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The Most Poorly Designed Thing in Your Kitchen


Chris Amirault
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The most poorly designed thing in my kitchen, hands down, is the ice made by my freezer's ice machine. It's a slim semi-circle that breaks into shards when you shake it for cocktails, slips out of your hand when you're grabbing a few "cubes" from the hopper, and -- best of all -- has a bulit-in curve fits neatly into the interior of every glass, pushing the liquid away from your tongue and toward the edges of your mouth. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Most poorly designed thing in your kitchen is...?

Chris Amirault

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The kitchen itself.

When I bought the house I remember thinking "wow, what a spacious kitchen!" The problem is, spacious is not a good thing in kitchen design, at least not in its own right. It turn out spacious is a euphemism for "has tons of wasted space." It's laid out to have a very tiny island in the middle of it, which is fortunately not present, but this means that there is instead a wide expanse of floor (floor that must be cleaned, I might add!) in between the fridge, the sink, and the stove. I get very little extra counter space out of the deal, more floor to clean, and a less efficient workflow, especially for complicated projects. It's annoying.

Regarding your ice: that shape is what makes the modern inexpensive home ice maker possible, and while I agree that it has its issues, I still find it preferable to no ice maker at all. I keep my freezer turned all the way down, which when combined with a fine-mesh strainer mitigates some of the cocktail issues, I think. For drinking water, use a narrower glass :smile:.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Until recently it was the sink - a plain old two-compartment stainless sink. Two small wells made it impossible to wash sheet pans, most larger skillets, dutch oven, etc. Trying to scrub and then spray sheet pans with the flimsy sprayer and the divide between the two sink compartments inevitably left me with big puddles of water on the floor.

Finding the room to dry all these things was even worse. I would have to spread a towel over my island to make room to lay everything out.

However I recently got a huge, deep single basin sink (and dishwasher) and it has changed my life. My next project is to get rid of the annoying freezer-on-top refrigerator, in which cuts of meat end up shoved into the back for months at a time.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Where to begin? I too have to deal with an entire kitchen obviously designed by a sadist!

I house share, so I can honestly say that I had absolutely nothing to do with the layout or design of the space. Our "kitchen" is as follows:

If you feel claustrophobic in your kitchen kitchensqueen, you would be hyperventilating by the time you finished cooking in this matchbox. When you open the refrigerator door you are essentially pinned to the sink and counter. Almost ditto when you open the oven door. Maybe Chris could please send us some of his unused space. :wink:

At least you have stainless steel david. All we have is a gnarly, white (porcelain, I guess?) way too small sink that stays all scratched up from pots and pans. Scouring it is an exercise futility.

Half of the totally fugly cabinets are located ABOVE AND BEHIND the stove and refrigerator and since I'm vertically challenged (okay, short :smile: ) it's very difficult for me to use the ones over the stove and in essence there's no way without risking your life to use any of the cabinet space above the refrigerator. HOW STUPID IS THAT!? The cabinets I use for storing my personal food items has a top shelf that is totally inaccesible to me. I'm guessing that the sadistic designer was very, very tall.

Dianabanana I actually envy you your f******g gas range since we have ELECTRIC! Dear God how I hate an electric stove. I'd never cooked on one until I moved here. With a gas stove I can look at the height of the flame and know exactly how the food will cook. With this "thing" you have to dial the right number! I can't even count how much food I've burnt since having to "cook" on this thing.

As for you chrisamirault at least you have a functioning ice maker. Yep, that doesn't work either.

There's more but I have to stop because just writing all of this is giving me agita too. :angry:

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I'm not so keen on my hob, which has the four burners placed in a diamond rather than a square. If all four are in use, it's hard to manage the pan at the back. I also strongly suspect the unusual design for being the reason that it doesn't allow the use of more than one larger pan at a time, although I'm not sure there is a geometric justification for this, perhaps the hob is just rather small in scale.

Catherine

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Of the 20 kitchens I've lived with over the past 40 years (I've moved a lot), the current one is the most user friendly. (I've been in this house 8+ years -- longer than any other residence, including during childhood. Scary.) However, about two years ago, a couple of friends and I (mostly my friends) installed a new KitchenAid ProLine range hood. I'm happy with both its performance and appearance, but in my more paranoid moments I think it's out to get me.

We installed the hood at its maximum possible height, creating the optimal distance between the fan and the stovetop. Unfortunately, though, this also put the lower front corners exactly at my mid-forehead level. You'd think that after two years I'd have completely adjusted, but you would be wrong.

The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize ought to go to the first appliance company that eliminates sharp corners. ("The annual $1.5 million dollar award honors a charitable or non-governmental organization that has made extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering anywhere in the world.")

