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BekkiM's Kitchen Renovation Dreams


BekkiM
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I am in the extremely early stages of planning my new kitchen and, inspired by many of the creative and daring people on eGullet (MelissaH and Varmint, to name two), I thought I'd share/document my thought process and solicit feedback from other people who *think* about what a kitchen can/should be.

Some background: My current kitchen is functionally not bad--the layout is actually pretty good, although the appliances drive me insane and the cabinet quality is lousy.

My goals for the kitchen are:

1) Upgrade the appliances (currently GE Profile) to serious home cook level, including getting more (and more powerful) burners. Two of the four on my current cooktop barely function (it irritates me that I have to light them with a match) and the other two don't sear or simmer well. Also, the ovens are uneven and I don't like the upper wall oven because it's precarious loading hot, heavy pans in and out, especially if I'm cooking in a water bath.

2) Improve the quality and functionality of the cabinets. The cabinets are MasterCraft and they're just poor, poor quality. They're maple, Shaker-style, and almost all of them have had to be glued where they've cracked along the frame b/c the wood is too thin. Two of them have broken completely and, because I hate them so much, I've been unwilling to replace them so we've been living with missing cabinet doors for several years. Also, the storage in them is terrible. I'm not sure of the terminology, but all of the cabinets have a center stile (that is, when you open both doors, there's still a vertical piece of wood in the center of the cabinet) which means that loading large pans or any of my pots with handles, is like playing Jenga in reverse. I want wide, pull-out shelves in every lower cabinet and I need stronger drawar glides because my son can't seem to be broken of the habit of leaning on the drawer when he opens it.

3) Get rid of the closet that is supposed to function as a pantry. For one thing, it’s too deep, so items get lost at the back of the shelves. For another thing, there’s too much wasted space above the top shelf. I’ve got boxes stacked there, but unless I remember that something’s back there, I end up purchasing duplicates, triplicates, and quadrupulates of random, seldom-used ingredients.

4) Get rid of the desk area. It just collects clutter and looks terrible. We’d rather put a desk in the corner of the family room for our son to do his homework. Ditto with the half-wall between the kitchen and the family room. It is ALWAYS covered with unsorted mail, magazines, random Lego creations, etc. I just hate it.

5) Improve access to the deck on the back of the house. It’s a good-sized deck and, if we ever get our act together to complete the landscaping, the backyard is a lovely place to be. Here in Denver we can use the grill year-round and I’d like to make it more accessible.

So here’s the current kitchen layout:

gallery_47119_3946_15582.jpg

As you walk into the kitchen, the family room (about 17'x17') is on your right and the desk area is just to your left. In front of you is our current kitchen table and behind that is the sliding glass door to the deck. Along the east wall is the pantry closet, the double wall ovens, and a 4-burner gas cooktop. On the south wall is the sink and the dishwasher. The KitchenAid is generally stored on the counter in the southeast corner.

The things I like about it are:

* The workspace flows pretty well. There’s a good distance between the stove-sink-refrigerator areas and there’s good landing space by all of them.

* The island is great working space for big projects and, during parties, it’s a great space for appetizers and cocktails, since everyone stands around the kitchen anyway.

That’s about it. The lighting sucks, there are too few outlets, the soffit space above the cabinets collects clutter, the tile floor is a pain to clean, the microwave above the cooktop is virtually inaccessible to my son, there isn't enough venting, there's no undercounter lighting (wait, I already said the lighting sucks, didn't I?)... Anyway, I think I've worked myself up about it enough that it's time to make a change.

For other projects in the house, we've worked with an interior designer that we very much like. She did our library/dining room (pictures later) that I absolutely love. She also did our basement which, while it's a completely different style than the rest of the house, is truly wonderful. So we're planning on working with her again. However, having had some experience working with her, I want some other feedback too, because I want to know where to stand firm (no, a smaller stove is not okay just because it balances the design better, but, yes, we can go with that cabinet hardware) and where to accede to her expertise.

I've drafted an initial layout that I know will be significantly tweaked as we go about the process, but this one pulls in all of my ideas, even if they're not fully fledged yet...

gallery_47119_3946_8273.jpg

My idea is to remove all the cabinets from the south wall and replace the existing window over the sink, as well as the sliding glass door, with French doors. What I really want is this, but that's just not in the budget, so French doors are my curret compromise.

