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  1. I've started a few topics about various renovation related subjects (here and here), but figured I'd put the overall project in its own. Pix often tell the story even better... It helps to have these. Well, you need to have these if you expect to get anything done in your coop. Then stuff can start... And then start getting rebuilt. A little better electrical system. New pipes have to be done in the walls. This Started on September 8th. They've had approximately 25 days on which work was done. Proceeding along nicely, I'd say.
  2. My new house is in the early stages; it is barely framed up but I'm already dreaming of my dream kitchen. Yesterday I went to our one big appliance store (other than HD and Lowe's) and I think I'm going to go wild with the new units. First up I'm thinking of a Sub-Zero side by side. A Thermador 30" slide-in dual fuel range, a Bosch d/w as well as a new m/w and a new hood of a type yet to be determined. All this is really overkill since I'm by no means a big presence in the kitchen, and these expensive appliances do not define the home which is really rather modest. But I'm figuring this is my last rodeo, if you will. I have heard of some folk having trouble with Sub-Zero repairs so I plan to add a warranty protection plan.. Anyone have any negative experiences with any of these brands?\ ETA: I have been reading reviews online about Sub-Zero fridges and I may have to re-think that choice. Those reviews are not good. Much as I'd like to have a custom-size I'm beginning to have grave concerns about repairs.
  3. I saw an episode on the Property Brothers where they did kitchen cabinets in dark blue. I showed Charlie some kitchen like that on line. He liked them too. I have been planning new floor and counter tops but this I could do myself. The job isn't finished but it is far enough along to see how it looks. The next one was taken within a month of so after we moved in in 2012 and the last one is how it looked in April.
  4. I am in the process of packing up my kitchen—we’re about to demo and remodel—and am sorting about 20 years of accumulated cookery bits into pack/donate/trash categories. Which led me to an article from the expert advisors at Epicurious, “The 9 Kitchen Tools You Need to Replace Every Year,” in which they advocate for an annual household purging of Microplanes, cutting boards, paring knives, dish towels and more (ideally replaced via convenient affiliate links). Two questions (at least) arise from this: How much cheese and nutmeg grating does it take to dull a Microplane? I haven’t noticed a diminution in mine’s powers, and I’m pretty sure it’s at least decade old. Is there anything that you do replace annually on principle, regardless of its condition? For the record, I don't think they're wrong about sponges. (Also, Hello! I’ve been away from eGullet for quite a while and am ineligible to post a Welcome Our New Members Thread, but I’m a domestic dabbler in Portland, Ore. Mostly stovetop and sous vide of late, since my ovens have been out of commission for a few years… looking forward to getting my bake on soon).
  5. Kitchen remodeling is something that most of us have either done or at least seriously contemplated. It’s an agonizing process and a strain on any relationship. The thought behind this thread is that the more practical help we can get on kitchen remodeling the better. The inspiration for this thread was when I realized that I know of 5 kitchens that have recently had complete remodels; each is very nice & each is very different. So, I talked to our friends & got their permission to photograph their kitchens and for them to answer a series of questions. I also have their agreement to answer any questions that you may have. (The answers will come through me as I want to maintain privacy for my friends.) In each post there will be a complete description of the kitchen along with lots of photos. In addition here is a list of standard questions I intend to ask. Q. What was your kitchen before it was a kitchen? Q. How large is the kitchen? Q. What kind of cooking do you do? Family? Dinner parties? Ethnic? Gourmet? Q. What were the 3 top goals for your new kitchen? Q. What was the biggest problem that had to be over come? In the design phase ? During actual construction ? Q. What are you most pleased about in your new kitchen? Q. Least pleased about? Q. If you were doing your kitchen again what would you change? What I’m looking for with this initial thread starting post is feedback. How much interest is there in the topic? Are there other questions I should be asking? Would anybody else like to write up their kitchen once they’ve seen these write ups? I’ll be starting with our own kitchen so here’s a teaser picture.
  6. We have started into fixing the kitchen after starting planning several years ago - almost as long as the dishwasher has been dead and the oven barely functional. And don't get me started on the non-exhaust fan. Before the destruction but after removing all the crap: The fridge was replaced not too long ago and is staying where it is. We had to have its alcove expanded. Perhaps not the best ergonomic location but it fits. We aren't moving the other appliances or sink very far so are hoping the plumbing and electric are no big deal. End of first day. We caught a couple of things in time. The fume hood and cupboards over the cook-top were set too low. They were going to set the sink as an over-mount when we had bought and under-mount. Apparently it could be done either way but silly us for not making it clear that the sink described as an undermount should be under the counter top. We decide the cupboard to the right of the oven should open the other way so we can get in there when cooking. Our mistake but I hope we can keep the oil, salt, pepper, etc. there rather than cluttering up the counter. The cabinet guy insisted that the cook-top couldn't be centred over the oven. I still don't understand why but not a big deal. It will be easier to get around the island when someone else is cooking but harder to squeeze past into the pantry. It seems to me that the walls should have been re-done before the cabinets went up. I think this was easier on the cabinet guy who is doing most of the coordination but probably will be a pain for the plasterer. And we have some trim issues to work out. Day 2 fixing things, electrical work, and measuring for the countertops. Now we wait for them to be finished before much else can happen. Spock is not impressed.
