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Kitchen makeover


RootAnn
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I've been wanting to redo our kitchen since we moved in over 17 years ago because it is small (U-shaped) and has a cheap, ugly, linoleum floor. I have a basic idea of what I want -- remove the U and make it an L - running the counters & cabinets along the dining room wall.

My question for the Hive is, what should I know before jumping in? What do you wish you would have done differently? What do you love about your cabinets or drawers or floors or counters or lights?

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I have shaker cabinet doors . . . . flush doors have nowhere to collect water, or dirt, or both.  much easier to clean.

millennium/european style cabinets - with zero dead space between cabinets/cupboards.  there's a lot of storage space lost to that dead space.

I have pullout trays on a blind corner - so I can reach what is back there.  the trays pull forward into the blank space to make it accessible.

I have all my pots in cabinets with pullout trays - full depth.  much easier to access them.

tile  backsplashes.  full height behind the counters - from the counter to the bottom of the cupboards.  so much easier to clean.

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I wish the previous homeowner had left the island in its original configuration. It’s too wide/long to provide room for an eat in space unless I have a custom, narrow table made and make use of the bay window seats. I love the pull out drawers for pots/pans. I love the trash cabinet (that I thought I’d hate). It’s 13 gallons and gets emptied daily. I wish the prior owner had plumbed for gas and installed a gas stove. He was a bachelor and, from what I can tell, never cooked. The appliances were pristine. I also like full backsplashes. Ours is tile. Love it. The only other thing...the guy who lived here before chose totally masculine cabinets—dark wood, tan tiles, dark gray granite. Despite fifty million can lights, pendants, under cabinet lights, and a giant bay window...it still feels heavy to me. Light/airy is a gift to the future owner.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Whatever you do, don’t set up your sink so that you are always throwing a shadow on what you are doing.  So annoying!

I love having a wall oven because I don’t have to bend way over to move big hunks of meat around.  I love having a warming oven drawer, but I wish that it had a real thermostat on it so that I could use it to bake a sheet of cookies or a pie while the wall oven is in use.  I’m glad I didn’t replace my old stove, because the newer ones have all different sizes of burners which is great until you want to make gravy by straddling a roasting pan across two burners but can’t get the same temp on both of them.  Ditto the big two burner bacon iron—so frustrating to have one side hotter than the other.

I wish I had a heavy end cut butcher block table that just didn’t move, and a marble slab fitted to it for rolling out pie crust.

I’m glad I don’t have granite countertops as it is surprisingly hard to tell whether they are really clean or not.  

I wish my cabinets went to the ceiling so that there would not be that annoying useful, dusty space above them.

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3 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I wish my cabinets went to the ceiling so that there would not be that annoying useful, dusty space above them.

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone so far. Some are things already on my list. Other items I had not thought of.

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone so far. Some are things already on my list. Other items I had not thought of.

The alternative is a soffit.    Sometimes electric and ducts are run through soffits, more often they are just closing in the space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling.   Kitchen renovators probably have more experience removing than installing soffits.  Soffits were common in mid-century homes.  In the late 20th century soffits the fashion returned to open top cabinets.  Sometimes there were decorative rails around the tops of the cabinets to keep decorative items from sliding off.  

I have tall cabinets.  I love having 4 shelves for storage.  I store less frequently used serving dishes and stemware on the uppermost shelves.  My sons' mess kits are up there too.  Our alternative would be storage bins in the garage.  

Other things I love include drawers instead of doors wherever practical.  Pull out trays are good alternatives but scratch up the insides of the cabinet doors.  I also like having LED under-cabinet lighting.  I have bright light right where I need it.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I wish my cabinets went to the ceiling so that there would not be that annoying useful, dusty space above them.

I agree with this. I have had both. Much better to have the high cabinets all the way to ceiling. Soffits are gross dust collectors. We store items that we rarely use. We have a step stool in the nearby laundry room for accessing these top shelves. 
 

I would like to caution you on white or gray cabinets. They are trendy now, but trends come and go. Wood is timeless. When we built our first house, ww chose white cabinets. Just a short six years later we had a house fire and had to replace the kitchen cabinets - there were no white cabinets in the showroom. The trend was over. 
 

For corner cabinets, I have lived in houses that dealt with this differently. The worst was of course, stationary shelves. Currently we have a Lazy Susan which is better but the door bends twice and if you’re not careful can bang into the nearby cabinet. The best was in a house that had a Lazy Susan but the entire door revolve around with the Lazy Susan. 
 

I love our hideaway trash cabinet. Love our hardwood floors.

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8 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

The only other thing...the guy who lived here before chose totally masculine cabinets—dark wood, tan tiles, dark gray granite. Despite fifty million can lights, pendants, under cabinet lights, and a giant bay window...it still feels heavy to me. Light/airy is a gift to the future owner.

