-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

cottage: kitchen and hall

Here's the email conversation with Dad about the kitchen and hall areas of the cottage plans.

Dad's commentary (Feb 26):

Stand where Alan has printed the word Meals and look towards the kitchen. To the right are the two patio doors opening out and folding out of the way to sit flat against the wall either side to not obstruct the veranda. To the left is the combustion stove, with a wall beside it to enclose it and give hiding place for the water pipes. This wall is not shown, but Alan will draw it in. I mentioned it to him when he pointed out his reasons for arranging the kitchen as he has. I think we ought to move it to the corner on the left, and create some visual separation with a short wall with a wide shelf at about mid chest height the width of the room, leaving only the opening for entry that will be over near the right wall where the fridge will be. Or the stove can be place in this corner, but there could be conflict with overhead framing members. Your input as to this kitchen design is needed here.

Turn left and pass thru the space between the stove as figured, but which will probably not be there. ( It is a good place for it if we have the divider just beyond the edge of the patio doorway and stretching uninterrupted the width of the room until stopping to leave a gap to access the kitchen just in front of the stove. I perhaps like this best as it give the old stove a more central place, and is therefore more effective for heating the room. A hob beside the stove, with the pipes exposed is an option too. Pardon this aside.) Now for the confusing bits: You see the opening that leads to the linen press. The linen press will be huge, as we have given it the 300 mm that is now shown on the master bedroom side, as you have already suggested. This can have a door on it if you wish, opening into the old passage to either side, but probably best hinged on the side of the linen press so coming out of the bedroom door you see on your left you have only to grab the door handle and push.

My reply (Feb 26):

I like the patio doors. I like the idea of having a wall, or at least partial enclosure, to cover the water pipes from stove.

I don't mind your idea to move the stove to the corner on the left (ie: with its back to the verandah wall) rather than the L shape it is now, because that way the entrance to the kitchen area is not quite so opposite the mini-hallway to the bathroom, so bathroom will feel a bit more private. Then again, toilet is well tucked away and actually if the door to bathroom has stained glass in it as you suggest it will be lovely to look at, so maybe you do want to be able to see it! I think I just talked myself into leaving the stove where it is in the drawing!

I like your idea of having a short wall with wide shelf the width of the room. Especially if we left it open above for a bit, it would be useful extra bench space if we needed for cooking. I'm interpreting this as being joined on the hallway wall side and running say about 2/3 of the way across towards patio door side. ie: the walkway between lounge and kitchen is on the side near patio doors.

Are you suggesting here that we instead have the divider between lounge/kitchen joining the wall on the verandah side and then stopping short and not joining onto the hallway wall? If so, then I don't want that. I'd rather have it so that the opening is on the patio door side. That way it'll feel more like the patio doors are part of the lounge too, almost. But the stove could still stay where it is, couldn't it?

I don't want to have a door on the opening leading to the linen press, I think it will help to make the passage way feel more interesting but having it this slightly different shape to usual.

I'd like to have the option of hot water that is heated by other means too (solar, electric powered, whatever) - not sure if they can share the same tank? Because in the summer, I most definitely do not want to have to be lighting woodfires to get hot water.

I'd like space in the kitchen for a small normal hob (can be electric powered) and a microwave (built into a cupboard higher up maybe so it doesn't use up benchspace ... or maybe even it could be built into the short wall area?).

In the kitchen there needs to be room for a table with chairs without it feeling too cramped. I'm envisaging this as being a table about the size of the old formica table in Gran's kitchen, ie: comfortable for 2 people, but can fit 4 at a squish.

Dad's reply (Feb 27):

I much prefer the wall dividing the kitchen from the rest of this large room to originate from the passage side, so it will effectively be the wall that hides the pipes of the stove. But will bring it only part way, to the line of the window over the sink. We put a lovely door that can be closed when hiding the kitchen, and opened onto the short wall beside the stove on the meals side. We then proceed with the divider as I proposed, with a bulkhead overhead for pictures. You will see parts of the kitchen, but a closing arrangement might be worked if needed, or you may simply have a wall here as you can have a pantry on the otherside like I built for Dawn. Remember that the goal is to minimize the kitchen in favor of the other living spaces.

You must have an alternative cooking arrangement. I bought for Peter a ministove/oven for use in flats, and we will use this in the hobbithole. You can have the old gas cooker I sent (oops, still need to send) pics of. This is like the old Kooka stoves, and has a lovely oven. It stands as a freestanding unit and would fit well beside the fridge. It is in immaculate condition. I will send the pic asap.

When I say hob you thought I meant a cooking plate arrangement. I merely meant a wall area that doesn't go to the ceiling, but is built as a blind for the end of things like baths and stoves, etc which are not finished properly. Or a little space is needed, as beside mum's bakers oven where it was necessary to have a place to put hot pan, and to cover over the unfinished sides of the other stove that was there. That is the term for a structural entity, nothing to do with cooking appliance, although I know this term is used overseas as I have read it in books.

The patio doors will be to the meals side of the divider or wall. Agree to not place a door on passage of linen press. Makes it unnecessarily stuffy and dark.

My reply (Feb 27):

I am a bit confused. Do you mean that the wall that hides the stove is not in line with the divider between lounge and kitchen on the other side? I'm not sure about having a door there but perhaps it's just that I am not envisioning it properly. A problem with it opening out onto the wall might be that it would stop us from having shelves on that wall?

Look forward to seeing pictures of the old Kooka stove thing, but we don't need it to be something this big so maybe that could be saved for the new house. I was just thinking of having a hob (ie: cooking plates that you put saucepans on), no need for a separate oven area. This way we would have storage space underneath the hob area. We can always use the BBQ if we want to roast things in summer, and most of the time Dave cooks pasta and things anyway so can get by without an oven.

