I hate my kitchen. The appliances and cabinets are outdated, and the working space is terrible. I'm just starting to plan an overhaul. Where do I begin?
—Cooking Without Gas
The very first thing that you need to do is figure out how much money you want to put into this project. Does an 'overhaul' mean tearing down the walls and rebuilding the whole room from scratch, or do you want to just replace the cabinets and one or two appliances? Obviously reconstruction is going to cost a lot more. Prices on cabinets, flooring, plumbing, appliances, electrical work and construction can vary greatly and add up quickly. So set a dollar amount within your budget.
Next you need to look at the work space. If it is 'terrible,' then it is not functional for you. Something to keep in mind when planning out this new kitchen is the 'work triangle.' This consists of the sink, stove and refrigerator. You should be able to prepare a meal by freely moving to and from these areas with just a few steps and no obstructions. One obstruction, for example, might be a refrigerator door that opens into this work triangle rather than away from it. Consider how the kitchen needs to be laid out for your daily habits. Do you cook a lot? Do you entertain? Do you microwave more than anything else? How much counter space is necessary? How much and what kind of storage do you need? Really think about what will make the kitchen work for you.
The appliances, cabinets, countertops, flooring, wall treatments, lighting and other ingredients are all a matter of personal choice. There are too many options to get into the pros and cons of each in this space. Just be sure to do your homework on all of these before you make you final choices.
My best advice is to get a professional to help you plan it, no matter what level of overhaul you choose. Take an active part in the planning and don't be afraid to question anything. There are so many details to consider that it is easy to create a permanent mess for yourself just by overlooking one thing.
I want a velvet sofa, but I'm afraid it's going to be too delicate. — Carolyn
Velvet is generally a very durable fabric. You don't say how you are going to use this sofa ( rarely used formal livingroom? Family room? ) , but the weave of velvet makes it fairly tough. Color is also a factor; brown velvet will obviously show less stains than, say, white or yellow.
Velvets are made of many different fibers and combinations of fibers including cotton, silk, polyester and linen. Of course, the fiber content and thickness of the velvet will determine the durability.
Silk velvet is very delicate and the pile crushes easily and permanently ( hence the invention of 'crushed velvet' ) . It would not be good for a sofa used on a day-to-day basis.
Probably the stongest velvet is woven from mohair. This type is usually quite expensive and lasts through a lifetime and beyond. That is why so much of the Victorian mohair velvet upholstered pieces were around for so long.
Consider also the thickness of the velvet. Thinner velvets are more suitable for drapery treatments because they drape and hang well. A heavier weight of velvet will hold up much better for upholstery in terms of durability.
What you want to look for is a thick velvet in either a cotton or cotton/polyester blend. Pay careful attention to these two factors. They are just as important as the color.
Send your questions to Joseph Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org . In the subject box, fill in 'WCT Design.'
Joseph Rice is an interior decorator who offers full decorating services. With 23 years of experience, he specializes in 'hard to treat' windows. You may contact him at Joesph Rice Interiors, Inc. at ( 773 ) 271-2361, or by e-mail at email@example.com .