I think this is one of those things where you put in what you like and don't worry about the next owner.  Those colors sound absolutely perfect to me for my tastes.  I can't tell you how many houses we rejected because I couldn't stand the white, beige, tan, off white etc color tones that houses were done in.  We ended up building new just so I could get colors I could live with.   I realize I may be in the minority but what is a gift for you is a curse for me.  So I feel like if someone is going through the work to remodel, pick what you love and don't worry about down the road.  You have no idea what the tastes of the next person will be so why let it affect your enjoyment now.

Edited by cjzimmer1
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Agreeing with cabinet fronts that are as flat and un-detailed as possible. As a person who doesn’t have that, but wishes she did, lol.
My kids are champs at getting spills and splashes in the nooks and crannies of the cabinet fronts as well as leaks right into the drawers and cabinets. I won’t pretend we adults have never contributed to that, ourselves.

While I prefer the look of handles to round pulls, I do find it to be a little bit of a pain to clean the in between spots of handles. Especially from kid drips!

Keep you dishwasher as close to the sink as possible.  Our layout doesn’t allow that, so there’s always water to clean up in the little spot between the dishwasher and the sink. Always.

I wouldn’t want an over the stove microwave. There are multiple cooks in my house, and we’re frequently using different appliances at the same time. I’d like to keep things fairly spread out so we’re not in each other’s way. Outlet placement is important there.

I think drawers are almost always superior to cabinets. But I say that as someone with few cabinets. We’re constantly rummaging and pushing things around to get to what we need.

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I made all my bottom cabinets drawers. I have various sizes--large (for pots and similar), medium, and smaller. I love them. (I've also got a to ceiling pantry type with doors that, behind them, actually are drawers. I love this. 

This house has a dishwasher right next to the sink. I've not had that in previous houses, and I really like it--no more drips. 

My kitchen sink has a foot control for water--which isn't necessary but is surely convenient. 

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52 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

I think this is one of those things where you put in what you like and don't worry about the next owner.  Those colors sound absolutely perfect to me for my tastes.  I can't tell you how many houses we rejected because I couldn't stand the white, beige, tan, off white etc color tones that houses were done in.  We ended up building new just so I could get colors I could live with.   I realize I may be in the minority but what is a gift for you is a curse for me.  So I feel like if someone is going through the work to remodel, pick what you love and don't worry about done the road.  You have no idea what the tastes of the next person will be so why let it affect your enjoyment now.

We are not in our forever home so quick resale/rental are always an issue in my mind. That may not be a concern for others tho. I should add, light/airy doesn’t mean white. I’m currently fond of deep blue or green lowers and off white uppers with marble countertops and black or gold brass hardware. I may change my mind before DH finally retires. Our rental home, used to be our primary, has black lowers and cream uppers with tan/black/cream speckled granite. That was 15 years ago. It, too, is coming due for paint. Trends change. I don’t feel the need to be ‘trendy’ but I don’t want my home to feel like grandma’s plastic-covered sofa either.

Edited by Sneezyone
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8 minutes ago, sbgrace said:

I made all my bottom cabinets drawers. I have various sizes--large (for pots and similar), medium, and smaller. I love them. (I've also got a to ceiling pantry type with doors that, behind them, actually are drawers. I love this. 

This house has a dishwasher right next to the sink. I've not had that in previous houses, and I really like it--no more drips. 

My kitchen sink has a foot control for water--which isn't necessary but is surely convenient. 

What kind of psycho separates the sink and the dishwasher????

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6 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone so far. Some are things already on my list. Other items I had not thought of.

We are also in the process of doing a kitchen remodel and have high ceilings. Our cabinets will go all the way to the ceiling and we will have built in pull out steps.

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Outlets!  Lots of outlets!! With USB plugs, not just electrical plugs.  Make sure you have them in your island also.

Another vote for drawers - all my pots, pans, and dishes are in drawers - I love, love, love them!

I love my flat front cabinets/drawers for the same reason as others posted, and I have smooth handles also.  My old cabinets & handles were ornate and impossible to keep clean.  Love my new ones!

Love my pull out trash can - there are two in the same space - one for trash and one for recyclables.

Light - lots of light - under every cabinet.   If you decide to go with dimmers, look at the actual dimmer switches.  The new dimmer switches are much smaller than they used to be, which on one hand is nice b/c they’re much less obtrusive, but maybe I just have fat fingers or something - I’m always hitting the dimmer when I didn’t intend to!

I like my pull out cabinet for trays & cutting boards - very handy.

Have fun with your remodel!!

Anne

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7 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone so far. Some are things already on my list. Other items I had not thought of.

I would use super high cabinets.

I’m pretty short, so even normal cabinets have shelves I can’t reach without a step stool.  Not a chair, something higher than that, LOL.  So having one or two more shelves higher than those would not make so much difference in how often I would need to grab a ladder but it would make the whole place look neater and be cleaner, generally.

I have a 3 step folding step ladder that fits between the wall and the fridge, so it’s handy and unobtrusive.  I keep seasonal stuff and rarely used baking stuff/vases/extras on the top shelves.

