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How To Design Your Cabinetry To Work Best For Your Family – Inside Our Farmhouse Kitchen And Mudroom Cabinetry

For the kitchen and mudroom at the farmhouse, we are designing the cabinetry with utility and function first, then we’ll make it actually look good. Anne (ARCIFORM) and I have the exact same perspective that we can design anything to look good with the right finishes, materials, and styling – but it needs to first function right for your needs. It does NOT need to be 100% practical but you don’t want to get done with your cabinetry and realize you have nowhere to put your stockpot (the horror). So we spent a few hours going drawer by drawer and cabinet by cabinet placing everything we own – down to the tupperware. Thank you, Anne and Stephyn!! I’ve done this enough now to know that most of these decisions are honestly just personal preference, none of this is gospel but I thought it would be fun to show and give those of you some insight. Sure, you need to have your dishwasher somewhat close to where you put your dishes away, and you want your pots and pans by your range, but most is just preference and will be determined by how you like to use your space. Also, this is just round 1 and I’ve already changed some things but thought I’d walk you through it all.

Sink Wall

We have plenty of storage in this kitchen, but since we are using a vintage island (which has some drawers, yes) we want to lean hard on the perimeter cabinetry for anything that we would want customized (i.e. herbs/spices, deep drawers for bowls and plates, etc). So starting from left to right here is where we landed right now.
1. Pull Out Garbage and Recycling – Brian wanted it by the door and that made sense to me. It looks narrow to me in the drawing so we might have to reconfigure to make sure that both garbage and recycling fit plus a slot for bags. OOH, what about compost? It’s required in Oregon so I’ll need to triple check where people put that – just in the can?
2. Dishwasher – Now we originally had the sink centered on that wall but moved it to the left and now I don’t remember why… I might move it back also to give more chopping space near the garbage. Oh, I think it was because we might put a prep sink on the island and we wanted them to be spaced apart, but we didn’t want the sink and dishwasher to get too close to anyone cooking at the range to allow for better flow. Stay tuned for that 🙂
3. Sink with Cleaning Supplies Under Here – Now I MIGHT do a curtain which I know that Brian won’t be too excited about but I had a few DM’s that said it’s the perfect place to shove a step stool so that kids can easily do dishes. I also love breaking up the wall with something unexpected. I’m still deciding between a vintage sink, farmhouse style with an apron (as drawn in), or an undermount (which is what I’m leaning towards) but again – we are in the “function” stage right now.
4. Flatware, Dishware and Kids Bowls, Plates and Cups for Easy Access – Anne had a good point to keep the “getting of stuff” away from “doing stuff” so I like that it’s near the dishwasher enough, but someone can be loading/unloading or cooking at the range while someone else is setting the table – i.e. we won’t be on top of each other (not that it’s a big deal but good to think about).
5. Cooking and Baking Utensils and Tools, Casserole Dishes, etc.
6. Everyday Spices in horizontal drawer, Pull out utensils and pull out oils (with hidden interior drawer to maximize vertical height) – I guess you aren’t supposed to put spices near ranges because it dries them out way faster.

Range Wall

1. Top Left – Full of pots, pans, and mixing bowls. You might see “hanging pots and pans” on the windows and that’s because we want to do something a little funky there 🙂
2. Then on the right we kinda have free reign – more storage.

But after our call, I realized that we didn’t place cutting boards which I think are easiest accessed vertically (and since we wash them by hand and I might not dry them thoroughly it feels a little weird to stack them in a drawer). So I might reconfigure that bank of cabinets too.

Refridgerator Wall (AKA The Bar Side)

Then on the barside, we have fridge/freezer columns, and some under-counter appliances that we use a ton up here (we put kids snacks in the bottom beverage drawer and the mixers, etc in the top). Then on the left, we’ll have coffee and underneath it booze (Stephyn wrote Vodka because we measured the tallest bottle in our bar here and it was vodka, but no, it is not just a vodka drawer). We don’t know what we’ll put above the fridge/freezer yet (and I might do sliders up there) but likely overflow cookbooks, etc.

Island View Towards The Living Room

Then on the island, we have things that can be shallow as the drawers are only 7″ deep. So they’ll house knives, utensils, dish towels, ziplock bags, and tupperware. I’m thinking we’ll need more for tupperware, but you get the idea.

Again, this isn’t designed, just materials thrown in there for us to customize as we get to each element. OOH and we are likely working with Unique Kitchens and Baths on all the cabinetry and their work is AWESOME. Stay tuned for a coupon code for 10% off or if you email them now just reference my name and you’ll get it. More later, but they can do ANYTHING custom without insane lead times. I’ve been very impressed thus far, but stay tuned for more.

Also if you are wondering where our food is going, we have a cute walk-in pantry next to the fridge (hoping to find vintage doors to frame the opening). That’s its own beast to design (which I’m SO EXCITED) and will house small appliances (toasters, blenders, etc) as well.

