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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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. I'm actually going to end up with less cupboard space, but we currently use only half of what we have. Plus, we're not utilizing all the space in our pantry.

i don't know anyone who doesn't use all their cupboard space :blink: You'll hate, loathe and despise a non self cleaning oven. Really.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I will go without a second oven before I go without a self-cleaning oven. Similarly, I may decide to go with open burners (i.e., GE Monogram), get 2 ovens, and have fun! But I still have some time to decide. Next contractor visit is at noon today.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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get an AGA!!

I think that alone, when considering the required floor enhancements, would bust my budget.

I'm a big fan of Agas, as Jack knows. But it gets HOT in the Southern US.

An Aga, constantly hot, would be torture in that environment unless Varmint wants to follow the example of a wealthy Dallas socialite who installed an Aga, then installed industrial air conditioning to carry away the heat that the Aga generated.

We've just finished (mostly finished) a kitchen renovation. We got a lot of good ideas from a book and website by a chef/designer named Don Silvers -- see his website www.donsilvers.com. His book, which we bought through Amazon, is very good: it's called Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I'll be the odd man out on the subject of self cleaning. I have had a 60" US Range commercial range in my home kitchen for 14 years. Obvouisly, it is not self cleaning (I do also have a standard electric wall oven, Jenn Air, I think, that is self cleaning).

I do not mind cleaning the oven. If you find one where the bottom of the oven is removeable like a true commercial range, it really isn't difficlut at all to clean both oven. It probably takes me 30 minutes every few months.

Now, don't even talk to me about the 84" four fan hood. That thing takes me the better part of a day to clean well.

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Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so

I think you would regret not having a self cleaning oven - unless you LOVE cleaning :wacko: I wouldn't even consider it an option.

We currently have a non-self cleaning oven. It's a living hell. It takes the better part of a day to clean. And Blovie has burned himself using the chemicals. Oh, and the chemicals stained some tiles by the stove.

I can't emphasize this enough....Get thee a self-cleaning oven!

YES! I forgot to mention that. I never thought I got my oven very dirty until I no longer had a self-cleaning oven.

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Speaking of hoods, are there some that are easier to clean than others? I haven't really researched the hood angle at all yet.

Look at Vent a Hood. (For some reason, the company's wesite doesn't work.) The main piece that collects the gunk (they call it "the Magic Lung") can go in the dishwasher, assuming you buy one that fits big things. They are all hard to clean, though. Grease is grease, and God did not intend for our necks to bend like that.

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Fortunately (at least as far as a hood is concerned), our house is perhaps the most poorly insulated residence imaginable. Air constantly pours in from windows, doors, etc. We can get away with that in the South. :wink:

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I will go without a second oven before I go without a self-cleaning oven. Similarly, I may decide to go with open burners (i.e., GE Monogram), get 2 ovens, and have fun! But I still have some time to decide. Next contractor visit is at noon today.

When I went to actually "lay my hands on" the GE Monogram, I looked at the burners having heard of the sealed thing or whatever. My take was that they looked a lot easier to clean than the crappy gas cook top I had at the house. And I never really had a problem with that one. (Maybe I just don't know any better.) For the price, I was SOLD! The service situation in the Houston area clinched it. It will be interesting to see what they come out with in a few months. I can't wait to have a griddle.

Funny thing... My architect fell in love with the Monogram line because of the design of the door handles! :laugh:

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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I'm not going for anything fancy on this, except for the appliances. Our cupboards are made out of plywood and painted. Thus, Mrs. Varmint could replace the doors on those. I'm actually going to end up with less cupboard space, but we currently use only half of what we have. Plus, we're not utilizing all the space in our pantry.

I'm all for minimizing cabinets and maximizing open shelving. I did a minor remodel before I moved into my house a year ago (minor because the budget was already blown on boring stuff like new roof, new windows, major stuctural work, basement waterproofing.) I ended up with a perfectly nice and functional kitchen, more homey than chic. It's nice, but I feel like I'm living in a cabinet showroom. If I had a choice I'd make one wall of floor to ceiling cabinets with tall, simple doors (more like closets than cabinets, actually.) The rest would be open shelves.

Good luck with the project!

michael

"Tis no man. Tis a remorseless eating machine."

-Captain McAllister of The Frying Dutchmen, on Homer Simpson

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Yes, make sure the hood filters are dishwasher cleanable.

Having a non-self cleaning oven hasn't been a problem for me. But, I'm sure my housekeeper would disagree. :wink: Seriously, a couple times a month, she cleans all the grates with oven cleaner in the laundry sink (when I saw her stacking those cast iron monsters in my beautiful kitchen sink, I quickly stopped her!). I she's cleaned the oven itself a couple times. Unless you cook a lot of really spattery stuff in the oven, it isn't that much of a problem. I've had self-cleaning ovens in the past and only used it once a year or so -- whenever some little spatter started to smoke.

That said, even though we now have a top of the line Garland stove, I do wish we had the room/wallspace for my original desire, to have the gas countertop range and electric wall oven(s). Sigh.

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I'm all for minimizing cabinets and maximizing open shelving.

totally agree. Am doing a kitchen remodel myself (committed this morning to the builders starting on 2 Feb - first thing, tear down all the walls! oh god) and currently have open shelves all round the cooker area. Not perhaps the easiest to keep clean, but for ease of use - for just being able to reach up and grab the salt/vinegar/herbs/spoon/mustard/infused oil/soy sauce/whatever - it's fantastic. I could never go back to having to claw open a cabinet with the edge of my greasy little hand every time I needed an ingredient. Will definitely keep the open shelves in the new incarnation.