  7. I. Introduction This article reviews the 3500W all-metal commercial induction single-hob hotplate by Panasonic, which I believe is the first “all-metal” unit to hit the U.S. market. Where appropriate, it is also compared with another commercial single-hob, the 1800W Vollrath Mirage Pro Model 59500P. Some background is in order. Heretofore, induction appliances would only “work” with cookware which is ferromagnetic. Bare and enameled cast iron, carbon steel, enameled steel and some stainless steels were semi-dependable for choices, and the cookware industry has worked hard to make most of its lines induction compatible. But alas, not all cookware, past and present, has worked; copper and aluminum don’t, at least without a separate interface disk or it’s own ferromagnetic base layer. The reason why non-ferromagnetic cookware hasn’t worked on induction is technical, but it relates to the magnetic field and what’s called the “skin depth” of the pan’s outermost material. With copper or aluminum, the field will not excite the metals’ molecules to the extent that their friction will generate useful heat to cook food. And the way the appliances come equipped, unless the appliance detects something sufficiently large and ferromagnetic, they will not produce any field at all. Therefore, to the consternation of many cooks, pro and amateur, older (and in the opinion of some, better) cookware needs to be retired and replaced if/when they wish to switch to an induction appliance. Some cooks don’t mind, but others who, like me, have invested heavily in copper and are habituated to it and aluminum, would forego induction altogether rather than discard our cookware. But what we’ve really meant—all along--when we say or write that only ferromagnetic cookware will “work” on induction is that the frequency chosen for our appliances (20-24kHz) will not usefully excite other metals. If that frequency is increased to, say, 90-110kHz , then suddenly the impossible happens: aluminum and copper, with absolutely no ferromagnetic content, will heat in a way that is eminently useful in the kitchen. While Panasonic has made dual-frequency induction hotplates available in Japan for several years now, they didn’t make it available here until recently (My unit indicates it was manufactured in early 2016!). I speculate the reason for the delay relates to the detection circuitry and the switches that determine the frequency at which the field will operate. The introduction of all-metal induction in USA is especially interesting because it allows a direct comparison of cookware of all (metal) types. For instance, cookware nerds have long debated how copper cookware on a gas compares with disk-based stainless on induction. While the veil has not completely lifted (for that we would need extremely precise gas energy metering), we now have the ability to measure and compare copper, aluminum, clad and disk-based on the same induction hob. II. Dimensions, Weight & Clearances The Panasonic, being a true commercial appliance, is considerably larger than most consumer and crossover hotplates. It stands 6 inches tall overall, and on relatively tall (1.25”) feet, so that there is space for ample air circulation under the unit. It is 20.25 inches deep overall, including a standoff ventilation panel in back, and the angled control panel in front. It is 15” wide, and weighs in at a hefty 30.25 pounds. Suffice it to say, the Panasonic is not practically portable. The KY-MK3500’s Ceran pan surface is 14.25 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, almost 43% larger in area than the VMP’s glass. Panasonic tells me they have no recommended maximum pan diameter or weight, but the tape tells me that a 15” diameter pan would not overhang the unit’s top (Compare the VMP, which can accept a maximum pan base of 10 7/8”). Common sense tells me that—unless the glass is well-braced underneath in many places, 25-30 pounds of total weight might be pushing it. For those who might consider outfitting their home kitchens with one or more of these units, in addition to having 20 amp 240v (NEMA #6-20R receptacles) electrical circuits for each appliance, 39 1/2 inches of overhead clearance is required to combustible material (31 ½” to incombustibles) and 2 inches to the back and sides (0” to incombustibles). The overhead clearance requirement and the tall 6” unit height call for no (or only very high) cabinetry and careful design of a “well” or lower countertop/table that will lower the Ceran surface to a comfortable cooking height. In other words, a tall pot on this unit on a regular-height counter might be a problem for a lot of cooks. III. Features A. Display The KY-Mk3500 has an angled 8-key spillproof keypad and red LED numerical display. The keys are large, raised and their markings are legible. All but the four Up/Down keys have their own inset indicator lights, which indicate power, mode and memory operation. The numerical display is large and bright. The numerical display area is divided between time (XX:XX) to the user’s left and power/temp to the user’s right. If the timer or program features are activated, the numerical display shows both the set time and the power/temperature. There is also a small “Hot Surface” LED icon on the panel. The Panasonic also actually uses the Ceran surface as a display of sorts. That is, there is a lighted circle just outside the faint positioning circle, which glows red whenever the unit is operating, awaiting a pan, or the Ceran is hot. Panasonic also claims that this display also changes brightness with the set power level, implying that the operator can judge the heat setting by a glance. Thus this display serves three purposes: (a) pan positioning; (b) burn safety; and (c) intensity. B. Safety Features As one would expect, there are a variety of safety features built into this appliance. In most cases, these features are controlled by detection circuits, some fixed, some defeatable/variable. This being a commercial unit, Panasonic has set the unit’s defaults with commercial users’ convenience in mind. If consumers want the full spectrum of safety settings, they need to vary these defaults. For instance, if a home cook wants to make sure the unit powers off if the pan is removed and not replaced within 3 minutes, they have to manually vary a default. Likewise if the operator wants the power to automatically shut off after 2 hours of no changes. But others, like the basic “Is there a pan there?” detection and overheat shutoff, are there no matter what and cannot be defeated. C. Settings & Programming The KY-MK3500 features both power and temperature settings. For “regular” induction, there are 20 power settings, which range from 50 watts to 3500 watts. For non-ferromagnetic pans, there are 18 power settings, which range from 60 watts to 2400 watts. The display shows these settings in numerals 1-20 and 1-18 respectively. When the power is toggled on, the unit defaults to Setting 14 in both frequencies. The temperature settings are the same in both modes, with 22 selectable temperatures from 285F (140C) to 500F (260C). Other than for the very lowest temperature setting, each setting increase results in a 10F temperature increase. Usefully, the display shows the set temperature, not 1-22; and until the set temperature is reached, the display indicates “Preheat”. The unit beeps when it reaches the set temperature. The Panasonic measures pan temperature using an IR sensor beneath the glass; this sensor sits about 1 inch outside the centerpoint of the painted positioning markings, yet inside of the induction coil. The timer operation is fast and intuitive. Once the power or temperature is set and operating, the operator merely keys the timer’s dedicated up/down buttons, and the timer display area activates. Timer settings are in any 30-second interval between 30 seconds and 9 ½ hours, and the display will show remaining time. The beeps at the end of cooking are loud. There are nine available memory programs, which can be set for either power or temperature, along with time. Programming entails pressing and holding the Program mode button, selecting the program (1-9), then picking and setting the power or temperature, then setting the timer, and finally pressing and holding the Program button again. After that, to use any of the entered programs, you simply press the Program button, select which program, and the unit will run that program within 3 seconds. In addition to Heat-Time programmability, the KY-MK3500 also provides the ability to vary 9 of the unit’s default settings: (1) Decreasing the power level granularity from 20 to 10; (2) Changing the temperature display to Celsius; (3) Enabling a long cook time shutoff safety feature; (4) Enabling the main power auto shutoff feature; (5) Disabling the glowing circle; (6) Lowering or disabling the auditory beep signals’ volume; (7) Customizing the timer finish beep; (8) Customizing the Preheat notification beep; and (9) Customizing