Vacation/Summer home kitchens - what does it need?

sochiDecember 16, 2012

For those of you with summer/vacation homes, how do or should kitchens in these homes differ from the kitchens in our full time homes? I've never had a cottage or summer home, even as a child, so it is new to me. Perhaps some of you have first hand knowledge you'd like to share.

Some preliminary thoughts I've had:

- you don't need as much stuff
- more hands helping with prep
- more use of bbq, grilling, very little baking, formal cooking
- typically smaller, lighter meals are prepared

What would you want (or not want) in a vacation/second home kitchen?

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Our cottage kitchen is very small, though I wish it were bigger in terms of more prep space. You are right that you don't need as much storage space. Meals tend to be simpler, no baking etc. Fewer spices, fewer cooking tools, etc. A lot of outdoor grilling.

One thing you should plan for is a lot of refrigeration space. We tend to drink and serve a lot more beer, wine, caesars, bottled water, sodas, etc. than we do at home, and they take a lot of room in the fridge. We do have an extra fridge in the shed, but it's not too fun going out there at night after imbibing a few already. :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:15PM
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No baking? I actually do more baking in the summer because of summer fruit and berries.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Yes but do you do it at the cottage or during vacations? I could see baking at home and bringing the baked goodies to the cottage ... but once at the cottage we are usually on the beach, or hiking, or boating, etc.

Not to say baking wouldn't necessarily be a priority for some. I don't bake at the best of times anymore (unless you call heating up pies from the local bakery 'baking') so I'm probably not the best judge of that, lol.

It may also depend on your vacation home setup. Ours is a cottage in the true sense of the word. No air conditioning, so the absolute last thing I'd want to do during the day is heat up the cottage even more with a hot oven. So it definitely does depend on how upscale the vacation home is. :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Decent major appliances (especially dishwasher-it needs to clean) but if you can only go electric for range or range top, not one on an island (where people gather), and definitely one with a good oven. Then there's the refrigerator: a good door seal is a must and ice maker is important to most.

Good stove top pans (not cheap aluminum) and a couple of good knives (although check liability aspect-I always brought my own). Lots of DW washable cutting boards. Plastic, Corelle ware, or stoneware dishes are fine-no one expects fine china. Glasses should be both plastic and some heavy, not easily broken glass. Nice coffee/tea mugs are a great way to start the day! :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:15PM
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some 2nd homes get set up to eventually be a retirement home. That is a big factor. cottages and vacat homes run the gamut these days[even McMansions].Are you clear on your goals/the value of the property and the environment for resale around where you are? Our place is increasing in value but the kitchen is staying simple for now with some original features untouched. We have good apetites due to outdoorsy activity but the food is simple and ingredients and techniques quite basic.[No gourmet meals or techniques at the cottage]. I love for friends and relatives to hang out around the open floor plan,but not necessarily prep-not because of lack of space but rather the quirkiness and having to explain how/what to do with such and such. And the prep is not that extensive-I do cook but it goes quickly-meatloaf/burgers/sandwiches/soup/fruit salads/pasta/etc. Platters of skewered/marinated/foil wrapped stuff goes to the men to manage at the grill-those meals stay really easy but we don't grill every day by any means.Vintage stuff/side tables/storage cabs from relatives/some Ikea embellish the kitchen and it's storage capacity. have fun with the space and have an eye on a long term plan. I like to relax at the place:kitchen-centric is NOT the name of the game-and yet the enjoyment has surprised me.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:20PM
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No vacation home, but we do have an apartment where we spend a few days a week. Just wanted to say that I originally furnished the kitchen with cheap pots, pans and knives, and I realized that I don't enjoy cooking/prepping/serving with stuff that doesn't work well, even if it's just one or two nights a week. So I've gradually been replacing with better quality stuff. I don't have a lot of cookware there: a big skillet, a pasta pot, a couple of saucepans are plenty for the simple cooking I do.

