NEW! Google Custom Search

Loading

Kitchen Design

George_W._Carpenter's picture

*
Now that I've found where Lisa, Mongo, and a few other Sawdust Reprobates hang out for class company... Who designs the best Home Kitchens? Architects, Cooks, Chefs, Interior Designers or Builders?
Lets hear what you think, and why.
And can anyone answer why SO MANY featured kitchens have the cooktop on one end, oven on the other, and refridgerator on the third wall with a ell-shaped island in between? Hmmm?

kai_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #1 of 44)

*
Whoa, George, you have pushed my buttons! Here are some thoughts:

I'm lame tonite, but here is an example:

I enter the kitchen with heavy bag(s)--the kitchen door opens towards my right; if the fridge is on the left, its door should open to the left, away from me, rather than smacking me.(Not my current fridge design, btw, which is why I am adamant.)(Has anyone ever seen an upright freezer door open "toward" the fridge portion of that entity?)

Heat should stay near heat. Need I explain?

My kitchen is a tiny (early 1900's version of whatever), elongated rectangle--so I have lots of (ether) room to gripe!--but I think most kitchens were planned by men (not chefs, or women who cooked a lot). We need to revolt. Here is an example:

I place all my baking cookware in one place, my serving dishes in another, my...it all depends on how you serve the foods you cook. But, I guarantee if (male) "cooks" start telling us how to best design a kitchen, then those in the construction biz will pay attention!

BTW, my ideal kitchen would be one of the biggest rooms in the house, with myriad arrangements of comfy seating, islands galore, any number of heating elements--at least one "restaurant-sized" stove--fridge, and freezer, oh, and all the doodads like smoker, indoor grill, and what is that Martha thing? a fancy name for an indoor broiler? Salamander? Hello! Isn't that a reptile? lol
Thanks for indulging me.

Sandra_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #2 of 44)

*
Hi George:
I make my living writing about highly photogenic kitchens for various magazines. First rule of thumb -- if it's in a magazine, chances are about 70/30 that nobody has ever actually cooked in it. As often as not, the owner can't even say for sure if there's a refrigerator in the damned room. (You think I'm kidding? I wish!)Their caterers will know where to find it, and that's what counts.
Second rule of thumb: if it's been seen in a magazine,many, many people with far more money than is actually healthy will insist that this is exactly the kitchen they have been dying for all their lives. It does not matter that it makes no sense whatsoever. It looks shiny and new, and that's what counts. These people tend to microwave everything, anyway.
Third rule of thumb: one cook's perfect kitchen is the next cook's nightmare. I know because I'm living that scenario right now -- renting a house that belongs to my best friend, a wonderful cook who designed the kitchen to her specifications. Unfortunately, her specs and mine do not coincide in any meaningful way (i.e., up-by-the-bootstraps, working-class Brit that she is, she considers dishwashers to be a decadent, useless N. American affectation...hence no room to install even a tiny, portable dishwasher. Also,in the fine old British tradition, she shops for fresh veggies daily, rather than twice-weekly -- hence a tiny, tiny fridge that cannot accommodate a head of lettuce, a carton of milk and a six-pack of beer at the same time...)There is, however, an admirable quantity of storage space for the massive quantities of preserves that she puts by every fall, which is an economy I do not share.
Moral of the above: the only perfect kitchen is the one you design yourself for your own needs, whether those needs be having your home spread out in the pages of a glossy magazine, imitating those glossy spreads, or keeping your Guiness at room-temp while washing your dishes by hand, when not putting up quantities of mango chutney just in case the supermarkets close on account of the Apocalypse.

Steven_I.'s picture

(post #53713, reply #3 of 44)

*
I am a designer and builder who loves to cook; I also have a few years professional cooking experience.

I would say that most kitchens are designed for people who do not do a lot of cooking. Household cooking practices vary from simple preparation (ie. microwaved frozen meals and a side salad) to elaborate (stocks from scratch, baking, pasta, icecream, etc.). Most people work in the lower range of the scale.

