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kitchen design

 
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Giving serious thought to putting in super big pantry and minimalist cabinets and counters in the kitchen.  Having looked at a lot of old houses pre 1940s the houses did not normally have much in the way of kitchen cabinets. Most had a large cabinet or a full blown pantry. This to me makes a great amount of sense. With a large pantry just fill the walls with ventilated shelving and a nice prep area with sink.   In the kitchen area another prep area for perhaps doing baking ( marble or granite counter) Space on both sides of all of the appliances   fridge, range, oven, sink.  always good to have enough cabinets just for the utensils pots pans and the dishes etc.    What have you found that works well for you?
 
pollinator
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Last house I built had no upper cabinets.  For the price of 4 upper cabinets I built a big pantry.  Current remodel is going to have two upper cabinets, but my new daughter in law is a professional cabinet maker, so it only cost me materials.  
 
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I'm a total fan of large drawers instead of lower cabinets - much easier to see what one's looking for.
I'm also a fan of putting serious thought into what you use where. A pantry is great for medium-term storage, but you want the stuff you use everyday to be as close as possible to where you're going to use it. So my flour containers, sugar, and spices are all in one corner (upper and lower) by the counter than holds my mix-master and right near the oven.
Atypically, the plates/mugs/cutlery are in a cabinet away from the sink, but very convenient for setting the table. That meant that if the kids were asked to set the table while I was cooking dinner, they didn't have to get in my road to do so. They were too small to reach upper cabinets at the time, so the dishes are all at waist height or lower, which rather confuses people who visit now that my kids are adults, but it still works, so I haven't bothered to change it!
It's also good to pay attention to the noise that things generate. I'm not particularly keen on the "open concept" if it's not well done. Kitchens are noisy! One friend has lovely French doors that can be closed and we have regular-sized pocket doors. Most of the time the doors are left open, but when there's something noisy happening, it's nice to feel that you don't have to disturb the whole house. A "working pantry" with sink, power, and decent counter space could accomplish the noise control issue. Similarly, if something starts burning, it's nice to be able to quickly close doors to control the smoke!

These are just a few of the approaches I've followed to help the work flow easily in the kitchen.
 
steve pailet
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As my girl Friend is really short I totally agree with you about upper cabinets.  Drawers are the best in a kitchen.  Nothing to get lost in the back of a cabinet. This in part of why I like the idea of the pantry and open shelves.    The idea of a tight triangle is absolutely the best to allow for a kitchen that is convenient.  I look at a lot of the designer kitchens in magazines and TV and go.. wow.. $100,000 worth of cabinets and the kitchen still does not work well. Or only 5 inches of the space actually is useful.  
 
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To  me kitchen design has a lot to do with what you actually do there. I do production cooking, canning etc, and I want a lot of usable counter space, 2 sinks (prep and dishes, I don't like doing food prep in a sink that does dishes, yuck. They'd health code violate a restaurant that does that.) No need for space for a microwave or coffee, but I do want both electric and gas cook tops and an electric oven and a wood or gas fired one. I use them all differently.

I want a kitchen that is cleanable, my countertops are designed to have a standard depth, then a step up about 4 inches, and a ledge about 6 inches deep against the wall, so the junk we all keep on the counter can be up the step against the wall, and the work space can be cleaned easily. That also gives me a deep depth for lower drawers, they'll go all the way to the wall, and be partitioned so the things I use most are in front, but if I want something odder, pull the drawer out more, same type of items, but different ones. So the mixing bowls I use most are in front, but the same drawer also has the rest of the mixing bowls back behind them.  

I'm disabled weirdly, exactly what I can do depends on the day, so work surfaces of different heights are required, and I figured out how to make the sinks adjust height, not something you'd do casually every day, but if I get so I am not able to stand, the sinks can be lowered to chair height, and before that I can get them exactly where they hurt me least.

