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mjr_inthegardens's kitchen renovation topic


mjr_inthegardens
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My girlfriend and I just bought a condo in Brooklyn, NY. The apartment was a pit, but a pit with promise. We've laid floors in the bedrooms (floating bamboo), painted nearly every nasty wall left by the previous owners and have been furiously planning for the kitchen.

It's a complete overhaul: floors, cabinets, countertop, appliances, lighting... you name it. We are cooking enthusiasts but not pro cooks. We figure to cook some bacon now and again but not likely to be canning or serious cooktop activity too often. Our current kitchen is a one sided galley about 5 x 5 so we are definitely gaining space (esp counter space).

We figure to have a budget of around $15k for the renovation and already have some "grand" plans. I figured I would ask for some opinions given the wonderful ideas given in other kitchen renovation threads.

I will post some current pics of the kitchen when I can (hold yer nose!). Here is a floorplan:

gallery_12579_385_1100789637.jpg

Some fairly firm ideas we have had:

- Knock down wall in middle of kitchen and wall to left of stove abutting Dining Space to make an open concept kitchen/LR/DR

- Expand kitchen a foot or so into the DR, and add an extra base/wall cabinet. The dining space is large enough that losing a foot won't hurt our ability to have a table and chairs. We think that our gatherings tend to be more informal so having the kitchen island as a central gathering point would be great. We will need to figure out how to get lighting down from the ceiling for the island. We have concrete ceilings that were just professionally plastered so lighting installation is a little more complicated than if it were just drywall. The concrete is probably 1-2" thick at least but we think has airspace that was used by the developers to run the wiring for the Kitchen and Dining light fixtures.

- Add an island with stool seating on the non-kitchen work area side when we buy cabinets, running electric under joint between parkay wood in LR/Foyer to electrify island (the wall to be demolished has DR/Kit lightswitches and an outlet on the far side already).

A few thoughts:

- We'd love to vent the oven but we cannot vent into the fresh air chase on the other side of the fridge (currently washer) space (vents from bathrooms) as I don't think that is its purpose and I doubt the blding would let us punch out through the wall in the DR to the backyard. (sucks, but such is life)

- We are thinking of putting a wine/beer fridge in the island facing into the kitchen (where the 24" cab is drawn).

- We were thinking silestone for counters... Dark Cabinets (chestnut), Light Counters (diana pearl). We priced counters on Ecounters.com (silestone merchant), should we buy silestone through there or Home Depot? Or should we think about Granite or another material? The online silestone quote I worked up for the counter including the new island was $4100 or so.

- Probably will do a tile floor. Don't want to clash vs the wood in the rest of the place right now.

- Range, refrigerator and dishwasher, I figure I can knock out for about $2200. I am not looking for top of the line, just better than you'd put in a rental. Probably a 'nicer' top freezer fridge, a gas range with power burner/programming features and a quiet dishwasher, plus an above range microwave ($300 or so).

Here is a Lowe's workup of the cabinet design (walls knocked, island in place)...

gallery_12579_385_1100789718.jpg

We found Kraftmaid cabinets (all plywood frames) we can live with for just over $6000 at Lowes (we may get them priced through brother in law's supplier too) and have a 10% off coupon we can use also. Is this a good price for the room? We liked another door front design but it takes the price up $1500!! We don't intend to be in this apartment forever, but if we are here 5 years we want to

have a quality kitchen.

I hope you will share any thoughts that you have on our strategy, choices, purchase ideas. If you have any questions, please fire away!

Regards,

-MJR :smile:

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I like what you have done with the Lowe's design. Now, take that to Ikea and see what you come up with. I would go with more drawers in the lower cabinets. I like what you have done with the sink in the corner as well... heh... that is what I am doing with the one corner I couldn't get rid of. The one single big sink is definitely the way to go. You won't regret that. I did find a sink that has the drain off-set into the right rear corner. If you can have a disposal, that puts the thing more out of the way so that you have better use of the cabinet under the sink. You will need to install some of those slide out drawer things (like made by Elfa) to actually use it without shameful groveling. You will have to be sure that that little piece of wall is not a structural support before you remove it.

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 fifi (I was glad when I saw you reading this topic)

What is the advantage of having more drawers? We are tripling our cabinet space at least and going from 1 drawer with a ton of junk in it in a kitchen cart to 7 drawers in the kitchen (though not all together).