Another great thing I saw in a friend's house was, don't know quite how to explain, but like a little rack of pigeonholes screwed to the side of the counters, four little boxes about 5in square and 7in deep, with the open top uppermost, to keep knives forks spoons teaspoons in. Saves opening and shutting a drawer every time you need a teaspoon or are laying the table or just need to grab a knife for peanut butter. you can cute them up with paint or fretwork, if that's your thing, she had them fairly industrial.

good luck, Varmint!

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Speaking of hoods, are there some that are easier to clean than others?  I haven't really researched the hood angle at all yet.

Look at Vent a Hood. (For some reason, the company's wesite doesn't work.) The main piece that collects the gunk (they call it "the Magic Lung") can go in the dishwasher, assuming you buy one that fits big things. They are all hard to clean, though. Grease is grease, and God did not intend for our necks to bend like that.

Mine is a Vent-a-Hood. You are soooo right about the neck bending thing! When I want to avoid contorting, I sit on the warm (2 full time pilots under it) griddle for as long as I can stand it. I have not yet -- but will (and will so report on the Never Again thread when it happens) -- sat on a working burner pilot.

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Our hood filters can go in the dishwasher. They look like new after one cycle! Thank goodness, because they have pretty sharp edges.

The rest of the hood we just clean with Simply Green. That stuff is amazing on grease!

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I have 22 upper/lower cabinets in my kitchen, and 12 full length spice rack, panty, appliance panty cupboards along the wall. (I just counted em). I use every single one of them :blink: Do you think I hav too much kitchen stuff?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Seriously, a couple times a month, she cleans all the grates with oven cleaner in the laundry sink (when I saw her stacking those cast iron monsters in my beautiful kitchen sink, I quickly stopped her!).

So the beautiful sink is used for what?

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I want the dual fuel so the ovens will be self cleaning, which are generally not available with gas ovens (except for Viking). I may have to live with a 36" single oven range instead. I use both ovens simultaneously about 8 times a year, but I think I can manage with just one for now. Or can't I???Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so -- I despise maintenance. I'm leaning toward a DCS for its power, but is it really worth $1800 for a self cleaning feature between the gas and the dual fuel????

I went through this in Dec 2002. My ideas for a range had to be scaled back when the kitchen renovation morphed into a four-room renovation - ask my wife.

Ended up going with the 5-burner DCS, gas convection but not self-cleaning. I'm happy my hand was forced to a degree. It was one of the few (we looked at everything from Aga to Wolf to Dynasty) I could find with sealed burners and a stainless steel surface - why would anyone ever want black enamel? The burners are powerful. My only complaint is that the broiler is a little wimpy.

As far as self-cleaning goes, I've had both and I don't miss it with my DCS. I do, however, take basic precautions when using the oven with messy things. It's not that hard to put a flat pan under your bubbly lasagne.

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Varmint, the Amana gas range I got last fall has self-cleaning and it works okay. I just used it today. I'm sure you're looking for something a little bigger and more high end than an Amana, but the one I got works pretty good considering the price. If an Amana has a gas self-cleaning oven it would seem that some of the higher end models would also have that feature.

Even though this thing I have has a self cleaning oven, I've lately taken to roasting at a lower temp. The results have been good. Awhile back I noticed the rage was roasting chicken at high temps (400-450) and tried it. The smoke just poured out of the oven and fat splattered all over the inside of the oven. I really didn't think the taste was worth the mess. Cooked a duck a little while ago at 325 and it came out great. The skin wasn't as crispy as I like, but the meat was perfect and the oven was clean. I took the skin with the underlying fat (fat-side down) and fried it starting slow and then raising the temp. Heavenly. I'm getting into roasting at lower temps for longer. Maybe brown first and then lower temp. I did that with a small boneless pork loin last week. Started at 450 and then kept lowering temp until finally at around 325. No splattering and it came out browned and exceptionally moist.

Just some ideas.

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If I had a choice I'd make one wall of floor to ceiling cabinets with tall, simple doors (more like closets than cabinets, actually.) The rest would be open shelves.

I am so with you on the tall, simple doors, but I learned the hard way about open shelving. Grease and dust on everything, but I admit to not having owned a decent hood during my open shelving period. And I am not Martha-like in replacing stuff artistically on the shelves.

I love pantries with doors that close, and Dean: I remember being jealous of your underutilized pantry. A big pantry, with doors that close and decent organization is part of my dream kitchen.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Reality rears its ugly head. I have met with 4 different contractors, and I received 4 different proposals. There is one point of consensus: they agree that this is the weirdest, craziest kitchen they have ever seen. One suggested a stick of dynamite might be the appropriate way to go!

Anyhow, the best proposal was that I hire a kitchen designer -- spend the money to get several plans, including some "incremental" plans to do the kitchen over time. That way, I can address some of the issues that currently drive me crazy.

I'll call the designer tomorrow, and I'm sure once he comes, I'll then have 5 professionals telling me how fucked up my kitchen is!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Dean... Before you sign up with a kitchen designer, let them blather and listen. If they don't ask you a LOT of questions about what you cook and for how many... How you cook, organized mise en place or grab and do... How you expect your family to use the kitchen with you or without you...

In other words, if they focus on the latest fashion in countertops and colors and don't get right down to the real purpose for a kitchen, function, and how YOU function, show them the door.

I actually kept a diary of how I used a kitchen for about two months before I worked with my architect on the final lay out of the kitchen. That diary showed me things I never thought of. I identified what worked well in my current kitchen as well as the things that aggravated me. The right answer was rarely things that cost any money, just thought. If you don't want to wait a couple of months to study your and your family's habits, spend a few hours going through the motions in retrospect and write them down.

I went into more detail on the process I went through in another thread here. I will see if I can find it and copy that post.

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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I'll be damned. I found the thread here. My post is about halfway down.

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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