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a beautiful modern Mediterranean Kitchen with an an island in white oak - perfect for El Dorado Hills (EDH) and Granite Bay luxury homes. best experienced interior designer in Sacramento Area

Design A Kitchen Layout That Works

Home Renovation, Kitchen

Apr 2, 2024

Are you considering a kitchen remodel? Part of any remodel – if it’s a kitchen, a bathroom, or a full home remodel – it’s seldomly just about the looks but rather about the space as a whole. This is includes it’s functionality. Our holistic approach to interior design always consider the functionality of a space. I honestly don’t know how else to do it. We’re not in the business of simple material replacements after all although you can make a huge impact with that as well.

Today, modern kitchens no longer conform to the traditional work triangle concept. A truly efficient layout should be customized to suit your individual lifestyle. Here’s what we consider when we design kitchen in and around Sacramento. Feel free to contact us with your questions about all things kitchen design and interior design in general. We’re here to help you with your home remodel or new construction custom home.

Kitchen Design and the Evolution of the Work Triangle

As interior designers work increasingly with a holistic design approach in mind, we’re embracing the kitchen work zones to include adjacent areas such as the design of your living room, dining room, pantries, and even secondary kitchens.

For decades, the heart of our homes, the kitchen, revolved around a classic work triangle: the refrigerator, stove, and sink. This age-old design principle has now evolved, blossoming into something more dynamic and versatile in today’s modern kitchen design. It’s not just a cooking space anymore; it’s an expansive, welcoming hub, open to the rest of the home and brimming with new possibilities. The reigning mantra in contemporary kitchen design? Embrace ‘The Zone.’

To achieve a well-organized kitchen, each item, each tool, should find its own ‘home’ within your kitchen, sorted into broad categories similar to a store. This intuitive setup means your shiny stainless steel pots and wooden spoons are cozily nestled near the stove, ready for action. Below the sink, cleaning supplies and recycling bins sit discreetly tucked away. The humming refrigerator, a modern-day pantry, is flanked by neatly stacked food containers, while your favorite mugs and glasses are just an arm’s length from the dishwasher, streamlining the unload.

On paper, this might sound like common sense, but sculpting a kitchen space that genuinely sings with efficiency and ease is an art. At Haven Studios, we aim to create inspired interiors. We also aim to be your visionary in functional space planning and kitchen design. One of the first homework assignments every one of our clients receives, is to write down their daily culinary routine. Tell us about the dishes that frequent your table. This narrative of your routine is the blueprint for a kitchen design that not only fits your lifestyle but enhances your it. Whether you’re a soup aficionado requiring a handy pot filler or a busy bee needing a high-tech steamer for quick veggie sides, your story dictates your kitchen’s form.

The landscape of kitchen design is evolving rapidly. Architectural trends are leaning towards larger, open-concept spaces, where interior designers often work with less wall space to meet burgeoning storage needs. The kaleidoscope of ‘essential’ new gadgets, from sophisticated sous vide machines to crystal-clear ice makers, adds to the complexity. In this ever-changing arena, understanding a client’s needs becomes paramount.

Modern interior design, Stainless steel kitchen range. oak wood cabinets

If you decide to hire is for your home remodel or kitchen remodel, we might start our design journey with a simple question: “How do you make spaghetti?” This seemingly straightforward query unlocks a world of personal preferences, guiding not just the physical layout but the very essence of the kitchen’s character.

In the end, as we navigate through an era where the kitchen is no longer just a cooking area but a living, breathing part of our homes, its design becomes a reflection of our lives. It’s about crafting a space that feels as natural and intuitive as our own heartbeat, where every pot, every spoon, every appliance, tells a part of our story. Welcome to the modern kitchen – a symphony of functionality, style, and personal expression

Modern Kitchen Remodel , stainless steel range, wood oak kitchen cabinets

Kitchen design by New York based Designer Jordan Carlyle

Pick Your Priorities

Similar to a Full Home Remodel, this is One of the First Steps in our Interior Design Work Flow.