So to me, it's very much a personal preference thing. I suggest walking a bunch of homes for sale, and a bunch of kitchen places and thinking hard before you design, see what works for both you and your lady, and what does not. Don't get all excited by the lovely expensive stuff they sell, but look at the structure, the layout, and the reality of how you'd cook in there.  I saw a place when we were doing that, over a million dollar house, that had wonderful counters, and fantastic fridges, and a ton of space, and I LOVED it! Saw double doors to the pantry, opened them all excited... Was one set of 4 foot wide shelves, with 12 inch deep shelves. I realized that kitchen was for caterers to do parties in, not to actually cook if you lived there. I had more pantry than that in the van I used to live in.  

So think hard on what you actually do, and design for that. If you cook 3 meals a day from scratch for 6 people, you need a different kitchen than if you grab coffee on your way out the door in the morning and microwave frozen meals for 2. And don't forget, you may have kids at some point, (that sometimes happens when you have a girlfriend!) that will change things, make it adaptable.

:D
 
steve pailet
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Pearl Sutton wrote:To  me kitchen design has a lot to do with what you actually do there. I do production cooking, canning etc, and I want a lot of usable counter space, 2 sinks (prep and dishes, I don't like doing food prep in a sink that does dishes, yuck. They'd health code violate a restaurant that does that.) No need for space for a microwave or coffee, but I do want both electric and gas cook tops and an electric oven and a wood or gas fired one. I use them all differently.

I want a kitchen that is cleanable, my countertops are designed to have a standard depth, then a step up about 4 inches, and a ledge about 6 inches deep against the wall, so the junk we all keep on the counter can be up the step against the wall, and the work space can be cleaned easily. That also gives me a deep depth for lower drawers, they'll go all the way to the wall, and be partitioned so the things I use most are in front, but if I want something odder, pull the drawer out more, same type of items, but different ones. So the mixing bowls I use most are in front, but the same drawer also has the rest of the mixing bowls back behind them.  

I'm disabled weirdly, exactly what I can do depends on the day, so work surfaces of different heights are required, and I figured out how to make the sinks adjust height, not something you'd do casually every day, but if I get so I am not able to stand, the sinks can be lowered to chair height, and before that I can get them exactly where they hurt me least.

So to me, it's very much a personal preference thing. I suggest walking a bunch of homes for sale, and a bunch of kitchen places and thinking hard before you design, see what works for both you and your lady, and what does not. Don't get all excited by the lovely expensive stuff they sell, but look at the structure, the layout, and the reality of how you'd cook in there.  I saw a place when we were doing that, over a million dollar house, that had wonderful counters, and fantastic fridges, and a ton of space, and I LOVED it! Saw double doors to the pantry, opened them all excited... Was one set of 4 foot wide shelves, with 12 inch deep shelves. I realized that kitchen was for caterers to do parties in, not to actually cook if you lived there. I had more pantry than that in the van I used to live in.  

So think hard on what you actually do, and design for that. If you cook 3 meals a day from scratch for 6 people, you need a different kitchen than if you grab coffee on your way out the door in the morning and microwave frozen meals for 2. And don't forget, you may have kids at some point, (that sometimes happens when you have a girlfriend!) that will change things, make it adaptable.

:D

 So much of what you did in your kitchen lends to interesting ideas on what works and adds to usability  :)
 
Jay Angler
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Also, I suggest you have an appropriate, dedicated space for a decent kitchen step stool - so us vertically challenged people *can* reach upper shelves where stuff you only use twice a year, but need when you need, can live! That worked for me until I got married and somehow my step-stool ended up living in the workshop... (and it wasn't a cheap, flimsy one - those are dangerous!) And just to prove I'm a permie, I've got a hammer, needle-nosed pliers and vice-grips in my kitchen. I used the vice grips to get into local crab I steamed last night, I use the pliers to get into those heat sealed tops on various things like P-butter jars, and one never knows when you might need to hit something...

On a serious note - we bought this house out of desperation and the kitchen "looks" wonderful, but the organization sucks and only one person can work in it at once. Also, I recommend different heights of counters - or in my case, counter and table - because there are things where one height is better than the other. Kneading and rolling pastry is much better done on the kitchen table for me. Slicing meat is better at regular counter height.

