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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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There is so much cool hardware around these days for pullouts,  lazy susans, slides, etc. that you can do some pretty amzing stuff with lower cabinets that used to have lots of dead space in them and generally look like big giant disasters. Especially stuff in the corners, those twistl out corner shelves coupled with double doors in the corners (I hope you know what I am talking about or that makes no sense :wacko: )

Hafele is a good source for this type of hardware.

Has anyone else taken a look at this site? Amazing!

Oh, I looove them. :wub:

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Here's a lousy job of reworking the plans, but you get the picture.  I hope this shows up OK.

i2176.jpg

I'm not sold on this plan. While I don't believe in the Work Triangle (maybe nobody else does anymore, either), I do think there are repetitive vectors involved in kitchen work, and this plan doesn't do them justice.

1. The meal clean-up vector: dishes will come from either the Li'l Varmints' bar or from the dining room. Imagine the traffic that will be created after meal time, clearing the table and getting the stuff to the sink/dishwasher area. Once the dishes are clean, where will they go? Either they get stored near the dishwasher, creating additional work when setting the table, or they get stored near the eating zones; in this case the work comes when the dishwasher is emptied. Look at all the walking and carrying (often of fragile items) involved. It's hard to believe that new plan is an improvement over the old vectors.

2. The cold food prep vector: in the current layout, I assume you move stuff from the fridge to the counter near the sink for prep. In this aspect, the new plan seems pretty close to a wash, especially given that you won't have to negotiate the marble chicane. But when you're done with the prep under the new plan, you have to move it across the room to cook it. While it won't kill you, those steps are going to add up, as will the need to integrate the use of trays and prep/condiment bowls to your batterie. Alternatively, you can use the counter that's replacing the marble, but you've simply divided the problem, not fixed it.

3. The cookware vector, part 1: I'm guessing you're planning to store pots and pans under the cooktop, which is fine -- just remember that you're losing your pot rack, unless you're going to mount it over the Li'l V's bar, or to the right and left of the hood.

4. The cookware vector, part 2: with the old plan, you could take a pan from the cooktop and put it right in the sink. What will you do under the new plan? You'll be carrying hot stuff, not just across the room, but across a major flight path. Maybe this isn't likely to happen very often, but it's a lot cheaper to think about now than it will be later. Even if you don't move the cookware when it's hot, you've still created a significant increase in heavy metal transport.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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A few questions:

- Where do you store the dishes and tableware?

- Who's responsible for clearing and setting the table?

- Who does the dishes?

- Is it correct that the plan under consideration involves moving both gas and water lines?

- Is that short wall at the upper end of the sink counter load-bearing?

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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- Where do you store the dishes and tableware?

Currently, the china and glasses are stored in the cabinet above the cooktop. The flatware is stored in the drawers under the microwave. We would have stored the dishes in the new upper cabinet where the marble slab was.

Who's responsible for clearing and setting the table?

Right now, when the L'il Varmints eat at the counter, we may have one of them get the flatware out. Cella or I get the dishes, as we don't want them in the cooking area (and they couldn't really reach over the cooktop -- nor would we want them to). Clearing dishes is a breeze right now from the bar -- it's 2 steps. The kids don't need to do anything, really.

When we eat at the dining room table, the older kids bring their dishes to the bar area. I see the issue of the distance. At dinner parties, the dishes get stacked around the sink, on the bar, and on the marble slab.

Who does the dishes?

We invite guests who like to do dishes! :raz: Marcella does the bulk of the dishes, but I do about 30%. The kids to not do dishes -- yet.

Is it correct that the plan under consideration involves moving both gas and water lines?

There currently is no gas in the kitchen. Our hot water heater, which is located in the basement at the other end of the house, is gas. So yes, a gas line needs to be run to the kitchen.

New water lines would need to be run from their current locations.

Is that short wall at the upper end of the sink counter load-bearing?

Yes. And the short wall sticking out between the compactor counter and the marble slab contains a circuit breaker and lots of electrical switches.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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What would it feel like if you switched the range and the sink? With all those L'il Varmits to feed, I think I'd want the DW/sink/ clean glasses closer to the counter they eat at. I store a lot of my dishes in my panty. You might be able to get a wall oven/micro combo on the short side of the L next to where the sink is currently sketched to go.

Edited by marie-louise (log)
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What the diagrams don't show is that the "walls" where the sink and dishwasher are to go are huge, plate glass windows. This should give you an idea:

i2126.jpg

It's all glass on the right above that shallow tiled ledge. It works to put a sink there, but not a range and hood.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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What the diagrams don't show is that the "walls" where the sink and dishwasher are to go are huge, plate glass windows....

It's all glass on the right above that shallow tiled ledge. It works to put a sink there, but not a range and hood.

Ah, I was wondering if that might be the case. Another question-what if the dishwasher/ main sink was where the wet bar is currently-how would that feel? You could have a small sink and a large prep area (with a butcher block countertop) where the double sink is currently drawn...

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That part of the kitchen is too narrow and isolated, too. The fridge doors open there that create more of an obstruction. Here's that view:

i2133.jpg

Over on the left there, that's where the margaritas are made...

