Kitchen Remodel Lust-List: The 5 Fabulous Things You Need

We are less than a week away from the new year and all of those well-planned and regrettably short lived resolutions.  Got yours?  I got mine!  The biggest reason those plans fail - we ALL know this - is it takes SO much time to be good.  The grocery shopping and food prep and work-outs.  It takes for-e-ver!  Especially when your kitchen makes you work ten times harder than you should have to!

If 2016 is the year of the kitchen remodel, or you're taking the plunge and building (congrats!) I have five brilliant additions you will want to plan around.  They are amazing.  I promise.  AND they will make keeping your resolutions SO much easier.

This one's a freebie - a galley floorplan makes for the most efficient layout in any kitchen. Don't get me wrong, there are others that are good too.  But for a space where you entertain, have more than one person working or people just passing through to grab a nibble, and aren't getting ALL of your steps in by preparing just one meal, a galley is my go-to. 


The other great thing about galley kitchens?  They are just as great for open concept homes as they are for traditional tighter spaces.  I have designed galleys for small condos that I would live in for the rest of my life.  I love them!



So, what are The 5 Fabulous Things You Need for your new kitchen?  I'll start off with my favorite...

No. 1: Gaggenau's Combi-Steam Oven


Oh my goodness.  This really is my favorite thing ever.  I LOVE this appliance.  The website explains that their 24 and 30 inch model...

"has a permanent water supply connection and outlet. With five humidity levels that can be combined with temperatures of up to 450°F, these ovens can do everything: steaming, baking, simmering, braising, regenerating, extracting juice, as well as grilling and broiling."

All of that is great copy, but I can tell you from experience that it is even better in real life.  I have hard-boiled eggs and roasted cauliflower and a turkey.  You can steam fish and veggies at the same time in separate trays.  You can take a frozen ball of dough, thaw it, proof it, bake it, and let it cool without ever taking it out - unless you just want to.  You can do ALL of your canning with this one beautiful machine.  I'm barely skimming the surface of its capabilities.  The only thing the combi-steam oven can't do that a microwave can is re-heat your coffee and pop bagged popcorn.  So if living microwave free is a goal of yours, just keep your coffee maker handy and pop that popcorn stovetop style.  It tastes better anyway!

Other manufacturers have created similar variations on the steam oven, but the other little detail that sets Gaggenau's apart from the masses is the permanent water supply and drain.  You don't have to worry about the tank running out of water right in the middle of cooking something, or cleaning out a well in the oven's floor.  A quick wipe-down at the end of the day is all it needs.  


No. 2: The Galley Sink


The Galley Sink comes in just under the steam oven.  This is one of the greatest inventions ever!  Standard sizes are available in one foot increments from two to seven feet, and custom sizes can be ordered.  These sinks make food and meal prep 100x easier.  Two tiers allow you to slide colanders or bowls under cutting boards to catch whatever you're chopping.  Dividers separate ice for shrimp or wine from other food.  Build your own pasta bowl meals are a breeze!  One person cooks while the other can clean.  The list goes on and on...

An over-sized sink in a small space may seem counter-intuitive, but the Galley increases your usable work space.  I have designed a five to seven foot Galley Sink into even the smallest kitchens, including my own!  Locate the cooktop just next to the sink, and you won't have to dance around your kitchen or turn your back on your family while you prepare dinner.  They are wonderful!


No. 3: KitchenAid's Warming Drawer

It's also a slow cooker and bread maker.  I mean - come on!  This thing is brilliant.  Have you ever used one?  This is a relatively new appliance on the market, but I've worked others into client's kitchens, and either one of two things will happen: they use it all the time and love it to death OR they forget they even have it.  Which is so unfortunate!  They are not just for the caterers, people.  These little babies are great for dinner with the family and warming anything that could possibly need it - including tortillas which I love.  And with this model - how easy it would be to throw the Mexican Quinoa and Black Beans recipe together in the morning and come home to an easy to clean, tasty taco meal?!  Sign. Me. Up.


No. 4: Smart Refrigeration


I am not saying SubZero is the only name in good refrigeration, but you can't tell me that isn't one sexy beast of a refrigerator.  Manufacturers with quality options are `SubZero, Gaggenau, Thermador, Bosch, Fisher Paykel, and others.  Any company that puts serious effort with proven results on extending your food's shelf life is making a smart refrigerator.  You spend a lot of money on good produce.  It should last as long as possible and our refrigerators have a LOT to do with that.  Research before selecting your refrigerator.  Go talk to the salespeople at the best appliance store in town - they tend to be the most informed.  They can explain what to look for and why it's so great.  


No. 5: Gaggenau's Ventilation


Seriously?  Ventilation?  Who gets lusty over a range hood???  I know - it seems ludicrous. But hear me out...

The party is off to a great start and you're ready to pan-sear that New York Strip before you put them in the oven.  It smells ah-mazing, but do you really want to smell like seared meat all night long?  Do your guests want to smell it all night?  I doubt it.

That is where an unparalleled ventilation system becomes a fabulous thing.  The two best features of Gaggenau's 200 series are the two most important - it is crazy powerful and whisper quiet.  You won't even know it's on.  Your conversations will remain at their normal decibel level and the music won't be drowned out.  

I used to help host cooking demonstrations by professional chefs.  It was a small venue and no microphone system was used.  One night we had Rob Suhanosky in from Sfoglia in Manhattan to promote his and his wife's then new cookbook Pasta Sfoglia.  We had a full house.  He tackled rabbit and orzo (or was it risotto - darn it, I can't remember. Sorry, Ron).  I didn't know this about rabbit, but it's a pungent protein.  I mean intensely pungent.  We had not had the hood going prior to him cooking, which would have been the thing to do, but it helped clear out the fumes in record time.  On top of that, no one in the audience even realized the hood was on.  Since that experience I was sold and I tell everyone about it that I possibly can.  

So, what I'm saying is I'm the one that gets lusty over a range hood.


Can't you see yourself at that sink?  Using that steam oven?  I daydream myself with these things everyday!  

The lust-list only talks about 5 fabulous things.  There are SO many more.  If you're remodeling or building and need some advice, give me a ring.  I can help you keep your New Year's resolutions! ;)


                                ~ Abigail