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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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Yeah, when a thread is as long as this, it gets hard t follow.

As far as the oven and cooking surfaces are concerned, this is what I want: I want a high-powered 6 burner gas cooktop. I have always wanted electric ovens for their performance and convection possibilities. I might consider a gas oven, but only if it's self cleaning.

Dual fuel ovens are expensive, but not necessarily prohibitively so. But, since I want 2 ovens, I recognized it would make more sense economically to get a good gas rangetop unit and 2 electric wall units.

I hope that explains things.

I'm still waiting for Dave the Cook to come up the the ultimate plan, as he knows my kitchen better than Mrs. Varmint!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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So where did we get the idea you were looking at gas ovens? :blink:

I am confused. But, at least you are back in the world of the rational. :biggrin:

*going back to smoking the legal stuff*

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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So where did we get the idea you were looking at gas ovens? :blink:

I am confused. But, at least you are back in the world of the rational. :biggrin:

*going back to smoking the legal stuff*

I think that I was whining about the cost of dual fuel ranges, and someone pointed out Viking makes an all gas range with a self cleaning oven. Of course, that wasn't much less expensive than the comparable dual fuel!

Ultimately (or rather, at least, currently), it appears that the most prudent route is to go with a gas rangetop with two electric wall ovens.

By the way, I've learned a lot about cooking appliance terminology during this process. Cooktop, rangetop, oven, radiant, convection, sealed burner, open burner, dual fuel, BTUs, simmer level, continuous grates. That's just for starters!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I have a couple of ideas, though neither is earthshaking.

I think it would be helpful if we knew what you wanted to do long-term. Then we can move stuff around on this layout with an eye towards the future. We're trying to avoid creating new problems while solving old ones; it's something else when long-term plan solves both at the expense of some temporary inconvenience cause by the short-term plan. One example: the clean-up vector problem caused by locating the sink at the far side of the room might be more tolerable if we knew that you were eventually going to tear out the Li'l Varmints' bar and reconfigure that area, possibly moving the seating into the present sink/range zone (I'm not necessarily recommending that).

I might go so far as to suggest that you spend some money now on a master plan, then look at how you can back off from that to get to a reasonable intermediate configuration.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Idea 1

i2216.jpg

This solves the heavy metal transport problem. It doesn't solve the dish transport problem, but it does mitigate it somewhat, especially on the clean storage side of the equation, by lessening the number of steps and straightening the path required to put clean stuff away.

If you didn't have electrical in the wall between the cooktop and the sink counter (1), I'd recommend creating a pass-through between the two counters. If the electrical is below counter level, maybe you can do it anyway.

The wall where the cooktop presently resides (2) is covered by shallow floor-to-ceiling shelving to hold plates, cups, etc. You could build in shallow drawers for silverware, and a small microwave can be accomodated in this depth. Alternatively, the microwave can go beneath the cooktop counter (3) or over by the wet bar (4).

The loss of the storage cabinet that's now by the refrigerator is offset by additional storage beneath the cooktop and by the new wall shelving. The new counter that was to the right of the ovens in your first proposal is now used to extend the bar into the kitchen area (5). You'll need this to put stuff on when it comes out of the oven.

Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

Dave Scantland
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dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Idea 2

i2217.jpg

This one tries to ease the clean-up vector problem, but creates another problem, which is where to store clean tableware.

I've put shelving beneath the windows (1), which will replace the storage lost by removing the cabinet next to the refrigerators. I'd move the microwave over here as well.

Hot stuff out of the oven will have to go on the short arm of the L'il V's bar (2). It's already tiled, so this is not a big deal, except that you're putting hot stuff in a kid zone, which I don't like. This means that the sink-side counter (3) is a better choice -- it will have to be done in a heat-proof material.

I've rounded the rangetop cabinet corner (4) to ease negotiation between the bar and the rangetop. It now occurs to me that you could add a quarter-round cabinet/counter at the end of the short arm on the bar, with the rounded side facing the rangetop (5).

Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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There are three major problems with the current kitchen, one of which can be easily solved: (1) the marble slab, (2) the stupidity of the cooktop/cupboard scenario, and (3) the sink location. I discuss each of these issues below.

(1) Although I love the functionality (is that really a word?) of the marble slab and the amount of workspace it creates, it is entirely too large and is one of the major sources of frustration. Replacing it with a smaller countertop (36 inches wide and 30 inches deep will work, and putting a 15 inch deep upper cabinet will be necessary.

(2) The cooktop must be replaced, and an appropriate hood must be added. Downdrafts are not an option, particularly if I’m going to have a commercial cooktop producing lots of smoke. No matter how I evaluate the current arrangement and any “long-term” solution, I still think that keeping the cooktop in the same general location makes the most sense.