Since I don’t have ceiling height cabinets, I have resorted to several things.  I like strawberries as a motif, so I had a few strawberry cookie tins and displayed them decoratively up top for a while.  The next time I got them down to fill with Christmas cookies, they had all rusted.  (Ceiling area of a kitchen is warm and more steamy than I had realized.). They were ruined for use, and I was pretty mad.  

Now I keep rarely used storage stuff up there, mostly, Pampered Chef kinds of plastic things, with small tablecloths or baby blankets wrapped around them so that they look decent.  This of course means that I have to recall what is up there, and I had to vet my choices to be impervious to warm, steamy conditions.  It’s so annoying.  If I just had full height cabinets everything would look much nicer and be much more functional.

BTW, I have a friend who doesn’t like her kitchen but cannot afford to redo it.  So she hung linen towels from all over the world on her cabinets, one each.  They look weirdly nice, and I think it is brilliant.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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When planning drawers think about what you have and how deep the drawers need to be.  Having a lot of extremely deep drawers can e a lot of wasted space.  But, if the drawers are not deep enough, you can't store items in them.  We moved to a house that has lots of drawers--I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble unpacking until I realized that 75% of them are silverware depth--I don't have that much silverware (this is after living in a house with only ONE shallow drawer).  

If you have any tall appliances you keep on your counter (mixer, blender, etc.) plan upper cabinets so that those items will fit.  My mixer is a fraction of an inch too tall to fit.  If you are considering an appliance garage, think about how the doors open.  The opening door can make a lot of your countertop unusable.  Adjustable shelves are important to me.  I need some spaces for tall items and some for shorter items.  

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46 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

When planning drawers think about what you have and how deep the drawers need to be.  Having a lot of extremely deep drawers can e a lot of wasted space.  But, if the drawers are not deep enough, you can't store items in them.  We moved to a house that has lots of drawers--I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble unpacking until I realized that 75% of them are silverware depth--I don't have that much silverware (this is after living in a house with only ONE shallow drawer).  

If you have any tall appliances you keep on your counter (mixer, blender, etc.) plan upper cabinets so that those items will fit.  My mixer is a fraction of an inch too tall to fit.  If you are considering an appliance garage, think about how the doors open.  The opening door can make a lot of your countertop unusable.  Adjustable shelves are important to me.  I need some spaces for tall items and some for shorter items.  

I have an appliance garage at the cabin that has a roll top desk type of door.  It’s convenient to use it for things that I want handy but out of sight, like the pour over coffee stuff, and oils and vinegars.  So I don’t use it for appliances at all, and it takes up a corner space on my counters that I probably wouldn’t use if it wasn’t there, which is convenient.

For tall appliances, you might consider those lower cabinets with sturdy lifting shelves for the appliances that bring them up to counter height for use.  I have not seen them, but have heard great things about them.  What I do for tall appliances is either keep them out but at the back of the counters, and pull them forward for use, or keep them on an under the stairs shelf that is approximately counter height.  If I have to lift them, I tend not to use them, but if they are the right height to just pull out or carry across, then I do.  YMMV.

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I redid my kitchen a year ago. I'm spoiled because my dad is a high end kitchen designer and he made 90% of the decisions for me.

1) Flat fronts. No shaker. He says perfectionistic empty nesters can't even keep shaker nice.

2) Cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. 

3) Dad gave me deep drawers with pull-outs (for bread pans/9x9s/lids) in half of them.

4) He recommends a micro-vent unless you do a lot of frying, in which case you need a real heavy-duty vent.

5) Put the dishwasher next to the sink on one side and the trash next to the sink in a pull-out on the other.

I see that you want an L-shaped kitchen. That means that your kitchen will always be visible from your dining room. I have a U-shaped kitchen with a breakfast bar that is 6" higher than the counter on the other side in order to hide some of the clutter from the kitchen. I'm sure you have good reasons for the L-shape, but just a warning. Also, my dad had me buy white laminate cabinet doors because they are so much more durable than alternatives. He knows how tough my five kids are on stuff!

I got composite marble-look counters and would not do it again. I'd go for gray with some veins of white if I could choose now. I thought quartz countertops were easy to care for (the one I had in a rental was), but the marble-look ones are a pain in the rear.

Emily

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4 hours ago, Frances said:

We are also in the process of doing a kitchen remodel and have high ceilings. Our cabinets will go all the way to the ceiling and we will have built in pull out steps.

Pictures? Please? Or link?

3 hours ago, Anne said:

Outlets!  Lots of outlets!! With USB plugs, not just electrical plugs.  Make sure you have them in your island also.

Lol! You must think we have a big kitchen. Tiny. I have a little rolling island cart now, & it is always being pushed this way or that to make room for us to maneuver around.

