Modest Kitchen Budget - that 1 splurge - what would it be?

autumn.4October 15, 2012

Hello all.

We are planning on building in 2014. I am pretty sure the most expensive room in most houses is likely to be the kitchen due to appliances and cabinetry. That said we are on a modest budget and while I see sooo many cool things in all of these kitchens, reality is that *maybe* I'll be able to have just one. I haven't yet priced cabinets (need to post my layout for feedback first) but I have done enough appliance research to know that my kitchen will have to forego many of the 'latest and greatest'.

For some perspective - top of the line in my budget is likely along the lines of KitchenAid...

So - what is your favorite wouldn't give it up item, appliance or detail?

When I say that one splurge I am thinking along the lines of:

cabinet drawers instead of doors

tall uppers - to the ceiling?

range vent hood vs. microwave with vent above the stove

cooktop instead of stand alone stove

wall ovens instead of stove oven

warming drawer

dish drawers instead of regular dishwasher

If I missed something that is your personal favorite - please share it!

Thank you!

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My copper prep sink in the island. Function and beauty!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:55PM
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I would never give up my drawers.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:01PM
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I currently have an OTR microhood. I hate it HATE IT. I would never, never consider building without installing an externally vented range hood. It doesn't have to be a spendy Modernaire hood, but it does need to be vented to the outside. I would not consider that a splurge but a health and cleanliness requirement. I spend way too much time cleaning greasy surfaces in my house without a good vent. I'll never get those hours back.

The other way to think about choices is what can easily be replaced later versus what will be permanent. Thus, skip DW drawers now as they can be replaced when you replace the DW, but the wall ovens or drawer bases can not be retrofitted easily. I would choose either of those over granite anyday and instead install a laminate countertop that could readily be upgraded later to soapstone. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:04PM
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if i had to choose among your splurge choices, i would go for the range hood instead of the combo microwave/hood. But it is because I cook very strong smelling foods and the microwave/hoods are underpowered for that. YMMV!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:10PM
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I would say an induction range. I would even take that over all the drawers in my kitchen. I love my induction cooktop. I got my Kenmore Elite induction at a Sears Outlet so it was 1/2 the cost of the regular one. COMPLETELY worth it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sears Outlet

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Drawers in the base cabinets over anything else on your list or not. Every single base cabinet. I did half of them drawers and WISH I'd done drawers for them all. They're that huge of an improvement over standard bases, retrofitted rev-a-shelf bases, and even far exceed the pantries with roll out shelves. I wish I'd done them everywhere.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Fori is not pleased

Some choices cost less and save money for splurges elsewhere. Like say, a cooktop/wall oven setup does cost more than a range. But a range is not always a downgrade. For the cost of a cooktop/wall oven, you can get a better quality range because you save money on cabinetry.

What would I splurge on? I don't know. Too hard! :)

I guess I'd not build at all if I couldn't build it the way I wanted. Or I would cut elsewhere on the build in places that are less painful to upgrade later.

But then I'm too lazy to get off my rear and do a simple remodel when my only concern is the inconvenience so I'm the wrong one to answer this.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:32PM
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If you cook a lot and loves to cook, an externally vented hood will get so much use. When you saute and fry, the steam coming out contains tiny droplets of oil that will make all the surfaces sticky over time. The only reason I am not doing an external vented hood is because I live in a townhouse and can't alter the structure of the house, but if I build from ground up, then give me those big shinny vent hood.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Your list in my order of priority:

1) Cabinet drawers - Don't know how I lived without them!
2) Vent hood - For reasons stated above
3) Tall uppers - Look better, more storage, no dated soffit.
4) Warming drawer - I don't have one, but would use if I did.
5) Cooktop/wall ovens - Only if they work better in layout.
6) Dish drawers - My sister hates hers.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:47PM
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If you love to cook and bake, or want to in the future, and want responsiveness, consistency, accuracy... I'd spend my money on quality appliances. (Stove, oven, hood) There are better brands you can get for KA prices, IMO. (Fisher & Paykel, Electrolux, Bosch)

I'd consider something like IKEA cabinets to have your drawers maybe at a less expensive price than others?

If you can't afford cabinets to the ceiling, try the approach of putting shorter cabinets up to the ceiling with an open shelf underneath. It's a great look, and I think it'd be practical, too.

I've never had a warming drawer, so don't miss it. Dish drawers might be limiting in the size of things you can wash and if a regular dishwasher can get things clean, I'm not sure it's that much of a sacrifice.

I love my prep sink. That's one thing I wouldn't want to do without, but it has to be positioned properly to be of value.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Your appliance choices and layout have to be good from the start or you can gut the kitchen to redo it. Talking from the experience of buying a house that we thought needed new appliances and counters and wound up gutting. A good layout doesn't need to cost any more than a bad one, so get that right and save money and headaches in the long run.

Cooktops and ovens are the least standard as far as sizes and replacement and things like double ovens vs range are layout issues. Again, these choices don't have to be more expensive, but they do need to be done well for your needs because changing them out later can be very expensive.

The one cost new factor I see on your list I would prioritize would be more drawers. That can sometimes be retrofitted, but it's more money and possibly less successful than doing it from the start -- and the ease of use is so much nicer.

Ventilation is important, but having the duct in place is the biggest thing. If you have a recirculating micro/hood, then you don't have a duct and you will spend more trying to retrofit a duct -- and that is assuming that you have planned ahead and have the ability to run a duct. And then what do you do with the micro? I would prefer a hood and micro separately and upgrade the hood down the road if needed, but if you need to make budget choices, the key is planning.

You can live forever without a warming drawer and dish drawers. Some folks might not like or use them. Many folks would rather have double ovens and forego a warming drawer. Personally, I wouldn't blow any budget for dish drawers, and dishwashers are probably the easiest to replace appliance, the most likely to be first to replace and one of the least expensive to replace. I'd make both of these a low priority.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:21PM
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I agree on an externally vented hood.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Induction cooktop (or range). Single most important change I made. Responsive like gas, but safer and so easy to clean.

