A working easy clean kitchen?

Konrad___far_northMay 5, 2012

With plane front, no fancy moldings, easy clean, lots of Chinese cooking.

The old kitchen is falling apart after about 35 years, real wood front with some moldings, not too heavy but still a pain to clean.

We're not sure what's best, go solid wood again for the face?

What about box, plywood or that pressed wood?

In another thread I liked sixtyohno's kitchen best.

Light brown plain on bottom and light color top, that is sort of the idea we have. ...If you read this, what is the make up of this construction? My wife hasn't seen this but we kind of agreed on something like this, all she said,....you better study kitchens!!

How about IKEA...they seem to have a good selection in plain, European style.

Anybody in the Edmonton area for advise?

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Hello Konrad,
I am delighted that you like my kitchen. The kitchen is now 5 months old and we have no regrets, just still stunned that we have such a beautiful room. Our cabinets are Schuler from Lowes, all wood construction, maple with a wheat stain. We also wanted a totally clean look, no moldings, straight lines , easy to clean. We actually enjoy cleaning it because it's easy and there is a place for everything. As you can see, there is very little on the counters. The microwave is in the laundry room. We just use it for warming newly found abandoned cups of tea or sometimes defrosting. I do love the double ovens.
We looked at Ikea first and liked their cabs, but it didn't work for us. We are 90 miles from Ikea. We are not DIY and by the time we paid the Ikea approved installer, who was coming from 100 miles away, $149/cabinet, plus a contractor for the prep work, we were way up there. I do think our cabinets are better quality than Ikea.
We are in NY, not to close to Edmonton, but glad to share whatever we learned and certainly the best advise is here on GW.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:52AM
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We have IKEA cabs with custom QS oak slab fronts. Originally, we (I) wanted a light counter but I fell in love with the functionality, feel, and look of a wild soapstone. Our kitchen is so functional; in prep space, ease of cleaning, and ability to take abuse. The layout really lends itself to being a cooks/bakers kitchen. Even after a year I am always amazed at how well it functions. Cleaning is so easy in part due to layout and in part due to materials used. We eat almost always at the overhang (it's just 2 of us now). Frequent company....but since we tend to be very informal; people mingle outside (live in Florida and we have a ton of outdoor seating) and inside. When we have a small dinner party, we will sit at the dining table. We set up your dishes so they can be pulled out of drawers and set right onto the overhang. (drawer stack on the end). That also places them right next to the dining table. Eating utensils in the same place. The sink is flush mount which means I can literally just sweep dirt, crumbs, whatnot directly into the sink. Batch feed disposal in a large single bowl sink works for me since I don't have to reach with drippy hands over to a switch to turn it on. Lastly, soapstone. I can take screaming hot pans out of my oven and place them directly on it. Slab front cabs wipe right down with no grooves to get into. It's a simple look, and not for everyone. But it so works for me.
Overall look:

another angle so you can better see how the sink sits:

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Thank you so much for this info!
Love that big Exhaust Fan! I can see that something like this is actually working,...is it a commercial type?

Laura, can you please post your picture here again please, then I have it all together for presentation.

More welcome

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:58AM
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How exciting for you - a new kitchen!
I think it's not so much about the materials as it is about some of the other things that many posts mentioned
- keep counter top clutter to a minimum
- use overhead cabinets, not shelves
- simple door style, pulls, and counter edges
- under counter mounted sink
- one hole faucet - less edges for grease and gunk
- a honking exhaust hood, especially for the grease and steam generated by Chinese cooking, yum.
- a self-cleaning oven

for counter tops, laminate, glass, soapstone, most granites, and composite quartz (aka Caesarstone) are particularly easy to maintain.

I am looking forward to seeing your choices, and would love to see pics of sixtyohno's kitchen in this thread.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I'll second everything stated above. For easier to clean, flat front (no little grooves to collect dust and grease) are the way to go. I went with custom cabinets in maple with a dark stain. I've seen some great looking melamine though from IKEA and similar. Sometimes you just can't beat being able to use windex on everything. I love my hardworking kitchen.