48 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

I see that you want an L-shaped kitchen. That means that your kitchen will always be visible from your dining room. I have a U-shaped kitchen with a breakfast bar that is 6" higher than the counter on the other side in order to hide some of the clutter from the kitchen.

I live it already! One side of the U is counter/cabinet-stove-counter/cabinet so you can see right through. Making it even better, we have a truly "open concept" kitchen-dining-living area. No walls at all between them. The L shape won't do anything to change the open concept but will give me more counter & storage space & hopefully make the kitchen feel bigger.

Our current cabinets don't have hardware & we don't want hardware on our new cabinets. Hopefully we can get not-fancy flatish front cabinets/drawers and still be able to open them with our fingers like we do now without something special.

And we currently have soffits. I'm not a fan & want them gone (assuming there is nothing running through them). DH doesn't want dust/grime magnets, so I guess we'll be doing cabinets all the way up. We have lots of art to display if he wants to spring for glass fronted cabinets with lighting. (Not going to happen!)

DH wants wood for the cabinets. I want WPC or SPC wood-looking floors, so I'm not sure yet how that will work. I'm thinking quartz countertops right now.

Our refrigerator-dishwasher-sink layout (the foot & shin of the L) isn't going to change, hopefully. So, no drips between sink & dishwasher!

I want something like the blind corner solution from Shelf Genie. https://www.shelfgenie.com/blind-corner-cabinet-solutions/

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1 hour ago, EmilyGF said:

3) Dad gave me deep drawers with pull-outs (for bread pans/9x9s/lids) in half of them.

Also, my dad had me buy white laminate cabinet doors because they are so much more durable than alternatives. He knows how tough my five kids are on stuff!

I got composite marble-look counters and would not do it again. I'd go for gray with some veins of white if I could choose now. I thought quartz countertops were easy to care for (the one I had in a rental was), but the marble-look ones are a pain in the rear.

Your and your dad's insights are very helpful! Our kitchen reno is probably a year or two away, but I can dream....

I'm familiar with cabinet pull-outs but not drawer ones...how does that work?

Is there a brand of laminate cabinet doors your dad recommends? I have a family member who has been unable to break the habit of opening cabinets and appliance doors with dripping or greasy hands. Drives me bananas, but I'm thinking of waving the white flag and choosing cabinet door and appliance fronts based strictly on durability and cleanability. 

What makes marble-look quartz hard to care for? 

Thanks so much!

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8 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

 

I want something like the blind corner solution from Shelf Genie. https://www.shelfgenie.com/blind-corner-cabinet-solutions/

Here's what we have... it is amazing but $$$. Like I said, my dad is a high end designer! I think all our hardware is from Germany...

LeMans II Set, for Blind Corner Cabinets - in the Häfele America Shop (hafele.com)

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Just now, Acadie said:

Your and your dad's insights are very helpful! Our kitchen reno is probably a year or two away, but I can dream....

I'm familiar with cabinet pull-outs but not drawer ones...how does that work?

Is there a brand of laminate cabinet doors your dad recommends? I have a family member who has been unable to break the habit of opening cabinets and appliance doors with dripping or greasy hands. Drives me bananas, but I'm thinking of waving the white flag and choosing cabinet door and appliance fronts based strictly on durability and cleanability. 

What makes marble-look quartz hard to care for? 

Thanks so much!

Basically, you have two drawers but only one has a front. So one drawer is shallow with a deep front (looks nicer, easier to clean, less dead space) and then you have another shallow drawer on top without a drawer front. Here's a picture.

uuodbs2drawerbasemmas.jpg (600×900) (omegacabinetry.com)

My dad is a designer and ordered directly from a company he does business with. I don't think they sell direct-to-consumer.

Re: marble-look quartz. It seems to react with stuff! My kids left a frying pan on the counter one afternoon and I got a rust stain! I have no clue what is going on. Also, I thought the black streaking would hide dirt, but no. Everything sticks out.

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1 hour ago, Acadie said:

Your and your dad's insights are very helpful! Our kitchen reno is probably a year or two away, but I can dream....

I'm familiar with cabinet pull-outs but not drawer ones...how does that work?

Is there a brand of laminate cabinet doors your dad recommends? I have a family member who has been unable to break the habit of opening cabinets and appliance doors with dripping or greasy hands. Drives me bananas, but I'm thinking of waving the white flag and choosing cabinet door and appliance fronts based strictly on durability and cleanability. 

What makes marble-look quartz hard to care for? 

Thanks so much!

We did a remodel with white laminate cabinets because the contractor told us that they would be so much more durable and easy to maintain than painted wood.  We had lots of trouble with them.  We had several door delaminate within a year.  The manufacturer was happy to replace theme--said they must have had a batch problem; then more delaminated--replaced again but we were told to be very careful regarding what we cleaned them with; then some of the replacements delaminated--we were told it was because it was near a stove, or a dishwasher that was warm; then the ones below the sink delaminated, were told that it was because water gets splashed.  Maybe we just had bad luck but I will not go with laminate again.

