Where do you prefer your spices? LAYOUT

2LittleFishiesMarch 21, 2012

I'm planning the kitchen and am wondering if I should put my spices in the island where I'll be prepping, near the stove or in the pantry?

This is only the first draft... There will be changes- Of course if you see any issues feel free to comment.

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Hi 2LF!

I wouldn't put yours in your pantry. It's already on the smallish size. I've had spices in a drawer now for several months, and I LOVE IT!

Don't laugh at the blue tape labels. My label maker still hasn't been unpacked...

I decided I use them more during prep than dumping them in, say, a pot on the stove already cooking, but I didn't have room in the primary prep area (island near the prep sink) so I put them just across the 42"ish aisle near the rangetop. (Spices don't get hot in a drawer near the rangetop.) So easy to pull out, see what you need, use, and pop back in!

Tins are from Specialty Bottle. Lids fight very tighly.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Oooh! Those are nice : ) Yes, a drawer sounds great. So they are to the right or left of your range top then... I'll try for island but if not that's a good idea.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:00AM
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I never use spices during prep, that I can think of... Well, maybe for the rare marinade... and always dump them in during cooking, so I prefer mine at arm's reach from the stove. I'd like to know more about how you use yours for prep more than cooking, Breezy. (you can maybe answer via email instead of using forum space)

My spices are in the uppers to each side of my rangetop. I'm trying to come up with a better solution, so I can find the ones I want more easily, and maybe learn to use a bigger variety. I'm thinking of adding shallow shelves just under my uppers back at the wall to hold jars or tins...above where the canisters are in the photo below, but on both sides.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:03AM
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rhome- Thanks for your post! I use spices when I prep. When following recipes it always says, 1 tsp this, 2 tbsp that, so I usually take them out and measure them where I am preparing the meal.... Or I measure them out and put what I need into little glass bowls.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Mine are right between my cooktop and my ovens, so they are handy for both baking and cooking. Are you a baker or is the "prep" sink going to be be more of a beverage sink (doesn't look like it is located for a lot of prep work, despite the title)? If it is for a lot of baking, you might want to separate or duplicate at least the most used baking spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, etc.), but your measuring out habit might make it easy to work from one location.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Circus Peanut

Mine are also in a drawer for the first time, and I'm surprised how much I love them that way. They're to the left of my range and smack underneath my main prep area.

I use them all the time in prepping: preparing meat or tofu or vegetable marinades, rubbing various cuts before roasting, and making salad dressings; we make fresh dressing every night.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Our spice set-up is almost identical to rhome's. We wanted them handy for putting in a little more of this or that while cooking, but it's just across the isle from the prep area anyway, so handy for prep as well.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:13PM
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I'm tall, so I always put them in the upper cabinet, to the right of the cooktop/range. When I cook, I use more herbs and if I had a separate baking area, I'd probably put the spices, in that area.

Fishies- Your kitchen layout is looking really nice! With your baking area, so far from your cooking area, you might want to duplicate any herbs/spices that you'll use in both areas. Hope that helps :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Mine are in a pullout shelf next to the stove. At least they will be when the kitchen is done. I plan on putting the ones I use the most on the top with labels on the canister top. Then the less likely used right below that.
I will let you know how it turns out:)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Mine are on each side of my range in pull-outs. After seeing breezy girls' not only am I green with envy I'm embarrassed to post my picture.

Next house I am definitely doing something like hers or ICF green. I can't ever remember which side the spice I need is in and I end up pulling out two or three spices before I find the one I need.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:35PM
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the larger containers of various oils/vinegars/odd flours/bread crumbs/ present challenges as well. herbs and spices in small jars are good on a shelf or wall cab near cooking, I find. I've learned to buy from a bulk store and NOT stock up-just get the amt needed for 6 mo or so for freshness.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Mine are in the upper cabinet to the right of my stove. I have two of the double-decker small lazy suzan things that they are on, one for spices, one for herbs. I think I picked them up at Target or Wal-mart, near the drawer organizers. They aren't in alphabetical order, but I usually don't have much problem finding what I'm looking for. I use them mostly when cooking, but since I do my prep on the island across from the stove, they are handy for that also.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:46PM
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I use my herbs most by the range, spices most for baking. But my cooking and baking areas are close, so I chose to put them in an upper next to the range. (I feel more at leisure when I bake, so won't mind the extra steps.) They'll be on a stair step thingy so I'll be able to see all the labels.