What’s coming next week is us actually DESIGNING this bad boy. First layout (check), then function (tweaking currently), and next/now is the more fun part where we obsess about every single detail, finish, and material to ensure that we are bringing in the charm and soul that we want. Oh and we are working with Rejuvenation (all lighting made in Portland) and they have a trillion ways to combine their classic lighting so we’ll solidify that soon, too and you’ll see that process. We are pretty close to the fun stuff, y’all.

Mudroom Cabinetry Function

For round one I was obsessed with the idea of having a printer inside here with retractable doors. WE don’t really need a “home office” but we do need someplace to print stuff out and to house pens/staplers. Since this drawing, we’ve realized that we really need more coat space as this room will get USED. So we are going to put the printer in the guest room upstairs and make this more rain/winter coat/sweatshirt/hat needs. Vacuum and brooms on the left (we’ll have a broom in the kitchen pantry too), cleaning supplies, and then a pull-out dog food drawer. So where it says “printer” will now likely be more open hooks and a bench for wet shoes to go under. Up here we have so many coats and shoes at the back door in the winter so we want to make sure we are thinking about all the annoying stuff first.

So that’s round 1 of “how we designed the interior function” our cabinetry in the kitchen and mudroom. People are passionate about this, I know, but ultimately it’s really a personal preference. You’ll get way more of this in our next book, but basically, you want to know “the rules” so you don’t feel like an idiot later and have regret, but you live in your house how you want to, and if you want to put your cookie sheets in your pantry, you will not be arrested and you can still have a fulfilling life 🙂

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13 days ago

I love this kind of stuff! I am surprised you don’t need a home office. Are you planning on getting an office in Portland or do you just work from a desk somewhere in the house?

Lacy Ellsworth
13 days ago
Reply to  Jenny

She plans to work in the sunroom for now but I believe she will be finishing the Victorian house to use as her work space.

Tara Lynch
13 days ago
Reply to  Jenny

I feel as if a family command center (so to speak) with space for a lap top, phones, lamp, etc. plus file cabinets for household paperwork is needed in addition to a separate home office.

Vee
13 days ago
Reply to  Tara Lynch

Yes, a “charging drawer” for phones and ipads is really nice to corral all the cords as well as keep those devices out of sight when you don’t want to use them–ie trying to put down your phone and focus on family.

Karen
13 days ago

Wait, am I missing it?? The all holy, please bow down in respect of – the JUNK DRAWER!! This requires a drawer assignment, heck – maybe two drawers in this kitchen. We have two (well, one is supposed to by my desk drawer but b/c of my girls, it becomes a junk drawer) and I love them both (and my girls lol). We all need a good “10 minute re-org the junk drawer” session in our lives every few months 🙂

Sara
13 days ago
Reply to  Karen

I see it in the island!

Erica
13 days ago

This is awesome! I highly recommend keeping the cabinetry where the printer goes and using it for closed coat storage. Its nice to have the hooks and bench but it’s also nice to have closed storage since you don’t need ALL your coats every day.

AmRad
13 days ago
Reply to  Erica

Also, closed storage with drawers is super nice for corralling all the hats and gloves etc.

13 days ago
Reply to  Erica

Yes yes! 15 years as a Portlander and you don’t want to look at the coats all 9 months that you need them handy!

Melissa
13 days ago
Reply to  molly

As a fellow PNW’nder Agreed! We have hooks for the few in rotation and two cabinet closet spaces for the rest of the hanging coats, drawers for gloves, hats, scarves and all the kid socks (thank you YHL!) one cab holds the parents stuff and the other holds the two kids (both under 6) at their height with their own organized drawer each. There are lots of layers to be had throughout the year and it’s nice to have them handy but out of sight!!

Kari
13 days ago

Do you have windows looking into your family room? The kitchen is going to have such BEAUTIFUL light and I’m happy to have some of that flowing into your family room. As long as the TV isn’t a weird distraction through the windows while you’re making dinner? Also, I love the drawers. So much more useful than cabinets. BUT I’m getting “older” and don’t love bending all the time. Do you have some higher storage?

Ashlea
13 days ago
Reply to  Kari

I thought those were interior windows looking into the family room as well at first – however she explains those are upper cabinets, with glass/see through doors. I’m really curious about her hanging pot rack inside of the cabinets – scratching my head wondering how it’s going to work. Looking forward to learning more!

Admin
12 days ago
Reply to  Ashlea

ha. no they are interior windows. pots hanging in front of them on a rod 🙂 more info to come!

