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davidahn

Constructive Kitchen Ideas, Please!

D Ahn
3 months ago

I recall getting so much help here with my last kitchen (back when it was still GW), I'm back 12 years later! We bought a huge house and built a huge kitchen in the 'burbs, which we love. But the upkeep of a huge house was no joke, and the commute just became brutal. So we downsized to a downtown highrise, but my wife still loves to cook! After much tinkering on my own, I decided to open it up for "public comment" before setting it in stone.


The condo we bought has a good-size for most – but too small for my avid chef wife – U-shaped kitchen with a 9'9" peninsula. Mostly we need more function and more storage. A lot of storage will be gained by adding a 12' long buffet in the dining room w/ drawers and uppers to the 11' ceiling, but we still want to maximize the kitchen. I'm posting the existing layout and the new draft layout for your ideas!


EXISTING KITCHEN PLAN


DRAFT PLANS



What I'm proposing:

1. Open up peninsula, create island, extend island by 16" into 64" aisle and add island storage on back side;

2. Ref + wall oven cab made kitchen feel closed off, so move refrigerator, switch to 48" gas/induction range (wife's must-have);

3. Extend cabinets on side wall by adding beverage/reheating center;

4. Add counter in pantry to hide countertop appliances and built-in shelving w/ movable dividers;

5. Workstation sink w/ 2 faucets + second sink (we often have my wife, her aunt, and me in the kitchen and a line forms for the sink);

6. 3 separate appliance garages by function: beverage items (coffee, icemaker); wet items next to prep sink (blender, juicer); miscellaneous in pantry (rice pot, Instant Pot, etc.)

7. Built-in speed oven and steam oven under counter in 48" beverage center (also reheating center)

8. Switching to more induction, less gas: learned that "clean-burning" isn't so clean (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and hexane, + more)!


Question:

Has anyone tried using tempered glass mirrors as backsplash? All our views are past the living room but my wife spends a lot of time facing the wall working at the range.


I appreciate you in advance for your insights!

Comments (34)

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thought I'd post some elevations to help you visualize my current plans:








    Thanks again for your help!

  • Design Fan
    3 months ago

    The aisle depths seem narrow. What is the measurement in inches from counter to counter/handle between the:

    - island counter and range handle,

    - island counter to refrigerator handle,

    - island chair backs to sofa table?

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    I hate to open a can of worms, but with the much larger beverage center backing the pantry, I think it's feasible to have bar sink there, or at least a wall spigot and tray drain. Is plumbing for a drain in that spot an issue? Is it the expense, or is it the idea of having three sinks in a kitchen, when one is the standard for most of the country? (One is the standard for most of the people I know.) Do you have frequent guests, or more than one cook/helper in the family? If yes to either, then having a clean-up sink and a prep sink makes sense, and will give you a more functional kitchen. So, here's something to consider--leave the window where I moved it, which provides space for dish storage to the right of the clean-up sink and DW. Leave the prep sink on the far end of the island, so that the cook can scoop prepped items off the end closer to the range. Leave the trash pull-out on that end, since it's convenient to all the zones. Move the fridge closer to the corner, with a side pantry, 15-18" deep, to help make up for pantry space lost to the beverage center, and to get the fridge a little closer to the prep area. The side cabinet could instead store brooms and cleaning supplies. Include a bar sink and UC fridge in the beverage center. If a bar sink in that location is out of the question, you could put in a water cooler. ;) Counter top hot/cold dispenser on Amazon/3 or 5 gallon/$99.99.
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    ondanonima, damiarain and rebunky, WOW! I am so glad I submitted this to Houzz - I am totally impressed with your ideas. Thank you so much! ondanonima, we are still in the design phase so we can still choose most of the window/glass locations. We want that east wall to be mostly glass. We will probably have one or two French sliding doors covering the entire space (kitchen – living room) with floor to ceiling glass as an option. There's even an option to install a corner window in the NE corner and have the sink as close to that corner as possible. There's not much to look at out a window toward the west end of the north side wall - just the least attractive side of the neighbor's house. I never would have thought of leaving the west wall completely blank. I have to mull this over for a while. We like the idea of lots of floor to ceiling glass on the east wall and it might be hard to give that up. rebunky's idea is appealing in that it frees up the east wall for floor-ceiling glass but I'd need to have the sink more toward the east end of that wall which spoils the pantry in the NE corner! Also I don't know if we'd ever want to sit with our backs to the view :( Your ideas have made me excited that there can be a really good arrangement for this space!
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  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    3 months ago