P.S. I have a crush on your regular kitchen :)

This post was edited by justmakeit on Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 0:37

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:36AM
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Distance from restaurants and grocery stores also impacts how much you cook. Our vacation cabin was twenty miles from both so we always cooked and grilled a LOT even when we had to shovel the snow from the grill lol. Because the pace was slower and I had the time, I liked to cook more at the cabin than at home. You may prefer to decompress and assign some meals/tasks (cleanup) to people staying with you.

Also distance from your home to your vacation home is a consideration as far as how much ice you'll have to pack any perishables. Starting from ABQ in the summer at a 100 degrees was a challenge for me!

Luckily DH still hasn't learned to fly fish so I don't have to cook myriad trout (not my favorite fish). But will you be on a lake where the proud "catch of the day" will need to be prepared?

Baking was always an adventure since I was very inexperienced and the cabin was at high altitude. I passed off my first from-scratch cake as a flourless one...

One thing that made me feel better about leaving food in the fridge, mostly condiments but still, I put one of those remote thermometer sensors in the freezer and fridge and whenever we arrived for the weekend, I'd check the max temp to be sure we hadn't lost power for too long causing the foods to get too warm.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:38AM
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It depends on how you plan to use the house. We just finished a beach house a couple of months ago. The kitchen is the biggest room in the house by far. Everyone always ends up in the kitchen at our place so it made sense. We plan to have people come to stay with us and also have people over a lot, and I don't want everyone running into each other (or especially me). I know they're going to be in the kitchen so it was best to embrace it and make room for them.

We also plan to use it as a four-season house and I'll do more baking, etc. in the fall and winter. If this was strictly a summer house, I probably wouldn't have done a double oven but we actually did a repeat Thanksgiving meal there two weeks ago so I was glad to have both ovens and the bigger space.

Bigger doesn't mean more stuff though. I have all the essentials I usually cook with, but not some of the more speciality items, gadgets, and equipment. If I need those, I can always bring them with me.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:07AM
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Me- LOL - I couldn't resist

In all seriousness - we don't have our vacation home yet but I am collecting things in the basement for the day that we decide to do this. I have a set of pots and pans plus some small appliances.

In my dream vacation home - I would have decent size but not gigantic functional kitchen with lots of light and nice but not over the top appliances.
An excellent DW for sure.

mtmfever - good plan on the flourless torte! I made pancakes at my DB and SIL and didn't look at the expiration date of the Baking Powder - oops expired by over 10 years - the pancakes were flat!!

I would want critter proof containers as somehow little critters can find their way into any crevice and can cause problems while away.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:44AM
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We take a ferry to our island cottage (weekly for 9 or 10 months of the year). A good cooler on wheels is important if you are bringing food to your second home. Our cottage is tiny with a wee "one person" galley kitchen. Have found a Boos island on wheels helps for prep, additional storage, entertaining and taking things out to the grill. When not in use it can be tucked away in a corner. I second those who said to have very good tools, pots, pans, etc. Additionally, we recently bought the Breville Smart oven (smaller one - toasts, bakes, etc)) and love it. The following have been added along the way and are now considered essential tools: A Food Prep machine- (Cuisinart type), a good griddle, outdoor charcoal grill, immersion blender and a good sized lobster/corn pot. Forgot to mention that a knife sharpener, good sharp knives and lots of cutting boards are key!

We tend to entertain much more when at the cottage. A good supply of glassware, some attractive non-breakable glasses (ice does not melt as quickly in these and they are great outdoors), some trays, fun utensils and dishes for hors d'oeuvres, etc., hurricane chimneys with candles, some kerosene lanterns for emergencies, ...and then more candles...even some citronella type candles and torches for the buggy nights

Sochi, have fun... and enjoy this new project. It is great to have a place to go where you can change your pace, kick back and relax. Even though we have an office in the cottage and work there over the weekend - the tempo is different and it is less stressful. We know how lucky we are to have this hideaway and often pinch ourselves to be sure it is real!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Great points everyone, thanks very much. Lots to consider.

Agreed that there are a number of factors to consider. While we will be at our cottage much of the summer, plus spring and fall weekends, I expect we will also be there for Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years too. So some big meals will be prepared there.

