Leigh at 5 Acres And A Dream wrote today asking questions about her new kitchen design and for advice. By the time I got to to the bottom to leave a comment there were 27 already. Well, humph, she doesn't really need my advice anyway. After all she's probably older than me and everyone already gave their wonderful input. But it's funny because she's asking the same questions I was asking myself and friends 12 years ago when we were building our house. She asked GREAT questions in fact. So I decided to just write a blog post on that since it sounded fun, and a kitchen is a very important part of a country girl's life.
Oh, and the sick thing...I've been sick for FOUR DAYS! as in "in bed" kinda sick. Really nasty crud, fever, headache, and I could go on. My husband has been amazing and at the moment he's in town after cooking dinner the last 3 nights letting the kids each pick out something in the frozen section to bring home...how fun for them! 6 little kids at the store? Not sure as much fun for him. But there he is. He's also getting a baby monitor because apparently I have either locked ours up in a cute little suitcase I got at the thrift store and we can't figure out the combo now to get it open, or they are just plain lost. We need one NOW because our goat is getting ready to kid and we need to be able to hear her. Today he built a huge dog kennel in our garage for her to kid in. Oh and he also put 150 eggs into the incubator (next to the kidding pen) so we'll have a ton of chicks come Palm Sunday, and maybe some baby goats too!
While he was at church tonight I made the kids do their best work possible on the kitchen that has been neglected by "mama" for the last 4 days. Kitchens get very sad when used but abused that long. I do love my kitchen. In fact I quickly came to realize that when ever my kitchen was bugging me or I would lust after other nice kitchens in magazines that I should do one thing, DECLUTTER MINE! Guess what, it always works. Back to the kids. I gave my daughter the phone and told her to take a picture so I could "inspect" from my bed. Not too shabby. The clutter is there, but that's my fault, it's been a while since I DECLUTTERED!
|kind of a lame picture and I have no idea what that is on the floor|
I think instead of answering Leigh's questions I'll just go on explaining what I did where and why. I put a ton of thought into the kitchen, the most out of any other room when designing the house.
Most obvious, cabinets. This was not planned but I'm very grateful for. Our friend who built custom cabinets wanted to give us a bid and I laughed. He said, "No really, can I?" I said, "OK, but you're wasting your time because we can't afford you." Turns out he wanted a website and he and my husband swapped $1000 right there. Then he was able to not make them all wood. I don't think I would repeat this, though, at least not on drawers that are used 20x per day...the junk drawer, the silverware drawer, the kids plate bowl and cup drawer, and the utensil drawer have all either broken or are breaking and they are very hard to repair the melamine/particle board. But I imagine this is what would happen on most ordered cabinets also. Other than that I love them, he made them custom to what I wanted, I knew what I wanted where for the most part and that helped me figure it all. Much was based on my mother's custom cabinets she saved and saved for and that helped me too.
I don't have an appliance garage. I don't like them generally, they are impractical. You can't move them and what if you get new or not fitting appliances? You have more than one anyway so why bother. My mom has one and the only kind I would get...Her pantry is at the very end of her counter across from the oven the garage is actually in the side of her pantry. The garage opens like a > shape and pushes out of the way to the back of the counter. In there are her Kitchen Aid and her electric can opener (which I refuse to buy). I opted for a hall way closet pantry, MUCH CHEAPER!!!
At the time of building we only had 2 kids, but knew we were far from done. We're now up to 6 and still probably not done. I wanted to plan for a big enough kitchen with out having to remodel after 10 years. So far, so good.
