Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

My dream kitchen


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

For a couple of decades -- all of my post-college life -- I lived with kitchens that did not befit the director of a culinary arts society. Our first kitchen was weak even by New York City studio-apartment-kitchen standards: essentially a trailer kitchen. Our second kitchen was not terrible, and a lot of New Yorkers might have said it was pretty nice, but it had so much wrong with it I flirted on occasion with the thought of becoming an arsonist. When we finally got the chance to build a kitchen from scratch I was determined to make it my dream kitchen.

A few things got in the way. First, some guy named Nathan Myhrvold already built my dream kitchen and it turns out there's no set of equations that work out to me affording anything like it, even considering the income stream from my incredibly lucrative career as a freelance writer. Second, we were limited by many architectural elements such as the logical location of plumbing, a window, and the overall shape and size of the kitchen area. Third, pricing the components of a kitchen independently it just wasn't possible for us to afford the cabinetry and appliances I wanted in my fantasy world.

Enter the "renovation package." We recently left our quiet neighborhood of Carnegie Hill, part of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, for South-Central Harlem. This allowed us to trade up to more space, and also take advantage of the fact that at the bottom of the housing dip brokers told developers that if they put more money into renovations they could increase the values of their properties. So, basically, the developer we bought from was offering an outlandishly lavish (by my standards) package of kitchen appliances and fixtures for free, or at least at no identifiable marginal cost to us.

The tradeoff was that with the developer's renovation package we had to use his architect and contractor and every departure we wanted involved delays and protracted discussion and debate. I think I lost a week of my life just to the issue of the placement of our ceiling-mounted pot rack.

Here's what our kitchen looked like around Thanksgiving at the end of last year. It was, as you can see, a total gut renovation.

1845 kitchen eg3.jpg

In mid-February, we were up to this.

1845 kitchen eg4.jpg

Some of the appliances got delivered before the cabinetry, so the stove spent part of March in the bathroom.

1845 kitchen eg5.jpg

A little farther along (those are the contractors conferring about something or other).

1845 kitchen eg6.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, just before we moved in.

1845 kitchen eg7.jpg

The task of unpacking and settling in is enormous and overwhelming, but we did manage to get a lot of the kitchen stuff in place -- enough to do basic cooking. This is the state of the kitchen as of shortly after moving in.

1845 kitchen eg8.jpg

There is much to do and over the next few weeks and months I'll cover the slow process of getting the kitchen in order. There's much more detail to go into but I'm not sure what will interest folks so I'll primarily react to comments and questions regarding further specifics.

On another topic some folks asked to see diagrams, so I include those here.

1845 kitchen eg1.jpg

1845 kitchen eg2.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks impressive.

Mazeltov!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're white oak sealed with polyurethane. Same throughout the apartment (except in the bathrooms).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great job. I did the gut kitchen renovation thing a couple of years ago. A pain, yes, but I rather enjoyed it too.

That is one big refrigerator. Interior shot at some point, please.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The range is a monstrosity from Bertazzoni. It's a really gorgeous piece of kitchen art and, as far as I can tell, no better than a Magic Chef. The range hood is Faber. It's actually pretty cool the way it operates -- I'll post a couple of photos though it's hard to photograph. The hood recirculates. There's also a window. In other words my ventilation system sucks. I would have loved to run the range hood to the ductwork that runs above the kitchen ceiling (which handles bathroom ventilation) but the building won't allow a range hood to vent into that shaft. I'll probably set a little fan in the window for when I cook more seriously. Or I'll cook everything sous-vide.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is how the range hood operates, if you can see from the photos -- you pull it out to activate it and expose the controls. It remains to be seen whether this is long-term nifty or just something to break.

P1020868.JPG

P1020873.JPG

P1020874.JPG

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations. Nice job. You'll love (and I miss) the wooden floors.

Ne'er were truer words spoken. I would almost sell my soul before I gave up my kitchen wood floors...even though with two huge dogs and many dog friends for dinner regularly the floors must be redone every few years.

I love the placement of your stove, sink and fridge. Very nice.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I waver on the issue of wood floors in the kitchen. On the one hand I love them. They're the most comfortable to stand on, they're the most forgiving if you drop something like a ceramic bowl, they look beautiful. On the other hand, if you drop that ceramic bowl it makes a mark you can never get out without refinishing, the floors nick and scratch way too easily, and they of course don't do well with water. Overall I still favor wood but it's not perfect. I guess no floor material is.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interested in this, particularly since I recently moved into my dream kitchen and had to do almost nothing to get there. (Topic about the kitchen here; recent foodblog largely taking place within kitchen here.)

It seems like the pinch point in there is at the fridge when the doors are open. How much room is available then?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The worst-case scenario is 22", assuming you open the refrigerator door (which is larger than the freezer door) to a 90-degree position, from the end of the refrigerator door to the lip of the counter next to the sink. If you swing the door a little more or less you get to 24". And if you leave the door open for more than a minute the refrigerator yells at you.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice kitchen! Ijust finished my own kitchen renovation and couldn't figure out where to put a pot rack. I didn't consider in front of the window though. Do you feel yours is blocking too much of the view or light from the window?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I emailed diagrams and plans back and forth with the architect and with Dave "the Cook" Scantland over and over. The window choice was the only thing that ended up making sense. Does it block light? I don't really think so. I saw several photos in design magazines where it was done this way, and it's a north-facing window anyway so it's not like it's the real source of kitchen illumination. And since we face across a courtyard to another part of the building, it's not like we're trying to preserve a view of Central Park.

