Kitchen Remodel Suggestions?

The Friend and I will be moving back to the U.S. next summer, and my condo's kitchen is badly in need of a complete remodel. It's an exciting project for me -- I'm looking forward to full-sized appliances, multiple electric outlets in sensible locations, a garbage disposal, reasonably deep cupboards and good lighting. The kitchen is about 10' x10', U-shaped, and is fully enclosed -- the building was constructed in 1944. The budget has room for new cabinetry (bamboo is the current choice) and appliances (a double oven or a large oven with a warming drawer of some sort is a must.) Other features on my list: A hands-free faucet w/foot pedal; an induction cooktop; large, deep drawers for dishes and pans; and really good lighting of some sort. Function is more important than form. Suggestions, cautions, comments are needed!

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latoscana July 10, 2011
Julia Child had counters designed to be tall for a comfortable height for her tall frame. I am short, so in a house I remodeled, I had counters built lower - I think they were 27 inches. I had to really wrestle with the contractor about it since it's so non-standard - but I loved the lower work surface. Kitchen design has not caught up with the ergonomic flexibility designed into many office furnishings.
katekirk July 10, 2011
In our 2008 reno, we splurged on 2 appliances that have changed my life - an extra dishwasher (double-drawer type that is easier with stemware) and an icemaker. We put in an island with a bar on one side that has been fantastic for entertaining as well as daily B/L/D with just the 2 of us.

Agree with others' advice on a deep sink and the great usefulness of pullout drawers in cabinets. Our trash is also in a pullout bin and I think it works. I wanted cork floor but steered away from it after witnessing too many problems with it in both home and commercial applications (I work in a design firm). Went with good old linoleum in one area, which is just as sustainable and more durable. I had a hard time committing to a color in the backsplash and did a clear glass subway tile that I completely love. A little modern twist on the classic.
cookinginvictoria July 10, 2011
My trash resides in a cabinet that also has two bins on a track (one for garbage and one for recyclables). I am also considering remodeling our small kitchen, and a kitchen designer I had in told me that doing the trash that way was a big waste of space. However, I love the convenience of it. If I could change anything about the system, I would do three bins instead of two, so that I could have a bin for compost -- fruit and vegetable scraps. Instead I just keep that container under the sink.

I have deep drawers for pots and pans, and I love them. I would never go back to putting them in a cabinet with shelves. If you are not able to convert all of the cabinets to drawers, pull out shelves also work pretty well.

In terms of sink(s), make sure you get a deep sink that is installed underneath the counter. Our sink is just eight inches in depth and it is just too shallow. it's hard to wash a stock pot or even cookie sheets without splashing water all over the floor. The sink is one of the things in my kitchen that I am hoping to upgrade.

Good luck with the renovation -- and keep us posted on your progress, please!
Bevi July 9, 2011
My trash can is a pull out long, deep drawer with 2 bins on a track - one for recycling and the other for trash. I love the convenience. I also prefer big deep drawers to open door cabinets for my pots, pans, baking drawers, gadgets (food processor, etc.) and linens. A double sink and yet another round sink gives me 2 prep areas. If you have a walk-in pantry you are lucky, but I settled for a free standing tall, long cabinet with a section for cleaning tools, and then a double section for shelf stable items. I wish I had wall ovens, but I don't. I make due with my stove oven, a toaster oven that doubles as a small oven, and a convection microwave.
SKK July 9, 2011
Sam1148 reminds me of a good friend's kitchen who has a slide out shelf for her trash, 3 compartments - recycle, compost, trash. Here in Seattle all of our recycle - bottles, cans, plastic, paper - goes in one bin so it is doable.
Sam1148 July 9, 2011
There was a bit on NPR quite awhile back that interviewed Donald Knuth. Who wrote the classic books "The Art of Computer Programing".
He did some grid studies when designing his kitchen and came to the conclusion the most important element of the kitchen was the Trash Can, which should be located no more than a few steps away from the prep area and open to allow easy disposal of items.
SKK July 9, 2011
You had some wonderful comments for drbabs a couple of weeks ago when she asked questions about downsizing, so your organizational sense is great.

In my last kitchen remodel(house built in 1948) I got rid of the overhead microwave because it took too much space and the fan didn't work at all. Hated it. Also designed my cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling so as not to waste space.

Designed pull-out shelves for pots and pans and heavy items. Cook-top stove and separate oven at eye level, which left room for pots and pans under stove.

Also found that I saved a lot of money by having wood on the outside of the cabinets, and a white coating (can't remember what it was called) on the inside. The wood I used was fir. Also was easier to keep interior clean.

Cork floor. Loved the cork floor - easy to keep clean and stand on. Environmentally friendly.

Double sinks a must for me.

My current wish is to have a work station in the center of the room with more storage and ANOTHER SINK for prep.

I don't know if it is possible in your situation, but I opened my kitchen up so I can be with people while cooking.

My contractor and I measured the cabinets we wanted together and he went to the cabinet maker. We tried to use stock sizes when possible, which saved more money.

What a fun, fun project! Please keep us posted with pictures.

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