Having removed the cabinets that house the sink and the dishwasher, I'd move them into the island. Much as I love the uninterupted counter space in the current island, I'm willing to sacrifice it for better access to the deck, especially since I'd greatly lengthen the island (from 4 feet to 9 feet), gaining more counter than I lose along the existing wall.

The other big change is to remove the desk area in favor of real pantry cabinets, with pull-out shelves and space for the microwave. Moving it there means that the primary user of the microwave (my son) will have better access to it while I'm doing the "real" cooking. I rarely use the microwave anyway, so I don't think I need it near the stove.

In place of the existing closet, I'd add an undercounter wine refrigerator--a) we want one and b) that places it conveniently near the dining room, which I think is good. The counter above it becomes a staging area from kitchen to dining room, which I'd love to have. I'd also remove the wall ovens in favor of a dual-fuel, 48" range. I'll still have two ovens, but I'll gain counter space.

Little things that can mean a lot are that I'd get rid of the corner base cabinet with it's tricky storage/access issues, add a bookshelf in the southwest corner for my cookbook collection, get rid of the half wall to the family room. and add a real vent hood over the range.

Finally, the plan is to run all the cabinets to the ceiling, getting rid of the soffet space. Seldom-used serving pieces and holiday stuff could go in the upper-upper cabinets--my husband wants one of those rolling library ladders for access, but I suppose a step ladder would work too.

Phew! That was a lot of stuff. I'd love feedback, good and bad. As I said, this is very preliminary and I know that we've got a long way to go, but this is what I'm thinking so far. I've got ideas for the specifics of the appliances and cabinets, but I'll document those later. My fingers are tired!

-BekkiM

Edited to add smaller images

Edited by BekkiM (log)
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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You covered most of what I thought to say. Some other thoughts.

1) there are are some really neat corner cupboard options out there

2) do you want a vertical space for storing baking pans and serving trays?

3) if you know you will regularly use a stepladder, plan a place to store it, as part of your design. Its really annoying to stop mid-recipe to run to another room to get it. We keep ours folded and slid in next to the fridge, in the very few inches of room between cabinet side and fridge.

4) wider or more sliders to the deck?

5) can you create a pass-thru from kitchen to deck? Favorite 'party house' layout I;ve seen had a regular window in the kitchen that opened to a tiled counter outdoors. Made for very easy party throwing. Host was in communication with party goers even while restocking, and it immensely reduced the tendency of partygoers to congregate in teh kitchen as well.

the microwave above the cooktop is virtually inaccessible to my son

I didnt learn how awful over-the-stove microwaves were, til we replaced ours.

Cant access it with anything steaming on the stove, too high for a child, makes the space over the stove too low, etc etc etc.

Good luck, have fun!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Just a couple of things to think about. It looks like you're removing all seating area in the new design, which is fine if you've got somewhere else to eat or are maybe building in some seating around the island.

A 48 inch range is great, just remember, that the second oven is usually significantly smaller than the main one, so keep in mind what you'd be using the second oven for.

You might consider a wall oven built into the island, that looks like it could accomodate a good 27 or 30 inch wall oven.

I hated having the microwave over the range and a range hood is a much better choice there. If your son is the primary person using the microwave (as is mine) is there an easy place for him to set down hot dishes coming out of it? Or does he have to turn and hope no one is behind him to place it on the island?

I'd consider getting a bar fridge to go with your wine fridge. It gets pop cans, bottles of water, juice and beer etc out of the main fridge, which can free up a lot of room in the main fridge.

In some of your deeper cabinets at the top, consider maybe dividers. Great for cutting boards, sheet pans.

(I'm in the middle of my own kitchen renovation, so some of these things are currently on my mind!)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

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

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Just a couple of things to think about.  It looks like you're removing all seating area in the new design, which is fine if you've got somewhere else to eat or are maybe building in some seating around the island.

I was thinking bar stools on the back side of the island--good place for people to hang out maybe, also for said son to do his homework (where I can keep an eye on him!).

I'm also considering a table-level extension on the west end of the island where our kitchen chairs could go--but I'm afraid it might look like a runway, being so long and all. If that fails, the dining room really isn't too formal, so with the bar stools for casual eating, we could happily use our dining room on a daily basis.

You might consider a wall oven built into the island, that looks like it could accomodate a good 27 or 30 inch wall oven. 

That's a great idea! This is why I posted my ideas on eGullet--everyone here has so many better ideas than I do!!! I have been seriously worried about the size of the second oven and putting it in the island makes a ton of sense.

