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Your Kitchen Questionnaire

By Tobi Fairley, Traditional Home

[post_ads]Before I work with any of my clients, I ask them to fill out an extensive questionnaire that lets me know how they use each room in their home, what their preferences are, and their likes and dislikes. It helps me create a design for a home that’s not only beautiful, but also really supports the way they live.

Below is a version of that questionnaire to help you determine exactly what you want and need for your kitchen renovation. Think carefully about your answers, and keep this handy as you work through your project.

Kitchen Preferences
  • What do you like and dislike about your current kitchen? Does it function well for your current culinary and storage needs?
  • Is it too large or too small? What isn’t working about it?
  • How many people in your family use your kitchen, and do they need to be in there at the same time? How tall are they? Are there special height considerations for anyone in your house—meaning anyone especially tall or not so tall?
  • Do you prefer lots of natural light in your space? Do you need new windows?
  • Do you love to cook? How do you cook most often—on the range? In the oven? With the microwave?
  • Do you use a lot of small appliances like a toaster, stand mixer, juicer, bread maker, pasta maker, blender, can opener, pizza maker or other countertop items?
  • Do you want a center island? Do you envision a large or small island? What would you like in the island? A sink, range, microwave, warming drawer, refrigeration, or other items?
  • Do you like to entertain? How many people use your kitchen at once while entertaining? Do all your guests gravitate here? Do you often use caterers or bring in chefs or other help in the kitchen while entertaining?
  • Do you eat meals in the kitchen? At a table or at the island/bar?
  • Do you prefer all counters to be the same height, or do you prefer a raised bar-height area?
  • Do you need a desk area or message center in your kitchen?
  • Do you need more storage? What do you need to store?
  • Do you need more work surfaces for food preparation?
  • Do you prefer an open concept kitchen with few walls, open to a family room or other public space? Or do you prefer an enclosed space so your kitchen is separate from other rooms? Do you know why you prefer this?
  • Do you have a lot of cookbooks that you need to store and have easy access to?
  • Do you need wine storage? How many bottles? Are they different types needing different temperature storage?
  • Does anyone in the family have physical restrictions or disabilities that need to be considered?
  • Is this remodel an investment for resale or do you plan to stay in this home forever or at least 10 years?
Kitchen Details
  • Appliances
    • Which appliances do you want to replace and/or upgrade? Are there any you’ll keep? What finish are they? Do they have custom cabinet panel fronts now? Do you like them? 
    • Do you like a specific brand of appliance? Does it change depending on the appliance (i.e. range vs. wall ovens vs. refrigeration)?  Do they require special electrical outlets or other wiring?
    • Do you prefer stainless appliances, a specific finish or color, or would you like them to be custom-paneled to match your cabinetry?
    • Do you prefer gas, electric, or induction for your cooktop? If you don’t know, do you need information on these types or a cooking demo on each?
    • Do you want an exposed/decorative range hood, or do you prefer hidden ventilation inside a custom cabinetry hood or even down-draft or a pop-up vent?
    • Would you like wall ovens or an integrated range with ovens underneath? Or do you want both?
    • Would you like special features on your range like a griddle, indoor grill, low-heat settings, or other specialty features?
    • Do you want a pot-filler over the stove? Do you know what this is?
    • Do you like an integrated refrigerator and freezer? Do you prefer side-by-side, freezer on top, or freezer on bottom?  Or would you prefer separate refrigerator and freezer columns? How much of both refrigeration and freezer space do you need?
    • Are there special considerations you want for your dishwasher, like large capacity, super-quiet, one with a china setting, etc.? Do you want two dishwashers so you have fewer dishes ending up in the sink or can wash a lot of dishes while entertaining?
    • Are there any extras you would really love to have, like a built-in coffee machine, a wine refrigerator, warming drawers, refrigerator drawers for drinks, an icemaker, a trash compactor, baking bins or drawers, baskets for bread or produce, or pullout trash and recycling centers? If you want an icemaker, what kind of ice do you prefer—crescent, cube, or pebble ice?
  • Counters
    • What materials do you prefer for your countertops—marble, natural stone, quartz, recycled glass, butcher block, soapstone, engineered stone (quartz), stainless steel, concrete, or something else? Do you need guidance on which to select and how durable they are? Would you like a mix of countertops?
    • Do you need to consider certain tasks and durability when choosing counters like chopping, heat-resistance for hot pots and pans, baking or kneading, or other special cooking activities?
    • Do you prefer to have counters completely clear of appliances and accessories when you are not using them?
    • Would you like an island, a wet bar, or a built-in china hutch to have a special countertop that is different from the main portion of the kitchen?
  • Cabinets
    • Do you prefer open shelves, solid cabinet doors, glass doors, or a combination? How much of each do you need? Do you like the look of glass but need a solution like frosted glass to hide clutter?
    • Have you considered the door and drawer styles that best fit your personal design style? These options range from raised panel to recessed panel to flush fronts and many options in between. They can be full overlay, which means you don’t see any of the base cabinets because the doors overlay the base. Or you can have standard overlay, which means you see some of the base cabinet behind and around the doors and drawers. There also is the option of inset cabinetry, which means doors and drawers are inset so the fronts are flush with the fronts of the cabinet base. Note: If you choose inset for upper cabinets, it can lessen the amount of depth you have in the cabinets for your plates. So make sure to measure your dishes and see if the diameter will fit with an inset style.
