Friday, 20 August 2010

What's in your kitchen (and what should I have in mine?)

The most expensive thing I've ever bought is a house.

The second most expensive thing I've ever bought, is, you guessed it, the old house.

The third most expensive thing I've ever bought (by a significant distance, I hasten to add) is, I think, about to be a kitchen...

The people were here today. They've got lots of whizz-bangy, exciting, state-of-the-art, hideously expensive ideas.  I've got some too, but not as many as they do.

So, before I look pleadingly at B, sign on the dotted line and head off to seduce the bank manager, I'd love some help:

What's in your kitchen? What's not in your kitchen but you wish it was?  What should I have (and, perhaps more importantly, what should I not have) in mine?


The picture is not my current kitchen (funnily enough)... in fact it's Mary Berry's and is from the Beautiful Kitchens Blog for which thank you.  Needless to say, it's rather larger than mine.


  1. I have always wanted a sofa! No really I would love a baking area where I could keep all my baking things. Oh and a roll down thing to hide away the toaster and breadbin!

  2. I actually don't think you need to spend a lot of money on a kitchen. It's the layout that's important - the old triangle principle (hark at me - I used to work on television makeover programmes so I've seen a lot of kitchens) You need plenty of worktop space, double sinks are nice but not needed, enough storage.

    I like to eat in mine as well but hate breakfast bars. I don't think you need all the pull out dividers and gizmos unless you have awkward corner spaces. What sort of thing have they come up with?

    I've got a minimalist kitchen. Dishwasher, sink with drainer, hidden fridge/freezer. Only things I have out are toaster, kettle and blender/juicer.

  3. Also (I'm on a roll here) those handmade kitchens are extortionate. I got all the quotes and the brochures from all the companies. Sometimes you can buy the same carcasses from Magnet or Ikea or wherever, and have the cupboard doors made for you or change the handles, or we got a local carpenter to copy ours off the brochure for a fraction of the price of the company's one.

  4. You need a dishwasher in the kitchen. The guy who built ours didn't put one in, so ours is nextdoor in the utility room which is just awful.

  5. Don't know, but I'm interested to see what everyone says as we are planning a kitchen revamp next year!

    With small people I'd say a hob with the controls on top of the counter and an oven which is up a bit, not on floor level. We also don't have our washing machine in the kitchen but in the bathroom, which to me makes a lot more sense - all that washing and cooking smells not being a match made in heaven. Floors that aren't white as you can never keep them clean. Getting on a roll now, I'll be following Deer Baby's example and am off to think about it before returning with more...

  6. I am dreaming of having an island in my kitchen one day... but another alternative people have suggested to me is a 'bar' that separates the eating and cooking areas. I just love preparing food while being able to chat with people, share a bottle of wine, etc.

    We have a dark slate floor and it has to be swept constantly. A friend has a mottled, pale floor (travertine, lucky girl) which does not show every little crumb quite so much.

    I have white melamine cupboard doors which are amazingly easy to clean, if a bit boring (but go with most things).

    I love Deer Baby's comments (and I took notes!). I'll be checking back so I can take more notes for my Someday Kitchen!

  7. I love everyone's comments. So much wisdom (eg have the cooker not at child level, have the washing machine elsewhere).

    Are you an aga fan? Can't see the point of them myself.

    To island or not to island. That seems a big question.

    I would definitely have a double sink - perhaps I create more washing up than Deer Baby.

    I guess you need to think about how you live first, and work from that. Be realistic, so that you get a kitchen that suits the way you live, not the way you aspire to live.

    Oooh fun.

  8. A dishwasher! I dream of having a dishwasher!

  9. all interesting comments. Iota's point is very valid - you have to work out how you live and what your kitchen has to do for you. My kitchen seems to be constantly cluttered! I also seem to spend a lot of time clearing papers etc off the end of the "kitchen" table - it's just outside the kitchen but is the focal point of our life and so that for me is the most important bit. Have been catching up on your blog tonight and leaving you comments all over the place!

  10. I am planning to change my kitchen in the next few months so great timing with the post. I told the kitchen place what I had in mind and they hesitated so I ran away lol. Bet they will have more expensive things in mind! Some great ideas here and going to check out that blog, thanks:)Jen

  11. I recently moved in to a new house and got to choose my first ever kitchen - I still need to decorate it and make it more homely looking but I love it.

