Your Ideal Kitchen.... Appliances, Utensils, Cookware, Cutlery -- any price, up for all ideas!!
My bf and I both want a terrific kitchen, #1 priority! Only want to buy the best appliances, utensils, cookware, cutlery once to last decades. (Generous corporate housing allowance, so willing to spend whatever necessary for the best gourmet kitchen).
Have a large copper pan from France, some All-Clad, a DeLonghi mini convection oven, a reliable (old) Cuisinart, etc...
Wondering about ovens, stoves, countertops, cutlery, favorite gadgets, etc. Have the china picked out and have many unique serving dishes -- but eager to hear about anything else you'd include in your 'ideal kitchen'!!!
I love my Sub Zero Fridge drawers (I have 3 small kids and my 2 drawers are filled with drinks)which means my other fridge only has food in it.
2 Miele dishwashers and Miele washer/dryer
I also LOVE my Wolf 4 burner rangetop with Griddle and my double wall ovens and warming drawer.
I LOVE the look of my walnut island top but it does require care and I HATE my walnut floors. They look beautiful but after rejected 7 prefinished floors we put in unfinished and they scratch like crazy BUT they look beautiful as long as the light is hitting them the correct way.
One thing that I would like in my kitchen is a desk. Personally, where I live right now, I'd love a flip top desk. That way I can put my cook books there and what not and it'll flip up out of the way. Then when I need to pull out a cook book, I can flip the top and lay the book open there. I'd also love it if I had a computer in there for other recipes.
If you want the very best and price is no object, look at the Swiss Spring cookware or the French Mauviel or Borgeat. They are incredible! Travel to Villedieu-les-poeles in Normandy (about 200 miles from Paris) to the Mauviel factory to see the entire line. The main street of the village is lined with shops selling copper pots of every description at savings that will justify your trip especially after the VAT rebate.
The Paris cookware shop Dehillerin is like nothing we have in the US and the place to go when you have made your wish list.
For serving pieces, casseroles, baking dishes, souffles, etc. the plain porcelain pieces made by Pillivuyt and Apilco are classics that can be used everyday and with formal settings as well. I have been using mine for decades and they never go out of style - total classics.
Both companies make beautiful dinnerware, plain white or decorated porcelain, from demi-tasse cups to elaborate serving pieces. These companies have been around for over 100 years and are known for their quality. They sell open stock so you will always be able to add to your sets or replace broken pieces. Get 3 dozen plain white dinner plates for buffet parties and you'll never have to use paper or rent.
Lenox makes an excellent quality crystal wine glass for general use at about $10 per stem that you can afford to buy in quantity rather than Riedel for large parties. It's what the White House has been using since the Kennedy Administration.
Buy sterling silver for 12 in a classic pattern. If it's been around for decades, chances are that it won't be discontinued.
A set of fine white linen damask napkins. Be prepared to iron them.
Also get a good set of high quality silverplate or stainless that is available open stock so that you can buy several dozen extra forks (and possibly knives) for parties.
A punchbowl. I know it may sound silly but you can use it for ice, fruit, flowers, a big salad, or even punch.
I have renovated a lot of kitchens that I have left behind when I have moved but I have taken my good things with me each time. They have worked in city houses, country places, in the US and overseas, because they were good quality classics. My daughters borrow them and already joke about what they expect me to leave them in my will.
If you have space, plan a butler's pantry to store your good things well. Take care of them. Then use them. All the time. Enjoy them. That's why you have lovely things. To give you joy. To make your life wonderful.
Just one comment about china. When my ex and I went to live in Switzerland a long time ago, we planned to buy ourselves a set of Limoges or some similar French dinnerware. But the china guy in Switzerland (no national pride??? issue) told us to forget French and buy English bone china instead. Due to the type of material, he said, it's much whiter, stronger, and even lighter. I don't know to this day how true it all is, but we did go with English bone china and were very happy with it. Take it FWIW. You can get it at good prices with tremendous selection of patterns all over London and elsewhere. It's also amazing how much is on eBay, also at extremely good prices, but hit or miss on patterns of course. My new wife and I bought ours that way.
I'd be curious about others' opinions on the Frence porcelain vs. English bone china issue.
That is excellent advice for fine china. Many of the French Limoges patterns carried in American stores are made for export and they are frequently discontinued as my pattern was. It was also not available in France. Not so with the British set I have. Same with my British silver which has been made since Edwardian times
That's why I mentioned Pillivuyt and Apilco specifically. They make more or less very upscale daily use porcelain and kitchenware. Very beautiful - enough to set a fine table - and the companies are over 100 years old. Although they do offer some fashion things, they will continue to offer their "backbone" items and won't discontinue those like Crate and Barrel and other trendy retailers do.
