Sunday, December 18, 2005

Island Hop(p)ing

Dinner was a big success. Thanks to the rain the temperature outside did climb in to the 40s so the house was relatively comfortable. I ran the heaters non-stop all day, and while the cats were in heaven, I’m sure I’ll get a budget-busting PG&E bill next month but it was worth it. It has been a while since I cooked dinner for 6 people so there were some last minute runs to the store for extra supplies but it came out very good.

In one of my past lives I was a cook, a Sous Chef to be exact, but I never felt comfortable with the title. It was for a large banquet facility and my skills were really more managerial in nature and not so much as a cook. I don’t really have a passion for it and you really need that to be a good cook. I’m like the painter who is proficient and can paint something to look like what it is but I will never be a great artist.

I’ve cooked several meals in the new kitchen but this is the first time I’ve done any real cooking, if you know what I mean. Cooking dinner for 6 and having everything ready on time takes a little effort and I’m a little rusty. I really got to use the kitchen and I noticed some short comings in the design. The design flaws were always kind of in the back of my mind. I’ve spent enough time in kitchens that I know what needs be where in order for the flow of cooking to work and I knew as I was putting it all together that this design was a bit awkward.

The main reason I did the kitchen the way it is was because of my over all philosophy about working on the house. Rather than go to great lengths to change the house to the way I want it, I try and use existing space as it is and modify my design to fit in the space. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but it is never a complete disaster. I mean, it’s not like flames are shooting out of the stove because of a slightly less than perfect kitchen design. It is not so much that it is really bad, it is just not as good as it could be. Really, the only problem is the relationship between the stove and the sink. You can it see in the picture below.

Not To Scale

As you can see I have all the kitchen elements you read about in the design magazines. There is The 80s Porn Closet, The Frankenstein Hutch, The eHutch, The 1890s Cast Iron Stove, The 1934 Magic Chef, The Alcove Cabinet, The Dumb Waiter Style Door, and of course, The Cabinets I Built. There is also a round kitchen table in the middle of the room. I love to sit in the kitchen and eat and read and so the table was mandatory in my design. This table is causing the problems, though. It was supposed to pull double-duty as a work space, but it’s not really cutting it. What I need is an island with a sink. This would give me work space and a sink closer to the stove.

A few of the early kitchen designs had an island but the table won out in the end. I know you can make and island that you can also sit at, but it’s just not the same. I also had a design with a second sink where the eHutch is located. In fact, I plumbed new copper and had a sink hooked up there at one point. I got rid of the sink for a few reason but mainly because I needed more cabinet space.

I can see now that I need the island, though. I need the sink. I need more work space closer to the stove. The trick will be to make a kitchen island that has a sink, work space, a place to sit comfortably, and one that doesn’t completely dominate all the space in the center of the kitchen. I think I can do it.

Just when I thought I was going to be done with the kitchen it pulls me back in


Kristin said...

Our kitchen table doubles as a work space also. We don't have much counter space, so if I ever cook anything (which is rare, I admit), I always spread everything out on the table. I like it better than an island. BUT I don't need a second sink either.

Suzanne said...

Greg, how much space is on the wall with the e-hutch, perpendicular to the sink/cabinets? Can you put a work space there? Maybe you can have an L shaped countertop that extends from your new countertop.
I feel your pain, here,I also have the same problem. I work on my table, which is way too low, and I have no counter space either.

Greg said...


That space is actually for the refrigerator that I don’t have yet. I’m still using a small dorm size fridge - Ugh! That is also the end of the cabinet where the dishwasher is. What you are describing was in one of the many, many designs I worked with.