Kitchen help

Louisville, IL(Zone 6a)

Some of you may know my husband and I bought a house and are remodeling it. I get to design the way I want my kitchen which is in a large L-shape. So far I have came up with many ideas but I wanted to ask advice from everyone who loves their kitchen-as gardeners I know we all LOVE our kitchens!
Is there anything you would like to have in your kitchens to make things easier?
Do you think ceramic tile, linoleum(sp?), linoleum tiles, hard wood floor?
Table in kitchen or just a breakfast nook?
Put skylights in or leave out? There are only 3 small windows in kitchen.
Should I put my stove by the door or not?

Well, I think you get the idea. There are many more questions but I am sure they will be addressed without me making my post a mile long!
Thanks to everyone in advance.
Z

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

Zabrina,

With the hopes of someday building my "dream home", I've put a lot of thought into a kitchen!

I wouldn't put the stove next to the door, but without seeing your layout, it would be hard to tell you if that is the right spot for you. I have to have _tons_ of cabinets. I also prefer to have space about the cabinets to decorate. If you would rather have the extra space, then make yours go all the way to the ceiling. It is also less to clean that way!!

I also have to have an island. A sink in the island is preffered, but not a nessessity. I also love pot racks. If it were me, I would either design the skylight to allow for a potrack, or dismiss the skylight all together. But if a pot rack is not important to you, go with skylights for more light. I like a breakfast nook. It doesn't even have to be a seperate room, maybe just a small area tucked in the corner of the kitchen (in a baywindow area!!) After having 3 differnt types of flooring in kitchens, I prefer ceramic tiles. Yes, things break very easily on them, but they are sooo much easier to clean!! Linoleum wears out in my house (pets, kids, and husband :) ). Just after a couple of years in one house, it had little tear places in it. Plus, it stains really bad. If you do go this route, do not get a pattern that has any white at all in it!! I thought I would like hardwoods, but after seeing how oatmeal and other food stick like concrete to hardwoods (thanks to DD for this experiment), I won't ever have them in the kitchen.

I'm not sure if you have kiddos or not, but my decorating, and remodeling revolves around mine. Since we work and live out of our home, it has to take some major abuse, and it has to be extremely functional.

Hope I helped a little bit! At least you can learn from me what _doesn't_ work (in my house, at least) !

Trish

(Zone 8a)

Z,
E-mail me and I will send you some
ideas. If you will send me a pic of
what your kitchen will look like before
it is furnished, just the t-totally
empty hull. I will draw you some interest-
ing designs for SASE. K gurlfriend?
JEWEL
([email protected])

Troy, VA(Zone 7a)

My builder has laid wood floors throughout the lower floor of the house except for the kitchen and breakfast room which cover an area 18 x 16. Since I like to wash the kitchen floors every day because I have three cats I opted for very good vinyl in this area. I could have had stone floors which look wonderful but are a bit hard on the old pins (legs and feet). I have a built-in pantry next to the fridge alcove which is a must for me. I also had to have the sink under the window to enable me to look out into the garden. Plenty counterspace and glass fronted cabinets. I prefer the cabinets with space above for siting plants etc.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

After building/remodeling three kitchens, here's what I've learned:

1. Go with the best cabinets and appliances you can afford - even a small upgrade from the builder's standard can make a big difference in quality. These are the very backbone of your kitchen. Maple is a nice choice for cabinets because it has tight graining. We had maple cabinets finished with a very dark, rich cherry stain with a high-gloss finish in our last kitchen. They were gorgeous. Unfortunately, they also showed every nick and fingerprint. This time I went with pecan cabinets with a "natural spice" stain - much easier to maintain, and the color is really nice and warm. Do have some glass-fronted cabinets included - they are so nice to display glasses or china pieces. If possible, have a built-in trash can cabinet next to the sink - very handy.

I too, prefer having space above to display items. It makes the kitchen seem more open and airy.

Put a 24" deep cabinet above your refrigerator if possible - it's the best out-of-the way space for all your bulky items you can ever imagine. Well worth the extra expense.

2. If you want granite countertops, but can't handle the expense of solid ones, consider using 12"x12" granite tiles. They run about $4-$10 per square foot, depending on the type of granite you choose - Home Depot has a good selection. We did this in our last home, and they turned out great. And they are very easy to care for, and extremely durable. Just place them as close together as possible, and choose a grout color that closely matches them to create a "monolithic" look.

3. I've had both linoleum and ceramic tile, and went with ceramic tile again. It is harder on the legs, and things do break when dropped. But it is virtually indesctructible, and with three kids (and their friends) two dogs and a cat, I prefer something that I can scrub the daylights out of. One tip - be sure to seal the grout as soon as possible, before you start really living on it. I chose a fairly light grout color in our last home, and ended up spending an entire Saturday bleaching and scrubbing the grout lines, because they got pretty dirty in a hurry. I sealed them and had no trouble with them after that.

4. Build in your microwave, but don't put it in the middle of pantry cabinets, as some builders will suggest. It gobbles up some of the most-used pantry space you have. (I've had pantries with and without, and got a lot more useable space out of the ones that didn't have a microwave in the middle of them.) Put your microwave somewhere where there's a countertop beneath if possible. Or consider a microwave/range hood combo. You won't get the most powerful range hood out of the deal, but it is fairly convenient. (We did this when we remodeled, and I wasn't at all sure I would like it, but small kitchen meant I had few options. It works great!)

5. A really nice feature if you're installing a central vacuum is to have a sweeper outlet installed in the toekick of your kitchen cabinets - you just sweep all the crumbs next to it, open it up and they're sucked out. Our last home had a central vacuum and I miss it terribly, especially this feature - it was so handy when cleaning up the kitchen.

Oh, what fun to design your kitchen! Let us know how it turns out, please?

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

Flooring of ceramic tile can be beautiful but grout lines need to be resealed every year or two to keep it nice. The lighter the grout the mor often you need to seal it. Using larger tile will make a space look larger and place in an angled pattern can also add depth to a space.

As for the skylight it depends upon your climate. The sun coming in can be awful if it is facing the hot afternoon sun. However, they make insulated skylight shades that work great. They come in so many colors that you can usually match the color of your cieling so that the window sort of disapears when it is closed. Or you can get a covering that has two different fabrics. open it one way you have a sheer covering to difuse but not eliminate light. close it the other way it blocks all light. And you always have the option of having it wide open too! There are lots of companies out there making these now but the two best are Graber and Hunter Douglas if you decide this is for you.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

When we bought this house, we completely remodeled the downstairs. There were 7 doors into the diningroom, you got to the basement stairs by going through the kitchen and pantry. The rooms were not small, but it was very chopped up. We knocked out 4 walls, opened the kitchen, diningrom and livingroom into one large, but separate space. There was one cupboard over a metal sink unit on a back inside wall in the kitchen. We tore out the pantry, which was awkward and unusable, put the door to the basement in the backroom. The cupbards run along the long inside wall, the paking cupboard is at the end and there is a penninsula with the sink that makes a walkway to the diningroom. I'll try to find the pictures - it's a rather radical makeover.

About ceramic tile and grout lines - DON'T SEAL THEM AT ALL. They can be left natural and you never have to worry about it. I love my ceramic tile - and we got the no sealer hint from the flooring dealer.

My cupboards go to the ceiling - nothing to dust and lots more cupboard space. I have a baking counter that is lower than standard cupboards and I would do with out the microwave before I'd do with out that. There is an antique cupboard over the baking counter that my mother gave us.

We have a three window window seat in the kitchen. It was built into the house as a plant window, but I "planted" myself there.

I don't think there is anything more satisfying than making a house your own

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