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CanadianHomeChef

Buying a house: most important kitchen features?

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The fridge we had at the house was a kitchenaid.  In it's 12 years, the ice maker failed twice.  We now have an LG which is almost 5 years old and so far, the ice maker works like a charm.

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Frigidaire here. Ice machine quit several times, while under warranty and out. Frigidaire replaced the whole fridge. Ice machine in the new one is currently not working. 

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GE Profile here but only two years old.  It has not leaked...yet but did have a blockage in the ice maker while under warranty 

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On 3/10/2019 at 8:29 PM, CanadianHomeChef said:

... What’s more important is the space. ...

 

I think you've hit it on the head here.  Focus on that.  Since we've lived in our house we've gutted the kitchen and upgraded everything.  But there are some things that can't be fixed or worked around.  You need good ventilation, light (preferably natural),  enough room, access to utilities, a good flow to the dining area.  You can change appliances.  You can replace the cabinets.  But without the right space you'll be limited in your options.

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  I completely remodeled my galley style kitchen two years ago.  Couldn’t change the basic footprint, but made more counter space and pull out drawers and a five foot tall pull out pantry.  I have so much more storage space than before.  Did change electric stove to gas and added a powerful hood.  The extra counter space has made an enormous difference.  I lived here 14 years before I could bring myself to spend the money but it’s been worth it.  Another thing that pleases me much more than I thought is the pull out with two bins for trash and recycling.

 

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It sounds like you already have a pretty good idea of what you want:

 

On 3/10/2019 at 8:29 PM, CanadianHomeChef said:

. . . 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 😆

 

That's a good start. Other members have hinted at some of the following, but having recently remodeled our kitchen, my experience is still fresh. 

  • If you have a lot of cookware and serving pieces, but don't use everything every day, those items are candidates for what I call "off-site" storage. It's not really off-site, but a Metro-style rack in my office that holds (for example) the ice-cream maker, the 3rd (and 4th) pressure cooker, the waffle iron, a few copper pans, over-sized china and rarely used stoneware. It's a 14" x 48" four-shelf rack. It holds a lot (though we still have some odd bakeware pieces in our bedroom nightstands. Sigh).
  • Ventilation to the outside is really important to a serious cook. It's not necessarily non-negotiable (see below), but it's a big deal.
    • As long as you're checking the ventilation, make sure you're not overdoing it. An exceptionally powerful fan can create more trouble than it solves -- it can raise your energy bills, create uncomfortable drafts, in extreme cases even kill you very quietly.
  • If you really want gas, but the existing range/cooktop is electric, make sure that switching over won't cost a fortune -- and vice-versa, since an electric range (whether it's conventional coils, smoothtop, or induction) will almost certainly require a service upgrade. (Some folks can get worked up over gas cooktops. I can't, and I'm perfectly happy with an electric smoothtop. Read here to see my reasoning.) 
  • Clearance and capacity can trip you up.
    • Before you assume that upgraded appliances are just a matter of ordering what you want and taking delivery, or that adding a circuit just means a call to the local electrician, make sure your electrical panel and gas service will support your plan. Have an electrician check out the panel; you may be maxxed out on amperage, and upgrading might not be a simple matter. 
    • Likewise, make sure that there's width available for that future larger fridge or range. Also measure the doorways it will have to go through to be installed (and that its predecessor will need to negotiate for removal).

@heidih is correct -- nothing is non-negotiable, as  long as you have money. Remove a door (even temporarily), replace a wall, run a gas line, cut a path for ventilation -- all these things can be done, if you have budgeted for it.

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I still have things stored in the pantry closets in the garage, wok, salad spinner, food mill, large pots.  I also bought an inexpensive island on rollers from Ikea, it’s in the actual kitchen, contractor made a top from the same slab as the countertop quartzite/cesarstone so all matches.  It holds the CSO, Instant Pot, and foodsaver.

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On 3/11/2019 at 8:02 PM, Bernie said:

A note about dishwasher. Most people who have not had one think its a waste.

