OK, Kitchen – I Need A Kitchen. Suggestions?

Now that the floors are in and finished with 2 coats of clear. We need to get on with designing a kitchen for the space. I have a pretty good idea in my mind’s eye. But what looks good upstairs might not work so well in reality. So I’ll lay out my plans and you can all chime in on what, when, how. If you’re a cook, all the better – I need your insight. I’m not the best of cooks, but I do make one mean scratch made Cream Puff. I’ll make you some if I ever get this place done. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Here’s the space as it sits today. The water supply and drains are in place for the island. The bucket is full of electric for the dishwasher, garbage disposal and receptacles as well as controls for the ceiling speakers.

Now most of you probably draw out your designs or use sketchup or some other fancy visualization 3-D whoop whoop software. But down here in southern Indiana we use a little more primitive technology. OK, work with me now – the door is the refrigerator. Those half sawn doors with the cardboard flap – that’s the stove. Squint real hard – can you see the shiny new kitchen?

OK, maybe not – here’s a reverse angle. The 2 legged table is cabinets with drawers. The white slab of cardboard above is a cabinet for a toaster oven and microwave. An island runs down the middle.

I’m sure by now you can almost smell the bacon frying. The shelf on the left will be lowered a little – to hold cooking oils and salt and pepper stuff I suppose. The right hand shelfΒ  is for plates and bowls so they’re handy when I make my fried baloney sandwiches. A prep sink will be to the right of the stove so I can wash off my food when it falls on the floor.

The range hood has a 8″ duct that goes straight up through the roof. I’m working on adding an automatic make up air system to replace the air in the building when this thing is turned on high. Didn’t think about it until now. Most building codes require a make up air system if the range hood is rated over 400 CFM – I have a KOBE hood that’s rated at 840CFM on high.

And the space between the sunroom and living room is a coffee / wine bar. Humm.. 3 sinks in one room – maybe I should have thought this through a little more. But the plumbing is there and the sinks and faucets are bought. This will have a small sink with a wine refrigerator below on the right. Above are a couple of open glass shelves and the rest is cabinets for pantry items. The thing is – I don’t drink wine or coffee. Maybe I better get a beverage center so I can chill my Diet Coke.

The Drawings

So after I built the mock up I did make some drawings. Look professional? Just a little bit? OK, well you’re right they’re not. I used my trusty Microsoft Publisher from Office 2000 to make the scaled drawings. I guess you’d call that ‘Old School’?

I plan on making the island on two levels. The sink side is 36″ and the lower side is 30″. That’s a standard table height. My wife is only 5’2″ and I thought the lower height would make it easier if she ever decided to cook something. The lower level can also be used as a table with regular height dining chairs if we needed more table space. I thought about exdending the end of the counter so I could get a couple of stools under for a place to eat.

The layout is made so you don’t have to walk through the working spaces to get to other rooms in the house. The back mudroom entrance allows you to go to the sunroom and living room by walking straight ahead, or going to the two offices, bathroom and upstairs by turning left.

So that’s my plan. I’d appreciate all of you creative people’s ideas. Bonus points if you know how to cook.



19 thoughts on “OK, Kitchen – I Need A Kitchen. Suggestions?

  1. Separating the working area from household traffic is a great idea. What style of cabinetry and counters? I love my Shaker cabinets, but that little ledge does collect dirt and grime … but we have lots of pets. You are no doubt cleaner than we are! I chose quartz counters and I’m completely sold on them. Best decision ever! Your kitchen’s going to look great!

    • Thanks D’Arcy. We’ll have shaker cabinets in keeping with the age of the home. The profile for the frame has a slope, so hopefully it will be easier to clean. My wife is a ‘cleaner’ so she’ll be up there with Q-tips I’m sure. As for the counter tops, my wife grew up with marble in the Philippines – as it is everywhere and cheap. And I like the patina they get after years of use. But my OCD probably wouldn’t handle that. So I used natural quartzite. The stuff is here: https://misadventuresinremodeling.wordpress.com/tag/bellavita-quartzite/
      I put quartz in the lower bathroom and love it, we’ll see how this quartzite stuff works out.

  2. Nice ideas so far. Offering the following suggestions:
    1. leave more room around the cooktop side-to-side. It looks and might feel cramped with it boxed in so much in your mock-up. (I actually have my cooktop in the island which was a great decision – lots of lateral room, nothing but the vent above)
    2. Low counters are a bitch for everyone who doesn’t happen to be 5’2″. Average of 36″ will make you and the next family pretty happy.
    3. Cabinets right over a sink area are a ‘head-banger’ on occasion. I know from experience πŸ˜‰ (Looks like you’re going for a slim-profile cab, good.)
    4. Are you creating a kitchen that you’ll actually be using, or making one that you want to look good from some magazine or showroom? Why are you including features for items you don’t even use? (winebar,etc) Heart of the home is supposedly the kitchen yet neither of you are serious cooks, so why go that route?

