Kitchen remodel - your favorite thing
We are planning a major kitchen/mushroom/family room overhaul. (Best as I can tell current situation las updated in early 70s, including appliances-it's time!)
We are casual cooks - we have youngish kids, a busy schedule, a conservative budget, and overall NOT a pristine household. Wets rely entertain these days, but I'm hoping to do more, as I love a casual dinner with friends. We are working with an architect and I have read just about every book/magazine about kitchens that is out there. So I feel we are getting good professional advice.
What I'm hoping to get from Food52ers is something I can't get from all that: what's your favorite thing about your kitchen? What's the one thing about which you say to yourself, years later, "so glad I have that!" ?
I know kitchens are especially personal, and not everything works for everyone (or every lifestyle or budget or cuisine), but still I'd love to hear about the thing that still wows you.
I did cream colored subway tiles and cabinets, wainscoting,a tin ceiling and green marble. It's a color combination that works well and I'm going to repeat it the next time.
I'm very happy I included a pot filler and love my knife drawer.
The island is just a work space, which is perfect since although I have a decent size kitchen, I don't have a lot of counter space.
I am very, very lucky and was able to turn a back door entrance into a pantry. Its the best thing ever. I can see everything I have when I walk in. Everyone loves to have a look around, which is inducement to keep it neat. I have one wide shelf that goes all around and had outlets put in it for the toaster, mixer, etc.
Things I wish I had done: self-closing drawers, vertical storage of sheets and cooling racks. I wanted a spot for a stool near the island, but the designer told me I didn't have enough width to do it. I'm most sorry about. During long projects, I long to be able to sit down.
The "Insinkorator" http://www.insinkerator.com/en-us/Household-Products/Water-Products/Pages/default.aspx?from=homebanner
A hot water dispenser for the sink. So you'll always have hot water 'on tap' for making making sauces or a quick cup or pot of tea.
In addition to the issues I mentioned above, I'd caution that induction requires an entirely different rhythm to cooking than a gas or electric range. Everything happens very fast. I think we develop a rhythm for cooking based on the equipment we use most often: about how long it takes to get the onions and garlic browned, how to boil potatoes, etc. But induction cooking totally alters timing. So if you've only cooked with gas or electric, the recipes you use, or your intuitive timing, will have to change with induction. Certain ingredients are ready much faster with induction than with gas or electric, and it isn't always great to need to let that food sit while the other ingredients are completed.
On the other hand, a portable induction burner for boiling water is great. (You need a pot that can hold a U.S.A. nickel on its bottom, for the required amount of magnetization between the pot and the induction hot spot.)
Gas is not always available everywhere, but what seems to be a great combo is a gas range and electric oven (the heat is supposed to be more stable).
Very fun topic to read!
For whatever reason, even good cooks seem to always have tiny cutting boards. They're awkward to use and not very efficient. Treat yourself and have a wooden countertop installed (but make sure it's chopping block quality and can stand up to abuse). Being able to treat your chopping surface as a work surface might change your life. At least, now that we've experienced it, we're never going back to normal cutting boards, even if it does mean hauling that monster butcher's block up the stairs.
As a result our 2012 kitchen remodel was completed in about 10 weeks (removed a wall, new tile floor, new cabinets and counter tops) and we only lost use of the kitchen for 2 days while the thin set dried. The best feature we added? We more than doubled the counter top space.
We are lucky because the space we are working within is reasonably large (well, not by McMansion standards, but it is a 1950s suburban ranch so the footprint is pretty generous compared to most urban kitchens, which is how I've lived most of my life).
The other things I am really glad I got: a deep, wide single bowl sink, under cabinet lighting that operates on a touch sensor, 15 inch deep upper cabinets, lots of big drawers and various pullouts. Agree with a previous poster about the vertical slots for cookie sheets. For me, a cooktop and separate wall ovens works best because I don't get hot while I'm cooking, like I used to at a range. I am right handed and prefer my dishwasher to the right of the sink. It's easier for me to rotate to put the dishes in, rather than have to cross my right arm over my body each time for a left-side dishwasher. You can really think about the ergonomics and how you use things as you plan.
One more thing is slab-style doors as they are easier to keep clean. No trim where dusty gunk can settle in.
Glad I didn't get: specialized cabinets/drawers like spice drawer, knife drawer, etc. I prefer to buy separate inserts I want and be able to swap them out if I decide to rearrange things.
If I ever have a kitchen with an island I would strongly prefer to have the island empty of cooktops, sinks etc. In my mind, I'd like to have that large open space to work on, use as a serving buffet, as a table with stools, etc.
I LOVED renovating my kitchen and hope to do it again in a year or two in our next house.
First: Edit out things you don't need. Things you haven't used in a long time or tools that are too complicated to be bothered using. We have all purchased or been gifted with gadgets we thought would be great but turned out to be junk. Get rid of it all. If it doesn't up your game, then it is just clutter.
Second: Take inventory of what you do have and use. Consider the size and shape of everything. Think about how you want these things stored in your new kitchen. How often you reach for your favorite bowl/knife/pan should factor into where/how it is stored. As a designer I have gone so far as to ask the homeowner to empty every single draw & cupboard, assess the value of each piece and even measure the large or odd shaped items. Don't be surprised if you end up with several boxes of items to be donated. Often times people will use, wash, then reuse a favorite bowl before reaching for a second one.
Third: Make it easy to do the maintenance tasks. Can one of the kids be emptying the dishwasher while you are putting away groceries without crashing into each other?
Four: Think about traffic flow. If you want to entertain more, accept the fact that everyone will end up in the kitchen & plan for it. Work it out so the bar setup is away from the food prep. Consider a layout that includes a line-in-the-sand, like an island between guests and food prep. It keeps the cook involved in the party while providing needed work area to get dinner on the table. Have a second refrigerator guests & kids can access without interrupting the cook. I like wine and drawer refrigeration for this.
Most Important: Keep in mind that more than any other room in the house, in the kitchen Function must lead Form. A beautiful kitchen that doesn't function well is just exasperating!
And some other hotline questions:
Buy pairs of spring tension curtain rods. Position a pair vertically, one toward the front of the cabinet, one toward the back. (If your cabinet is very deep, you might need a third rod.) Depending on the width of your cabinet, you’ll probably need at least 2 pair (total 4) of rods, and maybe 6 rods, depending on how many cutting boards, baking sheets and trays you need to store.
The rods below start at 22 inches high. They’re also available in housewares stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, etc.
As alternatives, you can use wire or plastic file folder holders, if their vertical slats are spaced far enough apart to hold a pan or cutting board.
Voted the Best Reply!