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658296 Posts in 9264 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 57 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: The working cook's kitchen.  (Read 1188 times)
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Bernard
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Posts: 9845


« on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:20:41 PM »

So dudes we are inspecting another house tomorrow, and god willing they don't tell us it's a death trap that needs to be killed with fire, I will have a kitchen to build from more or less scratch. There is both good and bad news, and they're both the same, which is that it's tiny. Bad because it means that absolutely everything that does not have to be in the kitchen (like dishes, glasses, pantry, baking stuff) will have to go elsewhere. Good because it means I can afford quasi custom build with nicer materials, since I won't need much of it.

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Greg Nog
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« Reply #1 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:22:30 PM »

How big is the space?  Will you have to install a stove?  Is there already a sink in there?  What's the layout look like?
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Bernard
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:33:34 PM »

I have been cooking a lot over the past weeks to try to get a sense of what I really use and need to have right in the kitchen. Anything important missing from this list? What are your favorite tools and what would be an ideal way for you to store them?

1. Some (not all) pots and pans:
Big cast iron pan
Big frying pan
Small nonstick frying pan
Big nonstick pot for boiling stuff (lightweight for ease of draining, and for getting a good rice crust)
Big pot for stews (heavyweight)
Medium pot
Sheet pans with silpats

The cast iron pan will live on the cooktop, since I clean and oil it there. Not something I want to stick in a cabinet.

Baking stuff that could be stored in an island or near, but not actually in, the kitchen:
Pie dish
Loaf pan
Bundt pan
Springform pan
Tart pan
Don't have but keep wanting smaller cast iron pan for cornbread
Ceramic baking dish, small -- for strata
Ceramic baking dish, large -- for lasagne
Cast iron/enameled pot -- for bread
Baking stone -- can live in oven.

Prep tools:
LOTS of small glass prep bowls. I feel like I am constantly grabbing a fresh one to crack an egg, or to quarantine wet ingredients, or shallots, or whatever. A few times I have actually run out of them, because they're also my favorites for eating most foods. They're about 2-cup capacity and stacking. I kind of want to steal these bowls from my MIL. In fact, I might swap her something for them, maybe my knife blocks. Will almost definitely not have space for a block and will need to go magnetic.

I will have a think.



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Bernard
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:34:20 PM »

One sec, I will do a drawing and give you a guesstimate. I only saw it once, and briefly, and it's so small the realtor didn't bother to put a photo with the listing. brb
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ellaguru
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Posts: 5447


« Reply #4 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:41:28 PM »

Some friends of mine had all of their pots hanging on a wall in their kitchen. Do you have wall space to mount such things? I've done something similar for my smaller tools (I have lots of space, but no drawers), I have hooks mounted under the entire length of the upper cabinets and hang everything there. Saves space, plus they're all the more accessible.
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milesofsparks
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« Reply #5 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:42:09 PM »

If it were me, I'd use Ikea cabinetry (I think most of it above the total cheapo stuff is decent) and spend the money getting good appliances, sink, and faucet.  Also, I hate granite & marble countertops (though maybe you have a different opinion) I think they're not worth the trouble.  If the space is really small, closed cabinets below and open shelving above might keep it from getting claustrophobic.

Is there a separate dining area you can keep a sideboard in?
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milesofsparks
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:43:47 PM »

I am tall, so I store pans and pots on hooks, used to be over stove, now over the sink.  But then I also have 0 cabinets.
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Bernard
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:44:38 PM »

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milesofsparks
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:46:41 PM »

A good thing to do right now would be to collect images (including visiting friends and taking photos) of what appeals to you in small kitchens (Pinterest might be useful here).  Here are a few:
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/small-kitchen-inspirations-113195
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milesofsparks
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:48:28 PM »

more:
http://contests.apartmenttherapy.com/2010/small-cool-kitchens/
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/organized-and-e-143412
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With some of my research and knowledge I am a little sure about it.
Bernard
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Posts: 9845


« Reply #10 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:53:33 PM »

We're definitely using IKEA cabinets/drawers, but are looking at the possibility of using custom fronts.

Countertops: I would like two surfaces: one on which I can set down hot pans (and could also use for rolling out dough) and one big chunk of butcher block near the sink.