Also, as you're looking at different layouts, look at lighting options. One is less likely to cut oneself if the lighting is where it's needed. My sister spent a bunch of money on a new kitchen and the installer insisted these lights he had for under the counter were the best and everyone loved them. Then she got sick and I spent several months going back to Ontario to care for her. On one of those trips, I pulled the crappy light out and a thin 4 foot LED took it's place in the main prep area. There are things I don't like about LED, but it's what fit and did the job in this case. We could see to do things safely.
 
steve pailet
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good point about, point of use lighting.  FYI my GF is 4 -6 so I actually have a 1 step and a 2 step stool in the current kitchen.     As I get older having really bright lights has become a lot more important.   Sometimes I feel I need one of the big magnifiers because for some reason manufacturers seem to think 3 pica print is a good thing on a 10 pound package of anything they want you to be able to read their directions
 
pollinator
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This used to be innovative, an all in one cabinet



Hoosier cabinets were so popular that the name "Hoosier cabinet" was used for cabinets not made by Hoosier, like some other name brands that became know for their products.

A decent video about their history can be seen here.



All of my kitchen cabinets are planned to be old farm furniture. One it lasts, two they knew what they were doing, three I just like the look.

Personally I am building a house around the kitchen and pantry. My pantry is big, but I also live off grid on 40 acres, so plan to have a lot of storage for stuff in the pantry.
 
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steve pailet wrote:Giving serious thought to putting in super big pantry and minimalist cabinets and counters in the kitchen.  Having looked at a lot of old houses pre 1940s the houses did not normally have much in the way of kitchen cabinets. Most had a large cabinet or a full blown pantry. This to me makes a great amount of sense. With a large pantry just fill the walls with ventilated shelving and a nice prep area with sink.   In the kitchen area another prep area for perhaps doing baking ( marble or granite counter) Space on both sides of all of the appliances   fridge, range, oven, sink.  always good to have enough cabinets just for the utensils pots pans and the dishes etc.    What have you found that works well for you?


That's exactly what I did in my passive solar heated house, and it works great.

The fridge is also in the pantry, so that in the winter when the pantry (which is on the north side of the house) stays a few degrees above freezing, the fridge has very little work to do. This is helpful because our region's electricity is mainly hydro, and the flow of the river is so reduced in winter that mains power is only given for a few hours in the morning and few hours in the evening during midwinter. But at that time the fridge is standing in a pantry that is 3C so it doesn't matter. It does violate the tight triangle idea for the kitchen, though.

We also have no roads to our region from the outside world for 4 to 5 months of winter, so there aren't any fresh non root veggies available in the local market for several months. By April every year, random things like soap, cooking oil or butter will run out in the local markets. So I stock up heavily before winter on all kinds of storable things, dry lots of vegetables, make pickles and kimchi, and can tomatoes and jam. So it's great having a pantry. Before the lockdown started, we were already pretty well stocked anyway.
Pantry-with-lofthouse-maxima-squash.jpeg
[Thumbnail for Pantry-with-lofthouse-maxima-squash.jpeg]
 
steve pailet
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am considering shelves more like these for the pantry.  24 inch deep and 60 inches long  https://www.shelving.com/SI-24-d-x-60-w-5-Shelf-Wire-Shelving-Unit-p/sc246072-5p.htm  four of these and a couple of counter tops
 
Jay Angler
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steve pailet wrote:am considering shelves more like these for the pantry.  24 inch deep and 60 inches long  https://www.shelving.com/SI-24-d-x-60-w-5-Shelf-Wire-Shelving-Unit-p/sc246072-5p.htm  four of these and a couple of counter tops

I love the look of that shelving in places where I've seen it, but there seems to be more than one quality out there, and the crappy version rusts too easily for my tastes.

What I would also look at is whether the shelves can be installed upside down and still look good. Why? Because the lip would then stop things from sliding or rolling off! The things you consider when you live in an earthquake zone! Yes, a small lip may not save things if the big one hits, but it may save little upsets from happening.
 
Devin Lavign
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Jay Angler wrote:

steve pailet wrote:am considering shelves more like these for the pantry.  24 inch deep and 60 inches long  https://www.shelving.com/SI-24-d-x-60-w-5-Shelf-Wire-Shelving-Unit-p/sc246072-5p.htm  four of these and a couple of counter tops

I love the look of that shelving in places where I've seen it, but there seems to be more than one quality out there, and the crappy version rusts too easily for my tastes.