I think it's worth buying the best in Europe. The VAT rebate has generally more than covered the shipping. And eBay has been a Godsend for the antique stuff when I have been willing to spend the time.
My kitchen has plenty of storage room. A must.
More important: three sinks. One each (large and deep) for the two counters and one off to the side/around the corner that is deep and industrial for all the heavy tasks--including washing out cleaning rags and mops, doing first passes on stock pots and other monsters, washing more than 10 kg of stuff.
Have a separate butlers pantry for dishes, linens, glassware and so on.
The humble pegboard, or strips of wood with hooks or something similar, is your friend. Have the kitchen tools you use most often hung in the open where you can grab them.
Have spices near where you use them.. don't be a slave to a separate spice cabinet. Also do not fear having multiple (small) containers of spices near where they are used. If you have a separate baking station, you will want the spice you use there, rather than going to a main spice cabinet for the ginger or cinnamon.
Having multiple whisks, spatulas, spoons, sieves, spiders, colanders, and so on really facilitates cooking for a crowd. So does having extra bowls for food processors and mixers. You can never have too many small stainless steel or glass bowls for prep.
Finally, if something doesn't fit your style of cooking don't buy it even if it is in all the magazines.
- Viking 6-burner 36" propane cooktop (did not have room for the 48")
- Miele dishwasher - so quiet we always think its broken
- Trash compactor
- GE monogram MV with door that opens down. We placed in the island. What a great idea.
- roll out drawer next to fridge. great idea to put stuff on when loading or unloading fridge
- single handle faucet in which it goes down to turn on and up to turn off
- pocket lights under the cabinets
- electric socket strips under upper cabinets
- electric socket strip at the end of the island
- Two sinks, each with a disposal
- Pantry to hide all the stuff people keep on the counters. DW and I hate stuff on the counter except my coffee maker
Can't stand -
- GE monogram double oven (should have gone with Dacor)
- painted cabinetry (what a nightmare keeping clean and need repainting every five years)
Does that generous housing allowance mean that you are expected to entertain? If so will you use caterers and/or additional help. You should plan staging areas and additional space for warming ovens, trash, etc. Remember that trays, large serving pieces, sheetpans, etc. don't fit into counter depth fridges. Open kitchens are a nightmare for caterers' prep which can be noisy, chaotic, and messy.
My ideal kitchen would have small undercounter fridge and freezer in the work triangle with separate stand-alone units near the pantry area for food storage. A small fridge in the wet bar for drinks and snacks.
One of those small DW units for cooking implements right where I use them in the triangle and a big DW or 2 near the table for dishes.
I would never again have a floor that is not a resiliant material such as wood, bamboo or even vinyl or linoleum - I care about my back, feet and legs far more than and fashion.
I think the best floor material for a kitchen would be cork. There are many options in cork flooring these days. I wanted it but allowed my lovely wife to talk me into hardwood, but with the proviso that I could put in those big industrial-type rubber mats with the circles, which I did and it works out pretty well. The mats even look sharp, since they pick up the black grains in our oak cabinets. They do pick up debris tho, and given their construction cleaning it out is not as easy as a sweep.
Drawers for you lower cabinets (instead of cabinet doors opening to shelves) make items easy to see and keep organized and easy to retrieve.
Organized inserts for inside your drawers and cabinets are essential (pot lid racks, cookie sheet/platter slots, etc.) for a well equipped kitchen!! It makes the space more efficient, you'll know where all your stuff is and be able to get it in a snap!
Another idea is to install outlets inside the cabinets for the appliances you use often but do not want to leave out. When you need the appliance, it's already plugged in. All you need to do is lift it to the counter and then slide it back in when you are done.
I can't stand having my pans in drawers, so do make sure it's want you want first! however, if I could I'd have more shallow drawers in the kitchen as all my utensils are in the drawers and whilst they were fine to start with I've accrued more and the ice cube trays and the biscuit cutters and the cooking spoons and my actual cutlery etc etc etc. Maybe two more lots of drawers would be good.
re: ali patts
Drawers vs. shelves is a personal preference thing I guess. What I know is that we recently moved into our new house for which I specified drawers for the lower cabinets mainly because it's so much easier to get stuff in and out than by stooping down and getting on hands and knees to put stuff on shelves. Now that I have them I'd never go back. For me no question it's better. We have only three drawers per unit--the top ones are medium shallow and used for utensils. The lower two are very deep and it's amazing how many really big pots and stacks of pans I can put in there--everything but the largest and tallest stockpots. But if you go this route, be sure the drawer slides etc. and heavy and really good guality, 'cause that stuff gets heavy.
what do you plan to do in your ideal kitchen? do you expect to bake? entertain? everybody has different needs and desires, so its hard to recommend without knowing yours.