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We removed all sofits  and put in cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I keep a step stool handy for the  top shelf, but I only put things up there I don’t use often. 

Thin key cabinet by the back door as you come in or leave. Holds keys, stamps, receipts etc. One of the ones I saw when I was planning my kitchen, had a metal sheet on the inside of that door for magnets...notes etc. 

 The upper  corner cabinet over the dead corner..has three solid wood shelves, but each has a wood turn table on them. I can tuck less used items in the sides.  It is over th toaster/convection oven, so the bottom shelf holds those baking sheets. I wanted them on th bottom too,  it the  builder missed that  memo..I ended up with the  cheesy white plastic turntable. It works. 🤷‍♀️

 

Utensil drawer has a custom organizer it it, as well as my silverware drawer. Silver ware drawer has small organizer  than slides to the  back and I can pull it forward when I need it. Small divider hold grandkids silverware and small serving  knives and spoons.

 

Either side of stove I have  two large pullout drawers. I use them for casseroles, cookware, bakeware, storage containers. Easy in and out. 

 

 

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I love the many drawers I have instead of cabinets- deep drawers for pots, pans, Tupperware, baking pans, colanders etc.  everything that used to be in cabinets.  Drawers are so much easier for access.  
I love our huge island.  So easy to spread out and chop and cook and lay out food or platters.  
I love our extra wide silverware and spatula drawers.  No more cramming stuff in.

I inventoried all my dishes, pots and everything in the kitchen and laid out on paper where I wanted them- cabinets or drawers.  And what size. And where.  It worked out perfectly 🙂

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One thing I have learned—think very carefully about your island and the ways you want to use it.

An island with a cooktop on it is not going to be ideal for eating on, just not ever.  I would not combine a cooktop and a breakfast bar on the same structure—that’s just asking for trouble IMO.  Also, do you really want a second sink on the cooktop island?  It’s tempting if you’re washing and then cutting up things to pop into a pot on the stove, but visually it forms a barrier that I would not want in a great room.  YMMV.  Also, if you can’t use your island from multiple sides, where is no real reason to have it.  Similarly, if it’s too small for two people to work on it together across from each other, it’s probably not an efficient use of space unless it is in the great room and kind of defines the end of the kitchen area.

Something else—I don’t like to hand wash dishes, and purposely picked a dishwasher that is really versatile to avoid that, but also, most dish drainers are ugly and bulky.  I avoid this by keeping one of those flat honeycombed ones under my sink, on end, at the side.  It hardly takes up any storage room, and I can whip it out when I need it but keep it put away most of the time.  I grew up with permanent dish drainers always taking up counter space, and I hate that look and resent the loss of the space.



 

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12 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

What kind of psycho separates the sink and the dishwasher????

Our designer wanted to put the dishwasher right next to the sink and I vetoed it. We have to have a corner sink- it's the only place it can go without spending way more money than it's worth. When he put the dishwasher next to the sink in the design, I tried it out by putting a yard stick out where it'd be to represent the door opening and it intruded upon my space to stand at the sink. It probably would have been workable but I'd rather have the dishwasher separated by a 9in pull out to give a little room to stand. If it intruded upon my space, it definitely would be a problem for Dh or anyone bigger than me. 

The most important thing I've learned now that we're in the middle of finalizing our contract is to make the budget king! I have so many wants, and there's so many things that really, really would be better, more useful, more environmentally friendly, more attractive, and all that, but it would get out of control quickly. I was just looking at slabs today and I have to accept that good enough is ok. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Paige said:

Our designer wanted to put the dishwasher right next to the sink and I vetoed it. We have to have a corner sink- it's the only place it can go without spending way more money than it's worth. When he put the dishwasher next to the sink in the design, I tried it out by putting a yard stick out where it'd be to represent the door opening and it intruded upon my space to stand at the sink. It probably would have been workable but I'd rather have the dishwasher separated by a 9in pull out to give a little room to stand. If it intruded upon my space, it definitely would be a problem for Dh or anyone bigger than me. 

The most important thing I've learned now that we're in the middle of finalizing our contract is to make the budget king! I have so many wants, and there's so many things that really, really would be better, more useful, more environmentally friendly, more attractive, and all that, but it would get out of control quickly. I was just looking at slabs today and I have to accept that good enough is ok. 

 

Ha, I was posting at the same time how much we hate our corner sink. 

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10 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Ha, I was posting at the same time how much we hate our corner sink. 

I hate it too, but we have no choice but to keep it until we move. It wouldn't be bad (maybe) in a large kitchen, but it hogs too much counter space. It gets the corner, PLUS too much space on the sides for dishwashing work. 

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Our contractor thought really creatively about how to re-plumb the sink to move it from one wall to the breakfast bar. Other contractors, as well as a structural engineer, had told us it would cost about $3000 to do it, but halfway through our project, our contractor figured out a really cheap way to replumb through the back of the cabinets. 