    "So we downsized to a downtown highrise, but my wife still loves to cook! After much tinkering on my own, I decided to open it up for "public comment" before setting it in stone."

    And you have shown any of this to the board?

    Rare is the high rise, where plumbing and electrical is a clean slate to do ......whatever : )

  • chicagoans
    3 months ago

    +1 what Jan said about checking with the condo board.

    Your entry area seems tight - between the coat rack and nearness to island I'm afraid it might feel crowded.


    Also be sure to check the specs for your fridge; I overlaid an image from a 42" Subzero spec manual so you can get an idea for the door spacing to the island. Looks like it will be tight.


  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Design Fan, @chicagoans, I was intent on maximizing storage, but you’re both right, 36” is not enough space for traffic and the use of the appliances on the left wall. And the 42” aisle between the range wall and the island is made smaller by the range that protrudes a few inches into the aisle. And I should probably delete the island back side storage to assure adequate clearance to the sofa table. Thanks for the reality check! We do have plenty of storage in the dining room buffet wall, and it’s just a few steps away.

    @JAN MOYER, thank you for asking. No, I have not gotten that far, I hope the condo board are OK with adding a sink. If not, a larger sink in the current sink location with two faucet will relieve some of the sink congestion.

  • PRO
    DeWayne
    3 months ago

    You cannot bring your big suburban kitchen with you to the smaller condo. Nor should you attempt to. You're creating something out of scale, that is cramped and uncomfortable to work in. Take a deep breathe, and realize that you have size limitations, and start over. Without all the excess.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    3 months ago

    Looking at the current kitchen an L with an island seems an obvious improvement. I would skip the under island storage to improve the clearances. I viscerally dislike the big sink crammed right up against the fridge- I like the idea of a second sink, but why a full size? I also don't understand the bathtub sized main sink requiring two faucets or the giant stove in a smaller kitchen but you guys are adults who know how you function in a kitchen/ home and have thought that part through. It just seems reducing them to 'normal' sized would gain you much more counter space. A stove that large requires a giant hood too (obviously)


    I have mirror backsplash on one side of my kitchen. I would not use behind the stove of course.

    Lafayette · More Info


  • Kendrah
    3 months ago

    Two years ago we moved from a house to a high rise coop building - pre-war. Since you said condo, I presume your building is a newer one and might not have the same challenges I had. In addition to not being able to add extra plumbing to the kitchen, our electric load is limited too. (No induction and probably would not be able to have all the extra warming drawers and fridges you are adding.) Again, not likely a problem for you, but reason to run this past the board sooner rather than later.


    Also good to know about kitchen renovation in a high rise:

    - Elevator measurements - what size counters can fit.

    - Everything takes longer and costs more - approvals, limited hours work can be done, scheduling elevator use, running to truck and back, parking, permits, approvals. All costs more.



    My wife (and her aunt who lives with us) cooks Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian, some American, each with its own set of spices, seasonings and ingredients.


    Wish I were in your family and ate at your home 3 times a week!



  • PRO
    DeWayne
    3 months ago

    What about the ventilation and makeup air that is needed for such a large range? You CAN externally vent, right?

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    3 months ago

    Final thought- have you lived with the 9" pullouts next to the range before? I have, won't let my clients get them. Most waste more space than they create.

