Friday, May 2, 2014

Kitchen Design

I was fairly content with my kitchen in Atlanta, but it was terrible whenever we had company over. Since we remodeled, I am ok with the tiny kitchen we have now.  My biggest complaint about both of them, is that they really only work for 1, maybe 2 people at a time. Sometimes, there are 5 of us trying to get in the "work triangle."  It doesn't work well.

I want my kids to be in the kitchen.  I want them to be part of the our food prep, because there seems to be a lot of it when you make all three meals at home.  So, when we started designing the new house, the kitchen was the room I wanted to start with.  I wanted windows, work zones with room for everyone to be doing something productive or at least watching and being part of the conversation.  I wanted a kitchen we would want to hang out in.  What I don't want is dirty dishes taking over the kitchen or the stove in the way of traffic.

My demands were big and my kitchen turned out nice and large because of it.  I didn't want long runs of cabinetry where functions flowed into each other, and I as I was perusing the internet for inspiration, I discover the unfitted kitchen.  It was love at first sight.  I generally have a thing for the old-fashioned.  I love houses from the 1920s and 1930s.  It may be memories of my great grandmother's homes or maybe the style just appeals to me. Anyway, it is certainly not typical here, but when you are building a custom home, people seem to let you do whatever you want.

So, what is an unfitted kitchen?  Well, it is basically furniture instead of runs of matching cabinetry. Ideally, I would be out combing the antique markets to find the perfect piece for the right spot in my new old kitchen.  Unfortunately, Alaska is not known for its amazing antiques.  First, there is not a whole lot old here.  If it is old, it is 4 times as expensive as what you would find somewhere in the Lower 48.
Victorian, Inward Oriented, Unfitted Kitchen

So, I used sketch-up to come up with my ideal layout and cabinetry style.  Most pieces will be made by a local custom cabinetry guy and Dan is planning to make a few.

It is a little spread a part, but we can all be in there, without really disrupting each other.  The kids can get ice water and snacks from the refrigerator.  The microwave and coffee/tea fixings will also be over there.  Meanwhile another kid can be setting the table, or helping in the kitchen at the island.  Someone else could be doing the dishes or working over near the stove.

This is the view from the dining room.  The two cabinets facing the dining room will serve as my china cabinets.  I never unpacked my fancier dishes after our move from Atlanta.  There is nowhere to put them in our current house.

This is the view of the East and South walls.  The sink console is centered under the 3 windows in the center.  Trash and recycling will be to the left of the sink and a cleaning pullout and the dishwasher will be to the right.  The wood piece will hold our daily dishes and flatware.

The island will have seating for 2 on the end and 3 on the back side. The cabinet right of the stove will hold my mixer and various baking items, ingredients, and trays. To the left, will be pots and pans, cooking utensils and hot pads. It will likely be drawers, but I was playing around with idea of leaving it open when I snapped this photo.  The cabinet above will be made with a stained glass window that hung in our Atlanta house and will hold our spices and cooking liquids, with lighting behind the stained glass and under the cabinet.

This is the North wall. The refrigerator will be a standard 36" counter-depth fridge and we plan to have a full-size freezer out in the garage and a backup mini fridge. We went back and forth about what refrigerator to get, but after 8 weeks of not having a working refrigerator this winter, we decided we didn't want to spend a lot money on a fancy one that no one here can fix, in a reasonable amount of time.  So, we're keeping it simple and easily replaceable. The refrigerator is balanced out by built-in cabinetry. The piece to the left will have a small sink, glassware, microwave, maybe an electric kettle, and coffee/tea fixings:

I have been playing around with colors, but keep going back to mostly white.  I really want the house to be light and sunny with colorful accents.  I am still working out the paint, tile and countertop details.  I am leaning toward a pretty white subway tile with butcher block and some sort of white quartz countertops.

We are working with a local woodworker who will be building most of the pieces, but Dan is planning to do the three pieces on the stove wall. I was so nervous to hand over my ideas to the cabinet builder. It is an unusual idea and I am particular.  Thankfully, he is very interested in getting started and may be out buying supplies this week.  So, I hope it all works out.

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