• Ashley Harrison

THE FUNCTIONAL KITCHEN

Updated: Feb 18, 2018

Creating a functional, practical, beautiful space with elements that make sense for everyday life.

Above- Double ovens, dual dishwashers, trash compactor, built-in paper towel holder, roll out recycle bins, hidden microwave, etc.

What's on your kitchen "must have" list?

As a mom and wife, I spend (what feels like my LIFE) in the kitchen. Over the years I've learned what I need, and what I can do without. Knowing myself, and the things I like to use, helped me develop a "must have" list.

My must have's:

-Double Ovens

-A trash compactor

-Drawer microwave

-Built-in paper towel older

-Pull out recycle bins

-Under cabinet lights

-Under cabinet outlets

-Pot and pan drawers

-Cabinets to the ceiling

-Library ladder

-Apron front sink

-Pot filler

-Refrigerator drawers


It's a lengthy list, but a step back from what my original list looked like. I originally wanted to layout the kitchen completely different, and have TWO kitchen islands. One island for prep and kitchen work, and another for entertaining and gathering around. I still wish we could have done it, but space restrictions took that option off the table.


I took the want list and worked with our cabinet makers to design specifically, how we would work it all in.


A "want list" is great, but the layout is KEY!

“Kitchens should be designed around what's truly important- Fun, Food, and Life." -Daniel Boulud (chef/restaurateur

Only YOU know how you work in your kitchen. Designing that space is more about designing around how you live, than anything else. When you've lived through a kitchen layout, that was less than desirable, you learn quickly what you don't want, giving you the insight to design better the second time around.


In this kitchen, it was key for me to have the trash and recycle bins as close to the end of the kitchen as possible. How many times (while you're trying to cook dinner) are the kids coming in and out of the kitchen to access the trash. Instead of having to ask them to, "get out of the kitchen", over and over again, put the can as far away from your working triangle as possible.


Above- The end of the island is the trash compactor, next to it the roll out recycle bin, with built-in paper towel holder above.


"Mom, I need a drink, Mom, I need to get some water, Mom, can I get some milk". As much as I want the kids to stay hydrated, I don't want them in my refrigerator while I'm cooking. One of the best investments we ever made was refrigerator drawers. I keep the bottom drawer stocked with small water bottles, capri suns, chocolate milks, gatorade, etc. The drawers are actually outside of my kitchen, in a beverage center area, but they could be placed anywhere, anywhere OUTSIDE of the working triangle. Give the kids the access to drinks they want, without interfering with meal time prep. In fact, it's not even all about the kids, the top drawer is always stocked for adults with flavored water, water bottles, or beer (if we are entertaining).


Above, is the beverage station with coffee pot, wine refrigerator and beverage drawers for waters and kids drinks.

Consider the unexpected, and set your kitchen apart from the rest

“Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.”

We knew a traditional kitchen would fit best with our classic style home, but we're also a very casual family, so ensuring the kitchen felt inviting, was key for us. We blended timeless white cabinets, with vintage style cup pulls/latches, and added reclaimed hardwood floors and range hood to bring the casual vibe. We tied this space together by mixing metals and adding the unexpected, a library ladder. The ladder is an actual functioning piece of the kitchen, detaches from the rail and can be moved around, and has a hanging place of rest, when it's not in use. Our kitchen is unique, classic, traditional, and vintage all wrapped in one, but more than anything it's a high functioning space that I can say functions as hoped on most days.


Now go and get your design on!



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