While our kitchen isn't huge, it's nicely proportioned to the house, taking up about 250 of our 800 square feet downstairs. Here are it's key features:
-We found a huge, salvaged double-basin ceramic sink with two drainboards. This thing is a real beast at six feet long! It will serve as our dishwasher and veggie washing station, amongst other things. It didn't have any of it's base or cabinets, so we're welding together our own contraption to hold it up. Underneath, there will be ample room for us to separate all of our wastes: trash, paper, glass, plastic, scraps for the chickens, scraps for the worms, scraps for the compost, ect.
-Our refrigerator, which we've ordered and should be getting in another week or so, is an energy star under-the-counter, drawer-style fridge. It stores a whopping 5.5 cubic feet, and we're very excited for it. It will only be used to preserve the imminently-perishable, leftovers, dairy, beverages and eggs.
-In the "pantry" area (also called the "mudroom" on the layout above) there will be plenty of dark, covered space for the storage of canned goods. It's going to be a huge improvement over our current storage, which is just a huge mess of mason jars. Looking for anything in particular? Good luck! I'm hoping to have a shelf or cubby devoted to each item. Tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, whole fruit, pickles, ect. After sharing a wood shop with me for a couple of years, I think Christy is finally catching on to my deeply-seated need to organize....
-We framed a doorway into our staircase, allowing us access to the 12-or-so square feet underneath the landing. It's about 3 feet high, dark and keeps a stable temperature.... perfect for brewing! I can fit at least four 5-gallon carboys under there at a time, and look forward to trying to get more in. There's a gallon of pear wine under there right now, bubbling away!
-We've been brainstorming all sorts of ideas for our kitchen island. All we know for sure is that it will be 7' X 3', serve as most of our prep space as well as our eating space, and the top is going to be made of some gorgeous cherry wood slabs that we had milled up and are sitting in the shop. One nice idea we hope to incorporate is vented drawers for potatoes, onions, garlic and the like. Since our fridge is so small, we have to be thoughtful about how best to keep our produce fresh! Christy wants to work in a shelf for cook books, and we might end up building some stools for it.
-For the freezer, we knew we wanted to go with an energy star, chest-style deep freeze. Originally we were planning on about 7 cubic feet, but that idea has changed. The more we thought about it, the more things we could each come up with that we intended on freezing. Not only is freezing the healthiest way to preserve most foods, it's also pretty easy; so when we get overloaded with processing food, it will be really nice to, for example, throw all of that chopped-up apple into gallon bags until I can get around to making cider next month. Also, given my uncontrollable habit of making soup for 40 people at a time no matter how many people are around to eat it, freezing leftovers will make for less waste and easy snacks later. Christy brought up the fact that we may end up with several dead chickens or turkeys that we want to freeze. The half pig we're getting from our close friends at Springboard Farm next week will take up 3 cubic feet on it's own! In summary, we will be going with the 14 cubic foot option. The energy usage isn't drastically higher, and the energy star models are amazingly efficient these days. One handy tip we learned is to avoid anything that claims to be "frost-free". To avoid frost, these freezers will periodically thaw themselves, and everything inside of them, resulting in poorer storage.
We have new ideas for the kitchen every day. I want to build a hutch to store the coffee pot, coffee, teas and mugs. Christy is brainstorming a built-in wet bar / dish storage underneath the stairs. The one thing we know for certain is that we won't be putting in any "kitchen cabinet" packages. It's going to be eclectic, unique and useful.
Homestead Kitchen Design part 2 will delve into the esthetics and flow, and will be written by Christy. As it turns out, the scenic designer inside of her has been waiting for this her entire life....