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What is in your dream kitchen?

Credit: AJC Staff

Credit: AJC Staff

As a home cook, the kitchen is one of the most crucial rooms in my house. Rivaled only by a back yard big enough for a fire/pig/oyster-roasting pit, the right kitchen is easily the most important area of a house for me.

For the first time in a while, I’m house hunting – looking for the dwelling that will be my home for the next decade or so. And for the first time in a while, I have the chance to design my perfect kitchen.

Now that I have the opportunity, I’d like to hear from the home cooks about the features or appliances you couldn’t live without. If you were starting a kitchen from the ground up, what would make the kitchen “your kitchen?”

What would you do differently? Do you regret that pasta pot filler instead of the breakfast nook?? Is the double oven the most crucial part of your kitchen? Could you imagine cooking on an electric range?

Since we are playing “what if”, I think I’d opt for the countertop-as-cutting board. A friend in San Francisco ‘s counter top is nothing but worn cutting board. It is an easy twenty to thirty feet of thick wood, with slots all over for storing your collection of knives. Yes, it calls for more maintenance – a good cleaning and oiling every now and again – but the look adds a warmth to the kitchen and it is about as practical as it gets.

If you were designing your perfect kitchen NOW, what would be a must-have, and what would you skip?

22 comments Add your comment

cgb

March 1st, 2013
7:35 am

Just completed my dream kitchen. Here were my must haves: Open space to dining and den but a barrier in between. So I have a massive L shaped counter that people can sit at, have a glass of wine and talk to me, but they don’t enter my cooking space. The refrigerator is on the perimeter. Close enough to my prep island, but keeps everyone out of my space. The island has a sink. People can help wash but they are out side of my cooking area. The island is not too large not too small. I can prep most anything on it. My last island was too large and people placed items on it-papers, keys, you name it. I also did not want people sitting at my island. It is a work place.
I have a large commercial range-two ovens, 6 burners and a built in grill for roasting vegetables. The stove top is gas a must have but the ovens are electric. I have two dish washers–an absolute god send and a second sink that is one of the largest made-also a god send. What would I skip now–massive refrigerator/freezer. Just need it large enough for platters and to store a good amount of food. I like to buy fresh and freeze leftovers for a second meal. Most french door refrigerator freezers do this well. I do wish I had a warming drawer.

Stephanie

March 1st, 2013
8:04 am

We just did a serious update to our kitchen and the best thing ever is the walk in pantry. It has glass doors and plenty of room for everything from wine bottles to cereal boxes , platters and extra dishes.
We had previously a wooden island with the cook top in it and after a while it looked awful,even with the cleaning. Maybe it was our type of wood but it was not a good look.
Good luck on your search.

Art

March 1st, 2013
8:58 am

A walk-in pantry, the best commercial duel fuel range/oven that you can afford with hood, a water faucet over the range, two dishwashers but not Fisher Paykel, a hot water dispenser, a separate icemaker, two warming drawers, a side-by-side refrigerator freezer, hardwood or travertine flooring, lots of storage

A

March 1st, 2013
9:13 am

Would love to have a French door fridge, island with sink and a higher part where you can pull up stools. Would also love a 2nd built-in oven and glass cooktop.

Baltisraul....

March 1st, 2013
9:43 am

1. patio door opening from kitchen; w/ a natural gas grill within easy reach.
2. Double convection oven.
3. Composite resin sinks (large,deep sinks)
4. built-in cutting board
5. A pantry large enough to accomodated side and rear wall shelves.

Baltisraul....

March 1st, 2013
10:07 am

A…..if you cook alot w/ cast iron skillets and pots like I do, you may want to rethink glass cooktops. They will scratch and they will crack. Some sauces that bubble over may never clean off. I experienced all 3 and got rid of mine quick.

ziza

March 1st, 2013
11:25 am

In my dream kitchen, double oven and 2 separate sinks. 6 burner gas stove and stove top grill! walk in pantry I hadn’t thought of, but that’s a good idea too and I’ll add to the dream list!

Polly M

March 1st, 2013
11:31 am

Things that I love about my kitchen:
An island big enough to spread out, but not too big to reach and clean.
Electrical outlets all around the island.
Two sinks. A large single on the island that we use for food prep, and a double sink on a wall counter that we use for clean up.
Enough room for multiple cooks.
An under counter ice maker.
Double ovens.
Gas range.

