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Designing your Dream Kitchen

I just move to a new city and have been looking at buying a new house. The problem is, that the kitchen is the most important room for me, and also the most difficult and costly room to remodel if you want to make changes. That's one of the reasons I am now planning to build a new house this spring/summer. I'm just in the contract phase now with a contractor, but already am getting excited about the possibilty of having my kitchen be EXACTLY what I want.

Unfortunately, I won't have an unlimited budget, but I will be looking for the best applicances I can afford, and can have nice materials such a granite, wood and tile.

If you could have your DREAM kitchen....what would you put in it? What little things would you consider to make your current kitchen better? What do you like about your current kitchen that you think others would find useful?

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  1. I plan to do the following to my kitchen once its footprint has been expanded:
    1) Install large windows along the entire east wall to capture as much natural light as possible.
    2) Use basalt flooring to add a modern yet permanent feel.
    3) Bust out wall between kitchen and dining room for a bar/pass thru which looks inviting and will also make both rooms feel bigger.
    4) Install a banquette which is also adds an inviting feel and can provide a little extra storage.

    Note: I like nothing about my current kitchen.

    1. A hood! I create so much smoke in my apartment that I'm always running to take the smoke detector off of the ceiling. By this point, the detector refuses to stay on the ceiling. Lots of BTUs would be nice as well -- I do a lot of stir-fries. Granite is a must -- I love the fact that I don't have to worry about putting a trivet underneath a hot pot. Lots of counter space is great. And I wish I had a decent size pantry. I've got over 70 herbs and spices and am running out of room. And I'm tired of storing a lot of my pots and pans in the oven. Using the oven can be a bit of a pain. This is also not a requirement but would be really nice is dual ovens. And I think a garbage disposal is really useful.

      1. granite counters that open to the dining area so the counter can double as a buffet service. undermount sinks are a must for me, I hate the gunk that happens with drop in sinks. a nice braun rangemaster hood to pull the smoke and it has the heat lamp and drop down shelves to hold or rest foods

        1. We completely redid our kitchen about 3 years ago - gutted everything to the walls and started from scratch. Virtually all of our ideas have worked out well, but the two that really stand out in my mind are: (1) a second sink (prep sink) close to the range, and (2) adequate lighting, particularly under cabinets. As a close third, if you have the space and the budget, go for a 48" professional style range with quality hood (external blower, if you can do it). We virtually never need all the burners going at the same time, but simply having the extra space on the stove top makes it worth it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FlyFish

            We redid our kitchen a few years ago. One of the best things i ever did was buy a 60" wolf stove with two ovens. I LOVE this stove, and it performs up to task ever time. The hood is also a great thing, removes smoke very quickly and with easy. My one regret, i didnt get the french top. I opted for the standard burners and a grill. The second deep sink is also a great option. One thing not to over look, the wine cooler(s).

            1. re: baldwinwood

              I used to have a 60-inch Wolf with six burners, griddle, two ovens, and a salamander. A real hot rod. Lost it in divorce. Miss the stove much more than the wife. Having six burners is REALLY nice. Turned out many a delicious meal fast with the salamander. Do not skimp on the range. That's my best advice.


          2. Cool, highly-functional non-traditional cabinet configurations.

            I'm not really informed about current kitchen trends or what's now standard (I've only ever cooked in my family's small, traditional kitchen, in my rental apartments, dorm suites, or in the rentals of friends). But what I've seen on television design shows, Alton Brown's set, and in a couple of fancy co-ops that I DEEPLY envy are those deep drawers and the shallow trays and slide-out things that you access from the side. No getting on my hands and knees to dig out my odd-sized cake pans or last box of pasta out of the back of a dark cabinet (and having the cats climb in after me and chasing them out...)? Sounds great.

            1. I am also in the process of building a house, and yes, my kitchen is THE most important (and I think also the biggest) room! I decided on some Viking products-a very powerful hood with an external blower,a 48 inch stove ( 6 burners with a built-in grill, and a seperate griddle I can put on top of 2 burners), and a french door refrigerator (it has a very professional built-in look, yet costs a lot less!) . Bosch dishwashers seem to be very good, so I will get one of these, but didn't decide on the model yet. I also want to put a small wine fridge in the island. I am still contemplating what kind od microwave to get, but it will be built into one of the cabinets. Regarding the cabinets- a pantry is a must, as well as some of these slide out drawers. Also, a big pot rack with lights above the island, granite countertops (there is just nothing more useful than granite in the kitchen), and a slate tile floor. I am still thinking about a dark copper farmer's style sink, but I am not sure. Maybe I will just stick to a regular stainless steel to match the rest of appliances. I will have to start making more decisions in the spring, so I will be waiting for more of your wonderful suggestions!

              2 Replies
              1. re: polish_girl

                A few friends recently did their kitchen and bought viking stoves. The viking look great and the colors are wonderful, but they ALL have had several problems with their ranges. One had so many problems, the unit had to be replaced. If you plan on really cooking hard, you might want to rethink that brand.

                1. re: baldwinwood

                  I've had my Viking several years and I love it!

              2. You might bYou might be interested in this, from the Wash. Post:


                1. Thanks for sharing your ideas everyone. We've been thinking granite for the counters and wood floors to carry throughout the first floor. That Washington Post article mentions limestone. Anyone else have limestone? I'm curious about that, because the colors may be nice. My wife is considering quartz for the counters as well? Also, ideas for spices would be great. I'd love to have those close to the stove somehow, and thought maybe I could work with the cabinet maker for ideas. Somewhere I recall seeing a shallow cabinet with a sliding door to hide spices, but keep them close. I can't remember exactly but it was so cool. Also, the focal feature for me is going to be the stove. I want the bomb stove. Recs?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: egbluesuede

                    For the stove, get a BlueStar (gas). Everything else pales in comparison. It is the one serious cooking machine out there until you move up to those made for actual commercial installations. And yes a hood is mandatory.

                    My other recommendation is drawers in the lower cabinets, not doors and shelves. Put in three--two fairly deep and one less so. You won't regret it.

                    1. re: johnb

                      Yes, I have some of those drawers too and I LOVE them!

                      1. re: johnb

                        I agree with getting a hood and drawers.

                        Make sure to use full-extension slides on the drawers. I also had the cabinetmaker cut down the sides and the back of the drawers to about 2" so that pot handles can overhang the sides a bit and therefore fit more sizes of pots in the space..

                    2. We added on a room which houses the kitchen about 10 years ago. Since we were building the room we had them build the hood into the structure. The local appliance store was quoting thousands for a hood with the fan in it. Don't do that. It is very noisy. Get a roof or external mounted fan. We had the hood fabricated by a local sheet metal shop and then took it up to the Honda Body shop to be painted. Cost a fraction of the quotes.
                      The only two negatives about my kitchen is that we didn't plan a place for the trash can-DUH! and we had a problem with the guy who built the cabinets. He didn't build the island cabinet to code-no places for the outlets and it wasn't deep enough for the cooktop-luckily it was only inches off. We had to have someone else refit it for the outlets. We should have bought stock cabinets and had the island custom built by the builder.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                        You point out two things about doing things "unconventionally" -- one good and one bad.

                        I'd agree that the hood is a perfect of example of doing things differently that was a plus -- custom hoods can be a far better value.

                        The non-standard cabinets were a minus BUT you could've caught this -- there are a lot of kitchen planners that (for a fee) will review you blueprints. These kind of measurement issues stick out like a sore thumb to experienced designers. They would have spotted it and the fix would have be so much easier before the saws came out...

                        BTW I always recommend to folks (even those who use some one else) to get multiple sets of blueprints and file 'em away. ALSO take some time to photograph things like plumbing and electric BEFORE the drywall goes up -- these are better than "as built" drawings because they will show every little bit of extra strapping, drilling, insulation clips and other hidden things that will drive you (or other contractors) nuts should you decide to change something in the future. Even helps when trying to hang pictures and similar "easy" things.

                        Its funny you mention the garbage issue -- while many homeowners want to have a "built-in" for garbage and/or recycling lately I have been trying to get people to rethink this becuase of my experience with 'callbacks' -- in actual use that "cabinet" get used so very much that it is doomed to show much more wear than any other cabinet. Despite my best efforts at using the most heavy duty drawer glides these things get so many more "cycles" that they will not last as long as the other cabinet hardware. If you frequently put 'moist' items into the trash/recycling bin it will lead to odor and/or mold problems. Compactors are of questionable utility and opinions differ on whether tighty compressed trash from the home is more or less "green". I prefer an intelligently placed conventional trash bin.

                        1. re: renov8r

                          One thing to say on the trash- Rev-a-Shelf. Been abusing ours for 18 mo.s now and it's held up very well.

                          1. re: ted

                            Sometimes I don't think it is the homeowner, it might be guests or kids. I've tried the brand you mention and probably four others. All claim to be tested for "100,000 cycles" -- divide that by 365 and even 10x per day and you get like a 30 year life span. Not at all...
                            Even the hardware and finish on the cabinet where the trash is hidden show noticeably more wear than any other cabinet after 3-5 years. Darker duller finishes on pulls are most prone to this trait -- the old "rub the bronze statue's nose" effect...
                            For a while I though the corner lazy susans would be better (less "extension stress" in my view) but even these bearing get all out of whack, and folks see all that dead space behind/around the pie shapped bins and feel like that is a waste...

                      2. As others have stated and I'm sure more will confirm... IMO the single most important thing you can do is to get a cooktop with sufficient BTU's to actually cook. In our first renovation we got a cooktop with one 12,000 BTU burner and three that went down from there. HUGE mistake. Ever try to stir fry on 12K BTU? Don't bother. Ever try to cook two things at once when your backup is 8K BTU? HORRIBLE. I now have a five burner Capital cooktop with 4 18,000 BTU burners and a 24,000 BTU wok burner in the center. I am not officially in heaven! (and, yes, you need a powerful hood)

                        Other than that, please do not build a new kitchen with only one stove. Unless you never want to host a nice size dinner party, or a family holiday, etc.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: bnemes3343

                          I have one range/cooktop with four burners, and a pretty nice counter top toaster oven. And I have somehow managed to pull off many a party and family holiday including over 25 people for Christmas.

                          1. re: bnemes3343

                            I've never actually bought a range before, and just lived with whatever gas ranges was there when I bought the house. Those are definitely a step above the P.O.S. electric stove I'm cooking on in my corporate apartment. But now that I'm researching ranges, I'm surprised that I've been cooking on gas burners in the 5-8,000 BTU range. And I thought those were good! Now I'm looking at 15-22K BTUs? Am I going to have culinary shock with all of that power? bnemes is in heaven with some serious BTUs on that Capital, but I have to ask myself the question, do I need that much horsepower? Will I be able to cook faster, or is it just the variable range of heat that is appreciable?

                            1. re: bnemes3343

                              More than one stove is a senseless extravagance for the vast majority of homeowners.
                              Frankly, if you're tending food on more than four or five burners at the last minute, that's chaos - not a nice dinner party. Well planned menus and organization should eliminate the need for more than one stove. You can always pull out or rent warming trays, chafing dishes, etc. for the times you really have to have them, like the holidays. A few days out of the year doesn't justify giving up 30" or more in the kitchen for a second stove.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                MakingSense I couldn't agree more. We are in the beginning stages of a kitchen rennovation, and there's no way I'd spend cabinet space on another stove. I think about my mother, and my mother-in-law, both wonderful cooks who prepared many an extravagent dinner with a "plain old" *electric* range. Sometimes I think we can all get a little carried away with ourselves.

                            2. A walk-in pantry for storage of the pots, cookware, dishes and serving pieces that you don't use on a daily basis. With floor to ceiling shelving so that everything is visible and easy to access. I'd include a small washer/dryer for kitchen linens, maybe the all-in-one Euro-style to save space.
                              In the long run this saves kitchen space and a lot of money on expensive cabinetry. Why have cabinets, or devote wall space, for pressure cookers, stock pots, multiple cake pans, serving platters, soup tureens, ice buckets, chafing dishes and dozens of wine glasses?
                              My current kitchen is planned so that even the spices I only use infrequently are stored away from the work area. I keep the 10 or so most-used pots and pans in the cabinet under the cooktop, with the specialty cookware stored where it is easily accessible but not taking up valuable space in a tight work area. The efficiency really paid off last year when I was on crutches for months and could do almost everything by pivoting a mere step or two because the essentials were within reach.

                              You can always change appliances (or even cabinets and countertops) later but the basic layout of the kitchen will be with you forever. Make sure that's right from the beginning.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MakingSense

                                Oh, what I wouldn't do for a walk-in pantry just like you described. We just don't have the room for it in our current home but I often daydream about it. I currently have serving pieces and specialty cookware stashed on shelving in my basement, and three hutches/cabinets in three different rooms. It leads to things not being used as often as they would be if I was able to store them the way you described. Oh well, maybe the next house...

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  "I keep the 10 or so most-used pots and pans in the cabinet under the cooktop, with the specialty cookware stored where it is easily accessible but not taking up valuable space in a tight work area. The efficiency really paid off last year when I was on crutches for months"

                                  That's so smart. In one kitchen I had, I was able to set up a "baking station" where everything necessary was within reach. I could whip up cookies, brownies, cakes, bread, etc. in minutes. I always wonder at these monster kitchens you see in McMansions and on TV design shows where there's room to store everything from the William-Sonoma catalog, but it must take an hour and a mile of walking to do a steak and baked potato.

