I don’t need to tell you how busy families are these days. It’s not uncommon to spend your day in a wild rush of work, sports, activities and homework, desperately trying to fit in a decent meal where possible. The purported reason for these built ins is to improve traffic flow and usability, but the real purpose is to minimize the time you spend yelling at your kids when they are underfoot, can’t find their sh*t and you need to be saved from losing your mommy-of-the-year award. I’ve broken them into common daily activities for quick reference. Consider this your life raft if your sanity needs saving.
#1 Organize Your Life With a Built In Command Centre
Kitchens tend to be a heavy traffic area, hosting a multitude of activities including cooking and meal times, never ending snacks, entertaining and homework. Next to sleeping, it’s the space we spend the most time in the family home which makes it the ideal place to organize the family schedule, homework and all the various balls that parents juggle. A great alternative to the traditional desk area, this built in message centre serves as a space efficient hide-away for mail storage and schedules, as well as providing a place to leave messages and store keys. No more hunting down Billy’s field trip permission slip the morning of!
#2 Feed Fido with a Gorgeous Built In Pet Station
Pets are an important part of many families and we quite literally don’t want to forget them. They rely on their pack (us) to make sure they’re fed and watered before we rush out the door to conquer the day. Having their food, treats and bowls built in to the kitchen ensures that when we’re having breakfast, they can be too. This beautiful kitchen island built in that houses their food and water bowls makes feeding them both convenient and pretty.
#3 Make it Easy to Snack with an Under-counter Microwave
One way to eliminate the crazy’s that come from having to get the littles another snack, is by making it easy for them to get it themselves. I know this isn’t particularly sexy, but it is damned handy…the under-counter microwave. For families with young children, it means no more crawling on the countertop for them to warm up food or make popcorn. To add more bang for your buck, pair this with a snack station in the vicinity so growing bodies can feed themselves without being underfoot. For past clients, we have built entire stations with refrigerated drawers as well – especially good for teenagers who can’t get in and out fast enough.
PS This is in no way a promise that they won’t still stand there asking what there is to eat while staring into the fridge vacantly for the 100th time.
4. Recharge Electronics with a Charging Drawer
How many devices does the typical household have do you ask? That might depend on the household, but Statistics Canada says over 86% of Canadians own a smartphone and nearly all Canadians under the age of 45 use the internet daily. That means, families could really benefit from a charging drawer where all the devices can be both found and charged for use. It creates a clutter free zone and does away with messy cords and mad searches for the last place your 13-year old put down their cell phone or IPad. Both a time saver and tidy. It is also a great place to store those “privileges” that may have temporarily been lost.
5. Make it Easier to Cook with an Appliance Lift
You name the appliance and I’ll name the reasons you don’t want to see it sitting on your countertop constantly. The reason show homes are so fabulous is that they lack the muss and fuss of daily life. That being said, you never know when an emergency batch of cookies might need to be whipped up for the bake sale your precious darling forgot to tell you about and those food processors are stinking heavy. What to do? They’ll know if you bought them… Frequent use of an appliance and way too many bake sales are the precise reasons I wholeheartedly believe in appliance lifts.
6. Make Recycling a Breeze with a Built-In Pull Out
Every kid needs a chore or two. This makes it easy for them AND for us when they forget. Although this has become more common in new kitchens, enough cannot be said about this inexpensive add on. Who needs to be running back and forth from the kitchen to the mudroom or garage to deal with the recycling? Or having it collect on your countertop until someone finally gets around to handling it when you can have up to four large size bins at your fingertips? It’s neat, it’s convenient, and there’s at least a 50-50 chance of not having to yell at our kids to do it.
7. Unwind at the End of the Day with Your Very Own Wine Fridge
I saved the best for last. The reward at the end of the day – a glass of wine (or beverage of choice). No kitchen is complete in my books without the beverage fridge. I’m not that boozy, but sometimes the only adult time I get with my husband is an hour at the end of the day to watch a sit-com and a glass of wine to go with is my way of celebrating the little victories. If you’d rather celebrate your day by doing some hardcore cross-fit, then by all means, put your protein shake in there. Who am I to judge?
Next week on the blog: Ask an Expert: What is My Interior Design Style?
Until next time,