Going All The Way: If you have an older home, you might want to look into professionally rewiring and re-piping your whole kitchen. Older wiring is implicated in hundreds of fires every year, and if you have a house built before 1980, it’s a virtual certainty that your plumbing has lead content in the solder, according to SafePlumbing.org.
In faucets often made of leaded brass, leaching is minimal. But with faucets on the market of modern, lead-free alloys, viable alternatives exist for those who want to be cautious.
If you have the money, you might want to start with this, as wiring and plumbing will make sure that your investment doesn’t go up in flames, or fall victim to a burst pipe.
Cabinet Considerations: If your cabinets are sound, you like the layout of your present kitchen, and you really don’t want to spend a lot of money, a professional resurfacing job might be just the ticket. Resurfacing means new veneers, sometimes new doors, and new hardware for a new kitchen look without the new kitchen price.
Other cabinet options include buying stock or semi-custom cabinets from your local home supply store, custom cabinets from a kitchen design firm, or RTA (Ready To Assemble) cabinets from a variety of online or brick and mortar stores.
Lighting: You want to illuminate your work areas, while at the same time creating a welcoming space for eating and entertaining.
Under-cabinet lighting eliminates dark spots, while recessed lighting creates a nice, ambient direction-less light. You want direct lighting for your task areas, but not enough to be harsh.
Putting in pendant lamps from Lumens and adding a rheostat to heighten or lower the level of illumination can give you the versatility you need.
You will also want lighting over the sink area, the eating area, and over the cook-top.
Flooring: If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, think like a pro and go with a resilient flooring in vinyl, linoleum, laminate, cork, wood, or even rubber. Ceramic, sealed concrete, and stone floors can look great, but in a professional kitchen where staff can be standing for hours, those materials can be very hard on the joints over a prolonged period of time.
Even with resilient flooring, you may want to add a couple of thick anti-fatigue mats for areas where you’ll be standing a lot.
Finally, add in details such as tile back splashes, ceiling treatments like stamped in tile or bead board, and put the finishing touches around doors and windows with mill work and moldings. Make your faucets something extra special and easy to use for the busy cook.
Extra out-of-view touches can include sliding shelves for your cabinets or pot-depth drawers, and an extra deep sink in a great material like fire clay might just make the kitchen your favorite room in the house.