  • acm
    3 months ago

    Omg yes, we have one set of 9" cabinets and a drawer, and the cabinet is good only for trays, the drawer only for a row of boxes of rubber bands, clips, etc. A pullout would give you a tiny bit more width, but not enough for anything useful!



    If you skip the large sink next to the fridge (or make it WAY smaller), you can get better cabinetry on that wall and into the corner. Lazy susan full of pots and pans? etc.

  • latifolia
    3 months ago

    Put a wall behind the sink, eliminate the seating and add upper cabinets.

  • Kendrah
    3 months ago

    I ca’t stand skinny pullouts on either side of a range. Why not eliminate and have the drawers stretch to the edge of the range? My Thai SIL does use tons of cooking sauces and needs them by the range but keeps them in an upper.


    Your entire kitchen seems like it involves a lot of stooping and bending down. It is on my mind a lot as my parents age and I have a bad back. Might not matter to you.



    Storage under the island seems challenging to access. As an apartment dweller, I get making use of every inch of space so perhaps it is worthwwile for rarely used items. I love that you are taking your cabinets all the way up to the ceiling.


    I have seen lots of NYC kitchens with mirrored backsplashes behind sinks and I think ranges too. Pretty common, I love the look, they help bounce light around the space and make the room feel bigger.

    D Ahn thanked Kendrah
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    You will go out a lot more in the city than you did in the suburbs. : )

    The best chef in any city doesn't need that much kitchen........

    No matter how current the build ? High rises consolidate and stack. Circuit boxes, plumbing everything! Get with the board. The hours alone involved in reno, disturbing others/time restrictions, staging materials/ hallways , freight elevators and more. Add 40% to whatever you are thinking this will cost, if approved by the board

  • palimpsest
    3 months ago

    No matter how this is detailed, paneled DW etc., this is going to feel rather unpleasant with this corner shouldering in. Plus it being the DW and the trash/recycling right in the entryway.




  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @HALLETT & Co., The prep sink is a small "workstation" sink which offers the flexibility of using it as a big sink or as prep counter space. In theory, counter space can never be used as a sink, but a workstation sink can be used as counter space with cutting boards/slab piece.


    48" range but just 4 gas burners, and hoping my wife will use the 4 induction burners more as she gets accustomed to them. (Am I being too optimistic? That's a problem I've always had.) I did delete the island storage; it was hard to access in our last kitchen anyway.


    Thanks for the feedback on the mirrored backsplash. I really love it and would think it would be more popular?


    @HALLETT & Co., @acm & @Kendrah, For the 9" pullouts, at a recent AirBnB my wife really fell in love with the cooking utensils having a place within reach but out of sight, but theirs were much wider. Not really useful at this width? Maybe should just do deeper drawers for all those cooking utensils.


    @Kendrah, our building was built in 2005. Fingers crossed, just trying to finalize our plans before the condo board shoots them down! We already have 240V electric ovens and a 240V dryer we're replacing with a heat pump dryer (120V 15A), but I suppose they assume simultaneous use, and we have 4 ovens (2 in the range + steam + speed oven), it would be .


    As for bending and stooping, anything but counter-height ovens requires either bending/stooping or reaching up to the upper cabs, and reaching up is problematic since wife is 5'3", auntie is 4'10" on a good day. I'd love to put all appliances at working height (36-54" from floor), but with an open plan, wall space is limited and that would leave us with no work surfaces and no coffee center. Shrinking the island booted the beverage fridge which now has to go somewhere. My wife really wanted a built-in MWO rather than a countertop unit, and I really wanted a steam oven to replace the steamer she uses constantly. Still trying to figure out a place for everything. :(


    @DeWayne, our range hood is vented to the outside, don't know what if any limit on CFM there is. I've spec'ed a 1500 CFM Best WPB9 range hood. We'll see what the condo board has to say.


    @palimpsest I did pare that island intrusion back a bit by increasing aisle widths and slashing the island size down.