One hole faucets, single bowl sinks undermounted, and things that do double duty. I have to say that my range hood that I love is the hardest thing in my kitchen to clean with that curved glass. But I still love it. You can get some great bargains on powerful range hoods on ebay (which is where I got mine).

Also tile floors do not have to be cold - we used suntouch heat mats under ours and it costs next to nothing to operate.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:39PM
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Hi Konrad, Here are some photos of my kitchen as you requested. I agree with all the advise plus I think having the uppers at the same height and as many of the cabinets the same size keeps a clean look. Sorry I haven't figured out how to make the photos smaller.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:54PM
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Sixty - I love your kitchen every time I see it! The granite just pops and it feels so good!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:01PM
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Hey konrad... the hood is a Vent A Hood. Works great for our needs.

I love ever time I see sixty's kitchen

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:12PM
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a2gemini and remodelfla, thank you for loving my kitchen. It's been 5 months and I am still TKO, here on GW and in my house.
We were just away for 19 days. I didn't miss my children or job or friends, but I did have terrible separation anxiety for my kitchen. Luckily, it was still there when we returned. I think only those on GW can understand this craziness.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I love your kitchens.
I've mentioned before that I am so overwhelmed with visual clutter that I love the peace and serenity that these clean lines give.

With the "wildness" of these kitchens being a single focal point, such as those gorgeous granites, or art-piece hoods and fans, the eye is fine being directed there. There aren't any eye bumps on the way to the coolest item in your kitchens.

OTOH, it's hard to get past how smooth and lovely the cabinets are.

I am a picture stalker. Keep 'em coming. Konrad__far_north, good question. I am looking forward to seeing yours! :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:10AM
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sixty, love your kitchen! That beautiful countertop (what is is?) is really the focal point.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Thank you all!
Agree,.. thank you Sixty for these great shots and I love them BIG,...looks stunning!
Same with Cindy's,..I can see your kitchen is a workhorse!

Let me go to some details please, since Edmonton is in a very dry climate, a solid piece of large door might warp a bit and I might not be happy in the long run?..Please advise.
We just got a new Store [Lowes], and I wanted to check for plants also,.. it was a good time go shopping! I must say, they had a good selection, incl. Schuler. We checked out some of the solid wood panels, the maple looked good and straight, another of different wood, don't remember what, was warped badly.
I knew what to look for because I had this problem when I build a small bathroom cabinet from scratch in the basement with solid pine, [a little softer wood] it was glued the same way, many strips together like that one from Lowes,.....the sales lady said it is one piece,.. I knew better.

The two side by side sink we have for all these years I don't think to give up, we never had a problem with. It seems more go with one,....still don't know why?

Let them coming!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Those "solid wood" panels are almost certainly veneer over a more stable substrate (mdf or plywood or particle board).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:10PM
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No, it's solid wood.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Konrad- Our Lowe's has a great clearance area for their plants, in the back of the gardening area. Don't forget to check all the way to the back, in case yours does, too. I found $3 roses back there a few years ago! They were beautiful John Cabot Canadian explorer roses (easily hardy to our zone 4 area) but not many people knew what they were...so they sat and then got sent to discount. Most of the shrubs are 1/2 off, too. I'm on my way to do some plant shopping, right now :)

