5 Steps to kitchen planning easily

Have a contingency budget. Most projects take longer than you think and cost more than planned! It's a good idea to put aside 10 per cent of your budget for emergency building repairs and unforeseen expenses.  


It's useful in the very early stages to look at what you , dislike about your existing kitchen. Make a list of all the things that annoy you - lack of storage space, old-fashioned design, poor layout - and think carefully about how you might improve them.

Build a scrapbook of kitchens and accessories you like, but make sure you look it over carefully and weed out things you've changed your mind about before you visit any kitchen showrooms. Try to have a clear idea of the design and color you like at the start - there are so many other decisions to make, it will help you to have a solid base.  


  Remember, from the budget DIY stores to the high-end kitchen specialists, the experts are there to help. Make use of online or in-store design systems and visit several showrooms in your budget range to get quotes.

Don't always assume a kitchen specialist will be more expensive, as many of them stock designs in a range of budgets. Make your needs and desires as clear as possible - a good designer will ask about you, your family and how you envisage using the space, as well as more practical things, such as design and cost. Start by creating your kitchen wish-list that includes your must-have features.  


 A new design will often include new appliances. If you're going to a large retailer, kitchen showroom or high-end specialist, you can often buy your appliances through them. If you prefer to buy them yourself - the internet is a good place to source bargains - then make sure you coordinate their delivery after speaking to the kitchen showroom or builder.

Worktops, flooring and taps can also be supplied by the company you're buying your cabinetry from but, again, if you choose to buy direct then ensure you've got a schedule from your builder or kitchen company.  

SET YOUR BUDGET Your budget will ultimately decide where you buy your kitchen but remember your money won't entirely be spent on the kitchen units and appliances. Will your project involve building work, for instance, and are you planning to organize that yourself or are you looking for someone else to do it for you?

Even the simplest kitchen redesign is likely to involve builders to remove the old units and possibly electricians and plumbers, too, if you're changing your layout. Consider flooring and worktop choices carefully. Opting for underfloor heating will impact on what floor you choose, which will have cost implications.  


Now you need to start pulling all the elements together. Do you need a builder or an architect? Are you building an extension that requires plans? Does the design require planning permission or building regulations approval? You need to find this out at the start to avoid having to make costly changes later. Make sure to get a number of quotes and contact builders well in advance as the best are often busy.

Choose a kitchen designer who's on your wavelength. Just as important as style and price is finding a designer who understands your family's wants and needs and takes heed of your wish-list.

Kitchen Heating for winter

Stove or fire can provide extra, controllable heat for larger kitchen-dining-living spaces, adding a cosy focal point to a room where the family might gather to eat, cook and socialize. Sophisticated technology now means that there is a fire or stove to suit any location - whether it's an internal or exterior wall, or the center of the room - and for a wide range of fuels.  


 Stoves can be powered by solid fuel (ie coal or smokeless fuels), wood, oil, gas, biomass, LPG or electricity. Multi-fuel models can burn wood, coal or smokeless fuels. For a more formal look, perhaps for between the living/dining area and the kitchen, think about a modern fire. There are solid-fuel, wood, gas, electric and gel fires available, including flueless models.

Move away from the classic mantelpiece and hearth with fuel basket and explore wall-mounted or recessed modern fires, perhaps with a gas burner and dramatic fire bed consisting of pebbles, geometric shapes, or steel abstract designs built around a discreet gas burner. For larger spaces, consider an eye catching steel stove suspended from the ceiling, such as the striking designs from Diligence Fires.


 The heat output required will depend upon room size, whether it's a primary heat source and other sources of background heat (such as radiators or underfloor heating). The retailer can advise on the best size/model for the room, with some designs available in several heat outputs.


Stoves are generally made from pressed steel or cast iron, and many people refer to them as 'wood burners' or 'log burners', although there are multi-fuel models that can burn both wood and solid fuel.