the interval for filter cleanings. D. Maintenance The KY-MK3500 has a plastic air intake filter which can be removed and cleaned. This is not dishwashable. This filter is merely a plastic grate with ¼” square holes, so it is questionable what exactly —besides greasy dust bunnies—will be filtered. Panasonic recommends the filter be cleaned once a week. Besides that, the Ceran surface and stainless housing clean just like other appliances. IV. Acceptable Cookware Panasonic claims the unit will accept cast iron, enameled iron, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum with two provisos. First, very thin aluminum and copper may “move” on the appliance. And second, thin aluminum pans may “deform”. Panasonic does not address carbon steel pans, but I verified that they do indeed work. They also warn of the obvious fact that glass and ceramics will not work. Buyers are also warned against using cookware of specific cookware bottom shapes: round, footed, thin, and domed. Trying to use these, Panasonic warns, may disable safety features and reduce or eliminate pan heating. As far as minimum pan diameter goes, Panasonic claims the KY-MK3500 needs 5” diameter in ferromagnetic pans, and 6” in copper or aluminum ones. My own tests have shown that in fact the unit will function with a cast iron fondue pot, the base of which is only 4 1/8” in diameter, and also works with a copper saucepan, the base of which is almost exactly 5” in diameter. Obviously, the field will be most active at the very edges of such small pans, but they do function. V. Evaluation in Use I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling. Nevertheless, a searching comparison between copper and ferromagnetic pans on this unit isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. The Panasonic is capable of dumping a full 3500 watts into ferromagnetic pans, but is limited to 2400 watts for aluminum and copper. Despite copper’s and aluminum’s superiorities in conductivity, that extra 1100 watts is going to win every speed-boil race. I initially thought I could handicap such a race simply by using the temperature setting and comparing the times required to achieve a “preheat” in a pans of cold water. Alas, no—the Panasonic’s IR function signified the copper pan was preheated to 350F before the water even reached 70F! Obviously, the entire thermal system of cold food in a cold pan needs to come to equilibrium before the Panasonic’s temperature readout becomes meaningful. A. Temperature Settings Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F. The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings. With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F. I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted. B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum. I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum. The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time. C. Evenness Comparisons The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape. All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food. Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware. The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness. I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes. I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan. D. Other Considerations The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass. The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center. VI. Summary and Lessons The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two. In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance. I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil. In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package. The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control. Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200. The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo... Photo Credit: Panasonic Corporation
  8. We’ve lived in our house for about twelve years and did a small extension not long after we moved in. With our growing family (son number two arrived this July) we wanted to get a bit more living space so started looking at options about a year ago. We have a late Victorian house with a separate dining room, as nice as this is it’s been a big waste of space - we probably used it two or three times a year. So the plan was to extend the kitchen to add a decent sized dining area and free up the dining room for something better. The kitchen we had is under ten years old so we’ve decided to keep some parts of it, adding new worktops, a large rangetop and a breakfast cabinet with pocket doors to hide away the toaster and coffee machine. We’re about halfway through the build at the moment so thought I’d post up some pictures of our progress. Hopefully we’ll be finished this side of Christmas... hopefully!
  9. Hi guys! So...as we all know hindsight is 20/20....so i'm sure we ALLLLLLLLLLLL have things we'd do differently if setting up our home or professional workplaces. I'm working with a space that's approximately 850 sq ft. If you could create your ideal space, what would you do? The kicker is, i'm a mixed media kitchen, i dont do straight chocolate work. I do baking so i'll have a double vertical convection oven, i'm getting rid of my 6 burner range and switching to table top induction burners. I have a dishwasher and big sink for rinsing vs 3 compartment sink (hand sink of course) and mop sink....and i have multiple 7 ft and 8 ft stainless tables. I currently have a "cooling room" set up with 4 speed racks, but thought maybe i should switch to a fridge turned up to 40 or 50F? I freeze things for bulk production, so will still have some chest freezers set higher than normal....but yeah. i'm just at a loss of how to capitalize on space, and keep things organized and storage of bon bons, turtles, barks, chocolate caramel apples (things that need to be stored for packaging by employees before they hit the retail floor) i know jin from vegas had a fridge set at 50F for cooling molds once sprayed and shelled, then once she filled them, moved to a 40F fridge to set filling, then she sealed them...but i didn't remember where she kept bon bons for her bar (where customers pick and choose) or the ones out ready to be boxed? i know she and jean marie were freezing for bulk orders etc...but yeah. my mind is just overwhelmed with possibilities, and i just dont want to mess up this new kitchen layout. i think its harder because i make so many things in my kitchen, so i have pots, pans, sheet pans, springforms, cookie cutters, muffin tins, kitchen aid mixers, a floor mixer, mol d'arts, baking liners, molds, colors, EZ temper, brushes, kitchen utensils, transfer sheets, bulk chocolate and ingredients blah blah blah. so. if you guys could make an ideal workflow....would you do a walk-in fridge for confection storage? a few fridges set higher (but would humidity be an issue if stored for multiple days before packaging), build another cooling room (it was a room with drywall/insulation/a door/speedracks and portable AC set to keep that room cooler...), or yeah. thoughts? oh yeah. and i need to fit an enrober in there too. sooooo, ideal workspace. what's in it? and go! :0)
  10. Last fall my wife and I purchased a small house in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Given the outrageous house prices in this neighborhood, we settled on a single-family frame house that, well -- left a kitchen to be much desired. I have a fairly extensive background in construction, both from work when I was younger, as also having to do with the fact my parents totally gutted their brownstone when I was a teenager, doing all the work themselves. There is nothing like living in a construction zone for 6 years to appreciate a home renovation. That said, myself, my wife and a few very very good friendshave been gutting and renovating the kitchen for the past few months with some pretty impressive progress. We have been living without a kitchen for approximately 4 months now, surviving on a slop sink, fridge and microwave for our eating (and tons of freshdirect food). I have been taking pictures along the way -- it is quite a show. Given that work has slowed down recently (I failed to mention I have a day job, so this work is taking place after work and 3 day weekends), I thought by maybe opening up this process to everyone would give me some new found encouragement to pick up the pace. With that said, I start with a old floor plan the realtor gave us showing the first floor layout (it is a 2 story, + finished attic building)
  11. She's already always listening, mining and snitching you out. But now she's prepared to nuke Fluffy if you're too squeamish: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/4/16849306/alexa-microwave-oven-controls-added-ge-kenmore-lg-samsung-amazon
  12. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/brads-favorite-appliance-dustbuster I don't think I'll be eating at Brad's...