Yep, I have seen different quality as well. Be careful before you buy.
 
steve pailet
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yup that is why I chose this maker.. some is bad and some you get good value for the money  Guess I should note.. do plan on putting in a dehumidifier in the house.  Having the dehumidifier is a good thing to do to keep the kitchen dry where it actually tends to be a big source of moisture in the home
 
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Hey Steve,
Thanks for sharing your ideas, I hope you continue to do so as your design progresses.

For your wire shelves, my opinion is you'll want it to say "stainless steel" somewhere in the literature.  SS is usually pricey.

For the work triangle: some others have alluded to it, but I thought I'd post directly in case you were unfamiliar with it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_work_triangle
 
steve pailet
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Ash Jackson wrote:Hey Steve,
Thanks for sharing your ideas, I hope you continue to do so as your design progresses.

For your wire shelves, my opinion is you'll want it to say "stainless steel" somewhere in the literature.  SS is usually pricey.

For the work triangle: some others have alluded to it, but I thought I'd post directly in case you were unfamiliar with it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_work_triangle



yes definitely stainless.  When I looked at the cost of installing cabinets Figure the minimum with counter top upper and lower along with mostly drawer units the prices soon get one to $10000 plus for just 10 linear feet.  Between this being able to see and reach becomes rather problematic.  I am aware of the kitchen triangle.   I at one time worked as a kitchen designer.  
 
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I purchased old, solid wood cabinets from a house renovation, for my kitchen, and they are an odd mishmash of sizes and heights.  It was a challenge to Rubik's cube them into the kitchen!  The new stuff is junk, for the most part.  I turned two cabinets into mobile units, so they can be moved elsewhere in the kitchen for portable work stations.  My silverware and dishes are directly across from my dishwasher, but I installed doors on either side, and the drawers slide both ways, so anyone setting the table is not in the way of the cook.  Lucky for me, I sourced an old Okeefe and Merritt stove, and then a friend located an old double drainboard cast iron sink, so my kitchen is a study in antiques.  LOL  I have stainless steel pullout shelves in all of my cabinets, as I am "vertically challenged", and yes, I have a step stool/chair that lives in my kitchen.  
 
steve pailet
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solid plywood cabinets are expensive for sure.. but that said they are and have always been the high quality cabinets on the market.  Laughing my Gf is very vertically challenged. We have two step stools in the kitchen.  I have looked at a mobile island only because it is a great place to put the tools for doing baking which is a joy for my gf.  Nothing like having a dedicated marble top for both rolling out and cooling baked stuff
 
Ash Jackson
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steve pailet wrote:I at one time worked as a kitchen designer.  



Oops! Sorry then. In that case, I'm sure there's a dozen things you could teach us about kitchen design.
 
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WALL OVEN!   Although I totally dont understand the American manufacturer's insistence that the oven door HAS to open from the top down, so you have to lean over the hot door to use the oven.

Large drawers underneath the cooktop - all pets and pans are right under the cooktop.

large drawer underneath the sink.

Tall pantry cabinet with drawers.

Cookie sheet upright dividers in a cabinet so the cookie sheets are stored vertically.

Sandy
 
steward
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Here's what I think about in a kitchen:

LOTS of room for organized spices, herbs, and seasonings. Drawers can be beautiful for this, or if you have just-right shelving (thin strips above the counter or some such) that helps, too.

Room for cooking oils, (maybe vinegars or other daily use things) near the cooktop.

The challenges with both of these are:
--it's hard to have enough room for all of them near the stove
--heat RISES, so while it's super easy to put your oil, butter/ghee, coconut oil, etc. or spices & herbs in a cupboard or shelf above the cooktop for an easy reach, the heat melts oils and can deteriorate or make things go rancid or stale much more quickly.

I don't have a great solution for the heat rising issue in a kitchen except that having a pantry that closes off at least a few steps from the hot oven seems smart. Then your BULK oils and spices/herbs could be there, with just smaller, refillable containers near the stove.