    I hope you post lots of pictures when you're done as I love looking at other peoples kitchens...

    Do you ever go on's a thread on the forums there where loads of people have posted pictures of their kitchens - there are hundreds! I could spend hours on there lol.

    It's on the Old Style Board and you could search for it - I think it's called where the magic happens or something.

  12. I live in the kitchen - I love it in there.

    I have a touch button hob - I would avoid this if I was you. Sometimes I set things on it, as it is just a flat surface, and if the item covers the touch buttons, it beeps at me in an very annoying tone of beep :D

    But I think you NEED a double oven - there just aren't enough culinary possibilites in having a single oven.


  13. great post.. I am living with my "new" kitchen a couple of years now and here is what I would change and what I would keep..

    Love Love Love
    1. my range cooker- its basically 2 ovens, 4 rings + a large one for a wok and a spot for heating plates.. I could never go back to a single oven after it and it is soo handy having 2 ovens and not just at Christmas..
    2. Seperate utility room for washing machine/ tumble dryer
    3. Large pull out utensil thingy.. not sure what technical name is but makes everything look tidy even when it isnt..

    Dont know what I was thinking...
    1. Put a sink in the island in the middle of the room. Every time I look around it has given birth to a new dirty pot or pan.. We are just not tidy enough to have an island + sink
    2. Cream porcelain tiles + 2 small children+ 2 cats = constant cleaning!! Am not sure what the answer is but DEF not that..
    3. Not enough space for a proper freexer. We have american fridge / freezer thing but cant even fit a proper frozen pizza in it so not sure what the point is? Would love a proper one so I could stock up..
    4. Tumble dryer- never use it - total waste of money + space.
    Think the best bit of getting a new kitchen is probably the planning stage - and the couple of weeks after when it looks so shiny and new - so enjoy!!

  14. Awesome comments! Thank you all so much - and keep them coming if you think of anything more.
    I'm not going to reply to comments individually because you're all making me think lots of different things so it makes more sense to just go with it...

    We're really lucky because one of the advantages of having moved from a perfectly ordinary London terraced house to a house a long way away is that you get a lot more house for your money, so we have got (woohoo!) a utility room for the washing machine (pants with names), the big freezer (oh, yes, northside mum, clocked that one too) and probably the tumble dryer, (because we have one already, and it's useful for towels, even when it isn't throwing it down with rain like it is at the moment), and possibly also the SECOND dishwasher (because lots of people have told me that it's a genius idea and then I can buy a new one with the new kitchen and move the old one into the utility room (Livi's going to hate me now aren't you?) and I can call it recycling and feel virtuous that I'm not adding to landfill.

    Interesting, Deer Baby, that you mention the triangle because I know it's what you're supposed to do but I'd sort of got rid of that idea (the fridge is currently in a different room (the same people obviously designed this kitchen as designed Mwa's) and actually it doesn't bother me...). It's also going to be very long and thin (we're knocking walls down) so I think all of it may have to be on one side... possibly with an island (or peninsula - get me with the geographical references) so, Iota and Michelloui, yes, I think I am an Islander. But not a breakfast bar-er (I'm with you there, Deer Baby).

    Top tip from Northside mum though, as I had contemplated doing just that with my sink (although am torn (Deer Baby and Iota again) between one very large sink that you can get oven shelves into or the more usual two medium sized ones arrangement... hmmm. Just getting quite annoyed at the moment that I can't wash the grill pan properly in the one we've got).

    The thing that you've all got me muddled on now is cookers - I was going to go for gas hob and two full sized ovens (thanks Emma!) up at eye level (Pants with Names) because then you get all the space etc. Definitely not a range, but now Northside mum says it's fab... and I was also then thinking maybe induction hob because apparently people rave about them. But then doesn't that mean press buttons on the top (which I was quite pleased by as I don't like having to clean around the ones on the (electric) hob we have at the moment because they just always seem a bit grubby (I'm coming over a bit OCD here aren't I? Sorry) but Emma's made a really good point about that too. Hmmm. Is there a compromise? Does anyone have an induction hob? Do you like it? (Is anyone still reading?!).

