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HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Posted by newhouse_2009 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 8, 09 at 13:40

We are currently building a new house which I'd like to flavor as Old World European Country Casual. I'm shooting for a casual but elegant style which will work for my small horse farm.

I've been trying and trying to design a kitchen based on my inspiration kitchens, but nothing seems to be working out - even working with kitchen designers. But instead of helping me, they just draw up what I (think I) want, and it still doesn't seem right. I can't afford custom cabinets so have been looking at semi-custom. Everyone is getting frustrated with me, including myself!

Here's the house plan: http://www.eplans.com/french_country_house-plans/HWEPL11760.hwx

Scroll down to the Main Floor plan to see the kitchen layout.

Here's a link to my two inspiration photos (Green Kitchen and Italian Kitchen) and the sketches I've come up with so far. http://Photobucket.com/ANewKitchen

You can double click on each photo, then click the "full size" button to get a better close up.

I'd like the kitchen to feel like a room for cooking rather than a wall full of cabinetry for storage. The open space next to the refrigerator seems a little odd. I can get pretty much any size refrig but was thinking around 48 inches, since it will soon be just my husband and myself living there (after a couple more years). I think I would prefer an induction cooktop in the island - don't want to use propane.

The floors will be medium dark wood, and I'd rather not pay for painted cabinets. I sorta selected a maple with a coffee glaze (to make it look weathered) for the wall cabinets, and a darker (mahogany color) for the island. I thought the shelves could be the mahogany also, but my husband is not too excited about the shelves. These could change. But to what?

Is there anyone out there who can offer a kitchen plan which will feel like a room with furniture rather than cabinets? I've tried finding furniture china cabinets but they are too flimsy for everyday use. (Sorry for the long post.) I'd appreciate any and all opinions and suggestions.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Just off the top of my head I'm wondering if you love the inspiration kitchens because of the other details, like the unique ceilings, hood, etc. And if so, you could incorporate those details given you have the ceiling heights.

Many European farm house kitchens have that unfitted furniture look because they expanded or developed over time, which sounds like the look you want. The one inspiration picture has no upper cabinetry and the other you love has more like armoire cabinets giving it more of a furniture look. Do you like not having upper cabinets or the larger armoire pieces?

Is the conflict coming from you needing practicality and storage (which the kitchen designers are probably trying to give you) but you want a "look" that isn't compatible with that?

Your two inspiration kitchens don't look overly functional by today's standards, where we need tons of cupboard space (or so we think). If you don't need all the modern storage space (if you have a separate pantry area) then you can use more furniture type cabinetry, but that usually means custom. Don't rule out custom unless you've spoken to a custom cabinet maker though, we found that custom was cheaper than semi custom for us because we did want those details but our kitchen wasn't that large.

Maybe the problem is trying to marry the look you love which doesn't scream functional in a lot of people's minds with practicality. Try and decide if form or function is your main priority and then once you know that, you can feel better about having more form or more function, knowing that you may have to give up some of the functionality slightly to get the look you really love.

The European kitchens I've been in are amazingly functional for the way they cook. They seem to be able to do with far less counter space, cabinetry, and all the niceties we think we need, but then again they are accustomed to that and do great with it. With less space, cabinetry, etc. they create wonderful meals that I could only dream of, and they are in awe of even my worst kitchen. If you have those kinds of skills then create a European farmhouse kitchen that suits you, just make sure it's functional for YOU.

Good luck,

Kat (I think I confused even myself with this post!)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Have you looked at the FKB (Finished kitchens blog)? You can see a lot of finished kitchens in various style, including old world, tuscan, etc.

Just by looking at your pics, a couple things come to mind.

Really consider painting a few of your cabinets, and definitely your shelves. Consider bumping your sink base out a couple inches. Varying your depths and materials or colors will go a long way to helping your kitchen have that unfitted look.

I'm posting the link to the FKB, if you look to the right you can see ways to search and narrow down what your looking for. Or can just look through them all and see what catches your eye.

Here is a link that might be useful: FKB


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I understand exactly the look you're going for. Check out Zolablue's Finished Kitchen. You should also look at her album because she has a lot of inspiration photos. I too am trying to make my kitchen look more like a "room" than a kitchen, even though I'm not going for an old world feel. I am not planning any upper cabinets and am currently trying to get my kitchen table fitted to be a kitchen island.

I do think that the empty space to the left of the refrigerator looks odd. I guess the KD left it like that to make look more like a "freestanding" furniture piece. If you truly want it to be that, you'd have to go with something like a sub-zero or thermador and have cabinet panels put on to make it look like an armoire cabinet.

I think what makes these old world freestanding kitchens work is to have different areas of the kitchen done in different cabinetry. It's more than just an island done in a different finish than the perimeter cabinets. I do agree with lesmis. One of the key elements I think you're missing is the Old World hood. I'll take a look and see what other pics I can find that might help you.

Personally, I think it's a tough look to accomplish(but you should continue to push for) because alot of people don't get it. They're all about installing as many runs of cabinetry as possible.

Do you have any pics of the whole house plan? Can the kitchen walls be moved around at this point?

Here is a link that might be useful: Zola Blue's Kitchen


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Some features that seem to be consistent, at least in traditional southern European houses, are plaster walls, tile floors and the kind of large hood over the fireplace your pictures show. In kitchens this translates to being over the range. The authentic ones aren't streamlined. In northern Europe, where there isn't as much natural light, you see a lot of white and/or very pale colors.

I'm trying to create an English-style country kitchen, kind of like what might be called a "scullery" kitchen. These have a lot of wood counters and maybe a marble topped work table. Also, open shelves for quick access to everyday tools. It's taken me a very long time to figure out what it is I like about these kitchens, and I know it's hard to communicate this to other people until you're able to pinpoint the exact features that you like. Looking at a lot of pictures is the best way I know of to help you do this.

Good luck!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

One thing that I notice is that the inspiration kitchens both have a larger footprint and open ceilings.

