What do you love/hate about your kitchen?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by longshadowfarms, May 11, 2005.

  1. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    We're planning to build a kitchen (what we have now functions as a kitchen but was never really designed or built - just parts plopped in a room) sort of starting soon. We'll likely do the structural expansion this summer (we need to replace a beam under the house right along the space we plan to expand) and then do the interior later as funds allow. A friend re-did their kitchen recently and has some cabinets we may use to fill in until we redo the inside later. We've already got two different styles and colors of cabinets so I can't see that 3 would be any problem while we wait! We've been checking out design magazines, looking at model kitchens, writing down ideas, etc but I'm looking for some real life, lived in, homestead kitchen ideas. We know we'd like 3 work areas - one for baking, one for cooking and another for preparation. DH and I both cook and the kids like to help as well so there is a need for separate areas. Our current kitchen is small and barely has enough room for two people to work. With the expanded space we'll have lots of windows and plenty of space to do what we want. It will kind of be a long, narrow kitchen but about twice as big as we have now and only one door in the new space! Our current kitchen has 6 doors.

    Anyway, I'm looking for what things you like most or really dislike about your kitchen, primarily components, not looks. Appliances, types of cabinets, work surfaces, flooring, etc. Easy to keep clean is top on my list of important factors! Durability is a close second (3 dogs, 3 kids and trying to adopt more kids). Is a sink in a corner comfortable, efficient use of space? Anyone use those ranges with downdraft? I hate range hoods. Is a convection oven as great to use as they advertise? What about those "pantry style" cabinets? Are they handy or not really? I like the tall, narrow drawers that pull out and give you shelving in that space but don't know if they'd be as handy as they seem. We've planning on having the cabinets custom built since there is a Mennonite locally who does a beautiful job for about the same price as stock cabinets so basically we can design just about anything we want. I'm also very interested in work surfaces and sinks and how they stack up in durability and ease of cleaning. And anything else you can think of that I didn't mention. We're planning to take all the ideas and go to someone to help finalize a design. We have tried laying things out ourselves but getting a bit frustrated with that. Do you think Lowes and places like that do a good job or should we spring for "professionals" for that? Thanks in advance!
  2. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    Our cabinets were custom built and installed so I was able to get some things I really wanted...an appliance garage (wish mine were bigger!), upper cabinets lowered two inches (I'm short), etc. My cabinets are U shaped with one side being the bar. I hate that back corner of the cabinet under the bar that's so difficult to get to so we had a door installed on the OTHER side of the bar for that space, plus fake doors down the length of the bar so that the one real door didn't look out of place.

    I didn't think I would like a built in microwave above the stove, but I do. It is also the vent for the stove, but you can't tell that by looking at it. I had the cabinet builder make the space above the microwave into a bookshelf for my cookbooks and I really like that too.

    We have solid surface countertops which I really like. I especially like the sink and countertop being seamless...less cracks and crannies to clean. Plus, I had a drain board carved into the solid surface next to the sink and that has been wonderful.

    My sink is in front of the kitchen window, which I prefer. The corner cabinets (top and bottom) have lazy susans in them for easy access. I had drawers put in the space between the stove and fridge instead of a cabinet. You can never have to many drawers in a kitchen!

    The only thing I don't like is the flat top stove. It is difficult to clean if something boils over. Did I say I didn't like it? Actually, I hate it!

    Three things I regret not putting my foot down about:

    1. Hardwood floors. The builder insisted we would be happier with vinyl that looks like wood (it's laid in strips). He said it didn't dent or scratch. HA! WRONG!

    2. The bar. We wanted it extra long, but the builder said we didn't have passing room if we extended it another two feet. HA. WRONG! I could have used the extra cabinet space too.

    3. An island. The builder said the kitchen wasn't large enough for an island. Guess what? HA. WRONG. We ended up buying an island at Lowe's. It's on wheels which is nice as long as no one tries to lean on it and it has really come in handy, except the wheels make dents in the non-dentable vinyl wood flooring!

    OOPS...one more thing we will eventually change - we put a regular ceiling light in the kitchen. Now I wish I had a ceiling fan with light. It gets hot in the kitchen and a ceiling fan would be so nice. We'll probably do this pretty soon and put the current kitchen light in the laundry room (the light in there isn't bright enough).

