Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kitchens on My Mind! {Your Opinions, Please!}

Earlier this week we received the working drawings for our country home and it only took 15 months!  Yikes!  Our patience was definitely running thin but we are very pleased at the design of the house even if it did take over a year to get it where we wanted it!  These are not engineer stamped plans yet but we have handed them to a contractor to get a really good estimate on the cost of building it. That way we can make any changes before the plan is stamped plus we will know if we can afford to do this with a contractor or if we will contract it ourselves.  We should be getting some of those numbers next week, which is really exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking!  So, to keep my mind busy with other things, I am thinking of kitchens.  And mudrooms.  And bathrooms.  But for the sake of this post, we will stick with kitchens.  Currently, this is the plan for our kitchen.  It is fairly large at 18 1/2' x 11' but it really is the heart of our home.  I hate having to kick the kids out of our kitchen because there is just no room for them when Jay and I are in it (and, yes, Jay is often in the kitchen.  He may not be a gourmet chef but he is an amazing helper and I am spoiled by his servant-heart!).  I love to have them help but it is just too crowded.  I would have been happy with an even bigger kitchen but really think a kitchen this large will be a blessing.

To the left of the kitchen is the living room, to the right (obviously) is a large walk-in pantry and facing the kitchen (which you don't see) is the dining room.

My dream kitchen is traditional all the way!  I am dreaming of white kitchen cabinets with a dark glaze on the exterior and dark cabinets on the island and the range hood! I am definitely having some sort of mantle-style range hood flanked by two windows (which look out over the backyard)!  Counter top material has not been decided on but we are shying away from granite since it is ridiculously expensive.  We will have the full refrigerator and the full freezer in the kitchen due to the size of our family.  I am so excited about that!  There will be bar stools at the peninsula as well as at the island but on the island, they will be on the outside of the kitchen, not the inside where they are pictured.  I am seriously contemplating building the kitchen cabinets myself to save us some money (plus I think it will be fun . . . well, until it is stressful!).  We won't have many upper cabinets but I am hoping all the lower cabinets will more than make up for it.  Plus the upper cabinets will be ceiling height.  Finally, there will be a prep sink on the island on the corner closest to the fridge/freezer.  Two sinks are a must!

So, with all that said, I would love to know a few things about your kitchens!  Tell me:
1.  What do you love about your kitchen the most?  Is it the size?  A certain feature?  The color?  The layout?  What makes you love your kitchen?
2.  What is one thing you wished you had in your kitchen but don't?  A certain appliance?  Windows?  A different faucet?  Different cabinets?
3.  What is a non-negotiable in your next kitchen, if you were building new like we are?  An island?  More storage?  A walk-in pantry?

I want your opinions and ideas to help me think through this thoroughly!  We intend to be in this house for a VERY long time so the better we can do it now, the happier our future will be!  Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. We just renovated our kitchen last spring/summer. It went from being 7'X14' to 14'X14' - so similar in size to the one you are planning. If you look in the "construction" album on my FB, you'll see before and after pics.
    1 - My most favourite thing about our "new" kitchen is the island. The kids have breakfast there most days and John sits there to read me his home reading while I prepare supper. I love the size, as I have room to work even when I have "helpers" but I don't have to walk two miles to get what I need from across the room. I love the colours - a pale yellow with a blue accent colour on the two walls where the cabinets are. I also love the pendant lights over the island. And last, but not least, I love how much natural light we get in our kitchen. Our kitchen is in the corner of the house, so we have a 4.5'W X 3'H window on each of the two outside walls, and only a half wall between the kitchen and back entrance, where we have a window in the door and two large sidelights.
    2 - The one thing I wish I had is a range hood. Because we kept our cabinets and just changed their layout, we weren't able to put our stove against the outside wall, so we put it in the middle of the kitchen and built our island around it. This is a wonderful layout, imho, but the range hoods that are not against a wall are considerably more expensive and we did not purchase one.
    3 - I am absolutely in love with my kitchen the way it is, but perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon stage? Or maybe it's because it's such a huge improvement over what we had before.

    Just from looking at your plans, I assume your dishwasher is the square in the peninsula to the right of the sink. If I may offer a suggestion, I would probably put it on the other side, as your dishes are likely to be in the upper cupboards and it would be quicker and easier to put them away? Just a thought.
    As for countertops, we went with this:
    and have had many, many compliments on it. I went with the matte finish, which I'm thrilled with as it doesn't show swipe marks from wiping, and if there are some crumbs somewhere you don't see them right away. Also, our neighbour who has redone her kitchen twice in the 5 or so years she's lived next door was impressed at how much like real granite it looked.

    Wow! Sorry this has gotten so long! I hope it was helpful.

  2. I love my kitchen space!

    I have a full coat closet as my pantry. It has shelves on the outsides and sliding doors down the middle. In order to reach things more easily, we don't have bifold doors, we have full size swing out doors.

    My most favorite part of my kitchen is that I got two electrical outlets put into my island. When my kids were younger, it was nice that when they wanted to help me, they had proper chairs to sit on rather than trying to stand and work. I was also able to see and supervise them more easily.

    Love my kitchen! Have fun with yours!

  3. oops, that was sliding drawers, not doors!

  4. OOOOH la la! Lookin' forward to seeing it finished (as I am sure you are too!!)

    Things I would love to have but don't have space for...
    - an island
    - a larger pantry -- though I guess frequent trips to the basement are part of "exercise" :P
    - I would have a stove that has a glass top with built in elements (no more scrubbin' those pesky little element liners!!)
    - room for helpers ;)

    Things I would not plan to have again...
    - WHITE SINKS!! I'm not sure what they were thinkin' but what sinks are a pain in the butt! As are the raised sides - these are not flush with the countertop and difficult to clean around.
    - green countertops. Not my favorite.

    Things I would do again...
    - My faucet comes out and I have a built in soap pump into the counter.
    - we have a lot of cupboard space
    - a central computer/internet space - though I would incorporate it a bit differently if the layout was different
    - lots of light!

    That's a start :)

  5. I love that you are getting to design your whole house - such a huge job, but what satisfaction you will have in making it just the way you want it!

    I don't have much by way of advice of how the kitchen should look, but some advice about painting the walls. When we gutted our kitchen, we put on the final coat of paint, and then had the cabinets installed. They banged up the walls in some places and especially since the wall colour was a dark colour (with light cabinets) it was really obvious and we had to paint again. So, save yourself some time, and do the last coat after the cabinets are in.


  6. I always loved my parents house with the kitchen window by the sink facing the back yard. I wish my kitchen faced the back to let the kids play in the back while I prep supper or do dishes.

    I love my sib-in-laws' house with the long countertop and bar stools for breakfast/homework/whatever else. If we had room for that in our kitchen, or could afford to lose the cabinet space, I would totally do that.

    Adequate space at the side entrance would be nice too. Our door is right beside the kitchen and at the top of the stairs. No place to expand with multiple pairs of shoes/boots and especially all the extra clothing in the winter.

    Also, flooring that can take abuse. The laminate flooring in our kitchen is so scarred up that it looks dingy in spots even after a thorough mopping.

    I look forward to hearing more about your building process as it unfolds.


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