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modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Posted by lov_mkitchen (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 11, 12 at 8:37

In the Old House newsletter there is a link to a webinar. http://www.oldhouseonline.com/

Free webinar! Have you ever wondered how to put a modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house or how to update a 19th-century Victorian servants' kitchen for family use? Patricia Poore, editor-in-chief of Old-House Interiors and Arts & Crafts Homes, introduces the basics of designing a period-appropriate kitchen. Sign up to learn more. https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/326935238

Here is a link that might be useful: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Nope. Can't say as I've EVER wondered that.

I have however wondered - many times - why on earth would anyone buy a beautiful authentic old antique house and attempt to modernize it, instead of just buying something built in the more recent past, say the last 50 yrs - or building new.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kashka ... we bought a house that was built before electricity or city water arrived in town.

Do you think we should restore the house to period authenticity, using candles or lanterns, cooking on a wood stove, and traipsing down the path to the outhouse? That's authentic!

Or should we restore it back to the first major renovation in the 1890s, when they installed a tiny room for the flush toilet and wash sink and piped cold water to the kitchen ... but still bathed in a tin tub on the back porch? That's also authentic!


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Today's idea that a kitchen is a place to entertain is at odds with late Victorian homes, but before that, the kitchen was open to, or even IN the main space since the hearth was the source of heat for most of the house.

If you want a kitchen with room for every gadget that comes out, whether you use it or not, then a reasonably authentic kitchen isn't for you--go buy a house which has already had the kitchen updated.

Period kitchens are about storage and surfaces--open shelves and unfitted cupboards...and a table to serve as a work surface for mixing and other tasks. That's why I can't see a point to an island when the need was already served by a multi-purpose tool. We are too focussed on single-function items these days.

Appliances can be far less obtrusive than generally seen in today's kitchens. Your average cook does not need a restaurant/professional chef's stainless monster; we did not stave eating our parents' cooking which likely came from a common four-burner stove. The same goes for a room-sized freezer/refrigerator--and god forbid, a wine cooler. Get real, what person really needs that? Wines were traditionally stored in a cellar, letting nature handle humidity and temperature.

Wise up, use less energy, save space and time, and clean as you go--you will actually have more time to enjoy your meals if you do this rather than buy every appliance out there just because the great chefs on tv have it.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

An island is higher than a table, that's why it is a better food preparation surface. Spend the day bending over a table doing food prep and you will see what I mean.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

When I read the flyer and saw "basics of designing a period-appropriate kitchen" I took it to mean they would show how to make a kitchen appropriate to the age of the house. I had no idea it would be a modern 2012 update. Not every old house retains the original kitchen. Mine was remuddled in 1951. It was worn out and used up and far from attractive not to mention a horrible floor plan. My fixes have made it more in sync with the house's age. BTW, my counters are WAY too high for me to hand mix or knead dough. I do that on my kitchen table.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

When I read the flyer and saw "basics of designing a period-appropriate kitchen" I took it to mean they would show how to make a kitchen appropriate to the age of the house. I had no idea it would be a modern 2012 update. Not every old house retains the original kitchen. Mine was remuddled in 1951. It was worn out and used up and far from attractive not to mention a horrible floor plan. My fixes have made it more in sync with the house's age. BTW, my counters are WAY too high for me to hand mix or knead dough. I do that on my kitchen table.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Wow! I HAVE to say a few things here!

First! I completely agree with lazygardners. Our house was built sometime in the 1700's. No electricity, no running water, I could make it period and go to a pact dirt floor and cook over an open fire in a hanging pot in the fireplace, but really I don't want to. I kind of enjoy some of our super modern conveniences that you all in 1920's homes seem to take for granted. My mother in law actually grew up here with an OUTHOUSE. Indoor plumbing was not put in this place until the 30's. This house has been added on to and added on to many times. An addition in the early 1800's, one in the late 1800's, and then the one in the 30's that added water and bathroom. I don't really have a style to go with as it is a working man's log cabin that was just lived in and added on to over time.

What I find frustrating about this thread and reactions of people in the old house forum is exactly what I find frustrating about people in the kitchen forum. Everyone here is against anything modern and everyone there is so against anything old and anything not currently in fashion. It is extremely frustrating.

My house will be what it has always been. It will change exactly has it has with every other family that has lived here. It has been in my husbands family now for almost a hundred years, so a lot of the change has been theirs. We will make it suitable for our family, a happy comfortable home, but we will show off and keep as much of the old house character and features as possible. A mish-mash of old and new.

At no point in history has anyone built a home and then decided to never change another thing in it ever again. To never modernize or make anything easier to use, or bring in something nicer to cook with. If you offered a modern stove to your great-grandmother, she would have thrown out half her kitchen to keep it.

