Ideas to complete my kitchen cabinet wall concept?

scorpionleatherMarch 11, 2013

Here is a drawing of about 1/3 of our kitchen concept. This portion shows a wall of appliances, pantry cabinet, and beverage center. Above the beverage fridge would be a nook opening with a some counter space for making coffee etc. The very top cabinets are glass door light-up cabinets for this white cabinetry.

Originally we were going to put a wine grid somewhere in the upper cabinet, but now are thinking to use a Liebherr HWS1800 wine chiller appliance. Sometimes we set the thermostat high when we go on vacation in the summer, and leaving the wine exposed might cook the wine.

If we go with this concept, what should we do with the narrow rectangular space above the 24"x17" Liebherr and above the 36" counter depth fridge? The cabinet to the right of the Liebherr would be a glass cabinet for beverage cups.

Any other ideas in general? (Note, this drawing does not show the cooktop, two sinks, island etc.. this is just one portion, but very important, as it is highly visible to the rest of the house.)

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Why not run the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling, instead of breaking them up? The the doors above the fridge and wine chiller will simply come down as far as they need to. That would allow you to put vertical tray storage above the fridge, if you don't have it elsewhere.

I'd love to see the rest of it!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:12PM
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"Why not run the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling, instead of breaking them up?"

Great idea annkh. However we have seen a lot of pictures on with upper light-up glass door cabinets, there the very top level (that can only be reached with a ladder) is used for decorative items rather than real storage. I started to like this idea when I found old items from the 1950s - 1970s in the upper cabinets that we were demolishing. I realized that most of the items placed in upper cabinets are forgotten about because they are hard to access. What would be ideal if we could make the upper glass cabinet concept work, while somehow at the same time not breaking them up. hmmm

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Switch the single pantry to two pull outs. It will hold more. And then place the beverage area in the center.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Nice idea hollysprings. I like it. Except I neglected to mention that the electrical is already run for the existing positioning of appliances. We originally put the beverage center on the left because that's near the opening to the living room with the fireplace, TV, and scenic window where the guests like to hang out. The surrounding cabinetry, however, is a blank slate that we can still change around with the cabinet maker.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Moving two 110 outlets won't cost you that much in the scheme of things. Especially since you will still need to run the dedicated circuit for the refrigerator, the 220 circuit for the wall oven, and a 20 amp small appliance circuit for the outlets needed for the backsplash. With all of that yet to go, and the rest of the space's electrical needs too, two outlet change locations is a drop in the bucket.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:06PM
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robo (z6a)

Because you've already got an asymmetrical upper (wide above cooler, short above glasses) I would break the symmetry earlier. Right now it looks really wonky on the left side anyway. So make your glasses cabinet one tall glass cabinet, don't split it. And forgo the glass uppers above the cooler and above your fridge. Use your newly useful fridge cabinet for tray/tall item storage and use your newly useful upper cabinet above cooler for seldom-used appliances and glassware.

The tray storage is demonstrated by beekeeperswife here:
Show me your useful storage....
She also has the other idea that might work for you if you're set on keeping all those glass uppers - that is a flip up door over a very shallow cabinet where you can store flat stuff.

Finally, I have also seen really nice uppers with glass at the top, where the upper is one unit with one tall door that happens to have a glass window on top. I think that looks super clean and will eliminate having really tiny cupboards, even if there is a short shelf inside the cupboard it will still be more useful.

Traditional Kitchen design by Seattle Architect Goforth Gill Architects

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:00AM
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robo (z6a)

I changed my mind. Maybe you should break the very top uppers from the lowers and keep the glass uppers symmetrical even if you can't achieve that on the bottom.

Personal opinion, if I'm honest I don't love that wine fridge at eye height unless you are really serious about your wines, in which case a tiny wine fridge probably isn't gonna cut it for you. I wouldn't worry too much about spoiling small amount of wine you could fit in it ... just shove it in the fridge while you're away. Or if you drink wine infrequently but have very expensive wine, keep the cooler in the basement or a closet out of the light. OR get a wider beverage centre on the bottom.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 9:13

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:12AM
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I'm kinda hating on the wine fridge in your face as well. Overall, for a focal point type wall, it's less than exciting. I might put the pantry (or pantries) elsewhere and panel the fridge. But a lot depends on the rest of the layout. The fridge access appears awkward unless you have an island immedately across from the space to use as a landing zone. And, if that's the case, then the view of that wall will be interrupted with the island, taking the emphasis off of it as the focal area.

I think you need to post your entire layout for assistance, not isolate each elevation independently. It's not how a kitchen works, or how a kitchen should be designed.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Ditto the wine fridge being up close & personal. Wine coolers don't need (or shouldn't need) to be convenient or occupy such important kitchen real estate.

But then, I don't get the whole wine chiller thing anyway. AFAIC, they're the early 21st century version of the trash compactor.

Anyway, if you're set on having one on that wall, I'd suggest ordering a pair of doors to cover that spot for in the future if the appliance goes belly-up & none of the new ones will fit the space or you decide that you don't really need it later on.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:26PM
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Lots of good suggestions, so I will post my drawing of the entire kitchen plan. Some of the aspects are set in stone because the electrician and plumber completed their first phase. All appliances are purchased except for the wine cooler.

Here are the areas that I'm unsure about:

- Wine cooler / beverage upper and alignment of glass uppers (sounds like not everyone is hot for the idea of having a wine cooler so prominent at eye level).

- Exact shape of the island and island cabinetry features. Should the island have a curved counter? What should fill in the extra space below, shelves etc.?

