Kitchen functionality- Home Improvement / Decor

KITCHEN FUNCTIONALITY Has anyone really thought about kitchen design? I'm not sure that those who supposedly are designers do. (I often wonder if they have kids and cook) Have you ever gone to look at model homes? 4 bedroom home with maybe 15 feet of counter top, including corners, and sink area.

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  1. #1
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    Default Kitchen functionality


    KITCHEN FUNCTIONALITY
    Has anyone really thought about kitchen design? I'm not sure that those who supposedly are designers do. (I often wonder if they have kids and cook) Have you ever gone to look at model homes? 4 bedroom home with maybe 15 feet of counter top, including corners, and sink area. Hello? if its a 4 bedroom, wouldn't you assume there might be more than 1.5 kids? I guess they all go out to eat, and don't really cook, can, have a garden or make cookies for classes etc.

    My house is 250+ yrs, but had been stripped of anything that would possibly be interesting. I have hated my kitchen since the day I moved in and used it 30 years ago. With 5 kids, there were other priorities than redoing the kitchen but I dreamed of it late at night. The kids are just about gone, (one left) but no extra monies so I will be trying to redo my kitchen in dribs and drabs.

    What happened to the broom closets of the 50's? I constantly trip over the vac, it seems like it's never put in the same place twice because it really doesn't have a 'home'. I miss broom closets - I remember having a house with one that was the full depth of the counter (24 inches deep) so it fit all the mops, brooms and vacs, and on the other side was shelving for cleaning gear. I would love to eventually build a mudroom airlock with an area for the vac. Since I am in Maine having an airlock makes financial sense, and would have helped keep the house cleaner too. Mud getting tracked directly into house by kids and dh would have been eliminated. Have got to figure out if I have to move the exterior door to do what I want so still thinking on how to do it.

    Today most areas must recycle, where do you put the recycles if you don't have a garage? I don't have a garage, I can't be the only person in America with recycles and no garage. I plan on building a combo recycle cabinet and appliance shelf. I want it to look like a giant jelly cubboard, but deep enough for my nesco and dehydrator. I almost have all the wood for the sides, found some shutters that I think will work for doors, still looking for back and hardware.

    Kitchen drawers are proportionally right when you look at them, BUT a 6-7 inch deep drawer has a lot of wasted space if you only put your silverware in it. I ran some lumber through the table saw to get strips of wood 3/4 x 3/4 I screwed these to the sides of the drawer, now a plastic silverware drawer sits on the 'runners' and I can access the stuff below. The serving spoons etc for holidays. The other drawer was like a junk drawer for kitchen stuff, I found a wood divider tray that fit in there and put 2 in, one on top of the other. Now the top tray has the can openers, the peelers, the other odds and ends that I use all the time. The other tray is the weird seldomed used stuff. I had a really wide drawer about 30 inches wide, every thing got lost and it never really worked for anything. But its great for kitchen towels and clothes, extra hot pads etc, so now I finally have figured out its purpose.

    I know base cabinets are 24 inches but unless you have littles to crawl in there the stuff in the back just ends up covered in spiderwebs. For the cabinets I made I put in shelves/drawers on sliders, I also put on sides and a back on the shelf because you know stuff will fall out the back side. I love it and wish I had in the other cabinets. I refuse to do much to them because I really really hate them - dark dark stain Jacobean. They grab all the light like a black hole, horrible in the winter. Bert said in shock " but honey they are WOOD why would you paint them" arghhh grumble grumble.

    Sometimes I think the 24 inches might be too much, too deep for real usability. I made what I call the coffee bar its about 18 inches (the width of the bathroom counters BTW) fits the coffee maker, crockpot etc on top and the lower is easy to get to and find stuff. I offen wonder IF I could actually design a kitchen with proper storage would I need 24 inch deep counters everywhere?

