Books about kitchen design

marvelousmarvinApril 28, 2013

Any recommendations for some good books or sources about kitchen design?

I checked out a bunch of kitchen books from the library. But, most of them were just pretty pictures of kitchens and they really don't explain or teach kitchen design. And, that becomes a problem because those kitchens become dated if there's no underlying sense of good design. Some of those books were from 2000s, and those kitchens are already dated.

I'm looking for a book that has more than just pretty pictures of what's popular for kitchens today. I want a book that really explains why this design choice is better than than design choice. I don't just want a pretty kitchen- I also want a functional, smartly designed kitchen.

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marvelousmarvin

Has everybody read Julie Krasner's book, Kitchens for Cooks: Planning Your Perfect Kitchen?

I'm not that big of a cook, but I like the idea about not just creating a pretty book but the the book is from the 90s so I don't know if its already out of date.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:11PM
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eleena

Kelly's Kitchen Sync by Kelly Morisseau is pretty good if you are just starting.

I wish I had known about it earlier. By the time I read, I knew 95% of the info from this forum and by thinking hard and figuring out things on my own - which was extremely time-consuming. I am sure it'd have saved me a lot of time.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:22PM
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jakuvall

"Kitchen design with cooking in mind" by Silvers
Some good thoughts in "A Pattern Language" by Alexander but only a small section specific to kitchens.
Blum and Jenn Air have some on the web, also search "Ellen Cheever"

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:26PM
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live_wire_oak

If you want a functional kitchen, concentrate on the NKBA guidelines. All of the rest is pretty much interior design fashion fluffery. Yes, it's what people notice and see but it's also mostly what becomes dated. The layout itself doesn't become dated, and a functional kitchen remains a functional kitchen long after the 70's orange laminate counters have come full circle as retro and then gone again in popularity.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:34PM
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jakuvall

Live wire- while I agree that the NKBA guides are a starting point there is more to function than they offer. All the sources I mentioned concentrate on function, only Cheever covers style and not much. Some of Silvers disagrees with the NKBA, minor and take with salt.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Most of what's been suggested is beyond what most people would ever be interested in for more than about 10 minutes unless they are engineers or other geeks.

If you want a functional kitchen, your best bet is to engage the services of a kitchen designer who also cooks. You'll get all of the practical education that you actually need and still be able to go on with the rest of your life without your head containing a lot of information that you will never ever use again.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:59PM
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oldbat2be

Don Silvers' book was one of my key resources in designing our kitchen. Buy it and read it. One of his key points was that the kitchen should be all about your appliances (paraphrased poorly, I am sure). Put your money in those and plan the kitchen around them. I love my inset composter, recycling center, great hood, gas cooktop, baking center, beverage station, sorry, will stop now. Wish I'd put in a warming drawer and rice cooker. Anything you build in, you'll appreciate so much later. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 4:15PM
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debrak_2008

I remember getting out so many books from the library. Most had nothing worthwhile in them. I did enjoy and learn a lot from Fine Homebuilding annual kitchen and bath issues. You can get back issues at your library.

As my DH has said "Don't you get the best ideas/info from GW?"

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 5:02PM
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cawaps

I agree that focusing on layout and functional design is your best bet, but I don't entirely agree that "The layout itself doesn't become dated." (live_wire_oak). There are clearly trends in layouts (although I don't think that they ever swing as far out of fashion as colors and materials do). The kitchen table of the 20s gave way to the peninsula (and open floor plans) of the 60s gave way to the de rigeur islands of today. And appliance trends affected layouts, like the shift away from ranges to cooktop/wall ovens that happened in the mid-century period.

I guess I'm saying that layouts (good, bad, or indifferent) aren't timeless. But an out-of-vogue (note I don't say out of date) layout has never been viewed with the same negativity as out-of-date colors, materials, or styles.

This post was edited by cawaps on Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 13:03

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 7:05PM
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elofgren

Don't ignore older books when you're at the library. I found a great one about remodeling published by This Old House - the picture on the front was a dated 80s kitchen but the information inside was still really good.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:07PM
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marvelousmarvin

[QUOTE]As my DH has said "Don't you get the best ideas/info from GW?"[/QUOTE]

But, there's so many posts here so how do you know which one to read unless you read every single one? I thought a book or two might be more manageable because it would have all the information at one source.

Are there any specific threads that one would recommend for my situation?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:45AM
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marvelousmarvin

I tried looking for some of the recommended sources.

My library doesn't carry Fine Homebuilding magazine. And, the Silvers book is out of stock. I didn't get Patterns of Language, but I've read Susan Sanaka's book before which I think shares some of the same ideas. Although, I don't recall anything about kitchens.

Amazon carries Kelly's Kitchen Sync, but no local bookstores carries it so I can't preview it first before it buy it. It gets good ratings on Amazon, but so do most of the kitchen design books sold on Amazon.

And, these books get high ratings because they have pretty pictures even if there are some fundamental flaws in the kitchens- there's not enough space next to the range and examples like that.

I just want a book that steers you away from mistakes that you won't realize until after its too late. When I put in the porcelain floor tiles in the kitchen and dining room, I was thinking those porcelain tiles were going to less hassle and more durable than travertine or other stones.

But, it wasn't till the dishwasher broke that I realized that the porcelain tiles were taller than the previous flooring so there wasn't enough clearance to get the dishwasher out. And, it wasn't till it was too late that I realized how dirty the grout between those tiles got and the installer should have used much thinner grout lines or an epoxy grout to minimize that dirt.

Or, did I install porcelain tiles that are too big? When I installed them, I noticed that everybody else was putting in large porcelain tiles. But, were those tiles too big in a smaller kitchen like mine?