One of the difficulties that the designer(s) may be facing is trying to get an unfitted looking kitchen in a space that is big, but not nearly as big as the inspirations, and still get storage and function in there.

The green inspiration could work but the Italian kitchen, IMO is antethitical to the design of the rest of your plan. The italian inspiration is very rustic and your house is a series of formalized spaces.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

We are going for the same look. We have decided on minimal uppers.. an island that is a different color and has a different top than the perimeter (more furniture-like-- it will also have inset drawers and different hardware), and a hutch-like baking center (cabinets with trim underneath, glass uppers and beadboard between the uppers and base cabs). We aren't done, but I'll post a picture when we are.

The unfitted look you are going for is hard to attain (unless you spend tons and tons of money for English-style custom cabinets).

My dad's kitchen has only a few cabinets and an antique table for a work surface.. the range stands alone and he has an antique hutch where they keep plates and alcohol. I'll try to get a picture-- its a really neat space.. he has some vintage pictures and cast-iron cooking pieces on the wall.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I study these old european homes quite a bit. One of my design goals was to recreate some of the things I loved in these wonderful spaces. Since my kitchen needed to be large & functional I had to incorporate that into my plan. I also wanted my kitchen & home to feel like on old rambling european country home. Sometimes these goals are hard when you, by necessity, must have a large home.
I stood in my house after it was framed & just thought about how I wanted it to feel. How did I want it to flow, how did I want it to feel to others?
I do not like seeing mess and absolutely love the scullery I created. I wanted it to be somewhat separate yet not completely out of the way. I did this by using the small pass thru walls and columns. Since I had so many columns throughout home I decided to use the same concept in the kitchen. I knew that I wanted a stone floor, they are so beautiful in those old homes. I didn't want uppers in main kitchen so concentrated those in scullery and also created a large walk-in pantry with baking centers and windows.
I also wanted furniture feet on all cabs and island. Using different paint colors on cabs & island also help to give it more of an unfitted look.

I also really felt strongly about not have one large room with everything around the perimeter & an island, that is why I created the different areas. It gave it much more dimension and interest.

I don't know if I met all my goals but I do know I love my kitchen. I can not wait to cook and entertain in.

Here are some pics. The one darker yellow cab is not suppose to have black drawers, they are changing that.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

The first thing I noticed is that both of your inspiration pictures have a range with a large slanted plaster fireplace/ hearth like hood. If you switch your sink and cooktop, it may give you that feel that you are missing in your current layout. Your initial description of the type of feel you want reminds me of Allison0704's kitchen.

Can the home office/pantry laundry area be reconfigured? Or are you committed to the existing space? Looking at the stock plan (not the sketches)I would center the cooktop hood with the island. To the left of the cooktop, leave some empty wall space and then add glass uppers making a built in hutch (no wall or corner - same as the stock plan. Not sure about the fridge wall or where you would put ovens...

Here is a link that might be useful: allison0704's kitchen at atticmag


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Thank you everyone for your very helpful comments. Kat-your tip about custom cabinets sometimes being cheaper than semi-custom is definitely worth looking into. All the photos I saw from Stephanielynn's tip/link to FKB were mostly custom. Malhgold, I wish the KD's I've worked with could understand what I want. Yours were good suggestions. I am planning a focal point above the sink with a "hood like" piece. Please note the whole house plan link is in my original post above. I was planning to add a few feet to the wall on the pub side to house and hide the double ovens.

Acountryfarm: Brilliant design! Absolutely gorgeous kitchen ideas and layout. I'd love to have something like that, except I don't know if it can be done in my floor plan. Can you take a look at my floor plan to see if there's a potential for a design that isn't a bank of cabinets lined up against the wall? That's the part I don't like. The big difference in my house plan, however, is that my kitchen has no windows. It relies upon the light from the far end of the rooms.

Daki, I've gone round and round with the utility room area, and putting the entrance to the kitchen in a different place. Any change in the current design forces a path right through the kitchen - not good. My goal has been to "hide" the appliances so the kitchen takes on a more furniture like appearance.

Anyone creative enough to help me overcome my dilemmas or is my ideal kitchen just not viable?


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I haven't read through all the posts so sorry if I'm repeating someone, but the most glaring problem in my mind is the range in the island. They wouldn't have had that in an old world kitchen, and unless you put it against a wall and get that big 'ol hood over top, I don't think it would 'feel' right. I'd switch the sink and range placement. As someone on here said, 70% of the time in the kitchen is prep so if you're worried about chatting with guests etc., it actually makes sense to switch it.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

LA Tuscan Kitchen Here's my Tuscan inspired kitchen.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I've been going back and forth about the sink and cooktop location. The reason I settled for the cooktop in the island is this. It will be a no-knobs induction cooktop with a pop-up vent behind it.

For those informal entertaining times, I can literally put a tablecloth over the whole island and use it as a buffet. There would be no faucet sticking up, nor hole in the middle. The induction cooktop stays cool to the touch, so even after using it, it becomes useable tabletop in no time. My electric cooktop is currently on my (small) island, and we use it a lot as useable countertop space. I put groceries down there, etc.

I also want a drinking water spigot (we'll be on well water), as well as a hot water dispenser and soap dispenser. All these little things would clutter the island, particularly since I don't want a two level island. I'd prefer to use the entire flat service for prep if necessary.

Then again, the dishwasher needs to be placed next to the sink. I love being able to take out clean dishes and put them away right at the same spot. With the dishwasher in the island, I'd be traveling more (even though I could use the exercise!).

I also noticed there is a lot of splatter at the sink (well, there is when I'm there). I thought the back wall would contain this better. Plus, I expect to put a very European looking backsplash behind the sink, making it a focal point, with a wooden crown piece that would somewhat mimmick a hood.

Am I off base? Can anyone play devil's advocate here, so I can confirm or change my thoughts? I'd really appreciate it.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Cuisinista, where can I see more of that kitchen?


