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AROUND HOME : The Perfect Kitchen

ONE DOESN’T EVEN begin to comprehend what real decision-making is until one has tried redesigning one’s own kitchen. The options are mind-boggling--and everybody has an opinion.

Now there’s a great little book that makes the whole thing infinitely easier. Called “Planning the Perfect Kitchen,” it explains everything you ought to know (which is bound to be a lot more than you really want to). This no-nonsense approach begins by asking a lot of questions that you probably haven’t thought about--such as: “When you cook, do you clean up everything you use as you go along?” “Do you cook with fresh ingredients or do you rely on supermarket staples?” and “How tall are you?” It even asks what items will be left out on the countertops. (It is surprising how many people get brand-new kitchens and suddenly discover that there’s no place for the knife rack.)

Next, the book walks you through the choice of appliances, getting down to the nitty-gritty details--the pros and cons of commercial ranges, the servicing of European stoves, calculating how big a refrigerator to get. The book has entire chapters on storage space, kitchen surfaces and lighting.

The back cover is a laminated grid, complete with 260 scaled-to-size plastic stick-on color forms of cabinets, appliances and the like. With this plan, you discover if your design concepts actually work.

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Faced with all of these impossible decisions, you might just throw up your hands and decide that the whole thing simply isn’t worth the trouble. If it comes to that, your $19.95 will have been well spent.

“Planning the Perfect Kitchen,” by Bo Niles and Juta Ristsoo, is published by Simon & Schuster.


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