    The other things you've convinced me of - because it's going to be long and thin, there may be space for a cluttery table, which I was contemplating, but Motherhood and Anarchy has definitely swayed me towards... like you, I spend my life clearing clutter, although I'd love to be minimalist like Deer Baby. I'm sort of hoping that if I design a kitchen with enough place to put stuff, sometimes I'll actually manage to put it away...

    But you've all got me thinking about how I live my life - and why your suggestions would or wouldn't work for us... so that's incredibly helpful. Thank you.

    And then there's the whole floor thing - I'd worked out not white tiles... but quite what it is going to be like I don't know.

    Will keep you posted! I suspect there are going to be a lot of ranty posts on here about builders over the months to come.

    Oh, and Jen and Cass, please do share pics too! (and Jen, there's a magazine too....)

  15. hello.

    A new kitchen - how exciting. I am 3 months into a new kitchen ...

    Other that all the great debate above, I would add:

    Love, love, love:
    - My cold water filter and hot (98 degrees) water tap (InSinkErator). I was told not to pay for the one that goes to 100 degrees as it just comes out steam. I no long have a kettle and have instant hot drinks. So great for cooking too. I love it, it seems a joyous luxury
    - My elicia om extractor. the black thing on the wall in the pictures, no-one ever knows what it is so a talking point - i got it half price (ish) on ebay direct from italy
    - deep worktops, especially behind the sink. I have an extra 10/15 cms behind the sink which is lovely
    - I also went with 8cm thick worktop which just looks fab /i think
    - the more wide drawers the better
    - double ovens and 5 hobs, I have induction but gas not an option
    - the separate utility, can never go back
    - no handles on the cupboards
    - so glad i only had 1 wall cupboard
    - the bank of tall cupboards, yum!

    I wish I had room for:
    - an american fridge
    - 2 pull out larders
    - somewhere for my cookbooks
    - somewhere for the booze

    enjoy xxx

  16. opps - i forgot, a separate wine cooler fridge for wine, beer, water etc in the utility is working a treat xx

  17. An induction hob sounds like the kind of thing they have on the labour ward.

    Definitely get one of those super-power gas rings, for stir-frying.

  18. I have a touch button hob and it's fab as it's so easy to clean and looks neater I think. I would love to have a coffee maker built into my kitchen, complete with milk frother and everything!

  19. Notes - Thank you! Had the 100 degree version on my must have list... and now you have saved me about £500! Very good point and B the ex-scientist was delighted that he got to explain exactly how water boils to me in support of your argument... How's the hob working out?

    Iota - I have no idea what you're talking about - will clearly have to do more research - although I did see an electric/labour-inducing (is that the same as labour-saving? I can't imagine so) hob which was concave so that your wok sat in it... as I only have an eversoumble frying pan, I've scratched that off my must have list...

    Queenie - that was my thinking too, only Emma has got me puzzled. Take it you don't have problems with it beeping at you irritatingly? Coffee machine's a nice idea but we already have a Gaggia one that I bought B (was (and indeed still is) most expensive present I'd ever bought anyone - it must have been love!) when we were engaged and so is going to survive the cull of old equipment, if only for sentimental reasons!

  20. Excellent that I have saved you £500! The advice came from my builder who had fitted several to apparently disappointed clients each time. I think anyone who believes tea should be made at 100 degrees would disapprove but then I am unlikely to invite those people round for tea ;-).
    My induction hob is great, it is frameless and fitted flush to the worktop which does make me smile. I would definitely go with 5 rings not four. I am more than happy with it but then there is no gas option in our building.
    I also went with all black appliances (grey cupboards) with I hear now is quite trendy. I did it as I wanted quite a masculine kitchen.

    Your comment about cupboards all down one wall made me think, this info maybe of use or none at all ... I hated my old kitchen but had no real idea why (well apart from it being lemon. It took an architect to make me realize it was because whenever I was in it I was always facing a wall. This was made worse as the kitchen is 1/3 of an open plan area, so you always felt as if you had your back to everything - which of course you did. WE solved this problem by completely changing the layout, plumbing and electrics, and by adding a pennisula/bar between the kitchen and living room areas. I guess what I am saying - and forgive if its obvious - but think about which way you face when doing various tasks in the kitchen, and how when doing those things you what to interact with other people in the space/room.

  21. forgive me ... i just cannot stop commenting.
    today - i need to tell you that i love my franke sink ... an undermount graphite black one. it is just solid!


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