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how long did it take you to get used to your new kitchen?

i haven't really worked in there yet (grout going on back splash today), officially, but there are already some nuances that I'm going to have to learn. i'm sure someday i'll figure out how to titrate the faucet from the get go so that the entire front of the sink and me isn't soaked from the blow back by the end of the washing job. and i'm sure it will take me some time to go from my 30 inch gas amana range to the 36 inch gas thermador range with high power btus and simmer burners and additional 30 inch electric oven. the drawer microwave and dishwasher are still mysterious. the pot filler hasn't even been installed. the only think i'm 100% sure of is the fridge. and i'm only 85% sure that i'm a 100% sure!

so tell me, how do i get reacquainted with the new and improved kitchen and how long did it take you to get in the swing of things?

also, looking for suggestions for a bang-up inaugural meal

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  1. Cook a lot! When we moved it was quite a learning curve. I was able to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table two weeks later. My new kitchen is much better for mise en place while the old one had everything at an arm's length.

    1. Can't say I've ever had a truly "new" kitchen. Grew up with gas... back in the day when you hadda light the oven pilot with a match thru a SMALL slot... a bit scary.

      Got married and lived in apartment with all electric range. Oven was fine to me, but BURNED a LOT of stuff on electric stove top!?!

      When finally into a house, back to "cookin with gas" and loving it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: kseiverd

        I feel you. Spent a lifetime cooking over gas, then 3 years ago bought this house, with it's POS radiant range. I never did suss it out. Finally gave it to Habitat and went induction this year. It's like gas, only cooler and faster. I'm happy again. :-)

      2. What melpy said. Cook, cook and then, just for giggles, cook some more!

        I learned pretty quickly what was working and what wasn't. Don't be afraid to move things around if you're just not feeling the love. I moved a bunch of stuff last week, and I've had this setup since January.

        We're having summer weather already, so we'd do BBQ or a Fiesta. Both let us slow cook the meats and prep a lot of things in advance. Both have lots of cool sides that will let you play with your new stuff.

        But that's just me. I'll jump on any excuse to drink. And everyone knows you can't eat BBQ or have a Fiesta without drinking!

        4 Replies
        1. re: DuffyH

          i just moved the silverware for the 2nd time this morning. thought it made most sense in the island, but not so sure.

          and i don't think i'll ever get used to where the garbage is now. which is in the island instead of next to the sink.

          1. re: eLizard

            Aha! I have a real pantry for the first time where the trash can resides and it took me forever to stop opening the cabinet under the sink.

            1. re: eLizard

              Silverware is best located between the table and the dishwasher.
              If the island is your prep space, that's the best place for the wastebasket.

              If everything is in the right place functionally, it won't take long to get used to it.

              1. re: kitchengardengal

                trash is in island workspace.

                island is also the table. and i can either put the silverware in there or next to the dishwasher which is across from the island. i'm just working out the ergonomics.

          2. The last time I had to learn in a brand new kitchen was in a house my parents bought off a plan when I was 16. Used to a plain old electric cooker with four coil elements, we got a gas twin wall oven with all the whistles and a 6 burner hob. I overcooked everything for about a week.

            In terms of not new, but new to me - I moved into my current flat 18 months ago and was without a working oven for 11 months, just a four burner gas hob, a toaster and a kettle. The things I can do with pastas, soups and stirfrys. it took me quite a while to get used to having a working oven again, but it was certainly better to have more equipment to use and forgetting I could use it than the time the gas was swtiched off for 10 days. Then it was a single electrical hotplate, a toaster and a kettle. Oh, the things I can do with sandwiches.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ultimatepotato

              the electric skillet and kettle were revelations during the renovation. they're amazing.

            2. I thought the thoughest thing was finding stuff as just about everything was relocated. A blessing in discuise was the fact the cabinet doors came a few weeks after the cabinets were filled, so everything was in plain sight for awhile. The conversion to gas was really easy. Having two fridges was and continues to be a point of confusion, just can't keep putting everything back in the right fridge.

              1. I suggest you boil a couple of pots of water on your new stove to get the feel of the knobs and how responsive your new range is. Perhaps you could also fry an egg. Start with simple things first.

                I left the kitchen I had cooked in for 12 years, and had to adjust to an apartment kitchen, and then the kitchen in my current house. It is light years different than the kitchen I had installed over a decade ago. For one thing, it is much, much larger, and I was surprised how many steps it is from the sink to the stove. (7 steps) I think if there is a similar meal that you cook frequently, like breakfast perhaps, then cook it several times. The meal is familiar but the process is different.

                For the first week, keep things simple. Then go for it! You've waited a long time for this, probably. Try all kinds of new stuff. I think you will have fun in your new space.