Moving the sink from the wall to the breakfast bar is probably the #1 thing I am happy about. 🙂 Oh, that and the fact that the kitchen it 1.5x as big, the cabinets go up to the ceiling, and I no longer have a crazy half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room, LOL.

I mentioned our issues with our marble-look quartz countertop above. I think everyone who remodels a kitchen has a regret. You spend so much time and effort and money and then there is always something not perfect. My aunt has beautiful black granite countertops, but you can see how the water dried after wiping the counters, so you have to use special cleaner on it. My parents had a lovely gray-tiled floor put in, only to find that looking at it cross-eyed was enough to make it dirty.

Oh, we have the best best best tile on the floor. It is white with random brown, gray, and black splotches everywhere. It looks like beautiful stone and it hides just about everything. If only I'd put it on the counters, too, :-P 

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7 minutes ago, Paige said:

I hate it too, but we have no choice but to keep it until we move. It wouldn't be bad (maybe) in a large kitchen, but it hogs too much counter space. It gets the corner, PLUS too much space on the sides for dishwashing work. 

Same here, there is really no changing it, without major renovations and we don’t want that. Our biggest complaint about it is that two people can’t use it at the same time even for a minute.  You don’t realize how often you need to rinse your hands or something when someone else is standing at the sink. For a one person situation it isn’t that bad . But Dh and I like to cook together so we have had to adjust how we do things 

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10 hours ago, Paige said:

Our designer wanted to put the dishwasher right next to the sink and I vetoed it. We have to have a corner sink- it's the only place it can go without spending way more money than it's worth. When he put the dishwasher next to the sink in the design, I tried it out by putting a yard stick out where it'd be to represent the door opening and it intruded upon my space to stand at the sink. It probably would have been workable but I'd rather have the dishwasher separated by a 9in pull out to give a little room to stand. If it intruded upon my space, it definitely would be a problem for Dh or anyone bigger than me. 

The most important thing I've learned now that we're in the middle of finalizing our contract is to make the budget king! I have so many wants, and there's so many things that really, really would be better, more useful, more environmentally friendly, more attractive, and all that, but it would get out of control quickly. I was just looking at slabs today and I have to accept that good enough is ok. 

 

I guess you have already made up your mind but in my kitchen with the corner sink (which I hate), the dishwasher is right next to it and that part is no problem at all.  I keep the majority of my dishes above the dishwasher and unloading and loading is easy. 

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Agreeing with everyone upthread about drawers versus cabinets. I really wish we had them because they are a much better use of space than cabinets. 

Can you visit an Ikea store? Even if you don't use their cabinets, they have great ideas in their kitchen displays. 

This blog provides some really good advice about color. This blogger believes everyone should use white subway tile backsplashes. It can sound boring but I agree with her about this. She has several articles discussing "timeless" kitchens. 

Skip the standard 4 inch blacksplash and use tile from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets instead. You must be very specific about this with your contractor because the 4 inch blacksplash is standard. Look at all the kitchen pictures online and in magazines and you will see that those kitchens rarely have the 4 inch backsplash but almost everyone has it in their kitchens because it's the default. Skipping the 4 inch backsplash and using tile instead is an easy way to make your kitchen look more modern. 

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I lived in a house with an L shaped kitchen.  The sink was in the middle of the countertop with the dishwasher on the right. but that was right by the L corner.  So, when the door to the dishwasher was open, non of the cabinets to near the dishwasher could be reached (and then the stove was just past that to make a triangle in the kitchen flow of sink, stove, fridge).  Unloading the dishwasher either meant taking everything out of the dishwasher, setting it on the cabinet, closing the dishwasher, and then putting the dishes away.  The alternative was carrying the dishes, silverware, and glasses across the kitchen for storage.  This also meant the dishes, glasses, and silverware were stored far from where they were used.  And if someone was loading the dishwasher, no one else could access about half of the prime kitchen storage area. 

 I have used some corner sinks that I really liked and some that I haven't.  All corner sinks are not the same--it really depends on the the angle, depth of the space, and the rest of the kitchen layout.  I prefer not to have the sink on the island.  I find that a wet mess piles up over the entire island--dirty dishes, drying dishes, dishwasher detergent bottles, etc.  

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5 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

I lived in a house with an L shaped kitchen.  The sink was in the middle of the countertop with the dishwasher on the right. but that was right by the L corner.  So, when the door to the dishwasher was open, non of the cabinets to near the dishwasher could be reached (and then the stove was just past that to make a triangle in the kitchen flow of sink, stove, fridge).  Unloading the dishwasher either meant taking everything out of the dishwasher, setting it on the cabinet, closing the dishwasher, and then putting the dishes away.  The alternative was carrying the dishes, silverware, and glasses across the kitchen for storage.  This also meant the dishes, glasses, and silverware were stored far from where they were used.  And if someone was loading the dishwasher, no one else could access about half of the prime kitchen storage area. 

