Just about anyone can screw some boxes together and into the wall, and you have a kitchen! Does it work? Is it what you want? Let’s see . . . .
There are stock cabinetry kitchens – where fillers abound and the run of cabinetry may or may not end at the same place on the wall. If you step it up a little, you might end up with a kitchen that is a little above that level with fewer fillers, and now maybe the overall length of the wall and base cabinets match.
When you arrive at a true luxury kitchen, there are so many more considerations made by a true kitchen designer ; issues are dealt with and solved before you even know they exist. For openers, the entire space is an artistic composition with a focal point and supporting elements throughout – with consideration being given to color weight, scale, textural combinations, depth of color; dimension.
The luxury appliances that are a key element to luxury kitchens, and are a beast all unto themselves. The manufacturer’s specs change regularly, and one small misstep can cost $1500 for each new refrigerator panel. Handling the idiosyncracies of high-end appliances is definitely not for the faint of heart. Appliance budgets can range from $5K-50K. You are in control of this one, but it is definitely an item which is critical to factor into the budget.
Then you arrive at the overall construction of the cabinetry. Inset is the most expensive construction (and the way fine cabinetry was first built by hand); full overlay is the mid-point; and standard overlay the cheapest. No one does this last choice any more. After that comes the finish – whether a simple stain or layered, crackled finishes; rubbed through; distressed. It all drives the price – or conversely – helps to hold down the budget.
But the real meat of the luxury kitchen comes with the interior fittings; the ultra-convenient details that you actually use every day. Want to feel like you’ve “arrived”? How about garbage cans that can close with a touch of your knee? . . .maybe professionally balanced knife sets routed into a pull-out right at your work area?. . .a walnut wooden bread box with it’s name burned into the top? Like to chop by hand? Nothing like a different cutting board for each item that you might use: meat, herbs, bread, etc. – all of these for the serious cook.
The water sources in a luxury kitchen are critical and allow for maximum functionality. Sometimes the actual available space is so large that the primary water source is just too far away from the cook surface and that points the cook to a pot filler located very near the range or cook surface. It’s primarily cold water but is just perfect for filling soup pots rather than juggling it across the room.
An abundance of space for a kitchen is truly a dream come true for most homeowners, and very large homes automatically come with that space as a percentage of the overall living area in the home. However, it isn’t long before the stretches of walking among the primary work zones are beyond comfortable. Then, the kitchen should be zoned for maximum usage; with the zones not overlapping or being clumsy.
Each of us is different; has different habits for cooking, food buying and storage etc. Each has a different reasonable reach, eye level, age. The circulation space surrounding each of the work zones must be adequate for passage, squatting. This element is referred to as ergonomics and is always taken into consideration in the design of a luxury kitchen. This is one of the things that truly makes it custom – exactly set just for the current homeowner.
Don’t be fooled by companies or designers that claim to do “luxury kitchens” just because they happen to have that word included in their marketing. Be sure to look carefully for this exclusive attention to all these details – then you know you are truly dealing with luxury.