We visited Ikea in Jersey but are not sure we like the cabinet choices... also Ikea does not do solid plywood frames which my contractor bro-in-law swears by. A sink with offset drain sounds like a good idea, especially if it is offset to the right, because existing plumbing is below the sink in the kit/lr/dr floorplan drawing.

I am pretty sure neither wall is loadbearing. The ceilings were laid concrete slabs (like in some hotels). Contractor bro-in-law concurs.

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I think this looks like an ideal kitchen to me! Really-this kitchen will be lots of fun to work in. Good layout, open for hanging out w/ your friends-who cares if your cabinets aren't the most expensive. Once it is all done, chances are you will never remember that you could have spend ten times the amount on something. The important thing is that it's functional-and IKEA, GE appliances, laminate, and butcher block will get you there just as well as Sub-Zero, Viking and granite.

I've got to get dressed & get to work-I'll look at this more closely tonight. One thing that catches my eye is that microwave/ vent combo. People have made a lot of negative comments about those-the concensus is you are better off getting a proper vent & a cheaper, more powerful microwave as a stand-alone unit.

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I think this looks like an ideal kitchen to me! Really-this kitchen will be lots of fun to work in. Good layout, open for hanging out w/ your friends-who cares if your cabinets aren't the most expensive. Once it is all done, chances are you will never remember that you could have spend ten times the amount on something. The important thing is that it's functional-and IKEA, GE appliances, laminate, and butcher block will get you there just as well as Sub-Zero, Viking and granite.

I've got to get dressed & get to work-I'll look at this more closely tonight. One thing that catches my eye is that microwave/ vent combo. People have made a lot of negative comments about those-the concensus is you are better off getting a proper vent & a cheaper, more powerful microwave as a stand-alone unit.

Unfortunately (or not), Girlfriend hates laminate and has vetoed it. It is not such huge stretches of counter that a more expensive counter top cannot be done though. I think it is something you 'feel' moreso than cabinets as well.

Thanks for your input on the micro-vent... We would definitely be able to separate although it is nice to have all in one so microwave doesn't take up counterspace.

Look fwd to hearing your further thoughts this eve.

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Looks like a good layout for the space. :smile:

Make sure that you have enough room to the right of the sink to move freely when you are washing dishes and the dishwasher door is open.

I second adding some large drawers for pots, dry goods, tupperware, etc... they are helpful let you use the whole space with less back/knee strain.

it will add to your cab cost though.

Something else to consider, I had the idea when I get my own home, (renting sucks, esp. when reading these renovation threads) to add a strip of power outlets along the base of the upper cabs with a power recepticle every 9" or so. Make sure you add sufficient wiring/breakers for all appliances.

Keep in mind, I may just be bitter about power right now, My current apt has 1 outlet in the kitchen and I can only run the oven, 2 stove burners and 1 other appliance (another burner, blender,micro,toasteroven) before tripping the breaker. :sad:

Everything looks great, congrats on your shiney new place!!!

-parker

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Thanks parker!

The idea of a lighting bar / config for the island or something with a single power supply sounds like a good idea.

We are not lacking for power (it's a good thing!)... 60 amps to the apt. Outlets all over the place...

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Not sure what silestone countertop is, but that 27" next to the stove?  I'd look at a piece of granite there which I think you could put hot pans on, but also use as a cold surface for making dough, etc.

doc

Silestone is engineered stone made with quartz. It supposedly doesn't stain, scorch, and is solid surface so can be used for dough. http://www.silestone.com

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I don't know if you've priced the Silestone and compared the cost to granite, but granite might actually be cheaper. I've heard that Silestone (and its DuPont cousin Zodiaq) are running about $125/sq. ft.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I don't know if you've priced the Silestone and compared the cost to granite, but granite might actually be cheaper. I've heard that Silestone (and its DuPont cousin Zodiaq) are running about $125/sq. ft.

My math for the silestone from that internet site (ecounters.com) puts the one I selected at $85 / sf with installation and sink cutout, angle for the corner sink, waterfall edge etc.

edit: we are going to ask a guy my gf's mom knows who does kitchens about granite prices.

Edited by mjr_inthegardens (log)

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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The one single big sink is definitely the way to go. You won't regret that. I did find a sink that has the drain off-set into the right rear corner.