We wanted to add something exciting and unique to the kitchen design -- we have the copper Elkay Mystic 5014 river bar sink for entertaining. We got nice comments about it from the contractors before it's even installed!

The overall kitchen theme is a mix of cottage and contemporary, shaker cabinet door style.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:54PM
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robo (z6a)

Cool sink! Is there room for beverage fridges on the island? Kinda seems apropos with such a cool bar sink.

If there is then personally would switch pantry and counter space so your counter can serve as landing spot for both fridge and ovens.

Then your wall of tall could read:
36" (or whatever) pantry, 30" oven, 30" counter, 36" (or whatever) fridge which would be a bit more symmetrical.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 21:06

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Sophie Wheeler

There's no real place to prep in this kitchen. There's not enough room on the island for a prep zone. And while there is room to the right of the cleanups sink, staring at the wall and fighting for space with whomever is cleaning up will be miserable. And while there is enough room on the island for a cooking zone, there isn't enough room to prep beside the cooking zone. And everyone traipses through your hot zone to get to the fridge

I think the sink is cool, and the island shape is cool, so I'd suggest keeping them and trying to make the island the prep zone so you can be facing your guests while you do that. Prep is 70% of the time you spend in your kitchen, and if you want to interact with people while you do it, you have to design the space to make that happen. Actual cooking only occupies 10% of the time you spend in the kitchen. I'd move the cooking zone to the wall where you have the fridge and ovens, and then use a nice focal point wall hood for it. Your ventilation will be easier and cheaper than way too. Move the beverage stuff to the island facing the living room where it's handier for entertainment and also works well with using the sink to ice down some beverages when you entertain as well.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:35PM
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"Is there room for beverage fridges on the island?" We could put the wine fridge at the end of the island facing the dining room, perhaps. In the existing concept we placed the beverage center to be in view of the living room inhabitants while hanging out by the fireplace or home theater.

"There's no real place to prep in this kitchen." I was hoping there would be enough prep space on the island. We can still enlarge the shape of the island if that would make it better. In the old kitchen the cooktop used to be against the wall right where you describe, but in the new design we wanted to see the living room view while cooking instead of looking at the wall. We're hoping to enjoy the view while both cooking and while prepping. Good suggestion though.

Here is an update to the wall details, with or without the wine cooler. Do either of these look better? p.s. we could make more radical changes if we didn't already complete the first phase of plumbing and electrical.

This post was edited by scorpionleather on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 22:50

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Sophie Wheeler

THe problem is that you can't expand the island where it would be meaningful to have the additional space. You need more room beside the cooktop if you want to prep beside the cooktop. At least 36". Next to water. You'd have to orient the cooktop the long way of the island and either stare at the cleanup sink and out the window, or you'd have to straighten out the island shape and put it on the other side.

I don't know what you have planned for ventilation, but just switching from an island vent to a wall vent will save you enough money that you can deal with some of the electrical changes needed.

The fridge is in the WRONG place. It places a great deal of traffic straight through the danger zone. Fridges should always be on the perimeter, easy to access for snacking and entertaining. That location is where you are trying to cram the beverage fridge. Put the actual fridge there. Put the beverage fridge on the island instead. Now you can use the island across from the fridge as the landing zone.

Cooking= 10%
Cleanup= 20%
Prep= 70%

Right now, the workflow in the kitchen will go from the fridge to the L shaped counter next to the cleanup sink, and that's where you will prep, and you'll step all over someone trying to help you clean up, and people will come right through the unprotected hot zone to grab their snack or bottle of water. And you'll be spending at least 1-3K more for the island hood needed to work with the island cooking location.

This post was edited by hollysprings on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 7:52

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Here it is with your zones sorted out and minimum crisscrossing. You now have a nice tight prep zone with minimum walking, and you will face out into the space 70% of the time, only turning your back briefly to stir something on the stove or to drop an ingredient in. People who want to access a beverage or heat up a snack can go from beverage fridge to fridge to under the counter MW on the island completely out of your prep zone. Someone can load dishes without bumping into the person doing the vegetable chopping on that horrid little high traffic L shape.

This post was edited by hollysprings on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 8:08

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:02AM
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Wow excellent analysis hollysprings. I'm looking into the extent of electrical/plumbing changes that would be required. It would be costly to change. For example we already bought a beautiful Miele DA5100D island hood.

We have the same thought to keep the snack fridge out of the hot zone. That's why we put the beverage fridge in the design, with a glass window. This should reduce the guest cross traffic, a little bit.

When induction cooktops are turned off, they are nice smooth glass surfaces where it is possible to do some prep; for example placing a cutting board on top of it. Induction cooktops are pretty safe glass surfaces when there's nothing heating on it. We were originally thinking this real estate could double up in uses, so why not put it on the island with the nice view and interaction.

We are puzzled by the 10% of the time cooking statistic. For us, it's more like 50%, probably because we are not experienced chefs. On a typical day we might put some dry pasta in boiling water, or frozen veggie stir-fry in the pan, or a chicken breast that we only have to wash first. If our habits matched 10% then we wouldn't give the cooktop such important space. I guess with our busy schedules we subconsciously select foods that require less prep.

Great suggestions & analysis though!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:11PM
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As an update - we decided to put an 18" undercounter wine preserve on the back side of the island (prep sink side), and the 24" undercounter fridge like it is in the drawing.

Now just trying to decide between the stainless steel front of the Perlick vs. having the cabinet maker put a custom overlay around the glass door.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:46AM
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