Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creating a Kitchen

As I was puttering in the kitchen last night, putting together a rather large lasagna, and using every surface and pan I could manage to dirty, I got thinking about the way we built our kitchen and how it works for us.  We don't have any fancy add-ons in our kitchen, like an under cabinet built-in espresso machine, but I love our kitchen and how it functions for our family.
The placement of the stove/oven, sink and fridge were key to our new kitchen. For maximum efficiency in any kitchen, they should ideally be placed in a triangle formation so you can easily move between the three areas. Furthermore, consider whether you want to mount your microwave over the stove top or use a counter top model. For us, a mounted large microwave means more counter space for clutter food prep.

Speaking of food prep, we wanted a large island, not only for extra seating, and prep space, but also for the extra storage underneath.  It's usually advisable for a kitchen island to be no larger than 48" across.  It's just easier to clean it that way.  However, we wanted a lot of storage, and chose to go with 56".  Yes, it's a little harder to wipe down in the middle, but I find with the mottled counter top color we chose, you barely notice the dust.  Only joking!  (Not really though.)

It was important for us to have enough counter top space for every day appliances like the coffeemaker and toaster. For the appliances we use less frequently, such the mixer, sandwich maker, and blender we added a large corner cabinet to store them for easy access. In addition, we added a Lazy Susan cabinet beneath the corner cabinet unit for Tupperware, glass bowls, etc.

We had a pullout double trash installed. Super handy, and no free-standing trash bins in the cupboard or tucked in a corner.  We use one bin for trash and the other for bottles and cans.  Or, that's in theory anyway.  Our kids seem to think the coffee table is a suitable receptacle for soda cans...

A cabinet in the island with tray dividers, is the one option that makes me most happy. Most people get happy about babies and Christmas, but I guess I like the little things.  Rather than having to crouch down to a cabinet and pull a cookie sheet out from under 12 muffin tins, 2 cutting boards, and a slew of pan lids, the divider keeps all of these things neat and tidy.

A couple of DEEP drawers are perfect for odd shaped tupperware, large boxes of trash bags, and miscellaneous items.  If I ever get super organized I may even make one into this snack station (picture from VTMommies):

Snack Station

Our large pantry also makes me giddy - not as happy as the tray divider cabinet, but pretty close.  It's a work in progress and needs some standing dividers to layer all of our dry and canned goods, dog food etc.  But it's nice having all of those dry goods in one place.  The upper shelves are particularly useful for storing the small appliances that don't get a lot of use, like our crock pots, rotisserie, lobster pots, etc.  It's also handy for hiding things from the kids storing special treats.

[caption id="attachment_569" align="aligncenter" width="284"] Special Treats "stored" on top shelf[/caption]

Last but not least, good lighting adds character and function to a kitchen.  I like the kitchen bright when I'm cooking or trying to read.  But I love the option of turning down the lights when I want some ambiance, or have company over. We have pendant lighting above our island, which makes a big difference when you just want to relax and read the news (or the Dear Abby section, if I'm being totally honest).  Canned lights make it very bright over all of the counter tops for cooking and cleaning.  But one place I'm glad we didn't neglect, is task lighting underneath kitchen cabinets.  It adds light to your work surface, OR if you use those lights alone, it gives off a nice warm glow under the cabinets.

So that's it for me.  I've gotta go check my pantry hasn't been raided since writing this.  I could use a special treat right about now.

What do you love or hate about your kitchen?  What would you want in your dream kitchen?

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