Ashley
13 days ago

I keep a plastic tub in my freezer for compost to prevent smell, fruit flies and mess. If you plan on emptying your compost bin daily, we used to just use a countertop bin with a lid but I found I wasn’t consistent with taking it out. I’m in an apartment though so loss of freezer space was a small price to pay for not having to track smelly compost down four flights of stairs to the outside bin 🤷🏼‍♀️

Lacy Ellsworth
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

Oooh, great idea, thanks!!!

Marisn
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

I came here to say this! Don’t put your compost in the garbage drawer! It WILL attract fruit flies (I live in Portland). We keep a silicone bin in the freezer and just load it up. Once it’s full we take it outside to the bin. My mom keeps hers on the counter in one of those stainless steel charcoal bins which supposedly prevent fruit flies, but you still need to empty it every day. And it’s definitely not cute. I love our freezer system!

Gina
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

We have 3 larger tupperware containers all the same size that stack into each other under the sink and out of sight. The airtight lid keeps out fruit flies/odor and then after we empty it into the compost tumbler it goes through the dishwasher. We’ve had the same 3 plastic tupperware containers for over 2 years now and they’re not icky at all because they go through the dishwasher so often. I like the freezer idea, but our freezer is pretty packed so under the sink but airtight works for us. Regardless of what you end up doing, I would make sure it’s really accessible since you’ll be after it multiple times of day (scooping uneaten food/cooking odds and ends/etc.)

Dena
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

I live in Florida and do this but use the fridge instead. The freezer sounds even better.

Erin
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

Use a cute crock on the countertop and just slide in a plastic insert (like a old large Costco cottage cheese tub) so that dumping it is lightweight and easy to clean. I use a handmade bowl cap (a glorified linen shower cap) on top to keep out fruit flies but you gotta empty it daily, I have never had issue with smells. Definitely going to add a small secondary bin for freezing when I don’t want to have to run out to the compost if it’s raining, love that idea. You might also want a bin for veg scraps if you get chickens.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

The freezer is such a grwat idea!
In addition to preventing stinky stuff, it’ll help break the cells of gh5e compost items down so they become actual compost so much faster!😊🌏

chrissie
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

I would recommend more trash bins and keeping compost together with the other bins. I LOVE my garbage set up of two pullout ‘drawers’ – each having a forward and a back bin in it (for 4 total ‘trash bins’). One of pullouts has trash in front and compost in back and the other pullout has recycling in both bins. The compost and recycling fill up faster than the trash and I don’t think the little compost buckets are big enough. Plus having it right next to the other bins makes it easy when throwing stuff away as you can go ‘back and forth’ between the different buckets super fast.

Admin
12 days ago
Reply to  chrissie

ooh Chrissie, interesting. I fear that we won’t dump compost daily. but this is convincing.

12 days ago
Reply to  Emily

With how much you guys cook, you might be surprised at how much you end up composting. I don’t find it too difficult to take out every day or two. Rev-a-shelf has a trash/ recycling pull out insert for a 24″ cabinet that includes a compost bin. Considering the size of your property and how much you want to garden, you might want to consider starting a compost pile on the property!

Merideth
12 days ago
Reply to  Emily

I was just going to say this too! I have the same set up as Christie and it’s great! We can compost paper in Minneapolis so lots of kids artwork (oops) cardboard etc goes in there as well I take it out maybe 2 times a week and it never gets smelly! Just put paper on the bottom to soak up liquid so the bag doesn’t dissolve from food scraps. I also have a pull out cutting board above it with a hole in it so I can prep and pull out the compost and put the scraps right in there through the hole! Life changing. The cutting board can be pulled out and washed too. It’s just wood so I don’t cut meat on it but we don’t eat much meat.

Dagmar
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

We have Joseph Joseph compost caddy that mounts inside the base cabinet doors just next to all your other recycling. It is small so needs emptying every day. We use paper liner bags or just put the caddy in dishwasher.

mallory
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

+1 to the freezer! we do this as well and it keeps any smells and fruit flies at bay.

Merry
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

Yes! I also came here to say this; freezer compost forever. The compost bin gets so stinky so fast if you leave it out at room temp. Also, keeping food scraps inside until garbage day really helps prevent rats and other critters from using your compost bin like a grocery store.

Sara
12 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

We live in So. Cal. and have to compost as well. We have a slice out garbage cabinet that has two bins in it–regular garbage and compost. I buy special compostable garbage bags for that bin. It really keeps the garbage bin clean and not gross smelling. If I ever get to design my kitchen, I would actually have 2 pull out garbage drawers. One set for trash and allumnium and the other for compost and plastic/glass.