    Don’t take offense, just curious. I have no idea what the motivation is. Just offering 2cents, now worth maybe 1 cent. πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Kate! I never take offense, The more perspectives the better. I like it that you ‘tell it like it is’! πŸ™‚ I want to clarify one thing, because my posts don’t reflect our actual intent in the kitchen and why it’s designed this way. There’s some serious cooking going on here. No double ovens, because they look cool, but we don’t bake much besides my French pastries, and I like a gas oven. My wife is a fantastic cook. I would rather eat her cooking than almost any other, and I’ve had some pretty amazing meals around the world. She is also Filipina, so there is a very high socialization that revolves around preparing food. A typical weekend may have 4 or 5 friends together making food and drinking tea and coffee. The food prep usually has a lot of vegetables and other work that is typically done sitting down. I tried to design the layout so that it would accommodate multiple people in the kitchen.
    I took the layout of the stove from a friend that has a couple of restaurants in town. So I have a 21″ landing place on the left (I’m left handed) of the stove and a 56″ area with a prep sink on the right. (My wife is right handed). The shallow shelves are his idea, to have plates ready for plating off the stove on the right, and cooking condiments on the left. I didn’t want the stove in the island to have a large vent to block the space and need a high CFM hood to vent the stir fry vapor and smoke, and I wanted a straight shot up and out of the roof to maximize smoke removal.
    The counter height is really for me. I’m 5’10” and prefer table height to work off of. I have a congenital back problem and wore a torso brace growing up. I find working down from the top at 30″ is much easier for me than working in front of me at 36″, especially when I have a stand mixer that adds a couple more inches. So I’m thinking 7′ of 36″ height counter space on the island is enough to have a landing space. The 7′ long 30″ space is to sit and work using standard height chairs.
    One thing that I’m going to reconsider is the upper cabinets. The high to the floor is 66″ – they are shallow at 12″, but I may move them up a couple more inches. My wife will only be able to reach the bottom shelf without the step stool in the end cabinet.
    Oh, and the wine bar/coffee center. That’s for my wife and her friends – trust me that will be used more than anything πŸ™‚ Ha! Thanks so much Kate, I appreciate your comments and ideas.

  4. First, I want to say I loved the humor you put into your post. In terms of the island and possibly extending the counter, I would probably recommend that. In our last house, we had put in a bar off our peninsula and we ended up using that more than we used our table. Even during parties, the table became the place for extra seating. It obviously depends on how much seating you’ll have available around the island, but from my experience, more island/peninsula seating is always a good thing.

    • Thanks so much. I just hopped over to your blog: https://foxhavenlife.com/ Very nice! My wife suggested opening up our doorways and it really makes a difference. I wanted to extend the length of the lower counter enough to have 2 stools underneath. When seated at the end of the counter you face a wall that has the TV. I suspect I’ll be sitting there more than in the adjacent sunroom. We plan on having our dining table in there. I plan to build that one. Just another project. I just subscribed to your blog so I can follow along. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’m wondering if it might make sense to move the prep sink to the far end of the countertop and have more uninterrupted work space between it and the stove. Other than that, it seems like you have a pretty good understanding of the ergonomic and cultural factors that work for you and your wife. Me, I like to work over my kitchen floor’s low point where the countertop is about 3 inches higher than standard.

    • Thanks Chad! When you get old and bent over you’ll need a 20″ table top. I’ll mock up that sink and see if maybe I should move it down a bit. I want to leave some space on each side of the small sink because I’m left handed and my wife is right – well, being married, she’s always right. I’ll see if I can fudge it a little more downstream. Thanks!

  6. I really enjoy your posts and the details you have creatively placed throughout your home.

    I love the idea of a lower island for both of the reasons you suggested. I have a 7 foot island that I added to my MCM kitchen. I love the uninterrupted space for socializing, multiple person meal prep and for any big cooking project (canning, cookies, rolling dough). I think your sink and DW combo is a wise decision.

