Adventures in kitchen design, #1

Using the specs from the appliances we bought and a shelf of kitchen design books, I’ve started working on laying out the kitchen. I’ve learned that the ideal triangle (refrigerator to stove to sink) is 15 to 22 feet (with the shortest leg between the sink and stove), that the dishwasher needs to go next to the sink, and that the aisle between the main counter and the island should be between 42 and 48 inches. The problem is figuring out how to translate all that into something that works with our space, isn’t hideous, and doesn’t cost a fortune. Tonight I made my first foray into translating that layout into actual cabinets. I spent two and a half hours with Sam at our local Home Depot and came out with a design for the ugliest kitchen ever. The problem is our windows.

The Schoolhouse has seven windows – one in the front and three on each side. They are single hung, wood frame windows. Each half is divided into four panes. We debated replacing them (they’re not in great shape, and of course they’re single paned) but they’re part of what makes the Schoolhouse look like a Schoolhouse, and they’re totally typical of the era the house was built. On our Memorial Day Weekend trip to the North Coast, we were struck by how many of the older houses we saw in Mendocino, Caspar, and Fort Bragg had these exact same windows, although most of the ones we saw didn’t have as many of the original blown glass panes as we do.

But they are a challenge when it comes to designing a kitchen. They are tall, so there’s no place for wall cabinets. They are strange distances apart, which means there’s only one possible place the refrigerator can go, ditto the sink and stove. Sam did the best he could, but I ended up with an ugly design, and even the cheapest Home Depot cabinets will run about $5,000. I hate the idea of spending $5,000 on something I don’t even like.

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