I hated having the microwave over the range and a range hood is a much better choice there.  If your son is the primary person using the microwave (as is mine) is there an easy place for him to set down hot dishes coming out of it? Or does he have to turn and hope no one is behind him to place it on the island?

It shouldn't be a huge problem, since there are only three of us in the household--not usually a lot of people in the way. Buuut... What about a slide out shelf right under the microwave (I know I've seen a picture of one somewhere) that could be extended as needed for holding hot soup/oatmeal as it's being stirred before being zapped a second time? Hmmm... Have to add that to the wish list.

I'd consider getting a bar fridge to go with your wine fridge. It gets pop cans, bottles of water, juice and beer etc out of the main fridge, which can free up a lot of room in the main fridge.

I've been thinking about that too, I'm just not sure where to put it? I definitely want the wine fridge (we drink a lot of wine), but I'd love to have a bar fridge down at the other end of that section, more easily accessible to the deck. I'm just not sure there's room given that I want to preserve as much lower storage as possible.

there are are some really neat corner cupboard options out there.

There are (I love what Varmint did), but I'd prefer not to have corner cupboards at all, if I can help it.

do you want a vertical space for storing baking pans and serving trays?

But of course... :cool: AND I want a garbage can on castors so I can roll it around the kitchen (I currently drag the very uncool plastic one) to whereever I'm making a mess.

Thanks for the input!

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I was thinking bar stools on the back side of the island--good place for people to hang out maybe, also for said son to do his homework (where I can keep an eye on him!).

As long as you've got some counter overhang, that's a great idea.

That's a great idea!  This is why I posted my ideas on eGullet--everyone here has so many better ideas than I do!!!  I have been seriously worried about the size of the second oven and putting it in the island makes a ton of sense.

I did that in my first kitchen renovation, and loved it. (yes, this is my second one. No, not the same house. :biggrin: ) Then, if you still decide to go with a 48 in range, you've got 2 and 1/2 ovens, but then, really a 36 in range would work well, and give you maybe an extra cupboard upper and lower and some extra counter space.

It shouldn't be a huge problem, since there are only three of us in the household--not usually a lot of people in the way.  Buuut...  What about a slide out shelf right under the microwave (I know I've seen a picture of one somewhere) that could be extended as needed for holding hot soup/oatmeal as it's being stirred before being zapped a second time?  Hmmm...  Have to add that to the wish list.

In my current kitchen, the second oven was on a wall with a microwave over it. The placement was similar to what you are describing for your new kitchen. Even though there are only 3 people in our house too, it never failed that my son would need to get something out of the microwave, or me out of the oven, right when someone passed right behind one of us. I had to turn to put the hot dishes on the counter behind me.

A slide out shelf might work.

I've been thinking about that too, I'm just not sure where to put it?  I definitely want the wine fridge (we drink a lot of wine), but I'd love to have a bar fridge down at the other end of that section, more easily accessible to the deck.  I'm just not sure there's room given that I want to preserve as much lower storage as possible.

If you go with a 36 in range and the oven in the island, you'll get back whatever lower storage you might lose with this, and there are lots of benefits. They can be stacked on top of each other or split. You could also put the wine fridge in the island. Yeah, there's a lot going into the island, but you've also got a lot of room there. You could have wine fridge, and wall oven in front of that on the other side, then sink then dishwasher. You'd still have room for a few bar stools at the other end and side. In my current kitchen they are stacked, but in the new reno, we are splitting them up only because of the way the layout worked.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

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

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Bekki

There was an article about a lady on Vancouver Island who contracted to build her own house. She was Vertically Challenged and came up with a solution I have never seen anywhere else. She had her kitchen cabinets made with slide out boards between the lower drawers so she could use them as steps to access the upper cabinets. She also had a section of the counter top made to the height of her forearm at a 90 degree angle to her upper arm. Much more confortable for chopping and working. Just a few ideas.

Cheers

Baconburner alias Malcolm

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But of course...  :cool:  AND I want a garbage can on castors so I can roll it around the kitchen (I currently drag the very uncool plastic one) to whereever I'm making a mess.

You could always plan for multiple garbage cans in the kitchen. If you have more than one workspace where you know you'll be making a mess, plan on more than one garbage can. (For us, what works well is to just take out a large bowl that we bought specifically for the purpose, line it with a grocery store plastic bag, and use that for immediate collection of junk. When we're done, that bag gets tossed, and the bowl either gets a quick rinse or a trip through the dishwasher. YMMV.)