                1. A couple of days have passed since you posted this and I'll wager that you are more comfortable than you were then.
                  We built our home around the kitchen. We spent countless hours designing the kitchen, to the point of marking out space in our 'then' house to trace the work space.
                  I lovelovelove the potfill and use it daily. I hate to cook in kitchen lacking this feature - yes, I am spoiled. You will find that you use it more than you thought you would.
                  Going from electric to gas was a joy. The responsiveness makes me smile. Again, I am spoiled. Each year we rent a beach house for a month and the cooktop is electric. I spend part of each month re-learning how to use this and am always glad to return to my own cooktop.
                  We've just replaced the traditional micro with a microwave drawer and I have no trouble getting used to this with one major caveat -- it lacks the shelf of my old unit. So far, I haven't needed to warm two plates of food but I'm stumped about how to accomplish this.
                  I hope that you come to love your new work area and feel that all the hard work and $$$ are worth it. I know I do.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sherri

                    "I lovelovelove the potfill and use it daily. I hate to cook in kitchen lacking this feature - yes, I am spoiled."

                    I've never been able to understand the fasination with potfillers. I'd rather have a pot-dumpster. A pot full of water for boiling pasta is easy to move when it's not boiling, but a bit more of a trick when it's full and hot. If it's not too heavy to move when it's full and hot, why would it be too heavy to move when only has warm water in it? I know many of the new kitchens have them, but in my case and in eLizard's case the stove top and the sink are just a short distance away. Is there some magic I'm unaware of? I've always wondered and this seemed like a good opportunity to ask.

                    1. re: mikie

                      "If it's not too heavy to move when it's full and hot, why would it be too heavy to move when only has warm water in it?"

                      Mikie, likely, I am a whole lot older than you are. Moving a pot once is better for me than moving it twice. My cooktop is not very close to another water source, so having ready access is a nice luxury. I have been amazed at how often I want a splash or 1/2 C of water during cooking -- with a potfill, it is right there. I never need to leave the area to fetch water. Since I am a 'what-the-hell' cook, I rarely know in advance exactly what I'll be making, so my mise is sloppy.

                      We live in a *very* hard water area. A 'plus' for me is that the potfill is not connected to the water softener, by design. It is the sole spigot to use for plant watering.

                      Hope this answer helps demystifies the potfill question.

                      What I absolutely do not understand are the potfills with a hot/cold setting. Hot water seems a 'given' in a cooking situation.

                      1. re: Sherri

                        "Mikie, likely, I am a whole lot older than you are."

                        God bless anyone older than dirt. ;) There are a few people older than me and still alive, haha.

                        I guess part of why I don't get it is because in my kitchen, I can hold the pot handle in one hand and get water with the other and not have to streach. I could almost but not quite use the the drop down faucet head to fill a pot on the range top, I've never tried, but I think it would be close. I do see your point, it the sink is far away from the stove. You can see in the picture below just how close my range top and sink are.

                  2. 2 minutes!! Everything was so much better following our remodel. Oh, of course I had to refer to manuals for the stove, dishwasher, etc., but I felt at home in our new kitchen from day one!

                    1. Hope you are adjusting to and enjoying your new kitchen.

                      Something that's struck me all the way through the series of posts about your reno is the extent to which the decisions about equipment, and layout were made first, then you worked to figure out how to adjust to them.

                      For those considering a kitchen re-do, It might be less stressful to design from the beginning on the basis of how you cook. Address first the layout -- including both workflow and storage -- and then determine the materials and equipment to accommodate those needs.
                      It can be tedious; involving a complete inventory and lots of mental and physical "rehearsal" of kitchen processes, even with cardboard mock-ups if needed to make spatial realities vivid. But it pays off in "fit" between you and your workplace.

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: ellabee

                        What really pays off is using a certified kitchen designer. We used one. She asked all the right questions, and everything turned out great! She not only recommended an outstanding contractor, but with the discount she was able to get on appliances, the additional cost of using her was pretty minimal.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          I've designed two Ikea kitchens in the last ten years and a designer couldn't have done any better. There were finite walls to work with where the space dictated placement of certain things. With the second kitchen, Ikea now has 'drag and click' (or is it the other way around???) design software.which was SO great. Although I've not worked with a kitchen designer I have with two building contractors. Those 'discounts' they get aren't necessarily less money. They will tend to go for the more expensive. Just one frugal, old woman's opinion :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            You are obviously a very capable designer. Many of us are not...indeed I've seen at least one self-designed kitchen that is a disaster. My point was that for many, if not most us, the additional money spent for a professional kitchen designer is IMHO money very well spent. True IKEA has lots of stuff in their stores, but it doesn't come close to range of products and services an experienced kitchen designer can access. And her recommendation of a wonderful contractor with whom she had previously worked extensively, was in itself worth her fee.