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    On the pantry idea I'm thinking of putting in cabinets on the landing of the stairs down to our basement, against the back wall of the landing. This is just a few steps from the kitchen. We have quite a bit of room there, and it seems like a perfect place for those extra cans of tomatoes, etc. I was in my cousin's (enormous) kitchen a few weeks ago (she has a 20,000 sqf house, so you can imagine) and saw that her pantry was quite a few steps away from the "main cooking" area, and I realized all that stuff doesn't have to be right in front of me.

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      Pantry storage - specifically for cans - need not even include costly cabinets, nor does it need to be front & center. A 4" deep shelf is perfect for storing those cans of tomatoes and nothing will ever get lost behind something else. Using the orphan space of your stairway is brilliant!

                                  2. Check out this article on Granite counters! I thought granite was the ideal counter top material. Now I'm nervous about it. Anyone else have problems with theirs?


                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: egbluesuede

                                      I think granite is the emperors new clothes. Just a yuppy show.

                                      I am about to redo the kitchen (it still has it's 1930's tile countertops) and I'm thinking quartz or tile again or a recycled glass terrazzo.

                                      1. re: egbluesuede

                                        Maybe we are just lucky, but no problems with staining (oil, red wine, etc) on our granite.

                                        1. re: firecooked

                                          No problems with my granite either. If you decide on granite be sure to ask for a sample to take home for color comparison. When you have it home test it with wine, lemon juice etc. If it stains pick some thing different. Every single type of granite will be different. If the store won't give samples shop some place else. They almost always have remnants except for the very high end rare color stone.

                                        2. re: egbluesuede

                                          Jfood has marble and limestone for five years. They are fine. and jfood cooks every night, is somewhat sloppy when cooking. You clean up like every other surface. All the comments about the demographics of who buys is just noise in the equation.

                                          You buy what you think would work great in your kitchen and take care of it. Jfood has left a wooden spoon with onion soup (from stirring every 20 minutes) for hours on marble, not even as hard as granite, no problem. He uses a sponge when it's all done.

                                          Don't let the naysayers turn you away from marble or granite or limestone.

                                        3. We have honed limestone counters and love the look. Ours is a deep blue/green with fossils imbedded in it, a great conversation starter. Limestone is one of the more fragile stones and will scratch and chip more easily. This is not a huge deal if you have a country or traditional look but would not be so great for a clean modern style.

                                          I would also advise getting the largest, deepest single bowl sink you can fit and afford. I agree that you should invest in good ventilation too.

                                          More important than fancy appliances though, is to get the layout and cabinets perfect. Appliances can be replaced a lot more easily than cabinets, Think about how you cook, the things you always use and get those things as close to where you use them. For example, we have a 36" wide spice drawer next to the cook top which is indispensable, our cereal is stored right near the dining table, dinnerware cabinets right above the dishwasher, and so on.

                                          The thing I wish we had that we didn't have room for is a wall mounted oven at eye level.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jwolf

                                            I think we're right there with you on the large single bowl sink. We're looking at one that fits in the same space as the standard 2 bowl sink, only it's one large, deep bowl. If you want to dry dishes in it, there is an insert you can store under the counter, and it will hang in 1/2 of the sink space. You can also get other accessories, such as a cutting board to lay across half of the sink as well. We're also putting in a second prep sink somewhere else. Should come in handy for parties and around the holidays when the kitchen gets crowded.

                                          2. How tall you are makes a difference.
                                            If you are not average, the cabinet heights for average heights will not work as well for your body. Make adjustments.
                                            You've said that money is an object and then you're listing granite counter tops and other high end things.
                                            First you need a kitchen design that works for the way you cook. Maybe you've had a design already that really fits you. Fine. Take that design and run with it.
                                            But if you're not sure, for the sake of your pocketbook and bottom line, put in a less costly kitchen so that when you say "I wish I had more room to the left of the cook top" "I really don't like the refrigerator over there" "I wish I had the washerdryer in here so I can keep an eye on the clothes, cooking and the children" .....then you can change floorplans without throwing out tens of thousands of dollars of custom counter tops and a floor that can't be matched so must be scrapped and a new one installed.

                                            A friend who is wealthy told me that she thinks you have to build a kitchen three times before you get it right for you. I thought her countertops were too close to the center island, but she cooks alone in her kitchen and her husband doesn't help and the children are grown. It fits her very well.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: shallots

                                              I must be lucky that I got mine right the first time (although I planned it for three years). I think planning a kitchen is really personal, though. I've hated kitchens that people loved, and vice versa.

                                              My advice: don't make the kitchen itself too big. Instead, surround the core of your kitchen with multipurpose areas that you can use to expand your food prep/service area when you need more space. Unless you have a huge family or cook elaborate meals on a daily basis, a big kitchen just makes you work too hard. Keep your work triangle (stove-fridge-sink) nice and tight, but make sure there's a good-sized work space (30 inches minimum) next to both the sink and the stove. I've seen too many kitchens that appeared to have lots of counterspace, but it was shaped and broken up in such a way that it wasn't very usable. Although I don't have an island, that's one of the benefits of islands: you can position them so your work triangle is small, but you have plenty of room on the other side that you can use in other ways.

                                              Get two wall ovens with doors that swing sideways or up, not down -- I'm 5'4" and I can't reach comfortably into my sister's wall oven with the door opened down. Lots and lots of outlets on multiple circuits so you don't overload.

                                              I personally think granite is too cold and is starting to look dated. Industrial looking kitchens with lots of polished surfaces and stainless steel are fashionable, but if it's not your personal style, then don't do it. It's not like you can redecorate by painting and making slipcovers. I'm a big fan of tile, myself -- it comes in every imaginable style, color and pattern, and you can use different tiles to make borders, for accents, etc.

                                              I have a tall window in my kitchen with a window seat (with storage underneath) and that's where everyone ends up sitting when they come hang with me in the kitchen. My next plan is to have a big window box for herbs on the outside (I'm not a fan of greenhouse windows -- both my mother and sister have them, and a lot of the space is wasted because you can't reach it, and on top of that they block some of the light coming into the kitchen itself).

                                              On my wish list would be a pantry with pull-out shelves and pull out shelves for the lower cabinets. Also, even though people sometimes make fun of having a computer screen built into the fridge door, for people like me who often use recipes off the internet, that would be really useful. At some point there's going to be a computer screen built in somewhere in my kitchen.

                                              I another kitchen discussion someone mentioned having has special cheese drawers made -- I covet them.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Special cheese drawers sound great, but if food prices keep going up the way they have been, I doubt I'd be able to afford much cheese to put in them.

                                            2. I have all the cookware and cutlery that I want.

                                              My dream kitchen would include a Le Cornue stove/range and a 48" of 4" thick Boos end-grain countertop. Give me those two items and I'm happy...very happy.

                                              1. As you may expected, you have recived alot of advice and opinions from your post! I believe that when designing your kitchen (and your home for that matter), the most important things to think about is what you want. We just moved into our new home, where we basically gutted the garden duplex of our brownstone (we are still renting out the top two floors). Our kitchen is smack in the middle of the garden level and everyone thought I was crazy to 1)place the kitchen in the low-ceiling height garden level and 2) for placing the kitchen smack in the middle of the floor plan.

                                                BUT, there was reason for my "madness" -- we have southern exposure backyard and wanted to be able to entertain in such a way that people can hang out in the family room or outside, so hence the layout. SO -- be forewarned when designing your house -- everyone will be giving you their opinions and will not understand why you did not take their suggestions, so stick to what you want.

                                                Because I used to work in the restaurant business and still cook professionally, everyone thought I would go all out and get the all Vikings and Sub Zeroes, mulitple ovens, etc. What I wanted (and got) was a clean, open floor plan and a kitchen that was not industrial looking because I've spent enough time in the industry. And as much as I wanted a large kitchen, I didn't want the kitchen to dominate the space and I wanted it to be efficient. With that, my kitchen has the following:
                                                -- original pine flooring
                                                -- wall cabinets, drawers or various sizes, a couple of pull out pantries -- all with adjustable shelves
                                                -- Viking 36" French Door fridge
                                                -- Betrazzoni 36" Range -- not too expensive and sleek, but not too cold like Mieles and Gagganeaus and not industrial looking like Vikings and Wolfs
                                                -- Bosch 800 series dishwasher -- nice and quite for an open floor plan
                                                -- Bosch recirculating hood -- due to ceiling height in the garden level, we were not able to find a way to legally put in an outside venting hood without obstructing the clean lines of the garden level
                                                -- Franke sink (undermounted) -- I don't know the exact measurements, but it is huge and I love that I can easily wash my big pots and cuting board in it.
                                                -- Soapstone countertops -- I can't say enough good things about soapstone -- not only is it functional (doesn't stain, place hot things directly on it, naturally anti-bacterial, etc), but it adds softness to a comtemporary kitchen, making it all work in a 100 year old brownstone.

                                                I have friends who will also be going through renovations and they are getting what many consider top of the line everything, but for me, my kitchen is perfect. I love it.

                                                Good luck with your project!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Vshu

                                                  it sounds like you have my dream kitchen (and house)...wow - sounds absolutely lovely.

                                                2. Hi, Blue Suede... Let me start by asking if you understand that no matter how much thought and pre-planning you put into a kitchen, there will absolutely always be things you wish you had done differently once it becomes "the place where you cook." It's the First Ammendment to Murphy's Law.

                                                  After that, the most important thing you can do before you start any actual planning is to give a lot of thought to your "lifestyle," how you like to entertain, and whether or not you're a "neatnik" while cooking, If both of you cook, then you have to plan around the cooking habits of whoever is messiest. An open kitchen you can see from every room in the house can be a messy cook's nightmare! And so can a kitchen that is the first thing guests see when they walk in the front door. An advantage to wall enclosed kitchens is that they also make odor control much easier. A great vent helps, but it doesn't cover all contingencies.

                                                  My own personal dream kitchen is still unachieved, primarily because it is "mid 20th century modern" and my house is not! But I do have the design down on cyber-paper. I'm a stong believer in multi-function rooms, so my dream kitchen has tambour upper cabinet doors that pull down vertically, and can be left fully opened for an above the counter "open shelves" look when it's a high intensity cooking day, pulled down just far enough to cover the over-counter cabinet interiors for a conventional look, or pulled all the way down to rest on the countertops to make the kitchen look more like a nicely paneled room. When down all the way, the tambour doors would leave enough counter space exposed to use as a narrow serving buffet.

                                                  In the center of it there is a large "T" shaped island with an induction cooktop and a small prep sink (that also functions as a "pot filler") in the top of the "T", and the leg of the "T" is at dining table height and long enough to seat 8 people for dinner. Nearly all appliances are below counter in the surrounding cabinet walls, including a full sink, warming oven, freezers, refrigerators, and drawer dishwashers. Anyway, when I win the lottery, it will be mine.

                                                  My reality kitchen is 23' X 14' with a breakfast area included, and an entire wall of floor to ceiling cabinets in the breakfast area, with an 8' window facing it. I do have an island with the cooktop in it, but it isn't large enough to include even a small prep sink, plus retro-plumbing is a bit pricier than I care to invest without that lottery win. Since the sink is just a 180 degree pivot from the cooktop, I'm trying to figure out a hose retraction system and how to add more length so I can use my pull-out faucet as a pot filler. Sometimes I use pretty large stock pots, and water weighs 7 pounds a gallon. I'm no weight lifter!

                                                  As for counter tops, you've mentioned now having doubts about granite because someone got an oil stain in theirs. The color of granite countertops determines how much stains will show, if at all. My countertops are black granite, but the guy who sold them to me told me about a client who put in light granite, and as he put it, "tipples a bit," and went to bed leaving a drippy wine bottle sitting on the countertop over night. She wanted to know how to get the red wine ring out. He told her the only way was to replace the granite! She cried.

                                                  But I'm not convinced. There are "poultices" that you can make and put on stains to slowly leach them out. And wine stains don't show at all on black granite. Oil stains can be a problem on every stone except the densest and blackest granites, but... In lighter stones you can regularly "oil stain" the entire countertop with a mineral oil rubdown. It does change the color a bit, but most installers give clients stone samples to "live with" before actual installation begins. I had several color samples, and dotted them all with oil and wine and tomatoes and lemon; anything I could think of that might stain or etch a stone. I suggest you get samples of granite and every other stone you may consider and put them all to the test. It can save you a great deal of grief later on.

                                                  You might think about ceramic tile countertops instead of stone. The tiles are impervious to stains, though the grout is not. But the latest silicone grouts are close, and available in a variety of colors to match or compliment your tile. And should you somehow break or crack a countertop, it's a lot cheaper to replace a few tiles than a whole granite countertop! Plus tile is usually cheaper than granite to start with.

                                                  And while talking about countertops, do install under cabinet lighting. I highly recommend halogen instead of fluorescent simply because florescent can bleach out reds. Leave a carrot cake under fluorescent lighting for the duration of a party, and there's a good chance you'll have yellow frosting carrots by the end of the evening! You might also want to consider interior cabinet lights with a switch in the door. They're really handy in all cupboards, but especially under the sink and corner cabinets.

