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Buying a house - ideal kitchen?


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Hey folks,

 

I’m about 1-2 years away from seriously considering buying first home. I have the down payment saved up but due to contract and political considerations, it’s best that I wait at least a year. 
 

I’m just curious if you were in my position, what would you be looking for in an “ideal kitchen”? The sky is the limit right now, but of course will have to converge on a few “must-haves”; unless I want to be a single person living in a massive house 😂 

 

I recently discovered the concept of a “butler pantry” which has me intrigued. Very few houses on the local market have these, and they tend to be larger houses, but I like the ones with extended hidden away counter space. 
 

Considering I’m a single person and most houses in my ideal size (~1200 square feet) have less than ideal kitchens, expanding an existing kitchen into the dining room. Using the living room as a dining room. And having the “living room” in the basement. Although that would surely hurt resale. 

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Sizzle and Sear

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High quality gas range (for me)

Room for big fridge

counter space for the Smart Oven/Steam Oven

Cabinets for seldom -used appliances

Pantry

You can merge kitchen and DR by removing a wall usually. Typically there's a counter/island  separating the two, so you'd gain counter space too. Island could be for informal dining

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Splurge on a high end gas range.  My preference is Wolf.  Bluestar, Garland, Thermador are all good options as well.

 

An equally high end hood with multiple extractor fans (no sense in being able to sear the crap out of stuff if your house constantly turns into one big hotbox!)

 

Perhaps an in counter wine fridge.

 

No need to go crazy on the fridge, IMO - I have had Sub-Zero's in the past and they quite frankly have issues as they age and are expensive to repair.  Our current Kitchen Aid (french door) is very good.

 

If I was doing it all over again, I would try to incorporate a wood burning oven into the kitchen - so many fun things one can do with that, plus it looks damn cool!  On our next move, for sure.

 

Pullout cupboards with built in racking systems are also a great storage tool.

 

 

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2 hours ago, weinoo said:

If you're looking for the ideal kitchen, perhaps worry about the overall house and then turn the kitchen that exists into your ideal one?

Gutting and rebuilding can get expensive. I don’t mind making improvements to an existing kitchen, but it needs to meet some base criteria first. 

Sizzle and Sear

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Bit of a rush atm, but I'd give serious consideration to a high end induction cook top and two built in ovens rather then gas. I'll revisit this when I've got more time to think,

 

p

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I would love to have room for a full-size refrigerator only, plus a separate upright freezer. And good pantry space. I find I don't need a very big kitchen if I have decent storage space and a decent stretch of counter space away from sink and stove, etc so that you can spread out when you need to. 

 

I also like lots of natural light so I'd be looking for a kitchen that has good windows and access to a patio/deck. We once rented a house in Tucson with a lovely big patio, but it was off the living room with the kitchen on the other side. We spent a lot of time outdoors and entertained there a fair bit and it was super annoying to have to carry food and drink across the living room and its off-white carpet to get between kitchen and patio. 

 

I'm induction cooktop all the way and would love to have a built-in convection steam oven or a larger countertop one in a dedicated space. 

 

I'd love a butler's pantry, wonderful when you're entertaining, but probably not a common feature in smaller homes, ha. But kitchen nooks or breakfast areas may allow for flexibility and expansion of kitchen or functions if you have a separate dining area. 

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9 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

I also like lots of natural light so I'd be looking for a kitchen that has good windows and access to a patio/deck. 

 

Great point. I appreciate a pleasant view from the kitchen workspace. Had one once where it was hard to ignore the giant telephone pole after the neighbor cut down the big pine blocking it. My cottage below had a most calming and uplifting view. The current one is reasonable. 

kitchen window.JPG

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1 hour ago, palo said:

Bit of a rush atm, but I'd give serious consideration to a high end induction cook top and two built in ovens rather then gas. I'll revisit this when I've got more time to think,

 

p


I currently have an induction range and love it! If I were to stick with induction, I'd consider getting one of those "zoneless" ones..... but then again I own two Control Freaks so having a high end gas range might offer more options?  

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Sizzle and Sear

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2 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

Gutting and rebuilding can get expensive. I don’t mind making improvements to an existing kitchen, but it needs to meet some base criteria first. 

Well when you ask "us" what we'd look for in an ideal kitchen, you're probably gonna get some expensive ideas. 

 

If you're making improvements, what is your budget for "improvements?" and do you mean structural, upgrading electric/plumbing, buying some nice appliances to replace what might already be in the kitchen, kitchen layout, etc. etc. for the kitchen you haven't bought yet?

 

I'd want a big sink, a good layout, a working stove, a working fridge, a working hood, a working d/w. And a good 15 - 20 feet or so of potential counter top space.

 

Take an inventory of the stuff you're gonna be taking with you, and make sure there's cabinet space for the stuff in cabinets, whcih can often be upgrade nicely by painting the fronts and changing the hardware.