Judging by the layout, your kitchen will be amazing and spacious!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:48PM
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I was going to post the same question as OP, LOL.

Here is what I do not understand, regardless of whether they are used during prep or cooking:

Shouldn't spices be kept away from the heat?

If you keep them next to or right above your cooktop/range/oven, aren't you concerned they'd lose something (freshness, aroma, or whatever)?

Could you ladies explain why or why not?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:03PM
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In a well designed kitchen, your prep area should be near your stove, so your spices should be in there somewhere. It doesn't matter much exactly where, it's not like needing a stirrer exactly by the pots, or knives-go-in-the-prep-zone duh, but within a step or two so that you don't have to really leave your zone to get at them is about right. If you have a separate baking area, you can put your baking spices there and your cooking spices in the prep zone, and maybe have a couple of doubles like sesame seeds and cinnamon.

In my own kitchen, my big pullout spice rack is by the baking counter, but it's only a step and a half from the island prep zones and two and a half steps from the stove. I keep seasoning blends and herb blends in the cupboard by the stove where my oil and wine (for cooking) are. That's lemon pepper, garlic pepper (both with and without salt), herbes de provence, fines herbes, Italian herbs. Also my stove salt shaker. My pepper grinder is decorative and sits out by the stove (but not by the heat). Those do for the just cook something in a hurry stuff, and using blends is even handier than grabbing each ingredient. My BIG spice rack is for the real ones. If you don't have room for that much, but have that much, you can either refill smaller jars, or put your most used spices in your spice place, and the rest in your pantry.

In the layout you've posted above, the end of the island facing the stove might be a good place for a spice rack.

I wouldn't let the spices dictate the layout, but the layout does need some place for spices. :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Our spices are in the top drawer to the right of the range. We don't have storage for oils, etc. there, so those are in the pantry. I always had spices on lazy susans in wall cabinets before, and I MUCH prefer the drawer. Aside from the one over-fridge cabinet, we have no wall cabs in this kitchen at all. I don't miss them a bit.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Thanks everyone for all the great input.
Yes, that is a 7.5' baking area to the left of the ovens. I thought I could use a sink there more than in the island. I like the idea of putting "baking spices" there as well as having seconds with the other spices. I also will be keeping flour, sugar, etc... in a drawer in the baking area. It seems I'll be doing some "doubling" in the baking area not only for spices but for measuring cups, spoons, and some bowls. That's fine though.

I REALLY want to make sure that being I'm putting a designated baking area that I really use it. Some have warned that some people end up just using the big island for everything.... I would hate doing it and then not using it being I could use that space for something else... like desk/organizational area.
*Any thoughts/suggestions on the usefulness of the baking area. (I DO love to bake : )

Breezy- How many inches is your spice drawer?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Debbi Branka

Mine are at the end of my counter run, hanging on the wall, and I also have them in the last drawer at the end of the perimeter too (the ones in bags). There are simply too many to fit in a regular spice rack or even a drawer or pull-out, so my DH designed and built me a spice rack.

(This is the old kitchen, before remodel, just after we moved in, but the spices hang in the same spot.)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Mine are in a drawer right now that is not really convinient to anything, but I have had them in this little hutch drawer for ten years! In the new kitchen, they will live in a drawer next to the range.

They are Penzey's bottles, and I found some round pre printed labels at Container Store.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Mine reside in drawers to the right of my induction cooktop, which doesn't throw off much heat on it's own. They are convenient for both cooking and baking. I planned the drawers to fit the bottles I have. I love having them in a drawer with the tops labeled, it's so easy to find what I want quickly. I like to experiment with a lot of dishes from other cultures, so I have a lot of spices/herbs. I do buy in bulk, usually from Penzey's, and refill the smaller bottles from a bigger stash in the freezer.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Any thoughts/suggestions on the usefulness of the baking area. (I DO love to bake : )

I love having my baking area. We use it a lot in conjunction with the island that gives us room to spread out and load pans, etc. It depends on how often you'll have seaters, or high backed stools if you will be limited in the use of the island counter for such things.

