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RE: New Kitchen Layout & Cabinets (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: buehl on 10.06.2011 at 08:21 pm in Kitchens Forum

A few quick comments.

  • Drawers!...You seem to have a lot of cabinets w/doors. Drawers are more useful and more user-friendly - yes, even more than roll out tray shelves (ROTS). I would make virtually all your base cabinets drawers. Exceptions: Trash Pullout (a sort of drawer!) and, possibly, a narrow cutting board cabinet with either a drawer on top or a shelf. Even sink bases can have a drawer added to the bottom if there's enough room to fit all your plumbing plus a drawer.
  • Pantry...What type & size door do you have? If a regular door, you will need more than 28" on the diagonal. For starters, to accommodate the door frame, the wall will need to be at least 6" wider than the door (24" door, for example, will need at least a 30" wall). Also, b/c of the corners, you may need more. My wall is around 41" and we went for the shortest wall possible there. I do have an 8" thick wall on one end to accommodate a Message Center Niche, but that's only 3.5" thicker than a regular wall and would not add much to the overall length of the diagonal wall.

    BTW...what are the measurements of your corner pantry? How deep are you planning to have the shelves? 12" works nicely for the vast majority of small appliances, cans, bottles, boxes, etc.

  • Island Seating...Assuming your island is all one height (counter-height, 36" off the floor), aim for at least a 15-inch overhang. That's the minimum recommended by the NKBA. Even if you skimp b/c you're concerned about aisle space behind the seating, be aware that anyone sitting at the island will still take up the same amount of space, you can "squeeze" the human body only so far! Your visitors will end up being less comfortable as well b/c they will have to lean farther forward to reach the counter or straddle the cabinets (spreading their legs wide to get closer) or sit sideways and twist to face the counter. None of these is very comfortable for any length of time. (Unless this is for a Daycare center only, don't plan on only having children sitting there, either. Children grow, very, very quickly and become adult-sized pre-teens/teens in no time.)
  • Aisle widths...What are your aisle widths? None should be any less than 36" and even that's a bit narrow. Aim for at least 42" if there will be more than one person in the kitchen at the same time (and remember, when your children are old enough to start learning to share the workload and begin working in the kitchen, you will probably have more than one person most of the time...and for about 10 to 12 years for each child!) Sometimes, 36" will work in a space that has only one work zone, but if more than one zone is located next or across from each other, go with at least 42".

    Of more concern to me is the aisle behind the island seats. You have appliances (including ovens!) and work counters and a sink on the same aisle. I strongly recommend that aisle be at least 60" wide. You need room for people sitting at the island (remember, they'll stick out into the aisle), room for someone to work at the counter or access the refrigerator while others are seated at the island, room to open the ovens without burning someone sitting at the island (both bumping into the oven door and the blast of intense heat that always accompanies the opening of a heated oven), and room for someone else to slip b/w the other two. You will also have people taking hot/boiling/scalding food out of the MW and oven and you don't want them to be tripping over someone sitting at the island as they turn to move away from the counter and/or as they carry the food to its destination (DR or Kitchen or other).

  • Refrigerator...Depending on how deep the pantry walls are (and they may have to be a bit deeper...probably close to 26" or 27") and whether your refrigerator is "cabinet depth" or "built-in", you may need some filler b/w the refrigerator and the pantry wall. Don't assume your cabinetmaker or designer considered it...ask!

    My SIL cannot open the top drawer of one of her cabinets near a corner b/c the oven door & handle of her range on the other side of the corner stick out too far and block it. She has to open the oven to open the drawer...and even then it just barely fits past the range itself. Her cabinetmaker's KD apparently did not think about it (or didn't know any better...)! Others here have had their KD assure them they didn't need more than an inch or two...and then it was too late to fix the problem when they found out their KD was wrong!

    I suggest you check the specs for your particular refrigerator, find out how deep the pantry wall will really be, and do some mocking up. The refrigerator door needs to be able to open quite a bit more than 90 degrees to take out drawers/bins for cleaning. Because the pantry wall won't be that much deeper, you may only need about 3" or so.

    Also, be careful about door swings and appliances. You don't want doorknobs hitting appliances - metal or glass! You do not want the appliance doors/handles hitting the pantry door, especially if you put in a pantry door w/glass. You don't want the pantry door to open into someone working at the range...I suggest the hinges be on the refrigerator side. If it's a French Door model, this last concern isn't really a concern b/c the doors are narrower and won't get in the way.