The more elaborate your cooking routine is, the more space you need - counter space, storage space, etc. I find standard depth counters inadequate for the way I like to work. If I could have just one thing it would be a sturdy, free-standing prep table 36" deep and as long as possible.

If you want to hire a design professional of some sort, look for someone with experience in the area of restaurant kitchens. Think of the kitchen as a work space first (efficiency), then scale down as required.

Consider how you want to spend your money - what are your priorities? Expensive cabinets and finishes or commercial grade appliances (or both $$$). If you are in the market for a new kitchen, and are serious about cooking, hire someone who knows what this means.

Hope this helps,

Steven

Carolina's picture

(post #53713, reply #4 of 44)

*
George,

After cooking in a kitchen the size of a shoe box for 15 years, I finally got my "dream" kitchen.

Basically, I designed the space myself, then took the plans to a certified kitchen designer for fine tuning; exact cabinet dimensions, lighting suggestions, plumbing specs, city code restrictions, etc.

Since we were removing interior and exterior load bearing walls, we had to have some one who really knew their business. Ours did.

We talked to friends who had recently remodeled their kitchens, researched building materials and appliances, interviewed constractors, and bit the bullet.

After 8 months, starting from the day I walked into the designer's office and ending on the day when the last piece of wallpaper went up, I had one heck of a fantastic kitchen.

My kitchen is based on the concept of "form follows function". (Thank you, Frank Lloyd Wright.) Everything that went in to making up the new kitchen had to be functional, easy to maintain, durable AND affordable. If it was all of those things and good looking, too,...well, so much the better.

The end result is a G+ shaped design with cabinets and counters everywhere, a walk-in pantry, roll out shelves, 36" cooktop with a down-draft system that will suck you into the next county, hardwood floors, tile counters, stainless steel wherever possible, a monster mable in-set cutting board, buffet counter under my china cabinet, three different kinds of lighting, specially designed drawers, roll-out recycle bin, and seating for four people.

No wasted space, no marble, no designer do-dads and no commercial anything. My kitchen may never make it in to a magazine (nor do I want it to), but I wouldn't trade it for all the Corian and Sub-Zeros in the world.

Sandra_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #5 of 44)

*
Carolina -- sounds like the perfect kitchen to me. Can never figure out why people want tile floors in their kitchen. Personally, I'd go for good old linoleum (the most durable, forgiving material ever created by humankind, and environmentally friendly to boot. And no, it doesn't *have* to be ugly!) and stainless steel and maple for the counters.
Don't agree that the best kitchens are always big -- it's not how much space you have, it's what use you make of the space available. Intelligent economy wins over quantity everytime.

Carolina's picture

(post #53713, reply #6 of 44)

*
Sandra,

Didn't mean to imply that we have some monster-sized kitchen. We were able to pack everything in because of careful designing.

You certainly are right about tile floors in kitchens. A friend has a beautiful blue Mexican hand-made tile floor. It's only been down a little over two years and she has already had to have 6 tiles replaced because of chips and cracks from dropped items. She complains constantly about how hard it is on her feet and back, and swears she'd never do it again.

To be perfectly honest, if I could do my floor over again, I would go with vinyl. Even after just 5 years, this wood floor of mine could stand to be refinished, but it won't happen in my life time! I'd cover it with vinyl before I'd let anybody get near my kitchen with a sanding machine. I'm still coughing up sawdust from the remodeling job!:-}

George_W._Carpenter's picture

(post #53713, reply #7 of 44)

*
Carolina, your floor could be refinished without all that dust. Seek a contractor who will use a
sander/vac combo unit. The vac inhales most of the dust (over 95%) while the sander operates.
You'll loose the use of the room for a couple of days, but that's what vacations are for!
Hardwood, antique softwood, and CORK are some of the most forgiving materials. See our companion Board, < Obsolete Link > BREAKTIME, for more information.