Triangle? Yes, I have to admit, I fell for the triangle. But I think it's important. I have a feeling that people with out one are the ones who are complaining about their kitchen more and the people with one just take it for granted or don' notice. You don't ever realize what you take for granted in your home or apartment until you move into one with out one, that can mean anything including a triangle, so I didn't dare waiver from that. I ended up with a square if you count in my "baking counter" where my Kitchen Aid sits and under that I have my 3 baking drawers. Top being some spices and measuring spoons, baking cups, mortar/pestle, whisks, electric mixer beaters, toothpicks, etc. Second down being the "flour" drawer, 2 tubs of different flours, sifters, kitchen towels, aprons, various grains, any dried fruits happen to go there as well as nuts. Third down is all the baking goods: baking powder, Crisco, brown sugar, powdered sugar, pectin, Jello, cocoa powder, electric mixer, turkey baster, etc, etc. Above this counter I have the spice cupboard full of spices, salt, pepper, baking soda, spice seeds, Pyrex glass measuring set, and on top some cook books and recipe box. The spices are used so much in cooking that I really like having them right there so I can grab, turn around, dump into pot. Much of my food now needs to be fetched from the garage but that's what kids are for, or you just go gather your things before you cook.
Blue counter top? Well, no. I would not do this over. That's a good place to stay neutral, you can change anything else pretty easily but not that.
Butcher block? YES! It's not a traditional butcher block, but it is a whole island covered with wood. My builder wanted to know if I actually planned to cut on it? YES, of course! A kitchen should be used and abused. He said that my favorite place to cut would eventually wear a small divot into it (kind of as a warning) I don't think he was used to building for people who actually wanted to cut on their butcher block. All the better! I said, I loved that idea of the wood being worn down over time. When we had people over the first time our friend said, "Wow! You could butcher a whole moose up here!" and he was right, we could, but have not. We have done plenty of salmon, caribou and chickens! The mainly used area by me is that small part right next to the stove in the island. The kids can get on their stool and watch or help while I stand next to the stove. If we're doing a large project like working on salmon, my husband will clear the whole 5 feet of that side and cut there (I get to clean up). The wood needs more TLC than our Formica, meaning some oil every now and then, but doing that makes it look just beautiful!
Bar stools? YES! I waited a while to get the perfect bar stools, had 3 matching ones (where they swivel but the bars come around the child so they don't fall out) but eventually 2 broke and my mom gave us her 2 good ones, so we're at hodge-podge mode on them. Oh well. I have been surprised at how much MEN LOVE BAR STOOLS!!! All of our man friends head straight for them. They can see people in the kitchen, in the dining room, and in the living room. They are great. They are great over-flow for when we have company and the kids are put there.
Sink: I went with a white cast iron different size on either side. I still like it. The left side is extra big and deep and I still love that. I grew up with a garbage disposal so felt that it was needed, but after having chickens and a dog and see what they do to sewers I have changed my tune, we never got one. The Delta faucet was snapped off by a child last year. I really liked that it pulled out and I could easily grab and spray, etc. I left for Lowe's that night and called my hubby with the question, "should I get the one to replace ours that's only $100 or should I spend double and get the really pretty one that I really love?" As usual his answer, "get what you want!" He pretty much hates me to complain and I hate me complaining. **Tangent: Something we discovered again when building was a compromise. We had an opportunity to get CHEAP windows 'cause they ordered ours wrong. And I'm normally a penny pincher so I was having a very hard time with this. Get the plain windows or go back to the company and say, "we want what we ordered and are willing to pay full price". So he surely didn't care and he knows he has to live with me for a long time...he says, "hon, you have to choose, but what ever it is that you choose, you can't ever complain about it, ok?" I had to agree and decide. I opted to spend the money and get what I wanted and I have never regretted it. Tangent Over** Same goes for the faucet, even thought it cost double (or more, shh) It makes my kitchen sparkle and gives of that "new" feel and that "hey look at how beautiful I am" feel which is fun to have in a 12-yr-old kitchen.
Window? Yes, nice big south facing one that frames in one of our beautiful mountains perfectly! I only have a valance on the top and have often wished for a curtain for really bright sunny days or when I don't want the neighbors peering in at night, but we're far-ish away from them so it's fine.
Well, Leigh, I believe I gave my opinion on many of your questions and had fun boasting about my kitchen in the meantime. I certianlly love that room and still get complimented on it (as long as the island is not covered in papers, or moose.)
Country Jane, still sick in bed