    Here it is halfway built: http://www.funtigo.com/go/i2385918?i=i2385918_39624.jpg

  3. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2004
    Dislike: everything electric, stove esp., it takes too long to heat up for my likes. Not enough room, space and storage is a problem. Counters are laminate-don't like plastic, and it scratches and gets heat damaged too easily. Not enough windows.

    Likes: Tile floor, and the fact I won't be using it too long.

    Wants: Wood stove and gas stove, wood in winter gas when warm, ice box (antique and functioning one that is), plenty of windows for ventilation, large pantry or two, walk in types, for lots of bulk storage, shelves for jars (with lips on the fronts so jars cannot be knocked off easily, like during an earthquake), rootcellar would be nice if accessible from kitchen, oh, room for a large work table instead of a counter, so I can sit down and be lazy while working as well. LOL And, tall ceiling (12 feet would be nice...) so heat rises up and it isn't as warm.
  4. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2002
    More Natural Light, Please!

    We live in an 1865 farm house and originally all of the windows in the house were the same size. At some point someone "modernized" the kitchen by taking out the big kitchen window that faced East and putting in a much smaller "kitchen sink" window above the "modern" sink. The 2 other windows in the kitchen face North and while those windows do let light in, the kitchen would be much brighter if the East window was large. I don't want to turn on the electric lights in the kitchen during the day!

    At some point we will work on the kitchen so that window will be enlarged and the kitchen layout will also change a bit at that time.

    in wi
  5. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    The only thing I like about our current kitchen is that it is a huge farming harvest kitchen. It has lots of potential. I dream of how it will look one day. There are about a million things I can't stand about it's current condition. First, not nearly enough countertop or cabinet space. I have cabinets and countertop along one and a half walls. The other wall is the fridge, the microwave on a cart, the moveable dishwasher and a small hutch. My main work area is on a corner between the stove and sink. I have two (three as soon as my little man realizes what's going on) kids who always want to help. With stools there isn't enough room and squabbling always breaks out. My dream kitchen has more countertop space, cabinets, a few glass doored cabinets so I can show off some of my china pieces, shelves, large pantries, either a bar with a bench or a work table. I'd also like my countertops raised a little for me because I'm all legs. But also a lower one so my kids can help in the kitchen. Maybe a adjustable one for when they grow. I'd like all those space saver cabinets and drawers that I see. For spices, plastic wrap, etc. A place for everything. I want deep sinks. I do a lot of canning and it would be nice to have deep enough sinks to fill my canners (and also hold more dirty pots and pans). I also want a small bench or easy chair in the corner. Mostly for the kids to take off boots and stuff. I currently have a small desk along one side of the wall and it's always buried underneath papers and the kids' stuff. I'd love to do away with that and maybe have a slide out or pull out secretary desk. But then I fear that the countertop would be a dumping ground. (Must work on that with the family) We have most of the cabinets and a new sink sitting on the enclosed porch. Please keep adding to this post. Interesting to see what works and what doesn't.
  6. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Jan 21, 2005
    NEVER NEVER NEVER put carpet in the kitchen i know its a big duh. but it was in here when we bought it. other wise its almost perfect. its a 30 year old ranch not fancy but its 20 x 20 and over 25 ft counter space.get the dish washer that doesnt have the kick plate they go all the way to floor and have more space, and dont ever get a glass top stove unless you like polishing all day long!!!!
  7. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    mm mmm mmmmm....

    the fact I built, ripped out and rebuilt it 4 times because the w-o-m-a-n was the one I was trying to make happy didnt give e sufficent input while it was being builtx4 over.....

    and the last incarnation I built is to small and to dark and in the wrong place where I would have built it for ME.

    now its to late due to the way i engineered the whole thing to move it.. so I am stuck with it.

    but I cant mess it up very much because its small so thats a good thing.
  8. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    A woods in Wisconsin
    The thing I LOVE in my kitchen is the elevated dishwasher.

    Cabinets were custom built so we had a drawer built under the dishwasher which raised it off the floor about 12 inches.
    Its a big BACK saver!
    No bending needed for loading and unloading.

    Also had counters built 2 1/2 inches taller.