We keep spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in the baking cabinets. I didn't duplicate them, because I don't use them in cooking enough that I find it a problem to walk over to get them when necessary. I think the only one I've felt the need to duplicate is ginger, but if I have only one, it's by the stove. I have salt and soda in both areas, and also keep canisters of flour and sugar by the stove so I can grab small amounts that I may use in cooking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Details about my baking area

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Like several others, we keep our most often used ones in a drawer. I'm including this pix because of the useful and cheap Ikea spice holders we found: long scalloped trays w/ swiggly rubbery lines on the bottom that prevent sliding. The drawer is to the left of the cooktop. This location is also just a long (Rosemary Woods) reach from the chopping/prep area.
From GardenWeb Photos

Then we store the rest on very narrow wall shelving -- not as nice as deb52899's though. This area doesn't get direct sunlight. And while it's not the most convenient spot, since these are the less-often-used spices, it's ok. This area is an easy reach on the other side of the prep/chopping block and is just across from the toaster. So we keep cinnamon here, too.
From GardenWeb Photos

Bulk bags of spices are in a plastic bin on the floor of the pantry.

Finally, like Lavender Lass, we do have a second reduced set of spices in the baking area. Like you are thinking of doing, we've doubled up on measuring cups, spoons and so forth.

I really envy your nice long baking surface. The only comment I have is about the depth. Will it be the standard 25" or have you made it 30" deep? Depending on what you bake, you might like more depth for rolling out dough.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Our spices are in a drawer to the left of the range top. It's worked well.

About your baking space-- will you enjoy standing at that space as much as you enjoy standing at the island? I knew I would use our peninsula more than our other prep area, but I do so even more than I expected because it is more pleasant to stand there than to stand facing the cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:54PM
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kashmi- Good question. The baking area is 25" but if I can I'll try to gain another inch or so!

waterdamage- It's hard to say! I know I'll love my island but I also think having all my baking things in one area (and not mixed in with my regular cooking items) would make baking much easier and therefore more enjoyable. Also the island top is planned (not purchased yet) to be wood and the perimeter marble so the marble will be more dough friendly I'd assume.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Another boost for spices in a top drawer in whatever areas you work at. That's what I have, and I'll definitely copy it in another kitchen. SO convenient both to hand and to sight.

(You wall storage guys, a very close second was in my beloved/horrible old bungalow kitchen where I converted an old ironing board niche to spice storage. I just loved having them on display and ready to grab.

Regarding a baking center, 2LF, I'm not a big baker so take this for whatever, but I do know an 8-1/2' island is going to give you a LOT of space. 4' deep too, wow and nice!

My island's 59" long, 39" deep, and most of my work's done in a space about 40" long by maybe 30" deep across from the stove. I cook mostly from scratch, chop, etc., but that turns out to be a good sized area for the vast majority of our meals. If I loved to bake, I'd definitely want a baking center, but with your particular layout I'd want it right out in the middle of things in the island. That is THE prime workspace after all, and you have a whole lot of it. How about the area across from the fridge?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:17PM
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rosie- "How about the area across from the fridge?"
What do you mean?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:21PM
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I roll out dough on my wood island top all the time.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Fishies- With such a beautiful baking area (and storing your spices/baking ingredients there) I'm sure you'll use that spot for baking! The island will be a great prep area, for cooking, though.

The island will also be great for anytime you need more depth, than the standard countertop. So, maybe cookies at the baking area, but pies at the island.