Here's the accident waiting to happen (btw, the countertop is almost never that unoccupied):

gallery_10547_1214_37351.jpg

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We have all brand new appliances, so I am good there. We have new countertop so you would think I was good there...we mismeasured the custom top and it is 1/2 inch in from the end of the cabinet DOH

But the cabinets, some are 1930's literally built in varnished pine, some are 1980s home depot oak, and some are new home depot maple, which I intended to replace the rest with at some point but they dont sell them anymore.

Stove hood HAH, our stove is in front of a window so no hood or curtains and the ceiling isn't exactly standard height....maybe 7ft except for the beams which are of course lower

Next.....

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I have an island with a base made out of brick secured by a bricked column. It's pretty, but what a waste of space. It does provide much needed counter space, but nothing at all is in the large base -- not even storage. One day I'm going to knock out that base and have a proper one built. I don't know what the builders were thinking :huh:

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In our kitchen reno we used Ikea cabinetry. I am please with how they work for the most part except for the Akurum Pull Out Cabinets and (can't find it on their online catalog) the Corner Cabinet with the pullout carousel.

In the case of the our 2ft wide tall cabinet, we have to do this dance going from one side to the other to get pantry items. It probably works better if the cabinets are narrower.

The pullout coner carousel ends up rubbing up against the cabinet carcass itself. I can see it wearing down over time...and stuff just falls off and gets trapped in the far corner.

If I had to do it all over...... :hmmm:

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Well my first instinct was to say my @#^%$#% side-by-side fridge. What a wretched design. Hate hate hate, but can't seem to bring myself to spend the $1700 on the fridge I want when a perfectly operable one is in my kitchen. Sigh.

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The annoying one-foot built-out waste of space above the cabinets. I originally thought it must contain venting, but it does not. So, why not cabinets to the ceiling? Why not empty space so I could do something with it? No, we must wall it off so that it can't be used at all.

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The annoying one-foot built-out waste of space above the cabinets.  I originally thought it must contain venting, but it does not.  So, why not cabinets to the ceiling?  Why not empty space so I could do something with it?  No, we must wall it off so that it can't be used at all.

Hahaha I have always wondered about that myself!

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The annoying one-foot built-out waste of space above the cabinets.  I originally thought it must contain venting, but it does not.  So, why not cabinets to the ceiling?  Why not empty space so I could do something with it?  No, we must wall it off so that it can't be used at all.

Hahaha I have always wondered about that myself!

You can knock those built-outs out and store things like large bowls, plants, etc. up there. If there is no venting, etc., why not? It's not a difficult job - we (two total amateurs) did it in our last house and it was fine.

My stinker is the "cabinets" next to the fridge. Two lovely cabinet doors, one on top of the other, floor to almost-ceiling. You look at it and think, (as I did when we were househunting) "Oh, boy, storage space!" until you open the doors and see that they're just affixed to the heater chimney! There's enough space to store spices, etc., in there, but when the heat's on they get hot! I guess it was just for looks, and I don't know, maybe it's a clever use of the very limited space, but it bugs me.

Also, I really mind the lack of a desk area in the kitchen. The last house had one, and I took the doors off the cabinets above it and stored my most-used cookbooks there. I had room for the computer, a bulletin board, etc. - it made a really nice "command center" and I miss it.

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The electrical system! This house is a little over 5 years old but there are only 3 double outlets in the kitchen ALL ON THE SAME 15 AMP CIRCUIT BREAKER. Hubby is currently adding a couple of outlets so I am not constantly plugging and unplugging appliances so as not to trip breakers.

What were they thinking?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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The annoying one-foot built-out waste of space above the cabinets.  I originally thought it must contain venting, but it does not.  So, why not cabinets to the ceiling?  Why not empty space so I could do something with it?  No, we must wall it off so that it can't be used at all.

Hahaha I have always wondered about that myself!

one foot high dust collectors.

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Well my first instinct was to say my @#^%$#% side-by-side fridge. What a wretched design. Hate hate hate, but can't seem to bring myself to spend the $1700 on the fridge I want when a perfectly operable one is in my kitchen. Sigh.

When redoing our kitchen, my wife was hell bent on a side by side, cabinet depth to boot fridge. Looks nice but what piece of $##&. No room for anything.

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Dear God how I hate an electric stove. I'd never cooked on one until I moved here. With a gas stove I can look at the height of the flame and know exactly how the food will cook. With this "thing" you have to dial the right number! I can't even count how much food I've burnt since having to "cook" on this thing.

