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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.

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

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Have you considered changing the name of this thread to "Spend Varmint's Renovation Money?"

I think that is a great idea. We could deluge him with all sorts of pictures of stuff he just can't pass up. :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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Funny, I came to that same conclusion. I am short. One of the pet peeves I finally noticed while making my kitchen diary was that I hated upper cabinets.

I'm short too, but I like upper cabinets. All that stuff right at eye level (or a little above) so you can see what's in there. Maybe if you've got enough space to put everything under the counter you can get by without the uppers. I don't have the space, but I made sure that I've still got one of my favorite windows to look out from. Even though most of my under-counter cabinets have drawers, stuff can get lost more easily than the uppers. Just my 2 cents.

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This totally opens up the center of the room.  Perhaps too much so, as traffic will walk through the center of the workspace.  Perhaps a small island cabinet might help.  However, this works well in the giant scheme of things.  We'll see.

You could use a worktable instead of an island. Boos has some nice ones. I like the Cucina Laforza, with the simple stainless steel base, or the Cucina Grande, which incorporates drawers, with or without the pot rack. The Flex model would even make up for the fact that you'd have less storage than a traditional island, but any of them would probably cost substantially less than cabinetry.

You could re-use it when you do the full renovation, and I think the modern look would work well with what you've got. My brother has been using a Boos table as an island for several years and it still looks great.

That's a great suggestion. Thanks, Blondie!!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I forgot to post the picture of my cabinetry hardware. What I have is a recessed pull. The problem with this is that the 4 corners are not necessarily flush with the surface of the door. As a result, I've lost 5 or 6 pairs of pants by snagging up on the pulls. If I remove the pulls, then I have a circle bored halfway into the door.

I'd like to find a piece of replacement hardware (temporary, of course) that would essentially be a plate that covers the circle and is the base for a shallow handle. Does that make sense? Anyone know of such hardware?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'm thinking a little prep sink with its own disposal to the left of the range (in an otherwise useless corner) might be a decent idea.

One other thing is that the backsplash area behind the range should be a brushed stainless sheet. I want to be able to have a foldable and removeable wire rack that's installed onto that stainless sheet. Something that I can remove in a jiffy to tuck into the dishwasher.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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The extension of the L'il Varmints' bar should be toward the sink.  That bar is L-shaped, so it extends about 8 inches toward the bottom of the drawing -- not towards the closet.  Also, the load bearing wall is the line between the ovens and the closet, not the new one you just drew.

A few other minor things you may want to add.  Just to the right of the mini-sink sits the wine fridge under the counter.  And to the left of the fridge (from the drawing's orientation) sits a Scotsman ice maker that isn't working well right now!

That's awesome!!!

Does the load bearing wall between between the ovens and the closet extend just to the front of the closet - or does it extend through the area where the dishwasher is? Where does the plumbing for the dishwasher come from? Dave - you're a keeper - :smile: - you should have been an architect. Robyn

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(sigh) Clients!

i2159.jpg

Before resigning this Hell's Kitchen to the rubbish heap, I do have a few kind words for it.

1. As Maggie said, there are some fond eGullet memories here.

2. It's very mazeness actually creates a surprising amount of counter space. I recall that at one time -- the same time, as in simultaneously:

  • edemuth, maggethecat, Aurora and I were all working at the marble. edemuth and I were chopping, and Maggie and Aurora were picking thyme and basil leaves and cleaning shrimp.
  • At the bottom end of the Li'l Varmints' bar, guajolote was spatchcocking chickens.
  • On the counter opposite the sink, malawry was bravely subduing lemons.
  • KatieLoeb set up a makeshift bar along the back counter (the one parallel to the driveway).
  • On the grill counter, we had three crockpots going for stock.
  • Over by the wet bar, we were thawing ducks in two stockpots.
  • Occasionally, Heather would wander through to check the greens simmering on the cooktop.
  • Meanwhile, at the living room side of the Li'l Varmints' bar, Blondie and joler were picking the meat off of rabbit carcasses.

3. I'm not admitting to anything, but if frottage happens to be your particular fetish, this kitchen abounds in opportunity.

Dave - This is great (I'm one of those people who can do design stuff on paper - but I can't take what I see and put it on paper). The remaining questions (to me) at this point are why the dishwasher and sink wound up pretty much in the middle of the room. Is there something weird about the plumbing? If not - once you get that dishwasher and sink back to somewhat normal places - you're talking about a reasonably large regularly shaped room that you could do lots of things with. The possibilities are limited only by the client's budget :smile: . For what it's worth - I have a funny feeling this started as a "normal" kitchen many years ago - and it's simply a question of getting it back to "normal" now. Robyn

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Again, there isn't enough money in the budget to do a total demo.