                                                  Full "professionl" stoves (or any all-in-one stove) versus cooktops with wall ovens is another thing to think through ahead of time. ALL ovens, whether in a stove or in a wall, vent heat while they're cooking. I personally do not like all that added heat in the cooking area, so I like my ovens on a wall where I don't have to reach over an oven door that is ajar for broiling to stir a risotto or even just to check the contents of a pot. Years of experience -- and the good fortune of having had to cook in a lot of kitchens along the way -- have taught me that all-in-one stoves do not work as well for me as seperate function ovens, cooktops, salamanders, warming drawers and cook tops.

                                                  Since you're interested in the intense heat of a home/pro stove, you should also check out an induction cook top. They can and do produce as much heat as high performance gas. In fact, many many many European restaurants use induction cooking instead of gas. There are even killer induction woks that make stir fry a dream. Can you imagine a cooler profesional kitchen? Induction hasn't caught on fully in this country, but it's getting there. And in case you haven't heard of it, induction doesn't heat the cooktop, it heats the pan magnetically. You may have to get new pots and pans though, because induction ONLY works with things a magnet will stick to. Oh, induction is also the most economical means of cooking available, short of a solar oven in the back yard. I think the statistics are something like 70% more fuel efficient than gas and 30% more than conventional electric.

                                                  One of the things that I gained through choosing wall ovens (in addition to less heat around me when I cook) is complete flexibility when it comes to configuration and types of ovens. There are steam ovens, ovens with a built-in rotisserie, convection ovens, trivection ovens, halogen ovens, pizza ovens, and even stone hearth wood burning ovens if you have that kind of space availability. I chose two different kinds of ovens, then had them mounted so that they look like a double oven. Even had I chosen to go with conventional ovens, I would still have had two single ovens. Same principle as why I don't have a scanner/fax/copy machine. Double ovens only have one control panel. Why lose the use of two ovens over one control panel?

                                                  Floors. Do NOT put real wood in your kitchen!!! I have Bruce oak in mine, and it's a nightmare. My entire downstairs is oak, including the guest bath where the toilet overflowed and I now have cupped and stained wood in there that is going to cost a pretty penny to replace. If you want real wood in the rest of the house, then see if you can find a laminate that matches to use in the kitchen. If you can't, then I strongly urge you to go with anything you like except real wood.

                                                  Stone, ceramic tile, and saltillo (terra cotta) kitchen floors are all very attractive, but... as someone else has already pointed out, they are very cold, and if you will be building a slab house, they will be even colder. And as that person pointed out, you can put heat coils unerneath the floor to counter the cold. Oh, and stone or ceramic floors are very hard on your feet for long term standing without special compensation. Orange clogs? Well thought out and installed floor heating systems can be the entire heating system for the kitchen or even the whole house. Electric is the least efficient method. Warm water fowing through pipes under the floor is more efficient, and can even be reduced to no operating costs (free heat!) if you use solar hot water.

                                                  But the other factor you have to consider with heated floors is that they are not instant on/off the way a central heating system is. Many years ago I worked in a March of Dimes hospital in Dayton, Ohio, that had piped hot water heating under the floors of the entire hospital, and it was miserable during the spring/autumn sudden weather transitions. The air conditioners had to be really cranked to compensate for the heat on warm days that followed cold. But it you decide to go with water-heated floors, it should be possible to have your contractor build in a method to run cold water through the floors to help with sudden weather transitions.

                                                  When it comes to building costs being justified by lower long term operating costs, you can do a lot in the planning stage to reduce or get rid of your utility bills after you move in. Make sure all of your appliances are Energy Star rated. I strongly urge either the solar hot water or a combination of solar and "on demand" water heaters. They are MUCH more efficient than keeping a gazillion gallons of water in a conventional tank hot 24/7. Plan on as much fluorescent lighting as possible because they really reduce your electric bill. So do some halogens and fiber optic lighting. Check them all out. And check out generating your own electricity with solar panels or wind turbines, if they're feasible for your area. Geothermal heat pumps are the cheapest heating and cooling available, short of an underground dwelling that requires no heating or cooling at all, and they will work in Ohio.

                                                  If a wine cooler interests you, a kitchen is not the optimum place for it. In my opinion there is too much "bounce" to kitchen floors -- even slab floors -- to make for decent long term wine storage. And even though they look lovely in magazine photos, never ever go for an unrefrigerated kitchen wine rack, especially one over a refrigerator! All areas of any kitchen have too much temperature fluctuation for wine storage that is anything short of a box of Thunderbird. Do they still make Thunderbird? If you're planning a wet bar or a butler's pantry, either of those is a better choice for a wine cooler, refrigerated or not.

                                                  I have very large pot and pan drawers in my kitchen, and I don't find them as flexible as shelves behind a cupboard door. You can only stack things so high, nine times out of ten what you want is in the bottom of the drawer, and there is a lot of wasted/unuseable space. On the other hand, if you like the look, there is no better storage system for pots and pans than a pot rack suspended from the ceiling! Whatever works best for you.

                                                  As for spice storage drawers and slide out pantries, I like the slide out pantry shelves, but wouldn't expect them to replace a walk-in pantry. Or even a closet pantry. If you enjoy cooking, that means your kitchen tools and supplies will increase exponentially through the years. I currently have 111 containers of spices in my kitchen, and that doesn't include oils, vinegars, or cooking wines I like to have close at hand. I've never seen a spice drawer big enough for me. That, plus the fact that they will not accomodate all jar sizes, so you end up having to use precious cupboard space anyway. My solution (works for me but may not work for you) is to convert a blank wall adjacent to the island to a wall of 4 inch deep shelves to house spices, oils, vinegars, cooking wines, and anything else that comes along. Slide out pantry shelves can be used for spices too, but I prefer having them out where I can see them. I'm "that" kind of cook.

                                                  For trash, since you're still in the planning stage, think about an under-counter trash cupboard on an outside wall that can be accessed from both sides. The outside door can be insulated, so that's not that big a deal. Line it with galvanized metal on all surfaces, and put a really good seal on the inside door so that you can simply hose it out from the outside to clean it. That way you can use cheap, easily replaced plastic trash cans and recycling bins. Trash compactors are nice, but the bags can be pricey and they are electric, and compacted trash weighs a ton! And as already mentioned, they may be a landfill problem.

                                                  And finally, the most money-saving advice I can offer is to spend a LOT of time thinking and rethinking and re-rethinking through all of the details *before" the first nail is hammered into anything. The most expensive way in the world to build a home is with change-orders to contractors and subcontractors after construction has begun.

                                                  Other than that, let your imagination soar and have fun. Don't be afraid to "think outide the box." Some of the best solutions aren't in the box to start with.

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    Do you keep that outside trash door locked?

                                                      1. re: Jennalynn

                                                        Pretty sure a lot of Caroline1's suggestions were more "hypothetical"...

                                                        A lot of the energy recommendations just don't jibe with real world experience -- for instance while it is true that the "input energy costs" for geothermal cab be quite low the systems themselves typically require very large up front costs and have the potential for exorbitant maintenance/repair costs... I am somewhat familiar with commercial HVAC systems and they typically make both hot and cold water ALL the time, balancing the various loads where needed, there are no such systems available for single family homes, and you don't want a full time "building engineer" to run a system for your house. While technically electrical resistance under tile is most efficient in terms of heat-per-watt, doing more that one or two bathrooms will drive electric bills through the roof -- gas fired forced air or hot water minimize total operating costs AND upfront out of pocket expenses. Solar is coming down in cost, but still has questionable economics due to the highly variable nature of sunlight (the first 10 days of Feb had continuous subfreezing temps. and NO clear skies in Chicago...). Even tankless water heaters are not that good a choice when you factor in the potential for a medium/large family to really go overboard on using "unlimited" hot water -- a cold shower/empty tank tends to limit indulgence!

                                                        OTOH there is a lot of rapidly advancing improvement on the LED lighting front. Costs are falling and quality is improving. It is not quite "mainstream" yet, but this is an area where the initial costs are far easier to make, and there ought to be no downsides. Longer life/reduced maintenance , lower energy use, better color balance.

                                                        Wood floors work very very well in kitchens -- I have them in my own home and probably 80% of projects. I even have installed wood in bathrooms and they hold up OK, though wear can be a bit accelerated (and for cleanliness I don't recommend wood directly in the toilet area). In most parts of a house, if there is a "water overflow" situation the only floors that have a chance of remaining unscathed are poured concrete or terrazzo, which is brutal to stand on for any length of time. Unless the subfloor is compromised (which can happen with tile too) hardwood is generally pretty repairable.

                                                        Unconventional solutions have their place, but reality tends to take the glimmer off of many pie-in-the-sky alternatives...

                                                        1. re: renov8r

                                                          We put maple flooring into our kitchen when we redid it 18 years ago. We've had a few water overflow situations over the years -- backed up dishwasher, etc -- and have had to sand and refinish a few times, but have never replaced the flooring. If I had it to do over again, I would put in maple flooring again; it is much easier on the legs if you are standing for long times, compared to ceramic tile, and it is a much warmer look.

                                                          1. re: renov8r

                                                            Nope, renov8r, the suggestions weren't hypothetical at all, nor are any of the things I suggested "pie in the sky," by any stretch of the imagination. I think you said in another thread that you're a general contractor? Maybe retired? Anyway, I don't mean this to be rude, but you really ought to get out more! '-)

                                                            FYI, my "credentials" are a lot of years as a full time (and part time when working other major full time careers) interior designer, and in California, as an architectural consultant as well. I have also taught interior design, and always had several builders and architects who would allow me to take students through homes under construction, as well as expose them to working blue prints. I feel it is critical that interior designers have a good working knowledge of what lies under the drywall they will be painting, wallpapering, or even upholstering. That said, here is first hand knowledge and or experience about the subjects you have touched upon:

                                                            Heat pumps are ALWAYS more efficient than standard HVAC. I converted from a standard 5 ton unit installed long long long (10 SEER?) before I bought this house (installed to service the whole of 2K sq ft downstairs and 1K sq ft upstairs) with 2 heat pumps; a 5 ton for downstairs and a 3 ton for upstairs. The downstairs unit is a Trane rated at 17 SEER (http://tinyurl.com/2mpq5b). Upstairs is only 16 or so SEER, as I recall. The heat pumps greatly reduced my electrical bill.

                                                            I wanted to go with geothermal, because they are even more efficient than "standard" heat pumps that work on ambient outdoor air temperature, however it is a budding industry for home applications in my area, and the "consulting engineer" for the company I contacted didn't know as much about the installation options as I did. For example, he wanted to dig three vertical wells for the heat exchangers to a depth of 30 feet. I have strong evidence that I have bedrock at a depth of 16 to 20 feet, and suggested horizontal trenching for the heat exchangers but the "engineer" had never heard of horizontal trenching. When I can learn more from the internet in two hours than a licensed "engineer" knows who represents the installing company, I don't want to deal with that company. You'll find information on geothermal heat pumps here: http://tinyurl.com/2ryzre

                                                            However, there is a low cost housing development, now a few years old, here in the Dallas area that installed geothermal heat pumps in all of the homes when they were built. It was a pilot research program, and may have been built as long as a decade ago (I just don't remember and don't have the time or inclination to research it again) and all of those homes are doing just fine with very low utility bills and no more repair or maintenance problems than any other system.

                                                            You seem not to understand the principles of a tankless hot water system. Short of a power failure or lost fuel supply, it is impossible to "run out of hot water" with them, as it is with the traditional hot water tanks that keep a finite reservoir of water hot around the clock. A tankless water system, whether electric or gas, heats the water by passing it through a water line that pass through a heat source. The water must be flowing through the pipes to activate the heating element, hence the name "on demand" water heaters, and there is NO storage tank involved, so it is impossible to run out of hot water. On-demand water heaters are available for installation for each bathroom, the kitchen and laundry, thus reducing the heat lost by sending hot water through long plumbing lines, or they are also available in larger sizes for whole house applications of up to five or six bathrooms, as I recall. Home Depot has a moderate selection on their website (http://tinyurl.com/2xl2q8). I first used hot water from an "on demand" water heater in Europe in the late 1950s. They are a well established technology, but as with so many other technologies for the home, including induction cooking, this country insists on lagging far behind. It should not take fifty-plus years for a technology as economical and useful as on-demand water heaters to reach main-stream America.

                                                            My first experience with piped hot water through terazzo floors was, as I mentioned originally, in Dayton, Ohio. I did not mention that it was in the early 1960s. It was a "commercial" application in a childrens hospital that was the primary regional facility for treating young cerebral palsied children, who tend to spend a lot of time on the floor during physical therapy. For that reason, and because of cold Ohio winters, it was felt that the piped hot water heating of the entire main floor of the hospital (no basement) was the ideal choice. It worked very well, except as I said earlier, when the weather would change from cold to warm in the span of a day. The technology has improved greatly and is now available for very succesful home applications. If someone lives where either photovoltaic or wind turbine electric generation is a viable option, when coupled with a solar water heater, piped warm water in a concrete slab foundation is a very economical way to heat a home. It seriously slashes utility bills!

                                                            With photovoltaic solar panels, the critical factor is to have a good expanse of south facing area that is free of shade to install the collectors. At least one company is now manufacturing solar panel "roofing tiles" that fit flat and integrate with standard roofing shingles as photovoltaic solar collectors. (for more information: http://www.solar-components.com/pvshi...) I have read of projects where photovoltaic electricity was used at least as far north as Chicago. I believe it was in New Foundland, but again, it's a while and a few moves (and even a few computers) since I did the original research and have no idea where to start looking for that data now.