Our cottage is only a 30-35 minute drive from our home (from downtown in a city of 1 million plus to a beautiful rural lake district full of woods, bears, deer, wolves, mink and otter in 30 minutes - this is definitely one of the perks of where I live). The proximity to the city does factor into planning. Plus there is a small village about a 10 minute drive from the cottage, with a liquor store and a grocery store. We have to drive back to the city for decent restaurants though, so we will be cooking at the cottage, not eating out.

We expect to entertain frequently (possibly every weekend in the summer and at Thanksgiving, etc.). But we do not want a large vacation property. My thought was we could get away with a small but efficient galley type kitchen, with larger entertaining spaces (i.e. living and dining room). The whole place will be 1200 or 1300 sq feet tops (including 3 small bedrooms and at least 1.5 bathrooms) so I need to think through our needs carefully.

beachpea3 - thanks so much, I'm enjoying the planning and I can't wait to be there canoeing and hiking with my kids. Plus entertaining with friends, swimming, bonfires, etc. I do think it will be a oasis for us. At least I hope so.

Many of you recommend a bigger fridge - noted. I will probably skimp a bit on the range (i.e. modest size, modest price). Most cottages in my area don't have dishwashers, but everyone seems to think this is a big deal, so I will consider that carefully.

Rainwood - interesting that you went for the bigger kitchen. When I entertain at home people are always in the kitchen, but I'm assuming at the cottage most folks will want to be outside, or where the view is inside if the weather is poor. I will definitely be making Thanksgiving meals there, but I guess I'm hoping I can manage it in a small kitchen. Hmmm.

justmakeit - thanks! :) Very good point about getting a small number of decent quality pans, pots, etc.

taggie - sounds like we have the same sorts of friends and cottage dining experiences! I'm thinking a small pantry may balance a small kitchen - storage for the beer, mix, booze, and oh yes, food too. :)

herbflavor - our kids are small now, but DH and I may well live at the cottage full time (well, except for January and February, in my perfect world I'll be somewhere hot for those two months) in another decade or 15 years. We want a space that can adapt to that change in use eventually. We may have a bigger budget in 10 or 15 years too, to upgrade the kitchen if needed, etc.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Sochi- slightly OT but pertinent to cottage building.
Even in the summer on the lake you get a string of rainy days. You are close to home so you could just bail, but it is hard to leave if you are entertaining. My ideal getaway cottage has a big playroom where I don't have to hear my kids. If you can do a basement, not even necessarily finished, they can ride their bikes and scooters indoors, or if it was finished it can hold air hockey, ping pong, etc....
Lofts make noisy play places unless you have the kind of children who sit quietly playing board games. Mine don't.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:38PM
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I made Thanksgiving in our "fishing shack," and for the first time ever I wanted a kitchen totally open to everyone else. Cooking during a perpetual party even converted me to open. I don't normally ask someone to mix up my second margarita while I'm pulling the steak out of the marinade at home, either, so that function needs to be within easy voice and earshot.

I'd like (don't have) as generous a work space as at home, and yes, room for guests to pile in and help, or not. I'd appreciate a couch like at home for those who like to watch the work and chat from a lower vantage point. What I'd really want if I could have it, though, is a rectangular window seat with a fabulous view of the water and goings-on inside and out, like our friends. Everyone always wants to sit there, and it's the most valuable real estate in the house--cantilevered off its side.

I find I need plentiful storage for large group-size pans, storage containers, and serving dishes. Unlike our empty-nester home, the big stuff was needed all the time.

I found 2 crockpots very useful for first cooking up make-ahead turkey broth while I was out playing with everyone else, and then on Thanksgiving for keeping made-ahead mashed potatoes hot and the other one for cooking stuffing (cooked turkey wings on the top, and no one realized it wasn't cooked in the bird). May just buy #3 next year so I have another that'll turn itself off. They can be plugged in outside, too, and I do intend to move more cooking out.