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

cuisinista - I too would love to see more of your kitchen. Also, if you have any other angles of the island and especially the island top. I love the detail on the BB on the end of the island.

newhouse - I don't think it's necessarily the back wall of cabinets that's a problem. I actually liked what the KD did with the upper storage areas. I would try and find a way to get the ovens in their own cabinet, maybe in a different finish from the other cabs. I would get rid of those corner cabs on the left side. You also need to have a better solution for the frig.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I am in the finishing stages of a mostly unfitted kitchen.

Anything you want is doable, definitely. You just have to be able to define and describe what it is you like to these designers. You just want something a little different than they're used to, so when they fill in all the details in their heads, they fill them in with what most of their clients usually want. Once you're confident of what you want, you just have to be persistent.

One way of looking at it I have is that a European kitchen got that way not because it was built to be a modern kitchen, purpose built. The house may be over 1000 years old -- people building little tiny wooden boxes on it or running little wires or pipes on it is inconsequential. The stove is like that probably because it was retrofitted into the fireplace niche.

Also, a big country table would go a long way toward getting the look you want, rather than an island. I think you photos even features tables, if I'm not mistaken. But I am notoriously anti-island, so that may just be me!

By the way, I think 48 inches is more than big enough for 2. You may well be able to go with a little smaller, and make some use of that space in that corner.

I also might reverse the shelves and cabinets: have the cabinets in the corner and the shelves beside the window. It seems more open and pleasing that way

I had some pieces of furniture made by a local cabinet shop, but I am using some antique pieces to hold some heavy stuff. Give that some thought.

You can pick up some very sturdy armoires for a song these days, sturdier than a "china cabinet". If you like the shape, and it's the right size, even if they need your carpenter to paint it, brace it up a little, add an extra shelf peg, or you want to take the center panel out of the door to replace it with glass or something, it still cheaper than custom. That will definitely give it an old world look. And real old is better than fake old any time.

Good luck!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Just to see what you think about some changes. I don't think continuing the sofits on the interior walls is the way to go. It adds to the boxy, standard kitchen feel and will detract from the drama of the lines of the ceilings. Too many things line up - even in my version - I don't have anything that draws three-d views. I think I would pick out two or three different door/drawer fronts and stack them together in units.

So, changed some heights, the sink, the faucet, the backsplash. In this case, would do a "fitted top" for the double glass units and a unique base style so they felt like a hutch.

Personal druthers would be to cut the glass cabinet on the left and do shelves and rail over to paired glass cabinets and I would pull the trash through the dishwasher forward a bit - like 3 inches.

At the side is a slice of the "hutch" showing some of the moldings that could be involved.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

"The induction cooktop stays cool to the touch, so even after using it, it becomes useable tabletop in no time. "

Though I could be wrong because I don't own one, I really cannot imagine how this is true.

Maybe I'm wrong, but the pot or pan you use gets very hot - hot enough to saute, or simmer, or boil. That pot or pan is touching the cooktop glass and, I would think, transfer its heat both up to the food inside it AND DOWN into the glass.

And I definitely do know this: long after the coils under my glass cooktop turn off, that glass is wicked hot for quite a while.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

newhouse,

Thank you for the nice words.
What I am wondering is about your hearth room. Have you started this home? Is it all ready framed? Can you alter the floor plan at all? Do you want to alter it at all?
It seems to me that you have that wonderful space with windows that you could combine for a fabulous old world kitchen & hearth room.
If it were me I would definitely consider reconfiguring those kitchen areas to add some of the details you want.
You could definitely put some interest in your kitchen & have something that is very functional also.

(I have a file full of pictures with such kitchens. I am going to try and scan in a few for you. It will be later today as I am on a deadline for our newest restaurant location's kitchen design. I need to turn it in today and am behind, as usual.)

I do think you have the space to work with, it just depends if you want to think outside the box or if you can at this point.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Just a quick thought on cabinet finishes, we wanted something that looked older so we had some of the cabinets delivered unfinished and used milk paint on them. We did 2 coats of paint with some sanding to rough up "wear" areas, then 2 coats of polyurethane. The milk paint is wipe on and we found pretty easy to work with albeit kind like making mud pies to mix up and strain. Much cheaper than a custom finish by a cabinet house.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Your room, as presented, looks like a kitchen full of cabinets. And I think it's going to be hard to change that, given that you don't want to move the stovetop out of the island (modern stovetops do not equal old world europe...ever). You need to re consider your inspirations...lots of beautiful PAINTED cabinets. Varried height uppers, hoods (a centerpoint that really is necessary) and hidden electronics (ie a big huge fridge standing on it's own). Oh and do you see any soffits? Nopers...because old world kitchens never have soffits...they're a modern invention to hide pipes and vents...

You're lacking variation in cabinets, height and even counter top variation. That double cabinet on the end (right of the sink) looks like a bunch of cabinets. If you want to get a bit more unfitted, combine that cabinet so the upper looks like one cabinet. Raise the counter top height a couple of inches (or lower it) and combine the lowers, then add a base molding verses a toe kick. That would help a bit, but really, some of the stuff you want and what you want to do just aren't compatible.

The fridge needs to be built amoire style (if you won't spend the money for painted cabs I'm assuming that's out of the question) and you should loose the induction, or at best, put it on a wall with a hood or hood like structure to get the feel of old world. The island screams modern (you won't see many european kitchens with big islands, but if you do see a large structure in the middle of the kitchen, it's gonna be square or rectangular, never curved on the seating side). Some legs on the island to give it a table like feel would go a long ways, as well as squaring it off verses the curve.

That's just the beginning...so do you really want to go there? Or just have some cabinets that sort of look weathered and call it a day?


