Can you believe it’s almost the summer holidays? 4 weeks on Friday and then I’ll have LM for 6 whole weeks, I can’t wait! I also can’t believe her first year at school is finished already. Although I’m excited for having her around for 6 weeks, that also means entertaining her every day for 6 weeks. How on earth am I going to do it? I tend to work in the kitchen at the table, I get more done sat upright at the computer than lazing around on my bed or in the lounge and without a doubt she’ll want to be in there with me. Not only that but my kitchen is an open plan kitchen diner with access straight into my back garden. I need to find a happy balance of work and play, being around for LM and making sure I work enough to make ends meet.
Today I’m going to share how best to plan a kitchen that works for all the family. In particular, one that allows you to keep one eye on the kids and another on preparing dinner. I just wish I had the funds to put my ideas into practice. Oh well! But if you are looking at pricing up bespoke fitted kitchens, it may be worth including these ideas;
Making It Safe
Firstly, you got to make sure it’s safe for your kids to be in the kitchen with you, even when you’re cooking. Incorporating a table or breakfast bar at an island is a popular idea, especially in larger kitchens. Here the kids can work on school stuff, draw or even help you cook. It’s a great way to make most of your time together even when you’re busy. Some people like to place their hob on the island, if your’e one of these people you have to make sure it’s safe and will be out of the reach of children. Placing it higher than the rest of the island is a good idea and choosing an induction hob rather than an exposed flame with safety indicates to let your little ones know that the hob is still hot.
It’s important to think about a layout that encourages the kids to keep out of the prep area is important. Place the fridge in an accessible place but well away from where you’ll be chopping and cooking. This way they can still access it to get their own drinks and snacks without disturbing the cooking area. If you encourage them to lay the table it might be worth thinking about where you store your crockery and cutlery, will they be moving closely to the hot oven?
Finally you can pick up cupboard locks to keep the really little ones out of places they shouldn’t be sticking their hands. All the cupboards in our house have them on meaning i’ve never worried about little miss getting a hold of a knife or some kitchen cleaner. Another thing to consider is putting curved edges on the work surfaces to avoid those bumped heads and bruised hips, lets face it, we’ve all done it!
Bringing The Outside In
Lets face it, over the course of 6 weeks, we’re going to see some rain. A kitchen that flows into the garden with bi-fold doors is ideal. Pairing that with flooring that works seamlessly from one space to another making it almost impossible to trip is the dream! It’s a great way to encourage your little ones to head out into the garden on their own. An effective kitchen lighting system is important in any room, but especially in the kitchen. If you go for the bi-fold doors you need to think about how the kitchen looks during the day and night. It’s important to avoid the “black wall” that happens with large expanses of glass. You can avoid this by illuminating the garden with solar lights or spots.
Keep It Tidy
For me the kitchen is the room that ends up the messiest especially since it has our table in which 99% of the time ends up a dumping ground for the contents of my handbag & LM’s school bag. If at all possible consider adding a utility room as it’s a convenient place to store clutter. If a utility cupboard isn’t an option try a tall cloakroom style cupboard at the garden entrance. This will be a great place to keep the coats, wellies and anything for outdoor games. Or just you day to day junk you don’t want on your kitchen table.
The kitchen is fast becoming more of a family room than even the sitting room, especially in summer when we want to utilise the outdoors as much as possible before the wintery weather returns. If you’re planning a kitchen overhaul and you do have a family, maybe look at the ways I’ve suggested to make it more a family room rather than just the place you prepare meals.