                                                            Wind turbines to produce electricity for the home have come a very long way and are extremely viable in areas where there is enough wind on a regular basis to keep the long term storage batteries charged. (http://www.skystreamenergy.com/skystr...


                                                            Yes, initial installation on these options are more expensive than traditional heating and electrical choices, but there are federal programs to assist with costs in the form of handsome tax breaks, plus many states and even cities also have very attractive incentive programs. However, in many cases, the greatest hurdle for an interested home owner to overcome is finding a knowledgeable installer. If one is an accomplished "do it yourselfer," many installations can be made and maintained solely by the home owner. You just have to take the time to do all of the research!

                                                            As for hardwood in kitchens and bathrooms, they are truly a nightmare. Well, let me modify that. If you have bond and beam construction they are not nearly the problem they are with slab construction. I, unfortunately, have slab construction. If a dishwasher or toilet overflows, or indeed if a large volume of water is spilled on the hardwood anywhere in the house (especially at floor perimeters), the water quickly seeps below the surface of the hardwood, and sits on top of the moisture barrier, then cups the wood and stains it as it dries over a long period of time. The risk and/or probability of mold is also greatly increased, and as I'm sure you know, termites love moisture! Calling a water-rescue service that cleans up after flooding with a water vac doesn't solve the problem completely because they can't get under the wood flooring without ripping it up. MUCH MUCH easier and cheaprer to avoid the problem in kitchens and bathrooms in the first place by either trying to find matching laminates for those areas, or going with an alternate flooring altogether that is more suitable. When I bought my house, I wanted to take out all of the downstairs wood and instaill stone or tile, but my general contractor talked me out of it. The man is an idiot!

                                                            And finally (Chow Police, this *IS* about cooking!) I would strongly urge anyone who is undertaking a kitchen remodel or new construction to thoroughly check out induction cooking. It too is a not-so-new European technology that is just finally beginning to "trickle down" to American consumers. It is the most efficient surface-cooking technology available in this country today and is very economical to operate.

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Sorry to hear you have had bad experience with contractors -- too many people have. I try to stay aware of new technology, one way I do is by taking advantage of online resources like Chowhound. I also have contacts in commercial construction, as well as friends in the food service business -- frankly if it weren't for them I would not even be aware of all the "buzz" about food /cooking and even organic products.

                                                              I meant only to help. The vast majority of my experience is in and around the greater Chicago region. Most homes here have basements, that would have a major impact on flooring and heating. I believe this is true of most of the midwest and upper east coast (at least from the articles I read/TV shows I watch...) Relatives of mine live in Oklahoma and I would probably agree that the standards there are more similar to what you have in Texas -- slabs are the norm and insect issues more common -- in fact it would not surprise me if even the large upfront costs for geothermal boring are far lower in areas where drilling technology is more commonplace. They do, after all, drill for oil much more in your region!

                                                              As to heat pumps, I am well acquainted with them. In the 70s when Illinois power companies thought nuclear energy would make electricity "too cheap to meter" many homes were built with 'em. Unfortunately nuclear plants proved unpopular and we have more electricity being generated by pollution causing coal or expensive oil or natural gas. In my region this means heat pumps are not preferred, because when we most need heat we often have sub-freezing, if not sub-zero temperatures. The heat pump cannot extract enough heat and the system relies on electrical resistance heating, which as point out is far more costly.

                                                              As to tankless hot water I am well aware of the benefits, and in fact have an endless supply of hot water in my home -- that IS precisely the problem from an energy cost standpoint. I (or more likely my kids) can take ENDLESS showers that cost me a fortune! Back before I put in the tankless unit the kid would use up all the hot water and stop the shower when shivering -- a self limiting situation! I tried to convey that in my post, apparently I did not make that "benefit" of traditional water tanks clear. Of course either way the implication is not just cost but "usage" -- you need a real professional to size out you dishwasher, wash machine, sinks, showers etc. Not too many plumbing shops take the time to understand that people really into entertaining might be doing more loads of linen napkins, running the dishwasher and getting ready for a party after cooking all day!

                                                              I have done work on vacation homes in SW Michigan and southern Wisconsin for clients that wish to be 'green' and/or have less reliance on grid power that can be less reliable than it is in a developed area. On large isolated pieces of property energy consultants / architects trained in these matters determine siting and make the judgement whether solar and/or wind are viable, but this adds considerable cost and in my experience involves systems that you cannot just pick up the phone and call someone out if things need repair. Maybe that will change, but my experience suggests that in many traditional residential areas the density and even tree canopy are not going to lead to widespread "end user" solar or wind adoption. In my experience the "pay back time" is far better for more traditional energy saving steps like maximum insulation, multi-pane windows, efficient lighting and even regionally appropriate landscaping (such that shades windows in summer and allows for maximum solar gain in winter). Home owners really like the botanical options, because they can see such benefits each and every day! Spending time with almost garden pro will also motivate folks to have a kitchen garden or at least grow some herbs -- a very foodie thing.

                                                              I fully agree with you that it makes a lot of sense to get high quality appliances that save energy. This might include induction, though, again upfront costs need to be part of each home owners individual budget. It won't make much sense to spend yourself into a situation where the only chow you can afford to make is ramen noodles!

                                                              1. re: renov8r

                                                                LOL! Hey, what's wrong with ramen noodles! But you make an excellent point.

                                                                For your kids and their loooooooong showers, you need to install a timer that will cut off the water after so many minutes. Either that, or make them pay the water bill! '-)

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  This has been a very good thread as these dream kitchen renovation threads go. I would add a few quick comments.

                                                                  I have wood kitchen flooring (oak) over a basement and it is OK, but hard. I wanted cork but was outvoted by DW. I had rubber mats on it for a while but they collect lots of dirt and are hard to clean underneath. If I had it to do over I'd go with cork.

                                                                  I put in a tankless water heater (propane where I am). But I have my doubts. It is only two of us so excessive hot water use isn't the problem. But it turns out that not only is the WH itself very expensive but the vent pipe needed to install it is extremely expensive. Also you waste some water and time waiting for the thing to kick in and start heating water each time you turn on a faucet--I'm talking about additional time vs. what you normally expect to wait for the water just to come thru the line like with a regular heater. I doubt the savings this thing is going to give me will ever compensate the much much higher initial cost. So before buying one be sure you know what the whole thing will likely cost, ready to go.

                                                                  I don't understand this Bosch/Meile quiet DW thing. I have two Whirlpools and they are plenty enough quiet for me. And a lot cheaper than a Bosch (which is made in North Carolina, not Europe, BTW).

                                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                                    I really believe that people get carried away with this whole Bosch/Miele quiet thing. Honestly, hearing a DW running just doesn't seem like the end of the world to me. Although the DW I have now (an ancient Frigidaire) is very loud and I would definitely like something a little quieter, enough noise to actually know it's running wouldn't bother me. I actually get annoyed by my mom's KA that is so quiet you have to check the display to see if it's running - which is hard to see because of it's location under the door latch. I am probably going to buy a whirlpool when this DW kicks the bucket (which at the rate it's going could be a long long time....)

                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                      With the Whirlpool DW, we couldn't hear the TV when it was running (the family room is adjacnet to the kitchen, with concrete floors and high ceilings, everything is loud). With the Meile, we can watch TV after dinner... if only there was something to watch!

                                                                      1. re: firecooked

                                                                        How old was your Whirlpool? All brands of these things have changed and improved enormously over the years. Also, the insulation you put in around them when you install them has as much impact as the machine--did those old installers use it or throw it away? The latter happens too often.

                                                                        1. re: johnb

                                                                          My guess is the Whirlpool was installed when the house was build, somewhere around '95. As far as I could tell, there was no extra insulation... it was in the cabinate that faced the family room.

                                                                          1. re: firecooked

                                                                            That goes a long way to explaining why it was so noisy. New machines, of any brand, would certainly be much better. In its latest ratings, Consumers Report did not give Miele the highest rating for noise (that went to Bosch and Asko), and gave several US brand machines the same noise rating as Miele. Bosch is a US made machine, of course. In overall ratings, several Kenmore models, among others, scored higher than Miele.

                                                                        2. re: firecooked

                                                                          Same problem here. The kitchen, dining, and TV areas are all in one room with high ceilings. It is a great big echo chamber. The old dishwasher just crashed and slammed too much. Quiet is a really nice option. Especially if your hearing is deteriorating from too much live music.

                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                            Oh.. and I think you switched your efficiency percentages for electric and gas versus induction. From what I have read for percent eficiency goes something like 30% for coil stove, 40-50% for newer electric stoves, 60% for normal gas up to 70% for an open burner gas stove and 80-85% induction. These were measured using a standard amount of water, and measuring the energy input and comparing it to the increase in temperature... I wish I could find that link!!!

                                                            1. re: mateo21

                                                              Entirely possible I switched the efficiencies. I couldn't find the research either, so logic says that more heat is lost on a gas burner than on an electric burner where there is direct heat contact. But I was sure that induction is the most efficient available in today's market.

                                                              1. re: mateo21

                                                                Electric stoves, whether coil, smooth top, or induction, are all more efficient at putting the energy they directly use into the pots on them. Gas burners run about 40% -- that's the gas industry's number, actual numbers tend a bit lower -- of the energy capacity of the gas being used for useful cooking. The rest is lost as hot gas that either heats the room or is sucked into the hood. Electric resistance stoves tend around 50 to 60%; induction is in the high 80%, but varies depending on the cookware involved. Total efficiency is higher for gas than for non-induction electric, because typically gas or coal is burned to make steam to make the electricity, and the inefficiency there makes the more efficient end use not matter. Induction is about the same as gas. Things change if your electric power comes from nuclear, wind, solar, or other non-fossil fuel source, or if you live somewhere where every wasted watt in the kitchen costs another 1.5 to 2 to remove with air conditioning. There induction is the clear winner, with traditional electric ranking second.

                                                                In most of the US, it's still cheaper to run a gas stove than an electric one, but the difference is shrinking.

                                                            2. Things I have and love:
                                                              A quiet dishwasher (Meile)
                                                              Granite Counters
                                                              An efficient workspace for one
                                                              A double bowl sink - with a half height divider (Kohler)

                                                              Reasonable Things I would like to have:
                                                              Outside vented hood
                                                              Induction range
                                                              Convection oven

                                                              Over the top (for today's house):
                                                              Wine-cooler temp storage for olive oil, chocolate, grain products (we live in Phoenix)
                                                              Sink - prep area - stove all in line, facing the bar / family room (that overlooks the ocean)
                                                              Wood fired pizza oven (well, maybe outside)
                                                              Room for multiple cooks w/o losing the 1-person efficiency

                                                              1. We did our kitchen several years ago. We used ceramic tile counters--granite was more expensive, and I didn't want the look (we have a house built in 1915). We have wide grout lines which are relatively easy to clean, and they are heat and stain resistant. I would pick it again. Oak floors that I am happy with. I have slide out shelves in my lower cabinets--worth every penny. I have spice shelves in a cabinet. I think the important thing we did was careful planning of the kitchen layout. I know well how I/we work and the best layout for us (and we do have limited square feet and budget) was a triangle with the main counter (on an island), the stove directly behind me, and the sink to the side of the kitchen. THe fridge is to the other side, but I do most of my measuring/prep on my island, so it is really perfect for me. The island is the center. It is 3 ft by 4 ft, so not big enough (for me) to have a prep sink, but that would be something I would like. Our sink, with the trash below it, is a choke point when 2 of us cook together. We have the largest size divided sink available at the time from Kohler, and I would not give up a divided sink. We have tons of counter space, my number one request. My husband wisely planned so that we have ample counter space on either side of the sink for dirty dishes, drying dishes, etc., and separate ample counter space around the stove.

                                                                Besides a prep sink, I wish my dishwasher was quieter, but it does have a delay setting which is great. I agree with others: good lighting, specialized cabinets are great, and place for people to sit or hang out.

                                                                1. eg, thanks for asking the question. I'm still in the thinking/wishing process of new cabs & countertops for the kitchen for my tiny townhome in Southern California, so everyone's replies have been very helpful.

                                                                  My PRACTICAL dream kitchen has stainless or soapstone countertops...stainless sink w/built-in drainboard. And cherry-stained cupboards. I'd keep my current microwave oven, a 1970s O'Keefe & Merritt stove, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher & Maytag refrigerator.

                                                                  I currently have tile countertops & flooring which I hate. I hate cleaning the grout!

                                                                  1. I had granite countertops in my old kitchen for 12 years and will have them again in the new one! They were still in a great shape and I could have used them for another few years. The only issue I had, thanks to living in CA, is that I had a crack in one spot thanks to an earthquake.

                                                                    I also had a wooden floor in the kitchen for 12 years -big mistake. Never again! It looked awful, almost immediately. Now I am planning a slate tile floor, something like this-


                                                                    Oh, and one last thing I forgot to mention before- I will install an extendable arm faucet behind my stove, so I don't have to carry heavy pots anymore.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: polish_girl

                                                                      "Oh, and one last thing I forgot to mention before- I will install an extendable arm faucet behind my stove, so I don't have to carry heavy pots anymore."