Instead of triangulating the fridge, stove and sink, start thinking in zones when it comes to evaluating your kitchen layout: food storage, food prep, cooking and cleaning. When organizing your space, consider what items you need within easy reach. For example, keep knives near your prep station, store containers close to the refrigerator for leftovers, and have pots and pans nearby the stove. Proximity is key. The range remains the workhorse, so it’s ideal to have it close to the sink to avoid having something in your hand without the ability to wash it.

A beautiful kitchen design  with a large center island in white oak cabinets; modern home remodel in El Dorado Hills by luxury interior designer

A large Kitchen Island in A modern MEditerRanean inspired home designed by Samantha Leigh

Opting against a sink in the kitchen island not only creates a streamlined and spacious countertop, perfect for food preparation and entertaining but also fosters a clean and uncluttered aesthetic for the entire kitchen. This decision enhances the overall appeal while contributing to a more efficient workflow. By dedicating the island to tasks like chopping and serving, and strategically placing the sink along the perimeter, we achieve an organized and ergonomic layout. Furthermore, this choice allows for creative design elements and additional storage solutions, offering a customized island that perfectly aligns with the client’s lifestyle and preferences.

Opting against a sink in the kitchen island allows more space on the counter for food prep

In order to create a well designed kitchen layout, here are some more adjacencies of importance:

  • a drawer outfitted with a knife tray near your prep station,
  • ample counter space on either side of the cooktop,
  • and spices closest to the prep area—where you actually use them—rather than the stove.

Streamline Your Storage


When it comes to designing a functional kitchen, interior designers will often emphasize the importance of considering the client’s grocery routine. We might you questions like, “Where do you bring in your groceries? Is there a designated area for storing the bags? And how about food storage? Do we need a walk-in pantry or a reach-in cabinet pantry?” Our ultimate goal is to create a seamless transition from the grocery drop-off point to food storage and preparation. While limited square footage may not allow for a walk-in pantry in some homes, the same impact can often be achieved with tall pantry cabinets equipped with pull-out drawers. It may be hard to believe for those with vintage cabinetry, but designers suggest that you can fit all your belongings and more into the same space with a modern model. They are more efficient and prevent items from getting lost.

Kitchen designer: morrison interiors; Interior Architecture by brandon architects

Modern Kitchen, minimal but functional. Black kitchen cabinets and floating shelves

Our interior design studio often works with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, where space is often more limited than let’s say in suburban areas like El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay and alike. Having a pull-out drawer instead of shelves, or a kidney-shaped Lazy Susan instead of a round one, allows you to maximize the use of existing space. Additionally, upgrading to frameless cabinetry can provide an extra 2 to 3 inches of storage in each module. Even in a small kitchen, these seemingly small measurements can make a significant difference.

Other times, we get to change the kitchen layout. Once we see and measure a space, we can come up with a new space plan that may a be small overall change to the floor plan but might have a great impact in how much functionality the space packs. An example from a past experience during one of our home remodels: moving a doorway provided us with a whole line of cabinets. Interior design is not just in how it looks but how it can benefit your everyday routines.

Get in the Zone

For today’s modern kitchen design, we think in terms of “work zones” rather than one simple work triangle. We can create many work zones depending on your lifestyle and specific MO.

Coffee stations, wine bars, and other entertaining spaces are other examples of new functions we’re bringing into our (larger than ever) kitchens, which are all being given their own spaces to ensure no one’s criss-crossing with the cook. An ancillary mini-fridge or refrigerated drawer for kid-friendly drinks and snacks, for example, keeps them out from underfoot. Other homeowners might prefer an extra oven, whether it’s a steam oven or a microwave convection oven. It all depends on the priorities you set earlier during your kitchen design process.

Bar Remodel , secondary kitchen by San Francisco interior design firm Haven Studios

And even if you don’t have room for, say, a designated baking area, there are ways to carve out small zones for your favorite kitchen activities. We’re here to design solutions for you and your family that work on an everyday basis as well as during Holiday Season or other high-traffic occasions. A “zone” can also be an appliance garage or a breakfast station—cabinetry that extends down to your countertop, which conveniently houses the tools you use the most (whether that’s the milk frother or your Vitamix) while keeping them tucked out of view when not in use.

Secondary kitchen bar, Dark Walnut cabinets.