    • Do you want drawers as well as cabinets? How deep do the drawers need to be? What will you use them for—pots and pans? Spices? Utensils?
    • What color/finish cabinetry do you prefer—white, a more unique paint color, a wood stain, metal, or a combination?
    • Do you have any special needs for cabinet storage? (See below.)
  • Storage
    • Do you want special storage for knives, baking pans or ingredients, spices, pots, lids, cookbooks, plastic ware, mixing bowls, tableware (how many sets), glassware, or any other items?
    • Do you want your small appliances to be stored out of sight or on the counter? Do you want pullout/roll-out drawers or shelves behind your cabinet doors or in other areas for these items? Do you want a pop-up shelf inside a cabinet for your stand mixer? Do you want your coffeepot in a cabinet with a plug inside? Do you want it on a pullout shelf? Do you want your paper towel roll in a cubby under the counter? Do you want drawers (cut out around plumbing) or pullouts behind doors under your sink?
    • Would you like to have your microwave installed in the upper cabinetry, under the counter, sitting on the counter, as a micro-drawer under the counter, or hidden away in a cabinet, closet, or pantry?
    • Do you have a lot of serving items or dishes? Where will they be stored?
    • Do you recycle?
    • Do you want a separate pantry? Should it be included in part of the cabinetry or as a separate room/closet?
  • Floors
    • Do you prefer hardwood, tile, or other flooring? What finishes or colors do you like? What style—classic and traditional, retro, modern, transitional?
    • Do you prefer other materials like bamboo, marble, or cork flooring instead?
    • Do you need a rug or runner? Would you like a gel mat for comfort when you cook or prep meals in the kitchen?
  • Sinks
    • How many sinks do you prefer and what activities will they be used for (ie. main kitchen sink, vegetable prep sink, bar sink)?
    • Do you like undermount (installed under the countertop so there is no rim at the sink’s edge) or top-mount (also called self-rimming)? Do you want it to be an apron-front sink (also called farmhouse sink)?
    • Do you need a deep sink for large pots? Do you want a single bowl or double bowl? If double, do you want one side larger than the other?
    • How large of a disposal do you want? Note: I use mine a lot when entertaining, so I prefer a full 1 horsepower.
    • Do you want extras like an air switch (push button) for operating your disposal on the countertop, a water purifier or instant hot/cold spout, or a soap dispenser?
    • What type of faucet do you prefer? Some options include a bridge faucet, a two-handle with an 8-inch spread, or a single post with integrated sprayer on the spout.  Do you want an integrated or separate sprayer?
    • What finish of hardware and fixtures (faucet, pot-filler, etc.) do you prefer? Some options include polished brass, antiqued brass, brushed nickel, polished nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, chrome, or stainless steel.
  • Walls
    • Do you prefer a backsplash only at the sink or stove, or all around the cabinetry? Do you want it to be a 4-inch backsplash made of the same material as your counters or a decorative splash either matching your counter or accenting it, but continuing from counter to under the cabinets or even covering the entire wall? (I don’t recommend setting a decorative backsplash on top of a 4-inch splash.)
    • Do you have a preference of backsplash materials: marble, tile, stainless, etc.? There are many options in this category.
    • Do you want your wall color to match the cabinetry or be contrasting? Do you have a color palette in mind? Have you considered tile or wallpaper for the walls over paint? Again, so many options with the decorative finishing and wall choices.
    • Do you want your upper cabinetry to go all the way up to the ceiling? Or do you prefer either an open soffit or a closed one?
  • Electrical
    • Where would you prefer to have your electrical outlets? Do you need more than the standard amount required by building codes? Do you know where you’ll be using small appliances that require power? Have you considered hiding outlets underneath the upper cabinets either with a hardwired power outlet strip, undercounter lighting with outlets, or building a cavity in the base of the upper cabinets with room for junction boxes and standard electrical outlets? When investing in a beautiful and often expensive backsplash, I always choose hiding the outlets so they don’t interrupt the aesthetic.
    • What outlet style do you prefer—typical duplex, quad outlets (four plugs), or powerstrips? Would you like to have USB-capable outlets for tech devices?
    • Do you need or want dimmers on overhead or pendant fixtures? Are the light switches in the most convenient and functional locations or are there switches in multiple locations (three-way wiring)?
    • Do you want a TV in the kitchen? Or a charging station? Do you use an iPad or tablet for recipes? Do you need speakers in the kitchen?
    • What style of wall plates do you want? Digital for a smart home system, standard with either level or rocker switches? Have you thought of ordering custom-colored plates if you are using a unique paint color on the cabinetry? By code, most large islands must have outlets in them, so having white, almond, or brown boxes and plate covers (i.e. standard colors) can be unsightly on a unique color cabinet. Several vendors offer custom colors and a larger array of unique standard colors. These also work great for walls where a unique paint or wall treatment is being used. You can even consider acrylic plates for wallpapered areas.
    • Where do you need exhaust fans? Are you certain that you have heavy-duty (commercial-grade) ventilation if you are choosing a commercial grade range? Where are your HVAC air vents located—in the floor or ceiling, and in which areas of the kitchen?  Sometimes having them too close to a hot range can make the house cool too often if you cook all the time. But not having enough can make a kitchen overly hot and uncomfortable.
    • Where do you need task lighting? Do you prefer undercounter lighting?
    • Do you need a light over the sink? Over the range?
    • Will you have pendant lighting over an island or peninsula?
    • Have you planned for proper wiring and electrical for all your appliances throughout the kitchen including in the island?



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Lifestyle Magazine: Your Kitchen Questionnaire
Your Kitchen Questionnaire
Lifestyle Magazine
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