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Varmint's New Kitchen


Varmint
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Well, I'm 99% moved into the kitchen. I spent some time with the camera tonight, so I'll offer you my final shots. I'll come back in a day or three to put up some before and after photos, and then it's time to end this discussion. I'm too tired to give any descriptions, so here's a ton of pictures. Brace yourselves:

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Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Absolutely outstanding. Thanks for accommodating my request for views with open cabinets/cupboards. Everything is so neat and tidy, even the coats (repost photos in three months :wink:).

Love the fridge in the pantry. And the figures on the windowsill.

You must be thrilled, tired and somewhat deflated after getting it all done. What does your FIL think of the new kitchen?

How does it work for cooking? Or, are you too tired to cook?

(P. S. I'm a Puffs, not Kleenex person).

I do wish you would post a follow up in a few weeks to talk about the different flow of the kitchen, how it affects how you cook, your interaction with how you cook, how you prep, etc.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Absolutely outstanding. (... )

I do wish you would post a follow up in a few weeks to talk about the different flow of the kitchen, how it affects how you cook, your interaction with how you cook, how you prep, etc.

This is one amazing kitchen. Oh Wow!!! Snowangel's request is a good one. I too would like to know how the flow works, etc.... We're just not letting you close this thread, are we?? :raz:

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Well, y'all know the kitchen will be making another appearance at the "Varmint's Pig Pickin' -- Part Deux, Labor Day Weekend 2005" which is only just about 4 months away. Click here for 41 pages of "Varmint's Pig Pickin', episode 1"

I hope eG'er's who will be attending the Pig Pickin' of '05 will post in that disccusion their first-hand impressions of the new kitchen.

That stove is just begging for a pot of "VD stew"! :wink:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I’ve now cooked in the kitchen for a few weeks, so I’ll conclude this discussion with some thoughts about the flow and overall performance. I’m happy to answer any questions, but then it’s time for this overly lengthy discussion to fade away.

I finally got around to having a real, honest-to-goodness dinner party on Saturday. The menu consisted of the following: a salad or red and yellow roasted beets, local goat cheese, spicy candied pumpkin seeds, and 30 year balsamico on beet, mustard and arugula microgreens. This was followed by a light asparagus soup with crab and a roasted pepper sauce. The entrée was pecan and porcini encrusted roasted monkfish served on a bed of green tomato grits, with a wild mushroom, leek and tomato sauce. Dessert was white chocolate panna cotta with a strawberry coulis and a semi-sweet chocolate sauce. Yesterday, I made a good ol’ fashioned southern dinner of fried chicken, buttermilk mashed potatoes, cream gravy, homemade applesauce, broccoli, and biscuits. I actually had 5 different burners running simultaneously.

Perhaps the biggest improvement to the kitchen is the ventilation. When I make fried chicken, the house doesn’t smell of it for 3 or 4 days. There is no residual smell. It’s awesome, and I can cook excessively smoky items without any problems. The hood’s pretty noisy, but most of them are, unless you go with a remote blower.

I really like my range, with one minor issue: it’s tougher to clean than I expected. It’s actually easily to clean, except when grease or other food splatters onto the enamelized steel, which then hardens. I’ve been unable to get some of that stuff off, and I’ve used oven cleaner, Goo Gone (or whatever it’s called) and other household items. I haven’t tried anything abrasive, which scares me. I’ll double check the owner’s manual for ideas. As far as performance is concerned, I’ve been as impressed with the oven as much as the cooktop. I’ve not noticed any temperature variations in the oven, and I’ve baked several items in there. The temperature appears to be spot on.

The cooktop is very powerful, but the secondary simmer setting on each burner is a godsend. It keeps the temperature low enough that the food stays hot, but it’s not burning. Water doesn’t boil immediately, but it’s still pretty damn quick. And this cooktop puts out a lot of heat – again, it makes me happy to have the hood.

The second oven also is a good performer, and it’s the perfect 2nd oven. It’s not quite as big as the main oven, but it has more features, such as a proofing setting. I haven’t really tested it enough to provide an overall assessment.