    The thing I dislike is the total presence of a kitchen and its implication that food must be prepared...........and the fact that that burden falls upon ME!
  9. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2005

    What you men wont go thru to please a lady! ;)
  10. hatwoman22

    hatwoman22 Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Arizona sence April
    Make sure the sink is set into the counter properly with no lip! I can not tell you how annoying that is. I think you've got the lots of counter space covered.
    One thing that gets us in ours (besides for lack of space) is we have tons of spices, in all different types of containers, with no place to put them. Currently we have them sitting in two tupperware containers, in a space above the sink. Previously we had the microwave in the spot, but it was too high to clean, pulling hot things out was painful.
    If like us you have a fry cooker, make a space for that, as well as someplace for the toaster! I never know where to put that darn little thing! grr.
    Good luck with the remodle. ( I just realized I dont know how to spell that word) lol
  11. Senior

    Senior Active Member

    Jan 3, 2005


    I would recommend going to Lowe's or Home depot and take a really good look at their cabinets and all of the options available and even have them design a kitchen or two for you, then go to your builder (Mennonites) and show them the designs. I am a custom cabinet builder and people bring me a design done for them by Lowes all the time. Pantry's are great, I build a lot of them. Also have rollouts installed in your lower cabinets, enables you to open the lower cabinet door and pull out a rollout shelf. No more digging around in the back of a lower cabinet. Also if you have 8, or 9 , 10 foot celings have the cabinets go to the ceiling. Gives you a lot more storage space. Granite or marble is great material for counter tops. With a kitchen remodel or new construction, the idea is you are the boss and you just have to decide what you want. Talk to several cabinet builders in your area, and get ideas from each of them, and then design your kitchen to meet your needs. If I can be of any help, just holler.

  12. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 6, 2004
    Well, I love my kitchen--NOW. I lived with a kitchen for 20yrs that was sooooo bad. You had to have the oven door open to open a drawer,the oven door hit on the refg. and did not go all the way down, had three 'lost' corners, things could not be found after they were placed into these corner cabinets and when you put pans(or anything else) in the cabinet next to the stove the pans would slid under the stove (built in) and was lost for ever!

    I designed the kitchen, called a local handyman..DH and I rip out the old cabinets and floors down to the floor joist. The handyman and I went over every thing.. I have one long wall (No corner cabinets at all) of cabinets. The top cabinets go all the way to the ceiling (before the area above the cabinets was just boxed in --wasted space.) On the top shelves are my Christmas dishes--and other things that I use only once a yr.. The mircowave sits on a shelf under one of the top cabinets (freeing up counter space). I had him build the cabinet over the refg. all the way out to the front of refg. I store all my bulk purchased freezer bags, foil, paper towels, trash bags etc. in it. I had him build a pantry that has 6 doors (three on the top and three on the bottom. It goes from the ceiling to the floor and is 6 feet long. In the top cabinets I have all my canned goods, dry goods (flour, cereal, crackers etc.) in the bottom I have all my large pots, (canners and out door cookware). Next to the stove I had two heavy duty drawers that look like reg. cabinet doors but they pull out... In one I store all my cast iron frypans and and the other has my baking sheets, muffin tins etc.. I also had an island built that in on heavy duty casters It has a stained wood top and I painted the bottom white and put red pulls on it . It has a drop -leaf on one side.. that raises up to add extra seating when need..I store all my small kitchen applicance in it.... In the drawers I store my measuring cups, spoons and rolling pin, pastry stuff...

    The doors are made with 1x6, tounge and groove, #2pine, stained med/dark and I have the same wood on the floor that just has 3 coats of poly, no stain..

    It's not fancy but it fits my lifestyle very well and I love it.. Good luck.. Debbie
  13. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    I'm with Deb on the more natural light idea!! I wish my kitchen had more windows.

    One thing I love about my kitchen is my upper cabinet doors. They are home made and consist of wooden frames that I can fill with anything from glass inserts to lace inserts to what ever I feel like inserts. I love the fact that I can change them without spending big bucks and they look great!
  14. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    That reminds me...I had the cabinet builder put spice racks on the insides of the upper cabinets on each side of the stove. All the spices I use on a regular basis are right there within reach with no need to dig around for them.

