Designing a Kitchen that Functions – Podcast Episode 10

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Last updated on February 27, 2023

On our latest podcast episode Ron Webster, CKBR, joins us to discuss kitchen design. Ron Webster is no stranger to kitchen design. In fact, he’s been in the industry for 30 years and found his passion for designing kitchens and bathrooms when he went to college. He’s a Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler. Ron can take any space, understand the client’s needs and design aesthetic and make it into something remarkable.

Let’s first discuss kitchen layout. How do you design a kitchen to maximize function?

I think the main thing when you’re looking at a kitchen layout is, to look at the kitchen as a whole and look at everything as far as the space that you have available. Once you’re looking at the space that you have, it’s about breaking it up into zones cooking zone, cleaning zone, prepping zone, and seeing what works for you.

It’s different for everybody. Some people cook, some people don’t cook. The layout could be important to some people and not others. Because some people cater. Food in and some people cook. So it just depends really on the individual, but the layout for a kitchen I break everything into zones and find out what the client needs as far as different types of function for specialty accessories.

Yeah, for spices, for cookie trays, and things like that.

What if you have a smaller kitchen and the giant island isn’t an option. Can you still have a functional kitchen?

Absolutely small does not mean that it’s not functional small means that you have to be smart with the space that you have and use it extremely wisely. And don’t put frivolous things in areas where it’s not going to matter. Like for instance, if you have a small kitchen, there are certain needs that you have a dishwasher, most likely. You may want a trash rollout. For some people that may not be a big deal to them for most, it is. A tray divider. Those things are pretty common when we’re doing a kitchen remodel and we try to find spaces for that, but there, it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the base.

We can find unique spaces in a kitchen, in an upper cabinet, like the, in a deeper wall oven cabinet, or something like that, that we can do cookie sheets, which will free up more based storage. And I think in a small kitchen, it’s about utilizing as many different things as you can.

Some people may want a pantry, but they can’t fit it in there. If that’s okay. If we don’t have a pantry. In the kitchen, you may be able to use, utilize a closet off the kitchen as a pantry for storage, or may be able to do some different, base cabinet storage or upper cabinet storage for pantries.

So, there are, there are many different ways to do it, but no a small kitchen can still be very functional.

I think a lot of us have this old-school version of a layout and it has to have a triangle. Can you want to explain what that is? Is that still important today?

To a certain extent, yes, we still follow the triangle rule. The triangle rule is between your sink, your refrigerator, and your stove you want a total distance between all three to be within 26 feet. You want it to be within 26 feet, not outside at 26 feet. When you’re doing, the triangle, sometimes your refrigerator seems a little too far away from where your sink is.

Or where you may want it to be there’s always room to play around with it. I say it doesn’t necessarily need to be a triangle because sometimes in a galley kitchen, you can still get a triangle, but it’s going to be a longer triangle if you know what I mean.

So. It is one of those things that, is still important. But I also combine that with zones, because even though that’s important, the word zone I think is even more important because if you cook every day, you know what I mean? It is extremely frustrating to have to spend. Out of the hour that it takes to prep, a meal to spend another half hour looking for the things that you need to make that meal.

So, you want everything where it’s supposed to be when you need it. So that, that’s one of the things I usually combine both of those. Cause they do correlate to one another.

When working with clients how do you determine their design style?

Yeah. Most of them have an idea by pictures on Pinterest and Houzz, they will look through and usually email me a whole bunch. I had one this morning that emailed me a whole bunch of things for their basement that was refinishing for them. And it just kind of gives me an idea of where their head’s at as far as style wood tones paint, colors, and all those types of elements that I can actually use to tie in to into a style or create a style for them. Sometimes, I mean, there’s going to be traditional. There’s going to be a transitional. There’s going to be contemporary. There’s going to be farmhouse or rustic farmhouse. Sometimes it’s going to be a contemporary farmhouse. All the names have changed now.

So, I don’t think there’s anyone perfect answer for anybody. I think it’s going to be transitioning from a style that they have for their home and tie it into that home. As far as the, you know, the furniture that they have, the type of paint color or flooring or, artwork, all those things play into the style of the home and we try to fit the style of the cabinetry that we’re going to be selecting and countertops and tile and everything else for our kitchen. We try to tie that into the house to make it a little bit more seamless, transition.

Sometimes HGTV can be deceiving. Or what should I expect to budget?

You’re right. HGTV can be bad when it comes to trying to figure out pricing. Especially if you’re looking at that to say I can do a kitchen for however many dollars and most of the time you can’t. They’re not giving you the full amount of what that project is going to be. They’re only giving you a small portion of what the materials cost. They may not be giving you what the labor cost is or design. All those things have to add up to a number. And when you’re doing a kitchen design, the design portion of it is actually the most important part which does cost money.

And when I talk about remodeling, I’m not talking about not just changing cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes, this is a total remodel which is including flooring, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, drywall, trim, paint, windows, doors, everything.     The numbers I’m giving you are going to be including all those things.

When you’re looking at a kitchen remodel, I usually break it down into three different. Areas as far as budget ranges. There’s a small, medium, and large. A small kitchen is a kind of like a galley kitchen. If you look at a galley kitchen that is pretty basic, you can usually do a small kitchen I would say be anywhere between $45,000 -55,000. In that range.

A medium kitchen is probably going to be around $75,000 – 95,000, which is pretty average for most kitchens. And then they have large kitchens. The large kitchens are the ones that are basically like a football field. I mean, they are huge and some of them have two islands. You’re dealing with a lot more square footage. You’re dealing with a lot more countertop, lot more appliances, a lot more cabinetry, a lot more lighting, and everything. So those can, they’ll start at $100,000 and can go up to, almost $200,000.

Again, you have to look at the numbers I’m giving you also have to deal with the selections that you make. So, the kind of selection of drive what the final price is going to be on your kitchen. Picking out the right wood, the door style, the colors the type of construction. Those are the things that are actually going to drive the price of your project along with. Countertop selection, you know, the brain that you go with or tile for the backsplash flooring, all these things now are crucial for coming up with your final number on it.

What should a homeowner look for when finding a kitchen designer?

You’re going to be building a relationship with that person. It’s an important thing. I think looking for the person’s personality their design philosophy but also looking at some of the projects that they’ve done over the past few years or over the course of time.

I think it’s good to definitely look at their process because all of us follow the same process, at Schloegel and the design process is the most important part. But I think when you’re looking for the person that you think you can do this whole project with.

You get to be fairly close. A lot of my clients now are friends of mine. We go out with my wife and, and we have a lot of fun and we try to make it that way. It’s finding that relationship because you are going to be doing quite a bit of work and communication between the two of you.

So, it’s definitely best to find somebody that you relate to. And hopefully, you liked their designs and everything else will kind of work itself out.

Listen to the podcast for all the details and more information. Look for future episodes on AppleSpotifyGoogle, or Stitcher. We’ll also make sure to share each episode right here on our blog.