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!