  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    You want what you want. Maybe it's NYC.....maybe it's San Fran, or Chicago. By the time You're done ? It's a 300k plus kitchen with all the insurances to park supplies at the sidewalk until loaded in a freight elevator, a bunch of annoyed neighbors, and until its approved? It's fantasy land.

    Date of build? 2005 might as well be the last century. Get with the board. I will bet right now that second sink will bite the dust in onenano second.

    If I may..... you don't do this level of kitchen and stuff a coat rack in the corner. : (?

  • palimpsest
    3 months ago

    This is just a rough cut and paste

    1) I think it would be preferable in a nice apartment to have a feeling of walking Past the kitchen rather than Into the kitchen at the front door. Especially if this is a kitchen in heavy use, it may not be the first thing you want everyone to see.

    2) The Subzero in its original location is not "closing in" anything. It's behind the front door. This is not an area you need to have open views to.

    3) This attempts to rotate the sink location around the plumbing as you have shown it. Is this possible? No idea.

    4) The clearance between the Sub Zero is the same width as the powder room door. Is this tight? Yes. Are people going to be prevented from walking into the kitchen by that path when the door is open? Yes. But unless someone wants to go straight from the powder room into the kitchen or vice versa, big deal. There is a wide open way to get into the kitchen at the end. This is an apartment, not a suburban house. This is the situation Subzeros are good for. I have done this a number of times in tight kitchens where the door barely clears the opposite counter. And it blocks one entry to the kitchen when it is open. But there is another way in and out. But again, this is an apartment with limited space, not a big house where you simply make things bigger and bigger to get what you want.

    5) I see a Dryer vent clean out area. Does that mean there is a clothes washer behind there? Is that your theoretical water source and drain for the other sink?

    6) I don't think you have a lot of prep space in your current design.

    7) Not that I recommend it, but in NY apartments you have to sometimes do unconventional things. I have seen second wall ovens behind cabinetry in the front hall, for example. My integrated refrigerator in one apartment was outside the kitchen proper in my living room. You make do.

    8) With high ceilings in multi unit buildings, I have seen people build kitchens and baths up one step from the main floor level so they can move plumbing within the confines of their own unit. I don't recommend this in particular, but it can be done in a way that is functional and not dangerous. I don't recommend it but I've seen it.

    9) I am not really going to get into what budget makes sense, particularly in a place like NYC. I was there this weekend, and out of curiosity looked at the rent in a new building I went by all weekend and a Studio was $9000 a month. I don't live in Manhattan, but the newest condo building in my neighborhood, which I can see out my kitchen window, has apartments that cost $25M and start at over $1M for basic entry level units, far outstripping the costs of older housing stock in the neighborhood. Who knows what budget makes sense for anyone these days?


    D Ahn thanked palimpsest
  • blfenton
    3 months ago

    What is coats/network that needs 4'x11'?

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @blfenton I imagine where I have the pantry was intended to be the coat closet, but the previous owners used it as a pantry, and we also need a pantry, so I'm moving the coat closet function around the corner. Re: network, we currently have limited pantry space but the network hardware is taking up a large top shelf space, so moving it around the corner will free up precious pantry space.

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @JAN MOYER, "you don't do this level of kitchen and stuff a coat rack in the corner"… Saucy! LOL Unfortunately as I mentioned to @blfenton the builder's coat closet is now the pantry. It's San Diego, and if the condo board denies the second sink, we'll be happy with more prep space and drawers. As I say it, maybe I should go this way anyway!

  • PRO
    Tischler Wood
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I really like the smaller island and bringing the double trash pullout next to the sink. In regards to the comments regarding the small pullouts alongside the range I do this quite often with spice pullout on one side and a utensil pullout (with stainless bins) on the other. There is an area that has not been addressed is the 10" deep appliance ....this is too shallow for storing anything. Please think about making this deeper. In addition, I found that clients that have a steam oven rarely use a microwave.

    The extra sink can still be a workstation sink but think of a 24" instead of a full size.

