Even chinese grandmas have their indulgences. This kitchen is mine. I spent hundreds of hours researching every last detail, meticulously sketched scale floor plans and elevations, mapped out various workflow scenarios. The look is pure simplicity – it is a farmhouse kitchen – but it’s all tricked out for maximum functionality.
This is my primary workspace – the aisle between the island and the back wall. If I’m awake, I’m here. At the far end of this photo is my office – the open knee space under the counter. If I’m not cooking, I’m perched on the stool and typing away at my MacBook.
Here are my hidden treasures. At the lower right corner is my secret foot pedal to operate the island sink. I do my prep work at the island, and I wanted handsfree sink activation for my dough-encrusted or E.coli-contaminated hands.
Further along the island is a white plastic switch, which activates a secret dustbin that sucks crumbs into my central vacuum system. The only way it could be better is if I had put it on the other side of the island. Turns out I don’t produce nearly as much floor waste cooking as my little people do eating at the counter stools on the other side.
The centerpiece of my farmhouse kitchen – the farmhouse sink. There are dishwashers on either side, which with my four kids and another dozen and a half close relatives nearby, we use constantly.
With all the windows, I have almost no upper cabinetry. I adore these deep dish drawers, and having 24 of everything so I never have to use disposable plates (too much waste). These drawers are directly across the aisle from the dishwashers so that unloading is easy. Also the aisle is wide enough that the drawers don’t bump into the dishwasher door when it’s down (this is where the graph paper comes in handy with kitchen planning).
This is my pantry. I was adamant about having open shelves, which I love so much I leave the pantry door open so I can see them.
This is my six-burner BlueStar gas rangetop. I love the burners – they’re cast iron (I can’t stand shiny burners that only look good new – these never look pristine and never look gross either), they’re open (stuff just falls through to a catch shelf that pulls out), they have a cool star configuration (so the flame hits the pan in the center and out, not just in a wide ring around a burner cap) and they’re continuous (easy to slide heavy pot from one burner to another).
This storage space for baking pans and cookie sheets is fantastically useful.
And most of all I am so happy with the soapstone countertops. I really struggled with this decision. But soapstone was what I wanted from the beginning, and despite having to hunt far afield to find a stone I liked, and despite the fact that it was my most expensive indulgence, I could not be happier with it. I love the soft, warm feel of it, and I could almost bring a blanket and pillow and sleep on the island.
For anyone planning their own dream kitchen, all my favorite kitchen ideas came from the GardenWeb forums at That Home Site!. There are forums on every home topic – bathrooms, kitchens, building, remodeling, etc – and an extremely active and knowledgeable community. Search the archives and tap into a deep and diverse repository of information.
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Here’s a link to a follow-up post: My dream kitchen, part 2.
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