Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where The Cooking Happens At Almost Heaven South

When we built our house, we used someone else’s plan and just didn’t put enough thought into the kitchen, so a few years ago, we remodeled to make it more cooking friendly. Although we wish it were bigger, the remodeled version used the same basic space, with a little bit stolen from the dining room. Sam Hofer from My Carolina Kitchen, who was here for the blogger get together, recently suggested I post about it, and when Penny, from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, initiated a kitchen reveal for today, I decided to participate.

Our major consideration was to have a cooktop that would match-up with what we did and we decided on a 48” Dacor, 6 burner model that will accommodate six 12” pots. When canning, it’s not uncommon to have 5 burners in use and some with very big pots and canners on them. Since we do cook and generate lots of steam, heat and odors, we also wanted a nice hood that would vent everything to the outside.

Another big desire was to make the island a workspace rather than a visitor’s space. What we had was hardly usable as it was small, contained no storage, and often had people seated at it – in my way. We accomplished our goal by moving the visitors to a bar with the barstools in the dining room – which did make it a little crowded but still functional - and using a shallower fridge allowed for a larger island.

We utilized lots of drawers, in the lower cabinets, so it would be easier to get to things from the back, went with stainless appliance fronts, and granite counter tops, which were an absolute must for Bev. The older I get, the more I appreciate the drawers. Rather than just buy cabinets, we first decided what would go in each space then designed the cabinet that would work best. Here’s the visitors bar - the near monitor is an electronic picture frame scrolling our favorite photos and the far one is a TV - another Bev must have.

 We tried to improve functionality by dividing the kitchen in to specific areas for food prep, cooking, baking, and clean up. The prep area contains the fridge, pantry, island with cutting board, food processor, knives, mixing and measuring equipment, and utensils. We considered several refrigerators, but settled on the GE Monagram, as it had the features we liked. Bev is a big food processor user and wanted it to be handy without setting out, so it’s on a pull up shelf. Here's some shots of the general area and some details - island, fridge, pantry on right.

The cooking area is next to the prep area contains the pots and pans, utensils, oils and other liquids, the visitors bar, range hood, cooktop and ready access to the pantry. Since 4 burners will usually do, we keep the other two covered by a griddle with a cutting board on it – so it’s usually just extra countertop. As you can see, this is a place to cook and we keep the utensils handy.

The bake center has a lowered counter top (so my short wife can get on top of the dough she’s kneading), the 36” wide Dacor oven, G.E. Advantium microwave/oven, Dacor warming drawer, the baking dishes, dry goods in a pull out pantry (left of oven), and utensils. The door leads out into the walk-in pantry, laundry area and then the garage.

The clean up area has the sink, dishwashers, storage for dishes and utensils, trash and can recycling, and cleaning equipment. We liked the Fisher & Paykel two drawer dishwasher, as it is actually two independent units, each the same size as the bottom shelf in a normal dishwasher. We also found we needed a three section sink and preferred stainless.

Before remodeling, the kitchen had an 8' drop ceiling of plastic, like in fluorescent light fixtures, set in a wooden grid work, which difused the light from the skylight above.  Bev wanted to have it as a vaulted ceiling (as in the dinning room), with the skylight visible, and she had it faux-painted to look like an evening sky. The fan/light has an additional light that shines upward and we leave it on at night to get the sky effect.

I was sure I'd taken a shot from the dining room of the entire kitchen, but it appears to be missing, but I think you can put the pieces together - the prep and clean up areas are opposite each other as are the cooking and baking areas. 

Now I have to admit, we usually have a few additional items sitting out, but moved them for the photos, so you’d think we were really neat.

If we had it to do over, even though the GE Advantium is a combo microwave and oven and can bake a potato just like a regular oven, we’d put in a double oven as well – even though we rarely need it. Fortunately, for those times, such as Thanksgiving, I have a smoker that is basically just a big oven.

I know this was long, but hope you enjoyed the tour and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Larry, I'm so glad you decided to show us your kitchen. I think you have a "to die for" kitchen" with everything I would love to have.

    I'm with you - drawers are the best solution kitchen designers have come up with in a long time. Come to think of it, you and Bev could hire out as kitchen designers. People would line up for your services.

  2. Hi Larry. I love your kitchen. Thanks so much for participating in the kitchen reveal. It is so much fun to get to know people better this way. It is obvious from your kitchen that you and Bev are real foodies and respect the bounty of the land. Not to mention great kitchen designers.

