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Remodeling a 90s kitchen - ISO help tearing plan apart/improving it

2 months ago

• A kitchen island that our kids can actually sit at.
• A large flat section of countertop (on the island) where we can do cooking/baking/"science" activities together (NOT the table).
• Cooktop (or range) along a wall and NOT in an island. With a hood for ventilation, not downdraft.
• More efficient pantry storage.
• Better storage all around. Drawers for dinnerware. Drawers for food storage. Vertical storage for pots/pans/lids. Vertical storage for bakeware. Island storage for the things we almost never use (lefse griddle, instantpot, etc)

About us:
2 adults, 2 kids (6 and 8 - but they are both extremely small for their ages and always have been). We both work from home. We have 50/50 custody of the kids, so they are not always with us.
I do the majority of the cooking/baking/prep, but with some assistance (but once we have more than one person in the current kitchen it gets frustrating constantly being in each other's way). The kids try to help, but it can be challenging (they often end up fighting over who gets to help because there is only one space that we can fit a chair/stool to stand on, but then that is also in the way).
BUT... we aren't chefs and typically don't make the most complicated meals. (Some factor of this is how frustrating it is to use our current kitchen, but we'll never be making gourmet meals at home).
Kitchen to be used daily for cooking (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), cleanup, homework, making espresso/coffee, packing school lunches, etc. But also for the occasional gatherings of friends/family (including preparing mixed drinks, we also store our alcohol in upper cabinets in the kitchen currently and don't really have a better place for it).
We entertain sporadically (in the time the kids are not with us), but don't always want to because our kitchen is where we always end up and it has flow problems when multiple people try to be in it. Strictly informal gatherings.
We would like the kitchen to be a hangout for both our family and for parties (it is now, just a frustrating one).
We have full dining tables in both our formal dining room and in the kitchen area. We rarely use the formal dining table (why bother?), but also have no real reason not to use it.
There is a partial wall in the kitchen that is already coming down to open the kitchen to the family room (working with structural engineer and contractor on just that part of the project for now). We have a separate formal living room that is not open to the kitchen/family room areas (and doesn't get any use because it is off by itself away from the action). At the point of the wall opening the ceiling transitions from 9ft to 18ft.
Under the kitchen is a crawlspace.
I don't have any ideas for how to combine the breakfast nook and kitchen that aren't disruptive to traffic flow or awkward. The breakfast area has a door off it (to the patio where our frequently used grill/smoker is) and bumped out windows that go very low (bottom of window is less than 2ft off the ground and goes up to the ceiling. I don't think it would make sense to change them). If someone has ideas, I'd love to see them.
Preferences: if the long wall (16'6") with the cooktop/range is to be full of cabinets/countertop, my husband prefers the cooktop/range to be centered on the wall.
We're already planning on moving quite a bit of plumbing, electrical, walls, repairing flooring (adding/refinishing), adding electric for induction/capping off the gas line, possibly adding a second sink. Removing the framed in pantry we currently have on the corner near the laundry/garage.

Baking center? Yes, to an extent. I would prefer baking essentials to be stored to the left (island-side) of the cooktop/range. This also puts them close to the island, where the kids will be in order to help with these activities.
Beverage center? For espresso/coffee and preparing mixed drinks. Possibly near a smaller prep sink (not main sink). No separate refrigeration required, we have a beer fridge in the garage already.

I keep typing cooktop/range because we are going back and forth on it. We are not keeping what we have. My husband would prefer a 36" range, but that is for form not function. I would rather focus on function. We love our 12" all-clad pan and I refuse to give up my half-sheet pans (which not all ranges will fit, I have found). So cooktop and separate wall oven (placed under a countertop is still in the running).
* 24" advantium (or similar) microwave/convection oven placed under the counter on the corner of the island
* counter-depth side-by-side fridge.

• Built in.

• planning for 2 pullouts under the left side of the sink (eying those Rachiele workstation sinks...)

Mudroom is cramped into the laundry room, which leads into the garage.

Must have:
seating for at least 4 at the island.
storage on the back of the island (size flexible).
induction (yes, we know we will need 50A service).
Drawers, so many drawers.
Charging zone for kids kindles (or "away place" to put them - in the kitchen area because we're realistic and know that's where they're ending up, anyway). Preferably hidden within an end cap on a cabinet (could spare 6" for charging in a base cabinet).
Oil/vinegar/spices near the stove.
Vertical storage for pots/pans/lids in a lower cabinet (have it now, love it, won't give it up).
Vertical storage for baking sheets. (have it now, love it, won't give it up)

Would like to have:
small second sink (to right of cooktop) in the bar/espresso area. Could also be a second prep area in addition to on the island by main sink.

Definitely do not want:
bar-height anything
downdraft ventilation
narrow walkways

Current plan will have 15" upper cabinets, and 26.75 lower countertop (this takes it to the trim of the opening into formal dining area). Island has 24 depth on front and 24depth under the overhang, but the overhang side is flexible.

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