six, eight, 12 or more and the correct choice of appliance is a major factor in making a kitchen functional."

The following are some questions that Silvers hopes journalists ask before reporting misleading information about kitchen remodeling, and before you begin designing your kitchen:

Q: Is there a difference between cubic square feet and shelf space in refrigerators?

A: Yes, in refrigerators, cubic inches or feet measure every nook and cranny. What you should most be interested in is, "How much can I put on a shelf and is it clearly visible?"

Q: How many times do you go to the freezer compared to how many times you go to the refrigerator?

A: The last time I talked to Whirlpool they told me that people travel 22 times to the refrigerator for every one time to the freezer. When I taught cooking at UCLA, my studies came up with 18 times to the refrigerator for every one time to the freezer, so it makes more sense to buy a side-by-side refrigerator, instead of a refrigerator with the freezer on top and refrigerator on bottom

Q: What is the best criteria for choosing a range or cook top?

A: Generally you would look for volume and that brings us to the size of the dining room. I'm going to choose a very different cook top or range for a dining room that seats four from a cook top or range that services a dining room that seats 10 or 12.

Q: Why are electric stoves and cook tops not the favorite choice of most cooks?

A: Lack of control. In order to work successfully on an electric stove if you want to simmer and use medium heat, you will have to pre-set the burners and move the pots and pans to the level of heat that you need. With gas, you just turn the burners up or down.

The "Consumer Report" article is a perfect example of discussing specific appliance products for the kitchen without understanding the whole of what the kitchen needs, said Silvers. The performance of the tasks of the appliances must be looked at as part of the whole process, not just as an appliance. He explains that, "I can take a 12' by 15 ' kitchen and render it useless by a poor choice of appliances. On the other hand, I can take a 10' by 10' kitchen and get it to cook for 10 to 12 people with absolute ease by specifying the right products."

Don Silvers is known in the remodeling industry as an independent kitchen designer who sells no product and is not affiliated with any appliance manufacturer or distributor. With 30 years of designing kitchens, Silvers knows the extraordinary importance of specifying the appropriate appliance for the task which makes any kitchen a joy to cook in. Silvers concludes by saying, "That's what it's all about�and what could be more important?"


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