In my case, I like cooking from lots of different cuisines.
Baking too, and have assembled lots of ingredients and pans.
Have lots of cookbooks
Plenty of pantry and closed storage space for pans, serving dishes and ingredients, for example walk in pantry, good freezer space and shelves/drawers to hold equipment out of sight have been musts for me. Plenty of bookshelves for the cookbooks.
re: jen kalb
Jen is right. Put in at least twice as much storage as you think you'll need. You won't regret it. Another idea that worked for me. Have your cabinet maker install a plug mold strip just below the lip of the countertop, at least on the sides not visible from the living area. Then you'll have plenty of electrical connections wherever you may need to use an appliance.
I doubt it would be much of an issue--after all, outlets are routinely installed outdoors without problems. A GFI circuit should solve any problem. But if it's more convenient to go under the uppers, why not? In any case, I didn't have much choice because I have very few cabinets over the counters---nearly all my counter space is island and peninsula. That is the application where the idea makes most sense.
A word about granite work tops: Unsealed granite is porous, with all the issues that brings in the kitchen. Sealed granite is non-porous but the seal doesn't withstand heat very well. You put hot pans on a granite work top and you're back to a porous surface. The bugger is that this is in most cases invisible to the naked eye so while you're thinking the surface is nice, clean and shiny it is actually taking in food residue.
There are far better alternatives available. Stainless steel comes to mind as being both hygienic and indestructible, even wood is a good choice. If stone it has to be check out some of the man made alternatives. Guaranteed to resist heat, guaranteed to be non porous and they look exactly like stone.
I agree with you about the performance qualities of man-made quartz stone (Silestone being the most well-known, but there are others as well). However, though they look good, they don't look the same as granite. Nobody who has seen much of either would confuse them. This is not to say they don't look really good, just that they don't have the natural look of granite.
I see no reason not to mix and match surfaces depending on their expected duties. For example, granite on cold-only work surfaces, quartz in areas close to the cooking surface (to put pans down, etc.), wood where people might eat and put their arms down and thus a cold stone is less than perfect. There's enough color choice to make it all work together.
To each their own! Marble and Corian (most used composite in the UK) both stain and neither span as well as granite (which also doesn't span well, just better) i.e. lots of under counter appliances is a problem with stone worktops. Corian is (or was at any rate) a composite on top of a timber backing, it sags terribly over time - or at least it has done in a number of kitchens I've seen. I don't really have a 'heat' ruins the seal issue as I grew up with melamine worktops so don't tend to put hot pans down!
I put in as close as I could to my dream kitchen a few years back - the only problem is space! My musts;
big fridge and freezer (a problem in my kitchen)
gas hob, maybe a couple of induction rings but principally a gas hob
granite work surfaces (I love mine and the only problem is that the kitchen faces south so you have to roll pastry really quickly in the summer and cannot pour melted chocolate on to the granite for curls etc as it just doesn't cool - my worktops are black which doesn't help. I still love them)
wusthof knives - lots of them
that's probably all I would say is a must, but nice to haves...
magimix (food processor)
villeroy and boch cutlery (glasses too)
I love my 'le pentole' stainless steel pans
copper and stainless steel bowls
I've never used induction so can't comment, but if you want to go with gas, and you're really a cook and place performance above yuppie looks, then forget about the hoity toity names like Wolf and others you saw mentioned above and go with BLUESTAR. It is the home version of a Garland range or cooktop, and will cook rings around all those other names you have seen and heard about. I got the 36" cooktop because I wanted electric convection baking in a separate unit, tho many have reported they like their Bluestar gas ovens in their units as well. They make sizes up to 60". See the website
If you click on their product reviews box, it will take you to a David Rosengarten article which is fairly convincing--and it even was a comparison which used a model with the smaller burners, not the bigger 22k btu burners which I recommend (again, for serious cooks only).
All this assumes you aren't going to go with the ultra cooking stuff like AGA or one of those super duper european custom builts at $80,000 a pop and 9 months waiting for delivery.
You can get unlimited opinions/advice about this stuff on Garden Web's site---much more than here. Here is a link to the appliance forum--there are also other forums on every conceivable home design/decor issue.
Of course, everyone has a different opinion, so your head will spin. Also, with respect to Bluestar, they are up to probably 40,000+ posts by now so the discussion lately has been mostly minutia. You might get some more relevant discussion by going back to some of the earlier threads.
Among home-level hoods, your best best is probably Vent-a-hood.
interesting comment. I've had one and it seem like I hardly ever used moer than 3 burners. Currently have a 4 burner Garland, no grill. It's my guess that at least one of the burners has hardly ever been on.
In our home in Dallas I had a 4 burner Viking with a grill. Think I used the grill once as it was such a pain in the butt to clean up, much easier to go outside and use the Weber.
