03 June 2015

KITCHEN TALK..yours and mine


Well that was fun! I just finished reading your comments to The Apron post, thank you all so much! It seems I am not the only with a case of apron love.  You said...some aprons were sewn with threads of love, some pockets are used for wine corks and candy wrappers (like me). The bib seemed to be the preferred apron style. A chef coat was mentioned which is a fabulous idea. Some prefer the pinafore and others are just happy with the splatter.  I always find it fascinating to read your thoughts...they are so much like mine. I love that!

I reckon...that since we are talking aprons, we might as well talk kitchens. The photos below is a snippet of what is happening at Tahilla Farm. I sit here and stare at the photo...imagining a kitchen amongst other things. Everything has been decided, ordered and now we wait. While we wait, I thought I would pass along some of our kitchen thinking...and hope that you will share your own kitchen thoughts. I am all eyes for kitchen tips.

The Refrigerator, The Second Refrigerator and The Pantry
Designing a kitchen from scratch has been an interesting experience. I have always looked at the kitchen as a place to gather first and cook second. Tells you how much of a cook I am.  With four kids, it was all about food and more food. My kids were savvy to my style of cooking which was quick thinking at about 4:30pm. Child: What's for dinner mom? Mom: I'm thinking about it".  As mother opens the refrigerator door and the pantry door at 4:33pm..she thinks "thank god for the pantry and the refrigerator". They never let me down...which is why we are building a pantry and purchasing two refrigerators, one for the kitchen and one for the basement. More on the reasons for that idea below.

I like pantry's because they are easy. You walk in and voila..you can find anything and everything. No digging, shoving and moving. If you look at the photo above, you will see the entry to our pantry in the back right, next to the set of french doors which will eventually lead to a screened in porch. For the refrigerator, we chose the Sub Zero Tall Integrated Freezer. It will have paneling to match the cabinetry in the kitchen. We haven't selected the second refrigerator yet. It depends on Mr. H...


Talking about refrigerators
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Talking about a kitchen pantry
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The BBQ-and not foraging for sticks in the forest
Mr. H asked if we need a second refrigerator for just the two of us. To which I reply. "Yes...if you keep ordering from Kansas City Steaks we will". The past two summers I arrived to Tahilla Farm alongside two large deliveries filled with every imaginable cut of beef. It was a hair pulling experience as we had a small antiquated refrigerator that was on it's last legs. Exasperated, I would Skype Mr. H and ask why we have enough meat to feed a football team at our front door.  His reply.."I thought you might like them for the BBQ". To which I replied, "You mean the BBQ that requires foraging in the woods for hours on end to select the perfect sticks...which then take five hours to heat?  The BBQ you use for the two weeks of the summer that you are here?" His reply: "Yes, that one."



Mr. H's idea of preparing for a barbecue


My solution, two refrigerators, one for everyday and one for the unexpected meat orders. Plus..one outdoor gas BBQ piped into our central gas which requires a mere flick of the switch to turn it on.

Mrs. H's idea of a barbecue
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The Sinks and The Counters
We knew we wanted a farmhouse sink and we knew we wanted soapstone counter's. That was easy. What was not easy was deciding which sink, white porcelain or soapstone. In the end the soapstone sink won. I thought I was done with sink decisions..and then I was asked if we wanted a divider in the sink. I had visions of all the times I have twisted while trying to clean large roasting pans and decided on one large sink.

I made one more executive decision at the urging of my sister-in-law. She is a super cook and hostess extraordinaire. One of those women who can whip up a meal quick smart at a moments notice. She gave me wise advice...find room for a second sink and a second oven. She also counselled me on the sink, refrigerators and soapstone counters. She has the perfect kitchen...I am one lucky sister-in-law!


Talking about soapstone counters and a second sink in the island
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Talking about the soapstone farmhouse sink
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The Plate and Cup Rack
I had a mystery rack in our old kitchen. I have to be honest, I hadn't a clue what it was for. I tried everything on it until last summer when I saw the same rack on Pinterest and realised it was for plates, standing straight up. Slow? Yes! But..I loved that rack. It was next to the sink and the dishwasher and it made life easy. We are having two plate and cup racks installed, left and right of the sink. I plan to store a lot on those racks...for we have lots of plates and cups. Mr. H has been busy..