  • blfenton
    3 months ago

    Coat closets only need 2' depth and I imagine that all your network things only need that as well especially over 11'.

    Make it narrower and either add the space to the pantry or just free up the space for walking. Or split it between the two.

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @palimpsest Thanks for all your input!

    1. Walking into vs past a messy kitchen I'm hoping the business end of the kitchen is far enough away to not be seen immediately, so trying to maximize appliance garages to at least have places to put away countertop clutter. I've reduced the island intruding into the entry, but maybe going from 18" to 15" wide recycling center would further reduce intrusion but make the sink a few inches closer to the entry.

    I should probably go smaller on the sink with the now narrower island.

    2. Subzero closed-in The 42" fridge is next to a 30" wide oven cabinet, so 6' of 24-26" deep full height 6" to the right of the cooktop, and the wall is 2 feet to the left… it certainly feels closed to me when at the stove! The new layout has wall cabinets on either side and pulled away from that wall. The entry door location is NOT ideal; 4 add'l feet of cabinet run would have given me so many options!

    3. Rotated island I was puzzled by your rotate the sink comment, as I was not trying to rotate the sink… until I saw your attached drawing. :) Interesting idea! To me it seems the rotated island requires that the WHOLE island be immaculate to not distract guests walking in? At least in its current orientation, we can try to keep the entry end of the island clean and keep the work on the other end.

    4. Thank you for the perspective on clearances in an apartment!!! Every inch you gain in one place you lose in another. In our suburban kitchen I found the 4+' aisles were good for traffic flow but a bit far for the effective transfer of wet, dripping ingredients from the sink to the stove or even across to the island. We have so many water stains on our marble floors! I may have to revisit the true necessity of 4' aisles.

    5. Laundry plumbing Yes, the laundry is behind that wall, but the source of water/drainage would be the bathroom sink on the other side of the wall. If they let us. :)

    6. Prep space I had added up the sq ft of prep space before and it was more than adequate, especially if you count the cutting boards used in the workstation sinks. Now with the shrunken island to increase aisle widths, we do have a lot less. We can reduce sink sizes, but we may not gain additional prep space, as the cutting board will go from in the sink to the counter next to it. But I do think the second sink might better be used for prep counter and drawers.

    7. Unconventional I have been forced to look at moving the beverage center into the dining room buffet area, or the speed and steam ovens. I'll have to play around with the layout a whole lot more! I at one point floated the idea of a countertop steam oven and my DW shut that down; she wants it built in if we have one at all!

    8. Raised kitchen That's a very outside the box solution I hope we don't have to use. LOL

    9. Budget insanity You complain about costs, yet you're suggesting I rotate my island… do you know how much that will cost?!? LOL

    We moved in 5 months ago and we love this condo (city lights views for days, a 160 and a 470 SF balcony, 10 minute commute vs 60+, brand new playground across the street, children's museum in our building at street level). There's a good chance we will be here for possibly 10-20 years, so it makes sense to me to splurge on getting the kitchen my wife wants/needs and the storage that I need (can't put everything in its place if everything doesn't have a place) and let our enjoyment of living here be the payoff rather than somehow trying to recoup it when we sell it.

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @blfenton It's 4' wide x 11' tall, only 2' deep. If we had a 11' wide x 4' deep space, we'd have the most amazing walk-in pantry ever!

  • palimpsest
    3 months ago

    I am not complaining about costs. Someone above said that this could cost $300K. I don't know what it could cost in San Diego, just commenting that even if it does, it may seem reasonable or worth it to you in your situation. My examples were just of some high priced buildings I am aware of that seem to be selling. In the $25M penthouses building, those sold. It's the "cheaper" units that arent moving.

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @palimpsest Ah, I misread you. I certainly hope we can squeak through for under $300K!

  • chicagoans
    3 months ago

    It sounds like you're in an amazing location! Since you have a huge balcony and you're in San Diego, can any of your cooking functions move to an outdoor kitchen? My grill is often used as my extra oven for turkeys and roasts, even when I have to sweep snow off the top (and you won't have that problem!)