If I were really, really splurging a lot, I'd splurge on a 30" double wall oven with french doors. The ones on the market were way more than I could afford. Still, in terms of what has the biggest impact, I'd say induction.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:49PM
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I just recently moved into my dream kitchen after a to-the-studs renovation, and I will say that the thing that has changed my life the most is a strong, externally vented range hood. The drawers and the huge cleanup sink have also revolutionized the way I work in the kitchen. I'd drop down a level in cabinet quality in order to get almost all drawers. And my sink was relatively inexpensive.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:51PM
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suggestion on your approach:

to increase your splurge-worthy list get into the mindset of shopping scratch and dent, craigslist and shop hard on the internet. i purchased a lovely wolf range at scratch and dent sale, would never have been able to afford one otherwise. have read about other posters purchasing practically brand new applicances on craigslist or ebay for fractions of retail. you may be able to get 2-3 spurges this way!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:07PM
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A good range and cookware. It will add to the quality of your food and make cooking more enjoyable.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Function...wall oven and microwave not over cooktop/range.

Looks...great backsplash :)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:38PM
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I think the place to splurge is probably the cabinetry. Of course, I want to splurge on counter... That says something about me, I am sure.

I always feel like appliances could come last - and one at a time, as they are the easiest to upgrade. Others shoot arrows at me for that sentiment, though. They probably actually cook... lol

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I would splurge on the appliances. To me they are the centerpiece of the kitchen. In fact, that's what we are doing with this remodel - we were trying to keep the cost of the cabinet down so we can buy induction cooktop, wall oven and counter-depth fridge!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Why do so many people say drawers are better than cabinets? What about drawers vs. cabinets with pull out shelves?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I think that it depends on how you use your kitchen, the type of cooking you actually do. We eat pretty extreme paleo, so high heat convection roasting and broiling happens often. For us, good ventilation was most important.
I have a warming drawer, and have never turned it on, lol, wonder if it even works?
Do you need ovens separate from a range, or a cooktop? Again, this depends on the way you cook.
Many well presented arguments for drawers here. I have never had them, and don't miss them. I don't crowd things into my cabinets though, so have never had to crawl around searching for things. I would very much like a pantry, and not for any sort of drygoods, but to put additional refrigeration and a freezer closer. However, this is not a priority.
I did research dish drawers, and decided to stick with a regular dishwasher.

I second babuska_cat's suggestion for shopping outside of regular retail. It has saved us thousands.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Vented hood

-- To me those things weren't splurges, they were must-haves that I would have sacrificed other things to get. To me a splurge is something you want but don't necessarily need because there are viable, less-expensive alternatives (like countertop materials).

One thing to think about is replaceability of appliances. It's much more expensive to replace a cooktop and wall oven than a range, because they don't come in standard sizes. The frugal approach is to get a range so you aren't faced with cabinetry/countertop changes down the road, unless it is hard for you to bend to use an oven. My range's oven is also larger than many (most?) wall ovens, so I am completely satisfied to stick with a range. But as someone said above, the range vs cooktop/wall oven decision has as much to do with layout as anything else. Also you have to think about whether your cooking style requires two ovens, and if so whether a countertop oven would be an option. And layout-wise, it is more expensive to vent a cooktop on an island than against a wall, so try to have your vent hood on a wall and think about where the duct will go before you set the layout in stone.

Dish drawers and warming drawer: I don't need these. My range has a warming drawer but right now I am storing cookie sheets in it. We might use it as a warming drawer someday, I can't say.

Cabinets to ceiling: these are nice but again it depends on the space. We used Ikea cabinets, so the extra cost for taller uppers was minimal -- as was the cost for drawers, really.

To me the very best "splurge" that we did was moving the sink out from under the window in order to have plenty of prep space in a sensible location. Adding a second sink has also been very helpful for the workflow in our kitchen (finally DH is not trying to make coffee in the same place I am chopping veggies). And I wouldn't count this as a splurge because we didn't have a choice, but a big expense was our electrical upgrade. Peace of mind (and circuits that don't blow) is a nice thing.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:10PM
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we are still moving into our new kitchen but:
drawers instead of cupboards was a given, not an option.
vented instead of MV/vent - need good venting in a kitchen.
The one splurge that has surprised me the most was the fridge...we broke the budget for a gaggenau fridge, mainly for the looks (fully integrated) and the perceived quality/warranty. However, the sales stuff about keeping your food fresh longer - its actually true!! the thing is a work of art and its performance is nothing short of stunning compared to our old basic fridge - for example... fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley would get soggy and wilted after a few days in our old fridge, now they are fine two WEEKS later! splurge on this if you can.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Why do so many people say drawers are better than cabinets? What about drawers vs. cabinets with pull out shelves?

You can get more depth to drawers and you don't have to open, usually, 2 doors all the way out to access each one like you do for pullouts. Pullouts takes more steps/time and more room. I hated my pullouts and preferred stationary shelves, but I love my drawers!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Hi, Autumn4. Windows. Instead of upper cabinets. Mine are stock double-hungs. I wrapped them right along both walls and around the corner over my L counter, interrupted only by a 42" wall with custom stove hood (made by our finish carpenters and would be #2 if you asked for a second one and if it didn't cost so little done that way). This makes my kitchen feel very large and airy, fills it with sunshine and pretty views, makes all parts of the counter lovely to work at, and creates a built-in distinction that has nothing to do with adding on expensive finishes. I like to think anyway. It's otherwise a budget kitchen. :)

1. Pull out.
2. Push in.
Cabinets with pull-out shelves
1. Open door.
2. Pull out.
3. Push in.
4. Close door.
That said, some love their cabinets with pull-outs. One particular advantage is that they allow copying the look of a pre-drawer era. Such as colonial times.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:49PM
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For me, on your list, drawers would be my first priority. I do love ikea cabinets though, so even with drawers they are relatively affordable. If the budget allows for one more splurge, I would go for a decent vent hood that vents outside.

