Here’s our current…

Here's our current kitchen layout, for the curiosity of those who can make sense of such things. At this point, it's getting pretty close to final, although of course, if you see something that you think is a big mistake, do let us know. And any other thoughts you have are certainly welcome. I hope this is helpful to any of you who might now or someday plan your own kitchen renovations.

We just got back a quote on our cabinetry alone -- $15K. Eep. That's half of what I make in a year, after taxes. Crazy.

Some notes to help clarify, starting middle left and going clockwise:

  • fridge
  • corner cabinetry (upper and lower)
  • large single sink in front of tall window
  • counter over dishwasher with three open shelves above (going up by shelf: everyday stoneware plates and bowls, glassware, many glass vases)
  • stove with range hood
  • counter with three open shelves above (going up by shelf: frequent-use pots, Sri Lankan lg. square spice jars, cool / pretty Sri Lankan utensils)
  • pizza oven (which probably won't happen due to budget constraints, in which case that's just some open wall that might hold a piece of kitchen furniture, like an old-fashioned kitchen dresser)
  • built-in L-shaped bench (possibly also with a tall window) and eat-in breakfast table
  • (on east wall) door to mudroom
  • (on south wall, not drawn) door to utility closet (for vacuum, cleaning supplies)
  • narrow pantry shelving (I think 12 inches?), glass or wire-fronted above, solid below
  • large (6' 5") cased opening (lots of people suggested getting rid of this wall for more open feel, but we wanted to keep some of the more formal period feel, plus, this allows for more cabinetry/storage against the wall) to family room with glass-fronted cabinets above (our ceilings are 10 ft.)
  • more narrow pantry shelving, glass or wire-fronted above, solid below
  • more narrow pantry shelving, with a door in front, so that it matches the one to the utility closet, not looking obviously cabinet-like
In center, island (9 ft long, 2 ft wide) with microwave drawer on one end, lower cabinets in middle, cookbook shelf on end.

In the hallway to the left, not pictured, door to walk-in pantry (on north wall, behind fridge and cabinetry). Past that, small butler's pantry holding china, crystal, serveware. Past that, powder room. South of all that stuff, dining room.

We're wondering whether to save money, we should move to a more standard countertop microwave (which we already have), rather than spend $600 for a microwave drawer. The funny shape of the island is to accommodate the width of the microwave drawer (while still providing plenty of clearance to family room, I think?), and I'm sure that would also add something to the fabrication costs for the cabinetry and countertop. But the microwave drawer would be really nice, we're pretty sure. Not that either of us has ever had one. Saves counter space, supposedly safer than above-counter microwaves for avoiding spills and/or burns, esp. with children lifting things out above their heads.

8 thoughts on “Here’s our current…”

  1. But won’t the kids just spill into the cabinet, which will be much harder to clean than the floor? And won’t you have to lean over to use it? I’m not familiar with microwave drawers but my initial reaction is that drawers are much harder to clean (and eliminate mold from) than floors.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I think it’s more worrying about the kids spilling hot soups and the like onto themselves — it’s more likely that they’ll burn themselves with a microwave above their heads. I’m guessing we’re talking about the age 5-10 range or thereabouts?

    I don’t think there’s any leaning over — the controls are on the top, so counter-height, and the depth isn’t much more than the top level of a dishwasher. Kevin and I aren’t super-tall, and I doubt the kids will be either — if you were, this might be sub-optimal. I think this height would make it much easier for me to pop it open, feel if it’s warm enough, set it going again if need be.

    I really do hate having too many things sitting out on the counter, and we already have a fairly substantial toaster oven that’ll be out, so if can tuck this away, I think it’d be a help.

    Kevin’s wondering whether we’re likely to get into flow issues, since you probably can’t have one person in the fridge and another opening the microwave at the same time in our layout. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen so often — it’s not like we stand around with the fridge open…

  3. We redid the kitchen up in the family home in MA, and put in a microwave drawer. Its not really fabulous, because you can’t open it quickly, you have to press ‘open’ or ‘close’, and it slides out. It still manages to spill the coffee as it slides, though, and is going to be a pain to replace. And Kevin does have a point, because its so slow to open, it may create a traffic block.

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I was planning on one with a manual open/close, not automatic, because I do think the slow thing would annoy me, and because as witnessed by our DVD player, Kavi likes pushing closed things that are supposed to be automatic, which is bad for the mechanism. From the reviews I’ve been reading, the auto mechanism also tends to break pretty often.

    I do think that means things may splash, though. I’m not sure how much — we use the microwave almost entirely for reheating (which we do a lot), and in particular, I tend to forget my tea when I get busy working, and end up reheating it. But by that point, the mug is only 3/4 or 1/2 full. Do you think it would still splash?

  5. Mary Anne, when I looked at the plan, I thought the microwave would be at the other end of the island from the fridge. Would it help if it were, or would that put it too far from the prep areas?

    My microwave is in the spot above the stove where range hood should be. It is a little high, and its built-in fan doesn’t work nearly as well as a real range hood, but it does get it off the counter-top. I think you can put them in where an upper cabinet goes, too, with a smaller cabinet above it – at any rate, I’ve seen ovens done like that.

    Do you have a pull-out trash can in here somewhere? You’ll need space for trash.

    Also, do you have pull-out shelves in lower cabinets for pans or bowls or tupperware? They’re very convenient. How about drawers for cooking implements, plastic wrap, kitchen towels, etc.? Your flatware is in the butler’s pantry, I suppose.

    Do the corner cabinets have turntables? That’s especially helpful for the lower one.

  6. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Lenore, we’re planning on that kind of thing, but haven’t detailed it yet. I love pull-outs!

    We thought about putting the microwave at the other end, but it did seem like it would be too far away.

    Above the stove, we have a massive range hood; we could certainly mount it under some other cabinet, but I think I’d rather have it on the counter, if we’re choosing between those two options — I’m 5′ tall, and I find a raised microwave to be a nuisance, personally.

  7. One thing to think about is have you looked into what it would cost for repair/replacement? I speak as someone who just had my fridge, range, & microwave all die within the same week! Anything specialized/built in like that may have very high repair/replacement costs. If the life of the appliance is less than 10 years (which they often seem to be now, sadly), how are you going to feel about replacing/repairing it? Also, maybe there’s a showroom where you could try it out? It seems like a lot of money for something you may not like that much, especially if it is influencing things like the island width. If you absolutely love it, that’s a different story, but it seems like you might be somewhat ambivalent.

  8. I would echo the concerns about the microwave drawer. I’m cautious about this kind of high-end specialty item, because they’re more novel, manufactured in smaller quantities, and are therefore may have more issues and/or be harder to get replacement parts for.

    It’s not quite parallel, but in our kitchen we have a Dacor dual-fuel oven/cooktop combo. This was no doubt the state-of-the-art kitchen-porn inspired choice when the kitchen was redone by a previous owner. And it is an absolute, unmitigated, piece of crap. It has more issues than Woody Allen, and the nearest repair company that will even deign to look at it is 40 miles away and charges $80 just to visit.

    Needless to say, no spare parts are available for it, and even replacing it would cost twice as much as replacing a normal range, since the unconventional size means we’d need to replace it with another wall oven/cooktop combo.

    When we replace it, we’ll probably tear out the counter and put in a one-piece range. From GE.

    Can you guess my other suggestion, besides “eschew fancy crap unless you’re absolutely, positively sure it’s at least as durable as the upper-tier consumer version”? Yep, it’s “Don’t buy Dacor unless someone has a gun to your head.” Seriously.


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