SF Interior Designer: Haven Studios

Go With the Flow

Working out s proper flow throughout your kitchen is very important. That also includes adjacent areas especially in home with open concept floor plans.

The functionality of a kitchen is undeniably important, but equally crucial is the experience it offers. With a heavy emphasis on interior architecture, our interior design studio is very mindful of sight lines and how the kitchen connects to other areas where people may be present, such as someone working or doing homework. Again, we emphasize an holistic design approach. We take great care to ensure that the view from the dining table does not include the messy working parts of the kitchen, especially during dinner parties. Smooth traffic flow is also vital, minimizing the distance between different areas and ensuring uninterrupted function. In larger kitchens, this may involve duplicating certain elements to create comprehensive work areas. For example, having an island with a large cleaning sink and another with a smaller bar sink for prepping food.

Let’s also point out the importance of designing different stations that don’t overlap, allowing everyone to have sufficient space for prepping, cooking, and cleaning. However, having ample space to move around is equally crucial. We always stress the significance of doors swinging open, cabinets opening smoothly, and counter stools being able to move without blocking passageways or hitting other objects in the room. If there isn’t enough space for a centrally located island with sufficient clearance, it’s advisable to consider an alternative plan.

Large kitchen, high ceiling. open layout. luxury kitchen appliance

interior design eric olsen

Granite Bay Kitchen Renovation Wood Kitchen Cabinets with marble cladding

kitchen design Mike Moser

interior designer Anna Kidd

Granite Bay Kitchen Renovation. Grey Kitchen island with Storage on bottom. Leather Barstools and modern round kitchen pendants

Kitchen design by Haven studios. We were responsible for the Overall space planning and interior design of a complete remodel project in Granite Bay, looking out over Folsom Lake.

Make Space for Connection

The kitchen has truly evolved into the heart of the home, serving a new purpose that goes beyond just cooking. Socializing has become equally important in this space. Our clients often express their desire to connect with their children while they do their homework or engage in conversations with their spouse while preparing dinner. Interior designers are faced with the task of creating a social area within the kitchen itself or extending it to an adjoining family room or sitting area.

This pursuit of connection presents intriguing design challenges. Should you face the window while standing at the sink or opt to face the sitting area and the TV? If the latter is preferred, the plumbing needs to be incorporated into an island. Another consideration is whether you are comfortable with your back to the room while cooking, allowing the range to be placed against the wall, or if you would rather face your family or guests.

Kitchen Counter extended to dining table, modern kitchen interior design trends perfect for a NYC loft

LUxury NYC interior designer: Banda Property

Any kitchen design is never JUST about the functionality and aesthetics of the kitchen itself but how we connect there with our people. It’s the heart fo the home. Making space for connection comes natural to our holistic interior design approach.

In the beginning stages and throughout the space planning phase of our home remodels and new construction projects, we emphasize that these discussions encompass the experience, not just the functionality. For instance, we will ask you: “Do you enjoy entertaining and being part of the action?” The placement of the prep space will be determined by how you prefer to experience the cooking process. Many more questions will be about your preferences during everyday life as well as during events when friends and family are visiting you. If you’d like to learn more about our process, please view our page about interior design services as well as checkin out some of the related blog posts listed below.

Full Kitchen Interior Design Remodel. Stainless steel sculpture bar stools. Wood kitchen island. Stainless steel kitchen range. Blue kitchen cabinets

interior Architect: Social Studio and TenBooks Studio

Kitchen Wood window trim. Stainless steel kitchen plumbing. Open Space layout
Kitchen renovation. Marble counter top with teak wood bar stools. Modern kitchen pendant

Kitchen Design by NYC interior designer ash staging

Eat-in Kitchens

In the world of home design, the eat-in kitchen stands as a pinnacle of modern fast-paced living and functionality. When well thought out it can also be a great opportunity to be creative while blending the culinary arts with the warmth of family gatherings. At Haven Studios we have gathered a lot experience in kitchen design and how to integrate the kitchen into the general interior design of the home as a whole.

