Building a new home....need kitchen design and appliance help
In the next year or so I will be building a new home. I would like your best advice about what not to do or to do when designing a kitchen. Anything from choosing appliances, layout of cabinets, gas vs. electric, etc, etc. Anything you would find helpful is welcome.
My advice is to hire an both an architect and a kitchen designer that will work together, if the layout and function of your kitchen is highly important to you. My parents skimped on a kitchen designer, and it shows. Ideas to consider are great from a site like this, but a real kitchen designer will be worth the cost.
One thing that I absolutely love about my current kitchen is that when I unload my dishwasher, all I have to do to put dishes away is a quarter turn to the left. I stand between the dishwaher door and the counter, and it's all just so easy.
A few things that I don't have but would really like:
--prep area on either side of the stove
--single, deep stainless steel sink
--drawers that are deep enough for things like the potato masher
--base cabinets with pull-out drawers instead of shelves
--a really good powerful range hood
Of course I'd also like a dishwasher that doesn't leak, a new fridge, and a level stove, but my landlord isn't in the appliance-buying mood...
You have posted on a subject that people write books about. I myself would hire a space planner who specializes in kitchen design. I was not happy with the kitchen designers I talked to because their main focus was on cabinetry which was exactly the direction I didn't want to go. I was lucky enough to get the assistance of a woman who was nationally known yet she worked in my neighborhood so she was willing to advise by the hour--worked out wonderfully and we were able to create a unique kitchen in an historic house.
I have some modest thoughts.
• Kitchen work is done standing up. Tile and stone can be tough on the ankles and knees. Consider a hard wood floor.
• Larger sinks (oversized?) are better than smaller sinks, powerful garbage disposals go without saying. A goose-neck kitchen faucet with a hot/cold water tiller that you can bang on or off with an elbow or the back of your wrist makes sense.
• Overhead lighting is important. Consider recessed lighting on dimmers so you can dial in whatever works for you. Stuff that dangles down from the ceiling will look pretty dated in a few years.
• I like granite counters. I also like limestone as a wall treatment but that's really subjective. Stay away from small tiles/whatever on your vertical surfaces because cleaning the grout will be a royal pain.
• Do not skimp on the quality of your vent fan. Big and powerful is the key here if you like to cook. In a perfect world, venting to the outside should be a straight shot. Cleaning the vent and the outlet is an issue and should be discussed with your contractor. The exterior flap should keep out birds and other undesirable critters.
• There are some wonderful lifts that fit in your under-counter cabinets. These articulated guys swing in and out and make corner storage efficient and easy on your back. Go for the high-end stuff if you have heavy pots and pans.
• Appliances are very subjective. We installed Bosch refrigerator, electric stove/oven, range hood and dish washer. The units are serviceable.
• You'll need a pathfinder to help you with cabinet selection. It's a designer thing but also an ergonomic thing. Pretty is not so pretty if it's not practical.
• Counter space is first and foremost work space. Make sure it works for you.
• A pantry is vitally important. I don't care if it's a closet or a dedicated room. Design your kitchen with the fundamental understanding that a pantry is key to a successful kitchen. You need a place to store equipment that would otherwise clutter your beautiful designer kitchen as well as store and organize foods and canned goods.
• You will need more electrical outlets in your new kitchen than you originally thought. Be creative. Appliances are a fact of life but laptops and tablets are, too.
• We have lots of cookbooks. Space for a bookcase is pretty important.
re: steve h.
Without knowing your size/budget restraints, I'm not sure how much we can help. I am chagrined to say that my input will be pretty negative, since I HATE my current kitchen, but here goes. If you want an island, please make sure that you have room for a person, or two, to pass each other around all sides of the island, and bear in mind that sometimes someone will want to go to the sink at exactly the same time someone else wants to open the refrigerator, and cutting the space too tight will result in some very frustrating gridlocks. Our island is smack in the middle of the kitchen and the appliance doors clear it by 3-4 inches. We all run around the island like greyhounds on a dog track. When putting in your floor think first 'how hard is it to clean?' tile-type floors are pretty, but if the grout and the tiles are at even the slightest different levels, sweeping will be a pain, and comfort...I'm with the above poster, I would look for a surface I could stand on for long periods, and spend the money for a good sub-floor. We have ceramic tile and it is not good for standing on, also, it has developed lots of little cracks and chips over ten years of usage. Do think about your lighting, and where your shadow will fall when working...a light behind you will cast your shadow in just the spot you are working. Nice appliances are, well, nice, but I wouldn't invest as much money into them as I would on the basics, since they will likely be replaced more than once during the life of the kitchen and replacing the cabinets and floors is a much bigger deal.