Unfitted Kitchens – Add European Style to your Old Kitchen

The kitchen is often called the heart of a home. If your heart is looking a little shabby or actually failing, it may be time for a total kitchen remodel.

Once the decision has been made to renovate the kitchen, the planning begins. One of the first considerations should be the style.

Do you envision a modern kitchen, all sleek, shiny and spare? Perhaps the look of a commercial kitchen appeals to you.

One factor in determining style is the way you use the kitchen. If the kitchen is just a place to hold the coffee maker and microwave, you will plan a much different room than one who prepares gourmet meals and entertains regularly.

If you are the average American, you spend three to five hours a day in your kitchen. That is at least triple the amount of time you would spend in a formal living room. Most people mention that when guests come by their home, they tend to congregate in the kitchen. If you are spending this much time living and entertaining in the kitchen, it would make sense to treat it more like a living room.

One way to accomplish that is to create an unfitted kitchen. An unfitted kitchen may include a free standing piece for an island. Other pieces might include a hutch, armoire, desk, and even a love seat or comfy stuffed chair. The unfitted kitchen is very European. Americans have not been as willing to part with miles of continuous counter tops and banks of cabinets.

A completely unfitted kitchen may not be as practical as a modern kitchen, although it may have loads of old world charm and warmth. The best of both worlds is to incorporate some of the features of an unfitted kitchen into a more typical kitchen. Several cabinet manufacturers are introducing cabinet lines that include furniture details. Many are also offering lines of freestanding pieces that are tailored for the kitchen, such as food cupboards, plate dressers and pantries.

An unfitted kitchen makes it easier to work around existing features like windows, chimneys and doors. It can incorporate antique furniture you collect. This style blends better with other rooms in the house, allows more expression in design and may be more likely to be rearranged to suit changing needs. If you love the look of granite or Corian you can do it on one or two pieces, while using laminates on the others. This may be a helpful tool when trying to stay within a budget. Different counter top heights can be useful for food preparation and different cooks. A lower top for rolling out pastry dough for the shorter baker can be combined with a higher unit for that tall vegetable chopper in the family. Older family members are likely to appreciate a counter top where tedious kitchen chores can be done while sitting down.

On the other hand, separate pieces may cut down on storage space. A long expanse of counter top, which can be useful, may not be feasible due to separate cabinet pieces. An unfitted kitchen may take more time to plan and design. A good eye is required so the room does not appear cluttered and mismatched. Some of the more elaborate architectural details can add to the cost of the project.

If you are considering remodeling your kitchen, the unfitted kitchen is an option you might want to ponder. If your idea of a kitchen can be described as relaxed, comfortable, visually appealing, more flexible and a room that looks less like a kitchen than a kitchen, an unfitted or semi-unfitted kitchen may be for you.