    I put in a eating bar when the older kids were teens, it was great. Only a 2 seater. It was just as deep as a placemat, but I had a cabinet on one end and a small bookcase on the other. It got used for homework, a place for cooling 5 loaves of bread, lunches, etc etc. Once the littles were moving around more I needed more space and pulled it, I regretted its loss for quite some time. I bought 3 bar stools about a year ago at a super good price - I plan on putting in a eating bar again.

    I love the idea of a baking center, uppers having all the things you normally use. The lowers having the pans including the vertical cookie, pizza pan racks. Don't you hate having to lift fourteen different things to get to the one on the bottom?

    So what would be in your dream kitchen?

    And what do you hate about the current kitchen? Maybe someone can come up with a cheap alternative.

    Ria

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    I really love my kitchen that I have now. I use to have an old house (built 1888) no kitchen to talk about. Someone put a bathroom smack dab in the middle of the kitchen. It worked while we lived in that house. Was one of my first requirements when we shopped for a new house in a new location-had to have the kitchen that I wanted. I love it I practically live in my kitchen now!

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    Kim,
    what do you love about this kitchen?

    what works etc?

    Ria

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    my kitchen absolutely sucks!!!! LOL It is a strip stove, washer, dryer and frig on one side

    turn around literally and I have my sink and a small counter. I have two cabinets over the sink and countertop a cabinet under the sink and 6 drawers under the cabinet i can't even fit a organizer for my silverware in. We put a small pantry like cabinet at the end for canned goods and I use a fern shelf (you know one of those things they hang ferns on in a store) to put all my pans, pots etc on. I have told my other half when we buy us another home I dont care what else it has in it but it must have a kitchen.
    Mdowdy

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    First it is large and opened to the dining room area which helps it to appear larger. There are around 20 cabinets plus two sets of four drawers. There is an island in the middle with tons of storage underneath. My first house had three cabinets so I am in total heaven! LOL. There is also a pantry closet that is large with shelves to hold lots of canned goods and other food items. The flow is perfect everything is within about three to four steps of each other (The stove, fridge sink area) the great triangle! My island has an electrical outlet on the side so it works wonders to be able to use it for baking, putting a griddle there for the pancakes etc. I have hardwood floors so clean up is a breeze if something spills. Plus just off of the kitchen is my laundry room and a freezer in there also. Above the freezer (the chest type) we added shelves for storage of paper goods, light bulbs etc. It is so easy to find what we need and even easier to keep track of what you have when you can see it all. I am a little bit of an organization freak type-I want to know where everthing is and be able to see if I need to add it to the list. Most of my items are stored in clear plastic containers so I know exactly how much I have.

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    mdowdy,
    so you have a galley kitchen .. yep they are rough to deal with

    do you have any counter to side of the stove? or just stuck with the tops of the W/D?

    There are skinny plastic trays that would probably work individually in the drawers for silverware. At camp (no room) I have a tote that sorta looks like a cardboard 6 pack carrier and have the silverware in it by the table.

    Is this your place or rental? can you take out 2 of the drawers and make them one deep drawer? would that help with pots etc?

    I put shelves up on the kitchen window. This at least gets some of my odds and ends up on wall.

    Ria

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    I love my kitchen now. The only thing I don't like about it is there is no broom closet and the utility room is at the other end of the house along with the pantry! a few years ago we went house looking and there was a whole sub division that had 5 bedrooms and the kitchen was a little hole with a half sink, a microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator and maybe 5' of counter space and no dining room! They said no one eats at home any more so why bother with a kitchen! I don't know what planet they came from or maybe I've been living in a closet for the last 30 years!

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    Kim, thats exactly what I mean. """whole sub division that had 5 bedrooms and the kitchen was a little hole with a half sink, a microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator and maybe 5' of counter space and no dining room"""

    I love looking/checking out new homes for ideas, but generally NOT the kitchen. I don't think the designers and architects are 'real' people. Yuppies from NYC perhaps (no offense to those from NYC). But no real life experience in kitchens.