Don't get me wrong, my argument with most of the kitchen forum people is that everything is too modern and of some sort of cookie cutter kitchen. My kitchen will hopefully look like an older style farmhouse kitchen with modern appliances. No kitchen cabinets, but I will have an island and the most advance appliances. But I justify it by cooking a lot, everything from scratch, and can most of our food from our garden. So I do use my kitchen and my appliances, they are not just for show. I could do it on a 4 burner and have, but it is MUCH better with modern conveniences.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

A few points--most counters are still at a ridiculously low 36" height, which is difficult to do work at for a long time--my solution when I built my cabinets was to make them taller--saves the back, but if I'm going to do a lot of prep, or long mixing, I will do it at the pantry counter, in a chair or on a stool--why ruin my feet standing when I don't have to--and I can also knead bread the same way.

I am not against modern appliances--I have a mixer and a toaster, and a microwave--but my blender, which got used only a couple times, now lives in the highest cabinet in the pantry, and hasn't been used in twenty years. Juicers, choppers, cuisinarts...these are things which if you think about it, have to be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned then put back together after every use--I can do the same tasks with my mixer or a good knife--and my cleanup time is far shorter--giving me more time to spend on other things--and it took no longer to prepare than using the other devices. People today cook two dishes, taking hours and their kitchens look like a bomb fell on them--our parents produced multi-dished meals more than once a day, and the kitchen was clean--because they knew efficient ways to parcel out time and better ways to do tasks than are common today. Just sticking something from the freezer into the oven or microwave panics some people, and they call that cooking. I think a home economics course should be required for both sexes in schools to get back some of the planning and common sense we seem to have lost.

A kitchen can look appropriate to the era of it's house--mine does after I removed all the 1970s formica and plywood cabinets and built my own with the home's original doors from the garage--and you can have good appliances also; use common sense in your choices of materials and you can have the best of both worlds.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

I feel the need this morning to apologize slightly for my post. I still mean everything I said, but my tone was a bit harsh. I find myself searching these forums as we progress on our very extensive remodel and hoping that I will come up with the details I need to help along with completing my vision only to be completely stymied.

One forum tells me my ideas "not right" because of many reasons including the fact that in order to make my tiny kitchen work I need to have small isles of 32" (bigger than has ALWAYS been in this kitchen and worked forever). I actually got a lecture from a few different people over there about codes - I don't care about codes, not selling, family home and will pass on to our kids - then I get a lecture about my kids needing to sell it someday (REALLY?!?!? so I can't live comfortably in my home because my kids may need to sell my house 40 years from now?).

Then every time I visit the other forum -old house- all I read is the purist posts about not running electric to some rooms of their house or not adding air conditioning because it would disrupt the historic feel. It drives me nuts. I still have NO DUCT WORK!!! I actually heat my house with an old base burner coal stove-- no other heat source. In my mind, the purists on here can talk a big talk up to a point, they would not be able to walk the walk if they were hand stoking a coal stove all winter twice a day.

Anyway, sorry. I was tired last night and have two toddlers, a remodel, and was drywalling all day. I hate drywalling. Yes--- I said drywalling, not plaster and lathe.

columbusguy1, I do agree with you, that is our goal to make the kitchen look like it at least belongs in the house we are creating. We are building all our own cabinets for that reason and will have no other appliances out in the open besides my modern stove, microwave that goes over it, fridge, and dishwasher. We have designed the rest of the kitchen so everything else has a spot for storage including the blender that I also never use. My mixer will be stored under the counter on a platform that raises it up when I need it.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kali, what guides me more than anything else is the fact that my house--fairly new being from 1908--there are pics on a couple threads of mine--still has a great many original fixtures and unpainted original woodwork. Being in a campus area, this was very rare and so I am loath to alter original work.

That being said, my other constraint is money; hence it is easier to repair rather than replace with new, although I do have a 90+ efficiency furnace thanks to an inheritance. The house still has piping for gas heaters in every room upstairs, and a combo gas/electric fixture in the attic. What I wouldn't do to have radiators instead of forced air!

