Questions to ask before you start tearing down the wall. These suggested question are not definitive but should help start and guide the conversation. The questions are organized by:
- On a typical day, how many cooks work together in the kitchen? On special occasions?
- Do any kitchen users have physical limitations (height, difficulty bending over, need for wheelchair access, etc.)?
- Should the kitchen accommodate children (low countertops, etc.)?
- How much counter space do you need for chopping and preparation?
- Are specific areas needed for frequent projects (e.g. bread or pastry making)?
- How many and what size sinks are needed?
- Are the stovetop and oven spaces adequate?
- Is space needed for dirty dishes or are dishes washed immediately?
- How much storage space is needed for kitchen equipment and utensils?
- How much refrigerator and freezer space do you require?
- Are there special storage needs (dry goods, wine storage, etc.)?
- Are there seasonal uses that might require additional storage space (e.g. canning)?
- Have you allocated space for recycling and/or compost collection?
- Is there cookbook storage space?
Do you want to accommodate informal dining in or near the kitchen? If so, how many people should be able to eat at once?
Is the kitchen used for other activities (TV, homework, gardening preparation, or other projects)?
- How often do you entertain?
- Do you like guests in the kitchen?
- How formal are your parties?
- Consider both the kitchen and the dining area(s): How formal do you want these spaces to feel?
- Do you want an intimate or more open dining experience?
How do you want to feel when you are in the kitchen? What qualities of light do you want to experience? What sounds?
Access and Flow
The kitchen should be easily accessible. Consider the flow between other important areas of the house – dining room, family room, bathroom, outdoor cooking/entertaining space
Should the cook be able to see activities in other areas (children playing outside, for instance)?
- Where are the windows? Do they take advantage of the eastern morning sun?
- Do you want to be able to look out the window while washing dishes? Chopping vegetables?
- Can new windows be accommodated?
- How well do the existing artificial light fixtures serve your needs?
- Is there ambient and task lighting?
- Are there enough electrical outlets, and where are they located? Are they designated GFCI (Ground Fault circuit interrupter) as they should be in kitchens?
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning
- How does your kitchen feel – too hot? Too cold?
- Are you ventilating the range?
Don’t forget to read our Greening Your HVAC for best practices.
- How are your current finishes performing? Is the wallpaper peeling?
- Are there any places of water damage?
- How easy is it to clean countertops and flooring?
Don’t forget to read our Greening Your Finishes for Kitchen for best practices.
- Do you anticipate changes in the family structure?
- Will you live in the house when you retire or at another phase of your life?
- How important is resale value?