The rest of your list would not be my prioritIes. I'd splurge on backsplash tile or flooring before I'd go for dish drawers, for example.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:53PM
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northcarolina's answer above is pretty much exactly what I would have said. Saves me all that typing and I can just say "ditto'. :-)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:40PM
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I think everyone does things their own way and that would be important in the splurge.
I prefer a range because I want my broiler as well as oven under my hood.
I also prefer drawers for the efficiency. That covers 3 of your list. DW, I want a quiet one that cleans well. Warming oven, though nice unless I had a large kit I wouldn't donate the space to such a luxury. Tall cabs to the ceiling? You could plan ahead to add to the top when money allowed.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:48PM
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Drawers! AND countertops!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Are drawers more money? I think a cab with a pull-out for me would have been more expensive than a drawers. Or at least it wasn't a significant difference.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:30PM
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Wow - so many great responses - thank you! I will be posting my layout here so I'm hoping that I will at least have function down. :) I do not have that now and after all of the reading on here I think I'm getting it down.

I do cook, family of 4 with 2 boys that continue to amaze me in the amount of food they can pack away at 7 and 10, but I digress! I hear it only gets worse!

On the vent hood - I rarely turn mine on because I can't stand the noise. I seriously only use it if something boils over and then only as long as I have to and prefer to open a window. Are hood vents quieter than the microwave variety? That said I really want a vent hood and the kitchen is on an outside wall so I am planning on having one. I must say though my original fancy for them was more for looks than all of the practical things that everyone pointed out here!

Induction - I will have to research that. I have heard of them but don't really know what they are about (same with speed and steam ovens). My current stove is a 14 year old ceramic top and it's pretty much all I know except for the 'good old days' of apartment living. It has served me well but I was going to look into gas for speed even though I've never cooked on it. I'm glad that you mentioned induction!

I thought it would be drawers and I really want to make them a hands down must have more than a splurge I guess. I think my frame of mind is anything that is an 'upgrade' is likely a splurge. So that means in every category - even for countertops - if we'd splurge on granite it would be the more common less expensive which would make it basic and not as much of a splurge?

Many of you pointed out cabinets vs. appliances as they aren't as easily changed out, very good point. I will have to keep that in mind as we go through the selection process.

babushka-cat & starinasgardens - have you bought off of Craigslist? I am kind of scared to buy big ticket items like appliances off of there. I guess I'm concerned that I would still pay a chunk of change for something even if it was a 'deal' and then have it not work right? You have had good luck?

Rosie-I think you posted on another of my threads regarding uppers. I love the picture you paint of the windows but I think I need to have a least a couple of uppers! I am trying really hard to get some windows in there. I think if I get rid of the wall oven my chances are better to do that.

mamasheshe-thanks for the input on the dish drawers. I mainly thought the theory behind them was good. We always have EITHER the top or bottom full and the other nearly empty so I thought it would help solve the no silverware or no cups problem! Glad for the first (or second) hand report.

Fori-lol - we have thought about just waiting and saving more to have what we want and we may still but even so I can't go crazy in the kitchen (although I might remind dh of that when it comes to building his 'barn'). I am sure I can design and outfit a very nice kitchen without going way over the top in cost. Considering my current layout functionality it really wouldn't take much to make me feel delighted! But bells and whistles they are fun too! Good point on the range not necessarily being a downgrade.

Caspian-the fridge really makes that much of a difference? That is quite something. I can't keep cucumbers (my boys love them) fresh in the crisper for more than about 2 days before they start getting soggy and gross.

rhome410-I will have to check IKEA. I have tried their site for laying out a kitchen but haven't checked out their products. The nearest one to me is about 3 hours away. May be worth the drive. I was thinking if we can't go to the ceiling (I am also thinking it may be an option to put transoms up there to get light in) with the cabinets it would just be open space - no soffit. Right now our ceilings are 8', with the build they will be 9'.
Lascatx and northcarolina -I am paying close attention to layout. The layout that is shown in the plan we like is...awful. It's claustrophobic and forces everyone through the kitchen. So I have been playing with it and I think it can be a really nice space. You are right on the appliance replacement, they do not last like they used to that's for sure.

Steph2000-I like counters too...and backsplashes.

LavendarLass-I like the kitchen you posted on a previous thread with the windows flanking the stove. I am trying to achieve that but they will either be fairly slender or end up being transoms. Due to cost I doubt I'll get to keep the wall ovens but it will be an okay trade if I get the windows.

I know I missed many of you and I started this post 2 hours ago so I may have missed even more but I appreciate all of your input. There is so much to consider and much of it is new to me. Starting from scratch is good but overwhelming, I am trying to prioritize.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Ginny20-I thought drawers were quite a bit more? I will be checking into it!

I think dish drawers are out based upon all of your responses.

For those of you that have IKEA cabinets - you are happy with them?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Yes, I would not have believed it either...they really do work far better than 'typical' fridges...I was very sceptical with the sales guy as I figured it was just talk to justify a pretty but overpriced appliance. However, things really do last better. And the thing is quiet, very quiet.
One point about splurging - your kitchen is still a work room so splurge on things that will make the kitchen work better. I did a huge amount of DIY so I could splurge on the 'tools' of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:59PM
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Caspian-yes, we do a fair amount of DIY also so that we can have some of the nicer or higher end things that we like. Very impressed with the fridge! Kills me that produce is so expensive and hardly lasts. We try to eat fresh but it's hard. I can't go to the grocery store every day. May I ask what fridge you ended up with? Is is more of an industrial type fridge?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:36PM
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i bought my wolf range at a scratch and dent, no issues whatsoever. have bought and sold plenty from craigslist including the table AND the cats below!




if you are nervous about appliances get other stuff - hardare, fixures, cabinets, lighting and kittens - they need good homes!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Well I LOVE the kitties - they dress anything and everything up! :)

I will start checking. I have bought a spin bike off craigslist with no issues but it's not electrical nor is it a necessity and I think that is what is making me nervous.

I don't mind if the scratch and dent aren't showing. In fact my brand new fridge (well 14 years ago when it was brand new) was gouged by the delivery guy when he brought it in the can't see it but I didn't PAY scratch and dent prices so I was ticked but also young and newly married so I said nothing.