  13. Thanks to the good folks on Egullet, I will be installing a 36" induction cooktop into my new kitchen. But I am really stumped as to what hood to purchase. Since induction does not produce the heat and vapor gas does, it does not require high power. The problem is I'm not able to check these units out in person so am at the mercy of wildly divergent online reviews. Please help! I'm looking for undercabinet with 400 - 600 cfm. Good light. Reasonably quiet and quietly attractive. Budget in the $400 - 600. Would love to hear from induction owners about what works for them.
  14. I know I should start with photos of the kitchen but I can not find the "before " I promise I will post them when I do but the hole I am living with will be more profound with some before photos LOL…oh well this is the best I have for now ….and the best I have is what I was so excited and anxious about ..it is my brand new concrete countertops! wow they are done and I am so grateful and happy with the results my husband and his partner did a fantastic job! … as of now Both of the concrete countertops have been poured…. I could scream with joy! ..for a grand total of $200 I now have custom concrete countertops that anyone would be very proud of ! they look just beautiful and will out live me for sure very happy with this ..once they are cured and cleaned up and installed they will be a nice slate gray here is the sink side the other side is the same but the cooktop will go in instead of the sink /penny tiles in progress with a nickel boarder
  15. When Mrs. Varmint and I agreed to buy her family home from her parents 6 years ago, I did so with one condition: that we'd renovate the kitchen within a year -- 2 at the most. Well, after a 6-year wait, we're ready to go. Thanks to all the great suggestions from our great members here at the eGullet Society (all of which is contained in this monstrosity of a thread), I've come up with a solid plan. This thread will focus on all the details of the renovation. I'll include drawings, budgets, permitting, costs, and all the highs and lows a family of 6 could experience. First, however, I should show you the plans. I drew these, following the ideas y'all helped me develop and refined by Arne Salvesen CKD (aka Daddy-A), who has provided great advice from a professional design perspective. Let me go over the plans briefly: Along the counter where the main sink is located (bottom right), we'll start with a 27 inch full-height double-doored pantry that'll house the microwave. We'll then have 36" of base cabinets/countertop (two cabinets, one of which will be a trash pull-out) with about 33" of upper cabinets. The sink will consist of a 39" base cabinet housing a Blanco 510-874. The dishwasher is next, followed by 22-1/2" of base cabinet. To the right of the sink (if you're standing at the sink) will be 42" of upper cabinets. There's currently a circuit breaker box on that wall, which we'll flip to the other side. We'll also consolidate an existing 6 light switch panel down to 3 switches. The baking area (the complete "L") will likely consist of a slab of white marble cut from the existing kitchen (the short side of the "L") and the rest will be tile -- likely granite. Arne has suggested using a "magic corner" in the blind corner of that region. This is a new product to me, but I think it's pretty cool. Go to this page, and then click on the first thumbnail for a video showing how this works. My Kitchen-Aid mixer will sit on the counter in the corner -- an area that rarely gets used anyhow. After the magic corner comes the oven and then 33 inches of base cabinets. We're expanding the pantry by about 4 feet. This makes for a very narrow doorway (27"), but I'm thinking of installing a restaurant-style swinging door there to make things easy. If anyone wants to research this type of door for me, please do so. Over to the cooking area, we'll have 15 inches of base and upper cabinet, then the range/hood, and then 24 inches of lower cabinet (with pull-outs for cookware) with 36" of upper cabinet. The corner of the eating bar will be a bit unusual: I don't want a lazy susan in this corner, so the unusually shaped cabinet will have the doors facing out, with no hardware. This gives me some storage space for rarely used stuff. Note that the closet is new, too. Moving clockwise, we'll have a 21 inch base cabinet followed by a prep sink (Elkay LFR 1915) and then a second dishwasher. The little block with an "X" represents a post, as it will be replacing a load bearing wall tying into an I-beam over the eating bar. Down to the Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, there will be a 2 inch wall built in at the end which we'll paint with magnetic paint, creating a giant place to hang our refrigerator magnets. It should be pretty damn cool. To the right of the freezer is a strange configuration of "desk" area and bookshelves. I've marked it with an asterisk. This is strange because the base cabinet will be almost functionless, as the area under there houses some return-air ducts from the adjacent room. This surface will likely consist of a slab of marble from the existing countertop. Above the marble will be a high bookshelf for "some" of my cookbooks! I've worked out a number of other details, but I'll provide those as we go along. I met with one contractor on Monday and will meet with another tomorrow. I'll also fill y'all in on those details later on. I'll be sure to include lots of photos, specifications, equipment choices, price lists, etc. I'll try not to hide anything from you, as this should be a learning experience, and if mistakes are made, you can pick on me! It should be fun, however.