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 1 month later...
You might consider a wall oven built into the island, that looks like it could accomodate a good 27 or 30 inch wall oven. 

The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. I could reduce the size of the main range to 36" (keeping my six burners, which is probably all I'll need) and add a single wall oven in the island. The thing I like most about this concept is that I could make the island my "baking" station, using the oven there as my "baking" oven (with the range oven available for larger projects).

My question is... Have any of you had experience with a wall oven in an island? Will there be much heat on the surface of the island itself or are the ovens sufficiently insulated to keep this from being a problem. I'm imagining we'll have concrete or some other thick stone as a counter which retains heat pretty well--don't want visitors to burn their biscuits if they're leaning on the island chatting while I cook. :biggrin:

Thanks in advance.

-Bekki

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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In my former kitchen, the wall oven was in the island, and in the kitchen I've just had done, it's in the work peninsula. Both areas were and are covered with granite. I've never had a problem with heat, and wall ovens are pretty well insulated these days, so I can't imagine that you'd have a problem. You're visitors should be able t lean away at will. :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

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

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Some good friends also put their "wall oven" in their island when they redid their kitchen. Their countertops are Corian. The area directly over the oven does get a little bit warm when the oven is warm, but it makes for a great butter-softening area. I don't know what kind of insulation they have between the countertop and the oven; a little extra might minimize the effect.

This is, of course, assuming that you're sure you'll need a second oven. :smile: For a while, I was sure I'd want a second oven. I didn't get it, and six months later I don't regret it. In fact, I'm not sure when I'd actually use it!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Well, I have two ovens now and I actually use both of them fairly regularly, especially now that I'm getting smarter about planning dinner party menus to cook most things ahead of time and/or plan long cooking items that are ready when I am without a lot of last-minute fuss (triple-steaming couscous being an example of the "last minute fuss" kind of item :rolleyes: ).

I'm really coming around to the idea of putting another oven someplace (even if it's not the island) b/c I was pretty skeptical of getting much use out of the smaller oven in the range. My SIL has a double-oven configuration in her range that is a "normal" lower oven and a short, wide one on top. She says she uses the upper one almost exclusively. I've never seen this layout in a serious stove, though (she has an electric glass cooktop which I admire for cleaning purposes, but for no other reason).

Another question, though... If I go with the 6-burner 36", will I really be able to fit more than 4 pots on it at a time? One of my big beefs with the current 4-burner is that I can't fit two stock pots front to back without sliding the rear one partially off the flame. Won't I have a similar problem only now adding side-to-side issues with the 36"? Anyone have any insight.

Granted, it's not likely that I'll ever have all 6 burners in use at one time (I had an "authentic" Indian dinner once where I might have needed that, but since I've sworn off last-minute panic, I hope to never repeat that experience), but I can definitely see needing some of them. Hmmmm... Maybe a 5-burner configuration so they're kind of offset?

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I have two ovens. They are not double ovens, they are two single ovens, both under the counter. One is in the island. My only regret is that the ovens are different widths - one is 27 inches and the other is 30 inches. I wish they were both 30 inch, but the configuration just didn't work. If they were the same width, I could use the racks from one in the other. The ovens are well insulated, and I haven't noticed any warmth on the counter (granite). At Christmas I was using a wall oven at my brother's house and I couldn't see the top of what I was cooking the oven was so tall!

I really like having two ovens at Thanksgiving. The turkey took one, and I put the dressing in the other one.

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Another question, though...  If I go with the 6-burner 36", will I really be able to fit more than 4 pots on it at a time?  One of my big beefs with the current 4-burner is that I can't fit two stock pots front to back without sliding the rear one partially off the flame.  Won't I have a similar problem only now adding side-to-side issues with the 36"?  Anyone have any insight.

Granted, it's not likely that I'll ever have all 6 burners in use at one time (I had an "authentic" Indian dinner once where I might have needed that, but since I've sworn off last-minute panic, I hope to never repeat that experience), but I can definitely see needing some of them.  Hmmmm...  Maybe a 5-burner configuration so they're kind of offset?

We have a 36-inch, 6-burner range. And we've had all six burners in action, more than once, using large pots, which didn't bump into each other. But if you're concerned, when you go to look, bring your large pots with you and try them out to see how they fit. Alternatively, if you can't actually get to somewhere that has the stove you're considering, find the dimensions on line and draw a "stovetop" on a big sheet of paper to see how your pots will fit on that. I don't think a five-burner arrangement will necessarily ease your concerns about getting multiple large pots on adjacent burners.