Oh, and with the prep sink on that side, the 'baking area' will also make a great buffet area. Are you putting glass uppers there? Maybe at least in part? Great place for secondary cooks to help or setting up food for parties. With your cheerful yellow color scheme and great layout...I would so love to help you cook/bake, in this kitchen :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Hi lavender-
Yes to both- glass uppers in the middle cabinets And, I figured that would be a great buffet area when entertaining. : )

I'm still working on an organizational area. Presently I have 4' of counter where my future baking station will be and I so FEAR the baking area will become my desk/drop all space. I always have that "stuff I need to deal with" pile, and kids school calendars, a couple of catalogs, etc... Oh, and my laptop, pens etc. I'm trying to get a "spot" in the lr/dr area for that stuff but it has been tricky. The cabinet guy said he could do a file drawer in the baking area and charging drawer for phones and laptop and put a cork board in a skinny door on the end but I don't really want a file drawer near my ovens! That's where I'll want cooling racks, etc! If it were all the way to left that maybe could work but that's where the sink will be so the cabs underneath aren't usable. I feel like I've been thinking about all this ad nauseum. lol

PS-- I'd LOVE to have you cook/bake with me : )

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Fishies, I have my mixer in the corner, above the drawers with the staples, between my baking counter and the run with the stove. The ovens are on the other side of the baking counter, and the sink on the end of the island just behind. The island is 1.5" taller than the counter.

I use the baking counter all the time! It's so easy to just pull out the mixer and set to work. Under the baking counter are all of my tools, bowls and baking pans/dishes. In the upper (to the side only) are the mixer bowls and pieces, and measuring cups. The counter is deep because it runs into the window. I second the desire for a deep counter!

The baking task that I regularly do on the island is shaping bread. That's more like a prep task, and I like the extra height.

When the making is over and things are in the oven/waiting, I clean the baking counter and use it for cooling.

Given all that, I think yours will be quite useful. You might want to clear away the stools and use the island as a landing space, alternate workspace, holding area or cooling space. Baking is the part of kitchen work that really wants as much counter space as you can give it. Well, not if your definition of baking is whipping up a batch of box brownies, which is pretty contained.

If you're doing holiday cookies with the kids, you can roll out your dough on the end of the island so they can cut cookies from three sides. If you're making drop biscuits, you can put the tray(s) by the mixer on the baking counter and use the base to hold your bowl so you don't have to stick it under your arm.

It looks fine (though I wouldn't do the sink there--that's personal preference). I think people who don't use it either haven't located it in a useful position, or didn't bake before the remodel and thought they would if only they had a nice baking center, whereas the truth is that they're just not big bakers.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Fishies, regarding where your family dumps stuff carried in, could you do a personal study? Maybe just observe at first, then maybe change locations of flat surfaces and storage and watch what happens? Since you're worried, you probably have reason to be.

I find my husband does NOT want to stop at the places I made for him directly inside the door, (closet AND desk AND filing cabinet!) but rather to continue on through the dining room to the kitchen to the island and stop there. It's as if he doesn't feel he's sufficiently inside and ready to stop walking until he's there. Also as if that big flat surface draws him. Maybe the fact that I'm often there. A way of saying that what you create will then create its own dynamics.

To work this problem out, I'm imagining an approach at least inspired by the old story of a landscaper designer doing a college campus. He put in everything but the walkways, waited to see where the students wore paths, then placed walkways there--with an occasional obstacle to direct them a bit differently where needed. A nice fountain or statue, big thorny shrubs where a more firmness was required.

In any case, the need for a dumping ground at the right point is compelling. If you can figure out where that locus would tend to be in each situation, you could then work to create one there, or a way of enticing people to an even better place (potato chip storage, messsage board?), if necessary creating an obstacle to dumping. For instance, you might tilt the baking surface so papers slide off--the way banks tilt the tops of retaining walls to discourage homeless folk from sleeping on them. :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Fishies- Thanks! I wish we could get a bunch of GWer's together and take a tour of each other's kitchens, maybe bake some cookies, have some coffee/tea/cocoa/favorite beverage, etc. That would be so much fun :)

What's through that door, by the cooktop? Is that your hall/bedroom area? Anyway you could steal a little space, on the wall, opposite the pantry area, by that door? That would be a great area for a drop off zone.