Are the appliances you got from other homeowners or from stores?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Lovin' the craigslist kittens!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:14PM
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two things i have sold on craigslist: a very nice washer and dryer and a honda civic. when i bought my house it came with W/D so I sold mine which i had bought brand new and they had maybe 4 years light use of 1 single working professional. good deal for the guy that bought them and they worked perfetly fine.

car had some miles but i was the only owner, non smoker, all records.

you need to do your homework but it is possible. there are still plenty of savings to be had, even if just by buying non-electrical items. if you are not comfortable, don't do it but you might want to explore your options.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Just finished our kitchen and here are my favorites.
Drawers! I do have a dish drawer and I do like mine. I also love my storage container drawer. No more avalanches!
Faucet. - love my Waterstone faucet. My frugal DM talked me into the faucet.
Cabinets to the ceiling - our ceiling is only 8 feet and the taller ceilings make such a difference!
Craigslist kitchen aid mixer.

I went with wall ovens (wolf convection and ge speed) and an induction cooktop. Still trying to make friends with it.

My hood is very basic as I wasn't willing to put in a make up air system and the code is strictly enforced in our city.

Most important is the design and your zones. I love my bake zone! I didn't have room for a prep sink but advance planning trumps while baking.

So exciting to have guidance. I only found GW after I signed off on the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:23PM
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    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Autumn.4 I just want to add that you may not need to purchase a super high end refrigerator to get better refrigeration than you currently have.
I bought a Samsung French door refrigerator for my kitchen remodel and it definitely keeps produce, deli meats and everything else fresh much longer than my previous refrigerator. Like caspian said some things keep up to 2 weeks.
We didn't go with an induction cooktop but my new Dacor gas cooktop is oh so much better than my old gas stove. It heats much faster and has burners that actuall simmer without continuing to boil what's in the pot.
Also we switched from a vented over the range microwave to a Venta Hood. I can't believe the difference. I disliked the noise that my microwave vent made too. The noise that the Venta Hood makes does not irritate me like the noisy microwave vent did.
I did try to research which appliances were the best and most reliable but found that there were good and bad reviews on all. Good luck on your appliance hunt.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Thanks badgergal. I am sure in 14 years things are much improved, including energy efficiency. By the way - I have your kitchen clipped. What an awesome space and I like your corner wall ovens. :) Thank you for chiming in on the vent hood also. It's not like my house is quiet with 2 young boys but that mw fan - it's a no go, can't take it! I have noticed the mixed reviews on just about everything, sigh. I know there will be regrets - I just hope they aren't big ones!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Well, goes without saying that this is a personal choice based on what is important to you in your kitchen.

However, I can say with conviction that for us, it would be the rangehood that vents to the outside vs. the over the range microwave and no vent.
The fact we had no outside ventilation, and an electric stove, is what started this entire remodel.

If we had not been able to reno the entire kitchen, we would have saved up for ventilation and to replace our old electric cooktop with a gas one of the same size.

But- we cook, a lot. And we love to use a wok. Someone with different cooking habits would answer differently.

The other thing is- are drawers vs. cabinets considered a splurge? If so, they are worth every penny. They are my 3rd favorite thing in our new kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:38PM
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"cabinet drawers instead of doors "

noooooooooo! those are a MUST have!!! with full extension.

you can always put in a cheaper hood/vent (and replace down the road when more money saved up)

I'd get the wall oven. and a cooktop. check the outlet stores for a better price on them.

You can change out to induction later if you want to.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:44PM
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I'm still I the "before" camp, but very deep into the research and planning phase for the kitchen remodel.

We cook a lot. Like 6-7 nights a week. And we aren't ones to buy lunch out a lot, or get fancy coffees. So we made sure we have the tools we need at home, which is easier to justify when you think of all the money you are not spending out.

An outside venting hood is a must for us, we HATE the OTR MW. It's loud. It's very old. And it just doesn't do much. I have read several places that getting a vent with a little more power than needed helps keep the noise down since you wouldn't need to run it at full capacity all the time. If you are building the ducting in from the start, and don't need a fancy looking vent, this doesn't have to be a splurge area as you can do it very reasonably.

One other must for me is frameless cabinets. I need the inches! It was hard for me to find them in my area, and they are a little more than the framed cabintes I liked, but they are also better quality so that's fine with me. Would have done Ikea if I had one closer to visit after reading all the threads on here, or even the RTA sites mentioned a lot, but I also don't have the time to assemble them or the patience to wade through the ordering details.

Drawers are also a must. I hadn't thought much about it until I came to GW. Then I realized the new bathroom vanity we got had drawers that worked much better than the old cabinet. And then I went back to the showroom with my measuring tape. Even in the frameless cabinets the roll outs wasted so much space! It was about 3 inches total lost when drawers were used (so 15 inches inside the drawer for an 18 inch cab) vs about 4.5 inches lost with roll outs. Plus I don't think there is a big price difference to get the drawers instead of roll outs or regular cabinets.

Tall uppers is worth serious consideration. If you stay with the standard options, like 36 or 42, it might help. I am very excited to get the extra storage. You might want to consider at least 36 inches a must, then "splurge"on taller or to the ceiling if you have the room in the budget. You might be able to use open shelving in some areas, or as a shelf below regular uppers in some areas if layout works that way.

I would "splurge" on good cooking equipment since you cook a lot. We got an GE induction range and LOVE it! It even has a warming drawer that we have used, though I don't think we would have purchased a seperate one. There is a ton of great info over on the appliances forum if you are interested. It was a little more than a regular range, but it's responsive like gas, no risk of gas leaks, and easy to clean. Our "splurge" will be a 240 V Advantium. Since we are getting a real hood, we needed a MW anyway, and we are very eager to try speed cooking since we work late many nights. If you think a range + MW or speed oven will work best, go that route, or if you think a cooktop + ovens will work best, go that way.

Like others mentioned, I didn't see any reason for a dishwasher drawer. I am completely amazed at how quiet our new traditional one is. It is quiet and cleans well, and that's really all I wanted :-)

That's about all I can comment on at the moment. The one thing I would recommend is that you figure out what appliances you want and watch for sales. We got our range and DW online for a black Friday sale, with a rebate on top of the sale price, a 5% discount for registering for the online store, and free shipping. If you can watch the prices for a few weeks, you will be able to spot a good deal when it comes along! And if you know anyone that works for GE and like any GE appliances, ask them to send you an invite to the Friends and Family store (at least as of December the best reasonable induction ranges were GE and Electrolux).