 

 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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One thing I have that I would not have thought to ask for is a "baking counter" whose top is stepped down 2-3 inches from the regular countertop. Very conducive to mixing/kneading (and I'm average height, 5'5 or so). I have all my flours, sugars, etc., in the cabinet above it.

 

I like having a convection oven. First full-sized one I ever had.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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Beside the fact that I prefer cooking with gas, the pragmatic side of me likes the idea that during power failures* the burners can still be used with the aid of matches or long-neck butane lighters like you find in the camping section.

 

My Sweetie and I MUST have a kitchen that 2 or 3 people can cook in, which may not be necessary for you. We chose our current house, purchased 36 years ago, based on the kitchen. The house we plan to retire to has a great kitchen with a large walk-in pantry. If for you the  kitchen is the most important room of the house, then by all means make that your top priority.

 

More than enough counter space for your needs and wants seems like a good thing to look for.

 

* my disaster planning is never far from my mind.

Edited by Porthos (log)

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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5 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

Considering I’m a single person and most houses in my ideal size (~1200 square feet) have less than ideal kitchens, 

 

I don't wanna jinx anything, but what happens if you meet that perfect person and become partners? I can only suggest to do this quickly before that happens, so you don't have to make any compromises! You don't know the arm-twisting I had to do to convince about the wine fridge.

Significant Eater thought it was too bougie; of course, that would be her jewish guilt. I told her if she thought that was bougie, what about the wolf? I have no guilt.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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We have a big kitchen with lots of cabinets and a good deal of counter space. Two of us still can't figure out how to stay out of each other's way. The one thing that might be helpful is an island, where one person who is chopping or kneading can be isolated, as if they are on, well, an island. My husband doesn't want one; he is partial to deprivation, and perhaps the very fact that it remains an awkward space works to his advantage. He bakes bread about once a week and does all his kneading by hand in a counter space with a cabinet overhang which seems really annoying to me, 

 

The other thing I would improve if I were designing a new kitchen is lighting. The older I get the more light I need to cook. Good lighting under the cabinet overhangs would be nice. So far, whatever the motivation needed to fix this problem hasn't reached the tipping point.

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2 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

The other thing I would improve if I were designing a new kitchen is lighting. The older I get the more light I need to cook. Good lighting under the cabinet overhangs would be nice. So far, whatever the motivation needed to fix this problem hasn't reached the tipping point.

Because under counter lighting is required for energy in some jurisdictions the designers do it automatically. Especially nice if you can isolate the area you want lit. 

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Definitely counter space.  When I remodeled my kitchen , I doubled the counter space and it’s the thing I appreciate the most.  Next best improvement is the six burner gas stove.  Under cabinet lighting is also worth it.

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15 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

but then again I own two Control Freaks

Given your existing appliance stable and the endless eG temptations to expand, I'd make sure the house has a decent electrical service or that you are prepared to upgrade it. Lots of outlets in the kitchen or the ability to add multi outlet wiremold strips.  Make sure to consider a good exhaust hood.  If ducting isn't already in place, some layouts can make installation very expensive, others very simple.

 

20 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

most houses in my ideal size (~1200 square feet) have less than ideal kitchens, expanding an existing kitchen into the dining room. Using the living room as a dining room. And having the “living room” in the basement. Although that would surely hurt resale. 

Location absolutely can't be changed and will be the single biggest factor affecting resale no matter what you do to the inside.  As long as you can re-stage the rooms into a more conventional arrangement: put a little bistro table into that previous dining space that you've turned into part of the kitchen or in a corner of the living room, it shouldn't be a big resale issue.  But consider the housing stock in the areas you are targeting your search.  Installing an enormous, over the top chef's kitchen in a small house isn't likely to offer top dollar return on investment but you'll have more wiggle room in an older, unimproved home than in a newer build that's already been kitted out to suit the target market. 

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15 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

The other thing I would improve if I were designing a new kitchen is lighting. The older I get the more light I need to cook. Good lighting under the cabinet overhangs would be nice. So far, whatever the motivation needed to fix this problem hasn't reached the tipping point.

 

15 hours ago, heidih said:

Because under counter lighting is required for energy in some jurisdictions the designers do it automatically. Especially nice if you can isolate the area you want lit. 

 

12 hours ago, Jacksoup said:

 Under cabinet lighting is also worth it.

 

Love my under cabinet and under shelf lighting, These cool LED strips, which our contractor did a wonderful job installing so you barely know they're there until they are on. The transformers are hidden away in the back of cabinets (one of those cabinets is over the fridge!). And they are all on dimmers. Bad picture warning...

 

IMG_3565.thumb.jpeg.2fac9cb35948f54facaf3cc7a56fe5db.jpeg

 

On the side with the long wooden shelf above the counter, they cut a groove out of the bottom of the shelf, the LED strip is installed there, and then covered.

