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High End Kitchen Design on a Budget?


azlee
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I have an opportunity to redesign a small (5x7) kitchen into something better and more functional. This is my first time undertaking such a task and I will have to live with the chosen components for a very long time. I will likely need to break down a wall and create a kitchen/dining/living greatroom. Not sure how anyone was ever able to cook in that kitchen with only 24 inches of uninterrupted counter space. In any event it's pretty much a gut job and I am in desperate need of guidance as far as choosing appliances and kitchen cabinets and I welcome your comments and alternate product suggestions to my preliminary product wish list. Appliances are most important, then the beauty/functionality of the cabinets.

Here's the wish list:

AGA 24" Dual Fuel Range (need 220 electric service, which may not be possible)

Bosch 30" Gas Range

Bosch Microwave w/ vent

Viking 24" Gas Range

Fisher & Paykel Refrigerator

Fisher & Paykel double Dish Drawers

Miele 18" Dishwasher

Boffi Cabinets

Bulthaup Cabinets (probably aluminum touch system w/frosted glass doors)

Stainless Steel Countertops

Boos Butcherblock Countertops

Soapstone Countertops

Granite Countertops

Bamboo Floor

Linoleum Floor

Tile Floor

Many Thanks for your guidance,

Azlee

:wacko:

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I'm reccomend investing in actual pro appliances (as opposed to pro-looking consumer appliances, which cost a bit more. Screw building codes, unless you live in an area with an anal inspector, or are expecting to sell your home soon).

Also, I personally don't see the value in spending money on looks for countertops/cabinets, just buy for actual performance, and deal with the industrial look. Industrial chic can be stylish anyway.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I'm reccomend investing in actual pro appliances (as opposed to pro-looking consumer appliances, which cost a bit more.  Screw building  codes, unless you live in an area with an anal inspector, or are expecting to sell your home soon).

I would be very careful about that one. In most areas, even unincorporated, that will at the very least get your insurance canceled.

You said "on a budget". That is one heck of a budget. :biggrin: With that list of choices, can we assume that you are enlarging the space? Your choice of applicances are a personal one based on the way you cook. I advise keeping a diary for a couple of months to see what you really do in a kitchen rather than what you think you do. The results can be surprising. It was certainly an eye opener for me. (And I thought I "Knew Myself".)

On appliances, and to some extent cabinetry, look into reliability, service and parts availability as well as the funtionality. Some of the really cool stuff coming out of Europe is the devil to find anyone that knows what to do with them. That may not be a big problem in New York. I have friends that have spent upwards of $100,000 on a kitchen rebuild and have been miserable ever since. Everytime I go over there something else is on the fritz and they are waiting on a part. :shock: The latest casualty was the Sub-Zero fridge and freezer. They have been replaced. The cabinets have had hinges fail on a regular basis and if the drawer units aren't very carefully leveled, they don't work smoothly. They have fiddled with them endlessly. I forget the brand in this particular kitchen. They are drop dead gorgeous, cost a freakin' fortune, but the emphasis was on looks more than engineering.

I can't imagine an Aga cooker in our climate. Certainly not the Gulf Coast. Maybe you can get away with it in New York. I would check with someone that actually has one.

And what is wrong with Ikea? They have put the money into the stuff that really matters in the cabinetry. The drawer slides are a dream. They went functionality all the way. I have a couple of acquaintenances that have them, one for as long as Ikea has been here, and they are rock solid, the doors close like they are supposed to, and the drawers still work even though often overloaded. (They have drawers under the counter instead of cabinets and load all sorts of heavy stuff in them.)

And now a disclaimer... I am one of those folks that have to feel that I am getting my money's worth in functionality so I really dug into this when designing the new kitchen. I also have to say that I am pretty cheap. Even though I could afford it, there are some things where I... just... can't... spend... that... much.

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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Thanks very much for all the thoughtful advice. Actually the budget is not very large but I have scrimped and saved for this moment and the space is not very large, which should keep the costs down. If I go as high end as Boffi or Bulthaup it will be in stages rather than all at once which is the benefit of unfitted cabinets, with an open plan. I'm pretty sure that a wall will need to come down so that the space can be enlarged to provide more storage and counter space. This would be accomplished through use of lower cabinets used as credenzas or pantry type wall units. I am told that Bulthaup cabinets are very functional and well made, as well as beautiful, but if there are lower costs alternatives, I've love to explore them. I have nothing against Ikea but I understand that under heavy use they may not last more than a few years, I need something that will stand up to heavy use and time. The same goes for the appliances. Sadly, I think the AGA will not work out due to electrical limitations. Additionally, I will need to keep within the building codes.