Eat-in kitchens are where your day begins with a warm cup of coffee and where it winds down with a family meal. We believe in creating interiors to be as comfortable as they are chic, blending practicality with a touch of luxury. Imagine soft, inviting light spilling over a spacious island where homework is done, stories are shared, and, yes, meals are prepared and enjoyed together. Our approach is all about making high-end design feel accessible and lived-in. From selecting durable yet beautiful materials that can handle the mess of daily life to integrating smart storage solutions that keep clutter at bay, we design eat-in kitchens that are truly the heart of your home—a place where memories are made, not just meals.

Interior design breakfast nook
Custom breakfast nook. Modern interior design

Both Kitchens Above created by interior design Icon and expert in French Minimalism: Joseph Dirand

Below another all-time favorite eat-in kitchen design. Really more of a breakfast nook taht explodes with color and cheer yet feels collected and refined – just like we dream about in our interior design minds.

Interior Design by Arent & Pyke – An incredibly talented design frim from Australia.

Wash Up Wisely

Efficient cleanup is all about the perfect setup: a dishwasher and pull-out trash beside the sink. This formula is so universal that some interior designers even include a secondary trash and dishwasher when there are two sinks. In the wash zone, customization and maximum efficiency are key. For example, if you have a “I cook, you clean” partnership, the layout can be tailored to the cleaning person’s preference. Right-handed? The garbage drawer goes on the left, and the dishwasher on the right. Plates, cups, and bowls are conveniently placed near the dishwasher, eliminating unnecessary walking. It’s all about optimizing the flow and convenience of your kitchen setup.

Sacramento + SF Interior designer: haven studios

Rethink Your Island – With or Without a Sink

The selection of colors paired with the marble sink/bin immediately draws the eye, infusing the kitchen with a sense of refined style. The addition of checkered base and flooring introduces an element of interest, making the space both captivating and welcoming. These interior design choices work together harmoniously, striking a balance between elegance and functionality. The kitchen thus becomes not just a place for culinary tasks but a visually engaging area that invites you to appreciate the thoughtful details woven into its design.

Interior design by YSG Studio

Consider What’s Behind Closed Cabinet Doors

When our interior design studio starts the programming phase we often run into a common misconception: a well-designed kitchen must be packed with cabinets. However, we would argue that it’s not the quantity of cabinets that determines functionality, but rather the type of storage. For instance, having to retrieve a KitchenAid mixer from a deep or high cabinet can be inconvenient. Our experience with kitchen design has taught us that keeping everyday items at eye level can greatly simplify life in your kitchen. We strive to tailor our interior design solutions to your particular needs while also incorporating what we’ve learned over many years.

Kitchen Design + interiors MCA Studio/CASACOR

Instead of going the More is More route when it comes to storage, we like to itemize the contents of our clients’ kitchens. Then, we design so that everything has a home. We label where everything belongs in the plans—silverware, cutting boards, spices, you name it. The first step to having a well-organized kitchen is a roadmap for putting things away. If there’s a place for everything, it’s easier to keep clean.

One thing we always make room for is vertical storage. It’s often overlooked but it’s important to have space for a broom or vacuum, and aprons. If you have cabinetry to the ceiling (and many kitchens have this nowadays), you might even want to consider a special space for a stool. We’ve started to incorporate this great new built-in stool into our kitchen designs.

Consider A Place for Your Small Appliances

Navigating the storage maze of bulky kitchen behemoths, such small appliances, roasting pans, and sheet trays—can be a daunting task. This is where our Sacramento based interior design studio, which specializes in kitchen design, can really help you in the process. We approach every kitchen with the goal to suit the your unique needs. If space allows, we love to conceal all countertop appliances behind cabinets doors, ensuring a pristine kitchen vista. Maybe even with cabinet doors that slide into side pockets. This will hide all those unsightly appliances behind doors when not in use. When needed, you can easily access those appliances without having to move them from one place to another – it’s a game changer.

Custom Kitchen pantry with floating shelves and sink on counter. Blue custom pantry cabinets. interior Design by Haven Studios. zellige tile floors

Pantry design by Haven Studios

Consider adding a Pantry to Your Kitchen Design

The magic of a dedicated pantry cannot be overstated. It’s a cornerstone of our design philosophy, especially in new construction custom homes or homes that we help to an extensive remodel. It’s where functionality meets art—creating a harmonious kitchen environment that hides the chaos and celebrates order.

