Apr 25, 2022Liked by Jill Dupleix

...one more thing. The best 'kitchen' thing I did in my apartment was to put a stainless bench on the balcony with a charcoal BBQ and a big gas ring. This keeps the smelly/smokey/woky cooking outside, instead of pretending the pull-out recirculating 'exhaust hood' over my cooktop can do anything except stop the cook from hearing the conversation. The wine fridge is out there too...

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Apr 7, 2022Liked by Jill Dupleix

I do love my soft closing drawers but I warn you: cats can open them very easily

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Apr 9, 2022Liked by Jill Dupleix

Definitely soft closing drawers, drawer metal inserts for cutlery and utensils, rubber matting fitted to other drawers so plates and glasses don’t slide, the biggest single sink you can fit but NOT on the island where guests congregate, marble definitely just sealed properly, otherwise reconstituted stone, no tiles or glass for splash backs, don’t care about integrated as just another door to open, 3 pack for shine, no cupboards too high, put in a bulkhead instead to define kitchen space if ceiling is high, stick with 3 colours, bench, tiles, cabinets, butler’s pantry? is there room? don’t set microwave too high, island stools, inbuilt wine ‘fridge, lighting, something fabulous over island, downlighting for everywhere else with dimmer. Corner display shelves for treasured photos, ornaments, top brand range hood, hate smells, gas top, electric oven. Have fun

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Apr 7, 2022Liked by Jill Dupleix

I’d say consider making a principal work bench deeper rather than longer. So instead of say 600mm make it 800/850. It won’t suit every space but it’s more convenient and ergonomic than pacing up and down a long bench to get at things. To improve reach create a step up at rear of bench say 200/250 deep x 150/200 high where frequently used condiments etc can reside. Also the extra space behind joinery and appliances with make the plumber and electrician very happy and simplify the running of services.

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Soft close drawers are a must but are pretty standard fittings these days!

I agree about 2 Pack? My drawers are made from similar stuff and are SOOOO easy to wipe…also mine doesn’t show dirt or smudges. I have red and it looks terrific.

The best thing about my bench drawers are the two really deep ( not all that wide ) drawers for saucepans, fry pans etc etc!

They seem to take all sorts of configurations of big utensils and fit in heaps of stuff!

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It cost a lot more than other bench tops and I really had to take a deep breath when I ordered a 4.3M long Stainless Steel bench top with a single deep Butler type sink! It’s never looked as it did in the first five minutes but has worn beautifully.

I am careful with it tho!

Best thing about SS? Outta the oven and onto the bench…no worries about burning the bench top!

Also super easy to clean and to my eye…it looks fabulous!

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Apr 15, 2022·edited Apr 15, 2022

Here's my two-bob's worth:

• Plenty of power points so you can use that stick mixer/vacuum sealer/sous vide/food processor/spice grinder anywhere convenient.

• Lighting: lots of LED sources in deeply recessed reflectors let you put plenty of shadow-free light onto your work surfaces without getting in your eyes.

• I'm interested in the steam oven love. I bought a secondhand benchtop one and wanted to like it, but found it took up a lot of space and didn't do anything I couldn't do with a saucepan and steamer basket. But then I'm mostly cooking for one or two so volume isn't a big deal.

Note that a 'combi oven' does a lot more than a 'steam oven', letting you mix wet and dry heat. I don't have personal experience of them but my caterer partner says it's one of the best things in their (busy, commercial) kitchen. 'But', she says, 'you can't bake a cake in it.' Modernist Cuisine goes into a lot of (pretty dense!) detail on the combi's virtues.

• DishDrawer dishwasher: I've had one of these for over a decade and wouldn't use any other kind. Just slide out a drawer instead of dropping a door and then sliding out a basket. I have a one drawer which is fine for me. They are a little fussier to load than a 'flapper', but, properly loaded, they do a great job.

• On sinks, I really like my big sink/small sink combo. I can soak greens in one and still wash hands/knives etc.

• Retractable hose tap spout (I'm sure it has a proper name). This lets me refill my espresso machine/fill a big pot on the stove/a beer fermenter/bucket/whatever.

• Drawers not cupboards below! My next kitchen will have a shallow one to hold a digital scale so I can slide it out whenever I need it. Next to it will be one with a compost bucket so I can scrape straight into it.

• Benchtop: I currently have stone, which I like in many ways, but which is totally unforgiving of knocked-over glassware. I've had wet-edge stainless which is fantastic for messy things and cleaning. My favourite was a 50mm thick recycled hardwood slab, oil-finished. It needs sanding and re-oiling every couple of years, but a beautiful surface to work on and look at.

• I also love my glass splashback. A quick spray and wipe to get anything off it. Write notes with a whiteboard marker too!

Hope that's helpful. Thanks Jill for all your great recipes, notes and advice.

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Pleasure anytime! You would think this is advice you would get from the kitchen companies but sadly they do not care that much 😕 you have to research the minutia to make it work best for you … make a list of your essentials and keep checking it - I completely forgot one of my non- negotiable items: Pantry drawers until they were installing the cupboards!! You can go through so many iterations that some things get lost along the way…

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Haha well anything really. It keeps the bench clear and easier to clean up. I’ll see if I’ve got a photo.

