Monday, February 24, 2014

Kitchen past, present, and future


I have happily cooked in much smaller kitchens than the 90 square foot box that has recently been demolished. And Deb Perlman over at the glorious food blog Smitten Kitchen has done amazing things in her 40 sf kitchen. But a few features of this particular shoebox made it the most annoying kitchen ever. I have already mentioned the awful tile counter with its edge lip and the drop-in sink which made collecting crumbs one of the most difficult tasks ever. And I might have already mentioned that eleven inches between a range and sink is not enough room to be even remotely practical. To maximize storage in a small space earlier owners installed the tallest upper cabinets they could. Not only did this mean that there were high shelves that even my long-armed 6'2" frame had trouble reaching, but it also meant that they came down so low over the counter top that there was only one narrow space next to the sink where I could use a stand mixer or food processor. In previous small kitchens, the space above the refrigerator has always been a go to spot for setting things out of the way--something that needs to cool, a serving dish you aren't quite ready for, etc. But in this kitchen the cabinet mania meant that there wasn't one square inch available on top of the fridge. Arrrgh.
Right before demolition started. Notice the accursed edge lip on the tile counter and the drop in sink. No easy clean-up here. Benjamin Moore's Smoky Embers is painted on the cabinets under the sink. It is kind of my favorite at the moment. BM's Revere Pewter is the second drawer down and is also in the running. The darker Rockport Gray, although very nice, has been nixed by all. Even our two front runners are no certainty. We intend to enlist professional help to figure it out. The slab of Carrera marble is grayer than what we will choose, but it has been a handy work surface for me over the past 11 years in various kitchens.
This is what it looked like a week or two ago. You can see a bit of the shallow open pantry shelving in the upper left of the photo. A god send for storage, but a little shallow to be really useful.
But that was then. This is now. (SE Hinton anyone?)

The same view on February 19, 2014.

Show us something pretty!

Okay. Let's take a walk through the new kitchen. Not everything is in final form. The design of the drawers and cabinet fronts will change a bit. The layout of the case work won't.

Not only do I gain 70 square feet but the number of 'doors' has gone down from three to one. I am chuffed to bits that I will have four feet of counter flanking each side of the range not to mention the rather spacious areas next to the sink.
This will be my viewpoint out into the backyard. I deliberately put the dishwasher to the left of the sink so that anyone needing to get into it won't get in the way of the cook prepping food on the right between the sink and range.
How beautiful is this Barber Wilson faucet in unlaquered brass? The only problem is they don't offer this model with a sprayer. They have one with a separate sprayer that is close, but we love this one so much we are 99% sure we are going to live without a sprayer. We will also have a filtered water spigot to one side of the faucet.
(Image from Remodelista)
I became a big fan of the big kitchen drawer in a rental we lived in several years ago. The thing I loved particularly about them was that they were so much more accessible than cabinets. I filled one with all of my baking staples. When I wanted to bake something I opened the drawer and every thing I needed was accessible. And so much easier to keep organized than an upper cabinet.  Speaking of upper cabinets, you will notice we opted for open shelving. Not surprising given the inspiration images I showed in my last post. 
Our Lacanche range as it has been configured for us. I will have much more to say about this range in the future. I am already envisioning a whole post dedicated to this French beauty. The warming cupboard can also be used to proof dough. [emits uncontrollable squeal]
This is the wall that will be least visible to the Family Room and from other points of the house. A lot happening here. The cabinet above the microwave/oven combo will include vertical storage for sheet pans and such. I managed to sneak in a cookbook shelf above the fridge. The cabinets that meet up with the counter will be used as an appliance garage. I had some push back on the height of the oven/microwave but after some consideration I think this a good height. The oven is slightly higher than a range oven which is handy and the microwave is slightly above counter height. I think it is a win/win.
The appliance garage to the left of the oven will be similar to this.
(Image by John McDonnell from The Washington Post via Remodelista)
36" Subzero with glass door. Friends of ours have one of these so I have been able to observe how this functions and looks in a real house. I can see myself arranging things inside just for fun. The good thing is that the light turns off when the door is closed so it isn't like there is always a show on.

I'm not sure our Jenn-Air will have that picture display function. I'm planning on ordering the one with the fewest bells and whistles. I did a bit of  info crowd sourcing on Facebook to see if a convection oven was worth the expense. Based on that feedback I decided I didn't want one. The upper oven is the microwave.


  1. I need to find images of one of my favorite projects I've ever worked on which featured a kitchen painted Rockport gray. While different in feel it's interesting to see and I think you may like it (although not change your mind of course).
    The kitchen you show the images from I know very well - it belongs to one of the contractor we work with most of the time. That was an AMAZING kitchen (they have since moved).

  2. It will be lovely! I love the bank of cabinets on the sink wall...