Beautiful kitchens, eveyone!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:52PM
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Sixty - What are your floors? I'm trying to make the flooring decision and I really like yours.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Konrad- My doors are veneer over solid wood. We wanted the grain to be vertical grain on the drawers as well as the doors and that was the only way to get that. The doors are remarkable. In lots of places the grain matches. The insides are lovely too.
Jeri - My floors are cherry. They came with the house which is 22 years old so they have darkened.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Sixty, With a kitchen like yours the photos deserve to be BIG. Every time I see your kitchen I think, that little orange rug doesn't go. I think you should roll that baby up and send it to Atherton, Ca. I will take good care of it for you.
If I had seen your kitchen before starting mine, I probably would have copied it down to the rug. Can't wait to see what Konrad does.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:48PM
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oasisowner- My counters are rain forest green, serpentine marble, which some granite dealers call a granite. It was a big risk because it makes such a huge statement and I was very scared, but it is excellent. It really looks like you are flying over a rain forest and seeing rivers and mountains and tree tops. My sister even sees an alligator which I don't think lives in a rain forest.
gigi- thank you for all your kind words. The rug is actually a wall hanging I bought in Marrakesh a long time ago.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Ah, I get it. After a sleepless night in the Sahara Desert and being force fed hot mint tea until it was coming out of our ears, we also succumbed to a Berber rug dealer. Ours is in the entry.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 5:13PM
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Gigi- We just got back from Istanbul where we did a lot of succumbing in the Grand Bazaar, but not to rugs. I actually was forced to carry home baklava and halavah and a tea cup set and some gorgeous embroidered hangings and pillow cases. If you loved Marrakash, I'm sure you will adore Istanbul.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 6:30PM
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two points regarding easy clean kitchens:

1) I like it when things are cleanable with some combo of ordinary detergent, vinegar, mild cleanser, ammonia, plain water, washable rags, small buckets, and reusable scrubbers.

When we started our kitchen planning we vowed that we wouldn't allow ourself to buy products with an inherent obligation to stock and use particular upkeep products in order to maintain the product. That meant no goo or lotion products for surfaces and no intensive cleaning regimes.

Unfortunately, in order to splurge on a discount-priced two-oven range*, I had to accept a glass-top electric range, which means that I have one obligatory bottle of goo and a scrubber and a razor blade in a container in the niche above the range. And I suppose that owning Ikea wooden countertops that requires oiling is also a goo-maintenance regime, but at least we're not wedded to any particular brand.

If I have to buy special goo it thwarts my low-maintenance regime, especially if it requires a trip farther than a low-end grocery or hardware store.

* consult Florantha's GW Kitchens "hunter's wife's revenge" thread from two pheasant seasons ago for further clarification but please do not respond--it's ancient history now

2) Be sure to design with your own old age in mind. That means handicap-accessible configuration and products, easy-clean surfaces, good lighting in fixtures with common bulbs that are easy to change out, etc etc etc.

It also means not pretending that there is no maintenance--put towel rods in plain sight, put cleaning products close at hand, allow for an apron hook, etc.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Thank you all!
Sixty, looks like you don't have solid wood, veneer is usually done over pressed or plywood? Better then solid I think, it prevents from warping. The only drawback, ...one's a corner gets knocked the veneer can chip off.
We looked at solid, ...like I said and one was warped.

Why one hole sink?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Difference between Solid wood and Veneer, [Link>

Here is a link that might be useful: The Difference Between Solid Wood and Veneer

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Konrad, good luck with your reno. You've been provided some beautiful kitchen photos to help get your creative juices flowing!

Remodelfla, I never saw these photos of your kitchen -- and it is lovely. Your baking area is fantastic! Would you please post more photos and a description of your layout there? (It looks like there's a slant to some of your drawers).

Sixtyohno, if I didn't say so when you unveiled your kitchen -- what a wonderful space! The marble/granite truly is the star, and the cabinets you selected look great with your countertops. I love the long expanses of counterspace, it reminds me of my much-loved grandmother's kitchen.

Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Easy to clean kitchen was also very important to us.. Especially my husband as he is the main cleaner. 2 choices we made help.. Induction cooktop. This is so easy to clean unlike electric cooktops.. The cooking is phenomenal too. Great hood with professional style baffles that can be popped off and cleaned in the dishwasher.

