Closing Out January

So January is coming to a close – and what a cold one it is! I hope you, your loved ones and your plumbing pipes are all safe and warm. A warm up is in our future, so hang in there. Here’s a little recap of the shenanigans over at the Misadventures project – we’re getting closer to the finish – if that’s possible.

We’ll start with a small problem. When I drew up the kitchen island design, the cabinetmaker missed this little detail. I needed some extra room next to the dishwasher bay to add the receptacles and switches between the upper and lower countertops. I thought I could get away with these shallow switch boxes – but nope, not gonna work.

Looking at the back of the dishwasher bay, you can see a boatload of electric that needs to find a home and these little metal boxes just aren’t quite big enough. Oh the pains of free-style design.

I fabricated a 3/4″ panel to attach to the cabinet side to give me a little more depth for the electrical boxes. I changed out the metal boxes for these – the blue boxes have a little more room for wire wrangling.

So with a little persuasion we have all the wires where they belong – and the dishwasher fits as well.

Another little misstep. I thought the white controls and receptacles would work – but no. I’ve changed out these eyesores to black. The two receptacles are gfi protected on two circuits – just as code requires. The others are a speaker balance control and a 3-way switch for cabinet lights.

I was trying to get everything done before the countertops went in – it makes life so much easier when you can work from the top. I’ve plumbed the main sink and dishwasher and run electric for disposal and dishwasher.

Final work to get ready for the countertops I bought back in 2010 – Time to get rid of my cardboard counter you can see in the background.

Steel plates were glued and bolted in place to the counter overhang. I added a 14″ overhang at this end for a small seating area.

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Of course, the countertop install day had to be one with a rainstorm that wanted to tag along.

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So after a couple of hours the quartzite counters are in place, ready for me to start on the finish plumbing. I bought these stone slabs so long ago I had forgotten what they looked like. You can read the post about the counters here. The kitchen is 27′ long and opens into the 16′ wide sunroom, which makes for a 43′ long sightline – it creates a very open and bright workspace.

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The upper sink area is a standard 36″ with the lower level at table height (30″). The modified galley kitchen design with central island allows traffic to flow through the kitchen to any other part of the house without passing through the working side of the kitchen. Which is a good thing when someone is in there with a hot stove and sharp knives. The lighting may seem a little overboard, but since I do lighting design as part of my day job it was designed to create a shadow-free work area. The centers are 3″ MR-16 LED and the others are 4″ led recessed lights. The aisle lights are a schoolhouse design. Since the trim on the lights are the same color as the ceiling, they minimize the Swiss cheese effect of all those ceiling light holes.

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The little wine bar area is almost finished with the exception of the tile backsplash and the glass shelves. And the plumbing of course. Looks like my wife is already finding a home for her flammable liquids.

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The small deep prep sink by the stove will have a instant hot water dispenser. The tile backsplash and single shelf also will need to go in. Since my wife is Filipina, she likes to have one or more girlfriends over to cook together. The kitchen accommodates three in the kitchen to prepare food.

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Instead of hanging pendant lights, I opted for these schoolhouse style lamps that would have been used in the 1930’s. The lights allow for a multi-directional light to complement the directional recessed lights. 

The upper level cleanup sink is a single bowl with the dishwasher to the left. The lower drawers on the island are for dinnerware and serving pieces. This position makes it easy to load and unload the dishwasher. The island is 30″ wide, a little narrower than standard, but the 9′ length of the lower counter makes up for the width. My wife likes to work off the lower level, especially when rolling dough and preparing some of her more complicated recipes, as she has room to spread out. 

So onward we go, mare details and cabinets to build, but at least we’re getting to the pretty stuff. I promised some bling – it’s just taken nearly 10 years to get here. Stay warm and see you soon.

 

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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 shelf  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.