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Found 61 results

  1. HI guys, I'm here for a bit of advice. We are building a house (in Croatia, Europe), and finally have a chance to build a kitchen as i want it We would like to get a professional combi oven, something like this new Rational (a bit pricey) or this UNOX (better price) so that we have a long term solution for our needs. The reason we are going for the professional oven is that, for example UNOX, is cheaper than "home combi ovens" from brands like Miele, Gaggenau, etc. and are much better than those. Does anyone have any experience with pro combis at home? i have only seen a couple of people, at least on the internet, that have them at home. I guess that setup would not be a problem, because we designed a water inlet and outlet for the oven, and the voltage is OK. is there anything we didnt think of? Will that oven have higher maintananace cost, even if its used only couple of days a week? Thanks for help P
  2. Here's a picture of the current kitchen. The microwave and fan died about 4 years ago. The stove and oven died about 8 weeks ago. Cabinets are 80's oak. Decided it was time to bite the bullet and spend the money to get a new kitchen. Demo/construction will start after Thanksgiving and won't be finished until after New Year. I thought you may enjoy the ride. It's a galley kitchen in a condo so have to work with existing space but I think I'm getting more counter space which is great
  3. Hello, everyone. At long last, we're able to seriously think about redoing our kitchen. Since I've never had the opportunity to do one myself before, I thought I'd ask the Great Collective Wisdom to add input before it gets much more expensive to do so. In fact, the GCW has already been of tremendous help with some past threads, in particular this one because it's fairly recent. We're hoping to begin this project about a year from now. Why the wait? Because first we'll need to have the electric system in the house upgraded, and that probably won't happen until fall. Then, since we both live in the academic world, we'd prefer not to have massive chaos around us during the school year. But once summer comes, we're able to devote our attention to other places. (Furthermore, this is upstate NY, where we get an average of 120 inches of snow a year. I don't think we could get through this without being able to use the grill.) And the kitchen isn't so bad that I curse it out every day, although should something die in the meantime I may change my tune. The main reason for the upgrading is to modernize. Our house is about 40 years old. Our kitchen is also probably about 40 years old; we don't think anything significant has been done to it since the house was built. We've now lived here for 22 months, which has given us plenty of time to figure out what we like and don't like about the kitchen. First, though, here's a rough drawing of the kitchen (courtesy of the Ikea kitchen software, with a bit of Photoshopping afterwards), as it currently stands: The narrow dimension, measured wall to wall, is 8 feet. The kitchen floor is 16 feet, 3 inches long (and the cabinets add another 2 feet). The dining room adds an additional 7 feet of length to the far wall (with the window). All the dark areas are walls. We plan to leave all walls as they are. The large open area at the left side of the picture is our dining room. The flooring in the dining room is the same yucky off-white carpet (with no padding left) that flows through the opening to the living room and hallway. We would eventually like to put hardwood in the hallway and living room, since that's what we have in the bedrooms AND the closets. (I don't get that myself. Someone who knows, please enlighten me?) The lighting in the dining room is hanging from a ceiling fan over the table. We're planning to keep the fan or a replacement thereof, although I'd probably choose a different lighting fixture. (I'll try to snap a few photos when there's decent light.) The door at the back of the dining room is a heavy sliding glass door that leads to the back deck. There's a floor-to-ceiling window on the other wall of the dining room. The deck is on the back side of the house; it faces south. Between the window and the door, we get a fair amount of light coming in, particularly in the mornings through the window. I should add that our house has baseboard heaters for the hot water heat; there's one baseboard heater running the length of the wall with the window, and another heater that starts just to the right of the sliding door that extends nearly to the edge of the cabinets, behind the semicircle in the drawing. That semicircle in the drawing is a set of three semicircular shelves. They aren't the right size for much of anything, mainly because there's a support pillar right at the outside of the curve that makes it tough to fit anything bigger than a softball inside. We do, however, have a couple of platters for fruit storage resting on the top shelf and some odds and ends on the two lower shelves. We nearly took a Sawzall to the shelves our first winter here, because the heater was clanking and the bleed valve for that heater is at the edge behind the shelf. And then we get to the cabinets themselves. I'm guessing the doors are made of plywood, because the edges of each door have grain wrapping around, and because the entire cabinet unit has matching veneer that seems to be cut from one giant sheet of the stuff. I wouldn't have a problem with the looks, but I have a huge problem with the function or lack thereof. I don't think there's a single door or drawer that actually opens and closes or otherwise works properly. For instance, the base cabinet on the left of the sink can't be opened without also taking the drawer above it. And the drawer refuses to open without also popping the cabinet. (The wall cabinet is mostly fine, although it doesn't latch too well due to deterioration of the little roller-thingie. But the kitchen has a soffit, which doesn't serve any purpose in our minds, and we'd just as soon get rid of that and let the wall cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, using the highest shelves to store the stuff that only gets brought out for big fancy meals, like the gravy boat and the fancy water pitcher.) There's not much counter space. That's another of the huge problems in the kitchen as it currently exists: it's a large space, with very little work area. My grandma refers to it as a "one-butt kitchen." And she's right: my husband and I trip over each other if we both need to be doing things in the kitchen at the same time. Forget about having one person at the stove while the other preps salad at the cutting board! But the good part of having so little of it is that we don't have to