Also, if I were to do a total demolition, I'd go further than what we've already described.  I'd move the entrance to the kitchen, so that a major portion of the space isn't taken up with a hallway (see the first picture).  Hell, I'd consider moving my kitchen into our "formal" living room, which is hardly utilized.  It'd be beautiful!  But then, I'd have to gut the old kitchen to make it into better living space!

OK - here's a preliminary idea based on the sketches from Dave the Cook.

Get rid of the sink and DW in the middle of the room.

The wall area where the cooktop is now will be your cleanup area. Sink and DW.

Going counter clockwise. Keep the eating bar where is it. Area immediately to the right - eliminate ovens and dishwasher and closet. Make food prep counter - possibly with food prep sink. Maybe leave room for second DW when budget allows.

Again going counterclockwise - stick double ovens and wine fridge in that corridor leading to the office. You will have room left over for some prep area. By the way - you definitely want double ovens. I use mine all the time. And even if you only use yours a few times a year - as you get older - bending over all the time over a hot stove gets a bit tiresome. You also want those ovens to be self-cleaning (I don't like to suffer for my art - and - with your family - I suspect you don't have the time to).

Again going counter-clockwise - leave the fridge/freezer where they are.

Again going counter-clockwise - that leaves you with a big "L" for a cooking area. Lots of space for a cooktop - grill - prep area - whatever.

Leave the pantry as is. A pantry is great. I have one which is maybe about the size of yours (perhaps a bit larger). It has floor to ceiling shelves on both sides. Amazing how much stuff fits there.

I think the whole key is getting rid of the dishwasher and sink in the middle of the room. Once you get rid of those - you're looking at wide open spaces.

By the way - there is a cool - albeit somewhat primitive - free tool on Better Homes & Garden.com. A floor plan program. Take a look. Once you measure what Dave has sketched - I think it will open your eyes to lots of possibilities.

You know - once I saw the floorplan - well I don't think you're necessarily talking about a fortune to redo the thing. Considering your budget - you should look at nice looking but lower end cabinets. Not garbage - Home Depot/Lowe's kind of stuff. Don't even think about high end hardware except perhaps for cabinet pulls (there a little money goes a long way). Those cabinets will not have great storage capabilities. But that's what you'll use your pantry space for.

You'll have to rip out the floor. Put in a nice functional low maintenance floor that will stand up to your kids and your cooking.

As for appliances - I'm not exactly sure where you live in the southland. But - where I live in the southland - it's possible to buy a Viking stove - but not possible to get decent service for it. I wound up with Kitchenaid. And after my experiences with Kitchenaid service - I'd have to advise going with decent functional "builder's" level appliances. (Not to mentiion that the water here eats up my sink faucets every 4 years no matter how much money I spend on them). $8000 for the appliances you need sounds like more than you have to spend.

I really don't think a $20,000 budget is totally unreasonably (it's probably low - but not totally unreasonable). As long as you stay away from a kitchen that's as high-end as the knife you just bought :smile: . Robyn

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What the drawing doesn't capture is the upper cabinetry, how it's totally unnecessary and gets in the way.

Funny, I came to that same conclusion. I am short. One of the pet peeves I finally noticed while making my kitchen diary was that I hated upper cabinets. I had never really though about it before. I mean... EVERYONE has upper cabinets. You HAVE to have upper cabinets. NOPE. I got rid of them and the new kitchen will still have tons of storage, and two windows I couldn't have had otherwise.

Also... Base cabinets will be all drawers of some sort. I also found out that I hate groveling on the floor.

Thanks for the drawing, Dave. I get it now, unfortunately. :blink:

I'm 5'0". And I share your pain :smile: . One solution I used in my current kitchen was along one wall - the refrigerator wall - I installed deep cabinets on the bottom - and tall but not so deep cabinets which sat directly on the counters. As for the other cabinets - they all have adjustable shelves which are adjusted very low.

My base cabinets are wonderful. Mostly full extension drawers with tons of room.

Note that my cabinets are European - made by Poggenpohl. It's not the cheapest way to go in terms of kitchen cabinets - but it's worth it if you can afford it (it's one of the advantages of being upper middle aged - that one has saved for lots of years and can afford these things - I certainly couldn't afford such luxuries when I was younger). Robyn

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I really don't think a $20,000 budget is totally unreasonably (it's probably low - but not totally unreasonable).  As long as you stay away from a kitchen that's as high-end as the knife you just bought  :smile: .  Robyn

As someone who has worked in the kitchen design field for several years, I can safely say that $20,000 won't even start to cover what you've outlined, especially with the inclusion of new cabinetry.