    I also have the pull-outs on the bottom cabinets and they are great, plus a narrow lower cabinet that has a vertical divider...one side for cutting boards, the other side for cookie sheets, etc.
  15. motivated

    motivated Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2004
    Clean, sunny and sparse. And when cooking it smells wonderful!
  16. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

    May 28, 2003
    I love that mine is so sunny! We recently bought this house and will be putting in new cabinets and counters in Sept. The old ones are what I dislike.
  17. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    A couple of problems/annoyances for me. A noisy dishwasher, an electric stove when I'd rather have propane with an electric oven and no ice maker in the fridge which is more of an annoyance.

    My advice to anyone buying a dishwasher is to get the best, most quiet one that you can afford and don't cheap out on it. My old one was nearly silent but my new one is far too loud.

    I plan on correcting all three in the next couple of years. Plus hardwood floors are in the future.
  18. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 9, 2004
    Love: gas stove, that I've added in a rail of wood (below cabinets above counters) with hooks and screws to hang up most of my big kitchen spoons and revereware (cute little copper bottoms), and keys etc near the backdoor, including two rails above my stove with S hooks to hang the big fry pans from. Next kitchen I'll prob put a central pot rack to free up even more wall space (stove could have cabinet if safe? not pots above it). Steel racks for pots and appliances all over walls without cabinets. I prefer to see my stuff so I can find it easy- may want all racks no closed cabinets someday? Prior kitchens- loved steel cabinets that kept mice (not sure about bugs- maybe so) absolutely out. Spacious spice racks on doors of large cabinet actually fit all my spices for once! Others' kitchens- one lady had all her appliances plugged in but in drawers- she'd pull them out onto counter and use them then return to drawer no plugging nonsense, no longterm counter clutter (I'll probably make bread again this week.")

    Hate: too small for a central table to sit around/work on/eat at. corner cabinets I lose things in the back of. No place for us to put our shoes and sport kit (equipment) though it is the entry way for our most used door. too small. Microwave takes up counter space should be on own shelf.

    How exciting and good a topic- hope to have my longterm kitchen to wrok on next year.
  19. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

    Aug 28, 2004
    NC Arkansas
    Great thread, folks! I've been designing my kitchen for the farm house for YEARS (in my mind). And we're almost ready to take the plunge and just DO IT. I love hearing about your likes/dislikes, and ya'll have made me rethink a couple of things I thought I'd like, but now see as a disadvantage.

    I've been using a free online kitchen designer thing on the web, which has helped for positioning cabinets, etc. The problem for me is, there is so many "cool" things available in kitchen cabintry nowadays that I have to decide if it's just "cool" or is it really as functional as it appears to be.

    Keep the ideas coming! This thread was perfect timing for me!
    Thanks, all,
  20. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

    Sep 1, 2004
    Jeromesville, Ohio (northcentral)
    I LOVE our kitchen! We designed and built it several years ago...tore the whole room down to the studs. We got rid of one window so we could have a bigger fridge and move the stove out of the corner, but we put in a skylight to make up for the lost light. We put in quite a few recessed lights and they are all on dimmers. We have tile countertops and laminate flooring (we love both of them). There are cherry cabinets with a light stain and stainless and black appliances. I agree with Quint about the dishwasher. We bought the quietest one we could afford, and then built it into our peninsula and insulated it well too. About the peninsula...the kitchen almost surrounds me with the back part of the peninsual being higher than the rest of the countertops. We have bar stools along the back (which is where you walk through from the living room to the rest of the house) so folks can sit there while they are visiting...they get to be in the kitchen, but out of my way.

    There is enough room in our layout for three people to work at the same time. If I can figure it out, I'll post a picture in a while.

    One final thing...our favorite part of the entire kitchen is the under-cabinet lighting. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is! We installed halogen under-cabinet lighting that has a box in the basement (can't think of what it's called). The wire gets run along the bottom front of the cabinets and then there are little lights that you just push into the wire wherever you want them. There is no dark spot in my kitchen...when I work at my friends' houses that don't have under-cabinet lighting, I realize how wonderful it is to have it.

    Oh yeah, we also had a girl from the cabinet shop come out to measure and design a layout. We changed quite a few things, but she had the headache of making sure all the pieces were ordered and would fit properly (even though we installed everything).