look at much of it: sort of marbled yellow laminate that I'm sure was much more "in" 40 years ago. I like the sink's position in front of the window. This is very important, because we spend an inordinate amount of time there doing the dishes. One priority of the remodeling is to put in a dishwasher. (We realize the cabinet on the left of the sink would be perfect to hold a dishwasher. But there's nowhere to plug such a beast in right now, and no room in the breaker box to add a new circuit for the dishwasher until we upgrade the house's electrical system.) I'm not overly fond of the sink itself: it's a stainless double sink, both basins the same size, with a garbage disposal in the right basin and a dish drainer in the left basin. Because this isn't large enough to hold everything we'd like it to hold, we have a secondary drainer on the counter next to it. The disposal functions, but is an older model with a wimpy engine. Whoever did the plumbing decided that both basins needed traps, so there's not much room underneath the sink for anything other than the garbage can. I wish the sink basins were large enough to hold even one cookie sheet flat, much less my roaster! The stretch of countertop is our main...no, make that our only prep area. That's also where the toaster oven lives, since that's the only place it would go and still be able to plug in. (The other option would have been in the corner, at the other outlet, but we put the microwave there, on a diagonal, and periodically pull it to one side or the other to rescue whatever's fallen behind. In the new kitchen, I want enough electrical outlets that my power does not determine where I can work, AND enough counter space to leave both the mixer and the food processor out but still have room to work. If I'm shaping bread dough or rolling out pie crust, I shove the toaster oven to the side so I have room to slide my wooden pastry board onto the counter. The stove isn't bad for an electric stove, from a temperature-responsiveness point. But it's 40 years old, horribly designed from a usefulness point of view, and placed such that the right edge of the stove is bumping up against the oven cabinet. As long as you don't have anything in the oven, or don't want to saute anything in a large pan, it works. There are cabinets up above the stove. This is bad, because it means that the hood under the cabinets doesn't vent anywhere other than back into the kitchen. The hood is dark brown ugly, and useless for anything except as a light bulb holder. (More on the lighting later.) The backsplash is (get this!) GLASS. Not plexiglass, but the real thing, held in place with little clips like the ones that hold mirrors up. The glass protects the faux brick that runs all the way to the end of the cabinets on the left of the sink. As I alluded, to the right of the stove is the oven. It's nominally a double oven, but they're tiny (24 inches wide on the outside) and horrendously uneven (hot spot in the back left corner of the main oven that's only partially corrected by leaving the quarry tiles in all the time). There's a clock that's stopped at half past 6, so anything timed is out of the question. And I wish there were some kind of indicator when the oven is up to temperature! The tiny bottom oven does broil decently, though. I suspect there might have been a third oven rack at one time, now long lost. There is a cabinet above the oven and another below the oven, but since the oven's insulation is notably lacking we don't put anything too delicate there. On the other side of the doorway (open doorway; hall on the other side) is a tall cabinet with no soffit above because we took it out. That happened when we were given the generous gift of a new refrigerator by my grandfather last year about this time. The new fridge (Amana freezer drawer on the bottom; whatever name they call off-white or bisque or almond or whatever it is) was about half an inch too tall to fit under the over-the-refrigerator cabinets. So we took them out, but to do so we had to remove the soffit on that side as well. The biggest problem this has created is that one of our cats has decided that the cabinet top is a great place to sit and watch the world. This in itself isn't a problem; the real issue is that he can't get up there without making intermediate landings of places he's not supposed to go! This refrigerator is the one thing that is likely to remain of the old kitchen after the remodel. In the big empty space, we put a small table gleaned from a yard sale. The cats are not permitted on tables, but this one's apparently irresistable as a stepping stone to the top of the fridge and beyond. And the lighting? The entire lighting in the kitchen consists of two fluorescent fixtures in the ceiling, each of which takes a large and a small circular tube; a 60 watt bulb over the sink; and the light in the otherwise useless hood. Seeing what you're doing? Forget that! So what will we do? Here's a first approximation, also roughed out with Ikea software and then cleaned up a touch in Photoshop: The dishwasher will go just to the left of the sink. The sink will ideally be an undermount, although if countertops that permit undermounting are prohibitively expensive, that may need to wait a few years. The cooktop will be gas, 36 inches wide, 6 burners with continuous grates, and the hood will take advantage of that outside wall and vent such that my husband can make mole indoors without smoking me out for the next few hours. We're debating the oven still (one or two? dual-fuel range or separate wall oven and cooktop?), other than it/they will be electric and convection, and large enough that I can bake two 9-inch round cake layers at the same time on the same shelf. The fridge will stay about where it is now, but there will be counter and underneath storage where we now have empty space and table. I'd prefer to have no wall cabinets between the window and the sliding door, I think. And if we can remove the baseboard heater between the sliding door and the cylindrical shelves, we'll extend the counter all the way there. Flooring is a question mark still. One big point of debate is whether to make the dining area part of the kitchen floor, or part of the living room floor. I'll post more details of what we're thinking, how we tend to use our kitchen, and potential questions or options, along with some photos tomorrow. (We haven't even begun to think about budget yet; we figured we would wait and see how much our realistic-dream kitchen would cost and then work from there.) In the meantime, let me know what you think. (But be aware that I, like some others who have done renovation threads, am apparently not known well for my ability to take criticism well. ) MelissaH