Susanne
12 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Yes, I love that set up as well! I love bering able to just wipe down the counters, open the trash drawers and wipe things straight into the compost compartment! So convenient! We line it with paper bags which can go straight into the compost bin. If we are out, we use plastic bags, dump the content into the compost bin and then the plastic bag into the trash. I’m not sure the supposedly “compostable” plastic bags are actually compostable. I have my doubts on that…
I live in NorCal and since the compost is in a drawer, we have no issues with fruit flies. The compost gets emptied 2-3 times a week.
We also have a hose bib outside close by the trash bins, so it is easy to just hose out the trash bins if they do get dirty occasionally. Highly recommend that set up!

kristin
12 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

If i were doing our kitchen now, i would put an opening directly in the counter, with a compost bin hanging underneath. This would allow you to sweep the scraps right off the cutting board right into the opening. Counter space is precious, so I don’t want a bin sitting on the counter. If you google ‘compost opening in counter’, there are many different options.

Meredith
12 days ago
Reply to  kristin

I have one. It’s my FAVORITE THING. Mine is by Blanco and it’s not cheap but it’s super well designed and pops right in the dishwasher. You have to lose drawer or cabinet space below it, though, so when I cobbled together my island from butcher block and open shelving, I cut a hole in the wood. It’s my chopping block with compost right there, and the top is flush when closed so we don’t lose counter space. Worth. Every. Penny. I’ve used it daily for five years.

MKK
12 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

Oh, there are products with lids to store compost items vs. using precious freezer space!
I agree with those that stated ditch large space for printer/ office space for closet. Create smaller space for printer/office/school supplies.
I agree that dishwasher should be to the right of the sink ( unless you are all left handed ) and next to drawers for everyday tableware/ dishes. Or, have tableware/dishes directly across from dishwasher which is also an easy process to unload.
If you know your kids will be on cleanup duty, design a pull out step in cabinetry under sink.
Glad to see you are getting to the fun stuff.

MKK
12 days ago
Reply to  MKK

For all those who complain about the smell of their compost bin, I suggest you stick these on the inner part of the top and even on inner top of the cabinet where you may have pull out garbage/recycling bins:

https://www.freshwaveworks.com/odor-eliminating-fresh-pod/p/018

I use and find they work really well for eliminating orders.

Jenn
12 days ago
Reply to  Ashley

I live in Seattle where we have to compost too. I agree with Chrissie, her setup sounds ideal. I highly recommend a bin, not a small little countertop or freezer thing. You can easily produce a lot of compost, especially given how much soup you cook!! Also, personally I never have that much of a problem with mine smelling. I take it out more often than the trash (because the trash fills up slower and doesn’t have smelly stuff in it anymore), but no need to every single day.

Liz
13 days ago

Love the look and storage!
One question – where is your drop zone for mail, or where you will plug in devices?
I find having a small desk space with a chair just outside our kitchen (or in a kitchen is fine) is so valuable. It also needs to have a drawer with stamps and envelopes, tape and paper clips and envelopes and post its – even better now that our files are under that drawer – I can deal with mail and bills and file things when I’m done all in the same space. And when the kids bring in the mail, they know where it goes and it’s not on the kitchen counter! It’s in a pretty wood container at the back of this small desk space.

Lauren
13 days ago

Thanks for this detailed post! The only thing I was thinking about is the placement of the pull-out garbage immediately next to the dishwasher. When I’m cleaning up after meals, I would want to have both the garbage drawer and dishwasher open. With your configuration and with both open, I would need to walk around the open dishwasher, scrape a plate, walk back around the dishwasher, rinse the plate, and then put it in the dishwasher. I am too short to reach over the open dishwasher to scrape a plate into the garbage. I do understand that my routine may not be the same as yours, but just mentioning.

Judy
13 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

I agree! I have trash to the right of sink and dishwasher to the left of the sink. That arrangement works great for me.

Karla
13 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

We had a small compost bin under the sink as our garbage service also collected compost. We had a bigger bin in the garage with a “blue bag” that we dumped the smaller bucket in that was then collected in for pick up. So it was easy to scrape plates (all food scraps were accepted) while loading the dishwasher.

MJ
12 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

YES I came here to see if anyone else was going to comment on this. I feel VERY strongly that the trash needs to be right next to the sink. This seems like a huge oversight to me and it’s unnecessarily stressing me out, haha. But maybe this is just my routine and others don’t have the same dish procedure of scraping/rinsing/wash in sink or put in DW?

Susanne
12 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

I had the same thought on switching the arrangement – just for different reasons ; ). I would LOVE to have my drawers for plates, silverware, cups etc. right next to the dishwasher! How convenient would that be when emptying the dishwasher!! And having the trash/compost on the prep-side of the sink near the bowls, measuring cups and cutting knives, would make much more sense I nay opinion.
How often do you have people loading/unloading a dishwasher while an other person is setting the table? Almost never happens in my house. But emptying the dishwasher happens daily, so having the convenience of having them next to each other would be so nice!!

