Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Aug 15, 2010 08:59 PM

The perfect kitchen?

I keep seeing magazine articles about Gourmet Kitchens. And sometimes they really make me wonder if you really need all that space. Some of them seem to be the size of football fields!

I myself have a tiny kitchen. It's about 8' x 10' and has all the basics fridge, dishwasher, and a lovely O'Keefe and Merrit stove from the 40's. NIce window over the sink, and white tile with white cabinets. Oddly I've discovered that I love cooking in it, as opposed to some of big, fancy kitchen's I've cooked in. Everything is right there! I call it my one step kitchen. So while I do get a bit of envy when i see these grand kitchens, really I'm quite happy in mine. I really think it's one of my favorite kitchens!

What is/was your favorite kitchen? And does size really matter? ;)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have a smallish galley style apartment kitchen, maybe 6' x 10'. The only other kitchen I routinely cook in is my parents' 15' x 15' mammoth. My apartment kitchen could do with a few more square feet of counter space and upgraded appliances, but I much prefer it to my parents'. I can't have the oven and the dishwasher open at the same time, but the fridge is only one step away from the cutting board...

    1. You already know the answer to your question about The Perfect Kitchen -- there ain't no such thing. These are extremely personal rooms and must fit the personality, work habits and quirks of the cooker who inhabits the kitchen. If we happen to inject some beauty in our kitchens, so much the better, but basically, they are work rooms. Real working kitchens have a beauty of their own and they're rarely picture-perfect because they are in use.

      Magazine "Gourmet" (God, how I despise that word) kitchens generally are photographs meant to create unease and unhappiness with the status quo thereby conceiving the desire to change the reader's own environment. This makes the magazine advertizers very happy since they are the purveyors of the wished-for goods. One hand washes the other ..... with the reader left wishing for the impossible.

      If every high-end range & fridge, copper pot and Le Creuset Dutch oven was used for its intended purpose - creating delicious food - the world would be a better fed place. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Good food is produced with care, not requiring expensive "must-have" gear in picture-perfect rooms created by designers who may or may not cook themselves. A real kitchen (contrasted with a "Gourmet" kitchen) might be tiny or it could be large but you can bet the farm that it will be well-used.

      Because my late husband was a career Naval officer, I have a lot of kitchens in my history. Some were better than others. A memorable very old house in Alexandria VA had the classic "One Butt Kitchen". I could only serve three dinner plates at a time because there was not room for more. The stove was a Ken & Barbie model with the fridge in another room. Yet we ate very well in this teeny house. In Coronado, I had a small U-shaped kitchen that was very efficient and I loved it with my whole heart. In another house, with a larger kitchen, the plan was horrible and I logged miles when working in there. I have cooked on a sailboat where I never moved my feet, simply turning to reach the cooler, stove and what passed for countertops, if they happened to be free of charts, etc. Today, I have the luxury of a well-designed kitchen that is a joy to use. Is it perfect? It's as perfect as I can make it - for me - but would drive another chef to drink. This is mine, not someone else's version of what it could/should be. I'm far from perfect and would be intimidated by The Perfect Kitchen so am thankful that it ain't happening.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sherri

        Perfect, Sherri, along with Karl S's comments. My kitchen, as many, was designed within the existing walls. It works great for me. We do house exchanges and almost every kitchen works great for me. Granted with the exchanges, I travel with a few necessities, i.e., chef's knife, microplane grater. I'm easy to please. And all the high end fixtures? They wouldn't make me a better cook. My cabinets came from Ikea, countertops are laminate, sink is stainless steel from Home Depot for under $200. I DO have a new induction range but the cookware is a $200 Circulon set from Costco. A neighbor has all the most expensive brands of everything. She doesn't enjoy cooking and therefore isn't a good cook. I have a working kitchen with the right tools for me. So that's My Perfect Kitchen.

      2. I have a decently sized eat-in kitchen in the apt. (bottom half of a house) that I'm currently renting. Excellent on the cabinets except for "big ticket items" (mixer, crockpot, etc.); chintzy on the counter space.

        I'm looking for a townhouse, and would prefer a separate dining room area - even if it's just off the kitchen in its own space.

        What I *really* want is more counter space and storage space. I don't have to have an island either. Depends on the walk space around it (and what type of storage it has). Some islands I've seen take up the real space of a kitchen, and they seem useless to me as the kitchen is too small for an island.

        What I would love is an actual pantry room - even if it's a small tiny walk-in room at the end of the kitchen - where I could put the majority of my food items. I'd prefer that to storing things over the stove. I have a double-door pie safe that I use for my current pantry (and liquor cabinet) but depending on storage in the new place, I'll give that away.

        1. A perfect kitchen is a kitchen designed to work well. It should be a place where spills and grease and stains and detritus can fly around, be cleaned up with efficiency, but not feel like you've spoiled it. It should be a place where pans with stains that cannot be removed look at home. it should not look like it's designed to be looked at as an object d'art.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            So, clearly, this disgusting CARPETED KITCHEN I inherited when we bought the house 7 years ago doesn't cut it. BLEAH.

            All our money goes to colleges and stuff, still. No cash to replace it. You should see what happens when someone accidentally dumps the cranberry sauce on the floor....

            1. re: Beckyleach

              Oh, my sympathies! A carpeted kitchen? You've gotta wonder what the previous owners were thinking. Or weren't.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Hey, they were thinking, it's 1970 and we're current! Had one of these in a duplex the year we got married. I thought it was all that and more. My parents even covered their hardwood kitchen floor with one. Unbelievable.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I'm pretty sure they were thinking (since I peeked in the fridge when I was touring the house) "We live on frozen pizzas and peanut butter and jelly. Everyone does, right?" and didn't cook and thus didn't make mess.

                  My theory received further support via the fact that they left us a 16cf refrigerator...and they were a family of four. WE just got a 26 cf and put the "baby" downstairs, and still---with the garden produce, the relishes, the fermenting sauerkraut and yogurt and so forth--they're usually full.

                  At least I'm no longer trying to keep the carpet "nice." To hell with it!

            2. My kitchen is really small - a narrow galley kitchen with a two burner gas range, about 2.5 ft of counter space, a single sink, and enough room on the other side for a small dish drainer. The microwave, toaster oven, small appliances, about half the food storage and the refrigerator have to go in the next room.

              What I would like is room to put the refrigerator and other appliances, the addition of a proper oven, rather than just a toaster oven, a double sink so you can do dishes while cooking, and a lot more counter space, so you don't have to wash the cutting board and put it away before mixing something in the mixing bowl. I would really like to be able to fit things like the toaster oven, kettle, bread maker and rice cooker in the kitchen, so they don't heat up the living room during the summer.