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Published: Thursday, 2/17/2005

Joan Kohn Designs Kitchens

Joan hopes to give people the confidence to make decisions to do something beautiful for themselves.

After 12 years as host, writer and associate producer of HGTV s Kitchen Design series, you could say that Joan Kohn knows something about designing and remodeling kitchens. In her first book, Joan Kohn s It s Your Kitchen: Over 100 Inspirational Kitchens, she states boldly that every beautiful kitchen begins with a vivid dream. Let your imagination soar!

Although remodeling your kitchen is probably the most complex and challenging project you could tackle, Ms. Kohn believes that s where you should start. She explains, When you set out to remodel your kitchen, you learn everything you need to know and do to take on any other room in or addition to your house. There are so many decisions to make.

You should consider budget, style, assessing the existing kitchen, and working with a design team to cover function, space, floor plans, and your own personal touch.

No matter what your particular kitchen situation is, if the common denominator is that there is not enough space for all your great big kitchen design ideas, Joan has ten ideas to help:

1. Explore the spaces around, above and below your kitchen to discover where you can borrow space. For example, unused halls, closets, attics and stairwells can find new life and purpose as part of your new kitchen. Share space visually with adjoining rooms by eliminating unnecessary walls or narrow doorways.

2. Use architectural elements such as moldings, pilasters, rosettes, dado, and niches to add stature to your kitchen. Make certain that these elements are scaled to fit into the style and design of your home.

3. A key element in any kitchen is to have ample general light, excellent task light, and just enough accent light to make it beautiful. Wherever you can, use skylights, glazed transoms, clerestory windows, and translucent doors to let in natural light. Also, mirrors and other reflective surfaces visually enlarge your room.

4. Expand your space at eye level. Open shelves and glazed cabinet doors allow a kitchen to look as large as it really is.

5. Don t take any space for granted. Fill unused refrigerator shelves with canned goods. If you rarely use your dishwasher, use it to store serving trays and other service items.

6. Use standard upper cabinets as base cabinets wherever you can to save space and make your kitchen feel larger.

7. Round corners wherever you can.

8. Invent new spaces. For example, you can create one-can-deep pantries between the studs in your kitchen walls and an empty windowsill can become your herb garden.

9. When only one of any item will do, don t buy two. Whenever possible, make choices that double-function. Fill a water pitcher with flowers. Glass dishes can be used for both casual and formal settings. Less stuff means less storage space is required.

10. Now you can find multi-functional kitchen equipment that will fit your cooking style and your available space.

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