One fridge large enough to keep all the drinks, made-ahead meals, etc., cold, with ice-maker (never wanted one). Otherwise definitely fewer extra appliances and fancy stuff.

Very tough and super quick-clean surfaces. Of course.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Is this going to be for a rental home or a private vacation home ?
Here are a couple threads where I asked a similar question ...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Do you want to spend your vacation time washing dishes? I didn't think so.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:13PM
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FWIW, if you are only 30 min from your primary home, the location is an EASY access. I would focus on livability rather than storing stuff. You are only 30min away, you can drive home and get something and go back in less than it takes to commute for some people in other parts of the world.

If you expect to have lots of guests, then abundant comfortable seating is a must. I like large communal tables that are open to the kitchen. If space is an issue, I would skip the island and make the kitchen table double duty; I love the idea of a galley kitchen open to living/dining for that reason.

Most vacation homes need a pantry to store non perishables: bottle of drinks, beer/wine, TP, paper towel, napkins etc that you go through in bulk. You go through a lot of that very quickly when you have large number of people regularly.

Do you add a secondary kitchen area outdoors for the summer to make entertaining easy? I would look at what it takes to make sure you can winterize it adequately but this maybe a must to make BBQ, clean up etc easier in the summer.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:54PM
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We've had our vacation home for 15 years and built it as a possible full time/retirement home so we didn't skimp. It's located in a rural area of Northeast Pennsylvania so we went with appliances that might be familiar to most repairmen - GE.

If space is really at a premium then one hint when purchasing cookware, gadgets, storage pieces etc. is to see if it can possibly have more than 1 function - i.e. the insert from the salad spinner can be used as a colander while the bowl can be used to serve salad. We use Pyrex glass bowls of varying sizes because for storing leftovers, cooking, reheating and serving and when not in use they nest together - saving valuable storage space.

We often have friends and family stay with us for a week and it's not unusual for people to eat at different times depending on their activities. We bought dishes that are ovenproof in addition to going in the microwave and oven. We also selected coffee mugs and dishes stacked neatly.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Oh a pantry!! Yes that would be so perfect. I have no pantry in our regular home, don't miss it, have never wanted one. But man oh man, I would almost kill for a pantry at the cottage.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Sochi -

I made sure the kitchen had a killer view. Because it's the gathering spot for us, we wanted it to be the best room in the house. And we have an open plan so that I can talk to people sitting at the peninsula/bar area, the breakfast nook, and the dining room table. Everyone who wants to can participate in either watching or helping make meals. That to me is part of the fun.

We wanted to have the same kind of experience outside, but the weather is only conducive to outdoor cooking 4 months out of the year at best. We have a grill but it made more sense given our climate to have the kitchen close to the outdoor area with big windows and doors and to limit the outdoor kitchen to a grill. If I lived in a different climate, I'd have done things differently.

Our place is on an island that we reach by ferry, but only about 45 minutes to an hour from home. The scenery is one of its best features, and part of what I love about the place is how it changes with the seasons. We just finished construction in October and I'm surprised how much we enjoy the place even in what has been a gray, rainy fall. I'm glad we didn't focus on it being a summer place, but rather a house we can use any time of the year.

One thing we did make smaller is the living room/family room combo. Most guests who come for a meal never even set foot in the living room. They go into the kitchen, dining room, and powder room, and that's it. We made the living room something that fit our family needs rather than for entertaining. We have a big sectional couch and a nice fireplace, but with an open plan we didn't need much space to do that. We don't even have a TV yet and we're kind of enjoying not having one so it's not like the whole island is going to come over for a Super Bowl party.

My advice is to really think about how you'd like to use a vacation house and how that may change over time. Then you'll know what you'll need most.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 4:18AM
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Definitely need wine, beer, blender, ice.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:03AM
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Ok, I have had time to read the whole thread now and see this is for your personal vacation home. My questions were for a rental home having to accommodate lots of different types of groups, so not the same as your situation.