I'm reccomend investing in actual pro appliances (as opposed to pro-looking consumer appliances, which cost a bit more.  Screw building  codes, unless you live in an area with an anal inspector, or are expecting to sell your home soon).

I would be very careful about that one. In most areas, even unincorporated, that will at the very least get your insurance canceled.

You said "on a budget". That is one heck of a budget. :biggrin: With that list of choices, can we assume that you are enlarging the space? Your choice of applicances are a personal one based on the way you cook. I advise keeping a diary for a couple of months to see what you really do in a kitchen rather than what you think you do. The results can be surprising. It was certainly an eye opener for me. (And I thought I "Knew Myself".)

On appliances, and to some extent cabinetry, look into reliability, service and parts availability as well as the funtionality. Some of the really cool stuff coming out of Europe is the devil to find anyone that knows what to do with them. That may not be a big problem in New York. I have friends that have spent upwards of $100,000 on a kitchen rebuild and have been miserable ever since. Everytime I go over there something else is on the fritz and they are waiting on a part. :shock: The latest casualty was the Sub-Zero fridge and freezer. They have been replaced. The cabinets have had hinges fail on a regular basis and if the drawer units aren't very carefully leveled, they don't work smoothly. They have fiddled with them endlessly. I forget the brand in this particular kitchen. They are drop dead gorgeous, cost a freakin' fortune, but the emphasis was on looks more than engineering.

I can't imagine an Aga cooker in our climate. Certainly not the Gulf Coast. Maybe you can get away with it in New York. I would check with someone that actually has one.

And what is wrong with Ikea? They have put the money into the stuff that really matters in the cabinetry. The drawer slides are a dream. They went functionality all the way. I have a couple of acquaintenances that have them, one for as long as Ikea has been here, and they are rock solid, the doors close like they are supposed to, and the drawers still work even though often overloaded. (They have drawers under the counter instead of cabinets and load all sorts of heavy stuff in them.)

And now a disclaimer... I am one of those folks that have to feel that I am getting my money's worth in functionality so I really dug into this when designing the new kitchen. I also have to say that I am pretty cheap. Even though I could afford it, there are some things where I... just... can't... spend... that... much.

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I'm not sure if you're in the same boat we were in, but we made three lists. . .the things I dearly WANTED (in some cases, the expensive things, in other case, not), what I'd settle with if there was no other alternative (ie, a dishwasher that worked), and a compromise list. . .like the features from the expensive dishwasher that I thought would be the most beneficial.

I was really surprised at the quality things I could get that weren't a "BUY OUR BRAND" advertising blitz name. And in shopping around, with lots of footwork, we found (for example) a Maytag dealer who let a floor model dishwasher go for much less than it orginally cost. The scratch & dent Sears store "French door" fridge for $800 instead of the $1400. Plus the cost of appliance paint for touch-ups.

I think my point was that if you shop around in your area (like what works in Florida might not work there!) and write down names, prices, places, and basically go into every purchase armed to the teeth with whatever information you can find ("I read in Consumer Reports that this sink scratches easily. . . ."), you'll end up with much better things that you'll probably be a lot happier with.

And I'm with fifi. Scrimping & saving at every opportunity leads to the chance to splurge some where you want it. . .I picked a less expensive cabinet front so that I could get the roll-out drawers in the pantry & the lazy susan in the corner piece.

Good luck!

Diana

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Heh... At my Ikea, they had this display with gizmos opening and closing doors and drawers with a counter attached. I think the cabinet door was on 270,000+. About the same for the drawer. They have some really cool designs, too. I love some of their pulls. Yes, some of the construction is done with particle board. I figure that the only thing that is going to happen to that is if we get a hurricane of epic proportions (like Carla in 62). At that point, you kiss it all bye bye anyway.