  • MW...While I have no problem w/the location of the MW in general, don't mount it so high that it's too high for safe use. Mounting it 18" off the counter is too high. You really need to lower it a bit. As to worrying about children using it, I would worry more about children using one when they're ready that's too high for them to use safely. The majority of MWs today have "child safety locks" so if you're really worried, use the safety controls available! Overall, I actually prefer one mounted higher than counter height (maybe 10" off the counter), but I had to put in a MW drawer b/c I did not have a place for it...you do have a place/room, just plan it carefully so everyone can safely use it. (No standing on chairs to reach it!)
  • Tray Storage...Absolutely put your tray storage above the ovens! Not only is it a perfect storage size, but it's also ideally located - near the ovens that you will be using those trays in! Oven cabinets are 24" deep and trying to store things in there and still have them easily accessible can be a challenge. However, if you store your trays, cookie sheets, cooling racks, etc. so the long end is down (front-to-back) and extending back into the depths of the cabinet. You just have to grab the bottom corner of a tray and pull it out. You make good use of that deep space w/o having to use a chair or ladder to access items. Additionally, since you only need to get to the bottom corner of an item, you can put them on a shelf and store other items below. I store my platters that way. Again, they extend front-to-back so they take advantage of the 24" of depth, but you only need to grab the front to take them out. I'll post a pic of mine at the end.
  • Pocket doors...I would probably want deeper counters for this. What are the overall dimensions of your space? Some key measurements are missing from the layout above - specifically, overall measurements (the lower left corner, at least, is cut off and there are no measurements to "add" into the overall. If you have the kitchen width after accounting for 25.5" perimeter cabinet run + 39" to 42" aisle + 41.5" deep island + 60" aisle, then I would try to make the refrigerator/oven run 2 or 3" deeper...you'll have more room and the pocket doors won't seem as bad.

    41.5" island = 1.5" counter overhang + 24" deep cabinets + 1" decorative door on the back of the cabinets + 15" clear overhang


Tray & Platter Storage, Cabinet Above the Ovens, 31

NOTES:

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clipped on: 10.07.2011 at 04:25 am    last updated on: 10.07.2011 at 04:25 am

RE: Bosch Dishwasher - Virtually Silent NO LONGER (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: jakvis on 02.16.2011 at 12:35 pm in Appliances Forum

Again this is not really a Bosch d/w issue as it is a detergent issue. We are seeing hard water and detergent build ups on all brands of dishwashers. The build up on the pump vanes throws the impeller off balance and this causes noise.
Run a citric acid cleaner such as Dishwasher Magic at least once a year but if you have really hard water you may want to run a cleaner every 6 months.
It really makes a difference and I have all my techs carry d/w cleaner on their van stock.

Until the detergent manufacturers figure out what they need to do with their formulas you will see this problem.

Where we used to only recommend powdered detergent I now only recomment Enzyme detergents such as the Finish tabs or Quantum. These wil give you your best results.

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clipped on: 08.21.2011 at 06:31 am    last updated on: 08.21.2011 at 06:32 am

RE: Hansgrohe Raindance Allrounder (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: annkathryn on 06.23.2010 at 03:22 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I have a Raindance as well. It was the best (and only) solution to the sloped ceiling in our shower. I like it a lot.

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Shower head
clipped on: 07.03.2011 at 10:16 pm    last updated on: 07.03.2011 at 10:16 pm

RE: should we do a hand shower instead of a regular showerhead? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: yillimuh on 09.20.2010 at 03:19 pm in Bathrooms Forum

stacey, Hudson Reed (usa.hudsonreed.com) has a bunch of handhelds on slider rails for under $150. We used one in our new bathroom and the water flow is fantastic.

This one is $140. I think it looks nice with the faucet you have picked out:

http://usa.hudsonreed.com/product/Hudson_Reed_Enterprise_Chrome_Slider_Rail_Kit/287/40015.html

This one is $120:
http://usa.hudsonreed.com/product/Hudson_Reed_Chrome_Modern_Curved_Slide_Rail_Kit/287/40163.html

This is a bit different, but would give you the overhead plus handheld for $165:

http://usa.hudsonreed.com/product/Hudson_Reed_Victorian_Chrome_Grand_Rigid_Riser_Twin_Kit_Showerheads/287/40048.html

I think the faucet you picked out might be a bit to contemporary for it, though.

Anyway, we had a good experience with Hudson Reed.

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Shower slide bar
clipped on: 07.03.2011 at 10:13 pm    last updated on: 07.03.2011 at 10:14 pm

DIY budget elegant bathroom, almost done: pics...

posted by: staceyneil on 02.02.2011 at 10:11 am in Bathrooms Forum

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your support and advice along the way with our latest project... we're ALMOST done but sort of stalled. We just need to add the door threshold and some pretty natural wood shelves above the toilet, but DH has moved on to other woodworking projects, so those little projects have been shoved down the list of priorities. Since it may be months before I get those shelves (and art/decor) up, I thought I'd at least post some pics of the room as it is now. Forgive the crappy lighting: it's snowing hard so there's no natural light :(

Project scope:
1956 bathroom with 1980's/90's tile, vanity, toilet. Tub was original but sadly unsalvageable: the enale was totally wrecked and stained and impossible to clean.
Suspected some subfloor issues due to leaks.
Budget: $2,500. (final total was a bit under $3,000... so we didn't do too badly :))

The layout was awkward, the door swing used so much of the floor space and only allowed a very small vanity. Since this is the hall/guest bath as well as the primary bath for my teenage daughter, we really needed to maximize storage and vanity space. I drew a new plan which involved moving the doorway to the perpendicular wall. As much as my DH balked at adding additional work, he admitted it was TOTALLY the right thing to do once we finished. The room feels SO much bigger now.