I really like having two ovens at Thanksgiving.  The turkey took one, and I put the dressing in the other one.

Aha. We've always done the stuffing in the crockpot (occasionally moving it to a sheet pan and putting it under the broiler for a minute to get lots of crust). The bird goes on the grill, weather permitting; otherwise, it gets the oven. Everything else is either stovetop cooking, or doesn't need to go in the oven until the bird is out and resting, or has its trip in the oven well ahead of time. I guess that's why I've never really wished I had a second oven.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 3 months later...

At long last, it appears that we're really starting this project. We've met with a contractor (whom we've used in the past, so we trust him), our interior designer (ditto, expert we trust her), the hardwood floor guy, and two kitchen contractors (who will be responsible for the actual kitchen layout and cabinets).

Our budget, which seemed so lavish when we started, is rapidly disappearing. The quote for the floors alone (which includes the stairs, the upstairs hall, the kitchen, and an 18x18 family room) came to $10K. And since I've got my heart set on the 60" Wolf range, there goes another small car's worth of budget. Ouch!

So here's the updated layout:

gallery_47119_3946_4174.jpg

We decided on the Wolf (and it really is a "we" since my husband was there and actually swayed me in that direction) for a couple of reasons. I knew I wanted (or thought I did) the Wolf cooktop, but we didn't like the Wolf wall ovens (mostly for aesthetic reasons) nearly as much. They look much better in the range. And while I'm sure I need two ovens (I've got two now and I use both of them all the time), I'm not so sold on the wall ovens. The top one is awkward when I'm loading/unloading heavy pans and I've got a lovely 4" burn scar on my forearm to prove it. Even if I lowered the ovens so the top one wasn't so tall, I don't know that it would improve things all that much. And I like the idea of gaining the counter space that would be otherwise lost to the oven stack. We also discussed getting a smaller range and putting a single oven in the island, but I never came up with a configuration for that layout that I liked. So we're currently planning on the Wolf, budget-allowed.

I don't much care about the refrigerator. The plan says SubZero, but I'm not sold--I'll be looking at a variety of models in the next few weeks to compare. If we can shave a few dollars of the budget there, I'm all for it.

And I've scaled back any structural changes (e.g. swapping out a window for French doors), also in the name of the budget. Plus, it keeps my island completely clear, which I love. I'm already dreaming of Christmas cookie production and having all of that counter surface to lay out cooling racks and decorating. :wub:

Meeting the kitchen designers was interesting. The first one was kind of dull--mostly just asked about what style cabinets we were looking for and took his measurements and left. The second one, Donna, was much more interactive. She started out by asking all sorts of questions about how I cook, what I cook, who I cook for--clearly questions from someone who understands that a kitchen is an experience, not just a utilitarian space. I really liked her. She asked important things like "how many sets of dishes do you have?" (and I'm embarrassed to say that I couldn't even come up with a number--I have so many different entertaining dishes) and "what kinds of small appliances do you use and how often?" When she took measurements, she also opened every cabinet (she asked permission first) and took pictures of everything so that she could come up with a real storage plan. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

As soon as we have the real layout--or cabinet choices, etc.--I'll post them.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday we met with the kitchen designer, the contractor, and our interior designer. We've worked with the interior designer before and really valued her input--we've ended up with a library and a basement that far exceeded our original vision and that make us incredibly happy every time we walk in the room, so we are hoping to get the same return on investment in this project. Unfortunately, we weren't prepared for the reality of bringing two strong-willed, creative people into the same room... Oops... It was like putting two feral cats in a small box. Okay, maybe I exagerate a little bit, but it was definitely uncomfortable (in fact, the ID called us afterward to reassure us that all clients are surprised and concerned the first time they see the KD and the ID interact).