    I realize that everyone has different ideas of 'perfect' which is sorta why I started the thread. But there is probably some commonality to the ideas. Who wants a stove with only 12 inches of counter on one side and maybe 15 on the other? (I have actually seen a model home set up like that)

    Certain things are probably not really thought of like: a space to unload groceries directly into the fridge. So some counter top next to fridge.

    If you are building a kitchen for a home with a family - then have an area near the door to dump the backpacks, and coats. Enough room to ditch the muddy shoes it would be a plus.

    I would actually love to have an extra sink, I had a deep single basin (*my DIL thought it was trash ARGHH) that I have been saving for the rebuild. I can see that having one for dumping stuff from the garden would be handy and near the coffee maker/nuker would be nice too.

    Ria

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    When we went to look at these houses with the almost kitchens in them and I saw only a microwave no cook top or oven at all, I whispered to DH "Can you just picture the Thanksgiving turkey in this place" He busted out laughing and we went back to designing our own house and staying in the country! I'm now blessed with a small vegetable sink on one side of the kitchen and a double sink with garbage disposal on the other side and in the utility room I have a single very deep huge sink like what you probably have now. Great for the laundry area and my DD's love to wash the dogs there! I've been all over the world and seen so much but I still can't imagine a family that doesn't cook and eat at home at all! Me and mine eat out for lunch once a month when we go on our once a month shopping trip. We still come home and fix and eat dinner after our day on the road. Fast food and restaurant food is nice but you can eat until you can't stuff another thing in and then an hour later you're hungry again. I know they are high in fat and salts and rarely use whole grains. My kitchen isn't the most ideal but it's nice and big with lots of light flooding in and has a nice big island in the middle. I kept the kitchen we started with over in the pole barn to use as a summer kitchen. We don't usually cook over there but we sure can a lot over there! I can also leave all my canning stuff over there in the cabinets and I have lots of storage space in the basement where we are putting in our food storage area. I put some of my baking and holiday kitchen stuff down in that area so I know where it is when I need it. I'll take this over what they offered in that subdivision any day of the week!

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    There are some aspects of my kitchen I LOVE then there are quite a few that I hate!!
    Its a BIG kitchen and I have organized it to cater to my needs I love the windows and door and my bar area...but I HATE the floor, ceiling, wall paper, paint some of the appliances.....I could go on...naw...for the most part I adapt with what I have and I do have a wish list that I dream one day will become fulfilled.
    Tragedy, sadness, loneliness and despair taught me that life is really a beautiful thing; if it wasn't I wouldn't be able to recognize that anything was wrong - Lynn in Virginia

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    I *really* hate my kitchen. The funny thing is, now that I've been learning how to cook, I've been spending most of my time in there.

    It is small. If you were looking overhead, it is shaped in a square. It takes me 2 steps to go from the door to the stove (In the "far" corner), turn left and 2 more steps to get to the dining room. All of the cabinets are poorly planned. Some are way to deep, some too shallow. All of them are short (I cannot put a trashcan under the sink or in the other lower cabinet, none fit) The garbage disposal leaks. We cannot use that side of the sink. The fridge is one of the small apartment style. It is missing 2 shelves and one of the bars on the door. My pantry is a tiny closet in the corner. The door is half the size of a normal door, to give you an idea on width. It has 4 fixed shelves. There is a small patch of counter space beside the stove, between the stove and sink (in the corner) and on the other side of the sink. I imagine that it is very similar to the pseudo kitchens that were referenced earlier.

    Ok, now that's out of my system.

    We are in a rental town home, so there is not much we can do to improve the kitchen. We have mutually agreed that kitchen (and a garage) will be the deciding factor for our next place.

    We would love to move out to the country. Buy a piece of land and design and build our own home. Some time ago, I found a dream kitchen (Showcased in BH&G) that was designed so well that I told myself that any home we built would have this kitchen as a starting point.

    It has some great storage, mudroom, and a place built in for homework. I loved how the kitchen had become the family focal point, instead of a TV. Even after several years, this kitchen is the one I go back to.

    Check it out here After-School Kitchen: Family Banquette in Red

    Shannon

    I still have the original article clipped and in my file.