  4. Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese. As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better. Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which. We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product. So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it. But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast? Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat. The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner. I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
  5. It started as a simple idea. I wanted to replace the ceramic tiled counter top of my kitchen island with a granite slab. From there, well, maybe we ought to redo all the countertops, and since I'm going to replace the island top, maybe it's time I put in a new cooktop there as well. Then I started looking at new 30" double ovens, and alas, my GE combo microwave/thermal oven unit started looking dated. And it must have realized I was lusting for a new oven, because the microwave decided to quit last night! And since it is a combo version, the oven's controls are in the microwave panel. (My wife insists that I in some way sabotaged the microwave to help speed up the process!) Well, now I am to the point where I am considering gutting the whole kitchen and starting anew! That's where I hope you all might help! I need some ideas on design, appliances and placement of appliances. First, my kitchen is all electric. And I want a gas cooktop. The present cooktop is in the island and I like being able to cook all around the island. There is no gas line plumbed to the island! I live in Oklahoma and we don't have basements. Or crawl spaces. Concrete slab foundations are de rigueur. As I said, I like cooking at the island, but unless I gouge out a trench in the floor, I don't know how I could get gas to the island. OTH, my present oven setup is on a wall that backs up to the garage, and my GAS hot water tank is on the other side of that wall! I suppose I could remove the oven combo and put a nice big dual-fuel range against that wall. But that would mean that I would have to cook in front of and looking at the wall, as opposed to being free to move around the island. I like the way things are situated in the kitchen, the flow and all, but I really don't like my cabinets. I have a lot of cabinet space, I just don't like the way they are constructed. I also want to get rid of the flourescent lighting in the kithcen, and we also have what, at first glance, appears to be a vent hood above the island. Don't I wish! But, no, it is a ceiling fan! One that is NEVER used. Dumb placement of a ceiling fan. So, I guess I am leaning toward gutting the whole kitchen and embarking on a major renovation. Any ideas!? I also need some help with the cooktop/range/ovens. I have been looking at Thermador and like what I have seen, but I also know that Wolf, Viking and DCS make comparable units. If I can't have the cooktop situated in the island, I will likely go with a 48" dual-fuel range. Any reviews, pros/cons on the available choices? I think my next step should be to visit a kitchen planner. Any qualifications I should look for, or questions I should ask? I am really scratching my head at this point. We need to have a new oven, but I don't want to do a quick fix for now and get what I really want later. So...any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for listening to my ramblings!
  6. I'm a new member here and have just finished living vicariously through the many fascinating pages of "Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation," and "Varmint's New Kitchen: This time, it's really happening." About three years ago I asked an architect to do some plans for my house because at 1200 square feet there was not room in it for both a child and my work, work which often occurs at home and involves incalculable reams of paper and piles of books. Just as I paid the architect for the preliminary plans there was an article in the local paper that said my huge neighbor, the university, wanted to open up my dead end street and use it for mass exoduses from the stadium on game day. Needless to say, I dropped my plans. Three years later, same house. I have no where to sit and eat because I work at the big dining table now. No where to cook: I HATE my cooktop which is GE, glass, with huge steel disks that have idiosyncratic, metallic mindless minds of their own. No where to REALLY work because I have to keep moving my stuff off the dining table. No where for my books. (This is the easier fix, as I bought some amazing hardware which is already installed in the living room. I just need to make the shelving in my spare time.) Oh yeah, and the child. She has space, sort of. Anyway, after all my reading on this site, which prompted me to join it, I thought I might present my floor plan for your amusement. I know there are great minds here. I hope you will be willing to help a stranger and a newbie think about her space. I've begun to take the advice of, I think it was fifi, who kept a diary of her ways of working in her kitchen. It has already inspired me to send some pots and pans to the thrift store or to friends. As I think about what I've enjoyed in kitchens with far smaller floor area than my current one, I've always had room to make pies. I love pies, love to bake them, love to eat them, love to give them away. In this kitchen, I don't like to make pies. I think this state of affairs has gone on long enough! I love to make soups and stews, and roast huge turkeys for crowds. But again, not in this kitchen. I've only done a huge turkey once or twice in 10 years. That is just too sad, and should be changed. I bought the house originally because it's close to work, has some nice trees in the yard, and a sunny space for a garden which is something of a rarity in the close-to-town part of the mountains where I live. I'm also a block from a 40-some acre environmental study area (read "huge unkempt park"). I also bought it in one day, but that's another story. Every time I consider moving I decide to stay because of the location, and because with a 1200 square foot living area and 1200 square foot basement-cum-shop/storage there should be enough room. There should be. This plan has two parts. One, where I take out some walls that I hope aren't load-bearing, and rearrange the kitchen to make better use of the existing space. Plan two would involve adding on a mud room, study, and second story master bedroom with bath. Here is the house floor plan as it is currently: And here it is after some erasing and thinking in Photoshop: I hope some of you will take a look at this, and tell me what's wrong. Thanks! Gayle PS I left the blanks for the images but can't insert the links, which I posted as PDFs on my own site. I'll do it when I learn how!