                                                                      One of the most useful features I have ever had and not only for those heavy pots (which must be emptied .....). I find a need for water often during cooking, and there it is, always at the ready, whether a TBLS or couple of cups. Love this. We have soft water throughout the house and this tap does not have soft so I use it for watering houseplants as well as our food.

                                                                      Glad you mentioned it, I would have forgotten to include the potfill and it is one of my favorite luxuries. To the OP, make certain that it is installed high enough to get a very large stockpot underneath as well as central enough to cover at least three of the four closest burners.

                                                                      1. re: Sherri

                                                                        But as you say, the large pots may also have to be emptied, such as draining pasta, soooo.... The alternative that will give greater flexibility is to have a prep sink close enough to the stove/cooktop that a pull-out faucet will reach the pots. It's much safer and easier to slide a pot of hot pasta in boiling water across a counter to drain it than to have to carry it to a sink.

                                                                        I don't have a pot filler, but a friend in El Paso does, and her four year old climbed up on a stool and turned it on when my friend was chatting on the phone and thought the toddler was still napping... No drain. What a mess!!!

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          You hit the nail on the head. To me, the greatest concern about a pot-filler is the lack of a drain. Whether it's a child turning it on, or a small but unnoticed leak in the faucet, or whatever, the day is going to come when water comes out of that thing and doesn't end up in a pot, and then you have a real mess on your hands and maybe a very expensive mess at that if it gets down below your floor. Just not worth the risk.

                                                                          1. re: johnb

                                                                            I think that the added risk of "spillage" is pretty minimal, after all most faucets can be swiveled around so they'd hit the counter and/or have pull-outs that can be used by kids like a water gun!

                                                                            OTOH I don't think the benefit is all that great either, as others have said that full pot of water has to be drained too. I think these came from large food service kitchens, where the distances involved are greater, the sizes/weights are orders of magnitude larger and the mindset has to be increased speed == increased profits. Not sure most of those apply in homes. If you really want the ultimate in lazy pasta boiling there are units that are built in complete with drain and heating element -- though honestly I've only sen these in show houses...

                                                                            The pot fillers send a visual message and are fairly cheap as far as plumbing goes. Make sure that the wall they are in is very well insulated, especially if that wall has the external vent exhaust. I was just talking to a plumber who had to repair a frozen unit, as we've had some sub-zero weather. Between moving the stove, cutting out the drywall, replacing ceramic tiles the homeowner is looking at about $2000 worth of bills to fix this (and I suspect that the guy that installed it in the first place was more of DIY type...)

                                                                            1. re: renov8r

                                                                              For anyone who wants to go all the way, Kohler makes a "cook sink" that has a fairly large "soup" pot built in adjacent to the sink and the sink's faucet swings over it to fill it up, and it boils, steams, or stews without ever having to lift the pot. Well, not until it's time to empty or clean it. It's been on the market for a while, but is incredibly difficult to find on Kohler's website any more. It used to be "front and center," so I don't know if they're planning to phase it out, or if it's just such a high end item they don't keep it on the front shelf any more. You can check it out here:


                                                                              You may be able to find a company that actually retails them by doing a search for "cook sink".

                                                                    2. As long as we are talking dream kitchens, I have mine laid out for when I win the mega-millions and build my own little compound!

                                                                      granite counters, travertine floors
                                                                      undermount sink, HUGE and DEEP, no doubles for me. I hate em'.
                                                                      extra smaller prep sink in the island for fruit/veggies
                                                                      double drawer dishwasher with sanitize cycle
                                                                      6 burner range (unsure of brand yet...TBD!) with the highest BTU's allowable by law with a side infrared grill. The mother of all mother hood, outside vent, please.
                                                                      2 double wall ovens
                                                                      giant walk in pantry, one side devoted to the "use sometimes" items like bread machine, ice cream maker, waffle iron, etc.
                                                                      baking center, complete with storage for baking goods and room to roll pastry/dough.
                                                                      double door fridge with peek a boo mini door in front to grab milk or soda.
                                                                      extra ice machine for parties
                                                                      wine cooler
                                                                      extra deep cabinets to hold those crazy big square plates
                                                                      pull out spice rack near stove
                                                                      some sort of garbage containment unit. I dont love compactors.
                                                                      ridiculously powerful garbage disposal
                                                                      fantastic lighting
                                                                      and my last requirement...
                                                                      wood burning pizza oven and smoker
                                                                      built in deep fryer, not huge but decent with easily removable grease trap

                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chelleyd01

                                                                        I love this! I always say, if you're going to dream, dream big. I especially love the baking center, the wood burning pizza oven and the six burner range. I don't have any of those things, but I do have a big, deep undermount sink and the pullout spice rack near the stove. Both are awesome. No garbage disposal for me in this house (we have an aging septic system). My lighting could definitely use some improvement (mental note to self). I would love to have 2 ovens (make do with one and one large counter top unit). The giant walk in pantry is my absolute dream at this point.

                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                          What exactly do you mean by a pull-out spice rack? Is this something in a cabinet or a drawer or what? I've yet to find a good storage solution for spices...

                                                                          1. re: wawajb

                                                                            It's a pull out cabinet that is just a couple of inches wide. When you pull it out it has three shelves that are just wide enough to fit standard sized spice bottles like you find in the market. (I keep old jars, wash them out and reuse them for the better spices I buy that don't come in jars like this.) You can access the shelves from either side - the shelves all have one inch high sides to hold the bottles in. It holds about 36 jars.

                                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                                              With the spice rack so close to the oven, does it warm the spices?

                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                I know, I've read many times recommendations against these kind of storage solutions being next to the stove for that reason, but I haven't had a problem with this at all. My range is very well insulated.

                                                                              2. re: flourgirl

                                                                                Another solution to the spice jar problem is to have your cabinets made with space between the backs of the doors and the shelves inside. Then you can install small shelves on the backs of your cabinet doors, so the small stuff is right there when you open the door. I got standard shelves from Container Store. They are big enough for even large spice bottles, 14oz. cans, etc. Work great because it's so easy to get to everything right there on the back of the door.

                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                  And they say God is in the Details....such neat little ideas that only take a little extra thought up front. I'll bet you really appreciate that little time save every time you cook.

                                                                                2. re: flourgirl

                                                                                  Got it...not sure why I was having such a metal block on what you were talking about. I think I like the back of the door idea even better though. I just keep imagining somehow loosing something small that slipped past the sides and ended up back in the depths of that slot and then having to wrangle it out.

                                                                                  1. re: wawajb

                                                                                    I've had this spice cabinet for going on 9 years now and nothing has ever slipped past the sides. There really isn't any way for this to happen - it's all flush, there's no room. But even if somehow that could happen, the whole cabinet can be pulled out and taken off the runners and then I suppose you could use some kind of grabber to get in there and remove whatever it was. But like I said, I can't see this happening. Anyway, to each his own.

                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                      that is slick....I wonder if I could get that between the upper cabinets, so that I wouldn't have to bend all the way over to see my spices? I think based on advice from others on this post, that would be perfect for the spices I use the most frequently, and I could keep the ones used less often somewhere else.

                                                                                      1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                        If you labeled the tops, then you could probably see them without bending over. Reading the info below the picture, it mentions that they make them for wall cabinets as well, but they'd only be half as deep, and the upper shelves would be hard to reach (at least for me!), so a wall version wouldn't be nearly as useful.

                                                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                        Yes, that's exactly what my shelf looks like. It IS cool, isn't it? :) I love it.

                                                                                    2. re: wawajb

                                                                                      I finally figured out that there were only about a dozen dried herbs/spices that I used day-in, day-out. I made space for those right by the cooktop. I go through them so quickly that I don't have to worry much about deterioration from heat. The infrequently used herbs and spices are in another cabinet with pantry items where there is more space. When I'm planning a recipe with those, it's no problem to get them out of the pantry since it's not everyday.
                                                                                      The baking things (like vanilla, extracts, etc.) are obviously with the baking stuff. Even though the things are in separate areas, it's worked out very efficiently.

                                                                                  2. re: chelleyd01

                                                                                    I was right there with you until you got to the wood burning pizza oven. I'd love it, but my wife is starting to shake her head at me now. Great dream though.

                                                                                    1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                      I have a wood-fired pizza/bread oven out on our back terrace in Mexico and it's great. We have pizza parties regularly. We have a wood-fired BBQ and an olla also. Had water piped in for a small ice maker and sink (future installation) So maybe not in the kitchen, but on the terrace.

                                                                                  3. A cautionary bit of advice on range hoods: If you go for a powerful, commercial type hood, have your HVAC sub put in an outside air source so the hood won't be drawing air from the rest of the house. With very powerful hoods you can create negative pressure in the house . That can lead to problems such as a fireplace that won't draw properly when you have the exhaust running.

                                                                                    A must have in our new kitchen was full extension, pull out shelves. They enable you to easily access everything on the shelf without taking things out.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: rfneid

                                                                                      This is what in the trade is called "make-up air," which basically means a vent to the outside to let fresh air in to supply the exhaust. In Minn. you actually have to provide make-up air by code. But it's not a well known concept in most places. If you find a local guy who has even heard the term, you are on the right track.

                                                                                    2. I've got this great spice storage cabinet in my current kitchen (shown in the photo). I don't know if it was a custom modifcation of a 12-inch base cabinet since it came with the house when I bought it. At the end of a run of cabinets, and next to the 36" cabinet fo the cooktop, is a 12-inch base cabinet. The side of the cabinet has a wide door that opens to reveal the spice rack. The front of the cabinet has an 8-inch door that opens to a tray/lid storage area (with vertical dividers.) It works out really well since you don't have to store the spices over the cooktop but they're close by.

                                                                                      I like a cooktop and separate wall oven, not a range. More flexible and nice not to have to bend over to access the oven. Space under the cooktop has pullout drawers for pots. I have a tall pantry next to the refrigerator with the pull out doors that I'd repeat. I like the sink type that has one large deep bowl and an adjacent shallow prep bowl where the disposal goes. Kohler makes a version that's reasonably priced. I'm not organized enough for a one-bowl sink.

                                                                                      I wouldn't mind changing the sink material to either stainless or soapstone though. The finish even on a good porcelain on cast iron sink starts to wear out eventually.

                                                                                      I'd like to replace my old floor with cork. It's so soft on the feet. Have had hard surface floors and I hated them. Anything you drop stands a chance of damaging either the object or the floor. Plus makes the feet hurt. My dad (an architect) had designed his kitchen with rubber tile. It nice on the feet but maintaining it was a bit of a pain.

                                                                                      Instead of two ovens, I'd rather have two microwaves!

                                                                                      I've seen kitchens with the small LCD monitors, pretty cool. You can play CDs for entertainment and run a slide show. As well as posting recipes.

                                                                                      1. As has been pointed out, a lot depends on how you use your kitchen. How many people are you generally cooking for, how many people will be in the kitchen at the same time, what kind of relationship do you want between the kitchen and other rooms in the house.

                                                                                        A couple of year back I designed a home for a family that was focused on food. Grandma lived with them, the kids were in and out constantly, even the one who didn't live there, and when it came time to cook, it was not uncommon to have 3 or 4 people using the kitchen at the same time - on a daily basis. We ended up with two sinks (main and prep-both with garbage disposals) a 60" range with double ovens under, a double wall oven, a microwave, 36" fridge and 36" freezer, an undercounter 2 drawer fridge, lots of cabinet and counter space, and a walk in pantry. If that wasn't enough, in the adjacent dining room there is a wet bar that has a decent size sink (with garbage disposal) a 2 drawer dishwasher, an undercounter fridge, a full height wine cooler, an ice machine, a bank of drawers, overhead cabinets, and a full height glass cabinet at the opposite end from the wine cooler. It seems very excessive, but they use all of it. The cooking areas easily accommodate 4 cooks, I've seen 6 at one time, and at the same time the table was being set from the wet bar. At the end of the meal all the tableware (china, glassware, flatware) went right into the dishwasher, didn't have to go back to the kitchen where others were busy putting leftovers away, filling that dishwasher with pots and pans, etc. Like I said, not a kitchen for every family, but it was designed for their needs, and it works great.

                                                                                        1. Does anyone have an opinion for a gas cook top, with separate wall mounted oven vs a duel fuel range? I guess I never thought about the pros and cons of one way or the other, but now I might actually consider splitting these appliances up.

                                                                                          28 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                            At the risk of sounding like a broken record, before you decide on gas, whether as a cooktop or a full stove, pick up a couple of eggs and some bacon and head for your nearest appliance store that stocks convection cook tops and try one out! A really good 220v convection cooktop will give you the same cooking power as a pro gas cooktop, BUT... It doesn't use fossil fuel, it doesn't release excessive heat into your kitchen, and it will cut your utility bills. What more could you want? A personal chef? '-)

                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              For me, a gas cooktop was never about "more power". It was about simmering and precise control.

                                                                                              My new Bertazzoni gas cooktop has a 12K triple-ring "wok burner" and as far as I'm concerned, that's all the power I'll ever need. The second big burner is 11k. The arrangement of burners and the ability to fit into an existing opening was why I settled on this model, which was modestly priced ($699-$799).