  16. Hell, I couldn't be satisfied with my story of buying a knew chef's knife -- now I'm about to start a kitchen renovation. Whereas the Perlows told their saga beginning with demolition, I'm still in the planning stages. First of all, my kitchen is a maze. It is utterly dysfunctional. Two people cannot pass by each other in parts of the kitchen unless both of them are anorexic or extremely friendly. The dishwasher resides under a marble slab that hangs nearly a foot over the door plane. I cannot open my lower wall oven unit if the dishwasher is slightly ajar. The ancient Jenn-Air cooktop with a non-functional downdraft vent sits 2 feet below a cupboard. The kitchen is lit with incandescent canister track lights (and some nasty recessed cans). Unless you see this kitchen in person, you could not believe it. I'll eventually get around to posting pictures. The house I live in was Mrs. Varmint's family residence -- we bought it from her parents 5 years ago. I agreed to buy the house on one condition: that we renovate the kitchen. Well, 5 years later, and the time has come. This will be a fairly simple renovation when you get right down to it. Most of it involves a single day of demolition and a couple of weeks of moving things around, a couple of appliance installations, and some carpentry and floor laying. The end result will be profound -- it will eliminate the maze, open the kitchen to the living and dining room areas, and give me some functional appliances. I initially wanted to go with a 6 burner gas cooktop and 2 electric wall ovens. Unfortunately, because this process will remove a bunch of existing wall space, I won't have enough remaining for any ovens. Thus, I need to go with a range. I've looked at 48" dual fuel ranges that have double ovens, but I can't stomach paying $8,000 for them. I want the dual fuel so the ovens will be self cleaning, which are generally not available with gas ovens (except for Viking). I may have to live with a 36" single oven range instead. I use both ovens simultaneously about 8 times a year, but I think I can manage with just one for now. Or can't I???Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so -- I despise maintenance. I'm leaning toward a DCS for its power, but is it really worth $1800 for a self cleaning feature between the gas and the dual fuel???? I've met with two contractors already and have appointments with 2 more. The first guy is really just a cabinet maker who does renovations in conjunction with a contractor. However, I've seen his work, I know people who have had him do their kitchens, and he's really talented. Also, he may be the cheapest. A couple of contractors told me that my project was too small for them. I'll add some of my thoughts over time. Oh, and my budget for this renovation is not to exceed $20,000, including the appliances. I think we can do it. I hope so. I'll need the contractor to run a hood through the roof and ceiling. Fortunately, the distance isn't too great.
  17. O.K.-Two weeks ago I was ready for my families big Fishing Adventure in Ontario and a couple of days in Winnipeg when I came home to water all over the tile floor of my kitchen. It would seem that my dishwasher blew a hose and then blew water all over my kitchen. Unfortunately the only way to get the dishwasher out was to remove some of the flooring. No big deal, the boys and my wife were out of town and I figured I could get it out and repaired in one day. Well, it turned out that there must have been a slow leak and that the subflooring was soaked. I was gonna have to tear out all of the tile. Well, that's ok, we had been talking about doing it for a while. Somehow, eight hours later, without asking anyone or thinking it through beyond the end of the tear out, I had removed two walls and torn out the laundry room. Leaving myself with no kitchen, no cabinets worth saving and nowhere to cook. So there you go. My wife, well she's kind of a trooper after twenty years of living with me, took it pretty well and said that it was about time. My kids, they don't care much as long as they get fed. So here we go. As you can see from the photos the place is a mess. But the good news is that it is a very big mess (13x30 rectangle plus the area where you can see the pots hanging and the floor still down-that is a very large island with a pot sink in it and it now houses a large griddle, a hot plate, a rice cooker, and a crock pot. I also have a nice bullet smoker, a cool brick pit, and a just purchased stainless steel BBQ Pit of undetermined brand from Sams which has two burners on the side of it as well-so we won't starve) The long boards that you see there (with the yellow paint on them are cypress and perfect and straight and you couldn't buy them for love or money these days) came from the interior of my plaster walls (the ones I hammered out) and they will be planed and become cabinet fronts. We have measured (or the cabinet guy did) and there is plenty for what I want to do. We are having new cabinets built, I am replacing the ice box (which has needed to be replaced for about five years ) and adding an ice machine. The laundry room will be moved (actually that should be complete by Monday afternoon) and the kitchen will then be huge. There will be a sitting area by the fireplace that you see there and pretty much the rest will be cabinets (primarily drawers-big ones) in the base cabinets and open, glass fronted ones on top. All of this will be farmhouse style (for lack of a better term-I live in the country, but we don't decorate that way and in fact artwork display is a major consideration-my wife is an artist and a dealer and we have been collecting since long before we could afford it) cabinetry as that is what should be here given the age of this place (100 yrs) and the way that it is designed. It will all be wired for sound and there will be a cool built in desk for a computer and stuff (replacing the desk that you see the computer on now). As I said, I have done all of the tearout myself and I will do most of the electrical, plumbing, and rough in. Someone else is making and installing the cabinets. I will put down the floor (8 inch heart pine tongue in groove, just like the rest of the house) and finish out all of the walls. Here are my questions for today- My wife seems to think that a refrigerator freezer with a bottom, pull out freezer is the way to go. Is this the case? Yes or no and why not. I need a new ice machine. Ice is key to a good life here and we go through plenty of it. Any recomendations? My old whirlpool was prone to conking out, so I need some fresh ideas. I am keeping my OKeefe and Merrit Stove because I love it, but am thinking about putting in an electric oven. Convection or no? Why? Any suggestions? Incidentally-don't bother with telling me about commercial grade appliances. I'm not falling for that and am not interested. Top quality home appliances are where I am looking and any advice would be most welcome. I will update the photos as we go along for those of you that are interested. And no, this is not the first time I have done something like this. I once hooked a chain to my Ford F350 4WD and hooked the other end to the back support post in my old garage/barn/tool shed. It looked worse than the kitchen, but it was really fun and the neighborhood boys were VERY impressed (the adult neighbors seemed less so ) So that's what I did today. If I'm lucky the whole thing will be finished by the time it starts cooling off (mid October is what I am shooting for. Once I get the floor down (this week) I can kind of start living in it again, so it won't be that bad.