  7. Are there any web sites like this that are devoted to kitchen remodeling? We are considering redoing our kitchen and the questions outnumber the answers. I like this type of format-with blogger input but I have only been able to access vendor sponsored type of spots. Any recs would be helpful. Thank you.
  8. Hello all: I'm opening a restaurant (first time I do this) as an upgrade from the catering business I run from home... I have almost (I think) every detail covered and have come to the A/C issue... Should I provide it to the kitchen or will the hood alone extract most of the heat? My concern is that food be in a "cold" environment just to make the cooks confortable. The heat sources under a 6 meter hood (unless of course someone recommends different) will be: 4 charcoal grills 6 burner range 1 oven 1 80cm griddle 2 deep-fryers In front of this hood will be the hot table (bain marie) and besides that the refrigerated table without hood on top, for plating and service. Any input anyone?
  9. My girlfriend and I just bought a condo in Brooklyn, NY. The apartment was a pit, but a pit with promise. We've laid floors in the bedrooms (floating bamboo), painted nearly every nasty wall left by the previous owners and have been furiously planning for the kitchen. It's a complete overhaul: floors, cabinets, countertop, appliances, lighting... you name it. We are cooking enthusiasts but not pro cooks. We figure to cook some bacon now and again but not likely to be canning or serious cooktop activity too often. Our current kitchen is a one sided galley about 5 x 5 so we are definitely gaining space (esp counter space). We figure to have a budget of around $15k for the renovation and already have some "grand" plans. I figured I would ask for some opinions given the wonderful ideas given in other kitchen renovation threads. I will post some current pics of the kitchen when I can (hold yer nose!). Here is a floorplan: Some fairly firm ideas we have had: - Knock down wall in middle of kitchen and wall to left of stove abutting Dining Space to make an open concept kitchen/LR/DR - Expand kitchen a foot or so into the DR, and add an extra base/wall cabinet. The dining space is large enough that losing a foot won't hurt our ability to have a table and chairs. We think that our gatherings tend to be more informal so having the kitchen island as a central gathering point would be great. We will need to figure out how to get lighting down from the ceiling for the island. We have concrete ceilings that were just professionally plastered so lighting installation is a little more complicated than if it were just drywall. The concrete is probably 1-2" thick at least but we think has airspace that was used by the developers to run the wiring for the Kitchen and Dining light fixtures. - Add an island with stool seating on the non-kitchen work area side when we buy cabinets, running electric under joint between parkay wood in LR/Foyer to electrify island (the wall to be demolished has DR/Kit lightswitches and an outlet on the far side already). A few thoughts: - We'd love to vent the oven but we cannot vent into the fresh air chase on the other side of the fridge (currently washer) space (vents from bathrooms) as I don't think that is its purpose and I doubt the blding would let us punch out through the wall in the DR to the backyard. (sucks, but such is life) - We are thinking of putting a wine/beer fridge in the island facing into the kitchen (where the 24" cab is drawn). - We were thinking silestone for counters... Dark Cabinets (chestnut), Light Counters (diana pearl). We priced counters on Ecounters.com (silestone merchant), should we buy silestone through there or Home Depot? Or should we think about Granite or another material? The online silestone quote I worked up for the counter including the new island was $4100 or so. - Probably will do a tile floor. Don't want to clash vs the wood in the rest of the place right now. - Range, refrigerator and dishwasher, I figure I can knock out for about $2200. I am not looking for top of the line, just better than you'd put in a rental. Probably a 'nicer' top freezer fridge, a gas range with power burner/programming features and a quiet dishwasher, plus an above range microwave ($300 or so). Here is a Lowe's workup of the cabinet design (walls knocked, island in place)... We found Kraftmaid cabinets (all plywood frames) we can live with for just over $6000 at Lowes (we may get them priced through brother in law's supplier too) and have a 10% off coupon we can use also. Is this a good price for the room? We liked another door front design but it takes the price up $1500!! We don't intend to be in this apartment forever, but if we are here 5 years we want to have a quality kitchen. I hope you will share any thoughts that you have on our strategy, choices, purchase ideas. If you have any questions, please fire away! Regards, -MJR
  10. I have an opportunity to redesign a small (5x7) kitchen into something better and more functional. This is my first time undertaking such a task and I will have to live with the chosen components for a very long time. I will likely need to break down a wall and create a kitchen/dining/living greatroom. Not sure how anyone was ever able to cook in that kitchen with only 24 inches of uninterrupted counter space. In any event it's pretty much a gut job and I am in desperate need of guidance as far as choosing appliances and kitchen cabinets and I welcome your comments and alternate product suggestions to my preliminary product wish list. Appliances are most important, then the beauty/functionality of the cabinets. Here's the wish list: AGA 24" Dual Fuel Range (need 220 electric service, which may not be possible) Bosch 30" Gas Range Bosch Microwave w/ vent Viking 24" Gas Range Fisher & Paykel Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel double Dish Drawers Miele 18" Dishwasher Boffi Cabinets Bulthaup Cabinets (probably aluminum touch system w/frosted glass doors) Stainless Steel Countertops Boos Butcherblock Countertops Soapstone Countertops Granite Countertops Bamboo Floor Linoleum Floor Tile Floor Many Thanks for your guidance, Azlee