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                I think you mean an induction cooktop. Do you have one of these? From what I have read, it sounds interesting very interesting, but I'd have to give it a lot of thought before going that route. Check out this website for info. http://theinductionsite.com/

                                                                                                1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                  Yup. You're right. Induction is what I meant! Sorry about that. No. To my great regret I don't have one. I was about to order when a serious case of budgetitis struck and I ordered a GE "regular" electric ceramic cook top. Did LOTS of research. Everybody -- the website I ordered from AND the GE website -- said the appliance was three inches deep. Great. Perfect fit for my island. When the electrician took it out of the carton to install it, it is three inches deep. EXCEPT at the back left corner where it is nine inches deep to house an extra electronics control panel. So my two cutlery drawers directly under the cooktop had to be removed and it's going to cost me about a thousand bucks to have the island modified so I can at least regain SOME cutlery room so I can reach a blasted slotted spoon when I need one. I've been spinning my wheels in anger for nearly two months now. For the cost of the island modifications I could have had any induction cooktop I wanted! So I'm still trying to figure out how to make lemonade... Maybe sell this cooktop with as little loss as possible (hopefully) and then get an induction cooktop that will allow me to reinstall the drawers?

                                                                                                  But I have cooked on an induction cooktop. Try it. You'll like it...!

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    Caroline.....now I'm starting to see a few Electrolux induction cook tops at the stores. So cool looking. Some of these same stores didn't have anything a month ago and are now getting them in. Unfortunately, I still need to find a place that will let me demo one. I may have to make a road trip before I can decide.

                                                                                                  2. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                    I should have included this in my first reply. For the best prices I've found anywhere, check out induction cooktops here:

                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      wow...those are pretty good prices. Some of them seem to have free shipping too. I spent last night looking at some prices on line that were closer to my budget than the top end, and this website is about 20% less. I'm thinking about it. Do you need to have a hood then? Seems like it wouldn't put off any heat, so why would I need to spend money on a hood, and I could put that $$$ towards the cook top. One of the layouts I'm playing with would have a cooktop on the island that divides the kitchen from the great room, and it would be nice visually to not have a range hood blocking that open feeling.

                                                                                                      1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                        Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! A hood is NOT to vent heat! A hood is to vent vapors!

                                                                                                        Induction doesn't heat the cooktop, but that doesn't mean the cook top doesn't get hot. When you set a hot pan on a counter top, the counter under it gets hot, doesn't it? Same with an induction cooktop. When you boil things, they will still give off steam. When you fry things, the fat will still spatter. Sorry 'bout that. Some things just never change, so you'll still need a hood, and you'll still need pot holders. But you won't need as much money to pay your electric bill...!

                                                                                                        As for your questions below regarding what pots and pans will still work and which ones won't, the easiest and surest way to answer those questions is to get yourself a magnet -- one off the refrigerator door will work fine -- and if the magnet sticks to your pots and pans without falling off, then that pan will work! Which means yes for the ceramic coated cast iron, MAYBE for the lined copper pot and skillet. Copper is a non-ferrous metal, so a magent will not stick to it. The lining? Well... Depends. There are *some* newer stainless steels that are ferrous, but don't hold your breath on a stainless steel lining in a copper pot! Get the magnet and check it all out.

                                                                                                        Part of my dilemma on whether to go induction was that ALL of my pots and pans are ss lined copper. But I had picked out some pots and pans I like, and I still have a few pieces of Le Crueset, and some good cast iron. AND I even have a single burner "Pot au Feu" brand butane stove, so I could still use the copper if it was somehow important.

                                                                                                        Find a store locally that sells induction and will let you come in and give it a trial run. Do NOT tell them you're going to order over the web... '-)

                                                                                                        To save 30% to 50% on a range hood (900 cfm, and that ain't bad!) go here:
                                                                                                        As I write this, the shipping on any number of items in an order is $2.95 for it all. Give them a few days and it will be back down to free shipping. The merchandise is first rate, their return policies are generous, and they ship as quickly as possible. I've done a lot of shopping with Overstock.com during this porlonged remodel, and I think they're tops. Be sure to check out all three pages. Don't know if you want a wall mount or an island mount hood, but they have from 30 inches to 42 inches, so look them all over.

                                                                                                        Sheesh... I'm giving away all of my trade secrets. '-)

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          I hope this doesn't make me sound stupid, but I rarely use my range hood unless something is burning or smells bad. I've only been exposed to cheap, noise hoods, so maybe that's why. You seem to know what you're talking about, so how should I estimate how many cfms I need? Do you use your hood everytime you cook?

                                                                                                          1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                            Well, unless you're only boiling water, meaning only water vapor escapes into the air, then you're putting stuff in the air that will settle on anything and everything from painted walls, windows, floors, clean dishes in the cupboards, light fixtures, and cling to fabrics,eventually making them, at the very least, smell musty. So yes, I use my vent every time I cook.

                                                                                                            But then I'm a bit more "eccentric" in my decorating than most. My kitchen is long and includes the breakfast area as part of the whole open floor plan. My breakfast area has a glass top table, ultrasuede chairs, crystal chandelier, brocade drapes, and a nice original pastel painting in an antique baroque frame, with the pastel unprotected by glass. I do NOT want a mist of oil and soup and roast beef collecting on them, so I use my vent religiously. Even when simmering something with a lid on.

                                                                                                            900cfm hoods, such as those at overstock.com, should be more than adequate for home cooking. Well, unless you're also going to build in a charcoal pit into your countertop. But I doubt anyone is that naive, especially not you. You're doing research before you buy, and that's smart.

                                                                                                            If you are planning on more exotic cooking, now or in the future, such as a built-in deep fat fryer or an infra red grill, it's much cheaper and easier to vent for it now. Beyond that, whether or not you will ever expand your cooking options, I highly recommend a hood that is larger than your cooktop. I only have a 30 inch cooktop, but my hood is a custom 52" wide so that it pulls up the maximum amount of air pollution from the entire island.

                                                                                                            If vent noise is a concern, you can have your hood fan(s) mounted outside the house so the interior noise is minimal. All of the kitchen venting systems I recall seeing on the internet give the noise level in decibels, as well as the strength of the vent's ability to pull air in cfm's, or cubic feet per minute. I suggest you go to a store such as Home Depot, or Lowes, or any major appliance dealer that has a fairly large array of vents installed in model kitchens, then check them all out for noise level versus what you feel you can comfortably tolerate. Keep in mind that they will not sound exactly the same when installed in your home as they do in the store because of accoustic differences, especially sound bounce (the number of hard surfaces in the area and which way they are bouncing the sound). Then when you've figured out what the max is that you're willing to tolerate, ask the clerk to tell you what the sound pollution rating is in decibels on that particular hood. Then you can order from the web and pretty well match your tolerance levels.

                                                                                                            Do NOT go with one of those "pop-up" vents or one that is installed at counter level to suck the cooking vapors with a down draft. They work fine if you never cook in anything deeper than the average frying pan, but for good ventilation of all of your pots and pans, you need something overhead that will catch vapors from soup kettles, frying pans, and everything between.

                                                                                                            If you have a tight budget that has to cover both cooktop/range and hood right now, I would go for a cheaper cooktop/range and a higher quality vent system. Vents are so much more hassle and expensive to replace at a later date than a cooktop or range.

                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                              You are right about pop-up hoods etc. They simply don't do the job. One needs at least 600cfm of real hooded vent capacity, and 900 or 1200 is better if one is doing serious cooking involving smokey grease, such as grilling steaks etc. I installed a Vent-a-hood with 900 and it's pretty good, even tho it is an island vent open on four sides and couldn't be too low either, both of which make proper venting more challenging. Don't forget to provide a fresh air source either (called "make-up air).

                                                                                                              There is much opinion and info about hoods and all other kitchen topics over on the Garden Web forums.

                                                                                                              1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                The critical factor in an island vent hood is to see that the hood is as much larger than the cook top as possible. Then minimize the posssibility of cross currents while cooking things that are particularly polluting. No open windows. If you're grilling or doing something exceptionally smokey, then turn off the heat or A/C while cooking, then DON"T forget to turn it back on when you're done! Cross currents are the enemy of island hood vents!

                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                  I see. You really have put a lot of thought into your dream kitchen. I really will have to put more thought into my hood now. Like I said, I rarely used my old one because it was such a piece of junk. In my temp apartment now, we have one of those microwave/hood combos, and not very nice either. I suppose if I had a nice hood in my nice new kitchen, I would be a little more "religious" about it as well. I'll be sure to have an outside fan. It's a good thought about budgeting too. I'm trying to think ahead about where to cut expenses and where I really want to invest for the long run. A cook top would be easier to upgrade in the future.....maybe upgrade to induction at some point in time. I love the idea of it, but it just doesn't seem the same without the visual of an actual flame. Anyway, I've got months of planning before I need to make my appliance selection. Now I really need to stay focused on layout.

                                                                                                                  1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                                    OMG, wouldn't I be obsessive compulsive if I'd learned all this dreaming of my own kitchen some day! The knowledge comes from hm-hm-hm years helping other people design their entire homes, including kitchens. Spent a lot of years as an interior designer, interior design teacher, and architectural consultant. '-)

                                                                                                                    And you're absolutely on the right track. Layout is critical. You're going to have to live with it for (hopefully) a very long time.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                      I've really been giving a lot of thought into the "zones" concept of kitchen layout rather than the traditional "work triangle". I'm laying out the kitchen with a "cooking" zone, a "prep" zone, a "baking" zone, a "cleaning" zone, and an "eating" zone. Some zone may overlap when it comes to workspace, but I want to make sure I have adequate space for each of these functions, as well as adjacencies. Then cabinet selection and detailing will be a lot easier once I know what functions will be performed in each zone. Oh yeah....and maybe a "storage" zone which will be the biggest walk-in pantry you've ever seen.

                                                                                                                      1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                                        In your zone concept, incorporate the hot-cold, wet-dry thoughts as well. Yes, they will necessarily overlap but in doing so, it could provide even more efficiency for your workspace.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                          I'm not sure what you mean by hot-cold, wet-dry zones? Could you elaborate?

                                                                                                                          1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                                            I'm happy to elaborate the hot-cold, wet-dry "zone" concept. In planning your kitchen, think about the kind of cooking that you do. Are you an ethnic cook requiring specialized equipment, i.e. tandoori oven? do you bake extensively and need large storage for specialized equipment? Different activities have differing requirements.

                                                                                                                            HOT is where the actual cooking takes place and includes cooktop, oven, microwave, grill/griddle, warming drawer, pizza oven, salamander, etc -- all the apparatus that cooks/heats the food and generates heat. It (can) also include portable appliances like crockpot, electric rice cooker, etc. Near the HOT zone, it makes sense to store the equipment necessary for this procedure - pots, pans, sheet pans, baking dishes, strainers, mixing bowls, et al. Do not plan the HOT zone immediately adjacent to the COLD zone for obvious reasons. Having the HOT zone on an exterior wall makes cooktop venting easier, especially if you choose an exterior motor hood. (I learned an expensive lesson that having the motor very far away from the actual vent causes a serious drop in cfm capability and for every so many running feet of distance, additional cfms are required - but that is a lesson for another day).

                                                                                                                            Many of the HOT activities overlap with DRY and can be planned to be adjacent. DRY can include all the DRY storage items that are regularly used in a kitchen and often stored in pantries, i.e. canned goods, flour, spices, etc.

                                                                                                                            COLD activities include the obvious refrigerator & freezer as well as things like root cellars and overlap into the storing of foods which require chilling as well as making food like puff pastry and sandwiches that require cold preparation. Marble or granite counters adjacent to the refrigerator would be a help here if you do a lot of pastry making. Planning for storage the packaging and containers necessary for cold storage close to this area is helpful.

                                                                                                                            WET includes all the preparations requiring water, like washing dishes and food preparation as well as the coffee pot and anything else that you use requiring water. (NB: if you plan a prep sink, make certain that it is large enough to hold a dinner plate and can be fitted for a garbage disposal if you want one. Many sinks sold as "prep sinks" are tiny.) Plan the trash and recycling bins close to the WET area as well as compost storage if you use this. Storing dishes and glasses close to the dishwasher makes life easier when unloading.

                                                                                                                            This is just a starter to get you thinking. Using zone concepts in no way negates the traditional work triangle but can greatly enhance its efficiency by incorporating both. Be creative and think in non-traditional ways. More than seven years ago, when I consulted the first cabinetmaker with my idea of a 12-15 foot long peninsula with storage drawers for silverware and serving dishes, she absolutle refused to make it saying "it will look like a huge bedroom dresser". I found someone who was able to think less traditionally and we created a wonderful workspace together. And, yes, I store most of my dishes, pots & pans in large drawers.

                                                                                                                            Bigger need not be better. I have a friend who thought 36" deep counters looked magnificent (in her mind). Unfortunately, she cannot open her own kitchen windows because the distance is too great. Using the space that you have, creatively, is most important.
                                                                                                                            Please do not be intimidated by those who cannot imagine a new idea. Just because it has always been done this way does not mean it is the only or best way to do something. Case in point - I dislike electric plugs that are an odd distance off the floor, partly up the wall at about knee height. I asked several people "why?" and everyone shrugged answering "that's how we've always done it.". Finally I learned that they're placed at that height for the convenience and speed of the installer -- it is exactly the height of the top of his hammer. No careful measuring, no problem. Stick the hammer on the floor and that marks the bottom of the electrical plate! No, thank you.

