This is another article I wrote for PNJ Home and Garden Weekly. Reprinted for those who might have missed it! Let me know your thoughts or if you agree or disagree! Comments always welcome!

Planning a kitchen design, whether a remodel or new construction can be a Herculean task filled with many more decisions than you ever thought possible. To complicate matters, people sometimes buy into myths about kitchen planning that can cost you the look or function you really desire. Here are some common misconceptions on kitchen design and planning.

The dishwasher location: Conventional wisdom says if you are right handed then it belongs on the right side of the sink. Simple,right? Wrong! It can be on either side but most people become used to it on one side or the other and that is just preference. I like to put it where it works best for the design and accessibility to storage. And while on the subject, please disregard the raised dishwasher idea that came and went as fast as platform sneakers. Raising a dishwasher sounds good in theory but think about how silly it would look and function having the counter right next to your sink raised 6 inches or so? Sort of like, hmmm, platform sneakers!

Dishwasher on the left even though client is right handed! Do what works for the layout!

Dishwasher on the left even though client is right handed! Do what works for the layout!

The trash pullout next to the sink: If you are dreaming of a well appointed kitchen, place this nifty feature high on your list of “must haves”. But, don’t be locked into placing it by the sink which is the default location of most designers and architects. Place it where you are doing the most prep work…where you need to swoosh scraps and debris. A bonus is to put it close enough for other people to access it without bothering the cook’s flow of work.

Trash pullout in island and accessible to others not getting into "main" area of the kitchen.

Trash pullout in island and accessible to others not getting into main work area of cook.

Marble counters won’t work: Yes, heavy sigh ,it is more maintenance than some other materials. So is a foreign import car. Does not keep people away from them does it? Marble has been around for centuries and is a classic choice. It is a beautiful, organic and living material than can be used in kitchens or bathrooms .Honed is best for not showing acidic etching and yes, it does need to be resealed periodically. And that is as easy as wiping down your tops after a meal. Don’t be a wimp. If you love it, use it.

Raised bar hides “the kitchen”: If you prefer a raised bar on your island over a single height island, usually this is just personal choice, although some designs work better one way or the other. Just don’t say it is because it hides anything in the sink or on the cooktop. How much can you hide behind 6 inches? Make the decision based on what works for the space not because you think you are fooling anyone into believing your dirty dishes are not really in the sink.

No need to hide this beautiful kitchen from anyone!

No need to hide this beautiful kitchen from anyone!

Break out of the work triangle: Simply, kitchens have evolved into a multi-dimensional aspect of the home. We do not live as we did in the ’50’s when the work triangle was determined to be the arbiter of all good kitchen design. Better, contemplate the ergonomics of how you move about the space. To quote my favorite designer, Johnny Grey, “The working triangle is a very limited and out of date concept”. A point to point path is good common sense but today you are better off thinking of dedicated work areas and targeted storage. Basically, what are you doing and where? And who might be in the space with you?

Flooring: The chicken and the egg debate. What goes in first? The floor or the cabinetry? Put the floor down first in almost every application. There. I said it. Let the feathers fly!. Insist on this if you want a well executed kitchen plan with no transition issues that molding has to try and cover. And, if you are in the middle of a remodel right now and you are keeping existing floors…bet you wished they were underneath your cabinets don’t you?

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Most people who live on the Gulf Coast will recognize the name “Hopkins’ House”. It was a North Hill restaurant and former boarding house, founded in 1949 by Arkie ” Ma” Hopkins that served Southern cuisine to patrons seated at large communal tables. The fried chicken served on Sundays was the best in town. It even made the prestigious pages of Gourmet Magazine.

Over the years, Hopkins’ House was frequented by a number of celebritiy diners, including singers Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and Miss America 1965 Vonda Kay Vandyke, who made repeated visits with her husband. Old Hopkins\' House

After the 1986 death of Ma Hopkins, her son Ed took over the business. Losing money and balancing the duties of his law practice, he decided to close the restaurant in February 2004. In July of 2005, new owners bought the run down former restaurant and commenced turning it back into a single family home. This is when we came into the picture. Over the next year, we helped the dedicated homeowners redesign and rebuild the previous restaurant kitchen into a modern kitchen that still retained the charm of the original architecture of the home. I am excited to show off the pictures!!

Original brick fireplace in center of room. We utilized this to configure a butlers pantry on one side.

Original brick fireplace in center of room. We utilized this to configure a butlers pantry on one side.

We used same brick chimney and made a butlers pantry on one side with double sided glass doors

We used same brick chimney and made a butlers pantry on one side with double sided glass doors

Overview of kitchen

Overview of kitchen

Breakfast bar with original sign

Breakfast bar with original sign

Butlers side of brick area

Butlers side of brick area

Useful storage at end of island

Useful storage at end of island

Modern convienences fit right into new design

Modern convienences fit right into new design