Solid surface countertop that just needs a wipe down.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Thank you all!
Yes Lalitha, we actually were looking at them in Lowes, we have electric range now with self cleaning ofen, my dream was go gas, can't convince my wife, I cooked some years with gas when I was single and was very happy with that even heat!

I still think we go with Induction,....is everybody else happy with it too?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:29AM
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Thank you for letting me know on the sales!
I was checking up on fruiting items like apple cherry etc. It was a bit of a choke, selling Fuji apple trees for zone 5 and up, we're zone 3.

I bought one honey berry plant of a unknown variety to me,..will see if alive by next year, these are usually very hardy.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:54AM
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Konrad - do you mean a single bowl sink? If so, I prefer it to a double. When we bought this house 16 years ago, the first thing I did is change out the double bowl for a large single. I just don't get the double bowl. It's awkward. Deep is good.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Question from above...
>>The two side by side sink we have for all these years I don't think to give up, we never had a problem with. It seems more go with one,....still don't know why? sixty replied,...
I prefer it to a double.
I just don't get the double bowl. It's awkward.
Now I'm confused.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:43AM
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jmc... are you asking about my bakers table? That does have the original curved possum belly drawers. I don't have any angled cabs but I do have a reduced depth cab on one end. Lemme know what you need and I"ll be happy to post pics.

FWIW... my drawers/doors are solid QS oak...pretty thick too. The doors have battens(?) on the back which I assume is to prevent warping. We only have a few doors. We live in So. Florida so pretty darn humid here but we've had absolutely no issues whatsoever.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Konrad, your post grabbed my attention because my main goal was to have an easy clean kitchen that is highly functional. Every step of my remodel had that consideration. I am in my 60's and plan on cooking in this kitchen for a long time yet. I am usually on the Cooking Forum but am also TKO.

I spent countless hours researching materials on the internet and also shopping for what I could in person. I am indebted to this forum for all the help I received, just from reading all the posts.

My cabinets are frameless, as every added inch was important to me. They are custom, white birch veneered, slab front. I went with 5/8" plywood as warping was also a concern. I live in a cold climate, just an hour south of the Canadian border. My cabinet maker used a satin conversion varnish and they clean up with a microfiber cloth and just plain water.

Here is an overall picture....

I had all the interiors lined with melamine, also easy to wipe out.....

I also love my big, deep single bowl sink. It's 32" and 10" deep with a grid on the bottom and movable colander. A big sink allows you to soak big pans, cookie sheets and plates all at the same time. I can clear the table and put everything in it, then load the dishwasher. Got a big turkey you want to rinse before cooking...it can handle it. A big sink also means less cleaning, only one drain and less side area.
The faucet is a Kohler Karbon and I love it's look in addition to it's high function...worth every penny.

Another detail to think about, if you are going to have undercabinet lighting. I knew I wanted LED lights, so I had my cabinets fronts built longer so that they would do double duty and hide the lights. I also didn't want to break up the look by having a light rail as a separate piece.

After much consideration, I went with induction. I always thought I'd have gas and am so glad I did induction. My cooktop is always clean. I even use paper towels under the pan when frying. Induction is fast, safe,even heat, simply wonderful. I enjoy my set up with the two pull outs close by for seasonings (right) and spices (left..next to my baking area). The warming drawer is used more for bread storage but is there when I need it. All of my everyday pans fit in the bottom drawer.

Other details that are making my life easier...the countertop is quartz, flooring is a laminate (no hard stone or grout for me) they call it a luxury grade and the finish has a 50 year gaurantee.....I'll be long gone or tired of it but what the heck! There is a trash pullout on the end of the island that works well. My lower cabs are all drawers, another thing that I learned here and love.

Now, if I could find the perfect backslash I'd be done, but I haven't found it yet.

Can you tell I'm a detailed person? Can't even do a simple quick post....but I love my kitchen! I also love the other kitchens posted already on this thread, they all have their unique features.