With a multi-fuel model you'll need to put in a riddling grate when burning coal/solid fuel and remove it when burning logs, which burn best on a bed of ash.

If you live in a smoke-control area and want to burn logs, then you'll need a Defra-approved stove — such as the 7600 series from Morsel. For a fuss-free option, choose a gas model, such as those from Yeoman and Gazco.

Radiator and towel rails

Any of us still prefer to stick with radiators for our kitchen heating; it's usually a cost-effective choice and avoids extra disruption and installation costs.

 Vertical radiators generally provide the best use of space and can make a feature of even a narrow amount of clear wall space.

 Fit a new radiator with thermostatic valves to maintain an even temperature and avoid the necessity of turning the radiator on and off. The other advantage of a radiator, while not terribly glamorous, is having somewhere to dry damp tea towels.

Myson have introduced the Innoko kitchen towel rail that works from a sealed electrical unit and which is independent of any central-heating system and in normal use, consumes less power than a light bulb.

If the wall space is available, consider your kitchen radiator to be a decorative as well as a practical item and look at unusual designs, such as those from Bisque, Jaga, Aeon and Vasco - metal and painted finishes abound, in colors to match your cabinets or kitchen appliances.

Panel radiators (plain, smooth surfaces rather than tubular style or ribbed) often suit a kitchen setting, echoing the shape and proportion of cabinets.  


Stainless-steel radiators offer high corrosion resistance and look stylish in the kitchen. They are available with matt and polished finishes, and some manufacturers, such as Aeon, give 20-year guarantees.

Cheaper chrome or 'silver finish' radiators may suffer from corrosion and flaking surfaces after a relatively short time, and the steamy cooking conditions in a poorly ventilated kitchen may have an adverse effect.  


Another straightforward choice for kitchens is a plinth heater - which can also be used as a cooling fan in hot weather. These heaters are affordable (from around E,135), can be installed in the plinth space beneath a kitchen cabinet with just an electrical connection and can quickly add a boost of heat to the kitchen on a cold morning.

Choose from electric models, central-heating models, or a dual-fuel model, such as the Kickspace heater from Myson, which can run on electricity if the central heating is off. Plinth heaters can be costly to run, and should be considered as a heat booster, rather than the main source of heat in the room.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is very often the first choice for kitchen designers today. Its main advantage is that it is concealed and so does not interfere in any way with the kitchen color scheme or design, yet it is practical and can be economical too, if you opt for the 'wet' water pipe version.


Underfloor heating (UFH) is, in most cases, straightforward to install, as the vast majority of kitchen refurbishments involve new flooring. It can be installed with all types of flooring and provides a gentle, even heat - effectively turning the floor surface into a large heat emitter that feels comfortable underfoot and allows the heat to rise gently.

Kitchen designers involved in a whole-room refurbishment will specify underfloor heating almost as standard; it's now considered to be an integral part of the project.

Make sure that the system is chosen in partnership with the flooring - some flooring manufacturers and suppliers have specific types of UFH which they recommend with their floor coverings.

Likewise it's important the position of appliances is finalized before the UFH is planned - there's little point in UFH being specified for the inside of the larder, under the fridge-freezer or cooker, or beneath an island unit where it's not needed.  

There are two types of UFH, wet systems and dry or electric systems. A wet system is more complex to install and is more appropriate for new structures, such as kitchen extensions or kitchen-conservatories where new floors are built from scratch.

Wet UFH systems consist of seamless polythene pipes, thermostat controls and a pump system connected to the normal domestic hot-water supply. Because of the efficiency of the plastic pipes, water need only be used at around 55°C or less to achieve the same heat output as standard radiators.

Rooms can be 'zoned' so that particular areas can be controlled - there will be a control panel, thermostatic settings and manifold tucked away in a cupboard/utility room. Once the pipes are down, a screed is laid over, then the final floor surface is laid on top.