I grew up in a late 50s ranch house, and would never live in one again...so my sense of style cries for anything but modern, although I fondly remember our pink late 50s oven! :) My take on appliances is that I didn't grow up with the absolute elite versions--so I don't miss them or want them now, but if you have a house which would suit their style, go for it. I didn't grow up in a house where you had to have the latest and best thing, though we were middle-class, my parents grew up during the Depression, and so we reused and repaired, and tossed out only what wasn't usable--today's kids have no clue what money is since they are generally given the latest toys and gadgets by parents who grew up in the 60-70s when the latest trend was what was needed. It might also help explain that I was raised in the country rather than a city. :)

I have always tried to help people with ideas and questions...so ask away, rather than just hope to find an answer by browsing! I did that for ages, and couldn't find what I needed to know, so finally asked...and some answers were good, others echoed with glossy magazine ideas, which just aren't me...but with only a few exceptions, people were trying their best to help, and so, I have tried to do the same now that I've been here a while.

Do you have pics or questions already here we could look at?


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

"At no point in history has anyone built a home and then decided to never change another thing in it ever again."

I couldn't have said it better myself.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

"A few points--most counters are still at a ridiculously low 36" height, which is difficult to do work at for a long time"

It depends on how tall you are.

Around 36 inches is a good height for the majority of folks.

It is called ergonomics.

If you are under 4 feet or over 6 feet it might not work so well for you.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Thanks columbusguy. I did post an introduction to our house when I first joined the forums. I will post a link to my photobucket images. Really the images are of an almost entirely gutted house and our new addition, with the exception of one finished (with exception of decoration) bath. The few rooms we are currently living in are not gutted but serious work needs to be done including moving a staircase (which brings it back to an original location and keeps you from having to walk through one bedroom to get to another) when we finish the upstairs and move into it. The bath that is finished is not as non modern as we would have liked, but it was what we could afford to get us in and stop us from paying rent elsewhere while trying to fix up the house. We really want to put an old fashion console style sink and if we come across one in a the many reclamation warehouses we frequent we will switch it out in a heartbeat.

Everywhere you see old timber beams, they will stay exposed. And I completely agree with you on re-using old materials. Hubby and I both grew up in families that did so. I grew up in a city, hubby in the country, but neither of us from families with money. And even though we have money now I believe our values are a lot different than most people I have found on say the kitchen forum. Our kitchen will have a built in made from re-cycled shutters and small windows including a really nice stain glass window to show off my wine glass collection. I am pretty sure we are using an old bowling alley floor (no markings, just the nice maple part) for my island.

Where I am stuck is I need a nice DIY counter for the small counter around my sink and over my dishwasher. The only counter space in the kitchen will be the island counter and the tiny space over the dishwasher and around the sink. I was trying to come up with something that would look good with a wood island but not be the same that we can do ourselves. I am afraid of DIY wood around a sink and I don't want the kitchen to matchy matchy.

I also need to figure out some sort of backsplash or should I call it what it is "waterproofing" of behind the sink. The ceiling is so short, there will be no upper cabinets. I am going to do some sort of shelf running across. So, what type of backsplash can I put in a kitchen to not make it look modern. I am afraid to run more beadboard like in my pantry closet as I am going to use it on the opposite side of the kitchen behind my built in (there will be lots of open cubby holes along with the closed shutters and see through windows) and the island has beadboard incorporated in it also.

If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. If you are just as stymied as I am, I completely understand. I have the overall vision in my head it is the finishing touches that escape me. My only concern right now is I need to give hubby final design on the sink basin and style of sink I want so we can start the build. I keep hesitating wanting to have the whole layout finished in my head before letting him cut the first piece of wood. Maybe I have some issues and should just wing some things ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Our old house


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

You are lucky to have a lot of places to look for materials--Columbus doesn't have too many! I have linked to one of my two threads of Pics, this one has kitchen and pantry ones. The pantry cabinets are all original, the kitchen ones use the original doors I found in the garage, but I built new frames. This was my first attempt--I got better. :) The medicine cabinet in the bath was my last build, and went much smoother.

I removed formica and plywood, and fluorescent lights from my kitchen which were from the 70s...and stripped the woodwork in there, which had been white. I found at least two layers of wallpaper in there, the one under the upper cabinets was silver and white 2" vertical stripes! Fortunately, I found the plaster in excellent shape.

Cabinets are actually easy--my sink is framed out of 2x4s, just a simple box, then covered with plywood stained to match the woodwork on the end, and the faceframe was made of boards I had on hand. I got the dimensions from the sink--which I got from a dumpster! You should allow a small space around the inset doors--I used a scrap of cardboard to figure the amount. :) The sink's left door hides open space, the right one has a shelf half-way between the top and bottom...it is just wood on four 'legs' so I can remove it to work on the plumbing.

For a backsplash--how about a couple tin ceiling tiles? They can be painted or left natural...but coat them with a sealer once they are up. It does sound like you have a lot of beadboard...but you could reuse it over the sink, just choose a different finish--paint if the rest is stained, or vice-versa. With finishes today, you don't need to worry about wood as a backsplash.

