(Making) Home (Awesome) for the Holidays

12 Min.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Especially if you are hosting multiple events for friends and family members. We look at some of the most common kitchen issues and give you a few strategies to minimise your stress this year, and learn from it to make design changes for next year!

in cabinetCocktail hour beckons and you can’t find the right stemware. 

Quick fix: Before your guests arrive take inventory of your glassware. Clear out any summer-specific items – i.e. That heavy glass margarita set with matching pitcher can be put into hibernation until June. Move travel mugs, water bottles, plastic sippy cups and mismatched spare glasses to a closet or a box in the basement. They can be retrieved after the holidays. Then think about what beverages you typically drink, what you plan on offering your guests and be prepared for seasonal treats, like champagne!

Design Solution: Cabinetry with moveable shelving (and extra shelves) can fit far more than standard sized openings with limited shelves. A bar, hutch or cabinet that is designed for your glassware will be far more functional and give you the ability to keep everything you want in your cabinets (not in your closet).

story-nhb-s-1Sprinkles and flour and frosting, Oh My! Baking Chaos.

Quick Fix: Holiday baking is fun and delicious. And treats that are made only once a year taste even better. They also require ingredients and equipment that are only used once a year and can be hard to find when you need them! Start with a seasonal baking cleanse, out with the bundt pan and in with the sprinkles. Swap out small appliances like toaster ovens to make room for mixers and cooling racks. If you’re baking with kids and lacking in counter space consider adding a small folding table for frosting and decorating (a drop cloth underneath that table is also a good idea!).

Design Solution: Perhaps you need a baker’s island. The island is the perfect spot for baking, room on all sides for working together and it clears your perimeter counters for cooling those delicious treats. Islands can be designed for your specific baking needs – cookie sheet storage, pullouts for spices (and sprinkles) drawer dividers for all your baking tools. And, the grand-daddy of the baking tool belt, a mixer lift.

jf-10-3-14-3089All the delicious appetizers, and nothing to put them on.

Quick Fix: There’s nothing fun about having to use dinner plates to display your appetizers, then quickly clearing and washing before sitting down to dinner. It’s time for platters in your life. They’re fun and functional and beautiful and…hard to store. Your quick fix (after purchasing said platters) is to consolidate some of your daily dining plates and bowls to create room for those platters. You can probably move those pasta bowls out of the way for a few weeks – along with any summer or fall themed dishes. After the holidays wrap your platters in old clean dishtowels and stack them in a clear plastic tub. You may only use them twice a year, but you’ll be glad to have them.

Design Solution: Consider a hutch, designed to complement your existing cabinetry, that will house all those oddly shaped, over sized, seasonal items. It can also be a great spot to display pretty dishes and glassware that you don’t use on a daily basis. Also, consider incorporating drawers into your kitchen design. Drawers provide far more space than open lower cabinets and give you the ability to maximise the area because nothing gets lost in the back.

organizationThe silverware dilemma. Not Enough. Not Matching.

Quick Fix: There’s a certain rustic elegance about mismatched silverware, but it’s not for everyone. Most silverware dividers start getting pretty cramped when trying to squeeze in more than one set, and for normal daily use one set is typically all you need. Purchase an identical set, and a plastic, stand-alone silverware divider from your local hardware store. Not only is this a good spot to store the extra set, it’s also very handy for setting the table – bring your divider with you as you lay everything out.

Design Solution: Once again – this is why we like big drawers! A deep drawer with a custom built divider will house all your silverware – all of it! Maybe keep that simple, plastic divider though, for setting the table.

story-exb-v-3-300x470Fridge Filled to Bursting. Oven Overfilled.

Quick Fix: Sadly the only easy fix here comes down to cleaning. Yep – It’s time to go through the refrigerator contents and clear out as much as you can. Finish off jars of jam, toss nearly empty condiment containers leftover from summer barbeques, and make soup with the withered contents of the vegetable drawers. Same goes with the oven, clear out the warming drawer, clean the racks and possibly remove one if you plan on cooking a large turkey.

Design Solution: This is more fun – look at new appliances. If you inherited the appliances you’re living with, or if they are older than your Grandma’s nutcracker, it’s time to see what’s out there. Appliances have come a long way and you can find something that truly fits your needs. Think about a large panelized fridge, double wall ovens, a gas range that heats in a second and is a cinch to clean. Dream big.

With a little planning and a willingness to clear things out, you can make any space functional for your holiday festivities. But, if you have a remodel in your future, making a plan now will help your design process and ensure that the kitchen of your dreams works for all seasons.

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