Nicolettte
11 days ago
Reply to  Lauren

The house I am currently in is the first where the trash is right next to or under the sink. We have an eat-in kitchen and the trash can is closer to the table than the sink so I find we scrape plates on our way to the sink after eating. Of course it’s not ideal but it’s definitely not the worse.

Jill
13 days ago

We have had 14 homes.
1. Being right handed, I put the trash/recycling pull out to the left of the sink and the dishwasher to the right for efficiency.
2. Make sure you can read spice names without having to move the container.
3. Drawers top cabinet pull outs.

BW
13 days ago
Reply to  Jill

Yeah, I need the dishwasher to the right of the sink. I’d feel like I had my shoes on the wrong feet or something with it on the left after all these years!

Karen
13 days ago
Reply to  Jill

Totally agree. I would center the sink and put DW to the right and trash to the left. I have a flatware drawer above my trash and it works great. You do not need to give the whole cabinet to trash/recycling., and this gives you another drawer. I also notice your glassware is very far away from the DW. I realize there are no upper cabinets along the sink wall, but I always think about unloading the DW. I also prefer my spice/oil pullout next to the range. It’s way more convenient there for cooking- walk it through. The island, while I’m sure will look great, does not give you the type of storage you would get from a new piece. I personally think you miss out on a ton of useful storage- two banks of deep drawers- by using piece with very shallow & not super useful drawers. And I might be an outlier here, but I do not like cabinets with elaborate pull outs. I feel so much space is wasted for the pull out mechanisms, and that you can fit so much more with fixed shelves. I have this in my corner cabinet and have never regretted… Read more »

Erin
13 days ago
Reply to  Karen

Centering the sink, DW right, trash left=my ideal layout too. This would also line up the lighting directly above the sink, something to consider because even with all the lovely windows it might be needed for task lighting on grey days and early nights #PNW. Centering the sink also seems like it would make that wall look more balanced, to my eyes anyway, and allow enough room for either a set of upper cabs on each end (nix 2 windows) or glass shelves in front of the 2 end windows so you can keep your glasses close to the DW. My parent’s trash is right between the DW and sink and I always feel like it’s totally in the way anytime I help with dishes there, I wonder if the same would be true with the garbage on the other side of the DW. It interrupts my OCD process: scrape/rinse/stack in DW 😉

Ashlea
13 days ago
Reply to  Jill

I agree that the trash shouldn’t be on the other side of the dishwasher – but as a right handed person and after living in homes with the DW on the left and right – neither side matters to me. But I am a big advocate of having the trash bin on one side of the sink and DW on the other – which goes where isn’t a big deal, personally. Brian – if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you want the garbage near the door for easy access when people are coming and going? Perhaps have a covered bin outside the door if you rearrange the placement inside? Just a thought! Either way, it’s not a big deal. I just like the convenience of garbage on one side and DW on the other – it’s extremely efficient after a big meal. Cheers!

Pinny
13 days ago

I’d be interested in your thought process of not having a home office. If you plan on working from the dining room/sunroom most often (and/or have kids do schoolwork there), why not plan for beautiful office storage in there instead of the guest room which is across the house and upstairs? Seems like the mudroom will have a fair amount of disorder (which is the point, to keep that out of the rest of the house) with coats, shoes, dog cleaning supplies, clean laundry, dirty laundry, so it makes perfect sense that you don’t want to add printer supplies and staplers and other things left on counters in there, too.

KIM SOKO SCHAEFER
13 days ago
Reply to  Pinny

I agree… seems like the kitchen is so big too, and lots of ‘extra storage’… you should be able to find some storage there to house the files/pens/printer/etc.

Admin
10 days ago

We will put in a home office in the victorian kit house if/when its done. Otherwise the guest room upstairs can double as home office. I generally like to move around with my laptop and sit where the light is prettiest. So we’ll house the home office stuff somewhere, and eventually have more of a studio next door, but don’t want to prioritize it into this house.

Kelly
13 days ago

I’m distracted by the windows on the sink wall as I am currently working on a plan that replaces my one window with as many as possible across our sink counter top, similar to yours. Our thought is to put a header above so we don’t need so much support between each window. It looks like you chose to have space enough for outlets between each. I’m guessing that was entirely purposeful, knowing your attention to detail. Would love to hear your thought process behind that!

Can’t wait to see your island!!

Kimberly
13 days ago

Please think about doing a pull out step stool under the sink rather than curtains. It allows you to retain the under the sink cabinetry, looks much neater and your kids are MUCH more likely to slide a step stool back in than they are likely to pick up a stool, move curtains aside and put it away. Game changer. Super cool, elegant solution

Ashlea
13 days ago
Reply to  Kimberly

Agree! I’ve seen some cool IKEA hacks where people insert a slide out stool in the toe kick – I bet their cabinet maker could do something like that. Also, with dogs it makes me nervous that they could have easy access to all the poisonous cleaning supplies just behind a curtain.

kristin
12 days ago
Reply to  Kimberly

Yes, and once they no longer need the step stool, you have the cabinet storage. I just think of all the dust/dog hair/dirt that would blow into that space and you have to pull everything out to clean.