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

igloochic, I applaud your "open wide and take your dose of reality" response. I know we all have a budget to work within but you can't paint your Ford Taurus red and call it a Ferrari. You'll just have a red Ford Taurus. nesting 12 and malhgold, I'll try to post some pictures later but I have to take them and do that photobucket thing which I'm not so good at. As for the island BB it was done by my cabinet/furniture maker. It's modeled after a classic antique French free-standing butcher block. End-grain maple top. Oiled and made slightly wavy to look worn and used. It's wrapped with one inch thick boards that are notched into each other at the corners and held together with recessed aged-metal corner brackets.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Newhouse, one thing you could do is look at a lot of high-end cabinetry sites: http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/DAC-ART/traditional-kitchen-design.html

and see what you absolutely love. The finished kitchen blog here is great, too.

I personally don't like anything too perfectly of one style, because it ends up looking like a stage set. If you want induction, use it, and you could put a small hood over it, just not a huge ornate one. But maybe the hood isn't the key, anyway, I don't think. It's so expensive to get a huge stone hood-- I think your money is better spent elsewhere.

I love the kitchens at smallbone http://www.smallbone.co.uk/ because they aren't too "done" but still have a handcrafted feel. I think on a horsefarm it would be weird to have a Clive Christian-type kitchen (also, to my eye many of the kitchens on their website look silly and overdone, but that's me).

I think you like something more simple-- so I would get another kitchen designer to work with you (find someone fabulous and just pay them for an hour), and express what you most want.

My guess is it isn't the layout that bothers you, it's uniformity and lack of character. So, you have great ideas here: some cabinets with paint (distressed, if you like) and some with wood. If one is distressed, the other should not be, imo. Also, some cabinets with kick plates and some with legs, and preferably the leg ones stick out a little farther and have a hidden kickplate (for cleaning ease). Most likely just one of those in the kitchen will be enough.

You could join two sets of cabinets, give them a pretty leg of some kind and nice glass (maybe different from the rest of the cabinets-- more of a fancy shape like your dream kitchen)?, drop the counter down or eliminate it altogether for that piece, and voila you have a lot of the look you want. You could also do two paint finishes if you wanted (a dusty blue and black, for instance, would be classic) instead of the wood and paint.

the island should probably also have legs, I think, on one side at least.

Hope this helps! You have such a fun task ahead of you-- designing from scratch! I'm jealous.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I also wonder what's going on in ajoining areas, like the ones labelled "pub" (shudder) and "hearth room". They could either lend atmosphere and space or torpedo it completely.

Have you figured out what you're doing with those yet?


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

cuisinsta....This is probably why I only design kitchens for friends. Because I just can't say "Oh ya we can do high style italian on a 3.00 budget" :oP I know reality sucks heh heh but it's better to face it upfront than to spend the money it takes to build any new kitchen and find it comes up lacking. I forsee (if built as is in the plans) that the OP will have a lovely kitchen...but it's not going to live up to her dreams, which would be a shame. So two choices are there....let the dream go and just get a lovely kitchen :o) Or make the changes necessary to get the kitchen of your dreams (which can happen on many budgets if you're just creative!) But one thing about old world...done well it's gorgeous (your kitchen is a fabulous example of that) and done too cheaply....it's often painful imo. I'm guessing that gorgeous butcherblock was not a cheap alternative to formica :oP Now darling...go learn to use your photobucket account...I'm dying to see more of that kitchen as well!

I hope the OP takes my dose lightly :) I do see a lovely kitchen in those plans...but perhaps not an old world kitchen.

Growerly...I expect to be doing an unfitted kitchen in the next couple of years myself (victorian home). I want to see more of what you're doing!!!! Have you shared yet?


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

cuisinista,
I think we are all hoping you will figure out photobucket asap. THAT IS ONE AWESOME KITCHEN!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I agree wholeheartedly with Igloochic. You can't get "there" from "here" without a lot more money thrown at it than you are probably willing to do and even more of your preconceived ideas of your "must haves" thrown out the window.

The biggest obstacles are the cooktop/double ovens setup and a honking big non integrated fridge. But those are things you say you want. You need to both redefine what you want functionally vs aesthetically as well as the kitchen's relatonship with the adjacent rooms. Right now, there is a huge dissonance with the actual space of the kitchen and the indicated plan and your stated wishes. You really have to resolve that first. Or, as I-chic says, you'll just end up with a room full of "antiqued" boxes and some marble thrown here and there.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Growlery - Yes, I'm trying to make use of the empty refrigerator wall space. Just not clear yet as to how. The reason I put the two glass cabinets towards the inside is to bring down the scale a bit of the over 19 feet of wall. I thought the cabinets on each end would make the space feel too gigantic and not very cozy. I've searched for furniture pieces, without much luck, and am running out of time since the house continues to go up while I search! You're so lucky to have found some fitting pieces.

Bmorepanic - I am so grateful to you for taking the time to add some very important pieces to my puzzle. I love the way you changed out the sink and faucet. I'll definitely use those ideas, and have even selected a backsplash idea from my third inspirational photo. (See http://Photobucket.com/ANewKitchen for my updated photos.)
I still have the dilemma of what to do about the refrigerator wall space. Any suggestions there?

stw594: Yes, the induction cooktop is amazing. There are ads where a stick of butter is on the hotplate next to a boiling pot of water and it doesn't melt. Of course, the heat transfers to the pot, but once removed, the cooktop is only warm to the touch in a few minutes. Incidentally, they've been using induction in Europe for years. It's only in America that we are sceptical.

acountryfarm: If I had the talent that you do to configure space, I sure would have made several modifications. In fact, the space is huge. My feable attempt at cozying up the kitchen was to add the section of wall to house the double ovens. Otherwise, it would be wide open. I can't wait to see the photos you have. The framing has not yet begun at my house, so some changes are possible. I think it may be too late to make large scale modifications though. Sure wish I knew you when we first got these plans six months ago. Your talents are obvious.