One for left and right of the sink

Mr. H goes shopping. Read below...

China Cabinet
Which brings me to the china cabinet. I usually have at least two mystery closets devoted to the china you received as wedding gifts and can't let go of. You know...the miscellaneous plates and tea cups and saucers and the china sets you swore you would always use when you registered them as wedding presents and then only take out for Easter...when you happen to be home for Easter.

Then there is the husband who discovered Ebay and proceeded to order every fanciful item that he could find to remind him of the tropics. So...we have a china cabinet..which I still do not think will hold it all, which is why the overflow is going to the basement. We have not had a basement since 1999. All those countries and not one basement. I plan to skip around our basement..while looking at our miscellaneous objet d' art. Happy days ahead!


Talking about china cabinets
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The Island
The first and most important request we had for Sheldon, the architect, was to incorporate an island into the kitchen, one big enough to sit at least four people, that would allow us to stretch out and bake cookies and flip through cookbooks and all the other things you do when you congregate around an island. So we have a 12' island which will contain one oven, one sink, an end bookcase for cook books and space for four chairs. Add to that a host of draws and cabinets and you have an island waiting for visitors.


Talking about island space
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The Oven and the range
Our kitchen is moderate in size.  All these photos feature large kitchens so we have to keep it in perspective. Our design features an efficient use of space.  It is all part of the 'great room' or 'family room' which is what we call it. A new concept for us but one that we think will work well with the flow of life. This December will be the test when we all gather for Christmas. To ensure we have plenty of baking and roasting capcity, we decided on the Wolf 36" six burner Duel Fuel Range with an additional Jenn-Air 30" single wall oven.


Talking about the Wolf range
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Talking about the second oven in the island
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Phew! That was a doozer!
I had no idea Kitchen Talk could be so much work.
I swear, designing a kitchen, is a once in a lifetime event!

Would love to read your thoughts about your kitchen. 
Perfect? 
What do you love about it?
Anything you would like to change?
Any tips for me?

And parting thoughts to end or start your day..
wherever in the world you may live.


Do you believe?
I do..with all my heart.
:)

Thank you so so much for reading along!
If you would like to write to me directly, please do!
jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

36 comments:

  1. This brings back memories. It was just a couple years ago that we went through our own kitchen transformation. A few choices we made (good and not-so-good):
    - We wanted soapstone too but were worried about the maintenance. I'm a klutz in the kitchen and I knew it would get destroyed. So we opted for a matte granite that looks like soapstone but is indestructible. It's awesome!
    - Definitely one large farmhouse sink - we went with porcelain, which works with our small white kitchen.
    - We went with a wood top to the island, to contrast with the dark countertops and to provide some warmth to the space. Bad idea. See above for my comments on being clumsy and my ability to destroy things. The stovetop is on the island, and I accidentally caught a pot holder on fire, leaving a nice burn mark next to the stove. My kids also enjoy sharpies and there are stains. Only a couple years later, and we are talking about replacing the island top. Now thinking granite - maybe a white marble-looking granite, and again matte, but it must be indestructible.
    - We got a double-oven, with the top oven being a convection/microwave oven. What a fabulous invention! I now have the microwave for everyday, but I also have that second oven that comes in handy for baking a dessert while dinner's in the oven, especially during the holidays.

    I love all your ideas and inspiration pictures - many of those are already pinned to my own inspiration board! Good luck and try to have fun with it. In a couple years, you'll find that you miss looking and dreaming of beautiful kitchens. :-)

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    1. Thank you Mary, we share many similarities (klutz being one of them)...nice to know! We inherited a white marble island in one of our other homes and although it looked beauiful at a distance, it was a nightmare to keep up with all the little things that marked and stained. I thought about going back to it again because it looked so nice in a clean white space but decided against it. We picked out a lovely colour and grain of soapstone...I am hoping of the best! We have some space constraints. I was keen for the double-oven as I had that before as well but it meant giving up counter space. I love my counter space and opted for splitting the ovens. Thank you so much for sharing your kitchen with me. I loved reading all about it. Thanks for the tips too! :)

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  2. Thank you for the laughs and smiles, especially "skipping" in the basement and finding eBay. :)
    The photo of the Wolf stove...Love the pleated shades on the hanging lights! Small just a fridge in the pantry for flow overs would be nice, strawberry picking, parties, freezing things. Everything sounds perfect...a drawer cooler for produce right near the island sink with garbage disposal for prep, and a beverage station are probably in your design. :)