There is also the option of subway tile--but since that is the current trend, you might shy away from it--although it has been around far longer than the new fad since it is so practical. I have read that glass mosaics were a new feature around 1900, but I personally haven't seen any in place...and somehow I'm pretty sure the modern versions just aren't quite right. There was also nothing wrong with plaster, which would have been heavily sealed with a varnish and multiple layers of paint.

Just a few things off the top of my head...maybe a new thread with a simple drawing of the space, then we could all chip in?!

Here is a link that might be useful: House Pics Part II


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Webinar Registration
Have you ever wondered how to put a modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house or how to update the 19th century Victorian servants' kitchen for family use? Patricia Poore, Editor-in-Chief of Old-House Interiors and Arts & Crafts Homes, introduces the basics of designing a period-appropriate kitchen.

Learn to:
� Articulate various approaches to kitchen design in a period or traditional house.
� Recognize period remnants and salvageable elements of the inherited kitchen.
� Identify hallmarks of different periods (sink, flooring, etc.) to guide your purchasing.
� Distinguish between true period kitchen design and popular revival interpretations.
� Avoid the modern "showroom" kitchen that dates itself quickly.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

I did register for the webinar lov_mkitchen. I do think it sounds like good info. My only hope is that I actually get to hear and see the presentation. My husband is traveling this week (and most weeks right now), and 8 is the kids bed time. So 8-9 is very crazy around here.

columbusguy, I have thought about tin ceiling tiles. We are worried about them denting and dinging. You may have something with different paint schemes on the beadboard. It may appear less overwhelming and keep things consistent. I will start a new thread when I have drawings of the kitchen. I actually have the drawings and designs of the whole house on our main computer which my kids just did something to and now it wont power up. Hubby has to re-build it. Lucky the hard drives are working fine so nothing is lost.

I love your house and your home built cabinets. I also love that you built them out of reused materials. That is a great sink also. I wish I had room for something like that.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kali615, I seriously considered the plastic ceiling tiles that look like tin. I ordered some samples from a couple of different places but ended up using beadboard wallpaper instead. For a ceiling it was fine but I wouldn't do it on walls unless I was the only inhabitant of the house and I never touched the wall.

I haven't checked the web site but maybe it will be archived and you can watch it later. I have a habit of watching the calender for weeks and then on the appointed day, forget all about the webinar I signed up for. I have two coming up this week. I know it right now. Will I remember it tomorrow? Possibly. And I get tripped up on the time. I have to remember to check to see if I changed it to my time zone for notification or if I left it their time zone which makes me tune in after it's over. I don't remember ever watching a webinar from Old House so maybe I'm OK with the time.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

It is good to hear they archive. I was going to ask. I will have to go through some of their other archived webinars. I seem to have plenty of time with hubby gone once the kids go to bed lately.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kali615, I couldn't find any archives so I emailed and asked. I'll let you know here if they answer me.


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Archives RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Gardenweb won't accept the url so you'll have to copy and paste. I got a response:
You can find them at www.OldHouseOnline.com/webinars

Look for a follow up email after the webinar Thursday night to get a link to the recording. Thanks.

Heather

Heather Glynn Gniazdowski

Old House Media Group & Online Sales

4125 Lafayette Center Dr, #100

Chantilly, VA 20151

(800) 826-3893 ext. 2214

(703) 731-9659 (cell)

HistoricHomeShow.com

Come to the Historic Home Show, October 26-28, Chantilly, VA

OldHouseOnline.com *ArtsandCraftsHomes.com *Old-House Journal *Old-House Interiors *New Old House *Arts &Crafts Homes *Early Homes

LogHome.com *TimberHomeLiving.com *Log Home Living *Country�s Best Cabins *Timber Home Living *The Log & Timber Home Show


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Thanks so much lov_mkitchen. I am still going to try to catch it tomorrow night, but we will see. I actually got to see the debate last night, but that didn't START until 9.

I will watch the one on flooring also. Maybe it will give me another idea for the last two rooms I have yet to decide on.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Well, there went 38 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. Did anyone watch to the end? Did you learn anything? What a joke.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

LOL lov_mkitchen. I guess I will thank my 2 year old for his late nap and being off the wall until almost 9 last night then. At least he provided some amusement. I didn't even attempt to login. How bad was it?


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

BAD!! I didn't even stay to the end. I kept thinking the program would start any minute but it hadn't yet 38 minutes into it so I left. There is noting positive I can say about it. Go find an old glossy magazine with stock photos of "period" rooms and you'll see everything that I saw on that webinar . Total waste of time. You'd be better off surfing this site, kitchen forum, remodel forum or even google images. Two thumbs down! This was my most tactful review of that webinar, hated to say what I REALLY thought!


