Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pulling your weight

At midnight last night, as I found myself, in my PJ's measuring packets of cornflakes and quaker oats with a builders tape measure I came to a conclusion. I have had many emails and blog comments saying how much you are looking forward to seeing our house develop and how much fun it will be to watch the process. Which is great. Because I am having great fun too and I am all for sharing the joy. But you know, along with the fun goes the work and, well, you might all be having vicarious fun but I don't see any of you measuring the circumference of a tin of beans for me, do I? So I decided that I shall tap into my reader resource a bit more.

Tell me a good and a bad thing about your kitchen. Or more if you like. What do you love - be it an applicance, a colour, a fancy gadget for turning tomatoes into swans - whatever. What would you not be without that you use all the time? What makes you happy about your kitchen? And what don't you like? What little thing niggles and annoys you. What would you change if you could or what mistake did you make when you fitted your kitchen? Or maybe tell me what amazing thing you saw in a shop that you would love to have in your kitchen. That way I can ammass all your wisdom and apply it to maximise good design and minimise regrets.

And in return? Well I shall keep amusing you with tales like how the electrician came back today. And told us that the metal lights in the bathroom - you know, that room with all the steam and water in - no earth wire. Oh, and the shower is illegal. And you know how he was in the house to do the extra sockets in the dressing room becuase the fitted wardrobes are coming soon because all my clothes on the temporary rail fell on my head.... We do realise that if we fit them he will have to unfit them to do the electrics for the kitchen below? Hence why the kitchen gets done soon. And while he was at it he told us that to rewire all our exceedingly dodgy sockets and lighting fixtures he needs to take the flooring of the upstairs out and really we need to move out of the usptairs for three days.

Problem? Not at all. I am going to give a key to the electrician and move out to California. And when I come back I will not longer have to wonder whether naked flame candles are a more or less risky alternative to my light switches..

Oh and in case, you were wondering about the cereal packet measuring. I was almost asleep when it occurred to me that if we got said electrican to move a light switch then, instead of leaving a small gap between a wall and a run of cabinetry in the kitchen ( to allow us to get our hands down the side of the cabinets to get to the switch) as the planner had suggested, then, as long as I change the radiator at the other end of the run to one 10 mm narrower we could swap the 300mm pull out larder to a 500mm. Was it worth the effort Dennis asked. Would we get all that much more in or would we just have usless space around what we would put in the 300mm cupboard? Don't really know. Turns out the answer is about 55 packets of Quaker Oats.


Christine said...

Do not give the key to the electrician and go to California unless you really really really trust him to follow all agreed socket locations to the letter. That is how I came to have sockets right behind the hob, where no sensible person (all right, woman) would dream of putting them, but he "thought they would be useful". Electric flexes trailing over a hob? I don't think so. To re-locate them would have meant ripping out new units. Now you're making me think it might be time to revamp our kitchen too, Helen!

Rachel said...

I'm going to take you seriously about the kitchen.
1 Those dish carousels they put in corner cupboards are a snare and a delusion. They rattle, they are difficult to clean and they are surrounded by wasted space.
2 Equally, a cupboard that goes straight back into a corner with another beside it is difficult to get into. You want a hinged door that clears space either side of the corner. My cousin has one and it has turned a dismal cupboard into a usable one.
3 Try to have a "stable" or something for the electrical stuff, perhaps with the sockets stowed away inside as well.

Hope that helps!

Gerrie said...

The thing I had in the one and only kitchen I helped design that I really miss is big drawers that pull out for pots and pans I am too old and achy to bend down and find the exact pot or pan that I need.

Diana said...

So you're going to make this interactive? My favorite thing in my kitchen is pull out shelves in the lower cabinets. That way nothing gets to hide all the way in the back.

Another great thing that I didn't think about was lighting under the upper cabinets. Sigh. That would make things so much easier.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Here's a photo of my kitchen. My favourite thing is the abundance of large drawers that easily accommodate pots, pans, David's vintage pottery set and the 1001 white platters that we received as wedding presents. I also like the sleek handles.

Terry said...

Things I love in my kitchen: the boiling water tap, and my black granite sink. http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/2008/02/house-update-february-3.html
So easy to clean and just looks very cool. The worst thing was the built-in soap dispenser. Quit working after about 3 months. Everyone I know that has one hates it. They all stop working.

Anonymous said...