Igloochic: You make some good points. I plan to put cabinet panels on the refrig front and encase it in drywall, resembling an armoire. The double cabinet was a suggested version by bmorepanic, not my design. I like your suggestion of squaring off the legs for the island. I can't seem to get the KD's to "feel" the proper proportions. What I have so far is what I've asked them to draw.

cuisinista - At least it will be MY shiny newly painted red Ford Taurus.

nesting12 - Thank you for your helpful suggestions. Your intuition is right on! I am not trying to make a stage set. I also don't like to be pretentious, but prefer to create something practical, intelligent and unique. I like your suggestions. The wood I've selected for the island is a Lyptus, heavily distressed, and a rich brown color, less red than mahogany. I wish I could find a stellar kitchen designer, but I just haven't seen anything that really stands out as exceptional. (BTW, thanks for reminding me that this is fun. It really is - except for the frustrating moments. LOL)

Growlery - I haven't figured out if I'm going to torpedo it completely yet. I'm working on it though. (This is such a subjective task, isn't it?)

Igloochic - the OP aims high in whatever she does. Even if the results fall short, it's still above the norm. Besides, I can just call it eclectic, right? What's the definition of a "lovely kitchen" anyway?

live wire oak - You've totally lost me on the "kitchen's relationship with the adjacent rooms." Can you please clarify the "dissonance" you speak of?

This exercise has been very interesting. I truly appreciate the time you all have taken to post a comment, suggestion, or criticism. Lots of good points made. Thank you!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Okay. But what happens to the butter put on the spot that the pan was just on?

Like I said, I don't know. But I have seen the advertisements where they show the pan cut in half, with the egg draped half-on, half-off the cut pan. The egg cooks on the pan and not on the spot that doesn't have any cookware underneath.

My point is that that is NOT the same as the temperature UNDER the pan.

Maybe someone who actually owns an induction hob can speak to this question:
When you are done cooking on induction, and you pull the pan off the cooktop, can you really put your hand down immediately on the glass (where that screaming hot pan just was)? And if so, why isn't the glass the 400 (or so) degrees that the pan was at? Why doesn't the very hot saute pan transfer the heat to the glass?

(I would think that even boiling water would make the glass at least 212 degrees...which would decimate the stick of butter if put on that spot where the boiling water pot was immediately afterward.)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

My portable single induction hob does get hot from the pan, but it also cools off very quickly, not at all like a smoothtop burner. I haven't used it since last summer (post renovation I occasionally use it on the patio for summer cooking), but I seem to remember it being safe to touch well under 5 minutes or so. During the renovation I could cook and then put it away without worrying about clutter during the cool down. Some people cook with paper towels under their pots to catch spills... :)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

These "open plan" spaces befuddle me for just this reason! It IS hard to make the choices that lead up to that intimate, welcoming feeling I think you're going for when you're standing right now on a bunch of churned up mud, or a slab of concrete or something. I had enough trouble in my little, almost 200-year-old house!

Don't give up on your instincts. I live around a lot of artists and they come up with amazingly creative solutions for things. The only thing is, you can choose to either spend dime and thought on a problem, or you can spend money on it. And you will probably reach a point in construction when you have to make so many choices so quickly you will be forced to JUST CHOOSE stuff, as you are finding out. So you'll probably have to prioritize what you can and can't live without: What details can you not live without, or could you add or change later?

Have you exhausted the designers and cabinet shops in your area? I think you need another couple quick sets of sketches -- free ones. You just don't seem even close to happy, and even I, who am not good with layout (there are some WHIZZES here!), think they could do better. Or could you run your design past a different kind of designer?

Aesthetically, maybe some details, like elements from a salvage company such as lighting or architectural elements (these can be SO CHEAP!) will help some. These can also help visually define the space and make the wall not seem so big.

It's a cute house! You're going to love it when it's done. I'm sure it's just overwhelming now. Don't give up and go beige on us now, OK? You'll be cooking lemon spaghetti in there before you know it.

Another house, Igloochic! You are a one-family housing stimulus plan!
Unfortunately, I don't own a camera. My am a terrible disappointment to even my own friends in this department! I'm happy to share my experiences though.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

When I say "lovely kitchen" it's not intended to be an insult :) I can see you're putting a great deal of time into the planning, and I can also see you're thinking of the cabinet style etc, which will result in a lovely kitchen :) But not perhaps an old world europen kitchen as you stated you desired. You just don't see a wall of cabinets without break (meaning the counter top carries all across the run) in an old world kitchen...ever. Nor do you see one color throughout and the "color the island" thing is a pretty current, not old world trend. All in all, you will have a lovely kitchen most likely.

I really think you need to find another designer. If they can't figure out how this is wrong now...well they're not very good. I saw a lot of terrible designers...they are in abundance in the market unfortunately. You need someone with a vision and creativity that is lacking (also someone to kick your butt about the stove heh heh)

Growerly LOL I'm going to mail you a camera heh heh I want to see that kitchen! I'm busy studying unfitted kitchens night and day in anticipation of the future job. We actually are going to let the corporate rental go first (I won't be in state to manage it) but we have to leave with our son because he needs to live in a shorter cold and flu season than we have here due to his illness.

The house we're buying is just a youngen to yours :oP Built in 1880. I have 11 bathrooms to redo as well as two kitchens in the house...so we should have the economy right on track relatively soon :) I do what I must heh heh


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I think some of the disconnect you may be having with the designers is the term "old world". If you look at real European kitchens in old houses, there is maybe some built in counterspace, a big worktable, freestanding appliances, and if the fireplace is still extant the stove may be up against it or shoved into it.

If you showed some old woman in Tuscany what passes for an "Old World" or "Tuscan" kitchen and asked her what it was, I am sure she would say "An American kitchen".

The disconnect between the adjacent spaces and the proposed kitchen is this: old world kitchens tend to be rustic, the plan of your house is very formal, old world kitchens are separate spaces, your is open to the living spaces.

That is not to say you can't have a totally great kitchen in that area. but I don't know that you can get the look of the inspiration rooms--they are too different than what you are working with.

