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October 03, 2005

Fu-Tung Cheng on Kitchen Planning

In her just released anthology "The Experts Guide to Life at Home," Samantha Ettus has spanned the globe to bring us advice from the cognoscenti de casas on everything from "How to Make a Birthday Cake" (Colette Peters of Tiffany Windows and White House Christmas decorating fame) to "How to Light a Room" (Debbie Travis, author, syndicated columnist and tv personality). To guide us on how to renovate a kitchen, Ettus turned to author, designer & master of all things concrete, Fu-Tung Cheng.

First, he says, poor yourself a glass of wine -- and determine what you can bear to spend -- and then double it (the budget, not the wine) and add 20%. Next, plan. And by planning, he advises that it's not enough to enivision where the appliances should be -- you need to envision where you want the guests to be. Do you want them near as you slave and chop -- or do you want them as far away as possible? This little exercise will help you decide how high the walls -- how wide the dividing counter.

Fu values craftsmanship and materials, which he finds is as important as form and function. "Avoid cookie cutter designs of relentless wood box-style base cabinets topped with thin countertops and an array of wall cabinets," he says. "Do it right," adds Fu. You'll probably recoup it all if you sell. But more importantly, you'll get to really enjoy your kitchen.

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