Gerard's picture

(post #53713, reply #8 of 44)

*
Sandra,

We never put lettuce milk and beer (beeyah) in the refrigerator when I lived in England.
Thats why we drink warm beer.
The weather is generally so cool in England you can leave milk out a couple of days, the milkman always brought more.

For kitchen design, forget interior designers, they should be shot. If we were thinking of designing a gas station would we hire a dentist?

I have no counters, but a great 3 inch thick maple table thats 12 feet long X 4 feet wide.
You can take red hot pans from the oven and leave them on the table, pound veal on it, chop to your hearts delight. They are cheaper than fitted plastic counters.

Regards, Gerard

Sandy's picture

(post #53713, reply #9 of 44)

*
George --

You're absolutely right about the cork. I don't have any in my kitchen yet, but I've worked in kitchens with it. It's a wonderfully, forgiving, resilient surface. In the meantime, I wear Birkenstocks when I cook :)

My current kitchen was shoehorned into a corner of a 125-year old log home. We are gradually ripping out the 80's era chipboard and golden oak cabinets (the best Cashway has to offer), as well as the 70's era appliances (stunning shades of avocado) and designing a new space ourselves. Our design guidelines include a fabulous British kitchen I saw in FHB (can't remember the issue #, the builder was a guy named Big Egg), C. Alexander's A Pattern Language, and my twenty+ years of cooking instincts. We often end up referring to older design books for ideas on butler's pantries.

If I consult any professionals, it will be a good cabinetmaker, for that purpose. The layout will be designed to suit me (5'4", fond of pantries and energy efficiency) rather than a design ideal.

Jean_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #10 of 44)

*
My kitchen is carpeted and I would'nt have it any other way. My adorable daughter has vinyl and after a day of working in her kitchen, my feet are killing me! Today's carpet fabrics are so easy to clean, even if I have a major spill it cleans up beautifully with a wetvac. It's warm, it's quiet and it's easy on the feet.

Jane_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #11 of 44)

*
We've just bought a century-old house whose former owners did not enjoy cooking. Therefore, their remodeling $ went elsewhere. We do love to cook and entertain and hope to begin remodeling soon. I'm aiming for a 'commerical style' kitchen, one that is extremely practical and hopefully, a little less expensive. My questions: 1. I love the way commercial ranges look but don't know if I really need one. Also, the restaurant supply store near here won't sell me one since I don't have a firewall. Dacors are $7000+. What's the best investment for an ambitious weekend cook? 2. I've never heard of a cork floor. Is it easy to keep clean? Is that a commercial material or would most flooring companies have it? 3. I want stainless steel wherever possible. I've already invested in a 30"x36" utility table which is money well spent. Are stainless steel counters too expensive and are they practical for a home kitchen? 4. Do any of you have experience with open shelving everywhere? I like the idea of everything at my fingertips but wonder about dust, the "look", etc. Any other words of wisdom would be most appreciated.
Jane

Carolina's picture

(post #53713, reply #12 of 44)

*
>Carolina, your floor could be refinished without all that dust. Seek a
contractor who will use a sander/vac combo unit. The vac inhales most
of the dust (over 95%) while the sander operates.

George,

I didn't know such a thing existed. What a great idea! Maybe there is hope for my floors yet.

>CORK are some of the most forgiving
materials. See our companion Board, BREAKTIME for more
information.

You must be a mind reader. I had seriously been thinking of covering my hardwood floor with cork flooring, so I went to Breaktime (about Jan. 1) to see if there was any information already posted on it. I found out everything I needed to know and even answered a question...if you can believe that!