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    1. Hi Maywyn....Iove your suggestions! I had not thought of any of them! Space will be tight but I will keep them in mind. Great tips! Thank you! ;)

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  3. Oh, where to even start...since we are in the thick of it. My dilemma is how to create a farmhouse look that is old (early American) but still have it functional. The first design idea was received with the comment from me, "It just isn't old enough...can we get everything to look older?". Often that is received with confused looks. The soap stone craftsman is here right now...you should see the difference between old soapstone and cleaned up soapstone...amazing.

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    1. I am sure it will be picture perfect Sarah....you have a plan, a great start! Good luck! ;)

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  4. I have designed a lot of kitchens + marble is the best surface. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. Thanks Peggy....marble is beautiful! :)

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  5. Love the look of what you have planned. My suggestion is to include an area to sort/action the papers we deal with each day. It has forced me to deal with all the mail/receipts each day instead of allowing them to pile up. I included a small desk with drawers and a filing cabinet that looks like one of my cupboards. It has really helped tame the paper flood that enters our home each day. The plate racks on either side of the sink are the bomb!

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    1. I hear you BG...when we were six, this was a real issue. The nice thing about living in Vietnam is that mail rarely makes it to you. Frustrating...but solves the clutter problem. I will think about a designated paper place...thanks for the reminder! Glad you like the plate racks! ;)

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  6. I love kitchen talk! How fun to hear about your vision and the hubby's too. I just put a link on my blog that I'm saving for my own kitchen remodel. It was written by a designer who shares some wonderful details for the kitchen that comes from years of learning what works and what doesn't. I love your BBQ idea too...sounds like our husbands have something in common when it comes to actually using the BBQ ha. Love your last quote and yes, I'm totally a believer in the sentiments.
    I can't wait to see what you design,
    hugs
    Leslie

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    1. Thanks Leslie...I will check out your link. Looking forward to seeing your remodel as well! ;)

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  7. Love, love, love! hearing the details of your kitchen planning. And, I heartily agree with your decisions. The 6-burner Wolf range is on my bucket list, even though my desire to entertain is waning. Although, I'm "all in" when it comes to entertaining our children and grandchildren. You'll have many years of those marvelous days at Tahilla Farm.

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    1. Thank you Marielle! I have to keep reminding myself that for the most part it will be the two of us. We designed it for the two of us with room for overflow. Worst case...we reckon, there is always the carriage house. Seems to be a frequent term of ours. We will see how life shakes out and spread out if we need more space. First we need to win the lottery... ;)

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  8. Jeanne, your kitchen sounds perfect! So well thought out and filled with everything you love and use. I am sure that it will be wonderful in December.

    In the house we currently live in we have the worst pantry, it is set under the staircase...enough said. Our last house had a fabulous pantry, it was a huge walk in room with floor to ceiling shelving in a U shape, plenty of room for my 200 cookbooks.

    I love soapstone but we did not get it for our mini-renovation, we went with "leather finish" granite and I actually like it better because it is all black. As for the sink, one huge bowl is the way to go. I have had that at the last 3 houses and love it, so hand for big cookie sheets and roasters.

    Might I say that you and Mr. H might want to do a little stand-up comedy? I loved your story about the barbecue! We actually have two freezers, one for the dogs (we do raw feeding) and one for people food.

    I cannot wait to see your finished house. Thanks for sharing all of your sources and of course the adventure.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, life often feels like a stand-up comedy routine! Thanks for the tip on the "leather finish" granite. I will check it out. . :)

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  9. Here's what I know about kitchens. 1) NO SPLIT SINKS:). 2) Make sure one burner is at least 18KBTU or above. Stirfry is different at high heat. #) Islands and Great Rooms are da bomb.

    And that is it:).

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    1. Thank you Lisa! I admit I had to google 'da bomb'. Cleary, I have been away too long! I am noting the 18KBTU, many thanks!!