 

IMG_3566.thumb.jpeg.2e9015b1ae4e6459f8094c41fadf106c.jpeg

 

On the opposite wall with the open metal shelving, the LED strips are behind the lip of the shelf.

 

 IMG_1144.thumb.JPG.67648e6f4a5d6b3beb9ef563a8d83748.JPG

 

When those lights are on, they reflect off the white tile. Great counter top lighting, and no shadows.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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We have both a butler's pantry and a walk in closet pantry.   Both are indispensable to us.  

Also mandatory, a big single sink, efficient hood/fan, natural ligh.   Refrigerator WITHOUT water dispenser or ice maker in door.   GAS stove.  

A DOOR that allows you to shut off kitchen and it sounds and smells.

As described above, a pastry/pasta making work space several inches below counter height.   in our case, a marble topped table in center of room works for me.

Our kitchen is not new or chic but it works.

Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)
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This and the other current thread about kitchen (cupboard) design have been interesting for me to follow, because my GF and I are at the point of starting to think seriously about what we want in our home and why.

 

In our case we're looking to keep the home as energy-efficient as possible, though we haven't yet committed to the notion of being fully off-grid (which complicates many things, including eventual resale - hopefully by our estate, as we intend this to be our forever home). There will decidedly be solar, and I'm leaning to battery storage, but whether it's a complement or our main power is still TBD.

 

I used to be a gas loyalist and had always planned to incorporate gas (for at least the stove) into any home I ever built, but now I don't believe that's going to happen. I do most of my cooking these days on a low-quality single induction hob, and I think I'd be perfectly happy with a full-sized (and higher quality) induction cooktop. Also over the past few years I've seen a lot of research about the impact of gas cookery on indoor air quality, which is a real issue with modern, airtight, high-efficiency homes. A really good vent hood is a must, and even that's not bulletproof. In my case, where I want to keep power consumption to a minimum, skipping the gas stove and the corresponding industrial-strength hood will simplify things a lot.

There's also the whole carbon-reduction issue (for me, not necessarily for you). New Brunswick's grid is skewed to low-carbon sources (hydro and the only nuclear plant east of Ontario) and the last couple of coal-burners are going offline in the coming years. Switching to gas would be a retrograde step, in that context.

There's a good writeup at Mother Jones on the efforts the oilpatch has put into promoting gas in the kitchen, if you're interested. As an avowedly lefty publication MoJo is jaundiced on the subject of corporate greed, but it's diligent about sources and fact-checking.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"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:

This and the other current thread about kitchen (cupboard) design have been interesting for me to follow, because my GF and I are at the point of starting to think seriously about what we want in our home and why.

 

In our case we're looking to keep the home as energy-efficient as possible, though we haven't yet committed to the notion of being fully off-grid (which complicates many things, including eventual resale - hopefully by our estate, as we intend this to be our forever home). There will decidedly be solar, and I'm leaning to battery storage, but whether it's a complement or our main power is still TBD.

 

I used to be a gas loyalist and had always planned to incorporate gas (for at least the stove) into any home I ever built, but now I don't believe that's going to happen. I do most of my cooking these days on a low-quality single induction hob, and I think I'd be perfectly happy with a full-sized (and higher quality) induction cooktop. Also over the past few years I've seen a lot of research about the impact of gas cookery on indoor air quality, which is a real issue with modern, airtight, high-efficiency homes. A really good vent hood is a must, and even that's not bulletproof. In my case, where I want to keep power consumption to a minimum, skipping the gas stove and the corresponding industrial-strength hood will simplify things a lot.

There's also the whole carbon-reduction issue (for me, not necessarily for you). New Brunswick's grid is skewed to low-carbon sources (hydro and the only nuclear plant east of Ontario) and the last couple of coal-burners are going offline in the coming years. Switching to gas would be a retrograde step, in that context.

There's a good writeup at Mother Jones on the efforts the oilpatch has put into promoting gas in the kitchen, if you're interested. As an avowedly lefty publication MoJo is jaundiced on the subject of corporate greed, but it's diligent about sources and fact-checking.

 

i generally prefer induction for that reason, plus the fact that it doesn't make the kitchen smell, and it's easy for me since i'm in ontario. BUT. i've really been kind of eager to get one of those home biogas setups. they sell a low-pressure burner for use with the setup and suggest that you can get up to two hours of cooking time on it per day. 

 

https://www.homebiogas.com

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I wasn't familiar with that particular product, but I've seen articles for years about an ingenious farmer in France who used a massive pile of chipped wood (basically an industrial-sized hugelkultur bed) to both heat his water, and generate methane that he captured and used for cooking.

 

I don't think a big-ass anaerobic digester is a good fit for my personal scenario (I don't plan on having livestock, and I *do* plan on composting, and it's just the two of us...), but it's an intriguing option and I'll probably look into it further.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"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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