Pan Drawers - put them under the hob and just pull out your saucepans - no rattling in cupboards - just fantastic. Also splash on an oven with pyrolitic cleaning - just run the program and wipe out the ash! If you can fit a bowl and a half sink go for it - that little bowl is idea for rinsing. Two cutlery drawers - one for table cutlery/serving items and one for cooking items - saves rootling around. If you have corner cupboards skip the carousels and go for the metal shelves which pivot at 90 degrees - total space usage and completely accessible.


Marianne (dagmar.eu@gmail.com) said...

Right you asked for it – so you get it warts and all. I have re-designed 4 kitchens and have a huge list of what I want when I do it for the 5th time in 2 years time when we move once again. Keep in mind I have aged (shock horror!) so I have gone from a kitchen before children to a kitchen with small children to a kitchen with 2 teenage children to one with one at home and one at university. Next time will be for 2 adults with 2 adult children visiting a couple of times a year from abroad. I have not followed your blog for long enough to know where you are in your life so…..
1 Drawers (sturdy) for pots and pans
2 Pull out thingies in cupboards if you have ample space as they take up more space than shelves.
3 Go for 2 40 cm cupboards rather than 1 80 cm especially wall cupboards
4 Go for doors that are hinged on the outside as the brackets on the inside take up far too much shelf space and damage your crockery when in a hurry
5 A low table area, if space is not restricted or a table that can be adjusted in height, for mixing and blending etc (saves your back and neck from aches and pains and arthritis later in life)
6 A good adjustable chair for leaning your behind on if you do a lot of work in the kitchen (I use a chair meant for ironing)
7 Good working lights
8 Corner cupboards are terrible so avoid unless you have to have one. If you have to have one have one that goes around the corner and is big with a hinged door. It does have the advantage of being a place to hide hideous presents.
9 Have extra deep work tops if you have the space. In one kitchen I had work tops 70 cm deep – loved that.
10 Think about having a non fitted kitchen. It is not for everybody and of course cooker and sink have to be fixed but apart from that it is great to have the opportunity to change your kitchen around if it does not quite work the way you thought it would when you planned it.
11 If you absolutely love cleaning have open shelving otherwise put everything behind doors!
12 Get rid of all the kitchen paraphernalia you have not used the last 2 years or store it somewhere else than the kitchen.
13 Avoid handles – get those push-in-thingies instead for opening the doors and drawers (no good apparently if you have small children though – not sure why).
14 If you have gadgets that need recharging have at least one electric socket hid away in a cupboard.
15 Do not forget you can never have too many electric sockets and make sure they are powerful enough to cope with all the stuff you want to run off them.
16 There are advantages to have your plumbing and electrical (and gas!) stuff running in channels, either along the ceiling or the floor if you have units on legs, that can be opened WITHOUT having to dismantle the whole kitchen! (Here speaketh experience)
I will stop here and leave you with 3 items I would not be without: microwave oven, bread maker and blender
BTW I am a CFS woman (cook from scratch) so I spend time in my kitchen, it is not just for show (actually it is not at all for show, LOL).

Margeeth said...

In our house we have a dishwasher and no hotwater device in the kitchen because the former owners deemed this not necesary because of the dishwasher already being there. This means the water needs ro run for a very long time untill it gets hot (using the hot water device in the attic).
If I had fitted this kitchen I would have put a hot water device in the kitchen itself.

Denise in PA said...

We had our kitchen redone 4 years ago and I am still annoyed about two things...the sink faucet has separate handles for hot and cold instead of one that you can easily position for the desired temperature. I HATE that faucet. But it was so expensive, I feel bad about replacing it. Another thing I'd do differently - not have a lip on the sink - would make cleanup alot easier. Other than that, I love, love, love my new kitchen - paritcularly the glass mosaic backsplash depicting van Gogh scenes that my husband did. The year he took to do it was worth it! You can see it at http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/570124509FQEsRZ (you can also see a bit of that stinky faucet in the second photo-LOL!)

Sara said...

However many cabinets you have, you will fill them up. We are working on simplification of our life, so in our kitchen the sink wall has no cabinets, only a large window that goes down to the countertop. All the carpenters told me I was going to regret all the cabinets I was "losing". Not so! I love my view of the driveway, garden and meadow. And lots of light. Also that counter is extra deep, so I can have an indoor window box of flowers there.

Also enjoy one tall, narrow [6"], under-the-counter cabinet next to the stove where cookie sheets, large cutting board, pizza peal, cooling racks are stored standing on their narrow edge