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    YEP LIGHT .. You are lucky brchbell that you have lots of natural light. One thing I will give the new kitchen designers, is they are generally putting in more lights. I mean seriously who thinks ONE ceiling light in the middle of the room really works? You constantly are working in your shadow. I put in track lighting years ago - it may not be cool or up to date whatever but man is it functional - I have spot lights heading for each work area, if needed I can move those lights around too.

    Ria

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    KITCHEN WALLS :
    Luckily in the kitchen redoing walls is generally NOT terribly expensive cause there isn't much of them. Under cabinets is a short span (hard to work on sometimes but small space).

    BEHIND STOVE WALLS:
    I have to admit I cheat and put up a small wall section of tiles behind my stove. I used 4 inch tiles cause I got them free or cheap. I run them a tad over the width of the stove and at least 5 high (not counting what is lower than exsisting stove) Definately try this & do put it lower than the back since a new stove may have a different profile later. I love it so much I have done this even at the apartment building we bought (long story).

    Do not used unfinished tiles. You need something glossy so it can be cleaned. I love the look of the rough tiles but cleaning them is the pits.

    IF you find tiles you love at the dump, you can recycle them again - even if they have glues etc on them. I always figured I had time, not money. Toss them in a 5 gallon bucket with water and let them soak for a long time. Pull a few and check the backs using a heavy duty scraper, I used flat razor in holder. WEAR eye protection, watch you hands when scraping. Since you only need about 48 (or less) its not that bad.

    It keeps down the mess on walls and if you use a sharpie you can stick up your favorite recipes too. Normal cleaning does not bother it **DO NOT use the orange spray on it unless you have written down the recipe - it will run. I spent a long time coming up with the right combination of spices for Tandori and had NOT copied it to anything else. Bert brought home some orange spray cleaner and sprayed the tiles ARGHHHH ... I have yet to get the right combo

    WALLPAPER:
    Sometimes wall paper is fantastic other times its just a pain. Pulling it off can be the pits especially if it's stuck to unpainted drywall.

    I picked up one of those wallpaper scratch/poke holes in it thing-ys. It does work, maybe not great so definately run it around on the paper MORE times than you think you need to do.

    Ammonia and water in spray bottle seems to work pretty good at getting the paper down. I am working on the bathroom walls myself. But there is still stuff up there, I get claustrophobic dealing with it after a while (and its BORING).

    I am skim coating some of the areas I have clear of the wallpaper. There was still hard glue like substance left on wall that does NOT want to come down. Since it has texture I need to do something else to it

    Still not sure if I am going to paint or wallpaper - but will definately make sure it has PAINT on the walls before wallpapering
    Ria

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    Shannon,
    Glad you posted the link, I had copied these pics to my computer a long time ago LOL (*you might want to do that too cause sometimes they drop the article).

    I love the colour of the cabinets on my computer they look like a cream with undertones of green. I actually want to duplicate that colour. ""Though the cabinets may look white in the photo, the finish is called Vanilla Bean Glaze -- a softer, more family-friendly look than bright white.""

    I also like the 'plain' style, it makes me want to buy a planer so I can make the 'raised wood' on exsisting doors.

    I have always wanted a red & yellow kitchen (just a few splashes of yellow) think poppies. Unfortunately I have red hair, and my skin tone is also on the red/copper side so being around red is NOT flattering. But I find it so cheerful

    I like a lot in this design but there was a lot of wasted space too. I think they 'show' better with the space but I'd rather have more use. I never have understood sticking the fridge next to the oven first off it makes no sense ecologically, heat next to something you want to keep stuff cold in? Plus I like space on both sides of the oven to put things on.

    EXTRA STORAGE:
    Putting in small shelves under the uppers can add quite a but of extra space. I actually have done stair step looking cabinets at camp. The widest part is towards the ceiling and then the lowest is further down. Much easier to access the upper cabinets because they are sticking out more, but I don't wack my head.

