Monday, November 3, 2008

Homemaker Monday: To Design a Kitchen - Part One

Welcome to...



Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: I chose this week's "YOURS" as it is perfect for the upcoming holidays. Tara, over at "Life, as it is..." has made some scrumptous mini-pumpkin cheesecakes and shows us, step-by-step, how we can, too! To show us how it's done, she includes some awesome photos, like these...




...and if you're anything like me, your mouth will be watering by the time you are finished reading her post! Thanks, Tara, for your inspiration and for being a regular here at 11th Heaven! You always add so much with your comments and your links and we appreciate you! For Tara's entire pumpkin cheesecake post, click HERE. Thanks, again, Tara! (And feel free to grab the "I was featured" button on my left sidebar if you'd like!)

MINE: Many of you have requested that I tell you more about how I designed our kitchen...


You asked for it....you got it!

One of the great things about living here in Mexico is that one can expect projects to take two to three times as long as they would in the states. Normally, one wouldn't consider that a benefit, but it served me well in that I was able to plan out my kitchen for nearly two years. I had a lot of time to my "woman's perogative" (changed my mind a thousand times) and I feel like I was able to create exactly what I wanted.

One of the best design secrets I learned while poring over magazines and books was the "work center" concept. A well-designed kitchen has areas or centers where certain tasks are accomplished. In most kitchens, these centers can support more than one function. Here are the centers I created in my kitchen:

-The baking center
-The serving center
-The dish display center
-The cooking center
-The clean-up center
-The breakfast center
-The plating center
-The eating center
-The computer center

As the weeks go by, I will address each of these centers, but today I would like to focus on the how I initially designed my kitchen, then we'll go into the baking, serving, and dish display centers.

Step 1: The first thing I did when I began designing my kitchen was to choose a style. Since we had decided to raise our children in Mexico, I chose to embrace the Mexican culture and go with a rustic Mexican design. I bought books on Mexican decor and tons of kitchen design magazines to find ideas. I also spent a lot of time in stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot to see what felt right as far as cabinet color and style. (To this day, my children cringe just driving by.)

Step 2: Second, I had to decide what my kitchen was going to be used for. Did I want to entertain while I cooked? Did I want the kids to be able to help together? Did I want to be able to display cookware and dishes? The answer to all of these questions was yes. I wanted my kitchen to have the efficiency of a restaurant, but still feel comfortable and inviting. I also knew we would be hosting many large meals (actually, every meal is large in our family!) and I wanted to be able to seat all of the adults, at least, comfortably.

Step 3: We determined how big our kitchen was going to be, then I penciled out a design on graph paper, using each square as one foot. I started armed with the knowledge that most lower cabinets are 24" deep and most upper cabinets are 12" deep. After many trials and errors, here is what I came up with (This is the view from above)...


(Feel free to click on any of these photos to enlarge them.)

Step 4: I then designed each wall from a front-facing view. Since we are going to be focusing on the baking, serving, and dish display wall today, I will show only that plan today here...


Step 5: Honestly, this is my favorite wall of the kitchen. It is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door if you look to your right and I wanted it to be a feast for the eye...


This wall features...
1. 9 feet of counter space on which to prepare food for baking, enabling multiple bakers when necessary. We also use it during our Sunday dinners in which we invite our extended family members. The 9 feet of counter space makes a perfect place for the vast array of the amazing pot luck dishes the women in our family prepare. The family simply lines up on the left and takes a scoop of each tempting delight!...


2. Lots of large and small drawers for items such as cookie cutters...


...or sushi supplies...


3. A cabinet where my cookie sheets can be stored vertically...


4: A Mexican pot filled with mixing spoons and whisks, and stainless steel canisters containing baking ingredients...


5. An open, Mexican-style shelf displaying colorful baking dishes...


...and square jars filled with dry ingredients (shown below from left to right: dark cocoa powder, vital wheat gluten, snack mix, lentils, and regular cocoa powder)...


6. A six foot wide, raised counter area with 52" high cabinets set right on top of the granite to display colorful Mexican dishes...


...which includes decorative grain drawer inserts filled with various grains, beans and pastas. These inserts are only one inch deep, so the drawers can actually be used for items other than the grain shown...



As I said, this wall is my favorite in the whole kitchen and sometimes I find myself just standing in the entryway of our home and staring at it. Actually, not just sometimes...all the time. I know, I have a disorder and I need help, but sometimes I just can't believe that this is actually my kitchen!

So what do you think? If you are working on designing your own kitchen, what other information would you like? Next week I'll talk about how I chose the cabinet wood and the countertop material and we'll go over the clean-up and breakfast centers. Let's hope I can keep it clean until then for the photo shoot!

OURS: Okay, now it's your turn! It's been two weeks since we've been able to see what all of you awesome homemakers have been up to, so we're extra excited to see what you've got for us today! Thanks again for coming and we'll see you next Homemaker Monday!



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29 comments:

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Yep, you are truly making us all covet so early in the week. Not a good idea....hee hee. So thrilled that you can create such a haven for that large family of yours. Kitchen are where so many of the memories occur!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I absolutely love your kitchen. It is absolutely beautiful. I designed mine around similar ideals and am still working to finish it, but don't have as many kids so have gone smaller scale.

Laurice. said...

I am so in love with your kitchen! So glad you are able to use it now!

BarbaraLee said...

I am interested to know why you live in Mexico? I am assuming you are from the states?
I like to see the rest of the house.

Shauna said...

Wow~! That is just awesome! Thank You for sharing! It is beautiful :)

P.S. He loves you.. said...

If I had a kitchen like that..I don't think I'd ever leave it!

Tara said...