As for the beautiful white beadboard kitchen earlier in the thread...its as American as American can be: its the style of kitchen that would have been in a large American Shingle Style or Colonial Revival house ---IF at the time such great attention and importance were given to kitchens at that time (which it usually wasn't)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I agree with palimpsest that maybe you are having a tough time with " old world" definition.
Absolutely agree that what we call old world is not what an old world italian or english kitchen looks like.
I would also agree to get another designer. I would start making a file & a list of things you really want and pics.

(I knew I wanted a stone looking floor, because I love that look in the "old world" kitchen. What I did get was a antiqued travertine to mimic the style. I know its not the same but it gives the same feel.)

I think you need to really start making up some clear goals and see how you might incorporate those goals into a space you are happy with.
I don't think you need to stick with a label as much as you need to find out what it is you like and communicate that to the right person and get a space you are happy with. If you have a little old world, a little american so be it. You need to be pleased every time you walk into that kitchen.

If indeed it hasn't been framed you can make some minor modifications with existing space and get something you are more please with. I would consider that at this point. You can create more intimate space with a few changes, you can create a more unfitted look, you can create a more rustic look if that is your desire. I would also think about not going with a KD as sometimes they are too stuck in the traditional kitchen space look. Maybe look for an architect instead.

I don't know if you are willing to make some modifications, but you certainly can do it at this point & fairly easily. If this is your forever home it would be worth it in my opinion.

palimpest - You are right about my house, totally american and not finished in this pic, but definitely included some of those qualities I love in "old world" homes.


driveway into house



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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

If the ref stays where it is, could you get a panel-ready version? If you have a bit more wall space, you could flank it with tall/narrow cabs.

If the garage entrance was a bit different, you could have a door to a bigger pantry beside the ref. Maybe it could be a walk-thru pantry with a door to the utility part of the house...

I think the sink wall could terminate with a full-on hutch on the ref side. You might look at vic's kitchen in the older threads. It shows a side entry, step in pantry. You could do that near the ovens and panel the entire corner or cover with tile.

You go, girl. I can see you flying down the road in that red taurus.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Thanks, bmorepanic. Vic's kitchen link was just the inspiration I needed. Loved the little pantry. Made sense with regards to dishwasher location, since pantry housed dishes too.

Thanks also to acountryfarm. I've gone round and round, trying to reinvent the wheel, only to come back to the original and understand it better. I'm not above making changes (I just recently changed my barn location, after the grading and site plans were approved, so there's a lot of scurrying there!) I like the look of your house exterior. In what part of the country are you located? Is that the HardiPlank cedar shakes? Looks great.

I guess I've come to realize I've been using the wrong terminology after all. Instead of Old World, I should be saying an upscale version of a European Farmhouse kitchen (just like Lesmis said at the very beginning). Thank you, everyone, for your help and input. This was my first venture onto this website and I really like it. I'll be following everyone's progress and will post pictures of my kitchen when finished. Maybe then we can figure out what it is. Meanwhile, I'm off in my shiny new red convertible Taurus!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

newhouse - your welcome to email and we can talk more about your goals & plans.
As for the exterior it is eastern white individual cedar shake. A pain to install but oh so beautiful. I am in the PNW, with a heart longing to be on the east coast.
Seriously, I love it here but my family was from Martha's Vineyard and Morris Township, I long to visit those places.

I hope you see fulfillment of your vision and please ask for help if you need it.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Looks like my Ford Taurus line has taken on a life of it's own. Sorry, I meant no offense. I was just making the point that when you write a headline like "HELP-I want Old World European Kitchen" on here you are going to get help from a lot of great people who are going to tell you about all the elements that are truly found in an Old Word European kitchen. Which by your inspiration photos you already seem to be aware of. But for some reason you seem unwilling to incorporate any of those elements in your kitchen design. You don't want painted cabinets.You don't want free standing units. You don't want a hood or any of the other things that would give you that "Old World" feel. All you say is that all the KD's you worked with don't get it. You're starting from scratch, building a house, not remodeling. Now more than ever is when you can get what you want. So add me to the list of one of the ones that don't get it. That said, we're still here to help. So to quote a line for from the movie Jerry Maguire: "help me...help you!


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Have you seen willow decor's work? I don't know if she works remotely. While her styles are not exactly what you are going after, she definitely "gets" how to get a look, and might be worth working with.

I am in no way affiliated with her business--just happen to like her kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: willow


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

There are a couple of elements that can give you more of a feel of what you describe that you want, but getting that cooktop off the island and going with a range will be a BIG part of achieving the feel. So will giving up some of your expressed desires.

..Integrated fridge armoire in a painted finish--maybe French gray/blue
..Brick hearth surround (i.e. "repurposed fireplace look") for a largish range. A French range in a color (red?) would work really really well.
..Thick aged looking butcher block "island" (really a worktable!) with legs also painted and distressed. A flea market or antique find would be great for this. Maybe a sunny yellow or black?
..Zinc counters with a zinc integral sink on one of the cabinet runs.
..China hutch separate from a main counter and preferably painted. (Maybe an aged black)
..A honed and patina'd marble baking area with a separate cabinet feel for it as well. (In another finish, like maybe whitewashed maple.)
..Stone or brick floor in a cobblestone or flagstone pattern.

See...none of the "old world European" elements work with your "elegant" home. YOu'd have to rustic up the adjacent areas to match, or it'd look really mismatched. Like, maybe have an old crib with the rope bedding support used as a small settee along with a very aged looking elaborately gilt wood (with the gilding falling off) damask sofa in sunshine yellow. Whitewashed plaster walls and spots of intense blues, greens, yellows, reds, and dark woods along with lots of antiques proudly displayed in their decaying state--NOT "refurbished" (shudder).

These are the elements of what you describe as the style you want---but then you have room full of boxes that is nothing like what you say you want---and don't seem willing to budge on the key elements that will give you the right look.

