When we built our house, I got to design it. We tried to consider how to create the space for a large family's needs. Seven years later, I still love our kitchen just the way it is. We saved money where we could. My husband built the cabinets, and we went for just plain laminate countertops instead of granite or Corion.
For the sake of those who might be building and wanting ideas on how to plan a kitchen for a large family, here are a few of my favorite features:
1. I love, love, love, my large 8 x 4 foot island. I love being able to have multiple people in my kitchen working at the same time. I love having plenty of counter space, and there's something psychologically uplifting about facing my family and the nearby great room while I prepare meals rather than facing a wall, like I did in my old kitchen.
the view while I'm cooking:
2. I love my little veggie sink. In college, I took a class called "Housing the family" which talked about, among other things, how to create an efficient workflow in the kitchen. One main point was to have an efficient work triangle, with only a few steps between your fridge, your stove, and your sink. Our main sink, near the window, is too far away for this purpose, but this little sink fills the purpose well. We fill up pans for cooking here, fill up pitchers for the table, and clean our fruits and vegetables. It has a disposal in it, so we can put all the veggie trimmings in it and blast away. I think this sink gets used as much as our larger one.
3. Speaking of sinks, I love our large one beneath the window. And I LOVE what they are made out of. Unlike porcelain sinks, which stain, and stainless steel, which shows every spot of water, these granite composite ones NEVER look dirty. They don't stain, they don't show dirt, and they're easy to clean with just a swipe of a rag. As a sidenote, I don't like the faucet. The part at the bottom is supposed to pull out and you can push a button to change from a pouring fuction to a spray function. Great in concept, not so great in practice. The head doesn't click into place and often hangs down, and the button to change the spray function doesn't work very well. I don't know if that happens with all models, but it has with this one.
4. I love, love, love having two dishwashers. No explanation necessary.
5. I love our fridge and freezer. Though they look expensive, they are really just two stand-alone units placed side by side with a trim kit making them look built in. They are a Sears brand, so they were a quarter of the cost of the fancy ones they resemble. They are cabinet depth, so they don't have quite the capacity you might expect, but they sure come in handy.
the inside of the freezer:
6. I love these cute hooks to hold our aprons. This is on the wall across from the sink, next to the pantry door.
7. Speaking of which, I LOVE our pantry. It's just the right size.
Ignore the flour on the floor:
And on the side behind the door. It's hard to tell from the picture, but that's an upright freezer on the right of the picture. I love that we're not treking to the garage for our extra freezer goods and that I have space to stock up when I see a good deal:
8. We went for a stand-alone two-oven range instead of a built-in stovetop and ovens. We did it mostly to save money, but if I had to do it over again, I'd go this route again. We love the double ovens. The top oven is smaller, so it heats up faster and is the one we use 80% of the time. The bottom one is standard size. Essentially, this is the size of a regular range unit but they remove the bottom drawer and put in another oven instead.
10. I love this wall across from the table. Our family motto is up top. We have room for a basic table and a few chairs that works as both a puzzle table and for homework.