I am pretty close to having my dream kitchen - we renovated an old house earlier this spring and the kitchen was one of the first priorities. We didn't have much money, after paying for the house, contractors etc so it had to be done on a budget. Still, I love it.
1. The dining room is connected to the kitchen, separated only by different flooring. Dark oak in the dining room, slate in the kitchen, sealed so it doesn't stain.
2. I bought an old but well looked after Dynasty pro cooker from a food photographer. He was upgrading, I got the old model and the matching industrial hood for little more than a new domestic model would have cost me.
3. Our pantry is an old ice box we picked up in a cheap antique store.
4. Our island came from an ad on craigslist. It's actually a chest of drawers on wheels, about 90 years old (I am guessing here). It'll get a new marble top next year and will make for a perfect pastry station.
5. Stainless steel freestanding units from IKEA. Dirt cheap and perfect.
6. Industrial shelves to hold plates and glasses from IKEA. We cook enough for things to never get dusty, they are in constant rotation, so no doors were needed.
7. Large double porcelain sink, with professional tap and rinser.
8. Splashback completely tiled with white subway tiles. Cleaning is a breeze.
9. Spotlights for all prep areas. Bosch dishwasher, Fisher and Paykel fridge/freezer. We did spend money there.
As far as cookware is concerned I use a mixture of stuff we bought second hand in the south of France, stuff I inherited from my grandmother, thrift store finds and stuff that found it's way into my life from a restaurant a former housemate of mine used to work in - many moons ago. I am currently saving up for a new copper saute pan.
The kitchen is as close to a restaurant kitchen as I could make it, for as little money as possible. A little imagination is all that's needed.
lots of lighting, thats the worst thing about my kitchen.. no lights!
a good BIG solid cast iron wok, i use mine for everything, not just asian food. its great.
a vita mix blender.
a pot filler faucet by the stove.
a second small sink for veggie prep.
lots of different size roasting pans and casserole type dishes.
a big island with a butcher block.
a huge pantry!
Hey, great lists Sally from LA and Leo Lady!
Definitely get the professional 48" dual fuel Wolf stove and heavy duty exhaust fan, 42" Subzero fridge. Double Fisher Paytel or Miele Dishwasher & vacuum.
Also have a faucet installed on the stove backsplash for easy access.
Be sure to have the kitchen wired for your new plasma TV, high speed internet, cable, phone, etc. You may as well have a cat 5e cable (or whatever is the best highspeed communication cable) for every appliance just in case. Large pantry very important.
Must have the All Clad regular and large stainless roasting pans!
Don't forget to include a trash compactor and two large trash bins inside the cabinets with counter top access...cut a round hole on your counter so you can just toss everything in without having to open the cabinet.
What about the outdoor kitchen?
All Miele: dishwasher, gas cooktop (master chef model with high BTU burner), 2 convection ovens, warming drawer, built in coffee center
Fisher Paykel: 2 drawer dishwasher (for overflow, small loads or special loads)
Sub Zero: fridge/freezer plus 2 under counter refridgerated drawers
A raised fireplace.
A large skylight
A plasma TV
I'd start with either a travertine stone or Ipe wood floor. Perhaps with some inlaid designs.
I'd have solid Mahogany cabinets.
Pot lights over the kitchen area and pendant lights over a breakfast bar.
For appliances, I'd have two electric convention ovens. Six burner gas range with a built-in grill. Two sinks. I'd have to have a very large pantry. A 30 sq ft (at least) fridge.
Hobart N-50 mixer
Vintage Bridge Kitchenware or French Copper Studio Copper KA bowl http://www.frenchcopperstudio.com/
Vita Mix Blender
Robot Coupe R2 Food Processor
Marble pastry table or counter
36 by 36 inch butcher block table
Vintage Cousances & Copco enameled cast iron cookware/bakeware
Cast iron cookware
Heavy french copper DeHillerin founded 1820 Paris, France
All Clad stockpots
Vintage Sabatier carbon knives
Dexter Russell utensils & spatulas
Vollrath stainless steel utensils, bowls, colanders, etc.
Lincoln Wear Ever Professional Half Size Sheet Pan
Lincoln cast aluminum extra large professional roasters
Oxo good grips dry measuring cups & spoons
Oxo salad spinner
I may remember more later
Induction cooktop--I've cooked for 30 years on electric, gas, high performance gas (Viking, Thermadore, Wolf, DCS) and induction is by far the fastest and most sensitive cooktop I've ever used. I have a Diva Induction five element unit and it works well (it is quieter than others). The controls are not well designed (easy to activate and deactivate accidentally) and you can't use copper or aluminum (non magnetic) pans. I would design around an induction cooktop and double electric ovens.