How Your Kitchen Cabinets are Organized Matters a Great Deal

Imagine transforming a cramped kitchen into a haven of clever storage, even without the luxury of a walk-in pantry. We like to maximize the space you have. One very simple and efficient way to accomplish that is to opt for drawers over doors to unlock new storage potential. Equip your drawers with ingenious accessories – from bespoke utensil organizers to innovative peg systems cradling your bowls and plates, all snugly fitted in drawers. It’s about harnessing every square inch with purpose and flair.

Simple yet transformative, drawer dividers metamorphose cluttered spaces into realms of order and accessibility. Imagine a kitchen where every baking tray and serving platter has its designated slot, a testament to smart design. The aesthetically inclined like those interior designers that obsess over every inch like us, abhor the sight of cumbersome knife blocks. Instead, we ask the cabinet maker to add knife slots in your drawers, keeping blades safely stowed yet within arm’s reach in the food prep zone.

It’s not just about having cabinet space; it’s about creating useful storage. We encourage our clients in investing in cabinetry that not only maximizes the available space but also intuitively aligns with your kitchen habits. With the right budget and vision, every kitchen can evolve into a model of efficiency and elegance.

schedule a call with award-winning interior design studio in Sacramento

Our mission is to instill confidence when making decisions. We are dedicated to guiding you through the intricate aspects of the process of kitchen design, ensuring that you achieve a space that surpasses your imagination. Our ultimate objective for your home remodel or new construction home is to create an environment that not only enhances the beauty of your home but also elevates your everyday living experience.


a beautiful kitchen remodel as part of a historic home remodel. interior designer in Sacramento supports homeowners that want to renovate and bring an updated charm to their old homes

Renovating a Historic Home

Historic homes possess a distinctive charm and significance. Nevertheless, the prospect of renovating them can appear daunting. There’s a multitude of considerations required to preserve the home’s character while modernizing it for the 21st century. As seasoned interior designers, we understand these intricacies and are here to provide comprehensive guidance throughout the renovation journey. In this blog post, we will delve into the essential factors to bear in mind when revitalizing your historic residence.

a timeless modern living room serves as interior design feature pictures for a blog entry about tips on home remodeling

Tips for Your Home Remodel

Whether you’re starting a remodeling project or constructing a new custom home from from the ground up, there are specific key points that we prioritize during our interior design projects. These are recurring themes that significantly impact the project’s success, and we’re eager to share them with you. Our goal is to assist you in making your remodeling journey an exciting exploration of new products. We want to help you in the realization of your dream home and avoid an overwhelming experience. Feel free to peruse these insights and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.

inspired kitchen in white oak cabinets with a blue La Cornue range - a kitchen design that's well thought out - interior designer Sacramento

Our Selection of Most Inspiring Kitchens

It goes without saying that our interior design studio has a profound passion for kitchen design. Based in both Sacramento, we also take on remote interior design projects throughout Northern California. When it comes to renovating or designing a kitchen as part of a comprehensive home remodel or renovation, the choices are abundant. In this discussion, we’ll delve into key design considerations and explore the latest kitchen trends.

Wondering where to find our interior design studio? Below you’ll find our office location in Downtown Sacramento and San Francisco.

We mostly serve local areas around our office in Sacramento. This includes Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills, Arden-Arcade, Fair Oaks, and Carmichael. You can see from our portfolio that we also serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area from our satellite office in Pacific Heights, as well as clients in Los Angeles and Truckee. If your home or project site is located somewhere else in the US, please don’t hesitate to connect – we’re always open to collaborate on inspired interiors in other places.

Welcome to our latest blog post, where we’re taking a dive into the world of modern kitchen design. If you’re in Sacramento and thinking about a home remodel, or if you’re just curious about what’s new in kitchen design, this article is for you. We bring you straightforward, easy-to-understand insights about functional interior design. Discover how the ‘zone’ concept can make your kitchen layout not just beautiful, but a well-organized powerhouse and a joy to cook in. As interior designers, we want to help you imagine and create a kitchen that is custom made for your lifestyle.