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Well, at least they didn't try to sell you something the entire time. I actually did login to the Ball fresh preserving one they did this summer. They said they would teach something new about canning. Yeah, they taught you how to use their new automatic jam maker in an extra long infomercial combined with the foodsaver. Double sell! UGH!!!


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kali615- I'm a bit late to this discussion, so I apologize if you've already figured this out. I too, had concerns about remodeling my old kitchen, but I desperately needed more space and function. It think the remodel turned out well and is period appropriate.

One of your questions which doesn't seem to have been answered in your above post is about a type of DIY counter top near the sink. I'm sure you've thought about soapstone? Especially if you've been on the kitchens forum. I did the DIY option of soapstone and I absolutely love it. It does fit the look of the old house kitchen and it's function is so much more amazing than the formica I ripped out. I know several of the soapstone folks have DIY options. The shipping prices weren't that bad. My entire sink area of 110 inches was less than $1K. Soapstone is easy to DIY with the right tools, and there are several folks here (angieDIY) who have posted their how-to's on the kitchen forums.

I also have a wood island top that I placed at 37.5 inches to fit my height and love having that comfortable space for prepping.

Good luck with your decisions!


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

oldhousegal- No, I had not considered soapstone yet. I had assumed from the looks of soapstone and reading threads of it, that it was much like stone installation. I had no idea you could DIY it. I will do some research and find some of the threads. I haven't been in the forums all that long. I have found that most of the talk in the kitchen forum seems to be a LOT of people hiring general contractors who then hire a lot of other people to come work on their house. I haven't seen a lot of talk anywhere about DIY projects except when it comes to restoration.

How tall are you, if you don't mind me asking? I am trying to decide on the height of my island and am waffling. I do a lot of baking and tend to stand on something when rolling or kneading. Then again I also do a lot of canning and when I have to peel tomatoes all day I sit at the counter on a high stool because I find the counter too low.


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Kali615, not oldhousegal but had to keep someone else from making the same mistake I did. I'm 5ft.4. My counters are 36 and a half. It's too tall for mixing or kneading. If I could do it over, I'd have all the counters about 34 or less. I use my kitchen table but it's not a huge deal since I've always used my table. I thought with the new kitchen I would be able to do everything at the counter. Table is less than 31.

I have laminate counter top because I've paid my dues being Suzy Homemaker and I really don't care for granite all that much. I might consider butcher block next time around. I would also consider soapstone but with any luck, I won't have to do another remodel in my lifetime.

I figured out a short cut for tomato juice this year. Whole tomatoes minus the stem, chop kinda small in the food processor, simmer for a couple of hours, strain through a sieve. Cook down and jar it up. NO peeling, coring, etc. I will never do the scald, peel, chop thing again!


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

Thanks for the input lov_mkitchen. That is what I was thinking. I keep hearing from everyone that taller is better, but I do so much baking that I am not really convinced. I think I will stick with my instincts and go a bit shorter on my island rather than the standard. My "kitchen" table is actually my dining room table in another room, so a bit of a pita especially when you have a nice smooth counter top to work on instead.

I have nothing against laminate, had it in our last place in the city, however in this house with as old as it is we are trying to stay with more "natural" looking materials. With that said, I am not a granite fan and would never do marble or any other material that I couldn't be kind of hard on. I don't like having to tip toe around my counters. I use my kitchen and use it well, reading about people in the kitchen forum wanting to plastic wrap their counters before parties so they don't get damaged is a little laughable.

That is a good tip on tomato juice. I have yet to make tomato juice. Usually I am too sick of peeling tomatoes to invest any more time in tomato juice but maybe next year if I don't have to peel I will try your trick. I also learned at the END of this season that if I freeze my tomatoes (didn't know I could do that another reason to love GW) that when they defrost the peels come right off and are ready to can in say Nov when you have less to do. I think I will try that next year with my new large freezer. Of course with a finished kitchen next year AND an actual dishwasher hooked up canning my tomatoes will be a breeze compared to this years harvest ;-)


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RE: modern-functioning kitchen in a pre-1850 house

I've frozen the tomatoes to postpone the canning. It works. You can do it with peaches, too, but don't leave them frozen for more than a couple of months or they get icky when you use them. I mostly make chili or goulash with my toms and the juice works for both. The seive method was less time consuming in the long run. Yup! Use my kitchen. That was the point in remodeling it. It is just so wonderful to have storage, work space, and a big sink to put those big pans in. Oh, and lest I forget, a gas stove! Tried electric. I couldn't learn a new trick at my age.


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