  18. As noted in another eG Forums topic, I'm renovating and updating a 1950s kitchen. While there are a number of projects I can handle involving screws, duct tape, and the like, I'm facing my fear of electricity and other kitchen sciences with two big projects: an overhead four-bulb fluorescent lighting fixture and -- the biggie -- replacing the vintage Thermidor ovens. The current contender for replacement is this Cadco oven, and I am overtaken by awe and fear every time I look, longingly, at the thing. I know, I know: it's pathetic. I'm turning to you for help. My questions run the gamut. Right now I'm running all my appliances and gadgets through two-prong outlets with adaptors: what risks does that pose? What the heck do these things mean?!? Oven cavity wrapped in high ”R” value insulation ... NSF, UL (through CSA Standards) 208-240 volts 5600 watts 24.4 amps Single Phase /NEMA L6-30 Plug Are there any reliable resources out there on electrical know-how for kitchen renovation? What sorts of basic information on electrical systems should someone know to tackle home improvement projects like this?
  19. I am in the midst of my kitchen remodel - can people stand another thread on remodeling? I started planning for this years ago, then had to stop because I had to find a job. Last spring we decided to take the plunge and redo the kitchen in our 1923 Mediterranean "bungalow" (I use the term loosely) in San Francisco. I meticulously researched, relying heavily on Jane Powell's book, Bungalow Kitchens, magazines, the internet, and my own ideas. I knew I wanted modern functionality (new stove, solid stone countertops), but I also wanted the kitchen to fit in with the rest of the house and evoke the era when the house was built. Twenty-three skiddoo! Can we do the Charleston and drink bathtub gin in the kitchen? Well then, let's begin! First, the old kitchen: I designed the kitchen myself and hired a great contractor who'd recently completed a major addition for friends of ours. He, of all the people I interviewed seemed to "get" what I wanted and understood that the devil, indeed, would be in the details. No walls would be moving, just a relatively straightforward upgrade to electrical, new appliances, flooring and cabinets. To avoid having an unfinished kitchen over the holidays, I opted to wait them out and begin in early January, figuring that the worst that we'd have to deal with would be rain. During the months leading up to the remodel, I made extra dishes: casseroles, soups, meatloaf -- foods that freeze and reheat well -- and froze them in individual servings so that we'd have several months' worth of food at hand and avoid the takeout trap. I packed up the old kitchen, cleaning out several boxes of stuff, and set up a temporary kitchen in the adjacent dining room (the fridge will go where the empty space on the wall is). We'll eat on paper plates with plastic utensils (working through our supply of plastic before switching over to compostables) to minimize dishes, but I have a stainless topped cart, cutting board, knife block, and most of the necessities for sandwiches, salads, and other non-cooking tasks. So January 8, we (that is, my GC and his assistant) started ripping the old kitchen apart at the seams. Intrigued, I watched them the whole day as, piece by piece, the original 1920's kitchen began to appear from under the later additions. Vertical grain douglas fir paneling was covered over, the original white subway tile blithely plastered over with newer (and uglier! ) square beige tile, the original doug fir floor covered by all manner of things (plywood subfloor, linoleum, vinyl, vinyl, most of which my husband and I had ripped out when we put in Pergo in '99 before moving in). The best part of seeing my kitchen demolished? Seeing the subway tile and the routed grooves in the old sink cabinet and knowing that I was doing exactly the same things in the new space. Had my kitchen been talking to me? In two days, they had the kitchen stripped down to the studs. Even the ceiling was gone. The line "...on the walls he left some hooks and some wire..." from the cartoon Grinch (heard in Boris Karloff's voice, of course ) kept running through my head. The dust (a lot of it from the ancient cellulose insulation in the ceiling) was monumental. I ran out to Target and bought a Swiffer sweeper with both dry & wet cloths, and between them, my vacuum, and duster, I'm managing to keep it under control, but by no means would it pass a white glove test! The temporary kitchen was functioning just fine. Having a range of food in the freezer meant quite the variety at our fingertips! Lasagne one night, split pea soup the next, and follow that up with something else! We are doing dishes in the laundry sink in the garage. I keep a bus tub upstairs that we put dirty dishes in, transport down to the garage, and then back up again. Then the unexpected happened. (stay tuned! I have to build up suspense somehow! )
