Remodel with Guests in Mind

Once a big holiday has passed, you no doubt recognize all of the ways your kitchen isn’t keeping up. Maybe there’s not enough seating, or there’s no counter space. Maybe there’s nowhere to move around, or to serve.

To help your memory, take an inventory of your kitchen right now, says Megan Lebar, designer at Blue Ribbon Millwork, in Woodstock. Note down your serving patterns, important equipment and other details. This information provides essential clues to your designer.

If digging around in base cabinets is a problem, rollout shelves and deep drawers provide a good alternative. If storage is an issue, drawer accessories or specialty cabinets will help.

Designers ultimately seek to match up everyday uses with a family’s entertaining habits. Often, what’s good for one will help the other – like when the family hosts a chili cook-off. Power outlets hidden under the counter work great for warming up Crock-Pots but they’re also helpful at homework time.

Coffee bars offer a similar benefit.

“For the holidays, you fill it up with drinks and appetizers for your guests,” says Kelsey Bechtel, designer at Blue Ribbon Millwork. “But when you’re not using it for parties you fill it with juice boxes, snacks for the kids, extra grab-and-go drinks.”

Midwestern winters put a damper on outdoor gatherings, but the rest of the year it’s common to find people enjoying their pool deck, patio, sunroom, outdoor kitchen – or some combination of these.

Nowadays, these spaces come with outdoor-grade cabinetry and appliances that sit out year-round. Add a few other touches and watch it blend with the rest of the house.

“Marvin makes these patio doors that are about 12 feet long and open accordion-style,” says Lebar. “If you add that to a three-season room off the kitchen, your living room just doubled. You can open that up and it’s an extension into the family room.”

Blue Ribbon Millwork is located at 1401 S. Eastwood, in Woodstock, (815) 338-8900.