Usually we tend to put heavy and large pots and pans down low, which in small kitchens without a pantry leaves upper cabinets for the food or baking items. These are often perishable, too, and they experience more heat up there! Also, I think folks prefer food up higher due to potential pests, so there are several conflicting issues to think about.

 
pollinator
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I am passionate about my kitchen because I built it myself. It took about a year as I did it alone and with cash. I removed walls, cabinets, built walls, built a pantry. Built custom storage over the fridge that I relocated and sunk into a bathroom wall. I built the island taller than normal (because I'm tall) and 8 feet long with butcher block top because I wanted to be able to butcher a whole pig on it. I took some upper cabinets off but left some up and added on to the sides to make a wine rack and coffee area. All in all, I'm in love!
IMG_3487-1024x683.jpg
kitchen before. Blank spot where I removed the fridge and that big cabinet is a weird shaped pantry that really didn't work great. Since it was such an odd shape you'd lose stuff in the corners.
kitchen before. Blank spot where I removed the fridge and that big cabinet is a weird shaped pantry that really didn't work great. Since it was such an odd shape you'd lose stuff in the corners.
IMG_3574-1024x683.jpg
I just removed that wall. I'm a great fan of knocking walls down.
I just removed that wall. I'm a great fan of knocking walls down.
Pantry-shelves.jpg
framed out the pantry, sunk the wall in the bathroom in for the fridge.
framed out the pantry, sunk the wall in the bathroom in for the fridge.
IMG_3400-1024x683.jpg
Pantry and above fridge storage.
Pantry and above fridge storage.
IMG_3398-1024x683.jpg
 I measured my pans so it fits them all specifically.
I measured my pans so it fits them all specifically.
IMG_3931-e1469503045176-683x1024.jpg
How that wall of cabinets did look.
How that wall of cabinets did look.
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How it looks now.
How it looks now.
Planked-Island.jpg
new island in progress
new island in progress
Butcher-Block-Island-1024x683.jpg
new island!
new island!
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finally butchered pigs on it!
finally butchered pigs on it!
IMG_5342-1024x683.jpg
old kitchen island is now a brooder.
old kitchen island is now a brooder.
 
elle sagenev
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Devin Lavign wrote:This used to be innovative, an all in one cabinet



Hoosier cabinets were so popular that the name "Hoosier cabinet" was used for cabinets not made by Hoosier, like some other name brands that became know for their products.

A decent video about their history can be seen here.



All of my kitchen cabinets are planned to be old farm furniture. One it lasts, two they knew what they were doing, three I just like the look.

Personally I am building a house around the kitchen and pantry. My pantry is big, but I also live off grid on 40 acres, so plan to have a lot of storage for stuff in the pantry.



I love these because of how they store flour and such. If I could fit one in my kitchen I would!
 
pollinator
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Years ago I lived in Boston in a 130-year old Mansard roof house that had been split into two apartments. I first lived in the smaller 1st-floor apartment and rented out the larger apartment until I reached the financial point that I could switch out. The kitchens were huge! When I was getting ready to move upstairs, I began planning how I wanted the kitchen to work. I took a pad of graph paper, pencil, ruler, and eraser, and took an inventory of what I had in my current kitchen and what I wanted in the new kitchen. Having flunked housekeeping 101, I have learned that the key to having a clean house is to have a place for everything, then at least trying to keep everything in its place. I also had a catalog of cabinet sizes and their actual measurements. Keeping mind my inventory, I planned the kitchen so there was a place for everything close to where it would be used. Lots of drawers and pull out shelving. The ceilings were 11 feet tall so lots of room for extra tall cabinets and room for a step-stool. An extra tall pantry cabinet with pull-out drawers to reach into the back. By shortening the height of one window, I was able to add 5 feet of cabinet and counter space. I had just a few inches next to the stove, just enough to add a 9" undercabinet to hold baking trays upright. A corner cabinet that had an appliance garage under it. I added a plug inside the garage so that I could have my blender, toaster, etc. there, then just pull them out when needed, put back with the Tambor door shut they are hidden from view. I also made room for a stacking washer and dryer in a corner. By removing the original cabinets I was able to find a window (I could see from outside, but couldn't find from inside. Uncovering that window not only add light and air but a view of downtown Boston and the Prudential and John Hancock buildings. When finished, I had a wonderful, easy to work in kitchen. I really miss that house, but it was on a tiny postage stamp lot, and whereas now I have 13 acres in the forest. Tradeoffs


.
 