Have fun planning! You will find great information and Ideas here!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:58PM
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>Autumn.4 I just want to add that you may not need to purchase a super high end refrigerator to get better refrigeration than you currently have.

Just wanted to second this. A friend who rents just had the ancient hotpoint fridge in her unit replaced with the very cheapest one the landlord could find, and she also comments on how very much longer everything lasts, even with the crummiest machine out there.

I would confidently expect something like gaggenau to be even better, but any change to a newer model in any price bracket is likely to be a very noticeable improvement.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:13AM
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"Why do so many people say drawers are better than cabinets? What about drawers vs. cabinets with pull out shelves?"

there are many threads on drawers vs cabs and rots. search on the main page toward the bottom of the page...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:39AM
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I wouldn't give up my frameless, mostly drawers cabinets. So much more efficient, so much more storage, so easy to access. I also went from a 30" range top and 24" wall oven to a stand alone 30" stove. Love the bigger oven below the burners and that it freed up more counter space in my small kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:56AM
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The heart and hearth of the home - The Stove!

I'm getting a new Lacanche but we are keeping our old frig in our almost whole house rebuild. (We'v had 3 stoves in past 28 years - have to stop buying cheap stoves when the existing one gets down to 2 burners, no oven.)

Amazed how many people said Venting - we have always had OTR Microwaves that were noisy and ineffective. I thought ALL venting was like that. So much to learn on GW!

Get a good stove that will do well the cooking you like. If it is electronlcally simple, like Wolf, or Capitol Culinarian etc, it'll probably last years longer than a one with a touch pad.

The prior suggestion of Formica now, expensive countertop later makes sense.

GW-this is such a wonderful website! Autumn, that was a fantastic question, look at your responses! And I benefited as well.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:36AM
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Agree on the fridge - we have a 2 year old frenvh door elux and food stays so fresh!

We used to have a MW over the range exhaust. It was noisy and I never used it. Our new one is so much quieter I made a giant batch of chile last night and it was great. Granted only 350 cfm but will boost to 450 (shhh)
The house doesn't smell like chile this morning!

One other item- led under counter lights.

So many decisions to make and so many opinions! Can't wait to see your choices!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:24AM
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Venting is a must but you can't judge the performance of a vented OTR microwave based on the performance of one that is not (the poster who raised this issue indicates that their's was not vented). Ventilation requirements and the function of an OTR microwave (the bigger issue) should be based on your needs. I think if you have or will have folks in your house who will want\need access to the microwave while you are cooking an OTR microwave is a mistake - it brings folks into the cooking area. If you don't use your current hood I'm not sure you will find the performance of a 400cfm OTR microwave is that bad. Good hood will be better but as long as the venting is there your good to go if you want to change down the line.

Focus on the things you can't change easily like cabinetry and floors. I'd want the drawers.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Outside vented range hood, hands down.

Secondarily, cost compare drawers vs regular cabinets with roll out shelves. If you go ahead w/ cabinets, the rollouts could be an easy upgrade later on down the road too.

Wall oven & rangetop/cooktop is nice to have especially if this is the house you will grow old in. If you can find a good deal on the appliances in an outlet or on Craiglist/eBay I would do it, but vent hood & drawers/rollout shelves are more important IMO.

Unless you entertain alot, I don't see a need for a separate warming drawer. There are many other options that work just as well: double oven stand alone ranges & use one oven for warming set at 200 degrees vs a single oven & many ranges come with the old pot/pan drawer on the bottom is converted to a warming drawer, some DWs now come with a plate warming option too.

Too many problems with dishdrawers IMO & can always be upgraded later.

Tall uppers are not all they're cracked up to be IMO. You'll always have to have a stool handy nearby to reach the items on those higher shelves--I'm 5'4" and anything above the 2nd-3rd shelf requires a stool.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:20AM
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laura mcleod

For me - I would splurge on the foundational pieces:

- As many high quality windows as I could get

- Good quality hardwood flooring throughout

- and as high quality of cabinets as I could afford, to the ceiling with drawers.

- As far as appliances, I would want to figure out what would not be standard (built in fridge etc..) - then plan the layout accordingly. For the standard sized appliances, I would shop Craigslist, etc like Babuska Cat suggests - we got our range about 50% off retail because we stalked it for about 5 months.

Enjoy the planning!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:26AM
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If you plan your kitchen well you may be able to afford more than you think. Here are some ideas:

1. Minimize the number of cabinets. One 36" cabinet costs less than two 18" cabinets. One 54"H wall cabinet costs less than an 18"H cabinet stacked on a 36"H cabinet. I put an 8' wide window in my kitchen, and windows cost less than cabinets. Because I had fewer wall cabinets, the LED undercabinet lighting was not much of a splurge (I only needed two). I could buy a more expensive backsplash because I didn't have that much wall space.

2. Proper ventilation is not really a splurge. Just get a real vent hood and vent it to the outside. A microhood doesn't necessarily save money, it saves space, and you can stash a microwave any number of places.

3. Design a kitchen that works well without a prep sink. Don't even think about a pot filler.

4. You can take your cabinets to the ceiling less expensively by stopping short of the ceiling by about a foot and filling the space with a board like this:

5. Painted cabinets generally cost 10% more than wood. For my cabinets, inset cabinets were 10% more than full overlay and frameless cabinets were 10% less than framed cabinets.

6. Sears outlet is a good place to look for your appliances. Don't get a suite of appliances - get the best refrigerator, the best dishwasher, etc. within your budget. A range will almost always be less than a separate cooktop and oven.

7. Drawers instead of doors just makes sense. You'll be able to store more efficiently and reduce the number of cabinets you "need." I have a few with doors (like a 15" deep cabinet for appliances like my food processor and stand mixer), but I use drawers for pots and pans and dinnerware.

8. Make your layout as tight as possible. Miles of countertop will cost more and be a pain to keep clean. You want landing spots by the refrigerator and range. You want one or two good-sized (3'-4'?) prep areas. You want some space to stack dishes in your clean-up space.