Thanks so very much for the advice,

Carolina

Sandra_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #13 of 44)

*
Hi Jane:
I doubt that you really need a professional stove -- besides the firewall, you'd also have to invest in a heavy duty fan and air recovery system. Most of the higher-end stove manufacturers now offer a stainless steel model that looks professional- you might want to check that out.
Yes, cork is widely available. Linoleum is also well-worth considering -- it's essentially wood fibres and resin -- it's antibacterial, wears forever, comes in wonderful colours (forget the battleship grey linoleum your grandmother had...) is self-healing, and is gentle on your feet. I can't think of a single negative quality, except that it is expensive relative to vinyl.
I'm a big fan of open shelving, mostly because I think the tools, equipment and ingredients are beautiful, and I like seeing them. (SOrt of like a cook's equivalent to a library -- wouldn't worry about dust, anymore than you'd worry about dust on bookshelves. Stuff that actually gets used doesn't accumulate dust.)
And yes, stainless steel is very practical in a kitchen -- for ease of cleaning, safe place to put hot pots, nice surface for rolling out doughs, etc. I'd combine stainless with maple inserts (or as Gerard does, just stick with a maple-topped worktable.)

cany's picture

(post #53713, reply #14 of 44)

*
I agree with you all. What I would add is this: place all utensils and devices near where they will be used (baking near stove; freezing/storage near fridge; serving near dining room, etc.).

Also, tile is a wonderful media for flooring--you need to get the RIGHT kind, however, and, perhaps, have it sealed to the max. It is NOT, however, great if you are on your feet all day--get a rug, mat, cork squares, etc., and wear good shoes! Another alternative is the "drain in the center of the floor"...This would have worked well for me when I opened the freezer door and two quart jars of chicken soup popped out and crashed their already broken jars on my floor --contents and glass all over)--followed by a 5-lb bag of sugar. Sticky. Yuck. (Lesson: do NOT fill glass jars too full before freezing! Place everything in a plastic bag before freezing.)

Well, time to dream, but I would like a kitchen that makes "logical" paths from, e.g., bringin' home the bacon, to storing it, to cooking it, to using it in eggs benedict, to (ok, this is very lazy), taking the leftovers to work for the next morning. Oh, and a place to serve food to my loved ones, or, a sunroom where I am served breakfast! Oh, I could go on :)

canned laughter never counts,

cany

Sandy's picture

(post #53713, reply #15 of 44)

*
Stoves

I'll second the vote on non-pro stoves for home cooks. We recently installed a Frigidaire Gallery series propane stove (no gas available in the boonies, eh) and I have no complaints. I didn't have to get special permits or install extra vents.

If you visit real restaurant kitchens, you quickly realize that a) surfaces are stainless because it's fire and heat-proof, a requirement around professional stoves and
b) every surface is wiped down with hot cleaning solutions at least once a day.

If you don't have a fingerprint problem, and like polishing things, stainless is a wonderful treatment.
But for hot pots and things, you could also consider a granite or soapstone insert in your counter top.

Mary_Sarber's picture

(post #53713, reply #16 of 44)

*
Thanks for the info Steven, I am starting two kitchen makeovers this year and LOVE to cook, I am hiring a designer for one project and using his expertise to help me make decisions for the other.

George_W._Carpenter's picture

(post #53713, reply #17 of 44)

*
Jane, seek information from King, Hobart, Wolf, Garland, Viking, etc... most of the Commercial Stove
manufacturers make a "Residential" model that has the required insulation for use without a fire rated wall and hood system. The ovens are smaller to accomodate the insulation, a small price to pay for the performance.

George_W._Carpenter's picture

(post #53713, reply #18 of 44)

*
cany, you're right, tiles are fine when used with consideration. As noted, linoleum is a good product, but pricey; and in sheet form, a bit tricky for the average DIY to use.

I've put floor drains in each of the commercial kitchens I've constructed. Building Inspector's hated them, Health Dept. Inspector loved it. Spill? Mop, hose w/180 degree water, disinfect/soap, hose again and squeegee dry. Flooring material was linoleum over cement. Too tough to stand on without a anti-fatigue mat, but durable and easy to clean for sure.

EM_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #19 of 44)

*
My *next* kitchen floor will be made of the commercial grade tile squares (not ceramic, yes to linoleum), in black and white, with a good sealant. I know of one very many years old and it still looks great with minimum upkeep.

