After Labor Day weekend, I put away the summer decor and tableware in my kitchen.

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One of the things I enjoy about the month of September, is having my home in its “normal” state; without any seasonal or holiday decor.

Besides, there’s all of October and November for fall decorating. It’s nice to have a break; before six to seven months in a row of one holiday after another.

Without all the decorations and tableware out, late summer is also a good time for me to do a thorough cleaning of the kitchen cabinets inside and out. Now that I’ve started that process, I thought I’d continue the tour of my pretty, but practical kitchen.

Today’s tour will focus on the kitchen’s nine-foot island bar; and a few other unique cabinetry features and design elements.

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Taking the Long View

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Here’s a wide view of the kitchen looking towards the family room. Remodeled Kitchen Design & Layout Tour (Part 1) started in the eating area; at the other end of the island.

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Next, we moved along the right hand side of the island; including the glass-front cabinet, and floor-to-ceiling pantry.

In Part 2, I showed you the backsplash, countertop and under cabinet lighting. Then, I opened all the cabinets and drawers around the refrigerator and microwave to show you how things are organized.

And, I shared clever ways the remodeled layout utilizes space within the house’s original footprint.

Today, we’ll be taking a walk around the island. Then, we’ll return to the back corner and long run of cabinetry, counterspace, and appliances on the outside wall of the kitchen.

Center of the Kitchen

One major cost-savings we made when remodeling, was to use Corian, rather than granite on the island countertop. We did upgrade to a beveled finished edge. After all these years, the counter shows very little wear or staining. I also like how easy it is to clean and care for.

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Plug It In

One of the last things we figured out with the designer, was the placement of electrical outlets in the remodeled kitchen. Positioning one on the side of the island is really handy. I use it frequently to plugin my food processor, blender, mixer, waffle maker and more!


 

 

 

 

Everyday, while eating breakfast at the bar, Mr. Buzz uses the outlet to recharge his iPad. It sits in a stand, so he can easily read the news and check on email at the same time.

Spice it Up

Now, let’s move down the left side of the kitchen island. Handy to the cooktop, oven and work surfaces is a wide  drawer with built-in spice rack. Previously, I used a carousel rack in a cabinet.

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Whether cooking or baking, the angled insert makes it much easier to reach and locate spices.

Pull-Outs Drawers

Underneath the drawer, is a cabinet with two pull-out drawers inside. Large nested pots, microwave cookware, loaf pans, bakeware, and molds reside on the top drawer. Not only is it easier to see and reach things, it’s a lot easier on the ‘ol back!

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In the bottom drawer are lids; organized with an insert. As I’m sure you know, adding pull-out drawers and special built-in organizations (like the spice rack) adds significantly to custom cabinetry costs. Some free-standing organizers (like the one for lids) are sometimes better purchased from a store like Bed, Bath and Beyond. Free-standing inserts and organizers allow the flexibility for moving them around too..

Central Cooktop

Right in the center of the kitchen island is a gas, five-burner cooktop. Prior to the remodel, we had an electric range with a built-in oven and microwave. Do you use gas or electric?


 

 

 

I love how the three burner grates sit flush, allowing me to easily slide pots around. Or, to sit a large griddle over two burners. And, I frequently use the grates for placing hot pans removed from the oven. Often, I’ll place a large roaster pan there for cooling, and then turn on the burners to make gravy from the juices.

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A large drawer underneath is handy for foil, parchment paper, and storage bags. It’s also where I keep trivets, cutting board, and hot pads.

When Up is Down

Since the house only has 7 1/2 foot ceilings, an overhead hood would really breakup the room. Exactly the opposite of what we wanted when remodeling the kitchen and back area of the house.

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In the picture above, the green arrow  points to where a fan pops up, . Air is downdraft under the cabinetry and floor to vent outside.

It has three fan speeds and a motor that rises the fan up and down. Although it works fairly well, it’s obviously not as effective as an overhead vent. Still, when you’re remodeling, you have to work within the existing framework of the house.

My Sweet Scottie Dog, who isn’t even intimidated by a lawn mower, runs and hides whenever I turn the fan on. I think he connects the sound of the smoke detector alarm going off sometimes when the fan is on?

Rather than waste all the Corian cut-out for the gas cooktop, I had them use half of it to make a large cutting board.

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Even with the vent underneath the cooktop, there is still ample storage space for large, wide items like the griddle and roaster pans. That’s because the vent sits to the back.