Amy
13 days ago

I would keep the trash and recycling as close as possible to the sink, ideally next to so you can quickly rinse recycling containers if you want and put them into the bin. All food scraps will go into some sort of compost container you can keep by your sink and empty every day or two. They don’t stink or attract flies if you have a well fitting lid.

13 days ago
Reply to  Amy

In my Bay Area county composting is also municipal, but they give you a bucket. We line it with compostable bags and have very little problem with odors.

Amy
13 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

In Portland you’ll get a large yard waste/compost bin they pick up once a week that you dump your compost in. Also, glass recycling is picked up in a separate container from the other recycling, FYI if that matters how you’d want to sort it in your house or not.

Sara
13 days ago
Reply to  Amy

We aren’t in Portland but do have our compost picked up weekly. We have a small metal charcoal (lidded) lined bin that sits under the sink that we empty in to daily, then empty in to the larger pail when that’s full. We were told not to keep the larger bin outside since it can attract animals, so we have it in a mudroom type area.

Suzanne
13 days ago
Reply to  Amy

I live in Milwaukie, Oregon and kitchen compost is not allowed in the yard debris bin. Waste Management is very limited with what they accept for recycling. Very frustrating. What you can recycle is different for every service provider.

StephanieZ
13 days ago
Reply to  Amy

I had a local potter make the cutest handmade compost pot with top that looked great on my countertop, but I’m not the best about dumping compost daily. Normally I do it every couple of days. I started using a big plasticware container with a well fitting lid. Not pretty, but when people come over I just stick it under the sink. It works and I never have fruit flies.

13 days ago

I was all set to have opinions and then I saw that view out your windows, with the skylight, and all I could think about was gazing out the window as I cooked or cleaned or whatever. I suppose not while chopping;), but still, oh that VIEW!

Eleanor
13 days ago

I agree with the others – sink between garbage and DW. I think you need even more coat and shoe space than what you are thinking of expanding to. I would expand coat space to include the space right now earmarked for cleaning supplies. With 4 people, 3 different kinds of outerwear (rain, light, heavy)- that is already 12 jackets/coats. And shoes! School shoes, sneakers, boots, etc — 4 pairs of shoes for each person is 32 shoes! Note that I’m coming from the perspective of my household where we leave our jackets/shoes in the mudroom and we live in the Northeast where temperatures can vary greatly day to day. Our mudroom share the same space as the laundry too so getting those dirty shoes out of laundry’s way is important.

Susanne
12 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor

I totally agree! Right now, t here is a lot of space dedicated to “cleaning supplies”. But how much do you actually have?? A vacuum, a broom, a mop with bucket and a dust pan/broom. Plus you have your most commonly used smaller items, which you can probably fit on a shelf in the same closet as the broom etc. The other less often used items can go in the cabinets at the top.
I would expand the closed coat storage to also include storage for hats and scarves and gloves etc. plus more open space at floor level for shoes. Maybe include vents in the closet doors to allow for air circulation for damp coast? Turn the cabinet above the dog food drawer into your printer/office supplies station. I would hate having to run upstairs for every print out – which I used to until I finally relocated the printer in a main floor guest room. So much better!

Tara Lynch
13 days ago

This looks sooo good. I love seeing the details. If I may make a couple suggestions, pots and pans in drawers vs cabinets and bookshelves. 🙂

jmarie
13 days ago

I really wish we had considered designed our trash receptacles around our composting needs. I’m not sure how extensive your compost pick up is, but where I live (Minneapolis), we generally have more compost than we do trash as commercial composting can handle more than just your typical backyard composter. For example, we can include things like certain take out containers, toilet paper rolls, food waste including meat and fish bones, tea bags, etc.

In our case, because we also garden, we collect compost for our garden as well as to put in our city compost bin and have spots for each kind. Also, because so many bathroom items can also be composted we have spots to collect compost in both our bathrooms and kitchen. In the kitchen, we currently keep it under the sink in a compost pail with a charcoal filter (taken out daily) and have a separate spot in our utility closet to collect compostable items that don’t have food scraps on them. During gardening season, we tend to keep a separate bowl to collect specific things like coffee grounds or to collect food scraps to add to the backyard compost bin.

jay
13 days ago
Reply to  jmarie

Yes! I have so many compost thoughts, coming from St Paul (where we deliver our compost to city, they don’t pick it up).
The best thing I did was give myself two compost containers in the kitchen–a big one for dry compost (take out containers, pizza boxes, dry food waste, flower stems, etc, things that won’t rot as quickly and can collect for a while) and one in the freezer for wet stuff (most food waste, scraps from the sink drain, etc).
And I’m seconding the bathroom tip–having an extra bin in the bathroom for compost is really helpful, even if all you’re doing is composting the spent TP roll!