                                                                                                                            We had a wonderful experience building our house and I wish the same for you.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                              Thanks Sherri,
                                                                                                                              I get what you're saying and I am glad that I'm only getting started so that I can think conceptually at that level now. I think everyone agrees getting this right is way more important than gadgets and appliances....which is sorta where I started my thought process. I don't think most people can appreciate this when they first walk into a kitchen. Functional layout isn't a big "wow".....but you can bet it will be for me when I get done.

                                                                                                                        2. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                                          "Zones" are a really good concept to work with, but using them does not exclude keeping the work triangle in mind. The work triangle is simply a way to minimize how much walking any one cook will have to do in a kitchen. And it *is* important,.

                                                                                                                          I was watching a TV program that focuses on interior design, and they were gutting a major part of a house to put in a new expanded "dream" kitchen. Then they put the refrigerator in the pantry a good distance away from everything else! An incredibly "non-ergonomic" decision. To compound the sin, there were no counertops adjacent to or near the refrigerator to set things on when retrieveing things or rearranging to make room for more food. That kitchen dream is going to be a nightmare to live with, promise!

                                                                                                                          Some things you may want to give thought to:

                                                                                                                          Stove/cooktop placement: It's a matter of personal choice, but if you are planning on your kitchen as a gethering place, putting the cooktop or the stove so that the cook has to face a wall with his/her back to everyone does make the cook feel isolated and out of the action. An island cooktop that allows the cook to face and interact with guests makes for more fun. And a small prep sink in a cooktop island that has a pull-out faucet also means ease of filling (and draining) large pots right on the island as well as no carting or lugging of heavy scalding pots to drain them.

                                                                                                                          Cooktops and/or ranges: Give some serious thought ahead of time (before buying anything and locking yourself in) to burner configuration Many cooktops and ranges on the market today have elevated trivets over the burners. Some even have an elevated grate for all burners. When a burner's trivet or the whole cooking surface is elevated above the adjacent countertops (and I have seen some that are as high as two inches!), that means you have to do a great deal more lifting when moving a hot pot from burner to countertop. It also means that a pot can slip off the burner while cooking, especially with individual elevated trivets over each burner. These elevated burner surfaces are especially dangerous if there are children -- or even short adults -- in the house. There are times when things are designed by people who never use them, therefore don't really understand how critical the relationship between form and function is. This is one of those times. I find them very dangerous. And that's from personal experience.

                                                                                                                          Keep "flow patterns" in mind when laying out your zones. There's a pretty good probability that anyone prepping and anyone cooking will both need access to the refrigerator. But when they have to pass through each other's zones to get to the refrigerator... Well, that's a built-in flow problem.

                                                                                                                          If you are planning an island in a gather-in-kitchen, think about adding a raised "breakfast" bar to the side of the island toward the gathering area. It has the distinct advantage of shielding any "chaos" from general view when you want to eat while the food is hot and clean up afterward. It also provides a comfortable place for a friend or two to sit and chat with you while you cook. <sigh> No. I don't have a bar at my island.

                                                                                                                          If you think there is any chance you will be living in this house the rest of your life, then plan for any and all possible future contingencies. Make sure that any aisles around islands or any other confined areas are wide enough to accomodate a power wheelchair. Make sure all interior doors will handle them as well. It's MUCH cheaper to plan and allow for such now than it is to modify at a later date. And it will also make the house more marketable, believe it or not.

                                                                                                                          And yes, well planned storage is a huge blessing! Given my druthers, I'd have both a large "standard" pantry with a huge freezer in it (and I do have one) AND a butler's pantry, with lots of china and crystal storage, a sink for flower arranging, and that can function fully as a bar for parties. And that means undercounter refrigerators and an ice maker!

                                                                                                                          Sometimes I think the planning stage is a lot more fun than living with the reality later, no matter how fantastic the reality turns out to be. The planning stage is the time when all things are possible. You just have to think of them. '-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                            *sigh* You have me wondering if I can turn my breakfast room (which is gorgeous and I wouldn't want to change) into a pantry/butler's pantry. But OMG, I just realized that I could have my existing narrow but deep pantry area refitted with deep slide-out shelves/drawers and improve its usefulness exponentially. Thanks!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                            I totally agree with the raised area on the other side of the island, especially if you have the cooktop on the island -- in addition to being "friendlier" it's a lot safer than having the backside of the cooktop open where things could get pushed on or off it.

                                                                                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          what about a cast iron dutch oven with ceramic coating? What about my favorite wok? And my copper lined pot and skillet.....hmmmm, what would I have to give up?

                                                                                                    2. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                      Separate. That gives you a lot more flexibility for planning your kitchen, and a wall mounted oven is just so much easier to use than one either over or under a stove. Better yet, get two wall ovens. As I said above, if they're going to be above the waist, get ovens with doors that either swing open side to side or up -- reaching over the open door into the oven is a pain.

                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                        I love oven doors that push up and out of the way. Frigidaire used to make a "Flair" range that had double ovens across the top that moved up and out of the way like that, and an electric cook top that was in a drawer that had a cover that slid out as the drawer slid in, leaving just enough shelf to set something on when putting it in or taking it out of the oven. I loved the closing cooktop! And the oven doors! I never burnt myself on them once. I had mine when my kids were little, and it meant they couldn't reach up and burn themselves. After the move, the only way I could visit my stove was to watch "Bewitched"! And that was the only reason I watched the show. I loved that stove! Frigidaire had an attack of the stupids and quit making them. Every once in a while I see one on eBay and wish... But it would mean another kitchen remodel, and life isn't long enough for that...!

                                                                                                        But I am afraid of the ovens with doors that swing to the side. And more afraid of those commercial convection ovens with the French doors! I spent a lot of time thinking about whatever brand oven it is with the door that swings open when I was choosing my ovens, but ultimately decided that with my level of clumsiness, all a side swinging oven door would mean for me is a bigger burn! In the end, I went with the GE Trivection oven and the GE 220v Advantium oven. Love them both, but the Trivection is amazing, especially at holidays. A twenty-plus pound turkey in two hours! Woohoo! You won't catch me getting up early to roast the bird!

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          I grew up with a Flair, too. It was an incredible design, although I prefer gas for burners. Ours even had a rotisserie attachment for the larger oven. I still miss those ovens.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                            Yes! mine had a rotisserie too. And I still have the huge roasting pan that came with it. Would you believe I roasted a whole suckling pig in the large oven every year for four Christmases!

                                                                                                      2. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                        I think once you cook with separate cooktop and wall oven(s), you'll never want to return to a single unit. Bending over to remove a roasting pan full of anything from a knee-level opening is back-breaking. Removing the same pan from a properly positioned height is much kinder to the removee. The space under the oven(s) can be used for bulky storage.

                                                                                                        With split appliances, you can tailor the height to the cook and not have to be content with "industry standards". I am a broken record about the joys of dropping my cooktop 3" because I am not a six foot tall male, for whom "industry standard" is designed. Ditto for placing the wall ovens - my arms reach straight out and the opening is eye-level. Note: oven doors are not all the same length when open - even for the same size oven - so bring your tape measure when shopping. Two inches of length difference is h-u-g-e when you're dealing with heavy, hot pans. Make certain to plan space, not only at the sides of the cooktop, but also a "drop" spot close to the oven for hot transfers. You'll be very glad that you did. Underneath one side of my cooktop, the cabinetmaker created a pullout spice rack that holds 48 bottles. Love it.

                                                                                                        I know that Viking gets a bad rap on these boards but I would make the same choice in a heartbeat; have never had any problem except a single burned out bulb in the hood. I have a six burner and griddle cooktop and two convection ovens that I really love. Lowering the cooktop caused some difficulties with the plate rack (which was also lowered) but we overcame this with a clever substitution that is the best of both worlds.

                                                                                                        Caroline1 suggested taking food to the appliance dealer and I heartily second this. I did it seven years ago when it was uncommon and will be forever glad that I did. You have nothing to lose.

                                                                                                        NB: there have been several long and very detailed threads on this topic in the past several years. Researching them might provide additional thoughts which are not posted here. Good luck on your project. After cooking in other people's kitchens, having your own really is a dream.

                                                                                                        1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                          If you are out in the country or anywhere prone to ice storms/winter freezes that knock out electricity, a gas cook top is a better choice than cooking on a camping stove.

                                                                                                        2. I have built two houses with my Dream Kitchens. Best advice is shop around. Go look at everything and compare. You can find bargains if you are diligent. Best appliance prices will probably be at 'scratch and dent' or wholesalers. They definitely undercut the "Big Box" stores. Also check small dealers for specials or going out of business sales. I got a great deal on marble tiles due to 'close outs'. Found over 30 sq. ft. in granite counter top for $32 a foot at a manufacturer vice $47 at the "Big Boxes".

                                                                                                          Bottom line, you have to REALLY shop around!

                                                                                                          Good luck, Ginny :)

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Virginia Roby

                                                                                                            A lot of people have told me to go look for appliances at a place called Appliance Smart. Scratch and dent place with great prices. Just have to keep looking because you never know what you'll find there.

                                                                                                          2. 1. Two words. Induction range. [Edit: while we're on this, a vent hood that vents to the outside air.]

                                                                                                            2. Double electric wall ovens

                                                                                                            3. A giant single basin sink with a big sprayer. Mount it below the level of the counters so you swipe things into it.

                                                                                                            4. under-cabinet work lighting.

                                                                                                            5. a high quality dishwasher that's QUIET. This is one of those appliances where $100-200 more can make a tremendous difference. Don't settle. Make sure wine glasses will fit on the top rack and it has a setting appropriate for them.

                                                                                                            6. Rich, dark black soapstone countertops. I know it's softer than granite, but I love the look of black soapstone against light birch cabinets.

                                                                                                            7. We're dreaming now, right? I'd put in a Miele coffee system with a warming drawer under it. A friend of mine has one. They're expensive as heck, but the coffee is superb and they're darned neat.

                                                                                                            1. -Zinc counters
                                                                                                              -Drop-in 36" BlueStar cooktop
                                                                                                              -Double 30" BlueStar wall ovens
                                                                                                              -Cork flooring

                                                                                                              I'd actually love a 3 island layout for a kitchen, while I'm at it. Need lots of drawers though, for tools, pots & pans, and dishes.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ATaleOfFiction

                                                                                                                I just looked at this post and found it quite interesting since we are in the middle of our kitchen renovation. Guess what? We have zinc counters with an integrated sink in our butler's pantry. Ours is a 1927 colonial that was built for the help to do the cooking, not the owners, so the kitchen is relatively small. Rather than ripping out the BP, we decided to remain true to the house and keep both the kitchen and the BP the original size. when we bought the house nearly 11 years ago, we replaced all the appliances and now we are replacing most again except for the 60" viking range, which we are refurbishing with a lot of new exterior parts. We are putting in a new hood, which our installers were wowed by. I guess that this size is not usually found in private homes, and they warned us (LOL) to put a lead collar on the dog! There will be heat lamps in the shelf above the hood, and the whole side of the kitchen that has the stove will have stainless cabinets and counters. On the other side of the kitchen, the counters will be a granite that will be flamed and wire-brushed and thus will not show any stains, especially since the granite has a lot of texture/colors/movement in it. The sink will be made out of the same granite to give a more unified appearance to that side of the room. The cabinets there (as in the BP) are very simple cherry, and the ones in the BP will have glass fronts on the top ones. We are replacing our original Miele dishwasher with the new commercial style one for the home that does each load of dishes in just 10 minutes. Originally, we were going to put the old Miele in the BP, but since we can use the space for alcohol storage, and the new one does a load in 10 minutes, why bother? In the kitchen we also have a warming drawer and microwave. In the BP we will have an additional drinks refrigerator as well as an ice machine. By moving a waste pipe and reducing the size of a door, we were able to fit a bookcase into the BP so we can finally have all our books in one location (well, most of them). We are getting the new sub-zero with the glass door in the kitchen and the old sub-zero is going into the garage for back-up for parties. The floor in the kitchen will be Pirelli rubber; in the BP it is wood and in the mud-room entrance it will be slate. We will be keeping a small table/island we had before that is cherry with soapstone top. After living with this kitchen for over 10 years, we hope that we have found the perfect solution that works for us. We have been working with SBD Kichens in New Canaan, and they, as well as their contractor, have been awesome. There hasn't been a single day when we have scratched our heads and said, "Where is everyone?"

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Roxlet, please post a link to your Photobucket album if you have one!

                                                                                                                  I'm fascinated by the Pireli rubber flooring choice.

                                                                                                                  What are the tones / colors in the rooms?

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                    I guess hedge funds have not fallen as far as some reports suggest...

                                                                                                                    I had a client that wanted a granite sink. What type are you going with? They do look great, but at $4K and the potential for some serious damage/leaks my client decided the risks of a slab-fabricated sink outweighed the benefits. At the most recent KBIS I did see a company or two with a "monoblock style carved" farmhouse sink. They don't have a track record, but I'd be curious to get feedback. The sinks certainly seemed attractive.

                                                                                                                    1. re: renov8r

                                                                                                                      Well, renov8r, sadly we're not hedge fund managers, but we have been saving for this renovation for 10 years, and since it's likely to be the only one we ever do, we're getting it the way we want it. 4K is a lot more than it is costing us, and we're going with a farmhouse type sink.