I'll check back, in case you have questions.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:09AM
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I love every kitchen posted above. They are all beautiful and look very liveable.

Things that make our renovated kitchen easier to clean than our old kitchen:
1. Undermount sinks
2. Having a water source nearby for all counters. We have 2 sinks and they are positioned at opposite ends of the kitchen. It makes grabbing a wet dishcloth easy and it gives me plenty of opportunity to rinse my hands before opening cabinet drawers/doors.
3. Stainless steel appliances. I realize this goes against what most people say but I must have been lucky with the appliances I chose. We have an Electrolux fridge with an easy care surface and FP dish drawers and I find keeping them fresh looking much easier than our old white fridges and black surface dw.
4. Having a space for everything makes clean up easy, even when the kitchen gets really messy.
5. Stone counter with a simple edge.
6. Drawers full of dish cloths and rags. A good supply makes me feel as though I can grab a fresh one any time I want.
7. Slanted drainboards carved into the counter on both sides of the sink.
8. Large, easy-to-access pail for food scraps. Ours is under our main sink and the lid lifts off automatically (no hands) and the pail swings out when the door is opened.
9. Upper cabinets and limited open shelves. The trend seems to be going toward fewer upper cabinets but we went the opposite direction from all open shelves to very few open shelves. I find I like the storage between hip level and the top of my head the best, especially when it's not collecting dust.

I agree with other suggestions made above. I had never had a vent hood before and I'm amazed by how much cleaner our walls and cabinets stay because of it. I'm glad we have a one hole faucet.

Things that make our new kitchen harder to clean than our old kitchen:
1. A zero radius (stainless steel) sink. This was fine at first. But as the years go by, the corners and creases seem to collect gunk quicker and quicker. It now seems like there is gunk in then corners after just rinsing a couple of cans. Our old stainless steel didn't have special spots that needed extra care.
2. Beaded inset cabinets with Shaker style doors. It feels like I have to wipe all of the ledges on the cabinets often. Slab fronts are a wise choice.

Clean up after a meal is easier in our new kitchen because we have different clean up stations. Large pots and pans/cast iron/wood items/plastic items are hand washed in the large main sink near the range. Food is scraped from plates and the dw is loaded at the small sink across the room (and closer to the table than the large sink.) This allows clean up to be done by more than one person without tangling up. Dishes for leftovers are kept near the table and fridge. A 3rd person can be clearing the table and dealing with the food. I like cooking but I hate the clean up afterward so putting as much thought into designing the kitchen for clean up as prepping/cooking made sense.

As far as double vs single sink, a single bowl sink never crossed my mind until I found this forum. We ended up with a 30" wide sink. I love the fact that I can divide the sink up according to tasks at hand rather than having permanent walls dividing it. I like having sudsy water on hand to throw tools into as I finish with them (even if they're eventually going into the dw) and using a small dishpan in the sink effectively makes it into a double bowl sink with one large side for prepping and one smaller side for the sudsy water. The tub sits on one side and I still have room for a colander of draining veggies on the other side and room in the middle to dump cooking water down the drain. If I need more room in the sink, I lift the dishpan out and put it on the counter (without dumping the sudsy water and soaking items.) I like the control I have over the space.

We put Ikea cabinets in our laundry room (oak fronts) and I'm very happy with them.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Thank you all!
Nancy, this looks fantastic, all makes sense! You almost, or did convince me to go single bowl sink.

What brand of cabinets did you choose?

My wife went shopping again,...got the first quote with Kitchen craft, not bad, we like the fact that we can choose plywood for the box, IKEA is now a goner because we wanted better then particle boards.

We're also checking with Huntwood and get a quote, I believe they use 5/8" plywood.
We have a small U kitchen, we'll open up to one room and have more cabinets around the wall, perhaps with a small roll counter on wheels? Not enough room for a isle. We're not gaining much in more cabinets, just open up a bit.