I think, in the end, we'll get a much better product for our money, but it has suddenly dawned on me (I can be thick at times) that this is going to be a somewhat painful process. Not the demolition and renovation--we've lived through dust and dirt and noise before--but the agony of making and living with expensive choices. Part of the reason we're using an ID is that I've been known to freeze and avoid choosing altogether when faced with the finality of ruling out one of two very attractive options. I'm not usually a wimp, but when it comes to picking out a couch or deciding which cabinet door, I need someone to say "definitely this one." However, with both an ID and KD, I'm afraid that I may have two someones sounding completely confident about two extremely different options, and then I'll be back at square one... Oh well, I supose I could have worse problems. :rolleyes:

Anyway, we're getting closer to a choice on the actual cabinets. The KD is recommending a line called Denla, which doesn't have a very impressive web site, but meets our price point. The cabinet doors appear fine to me (but, as I mentioned above, I have a hard time making those choices. There are, of course, a zillion other lines of cabinets to choose from and, in fact, the KD reps others we could pick if we're willing to allot more of the budget to cabinets. The look we're going for is a bit like the top photo on the Denla home page--painted white overlay doors, maybe a few with glass inserts, a couple of accent pieces in some dark wood (walnut if we can get/afford it), brushed nickle hardware. The best adjective I can come up with to describe it is "institutional"--it reminds me of early 20th century commercial kitchens, if that makes any sense. (It is, by the way, very difficult to be having these conversations with the designers without a shared vocabulary--they live and breath it, it's entirely new to us--so I have a notebook filled with pictures I've ripped from magazines, but the ID has that and hasn't returned it yet)

Then there are all of the choices for countertops. With such an enormous island in the center, we're thinking that we'll have a couple of different materials to create interest and variety. We're looking at Silestone (or something like it), particularly the "leather" finish which is more honed than shiny, and perhaps something more natural like soapstone on the island. We may pick up some of that walnut in a small bit of counter in the pantry wall (the ID is suggesting we reconfigure it to look more like a hutch, with shallower cabinets on top, so there would be a 6" or so bit of "counter" in that section). The ID is pushing for an accent somewhere of Carera marble, but I'm not so sold--it's not my favorite material, but she's been right in the past, damn her. :hmmm:

And, having said in my previous post that we've decided on the 60" Wolf, I'm now having second thoughts. I get a killer discount on GE Monogram through my work, so I'm trying to figure out how we could incorporate those appliances instead. They don't offer a 60" range, which has been the focal point of the "range wall," but since I started out thinking a 48" range would be more than enough (since it would have to come with a single wall oven somewhere in the kitchen), I think it's possible to pull off a mental shift--especially in the interest of buying more kitchen.

That's my latest update. Hopefully we'll have actual design sketches soon.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Making decisions would be difficult for me too! I like the new place for the desk; also a window over the sink is a lovely thing. You'll still have tons of natural light from that wall.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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With our southern exposure, we actually get almost too much light in the kitchen--part of this project may include replacing the original builder's windows (which are crappy) with UV-blocking ones to cut down on the heat and glare on that side of the house. That part of the project is subject to budget-constraints, though.

Also subject to budget constraints are the "suggestions" of the ID who proposed a lovely, custom glass mosaic as a backsplash above the sink. However, she happened to mention that it was a "little bit expensive, so we'll use it sparingly" whcih immediately gave me heartburn, b/c when the ID says "expensive," she means "blow your budget" (hey, it's not her money). As it turns out, the mosaic she's suggesting is $100/sqft!!!! :wacko:

Not to worry, though... I have a fair amount of hubrous when it comes to household projects (it's how I ended up pouring my own concrete counters in the basement--and they turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself) and have no qualms about tackling almost anything. It's not brain surgery after all... Sooooooo... I've found a supplier of the exact glass she showed us (at $4/sqft) and I think I'm going to try my hand at creating my own mosaic. How hard can it be? (Don't answer that--if I know beforehand, I'll never get it done.) The mosaic looks a little bit like the offset mosaic tile from Ann Sacks, although not quite so regular.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 1 month later...

Yay!!!! Demolition is scheduled for next Monday (coincidentally? the entire family will be out of the house for a week, which should be good) and I'm hoping to sign off on the cabinet plan today.

The past week has been fairly stressful in that we've finally accumulated enough estimates to realize that we're close to 40% over our original budget, which, since it's a home equity loan, is a fairly fixed number. So there have been many, many, many phone calls and emails between the contractor (who's a gem--we've worked with him before and are constantly impressed with his organizational skills and his calm in the midst of a storm), the kitchen designer (who I'm less thrilled with, as her quote, two weeks late, was $8K more than her original estimate with no explanation of the 25% jump in price), and the interior designer. My husband and I have been scampering all over Denver looking at stoneyards and tile shops and scouring the internet for deals on plumbing fixtures, lighting, appliances, and just generally for creative ideas to bring our budget back in line.