Sunny

March 1st, 2013
12:08 pm

1. Gas range with griddle/grill
2. Double ovens
3. Storage for gadgets and smaller appliances
4. Built in cutting board
5. Warming and refrigerated “snack” drawers
6. Built in bins for dry goods
7. Soft flooring for long periods of standing (ie: cork)

catsmeow

March 1st, 2013
3:48 pm

My dream kitchen only needs one thing – my own personal live-in chef. If he looks like Bradley Cooper, all the better!

Mark

March 1st, 2013
3:49 pm

Jon: after a year of research, we did a major renovation five yeras ago, so I can definitely give you perspective based on tons of cooking over that time. Here are some musts:

Ventilation: one of the greatest joys in our kitchen is being to sear the heck out of anything and have not one wisp of smoke or odor escape. No more garlic flavored towels in the bathroom. We have a custom 64″ Modern Aire hood liner with a (and this is crucial) remote Fantech 1100 cfm blower mounted in the attic. It’s near silent, incredibly effective, and makes the Vent a Hood we have at the lake look like a piece of junk.

Heat! I don’t care so much if you go induction or gas (the only two viable choices for true performance), but at least one or two burners putting out at the minimum 15,000 BTU’s are essential to sear, stir fry, boil a big pot of water etc. We have a LaCanche Cluny and I love cooking over a lot of heat.

Blum hinges: accept no alternative!!! There are tons of cheap knockoff soft-close drawer and cabinet hinges. They are junk (I know, we have them in the bathroom). Blum Blumotion hinges and slides are incredibly smooth, close with never a slam, and don’t require a hard jerk to open the way the cheapos do. Blum is the only way.

Adequate water flow in the sink. Modern flow-limited kitchen faucets typically put out 1.5 gpm and the flow restrictors are now typically integrated into the faucet and not removable. The result is a pitiful stream of water, barely able to move a pea into the drain. We replaced our Blanco within a few months with a high end KWC pull down faucet which puts out about 4 gpm through the pull down. Now I can actually clean a stockpot.

Two dishwashers. We cook a lot, often complex recipes, and this allows us to clean up after prep, run the first unit during dinner, and still have an empty unit to load dirty dishes into after the meal. Love our Miele’s which are inaudible while running.

Plugmold: Google it. Allowed us to put over a dozen electrical outlets under the overhang of our island, where they are invisible.

Avoid built-in microwaves. They are the same mechanical units as the cheap freestanding ones, with a huge upcharge for a few flimsy pieces of trim. When they die, as they always do, you’re out $1000. Instead, mount a freestanding MW into a cabinet: ours has a garage door type door that allows us to completely conceal it when not in use.

Lots of lighting. Do not rely on cans in the ceiling for anything except task lighting. Remember you also need general lighting, typically best provided by hanging fixtures or wall sconces, in addition to cans over work areas, and undercabinet lighting where appropriate (prefer xenon, halogens too hot, fluorescents too dim and blue).

I will resist the urge to do another couple thousand words. I spent a lot of time thinking about kitchens! But the results have been well worth the time and effort.

Kitchen Sink

March 1st, 2013
3:59 pm

foot pedal to operate the faucet (like a surgeon uses). This way you can was your germy hands and not touch your faucet handle… genius little gadget for the messiest of hands.

Ptc dawg

March 1st, 2013
8:03 pm

A beer fridge and access to two Weber Kettles….nirvana

Balisraul......

March 2nd, 2013
8:29 am

Mark…..now that is what I call a dream kitchen. Thanks for the tips. But your timing coud not be worse for us. Just sold our 4,600sq ft home and are contemplating a big reduction and a move to The Villages to play golf 5 days a week at least. I will add the Miele upon arrival.

