This is the sort of…

This is the sort of thing we spend all our spare mental energy on these days. We measure our cabinetry, and argue about how much we need and where it should all go, and we debate priorities, and somehow we come up with lists like these, and hope our architect can make sense of them:

a) we want to be sure that there's lots of passing space around the island if we have one, so we prefer a minimum clearance of 48"; given that, we're guessing there just isn't room for an island

b) we're fine with not having an island, as long as we have a peninsula instead

c) we want to make sure that we have certain minimums for kitchen storage (not pantry items)
- 9 feet of lower cabinetry (some of it near sink, for trash/recycling/compost and a separate 3+ foot run next to the range for pots and pans )
- 8 feet of upper cabinetry / shelving
- ideally some open wall space near the range to hang 3-4 pots we use most (if not possible, not a big deal)

d) as for counter space:
- at least one run of 3 feet near the range for food prep
- at least 24" on one side of the sink and at least 18" on the other side
- at least 18" next to opening door of refrigerator (it's a side-by-side, yes? so ideally on both sides)
- we're thinking perhaps deeper counters than normal to leave more usable space in front of the lower cabinets (assuming we don't have an island)

e) we'd like the eating area to be able to seat four; no need for more than that -- and as long as it seats three regularly and a fourth can comfortably pull up a chair occasionally, that's fine

f) if we do the peninsula / table / banquette plan, we'd like enough room to stand on the far side of the peninsula, so a friend could walk over and help chop from that side; not sure how much room that needs -- 3' clearance, plus whatever room the banquette and table need?

g) we're okay with adding about 4' going further east if that helps -- all the plans we came up with seemed to require an additional 4' eastward

h) in theory, we're okay with blowing out the wall between family room and kitchen if you have to in order to get an island and sufficient countertop / cabinet space -- but we don't know if it's a support wall, and we'd need to add cabinet requirements to the above to make up for the two sections of lost 12" deep pantry space

i) it'd be sort of nice to have the sink facing a window or the half-wall or the family room, but it's not a priority for us

j) we'd rather not have the range in either the peninsula or the island, because it's a hazard with small children. So it'd be good to have it facing a wall.

k) I really hate stools, I think because I'm so short and I resent my feet not reaching the floor or something. I don't know. So I'd prefer a kitchen design that didn't utilize stools.

l) we've been fretting about the pantry door being so far away from the mudroom entrance (and not accessible from the kitchen directly), but as Dave pointed out on the phone, a lot of our pantry storage will be in those 12" shelves in the south wall, so maybe that's not an issue?

m) we'd like open shelving for everyday plates and glasses (near the sink/dishwasher; can be on the south wall)

n) we'd also like open shelving for about a dozen large spice jars (ideally near the range prep area, but that's not as important; can also be on the south wall)

o) we don't want to hang pots over the island, because I feel that it makes the kitchen look too cluttered and messes with sight lines

p) but hanging 4-5 frequently used pots on a wall near the range would be nice, though.

Oof. I got a really bad headache for a few hours today. I blame my future kitchen.

4 thoughts on “This is the sort of…”

  1. It sounds like you and Kevin are putting lots of thought into how you’ll use things, and it sounds like you’re working with people who know what they’re doing, so I bet all this work will pay off in the end.

    Given all that, I suspect that the following is unnecessary, but I figure it’s worth mentioning in passing: my kitchen, lovely as it is, appears to have been designed (at least in part) without much regard for how it would be used. For example, despite acres of cabinets, there are only three top-level drawers in the main kitchen area, none of which is really placed well to be a silverware drawer. And one of the two main upper cabinets is halfway over the peninsula, so you have to lean across the peninsula to open it. The electrical outlets are oddly placed, the light switches are all outside the kitchen entrance (and one of them does nothing, and the others are arranged in a way that has no connection to what they do), etc. More generally, there’s lots of space (especially cabinet space), but it’s distributed oddly, with a lot of it being in less-useful parts of the kitchen.

    (It also has a dishwasher that’s apparently a high-end brand, but that also has its internal space distributed oddly, such that I think it has less usable space for holding dishes than my old one.)

    Anyway. It’s not awful, and the loveliness makes up for a lot, and I don’t use the kitchen that much anyway, so it’s not a big deal in my case. Mostly I just get fixated on the silverware-drawer thing (in my kitchen), so I wanted to make sure that you’re thinking about where drawers go as well as cabinets and counters. Not that you need another variable to consider—and I’m guessing you’ve already considered it anyway.

    …Sorry to hear about the headache. Hope by the time you see this you’re feeling better.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    No, it’s really helpful hearing this kind of thing, because it may remind us what we aren’t thinking of.

    I’m not sure there’s an easy fix for the silverware drawer thing — frustrating! But I suspect for a few hundred you could get an electrician out to fix the light switches and outlets, and that might be a worthwhile investment if it’ll make you a little happier on a daily basis. I know it bugs me when lights aren’t where I expect them to be!

  3. You mentioned its a side by side frig. Is this the existing fridge or are you buying a new one? Because apparently the side/side are the least energy efficient. They have some wonderful new designs in frdges. Being a short person, I love mine, which has the freezer on the bottom and a french door.

    You should also think about cabinet height, too, since you are also short. Maybe have a ‘lowered’ area for yourself, where you can feel comfortable mixing/chopping etc?

    Put the dish storage near the dishwasher.

    See if you can put electrical outlets underneath the upper cabinets, we did this in the family home and it is wonderful….

    If you are going to want a second fridge or a chest freezer, think about that now…. where would it go in the house?

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    It’s the existing fridge, and I’m not at all sure it’s side-by-side; can’t remember. But we’ll use it, whatever it is.

    Regular countertop height is actually perfect for me; it’s supposed to be three inches below your bent elbow, apparently, and standard height is exactly that for me. Nine inches too short for Kevin, though, so we’re thinking about maybe having a raised section for him, so he doesn’t get a sore back from bending over to chop.

    Agreed on dish storage near dishwasher/sink!

    Good point re: outlets. We’re also planning on both under-cabinet and above-cabinet lighting, because I hate the look of recessed lights in the ceiling, but we do want to make sure we have enough light.

    There’s a vast basement for second fridge or chest freezer, so I think we have plenty of room for that if we decide we want it. I’m not sure we will, though — our fridge/freezer never seem to get full. Maybe that will change when the kids are older, though.

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