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Nov 17, 2006 06:13 PM

Advice for building a kitchen from scratch?

My fiance and I bought a house here in Philadelphia and it is a real fixer upper. We are tearing down the current kichen and rebuilding it. The dimensions will be 8 1/2 ft. long by 14 ft. wide so it's not going to be big. In that we have to squeeze all of our applainces and a back door. I was hoping for advice in terms of clever ideas you would change or have used in your own kitchen to save space, make life easier, and any general advice. Not really looking for appliance ideas, I subscribe to consumer reports and recently they produced an issue on applainces which we will use as a guide. The budget isn't huge either. To give an example of something that would be helpful could be the suggestion of lighting under the cabinets. Any ideas, tips or hints would be appreciated. Thanks

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  1. My advice would be to seek out a local design store and have them do the space planning for you. Many of these stores do it for free. You won't be obligated to buy anything from them. This in itself will save you a world of sorrows, believe me. I work for an architect and I can assure you that proper planning is the key to a smooth functioning kitchen.

    When we re-did our kitchen, we did just this (didn't use my firm, they were too busy, alas, to help, what a gyp!). As it turned out, we bought our cabinets from the planner - but they were so deeply discounted through them it was worthwhile.

    Take your time, don't rush. Go to design centers and see what you like. Think about how you'll use your space, what "extras" matter to you. For instance, I wanted a lot of pull-out drawers, because I have trouble bending - very glad I did this. I also wanted glass front in some cabinets to display my collection of Fiestaware. These kinds of things make your space personal.

    Think about things which can do double-duty. We had a small odd space near our refrigerator, which is also near the entry to our garage, which we turned into extra food storage, but it looks more like a piece of furniture, because the top is set back with small knick-knack drawers and it has a granite shelf protruding from it. The drawers solved the problem of where to stuff coupons, small odds and ends, and the shelf is a place to throw down keys, small bags, etc. when walking in from that door plus the extra food storage top and bottom.

    Hope this helped :-)


      this site is specifically for people who are building/remodeling is a goldmine of into & experience!

      1. We did a couple of things with our very small kitchen in our 1928 built house. In the corner we have a "lazy susan" cabinet, 2 circular 'lazy susans" that hold a lot and are easy to use. One cabinet, the one we use for pans, trays, etc has 2 pull-out shelves (they are on rollers) making it easy to get to whatever pan you're after. Our microwave is on a microwave shelf below a half cabinet therefore not taking up counter space. We did 3 glass front cabinets which seem to add depth to the kitchen. Also did undercabinet lighting which reduces the need for extra overhead lighting.

        Have fun and most of all have patience, it always takes about twice as long as you plan on it taking.

        1. Our house is 68 years old. The kitchen is charming but has very little counter space to work on. We use a table as work space. On the back of the door to the hall, we have an enclosed peg board. It is like a cabinet on the back of the door. Nearly all my utensils hang there.

          Have your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. Put the rarely used stuff up top.

          My last house had applicance garages. I loved that. The electical plugs were in the garage, and the appliance was always ready to go. But out of sight. We also had two dishwashers, and two sink areas each with a disposal. It was wonderful for entertaining.

          Get the deepest sink you can. Those crab pots need depth to wash. And when you pick out your stove hood, be sure to listen to them on high speed. You want the motor remote from the kitchen area. Vent a Hood has the quietest I have found.

          You can put a little pop out shelf in front of your sink. It could hold tuffys, Scotch brite pads, etc

          Do get a pro to help you. This is a huge investment that you will have to live with for a long time.

          good luck.

          1. Lots of custom cupboards/drawers for sheet pans, pot lids, whatever. Personally, I don't like the lazy susan corner cabinet idea -- things are always jamming/falling off. Instead, we have a jointed door that folds out, making access to the corner cabinet easy.

            If you are tall and thinking about raising your counter height, think again. We did this, and it's been a big headache with every appliance, dishwasher to stove. I suspect that if you live in New York or another big city, you can probably find contractors who can deal with this. We have not been fortunate here in our small town.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              In eight years I've never had a "jam up" with the "lazy susan" cabinet." In fact, it's a God send since we have no pantry. Our cabinets do go all the way to the ceiling complete with crown molding. Oh, the lazy susan cabinet does have a jointed door.

              We put in a Franke stainless sink, very deep, don't own a pot I can't get in it. Franke is a bit more expensive but they make the best stainless sinks you can buy.

              We did granite countertops but have have Corian and it's also outstanding.

              1. re: rtmonty

                I regret not putting in the lazy susan in my corner cabinet. I thought it wasn't a good idea at the time, thought I was losing storage space by doing it. Now, my knees are so bad and I can't bend to get into the far reaches of the cabinet as is. So, we're seriously thinking of adding the lazy susan - 4 years after the fact.