Fifi,

What was the sink make and model you found that had this feature?

edit: and did you ponder this type of euro-style corner sink?

http://www.plumbingstore.com/images/teka-k...inks-118004.jpg

I have but I figure it is too messy in terms of water and not as good as just one big friggin sink.

-MJR

Edited by mjr_inthegardens (log)

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Been there, done that twice.

Some things I learned (should add that we recently moved, from a huge kitchen with more storage than I needed to one that is very small):

1. Granite can be relatively cheap if you can get it from a monument (read headstone) company. Made it, for us, about the same price as nice laminate.

2. Draws rule. They are great. They are wonderful. I have three (not counting the one that is 4" wide. Without them, where do you store tupperware, potholders, placemats, junk, whatever?

3. Microwave. I do not have enough counter space to devote any to a micro. So, we mounted a cheap ass one over the sink (the cupboard above the sink is not as deep as the ones on either side).

We didn't have the option of knocking out a wall. We had to live with what we had (other than new appliances, counter, knobs, etc. (ceiling and floor soon to come), but I would advise you to try as you can to imagine yourself cooking in the space you will create. Only you and your SO know how you cook and work together and apart. Tape some space off and pretend you are cooking in that space. I'm the anal that takes pots and pans when I buy a dishwasher.

2.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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A few more thoughts:

Tile floors are very hard on your back (and whenever you drop something-you either chip a tile or shatter a dish.) I'd always heard tile floors were hard on your back, but intuitively it didn't seem like it would matter that much-until I had a kitchen with tile floors. I find them more uncomfortable than I could have imagined.

I'm torn about a surface & height for your island. On the one hand, having a big flat workspace is a godsend in any-sized kitchen; this is where you will do 90% of your prep work. On the other hand, a 42-inch high counter around the outside would hide any kitchen mess from the living room, and if I'm not mistaken, is the standard height for bar stool dining.

I don't usually like the look of granite, but I think it could work in an area open to a living room. I once owned a beach house with an open kitchen that had wood-edged white laminate counters & cabinets-but it was a very modern house w/ wood floors and a 180 degree view of the ocean-so the laminate worked. Otherwise, I think laminate could look a little too "kitchen-y" as a corner of your living room.

And this is a corner of your living room. Above all else, you have to remember that.

Do not be tempted to get a 30-inch deep fridge. It will look much, much better flush w/ the other cabinets.

I like glass-front cabinets, with nicely arranged glasses & dishes in them. I'd consider that for some of them. The simply insert glass in the flat panel, framed by the wood.

Deep drawers are good.

I'm a little troubled by all those narrow cabinets above the counter. I can see why it's designed like that-they line up w/ the cabinets below-but I'd think through what you own to make sure that you aren't losing a lot of space that way. The frame of each cabinet itself takes up a few inches, and if you have an inch or two on either side of what's in the cabinet, you've lost more space. In a 24-inch wide cabinet, you can tuck things in back and around plates (like ramekins, vases, sake glasses, and other little things.) I also like kitchens without upper cabinets everywhere. Think through how nice it would be to stand at the sink without a cabinet there, or what it would look like to have a big framed poster instead of a cabinet over the dishwasher. Do you have room in your dining area for a wall of 12-inch deep cabinets that could function as a "china cabinet"/ pantry? That would tie the design of your kitchen to the rest of the area, and give you a LOT of storage space. You could probably eliminate all of your upper cabinets in that case.

What kind of stove are you thinking about?

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I see you are thinking about a gas range. Hmmm...

I've cooked with both, and I don't mind a good electric stove at all. (The key word being GOOD.) Yes, I do have a Wolf stove at the moment, but if I were you-and you have 220V wiring-I'd think about a glass-topped electric range here. Gas ranges always cause this "sticky stuff" to get on everything-and you don't have optimal venting. I'd consider the tradeoff for cleaner living room furniture.

I know you want to save money, but I'd consider upgrading your appliances a little since they are in full view of the living room. A couple of brands of refrigerators that I've owned and been happy with are a GE Profile & "The Architect Series" by Kitchen Aid.

Everyone raves about Ikea's cabinets-including Russ Parsons. I would strongly consider them. They certainly look nice enough to be open to a living room!

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We are going from an apartment with absolutely no cabinet space at all so we may have gone a little cabinet happy... I will have to take a look at the design.

