Guide to Dream Kitchen


This page is dedicated especially for those ladies who have yet to own their own kitchen or are planning or about to have one and don’t really know where to start.

To my unmarried sisters, I am sure you will look at this blog for information later, when you have started your married lives and creating your own little heaven called home.

I have always dreamed of having my own kitchen and when the time came for me to own one, I made preparations the moment I saw the space of my kitchen-to-be.

I hope the information derived from my own personal experiences and endeavours that I am sharing on this page will provide some help and somehow provide you with knowledge and ideas to help bringing about your own dream kitchen. Sometimes, it is nice that somebody else have done all the hard thinking so that you don't have to! :)


Before anything else, get a floor plan of your flat or house. For Singaporeans, if you are buying a HDB flat, you can purchase floor plans from HDB website with a small fee of about SGD5.00. Floor plans are very important. By looking at your floor plan, you plan what you want to have on your floor area e.g. placing what on which part of or where in your kitchen.

You will be luckier than most people if you get to have a squared kitchen area. You will be able to have an island in the middle of your kitchen. However, if you do not have a square shaped kitchen, you can still make proper planning to maximize use of your kitchen space thereby achieving convenience whenever and wherever you are in your kitchen.

What follows may be a bit tedious but trust me, it will help you to have an organised, clutter free and a “where I always wanna be” kitchen.

1) Do an inventory of the kitchen items that you have which will be placed for storage and/or for use. Also do an inventory of the items that you plan to have or plan to buy for your future use in the kitchen.

2) Keep only what you need. Get rid of all the items which no longer work and give or sell away those that you no longer use as all these items will take up and waste useful space or storage.

3) Make a list of all the remaining items that you now have and slot them in their categories for eg. General Cleaning Supplies, Kitchen Cleaning Supplies, Preparation Items, Sink/Washing Items, Cooking Items, Bulky Items and Rarely Used Items for Storage, Serving Items, Pantry or Dry Food Items, etc.

4) Then, decide where you want or where you should have in your kitchen, the space catered for the categories above as these spaces will store the items in those categories. For example, in my case, I put all general cleaning solutions and laundry detergents in one shelf, stock of all toiletries and cleaning supplies in another shelf and pails and buckets in yet another shelf of my storage cabinet at the area nearest my washing machine and bathroom. This would also help you create a clutter free bathroom. Detergents and cleaning supplies for utensils and cutleries and kitchen area would occupy the cabinet under the sink etc. Cooking utensils would naturally be stored at the shelves near the preparation and cooking area, cutleries near the serving area, food items, zip-lock bags, aluminium foils and average sized food containers for daily use are stored in the pantry cupboard nearest my serving and fridge area. Items that are seldom used or utilised will be stored in the topmost compartments and areas of the cabinets. System and Organisation is the key to easy access so you know where everything is and whenever you are not around, everyone else at home knows where everything is.


My pantry cupboard is the one beside the fridge near the cooking and serving area (the island).
 

The top most shelf is where I placed all the daily used tupperwares, food containers, foils and zip-locks. I installed racks on the upper doors of my pantry cupboard to maximise space usage and for a more organised storage. I leave the lower doors of the pantry cupboard as it is and I made the spaces between the shelves higher to accommodate storage for bigger items like drink cartons, rice bags, cooking oils etc.


Cooking utensils at the right side drawer of my cooking area.


Cooking utensils at the left side drawer of my cooking area.
   

The cabinets beside my washing machine and dryer are the ones I used to store my items in the pictures below.
 

Stock of toiletries, detergents and general cleaning supplies in upper compartments.


 Kitchen towels, floor mats, buckets and pails in the lower compartments.



Kitchen apparatus' cleaning supplies in the cabinet below the kitchen sink.

5) Once the above is done, decide what and how you would like to have as a matter of convenience and personal preference in order to be able to carry out your duties in your kitchen. For example, the design of your cabinets, whether you want to have bi-fold doors or corner racks for the corner areas of your kitchen cabinet (I had them for mine); pull out or slide out racks or casement doors or drawers for the bottom cabinets; lighting points and power points in and around your cabinets, etc.

6) Surf the net for design ideas and storage methods specific to your needs and your use (e.g. I got ideas for my kitchen cabinet designs and storage methods by viewing pictures available at Houzz.com). Include them in your design planning (you can ask your renovation contractor to give you what you want by providing them with pictures of the designs that you would like to have for your cabinets as that was what I did for mine!!).


For my left lower corner cabinets, I decided to install a bifold door.


This gives a wider space for me to keep and access small or big items in storage in my corner cabinets.


For my lower right corner cabinets, i decided to install a corner rack as below.


This gives me the space to store all pot and pan lids in one place and provide easy access.


I installed a standing spice cabinet on my granite top at the left corner of my cooking area as above.


This allows me to keep my counter top tidy and my spices are hidden from view yet easily accessible during cooking.

7) I would advise not to leave the designing of your kitchen cabinets, compartments or areas solely to your contractor as the one who will ultimately be utilising the cabinets is you and you should be the one to decide where and how high or wide your cabinet compartments, areas or shelves should be.

8) Then, depending on your usage, durability and budget, decide on the kind of materials you want for your cabinets, e.g. nyatoh, oak, laminate. Granite, marble or solid for your cabinet top (if you are using granite or marble do demand that your top is protected with a sealant as some contractors will only do so upon request). Depending also on your budget and preference, cheap or expensive or designer accessories (e.g. knobs or handles, sink, tap, oven, hood and hob for your cabinets). Remember to ask if these items come in a package from the renovation contractor or supplier or do you want to hunt for them yourselves.

9) Dare to be different. You don’t have to follow the trend of what is in. Sometimes what is in trend may not be practical for your use or needs. Choose what you like and is affordable, unique and convenient to you. Sometimes it will look even more classy and elegant than what is in trend.

10) Allow some space or area for your favourite or decorative items around your kitchen wall and cabinet areas (eg. pictures, plants or plates!!), if you can. It adds cosiness and extra view whenever you are in your kitchen.


11) If you are doing up new wall tiles and floorings, do think of durability. If you can afford it, consider paying a slightly higher price for good stuff. If your budget does not permit, you can still go for durable tiles with nice designs at a cheaper price. You will be surprised at how the done up area will look once all tiles are laid up. You can also have a mix of higher and lower priced tiles in a particular area to add a bit of expensive or classy look. You might also choose to put up unique, expensive and classy tiles in just one particular room. Play around with what you want and your budget.

12) Get quotations from at least three different contractors before you appoint the one you like. Famous renovation contractors may not in the end give you what you want or live up to your expectations as they handle many projects at one time (trust me on this and I am not going to mention names but a relation to my relatives have had a terrible experience with a well known renovation contractor). An average or even a “small fry” renovation contractor can live up to your expectations or give you a better looking home. Their prices will definitely vary and so do the varieties and qualities of products and workmanship (I went for all at the same time so both my husband and I had a lot of headaches!!). Weigh your options and decide where you are willing to give and take or compromise. However there are some contractors who provide cheap products and workmanship at higher prices. So it is really important that you ask about the materials used, where they are from and what are the costs involved to suit your personal and budget preference. Google every single bit of information the contractors provide you so that you know that they know that you know what they are talking about and they will be honest with you.

13) Last but not least, expect hiccups in the renovation process. Mostly everybody goes through this. You will have heartaches and headaches here and there. Just remember that if something does not turn out as expected, get it re-done if no compromise can be reached. Just make sure you get what you paid for.

I hope the above are of help and may you get to kitchen-ing in your dream kitchen soon!!

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