You may like dark chocolate or milk chocolate or truffles, but you can't have chocolate at all if you're trying to substitute that horrid carob stuff to be chocolate. It's just NOT the same thing at all.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Here's also another question to help you narrow it down maybe:

Europe's a beeeeeeg place.

Is there a particular country that appeals to you? Somewhere you've traveled or want to travel?

Is there a movie you love set there, that gives you the feeling you're after?

Some of us love England, some of us love France, some of us love Scandinavia, some of us love Italy, some of us crave Spain, some love Germany, etc. Each has a different flavor. We may be able to recommend books to narrow it down.

There is, for example, a very good book out recently on French kitchens, but it would probably do for any European kitchen lover. I know I liked it, and I like English kitchens. I also like the Plain English Design Web site.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I did read over all the posts before typing this, but I think I'm just going to go back to the original request. To me, when I hear people say "Old World European Kitchen," I think of something inspired by Tuscany. Something with the "flavor" of Italy. Is that necessarily accurate? No, but that's what comes to mind.

So here's what I think of when "new construction" meets "Old World European:"
--color palatte in golds/reds/yellows...warm, deep, rich colors
--very creamy perimeter cabinets with a heavy glaze and maybe with a patina--cabinet profiles with lots of detail
--island in some type of deep color, also glazed with a patina
--walls in a deep gold color
--some type of creamy/brown/gold granite OR marble on the island and/or butcherblock
--LOTS of furniture features incorporated into the "walls of cabinets"--bumped out sink w/legs, THICK, fancy crown moulding, glass upper cabs with wavy/bubbly glass
--wide hardwood floors or buttery travertine
--Oil-rubbed bronze hardware/fixtures
--potrack with copper pots or big fancy range-hood--again, in copper or wood
--definitely paneled appliances
--some chochkies on the counter--like roosters or some other collectible-type thing

Those are just my impressions when I hear that terminology. I know many people who are redoing their kitchens in the 'burbs who have chosen the "Tuscan feel" and have used these things. Just FYI--I'm a Honda girl myself and evaluated all the little extras that add up in a kitchen reno--and unfortunately, a lot of the things that give you that Old World feel are also tough on the Old Purse strings.

I didn't get a chance to look at your floor plan, but I just want to say this--you should LOVE your kitchen, even before it's installed. You should be so excited to see it finally executed in real-life!! And if you don't feel this way, find a new KD and tweak that plan until it's perfect for YOU!! My husband joked that I had more correspondance and e-mails with my FABULOUS KD (cabinet salesman...not a "KD" in the sense that he was designing anything other than cabinets/layout of the kitchen) than I would with some guy I would have an affair with!!

So, try to get back into the fun part of it--pick out what you like and stick with it. Clip and print as many kitchen pictures as you can. Circle things you like and what you like about it. X out things you don't and say why. Take that whole, overflowing notebook to KD's and they shouldn't run the other way. They should embrace the fact that you've researched and want to be involved whole-heartedly in the process.

:)
Sarah


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Newhouse,
Wood-mode Cabinetry has a section in their design portfolio called Old World Heirlooms European Heritage that I've provided the link for. There might be some inspirational photos for you in there that sound more in line with what you are describing. HTH.

http://www.wood-mode.com/DESIGN-PORTFOLIO/OLD_WORLD_HEIRLOOMS/Default.htm


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

In this pic that you linked, there appears to be a big, honkin' hood over the range that also looks like it serves as a mantle of sorts. LOVE that! Oh if I had the budget, how I'd do that... The hood/mantle is then repeated to scale over the big, honkin; sink. Very cool and very old world feel. I have to agree with the others... I don't see that you'll get that feel with an induction top on a center island.

Sink backsplash

In this next pic, there is an emphasis on furniture-like pieces and arches and curved lines. Love those arches -- first over the window area and then repeated again over the stove -- again, big, honkin' hood over a wall placed range.


Green Kitchen

Then this one seems to be a more modern version of old-farm look... it;s beautiful. I think the emphasis here is on light, space, airy openness with an antique feel. Again, some furniture-like pieces and again big, honkin, gorgeous hood over a wall placed range.

Italian Kitchen

The ONE thing that all of these pics you chose have in common is that there is a big, gorgeous hood over a wall-placed range. Each hood is SO beautifully designed giving a different perspective on an old world feel.

Seriously, if I had the bucks to do it, I would first design a big, gorgeous honkin' hood like you see in these pics, then I'd pick out the range and design the rest of the kitchen around those two, key elements. I like the idea of repeating in scale, the shapes, etc. of the hood, over the sink area if it can be done. If not, sinks under a window are always classic.

I also like the use of arches and curves and of course the closer to furniture-like, the better. If I had an island vs a table in the imaginary kitchen it would have nothing on it but a huge, glorious slab of marble!

Hey that was fun spending other people's money! :)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I think I finally relocated the site that has been in the back of my mind while reading this thread - Yestertec. While I don't think the kitchens are entirely suitable for a "cooking" kitchen (but awesome ideas for vacation homes), You might get some ideas for furniture like cabinetry?

Here is a link that might be useful: Yestertec kitchens


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

That mantel hood thing would work fine with an induction oven, I think. And it would be easy for a carpenter to copy, too.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

On the hood issue...you don't have to spend a fortune to get an expensive looking hood. Mine is made of plywood (marine grade) and drywall, then clad with the plaster finish on the walls and some wood and granite. It's not really that expensive...nothing compared to say a stone hood or a 100% plaster hood.

