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Help me build a dream kitchen
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:21 pm    Post subject: Help me build a dream kitchen Reply with quote

I am a little hesitant to post my question, but it is beginning to look like something I've been wishing for may be about to come true! I hesitate only because I don't want to jinx anything!!

My husband and I are leaning toward building a new house. We have our first design discussion appointment with the architect in a couple of weeks. While the design process will take a while, I need to get my ideas pulled together.

Our budget isn't unlimited, but we recognize that this is our chance to do it right. No more crummy appliances, limited counter space, zilch storage space, etc. I tremble at the possibilities!

Here is the current wish list so far:

High-end appliances (not just to spend the money, but for the quality)
Gas burners, probably six.
Electric ovens (two)...at least one a convection?
Subzero fridge (or something similar)
Extra freezer somewhere other than the kitchen
Undercounter lighting
Two sinks
Granite, stone, or something fabulous countertops
A separate walk-in pantry with electric connection (and water?)

I know these are just items, and that there are more critical elements such as floorplan, flow, etc. I am a dunce when it comes to the big picture design elements.

I need your voices of experience, especially if you have attempted this before.

1. What worked for you? What would you do again?

3. What would you avoid if you did it over again?

4. What questions should I ask the architect?

5. Do you have books or perhaps url's that were helpful for you?

We have some design books that I will study before the architect meeting. Our meeting is only preliminary, but it seems important to have some ideas in case the sujbect of kitchens comes up...and how could it not come up?

I appreciate anything you tell me (unless, that is, you recommend I stay in this house and live with my current cramped and poorly appointed kitchen, lol!)
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woodstocker



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 224
Location: kingston, ny

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not that i have ever had the luxury of building my own home, but i would say that you definitely want to have an island with electical outlets built in. my mom has this and it makes everything so much easier. you can set things up and not get the cords all tangled or splatter all over (if you're making a cake, say). maybe a breakfast nook for the mornings or just a quick meal? or an island/bar area. that's what we used to have, just have one side of the top extend to make room for a couple of stools or bar chairs. its great if you have people over and are cooking at the same time. they have a place to sit and talk (and maybe help?!).

a separate pantry is excellent. my old house was 150 yrs old and had one. i suppose it could have been an office or the like, but with kids and their friends and the need for storage..you get the point. a great way to clear up your kitchen space is to put some of the appliances in the pantry. we had our fridge and big chest freezer, baker's rack with the microwave on it, and the china cabinet with storage underneath for more food in the pantry. it was amazing how much space it saved in the kitchen proper. and it opens everything right up. it was kinda funny to see people come over and look around for a couple of minutes then ask "where's the fridge?"
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, woodstocker!

I've seen some soft contemporary designs with an 'island' that serves to separate the cooking area from the family room area. It isn't quite the same thing as a center island, but maybe the idea could be adapted. I'm glad to know that you find the center island useful. I've never had one.

This new house may all fall apart once we get serious about numbers, but we have pretty simple tastes, and don't demand a lot of square feet.

Also, thanks for the confirmation about the pantry. I'll put it on the Important Wish List.
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FoodSciGeek



Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 143
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations msue. I hope everything works out. I agree that a separate pantry and/or lots of good cupboards are important. The layout of the fridge stove and sink is important, they should be laid out so that you can easily acess all three with minimal wasted movement.

I didn't get any real input into the kitchen in my new townhouse, but I love my gas range and granite countertops. I also really loved my convection oven in my previous place. If you have to compromise on some of the appliances, a gas/convection oven with a warming drawer is very flexible instead of two separate ovens. I love the look of my stainless appliances, but they do show finger prints, and I don't even have any little people around touching them.

Good luck and keep us posted as you progress.
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storage Wink
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nine years agowhen we built and I designed our kitchen and I'm very happy with the result. Our biggest expense was my choice of Corian bench tops. They are so much better than granite. I would choose them again. In fact when we do move house I would replace any kitchen benchtops with Corian.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a new kitchen installed 10 years ago and I still love it. I had drawers rather than cupboards for all underbench storage other than double cupboards under the sink.

Drawers are fantastic - you can't lose things at the back of them like in cupboards, and it's much easier to get stuff out of a drawer than a cupboard.

I have a big floor to ceiling double cupboard as my pantry and if I was doing it again I'd have pull-out shelves, specially for the shelves at the middle and top.

I'm not sure about an 'island', I guess it depends on the layout and dimensions of your kitchen. I have an appliance cupboard in one corner. It has lots of power points, and when we're finished with the toaster/food processor/spice grinder/whatever we just pull down the roll-top door and it's all hidden.

How exciting for you!
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as an aside, what is happening to my fellow bloggers? Internet has supplied everyone with emotions, why are we screaming at each other in large bold fonts and multi-colour I have seen this on a number of threads Mr Gates and co would tell us what bad manners we had and ask us why we are doing this!

Now off my soap box and back to kitchens......

My recommendations are:- cupboards on rollers so you can get to the back of your cupboards without straining your back. Talking to an egonomist about the right cupboard/bench height for you. Spending your weekends in custom kitchen stores learning,learning, learning. Researching appliances and then seeing them in action. establishing whether you want forn or functionality, Finally engaging an architect who cooks, and who watches you in the kitchen. Your design must follow your flow.

