Any regrets in your recent kitchen remodel?

NoShoesNationMarch 20, 2013

Hello all!
We own a 2600sq ft side by side duplex that we are converting into a single family home. Our biggest and next project is the kitchen. The units are mirror images separated by an 8" fire wall, and both kitchen are in the back of the house separated by this wall.
The new kitchen space will be roughly 9 1/4' wide by 39' long. A huge, narrow space which will incorporate a formal dining area and peninsula for casual meals. We are starting step one with a meeting with a designer/architect and have a basic idea of what we want. I would call our style comfortable country. When we did our master last winter we made two bedrooms into one and went with a rustic cabin theme complete with log furniture and knotty pine trim. I do love that look but our house is a colonial garrison and I don't want it to be too stylized, kwim?
Anyways our must haves include a range top, wall oven/microwave, large french door fridge, quartz countertops, probably a glazed cabinet finish, with a different color for the island, a peninsula and a beverage center/ wet bar. I would like the goodies like soft close doors/drawers, pull out shelves, dividers etc.
Now for my question! Is there anything about your kitchen that you did without that you wished you didn't? Is there anything that you splurged on or added that you really don't use and as a waste of money?
We love to cook and want to do it as right as we can.
Above the kitchens are two side by side bathrooms separated by the same fire wall as the kitchens that we are going to convert into one large 5 piece bathroom and we have 2 side b side front doors that need to be removed and a single formal entrance built. Our total budget for all of this work is in the neighborhood of $100k.
Any ideas, input is greatly appreciated!

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See these previous threads:

As a somewhat aside I think a potential regret is limiting yourself to quartz counters without considering granite, quartzite or another stone of similar durability. As far as I am concerned the so called advantages of quartz over granite are all marketing bunk. Go ahead pick quartz if the color you like is only available in quartz, but if you are limiting yourself to quartz because you think it requires less maintenance or is more durable you are doing yourself a disservice and might be wasting money. Granite is not really a high maintenance material. Sure you might have to reseal once a year if that, but it only take a couple of minutes. I can't see any other advantage of quartz over granite. Granite has superior depth and shine and it available in much larger slabs.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:11AM
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there are several recent threads on this that you will find helpful, search the forum for best ideas, what would you do different etc.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:11AM
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My kitchen is 9 1/2' X 20' with a peninsula (+ eating area at the end) and so like yours it is long and narrow. Anyway, the one thing i would do differently is put in a 36" cooktop rather than the standard 30". Maybe you are already contemplating that. I didn't realize how much more I would like cooking after we expanding our kitchen from the 9 1/2' X 10' that we used to have. It wasn't even on our radar for doing that.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Make sure you have enough lighting. We put in recessed lighting and the layout that the kitchen guy recommended was not enough. We are going to have the electrician come back and add a few more, hopefully without ruining the smooth ceiling that was just done.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Our kitchen (addition on a 100 year old house) is 10" by 30". We don't have a peninsula and just have an eating area with an oval table at the end of the space furthest from our dining room. Our set up is that on one side we have a long L that is our primary work space. The range is on the short leg of the L, and the sink and lots of counters are on the long end of the L. Across the room we have perhaps another 6 or 7 feet of counters that then merge into a built in with a wall oven combo, a fridge, and a closet (this part opens into the eating area). So, this entire set up ends just about across from the end of the counters on the long L.

Our main gripe is that, when we have people over, the passageway between the short leg of the L and the opposite counters can get congested. We did not just want to do a galley between the two walls, and the room size (width) dictated that the passageway is only 30". Wider would have been better, but it would also have meant either no L or else a really teeny short leg on the short leg of the L (ours is just under 6'). This is something I'd definitely think about if I were you. And, I really think a peninsula would only work in a situation similar to mine if the opposite wall did not have any cabinetry.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:13PM
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My biggest regret would be not shopping around for the best quality cabinets I could afford. There is a huge difference in finish quality in factory painted cabinets. Mine are Haas and they are crap. I've had them about 5 years and they need repainting already. They were not manufactured to withstand normal kitchen use.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:33PM
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I know this sounds self serving, but in industry surveys of customers who had lived with their just completed projects for 6-12 months, the #1 regret was not spending more money to get things that they really wanted. Most made budgetary compromises and cut out organizational helpers, or finished cabinet panel sides, or even downgraded to a less costly cabinet line. And that was what they regretted in the end.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I splurged on Sub Zero fridge and Wolf range. Not necessary. I would also guard against the high arc faucets, which can be splashy...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Nine and quarter feet by thirty-nine feet is not a great, easy to work with shape for a room -for any purpose. I know because I am sitting in one right now that is 9'6" by 32'. It sometimes feels like a tunnel.

It's my current kitchen and a planning nightmare. (I am moving the kitchen to another room, partly because of the unalterable shape of this room.)

The nine- foot dimension is main issue, any short-axis features are really cramped.

My room is through a wing, with windows on both short ends (one end is completely glass with a french door). The long sides each have two doors, so my room may be worse than yours, but if there is any possiblity of making the room deeper than 9'3", seize it! You won't be sorry.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Thanks for the great ideas. Realism- I found a pattern in quartz that we both love although we also like recycled glass, but I don't want to get too trendy....

The narrowness does make design a challenge. Bumping it out is not an option as the walkout basement is under my kitchen windows as well as the space for the pool that is going in later this year.

Right now I am trying to decide to go range or range top and wall oven. We want a cooktop that will accommodate a charbroiler for grilling indoors year round but it seems the only makers are high end like Wolf et al.....who knew planning a kitchen would require so much thought.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 9:31PM
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While I don't have any recommendations for a narrow kitchen, I would echo the recommendations for the quality cabinet investment and 36" cooktop. In addition, I highly recommend a warming drawer. When we put one in13 years ago, some people thought it was a bit much, but my husband and I use it so often that we can't imagine life without one! Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 10:00PM
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While 9'6" sounds like a dream to me, I had only 7' width to work with and 29' length. I lived with it for 20 years, and I knew that aisle width is crucial, especially if it is a traffic thruway.

Get the traffic out of the cooking space, put it at the other end of the galley, or narrow your cabinet depth in the area that has the traffic. We made one side of the galley 18" depth cabinets to create a wider flow aisle. We put the clean up area there and now we have space to open the dishwasher and still allow traffic! The 18" cabinets nicely stores all the dishes. We didn't sacrifice much space, since we removed the cooktop there.

We added space at the end of the galley by taking out the breakfast table and created a protected cook's space with a peninsula for breakfast.

Most importantly, figure out what works for you and yours.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 4:04AM
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My biggest regret was that I did not have more money to take down a wall or bump out the house. That was not in the cards and I "made do" but it was definitely a compromise. However, I had about 1/4 to 1/5 of the budget you do (and yes I know you are doing bathrooms too). I would suggest you post your layout here and have the layout gurus look it over and give you some honest feedback.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:05AM
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Thank you colorfast. We are going to a home show today for some ideas however we have a kitchen designer/architect coming next weekend. When he leaves he will have for us full color scale drawings of what we want and the great part is he can do the architectural stuff too and give us plans for the town and contractor. There are load bearing walls involved and the scale of this project really makes it not very DIY friendly, not that we have the or mad skills anyways! Lol.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:14AM
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