A Kitchen Personality Quiz: Five Questions to Ask Yourself

Repeat this mantra: Form follows function. Answer these questions about the way your household uses the kitchen, then see the analysis below for design ideas.

1. How many chefs usually work in the kitchen?

a. Two, maybe more (including guests and kids).

b. Only one person cooks at a time.

c. None.

2. What’s your cooking style?

a. Serious: Cooking and entertaining at home is how we unwind.

b. Laid-back: Dinner most nights is a casual affair; holidays are when we cook for a crowd.

c. Nonexistent.

3. Who else hangs out in the kitchen, and what do they do there?

a. On weekends the place is party central.

b. The whole family seems to do everything but sleep and play soccer there. It’s a game room, TV room, office, and kitchen all rolled into one.

c. If it weren’t for the beer and microwave dinners, the kitchen would get no use at all.

4. How important is easy cleanup?

a. Not as important as the high-Btu burst I get from unsealed stove burners.

b. The room sees too much activity for surfaces to need coddling. It has to clean up fast.

c. What I really need is a recycling system for paper, plastic, and glass.

5. If you could splurge on one luxury, what would it be?

a. A six-burner Viking range with electric ovens.

b. A built-in computer desk where the kids can go on-line and I can pay bills.

c. Ever hear of a self-cleaning microwave?

The Answers

3 or more A’s: Think like a pro. If it’s in the budget, spend the money on a six- to eight-burner professional- style range, dedicated spice storage, and a fridge spacious enough to accommodate platters. You may also want to consider glass-front cabinets or open shelves to display dishes and glassware. Make sure you have good task lighting and stick to a flooring material like wood or old-fashioned linoleum, which are easy on the feet and easy to clean.

3 or more B’s: Keep it functional, not fussy. Design in features that will simplify your daily routine—a self-cleaning oven, a microwave where the kids can reach it, lots of counter and storage space. Since you rarely cook labor-intensive meals, spend your appliance dollars on an energy-efficient side-by-side refrigerator, an easy-to-clean cooktop, and sturdy cabinetry with ample space for household staples. Think in advance about ways to control the inevitable clutter from all that family activity, such as an adjustable shelving system or cubbies fitted with bins.

3 or more C’s: Remember resale. Spend your makeover dollars on practical, clean-lined cabinets; good-quality basic appliances; and conveniences like a built-in recycling center. Be careful not to spend too little on the kitchen: Quality counts with homebuyers, and a shoddy new kitchen is no better than a dingy old one. It will be money well spent. In the current real estate market, you should be able to recoup between 87 and 125 percent of your investment.

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