OLD BATHROOM and layout:

Some photos from during the renovation... which was planned to take 4 weekends and ended up taking about 6 or 7.....
DD sledge-hammering the old tile down

lots of rot in the subfloor

Self-leveling-compound poured over the radiant floor heat cables in the floor

The shower area waterproofed with Hydroban (LOVE LOVE LOVE that stuff!)

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NEW BATHROOM and layout plan:

DETAILS:
Since our budget was soooo tight, and we wanted to use quality materials and get a unique, custom bathroom, we had to get creative!!!

Tile:
I had a small amount (it was mostly random pieces and offcuts) of very $$$ calacatta marble mosaic tiles left over from a previous project that I knew I wanted to use. The other materials were chosen around that starting point. I designed niches to use that tile in, as accent, based on the quantity I had. I used inexpensive white marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot for the shelves.

For the rest of the tile, I needed to use super-cheap stuff (the entire room is tiled to chair-rail height), but I didn't want it to look cheap or ubiquitous. I would have used subways, but DD emphatically vetoed them. It's her bathroom, and we let her have a LOT of design input. Since we have other areas in the house that use square tile in a running-bond pattern, I decided to use 4x4s, which are the cheapest anyway, but in a running bond rather than stacked pattern. After bringing home samples of the big-box cheapies, I decided to "splurge" (20 cents more per tile, I think, it was about $2.35 per sf after sales and discounts)) on Lowes next-step-up American Olean Ice White, which has a slight rippled surface that catches the light and adds a layer of interest that the flat, cheaper Gloss White doesn't have.

For the floor, we used American Olean 12 x 18 Pietra Bianco, a limestone-look ceramic tile that I'm surprisingly happy with :) Underneath the tile is radiant-heat cable, so the floor is wonderfully cozy and warm.

Floor grout is Latapoxy epoxy.
Wall/shower grout is Tec Accucolor XT, a super-modified grout that supposed to be a lot more stain-resistant (PITA to work with, though!)

Hardware:
DD wanted girly, vintage-looking stuff, a big departure from DH and my modern aesthetic. We narrowed down the style range, then I started watching eBay for deals. We scored about $750 worth of valves and faucets and stuff for about $275.
Vanity faucet: Moen Monticello
Shower faucet valve, trim, tub spout: Moen Monticello with Thermostatic valve
Shower head: Grohe Relexa Ultra on slide bar (LOVE!)
(after working with a bunch of faucets recently, I can say that the Moen monticello stuff is pretty cruddy compared to the Grohe RElexa, Kohler Purist, and HansGrohe stuff I've used recently.)
Towel bars and tissue holder are Ginger Hotelier.
Curved shower rod is the Crescent Rod. I tried some expandable ones they had locally, but this one (ordered on line for the same price) is SO much sturdier and nicer-looking. It also makes the shower space much larger.

Toilet:
Toto Carolina that we got at a yard sale for $150 including the Washlet seat (which we removed). We were driving down the street and DD -who professes to HATE anything renovation-related- said, "Hey, look, Mom... isn;t that one of those skirted toilets you like?" SCORE.

Tub:
American Standard Princeton ~$300 at Lowes. yeah, we chipped it right away by dropping a tool on it while installing the faucets; luckily there's a repair kit that actually does a pretty amazing job :) We used the American Standard "Deep Soak" drain, which adds a couple inches water depth for baths. I wanted DD to use her OWN bathtub rather than my new one in the master bath :)

Vanity:
an old dresser. We bought it on Craigslist for $40, and DH reworked the drawers to fit the plumbing. He also added modern drawer slides so that they work easily. We bought fabulous vintage glass knobs on eBay (if you're looking for vintage knobs, check out this seller: billybobbosen.)

I painted it BM Dove Wing.
We totally went over budget on the vanity top. I'd intended to bet a remnant of granite... but of course couldn't find one DD and I liked. Then we found this little slab of Vermont White quartzite in the "exotics" bone pile at a local yard. It was over budget but we loved it. Then, of course, we decided that rather than a plain square front, it had to be cut to fit the curvy front of the dresser... which added about $100. So the vanity top was our biggest expense at $480.

Medicine cabinet:
A salvaged cabinet we got at the local Habitat for Humanity REStore about 2 years ago. We framed it into the wall (where the old door used to be), painted it, and I tiled the little shelf area with my calacatta mosaic accent tiles and marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot.

Lighting:
Pottery Barn wall fixture from eBay
Ikea ceiling fixture (like $8 each and rated for bathrooms!)
Fan/showerlight combo is a recessed, can-style fixture by Broan/NuTone. It's AWESOME. Quiet, unobtrusive.

That's all I can think of right now. I think once we have the natural wood shelves up over the toilet, with DD's shell collection and a plant on them, it will give a little but of softness/naturalness which the room needs. It's a little TOO "elegant" right now :)

NOTES:

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clipped on: 07.03.2011 at 10:04 pm    last updated on: 07.03.2011 at 10:04 pm