Belvedere Kitchen Event

On September 12, Shan and Bethany Jenkins – owners of Jenkins Custom Homes – hosted a kitchen event at the Belvedere Community on Hamilton Pool Road. The event was well-attended and the response, overwhelming! Several of the attendees requested a copy of the seminar notes so here is an overview of what was discussed.

Good Kitchen Design

There are many facets to good kitchen design. At Jenkins, we have a copyrighted “Lifestyle Analysis” process for designing your home that starts by asking questions about how you plan to live in the spaces of your home and ends with a home designed around your personal lifestyle. Here is a modification of that system of design, brought to the scale of just the kitchen.

What Type Of Cook Are You?

No matter who is doing the cooking in the family, they definitely have a cooking style. Is it typically either the “quick and easy cook” or the “serious chef”. If you find yourself constantly trying out new recipes from the Food Network, you are probably the “serious chef”. The “serious chef” needs more appliances, solid-surface counters, and plenty of workspace; whereas, the “quick and easy cook” needs a kitchen that is functional but also easy to clean.

“Kitchen Behind The Kitchen”

The “kitchen behind the kitchen” – or the “back kitchen” as it is also known – is a popular trend right now. The “back kitchen” can be used for food preparation and can contain the mixer and blender, a refrigerator, a microwave, and even an oven so that even the most “serious chef” – or even those who prefer to “grab it and go” – can make a mess without worrying about the company seeing it. For those who prefer to have events catered, this is a great location for the caterers to set up their service.


Entertaining is multifaceted. First, ask yourself “How often do I entertain”? If it’s twice a year for your relatives, then you really only need to consider the re-sale value of the home when designing your space and not focus too much on the entertaining aspect. If you entertain once a month or so, you may want to give it a little more thought. For instance, when you entertain, is your cooking part of the evening’s entertainment or does the cooking take place before everyone arrives? Also, do you typically entertain indoors or outdoors – or both? The answers to these questions will help determine the size and shape of the island, the proximity to the outdoor kitchen, as well as the amount of space needed between the sink, refrigerator, and primary work space. It also may dictate that you really need two sinks and possibly two dishwashers. Ask yourself “How many guests will I have at once and what ages will they be?”. Think about where you might put a bartender if you have a really large party.


Another important question to ask yourself is “How many cooks are typically in our kitchen at once?”. Will you need one workspace or two? More and more families are cooking together, and that means you need more space, both in terms of workspace and work flow within the kitchen. Other questions you need to consider are “How many people would you like to seat at the bar or island?” and “Do you plan to have a separate breakfast table?”. Each situation is different, and only you know yours.


When planning your kitchen, you need to establish a style that leads you toward a particular end product. Zig Ziglar has said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” So ask yourself “What one keyword describes your vision for this space?”. Is it “inviting” or is it “clean” or maybe “Tuscan” or “commercial”? What type of sink and plumbing fixtures fit into your vision? Do you imagine a copper sink with copper plumbing fixtures? Or is does your vision include an undermount sink with sleek clean lines and stainless steel fixtures? Only you know how you want the kitchen to look, and defining that vision will help you determine the materials you will use, the stain or paint colors, and any “wow factors” that you may want to add. It all depends on that vision.


We always recommend Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances to our clients. They were recently chosen #1 by J.D. Power and Associates, plus we have found them to have the absolute best performance and look for the kitchens we design. However, choosing a cook top or range and refrigerator is just the beginning. Think through all the possibilities for kitchen appliances. For instance, the microwave – do you want a microwave drawer, or do you prefer the more traditional unit? Or consider the refrigerator – are you a Sam’s or Costco fanatic? Then, you may need the 48″ Sub-Zero. You can never have enough refrigerator space! Then there is the oven and cook top – do you want a double wall oven with a stand-alone cook top, or an all-in-one range unit? This decision is really just about your personal preference and not so much a performance issue, but it is a decision you must make nonetheless. Even something as minor as the ice maker deserves consideration. How much ice will you need for your parties? Is the ice maker in your Sub-Zero enough, or do you need more than that? Do you require wine refrigerator, and if so, is under-counter enough or will you need a full sized unit? Do you need one dishwasher or two? What about a warming drawer or pizza oven or perhaps a trash compactor? For even more options, see your local Kiva Kitchen & Bath representative.

Access And Flow

Do you want the kitchen to be the hub of your home? Do you want it to be open to the great room? Some people don’t want anyone walking in the front door to be able to see into the kitchen. Think about whether that is important to you. Others want the kitchen to be open to the great room and like people to feel invited to come into the kitchen right away. These are just a few of the things to consider in terms of access and flow.

Making It Yours

The bottom line is that when you design your kitchen, you will never regret the time and effort you spend making it yours. Your kitchen should reflect your family, your lifestyle and your vision. When it does, you will be living your dream.

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