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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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- find some solution (at any price!) for the little wall piece at 3, so counterspace is going around the corner 3.

I'll look into that. Somewhere along that wall, it's load bearing, but the fact that it contains all the circuitry implies there's some open space.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Wading in with my 2 cents for what it is worth. Not ever having seen your kitchen except through the photos, this comment may not be worth 2 cents but here it is - I agree with Boris - taking out that wall would give you a better counter top flow. If taking down the wall is possible, do you then need the jutted out peninsula, or does it become a cumbersome thing to have to walk around to get to the sink/clean up area? Just a thought.........

Life is short, eat dessert first

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One thing I like about my current configuration is how close the sink and the cooktop are.  I hadn't realized how important that is, and with a large enough prep sink in the wet bar area, I may be OK.  But having them adjacent to each other is wonderful.

Just thought I'd share that with you, as it dawned on me this morning.

Our current home has a small kitchen. When we first moved, one of my friends actually said to me, "It must be so hard for you to cook in this kitchen." But quite the opposite is true-it is my favorite kitchen ever. I was thinking of you this morning and I measured the distances between counters: 39 inches from our worktable to the stove and fridge, and 36 inches from the worktable to the sink. The pantry is only a few steps away. I cannot emphasize enough how much I like cooking in a compact space. I'm never more than a step away from my worktable/ prep area-which I also use to plate food. I think it speeds up my cooking to not be constantly walking across a big kitchen. Follow your intuition, and don't get rid of the things you like. My sink is perpendicular to my stove-I just pivot. It would drive me nuts to carry hot pans across a big kitchen to and from the sink, and I don't even have little ones underfoot.

U-shaped kitchens (ours is technically a "broken U" because of the pantry doorway) and galley kitchens-these are classic designs for a reason. Their only downfall is that you can't have a lot of people hang out in the kitchen, but the L'il Varmit bar open to the living room solves that for you, and I have an elevated breakfast nook that solves it for me: people can be near but not in your way.

I think the essence of the problem with this kitchen is you have a big space with too many doorways. Your FIL tried to fix that by filling in the space w/ lots of counters, which drives you nuts. If it were my kitchen, I'd make a small tight primary work triangle and use the rest of the space for a secondary area-a baking area, an area for others to use when your next pig pickin' party hqappens, whatever. Not all walls have to have counters and cabinets, especially overhead cabinets. A nice big piece of art works, too. Another thing I'd do is try to cram as much stuff into your pantry as fits (you DO have Elfa or other adjustable shelves in there, don't you?) and then and only then decide how many cabinets you need. It looks like you have a ranch-style home, or something w/ lots of windows. The more light and space you can get into the kitchen, the better.

This is very fun, thanks for letting us all get to be armchair designers. :smile:

Edited by marie-louise (log)
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i2256.jpg

Varmint, just out of curiosity, what's the distance (feet, inches) from the inside of one wall in the kitchen to the other? The narrow dimension top to bottom (or north and south), and the other dimension right to left (or east to west) or from the inside of the wall next to the stairs to the inside of the wall in back of the range (next to the bathroom.)

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Nick-

The distance between the wall at the wet bar (the one that divides the kitchen from "5") and the wall below that (that separates the kitchen from the outside) is 12 feet.

The distance from the doorway to "7" and the wall behind the current cooktop is 36 feet.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Nick-

The distance between the wall at the wet bar (the one that divides the kitchen from "5") and the wall below that (that separates the kitchen from the outside) is 12 feet.

The 12' is at the widest part and then you'd subtract the 4'-6" dimension to get the width at the narrow part where the sub-zeros and the wet sink are?

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Any way part of the "utility" room could be used as the pantry? It's closer to your prep/fridge area and then would give you space for a mud room at the old pantry.

Also, where is the house's front door? Is it the doorway into the Family room (6)? If so, build a closet over there and then you can lose the closet between the DR & LR.

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Anyone use warming drawers?

I put one in my DC kitchen and I loved it. I got the kitchenaid 27" model, which comes with a good selection of trays and racks. It was second only to the convection oven in radically increasing the quality and efficiency of my cooking. I don't know what I did without them.

It's a great place to put a just-roasted rack of lamb for 10 minutes while you finish the sides on the range. The meat relaxes, but doesn't cool too much. Beats the hell out of the old aluminum foil tent. I've also kept a roast chicken in it for almost an hour with only minimal loss of texture.

With a little experimentation with the temperature and wet/dry adjustments I was able to keep a dozen pancakes in perfect shape as I continued to make more. Same for waffles, which are even more problematic, since I can only make four at once.

I never tried it with fried foods, but I bet it would be just the ticket for holding a batch of fries from my small DeLonghi deep frier while I made a second batch.

