Help design baking center : )

laughablemomentsApril 25, 2012

Hi all! I'm trying to design our baking center, but I'm stumped on how to set up some of it. Would you like to help? : )

It's 6' wide. The wood butcher block counter will be 34" off the floor. I'd like 18" between the top of the counter and the bottom of the upper cabs. The upper cabs can go up to 89" off the floor (including crown moulding.)

I've included a sketch of the basics of what's going on under the counter. I posted a question about bulk storage last week, but we've decided to just stick with the bins we've got b/c they work so well. (But thanks everyone for your ideas, you got me thinking about other spots to use some different containers!)

The lower area of the baking center needs to include the grain grinder (13.5" tall, 14.5 " wide, 19.5" deep), the grain bins (24" tall x 10.5" wide x 18.25" deep), a spot for cookbooks down low (lots of young cooks in the family), and maybe a spot for pots and pans down low, too.

I'm picturing putting the grain grinder on a roll out tray. The cookbooks could be accessed from the left side, since this set of cabinets is open on each end. I can lose one of the big rolling bins if necessary, b/c once the spelt is used up, I probably won't get it again.

Up top is a mystery to me. I know I want some open shelves for my glass jars that I use all the time. They are 4.5" cubes. I have 6.

Up there will also be baking spices, flour, oil, sugar,honey, cake pans, bread pans, marshmallows + chips (yummy), mixing bowls, you know, all that good stuff. : ) These things are hard for me to keep neat, and should be behind closed doors.

So, do I do a 3' cabinet in the middle with 18" on each of the sides, 2- 3', 3- 2'.....what do you think, GWers?

My cute little jars with my cutie pie : )

A couple of inspiration shots. If I used glass, I think it'd be frosted. Or would solid doors be better??

How the space currently looks (help! LOL):

Sorry about the long post and big pictures. I tried to resize in photobucket but they're still huge here.

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Which of your inspiration configurations do you prefer? Are you a centered/symmetrical person or do you like asymmetry with the open shelf off to the side? Which might work better for you as you're working?

I thought we had the same size grain bins, but mine are only 19" high, and you have me very curious about your mill, because it sounds monstrous! ;-)

How much room do you need for cookbooks? Do you want them in an open shelf?

I think frosted glass vs solid doors is a matter of your preference. Either will hide messiness. You may also be able to consider textured/obscured glass... Not as solid looking as frosted, but some of them you can just see colors through, not organization... or lack thereof.

Is the cut off corner necessary? Would it maybe be better to shorten the whole unit 6" or so if it's crowding a doorway?

I need to know more before I can do so, but in your shoes, I would begin with graph paper, deciding the value of each square (1" or 2"), then remembering to draw shelves the depth they are, not just lines, I'd work on different configuration options. 6 feet is a nice size, but you are also wanting to fit a lot in. It'll be worth it to take the time to work out designs until you get the best you can.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Hmmmm... Symmetry makes me very happy. We're split almost down the center on righty's vs. leftys so it might make sense to have the open area in the middle of the run of top cabs. Either that or off to the left, since this would put these items closer to the stove and other work zones.

The only thing monstrous about my grain mill is the noise it makes! That's why it's been banished to the dark blue bin where it lives and runs (you can see it in the lower center of my bottom picture.) I've found that running it inside the bin quiets it to a dull roar. It's a Blendtec, FYI. I don't LOVE it, but it's speedy and reliable. And messy, another benefit of the bin, since it contains the dust.

My deepest cookbook is 10.25" I only need one 12" deep x 24" wide x 30ish tall cookbook cabinet. That's why I was thinking of turning the cabinet so that the books are accessed from the side. Open shelves are fine for them.

"Is the cut off corner necessary? Would it maybe be better to shorten the whole unit 6" or so if it's crowding a doorway? "

I don't know... I'm thinking for all that I'm trying to fit in, I should probably keep it close to 6' long at the back. But it is in a busy spot by a couple of doorways, so that's why I drew it clipped.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Not sure if you gain much if it's clipped, since you lose usable counter and storage underneath. It won't do much for you in your desire for symmetry. And a little spaciousness around the doorway might feel much better. Trade-offs. But these are my opinions, and you have to consider the gains and losses and which mean more to you.

It looks like you've clipped into about the first foot of the cabinet, is that close to what you intend? What do you see happening under that clipped counter? Will the rightmost bin hang out of it, or will you keep the bins confined to the area where there is full counter over?

Oh, I missed that you wanted the cookbooks accessed from the left side.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:44PM
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I just fiddled around with the pieces (glad they have wheels.) I could cut the whole area down to 5' long by getting rid of one bin. That would leave room for a small helper's stool at the right end of the run pushed against the wall, out of the walkway. So 5' is fine on the bottom. I just hope that 5' of uppers is enough. Of course, then I'd have to get over the symmetry thing-gasp: The cupboards wouldn't be centered on the wall! :O

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Was trying to draw up ideas... Are those glass jars really only 4.5" at the widest part? They look larger sitting on the table, so I wanted to double check.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Yup, they're just a squeak under 4.5". I think they look so big b/c of the camera angle.

