25 Tips to Get the Ultimate Kitchen

Get 25 can't-miss ideas for creating the ultimate kitchen, wine room, or butler's pantry from Rebekah Zaveloff, certified kitchen designer.

By Katharine L. Selzer


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back area with spice racks
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1. Highlight the Cooking Area

    Positioned to keep the chef focused on the cooking, this 48-inch-wide professional-grade range is flanked by countertops and spice storage. The range hood is made from fixed cabinet doors.

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2. Give Your Island Legs

    Zaveloff based the design of the furniture-look seating island on the kind of stainless-steel tables used in restaurant kitchens. "With a shelf on the bottom and no countertop overhang, you can pull up stools, put your feet on the shelf, and have space for your knees," she says.

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3. Combine Countertops

    Quartz-surfacing (shown on the back island) and two types of solid-surfacing -- all fabricated into 2 1/2-inch-thick countertops -- designate zones and create an "added over time" effect.

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4. Put Dishes Within Reach

    A wall-mount plate rack keeps everyday dinnerware close to the dishwasher.

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5. Set Up a Breakfast Station

    A tambour door that lifts like a rolltop desk hides a toaster and other breakfast supplies.

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6. Make a Statement

    With its vintage roots and 48-inch-wide basin, this utility sink adds function and fashion. A pair of faucets mounts to its integral backsplash for cleanup ease.

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7. Keep Essentials Close

    Borrowing a concept from the restaurant business, Zaveloff and her husband and business partner, Nick, devised this clever utensil organization system: countertop cutouts that hold metal bins in assorted sizes.

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8. Spotlight Your Work Area

    Wall-mount lights with a bronze finish illuminate the work sink.

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Add Function With Furniture

    9. Finesse with Furniture

    An antique China hutch inspired the look of this storage piece made from ordinary kitchen cabinetry.


    10. Mix Cabinetry Finishes

    To convey a feeling of informality, Zaveloff layered cabinetry in natural oak with two painted finishes: creamy white and amber.

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11. Store Food in Clear View

    "Food is the ultimate kitchen accessory," Zaveloff says. That's why she specified clear-glass cabinet doors for part of the pantry storage. Packaged goods sit within reach and add color and casualness.

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12. Create a Beverage Center

    Make it easy for guests to help themselves: Coffeemakers and accompanying supplies on this marble-look countertop team with an undercounter refrigerator and icemaker covered with cabinet panels.

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13. Put Your Cabinets to Work

    Maximize your cabinet space to hold the kitchen supplies you want to stow away. This pantry cabinet features rollout trays in the arched nook and swinging racks.

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14. Tuck Away the Microwave

    Hidden appliances avoid an overly industrial look. This kitchen's microwave oven found a surprising yet convenient home in its own niche behind a tambour door.

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15. Simplify Food Prep

    Zaveloff's version of mise en place -- a French term that refers to having all the ingredients prepared and ready to go before cooking begins -- turns the prep island into an efficient workhorse. Preparing ingredients and temporarily storing them in removable bins eases the cook's work once guests arrive.

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Fun & Functional Backsplash

    16. Choose an Artful Backsplash

    Glass tiles in a graphic mosaic pattern add sparkle to three walls of the kitchen.


    17. Install a Pot-Filler Faucet

    Eliminate lugging large pots of water to the range with a cold-water wall-mount faucet.

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Add Unique Touches

    18. Use Special Cabinet Features

    Modular cabinets designed to hold bottles and stemware create a custom look.


    19. Take Care of Your Wine

    Undercounter wine refrigerators keep bottles properly chilled in a small amount of space. Doors fitted with wooden frames integrate the appliances into the cabinets.

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20. Plan Seating for Guests

    Fuss-free antique French stools pull up to a granite-top table-style island.

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21. Add Flavor with Flooring

    Walnut planks with a sculpted surface run throughout the wine room and other spaces. Their finish and texture evoke images of timeworn European country kitchens.

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22. Showcase Your Hobby

    Install specialty shelving to highlight hobbies, such as vintage kitchen utensils, pottery, or one-of-a-kind bottles. Here, the wall of wine storage is undeniably dramatic.

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23. Add User-Friendly Areas

    Adding an adjacent powder room makes it easy for guests to do a quick touch-up during a casual gathering. Plus, the cook doesn't have to dash to another room to freshen up during food prep.

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Create Work Areas

    24. Define Work Zones

    One side of the butler's pantry -- which connects the kitchen and wine room -- is designed as a cleanup station with sink, dishwasher, and hidden recycling bins.


    25. Strive for Function with Style

    The wine room's dishwasher and apron-front sink are two examples of elements that combine good looks with hard work.

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