It's also fantastic for warming plates sligthly so that plated food stays warmer. Finally, it can used for proofing bread if you are into that.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Any way part of the "utility" room could be used as the pantry? It's closer to your prep/fridge area and then would give you space for a mud room at the old pantry.

Also, where is the house's front door? Is it the doorway into the Family room (6)? If so, build a closet over there and then you can lose the closet between the DR & LR.

The front door is where you thought it is, but because of the design of that room, there's no way we could do that or want to do that. I'd take pictures, but my wife has the camera and she's in Charleston.

Because this is a temporary fix (although, it's quickly becoming more of a permanent solution!!!), we're not going to mess with the utility room at this point.

Good suggestions, though!!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Varmint, I'm sure you said somewhere way back in this thread, but when are you planning on starting on the actual work? I'm pretty busy, but this is interesting and I could probably come up with some half-baked scheme using CAD if you're not starting within the next 2-3 months.

Maybe you could start a design competition - winner gets an all expense paid trip to the next pig-picking, keeping in mind there may be no clear "winner" and there may never be another pickin'. You know the lawyer language. :biggrin:

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If I find something that I like that's within my budget, we WILL start before then. Thanks a ton for the offer, Nick. That's kind of you.

I'm playing around with all sorts of configurations right now. I may never come up with the perfect solution!!!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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After walking around the kitchen, "tearing down walls", and making all sorts of other changes, it looks as if Dave's "Idea 2" is going to be the winner, with the addition of Al Dente's peninsula. Here's the idea:

i2270.jpg

I realized that I truly didn't want to be cooking up against a wall. I like to converse with my friends sitting at the bar while I cook. Moreover, I just didn't like the sink being so far away from the counter. Finally, I was starting to place too much kitchen function in the hall leading to the laundry room. Because we ultimately plan to put the entrance from the driveway in the laundry room, it wasn't a great plan.

With the peninsula, we can put a sink, the dishwasher, and a pull-out trash cupboard. We're getting rid of the compactor.

We'll have a ton of new cabinets for storage, not to mention shallow cabinets above the sink area. Along the windows by the driveway will be deeper, more functional cabinets. These will give us tons of additional storage, with functional counter space, too. I'm seriously thinking of putting in a smallish prep sink in that area, just for crowds!

When we close off the current driveway entrance, this arrangement will make a ton of sense.

By the way, the walking distance from the cooktop to the sink in this configuration is about 8 feet -- that's 2-1/2 of my steps. If I put in a prep sink, then that distance will be less than 6 feet.

When it's all said and done, I'll need about 25 linear feet of lower cabinets and 6 linear feet of upper cabinets. We'll put the microwave above the new wall ovens.

This plan works for the present and the future.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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By George, I think you've got it. I like the 3 sink idea since that is the same thing I came up with. This is especially true when you have more than one cooking. And, the separate beverage sink always made sense to me because when we are cooking, it is usually one of the "spectators" that has to keep the liquids flowing. And that keeps the bar activity out of the cooking arena.

Of course, we will expect pictures.

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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The distance from the fridge to the prep might be a tad bit long and winding. Well, I mean the working triangle shold not be a dogma, but it's not useless to take it in consideration.

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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The distance from the fridge to the prep might be a tad bit long and winding. Well, I mean the working triangle shold not be a dogma, but it's not useless to take it in consideration.

That distance doesn't bother me all that much -- I'm currently dealing with a distance problem already -- through a much more circuitous route at that. I won't be able to move the fridge, so I'm probably stuck with that for now.

If I find a good deal on a range instead of a cooktop, I may put the dishwasher in the lower space where the wall ovens go and just stick in a second wall oven above. That gives me a bit more space for cabinets and drawers around the sink.

I'm thinking of a tile countertop again. My sister-in-law can do that for me, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than any solid stone. The grouting can be a pain, but we currently have to deal with it, and we haven't complained. The cost is just so damned reasonable!!!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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With the exception of my two marble slabs, all my counters are currently tile. The grout hasn't been that big of a problem, but I love the tile because I can put a red hot cast iron skillet on it.

Where are some good on-line sources of thin granite (just so I can look)?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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If you google for "granite worktops" you will be overwhelmed.

Many colours and textures are available, with varying prices.

Try a local stonemason or monumental mason, since shipping is a major part of the cost. In the UK I used 20mm thick; I seem to remember it was about $150/m or about $50/ft. I guess in the US you will use 1 inch.

Even cheaper are granite tiles.

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I may have a source of cheap (or free) granite that I can use for work surfaces (ie, baking areas). The place where the compactor and grill is will be the likeliest location for a large single piece of granite. I'll have my kitchen-aid mixer stowed away there with a lift. I'd really like to do almost an inlay type of arrangement, and then fabricate a wood edge to the counter, much like we currently have.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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