One thing is I think we are going to replace a 12" wall cabinet with 2 columns of open framed wine storage. We need a place to stow the few bottles of wine we keep around at a given time and thought it would break the uniformity of cabinets in the upper line before the fridge.

As far as counter height being comfortable, wouldn't that depend on the height of the chairs? i.e., If the stools/chairs selected are designed for comfort seating at a 36" counte. Also I am not sure the island is big enough that it being higher would shield the kitchen from view. It is worth thinking about though.... Kraftmaid doesn't seem to make 42" high cabs, so I presume a 6" base would need to be installed on which to sit the cabinets?

I am very conflicted about our appliance budget... as much as it might be nice, I'm not sure I can double my refrigeration budget and get a counter depth fridge. Would there it be worth doing so in terms of resale or aesthetics if I will be in the apartment for less than 6 years?

I was planning on a freestanding gas range in the $7-800 neighborhood. I prefer cooktop gas vs electric.

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Have you considered soapstone countertops?

I tried to look at some on the web yesterday...

It only comes in the couple natural stone looks right?

How much is it? If the same range as Silestone, I think I might prefer the individual color variation of the engineered stone.

-max

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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We are going from an apartment with absolutely no cabinet space at all so we may have gone a little cabinet happy... I will have to take a look at the design.

One thing is I think we are going to replace a 12" wall cabinet with 2 columns of open framed wine storage. We need a place to stow the few bottles of wine we keep around at a given time and thought it would break the uniformity of cabinets in the upper line before the fridge.

As far as counter height being comfortable, wouldn't that depend on the height of the chairs? i.e., If the stools/chairs selected are designed for comfort seating at a 36" counte. Also I am not sure the island is big enough that it being higher would shield the kitchen from view. It is worth thinking about though.... Kraftmaid doesn't seem to make 42" high cabs, so I presume a 6" base would need to be installed on which to sit the cabinets?

I am very conflicted about our appliance budget... as much as it might be nice, I'm not sure I can double my refrigeration budget and get a counter depth fridge. Would there it be worth doing so in terms of resale or aesthetics if I will be in the apartment for less than 6 years?

I was planning on a freestanding gas range in the $7-800 neighborhood. I prefer cooktop gas vs electric.

-mjr

I think 24-inch deep fridges make a room feel MUCH more spacious. Shop around-people seem to find impressive bargains when they do that.

Of course the counter height is dependent on the chair height-it's just that the classic barstool/ bar height is 42-inches (I think.) I'd probably choose to have one flat surface, but the height is something to contemplate.

I wouldn't worry about resale too much. Kitchens are so personal that chances are the next person will want to change something. Make it what you two want.

If you already have gas and don't have 220V, then here's a place to save some money. But the new electric ranges are much better than the stoves of 10-15 years ago.

So that wall beside the kitchen that goes to a window-how deep is that? Do you already have the perfect piece of furniture there, or could that be used to store your dishes?

PS You can never have too many cabinets. But they cost money, and you can get creative at storing seldom used things elsewhere.

Also-Martha Stewart likes soapstone, for whatever that's worth.

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Also-Martha Stewart likes soapstone, for whatever that's worth.

I do like the jailhouse look. :biggrin:

The 10'/11' to the wall in the DR is free. We don't have a proper dining table even.

I am not sold on cluttering that room up with a large china storage unit as the last owners' made that room seem smaller and also I do not have china (I am 26).

If you go counter depth then you are almost forced to go stainless steel which I have been resisting. I will shop around... I have home depot, lowes, sears, ajmadison all in brooklyn. Maybe I will find a nice on sale banged up piece.

-mjr

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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So, dude, what neighborhood did you buy into? Your kitchen plan is making me jealous. I have no advice for you.

P.S. I'm in Prospect Heights.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I was planning on a freestanding gas range in the $7-800 neighborhood. I prefer cooktop gas vs electric.

-mjr

Whatever you do, make sure you get a self-cleaning oven. The manual process really sucks.

"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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I was planning on a freestanding gas range in the $7-800 neighborhood. I prefer cooktop gas vs electric.

-mjr

Whatever you do, make sure you get a self-cleaning oven. The manual process really sucks.

My kitchen dollar definitely stretches that far. :)

SethG, I am in Fort Greene.

-MJR

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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