Kitchen Resolutions

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Those promises from New Year’s Eve
Have long been left behind!

After weeks (months?) of shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning and decking your halls, the holidays are finally over! You’ve survived the onslaught of relatives and their alcohol-fueled arguments. You’ve packed away your decorations and taken down your tree. (Not me – mine will be up until March. Don’t judge me!) Now you’re lugging around extra pounds from all that holiday indulgence; you’re back to serving take-out instead of all those healthy from-scratch meals you vowed to make; and your kids have their heads buried in their devices instead of sharing quality family time with you.

Christmas trees out on the curb after the holidays.

Not even one month into 2019 and all those resolutions have already gone up in smoke! What happened to all those great intentions for improving your life in the new year?

New Kitchen for the New Year!

Well, Bilotta is here to help! Yes, a new kitchen can definitely impart innumerable improvements to your life.

Let’s start with healthier eating. Did you know that a third of homeowners who completed a kitchen renovation reported leading healthier lifestyles? In a recent Houzz study, 41% cooked more meals at home; 34% ordered less takeout; and 26% ate more fruits and veggies.

Neatly organized refrigerator drawer.

Designers Randy O’Kane, CKD and David Arnoff echo this statistic by recommending the inclusion of health-promoting appliances such as an air fryer or, even better, a steam oven. Randy has found, however, that many of her clients who enthusiastically installed a steam oven don’t end up using them. So, Randy’s personal designer resolution is to not only suggest a steam oven to her customers, but to also schedule tutorials to provide them with a hands-on comfort level with this relatively new kitchen technology. Randy is hoping for steamed vegetables and fish on everyone’s table in the new year!

Cooking class

Do you wish you could get your kids to snack healthier? An undercounter refrigerator or refrigerator draws stocked with fruit, yogurt, string cheese, cut-up veggies and hummus could go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

But sometimes the goal of healthy eating can be a sobering endeavor. Designer Aston Smith tells the story of a recent trans-formative kitchen renovation for a family whose young daughter had been diagnosed with severe Celiac disease, an autoimmune gastrointestinal disorder that’s triggered by ingesting gluten. The road to pinpointing the cause of Chloe’s symptoms had been a long and frustrating one, where one wrong ingredient in the kitchen could send her system into turmoil. While Chloe was generally accepting of her dietary restrictions, she was, after all, only in kindergarten and couldn’t always be relied upon to make the right choices on her own.

Healthy snacking - nuts, fruits and veggies

Aston and Chloe’s mom worked diligently to design a kitchen that allocated exclusive storage of foods that were safe for Chloe to eat. This included not just cabinet space, but separate freezer and refrigerator drawers, as well as the all important dedicated “toaster station” to prevent cross contamination of bread products. Once the new kitchen was installed, it was a simple task to train Chloe and her whole family what was safe for her, thereby virtually eliminating meal mishaps.

Gluten free bread

This same concept of segregated food storage could work equally as well for families whose members may have diabetes or dangerous food allergies. I am not being glib when I state that, in such instances, a new kitchen could, literally, be lifesaving!

Remember that earlier statistic about cooking more meals at home compared to ordering takeout? That doesn’t just affect your health. If you’re longing to connect more with family and friends in 2019, a new kitchen might be your ticket to do just that. When I meet with a new customer, I always ask if they like to entertain a lot. Often the answer is, “I will once I have a nice kitchen!”. You’ll be looking for any excuse you can find to invite guests over to show off your drop-dead gorgeous new kitchen.

Gathering around the kitchen island

And it won’t just be your friends who want to gather ‘round that enormous island. David Arnoff doesn’t need to consult internet data to know that an inviting space entices families (including the most reticent teenagers) to congregate. He’s well aware of the fact that people will stay in and cook at home much more frequently, which results in more quality family interaction – the makings of lasting memories.  And who knows, you may even start experimenting with new recipes and cuisines! “Master Chef”, here we come! And how about “Master Chef Junior”? A pull-out stool in the toe kick space of one of the cabinets can make it easier and safer for your little one to help out at mealtime.

Kid Chefs!

And David doesn’t want you to forget about your four-legged furry family members. Plan for dedicated storage for pet food and snacks, or even built-in pull-out food and water bowls. I had a customer for whom I designed two different kitchens and, in both spaces, we integrated a cute and cozy under-cabinet cat cubby. The ultimate pet-friendly home.

Dog with his bowls!
And David Arnoff makes one more point about the benefits of eating more home-cooked meals: saving money! Even if you do all your grocery shopping at Whole Foods, you’ll still spend less than if you ate in restaurants or ordered take out. And a less obvious cost-saving benefit of a new kitchen is less food waste. For instance, Sub Zero’s air purification technology filters out the ethylene gas that causes your produce to decay much faster than it should.

Shopping for fruits and veggies

The world-wise (pun intended!) web also tells us (and who are we to argue!) that the 3rd most popular resolution for 2019 was to get more organized. Aside from the flurry of paperwork on your desk and the pile of clothes on your closet floor, the kitchen counters are the household repository for everything from junk mail and unused takeout condiment packages to grocery items and small appliances that just won’t fit anywhere else.

Pantry storage with wire baskets

Planning a kitchen renovation enables you to chose exactly where everything in your new room will live, including the requisite “junk drawer”. Yes, you’ll have a place for everything. But the truth of the matter is that, in the process of emptying out your cabinets, you’re going to unearth items you didn’t even remember you had. Donate or dump it! Take it from someone who recently downsized and was loathe to part with anything – it’s surprisingly liberating! You’ll be astonished at how far an organized kitchen can go toward alleviating daily stress: no more maddening searches for the right size pot or Tupperware lid (and how did I end up with more lids than containers?); no more exasperated rifling through an overstuffed drawer for the instant-read thermometer (of which there are probably multiples in there!). But the most unexpected benefit of having a beautiful, newly organized, renovated kitchen may be the peculiar compulsion you’ll now feel to keep the space spotlessly clean. (Stranger things have happened!)

Bilotta cabinetry organized pot and pan drawer with dividers.

Levity aside, designer Jeni Spaeth points out a life-changing bonus to having an organized kitchen. If you’re embarking on a kitchen renovation with an eye toward aging in place, today’s kitchen conveniences may end up being the very necessities that allow you to do just that. Nobody wants to bend over or get on their knees to retrieve items from a cabinet, but in years to come, those activities might be physically punishing, if not impossible. Pullouts, corner solutions or pull-down units could very well be the key to prolonging independent senior living!

Base cabinet roll-outs
Sometimes the biggest improvements in our lives are those with an emotional component; something that imparts a feeling of belonging, or triggers a sense of place. Did you purchase a fixer-upper but haven’t yet tackled the project? Is your kitchen perfectly serviceable and in good shape, but whose style just isn’t your taste? Perhaps you moved in with a partner who formerly shared that home with their ex. We all know that a house is not necessarily a home, but a dream kitchen that reflects your personality and contains all your wish-list bells and whistles can dramatically alter your attitude about where you live.

Rift cut white oak kitchen with waterfall countertop
30 Park Place – New York, NY – Photo Courtesy of Silverstein Properties and Evan Joseph

So now you know that the road to self-improvement in 2019 runs straight through your kitchen – you’re welcome! And Happy new year!


This post was written by senior designer, Paulette Gambacorta. Paulette has been designing kitchens with Bilotta for over 23 years.

2019 Kitchen Resolutions