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CanadianHomeChef

Buying a house: most important kitchen features?

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My apologies if this in the wrong forum. I took a quick glance and this seemed the most relevant. If I’m mistaken, no hard feelings if it gets moved. 

 

In about a year, I will begin my serious quest of buying my first home. I’m pretty excited as I’ve rented all my life, but I’ve finally saved up enough for a downpayment and my career is going in the right direction.

 

I’m a single guy, so I don’t need a ton of space. I teach, so 2 bedrooms would be nice for a home office or if my situation ever changes. 

 

The most important room, by far, is the kitchen. Which had led me to ponder what exactly do I want. After some consideration I know I want considerable counter space, storage options (doesn’t all have to be in the kitchen, but it’s for kitchenware), an accessible pantry,  and a large sink (could be installed later). A dedicated dining area would be nice as well (currently it’s like an after thought at my house). Would be nice to have a sleek stove and fridge, but those are easy enough to upgrade later. What’s more important is the space. Not sure if I’ll find everything I’m looking for in a house not meant for a large family 😆 

 

So my question to everyone is if you were in my situation, what would be your top kitchen criteria? What is non negotiatble, and what could you settle with?

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Exciting stuff!

 

I'd need a gas stove with a good hood. No hood means no searing and no frying. If it isn't already installed, then you are programming -in a kitchen reno at some time in the future.

 

I'm becoming persuaded that counter-top ovens are all one really needs. So I'd need space for a good sized one like a Breville (or larger). Consider the biggest turkey you might cook?

 

Lots of counter space and electrical outlets...hopefully at least two different circuits.

 

Space enough for a big fridge and space for a freezer in the garage or basement.  If the freezer isn't possible, I'd get a fridge with a really big freezer.

 

Great bright but dimmable lighting.

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Posted (edited)

As a single guy, with a possible change in your career direction soon, if I were you, I would put my first priority in consideration on returns on my real estate investment.

Then suitability of needs would be my second priority. With a little luck, the two priories may coincide.

If you get a big raise, that's when you will be looking for your ultimate dream house.

 

dcarch

 

 

 


Edited by dcarch (log)
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Just now, dcarch said:

As a single guy, with a possible change in your career direction soon, if I were you, I would put my first priority in consideration on returns on my real estate investment.

Then suitability of needs second. With a little luck, the two priories may coincide.

 

dcarch

 

 

 

Good point.

If a quick turn-over is needed, I would not buy, but rent.

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Posted (edited)

As a veteran of many kitchen and also home buying scenarios I'd say almost nothing is "non-negatiable". Look at kitchens in Hong Kong or New York City -walk in closets! For me it is counterspace,  windows so I am not working in a "room withut a view", and either existing or good appliances or room for what your preference is. As a designer I find that the feeling of the property in general as well as how you feel in the kitchen space is paramount. Melissa Clark tells a great story about her early NYC apartment where the cat could only enter if she had one foot out the doorway, appliances piled on top of every space, and she catered some pretty cool meals. 


Edited by heidih (log)
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15 minutes ago, dcarch said:

As a single guy, with a possible change in your career direction soon, if I were you, I would put my first priority in consideration on returns on my real estate investment.

Then suitability of needs would be my second priority. With a little luck, the two priories may coincide.

If you get a big raise, that's when you will be looking for your ultimate dream house.

 

dcarch

 

 

 

 

I’m a teacher. So my career direction and salary is pretty much predefined by a collective agreement. I agree that I should get something that I could see myself living in even with a major change in my lifestyle (getting married, having a child - unlikely, etc). Plan on putting no less than 20% down, so I will be limited in my choices. 

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Posted (edited)

I second the window.  A big window nearby but not exactly in the kitchen is ok.  Probably better, because then the breeze from the window does not blow cold air over your stove-top situation, including the flames arising in a chimney effect off of your open burners . . . . 

 

My personal need, tho, is for the sink/stove/main-prep-counter/garbage can to be all in the same small radius.  By small radius, I mean like three steps. 

 

I once lived in an apartment where the prep counter was across an unnecessarily large room from the sink, which was itself located near the only plugs, and I was routinely homicidal. 

 

This was when I realized I prefer, strongly, small galley kitchens designed by people who actually cook.  

 

I think an actual bona fide pantry is dreamy, and I now think it's essential in my next home. 

 

But actually, as I write this, I realize that there is only one truth about me:   unless and until I go off-grid, I am never living again without a dishwasher.  I put off getting one because I am cheap.  And as turned out, I now feel that it has improved my life beyond my wildest dreams.  I still can't quite believe I have one and I get kookily-happy every time I turn it on.  