Like Susan says, you pick your battles. Here is one compromise (not really) that I made for my kitchen. This is a large kitchen with a big island. Basically acres of countertop. I have had laminate counter tops for just about all of my cooking life and have never had a problem with them. They also fit the "look" of the place. Many of my friends have swooned over granite. I don't happen to like it. (Another personal preference thing.) I did seriously consider soapstone and, if I win the lottery, may fall for its charms yet. (I guess that Martha show a few years ago when she was showing off the new studio got to me.) Anyway... There is enough money difference in the counters to just about pay for my GE Monogram appliances, including icemaker. This was a matter of looking at what was important to me and making my choices. I did spend a good bit of time weighing priorities. I am sure that out of 10 cooks, you would get ten different lists. I know that my son would live in a walk up tenement if he could have a La Cornue range in British Racing Green. :laugh:

So... Sit back, take a deep breath and start thinking and making diaries and lists. That is part of the fun. You will find out what you really want and what will work for you.

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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And always remember the words of the contractor who said " Yea we can do that, Get out your checkbook." Remember the impossible just cost's more. I was the contractor and we did it . (outside the bedroom ,deck and hot tub, on a sloping 35 foot down hillside). Client loved it as did my bank account. :biggrin:

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I will definitely give Ikea another look. Going at least partially with Ikea may allow more room in the budget for appliances and countertops. Perhaps I can purchase a few Bulthaup pieces to start weith for the public kitchen/dining space and expand over time

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I remodeled my kitchen this year and have an idea what you're going through. It is fun, but can be stressful when you realize that the choices you make you'll live with for a long time.

About the cabinets - I found a local company that made them to order for me. The guy from the company came out and spent some time with me and we came up the design together. No kitchen designer or architect fee. But I had lived in the house for 3 years and had a good idea of what I wanted. He fleshed it out and I'm very happy with the result. I have 2 pull out spice cabinets (which I filled immediatly) , a built in warming drawer and all the depths and heights are where I wanted them.

I do think the planning stage is the most important, so take your time.

And have fun!

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I remodeled my kitchen this year and have an idea what you're going through. It is fun, but can be stressful when you realize that the choices you make you'll live with for a long time.

About the cabinets - I found a local company that made them to order for me. The guy from the company came out and spent some time with me and we came up the design together. No kitchen designer or architect fee. But I had lived in the house for 3 years and had a good idea of what I wanted. He fleshed it out and I'm very happy with the result.  I have 2 pull out spice cabinets (which I filled immediatly) , a built in warming drawer and  all the depths and heights are  where I wanted them.

I do think the planning stage is the most important, so take your time. 

And have fun!

Having a local company make them is a great idea. They want you as a reference and usually do as good or better as premade cabinets. Also installation is always perfect or to the standard you set for them. Price is competitive. Your custom kitchen is worth it. :smile:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Fisher & Paykel double Dish Drawers

Not sure I'd bother with the double drawer dish washer. The one I saw were VERY expensive. Expensive enough to buy two standard size Miele dishwashers. IMHO two dishwashers are better than one. If you are cleaning up from a dinner party you can load both of them up at the same time and that should probably cover most if not all the dishes. If energy savings is the name of the game and you run lots of small loads some of the Miele's have a "wash half" load. The other half will still get wet though.

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It's important when doing a renovation to have a plan. Right now, there's a huge open question regarding whether or not a wall is coming down. That should really be decided first. Once that piece of information is nailed down, a number of other decisions will flow from it. For example, if a wall comes down thus making a lot more space available, it's silly to sacrifice 6" to go from a 30" to a 24" range. A 24" range is too much of a compromise if you have room for a 30" range. Likewise, the entire layout and all the visibility vectors of your kitchen will change radically if you open up a wall. Your cabinetry decisions will have to change, you may opt for a dual-use counter and pass-through or an island, etc.

One thing I can assure you of, though: if you do a renovation without a clear and comprehensive plan it will cost you twice as much in the end.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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No matter what dishwasher you buy, it is important to go to the store w/ a shopping bag full of your biggest plates, platters, sheetpans, pasta pot-whatever you are planning to put in there-and spend some time loading up the different models.

I was considering buying that 18-inch Miele. It costs more than the 24-inch (not much market for it, so no discounts) and nothing fit in it. It looked like something that belonged in an executive office suite for doing a set of lunch dishes. Same for those F-P drawers. Great idea in concept, but my everyday plates wouldn't fit, and neither would my frequently-used pasta pot. I ended up getting a 24-inch Bosch because again, the things I want to wash in the dishwasher fit better in the Bosch that the Miele. (The Bosch is a great DW, BTW.)

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QUOTE(NulloModo @ Nov 14 2004, 12:15 PM)

I'm reccomend investing in actual pro appliances (as opposed to pro-looking consumer appliances, which cost a bit more. Screw building codes, unless you live in an area with an anal inspector, or are expecting to sell your home soon).