I know my kitchen isn't old world european (nor was I shooting for that) but the hood issue...it's not "that big" of an expense. Really :)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

newhouse, what this thread should really reveal is that when designing a kitchen, using the phrase "Old World European" should be practically verboten. I fell over laughing several times upon reading that and "Old World European" is painted never wooden, or that it is a ferrari not a taurus (or was it the other way around? never mind) or about big hoods, or big sinks, or whatever ... . Unf. as Palimpest, Growlery etc. have pointed out - Europe is rather a large piece of territory and "Old" spans an awfully long time with a lot of styles and materials ;-) And that the clinical definition used here of Old European/Tuscan/French farm etc. would be unrecognizably foreign to anyone from one of these places

You have something in mind for your kitchen. If you define it in pictures, it may be easier to convey and that may help you identify the key attributes you really want to see in your kitchen. Using the phrase Old World European is probably what is misleading everyone to give you their single shot view of what comprises O-W-E as opposed to YOUR single shot view of what that term means ;-) . Better would be to render it graphically.

It helps to have a good collection of kitchen pics that appeal to you so that you can extract the essentials of your goals for the kitchen from the mass. Sometimes it takes the haystack to find the needle ...
Furthermore, based on the 2 pictures that you did include, I also agree with the few posters who pointed out that your elegant space doesn't quite jive with the pictures that you did raise. I could be wrong too but the dominant theme that pops out to me when I view your inspiration pictures is indeed of some fairly rustic spaces. You'd have to "tidy" those up for sure (IMO) to coexist in your elegant home.

That said, acountryfarm ... That is a beautiful kitchen area you've designed for yourself. Truly, truly lovely and enormously interesting. I trust that this farm of yours is a grape farm :-) Congratulations - it's really beautiful.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

mindstorm -- thank you, thank you. I hate to disappoint, but my farm is a gorgeous hazlenut orchard. We do have another 12 acres that we are doing in vegetables, we increase the amount every year, it is a lot of work. We are completely organic but not yet certified. We have another 4 yrs. to go before we can get the organic certification.

I would LOVE to have a vineyard.

Here is orchard in the winter snow.


Photobucket


Last week !


Photobucket


Beautiful spring pictures to come.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Igloo... I love your hood and your French range, of course (and the copper pot in the corner). I stand corrected -- didn't mean to say that a gorgeous hood needed to be "expensive." ( It's not something that *I* was able to do for a bunch of reasons not necessary to this thread.) Anyway, it is beautiful. :)

What I like about your hood and the hoods in the pics that Newhouse linked is that they are all obviously well done, classic and my eye goes right to them and then to how all of the other things tie in so nicely.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Wow what a great post- I am a cabinet maker in NC and have done a few old world kitchens and actually have one on the drawing boards right now. The pictures and ideas have been fantastic and I will show my current client some of them and print out a copy for future reference. As a custom cabinet maker I love to do things that are different and unique. It is why I left my corporate job many years ago to persue my passion. I hate doing a kitchen that looks like everyone else. Thanks again.

One side note- I am glad someone pointed out that custom kitchens are not always more expensive. I run into that misconception all of the time in my immediate area but for some reason it doesn't seem to be as prevalant to all of the other areas in the country that I ship my cabinets to.
I a lot of times can give a better product and more unique for the same or less than the box companies.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Acountryfarm:

A hazelnut farm! Seriously! You made my day!

The hazel is chocolate's favorite nut.

Which makes it MY favorite nut.

You do God's work, my friend.

It must be beautiful this time of year, with all the little catkins.

I'm sorry. Back to kitchens ...


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

growlery --It is beautiful with the catkins. There is something so serene about walking through the orchard. We often have orchard picnics in the heat of the summer with the children.
I really want to have a dinner party amongst the trees this summer. I will use a big oriental carpet, all white linens, wonderful wine, lights to string in the trees. Would you like to come? It is going to be oh so beautiful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Catkins


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I wonder if my name should be Pragmatist or Semanticist rather than Palimpsest.

When I am trying to get a feel for what a client wants I literally ask things like "What color cabinets do you like?" "Plain doors or lots of trim?" "Shiny countertops or matte?"

All the design shows have pushed the need for a "catch phrase" or a "theme" and I think this actually creates confusion. This is why pictures of what you like are so helpful.

I know a woman who was "shopping" for a designer who said "I love French antiques" and nobody is showing me what I am looking for!" So, she was shown more French antiques and got really angry and frustrated. Finally she was told "You know what? Find a picture of what it is you are thinking then!"

She didnt like French antiques at all...she liked English Regency and she just thought it was French. So even when there is a real historic style (as opposed to the American coined "Old World" which conjures a general, rather non specific feeling)--there can be confusion.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Sounds like heaven! I'd love to!

I once went to the Charleston Festival, at Charleston Farmhouse, home of Bloomsbury Group artists Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and ... well, it just gets interesting from there.

Anyhow, they set up a tea tent in the (non-working) apple orchard, and mowed small circles in the Queen Anne's Lace, and strung lights in the trees, so the tabletops seemed to float on the flowerheads, and you were sitting IN the flowers. Magical.

You have done such a great job with the proportions on your house. It's really restful, inside and out. I like many of your other choices too, but these "high, wide and handsome" proportions, and care for a sheltering roofline are really standouts these days.

Oh, and come on by the Growlery on your way to the Vineyard! It's a bit more crowded, but it's never dull.

Here is a link that might be useful: Charleston


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I'm with you, Palimpsest. Everyone thinks everything made before 1960, in any country, is Victorian.

In fact, scratch that.

Everyone thinks anything white, made in any year, in any country, is Victorian.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

oh, good, I found it (thankselizpiz)-- so, what happened with this kitchen? I hope that the musings didn't take away from the initial issue, which I thought was really interesting. I loved the house, the inspiration pics, everything. Can you update us, original poster?

thanks :)


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

Bumping back to page 1 so OP will see. I want to see what she came up with also.


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RE: HELP - I Want Old World European Kitchen

I just ventured across this thread, and also was wondering what OP has decided on~

After looking at the whole house layout, wish I had found that one before working with an architect for 2 years! It is THE first plan that has all the things I wanted! We ended with a little different layout., but I think that plan would could have been perfect.. would love to see how it turns out.. anyway here is 1 pic of our 'old world kitchen'


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