Zelmar & others,
Thank you for all these ideas,.. more is allway's better!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:37AM
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Wow nancy.. I love your kitchen.. Did you ever post a finished kitchen post? I have to go and google that now.. You did an amazing job.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:10AM
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Thanks for the compliments!

Konrad, go for the single, deep sink, you will love how much easier it is.

My cabinets are custom for three main reasons....the finish and stain, horizontal grain and use every inch of space. I had a quote for semi custom that was almost identical (within $500.). Supporting local people is also high on my list.

Lalitha, I haven't done a finished kitchen post yet. The dang backsplash is holding me up. I also need better switch plate covers...prolly wood that I can paint myself. Ill get there asap. But feel free to email me if you want more pictures or details.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Another goal we had towards a clean simple kitchen was to have a long uninterrupted counter run. We did this by putting the ovens, fridge and cooktop on one side of the kitchen with just 27 inches of counter on each side of the cooktop. The sink and DW are on the other side of the kitchen. We didn't center the sink between the 2 windows and we added the peninsula. The peninsula juts 27 inches into the dining room and it gave me almost 30 inches width. The long sweep of counter really shows off the stone and with a stone as busy as RFG, it's good. We cook a lot and we are not neat, so the long counter is wonderful.
BTW my kitchen is 11'7 x 13.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:05AM
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Thank you all!
We kind of hit a dilemma, going plane & simple slab doors has to be veneer because of the warping thing if solid. We think for the long run they don't hold up because the veneer is so thin. What about laminate?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 1:37AM
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We have laminate in my nearly new staff lounge at work, and the uppers, which are never wet, are delaminating. The base cab doors were already replaced once. I have no idea what brand of cabs, but would be very, very cautious after this experience.

They look great, very sleek to go with the building design.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:15AM
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konrad, I haven't read through this whole thread, but I just wanted to let you know that our walnut slab door/drawer fronts are solid wood, and with the exception of the two trash-type pullouts, haven't warped a bit. They are just attached to the pullout hardware and the person who made them is itching to put a solid piece of wood behind those two fronts. We do live on the arid Front Range region of Colorado so that may play into the stability.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:42AM
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@zelmar, do you find the drain slots in the counter to be hard to clean? I've been looking at that, but hesitate for fear of not being able to clean the grooves well.

We got an induction range in December and love it! DH wanted gas, but I didn't want to run a line, and I have an irrational fear of gas problems, plus I can be a little forgetful and was afraid I may accidentally leave the gas on a little. Anyway, DH gave in and trusted my research even though he had no idea what I was talking about and he is loves it too! He gets the same control as he would with gas, it heats more efficiently, and as mentioned previously you really can cook with paper towels under the pans.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:11AM
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Rather than the slots (runnels) carved into the counter, we have wide slanted drainboard. They don't need any special care. Since I'm really messy when I'm cleaning at the sink (I never come away with a dry shirt), the tilt to the counter directs water back to the sink. The slant is subtle enough that it doesn't interfere with putting anything on the counter, even stemware.

Others have much better pictures of their drainboards. I've tried, and haven't had success. This is the best I have and I'm leaving the picture large so that the slant shows up better. I'll admit, I love a dish drainer on the counter and we keep a small one on the drainboard to the left of the sink.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Very interesting! Thanks for the pic. I think I might have to leave the sink where it is, so might convert to a single large sink. That would definitely help with the drying problem as we now wash in one and keep a drying rack in the other.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Thank you all!
>>We do live on the arid Front Range region of Colorado so that may play into the stability.What climate would this be?..humid or dry? We are very dry, this would be worse for solid,.. right?
could you please post a picture of your kitchen?

This is the first time seeing a slant in counter top towards the sink! I can see that this might be of a good thing.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:28AM
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One thing to think about with wood is that different kinds of wood are more prone to warping than others. Go and haunt some woodworking forums and ask some of these same questions.