    Couple of thoughts from a person who loves to cook πŸ™‚
    I love most of my island decisions…1. The cabinet with the riser for my Kitchen Aide Mixer, wish I had a second for my Food Processor. 2. Two drawer 36 in. unit, the top one has a shallow inner drawer that I use for all my herbs and spices. (close enough for use when baking or cooking at the stove, yet far enough away to preserve their freshness) in the lower area of this top drawer is my canisters of various baking ingredients (all except my flours as I live in the South and these are stored in my freezer) the second drawer has all my mixing bowls, measuring cups etc. 3. I love my toe kick drawers, I use one for large server dishes and the other for large/long rolls of foil, pre cut parchment and “plastic” wraps.

    I like the idea of your “appliance cabinet”. keeping things out of sight will give you a cleaner look. Consider a sliding pull out if you utilize this space for your mixer or other appliances… even for the toaster oven, makes it easier to tuck it back in and keep neat.

    I would encourage you to have another bank of drawers, they are so much easier to use or if you prefer the cabinet door look use full extension pull outs. Think about what you use in your kitchen now (equipment, supplies, utensils) and where they would not only fit (as some items are awkward) but also how often you use them.

    I think you have done this with the shelves for dishes and your common oils, salt & pepper. Where will you have your knives? If more than one person is cooking can they move easily between the areas, I find my biggest barrier is when the frig door is open or someone needs ice and I need something else in the frig…would be nice to have an ice maker in my beverage frig.

    I agree gas is the best to cook with and really helps when there are power interruptions. speaking of power, I would love to add one of those outlets in my island for small appliance use and with a USB for ipad (I use this alot for new recipes). I wonder if the ones that pop-up are any good? how hard are they to keep clean?

    Another thing I am certain you have thought of is an air activated push button for your garbage disposer, great add on I did just this last year…no more turning on the disposer when I mean’t to choose the light πŸ™‚

    I am sure that whatever you do it will be fantastic and I look forward to reading about your progress.

    • Thanks so much Kelly for your helpful suggestions. Is the 36″ drawer next to the stove? The appliance cabinet will have pull outs, mainly to dissipate the heat from the large toaster oven. I wanted all the lower cabinets to be drawers, when possible. I like the drawer in drawer idea for the spices and cooking utensils. Since I’m having the cabinets made ( I wish I had time to do them myself) I can add the toe kick drawers – good idea! I’ll have extra storage in the wine bar area, and another large cabinet not pictured. We have a pantry downstairs with an extra refrigerator to keep things like rice and other bulky items. The step down counter will allow me to put in the required 2 circuit receptacles, light switches and ceiling speaker controls. I have been using those combination usb, electric receptacles in the bathrooms and use them here. They are handy. I looked at the pop up ones and I think they would be fine, just more expensive.
      I may be ahead of you on the garbage disposal switch. πŸ™‚ In the mudroom I have an electronic capacitive switch that’s mounted next to the faucet. It’s a little silver button that you lightly touch – similar to one of those touch switch table lamps. The disposal runs for 20 seconds and turns off. The first time my wife didn’t know where the switch was, and couldn’t figure how to turn it off. “Wait for it” I told her :). If you have any drawings or other suggestions I would love to see. Thank you so much for your great ideas!

  7. Hey, Curt – Looks like you’ve put quite a bit of thought into this and I think it will be great. I have to side with your wife on the marble, though. Debra and I both love it as a kitchen material – so much soul and character. I’m going to shoot this post over to Debra to see if she has any comments. Kitchens are kind of her thing. Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Dan – thanks old buddy. Well, I didn’t do the marble, but got natural quartzite. It looks pretty much like marble, but supposed to be more durable. So hopefully she’ll be happy and I won’t be so OCD..time will tell!

  8. I can see your vision. As a woman who does a lot of cooking and who has completed my own kitchen remodel, here are my questions. Where’s the lazy susan or shelf to hold those pots and pans that are either too heavy or too large for the pot rack? Where is the pot rack? I don’t know about having shelves on the opposite side of the range that are two different heights (that’s going mess with your symmetry). I also find shelves above the range and fridge to be a waste of space if you’re under six feet tall (though if open shelves, you can display cookware). Will you have open shelving, glass doors, or beautiful wood cabinet doors? Where’s the pantry?Every good kitchen needs one within walking distance. I also may be jumping ahead on the design front, but what type of bar stools are you getting for the island? I recently purchased backless ones for our island and let me say, they really open up the space.

  9. I’m still loving all the work you are doing. One favorite thing in my kitchen is the tall faucet (Kohler Forte) with the end that pulls out. I can fill pots or pitchers on the counter and not have to lift them out of a deep sink. My ageing back thanks me each time.
    Is there enough room to open the oven door as someone is un/loading the dishwasher?

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