                            1. re: josephnl

                              Nope. No experience. I just know what does and doesn't work for me. And as I said above, certain things are foregone. For instance, I only want my sink in front of a window. The fridge had only one space really, DW by the sink, range pretty obvious. Three lazy susan cabinets, pull out wire baskets in all the lower cabinets. And after a lifetime of dealing with kitchens, I don't need to know the entire "range of products and services." Just what works for me. The entire kitchen (cabinets, countertops and appliances) cost about $7k.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Perhaps you missed your vocation! Good for you. I wish I possessed your talents. We spent much more, but are really thrilled with our kitchen. Curious what countertop material did you select? And of course it's not a big thing, but we love the airswitch for the disposal...did you put one in?

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  We used a Formica product that's from photos of actual organic materials. Everyone thinks it's granite :) I'm a tree hugger ! so no garbage disposal for us. We make extremely little garbage.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    No garbage disposal! I'm very impressed. Reminds me of the days living in Switzerland when we had one small garbage bag a week (which we paid for). Everything else went into special composting containers, or recycling containers. It's really the direction which we should all be going to, but unfortunately we are not. We do use a garbage disposal unit, and the air switch is wonderful. No longer do we have to dry our hands to throw the switch to activate the In-Sink-e-Rator!

                                    I'm very intrigued by your Formica product that looks like granite. Could you please supply further details?

                                    1. re: josephnl


                                      It's really quite handsome and after a couple of years is like new. Love it.

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Formica's 180FX line is the one that really does look like granite.
                                        They took photographs of entire slabs of granite, so the 48“ x 96“ sheet has no repeats in it.
                                        The 180FX tops have a textured surface that is more durable than a standard matte finish. And if you get it with an ogee edge, it really looks like a slab of stone.
                                        I'm a kitchen designer, and I don't like my desktop to be granite (too hard and cold), so I always let the Formic rep provide my desktop for my showroom. When he suggested 'Golden Mascarello', I thought it was too busy a pattern, but everyone loves it. Most people think it's really granite, and are shocked to find that it's laminate.

                                        1. re: kitchengardengal

                                          Thanks for explaining it better than I could. I really do love it.

                                          1. re: kitchengardengal

                                            How does Formica 180FX compare to granite or engineered quartz re heat and scratch resistance?

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              I've had it for two plus years in one kitchen and it doesn't have a mark on it. But, no, you can't put a hot pan on it but then I don't do that anyway.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                i don't think i could do that regardless of my counter top material.....it just would be difficult for me!

                                                1. re: eLizard

                                                  It's like cutting on a countertop. Nope, not in my kitchen. That's why Jesus gave us cutting boards :)

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    And trivets! But I've always attributed them to Freya, the Norse goddess.

                                                    I can't put a hot pan on my countertops because I'm afraid of delamination. Not just on my disk bottom stuff, either, but on my fully clad stuff, too.

                                                    *side note - the base on my big sauté pan has begun coming away from the pan. No more disk bottom stuff for me. :-(

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      Ah, yes, goddesses are the best! Especially for trivets :)

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        It's the whole fire - hot pan - hearth thing. And all women harbor secret fantasies. ;-)

                                              2. re: josephnl

                                                josephnl, laminate products are a whole different animal. They are a thin veneer of plastic material bonded to a particle board substrate. You can't really compare that to stone, except that laminate tops are considered a 10 year product, and quartz or granite are a lifetime product.
                                                As c oliver points out, you should not put a hot pan on a laminate top - it can singe or warp.
                                                The textured laminates do have a thicker wear-layer than older styles, so they don't really show scratches as much, but I wouldn't use it for a cutting surface. Nor would I use my granite to chop on - it just dulls the knife.
                                                The advantage of Formica has generally been its price compared to stone, but these days granite has gotten so competitive that it's worth pricing both. An upper end 180FX can cost you just about the same
                                                as granite in some cases.

                                                1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                  Thanks for your informed response. We have Cambria engineered quartz which we love, and was just curious re the newer Formica's. Very happy with the Cambria, and wouldn't want anything else. Of course we never put a scalding pot on it, or cut directly on it, but nevertheless it's good to know that it truly can handle significant abuse without damage. Apparently not so for Formica.

                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                    engineered quartz, from what i've learned, is not as bullet proof when it comes to heat as one would be led to believe. especially the lighter colors. there's a polymer that can react to high heat and cause permanent discoloration.

                                                    i wouldn't cut on any surface other than butcher block, more to protect my knives than to protect my counters!

                                                    1. re: eLizard

                                                      Our Cambrian is very dark, and although never abused looks as perfect as the day it was installed ~6 yrs. ago.

                              2. re: ellabee

                                I did contemplate workflow.... but i also added design elements like glass cabs that threw a bit of a monkey wrench into things. i even thought about my dominant hand when placing the microwave drawer, baking station, and where the spice pullouts should go. and the second oven not in the wall as to not sacrifice counterspace. the original work triangle design was pretty tight and worked well. i've added probably 20 cabinets, so my options were wide open. as far as appliances and sink goes, i did think about work flow. now i'm wondering if it was not enough....does it seem like not enough?

                                also, we knew our contractor. and he's wonderful. and fair. he also wants to take pictures of our space. which makes me feel good.