  20. Everyone from local restaurant supply places and chefs, to the equipment manufacturer told me that installing pro equipment in a home is a big mistake. I know a lot of people here have considered this, so I thought I'd share my recent experience. First off, the fine piece of equipment that I've been cooking on for the last 6 months. BTU output is approximately that of a Bic lighter: Primarily, I wanted a stove with much higher output. I had 9 feet to work with, so I figured I'd use the whole space and get some additional toys to fill it up. For the project, I first called the local building inspector and discussed my plan - he said that in our township, no special inspections or permits were required, as long as things were installed according to manufacturer's specifications. I also later contacted my insurance company to make sure nothing special was needed from them - they said commercial equipment in a home is fine. (Nationwide) I decided on a 60" stove with 2' of griddle and 6 burners, a standard sized deep fryer, and a "jet" wok burner. In total, 552,000 BTU/hr. The "before" picture: First, the pantry was removed, and pipes+electrical relocated. Existing drywall was removed and replaced with a double layer of 1/2" fireproof cementboard. Also, a 9' x 4' sloped hood was installed. The hood was sized so that it extended by at least 6 inches on all sides. It vents out the back wall. Next, this exhaust fan: was installed on the roof: Removing the pantry left holes in the tile floor, so we cut out the old section of floor, put down 1/4" plywood and new tiles. Also, installed stainless steel over all exposed cementboard: We ran a 1.25" gas line from the main house line, then split that into 3 3/4" connections. Finally, the equipment was moved in and hooked up: Approximate project costs: Range $4200, Wok burner $800, Deep Fryer $800, Hood $1700, Ductwork $1300, Electrical $300, Gas Lines $1050, Exhaust Fan + Grease Trap $1400, Floor $500, Carpenter $1500, Materials $500. Total around $14,000. I've had this in place for about 3 days now. So the big question - am I glad I did it? Absolutely! I can't begin to explain what a pleasure this is to cook with, compared to what I was using. For instance, I like to make fried cabbage (in goose fat!) - typically I'd get all 4 burners going with various sized pans on that old stove, or do the cabbage in small batches on one or two burners. (Otherwise it sort of steams before it carmelizes.) Last night I shredded an entire cabbage, spread the whole pile over the griddle, and had perfectly done fried cabbage in 10(?) minutes. The burners are 32,000 BTU/hr each - where I would previously use multiple (10k and 7k) burners and cook in small batches, now I can use a single large pan. I find that I'm using the wok burner more than anything else. Vegetables cook in minutes. I'll put some oil and turn on the burner full-blast; in maybe 10 secconds the oil is close to smoking. I'll add the vegetables and salt, and cook for 20-60 seconds - this carmelizes the outsides, but the insides are still raw. (It's possible to end up with veggies that are at once both burned and raw.) Then I'll add a bit of water, which effectively lowers the temperature to 212, and cook until they are soft. Then, a quick final blast to evaporate any remaining water. Meat - even when cut fairly small - gets brown and delicious on the outside, and stays pink on the inside. I haven't fired up the deep fryer yet. It was a huge pain to clean initially, and I'd imagine even moreso when dealing with hot oil. So, I'll reserve judgement on that item. But so far, I'm thrilled with the new setup.
  21. I’m in the process of remodeling my kitchen and have been working with a designer on a couple of option for my fairly cookie cutter tract housing 8ft ceiling U shaped kitchen. First off I started down the path of keeping the same U shape however my designer threw out modifying it into a galley kitchen instead. (see pics) Traditional U Galley Alternative
  22. It's been awhile since I've been here as I decided to finally downsize homes last Fall. Closed in January and renovations are still on going. Walls between dining, living, kitchen, and breakfast area are gone and 1 Ft beams are now in place as supports. It's been rather busy but have really enjoyed it. This has afforded me to design a kitchen from scratch. Most importantly the appliances were delivered last week and are to be installed this coming week. Wanted to share a pic of the stove. Still much work to go as the second phase of the house starts in early May. Enjoy. 48" Capital Precision Series -- 4 burner 24" griddle
  23. I did not think renovating my 42 square foot space was easy, but nothing in the world could have prepared me for whole renovation process. My super told me demolition takes two days at most, and my cabinet contractor told me the same for the installation, so figure in a day for painting. I figure, I'll be living out of my bed room for a week at most. That's not so bad for a high end Gourmet kitchen right? Wrong. What I didn't figure was that to get the new kitchen installed, I need to get a new electric line and move a few pipes. Well that meant hiring an electrician and a plumber before anything can be installed. It also meant dealing with shady contractors who quadruple the asking price once the work has started, workers who did not respect your furniture (I went ballistic when I saw a dirty trash can piled haphazardly on my $9,000 Italian sofa), big gaping holes in the wall that make you think of Manhattan critters like mice and rats, and an overwhelming amount of dust that seemed to regenerate itself everyday, even though I tried to sweep and vaccumm when I came home from work. By the third week of living out of my 100 square foot bedroom, I did everything I thought I would never do. I yelled at my dog, fired two separate contractors, had several screaming teary meltdowns, and even toying with the idea of moving into a $600 a night hotel room until the whole thing is done. This is week four and my cabinets are at least assembled, but my kitchen is still a heap of plaster and wires. Is this normal?