Edited by SLB (log)
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As Heidi said, nothing is non-negotiable. That said, I'd have a few qualms about being without an exhaust fan that vents to the outside -- like this one:

 

 

StoveHoodFridge (1280 x 960).jpg

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For me, definitely a fan that vents to outside. And a window that I can open; bonus points for a nice view.  Beware of tiny counter/prep space.

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I live in an apartment with no pantry.  In this complex the next larger apartments have a dedicated pantry as a separate room.  But at least I have a good sized bedroom.

 

If I were buying a house I'd look for a kitchen with a Pacojet.  Not that I can complain, my kitchen has a nice view of the mountain.  Not sure I'd trade that even for a Pacojet.

 

 

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Counter space which is convenient for prep...next to the sink. A garbage disposal, if you can. My neighborhood doesn’t allow them due to environmental issues, but I have had them previously and it is the one thing I curse daily in my kitchen.


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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41 minutes ago, BeeZee said:

Counter space which is convenient for prep...next to the sink. A garbage disposal, if you can. My neighborhood doesn’t allow them due to environmental issues, but I have had them previously and it is the one thing I curse daily in my kitchen.

I've never actually seen one "in the wild" anywhere in Canada, and I know from watching reno shows that they're explicitly banned in some jurisdictions. Not sure about Calgary.


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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For me it would be:

 

- good extractor which vents outside

- tap with a flexible hose pull out

- proper boiling water tap

- under mounted sinks with waste disposal, make cleaning up so much easier 

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I'm also in house-shopping mode. The kitchen is my first deal-breaker and the first thing I look at. Considerations include:

1. Space. I want a BIG kitchen. I want room for someone else in there with me, and room at an island or bar for people to sit and keep me company while I cook.

2. Gas stove with a hood that will suck the paint off the surface, vented to the outside. I can live with an electric stove, but not without the industrial strength hood. Stove should have a large range top with six burners, or four burners and a griddle/grill.

3. Lots of counter space. I spread out a lot when I'm prepping.

4. Lots of convenient cabinet space. I don't want to keep a lot out on the counter when I'm not using it; just my CSO, my coffee maker, my stand mixer, my canisters.

5. A BIG pantry to store infrequently used equipment as well as food.

6. Room for a BIG refrigerator. Room for a freezer in the same general area, though out in a garage is ok.

7. Lots of light. A big window, and good task lighting.

8. Enough electrical outlets to plug in multitudes of small electrics.

9. An oven with a warming drawer would be nice.

 

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Re: garburators.  They are not allowed in Ottawa so check with the city if you are thinking you want one.  Ventilation to outside, a couple of separate circuits, and a window over the sink or prep area.  Lots of cupboards.   The condo we live in has a pantry, not a separate room pantry, but a pantry nonetheless.  It had deep shelving which was a pain so we had drawers put in and converted the bottom cupboards to pull-outs.  We also swapped one cupboard for pan drawers and added drawers to a couple of others.  There was dead space between the cooktop and the cupboard beneath it and we had a wide drawer installed where we keep all our cooking utensils. The kitchen has a separate eating area with double doors opening to the dining area.  There was enough space on either side of the doors in the kitchen to install two additional floor to ceiling cupboards, including a pull-out spice rack.  

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i just renovated both of my kitchens within the past six months. Things I have in my main kitchen now that I did not before and am so very grateful to have: A powerful six burner gas range.  A powerful hood that vents to the outside.  Additional outlets and more dedicated circuits.  Cabinets with drawers that roll out for easy access to stored items.  A huge refrigerator.  A large window over the sink.  Undercabinet lighting.  I also like my microwave drawer.  I was not going to get one but my designer talked me into it.  It's nice to have the microwave off the counter.

 

 

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Consider how you cook. If you cook for yourself or 1 or 2 friends then you can plan a kitchen accordingly (bench top oven microwave, smaller cook top etc). But if you are likely to cook for 6 or more think Christmas, Easter, other holidays then think bigger oven and bigger cook top.

Go gas for cook top depending on availability of gas, either bottled or reticulated. Electric for the oven.

If your house has an outdoor entertaining area then a covered BBQ /grill can double as for a bigger oven. Take the weather into account though! You don't have to eat outside but its hard work getting to a BBQ / Grill through the snow.

If you are NOT buying new, then kitchen layout may have to wait till your first remodel.

Ideally, have drawers rather than cup boards. Have cutlery draw above plate drawer above pot drawer and all three next to the dishwasher which is next to the sink.

DO NOT HAVE ANY SINGLE power points! All should be double or quads. Think where you will keep electric kettle, toaster, coffee machine and plan power points accordingly.