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

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I really don't think a $20,000 budget is totally unreasonably (it's probably low - but not totally unreasonable).  As long as you stay away from a kitchen that's as high-end as the knife you just bought  :smile: .   Robyn

As someone who has worked in the kitchen design field for several years, I can safely say that $20,000 won't even start to cover what you've outlined, especially with the inclusion of new cabinetry.

Can you price out the cabinets assuming you're talking about medium level Home Depot/Lowe's stuff?

I know a bit about kitchen cabinets. My current kitchen is 10 x 14 and has $25,000 worth of cabinets. But they're Poggenpohl. Suspect I could have done the same area for 1/3 or less the price at Home Depot.

By the way - what cabinets brands do you normally work with? Robyn

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Right now, the prelim plan is the way to go. I may even be able to post a picture. One thing that isn't evident from the plans Dave sketched out is that there's a wall that juts out approximately 8 inches at the end of the counter where the grill and compactor is. That would be at the top part of the sketch, jutting out to the left.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I really don't think a $20,000 budget is totally unreasonably (it's probably low - but not totally unreasonable).  As long as you stay away from a kitchen that's as high-end as the knife you just bought  :smile: .   Robyn

As someone who has worked in the kitchen design field for several years, I can safely say that $20,000 won't even start to cover what you've outlined, especially with the inclusion of new cabinetry.

Can you price out the cabinets assuming you're talking about medium level Home Depot/Lowe's stuff?

I know a bit about kitchen cabinets. My current kitchen is 10 x 14 and has $25,000 worth of cabinets. But they're Poggenpohl. Suspect I could have done the same area for 1/3 or less the price at Home Depot.

By the way - what cabinets brands do you normally work with? Robyn

Just as an example, the smallest kitchen we did in the last few years was about 8 x 12, mid-priced cabinets with thermofoil doors, corian countertops, AO tile floor and mid-line appliances and the total cost (including labor and all subcontractors) was almost $40,000. Labor costs would be somehwat lower in Varmint's location, but taking that into consideration I think you're off by at least $15-20,000 even using price point materials.

Having spent some quality time in Varmint's kitchen, I really like the interim idea that he got from the designer. It would be a very realistic and workable solution.

When he's ready for the major overhaul I think moving the kitchen to the living room would be perfect. The room is underutilized right now, but it's a wonderful space with vaulted wood plank ceiling that just begs to be the center of activity.

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

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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

Looking at the top wall - unless there's a compelling reason to keep it - I'd get rid of the closet on the top wall - and extension in front of it which cuts into the kitchen. I'd also even out the line of cabinets/appliances immediately clockwise of that area. But I think you're going very much in the right direction (in terms of where you want cooking/cleaning/prep areas - that is entirely up to you - considering the way you like to work in a kitchen). Robyn

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I see you sketched in a conventional double sink. :sad:

Please check out this thread before you do that. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a bigger sink that you can actually WASH things in.

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 have "old school" linoleum (although it is new and expensive and imported from Europe - Forbo Marmoleum). It is very pretty - very easy on the feet after hours in front of the stove - and an absolute pain in terms of maintenance. Before I installed it - I didn't know how soft linoleum was - and how easily it scuffs. So what you have to do is seal it with a couple of coats of wax - and then strip it to get the scuffs out - and then reapply the wax. I only strip it about twice a year - but my husband and I don't have kids or pets - and I normally walk around the house in socks or bare feet. I can't imagine how much waxing the floor would need if you walked on it regularly in heels - or had kids of pets.

Note that in terms of spills and the like - there's no problem at all. It damp mops beautifully. It's the major maintenance that's time-consuming.

By the way - I have a housekeeper - but I'm the one who winds up doing this floor because it takes a very long time to strip it and have the coats of wax dry. There's no way to get anything else in the house done when kitchen floor maintenance is "in progress".

I liked my previous floor covering better. Vinyl tiles with circles made to look like commercial rubber flooring. The vinyl required a lot less maintenance than the rubber - which requires industrial buffing. Unfortunately the product line I liked was discontinued before I did this kitchen. Robyn

Has anyone else had this experience w/ Marmoleum? I have my heart set on replacing my beautiful but high-maintenence tile floors with black and white tiles. I have a friend who has it (as a single sheet, not as tiles) and I'm quite certain she doesn't do anything more than mop it.

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I like it, Varmint. Considering you don't want to move any walls or do major demolition, I think it solves the major problems without creating any new ones.

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

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I see you sketched in a conventional double sink. :sad:

Please check out this thread before you do that. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a bigger sink that you can actually WASH things in.

I agree. I can't stand those double sinks when clean up time comes. Can't rinse a roasting pan or often even a large pot without bangin into the spout and getting water all over the place. :angry:

And make sure it's recessed!

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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