Dad's reply (Feb 27):

I have sketched a plan for the kitchen with the door and divider and pantry on the kitchen side as envisioned. The little gas stove is cute, and as I said needs only to be converted by changing the jets.

proposed kitchen update

My reply (Feb 27):

Thanks a lot for drawing this up, but in short, we don't like it.

I'm not sure about the microwave position. Maybe we will put that where you show it except up high in a cupboard, as there is very little benchspace and that would give us extra space (as we will have to put things like kettle, toaster, etc somewhere and corner is usually good for them. Or, Dave suggests it might be even better to have it on a shelf over the fridge (assuming the fridge is about the size of our fridge here in London rather than a giant one like Mum's).

But the worst thing is, there's no space for a table!!!

There must be space for a table in the kitchen. I don't want it to be the other side of the divider as then it can't serve as overflow benchspace and is encroaching on the loungeroom. You think we want to minimise the space in the kitchen, but only within reason, it still needs to be functional and this wouldn't be. There is so little storage.

Maybe should revert back to having two sections of divider roughly where the wall is at the moment?... One starting on the hallside going to about 1/3 of the way across. One starting on the verandah side, directly opposite, also going to about 1/3 of the way across, with a gap in the middle for walking through. This gap can be an open entrance just like on the entrance to the lounge from the hall. It does not need a door.

Each of these dividers might need to be fatter than you have drawn as they need to have more space for storing things. I don't think you should call them a pantry. They are not a pantry, they are for storing dinner sets and crockery, not food. Think of it as being like the bottom part of a kitchen dresser. I don't want them narrow only for storing cans, I want them deep enough to easily store a full size dinner plate. We will have extra storage for cans, etc on the hallway walls eg: on the wall adjoining the study, and on the little wall (or hob or whatever you want to call it) that is next to the woodstove, hidden by little doors, but that doesn't necessarily need to be drawn in on the plan, we'll just get them from Ikea or something later.

The sink is way too big. We have such a teensy kitchen, we don't need a double sink. I would rather have a single sink, like our butlers sink we have here, and we'll just stand the dishes to drain on a teatowel on the bench, no need for it to be a stainless steel bit necessarily.

I don't think we can afford to have so much window in the kitchen above the sink area as having window means we can't have cupboards on the wall. I think that by moving the divider back so the patio doors are back to being part of the kitchen area (with table near them but still so you can move around) there will be enough light, so we should just have an opening window over the (smaller) sink area, about the size of the window you have drawn as being fixed in this current plan, and that is all... I would rather have a solid wall in the other places so we can have cupboards.

I am also wondering, considering how teensy this kitchen is, maybe we are better off not attempting to squeeze the Rayburn into it as it seems to be taking up a huge amount of space. Instead we could keep it for the new house and just put the little Kooka stove in and save the space... we could use a solar system for water heating.

Dad's reply (Feb 28):

OK, I'll assume you do not want a galley kitchen such as was originally suggested, and go with no divider behind the bench, including the meals area on the plan as part of the kitchen and the patio doors as part of the kitchen. That leaves the other dividers to create the separation you were asking for last night, and so can create these another time, or draw them into the present plan. If you are using portable furniture to create this sense of separateness of kitchen and lounge, ikea stuff, there is no reason to worry about it now. I will put the windows along the side as planned, and a small window over the sink. You only need a little sink, the drawn one was merely a suggestion. You don't need the Rayburn if you don't want it. Since we are planning to have solar and electric and gas there is no need to fill the space with something that may not be needed by yourselves or guests.

My reply (Feb 28):

No, we don't want a galley kitchen. Sorry, I thought that the divider thing you'd drawn in on the plan WAS the divider I was talking about. I think otherwise we will have so many dividers that it will become cluttered, as the rooms aren't that big. I would like to draw the dividers into the plan as I am not planning to use furniture to get that sense of separateness. They are what separates the lounge from the kitchen. The Ikea stuff, if used at all, would be only for the shelves in the hall, possibly, depending on what else we can get (ie: nothing to do with the dividers). I just know they often do very clever things for storing kitchen stuff away, that sometimes is amazingly cheap (at least here). But for the dividers between lounge and kitchen it will be better to build to our own specifications.

OK about the sink too, sorry I was misunderstanding. Yes, lets have the smaller sink. I'll talk to Dave about the Rayburn, don't want to dismiss it out of hand so quickly, but just as we play around with placements of things in the kitchen which is very small, it seems to take up a giant amount of space... which we have the luxury of in the new house, but not this one.

I had a play around with floorplans in lounge/kitchen, this time overlaying furniture, and came up with a version that I like a lot better. See what you think.

new idea for dividers and layout

In terms of kitchen layout, the microwave would be on a shelf above the fridge (assuming fridge is approx shoulder height like the one we have here). The sink is as we discussed (ie: single sink) with bench to either side with cupboards below. Perhaps the rubbish bin lives hidden behind the cupboard door on one side of the sink. In the corner (where you originally drew the microwave) perhaps we could even have a teensy full height pantry, with opening door on the diagonal? Just thinking of how to avoid a situation like we have in London with a corner cupboard that is hard to get into the back of" Next to this is another bit of bench (with cupboard underneath) and then the stove... whatever type it may be, slow combustion or normal, still need to talk to Dave about it. Beside the stove there is a short wall with a narrow shelves for storage on the outer side. For consistency, I think this should be the same height as the room dividers (ie: halfway between hip and shoulder height) and if it is the combustion stove and pipes need hiding then part of it would continue up to the ceiling.

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