The only other suggestion...maybe add an armoire in the space, opposite the basement stairs...and have your drop zone there. You could close the doors and the 'stuff' would disappear, but inside, you could have a mail zone, phone books, junk mail/trash, and even printer/router, for wireless laptops, at the island. Just a thought...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:58PM
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One of my favorite things in our baking area is the small sink for clean up (I'm very messy with flour) and for frequent rinsing of hands and getting bits of water to add to the batter/pastry. I also toss egg shells and the baking implements and bowls into it as I get through with them. When I'm ready to clean up, the egg shells go into the compost bucket and the dirty dishes get loaded into the dw (our only dw is located at this small sink.)

Another favorite thing is the tall cabinet next to the mixer with a pull out shelf at counter height. All of my most used ingredients/canisters are on it and are right there at my finger tips while I'm mixing. Then it quickly and easily tucks back into the cabinet when done.

The counter in the mixing area is 4 feet long but is only standard depth. I find I often like to roll out pastry or fill muffin tins on the deeper peninsula (that is used for all other prep) at my back. The range with ovens is on the other side of the peninsula so items to be baked have to move in that direction anyway.

I love having the baking area separate from the peninsula prep/cooking area. Dd will often bake for company while I cook. Since she has a sink right there, we rarely cross paths.

I keep duplicate baking spices on the pull out shelf in the tall baking cabinet. Other herbs and spices are kept in the top drawer (with labels facing up) at my right hand when prepping at the peninsula and at my left hand when at the range (an advantage of having the prep area flow into the cooking area without any aisle in between.)

I'm very happy with this set up.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:32PM
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I like the GW kitchen tour idea. Maybe we could do it all the regions over 1 weekend and post to share.

Anyways --> My 2 cents on the spices. 3 points:

1) I like having them where they are easy to identify at a quick glance. Either visually because the container/ lids are transperant or with clear labels you can read as soon as you open the storage area. This is why I dislike the narrow base cabinet spice pullouts but love Breezy's, Deb's and kashimi's storage. I agree about using it in cooking. I also tend to prep like Breezy and I will usally measure out in little prep bowls (got a couple doz from chinatown for $2). However, when tasting there is usually a dash of this and a sprinkle of that..

2) Using whole spices. This is something I highly recommend. There is absolutely a world of difference between using freshly grated/ ground whole spices than pre-ground ones. Whole spices have a long shelf life similar to whole grains but the essential oils release fragrance very fast once crushed. Especially for these spices: Cumin, Coriander, Nutmeg, peppers, chilli, fenugreek, mustard, fennel, anise, cinnamon, cardamom etc. Whole spices are very economical at local international grocery stores. Sometimes I will pre-grind small amounts of blends in a small coffee grinder and store in the freezer. I usually do this for my garam masala (northern indian spice blend). I am saying this because in order to this efficiently, you need your spice prep tools right in your mise-en-place close to your spices. So I have a small nutmeg grater, microplane, mortar and pestle, and a spice grinder. I also have a mini skillet (4" steel) I use for dry toating the spices before grinding (this releases the aroma even better). Using whole spices has trasformed the end results in my cooking.

3) Groupings: I cook a pretty diverse international menu and I find that I tend to use certain groupings of spices at the same time. So I usually arrange smaller spice containers in larger tray. I will usually lift out the larger tray on the counter to make it easy to measure out what I need. So italian stuff goes together, Thai in one, North indian in one and south indian in one. Here is a indian spice box in stainless steel. I have seen it for 10 bucks or so at indian grocery stores.

Your kitchen looks so lovely. Have you decided on the colors yet?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:33PM
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I am just arriving at a ladies night/cooking class with friends so I can't respond now but please check back tomorrow!! : )
Off to cook and have some wine!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Lalitha--can you possibly post pics of your spice setup? I currently separate my Indian spices from everything else, but I REALLY like your idea of further separations!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 7:51PM
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mine are between my baking center and my cooktop. But I also use the counter between the two as a main prep area.

When I get the shelf made for the baking center, I'll move the ones mostly used for baking (spices) and leave the seasonings in the other drawer. If I find I have some I use both places often, I'll just have two containers.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:10PM
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Your spices are calling for a pair of spice stacks!

I love your concept! Wish I had seen it earlier.
Lots of great ideas - I plan a pair of the spice stacks - one for baking and one for cooking. So far, I have one but the remodel is underway.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:23PM
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This is a fun topic! We just moved into our kitchen last week. I still need to finish my backsplash (the grout on my sample board is drying as I type this) and my baseboards will be done tomorrow.