I am not a fan of laminate or thermofoil. In my mind those are a short-term fix for people planning to move soon.

Another thing you could do is the shaker look for your doors and slab drawers. That outer frame will give you more stability in your door. It is a different look, though, and less streamlined.

The number one thing I did right to help my cleanup is to get rid of so many things on my counter by making smart and efficient storage. It's easier to clean a flat surface than one with a million items on it. Before I remodeled, my organizing guru friend came over. She made me put EVERYTHING on my kitchen table that was currently on my counters, and it all filled my table. Then she only let me put back a very few things that were essential and argued with me about even those. She told me I HAD to find a space for the rest while I designed my kitchen (not after it was done). I would advise you try this.

I think the biggest problems I have with cleanup in my new kitchen I saw coming but did them anyway:

1. I did not add a separate prep sink. I had some tradeoffs to make and this was one of them.

For you, if you are doing Chinese cooking with lots of vegetable cutting and wok cooking, a prep sink would be heaven. It will keep you sane especially if you both are working in the kitchen at once. Please go to "new to kitchens" and find out how to post your current layout here. There are several people on this Board who are excellent at advising on layouts.

2. Getting a good quality vent/fan is really key. Study up on the ones you like. If you can wash parts of it in the dishwasher, that would be ideal. I also have the glass curved hood (loved it on the posters' above) and cleaning that is a regular issue.

3. The fridge front in stainless steel--everyone loves it but it's not easy or quick to clean. If cleaning is a priority to you, don't put your fridge right near your stove, and consider one of the stainless steels that are more "smudgeproof."

Sink: I think this is personal choice. If you love your double, ask yourself why before you change. Kohler also offers a lower divided sink, as a third option but it didn't really feel right for me. Swimming against the tide, I like a double--right side is for handwashing knives or setting dirty dishes. The left is kept open (since I don't have a prep sink elsewhere). The downside to a double sink is that my roaster and largest pans will not lay flat and be submerged in water. It is still worth it to me.

Stove: I love a gas stove for the cooktop. I like the instant heat and that I can look at the flame eyelevel and get it just where I want it. Induction does sound amazing. Certain kinds of metal pans do not work on it. Do you currently have a gas stove or a line there? In terms of cost, putting in a gas line is an expense that will likely negate replacing a few pans for induction.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Oh my... Another thing to love about Zelmar's kitchen! What a great idea.

I was recently washing my kitchen floor (on hands and knees) so saw my base cabinets (beaded, Shaker style) very up close. I am sure wishing I'd gone with slab doors. There seems to be NO way to get all the little corners clean.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 4:42PM
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rhome410 hit the nail on the head. I'd rather maybe one day have some warping, (or maybe not) than be cleaning edges, and beads and frills. Even plain shaker style has edges and I'm done with all that. Give me a rag and water and I'm done in a minute.I also love the way slabs look.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 6:47PM
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@WizardNM -

Your guiding design principles hit home with me; we're empty nesters and have recently downsized, and will be overhauling the kitchen within a year or so. We want it functional, easy to maintain, and lasting as we get older.

have you selected a backsplash?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:21PM
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My current house is anything but easy to clean. The #1 thing I want in my new house -- our retirement house, which we're planning -- is efficiency. I was everything well-planned for our lifestyle so that I can keep things neat and tidy with less effort.

Things I must have in my kitchen:

- Huge walk-through pantry with floor-to-ceiling shelves for food, seldom-used cooking items, bulk-purchased paper products, etc. I love self-rotating can storage and will definitely add more when I have the space. I love the idea of everything being visible and in its place, and shelves are much less expensive than cabinets.

- A four-foot countertop in the middle of the pantry so that as I walk in from the garage, I can drop groceries and sort them right on to the shelves. Food won't enter my kitchen 'til I'm ready to cook it.

- No lightswitch in the pantry. Instead, I want automatic lights that turn on anytime I walk in ('cause don't you always have your hands full in the pantry?). Ditto for hallways, laundry room.