I'm actually happy with my home kitchen now; my last kitchen, though, had the worst gas range ever. Not only was the broiler on the bottom, but there was no drawer to pull out, so to use it, I pretty much had to lie on the floor and try to place the food under the ring of flame without burning my arms. And the burners were crap -- no way to keep a low flame at all. Give me electric any day.

Where I teach, the worst thing -- even worse than the expensive yet awful Wolf and Viking ranges -- are the Viking wall ovens, which are half an inch too narrow to accommodate a half-sheet pan. How stupid is that?

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...Not only was the broiler on the bottom, but there was no drawer to pull out, so to use it, I pretty much had to lie on the floor and try to place the food under the ring of flame without burning my arms....

Ughhhhhh... I have one of those. I think that it must have come with a pan that fit into the metal frame in there, which isn't a shelf and seems to have fit specifically with a tray the manufacturer sent with it, but I've never seen it. Also, I'm a little OCD so having somewhere that I'm supposed to put FOOD in so close to the ground totally grosses me out. I've managed to avoid using it almost completely. I'd rather turn the oven all the way up and put the item near the bottom of the oven than try to slide anything into THAT ::shudder::. Never mind that this is a NYC apartment-sized stove to begin with.

Also, I assume there must be a way to get the top of the stove off (besides just lifting the black grate that the pans sit on) so I can better access the area around the burners where food gets trapped, but I can't figure it out. My dad said it should be doable, but he's going to have to figure it out because this was the first gas stove I'd ever dealt with and it's the same for the boyfriend. I think I'm going to die when I see all the old dried food down there, though. And hopefully not roaches. Oh please god no roaches!

Clearly you can see how horrified I am of the whole thing when I start to think about it. :shock:

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I actually quite like my teeny tiny kitchen in my teeny tiny condo - it is very efficient. The only problem is there is no ventilation to the outside - so the hard-wired smoke alarm tends to go off from time to time.

Now my mother's kitchen in her brand new house that she designed (with the help of an architect)...is a nightmare. Oven and fridge are way too small (smaller than mine). It's a very big kitchen, so nothing is ever handy (or where you think it should be). And her lovely Kohler faucet that she spent a small fortune on - while pretty to look it - sprays water in 50 directions any time turn it on and stick something under it. Nice...

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First and foremost my tiny appt. size side by side fridge. Our old one broke and we had to rush to get a new one, the only that fit was this tiny one. We could have remodeled the space, taken the cabinet (that's full of mostly who knows what) above it out, but I had had a contractor in the house for a good two months already, baby on the way, could not face that guy anymore. Bad mistake.....

What I really want is just a large fridge, no freezer what so ever in the kitchen. Maybe an ice maker (though I hardly ever use ice except for ice baths to cool things down) and put a large upright freezer in the garage. There's nothing in the freezer that I need on a day to day basis, so why waste kitchen space?

The 2nd thing is the crappy JennAir stove. Has those weird coils on top, a bitch to clean, the chrome inserts underneath crap out quickly and are very expensive to replace. And that down vent? Hello? Steam RISES! Who ever thought of a down vent? Useless with anything taller than a small sauce pan. Wish I'd have a nice gas range instead.

3rd thing is the microwave above the stove (with a built in fan thing that just blows the air back into the kitchen, now that's a smart thing to have!). I want just a nice strong and quiet(!) hood there, one w/o sharp corners of course.

4th are the plastic counter tops. White. Staining easily white plastic.

The cabinets are spacey, the doors are ugly and covered with paper thin veneer with hair tin lacquer that's peeling off above the stove and coffee maker.

Oh, and the wallpaper the former owner put there, the wallpaper we were gonna take off right away. Some 12 or so years ago....

Workspace is great though, it's a large kitchen and I can't complain in that regard. I just wish I'd have the 50 or so thousand to replace the machinery and put nicer doors on the cabinets.

But then, I don't eat the kitchen and I rather spend my money on good food items :-)

PS: ever notice how "I need more counterspace" turns into "more stuff on the counters"? It's amazing actually, I can spend an hour or two clearing everything off and cleaning things nicely, next day you would not notice. Two little kids of course are very helpful in cluttering :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

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This question has been rolling around in my head for a week now. I spend way too much time contemplating the design of things, so I didn't want to post a hasty response.

I'm going with the stainless steel stopper in my sink. I believe it's from Krowne but I can't find it in their catalog -- probably because it's been recalled for extreme stupidity.

It's the kind with a catcher so it can go from plug to sieve with a simple twist, or at least that was the design intention. In reality, it's basically impossible to reach down (usually through hot soapy water) and rotate the small nub to drain the sink because there's nothing to grip.

I would've chucked it a few years ago but it came with the stainless steel sink and the two are a matched pair. I use it right-side up for plug, and upside-down for sieve.

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