(3) The sink’s location adds to the maze effect. Because of the sink (and the other cabinetry attached to it, much of the kitchen becomes a hallway. That’s lost space.

One option that I discussed initially was to swap the current locations of the sink and cooktops, remove some of the cabinets where the current cooktop is, and install an island hood. The concern here is that I really don’t anticipate using an island arrangement forever, and cutting holes in the roof is something I don’t want to do twice. I could be wrong. Moreover, are island hoods very functional? I understand they’re not nearly as good as wall mounted arrangements (but then, could they possibly be worse than the current arrangement????).

As far as long term plans are concerned, I’m still torn somewhat. Part of me wants the kitchen to be in the front room, so my concern is to minimize what I’m doing now and have the appliances available for the new kitchen. The solution there would be to swap the sink and cooktop, install a hood, and fix the marble slab area. That makes sense, and the “vector” issue is not problematic.

I’ll post more later, as I just saw Dave’s two suggestions.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Dave, your suggestions and thought processes are wonderful. I'm learning a lot. I have a request, if you don't mind. Would it be possible to add arrows to the two diagrams you've just posted so we can see where they differ?

Thanks!

Chad

I did a quick edit on the drawings. Does it help? (Thanks by the way. I'm really just thinking (writing?) out loud. I'm finding this whole process really helpful for developing ideas regarding my own kitchen, and I'm grateful to Varmint for offering his up as an eG R&D project.)

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave, you're amazing.  Can you do my new kitchen too?

I'd love to, but I have to warn you that fresco does all my demolition, and he's really expensive.

But I'd be happy to undo Heather's kitchen.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Does this put you too much back into maze-land?

i2230.jpg

I took out Dave's #5, and drew in a sort of half an oval shaped space between the stovetop and sink. Don't you need more prep area near the stovetop? Plus, two people could work on this space-- one on each side.

Hopefully, your contractor can build something with straighter lines than I could with MS Paint.

Edited by Al_Dente (log)

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I did a quick edit on the drawings. Does it help?

Perfect! I'm not good with spacial relationships (or with relationships in general, for that matter :rolleyes:), and I was having trouble seeing where the two plans differed. The bright red numbers are, well, eye opening. Now I can see exactly what you mean. Very, very cool. :cool:

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Does this put you too much back into maze-land?

i2230.jpg

I took out Dave's #5, and drew in a sort of half an oval shaped space between the stovetop and sink. Don't you need more prep area near the stovetop? Plus, two people could work on this space-- one on each side.

Hopefully, your contractor can build something with straighter lines than I could with MS Paint.

Actually, at half the size you've drawn it, it would still be useful, and wouldn't contribute so much to maziosity. But Varmint said he does most of his prep at the bar (and isn't likely to change that habit, at least not with the rangetop where it is), so I'm not sure he'd use this space, at least not for prep -- maybe for cleanup?.

I like the shape the way you've drawn it -- we can call it the J Lo counter.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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This is fun. One of the things about Dave's Idea #1 is that we could truly create a prep area around the current bar sink. We'd have to get a slightly larger sink with a disposal there.

I really like Idea #1, with one caveat: realize that the range area would be a major traffic flow region. I guess this applies to the sink as well. Do we want that many people running through that area on their way to the laundry room or dining room? I could live with it.

I like Al Dente's peninsula idea.

I've also solved the dishes concern: We can close off the one window that currently is above the compactor and make that into a small cabinet for dishes.

OK, where am I going to keep my Kitchen-Aid mixer? In the peninsula??

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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OK, here's Dave's idea, with Al's modifications, containing some dimensions regarding passage space:

i2231.jpg

If you can't read the numbers, in this configuration, the narrowest passage is 30 inches. And with the peninsula, I don't know if I need that extension of the L'il Varmint's bar, as I can set the hot stuff behind me. God, that's so much better! The downside of this plan is that we're having to build a shitload of cabinets!! I need to get an estimate of this arrangement, but it could very easily be done. I like it. I really really like it!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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As a matter of fact, I think I would remove that extension to the L'il Varmint's bar. That opens up the kitchen so much more, and I could use Al's peninsula.

Please note: The above illustration is not actual size. Al's peninsula is larger than depicted. :laugh:

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I like this vicarious experience. It's all the fun w/o the headaches and expense.

When Blovie and I finally bite the bullet and buy an apartment, I'm coming to you guys for help. :smile:

Edited by bloviatrix (log)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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If you can't read the numbers, in this configuration, the narrowest passage is 30 inches. 

I would try and keep the minimum clearance to 36" if at all possible. 30" is probably better than what you have now, but NKBA guidlines really make a lot of sense for both design and safety. I forget what ADA guidlines call for, but I think it's a good practice to assume someone in a wheelchair might need to navigate your kitchen one day, and 30" won't be wide enough.

The NKBA guidelines are here.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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