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Yes, wall oven (s), and turntables in corner cabinets, preferably ones that turn out so things are easy to reach. And drawers instead of shelves under cabinets, soft close so I can close them with my hip when hands are full. I put wire baskets in them to hold pot kids, etc. Sauce pans I use frequently go on a shelf over the stove, canning pots on higher shelves as they are for seasonal use. My mother was the first home agen for Green County, Wisconsin in 1930s. She always said that you work in the kitchen from refrigerator to sink to stove so configure things in this manner.

My underground garage stays between forty and fifty degrees so lots of shelves for canned goods, garden produce out there. But my favorite kitchen thing is my raised dishwasher, only eight inches higher than standard but makes things so much easier.

A sink attached to a hose in the garden makes harvesting easier. I just toss carrot tops and vegetable skins over my shoulder into the compost pile. A peg board over the sink holds baskets towels and knives... ) I found a little RV stove at a garage sale, now need to attach a propane tank so that I can do some canning in my garden kitchen. (I guess that this last is a little off topic.)
 
pollinator
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Lots of great ideas here. I'll add a couple. I love pot racks. Will be adding one to my current kitchen once we remove the hood that doesn't vent anywhere. I also love my speed rack. It's on wheels.It really helps with batch cooking. It holds 10 sheet pans or 20 half sheet pans. So when I pull half sheet pans out of the oven, there is always somewhere to put them. I also made some drying racks that fit on it. It's been very handy. To bad the oven in this house doesn't work, ha ha.

The house I live in currently was a bunk house, so the layout is bizarre. When were got here the kitchen was 20" x 20", completely absurd. The refrigerator was in one corner, the sink in the other, and the stove kind of near the sink, but not close enough. I've ripped out half of the cabinets, moved the fridge nearer to the stove. And used much of the space for a dining room and living room. It's temporary, but already so much better.

Elle - love the work you've done.
 
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Cool bit of history on the Hoosier cabinet.  

Random thoughts that may (or may not) be of interest to some:

On my new place (a small homestead in the works) I am planning on an "outdoor" kitchen, down here in the South canning in the house is not always a pleasant experience.  I think I can get 3-season use out of the kitchen.  The plan is to build a separated kitchen building with counter-high hard walls and removable window screen panels with the old screen window hardware like the house I grew up in.  In colder times the screens are swapped out with "plexiglas" type storm windows.  Canning, butchering will be done in this kitchen and afterwards a good cleaning with the pressure washer when needed.  My little cabin will have only a small gas stove and the top of the wood stove for use in winter.  

I scored a SS three compartment sink for $50.  With careful shopping one can pick up some nice used restaurant equipment for reasonable costs, think Craiglist, auctions etc.  If you want it all at once you will pay more but shop around, it's out there.  My brother picked up some food grade (anti bacterial coating) wire rack shelving for the cost of helping a neighbor move to a new location.  Slowly i am acquiring the other commercial kitchen pieces, SS tables, shelves etc.  I have been collecting other large utensils etc. for awhile now but I still have to break down and pay the big bucks for an All American canner.  I have two other 32 quart canners but the the the All American is "on the list".  I want to able to keep one canner going, another loading and another cooling down using them "turkey fryer" stands.  

For me, having an "almost" commercial kitchen is the way to go.  Some of them purty kitchens I see on TV are nice to look at but I sure wouldn't want to have to clean them, or pay for them.  My current house now isn't anything special but when I look at the actual rooms I really use the rest of the place is just an expensive storage shed and I can build a nice shed out there that won't make the tax man drool.  A cabin as big as what I need and go "old school" with a separate kitchen.  Houses nowadays have gone all out of proportion to need.  Many a McMansion on my drive to the country place and I just smile and think good for them if that's what makes them happy.  I'm sure the tax man's happy. ;-)    

 
gardener
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This thread couldn't be more timely for me!  I am in the process of designing a "new"kitchen in a 100+ year old house.  I haveanice sized pantry, and was about to pay a carpenter to build shelves,but the metal ones will be excellent, faster and probably cheaper. Ilikethe idea of turning the shelves upside down, and getting additional shelves.