  3. I'm with Sam, a kitchen to die for. Is that your computer on the visitor bar? And yes, I saw the Polish Pottery! :-)

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  5. I amended the blog to describe the picture frame.

  6. Thanks for the kitchen tour! I love seeing where others create their magic! I'm so envious...your kitchen is lovely! I have a kitchen about the size of an apartment kitchen...I hate it, but one of these days, it will be better :)

  7. Larry, great kitchen! Everything is so neat and well organized. You and Bev did a great job planning.

    And after seeing the neatness in your cabinets, I cannot show you my undercounter drawers with pots and pans. ;)

    Thanks for inviting us in.

  8. Diane - I only showed the neat ones - we have the normal ones too.

  9. OMG. I am insanely jealous of your kitchen!! If I could have started from scratch, I would probably have chosen practically everything you chose!

  10. Gorgeous kitchen - you did a great job with the remodel. Love all the pull-out drawer and storage space, especially the one for the cookie sheets - so convenient! I hope to have my kitchen remodeled one of these days and it's nice to see pictures of what others have done! Thanks for the tour, Larry!

  11. You have such a lovely, functional kitchen.

  12. Wow Larry... when i pass on, I hope I get "stationed" in this little bit of heaven!

  13. Larry, Thanks for the tour. I have pull-out drawers in my cabinets as well, but what I don't have is a lower baking space or cabinet for kneading. I am so jealous. You and your wife have really planned and thought out your kitchen beautifully. It would be a dream for any one to cook in.

  14. Hi Larry! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I like your kitchen. Even as old as I am, I am not yet in my bestest kitchen ever. I hope someday. You have everything so handy. Very nice, very nice. Be sure to stop by again. Susan

  15. Hi Larry, Thanks for showing us your renovated kitchen. You all surely made great use of the space you had.... I'm impressed.... I love having all of that storage...

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Larry,
    You all did a wonderful job at remodeling your kitchen, such great detail and thought went into it. I love Bev's pull up shelf for her food processor, I would love something like that for my kitchenaid mixer. I also spy with my little eye all that Polish pottery, I am a huge collector of it as well. How did you come to collect it? Military, travel, or just like it? Thanks for letting us pop in! Robin

  17. Larry,
    Sounds like I had visited the same places in Poland for the pottery. It is a military wife's dream vacation! I would save my milk money, maybe $120 and buy enough Polish pottery that would cover two sheets spread out on the floor. Yes and the markup over here is amazing, very pricey stuff! Have a great week!

  18. Lots of great ideas in that post - the six burner stove is the best! We have propane up here and it doesn't get up enough heat to make canning practical - takes forever! The Great Dane has promised me an outdoor setup for canning - we'll see. I also love your pantry door, with what looks like a spice rack. Lots of inspiration here!

  19. That is a beautiful kitchen. I don't care for the cold of granite countertops, but, then, I am in a colder climate than you!

    So, what do you use for dishwasher detergent? Since Cascade took the phosphates out of their detergent, I have not been able to get my dishes to sparkle. Indeed, the Cascade powder was a real disaster. Actually, a much worse word comes to mind when I think of the results, but this is a family friendly blog! I am on the hunt for anything at all that makes my dishwashers work again; otherwise, I may just remove all 3 of them and take up washing dishes by hand. And you know how cranky that will make me!

  20. Hi Larry & Bev...Laurie here!
    You're right...We always see your kitchen while you're working in it. (Food & pots everywhere!) It looks fantastic in the photos! But I already knew it was a great cooks kitchen. Only the best for two excellent cooks! What surprised me the most was...I didn't know you had such a beautiful door that closed off the laundry room/garage entrance to your kitchen! Thanks for the tour!

  21. I'll be right back to comment. I have to go bulldoze my kitchen and start from scratch! (ha ha)

    Sadly, the two reasons we want to move are 1) our existing kitchen is TINY and 2) we want garden land.

    Your kitchen rocks, Larry.

  22. What a great renovation! You have a beautiful kitchen :)

  23. You have a fantastic kitchen! I love peeking inside other homes and seeing where people are working. Your remodel is one of the best I've seen. I truly miss my Fisher & Paykel. It is the only part of our last home's gourmet kitchen that I miss on a regular basis. If I could stand the thought of buying one all over again, I just might do it. :)

    I do realize this post is a year old, but it popped up as I was reading today's post and I couldn't resist it. Have a great night!


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