I would be very careful about that one. In most areas, even unincorporated, that will at the very least get your insurance canceled.

Cancellation of homeowners insurance for installing commercial ranges is an urban legend. So long as the thing is installed correctly and does not violate any terms of the insurance contract, they can't cancel your insurance and they can't refuse to pay a claim. Look at your policy as this is the controlling document. This has nothing to do with building codes as you are not building.

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One of the other members of a private online group has had work done by Kitchen Magic and they offered a free estimate. He and his wife saw them at a home show a couple of years ago, prior to even thinking about renovating their 25-year-old kitchen (which is in a loft in Tribeca).

They got a couple of other estimates but went back to this one. He had posted some photos a year ago, after it was finished, but we are severely limited (by Yahoo) to the amount of graphics that can go into the arcives so they have been deleted for newer photos.

There are a number of manufacturers who produce cabinets that are designed specifically to fit into small spaces and the drawers are designed to carry very heavy loads and pantry solutions are part of the basic design.

One of these which I saw at a recent home show, is Leicht Kitchen Concepts I was very impressed with the amount of storage that was tucked into a fairly small area in one of their disiplays, and how much more space could be gained in an undercounter drawer system by bowing the front on one section, which also gave a deeper countertop for working, on this particural section they had a KA mixer with room for bowls and pans around it, just by adding a few extra inches.

Also the folks over at HGTV - are looking for projects, you might put you name in.

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/be_on_hgtv/articl...1423501,00.html

You might be able to get free design help.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Setting aside the issue of homeowner's insurance for a moment-don't true commercial ranges put off a lot more heat due to less oven insulation and pilot lights that are always on rather than using electric ignition? For practical reasons alone, I'd keep on moving past the AGA and the commerical ranges-the last thing you need in a 5x7 NY kitchen is any appliance that gives off heat!

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We've been re-doing our entire house for the last 3+ years - doing all the work ourselves - which includes the kitchen. Couple of things, if you hire someone - check references thoroughly. If you do anything yourself ensure all the work meets codes (especially gas, electric, water - work done wrong in these areas can really make you regret lots). Also, repetitive from some other posts - but do your research, shop around, check restaurant supply warehouses for appliances, and Sears outlets - you'll be amazed! We installed IKEA cabinets and for the most part are happy - but they do begin to show wear, nicks and so forth so be aware - but they are easy to install yourself. Countertops, also consider concrete - you can get multiple colors and finished looks - that are extremely durable - that are generally cheaper than most other options. And if don't forget salvage yards for tile, sinks, disposals, etc. My husband and I got a wonderful castiron enamel three bowl sink without a scratch for $60 - too big for this house - but we're saving it for the next one. And finally, check out Fine Homebuilding if you haven't already - they do an annual kitchens and bathroom edition that you may find helpful. Good luck and happy cooking.

Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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just a couple of thoughts:

1) ikea, ikea, ikea. all my cabinets are from them and they were installed by a friend who does high-end construction for studio presidents, etc. he was amazed by the quality. that was 10 years ago and they're still completely trouble free.

2) anyone who buys a subzero deserves it. we had two in the test kitchen and they were totally unreliable. we ended up replacing them with kenmore elite, which have been terrific. the guy i had out to repair my wine cabinet also repairs high-end refrigerators and he said he'd be out of business if people quit buying sub-zeros.

3) don't overlook the importance of a good exhaust system, particularly if space is rather limited. roast chicken smells great the first night. two days later, it gets a little dreary.

4) this probably goes without saying, but: equipment does not make a good cook.

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Cancellation of homeowners insurance for installing commercial ranges is an urban legend.  So long as the thing is installed correctly and does not violate any terms of the insurance contract, they can't cancel your insurance and they can't refuse to pay a claim.  Look at your policy as this is the controlling document.  This has nothing to do with building codes as  you are not building.

Actually, in most (and maybe all) incorporated US cities building codes would apply to such renovation if you are modifying any of the plumbing systems (water supply or drains), fuel system (natural gas piping), and/or electrical systems (anything more than replacing a receptacle). Many of the municipal governments allow for homeowners to do their own work as long as they are willing to submit to an inspection. It's not entirely about collecting permit fees and raising the assessed value of your home, sometimes they are really looking to see if the installation was done correctly to ensure your (and your neighbors') safety.