 A dish washer’s claim to fame is that it cleans your dishes but I believe its claim to fame should be that it keeps your kitchen organized.  Dirty dishes are made to disappear instead of clogging up your sink or your counter space. It makes preparing a meal a much more pleasant experience.   This applies even more so the smaller your kitchen.

 

  

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One thing I would consider is whether I would want the kitchen to be its own room or if I wanted a sort of "great room" concept with an integrated kitchen.

 

I lived in my last apartment for 14 years and had a galley kitchen that was separate from the living room. When I moved, I hated that almost all the apartments I was looking at featured integrated kitchens. But after having lived with a great room kitchen for several months, I've discovered that I kind of like it. I can keep an eye on what I'm cooking while still sitting on my couch and I'm also not isolated by myself in the kitchen when I have guests over.

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2 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

 

  • As long as you're checking the ventilation, make sure you're not overdoing it. An exceptionally powerful fan can create more trouble than it solves -- it can raise your energy bills, create uncomfortable drafts, in extreme cases even kill you very quietly.

 

Italics mine. How, do tell. Please. 

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21 hours ago, chileheadmike said:

Frigidaire here. Ice machine quit several times, while under warranty and out. Frigidaire replaced the whole fridge. Ice machine in the new one is currently not working. 

 

My Frigidaire ice maker has died twice and the cooling system exploded once.  That in less than two years.  To be fair, they have replaced the unit and refreshed the warranty twice, but it is concerning.

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6 hours ago, SusieQ said:

 

Italics mine. How, do tell. Please. 

 

I'm not Dave the Cook but I know the answer: carbon monoxide poisoning.  You need to install an make up air damper with a powerful vent hood so that the oxygen levels remain correct in your house.  Mine is integrated into the hood so it opens automatically whenever the exhaust fan is turned on.

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6 hours ago, SusieQ said:

 

Italics mine. How, do tell. Please. 

If  the house is tight and there is no "make up air" it can suck air thru the chimney and bring in CO if you have a gas or oil heater.

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Our house is an R2000 home which is basically an airtight house.  If we have a fire in the wood burning fireplace and I want to use the stove fan, I have to turn on a specially installed fan that brings air in from outside. 

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18 hours ago, Anna N said:

 A dish washer’s claim to fame is that it cleans your dishes but I believe its claim to fame should be that it keeps your kitchen organized.  Dirty dishes are made to disappear instead of clogging up your sink or your counter space. It makes preparing a meal a much more pleasant experience.   This applies even more so the smaller your kitchen.

 

  

This.

 

When I'm making a big holiday meal the prep dishes/utensils/etc are ready to come out of the dish washer by the time the meal is over, and then the dishes from the meal itself can go in and I fire it right back up again. It makes life a lot simpler and guests don't feel impelled to come in and assist with the washing up, which to me is a worst-case scenario. I appreciate our friends and family, but the kitchen is where I go to maintain a bit of space between myself and them.

(From which you might accurately infer that I'm not a fan of those "open-concept" floor plans that look so nice for the TV cameras, but are problematic in real life.)

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9 minutes ago, chromedome said:

 


(From which you might accurately infer that I'm not a fan of those "open-concept" floor plans that look so nice for the TV cameras, but are problematic in real life.)

 

When we were shopping for a new home in MT we looked at a few open-concept houses.  I didn't like the idea of one huge room.  What about the noise?  How do you watch Tv when the d/w is churning in the background.  How do isolate sounds?

We opted for a more traditional Montana-style home that has wonderful flow.  The rooms connect in any direction so it's nice for guests.

And, the dogs can go nuts!

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I had one open concept kitchen - open to a great room!  The TV and surround sound bout drove me nuts. I do like having a counter with stools for the p-eeps you do want to interact with. Lat kitchen designer talked us into trash bins in island space (in a pull out).m Still living with that nightmare. It doesn't ventilate so you open the drawer and get a whiff of yuck! The racoons have stopped messing with the bins as I am out there constantly throwing stuff away (well bit exaggerated but )


Edited by heidih (log)
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