I agree with Kaismom that 30 mins away is easy access (our home is 3 hrs away). Even so, you won't want to have to drive all the way back home for the pan if you guys decide to make muffins for breakfast or cupcakes. Or have to load up the car with tons of stuff every time you go there for the weekend. The best part for us is literally only packing a couple changes of clothes - we have toiletries, linens, and other stuff we need already there. My advice is to look thru your primary home kitchen and determine what items you use more frequently vs what items you only use once or twice a year. The rarely used items you can bring from home when you need them then carry them back.

One thing we are SO GLAD we did was make the bedrooms fairly tiny. No one spends time in the bedrooms, so we have spacious living areas and small bedrooms - just big enough for the bed, nightstands on each side, and room to walk around the bed (small flatscreen tv mounted up on the wall). During the design process, we decided which rooms were going to have have K, Q, or bunks and planned the size of the rooms accordingly.

Our house sleeps 26 with the equivalent of 8 bedrooms but is only 2500sf -- 2 story, 6 bedrooms (K,K,K,Q,Q,3bunks), 5.5 baths, sunroom & office both with Murphy beds (Q,D) so they can double as extra bedrooms, elevator, living room with 3 sofas (2 are QSS), dining room that seats 14, large kitchen with double of all appliances, peninsula that seats 4, outside porch that seats 6, laundry closet with 2 sets of stacked W/D. The closets for each bedroom are small, most about 30" wide ... you don't need a very big closet for one week's worth of clothes, although they do have double hung rods. A couple of the rooms have slightly larger closets. Very important though - we do have a couple other closets for household storage items and a good size lockable owners closet under the stairs. We also have a couple of pantry cabinets in the kitchen. And, because our house is in a flood zone, it is built on raised pilings. Under the house we have a little Tiki bar area, picnic table, pool table, foosball, pingpong, darts, and an enclosed 'outside' shower.

We have had our house for less than 2 years (18 mos), but have already had several times where every bedroom was used with our friends & family. Very glad we went ahead with the extra bedrooms.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I have never owned a vacation home but I have rented a lot of them. Bathrooms !! 2 full for sure and maybe even a well placed 1/2 but you really have to have 2 if you plan on having company there with you. Someone above has an outside shower..would for sure plumb for that too.

Counter space ...a MUST. If you are going to have holiday dinners you can get away with lower grade appliances but I have done Thanksgiving in rented cottages a number of times and the biggest hindrance was countertop space to spread out stuff in a buffet type way for serving. You can get away with seating that adapts for plates held on laps but you have to have a good buffet space.

hmm...small bedrooms was already suggested and small closets...but please don't skimp on the bathrooms :)

I'll think on it some more as we have rented cabins for 4 decades...I have a lot of experience LOL ! c

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Thanks for all the help everyone! I will use this thread as a reference over the coming months as we work through our plans with the architect and builder.

trail, I had put only 1.5 baths on my "critical needs" list, and 2 bathrooms on my "desirable wants" list. I'll switch the 2 bathroom to the need list. Counter space. I expect this may come down to - do I have an island (or peninsula or something) for extra counter space, or do we use the dining table as prep? Looking forward to hearing any more advice you think of!

angela12345, we may rent the place out to friends or acquaintances once in a while, but primarily it is just for us. Great advice about noting the things we use frequently in our primary kitchen, I'll do that. Sleeps 26, holy cow!! Our place won't be nearly big enough for that, but I do want to be able to sleep 8 comfortably, and up to 10 or 12 on air mattresses or pull out couches. For the next few years the most likely over night guest scenario is one other couple and 2 to 3 additional kids (in addition to our two). We will need one bedroom big enough for a couple of bunks I think. I agree about small bedrooms otherwise. If DH and I do end up living there semi-permanently after the kids grow up we could consider merging two bedrooms to come up with a more spacious master bedroom (if needed).

dilly - absolutely! :)