Hana
13 days ago

I’m loving this post! I agree with others about the sink being between the garbage and recycling bins. I also think the dog wash looks kinda small. If you stick with small dogs it wouldn’t be too bad but if your kids want something bigger as they get older it won’t be functional. I also have Rejuvenation lighting in my dining and entry way and it really made those rooms so I can’t wait to see them here. We have a lot of gray days in the PNW so beautiful functional lighting is a huge mood enhancer.

monica
13 days ago

Be sure to put electrical plugs in your broom closet (for cordless vacuum etc) and in any other cabinet where you might need one in the future. I put a “secret” one one in my pantry cabinet, that my kids don’t know about, and use it to charge my phone – they were always taking the charging cord when I had it on the kitchen counter! Also I would assign a deep drawer to Tupperware or other containers for leftovers! Dishwasher seems too from all the places where things from the dishwasher will go – especially the glasses!! I would move dishwasher to the other side of the sink (to the right of the sink is the more natural place for it), push the flatware/plates drawers to the right of the dishwasher and move “measuring cups/casserole” drawer group to the other side of the sink. That said, I think you will want that trash drawer closer to the sink, so I would put “measuring cups and casserole” drawers right at the end, then trash, then sink, then dishwasher, then flatware/plates drawers. Finally I use one side of one of my deep drawers as a filing cabinet for all the daily… Read more »

Susanne
12 days ago
Reply to  monica

YES!!! to all of your suggestions, especially the order of dishwasher and trash and plates etc.! I also love having file drawers for the family, house, dog in central location on the main floor, close to my “command desk” (which is in the kitchen and my file drawer is in the pantry right be hind me). Lastly, I hate those pull out corner cabinets! Too cumbersome, still need to kneel down low to get the pot from the lower shelf etc. I MUCH prefer deep drawers for all my pots and lids, so much easier! I know you have spot rack, but where do your lids go? I also like a drawer close by my cook top to house pot holders, less attractive plastic cooking utensils, etc. I put my kids plastic cups and their water bottles and lunch thermoses in the corner (lazy susan) cabinet – so much easier for them to hunch down and get their stuff than for me ; ) !! Plus, make sure your vertical cutting board storage is near your prep zone and cutting knives and peelers etc. Again, so much more efficient while prepping! I also agree with the lack of storage in… Read more »

Piper
13 days ago

We have a small compost bin that is inset into our counter top. So nice when chopping veggies! Also, if you’re planning to have a garden compost in addition to city compost, it can be nice to have two bins.

Sally Scordino
13 days ago

I would put two vertical pull outs to the right of the stove. One for cutting boards, sheet pans, etc and the one to the immediate right for spices and seasonings. I am on my second kitchen with this and couldn’t do without.

Rachel
13 days ago

I’d much rather have lockers – ideally 4 – one for each – or 3 – one for each kid and you and bryan can share – or 2 – one for each kid and then a shoe closet for the adults. That shoe space looks like it could fit maybe 3 or 4 pairs tops – and in our house there are sneakers, boots or flip flops, turf shoes or cleats and sometimes slippers for EACH PERSON! Keeping the shoes in the mudroom keeps the house so much cleaner. Where do kids put backpacks? Soccer balls? etc..? What about a coat closet if guests come over?

Kristine
13 days ago

I love it! That kitchen is going to be so pretty while functional. You will love your mud room! I put my printer in my guest room/office closet. I set a cabinet with open shelves that houses the printer on top with supplies underneath. Plus my file cabinet is in the closet too right next to the printer set up. Functions wonderfully and I can just shut the closet doors when not in use. 😉

BeckyB
13 days ago

Re: composting, have you considered just composting yourself? You have tons of space and it should be really easy and low maintenance. As a fellow Portlander, I bought my bin from Metro for like, $50, and I’ve been using it regularly for years. We have a family of 5, and one is plenty for us. We have a garden and we use it to amend the soil and fertilize. If you compost yourself, you won’t be quite as trapped in the “deign for compost” situation because you can empty every day. I have a stainless steel bowl under the sink, and it gets emptied every day or two. It’s totally NBD. Also, if you’re getting chickens, chickens will eat tons of veggie and fruit scraps.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  BeckyB

Yessss!!!👍

12 days ago
Reply to  BeckyB

My lazy person self-composting hack– I have two compost bins and always leave one outside next to the compost heap after emptying it. The snails and sun actually clean it quite well (I mean, how clean does it really need to be anyway?) and so I never have a smelling compost bin inside!

Kel
13 days ago

We put our daily compost in a pretty ceramic crock with a lid (kept on the counter near the sink) and empty it daily into our compost pile. I love seeing the process behind the functionality of the kitchen!

