Kitchen features your next reno needs

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Many people are gearing up for the holidays — spending time visiting or hosting friends and family. I know I’ll be spending time with friends and family, and I can’t wait. I’m also secretly hoping I have a few days of doing nothing. Then again, I’m not very good at relaxing, but I try.

Entertaining with family and friends often focuses in and around the kitchen. A few years ago, I finally renovated my kitchen. It was a lot of work, but Anna and I love it now. It’s the perfect place to relax and entertain, while cooking and preparing food.

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Just like bathrooms, kitchens are one of the most popular rooms to update or renovate, and for good reason. Not only does it provide the opportunity to improve layout and functionality, but it can also increase the value of your home — it’s a great selling feature if you put your house on the market.

Many homeowners, in my experience, want their kitchens designed to accommodate family and friends, so big open spaces with large islands are a common request. This layout is ideal for eating, gathering and is also practical for doing work or homework. 

Many of the families we help live in older homes where the kitchen is smaller and closed in. Today, everyone wants a big open space that’s not “cut off” from the rest of the rooms.

There are many trending features right now, but remember, it all depends on your lifestyle, space, and budget. Ultimately, you need a practical, functional kitchen with a safe and convenient layout. 

If you are looking for some extra features to add, here are some things to consider.

Kitchen island

Kitchen islands can provide several benefits if designed correctly and you have the space. They can give you more counter space for prepping food. They can also provide additional storage with under-the-counter cabinets, drawers, and even space for garbage and recycling canisters. 

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A large kitchen island can include a sink or a stove. Some people also opt for a breakfast niche with a countertop overhang and space for bar stools. Remember, the more features you have on your island, the bigger the budget — think electrical and plumbing requirements, too.

Walk-in or concealed pantry

If you have the space, a walk-in pantry is a nice bonus — it’s great for organizing food storage, storing small appliances, and keeping your kitchen clutter-free. Concealed pantries or cabinet pantries are good alternatives as they can utilize unused space in smaller areas. Ultimately, it comes down to your lifestyle, storage needs and preferences.

Coffee bar            

I’m a one-cup-a-day kind of guy, but I know some people love their coffee so much that a coffee bar is now very popular. It’s a dedicated area for your coffee maker, cups, etc. It’s a nice feature if you like that kind of thing.

Wine fridge 

Not everyone likes wine, but I do. I added a wine fridge to my new kitchen. A wine fridge will store wine at the ideal temperature, costs much less than a traditional wine cellar and is easy to install. This may sound like a luxury, but they can be a cost-effective solution and a nice feature to add to your kitchen if you are a wine enthusiast. It will also impress your friends and family at your next gathering.

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Pullout drawers

Consider pullout drawers instead of traditional cabinetry for your next renovation — they make it easy to access serving dishes and cookware, and can be a great help for older adults with mobility issues.

Smart technology and appliances

Smart appliances are becoming increasingly popular, and integrating smart technology into your kitchen renovation can make daily tasks easier and safer. Like other smart technology throughout your home, appliances can be controlled remotely via an app on your phone, allowing you to start cooking or preheating the oven before you get home. 

An easier alternative is to add smart outlets and circuits to help control your appliances and lighting needs from your phone or even on a set schedule. This includes sensors that automatically turn on the lights when you enter that space — great for young children and aging adults. 

It may be too late in the holiday season for a new kitchen, but put it on your wish list and maybe Santa can start planning for next year. 

Residents of the GTA can apply for Holmes on Homes: Building A Legacy at

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