Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beach Cottage - Kitchen Design

 With the bright, open floor plan that we’ll have in this house, it’s important to have a kitchen that both looks good and functions well.  After all, you’ll see it as soon as you walk in the front door!  So we've spent a lot of time designing the space.

Here's a birds eye view of the layout.  Lots of work space, ample storage, a good kitchen triangle, and room for a crowd during a party (always a critical design element in my book!).

And we’re starting with some pretty cool design elements.  We want to mix a little contemporary flair with our cottage style.  First up, we are going to install a farm sink.  But not your run-of-the-mill white farm sink.  We found a sleek, stainless steel sink, that has a beautiful curved front edge.  We’ll add an industrial style faucet to provide a real workhorse washing station.

Hooked on Houses -Tyler Florence's Mill Valley Home 
I loved this sink from the moment I saw it.  And was thrilled to see Hooked on Houses post of Chef Tyler Florence's kitchen - with the same type of sink & faucet we have planned (oh, and he has a chopping block to die for). 

Another key design element - a large center island, which will be topped with butcher block.  It will seat 4, but also provide storage for a microwave, trashcan and recyclable pull out.  I’d love to share the light fixture that we’ll use above the island, but truth-be-told: I can’t decide which fixture I want!  The electricians come next week, so I better make up my mind soon.

And we've included something critical that this house never had - a dishwasher!!!  Hooray, no more hand washing all the dishes!

Even though this is a large space, it was a bit tricky to figure out a good layout.  An open plan doesn’t provide a lot of wall space for appliances and cabinets.  And with all the windows and doorways, we finally realized we needed to cover up one of the windows to install the refrigerator (no huge loss, it was a window to the screen porch, so there wasn’t a lot of light coming in).  We moved the stove to that wall as well, but left the kitchen sink in front of the window.  The cabinets will be Martha Stewart Dunsmere white, with quartz countertops. 

But my favorite design element?  We’ll be installing a new, slide-in gas range with a beautiful glass backsplash and chimney hood above it.  Since this is a focal point when you enter the house, we want it to look fantastic!  I found the tile at Old Port Specialty Tile.  It's made of recycled glass, called Vihara, from Sonoma Tileworks.  It's a soft blend of all the beach colored elements we love – sand, shells and a few hints of blue sky.  I’ll add an iridescent glass ‘frame’ around it, to really make it pop.

As usual, I was hopeful that we'd find a nice hardwood floor underneath the 'Congoleum' vinyl.  And as usual, I was disappointed.  We found an odd mix of fir and plywood, running in different directions.  So, now we're planning on installing an oak floor to match what we have throughout the rest of the first floor.  That will help blend all the spaces together, as well as provide a hard working surface.

We're still quite a few weeks away from installing the kitchen.  We need things like electrical and plumbing done first!  But what do you think of the design?

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  1. I enjoy watching the progress on your projects, and also your insights into your design process. As a designer in the cabinet industry I am always intrigued with how others approach a kitchen layout. As I studied your perspectives I noticed two things, there are no drawer bases (which might be for budget reasons) and the placement of glass doors on either side of the range. In my experience, while glass doors create a beautiful focal point, when they are located near a cooking area they can be very difficult to keep clean.

  2. I have tried for years to design the perfect kitchen layout for 'my next house' - and have failed miserably - it's tough! One question I had when looking at your layout was - where do you envision the prep space to be? For me, it would not be on either side of the stove because that would not be enough counter space. I could see using the island for prep. If so, then I would want a small sink in the island to wash veggies, rinse off my hands, etc - rather than walking over to the large pan-washing sink.
    And if the budget allows, I second the drawer suggestion. I have many large drawers and love them all for easy access to pots and pans, the inevitable pile of storage containers, etc.

  3. i've heard that the front apron on stainless farm sinks get scratched up. from people's belt buckles and the like.

    other than that 1 concern, i love it.

  4. Wow, thanks so much for all the input! As you've all mentioned, deep kitchen drawers are wonderful and I'm a big fan! So you'll be happy to know that there is a large drawer unit under the microwave in the island and double drawer pull outs in the large cabinet to the left of the sink. As far as prep space goes, I typically do my prep next to the kitchen sink - and there's lots of counter space there. The island also has lots of counter space, but squeezing a sink in means you'd have to give up on either the pull out trash/recyclable bin or the microwave cabinet. I've found most homeowners really want those units! And finally, regarding the glass cabinets, I've had them close to my stove before and never had a problem. Seems like as long as you have a high volume CFM hood (which we will have) it should help mitigate any issues.


  5. Looks like a good plan. How come the cabinet beside the door has no crown? All the rest of them do? Also would you not want you cutlery drawers beside the dishwasher for ease of unloading? Just a thought. Cheers Frances

    1. You're very observant Frances! There is method to our madness! The CAD program orders the crown molding based on how many feet are on the 3D Design. But since it comes in 8' lengths, we'll have enough extra from the other cabinets and didn't want to over order.

      They could easily use the cabinet drawer next to the dishwasher for cutlery, but since the cutlery tray can be removed, they can actually unload it anywhere (that's what I do at my house, because I hate leaning over so much!)

      Thanks so much for reading the blog!



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