  11. I know several other kitchen renovations have been covered here, but I have some specific questions that I can't find the answer to elsewhere. We've just bought (well, we have a contract on) our first house. It was built in 1953. 1200 square feet. Kitchen, including eating space (there is no dining room, though we could turn the small bedroom into one) is 16.5x9. Not tiny, but not huge either. We want to spend under $7000 total, including appliances. Oh, we only really need a range, but depending on the condition of the dishwasher, we'll need one of those, too. The fridge appears to be in good condition. I agreed to buy this house on one condition: that we could redo the kitchen upon closing. Immediatly. It's very mid-late 80's, with the cheap looking "oak" cabinets, white/pink/blue wallpaper, oak trim, and vinyl floor. There will not be any major work. No tearing down walls, no new/ripping out cabinets, no reconfiguration, etc. We will have to have countertops installed eventually, and that (other than appliances) will be our major expense. Basically, it's a small first house, and we don't want to put too much money into it for fear that we won't be able to get it out when we sell it, but I want to be able to enjoy my kitchen for the 5 years or so I'll be in it. Appliances are a big deal, something I don't find spending more on, since we can take those with us when we move. We do plan on ripping up the vinyl, which will be likely be replaced by hardwood. The wallpaper will be removed. I'm going to put wainscoting in the dining nook. I'm going to paint the walls and cabinets and build in a couple of floor to ceiling shelves around the windows in said nook. If we run into major problems (rotten wood underneath the floor, something like that), we'll hire help, but barring that, we're DIY. Now, on to stuff I'm not even sure I know how to ask: the ventilation is unlike anything I've ever encountered in a kitchen. It's vented through the roof, but the fan is like a bathroom vent fan...set into the ceiling, no vent hood or anything. Is this normal? Is this going to cause problems? The range is at a place where a hood would be difficult to put in...it's in an island type place (but not really an island). It would have to suspend from the ceiling, and because the kitchen is pretty small, I'm afraid it would dominate the room. I guess that's the main problem for now. I don't know what range I'm going to go with, but it's going to need to be around 30'' to fit in existing space. Seriously, I'm pretty baffled about what to go with, even after reading all these threads. I want something pretty high quality, but I don't want to spend a ton. I can handle around $2000. Any ideas? I'm afraid most of the brands I would be interested in would be priced out of my range, but I'm open to suggestion. I'm thinking about a Miele dishwasher (hate, hate, hate noise), but was wondering if anyone had experience with less expensive dishwashers that were almost as quiet as (or as quiet as) the Miele. Oh, also, the house is heated by gas, but the appliances are electric. Anyone have any experiences with having the house converted to gas in the range area? Since we already have a hook up, I don't think it will be a problem, but I'd like to know if anyone knows for sure. Sorry if all this has been covered before or if my writing style makes no sense.
  12. Has anyone else noticed the cool herringbone pattern subway tile backsplash in FG's new kitchen? I really like it. So much so that I decided to do the same thing in my kitchen. It's not coming out anywhere near as nice as his, though, due to the utter ineptitude of my tile guy. So, I'm pretending that I'm renovating a farmhouse in rural Greece and this is just the latest in a string of amusing anecdotes involving the local characters. Like when he discovers 3/4 of the way through the job that the yogurt container of plastic spacers he's been using contains not all 1/8" spacers but somehow a random mixture of 1/8" and 3/16". That explains why nothing is in a straight line! A ha ha ha. I'm sure I would feel better if I could hear a few tales of your kitchen renovation debacles.
  13. It started on Thursday, officially. What a wild ride this has been! I've started a blog elsewhere, for day to day postings. I don't want to bore my family, associates and friends with discussions of flitch beams and electrical subpanels, but I do want everyone who wants to see it, see it. So far, no nasty surprises under the drywall (we have a flat-roofed contemporary home with lots of cool angles and detailing, and if it's not roofed right -- which it wasn't until we got it -- it can be awful). I expected families of squirrels, or at least water damage to the supporting beams. So far, so good! Because I do tend to go on, I'll answer questions and post the occasional photo. But this forum was so helpful to me, and so much fun to watch others' kitchens rise up, that I wanted to share my thanks and excitement with all of you.