I tend to hang alotof things on the walls, placed near point of use and frequency of use.  I have 2 5 gallon SS pots I use for cheesemaking. In the winter,when there's not that much milk, they hang up high in the corner of the pantry.  Long SS spoons hang shoulder high next to the traffic-way.

For small square spice bottles,I like a custom rack just one jar deep, and made for the height of the jars.  In a former house,I had the spice rack on the inside of the pantry door, organized by frequency of use.  Frequent use items at eye level, others higher or lower.  I needed heavy duty hinges on a solid wood dooor, though.
 
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My wife and I have been discussing this for a few years.  Hopefully next summer we'll build our place.  (That way we'll at least own the mistakes and shortcuts, instead of simply signing on to someone elses).  One thing I want is one wall of windows above counters, sinks and drawers.  The opposite wall will be drawers down low and cupboards and shelves above.  That wall also needs to have the oven and fridge.  A pantry is a requirement, as close to the kitchen as possible.  Rather than going around the corner with the cupboards or drawers, take them to the end of the wall and start again on the opposite wall.  Pantry entrance and outside door will be on that cupboardless wall.  Still talking about an island, which can disrupt the fridge, sink, stove, counter top flow if you're not careful.

One thing I've noticed about the older women in my family as I grew up.  They tended to cut things up right into the pot or pan (not using cutting boards).  My mom said when she grew up no one had much in the way of counter space or room for cutting boards.  Often the sink was a dry sink.  That side of the family were mostly poor and lived in tiny houses in the southwest US.  Spices consisted of salt, pepper, vanilla and cinnamon.  Milk, eggs, local veggies and flour were cheap according to my mom and grandparents, other things were expensive, often beyond their reach.  Every once in a while I realize how much I have that they didn't.  In Arizona, they didn't sleep in the house all summer, they slept in the back yard because the house was too hot.  (This sounds like a design problem to me, probably because the house designs were imported from colder areas).
 
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When we built our house, we planned on having a full basement.  The contractor was able to dig down two feet on one end and four feet on the other before hitting solid rock.  They actually spent two days with a jackhammer just to get the footer prepared.  So we opted for a 16' x 16' utility room addition off the kitchen, which meant another doorway and less room for cabinets.  Originally we planned to have a kitchen area in the utility room for canning purposes, but my husband passed away a year after we moved in and we never started on that project.

Fast forward twenty years and one of my biggest regrets is not having a work island.  The kitchen is 10' x 14' and too narrow for a permanent one, though I do use an older utility cart when I'm doing a lot of baking.  Another regret is the dishwasher.  It was my first husband's idea as I was working 60-80 hours per week when we designed the kitchen and he hated doing the dishes.  I seriously doubt it has been used 100 times in 20 years--I'd much rather have the cabinet space.  When we purchased the cabinets, the salesman tried to push upper cabinets that went to the ceiling.  Thankfully we chose the shorter cabinets.  I'm 5'6" and still have to get a stool to get things at the back of the top shelves.  We also went with a name brand cabinet with a good reputation at the time.  After 14 years we noticed the upper cabinets slowly coming apart and eventually all will have to come down and be reinforced as we cannot afford to replace them.  Right now we have two upper cabinets that are bare because of this.  Our canned food is stored mostly in three lower cabinets though I plan to convert a shelving unit in the utility room into a pantry.  I originally designated one of the smallest cabinets to spices, but as my cooking habits and tastes have expanded and I've spilled over into another cabinet.  I only have one set of four drawers which hold silverware, cooking utensils, hot pads, etc. and two bigger drawers atop my bottom cabinets that hold dishcloths, towels and an assortment of "junk."  

I'm hoping in the next few years we will be able to replace the countertops (they were custom laminated and falling apart too) and reinforce the upper cabinets.  

I am relatively happy with the kitchen layout but would gladly trade out the dishwasher for more cabinet space and opt for a cabinet over the refrigerator.  
 
Jay Angler
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Michelle Heath wrote:

I am relatively happy with the kitchen layout but would gladly trade out the dishwasher for more cabinet space and opt for a cabinet over the refrigerator.

