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your one kitchen design tip

Inspired by the "one cooking tip" thread on the Home Cooking board, I ask the same about kitchen design. We're designing a brand-new kitchen and have to decide on everything -- appliances, cabinets, counters, sinks, layout, accessories, etc. What's your best tip?

I'm sure I'll be posting again with more specific questions about appliance brands and things like that after I spend more time researching the board, but I wanted to start with a big, broad question.

Thanks!

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  1. A well-organized pantry. No matter what you have in the way of expensive appliances, counters, etc., you will be using staples, spices and the like every single day. You need a place to see what you have, store your extras, and restock with ease.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brendastarlet

      Well here are a couple. I spent plenty of time researching appliances, cabinets, faucets, sinks and so on. I didn't spend as much time on the hood and I got talked into getting a bigger one in terms of CFM that I needed. It is louder then I care for. It does the job but I think the one I originally wanted would have done the job too. My advice is find a place where you can test them out and see how loud they are.

      We have a combination of drawers and pull out shelves for the lower cabinets. I prefer the pull-outs for pots and pans becuase they are easier to get at. I know all drawers is the current fav but not mine.

    2. I know you said one tip but...

      This might be obvious, but make sure your dishwasher is conveniently located - the dishes, flatware, glassware etc. should all be stored close to the dishwasher for easy unloading.

      In the same vein, your cooktop/range should be located close to the sink. (In my brother's kitchen, the cooktop is located on the other side of the kitchen from the sink. This drives him crazy because he has to carry steaming pots of food across the kitchen if he has to drain anything etc. Particularly bad with 2 small children in the house.)

      If anybody who is going to be using this kitchen is a baker - a marble, granite or even stainless steel "baking station" is nice - provides a cool service for rolling out dough.

      Good luck with the new kitchen!

      1. I know that you asked for one tip, but five years after designing a kitchen from the dirt up, I cannot name "the best". So, some favorites off the top of my head:

        Install twice as many electric outlets as you think you'll need. They're dirt cheap during the build and pricey afterwards. I haven't been sorry.

        Task lighting (and lots of it) on dimmer switches - ditto for the $$$ as above.

        Buy the best of everything that you can afford. By "best" I do not mean most trendy or what gets a lot of press. Quality will naver be cheap at the onset but is a bargain over the long run.

        I love/adore/cherish my large drawers for storage. Several cabinetmakers refused to take this job because I insisted on them. I have never been sorry and their comment "it will look like a bedroom dresser" is 100% false. I use them for everything from plates & saucers to heavy platters and serving implements. Each drawer is rated at 200 lbs and I would rescue them in a fire if possible. I installed them under the cooktop, under the island and under the peninsula. The ready-to-go, easy answer for this storage is the cabinet with pullout shelf. No, thank you. This requires three hands (one ea to open the cabinet doors and the third to slide out the shelf.) Bad news if you're doing anything messy. Drawers take a single finger if you use good hardware.

        I've just returned from a long roadtrip and cooked in many different kitchens along the way. DO NOT install your cooktop in front of a window unless your hobby is cleaning grease off glass. Lovely view of the Mendocino Coast but a giant PITA for cleanup.

        Heavy duty garbage disposals.

        Both potfill and shelf over the cooktop are a boon and used for many other tasks than I originally envisioned.

        Installed very heavy-duty beams (4X12) for the potrack, electricity as well. I could dance on the potrack with nary a problem. I haven't found lighting under it to be necessary so I wasted $25 for the low-voltage hookups, but someday .......... maybe.

        Havr a wonderful time on your project.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sherri

          Good tips.

          Here is one I like to remind folks: I can change pretty much anything BEFORE it is ordered FOR FREE, afterward, IT'LL COST SOMEBODY....

          1. re: Sherri

            enthusiastically seconding the recommendation on the huge sturdy drawers. So much better than any other form of storage I've come across.

            The other thing I can recommend is a place for someone to sit and keep you company without getting underfoot while you're cooking.