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Love all the expert advice! I agree with the bit about a sink with a view… the happiest I’ve ever been washing dishes is with a window!

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Did my kitchen about 7yrs ago … had a cherry wood, brown appliance one from the 80’s? It’s now more classic Hamptons grey/white with a few industrial twists to segue from Federation front of house… def love my one big sink (can fit those big pots or trays all in at once etc.. MUCH easier to clean) careful with a ceramic sink tho’ things smash in them more easily … don’t have integrated anything … still looks great… fridges are a pain now, not deep anymore! Try not to have ice making in the door- takes up too much space … mine drops into a bucket in the freezer… (FisherPaykel)

ALSO def have engineered stone (or stainless steel if that’s your thing?)- you get BEAUTIFUL marble look-a-likes now where you can hardly tell the difference… the stone installer said he gets asked to rip out peoples expensive marble all the time and replace with the engineered as they are sick of the worrying and cleaning…

Pot lids can just go next to the pots!!! You get great vertical racks if it bothers you , but mine just stack fine horizontally, fanned a bit.

LOVE soft-close drawers for sure … have a coffee/tea drawer + teaspoons, mugs and coffee glasses under your kettle area… LOVE this everyday!!!

I would also invest extra for an induction cooktop …have gas which I love but hate the cleaning…just wasn’t an option 7yrs ago… also love my twin wall ovens (hate all that bending!) … Just plain fisher paykel with knobs! But would prob get a simple as possible steam oven now too…

Def consider lighting at night… MUST have concealed above benchtop and light on sink…

start a scrapbook of everything you want - a few pantry drawers are great…. Shallow Spice drawer next to stove top with pull-out drawers for oils etc underneath also handy…

Hope this helps!

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I love marble benches for their aesthetic, so I wouldn’t rule them out. (My small kitchen has timber benches which look good, but if I had the space I would love some marble surfaces for pasta and pastry preparation!) And I love my double sink, after years of having to make do with a single one. Soft closing drawers are fun - it’s great that cats think so too!

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Ohhhh, I have thoughts about this! After more than a decade demonstrating the fanciest of fancy appliances to people building kitchens most of us will never afford, and 25ish years developing recipes in home and commercial kitchens, and two kitchen renovations (about to be a third and fourth, in the same house...that's a whole other can of worms though!), I have many thoughts indeed.

Off the top of my head:

1. Yes, the steam oven is worth it (but I am biased because my job, literally, is creating steam oven recipes and education resources). BUT if you're going to splash cash on one, also be willing to invest time in experimenting with it so you actually come to appreciate its benefits.

2. Bigger is not better. The kitchen I've just left was smallish in terms of family kitchens, but the designer who created it (not me) made it so that I could basically turn and touch everything I needed within a couple of steps. I didn't realise how valuable that was until I had it - an enormous kitchen means more reaching and walking around.

3. Yes to all the soft close. And saucepan lid drawers (you could put one within a deeper saucepan drawer, which is fun and streamlined).

4. Induction. Unless you cook with a wok every day, induction is the best. Not least because you will never again have to pull apart the burners on your stove to get things clean. A quick spray and wipe and your whole cooktop is sparkling.

5. Timber benches are lovely for warmth and a softness you can't get with stone or marble, but beware mildewy yuck around your taps if you don't keep things dry.

6. It's not a popular opinion but if you have a decent dishwasher, I love just having one large single bowl sink. I really only wash huge pots and trays by hand (ie things that don't fit in the dishwasher), and I wanted something big enough to actually fit those items. It's also great to chuck a big colander into and wash your veg or fruit without splashing everywhere. I've never regretted the giant single sink; the tiny double bowl in my current kitchen drives me crazy.

I could go on about this all day but I'll stop! Look forward to reading more about your renovation. :)

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Apr 7, 2022·edited Apr 7, 2022

My kitchen is relatively small in today's standards, but it works well. Ten years ago I swapped out marble benches for timber's warmth and practicality and I have never regretted it. I adore my basic model Miele dishwasher, non soft close drawers/cupboards. I have a 60cm Smeg oven and a Rayburn wood burning stove for winter (it pinched the deal on the house) and I highly recommend, its luxurious in winter! Classic over modern. Yes to a second sink near a window!

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I love my stainless steel benchtops (so practical) and soft close drawers (and drawers not shelves). I agree with the comments re quality appliances but thinking carefully about how many gadgetty details. That said, I enjoy my Miele dishwasher utensil shelf, and the pyro function on the oven is awesome. And I LOVE induction. So much better than gas - quick, precise, efficient, and doesn't heat up the house. Two sinks are a must for me, one smaller than the other. The rest is just a combo of personal taste and need. I cook and entertain a lot, but haven't felt the need for two ovens or a big stove top - I've got a standard 60 cm cooktop and oven. I've cooked in kitchens that were beautiful but too big - I got all my steps up travelling between fridge and stove. I'm in temporary accommodation at the minute and the kitchen is too small for two people to cook into, but as a consequence very easy to navigate as a solo cook.

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I'm about to install a second "entertainers" sink - a narrow 1.2m long one that can be used as an ice bucket, a wet bar, an oyster bar and has integrated knife storage and chopping board storage. I can't vouch for it yet, but I'm certain it's going to change my life!

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