If nothing else, I would encourage you to read the building, electrical, or plumbing code sections that apply. There is a reason that practices such as installation of vacuum breaks in plumbing systems, dirt legs in gas piping, or wire gauge minimums for branch circuits are required.

Edited by slbunge (log)

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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I have a commercial oven and had to have the adjacent walls ripped out and special insulation and facing applied plus an exhaust system to handle the higher heat generated.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I beg to differ with mnebergall on the cancellation of the insurance for improperly or illegally installed commercail ranges...our neighbors at the shore installed a monster stove, and their home burned to the ground..and are in a lawsuit they are bound to loose with their insurance company because they did not properly install/insulate/exhaust the commercial oven. And, I second the opinion that a commercail range in a 5x7 kitchen is overkill.

We moved into a 40 year old home about 3 months ago. the kitchen had been remodeled in 90, and the layout is wonderful, and we have a second "sauce kitchen" downstairs...other than the appliances and the teal countertops, a cook's dream. In my previous home, I renovated the kitchen about 5 years ago, with many of the bells and whistles...DCS, subzero, miele , etc. In the"new" kitchen I decided to replace the appliances with the median priced GE profile series. We're weighing our options, and considering adding on a sunroom to the kitchen, which is now 23x23. We don't have a gas line, so its all electric, and I'm also waiting for the spring to install propane for cooking. The double wall ovens are small, so I installed a giant cheap Kenmore oven in the basement kitchen, and a kenmore DW. For upstairs, I replaced the fridge, dishwasher and cooktop with GE profile. Without doubt, this is the best damn dishwasher I have ever had. It's amazing, and runs circles around the Miele. I initailly chose it because it is a reccomended choice for septic and well users, which my new house uses instead of public water and sewer...but that's become a side benefit..I am in love w/ this dishwasher. The GEProfile fridge, with the bottom pull out freezer, is also great, and I'd say better designed than the subzero I had. But in fairness, that was a side by side, and I prefer the bottom freezer design. The cooktop is ok, I'm challenged by cooking with electric, but I will tell you that the exhaust thingy that pops up is amazingly effective. When I get propane and replace the island cooktop, the teal Corain countertops will be replaced with white soapstone..I'm a real estate agent, and granite is so common, I'm bored with it already. I'm actually considering a yellow soapstone..no need to make design choices to please anyone but me, and I'm fond of yellow.

In my opinion, the important commercial touches that a home cook should have in their kitchen is a vegetable sink in an island or countertop, and a sink deep enough to hold a stock pot, and a spigot to fill a stock pot, and an outdoor exhaust.

And, in all sincerity, what's the budget part of buying an AGA? :smile:

Edited by Kim WB (log)
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Oh yes! The pot-filler faucet over the stovetop is a lifesaver.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Definitely plan everything out first. We upgraded our kitchen last year and are very happy with it. Determine what you need versus what you want - we didn't get the warming draw but there are those times..... We purchased the F-P dish drawers and are very happy with them. There are just two of us and the smaller drawers means that food doesn't sit for a week before the need to wash. I have had no problem fitting pots and plates in. The organizers are removable and having two means one can be for pots and the other for plates. Plus they are very quiet and in a small kitchen that's a plus.

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Thanks to everyone for your responses and advice! I definitely want to have a plan before I start buying or building. At this point, I am pretty sure that I want a bamboo floor and the bosch gas range and soapstone counters. I agree that a true commercial range would be overkill in such a small space and I also suspect the Coop board would object. I really want a Bulthaup Kitchen but given the fact that my project includes a kitchen and a bath it is unlikely that I can afford such an extravagant splurge on cabinets. I did sign up for Designer's Challenge, brilliant idea, Andiesenji. I am very grateful for the suggestion. I am grateful for all of your suggestions, please keep them coming.

Azlee

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There are just two of us and the smaller drawers means that food doesn't sit for a week before the need to wash.

exactly, these are the things to consider... I run the dishwasher twice a day, and that's without a major cooking session or guests...just my needs for a family of 5. also ( and here's the real Estate agent coming out) if you plan on resale some day, think about what your needs are, but also the needs of a potential buyer (ie..do you live in a family co-op, or one with singles, couples, one child families). To expand..if you are a single person living in a four bedroom house, and you don't plan on staying forever, make decisions that would work for a family, becasue most likely, the NEXT buyers of a four BR will NOT be a single person.

Or, WTF, get what you like! :laugh:

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