You just assume that the installer or neighbor knows what they're doing but I don't think most people really think about that at all- they just see what somebody else is doing and copy that even if those choices don't necessairly make sense for their kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:01AM
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debrak_2008

One of the reasons GW is so useful it that it is real world experiences. Many books don't offer that.

When I first started here I did read every post. Then focused on threads related to items of interest (such as tile floors, or whatever). What you said in your last paragraph (last post) is so true. Your DW story is not unique. I have seen reminders posted here telling others not to "lock in" the DW. That is why this forum is so valuable.

edited for spelling

This post was edited by debrak_2008 on Wed, May 1, 13 at 12:19

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:06AM
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rosie

I think the very best books to "steer one away from mistakes" one won't realize are the ones that don't even bother to discuss how high to set outlets above the counter.

After the huge problems that come with not knowing one's own likes well enough to make decisions, being cripplingly en thrall to fads and fashion, needing rules even if they don't fit, and not understanding the future well enough to plan for it, I believe by far the biggest, most serious mistakes come from skipping the basic space and structure issues, including considering a kitchen's appropriate form as part of the entire home. "If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?" :) Well, if the "cliff" means doing something because everyone else is, yes.

And there's the irresponsible and pound-foolish syndrome. Too many people refuse to even begin considering moving plumbing or a doorway, bypassing all the basic stuff so they can move as quickly as possible to the fun shopping part.

BTW, it's been a while since I read "A Pattern Language," but it's about as basic as you can get. As I recall, those fellows strongly believed the family table should be smack in the middle of the kitchen for those important social reasons that are even more basic than structure.

On another tack, boy do I disagree entirely with Don Silvers reported notion that it's about the appliances, that the big investment should be in appliances. We're wheeling something in on a dolly and setting it in place, not marrying it. The appliances we would choose will be different tomorrow than they were yesterday, including space and other requirements; they have functional depreciation built in (and that includes style--just think of those bumpy white refrigerator finishes); and here's a biggie--mid and lower range may not impress anyone but they tend to work very well. Plus, these days, if we care to change styles with them, or upgrade, we can very easily wheel the current out and wheel in new or used to replace--if the layout will accommodate a new size.

For me, it's all about the basic space, and then the layout within it. Those are what have to be lived with. If it doesn't please a person to walk in and just be there, if it doesn't feel right as part of the whole house before a single cabinet is bolted to the wall, time to start figuring out why. And when it's finished, if the layout is really right, the kitchen will continue to please long after its newness and trendiness are just a memory.

A Pattern Language is very worth reading for stoking up the old brain and encouraging us to examine what for many will turn out to be an overstuffed closet full of unexamined assumptions.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:31AM
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mrspete

I don't have any suggestions, but I'd also like a "This is how to do a kitchen" book. I think the truth is that we have so many options when it comes to kitchens that we cannot find them all in one place.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:37AM
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debrak_2008

A really good book on how to do a kitchen would be boring to most people. It would not have flashy photos of kitchens but would focus on things like outlet placement. A combo of NKBA guidelines and the best of GW.

Have you read the "new to kitchens ..." thread posted by buehl? Not the sticky note by tamara. If not, read it.

rosie, you hit the nail on the head "And there's the irresponsible and pound-foolish syndrome. Too many people refuse to even begin considering moving plumbing or a doorway, bypassing all the basic stuff so they can move as quickly as possible to the fun shopping part." That has been a pet peeve of mine lately. So many posting "can't move the ...." why? I understand houses on slabs can be difficult but those on crawlspaces or basements are not. They will spend thousands on high end appliances or granite but will not spend a few hundred to move a sink.

Let's all write the ultimate kitchen book. For the title, I suggest, "It's all about the layout.....". Actually that should be the first chapter.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:38PM
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beekeeperswife

I 2nd Kelly's Kitchen Sync.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen sync

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:45PM
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rosie

That looks like a good book, Beekeepers, thanks. I just checked out her blog, and stored it.

Debrak, it can be the first chapter, but something more marketable will be needed for the title. How about something like: Totally Kitchen Obsessed: The Accumulated Whims and Wisdom of tHE kICHEN fORUM That Can't be Named?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:52PM
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debrak_2008

Rosie, I love it!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:28PM
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wekick

Another vote for Silvers book. You can buy it very inexpensively online. He also has a book on appliances. I used many of his creative ideas for the layout of my kitchen and it has worked out very well. You can find the table of contents online.

I would buy as many of these books as you think you can read. The investment is minimal compared to the cost of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:32PM
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scrappy25

3rd Kelly's kitchen sync. She does cover common mistakes and things to watch out for. Her blog is great too.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 12:21AM
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marvelousmarvin

[QUOTE]3rd Kelly's kitchen sync. She does cover common mistakes and things to watch out for. Her blog is great too.[/QUOTE]

If I read through her Kelly Kitchen sync blog, what else does her book cover that's not already in her blog?

If I could buy it at a local store, I'd buy it. But, I'm a bit hesitant to buy it on Amazon because my computer has some spyware or something on it so I'd rather not type my credit card info onto my computer.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:40AM
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marvelousmarvin

[QUOTE]Have you read the "new to kitchens ..." thread posted by buehl? Not the sticky note by tamara. If not, read it.[/QUOTE]

Is it this one?

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0113085611257.html?150

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:58AM
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debrak_2008

Yes thats it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 6:53AM
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Angie_DIY

I'll 4th Kelly's Kitchen Sync. And marvin, you know that you CAN walk into a brick and mortar bookstore and have them order a book, right?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:12AM
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