  14. I'm sick of seeing so-called "designer" kitchen equipment that costs a boatload and doesn't do the trick, and it's prompting this shout-out to unheralded designs that many of us take for granted. Hats off to Earl Tupper, who gave us Tupperware. We are nearly finished with a determined project to eliminate all junky food storage units from our house to be replaced with vintage Tupperware being tossed into donation bins by fools who don't know the stuff is perfectly shaped and will outlast the species -- all while refusing to retain the smell of the fish cakes you stored in it and forgot about last month. All hail the Ekco Kitchamajig, an ingenious tool that you can use for a variety of purposes and is so underappreciated that the Ekco Corporation doesn't even include it on its website. Screw Alessi. What are the unsung design heroes in your kitchen?
  15. Looking for your opinions and experiences... I am planning to put some wire shelving in my chocolate & confections kitchen. The kitchen has a concrete floor. This shelving will hold ingredients, colored cocoa butters, and packaging. Wondering if I should get casters for this shelving... what are your thoughts on this oh so important question? ;-)
  16. I have a 90 year old house. When I bought it, the kitchen was a 1965 remodel. It was broken and dysfunctional, but the light bulb .... yes, one light bulb ... worked well. I did almost all the work myself, from design to finding appliances to designing and commissioning cabinets to making the counters. The marmolium floors are awesome. The PaperStone counters are temperature tolerant to 380ºF and feel like soapstone, but I was able to cut them with woodworking tools. Before ... yes, that's a Litton MicroRange ... Ugh! But a couple months and few dollars later, I have a place I love working in. Lots of new outlets. Massive counter space. What isn't shown is the mobile cutting board I built on top of an old French baker's table, which normally sits between the fridge and the sink. Of course, the counters are full of stuff now: coffee roaster, bean grinder, drip brewer, sous vide, knife block, ... the usuals.
  17. Hello! I was wondering if anyone on here has tried using an induction cooktop with confection making (caramels, fondant, marshmallows ect...). My stove has literally three settings, and the low setting still burns sugar and there is no such thing as maintaining any sort of "simmer". I was looking into getting a cooktop and buying some copper sugar pots and mauviel makes this thing that goes inbetween. I would love to hear any input into this idea or your experiences! ~Sarah
  18. Since this will be our first kitchen remodeling project, there are a lot we don't know. Right now, we're searching for someone to design our kitchen. Home Depot will do it for $50 or $100, but I don't want to use them since there are lots of limitations working with them. There is a local appliance/cabinet place that charges $500 for the design and I believe we will be credited it back on what we spend if we go with them. Is that reasonable? I'm in San Francisco, so please share any suggestion you have on where we can get our kitchen design at a reasonable price. TIA
  19. Hello everyone, and sorry that my debut post is a request for help. I found these forums while researching my kitchen remodelling project, and the creative energy here was irresistable. My wife and I have a tiny 1930's bungalo, and the kitchen isn't working for us. It's a galley sort of layout, and shares the same room as the only dining area in the house. The whole room is 19.5' long and just over 8' wide. The dining area consumes 7' at one end of the space, with the transition to "kitchen" indicated by a switch from hardwood flooring to vinyl and by two built-in, glass fronted cabinets that are about 4 1/2 feet tall, hiding the countertops from view. As it is, the kitchen is reasonably functional for one cook, but virtually impossible for two. The tall cabinets seperating kitchen from dining room make the adjacent countertops uncomfortable to use (no elbow room) and the lack of a dishwasher means that about a third of the counterspace is perennially occupied by a wilting plastic dish drying rack: a real eyesore. The good news is I'm very handy; I'm a custom furniture maker with a fully equipped woodshop on the other side of one of the kitchen walls. I'm not scared of building round cabinets, new doorways, moving windows or any other such mischief. There are, however, some challenges I'm unsure how to deal with. Principal among these is the budget; we've got $2-3k to play with, which I'm realizing isn't a huge amount, even with the expectation that I'll do all the work. Another is that my wife is short (5'2") and has a mild case of cerebral palsey, which means her balance isn't so hot; she can't reach high shelves and though she's requested a stepstool I can't imagine her using one without creating more excitement than one likes to be involved in when reaching for the flour tin. Also, since the only indoor area we have for dining shares a room with the kitchen, I'm hoping that whatever we come up with can be kept tidy-looking during meal prep; I don't want guests to see a lot of chaos in the kitchen and feel obligated to clean up after me. My thinking so far is based on normal household occupancy of only two, with occasional dinner parties for about four others. My best plans to date involve blowing away the tall cabinets and extending counters over that area. I've found an affordable 18" dishwasher that I like, which would get the dish rack out of the picture. I'm thinking concrete countertops, because I can make molds in my shop and cast them on the back patio next spring, and because they will facilitate an undermount sink (I hate the rim around our drop-in sink and Corian is out of the question). There's space for a pantry closet in the adjacent hallway. I'm also thinking of a bank of shallow cabinets along one wall of the dining area, with a built-in, U-shaped table extending from it. The table could be relatively small most of the time, but be extended with additional leaves when necessary. I'm open to rethinking any part of this plan. One particular problem I'd appreciate comments on is the sink. There don't seem to be a lot of functional small sinks available, particularly in the U.S. I've found a neat one made by Franke, with a large bowl that is just big enough for a half-sheet but with the large dimension front-to-back rather than side-to-side. It also has a smaller, oblong bowl next to it, and the whole thing is only about 21" wide, which would allow me about 28" to the left of the sink and 19" between sink and range. Unfortunately it's only available through U.K. distributors, so with transatlantic shipping I'm looking at ~$650. What do you think? --Jon