Lynne

March 2nd, 2013
10:23 am

After 50+ years in the kitchen, I have a pretty good idea of what I would have in my kitchen. I have, and love, a dual fuel cooktop. There are some things, like soup and spaghetti sauce, that I don’t like to cook on gas. Besides I wouldn’t leave the house while these are simmering if I only had gas. We just purchased a French door refrigerator, and we love it. It’s easier to find things, and storage is so much more flexible than in the old side by side. Quartz countertops are a must. They don’t require all that TLC that granite does. An eating area next to the prep area is much better than one that’s a part of the kitchen. An absolute must have are slide out shelves in the cabinets, which give extra storage as well as ease of access to everything. Double ovens are truly wonderful when entertaining or for holiday meals, but for the most part I can get by with one built in oven and a really good countertop toaster oven. A walk in pantry would be nice, but most houses don’t have that kind of space, but some sort of pantry is a must to store all the little appliances that aren’t used every day, but make cooking easier when they are needed.

Mark

March 3rd, 2013
3:19 pm

@Balisraul: well, you do give up the huge kitchen, but somehow I suspect that golf five days a week will take the sting out of it! We do love the Miele’s, but be sure you are happy with the cutlery tray instead of the usual basket (in my OCD way, I love lining up all my forks in a row,but my wife thinks it’s a waste of time). We both agree that they are silent and clean great.

@Lynne: would be interested to know what type of range you have. Is it gas plus smoothtop electric? Or gas plus induction (my dream–I love the Lacanche, but I wish I had an induction hob or two for ultralow simmering as you note).

Baltisraul......

March 3rd, 2013
5:05 pm

Mark….Since my wife cares not how much golf I play, my cooking ventures will take a big hit. But, you know what, I’ll give up cooking alot for alot of golf!!!!! I see many more casseroles in our future. I will try the Miele for sure and a natural gas gill on the deck with my Weber within close reach.

1164mgc

March 4th, 2013
11:05 am

Only thing I can add that I regret not having space for is a pot rack. I’m sick of bending over and rifling through the cabinet just to find a pot to cook with, and the family doesn’t like the noise I make while doing it either.

MarkO

March 4th, 2013
5:00 pm

TEST DRIVE YOUR COOKTOP & OVEN BEFORE YOU BUY!! This is a must. If you don’t like it in the test drive you will not like it in your new kitchen. I did extensive research before I bought our new range but did not test drive it. I’ll never do that again. Ended up buying a GE stianless steel home professional w/4 30KBTU pro gas burners, griddle and electric convection oven. Cost as much as the first new car I ever bought.

What I didn’t find out until after installation and to late to return. The gas burners are rings not star patterned. Go with the star pattern. The “Sim” really means “Warm” and “Low” means “Slow Boil”. To make stock I have to put the pot on the griddle. LOVE THE GRIDDLE! BUY ONE! The freaking oven vents out the front not back??? Like really? Never again. And get a great range/oven exhaust system.

From my friend’s re-model that will be in my next kitchen. Along with under cabinet lighting – power strips that run the whole length of the counter so you can plug in any electric device anywhere on the counter. Power strips that run around the perimeter of his island just under the overhang of the island top. Once again you can plug any electric device anywhere on the island. Very handy on both counts.

Think about where and how to mount a flat screen and how to integrate with your computer/DVD player/cable for cooking videos/recipe display/cooking along with Emerill/FoodTV/Cooking Channel/Walking Dead viewing/etc. Having a large enough screen so I could display recipes so I wouldn’t have to print off a recipe and clip it to the fume hood would be nice. Let alone just watching what I want to watch while I’m cooking.

[...] What is in your dream kitchen? [...]

Glenn

March 5th, 2013
9:49 am

My dream kitchen would resemble kitchen stadium but homier complete with an infrared grill, blast chiller, salamander , & ice cream machine . I would also want that stellar pantry .

I was raised with a butchers block counter top when I grew up in New England . Good stuff .

Jadzia

March 5th, 2013
2:08 pm

Just finished our dream kitchen remodel. If you can’t afford paneled refrigerator and dishwasher then either a) buy non-stainless ones b) place them so they do not face out to an open area. I placed mine facing away from people sitting at our counter. Even so, I am forever cleaning the darn things.

I absolutely love my upper cabinets being 2 rows of horizontal with upward opening doors. I can keep them open while cooking, for easy access, and never hit my head.

I have no cabinet doors, they are all drawers. WOW! Love having two rows of drawers running throughout the kitchen.