Design lesson: Reno trends
This is often the home's main entrance. If space is limited, create a mud room within the kitchen. Simply install a change of flooring to delineate the space, and add a hanging cupboard or closet and a bench.
This hard-working space is the ultimate luxury for those who love to entertain. A butler's pantry offers additional storage for foodstuffs, but also a secondary sink for items that should be handwashed (like crystal stemware), or even a small refrigerator and coffee station.
Gift wrap room
If you have the space, an island provides storage for papers, presents and greeting cards, as well as an ideal base for wrapping. Dowelling on the side accommodates hanging sheets of paper and rolls of ribbon. If you don't have a spare room, convert a closet, an armoire, or part of a guest room into a gift-wrapping station.
Keeping smaller items like jewelry, scarves, shawls, handbags, stockings and lingerie organized alongside hanging and folding storage for clothing will make mornings much simpler.
DO consider taller kitchen counters, 42 inches rather than 36 inches high. The extra height provides more cupboard space and eliminates unnecessary bending and crouching, especially for those who are taller than average (which is five feet nine inches for men, five feet four for women).
DO get smart about garbage and recycling with the addition of designated chutes that lead from the kitchen directly outside into covered waste bins. It sounds complicated, but it isn't. Consult a qualified builder to link interior and exterior through a small hole at counter height. Install wheels on the bottoms of the cans outside so you can roll them curbside when required.
DO add heat in unexpected places. Nuheat (nuheat.com), a B.C.-based company with dealers across Canada, uses wafer-thin electric technology to deliver consistent warmth to every room in the house. Love the look of granite countertops but find them too cold? Consider a thin electric mat beneath the countertop (terrific where there is an eating counter) to create a much warmer spot for children to enjoy an afternoon snack or do homework. Love claw-foot tubs, but hate that the metal surface allows the water to chill quickly? Cover the bottom of the tub with a Nuheat mat and it will keep the water warm for up to an hour and a half!
DO make laundry less daunting by placing the washer and dryer adjacent to a bedroom or bathroom. Many homeowners are installing stacked washer/dryer sets in the kitchen as well.
DO conceal a drawer or cupboard beneath stairs, within a bookshelf or behind a painting to hide valuables.