I just purchased about 15 glass spice jars from Crate and Barrel and they just arrived today. I plan on putting them in a drawer in our super susan which sits directly below my 66" prep area, which is to the right of the stove (but not the direct adjacent cabinet to the stove). It'll look like breezygirl's. I use my spices for prep and cooking, depending on the dish.

Now I am off to Etsy to look for some cutesy labels for all those jars. Thanks for the ideas, all!

rhome - your brick looking backsplash above your stove is breathtaking!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:37PM
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A night out?? Wine? Color me extremely dark green! The closest I get to a night with girlfriends is an occassional trip to the grocery on the weekend by myself when I cruise the wine aisles. Excuse my whining.... :)

You asked about my drawer size. Measured on the interior, it's 15 3/4" wide, 3 1/2" tall, and 20" long. The 83-cent tins are 2.375" wide and hold 4 oz. Link below. I also have a few larger tins in the back for spices I go through in greater quantity like chili powder or that are large like bay leaves. Storage in a dark drawer helps for longeviety. I buy in bulk, but not a bulk amount (if that makes sense).

As for heat, my raging inferno rangetop does not put any extra heat in that drawer. (A range with the oven may be different.) The kitchen itself does heat up when I've got that beast turned on so by virtue of that fact they do get warmer than if they were, say, stored in the family room.

Some comments about baking zone center, I also roll dough on my wood counter. Sometimes I do it on the marble in the baking zone. I think I use the island when little DS is helping me so we have more space for two bodies than in the corner baking zone.

I second the call for duplicate prep items in the baking area. My baking area is only a couple of steps from the island prep and rangetop cooking, but I purposely store seperate measuring spoons, cups, etc in the baking drawers. That way, I can stand in one spot to measure and mix (KA stand mixer is on the counter in the corner.) The only thing you have to worry about is a DH who, on a very rare occassion, empties the DW and doesn't know what goes where. Then you'll have to hunt the room looking for the baking tablespoon measure. I'm thinking about somehow permanently marking my cups and spoons to make it easier (for him) to put things away.

Baking area in right perimeter corner.

Rhome--I've been giving your question some thought. I'm not sure I have a great answer for you now other than it must be the recipes I use. Last night, for instance, DS and I made baked beans on DH's request. While the ground beef was browning on the rangetop, we dumped all the beans, BBQ sauce, and spices into the casserole dish at the island. From my limited, tired-brain thinking, I don't recall many recipes I make where I go from spice drawer to rangetop. I use a ton of olive oil, salt, and ground pepper at the rangetop so store those on a tray on the counter. Still, my spice drawer is immediately right of the rangetop, and technically in the cooking zone anyway, so everything is handy there if/when. If I think of something more profound, I'll email you. I think I owe you one anyway. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Specialty Bottle spice tins with clear lids

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:59PM
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breezy - at least you HAVE wine aisles at the grocery store! In my dry town, in MA, not so much. People think I am a rank alcoholic when I visit family in Chicago. "Wow!!! Wine and other booze IN THE STORES! And you can buy it on Sunday! And it is way cheaper!"

Seriously, I adore your spices. In fact, I am going to try to hunt you down and give you a roll of painter's tape so that you can write labels for mine - I will forbid you from using your label-maker! :) But this will be after I get nicely matching-sized containers to put all the bags and big-jar spices into lovely, alphabetized jars like yours.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Oh my goodness, Breezy, I am now up past midnight seeing how I might reconfigure some items to get spices in a drawer like yours. Your spice layout rocks!

Lalitha, I love how your organize your spices, too, thanks for sharing such wonderful info.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:03AM
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First, I felt bad for breezy, but now drbeanie seems to have won my sympathies! LOL
I belong to the Newcomers Club in my area. I actually was president for 1.5 years and recently stepped down. Monthly, we have ladies activities, luncheons, Weekend Couples activities, kids activities-- it's amazing!

DH put our almost 6 and 4 yr olds to bed and I headed out! It was so much fun. It was a fantastic demo and the food was delicious! Brought home some great recipes... for the new kitchen, of course!