After all that, I'll answer your question. My one splurge I wouldn't want to be without is my prep sink. It makes my layout a lot more efficient and I use it as much or more than my clean-up sink. If you count my painted cabinets as a splurge, maybe that wins, too.

Good luck, and have fun!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Autumn4 - The cabinets. Put the most money you have into your cabinets. I just "redid" my kitchen after 20 years, and my natural cherry cabinets are still gorgeous, I just had to switch out some drawers that had been damaged. I changed the hardware/countertop/backsplash/sink/faucet/range/floor....but it didn't cost too much to redo my kitchen because I didn't have to replace my cabinets.

So my recommendation: find cabinets you love, that are classic in design and will withstand the passing of time and enjoy! Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:07PM
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One thing that can really cut the cost of construction (not kitchen-specific) is to design your home to the dimensions of standard building materials. The less time your contractor spends cutting plywood, 2x4s, and sheetrock, the lower your labor costs.

Regarding ventilation: under cabinet hoods like the one Babushka_cat showed in her pic are inexpensive compared to chimney hoods, but they do vent to the outside. To me, an over-the-range microwave should only be considered if it addresses space constraints (no other place for the microwave).

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:40PM
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In addition to scratch and dents, don't be afraid to check out the high end appliance stores. We have found some incredible bargains on floor models, discontinued models and appliances that have been returned because someone changed their mind - all in perfect condition, with warranties. We have most of our appliances now but, just a couple of months ago, one local store was selling their Gaggenau floor model ovens for approx. 75% off because they were no longer carrying them. We even found a Miele warming drawer for $150 at one place.

If you start shopping now, keep your eyes open, and your mind open with regard to brands, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised as to what you can get for your money.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:11PM
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You will have two eating machines hanging around your house for another ten years at least. Buy a great refrigerator. It's the most used appliance in the kitchen. Plan your kitchen layout well and put in good but not over-the-top cabinets, floors, and counters (and for Heaven's sake take care of them!), and your kitchen will give you many years of satisfaction.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Since you're building new, an OTR MW/vent shouldn't even be a consideration. It's one thing if you're in a small apartment or condo and space is a premium. It might also be necessary if you're renovating and retrofitting might be cost prohibitive. But any new build should be a vent. End of story.

As others have noted above, drawers really aren't that much more. If you're considering pullouts vs. drawers, then drawers could even be cheaper. The splurge part to drawers, might be soft-close vs. regular. But even then it's not much more. You can spend a little more on your cabinetry without it being a considered major splurge.

That said, I would say that two areas that might be worth splurging on are your counter tops and your appliances. Depending on what you get, counter tops can be harder to replace later. They might be worth splurging now to avoid a headache later. Better appliances also mean better functionality and possibly better reliability. You can either spend more for them or look for sales, as mentioned above.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Focus now on the things that can't be improved as easily in future. I'd get the ventilation and the best cabinets I could (including drawers). Choose a countertop with a later upgrade in mind (don't get a cheap granite that's a pain to upgrade, do butcher block or something). Plan space for appliances and you can improve them later too.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:38PM
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So much good information and it all helps!

mpagmom-thank you for that bit on sizes - that I also did not know. I figured standard sizes yet but hadn't thought any further than that! Is that your kitchen pic? Very nice. I hadn't thought of some sort of trim piece to appear like it goes to the ceiling (and not have to worry about dust). Kitchen won't be that large 12x14 but a doorway in there so really 12 x 11ish so no worries on the miles of countertop but good points! And yes - pot filler and prep sink are out of the question for sure. I think I can get a good layout without the prep sink.

Dreamhome-even at 5'7" I find my standard cabinets top shelf to be a stretch and the one over the fridge only dh can reach without a chair. I am fine with my standard height ones but with 9' foot ceilings think they might look funny. I am going to bookmark dreamhomes idea.

akrogirl-I have never even looked at a high end appliance (wolf, subzero and I've never even heard of gaggenau???), lol! I will be sure to shop around and see what we can find.

williamsem-still in planning also - so when are you doing your kitchen? I like your thought process. We rarely eat out. I think I do need to think of the appliances and things as tools in a way. Since we both brown bag it every day and our eating out usually consists of subway or a pizza we have been prudent in that way as far as spending. Not all meals are long drawn out ones with schedules tight some nights but I do cook a lot and spend many hours in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning up from cooking.

cawaps-I hope our architect will keep an eye on the standard size rooms and such. I definitely want to keep to standard as much as possible.

a2 - love GW. I have lurked for over a year but now that we are going to build I took the plunge as that is too daunting of a task to do 'alone'. I tried to find your finished kitchen with google and instead I found that possibly your reveal may be this weekend?!...I am pretty sure we live in the same state only a few hours apart and my hubby is also a road/cross biker (I'm too sissy to ride that tight on the road, I prefer to tour). Too funny! If I am wrong on the kitchen and you have posted it please link it so I can see it if you wouldn't mind?

rmtdoug-yes, sadly they are already mini-machines. I know they need to grow but leave a few crumbs for Mom and leftovers are a thing of the past!

jscout-oh yes, if I have drawers I really want soft close. I am not the best shopper, actually not my favorite thing to do but for something like this I will have to get on it!

Think I have a lot of research to do yet. I will post my kitchen layout(s) and see what you all think. I hope I'm on the right track.

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Just to clarify, no, that isn't my kitchen. It's pulled from a website to illustrate the point, but I did the same thing.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:51PM
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We splurged a lot in our soon to be completed kitchen, but I think the best decision we made was way in the beginning to bump out the kitchen wall a few feet. For us, we wanted and needed space. We cook a ton, and because of dietary issues, we have lots of different ingredients and tools. I can't imagine ever having enough storage space or work space. We can always go back and upgrade appliances, but square footage is much harder to add later on.

One thing we learned was that just because the architect places appliances and fixtures in certain places in the kitchen, it doesn't mean the cabinets can actually be placed that way. Our architect placed the wall ovens on the same wall as the cooktop, but it wasn't until we bumped the kitchen out by 3 feet that having those appliances on that same wall was really possible.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Hi Autumn,

When I first walked into the house we bought 5 years ago, the very first thing I noticed were the white cabinets that went all the way up to the ceiling (the uppers have a second row of small square cabinets stacked on the first row). That was the moment when I decided I wanted the house. I think cabs all of the way up are gorgeous, and they make an immediate impression when it's time for re-sale.