And I *think* we've finally accomplished it. We're going to replace the painted maple doors of the cabinets with painted MDF and downgrade the cabinet boxes from maple to MDF (although we're keeping the dovetailed, full extension, quiet-close drawers), and we're going to eliminate the two-level, "hutch-like" pantry and install a standard pantry column instead. Along with doing the painting ourselves (and potentially the plumbing and some electrical) and not replacing the railing on our front stairs, this *should* allow us to include some of the extras that have sneaked into the project along the way like replacing the builder-grade windows and fireplace.

I've also had to scale back my stove dreams. I had hoped to get the 60" Wolf dual-fuel, but it's just not going to happen. :sad: Replacing the 60" with a 48" GE Monogram and its corresponding hood cuts more than 10K from our budget (I get a GE discount through work). The contractor and the kitchen designer were kind enough to let me reach that conclusion on my own. :rolleyes: So I'll order the appliances today and store them in the garage until it's time for install.

We've spent the last week or so packing up the kitchen, sending rarely used and/or badly battered items to Goodwill or the trash heap. It's been a revelation to realize how much crap I have accumulated simply because I had the storage space to do so. I definitely feel cleansed by the process! We've had lots of indoor time to do this because it's been 103 in Denver and my son (almost 10) broke his leg and is enthroned on the couch, cast from groin to toes, fairly mobile on his crutches, but not enough to go traipsing about in the heat. So I'm planning a nervous breakdown for August, when we're truly mid-project and I've been kitchenless for a month and a half. You're all welcome to join me! :biggrin:

We should have final plans from the kitchen designer today--hopefully I'll be able to post some updated images.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Bekki

Do you mind listing some of the places online where you've found fixtures, lighting, etc? We're right in the midst of plannin our kitchen reno and its costing a lot more than we thought too.

Since I have an address in the US, I'd like to buy the sink and fixtures online to save us some money!!

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Do you mind listing some of the places online where you've found fixtures, lighting, etc? We're right in the midst of plannin our kitchen reno and its costing a lot more than we thought too.

Price shop around the plumbing/fixtures websites: efaucet, qualitybath, etc. I got great prices on my sink and faucet through sites like this.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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BekkiM! I think we're having matching kitchen renos, time-wise. Mine was to start on 7/9, but I began a new job and begged the contractor for a few extra days.

Wanna race? :biggrin: When I redid my kitchen in Atlanta, I "raced" with a friend building a 3br/2ba house in Flagstaff, AZ (she lives in Scottsdale). Our work started the same week. She was done two months before me.

BTW, I hear the GE stove is great.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Wanna race?  :biggrin: 

You're on! On your mark, get set.... wait for it.... wait for it.... Oh, crap, we have to move a pipe... lol

Our renovation is actually proceeding fairly smoothly. During the initial demolition, we did discover a waste pipe from the upstairs was routed through the closet wall in the kitchen and had to be relocated, but it wasn't too bad. We also discovered that the builder had not installed the water line to the refrigerator to code and when they attempted to shut off the water to it, it started leaking. Call the plumber again... Actually, we had kind of known about it beforehand, but when we finished the basement, we couldn't figure out how to get at the valve (it was above the heating duct and behind a beam), so we went with the "cross your fingers and hope it never leaks" approach which is really not recommended for home improvement projects. :biggrin:

It's always a crapshoot when you open up the walls of any house (as fabulousfoodbabe is finding too), even a relatively new one like ours. When they took down the half wall between the kitchen and the family room they discovered that the wiring for the garage routed through there (don't ask me why, it's not on any sort of straight path that I could draw) so we were without garage power for a few days until the electrician could come in a reroute it. Also, we had hoped to move the cold air return to the adjacent wall, but that failed when we realized the target wall was almost literally a sold stack of 2x4s holding up the steel beam that's holding up the upstairs--back to the drawing board with the HVAC stuff.

And that was only the first week! :blink:

We were able to work out a deal with our contractor (bless him!) to cut back his involvement in exchange for some concessions on the budget and get the front stair demolition back into the project. It means we'll have to take over the general contractor duties once floors and drywall are completed, but I think we're okay with that, especially since the kitchen designer will handle all of the cabinet and appliance install.

So here's where we stand at the end of week 2:

* Old kitchen is completely demolished. The old cabinets are sitting in our garage waiting for a friend to pick them up.