Thanks again rainwood. Interesting that your LR is the smaller space. We frequently have 'girls' weekends at various cottages off season, usually spring or fall. That is when I find we need the bigger living space - usually there are a few of us playing games at the DR table, a few reading magazines in the LR, a couple napping, etc. Usually we are 8-10 women for these weekends. We will have a screened-in porch and will likely either be out on the lake or on the porch from May to September. But off season people seem to like gathering around the fireplace/stove and chatting/reading, etc. Hopefully our architect will be able to create multi-functional spaces for us, given the small(ish) overall size of the cottage.

maire-cate, great space saver recommendations, thank you. Noted!

kaismom: I think your recommendation is closest to what I had in mind - abundant comfortable seating, large communal tables open to the kitchen. Most kitchens I see with this sort of open/communal type setting are unfitted. I'd love an unfitted kitchen (like mtn is considering) but I assume I need at least one very efficient fitted run (galley like) given the small space we will likely be looking at. No doubt the architect can help with this, but I do want to give him some preliminary guidance. During summer (only about 4 months here) we will cook and spend almost all time outdoors. We'll use the bbq for cooking for about 7 or 8 months a year probably, but will likely eat indoors off season. Unless we put an outdoor fireplace in our screened-in porch and make it 3-season friendly ... but that is a big maybe and probably a few years off. The pantry is on my "critical needs" list for the architect.

Rosie - "What I'd really want if I could have it, though, is a rectangular window seat with a fabulous view of the water and goings-on inside and out, like our friends. Everyone always wants to sit there, and it's the most valuable real estate in the house--cantilevered off its side." - sounds like a great area. You don't have a pic by any chance? It sounds very intriguing. Crockpots are a good idea. They just take up space though, but I can bring them up for the big cooking weekends (which will likely only be 2-3x per year).

localeater - that is DH's only point on our "critical needs" list - an area for kids that is away from the main living area for those rainy days, esp. in spring or fall. I agree that open loft spaces aren't ideal given noise issues, so we are probably looking at space in a walk-out basement. Our site is sloped so a walk-out makes sense I guess (I didn't want one originally, but I'm coming around to accept it). Given our budget and the site, the basement makes sense.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Sochi, you will love a walk out basement. Trust me. Have the entrance face the lake or on the side. Put a WC down there. No mucky kids running in to your living space 'cause they've got to go.
And, you may want to consider double doors or even a garage door opening into that space. My friends lake house has a garage door, because when they leave for the winter they need to haul in their toys for winter storage.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I wouldn't use a DR table as prep space. I would have a continuous run of countertop in the kitchen proper. You can supplement with a nice cart with drop leaves that folds up when not in use for larger crowds but to expect the DR table to be used as prep I think will just be awkward. Cart can then be used on the porch when you are grilling out there or on the deck area if you have one .

Plan now for changes that you want to make down the line. It will be a lot cheaper in the future if the groundwork is in the fp on the porch. Given your weather there in CN I think a 3 season porch would be a great idea !! It can also be the place that the kids can campout with the sleeping bags in the summer rather than in the bedrooms. The walkout basement the same thing.

All sofas should likely be sleep sofas too. On a thread on deco I pointed out that you can get an inflatable mattress upgrade for them and they are heavenly as far as comfort. Can have it in the basement too. You will have a lot of possible sleeping room when you are finished.

Sounds like you are going to have a stellar place !! c

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Our family has had a beach house for 30 some odd years that is strictly a family place. Many things have had to be replaced over the years (including the kitchen after 3 or 4 hurricanes swept through in one summer), but the staples are always the same, and work for all of us:

