The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What to get for new kitchen

Gene New's picture
Gene New

What to get for new kitchen

We have lived in this house for 30 years and after of putting up with a 7ft by 8 ft kitchen for that time my hubby and I are finally in a position to do something about it thanks to two lump sums from our retirement pensions.

So at a point in life where most people would be downsizing we are planning to extend the house to the side by 14 feet which will amongst other things give us an 11ft by 13ft internal space that can become my new kitchen with the existing kitchen leading off from it as a utility room role housing the washing machine, some storage while providing somewhere to put hats, coats, scarves and boots etc.

Hubby is good with his hands so may make the kitchen units himself but we have a want list of things we would like to incorporate in the new kitchen like a breakfast bar style islet with a Corian or granite worktop so that I will have space to make bread etc but what I could do with during this planning stage are some recommendations or pointers towards choosing the right hob, oven and cooker hood for my bread making that will be fine for rest of my baking and general cooking.

 I should add I am in the UK where houses are quite small and the expense of having the extension built plus a new boiler and new kitchen cabinets will take most of our money and on a pension we won’t be able to raise any more so I won’t be able to afford a top of the range Meile unit as much as I might like one.

I would like a built in split level set up as I am only 5ft and I find my current oven is a pain when I have to sit on the floor to get to my stone etc especially as I am in my 60’s so not getting any younger so ideally I would prefer a gas hob on one side of the kitchen and, if we can afford it,  I was thinking perhaps something like a Neff Aqua-assist oven on the other but I don’t know if that is the right choice so I would really appreciate your input.

Any advice would be gratefully accepted but if anyone has bought a new oven that is a reasonable size as I will need it for all my cooking, and is perfect for domestic bread making can you tell me the make, model and why you chose it so that I can see if it would be right for our situation and pocket.

I hope someone has done something similar and will get back to me,  Many thanks Jean.


pmccool's picture

You had asked some questions about my kitchen, Jean, after seeing my post from 2008 about our remodel.  I will get the measurements for you in a day or two.  Regarding countertop material, the Corian you asked about will no doubt serve you well.  It is available in a wide range of colors and patterns.  One consideration with Corian or similar materials is that they are resin-based.  Consequently, they are susceptible to damage if hot items are placed directly on them.  Stone surfaces don't have that limitation, so long as they haven't been coated with some sort of sealer.  Do shop around and compare prices for different materials; you might be lucky enough to find some granite in the same price range as the Corian.  If practical, you might even want to have one part of your countertop finished in maple or some other hardwood, specifically for use while kneading or rolling out doughs.

I can't speak to appliances, since I'm in the U.S. and you are in the U.K.

One thing that I will suggest (and wish that I had in one of my cabinets) is 4 or 5 vertical dividers that allow cookie sheets, cutting boards and other flattish items to be stood on edge while stored.  It is much easier to fish them out of that arrangement than when they are stacked on top of one another and would take up less shelf space, too.

If you have enough space, you might want to consider equipping one cabinet with an appliance lift.  That would allow you to store a large, heavy item such as a mixer out of sight and off your counter, while still providing an easy way to have it available for use.

Deep drawers for storing pots and pans and casserole dishes are lovely if space and budget allow.  Or you may find space for an overhead pot rack.

A pantry cabinet with shelves that roll out to permit easy access to items at the back is also a nice feature.

Try to situate your new hob on an outside wall, which will permit you to have an exhaust hood that vents outside.

Although their prices may seem dear, consider working with a kitchen designer.  Some of the simplest suggestions can save you hundreds of pounds and/or a frustrating situation that you live with for years.  Your own observation about oven location is one such idea that you could discuss with a designer.

Do understand that the process will take longer than you want and will seem even longer than it actually is.  Be patient with your husband; he's going to have plenty of challenges of his own as he tackles the project.  Best wishes for a new kitchen that is a joy to use.


P.S. You can never have too many electrical outlets / powerpoints!  Put them anywhere you might ever want to plug in a device.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That has been my greatest change.  That and putting the cooking top were more than one cook can reach it at a time.  I also added lots of lighting and plugs.  Changed all the lower cabinets to pull out drawers in different heights.   Put in LED lights.  Dishwasher near the sink.  Watch out that the doors to cabinets don't lock with each other.  One bad biggie is the dishwasher door interfering with the door to where the garbage bin will be stored.  Always have a space to set things down near the refrigerator, for loading and unloading items.  Same goes for the oven so that you don't have to walk too far to a flat surface with a hot pan or heavy pot.    Space left and right of the cooking stove is best.  I got a sink right next to a cooking surface and it is a pain!  too close together!   Think about how you go about washing dishes left to right or right to left?    

dsadowsk's picture

One of the best things we did was to put in deep counters, 31 inches. It allows lots of room for activities such as kneading and shaping, and also furnishes enough room to keep some appliances on the counter if cabinet space is short, while still allowing you to work on the same counter.

davidg618's picture

I've lived in nine different homes since I left my parents nest. Until now, six decades later, I've never had sufficient or convenient spice storage. We recently did an upgrade of the stove and surrounding area, and I solved the problem with my own design.

In addition to the handy spice drawer I added, two of the four drawers in the side cabinet hold less used spices and herbs. You commented your husband is adept, perhaps there are things you've always wanted in the kitchen he could custom make for you.

The stove we installed is an Electrolux. While this particular model is probably US and Canada specific, I believe Electrolux stoves are available in the UK. I've been cooking and baking with ours for two months now, and I like it better every day; highly recommended brand.

Good luck with your renovation.

David G

marcoleavitt's picture
Gene New's picture
Gene New

Thanks all but David what a brilliant Spice rack, fantastic idea!!!

Hubby is handy with his hands I wonder if he could do something along those lines that would hold my 6 inch spice bottles as that would be very handy.

Still not 100% sure on which oven and hob to get - I like the look of the Neff Aqua Assist with a gas hob but spending £2500 just on the cooking components looks to be beyond what we can afford since it looks like we need a new boiler and the associated plumbing and that it seems is a big expensive job on its own - Oh well it was a nice dream

If anyone can recommend a good reliable condensing boiler (a legal requirement in the UK) that will output at least 21KW then I would be interested in hearing

Meanwhile I have worked out a kitchen plan that will give me an islet with a 900x 1500mm quartz worktop and taken the plan to two local kitchen specialists who said they will get back to me in the next few days so I will let you know how I get on.

My current kitchen is a real mess, it’s been in dire need of redecorating for some time on top of which Britain has been under a deluge of rain this year and some time back we had a flat roof go that caused no end of problems but while we had the roof fixed aside from aesthetics there was little point going to the expense of redecorating when we knew once my pension lump sum came through we would be putting an extension in anyway so we have lived with a kitchen that I am too ashamed of to share so there will not be before and after photos but I will take pictures while the work is being carried out and post something to show the end results.

All the best Jean