Books and Magazines
A good way to build a library of features you want is to cull magazines and books. Don't worry if the kitchens you see seem unrealistic for your budget. Some feature high-end appliances and enough pink granite for a small patio. But substitute high-quality, moderately priced appliances and laminate for granite, and the same kitchen offers solid design ideas for just about anyone.
Magazines, such as This Old House routinely feature kitchen design information. In addition, there are even more specialized publications that cover the topic.
Designer Kitchens & Baths and Kitchens emphasize high-end work and top-quality appliances and materials. Advertising is limited. Kitchens represents a wide variety of styles, and the front part of the magazine features helpful articles on faucets, stoves, ventilation and related topics.
Signature Kitchens & Baths provides articles on counters, appliances, choosing a designer and related topics as well as photos and text describing high-end kitchens. Also included is a directory of manufacturers.
The annual Fine Homebuilding Kitchens & Baths provides a heavier dose of technical information than many consumer magazines. It also offers tips on design, lighting, cabinets and appliances, with product reviews submitted by readers.
Special-interest publications, published by several magazines, provide a number of kitchen styles and ideas. Collect ideas by tearing out pages from these publications and starting a file.
Books frequently mentioned by pro designers:
The Kitchen Idea Book, by Joanne Kellar Bouknight, presents hundreds of photographs showing all kinds of kitchen styles, what the author calls "a cookbook of kitchen details." Scattered throughout the book are short backgrounders on such topics as cabinet and door types, cabinet accessories, shelf supports, solid-surface edge treatments and backsplashes. The tone is friendly and knowledgeable. At the back is an excellent list of other resources.
The Smart Kitchen, by David Goldbeck, is a sturdy brown shoe of a book: no color photos, lots of text and very simple drawings. The subtitle sums it up: "How to design a comfortable, safe, energy-efficient and environment-friendly workspace." Essential information, not fluff.
Kitchens offers mini-tours of kitchens that author Chris Casson Madden has singled out for superior design. Madden offers a look at many different kitchen styles.
Although photos can be theatrical, the author intends the book as a "practical jumping-off point" for readers to begin a kitchen remodel.
Kitchens for Cooks, by Deborah Krasner, starts with the basics (stoves, counters, refrigeration, storage and work zones) and then tours kitchens belonging to serious amateur and pro cooks. Too many kitchens have been designed "for looks, for show, and for status, and less and less for real use," Krasner writes in the introduction. She goes beyond that here.
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