 I have used some corner sinks that I really liked and some that I haven't.  All corner sinks are not the same--it really depends on the the angle, depth of the space, and the rest of the kitchen layout.  I prefer not to have the sink on the island.  I find that a wet mess piles up over the entire island--dirty dishes, drying dishes, dishwasher detergent bottles, etc.  

I think it is true if the corner was not a 90 degree It might be better. 

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My kitchen has all slide out drawers in the lower cabinets, which is nice.  I’m another fan of cabinets up to the ceiling, though it really depends on how high your kitchen ceiling is.  I don’t see this working with a ceiling that’s higher than 8’.  
 

One thing I wish the previous owners hadn’t done in this kitchen is to pick all busy hard finishes.  The cabinets are hickory, and I love them, but it’s a busier pattern than any other cabinet finish.  The countertops are a busy granite, the backsplash goes up the cabinets all the way around (and up the ceiling by the window) and is small thin tiles in several colors so it’s very busy, and the floor is travertine which is also somewhat busy (and clashes a bit with the hickory cabinets, but that’s another story).  I’m a fan of kitchens with ONE busy hard finish (either the countertops or the backsplash) and everything else solid or close it it.  
 

One thing I’d do if I were designing a kitchen is to try to plan a layout with the sink and stove on two adjoining sides of the room, relatively close together if possible.  My kitchen has the sink opposite the stove, and it’d be so much more convenient to have them placed so I could easily move from one to the other with a good sized prep space in between the two.

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On 12/5/2020 at 2:30 AM, RootAnn said:

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone so far. Some are things already on my list. Other items I had not thought of.

I currently have to the ceiling cabinets and every inch is used. The top shelf contains seasonal dishes like holiday platters, etc. Previously I had space above the cabinets because of wood beams in the kitchen and while I love the beams, it's useless space to me. I had to climb up there and dust ever so often.

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Underneath the double ovens in the wall, the previous owner put in an oven-wide drawer. It lifts the wall oven(s) up a bit which is nice for hot access, and the drawer is deep enough for my cookie sheets and pizza pan.

I have the worst of both worlds, tall cabinets but with only an 8 inch dust and grime collecting gap between the top and the ceiling. Icky and tricky to clean! Last time I lined the tops with newspaper so that next time I can carefully pull out the paper and replace it.

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Okay. Next dilemma. Upper corner cabinet. I currently have the type that is like this (diagonal?). I don't want open shelves. I need my cabinet space so I can't just do cabinets on one side of the corner, but neither DH or I want a lazy susan in there. Do I want to keep that same style cabinet & see if they can do a D shaped super susan? Should I do a blind corner?

Does anyone have "easy access" cabinets? I'm not a double-hinged-door fan, so I'm not sold on easy access.

I have the bottom/lower blind corner thing decided (since the other side is a dishwasher)-- just trying to figure out my upper cabinet ideas.

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On 12/4/2020 at 9:15 PM, RootAnn said:

I've been wanting to redo our kitchen since we moved in over 17 years ago because it is small (U-shaped) and has a cheap, ugly, linoleum floor. I have a basic idea of what I want -- remove the U and make it an L - running the counters & cabinets along the dining room wall.

Regarding your counters and cabinets that go into the dining room--do you know how you want to organize those? From your description, it sounds like a nice, functional option, but I would want to think hard about what to put in those cabinets. 

Both our old and current houses have had less than ideal kitchens, but our old one was especially difficult to work with. We ended up buying an IKEA piece that we used as a buffet in our dining room, and it was a great option for that specific setup. We used it for place settings, leftover containers, silverware, napkins (we use cloth), glasses and mugs, etc. While it meant toting dishes a few extra steps to put them away, it made setting the table very easy and handy. On the top of the buffet, we made kind of a coffee and tea bar, though the tea and coffee supplies were in drawers with just the makes on top. To maximize space, we had extra shelves inside so that not much needed to be stacked. Another option would be dish stackers, such as this kind of thing: https://www.amazon.com/PRO-MART-DAZZ-Corner-Shelf-Bronze/dp/B01DN0IXB6/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=dish+rack+in+cabinet&qid=1607284756&sr=8-4-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExNkhMN0cyRkFQUVg4JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjQ4MTIxU1ZBOU02V0lBUDFNJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAwODI4MTUxWTNLVFlNTVRHS0s4JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

On 12/5/2020 at 5:30 AM, RootAnn said:

Talk about this more, please. Would you use these super high up cabinets or are they just there to keep the space from getting dusty? Alternatives?

Alternatives--my parents kind of split the difference with their kitchen remodel. They put in extra high cabinets, but they still have a gap because they have 9 ft ceilings. To help with dusting, they put countertop laminate on top of their cabinets--you can't see it until you are up there, but it's a lot easier to clean than sticky, gummy, greasy, wood. 