                                                                                                                      I do not have a photobucket album, sweet100s, so I am unable to share photos of the flooring. Having just found the sample piece of the flooring, the tag on the back says "Activa," which I think might be the actual manufacturer. We are getting a dark grey color called "Empire," but there were many, many color choices. As I said, since this is likely to be the only kitchen renovation we ever do, we wanted a color that we wouldn't tire of. Black was likely to show dirt and dust too easily, so we decided on dark grey. When we originally looked at the chips, the colors ran the gamut from brights to lights to darks to greys. I think you could get almost anything.

                                                                                                                2. We built our dream yet smallish kitchen in our beach house. We separated the clean / cook/serve from the dirty / prep by having the former part of an open room and the later a long pantry off the open area but unviewable from the entertainment area . The pantry includes farmers sink, trash compactor, 2 dishwashers, refrigerator , cabinets, granite counters for prep, double door storage closet area and a wonderful magnetic rack for cutlery. Open area has large granite center island with sink, open shelving to the rear side for storage and cabs in front, induction 4 burner cooktop and induction wok and a waist high custom built wood burning fireplace for cooking . Our cabs are cherry, the granite black honed and the flooring grey rubber . We love the flooring as it is easy clean and great on the back when standing. The essentials to us are : 1) fireplace ( talk about a dream grilling steaks , chops and pizza on wood indoors 12 months a year), rubber flooring, 2 dishwashers which I very strongly recommend if u entertain at all . Good luck . The process is more stressful than anything I can recall in a relatively long adult life. and check out granite yards as previously recommended...many do have a remnant yard where in our case slabs large enough to accomodate many of our needs were $35 sf !!!! Huge savings Good luck

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: capeanne

                                                                                                                    Capeanne, could you post pics or the floorplan? It sounds marvelous!

                                                                                                                    1. re: capeanne

                                                                                                                      Glad to hear that you're happy with your rubber flooring -- ours goes down this week, and once it's in, the rest of the work should go quickly. The fireplace sounds indescribably fabulous, though I doubt that our community, which has fairly strict building regulations due to the high number of old houses, would allow such a thing in the house. We wouldn't have had room though even if they did. I am trying to convince my husband to build me a bread oven in the backyard. We decided against the 2 dishwashers since we purchased the Miele that is a home version of the commercial one. Supposedly it does the first load in 15 minutes and subsequent ones in 8. If that proves to be the case, that we will be glad to have the extra cabinet space instead.

                                                                                                                    2. Probably a little late - but here's what I find essential for a dream kitchen. Finishes are up to you, so if travertine, granite, and stainless is your thing, go for it. I am focusing on the functional:

                                                                                                                      - Six burner cooktop with at least one that can crank enough heat use a wok properly
                                                                                                                      - Two wall ovens
                                                                                                                      - Large fridge
                                                                                                                      - Ice Maker
                                                                                                                      - Deep freeze (mine is in the garage, it would be more convenient in the kitchen)
                                                                                                                      - Great dishwasher
                                                                                                                      - Two sinks or one large, divided sink
                                                                                                                      - Two microwaves (I actually have and use two)
                                                                                                                      - Acres of counterspace
                                                                                                                      - Lots of great 42" cabinets that are extremely sturdy and have great pull-outs on the lower cabinets to accommodate my ridiculously large collection of glass and cookware
                                                                                                                      - Wine storage
                                                                                                                      - Wood floor. Yes, wood. It is a lot easier on my feet than tile, and it really not that bad to keep dry if you use a washable rug near the sink to keep that area of the floor dry. Actually, my favorite kitchen floor is vinyl tile, but this is now considered highly undesirable in my neighborhood, so we have gone with hardwood.
                                                                                                                      - Great ventilation hood, and windows. I need a better ventilation hood.
                                                                                                                      - Super large pantry
                                                                                                                      - Bar counter and island counter configurations
                                                                                                                      - Task lighting
                                                                                                                      - Butler's pantry - optional but nice to have

                                                                                                                      Things I have seen other people get that make me ask myself, "What were they thinking?"

                                                                                                                      -Countertop steamer???
                                                                                                                      - Built-in coffee station without water connection that brews lukewarm coffee (but it sure was an expensive European brand)
                                                                                                                      - Oversized professional stainless steel stove that juts out seven inches beyond expensive custom cabinets - Wall ovens and cooktops are a much nicer look
                                                                                                                      - One oven, or ovens that are too small.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                                                        Six burner cook top -- check, plus a griddle and a grill. We've had this Viking for 10 years and are just refurbishing. It has two full sized ovens, thus no wall ovens for us (nor would we have the room).
                                                                                                                        We have the new Sub-Zero with glass side by side, & the old sub-zero is going in the garage as party back-up. We don't need a deep freezer & this additional freezer space will be sufficient, plus we have a drinks fridge in the Butler's Pantry next to the ice maker.
                                                                                                                        We have a large farmhouse sink in the kitchen, and a smaller sink in the BP. We barely use one microwave & would never need two. Maybe we have a 1/2 acre of counter space, determined by the size of our 1920s kitchen. We did not want to expand the footprint. The cabinets are great and have pull outs including something called a Magic Lazy Susan that goes under the cabinet next to the sink that is frequently dead space. Wine storage is in the basement, Wood floor in the butlers pantry but rubber in the kitchen. Ventilation is 2000 CFM (they said to put a lead collar on the dog), Large double window in kitchen, single in BP, good sized pantry plus storage cabinet plus back up in basement, plus racks in garage for cases of soda and beer. Disagree on the stove but agree on things like countertop steamer. We are excited about our warming oven for heating plates when both ovens are in use and also for proofing bread. Our cabinet drawers have a great additional feature -- they pull themselves shut for the last 2 inches, Very cool.

                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                          I am sure I could be very happy in your kitchen. It sounds great.

                                                                                                                          I have only had a warming oven once, and then only for a few months when I upgraded my range to sell my old house. Come to think of it, it was nice to have. I didn't worry about anything catching on fire the way I do when I set my regular ovens at 200 and hope for the best.

                                                                                                                          The funny thing about my use of two microwaves: My daughter uses one for after school snacks, and all I usually do in it is melt butter or cook brocolli. One is built-in and the other is a counter top model. However, you would be amazed at what happens here when the team comes over during a rain delay and we are trying to turn out food for twenty-five or thirty wet and hungry teenagers and their parents. That's when having multiples seems to be a requirement (as is the better ventilation, and I agree, dogs and small children should be at risk). So it seems "Dream Kitchen" really has a different meaning for everyone -- no surprise. My lifestyle has these kinds of weekends with crazy, impromptu large meals at least twice a year.

                                                                                                                          1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                                                            Well, since we don't have acres of counter space, we would never put an additional microwave on the counter. Those wet and hungry teenager will just have to wait -- easy to say since I have only a 12 year-old and have not yet experienced the full bloom of the ravening hordes! We only use our microwave for defrosting and melting, though with our renovation, we've been cooking in the microwave too!

                                                                                                                      2. About 6-7 years ago we started out looking for 3 appliances and new flooring and wound up completely gutting our kitchen and dining room. We took everything out, down to the studs and started over. We replaced a double window in the dining room with a french door. We took out the window over the sink and put in 3 large Anderson windows in the kitchen. We installed a double oven, granite countertops, a large double sink, and one of my wife's greatest ideas was to install the dishwasher 8 inches off the floor (man am I going to miss that when we move in the next couple of weeks!) I cannot tell you what a difference it makes not have to bend down to almost floor level to get dishes from the bottom rack and you can stand straight taking glassware from the top rack. We also put in an island cooktop with a powerful hood. Last, but not least we installed a Sub-Zero fridge/bottom freezer. The only thing we'd change is that we wouldn't put in a wooden floor if we had it do over. We've "down-sized" and we both agree that we'll miss the kitchen the most!

                                                                                                                        1. Stay away from Viking. Some friends did Viking stove, dishwasher and hood and have had problems. My Dacor wall double convection oven does a better job than the Viking range, and the dishwasher has been in dry dock more than washing because it is constantly breaking down, and then they have trouble finding repair people (in Los Angeles--which should not be a problem). Go with the Wolf on the stove.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: mbh65

                                                                                                                            We've had our Viking range for 10 year and no problems save replacing igniters from time to time. We have jsut gotten a new hood, and didn't have problems with the old one except that it was too difficult to clean. We are refurbishing our Viking and staying with it...

                                                                                                                            1. re: mbh65

                                                                                                                              "Stay away from Viking" I cannot agree. My Viking cooktop (48" six burner + griddle) is six years old with not a single repair call. Not one. It has experienced heavy, heavy residential by this retired chef and I would replace it with the same thing if we were hit by a meteor. Wolf, among others, also makes a great product. For the record, I wasn't shot with some Dacor ovens that I demo-ed but that doesn't give me permission to badmouth Dacor based on this experience. Several genoise cakes cooked very unevenly - raw in some places and overcooked in others. Was it these particular ovens, their design and construction, at fault? or could it have been an installation mistake? or were they just lemons? I don't know. But I do know that my experience with them was limited to specific units not the entire product line. mbh65, If your automobile experienced a problem, I doubt that telling everyone to "stay away from the XYZ car company" would make any more sense than "stay away from Viking". If one Toyota or Mercedes or Ford has a problem, it does not stand to reason that all of the cars in that line will have the same difficulty.

                                                                                                                              I honestly think that negative postings exacerbate negative ideas. Many more negative posters write their thoughts; people with positive experiences tend to just chug happily along without writing. Ask anyone in a customer service position. The negative comments far outweigh the positive ones.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mbh65

                                                                                                                                We've had a Viking 4 burner + grill for over 6 years with no issues. We do not have natural gas in our area and installed LP specifically for the Viking. I'd buy it again in a flash. Maybe your friend's problem was the dealer and/or installation. I don't think it was the product.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mbh65

                                                                                                                                  We have a 6-burner Viking cooktop that is 7 years old. We've had no repair issues at all, love the high output BTUs, and that the sealed burners make it easy to clean.

                                                                                                                                2. I don't know if you've already finished your design or not, but we FINALLY got our own kitchen remodel done after a year and a half of planning!

                                                                                                                                  We gutted our kitchen down to bare walls and designed all new cabinetry. I had it painted white, even though white requires more cleaning (fingerprints, smudges), because if you get a ding or scratch, you can paint over it. I also love how light it makes the whole space look. We had a large walk-in pantry with its own round sink and tons of cabinets.

                                                                                                                                  We designed a breakfast nook with window seats on two sides in an L shape with extra depth for lounging (drawers underneath for tablecloths, etc.). We have two giant mattress seats that I covered in a blue microseude/microfiber slipcover and put lots of pillows. Facing the window seat/breakfast area is a wall-length china cabinet and bookcase. It's extremely sunny there with huge windows and views and opens up to the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                  We have an island in the kitchen and tons of cabinetry with a bar area opening up to the dining area, so the whole space is very open. I put a lot of glass in the upper cabinets because I love the look but kept other cabinetry without, so plenty of room for mismatched items. I had lots of drawers, including pot drawers, put in, as well as a spice drawer near the range, a file cabinet for looseleaf recipes, baking pan drawers near the wall ovens, and one my favorite features - a pop up stand for the KitchenAid mixer so I don't have to drag it in and out that comes right out to make it level with the island. Highly recommend that feature!

                                                                                                                                  We put in tons of lighting and an old vintage chandelier over the island, and I used white carrera marble on the countertops. Tons of people tried to talk me out of marble, but I did it anyway and I'm so glad. It looks gorgeous. We had it honed so as to worry less about polish stains or scratches.

                                                                                                                                  For appliances, we got a Wolf 48" dual fuel range with double ovens, 6 burners and the grill. Vent-A-Hood 48" range with warming shelf. We are putting in a mosaic tile backsplash behind the range and put a pot filler faucet in as well.

                                                                                                                                  We installed a Miele dishwasher, KitchenAid trash compactor, a Marvel wine fridge (we don't have fancy wines so the Subzero wine fridge seemed a little overkill), two Subzero fridge drawers in the island, a warming drawer, built-in Wolf microwave and a Gaggenau steam combination convection oven that has side opening. Most of the appliances are integrated except a few that are stainless steel.

                                                                                                                                  We put the trash compactor and dishwasher near the main sink, which was the largest Kohler stainless steel sink I could find. We put in a second sink (both have garbage disposals) on the island near the range for food prep - this one is a long trough sink so that for parties, you can also fill with ice and put drinks inside. I also put in a sliding cabinet that has two trash cans, one for recycling glass/cans and one for paper items. I hate seeing that stuff in bags around the pantry or kitchen.

                                                                                                                                  Lastly, we wired it for cable and put in an under cabinet 10" TV with DVD and radio so that I can entertain myself while cooking, and while we were at it, we wired the kitchen (and other parts of the house) for better speakers.

                                                                                                                                  So far, my only regret is that I forgot to double check that our kitchen designer put built-in cutting boards (I listed it on our plans but he forgot to put it in the final and I didn't catch it). Also should have incorporated the little built-in foot-stool that I've seen in some kitchens for high spaces. But overall, I absolutely love the kitchen - it is the perfect combination of traditional and contemporary. We also kept our existing oak wood floors, though I must say that they have taken quite a beating from the remodel.