During the seminar "Blueprint for the Custom Crafted Kitchen," speaker Carol Lamkins, CMKBD ( clamkins@usa.net) covered the 9 centers that designers and remodelers should address in a kitchen design.

1. Store Center: This is the first step in food preparation--the area where clients place their grocery bags after bringing them in from the car.

2. Prep Center: This is usually located between the refrigerator and sink and holds utensils and equipment associated with food prep. Some clients may require two areas like this if there are multiple food preparers in the family.

3. Cook Center: The range or cooktop is the center of this area. Lamkins suggests having 15-inches of counter space on one side of the range and 18-inches on the other side to allow for ingredients.

4. Bake Center: An oven or double-oven should be located in this area, with at least 15-inches of landing space either next to or across from the oven for hot items that are removed from the oven.

5. Convenience Center: Store a few dishes in this area for homeowners to grab a snack or microwave some popcorn.

6. Beverage Center: This area can have a small refrigerator to hold sodas, water, wine, and beer. Provide storage for glasses and stemware and if there is space, include a sink. The newest item in this area is the built-in cappucino/espresso machine.

7. Serve Center: This is usually located next to a table or eating bar in the kitchen and holds linens, placemats, and some dishes. You can combine this with the beverage center.

8. Clean-Up Center: This area has a sink and dishwasher and storage for dishes.

9. Communication Center: Today's kitchens are central to family communication. Include space and outlets for computers and recharging electronic devices. This might be a good location for cookbook storage.

Each of these centers should be tailored to your clients. To decide what features to include in the new kitchen, Lamkins says start by asking clients to list what they like about their current kitchen and what they do not like about their current kitchen. Another important practice is to ask clients to take a survey where they answer questions about their lifestyle. Some questions to include:

  • Who cooks?
  • Who cleans up?
  • What type of cooking do you do?
  • Where do you eat?
  • How do you entertain?
  • Do you have pets and where do they eat?
  • What are your hobbies?

The survey will help the client organize their thoughts, help you organize your approach, introduce them to choices, provide talking points, and creates a checklist for the designer when they are working on the plan.