I'm helping my parents design a cottage now, and the one upgrade we're definitely doing is cabinets all of the way up.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:21PM
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We are in the middle of our kitchen remodel now and today the laminite beam went in to open up the space to dining and living rooms. It looks great. I agree with just about everyone about the range hood vent (I'm sold on Vent A Hood), the cabinet drawers and dishwasher instead of DW drawers. As for cabinets, since my ceiling is not quite 8', mine will be going as high as I can go, but that won't be very far! As for appliances, lighting ( no one has mentioned this much, but I think it is vital to have good lighting, you can get excellent ideas in the appliance and lighting forums here on GW, Craigs List is very good, but I found E Bay even better. Like you I was extremely nervous about making such a big purchase but I found that you can get very high end appliances that are new or like new for a fraction of the cost even at outlets. A lot of the vendors are very reputable appliance sellers. Look for AJ Madison, Plessers, Blue liquidation, Markdown Madness. Most of these ship for free or very little and have a return policy. They will even send you photos so you can look things over before buying. I even called and spoke with them to get more details. Great bargains can be had usually at least 40% savings for new stuff! Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:23AM
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Autumn4--here's a pic of our kitchen--9' ceilings like yours and only the hood goes to the ceiling. I think you'll be fine without going to the ceiling with yours too...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 2:22AM
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Autumn - here is our post from from a few weeks ago - missing a few finishing touches but you found the post that we couldn't take pictures last weekend -

I also posted a few pictures on another post last night - but can't remember what the name of it was (not our post)

Our kitchen isn't large enough for a prep sink - and so glad to hear support that every kitchen doesn't need one!

DH won't ride in a pace line but just loves to hang back about 50 feet and keep up with the group - me - Wheelsucker and proud of it! I need all of the help I can get out there!!!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 6:39AM
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A2 - OT: Uhuh not me! My dh is always telling me to get closer and draft - can't do it! He is on the taller side/stature for a biker so on group rides most people try to tuck in behind him to block the wind, lol! I already feel sort of 'trapped' when I'm clipped in the pedals. I have to stop if I want to take a drink. I don't dare reach/look down for the water a tourist rider I am! Good for you though! Maybe one day I'll overcome that fear.

Ditto on the prep sink. My main sink will likely be in the island due to layout so I can forgo that one. Thanks for the link - I am going to check it out!

mydreamhome-thank you for the pics! I love your range hood shelf. I think I saw that pic before somewhere and was trying to find it back! So are your uppers 42" then? 42 would be higher than I have now.

llb-I have not checked e-bay but I would feel better if it was from a store and not an individual. Thank you for sharing that does make me feel better. Lighting - add that to the list of things I need to get on top of. Our current kitchen is well lit - I'll need to pay close attention when it comes time to lay that out.

Madeline-I can appreciate that too. Some things like that can be breathtaking, I may need to do what babushka cat showed. I should make note of my current 'plans' and then revisit them once we are done to see how close/far off I came!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 6:55AM
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1. Range Hood
2. Range Hood
3. Range Hood

Seriously if you're planning on cooking, get good ventilation. And a range hood will look so much better. Get a MW either on the counter or under it -- either way it will be easier to access and better looking.

All the other upgrades are waaaaaay down the list from the range hood, IMHO.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 7:48AM
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mydreamhome-what is the size of your island (and your aisle between the sink and stove)? I just caught that your sink is there also and I think that is how ours will be (or that is what I am planning). Do you prep there?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:13AM
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The prior owners of my house had custom made natural cherry cabinets installed with top cabinets all the way to the ceiling. I love them! Having that extra shelf is like having 3 more cabinets worth if storage. I'm tall so I can reach the extra shelf, but the prior owner was only 5'1" and she still loved the tall cabinets.

I'd say put your $ into cabinets. Counters, sink and appliances can easily be replaced later. Cabinets are a pain to replace.

I don't understand the cooktop/wall oven rage now. To me, it reminds me of the kit hen in The Brady Bunch! I'd rather have a freestanding range so I can replace it easily.

I also shop scratch n dent and Craig's List. I have always been happy with what I've purchased. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Our island cabinetry is 3' wide and 9' long with a 15" countertop overhang for seating. I have standard depth (24") cabinets on the rangetop side and 12" deep cabinets on the back side where the stools are. Yes, the island sink is technically our prep sink. It's a single bowl 33" wide full size sink with full size faucet. I will be honest and say that it often gets used for more than prepping as I live with 3 wonderful men (DH, DS1 & DS2) who insist on using it for dishes. I find it's very convenient and efficient for either use.

The aisle width between the rangetop cabinet run and the island is 42" as measured from cabinet front to cabinet front. Plenty of room for someone at the sink & someone else at the rangetop cooking. Having the sink right across from the rangetop makes it very easy to fill pots with water and drain them after cooking.

I think the wall cabinets are 42" tall. They could have been a couple inches shorter IMO as our light rail had to be made taller leaving only 16.5" between the countertop & bottom of cabinetry with the light rail in place.

On buying appliances, there are many box stores that list their 'out of box' and display items on eBay, so don't rule it out too quick. When we were looking, we even called up some of the stores that had items on eBay to see if they had other display items that we needed that weren't listed on eBay.

If it helps, here are the specs I gave the cabinet guys for the island layout. Note: the family room side of the island measurements were changed from 18" to 12" deep and the set up for that side is mirror image. The left end panel deleted the cabinet w/ roll out shelves but kept the trash pullout. Hope this helps! Can't wait to see your layout!!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:53AM
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mydreamhome- Thank you so much for all of that detail! So that IS your prep sink. I think I only have room for a 7'ish island and I need (want) the dishwasher, sink and trash pull out in there. I'm hoping it's enough space for prep type stuff. My fridge section that I have laid out is the same as yours so that made me smile! I will post my layout(s) soon - I have one done but I wanted to do a little reconfigure with a corner and post them both at the same time to see if one is better than the other. I haven't had a chance to do that yet. Hoping by tomorrow to get that done, between sports and church and homework busy evenings!

mammabird-had no idea that the big box stores used ebay. I haven't been on there in a long while. I am thinking if I go with taller cabinets - even 42's I might have the top shelf/door with glass - although I think that might be a royal pain to keep clean.