Breezy- Do yourself a favor and play a girl's night for yourself! It's so necessary for your own sanity : )

I'll get back on topic tomorrow but what awesome ideas here-- thanks!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:17AM
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Breezy, I'm with ya!

Fishies -- I used jars from Specialty Bottle for my spices. I love the clear tops on the tins (have bought many of them for other uses, including spice rubs and peanut brittle gifts), but those containers are a little bit wider and I couldn't fit all my spices in one drawer that way. One was all I could do, and that was after getting a utensil crock. I do have larger containers of chili powder and rubs in the the upper cabinet just above -- where my salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and extracts, sprinkles and other baking goodies are. The flour, sugar, chocolate, cocoa and such are in the drawers right below. Everything is right there and very handy. My prep sink is a pivot away on the end of the island behind me. LOVE having that to wash egg goo and bread dough off my hands -- as well as washing after handling meat when cooking.

This is my drawer --

If you do either of these, I highly recommend Specialty Bottle for the tins or jars. They have various sizes and styles at good prices with no minimum order. I buy my bottles for homemade vanilla extract from them too. Love the blue ones.

And for the other person who asked, I checked my heated oven and my cooktop in operation before I put anything in those drawers. No heat whatsoever in the drawers. My upper cabinet is subject to some heat build up on the bottom if I have my undercounter lights on a long time. It doesn't seem to be so much that it impacts the upper part of the cabinet, so my baking cabinet has the measuring cups, funnels and my little prep bowls on the bottom shelves and the one on the other side of my range top, where the oils and vinegars are, has a couple of platters and serving bowls handy for serving on the bottom. In several years, no problems losing oil or spice quality in any of them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:17AM
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I_luv_my_dog, and a2gemini, thanks!

I was also thinking of trying something like this...It pulls down out of the cabinet for better visibility and easier reach. But I still like the look of the little shelves and the matching bottles... The darkness of the cabinet is probably better for them:

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:19AM
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rhome-- those little spice cabs of yours make my giddy. They are adorable! Like little jewel boxes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:28AM
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Thanks again for all this great info on the spices!! I think many will get use out of this thread which is great : )

Here is my inspiration pic you asked about--

Here are some preliminary pics of the kitchen but there will be changes...

I'm going to try to get a work space for all the organizing I mentioned above somewhere in the LR/DR. I appreciate all the help, really!

rosie- Great info about "drop zones". I'll continue to think about this...

Here is our plan. We hope to put french pocket doors between the LR and DR either above or below the stairs.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 6:54PM
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another vote for spices in a drawer. i copied lascatx's idea above and it works fabulously = love it love it love it
thanks to lascatx!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:44AM
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Love your inspiration photo! Have you considered keeping your spices in removable baskets or bins with labels on the tops of the jars? That way you could carry the whole enchilada to the island if you decide to bake there.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 4:39PM
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How cute are these from Anthropologie????

Here is a link that might be useful: spice jars

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Those are cute! But really more for display of a few frequently used spices. At $10 each, I couldn't afford to store my spices that way! Mine are 83 cents each. :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Definitely breezy!!! Cute for display only : )

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I just got the latest Traditional Home featuring a this spice storage idea and immediately thought of this thread. I figured I'd post just in case someone can use it in their kitchen. You can see the raised piece of marble in the image numbered three showing when it's closed. Image five shows how the marble piece slides
to the left to reveal the spices:

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Chris- Thanks for the post! Great idea :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 3:46PM
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secret storage!!!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:34PM
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You're welcome! I wonder how easy it is to slide just because of the weight of marble? But I could see doing this with any cabinet door, piece of wood, bead board, or maybe if you even tiled a piece of drywall? I think there are a lot of possibilities.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:42PM
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You've got a lot of really great feedback but after reading through the posts I'm inspired to post as well :-) So, yes, in agreement with those who say close to the stove, I strongly recommend the drawers or cabinet close to the stove. Considering that most spices are added during "cooking" phase and not "prep" or "finishing" phase, it's better to have them close to the stove.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:29PM
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