The decisions you will make when designing your kitchen and baths will be ones you will live with for many years and will affect many areas of your daily routine. With today's technology, features in appliances, tubs and toilets change daily. The amazement you experienced yesterday discovering the functions and beauty of a newly designed faucet, has already been replaced with a better one today.
The excitement of having a beautiful and functional kitchen can quickly give way to a sense of overwhelming by the many choices you will be making and the expenses attached to these choices.
This is a good time to take a minute and reflect on times past, sitting around the kitchen table, chatting about the day's events with the rest of the family or doing your homework while Mom prepared dinner. We smile as we reflect on our memories of birthdays and holidays and the hustle and bustle created in the kitchen during last minute preparations. The dreams, the strategies, the major decisions, often came during the time we spent around the kitchen table - truly the heart of our homes.
Only second to the kitchen were the times spent getting ready in the bathroom - running around like a mad person late for school or work. Or at the other end, lingering in a long, hot shower, singing our own personal latest hit or relaxing in a bubble bath after a hard day at work.
It is no wonder that today we give great emphasis to kitchens and baths.
Whether you are at the stage of designing a new home or renovating, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure the best possible job.
Make a list of your priorities. You will undoubtedly assume you know them, but listing them, and even assigning numbers to the most important things for you to achieve, may bring some surprises.
For example, if you have a large family and spend a lot of time cooking, you can add two extra burners to your stove, which will not take up too much extra room, but will add considerably to the ease of cooking large meals. The space given to these burners will be incidental compared to the time saved not having to wait for another one to become available.
In the same way, if you are a single person, there is no need to have the largest doublewide refrigerator, no matter how beautiful it is.
When considering your bath, it would be wise to pay attention to your daily routine. The thought of coming home from a long day at work and sitting in a large hot tub may be the ultimate luxury for you. Or if showers are your preference, you may want to consider investing in Kohler's new WaterTile Rain overhead showering panels for the ultimate in custom showering.
Research your options. A great place to start is the Internet. Most of the larger companies have beautiful and comprehensive Web sites. Companies such as Kohler, General Electric and Whirlpool, just to name a few, will be a great help in finding out what the newest products available are and which dealers close to you carry them. These Web sites even include virtual rooms so that you can get a true sense of what direction you will pursue. A few hours on the Internet and you will open up an entire world of information.
There are many books and magazines available today that include every type and style of kitchen and baths available.
Visit model homes, specifically focusing on their kitchens and baths, so that you may get a definite idea of the features you will want to include and those that may not be as important to you.
Visit showrooms and talk to the salespeople. As you begin to ask questions, you will find that there are certain people who will be able to answer your questions and make helpful suggestions. It is this final process that will make the decision of who you believe will give you the best job for the money you will invest.
Depending on the size of the project, all of your selections should be considered together before final selections are made. Your colors and textures will reflect on each other. Flooring, cabinets, appliances (or tubs and toilets) window treatments and wall coverings should be in harmony. In addition, your colors should flow with the rest of the house. In particular, many kitchens today are part of an open concept floor plan, thus the colors in the kitchen, family room and living room/dining room should coordinate with each other. A bathroom that connects to a bedroom should be considered as a suite, and the style and colors in both rooms should actually be treated as one room.
Accessorizing these rooms should be a lot of fun. You have done the hard part, now you can add some of your own personality. There are endless selections of accessories, towels and rugs to choose from. These small items will be the finishing touches and will accentuate a job well done.
Now you can relax in your new tub or shower or enjoy the added ease of a beautiful and well-functioning kitchen. Look forward to the new memories you will make.
Susanne Glater Wiggins is owner of Home Designs, boasting two beautiful showrooms, and is located on W. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach. For more information, call (386) 257-5100 or send an e-mail to www.HomeDesignsFL@aol.com.