So much to think about and this is just ONE room in the house! I hope the others aren't as 'high maintenance', lol!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:42PM
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I am going to go with vent hood even though I haven't gotten mine installed yet. Both dh & I are counting the days until we can turn on the vent when we cook something that might cause odor or moisture.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Lots of good advice here! I hope you find some bits that resonate with you.

We are a May 2013 remodel. It's a firm date as DH absolutely hates the mess and people in and out, so while he stays with some friends for the Kentucky Derby and a few days of visiting, I am planning on getting some of the dirty work done (rip out soffits/stupid half wall, new ceiling, maybe floors). So I need everything ordered preferably by Christmas so it is all here and ready to go, with time to spare for delays and damaged items.

Our GC is coming on Wednesday for a more detailed quote. We just had a wild "rough ballpark" quick assessment when he was doing the bathroom, long before I had a clue what I wanted. Now I have eleventy bajillion questions from research and GW suggestions to ask :-). I have pretty much settled on a layout (will post after meeting) but will consider changes depending on costs.

We have similar eating out habits! Our favorite "date night" outtimg is a local place that has a little of everything made fresh and cheap (salads, burritos, falafel, curry, etc). We eat for about $18 including drinks.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:51PM
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After hating my kitchen for 28 years, I just redid my kitchen. If someone told me that I could only choose to keep a few things in my kitchen they would be: My 12 inch deep 6 foot wide pantry; All my cabinets;/drawers; my miles of counter and island space; my induction cooktop; my steam/convection oven; my 36 inch farm sink; great lighting (meaning lots of light). While granite, pretty cabinetry, etc. are is function that is important

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:29AM
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I have to chime in here because I am in the same boat as Autumn.4. We probably won't build for another year or two, but I am a stay at home mom with a little babe, and I love to cook. I even want to start a little catering business at our new house so yes-I will be cooking a lot.

You really have to look at how you use your kitchen now, in the past, and in the future. It helped me to sort of narrow my choices by looking at how my cooking has evolved and what I would like to do in the future.

In regards to your list though, I have to agree with some of the other posts when they said to focus on things that are not as easily replaced.

In our situation we're looking at RTA cabinets ($3k total for a 10x11 kitchen with uppers). We're going to DIY soapstone and butcherblock countertops. I'm going with a 32" one door refrigerator (pull out freezer on bottom), a space in a 24" bottom cabinet for a countertop microwave (I only really use it for quick melting/reheating.) My big splurge? A DCS 36" LP 6 burner range. I will also have a 30" Electrolux wall oven in my peninsula.

I am a great deal shopper and can DIY some stuff. My husband is the real handy one, but he works so I have to be able to pick and choose things I will actually be able to DIY myself or with very little help from him like on a weekend.

We are building a 1500 square foot box basically. It's a very simple ranch with no bumpouts or crazy corners. It will have a finished basement, and we're building the shell very tight. Steel roof and possibly steel siding. We're looking at Marvin Integrity windows for their energy efficiency (and their 'plain' look), and wrapping the house as tight as we can.

The interior stuff is where we have to save, and we're hoping to build the house around 100/square foot. I am going to act as the owner/builder. I would have to say I am an excellent bargain hunter and have supplied our current (very modest home) with upgraded appliances because they were floor models. There was nothing wrong with them-never been used and no scratches or dents-they were just floor models. Half price floor models. Then because I found all of the kitchen appliances at the same time I asked for a discount of $200 and got it.

Sorry for the long post, but I was excited to see someone kind of in the same boat I'm in and wanted to share what I've found.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:47AM
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IowaCommute: that sounds like a great project! Can't wait to see how it turns out.

I assume you've seen the thread on DIY soapstone counters, but, in case not, check out the link below.

To make this post NOT be a total threadjack :-), I would keep my heated travertine floor as my one splurge. I love my Bluestar range, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: DiY Soapstone People Show Your Counters !

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Iowacommute-very excited to see your post. We will diy all of our floors (except carpet in the boys bedrooms), painting, bricking the fireplace and anything else we feel we can reasonably handle to try to keep our costs down as well. Do you mind me asking how you were able to come up with $100/sq ft - have you already priced everything out? We are currently trying to figure that out as it will determine if we can start this build in 2014 or have to wait 6-12 months. We are planning on meeting with an architect in the spring and then go from there. What brand RTA cabinets are you going with - IKEA? Our house will also be similar in size but with a 1/2 story up. I have many more questions but we have house guests coming for the weekend so I have to keep cleaning here! Sorry if this is all over the place I just wanted to hop on real quick. So happy to see someone else in a very similar boat.

Angie-I am assuming you also DIY'd your heated tile? Tell me about that - hard, easy? Time consuming??? Thanks also for the link on DIY soapstone - I haven't gotten that far yet but it might be something we try to tackle on our own!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Autumn -- yes I did the floor, too. It was probably the hardest part of the project for me. It was not that complicated, but it was hard work and there were a couple of difficult parts.

I put in a new plywood subfloor, then the heater, then Ditra, then the tile, then grouting. All in all, this was a hard job. It took about two weeks of full effort (which I spread out over a much longer time frame). It took me two days to put down the plywood underlayment, one fairly easy day to lay out the heater mat, one 20-hour day (!) to put down the bottom thinset and Ditra, one day to lay out the tile guidelines, about 4 or 5 days to actually lay the tile, and about 3 days to grout it. This is in addition to the time I spent shoring up the floor joists and cutting and sorting the travertine tiles. (I cut them from 12x12 to 6x6.)

My heart still sings when I see it, though! :-)

Photobucket seems to be down at the moment, but when it comes back up this should be a picture of it:

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Okay, with PB being down, it looks like I messed up the code. Here it is again (midconstruction).

1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:11PM
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