* Framing of the soffit in the kitchen and family room is complete and it looks aweseome! (see pix, below)

* Wobbly, ugly stair railing is gone and the new half-wall is framed up in its place.

* Carpet is removed from the stairs and son's new bedroom (we combined two small rooms into one) in anticipation of the hardwood floors.

* Hardwood flooring has been delivered and is acclimating in the family room

* Tile for the kitchen and family room (24" Ann Sacks--beautiful!) has been ordered and is scheduled to be delivered today

* Appliances have been ordered, but are on backorder

* Cabinets have been ordered, but the plant is on a two-week shutdown (they're in northern Canada, so they close for the two weeks of summer they get), so we are probably looking at 7-8 weeks before they're completed.

* Electrician is scheduled for Monday to install the kitchen/family room lights

* I'm about 3% complete on cutting the glass for the mosaic backsplash which the interior designer has convinced me needs to extend to the ceiling behind the sink.

Here are some pictures of the progress:

gallery_47119_3946_247985.jpg

The soffit looking from the kitchen into the family room.

gallery_47119_3946_503261.jpg

The soffit looking from the family room into the kitchen.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Hey Bekki

Do you mind listing some of the places online where you've found fixtures, lighting, etc?  We're right in the midst of plannin our kitchen reno and its costing a lot more than we thought too.

Since I have an address in the US, I'd like to buy the sink and fixtures online to save us some money!!

I found my sink (Blanco 512-750) on eBay for a steal. I paid $740 with free shipping, which was far, far less than the kitchen designer could get it for me. It arrived in its original packaging and is in perfect shape.

Other than that, I'm not sure that I've found anywhere specific for bargains. It really depends on what you're shopping for. The best advice is persistance. When you find a specific item (faucet, sink, lighting fixture, wallpaper, etc.), spend a couple of hours on Google tracking down a site that sells whatever it is and looks reliable. But like everything else, there's no such thing as a free lunch. The guy selling a 60" Wolf range on eBay for $3,000? Probably not for real.

I think more than using the web to find bargains (although we're trying), we use the web to find unique or specialized items. For example, we ordered flush-mount walnut vent covers for the kitchen/family room to inset into the tiled floor at a place called Ameriican Wood Vents because I couldn't find them locally.

And my husband found a place online to get our stainless backsplash (Frigo Design), but we haven't contacted them yet for a quote, so I don't know whether we'll use them or try to find someone locally. The GE backsplash is only 22" and I want something that extends all the way from the range to the hood, so I needed a custom size.

If I find any other sources, I'll let you know. We haven't ordered the faucet yet, so I may have more info later. Good luck with your project!

Edited by BekkiM (log)
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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It seems that everything slows to a snail's pace once the framing is done, but in reality we're still making great progress. The hardwood floors are in upstairs, just waiting for the drywall to be completed before the stair treads themselves go in. For now we're gingerly making our way up the much shortened stairs (they cut the lips off the front of the treads in preparation for the oak they then decided not to install until post-drywall for a tighter fit), which isn't too bad unless you're on crutches, like my son.

Electrical is complete in the kitchen--all of my new lights are hung in the soffit, the outlets have been brought up to code (you would think, with a brand-new house, that this wouldn't have been issue, but go figure...), the smoke detectors ditto (strangely, they work much better when attached to the ceiling instead of stuffed in a drawer, emptied of batteries), and the rough-in wiring for the stove and undercabinet lights is in place.

I'm currently struggling with the decision about a faucet. Husband wants a real "pre-rinse" faucet (since he's usually the one in charge of dishes, I'm willing to let him make this decision), but I'm not sure about the aesthetics. Does anyone know if the pretty "home" versions (e.g. this one, from Elkay) are comparable? Do they really have better water pressure than your standard, pull-out sprayer? Do they work for filling pots, pans, water glasses, and ice cube trays? I'd like to keep the visual as clean as possible, so I'm leaning away from the versions that have both sprayer and "normal" faucet.

Drywall is delivered on Friday for installation starting Monday. We're hoping to have enough of a window between drywall install and tiling that we can paint--we're planning on doing the painting ourselves to save $1800, although given the overall budget for this project, that's only a drop in the bucket.

We're also meeting with the carpenter on Thursday to discuss the walnut dropped ceiling over the island and the walnut panels fronting the fireplace. I've got to draw up the detailed plans today, so I'll post those later.

Fabby, our contractor is optimistically saying end of September to be completely done--what's your timeline?

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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