            1. re: Sherri

              Love the idea of the potfill over the cooktop, I definitely will try to incorporate this if it's not too much $$.

              1. re: Sherri

                May I add one more to my not-so-short list? On an unused wall in an adjacent room, I had a carpenter install floor-to-ceiling shelves (wall-to-wall) that are 4" deep. This is the perfect size for a single can, jar, box and allows everything to be seen at a single glance.

                1. re: Sherri

                  I like this one! Not necessarily just for whole walls, which I don't really have a good supply of that I would like to use for this, but I might have some small spaces where I could squeeze a few of these in to get just a little bit of storage for this and that. Gonna check when I get home. ;-) I'm thinking of next to a cabinet and need to see if there would still be room to open the cabinet door....

                  1. re: CrazyOne

                    Even using the space between wall studs (after removing the wallboard of course) where extra space is tight works. Also, the forgotten space behind doors is a good spot because this is not too deep. I used a large can of tomatoes as my benchmark and varied the heights of the shelves. It has been a boon!

              2. Smooth stove tops...my sister built this huge home in Chicago at the same time we were building ours in the Atlanta area. She really regrets the stove she bought-so many nooks and crannies to clean. I love my smooth-top range-cleaning is a breeze and the thing heats up so fast-I don't even miss my old gas range.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bryarsmom

                  I am curious about the smooth cooktop. My stepmother always claimed she could burn water, and the smooth cooktop is proving her point. If any liquid (yes - even water) is on the pot when she cooks, she ends up with a burn't on mess that takes a heck of a lot of elbow grease to clean off the stove. Any experience with that?

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    my mom has a smooth cooktop and it seems like she is always cleaning it obsessively.
                    it also stays very hot for a long time after the heat has been turned off, and i've burned the everliving F&*& out of myself grabbing a red-hot prep bowl off of the top of the stove-- after the cooktop had been turned off for the entire meal & i was just cleaning up. these things are just dangerous imo-- but i cook with gas at work and home and so i'm used to that-- turn the burner off and the heat's gone, duh.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      One summer we all rented a beach house that had one of those cooktops and I remember how we all kept remarking on how dangerous it was. Maybe new ones are better now? I don't know, but I'm sticking with gas and burners myself.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        I have to say, this is the one thing I wish I had NOT done in my kitchen. The prior owners had electric and my husband talked me into keeping it instead of going to gas (even tho putting in the line wouldn't have been an issue). We have the glass top - it looks lovely, works fine (after a couple of weeks of getting used to it), I kind of like that I can use it as extra counter space when it's not in use), however, it can be dangerous as others have mentioned if you forget that it's been on, and; no matter how hard you clean it, never expect it to look as beautiful as it did the day it arrived. I'm pretty good about keeping it clean, but there are just some things which are a real problem to get off of it! I also miss being able to have that fine adjustment of heat, and even though I have 5 burners (one even oversized), none of them are small enough to accommodate some of the smaller pans I have, so you have to be pretty careful at times!

                        1. re: sivyaleah

                          We just got a flat top stove a couple months ago. Ours comes with warning lights that show which burners are hot (not on specifically, just if they are hot) and two burners which can be switched from a small cooking space to a large cooking space. We got a metal scraper and cleaner designed for it and it cleans up quite nicely.

                2. I did my kitchen a couple years ago. I love the large single sink that we installed. It is great to put large pots and pans to soak. And since we have a dishwasher, there really is no need for a double sink. Also installed a second bar sink on the opposite end of the kitchen, this also comes in very handy. Especially if there are two or more in the kitchen. Have fun and enjoy.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: EWIOBR

                      yes a second sink somewhere if you have the space-- so nice, even a small wet-bar syle one

                      1. re: EWIOBR

                        A large bowl is great, and a gooseneck faucet. There are two bowl sinks with one large bowl that are fine, too. I'm not the greatest at doing dishes immediately so Iike having the little side bowl for cutting veggies over. And an oversink cutting board.