P1020867.JPG

It required extensive reinforcement of the area to block it for hanging a pot rack. There was no joist in the right place, so it was a pain.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good thing you're all waifs.

This is the worst-case door-opening scenario:

P1020878.JPG

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I waver on the issue of wood floors in the kitchen. On the one hand I love them. They're the most comfortable to stand on, they're the most forgiving if you drop something like a ceramic bowl, they look beautiful. On the other hand, if you drop that ceramic bowl it makes a mark you can never get out without refinishing, the floors nick and scratch way too easily, and they of course don't do well with water. Overall I still favor wood but it's not perfect. I guess no floor material is.

Our wood floors...ours is a century farmhouse so wide-planked wood floors are almost de regueur...are finished in non-18th century urethane, quite a number of coats and so they are fine with water. The best feature is that they don't show dirt!!! (DH says 5 or 6 coats now on pine floors, not tongue-in-groove.)

The worst floors in the world for me are a greyish-white vinyl (or whatever it is) flooring. In Moab our floors were a terra-cotta vinyl (or whatever), the very dirt color of the area. East Central Ontario dirt is brown.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is that if you load wood floors up with a villion coats of polyurethane they are arguably no longer wood floors--they're more like transparent polyurethane floors with wood decoration underneath. But in the end the next time we have the floors done we may go up in number of coats -- that could be in a decade or more for all I know, since the last time we had wood in the kitchen we went about 9 years and never had it redone. We just lived with the "patina."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is that if you load wood floors up with a villion coats of polyurethane they are arguably no longer wood floors--they're more like transparent polyurethane floors with wood decoration underneath.

Is that a bug or a feature? As far as I can tell, the only real benefit to a wood floor in a kitchen is that it looks nice. I've been considering both cork and rubber for my putative kitchen reno. I've seen some very nice-looking cork floors lately, and I imagine they'd be quite comfortable underfoot.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is that if you load wood floors up with a villion coats of polyurethane they are arguably no longer wood floors--they're more like transparent polyurethane floors with wood decoration underneath. But in the end the next time we have the floors done we may go up in number of coats -- that could be in a decade or more for all I know, since the last time we had wood in the kitchen we went about 9 years and never had it redone. We just lived with the "patina."

OK. Asked the DH who replied that some of our floors are semi-gloss and others are satin finish. We have pine plank floors throughout the house...the replacement boards are all roof planking...and I assure you that the urethane is not a factor. Perhaps it's because the level of distress in 100plus year old boards. Ed has made all the new boards look as old as the old.

When we redid the floors...boy were they in ROUGH shape with holes and huge gaps and some floors almost 5" lower on one side of the room to the other...the real estate agent whom we asked about what to do...Ed wanted the modern 'stuff' and I wanted planking...(I was right. Ha! Ha! :raz: ) said definitely go with the planking. Keep the place looking old and "charming". Kiss the hem of her robe, I did.

ps. I guess I forgot to mention that the farmhouse was like a garbage dump (and I have the photos to prove it) when we moved in and that Ed, master and obsessive renovator that he is, has spent much of the last 16 years rebuilding the house from the inside. He had to rewire the house before the insurance people would even insure it.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I waver on the issue of wood floors in the kitchen. On the one hand I love them. They're the most comfortable to stand on, they're the most forgiving if you drop something like a ceramic bowl, they look beautiful. On the other hand, if you drop that ceramic bowl it makes a mark you can never get out without refinishing, the floors nick and scratch way too easily, and they of course don't do well with water. Overall I still favor wood but it's not perfect. I guess no floor material is.

Oak is nice solid stuff, and I don't think it's going to show much in the way of dings from anything you drop, and it is likely to age at least as well as a lot of other stuff, or at least anything else that isn't tile, brick, or stone. We have pale beech floors throughout our the flat, including the kitchen, and none of it is even sealed. Worse, it's treated with white pigment (pickled?), so if you so much as drip a dish on the floor, it looks like crap. Despite all this, and the fact that these are the original floors that were installed when the building went up in 1953, a quick mopping gets the floors looking pristine. I haven't noticed any marks from all the things I've dropped on the floor, either, and this includes some Le Creuset pieces.

. . . . And if you leave the door open for more than a minute the refrigerator yells at you.

Hah! We have one of those... does your produce a loud, panicked beep?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a very nice kitchen... well done! Are the counter tops granite or man made? In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are the counter tops granite or man made?

They are laboratory countertops, aka soapstone.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is that a bug or a feature? As far as I can tell, the only real benefit to a wood floor in a kitchen is that it looks nice.

What? They're easy on the feet, easy on the back, easy on dropped items, and they take a bit of water much better than a lot of people worry about.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...