Enjoy!
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again to everyone for your most helpful responses. This is going to be a great adventure!

The meeting with the architect is in 2 weeks. I've made note of all your ideas and look forward to sharing them with him. As we progress (maybe I should say, IF we progress...fingers crossed) I may post more questions or updates.

Thanks again. I sincerely appreciate your help.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to reading your posts, msue. What an interesting and exciting time you have ahead of you.

I have just remembered the best piece of advice I can give you ... although as you are building a new house it might not be so relevant. I left the country when I was having my kitchen renovated and left my parents to oversee it. I went to the US and returned home to a lovely new kitchen! The only way to renovate.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THe advice so far is fabulous (as always guys).

I agree with the drawers instead of cupboards under the benches. When I had a new kitchen installed I demanded this and had a huge battle with the kitchen company before they gave in. It was worth every word. Also at least one of the deep drawers with a power point in it. That way you can pull it out and use it for the toaster or whatever and it doubles as a worksurface. Saving valuable counter space.

My pantry had large drawers in the bottom, and the top was a cupboard door - but each shelf was on drawer runners and could be pulled out so you could access everything in it. You can buy non slip sheeting which you cut to size and line the drawers and shelves with and it makes sure that nothing falls on your head when you pull out the top pantry shelf, and your crockery doesn't clinck together when pulling out the drawers.

I also went with stainless steel workbenches and splashbacks which went right up to under the top cupboards which are great. You can put anything straight on them whether it is hot or cold. They are hygenic and look great. Yes they get fingerprints and scratch marks, but that is the character of them and you can buy products which you wipe on and wipe off that restore the glossy finish if you want.

One peice of advice which I will state emphatically is to NOT go with the fake floorboards in the kitchen. We spent a fortune on the german high quality beech look fakies (had a concrete slab under so not much option for floor coverings unfortunately). They looked gorgeous - until you dripped one tiny drop of water on them.... then they swelled at the joints and looked dreadful. I asked how I was supposed to clean them (on the blurb in the showroom it said they could be mopped) if water caused this reaction, and the company told me that you are supposed to use a special liquid on a paper towel and get down on your hands and knees and rub it all over the floor...... Shocked yeah right, like that is going to happen very often... Laughing Rolling Eyes It is easy to mop the floor every night or so, but not to do this which took about half an hour! and that was for a really shoddy job.

When we rented out our home to come here I left all the products and a detailed sheet on how to care for the floor, but also said to my husband that it would have to be replaced when we arrive back to live there again. There is no way that the people renting are looking after it, they don't even pay their rent regularly.

Another good thing (so we can finish on a high note Wink ) is induction stove tops. I installed one in the kitchen (it is in storage awaiting my return) and it is the most marvelous invention ever!!! I will never use gas or any other form of electric stove top again!!! Cooking time is quartered, power bills are tiny and you have such control over the heat that there is no way it can go wrong - unless you make it go wrong. The showroom where I bought mine had a saucepan with a few squares of choclate sitting in the bottom and they would put it on low heat first thing in the morning, and leave it all day. The chocolate would be melted, but because it was so gentle it would keep its shape until you touched it. Didn't I have fun playing with it all Laughing ! Seriously, I can not recommend induction stove tops highly enough. I will never own a house without one now. If I had room in this (miniscule) rental I would buy one tomorrow.
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to Debbie and Judy for your additional suggestions.

Debbie, I'm glad you said that about the flooring. Hardwoods have been at the top of our list for the house, but we are also considering other surfaces such as a combo of wood and tile, polished concrete, or something else. We also want to make this house handicap accessible as much as possible. I'm not sure how the kitchen would work in that regard.

And Judy...great idea about leaving the country!! If only...!

I've added each and every suggestion everyone has made to my house wish book. As we get further in the process (and it will be slow and deliberate), I'm sure I'll bounce ideas off of you.

Thanks!
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have floating floor boards, stainless splash back s(which I wouldnt get again) and granite bench tops which I love!

My suggestion is to tear out stories, ads, pictures of particular taps etc., basically anything you are interested in and to keep your tear outs in sections in your loose sleeve folder.

With regards to costs, your budget will blow out for sure - you need to take this into account when you set your original budget, and make contingency plans for your blow out.

The other really important issue is making sure that the exhaust fans are going to eliminate your kitchen odours. This issue needs a lot of research and discussion, particularly if your kitchen and or the rest of your house is open plan.
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woodstocker



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 224
Location: kingston, ny

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

about floors, my mom has natural stone floors in the house she recently bought. while they're great for the climate (central florida- think hot and humid) they are a PAIN to clean. dirt and other particles get stuck in the grout and tiny surfaces of the tiles and the only way to get them properly clean is to get on your hands and knees and scrub with a brush. mopping just barely rinses the surface. not good in the kitchen!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry JenJen I should have worded my comments about granite differently. I've had no experience with granite apart from when staying in holiday apartments and there is always drink marks on it. But them maybe that is not real granite?

Msue there is an interesting article on Tigers and Strawberries blog called Our Kitchen Ourselves (posted 27th Feb).
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Barbara
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