I think the whole base unit will have to be a little longer than 5' to accommodate the 3 bins, 12" wide bookshelves, + the cupboard with roll-out tray to hold the monster grain bin. (33" + 12" + 18"? = 63") I forgot to account for the size of the cupboard to hold the roll-out tray when I posted earlier.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Is there a reason it couldn't go in a deep-front drawer? Like a pullout with an attached face so you don't have a separate door to open.

Sorry for the scratchy drawing... And this was mostly drawn before you changed the length from 5' to 5' 3", but I think it could still work. Is it anything like you had in mind? It's not anything fancy. But the right color and details and it could be make into something like your inspiration pics, I think.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Thank you, Rhome. That's a lot like what my murky brain was trying to come up with. : ) I don't need it to be fancy, but I did want it to have some character, which your sketch has (and I don't mind it being "scratchy" one bit.)

I always pictured doing the little jars on a shallow shelf under a standard 30" high cabinet, but I think I like the way you drew it even better. It breaks up that expanse in a nice way. And it might make it easier for access to the mixers under there, too.

I also like the idea of the drawers rather than trays.

Thanks again! This is very helpful.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 9:05AM
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I am working on final plans for an area of my counter where I thought I'd be be doing grinding and baking and I decided the one thing I didn't want above that was glass in the cupboard doors (or open shelves). I don't know about you but fugitive flour dust is always greatest near the grinding and measuring area. On solid panels the dust will be somewhat invisible, but on glass it will show much more.

I am even questioning whether I want my glass jar/canisters above the area for that same reason - even though it's where they are now (and it's why I know about the flour-dust issue) and it's very convenient to have them there.

This morning I am just on the point of separating the grinding area from the mixing area as I believe the grinding is the greatest generator of flour-dust. I am thinking of locating the grinding in a place (the food preservation processing location) where I have deliberately planned for easy to clean off surfaces. I am weighing the convenience of having all the messies in one place over the intuitive logic of having a vertical integration of all baking stuff together.

For me this is one of those times where one aspect of likes with likes (all baking ops. together) may be trumped by the greater good of all messy operations together.

I don't store my intermediate back-stock of grain in the kitchen, though, because it is too warm. (My longer-tem stock is in a really cool/cold storage room.) But even the day-to-day (about 2 weeks supply) is stored in a vented pantry away from the range and other sources of heat. So since I have to carry a small bucket of grain to the grinder anyway, what's the difference if I take it to a place away from the main baking area? As I see it, just the few extra steps (15')to take the just-milled flour over to the baking area for use, or short-term storage. Weighing that against avoiding more dust on the baking area's shelves and cupboards ... I'm still undecided.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:45AM
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I never thought of it, til you mentioned it Liriodendron, but my cabinets above my mixing/baking counter are dustier/flourier than those in the area where I grind my grains, even though we don't even do all our mixing there (bread is mixed on the island).

I really, really wish I'd planned a grain-milling spot. Right now I haul my mill and grains out of the pantry and out beside the stove, then mill on the counter there. Then move the flour to the island for bread (most often), or to the KA mixer at the baking counter. It doesn't help that the cabinets in my baking area are darker, so show more, but I just went and looked, and can't really find any visible amount of flour dust over where I mill, but there always seems to be a flour coating in the baking center. I think my mill contains most of the flour, while the kids and the open mixer let it fly. ;-)

For awhile I milled right in my pantry, a couple shelves above my grain bins, but it got too full so that I don't have any more clear shelf space to set things up right.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:55AM
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If I had a do-over, I think maybe I would have planned an enclosed spot to contain the noisies. I mentioned this on a post of someone who wanted a front kitchen and a back kitchen. I agree that dusties can be a problem, too. I'm really looking forward to my dark blue lidded bins going undercover for this reason. They show every speck from grinding and working nearby. I'll have to remember this when it comes time to paint the cupboards, to stick with a lighter color. Thanks Lirio, for mentioning the glass problem, too.

Last week I tried to move the grains and the grinder to the basement as an experiment. I thought I'd try to control the mess and noise by grinding down there and free up more space in the kitchen. The experiment failed. I didn't like going down the stairs, grinding the grain, coming upstairs, using the flour, going back down the stairs, grinding a little more grain b/c I didn't have quite enough flour, coming back upstairs, using the flour, going downstairs to return the flour container, coming back upstairs, all while trying to help out my children and DH with their respective projects. : ) I got a workout, at least. : /

I have a friend who runs her grinder on her back deck. But that wouldn't help the dust issue of loading the mixer and letting 'er fly! I'm definitely guilty in that regard, and sometimes it's not even my fault. The lid on my mixer secretly desires to be a UFO, and goes flying as soon as I walk away from it (or so it seems.) It's another Blendtec beauty.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:03PM
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I don't know what kind of grinder you have, but putting mine in a plastic tote and lidding it while I run the grinder cuts down some of the dust (and noise). It gets a little warm in there, but it hasn't killed the machine. Yet.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:06PM
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