Most manufacturers give long guarantees for the pipes - Nu-Heat gives a 25-year guarantee on the pipework for its wet systems. Worcester's new Greenfloor wet system has been designed for maximum energy efficiency and to work in tandem with its Greenstar boilers and Greenstore ground-source heat pumps. It requires water temperatures of around 45°C, which uses less energy than standard radiators.  


Dry electric UFH systems use a cable/mat/mesh system that is rolled out to cover the floor and connected to a thermostat and timer. It works with all kinds of flooring - including carpet, provided the right kind of underlay is used. It will heat up from 'cold' quicker than wet systems, as the heat does not need to penetrate a layer of screed. Simple mat systems, such as those from Cosyfloor and Ecofloor by R&D Marketing, are very straightforward to install, and it's well within the capabilities of anyone with a bit of DIY experience. Electric systems cost more to run than wet systems, but have the advantages of often being cheaper to buy and fast heating-up times - so they can be used more easily to give a quick heat boost.  


For larger spaces, trench and perimeter heating are a good option Although it's more commonly specified for offices and public buildings with large expanses of glazing, it can also be used for large-scale modern homes with lots of folding/sliding doors and windows. Have a look at products from Jaga and Fraser Engineering UK, and always take professional advice when making a decision. These systems comprise of water pipes set into a channel around the edge of the room and are most conveniently installed into newly built kitchens, where the floor level and depth can be constructed to the necessary specification.

The benefit of post and beam house designs

Supporting structures are functional and can be used to add a little bit of charm to your interior.
Wooden beams can create a more rustic feel while other styles of beams add something extra to the interior architecture to your residence.

Using beams as part of architecture, construction and design is not a new concept and dates back to the thirteenth century.

Woodsy looking beams can create a completely different living space and can create a whole new look to a restored property.

When shopping for a house, a real estate agent typically describes an older building as having exposed beams or several old timbers present.

This gives a potential buyer the idea that the home is older but also gives the impression of character and coziness.

Structurally, timber frames are very common and have been used in small cottages, large mansions, mills and numerous other types of buildings.

They were commonly used in England around the thirteenth century and were used to frame barns, guildhalls, mill halls and other agricultural based buildings.

These beams make a substantially structurally sound building. Plus, the timber beam support adds character and beautiful detailing to the interior of any home or building.

The use of timber beams are commonly used where other building materials are not as easy to find or are not as affordable. One of these types of supplies is freestone and often residents in other areas use the wooden beams instead. One intricate part of a wooden beam is the intricate design.

If a structural beam on the interior of a building was carved with detail, it was considered a status symbol. Tall narrow panels, called close studding, is another way to construct buildings using this same type of architectural and structural design.

In some areas in England where wool trade had declined, it also impacted the use of timber frame architecture, as ironic as it should seem that the two industries should influence one another. The square paneling is often found in the Midlands region. In addition to the different types of structuring, there are other details.

For example, when a wooden beam is squared off at the end where the beam will enter the wall, it is called chamfer stops. This helps date the building and is also a distinctive structural design in various regions throughout the country.

Ash and elm are common in this design but oak is the most preferred type of wood. What makes a building like this structurally sound is the cross braces and joints that are strong and sturdy are its ability to bear weight.

Usually these beams are wedged, tied an nailed together. Many times these were held together with dirt, straw and even animal dung.

The cracks were then filled with plaster, a finish and usually a lime wash. While living in an older home is very appealing, there can be common problems with the structure and support of foundation and the architecture over all.

Timber extensions can help add space for a more modern living lifestyle. Each home over a period of time has its own character. As a different set of people live in a home over time, it can gradually change appearance.

You can add more to this “chapter” in the history book of your home by complementing aspects in your home that are already present.

Using wooden beams in the structure not only adds a more comfortable feel but in some ways gives it a taste of modernism.
Copyright © 2012 Modern Home Design Ideas by Honoriag.