EM_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #20 of 44)

*
My *next* kitchen floor will be made of the commercial grade tile squares (not ceramic, yes to linoleum), in black
and white, with a good sealant. I know of one very many years old and it still looks great with minimum upkeep.

Correction: the floor I spoke of is actually made of rubber, so I was just told.

Larry_D.'s picture

(post #53713, reply #21 of 44)

*
Dear Jane:
I am somewhat surprised by many of the responses regarding commercial ranges. Where is Mean Chef?--must be on vacation. I do not believe there is even room to debate the issue now that I have purchased a commercial Garland range and Salamander, dealt with our local restaurant supply dealer, my builder who has built restaurants and have learned the building code within our city.
Dollar/BTU for the commercial range as compared to the "commercial-look" ranges made by Viking, Wolff, and many others (as you have already found out) are no comparison. The cost of BTU power is vastly greater in the commercial line for significantly less expense. Do you need this much power? (25,000 BTU per burner) Likely not an essential element BUT if it costs less why in the world not get the power? It is only BTU's which prepares food with few exceptions (sushi!)
I just purchased a 36"Garland gas range with 4 burners rated @ 25,000 BTU/hr + a 12" X 36" griddle + a full convection gas oven,continuous clean. The range has pizo-electric ignition, and is stainless on all sides. Such a range does not permit broiling in the oven, therefore, I purchased a Garland Salamander which produces 40,000 BTU/hr. My cost for this is $5,200!!!---This is much more powerful and essentially equally functional to your $7,000 "commercial-look" range.
REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL RANGES:#1.Mandatory commercial hood with flow rates in the 650 - 900 CFM range. I have a three speed fan and talked the builder out of fire suppression within the hood. Cost = $800 builder source, $1,500 rest. supply source. Value = enormous. Try cooking a tenderloin roast at 450degrees and you will rapidly learn of the value of a good hood.
#2.Must have a large gas line installed. My range requires a 1" diameter line to permit me to have the oven on, two or three of the burners and perhaps the salamander. A gas line of lesser size will result in the full power of the range ever being realized. #3.Adequate clearance which is not prohibitive! A Furnace only requires a 2" dead-air space between the furnace and flammable surfaces, thus a commercial range requires less-I have the space and therefore placed a 3" dead air space on either side of the range which is set between two oak traditional cabinets. The Back:drywall is not considered a flammable surface but I lined this wall with stainless steel which permits me to hide the gas line feeding the Salamander which is positioned above the range but clearly under the hood.#4:Convince the Restaurant supply dealer you will have a builder install the equipment, and speak with your fire insurance agent--when they understand that commercial code was followed for your city, they should be able to be easily convinced to sell the product to you. ALL OF THE BROCHURES FROM GARLAND AND OTHER COMMERCIAL VENDORS CLEARLY STATE: "NOT FOR RESIDENTIAL USE"---ignore this but be careful with the installation.

AN OBSERVATION:It seems there to be an inverse relationship between the excellence and experience of the cook and the insistence on having the most expensive, most powerful, and the bestest of culinary products! ---- Is this a testosterone effect?

JaneRose_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #22 of 44)

*
Just spent a year redoing my kitchen. The house is seventy years old and had lowered ceiligs and terrible cheap brown panelling over the plaster walls. After I took the ceilings down, the brown junk off, I started scraping off the floor tiles to find beautiful oak. Had to have professional help to get the grunge off but they did use the vac type sanders. Since the cabinet doors had been whacked to fit the lowered ceilings, I just left them off, painted with a med luster Swedish white paint and EVERY thing I cook with looks terrific. Open shelving encourages me to use all my collection of stuff. Since I am a librarian, I have books in there too. Nothing gets messy. The cookbooks look great. I added two sets of stand alone shelving at the end of the kitchen for more books, pots, linens -- just love it. I am NOT a professional cook -- but love to eat and LOVE to lurk on this site. You folks are teaching me a lot and many, many times I just burst out loud laughing at your humor. Oh, got the place lined up galley style so there are only two or three steps to any appliance.