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @chicagoans Sadly, the large balcony is off the master, and the one off the living room is big, but 7.5 x 21 so mainly for sitting. Plus HOA doesn't allow propane canisters >1 lb, so it would be limited to maybe 120V induction hobs.

  • D Ahn
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Tischler Wood, thank you! Yes, the traffic flow is definitely better with the smaller island! Re: the trash pullout next to the sink, it was for guest use to keep traffic out of the work areas. There were smaller trash/recycling under the sink also. Now I guess I can put something else under the sink! Definitely considering smaller workstation sinks, and even possibly removing the second sink.

    Also, the 10" garage was an attempt at preserving some prep space in front and reserving it for shallower appliances like blenders/juicers, not for all appliances. I don't know how many such items will fit in 10", still need to take measurements. - Edit: All 3 intended appliances fit: Vitamix, Breville food processor and Nama juicer.

  • palimpsest
    3 months ago

    Re: one sink with two faucets

    I had originally planned for my much smaller kitchen (~13 x 7'8'') to have two sinks, one shallow, one deeper, connected by a recessed area with two faucets, with covers that would go over each sink in it's entirety and bring the entire sink unit covers level with the counter. (All in stainless steel counters) Then I decided not to move the sink, so I was going to have a sink big enough to have a faucet a each end, one for each bowl, with covers all in stainless counters.


    Then I got tired of the whole thing going on for almost two years without a kitchen (stove hooked up, sink on 2x4 most of the time) So now I have one sink, one faucet and no stainless counters. I just didn't want to have to deal with yet another separate place for the countertop fabrication.


    The point is, maybe if you have two sinks or two faucets at one big sink, have inserts made so each or both can be covered up with something that can be used as countertop, sometimes.


    You could also put a big enough sink in the powder room that you could use that for washing up hands or utensils or to get water, if you get the right faucet, if you Don't have the opportunity to have two sinks or two faucets in the kitchen.

    Actually after washing all the dishes in the basement for almost two years (And we were eating on the second floor, so up and down two flights of stairs with things), even one sink in the kitchen is great. So that's why I was thinking the Right sink in your powder room could serve as the second sink if you can't get it in the kitchen.


  • palimpsest
    3 months ago

    Regarding narrow aisle widths.

    I used to live in this complex, and an entire vertical column of apartments had kitchens this wide, masonry walls on each side, no possible room for expansion. This obviously is not even 36" aisle wise. I know from being in them that the oven and DW doors barely clear the opposite wall, so you are side loading. A regular refrigerator may not open all the way, you have to be careful what you buy. This is obviously a 1 to 1-1/2 person kitchen, meaning that one person would be in the way part of the time and have to leave the kitchen.

    I am not recommending this of course. But people who cook live in apartments like this. Families live in apartments like this, except for the kitchens these are fairly large apartments.

    This is just to remind everybody that not everyone lives in a house and has free reign over what sorts of decisions they can make, or can make aisles that are 42" or 48" or 60" because anything less is "too narrow" to be functional. This entire kitchen is less than 60". You have a lot more room, OP, but remember that Some aisles, openings, or clearances can be a little less than the suburban ideal, and still be functional, if where they are and what they are adjacent to is all planned carefully.



  • David Ahn
    3 months ago

    @palimpsest Thanks again for your perspective on suburban ideals vs urban realities! (And I might note, we are LOVING urban living!) Not missing the huge suburban McMansion at all.) And I'm sorry to hear about your incomplete kitchen; we've had bad luck with incomplete remodels that dragged on in both our last 2 homes and our first 2 office buildouts.

    I was thinking the same thing, to have counter material fabricated in 3 panels to cover up to the full sink, to flex between full sink to full counter space depending on need. If we go with Dekton counters, they could also serve as cutting boards without fumbling for additional boards. Also, cutting right on the sink has the advantage of keeping fluid runoff off the counters.


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