  24. I have finally started my small kitchen (5'x7') renovation. The new and level tile floor is in and grouted, the re-plumbing is almost finished and walls and new lighting are being installed shortly. And now the dilemna... the kitchen is actually shade less than 5x7 with appliances and cabinets on the two slightly less than 5 foot walls (58.5" and 59.5"). This means that I can have only one full sized appliance and I cannot decide which it should be. At this point, I am leaning towards an 18" Miele Incognito dishwasher on the 59.5" wall and either a 24" or 30" Liebherr fridge and either a 30" Dacor Millenium electric range or 24" Kuppersbusch electric oven (EEB 6800) and ceramic sensor cooktop (EKE 602.4) together in a single 24" cabinet. So it's either full size range and small fridge or full size fridge and 24" range components. I bake, so fridge/freezer storage space is about as important as oven space, to me. The Kuppersbusch oven is surprisingly roomy inside. So, I wonder if anyone here has experience with these brands and models and also if the there are any strong views on the advantages or disadvantages or choosing the smaller fridge or the smaller oven/cooktop combo? Gas is not an option in my coop, otherwise I would just go for the Viking 24" gas range and the 30" Liebherr fridge. I'm also open to suggestions for alternative combinations. I'm just at my wits end and need to start placing appliance orders very soon. Thanks Azlee
  25. I am in the extremely early stages of planning my new kitchen and, inspired by many of the creative and daring people on eGullet (MelissaH and Varmint, to name two), I thought I'd share/document my thought process and solicit feedback from other people who *think* about what a kitchen can/should be. Some background: My current kitchen is functionally not bad--the layout is actually pretty good, although the appliances drive me insane and the cabinet quality is lousy. My goals for the kitchen are: 1) Upgrade the appliances (currently GE Profile) to serious home cook level, including getting more (and more powerful) burners. Two of the four on my current cooktop barely function (it irritates me that I have to light them with a match) and the other two don't sear or simmer well. Also, the ovens are uneven and I don't like the upper wall oven because it's precarious loading hot, heavy pans in and out, especially if I'm cooking in a water bath. 2) Improve the quality and functionality of the cabinets. The cabinets are MasterCraft and they're just poor, poor quality. They're maple, Shaker-style, and almost all of them have had to be glued where they've cracked along the frame b/c the wood is too thin. Two of them have broken completely and, because I hate them so much, I've been unwilling to replace them so we've been living with missing cabinet doors for several years. Also, the storage in them is terrible. I'm not sure of the terminology, but all of the cabinets have a center stile (that is, when you open both doors, there's still a vertical piece of wood in the center of the cabinet) which means that loading large pans or any of my pots with handles, is like playing Jenga in reverse. I want wide, pull-out shelves in every lower cabinet and I need stronger drawar glides because my son can't seem to be broken of the habit of leaning on the drawer when he opens it. 3) Get rid of the closet that is supposed to function as a pantry. For one thing, it’s too deep, so items get lost at the back of the shelves. For another thing, there’s too much wasted space above the top shelf. I’ve got boxes stacked there, but unless I remember that something’s back there, I end up purchasing duplicates, triplicates, and quadrupulates of random, seldom-used ingredients. 4) Get rid of the desk area. It just collects clutter and looks terrible. We’d rather put a desk in the corner of the family room for our son to do his homework. Ditto with the half-wall between the kitchen and the family room. It is ALWAYS covered with unsorted mail, magazines, random Lego creations, etc. I just hate it. 5) Improve access to the deck on the back of the house. It’s a good-sized deck and, if we ever get our act together to complete the landscaping, the backyard is a lovely place to be. Here in Denver we can use the grill year-round and I’d like to make it more accessible. So here’s the current kitchen layout: As you walk into the kitchen, the family room (about 17'x17') is on your right and the desk area is just to your left. In front of you is our current kitchen table and behind that is the sliding glass door to the deck. Along the east wall is the pantry closet, the double wall ovens, and a 4-burner gas cooktop. On the south wall is the sink and the dishwasher. The KitchenAid is generally stored on the counter in the southeast corner. The things I like about it are: * The workspace flows pretty well. There’s a good distance between the stove-sink-refrigerator areas and there’s good landing space by all of them. * The island is great working space for big projects and, during parties, it’s a great space for appetizers and cocktails, since everyone stands around the kitchen anyway. That’s about it. The lighting sucks, there are too few outlets, the soffit space above the cabinets collects clutter, the tile floor is a pain to clean, the microwave above the cooktop is virtually inaccessible to my son, there isn't enough venting, there's no undercounter lighting (wait, I already said the lighting sucks, didn't I?)... Anyway, I think I've worked myself up about it enough that it's time to make a change. For other projects in the house, we've worked with an interior designer that we very much like. She did our library/dining room (pictures later) that I absolutely love. She also did our basement which, while it's a completely different style than the rest of the house, is truly wonderful. So we're planning on working with her again. However, having had some experience working with her, I want some other feedback too, because I want to know where to stand firm (no, a smaller stove is not okay just because it balances the design better, but, yes, we can go with that cabinet hardware) and where to accede to her expertise. I've drafted an initial layout that I know will be significantly tweaked as we go about the process, but this one pulls in all of my ideas, even if they're not fully fledged yet... My idea is to remove all the cabinets from the south wall and replace the existing window over the sink, as well as the sliding glass door, with French doors. What I really want is this, but that's just not in the budget, so French doors are my curret compromise. Having removed the cabinets that house the sink and the dishwasher, I'd move them into the island. Much as I love the uninterupted counter space in the current island, I'm willing to sacrifice it for better access to the deck, especially since I'd greatly lengthen the island (from 4 feet to 9 feet), gaining more counter than I lose along the existing wall. The other big change is to remove the desk area in favor of real pantry cabinets, with pull-out shelves and space for the microwave. Moving it there means that the primary user of the microwave (my son) will have better access to it while I'm doing the "real" cooking. I rarely use the microwave anyway, so I don't think I need it near the stove. In place of the existing closet, I'd add an undercounter wine refrigerator--a) we want one and b) that places it conveniently near the dining room, which I think is good. The counter above it becomes a staging area from kitchen to dining room, which I'd love to have. I'd also remove the wall ovens in favor of a dual-fuel, 48" range. I'll still have two ovens, but I'll gain counter space. Little things that can mean a lot are that I'd get rid of the corner base cabinet with it's tricky storage/access issues, add a bookshelf in the southwest corner for my cookbook collection, get rid of the half wall to the family room. and add a real vent hood over the range. Finally, the plan is to run all the cabinets to the ceiling, getting rid of the soffet space. Seldom-used serving pieces and holiday stuff could go in the upper-upper cabinets--my husband wants one of those rolling library ladders for access, but I suppose a step ladder would work too. Phew! That was a lot of stuff. I'd love feedback, good and bad. As I said, this is very preliminary and I know that we've got a long way to go, but this is what I'm thinking so far. I've got ideas for the specifics of the appliances and cabinets, but I'll document those later. My fingers are tired! -BekkiM Edited to add smaller images
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