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  10. Hi Jeanne...lovely post. I adore country style kitchens. I have a modest one myself. Living in a cottage in Australia, our original kitchen was in a lean-to (covered in verandah). When we did our extensions about seven years ago, I moved the kitchen into the former lounge room and put the cooker in the chimney breast.i also made sure the architect included a pantry. I've been inspired by you to do a post on my kitchen in the next week or so.
    Cheers, Sandra from myadelaidehome.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I hope you do Sandra! Let me know via IG when you do! ;)

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  11. Hi Jeanne, I am loving this adventure...trailing behind you since England:) Your plans are simply perfect for you and your family and what I love, is that all the right people have fallen into your orbit since you first fell for Tahilla Farm. Real Estate agent to Architect to builder....yay! One item you may want to consider is a commercial DW for your pantry. I have owned one for 8 years now (Hobart) ...specifically they cycle in 3 1/2 minutes. I can host 35 people and have all dishes and crystal stemware done in a half hour. You do need to rinse before putting them in, and they are expensive, but if you will be hosting many people this might be an option. Other than that, your kitchen sounds wonderful! So happy for you to be planting roots...ps. Mr. H reminds me of my husband who also likes to bbq the old way and even has a smoker for doing chicken and ribs. I can't complain, since those are his specialties, I like the easy gas bbq! Enjoy! xob

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    1. Thank you so much Brenda...and I will keep the DW in mind. Gave me a mild heart attack to think of cooking for that many people, wise advice, thank you! Also just a tad nervous that Mr. H will suddenly develop smoker envy. Your husband should talk to my brother-in-law...both thinking and practicing the same. MIght be able to teach Mr. H a thing or two...especially if it gets him into the woods. ;) xx

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  12. ps...am I allowed to do that?! hee hee hee...I have had solid surface counters, butcher block, soapstone and marble. My favourite is the soapstone. Presently, I have beautiful marble, but it does show variations in colour depending on use. While I like patina, our island is large and the side that is used for prep is darker than the side where people sit. So personally, it kind of bothers me. My previous kitchen with white shaker cabinets and soapstone counters looked stunning for all of the years we lived in that home. But hey, we all pick what works for us at the time and so will you:) Thanks for bringing us along!

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    1. Phew! Thought you might say that you hate soapstone! And yes, you are allowed to come back for more anytime. Love when that happens. ;)

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  13. I have had more fun catching up on your latest adventure - so much to love! Your kitchen sounds amazing. Your sister in law is a wise woman and I totally agree with her on two sinks. We just put two sinks in our beach house - one large and one double. We use them both all the time! Pantries are the best, and I would like to figure a better shelving system for ours. Love when they have shelves with brackets. You've thought of everything and I can't wait to follow along and watch your vision come to life!

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    1. Thanks so much B&K! I am glad you mentioned adjustable shelves for the pantry. I think we have that covered but will be sure to check. ;)

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  14. oh Jeanne, I could talk about kitchen (and more other rooms) over and over again. Beside a bathroom it is the most important place for me. my current kitchen
    is unfortunately very small and not really the style I had before but it works too. I would definitely go for
    a farmer (butler) sink and a second one on the island but I wouldn't choose a black slab for the kitchen
    in a house like yours and keep it a bit more rustic.

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    1. Thanks Rena…always good to get second opinions. ;)

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  15. All I can say is GOOD Luck!
    WE almost got divorced over light switches...........................XO

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    1. Elizabeth…I completely get that comment! ;) xx

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  16. Your kitchen will be beautiful when it's ready because you have exquisite taste. My kitchen is OK. I didn't think ahead when I planned it and would love to change it one day.

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    1. Thank you Loree…fingers crossed in New Hampshire! ;)

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  17. One of joys of a new home: selecting the refrigerators, grill and china. Summer lasts long because of outdoor grilling. I like your grill connected to the central gas which also feeds the stove.

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    1. Agree Edgar…I am hoping we can use the grill through four seasons. Might be wishful thinking in -0 temps. Will let you know… ;)

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  18. Jeanne
    You have made such good decisions. I wouldn't change a thing except maybe for the sub zero refrig. Be sure to keep it dust free behind and everywhere else! They are very sensitive. You will be so glad you are covering your frig. Mine here is built in (so much better). The one at the lake is stainless and a pain to keep clean!!

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    1. Good to know Cindy. Many years ago we put in a big sub-zero into our kitchen in Connecticut and then moved to Australia. I think I was able to use it for about three months. Have wanted another ever since. Good to know about the dust…I will keep that in mind. :)

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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