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Designing new kitchen with 12x12 space. Need suggestions.

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What do you have to have in your kitchen? What are your best neat things you did? What mistakes should I look to avoid? We want wood countertops in all areas except the sink area. What are the must haves?

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  1. You might want to consider mixing other counter matials with the wood; as wood is very maintenance intensive. Wood looks nice just after installation, but a year down the road, it looks stained and unsavory. I agree wood is nice, but you could also have one section of counter in corian, engineered stone, or stainless steel.

    I assume you must have a galley type layout or u-shape galley. I would suggest you use the "triangle" design method for positioning your three key pieces of equipment, namely the fridge, sink and cooking unit. This will allow you to take one step in any direction to access your sink, cooking and fridge. And make sure you have a counter landing area next to these three zones.

    The main must haves are sink, disposer, dish machine, cook-top and oven.

    Also, with a small kitchen, be sure to use the vertical space well. For instance have your microwave mounted above the counter top or above you cook-top. Use a hanging pot rack.

    Good Luck

    1. I also have a very small kitchen, in fact I believe that the builder circa 1958 forgot about putting in a kitchen until the very end. My suggestions would exclude a garbage disposal ( I haven't had one in over 30 years)plus they are really not necessary nor good for the plumbing. I have also been without a dishwasher for the same amount of time. Now that would be nice to have. I would place the micrwave oven over the cooktop/stove or under the cabinets. Drawers for all of the bottom cabinets would be great to have also depending on what kind of space you have, for more counter space you could have pull out boards or if able to at the end of a counter, arrange for a board to flip up to provide more counter. Kind of like they have in some bars.

      1. I'll share three lists: 1. Things I'm Glad I Did, 2. Things I Wish I'd Done and 3. General Suggestions.

        1. Two sinks, one large enough to hold sheet pans flat and my really huge stockpot. On both sinks, easy-to-clean faucets with arched necks and pull-out hoses.
        General lighting, task lighting and mood lighting.
        Music and a great view from the sink.
        Lowered the cooktop 3" from the standard 36" height because I'm not a 6' tall man. I can see into tall pots on back burners and have an easy time hefting heavy LC and copper cookware.
        The largest refrigerator I could find, a large separate freeze and small under-the-counter fridge for drinks
        Left enough room at the dishwasher that I can walk around it with the door open.
        Used full back splashes, undercabinet lighting and the shelf above the cooktop is a godsend. Great hood fan w/ heat lamps and adjustable lighting.
        Lovelovelove the potfill and made certain its placement would serve as many burners as possible. (Ignore the hot/cold option - if you need hot water, you're already at the stove - heat it.)
        Griddle gets daily use as does the (large) warming drawer.
        Double ovens situated at my height.
        Storage for what I really use daily - trays, sheet pans, etc. Special Occasion items are stored elsewhere.
        Large Vertical Pantry is a must - nothing ever gets lost. The cabinetmaker made a small vertical pantry, under the cooktop, for spice storage.
        Planned a 10' long peninsula and had drawers made to store dishes. Did not want upper cabinets there.
        Design the room in colors that you love. Do not be swayed by what is trendy - this is YOUR room.
        Used some oddball leftover space for a 4" deep pantry wall - great for seeing exactly what is there.

        2. Knife slots in the counter. Ditto for an "egg slot" in the granite by the cooktop. Both were ordered and I wimped out when they were not done and agreed to the installation "as is".
        Planned more flat linen storage.
        Would not do a kitchen desk area again - I have a cookbook library adjacent to the kitchen and the desk area is redundant.
        Wish that I'd raised the hood height a couple of inches for tall cooks who use this kitchen (remember the lowered cooktop). The loss of "sucking power" would be offset by fewer complaints from tall friends who whack their heads.

        3. Leave room at the sides of the cooktop for food, utensils, etc.
        Have a heatproof counter available near the oven(s) to put hot, heavy items directly from the oven.
        "Go See" as many kitchens as you possibly can and learn to edit out the color, design etc if it doesn't suit you and take in the good ideas.
        Be receptive to new ideas but do not automatically assume that "newer is better". In addition to the popular work-triangle school of kitchen design, there is also the hot-cold, wet-dry theory.
        Within reason, you cannot have too many electrical outlets.
        Plan at least one counter area with an overhand to attach a pasta machine or meat grinder or the like. It's also a nice place to have a pull-up stool for chatting visitors that keeps uncooks from being underfoot.
        I had butcher block countertops in a previous kitchen and loved them. For cleaning, I used a chlorine bleach-water mixture applied with a sponge and scraped them with a dough scraper. The gunk was unbelievable! They looked terrific after the four years I lived in that house but proved not to be practical for this house in the desert.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sherri

          Excellent post, Sherri.

          My advice: Two sinks, if you have the space. Both undermounted. That is the number one thing I advise, and by far the biggest improvement over my old kitchen. UNDERMOUNT ROCKS!

          My small island is strictly for prep. The island is butcher block, and the small sink is undermounted in the butcher block. I have had it 9 years now, and the water has been no problem at all. Remnants from chopping food get scraped directly into the sink and disposed of. No rim to clean around. It is true that wood stains easily, however. I'm glad my whole kitchen does not have wood counters.

          Both sinks should have disposals. I am STUNNED by the number of people who don't like their disposals. I would retire from cooking without one. I have clogged it maybe twice in 9 years, and I tend to be accident prone. My plumber said a disposal was good for the septic tank.

          The rest of the surfaces are granite. It's great to take a hot pot off the stove or out of the oven and plop it down.

          Light the place like an operating room. I have two big flourescent "clouds" on either side of the hanging pot rack so it doesn't cast a shadow, 5 recessed spots, and undercounter lights.

          Self cleaning electric wall-mounted double ovens have been great for me.

          Things I did wrong: no space for cookbooks. cabinets do not go all the way to the ceiling. electric cooktop. cheap (loud) dishwasher.

        2. You do not need a disposal.

          I don't like the microwave over the stove idea. My SIL has one and I'm constantly worried when I take out things like soup or stew. Anything that can tip a bit and spill/burn. I do like it tucked under the counter top.
          I would have at least one granite (some sort of stone) counter top for hot and for making pie dough and the like.
          If you like wood, maybe you could have a built in butcher block.
          Garbage and possibly recycle outta the way.
          As much counter and cabinet space as possible. One cabinet that I would like to see deeper than the rest is the one over the fridge. I had those cupboards because you end up putting things on top of the fridge rendering those cupboards useless. You may as well store your sleeping bags and summer/winter clothes in it as much as you open them.

          Just some ramblings

          DT

          2 Replies
          1. re: Davwud

            We dohave a large piece of historical marble that we will workinto the design. Where would you put it?

            1. re: nosey

              I'm not sure but Ambler said in her 12x12 the got an island. If possible, that's where you put it.

              DT

          2. I recently renovated my very small kitchen. Here are my suggestions for space utilization:
            - I canot tell from your post what the shap of your kitchen is but our kitchen was 12*12 square and we got a center island. At first I did not think it would be possible because of the small size of the kitchen, but it was the best decision I ever made. We have the sink and dishwasher in the center island aong with some extra cabinet and counter space. I love it!
            - Get the extra tall cabinets, and make sure the cabinets go al the way up to the ceiling. We used to have soffits above our cabinets and it wassuch awaste of space. Just adding the height to the cabinets really increased our storage space.
            - Add a cabinet above your refridgerator. That is usually a "wasted" space and can be a great way to add extra storage.

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: AmblerGirl

              If your cabinets don't go all the way to the ceiling, you have a great place for grease and dust to settle. It can get really messy.

              DT