- Toe-kick vaccum suction thingies to eliminate the need for dust pans.

- I want my cabinets to be nice but simple. No deep engravings or requires-lots-of-wiping-down decorations on the cabinet fronts. No turned legs or feet to make the cabinets look like furniture -- I don't much care for those things anyway.

- Depending upon the cabinet arrangement we go with, I might have cabinet doors that open on both sides. My great-great-great aunt had this when I was growing up, and it is SO practical for everyday dishes. You can wash your dishes in the kitchen and fill the cabinet from one side . . . then you go into the dining room, open the cabinet from the other side, and set the table.

- Likewise, simple edges on the countertops. Less expensive, less chance of chipping, fewer places for spills to accumulate.

- Drawers rather than cabinets so that I can use all the space at the back without difficulty.

- We'll probably have one Lazy Susan. I definitely want a light inside that cabinet.

- One drawer will have a built-in spot for knife storage. I want as little clutter as possible on my countertops.

- One cabinet will house garbage and recycling. This cabinet will be positioned between my sink/clean-up area and my prep area.

- Few upper cabinets. No, I don't go for the trendy shelves-instead-of-cabinets (how much space you give up, and if it wasn't 100% neat, it'd look awful), but I'm too short to reach the uppers comfortably. So we're minimizing them.

- One upper cabinet designed for spices. I have a fantastic spice storage system (not built-in, but perfect), and I'm making sure the cabinets are sized just right for it.

- Light fixtures that are not shaped like a drinking glass. Why? Because bugs get in there and die, and it's trouble to take down the fixture and clean it. In contrast, a fixture that is "open on the bottom" doesn't collect buggies.

- I like my glass-top stove, but I love the raised lip around the edge. When something spills, it stays on the stovetop rather than running down the front.

- I love my refrigerator with pull-out shelves . . . but I despise that it's in a corner and I can only open the door 90 degrees. The shelves and crisper on the left side are pretty much permanant fixtures.

- Appliances that do not show finger prints.

- The dishwasher will open in such a way that it does not block access to any cabinets (upper or lower) when it's open.

- No appliance, no door should impede traffic flow.

- Definitely an undermount sink. Un-fussy one-handled faucet -- the fewer pieces, the fewer places to accumulate grime. Also a medium-sized one-bowl sink with the drain positioned on one side rather than in the middle (leaves more space under the sink for cleaning products to be stored). Good garbage disposal.

- No prep sink. The size of the kitchen we're planning doesn't really lend itself to two sinks, and I see two sinks as two things to clean and two sets of plumbing to eventually break down.

- Since we're in the South with red clay soil, we're going with a tile with a slight red tint -- think terra cotta, but not quite so red. Or maybe I'll stick with hardwood throughout the house. I'm not certain on that one.

- Very important: A top-quality floor mat at every exterior door. Be sure it's at least five steps long. This'll keep a tremendous amount of dirt from entering your house.

Things I'm having even though they will be some trouble:

- Glass-front cabinets. Love them. Will clean them without complaint.

- Large window over the sink. Again, want the light pouring in and will clean the window without complaint.

- Curtains. Yeah, I know that most of the magazines showcase wide-open windows, but I like the softness of pretty curtains.

The two suggestions I'd give you in planning:

- Inventory everything you have in your kitchen. And anticipate whether you're the type to add every new small appliance that comes along, whether you're likely to add another set of dishes, etc. Then, looking at your floor plan, mentally put away every item. Does it all fit? Does it leave a reasonable amount of space for expansion?

- Once you're satisified with your cabinet arrangement, mentally walk through some of your typical meal preps. Where will you stand to chop your vegetables? Are your favorite knives stored nearby? How far do you have to reach for the trash can? Where do you reach for your frying pan? Where's the oil?

A couple hours staring at your floor plans will save you regrets.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:34PM
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