Wall space: I am open to using above-counter-height wall space for stuff other than cabinets, such as a big rack for hanging things. I am not tall so I find that the top shelf of a wall cabinet is inaccessible and the middle shelf is semi-accessible -- I can't see stuff at the back. I worry about things getting dirty/greasy, but then I have never had a vent before, and will be able to have one in the new place. That could make a big difference, I just don't know.

Separate dining area for cupboard: yes, definitely.

There is a sink already, and I have marked where the fridge used to be and where I think the stove used to be. No preexisting space for a dishwasher. I have had a dishwasher for the first time and am sold on having one now. The newfangled ones actually get the dishes clean and with anklebiter running around, being able to stick dirty dishes directly in there and not have them pile up in my sink has been a great boon.
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Bernard
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 03, 2012, 12:55:57 PM »

Thank you! Yes, I have been looking and looking at a lot of things. We are buying the house from the original builder, who had a distinct style that feels very Californian to me. I'll post photos tomorrow and you'll see what I mean. It's pretty open and airy, and some of the looks that I find appealing and think might be practical would feel out of place. I would not ordinarily give a shit but this house feels special to me and I would like to preserve the original character as much as possible and keep it kind of clean and simple.
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Bernard
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 03, 2012, 01:01:15 PM »

You can see how there's a space at the south of the drawing that could potentially house an island -- currently there is a small round dining table there, which we don't need. Immediately east is the living/dining room. We don't need a small table right next to a big one. If we had an island there, it would either: block the hallway, such that you'd have to jog around it, or: occupy the space where the table is (where I wrote 'pocket door') and thus be not-quite a part of the kitchen, which could be weird. I was thinking that the other option is to lose the pocket door and then the path would be clear, and closer to the (pretty) windows that line that southern wall and look out over the back yard.
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Bernard
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 03, 2012, 01:07:09 PM »

Feeling a lot better after looking at Devid Lebovitz's kitchen. My kitchen looks gigantic by comparison.

Also, those Habitat for Humanity ReStores look great!
« Last Edit: Aug 03, 2012, 01:13:38 PM by Bernard » Logged

Ha, see, and look how Julian Casablancas ended up!!!!
milesofsparks
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Posts: 5200


« Reply #14 on: Aug 03, 2012, 01:24:23 PM »

Butcher block is lovely for countertops, and needs some maintenance, but not a ton.  Concrete can be beautiful and strong, but sounds like it might not match the look of the house.  Ceramic tiles work well for heat, but have grout that gets dirty fast (and don't work for dough, obviously.)  I guess given what I know so far, I'd say butcherblock, with ceramic tiles near the stove and a marble dough board that sits on top where you want to work with dough.  Marble dough boards are amazing very cheap, easy to replace, and lovely.

My initial reaction about upper walls, would be to put cabinets along one side and open shelving on the other, but maybe I'll change my mind when I see pictures.

I could never have a kitchen that didn't have at least a tiny table with a couple of chairs to perch in, so someone can have tea while I fuss around the kitchen, I can drink coffee while waiting for something to finish cooking, etc., but ymmv of course.
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cold before sunrise
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 03, 2012, 05:42:09 PM »

for california kitchen trending i've noticed stainless steel wall tile gaining popularity, small rectangular mosaic in a staggered pattern being of particular preference.

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Bernard
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 03, 2012, 06:40:28 PM »

Huh! I have not seen that before.
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cold before sunrise
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 03, 2012, 07:54:20 PM »

sexy, right? i do some high end renovations and get to see interesting projects by people with dough. there are also ceramic tiles designed to look like wood and metal and handmade custom options. the single biggest thing in floor tile right now is large format installations: 1x2' subway pattern, and 2x2' or larger square ceramic and porcelain. horizontal glass mosaic is beautiful but has been used so much over the past few years that it won't be long before it starts looking dated.
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clare
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« Reply #18 on: Aug 03, 2012, 08:32:41 PM »

I could never have a kitchen that didn't have at least a tiny table with a couple of chairs to perch in, so someone can have tea while I fuss around the kitchen, I can drink coffee while waiting for something to finish cooking, etc., but ymmv of course.

