After waiting over ten years from the time we bought our house, I finally had the opportunity (and the savings!) to do a complete, knock-the-walls-down-and-rebuild kitchen remodel. It was to be the kitchen of my dreams and it is, and still is, after almost fourteen years. My hope was to build a timeless kitchen, one that wouldn’t look dated after five or ten years.

I learned a lot in the course of planning the remodel, working with the architect and contractor, and living through all the construction. I want to share what I’ve learned. I had my talented friend and professional photographer, John Valls, take photos of my kitchen so you could see the entire space as well as the fine details.


I have a galley-style kitchen. As you walk in the kitchen from the sunroom there is a large refrigerator/freezer on the left (you don’t see that in this image) along with a professional-style range. Counter space flanks both sides of the stove and my large stainless-steel farmhouse sink is along this same wall at the far end of the kitchen. The efficiency of the space comes from my long island serving as my main prep area with a small sink at one end. I work within a triangle as I cook–pulling food from my refrigerator to the close-by counter for chopping and preparing, and then turning around and having my range right there for cooking. The clean-up station–my main sink–is separate which allows a second person to wash and process pots and pans without getting in the way of the cooking. (That is often my husband!)

A similar configuration, i.e., creating a triangular workflow for cooking can be achieved in a square or rectangular space with thoughtful planning. It’s all about thinking through how you cook or bake.


It’s true, I won’t deny it, I have a fabulous range. We really saved and saved until we could afford this workhorse of a stove. While it may look spankin’ new, it’s not. This range is nearly fifteen years old and it has been through recipe development and testing for quite a number of my cookbooks. Let me tell you about it and why I chose it. This range is built by a small, family-owned company in the rural village of Lacanche, France. In the Côte d’Or district of Burgundy is where some of the world’s premiere kitchen ranges have been designed and hand-crafted for more than two centuries. The American distributor for these ranges is Art Culinaire.

I have a Lacanche Sully 1800 Classique. Yes, it is a 7-burner stove with two ovens and a warming cabinet, but remember, I am a cookbook author and food writer who does a lot of cooking! There are smaller versions of Lacanche, too. In the “professional-home-stove category” a comparable stove with a comparable price would be a 60-inch Viking professional range.

To my mind there is no comparison. I’ll take the beauty, quality, and functionality of a Lacanche any day.


The kitchen sink I wanted didn’t exist, so my fabulous and creative architect, Margie Miller, and I got together and designed this sink. Here’s a custom, under-mount, stainless-steel, farmhouse-style sink that is just perfect. We had it fabricated from a commercial stainless-steel fabricator in Scappose, Oregon. With plans in hand, any fabricator who is works with restaurants can fabricate this sink.

The plans are available from Margie Miller Architect.


Hide the clutter–The value of an appliance garage.

Perhaps you can tell from my kitchen that I am an organization freak–everything should have a place. My old kitchen didn’t have an appliance garage, so the toaster ovenespresso machinecoffee grinder, and electric tea kettle sat out, taking up valuable counter space and looking cluttered. I was determined to hide it all in the new space. My appliance garage that I call “breakfast central” is hidden behind a stainless-steel flip-up door with a light switch on the side. It’s all cleverly disguised and tucked away when not in use.


Hide the microwave!

Maybe it’s just me, but I find microwaves to be boring boxes that provide no aesthetic appeal in the kitchen. Of course they are useful for melting butter and chocolate, warming milk, reheating leftovers, etc., but better to place a microwave out of sight. I tucked my microwave conveniently under the counter at the end of my island. It’s within easy reach for baking and cooking needs but otherwise I don’t have to look at it.

Note how the microwave is framed in with ventilation slats so the microwave has airflow all around. Keep that in mind when remodeling.


Storage! The Cleverness of a Tall Pull-Out Pantry

With all the recipe development and testing I do, I had to find plenty of room in my kitchen for storing all the bottles of oil, vinegar, soy sauce, other condiments, canned goods, baking basics, salts, dried mushrooms and chiles, grains, legumes, and bars of chocolate! As you can see from the pictures, these pull-out pantries are stuffed full.

Efficiency and sturdiness were the most important factors along with moveable shelving. I chose the German-engineered line, Hafele. The pull-out pantry has heavy-duty shelves that can hold up to 330 lbs of capacity. The shelves can be re-arranged depending on the height of your items. In addition, accessing the pantry from both sides means I can always see what is on my shelves.

The other incredibly clever piece of engineering is Hafele’s “Magic Corner Unit.”While I forgot to take a picture of this for my website, you’ll see from the link that this unit is built for blind corners–those hard to reach corner spaces that have lots of capacity but are hard to reach into. Those space robbing lazy-susan-style corner cabinets are a waste of space compared to these.


Storing Knives

The cabinetmakers thought securing a magnetic strip across the width of my drawer would be a great way to store my knives…until they saw the number of knives I own. I went shopping for these well-crafted in-drawer knife trays, bought two, and have (almost!) the capacity I need.

Along with my knives, this drawer holds my, meat thermometerscandy/oil thermometers, my infrared laser thermometer (totally cool tool!), and my all-time favorite The OVE’ Glove oven mitts. They are the best!