The Bosch dishwasher is indeed quiet, and since I set the final rinse temperature at a much hotter level, it dries quite well. My wife doesn’t love it, though, simply because the dishes don’t fit as well as she likes. That is one big difference between the US-style dishwashers and the European ones, is that the US companies understand how we like to use our dishwashers better. Nevertheless, the Bosch is a perfect dishwasher for that location – it’s very, very quiet. And it was a great decision to forego the icemaker in favor of a second dishwasher.

The sinks, faucets and disposals have been great. The disposals are very quiet, incredibly powerful, and they have a lifetime warranty.

My wife doesn’t love the ceramic floor tile, simply because she thinks it’s too slippery. It’s not that slippery if you’re wearing shoes, but with socks . . . . Of course, it’s not nearly as slippery as wood would have been. I think it’s perfect, but Mrs. Varmint is the main critic!

The bigger pantry has been great, as we did lose some cabinet space with the new arrangement. Having the swinging door is ideal. The pantry also has its own A/C duct, so we can keep all our wine in there. It’s not 58 degrees, but it’s no more than 70! We’re waiting for some wine racks to be delivered, so I can store up to 6 cases, which is about the max I ever keep on hand. Plus, this room is dark. Mrs. Varmint added lots more wire shelving, so I’m really enjoying this pantry.

The cabinets are top-notch. I was a little worried about buying my cabinets over the internet, but that’s really not what it was. I spent hours (12-14?) on the phone with Ken Ables, owner of Cabinetry Direct. He’s a great guy and understood what we were trying to do. Everything was absolutely perfect. The hinges, the glides, the internal hardware are all top of the line. When pricing cabinets, do consider these guys.

I wish I could have switched the hinges on the SubZeros, but that’s not possible on these models. Nevertheless, they look like brand new units for the most part, and we’ve never had a single problem with their functionality.

Now, how does the kitchen function? On a scale of 1-10, my old kitchen was about a 3. It got that high of a mark because although it was a maze, you could get a lot accomplished in that small area by the cooktop and sink. The new kitchen is about a 9.5. When it comes to getting the food, it’s about 7 to 8 steps to the SubZeros. The pantry door is 2 steps from the range. Prep can easily be done in about 4 different locations, but for me, most of it is done to the left of the smaller sink. I can drop trash into the pullout or slide waste into the sink to go down the disposal. I have oils and other regularly used condiments to the right of the hood, and herbs and spices are to the left. Wooden spoons are in the top drawer to the left of the range, and some pots, lids and colanders are to the right. It’s all right there. Hot pads are on the top shelf above the spices. Not ideal, but it works well in that location.

There’s enough room on either side of the range to move stuff. Plus, I have plenty of room to plate. I easily plated for 10 on Saturday. Desserts were plated in the baking area by the window. The flow to the eating counter or the dining room table is only a couple of steps away.

Clean up is a breeze. Dishes come right back to the counter to be scraped into the trash (if there’s bones) or disposal, quick rinse, then right into whichever dishwasher is available. We hand wash so many fewer dishes. Putting dishes away is a piece of cake: 90% of the dishes are stored in the upper cabinet to the right of the large sink and in the top drawer of the base cabinet beneath it (flatware).

The lighting is excellent. It’s very functional, and damn, it looks great. I might be proudest of my lighting selection, as I had the greatest angst over it.

Perhaps my favorite guilty pleasure about this kitchen comes with the speakers. I love having music in the kitchen. Whether I’m listening to Wilco, Stiff Little Fingers, Sarah Vaughn or the Neville Brothers, I’m having a good ol’ time.