This. though if you're talking about islands or benches, you could have some bar stools on the non-kitchen side...

I'm finding it hard to get an idea of scale from your sketch, and I find it interesting that US houses (or all the ones I have experienced) have the stove a long way from the sink. If that were an Aus kitchen, the stove would be on the wall  (either side) much closer to the sink...It makes more sense to me to have more bench space closer to the stove - I'm always dropping shit on the floor as I carry it from bench to stove, but only need to get from stove to sink when it's time to drain a boiling thing (pasta/potatoes).

We have way too little cupboard space in our kitchen so lots of stuff lives outside - most of our pantry food (tins, jars, boxes etc) lives in the hall cupboard (I buy in bulk when stuff is on special) and only the actual container in use goes in the kitchen pantry which is tiny. Most of the pots/pans we use regularly are divided between an annoying corner cupboard, and an open shelf in the dining area of the semi-open-plan set up we have. I'd like to eliminate a bunch of these items, as they're single-use (asparagus steaming pot - wtf? why do we even have that?) In general I need to declutter massively ;-) but your list looks pretty slim...
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Bernard
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« Reply #19 on: Aug 03, 2012, 11:34:51 PM »

Does it? Oh, good, I keep looking at it and thinking I should cut it down but I have actually (not theoretically) used all that stuff in the past 2 weeks.

Also, the drawing is not remotely to scale, I'm lousy at that stuff. I'll do a proper one tomorrow.

I have never had any seating in the kitchen, so I don't know what pleasures I'm missing out on, but some barstools on the other side of the island sound great, if only to keep onlookers out of the kitchen itself (I recall once putting a bungee cord across the doorway to keep a particularly nosy friend out from underfoot).
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clare
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Posts: 5192


« Reply #20 on: Aug 04, 2012, 12:09:42 AM »

Yeah, you don't want them underfoot, but it's great to be able to have people to talk to while you prepare the food so when you have guests over, whoever is doing food prep is not excluded from the fun. D also does his homework at the dining table where I can supervise it from the kitchen.
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cold before sunrise
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 04, 2012, 12:11:05 AM »

protip: when landowners want their rentals to look expensive but are keeping costs down they get slate seconds in the neighbourhood of $1/sq ft. you do need to find a professional installer for this type of material, who aren't cheap, but i wouldn't hire somebody who isn't trade certified since if they screw it up you'll have to find a professional and it'll cost twice as much to have it done again.
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Bernard
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 04, 2012, 12:27:42 AM »

We're thinking of putting slate in the guest bathroom (also tiny) but that's a project for 2013 or 2014. Budget only allows one room at a time, and the existing bathrooms are fine.

I did think of something else re: tables, though. I need to be able to watch the kid while I cook, without having her in the kitchen itself. So might need to nix the island idea after all unless I can cut the east wall to half height or something.
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Bernard
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Posts: 9845


« Reply #23 on: Aug 04, 2012, 11:37:52 PM »

Huh. So I had another look, and just forget everything I said before. The kitchen is actually perfect. I am hopefully not going to have to change anything. There are some warped floorboards, and some of the electrical and plumbing needs to be fixed, and a gas line put in for the stove. I am really hoping I will be able to preserve all of the original cabinetry even though quite a lot of it will be totally inaccessible and useless for me. It's just so flipping beautiful (to me) that I want to preserve it all. The countertop is laminate that's delaminating, and the sink is a chipped and stained porcelain, so those have to be repaired/replaced. Otherwise, want to keep it as close to original as possible. This means I won't get a lot of things that I want, that are more practical ... but sometimes beautiful counts for more.



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milesofsparks
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 05, 2012, 12:34:06 AM »

Yeah, that's a pretty lovely kitchen!  And so much storage & counter space!  I'm sure you'll figure out a few little things you want to change as you work in it, but working with what you've got for now sounds like a good strategy.

If you're replacing the sink (and maybe even if not) I would 100% recommend a taller faucet (something like this).  So much easier to fill big pots, vases, etc. and wash the occasional large dish/pot/whatever (I know you'll have a dishwasher, but I assume you have a few hand-washables).
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