  20. Just shy of three weeks into a kitchen remodel, I thought I'd share some of the highlights: 1. The job started 6 weeks after it was originally scheduled. Every week they said they would come, so every week we kept bare-bones essential foods only, and ate out a lot. 2. When they tore out the old kitchen, they didn't bring a dumpster, so they piled all the cabinets, drywall, appliances, and trash in the driveway and on the back porch. They took some away in a truck, but the rest is still there. 3. The plumber put in the pipes for the sink in the wrong place, because he was too lazy to drill through an extra floor joist. He subsequently suggested that we change the plans so that the sink would be where he put the pipes. If we didn't like that, he said we could run the pipes from one cabinet to the next and loose some storage space. 4. If I don't call the contractor each and every morning, nobody comes to the house. If I work at home, they are forced to stay, but it I leave the house for any reason, they take off right after me, leaving no trace but a pile of trash. 5. When they disconnected the old refrigerator, they did not turn off the water supply to the ice maker. They frantically tried to turn off the spraying water, and in doing so, broke the valve. So they just crimped the line and hoped that it would hold. 6. When the cabinet guy made his final measurements, he discovered that a wall the plans claimed was 88-1/2" long was only 80-1/2" long. Another was off by 4". The designer had been to the house and measured twice before he finalized the plans. Now the cabinets won't fit. Initially, they said I still had to pay for the cabinet that wouldn't fit, since that's what the plan said, and I had approved it. They only backed down when I pointed out that according to the plan I was getting a kitchen with an 88-1/2" long wall, and it was their problem to figure out how to deliver it. 7. When the designer's boss came to investigate #6, he accidently kicked the crimped copper water pipe (see #5) and it started spraying all over the kitchen again. We had to shut off water to the whole house until a plumber could come out to fix it.
  21. I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens. The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine. When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day. This was good motivation. When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions. 1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230. 2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future. 3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface. b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance. Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage. The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes. 4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including: a. pastry b. cold garde manger c. hot garde manger d. fish e. meat Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory. 5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products. 6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders. Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish. We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks… We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
  22. Hi eGulleters We hate our kitchen. Well, the kitchen itself isn't so bad. But we really hate our downdraft exhaust. Like most of them, it doesn't suck and that, well, sucks. We have a island with a 36" 6 burner NG cooktop with a 36" motorized downdraft behind it. The thing has broken a few times, and parts are getting harder to find to fix it. In short -- we're done with it. The last time this thing broke, we started talking seriously about putting in a real hood above the cooktop. We even went so far to get a kitchen designer in because we thought it would be a challenge to vent an island hood. Kitchen is on the 1st floor with a bedroom above it on the 2nd. Kitchen is in the corner of the house, but the easiest run outside (with the joist directions in the ceiling) would put the vent exhaust over our deck. The only other outside wall would require venting through quite a few joists... So we put the idea on ice for a few years. Then our wall oven failed (a KitchenAid) and it was replaced with a Miele double oven. My wife, who had just finished up in culinary school (pastry), was and still is very happy with it. I should have known that double 30" temperature-stable ovens would come back to bite me, but my excuse is that she was 8.5 month pregnant when the oven failed 3 days before Christmas. Replacement (and happiness) was a priority! Finally, the downdraft broke again and we said that we're really done with it. This time we were more serious. We're approaching our 15th anniversary, and a few months before that will be my 20th year at the same company. We can't think of a better reason to rip apart the kitchen to the studs and be cooking on the bbq all summer. Oh yeah -- and hopefully have our dream kitchen at the end of it. At this point, we're about 1/2 way through the design portion. We've done layout and we're getting into materials at this point. I wanted to share our story with the hope of feedback (many more sets of eyes) and that this might help someone else. We start thinking about cooking appliances. The initial idea was to go with a double Miele wall oven (again) and a Wolf 36" or 48" rangetop (with the open burners), and a real hood above the cooktop. We would move the rangetop/hood