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Front Page » May 12, 2005 » Carbon Home and Garden » Understanding a kitchen remodel
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Understanding a kitchen remodel

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Kitchens are an expensive part of the house to remodel, particularly when not just replacing what is there with new.

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. Recently Consumer Reports published an 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. The magazine reports that kitchens cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 to remodel. Silvers disagrees however.

"If you remodel a kitchen for $15,000 to $25,000, it is a small kitchen, a very small kitchen," he says. "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 disagreed with most in the article was a 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.

Silvers has often seen the mistake made that we think of a kitchen as a static environment.

"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," he states.

The following are some questions that Silvers hopes people will ask before they remodel their kitchens.

•Is there a difference between cubic square feet and shelf space in refrigerators? Yes, in refrigerators, cubic inches or feet measure every nook and cranny. What the buyer should most be interested in is how much can be put on the shelves and be visible too.

•How many times does a homeowner go to the freezer compared to how many times you go to the refrigerator? He answered this question this way.

"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," he said. "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

•What is the best criteria for choosing a range or cook top? Generally a person would look for volume and that brings the questioner to the size of the dining room. It's best 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 ten or 12.

•Why are electric stoves and cook tops not the favorite choice of most cooks? Lack of control. In order to work successfully on an electric stove if a cook wants to simmer and use medium heat, they have to pre-set the burners and move the pots and pans to the level of heat that they need. With gas, they just turn the burners up or down.

Silvers says often people discuss specific appliance products for the kitchen without understanding the whole of what the kitchen needs. The performance of the tasks of the appliances must be looked at as part of the whole process, not just as an appliance.

"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."

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.

"That's what it's all about�and what could be more important?" he says.

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