George_W._Carpenter's picture

(post #53713, reply #23 of 44)

*
Larry, congrats on a great combo... I've used the twin oven/6 burner/griddle w/salamander by Garland.
Do you have "Make-up Air?" to offset the negative pressure created by your hood system?

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #53713, reply #24 of 44)

*
Larry, don't worry I have been keeping my eye on these bozos. I stopped reading this particular topic about the time they started talking about cork flooring.
You are so, so right about commercial ranges. As far as I'm concerned, a bullet proof, high BTU, Commercial range is the way to go. Plus of course a very high BTU Wok burner on the side.
I think the point that you are missing is: the come look at my new kitchen, see my polished pot and pans on display, I don't cook except on weekends, buy a high priced commercial lookalike, I don't know much about cooking people don't get it. It's not about practicality and good cooking. Oh well. Glad to see someone sees through the bull******.
I attempted to respond earlier, but Sean must have stumbled and pulled the plug. My message wouldn't post.

Sandra_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #25 of 44)

*
So glad to see MC chime in with his inimitable insights. MC -- you are absolutely right. Most of this high end kitchen stuff is bought for reasons that have nothing to do with food or cooking. But that's evidently the consume-at-any-cost mindset that keeps the North American economy moving, and restaurants like yours full every night.

Sandy's picture

(post #53713, reply #26 of 44)

*
MC --

Glad you're keeping an eye on us bozos. I still stand by cork flooring.

Some of us bozos are still on our first house and can't afford either real or pretend commercial equipment. And I hate to think that the only definition of a good cook is someone who spends huge amounts of money on equipment.

Just doing my best with what I've got,

Sandy

Carolina's picture

(post #53713, reply #27 of 44)

*
From MC:
>don't worry I have been keeping my eye on these bozos. I
stopped reading this particular topic about the time they started talking
about cork flooring.

Okay, MC, so what's so terrible about cork flooring? Everything that I have heard or read about it sounds good. It's time to put your money where your mouth is.

From Sandy:
>Some of us bozos are still on our first house and can't afford either
real or pretend commercial equipment.

Some of us bozos don't
i WANT
either real or pretend commerical equipment.

From Sandy:
>And I hate to think that the
only definition of a good cook is someone who spends huge amounts
of money on equipment.

I agree completely. If anyone thinks I'm not a good cook because my kitchen isn't filled with commercial equipment, that's their problem. Quite frankly, I think anybody who spends $7,000 on a
i stove
doesn't have both oars in the water anyway, so why should I care what they think!

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #53713, reply #28 of 44)

*
I've said this before: I would rather have a $500 gas stove than a $5000 electric stove.
I am not advocating expensive, just sturdy, utilitarian and not necessarily pretty. I buy most of my stuff in a commercial Kitchen supply place, which also sells to the public. Most everything I find there is about half the price of retail kitchen stores.
I was being critical of money spent for no value; that is, why buy a $7000 gas range when you can get one that "cooks better" for $5000.
I think that any serious cook will want the best equipment for the money he/she has to spend. Just don't waste it on high polish and bells and whistles just to impress your friends.

Mongo_'s picture

(post #53713, reply #29 of 44)

*
Back to the original Q: Who designs the best kitchens?
IMO, the one who uses it. IF they know what's available to them in terms of both construction materials and appliances. IF they realize it doesn't have to be like the neighbor's. IF they have the courage to DO WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM, and NOT what they think the neighbors will "ooohhh" and " aaahhh" over.

Before living in my present house, which my lovely bride and I self-designed and self-built, we lived in 6 different houses as a married couple, both stateside and overseas. In those 6 different kitchens, we found a few things we liked, and many, many things we disliked. We found ways to "fix" some shortcomings, we were able to adjust to and live with others, and we absolutely suffered through others that we were unable to change.