Finally, and this may be the most important thing of all, is that this kitchen is so much more conducive to having kids in it, cooking beside me. I’ve taught my 9 year old daughter how to make a béchamel, and how many different uses there are for it (including the base for macaroni and cheese, of course!). My kids can get a peeler and work on some apples for applesauce. They can sit at the eating bar and watch, or stand beside me. I no longer have to worry about tripping over them or having them back up out of the maze. That’s why I really love this kitchen – I can share it with my family.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Finally, it’s important that I thank y’all for all the great input you’ve provided. I’ve listened to everyone’s advice, and whether I used it or not, be assured that I thought about every single piece of guidance. By waiting a year to do a full-blown project, I’ve ended up with as good of a kitchen that I could get for the space I had. We didn’t blow out external walls, we didn’t do anything overly exorbitant. We stuck to a plan that was y’all’s as much as mine. And it was good. Moreover, it wasn’t terribly over budget. Final cost, with all extras related to the kitchen itself and not counting the exterior stuff the crew did, was about $62,000. My initial budget was 52-58, so I wasn’t far off. And we had lots of “surprises” along the way. So, I think a 6-7% overrun wasn’t too bad!

Thanks, everyone! You’re welcome in my – er, your – kitchen anytime.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Finally, and this may be the most important thing of all, is that this kitchen is so much more conducive to having kids in it, cooking beside me.  I’ve taught my 9 year old daughter how to make a béchamel, and how many different uses there are for it (including the base for macaroni and cheese, of course!).  My kids can get a peeler and work on some apples for applesauce.  They can sit at the eating bar and watch, or stand beside me.  I no longer have to worry about tripping over them or having them back up out of the maze.  That’s why I really love this kitchen – I can share it with my family.

This brings a huge smile to my face!

The kitchen in my new house is much smaller than our previous one, but much safer for the kids.

And, speakers in the kitchen. Not a guilty pleasure in my book, but a necessity. Thanks for the report.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Where's the photo of the drawer full of rubber bands, paper clips, twist ties, half used note pads, bent screwdrivers, small broken toys, and old wine corks? Did you not plan for this certainty? You should go back in about 2 months and post photos of your cabinet interiors after the "House Beautiful" effect wears off, lest everyone think you are some kind of freak.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I forgot the before and after shots:

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Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Where's the photo of the drawer full of rubber bands, paper clips, twist ties, half used note pads, bent screwdrivers, small broken toys, and old wine corks? Did you not plan for this certainty? You should go back in about 2 months and post photos of your cabinet interiors after the "House Beautiful" effect wears off, lest everyone think you are some kind of freak.

ahem...just what exactly happened to your kitchen renovation??? :wink:

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You're living in/with it, so you don't need my kudos, but I've been a lurker on this thread for the last few months, Dean. What you have done is ASTONISHING!! Here's to many years of great breakfasts, brunches, lunches, snacks (esp those late-night ones), dinner parties and good times with friends and family!!

Curlz

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Where's the photo of the drawer full of rubber bands, paper clips, twist ties, half used note pads, bent screwdrivers, small broken toys, and old wine corks? Did you not plan for this certainty? You should go back in about 2 months and post photos of your cabinet interiors after the "House Beautiful" effect wears off, lest everyone think you are some kind of freak.

ahem...just what exactly happened to your kitchen renovation??? :wink:

I don't even have a drawer, so who am I to talk?

I will post a photo tonight. It's pretty depressing, except that it is now filled with my wife's art, since we aren't using the kitchen anyway. :wacko::laugh:

And to answer your question, it seems to be going forward. I will post something about it in the other, months dormant thread. The project kept growing in scope, eventually involving the entire house, and that slowed things down a bit. But happily we seem to be close to full speed ahead and I could not be happier.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 1 year later...

Dean,

Now that you've lived with your remodeled kitchen for quite a while, is there anything you would change? What has worked out well beyond your expectations?

I noticed (if I interpret the pictures correctly on page 13) that the doors to the refrigerator/freezer opened away from the main part of the kitchen, instead of opening towards it. It's minor thing but could become an annoyance after repeated daily openings. Or is it no big deal?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 1 year later...

I want to thank you. We are about to redo a kitchen and it's been really good for me to read your experiences and collect all these fabulous links.

Your kitchen is beautiful.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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