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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i2176.jpg

I'm not sold on this plan. While I don't believe in the Work Triangle (maybe nobody else does anymore, either), I do think there are repetitive vectors involved in kitchen work, and this plan doesn't do them justice.

Varmint, there's somethin' about this that doesn't look quite right. You've got your range top and ovens, but I can't see where you're going to be doing your chopping and cutting - your mise en place. Maybe in that little spot next to the ovens, (or using the kid's bar?). Is the bar alway cleaned off enough to work on? I don't know about you but I like to be able have my prepping within a step of the range.

You've got a long narrow space. Think about doing it over galley style. But, I'm prejudiced in that direction since I've always liked that kind of cooking space.

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Hypothetically speaking, if you were to suddenly settle that big class action suit, and were in a position to move to a bigger place, how would you feel about leaving all of those new appliances behind? If you plowed your $$$ into a range that you could "take with you" would that be something you might consider instead of doing the rangetop-ovens route?

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First, we wouldn't move, believe it or not. The neighborhood is ideal, we have a tennis court that allows us to host a pig pickin' every few years or so, the schools are great, and it's a 4 minute commute to work.

But, I like the idea of a range, but I don't have room for anything but a 36 inch. If I put in a 48 inch range with double ovens where the marble slab is, I'd have no work area surrounding it (OK, I'd have a total of 15 inches, which actually might be enough.

I still would need to find a place for the dishwasher, sink, and come up with lots of cabinet space.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Nick, I currently do about 80-90 percent of my chopping at the bar, so that won't change. I'll actually have more usable space around the rangetop than I currently have due to the awkward configuration of the cabinets.

I've been staring at an emptied out floor plan with cut-out ranges and counters and sinks, and the plan above is as good as I can get right now.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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An ideal situation. I envy the 4 minute commute. You demand a self cleaning gas oven. In that category, as near as I can tell, there are two options, the 36" Viking and the 30" DCS. Is there enough difference in price to permit you to do the DCS and add a separate oven and stay within budget. The DCS has 5 burners. The Viking 6 (unless you choose a griddle).

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Right now, I'm a frustrated lawyer. I'm not even sure if my plans will work, as the dishwasher will barely fit in where the compactor is. That makes that corner area of the cupboard useless. I don't know if there'll be room for a trash drawer.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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i am following the thread with great interest, and appreciate the back-and-forth, and various cooking styles in play,, as well as all the free advice.

i apologize in advance for the possible influence of the (well earned) bottle of zin i played my part in consuming tonight--tho i have devoured the entire thread, i cannot at this point recall with certainly whether a 36" range (all gas) fits the bill. i DO recall that self-cleaning is an issue...is this

thermador gas 36 self cleaning range a possibility?

i wanna come to the new-and-improved mr and dr varmint (and lils') new kitchen inaugural pig pickin'! (but i wanted to come to the "mr and dr varmint our-kitchen-may-suck-but-we're-still-invintin'-y'all-and-it-will-prove-legendary" first annual pig pickin'!)

what fun!

edited to say--remember that bottle of zin i mentioned? the clickety thing is for the 30", but there is a 36" one too..click the advance button near the bottom (for the 36" version...i need to sleep now--g'night!)

Edited by chezcherie (log)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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OK... I gotta ask this question. Why the quest for a gas self cleaning oven? The reason for the "duel fuel" ranges (gas burners, electric ovens) is a recognized superiority of gas for burners and electric for ovens. I have had both in the oven world. I would much prefer an electric oven. Where I am, gas heating of anything is cheaper but I am not willing to give up a few pennies of savings for the superiority of electric ovens for temperature control and self cleaning.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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OK... I gotta ask this question. Why the quest for a gas self cleaning oven? The reason for the "duel fuel" ranges (gas burners, electric ovens) is a recognized superiority of gas for burners and electric for ovens. I have had both in the oven world. I would much prefer an electric oven. Where I am, gas heating of anything is cheaper but I am not willing to give up a few pennies of savings for the superiority of electric ovens for temperature control and self cleaning.

I heartily agree with the Representative from Texas.

My colleague speaks the truth. Besides the accuracy in cooking issues, the expense of repairing an electric oven is much, much less (this should be taken with a grain of salt considering I cook on a 50 year old O'Keefe and Merritt that I wouldn't trade for a Thermador with a built in still and keg box), but having had both over the years and regularly cooking in a couple of nice Kitchen Aid electrics at our lakehouse, I say electric.

I will now yield the balance of my time to my colleague from Houston.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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That part of the kitchen is too narrow and isolated, too.  The fridge doors open there that create more of an obstruction.  Here's that view:

i2133.jpg

The artwork is really cool, coutesty, I'm assuming, of the Lil Varmints. As parent of fairly young children, had to comment. When I checked this earlier when Peter and Diana (8 and 13, respectively) were around, they also noted that "his counters are way cooler than ours, mom. They're RED!"

Kitchen reno is a bitch, trust me. Like Ms. Varmint, I'm a power tool and renovation junkie. I did mine myself. But, the latout in my old, way harvest gold kitchen were great, and the cabinetry (solid fairly fine-grained oak) was and is beautiful.

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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