Not sure what the normal is where you are but if you are buying a oven go 900mm wide (or 1200 if you have room). If you prefer stove (inbuilt oven) again go bigger rather than smaller. Go 6 burner for stove / cook top (you can always cover part with wooden cover for appliances. Ideal kitchens usually come with 2 ovens, one a steam oven and 2 matching microwaves. (2 microwaves seem an overkill to me though)

Whichever way you go get a decent range hood with ducts to the outside with a powerful fan. Mine has a 3 position switch with light, fan low fan high. I have modified it with an extra remote fan in the duct which comes on with the light. Its quite with just the light on and increases the flow when the fan is on. Get a decent size fridge with freezer.

You are a member of this forum so you are at least into food. Nothing worse than trying to make that classic 3 course meal to impress guests and you have to compromise because you don't have enough burners on the cook top.

 

Now for the extras. Wine fridge (impresses the hell out of people ), chest type freezer, smoker (part of your BBQ /grill), beer fridge.  Window sill for planter box to grow fresh herbs. Walk in pantry, can house things like the coffee machine, toaster Sous Vide stuff.

 

A note about dishwasher. Most people who have not had one think its a waste. BUT consider this. A dishwasher acts as a sterilizer for your crockery, cutlery, cook pots etc. You need to have double the number of plates, cups, glasses and cutlery, that way you only need to wash every second or third day. Entertaining guests with a cold or the onset of the influenza? Helps if you are certain anything they used will be sterilized.

Being a teacher you probably have an immune system like a mule. You have probably been exposed to every disease known to man (school children are such nasty, unhygienic little people and most parents would rather send their obnoxious offspring to school sick than have to but up with them at home.

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12 hours ago, Bernie said:

DO NOT HAVE ANY SINGLE power points! All should be double or quads. Think where you will keep electric kettle, toaster, coffee machine and plan power points accordingly.

 

Double is the default here in Canada. I don't think I've seen singles except in really, really vintage houses.

 

12 hours ago, Bernie said:

A note about dishwasher. Most people who have not had one think its a waste. BUT consider this. A dishwasher acts as a sterilizer for your crockery, cutlery, cook pots etc. You need to have double the number of plates, cups, glasses and cutlery, that way you only need to wash every second or third day. Entertaining guests with a cold or the onset of the influenza? Helps if you are certain anything they used will be sterilized.

 

 

Numerous studies have demonstrated that, unless you wash dishes like my Mom, the dishwasher uses less power and water and is the more environmentally friendly option by a considerable margin (my Mom lived for many years in a home with a low-capacity well, and washed her dishes in just a few cups of hot water heated on the wood stove).

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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1 hour ago, chromedome said:

 

(my Mom lived for many years in a home with a low-capacity well, and washed her dishes in just a few cups of hot water heated on the wood stove).

 

Wow!

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She lives in an apartment in town, now, but still washes her dishes in a mixing bowl in the sink. Now she uses tap water, but she's still very frugal in her water management. She doesn't pay for hot water, mind you (it's included in the rent) but old habits die hard. :)


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I knew someone who grew up without running water either, and he couldn't STAND to see people let the tap run.  My own father, who grew up, uh, *farm-to-table*, was super-harsh on us if we left even a scrap of meat on the chicken bones.  

 

Anyway, back to the new baseline.  I forgot about something else I love/need: my automatic icemaker, which I don't think is hard to plumb. 

 

I could go back to ice trays.  But I don't want to.  [Please understand -- I don't use air-conditioning in the summer; which is to say, I drink A LOT of ice-water.]

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I have to have a garbage disposal....I use it way more than my d/w.   If I had to choose only one, it'd probably be the disposer which get used multiple times a day.  I don't like to deal with wet, sloppy messes.

I've heard some say they shouldn't be used with septic systems but, since it's all biodegradable, that shouldn't be an issue

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Speaking with my appliance repair guy he noted the main fridge failure is the icemaker and that has been my experience as well. I use up to 3 trays during summer heat. Bag em up and re-fill. Not a time sink.

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40 minutes ago, heidih said:

Speaking with my appliance repair guy he noted the main fridge failure is the icemaker and that has been my experience as well. I use up to 3 trays during summer heat. Bag em up and re-fill. Not a time sink.

Yup. My ice maker in a GE Profile fridge failed 3 times and soaked the floor.  I use trays now.

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41 minutes ago, heidih said:

Speaking with my appliance repair guy he noted the main fridge failure is the icemaker and that has been my experience as well. I use up to 3 trays during summer heat. Bag em up and re-fill. Not a time sink.

 

My fridge is a Kenmore Elite and the ice make has been repaired twice, both times the whole unit had to be replaced.  

(Fridge is now 12 years old).  I use my ice maker every day and would not want to be without it.

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