We remembered.

In designing our current kitchen, we compensated for everything we had learned in our previous "lives" as best we could. We know how WE unload groceries. We know how WE cook, both individually and together. We know how many gadgets, gizmo's, and thing-a-ma-jigs we own, how often we use them, and WHERE we use them. We've considered our children, now 6 & 8, and how they function and malfunction in the kitchen. How traffic patterns flow. A myriad other considerations.

I'm 6'4", she's 5'1". Do we have "standard" countertop heights? Not-a-one. We're not standard! We have butcherblock prep areas from 33 to 43 inches high. We have a bake area 32" high. The sink and island (cooktop) are 34" high. Did we make a mistake? Does the "formula" show that for a 6'4" person or for someone 5'1" tall a countertop should be "x" or "y" inches high, not 43" or 32"? Who cares? For ME, it's a comfortable work height. For my wife, the heights we used are most comfortable for her. 90% of the kitchen is "for her". Do the counter runs look like a NYC skyline, up and down? No, due to the way the work areas are layed out it all comes together nicely.

We don't like cubby's for appliances. Things we use often are always out. Do we lose countertop to them? No, because we built the lower and upper cabinets 6" deeper them normal. 30" countertops abound. Some shelving is open, some have doors. ALL bottom shelves pull out for full access to all storage. No getting on your knees with a flashlight to search in the dark abyss for the wayward pot/pan/whatever is missing.

Wood floors. We wanted them. The design incorporates a variety of concrete and maple countertops near the "hot", "wet" and "cold" work areas. We wanted them. Maple countertops next to the dishwasher for unloading and plate "prep" so there is less of a tendency to bouce and chip a plate/bowl/china on the stone. End grain butcherblock for food chopping, etc.

Appliances. Yes, some may consider ours the "wannabe" kind. We have a 6-burner Viking gas. 18000 BTU is enough for us. A Dacor 30" convection wall oven serves us well. Some on this forum may chuckle, but we cook four plates a night, not 120.

Our kitchen is not a sterile showplace. EVERY meal my wife serves is from scratch. 10-14 loaves of bread a week are baked in this kitchen. She's no back to nature nut, she just loves food. Eating is too important in our house to do it badly. If you're going to suck up calories, they may as well taste good. She even gets a card from the Penzey's every winter holiday!

To design a successful kitchen you have to know what works for YOU. You have to know what is available to make that picture in your head translate to specifications on paper. If 18000 BTU's won't suffice, you need to know that somewhere out there, 40000 BTUs is available. You need a knowledgeable builder to make it all happen. You need a wallet thick enough to afford the "custom" over the "stock" where applicable.

Magazine pics look wonderful. Go past the surface and think about how you would cook in that "designer showcase". I bet you wish "this" was larger, that "that" was moved over slightly, etc. Beauty and functionality are different things. They meld differently for each of us. Designers, architects, and builders can put together a wonderful kitchen, and construct it according to the rules. That's fine if the "rules" apply to you.

People do walk into my kitchen and "oohhh" and "ahhhh". It is a nice room. But were they to prepare a meal, they may start thinking "why didn't they...", or "If only this was higher...". It's not meant for them, though. That's why it's custom. For me. For my wife. My kids.

In general, I think a homeowner needs help in the design from a professional. However, the professional needs to accomadate the desires and quirks of the cook. Custom is not building for resale down the road. It's building for today, for the current user.

Carolina's picture

(post #53713, reply #30 of 44)

*
Mongo,

My hat goes off to you. You did it your way and IMNSHO, you did it the right way. As I stated before, after living and working in my kitchen for 15 years, I knew
i exactly
what I wanted and what I needed. That's why I designed the kitchen myself, with fine tuning from a kitchen designer. If I was lucky and those things fit my pocketbook, so much the better. My kitchen is like yours...it's perfect for
i us
and hang what anybody else thinks.

So here's to you. Happy cooking!