to the exterior wall where we have a fridge now, and the island would become prep-only. The fridge would end up where our oven was, and the only problem was where to put the ovens. And we really really didn't want to move any exterior walls and raise the price of this remodel. Long story short: there was no place to put wall ovens that didn't seem shoe-horned in. We cut out templates in graph paper and moved them around. The designer tried a few ideas, including giving up a real fridge and moving to drawers (which we veto'ed). We finally decided to give up some lower cabinet space and move to a dual fuel range: a 60" Wolf dual fuel with frenchtop. And that's the first question out there: anyone have a frenchtop? We're going with the FT because I can't see using a grill or griddle since they both seem like they'd be a constant mess, and my bbq is ~40 feet away outside under cover. The other point for the Wolf was the electric ovens. They are apparently as temperature-stable as the Miele, and my wife (the baker) wants the dry heat from electric ovens. I would prefer to have one gas and one electric, but Wolf doesn't do that. We looked at Bluestar and Jade, and their ranges are either gas only or non-self-clean. When I saw a price sheet, I consoled myself thinking that it saved us from expanding the kitchen. That would probably have cost 5-8x more. The designer also worked it well into the plan. The far wall of the kitchen will be the range, some cabinets on either side, and a whole lot of tile. It'll definitely be the centerpiece (so to speak) of the kitchen. So the hood needs to support the aesthetics. The hood. That is the real motivator for this remodel, and we really wanted something that worked. If we're putting that much potential heat under it, we'll want something that can deal with the heat and the occasional cast-iron pan steak sear. We're planning to extend past the side edges of the range, so we're looking for a 66" x 24" hood. Venting with be from an external Abbaka 1400 cfm blower mounted on the outer wall. Anyone with any experience with that blower? We're looking at 2 possibilities right now: a Modern-Aire P31 66"x24"x18" with about 11" of vent cover; or a Abbaka Classic 66"x24"x20" and about 9" of vent cover. Either of these will have brushed SS finish with polished SS accents. Both vendors seem to make the hoods to order, and it seems that just about anything can be customized. Any success stories with Modern-Aire or Abbaka? Looking over this, I see I've written a long first post on this project. I'd love any feedback on the Wolf or our venting ideas. As this solidifies, I'll post more info on it. We expect to demo the kitchen in June and have our kitchen back before school starts. We'll see how well that goes
  23. Hi! Before we launched our project, I followed Melissa's remodel thread (congrats Melissa) and links to other kitchen remodel threads and I am continually awed by the inspiration and recommendations offered by the eGullet community during those projects. I want to get a piece of that action during our remodel. Demolition began on June 20, with an estimated 6-month project duration. The impetus for our remodel was the addition of a master bedroom and bath to transform our tiny 2 BR 1 BA into a modest 3BR 2BA. In addition, we are transforming and expanding the back of the house to create a "great" room that will combine a new kitchen, dining and family room. I will post plans and initial pictures in a subsequent post to give everyone a sense of the scope of our project. But first... Yesterday, we met (again) with our kitchen designers and appliance people to hammer out our appliance wants, needs, and desires. Here is where we netted out: Range – Wolf 48” R486C (6 burner, grill), w/ Island trim (is trim necessary?) Hood – Independent 27” x 54” Incline INHL54SS (w/ heat lamps) Blower – Independent CFMR1400 (external) Dishwasher – Miele Platinum edition G2150SCSS Microwave – GE Monogram 1.0 CF Stainless ZEM200SF Refrigerator – GE Monogram 42” built-in Stainless w/dispenser – ZISS420DRSS Beverage Center – GE Monogram 24” Stainless ZDBC240NBS (we're not willing to pay $600 more for privacy glass feature!) Sink – Franke 30”x18”x9” Stainless under mount Anyway... we would love to get some reaction to our selections before they hit the SOLD key on the cash register! Thanks! -Lyle PS: I know the Wolf is wimpy at 16,000 BTU per burner, but are there other reasons I should reconsider?
  24. So the fiancee and I bought a fantastic house -- very much a right place at the right time situation -- a 1930's era brick colonial. While everything is in decent shape -- the previous owner was an engineer for the DPW who was meticulous about maintenance -- the kitchen is very small and needs some updating, especially for folks like us who like to cook (me) and entertain (my fiancee). On the upside, though, I get to re-do the kitchen how I like it. On the downside, our funds are limited. I'll post photos in a bit b/c I'm sure you folks would have some interesting ideas on how I can update the space, but my first question is about appliances. Do people have recommendations on good "entry level" gas ranges, refrigerators, and dishwashers (we need all three)? I can't afford a $3000 rig, but I could probably swing something in the $1500 range, for example. Thanks, Sander
  25. My wife and I just bought an apartment on the Upper East Side and while the 3 bedroom was bought for a good price (well, good for Manhattan) the trade off is a small kitchen. The kitchen is about 5.5 x 13.5, which is a bitch, but I rationalized it by thinking that if Gabrielle Hamilton can turn out such good food in her small kitchen at Prune, an amature chef, with no tables to turn can make it work as well. The issue is obviously to maximize the space, but give it the function of a professional kitchen. To design a small kitchen that has the flow necessary for someone who is going to be using it heavily. Does anyone have the name of a kitchen designer that works in Manhattan that they would recommend? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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