Removing a dishwasher usually isn't that hard. The plumbing usually goes to under the sink, so you would just need to put plugs on things. That wouldn't get you a professional cabinet, but you have options - open shelves, shelves with a washable curtain, something on wheals so you can slide it out as that "island" you wanted - it will be fairly small, but you can put it exactly where you want it when needed, and then get it out of the way when you don't.

If you do go for a cupboard above your fridge, I highly recommend a deep one. My last house had that and the first layer had vertical supports for all my cookie sheets, cooling racks and trays. My current house has a small cupboard that I can't easily reach and then the top of the fridge gets cluttered with stuff, so to actually get in the cupboard, you've got to move stuff first.
 
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I follow this lady on You-Tube and love her ideas. Thought I'd throw this into the mix as she has some sound, logical ideas.

 
master pollinator
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To state the obvious, if you have a working homestead kitchen, you cannot have too much space. We are in the planning stages of remodel number 3 in the past 20 years.  We have ample upper and lower cabinets and lots of drawers, a hoosier, a bedroom converted to a pantry,  and an outdoor kitchen.  We are looking into adding another pantry and making our outdoor kitchen critter proof.

We also have a eye on our living room fireplace as a location to insert a small wood cook stove. We are not sure of the compromise.  We enjoy an occasional open fire in the winter.

To be clear, we do a great deal of canning, freezing, and dehydrating.  We also raise bees, chickens, pigs, ang goats. We bake bread at least 2 times a week.  We are always either engaged in some kitchen project or cleaning up after one.
 
pollinator
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steve pailet wrote:....  Drawers are the best in a kitchen.  Nothing to get lost in the back of a cabinet. This in part of why I like the idea of the pantry and open shelves....



We keep our potato masher in a drawer, because occasionally it's fun not to be able to open that drawer.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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My childhood home and my current home both have similar work triangles, distance between range/oven and sink = the same at ~4 feet, distance to fridge = the same at ~8 feet.
My mom's kitchen worked. Our current kitchen DOES NOT.
Why? mostly a peninsula next to the range on the side opposite the sink, which creates a narrow 'U-shape' with the range in the bend.
Mom's had sink close to the bend, then counter + range + counter.
Ours has sink + counter, then range close-by around the bend.
The "U" is only 12 inches wider than the range, however, so barely room for a second person at the sink, and they can't be there at all if the oven door opens!

In ours ,ONE person can cook, SOLO, and it can be efficient since it is like a "cockpit" you can just turn and step between sink, range, counter, and peninsula counter. It can be tiresome and frustrating to not have help or be able to help.

Drawers or pull-out shelves in lower cabinets are great. I'd prefer drawers, since they don't require opening a door(s) before pulling out shelf... but FAR better than hands and knees to reach way in back.
The carousel cabinet in a corner is okay, Mom didn't have one, so that deep corner was for the roasting pans and big stockpots used infrequently.
Lazy susans in the cabinets are also a good solution for "things hidden behind things", we even have one in our carousel cabinet...extra swivelley!

Storage of things... both near to where they are needed, and not "tangled up" in the work triangle. Someone getting a tumbler to get a drink from the fridge shouldn't need to disturb the cook to reach a cabinet, same with setting a table, or baking supplies/equipment.

I've always liked the idea of a swing-out-pantry. Double doors with narrow shelves on the inside open to reveal shelves that are hinged on a center partition, which when 'opened' show their reverse side and reveal fixed shelves at the back wall of the cabinet.
Nothing gets lost behind since the narrow shelves generally hold a single row of things.  


 
steve pailet
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Love all of the ideas shared here.. One Idea I had not actually thought about but someone mentioned to me . Since I have enough room for the cabinets is on one wall pull the lower cabinets out about 6 inches and use a 6 inch high back slash.  Then put a shelf across the entire back splash area that is 6 inches in depth.. The idea is that a lot of things end up cluttering the countertop but with this shelf directly in back of the cabinets it gives a place to store all those little items that are used almost daily and keep your actual countertops clear of the clutter.  Keeps those things like flour and sugar bins out, or the coffee container and such
 
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