After being in a number of houses with high cabinets or IKEA pieces that reach to the ceiling, I noticed that it started making me feel closed in to be in a space without some margin (even if it's just visual) between cabinets/furniture and the ceiling. I wouldn't want a lot of that look in my home without something to balance it out. I don't dislike the look, just the feel of being hemmed in and like their isn't room to breathe. It really depends on the layout of the kitchen as well; it's a little hard to describe.

Quote

What do you love about your cabinets or drawers or floors or counters or lights?

We are making do with an old kitchen for now, but I discovered quite a few things that were not that expensive that made my kitchen more usable, neater, etc. after we moved in. 

  • We have two trash pullouts, but I use them for recycling and dirty napkins/towels. The style that worked with our old, odd-sized cabinets would've meant our kids were slopping up the insides of the cupboards, and they would end up smelly and hard to clean.
  • I love customizing with built-in pullouts, and extra adjustable shelves. I have one cabinet that has extra shelving inside so that the whole thing is narrow--almost nothing is stacked, so I can pull it out or put it away without having to play Jenga.
  • Drawers in base cabinets--not all the same depth or width
  • Subdivide drawers and cabinets with internal organizers
  • Use floating (vs. glue down) sheet vinyl flooring to line drawers and cabinets, especially under the sink and where you'll be dragging pots and pans. It's relatively inexpensive, wipes down easily, and it's durable. (Tarkett is one brand.) 
  • We have a rack similar to this in a base cabinet, and it makes getting out and putting away frying pans and lids much easier. https://www.amazon.com/Pack-SimpleHouseware-Kitchen-Bakeware-Organizer/dp/B01LXKKNTV/ref=sr_1_19?dchild=1&keywords=frying+pan+rack&qid=1607285758&sr=8-19   
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23 hours ago, RootAnn said:

P

And we currently have soffits. I'm not a fan & want them gone (assuming there is nothing running through them). DH doesn't want dust/grime magnets, so I guess we'll be doing cabinets all the way up. We have lots of art to display if he wants to spring for glass fronted cabinets with lighting. (Not going to happen!)

 

If you can, wait to order the cabinets until after you've made sure the soffit doesn't have anything running through it! We learned that the hard way.  We ended up adding two storage type cabinets up against the wall, covered with more granite.  Happy about the extra storage, but it alas cost extra money as well! But moving a steel beam that ran throughout the length of the house was a no-go!

IMG_3627.thumb.jpeg.230bf9d6bd625168bce3514e86a00e66.jpegIMG_3628.thumb.jpeg.fac71cec7a4554403777170379b02851.jpegIMG_3629.thumb.jpeg.dae971c21041f46b57b4faab9e96aeb5.jpeg

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On 12/5/2020 at 11:45 PM, Paige said:

Our designer wanted to put the dishwasher right next to the sink and I vetoed it. We have to have a corner sink- it's the only place it can go without spending way more money than it's worth. When he put the dishwasher next to the sink in the design, I tried it out by putting a yard stick out where it'd be to represent the door opening and it intruded upon my space to stand at the sink. It probably would have been workable but I'd rather have the dishwasher separated by a 9in pull out to give a little room to stand. If it intruded upon my space, it definitely would be a problem for Dh or anyone bigger than me. 

The most important thing I've learned now that we're in the middle of finalizing our contract is to make the budget king! I have so many wants, and there's so many things that really, really would be better, more useful, more environmentally friendly, more attractive, and all that, but it would get out of control quickly. I was just looking at slabs today and I have to accept that good enough is ok. 

 

See, a few more inches out doesn't bother me.  Having it across an aisle is just weird.

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On 12/6/2020 at 3:24 PM, SanDiegoMom said:

 

If you can, wait to order the cabinets until after you've made sure the soffit doesn't have anything running through it! We learned that the hard way.  We ended up adding two storage type cabinets up against the wall, covered with more granite.  Happy about the extra storage, but it alas cost extra money as well! But moving a steel beam that ran throughout the length of the house was a no-go!

 

I have one of those oven-and-a-half things and I LOVE it.  WHAT a game changer.  There are only four of us and I use both ovens way more often than I ever thought possible and that half oven gets used probably 80% of the time because it preheats so fast.

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15 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I have one of those oven-and-a-half things and I LOVE it.  WHAT a game changer.  There are only four of us and I use both ovens way more often than I ever thought possible and that half oven gets used probably 80% of the time because it preheats so fast.

I had that at my old house.  We changed to gas for this house and although I think there was a model available I was trying to save money.  I really really miss the small extra oven.  I used it all of the time.

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Met with a contractor today to talk wants. He'll be back with a tentative design & samples next week for us to start picking stuff out. I kinda want to punch into all three soffits before then to double check but I think DH is going to veto it. ;)

ETA: We plan to reuse existing appliances so same oven-stove/fridge/dishwasher. DH is letting himself be talked into a new undermount sink. I don't mind our existing one! I think it is going to be a ripple effect on the already strained budget.

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