BEAUTIFUL kitchen....i could have a hay-day in there!!

~LL~ said...

Please link to my blog in your post since you have connected to my Mr. Linky. Thanks.

And the kitchen looks faboo!!

glorv1 said...

Wow that is totally awesome. Your family will have so much room in that bountiful kitchen. Lucky are you and much good cooking. Take care and thx for sharing.

~LL~ said...

*snicker* need to read comments before the other. Sorry....I see you are going to link it. :D

Thanks. and I would love to be on your sidebar. thanks so much. I hope to add you, and other, soon. I'm in the middle of a redesign, so it might take a bit.

Bobbi said...

Wow, I just drool over your kitchen! It is so beautiful and perfect! I think I might put some pretty bowls out in our new house. Now I just have to buy them, lol! You give me great ideas. Unfortunately I rent, but I'm sure I can use some of your ideas to spruce it up. I love that put your cookies sheets in vertically, that's a great idea. Maybe I can find some way to do that in my new house! Great ideas! Great kitchen. I'll post more about homemaking when I move. Just a few more weeks to go!

Julie said...

Wow! I think I'd give my right arm or indenture a few of my children to have a kitchen like that! Heavenly! I don't think I'd even leave it.

The Apron Queen said...

Your kitchen is truly awesome. Can I move in? I'd be happy to be your personal chef or something! :)

Emily said...

I love to read and see the details of your kitchen. It's so great! Well thought out.

heidi said...

Why do you torment me, so??? Why?? *sob*

Gorgey. Love it.

Can I live with you? You won't even notice me. My 4 kids you might take notice of, cause they're loud, but me? I can fade into the tilework *nods*

I keep wanting to participate but am a sucky homemaker LOL

CompleteLee Blogger said...

Love, love, love the kitchen--please tell me it doesn't always look so perfectly tidy!

Great pics, thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

So, Jen, when you have a sec, would you please give an update on Johnny. I hope he's doing better and that you're feeling better and fully recovered from the lousy cold soon.

Grammy said...

I just love your kitchen can I move in with you.
I started a cleaning game with my friend to make us clean house. LOL I add a link to my linky to see if any one else wanted to join in.
Grammy

Joseph said...

I must say--and I do say!--that you have one of the slickest kitchens I've seen. My wife of 32 years is Mexican American, and one of the structures I made in our back yard is a casita for our spa. It is finished to look like something you might find in Mexico, up to and including blue windows and doors. It looks a little like one of the Computer Screen Wallpapers from Windows XP. Since I made that backyard, though, that has been one of the recurring themes in my own life--looking for a way to make our bathrooms and our kitchen look really glorious, even though those rooms are much too small. I'm a cabinetmaker, so the woodworking is not a problem. It's just figuring out what to do. One of the glories of the Internet, though, is there is absolutely no dearth of ideas. Right now I have no idea of what I will ultimately do, but I keep hoping I will come up with something really slick.

RhondaLue said...

While my kitchen is on a much smaller scale I did pick those things that were the most important to me when we redid ours a few years back. I have the same upright pan cupboard, drawers for my odds and ends, and plenty of pull-outs in the cupboards so there's not too much of the reachy stuff and not being able to find what's in the way back.

I also took a snack bar out and replaced it with an island on wheels, took the drywall above our low cabinets out so I could have higher staggered cabinets with beautiful crown molding, an instead of putting all regular shelved cabinets in I put a set of 3 great, deep drawers in so I could put my big griddles, giant lean, mean grilling machines in w/o that darn middle cupboard bar that makes retreiving such items difficult. I put a lot of thought into our design and I love every darn inch of it (just wish there were more inches to love but I'm beyond thankful we got to ditch our TOTALLY 80's kitchen so no complaints here!!)

It's so beautiful Jen. You could always pick up work as an interior designer if the need ever comes up!

Rachelle said...

Your kitchen is beautiful. My cabinet guy thought I was nuts when I wanted the grain window drawer fronts. But I laughed the hardest about your children and Home Depot. We finished our home a year ago and my children still moan when we drive near Lowe's Home Improvement.

Michelle M. said...

What a beautiful design! I love how everything has a place.

Krissy said...

Oh my gosh .... Wow.... I love your kitchen ... LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE your kitchen! lol You know what I would love to know? How to maximize what counter space you have so it functions well. That's my biggest thing. I have all my cabinets set up just like I want them now - but my counter tops are still left to be desired. HELP! lol :)

mnkristy said...

That is the most incredible kitchen I have ever seen! You are one lucky woman!

Amy said...

That is an amazing kitchen! I love it!

Mrs. Organic said...

It's absolutely beautiful, you did a great job planning it out.

Marlene said...

WoW! thanks for all the great ideas, I myself am trying to bring in our culture (I'm mexican-american) into our home and you've done it wonderfully. So far we've made new arches in our living room, dining and hallway and chose a neutral color for our walls so that I can get creative with all my pieces I chose to buy. Anyway, you've got a great family, I've been reading your blog for a while now and I appreciate everything you do for us bloggies. Take care and have a great day
Marlene

alessandra said...

Your kitchen is beautiful, you are a great designer and I perfectly understand when you do something you like in your home and then repeatedly stare at it during the day.
It is like you feel an harmony inside, isn't it?

Tiago said...

If I had to travel today, I would go for the temporary apartment option! It makes everything easier since there is no need to go out for dinner every night, you can live the everyday life that people lead in the place where you are vacationing. Last year I went to Argentina and rented a apartment rental in buenos aires which had one of the best kitchens I had ever seen in my life. It was cool and I got to make pasta in the homemade pasta machine that came with the apartment!