No amount of usable space is wasted, as the designer added a narrow shelf. It’s where I keep a heavy Staub pumpkin pot, waffle maker and even a rarely-used crepe maker.

More Cookware Storage

On the left side is large utensils drawer, with built-in dividers. I don’t keep my utensils in a large, decorative container on the countertop, because I have just too much of the stuff!

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Underneath is another cabinet with two more pull-out drawers. In the top drawer are primarily nested saucepans and cake pans.

Heavier skillets (including two made of iron) are layered in the bottom drawer. Cardboard and bubble wrap are used to separate and protect Teflon-coated pans from scratching.

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Sitting on the countertop above is this double tiered basket. It’s topped with a faux fruit and vegetable arrangement that compliments the kitchen decor.

See all the fruit and vegetable decorated decor in, Remodeled Kitchen Design & Layout Tour (Part 1).

Little Library

On the far end of the island, facing the kitchen table, is a three-shelf bookshelf. It’s where I keep cookbooks and the like. Do you have any of these in your kitchen? Which is your favorite or go-to?

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Feet at the bottom of the cabinet give it the look of furniture.

Have a Seat at the Bar

On the pantry side of the kitchen island is a counter with three swivel chairs. Each stool is covered with it’s original practical fabric — now about 15 years old!

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The only downside to the stools is that they are extremely heavy — I hate moving them to clean the floors!

Although the pewter metal with gold highlights is showing a bit of wear, the chairs have held up well. I picked them to compliment all the stainless appliances and grey in the countertops, tile floor, etc.

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Gold fleur-de-lis are a nod to my French ancestry and name — do you remember me telling you many believe the motif represents a bee? And you know what a buzz I am about bee stuff, LOL!

Back to Counter

Now that we’ve made the entire circuit around the kitchen island, I want to return to the adjacent countertop and cabinetry.

In addition to the Rooster Decor and Tableware that populate my everyday kitchen, I like to create other non-seasonal vignettes between holidays. These are primarily located in two corners of the kitchen countertop.

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Adjacent to the coffee maker, is a simple grouping anchored by a square platter. I like how the black in the cheese plate and small round server compliment all the other black decor accents around the kitchen. Did you notice the little spreader handle that looks like a wine cork?


 

 

 

Included in the vignette are a pair of Byer’s Choice figures. Can you guess who they are?

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They’re the butcher and baker from the old English nursery rhyme. Aren’t they perfect for a kitchen vignette?

Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub, and who do you think they be?The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and all of them out to sea.”

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And, I’ll bet you thought you had seen my entire collection of Byer’s Choice figures! This pair has been passed up from my youngest sister A to sister B when she moved. Years later, Sistah B then gifted them to me when downsizing to a waterfront home. She knew how much I loved ’em! Thanks girls!

Pasta & Beans

One of my favorite decorative, design elements of the kitchen are this pair of glass-fronted drawers.

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Pretty as they are, the deep drawers are also practical for storing plastic storage containers and baskets.

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Two-inches of space between the glass and a wooden slate (see green arrow above) provides fill space for decorative materials. I used various kinds of dried beans and pasta layers, and have never had an issue with bugs or mold.

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Originally, I had intended to chance the filler seasonally —- candy canes for Christmas, jelly beans for Easter, etc. But, that would be too much of a pain. All the beans and pasta would mix together when the board is lifted and contents empty into the drawer.

Things are Heating Up

Adjacent to the pasta windows, and behind the center island, is the convection oven. My original kitchen remodel plan included two wall ovens. But, that would have meant giving up significant counter and cabinet space for the few times a year I would actually need two ovens — like Thanksgiving.

In hindsight, I’m happy with the decision. Between the microwave and five-burner cooktop, I make due. Do you have double wall ovens?

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Another easy place to add a little personality to the kitchen is by placing a pair of dish towels on the oven handle. Since I’m between seasons right now, these depict rooster and barnyard animals. Pretty soon, I’ll simply swap them out with fall and then Halloween designs. Clean towels are stored in one of the four drawers to the right; adjacent to the double sink.

Well ladies, I’ll have to complete the kitchen tour sometime soon. It’s time to make dinner and get cooking!

I hope you’ve found a few ideas for organizing your kitchen or changing up some design and decor elements? Any tips or suggestions you’d like to share?

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