~A few good skillets (at least one non-stick), a couple of stock pots, a very large stock pot (think Lowcountry Boil for 20+ people), a clam steamer and a deep fryer
~A great set of knives (including a tomato knife for the beginners, especially since we go through a ton of those in the summer)
~A crockpot
~Stick blender and hand mixer.
~Wine stoppers. They are good for all sorts of drinks, not just wine or beer.
~Blender for drinks and soups.
~Spatulas and big spoons. Lots.
~A griddle. Pan or rangetop sized.
~A couple of coffee makers (bring your old ones and buy yourself a new one for your "always" house)
~Tough and cheap dishes. Lots of ours are Pier One dishes that got picked up for nothing on sale. Things break often in vacation homes. You never know what you might not see the next summer ;)
~Wine glasses. Glass and plastic (you can get great plastic ones that run through the DW that are nice looking). Tervis tumblers in Old Fashioned and Tall sizes. Lots of coffee mugs. Glass drink glasses
~A separate Fridge/freezer that's downstairs/in garage for extras like beer and wine and Cokes, meats, etc.
~A good dishwasher (we wash a full set of dishes once a day)
~A giant sink (or 2!)
~A separate ice maker!
~We get by on a wall oven/MW combo and a cooktop. No need for a second oven really except we might pick up a Breville for next time just to have a smaller oven. We do have a toaster oven.
~Gas and/or charcoal grill. We have and use both. If you grill out, invest in a good grill basket or three. We've had mesh ones that were nightmares to clean. W-S has some wonderful grilling cookware now that is a cinch to clean and they are tough as nails. World Market has some great stuff, too. Grab a few of their grill brushes since they are cheap and basically W-S grill brushes without the price tag.
~Airtight containers for coffee/chips/sugar/flour/crackers/whathaveyou. It's best to just keep the ants and other varmints out before they think of even getting in.
~Airtight containers for TP, napkins and PTs especially if you keep bulk in the attic or in the pantry. Critters love paper products!
~Lots of tea towels.
~Lots of trays and odd sized bowls for dips,sauces, cheese and crackers, salads, seafood shells, nut shells, etc. You can never have too many and sometimes you won't have enough!
~A pantry stocked with light bulbs, batteries in various sizes, candles, candle holders, hurricanes, playing cards (trust me), a flashlight, bandaids (billions of them), Neosporin, after-sun lotion/spray, flower vases, pitchers, ice buckets, several different sized ice coolers, baskets of various sizes (think breads, toting things outside, whatknot), a handheld vacuum. And ALOE! I burned the heck out of my right wrist this summer opening up a steamer pot and didn't have any, real or spray-wise, and that was terribly painful and ugly 2 days later.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:52PM
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localeater - love the garage door idea! We will have it face the lake, so there should be a decent view. And if our porch is off to the side the basement should get some light too.

trail, I saw your post about the inflatable mattresses in pull out couches, brilliant. I had no idea. Much better than the typical pull out couch. We will certainly use the screened in porch for summer sleeping too.

How long a single run of countertop would I need, assuming that I'll have a decent size sink and a cooktop on it? 14 feet? We have the island we've been using in our kitchen for the last couple of years that we can use at the cottage, so we may do that (my BIL is building our REAL kitchen island this month, yay!). The old island could function as the cart you mentioned.

hsw hc, wow, brilliant list, thank you. I wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with a clam steamer (I'm days away from the ocean I'm afraid, our spot is lake front, very few clams) but your list is incredibly helpful.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:15PM
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On bunk beds ... if you do a trapeze style bunk bed, you have some versatility on who sleeps there. They make trapeze bunks that are a double bed down with a single up, and trapeze that are queen bed down with a single up.

For example, if you have 3 bedrooms (2 with regular beds and 1 room with 2 sets of bunks), you could leave the kiddos with the grandparents and have a couples weekend with 3 couples. The 3rd couple would sleep on the bottom bed of the trapeze bunk. If the room had 2 bunks, one could be trapeze and the other could be single over single, and the room would sleep 5 kids. Our bunk room has 3 sets of bunks and sleeps up to 8 on two trapezes and one single bunk. The kids LOVE it, it's the "fun bunk room". We have also had a group of golfers stay at our house with 2 men sharing the room - each had a bottom bed of the two trapezes.

Another thing we have, which is not counted in the sleeps 26 count ... we have 2 toddler mattresses that we store under beds for little kids (under 5 or 6 yrs old). We also have one single bed (twin size) mattress that is stored under the single bunk bed. These 3 mattresses can be pulled out and put anywhere in the house. We have even put a double bed mattress under a king bed before (at our primary home). Although it was a very tight fit, it was a good place to store an extra mattress.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:43AM
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