    I also have a skinny shelf that fits canning jars (*I put pasta, rice, beans etc in canning jars) .. similar to:
    After-School Kitchen: Pet Care Area

    BANQUETTE:
    I love them because of space issues and storage capacity .. I had them at camp and it was great space wise. The slant was NOT the most comfortable so I have temporarily removed them and plan on recycling the bottoms into a new design with a sloped back and better support. If you go out to eat and find some that are comfortable, carry a tape measure and get the measurements of the seat (front to back) and height from floor. To duplicate the slant take a piece of paper and put on the seat and fold the other side to match the back slant.

    I hate them when you have kids that have to 'touch each other' or get done with eating first etc. I had one dd that took forever to eat so she got the inside and that did take care of one of the issues.

    The original banquette I had ended up at camp. Using placemats on the table vs tablecloth seemed to help with the 'touching' issue, very easy to see who moved closer to bug their sibling.

    Today, I have a church pew that I picked up and use like a banquette at home. I think it will be going back to the hall at some point so we have somewhere to sit and take off boots. I am still thinking about building a permanent L shaped banquette in the corner (*the corner however will be a storage column with drawers I think - easier & cheaper to recover straight pieces vs one long L shaped)

    FREE STANDING CABINETS:
    I have always wanted a giant deep jelly cupboard looking thing for kitchen appliances. Something like:
    After-School Kitchen: Furniture-Look Cabinet
    would work.
    I do plan on painting it different from the reg cabinets. If its free standing it means it's technically furniture and I can take it with me when we move.

    I also plan on moving my wood dresser eventually into the eating area and making a bead board hutch top for it, the 8 drawers will hold table linens and craft supplies

    LUNCH /SNACK CABINET:
    I wanted a floor to ceiling cabinet for lunch stuff. Somewhere to put the thermoses, the baggies and all the other odds and ends I used to make their lunches. Now the only one I do is Bert's (dh) but years ago it was all the kids and having one area for all the supplies would have been great.

    This one would work today cause its smaller:
    After-School Kitchen: Snack Ahoy!

    Right now I have all the plastic containers in a tall plastic drawer thing - it works but it would be nice to have something specific for lunches, left overs etc and not stuck in the kitchen walk area.

    CENTERS:
    I remember the galloping gourmet's kitchen (from the early 70's). He had the pop up appliance shelf with electric similar to the:
    After-School Kitchen: Cookie Prep Station
    I priced these and guess I will NOT be doing this but it is such a great idea.

    He had one cabinet that pulled out from under the counter top - could use for extra prep, serving from etc. I always thought that was so cool and this could be done afforably. I can also wire it so it has plug and outlets (heck today anyone can screw on one of those computer strip plug set ups)

    MUD ROOM /OFFICE:
    the mudroom in this group to me would be better as part of the office. Can't you picture your control journal/household planner/homeschool planner on the slanted desk top?
    After-School Kitchen: Mudroom Storage

    I don't know about you but I would love an office area, not sure I want a computer close to the kitchen (oils moisture etc) but it sure would be nice to have it in the same area. Anyone know if in reality having computer near kitchen is a good thing?

    Ria

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    FRIDGE REPAIR"
    SHELF BARS:
    can you put a tension rod in? sometimes the pressure will crack it

    If not drill 2 holes and gentley bend a dowel to pop in the holes. At camp my son went out and cut a skinny branch so I have the woodsy look

    I have tried gluing a ruler to the plastic, with so so results (freezer). It lasted a few months but not forever. Different glues have come out so it might be worth checking them out

    SHELVES:
    If you have the racking system that looks like reg shelving for walls (metal U channel with slots) you probably can pick up shelf brackets at local hardware dept. Get the widest ones possible and put on shelf (wood paint & seal & with plastic/contact paper, or plexi won't handle lots of weight).

    Try picking up some dishpans from Dollar Tree, these can be used on shelves to hold meat, veggies, etc

    check the local dump and ask if you can check out the fridges for shelves etc .. since this is a small fridge it will be a lot harder to find a match

    Ria

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