Roberta Davis
13 days ago

I love putting stuff in drawers rather than lower cabinets- they are so much easier to access and you can get way more stuff in.

MJ
13 days ago

I’m worried about the space between the fridge/freezer and the island. Make sure there is enough room for the doors to be open, someone standing there and someone to be able to walk around them without having to squish. This is what my mom calls a red zone. When something is in use and others can not get around/by it, it’s a red zone and blocks the whole function of the kitchen. Other red zones: in front of the range, ovens, sink, dishwasher, trashcan. In my parents house you can’t be standing at the sink and have the garbage open at the same time (it’s in a corner) and this interrupts the flow of the kitchen. I like the idea of centering the sink and having the garbage on one side and the dishwasher on the other.

Caitlin
13 days ago

In Oakland you can have as many green bins as you like for yard waste like leaves, weeds, and tree prunings. We have two because we have a large garden. You can also put kitchen waste in those bins. Typically you put that into a small compostable bag specifically for that purpose, which cuts down on smells and bugs.

If you or Brian is interested in taking on the task, home composting can be fun and gratifying to do with kids. Worm composting in particular is super kid friendly and the results are what gardeners call “black gold” because worm poop is so beneficial to plants. For folks who are big proponents of composting, they would shudder at the thought of giving away their kitchen waste to the city because they see the value compost brings to their garden!

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Caitlin

I agree.
Good home compost is gold for gardeners.
Gold!

liz
13 days ago

I always want a second fridge in the house. We entertain a lot and always need more fridge space. Maybe there is room int he pantry.
Also yes you have to have trash on one side of sink and dish washer on the other. the way you have it set up now the dish washer would have to be closed to use the trash from the sink. I like to have the trash and dish washer open at the same time to scrap plates rinse then load. not everything can be composted.
And freezer compost is the only way to go. So the extra fridge freezer in the pantry would come in handy for the compost.

Lacy Ellsworth
13 days ago
Reply to  liz

I always loved what Chris loves Julia did in their last house. Full-size fridge in the kitchen, full size freezer in the pantry just a few steps away

Suzanne
13 days ago
Reply to  liz

In the design, she has a 30″ column refrigerator and a 24″ column freezer, which are quite spacious. Plus, she has the refrigerator drawers. This is much more space than she has at the Mountain House, so it seems like she may have considered the need for more space.

Rusty
13 days ago

3 words: DOG WASH STATION!
Yaaaay!!!🐕🐕🐾🐾❤

Such an exciting phase to be working on.
How do ypu even sleep?!🤣

Kelly
13 days ago

Looks so good and I’m sure you’ve taken in a lot of ideas about your family needs/functions from building out the Mountain House. In SF compost is also big. I keep mine right behind our side by side pullout trash/recycling. That way I don’t have an excuse to NOT compost. Also here we get three bins and our garbage bin is smaller than compost and recycling in order to encourage sorting. Something to keep in mind if Portland does the same. Speaking of- how does the trash truck get down your driveway??

Anna
12 days ago
Reply to  Kelly

Yes, agree completely. you want to make it as easy as possible to compost as much as you can! It’s annoying to have compost on the bench top. Waaaay better to have pull out bins with options to separate into compost, recycling and landfill.

Gwoman
13 days ago

Do you have another area where you are storing things like extra dishes/glasses, large serving dishes, outdoor plates/glasses, etc.? It just seems like not enough storage, at least for me. And we are only two persons…

Jocelyn Richgels
13 days ago
Reply to  Gwoman

I agree that it doesn’t seem like enough storage for all that random stuff you mention. I was thinking about all the funky kitchen stuff we have, like fun ice cube trays, popsicle maker, etc. Maybe this goes in the pantry?

Dana Haveson
13 days ago

HI! Everything looks amazing! I have a weird question about the functionality of pull out dog bowl drawers. I get that it seems so clever, but for practical use, you have to leave the water bowl available 100% of the time, so does it stay open all the time? What if someone closes the drawer because it’s in the way of getting to something else, and forgets to open it and your pups don’t have access to water? Do people that use these have other water stations for the dogs water bowl? I’ve just always wondered about how these drawers really function in a practical sense.

13 days ago

I loved reading this. Thank you and good luck.

michaela
13 days ago

Just want to recommend this compost bin:
https://www.grove.co/catalog/product/fresh-air-compost-bin-green
We’ve had it for seven years and it’s so great. We just keep it under the sink, and we fill it maybe every 3–4 days unless we’re doing a lot of cooking (just a family of 2 here.) I don’t notice any odor or fruit flies unless the weather gets hot, which isn’t too often in the PNW. 🙂 It can also take a trip through the dishwasher to freshen it up. You do have to use compostable bags with it, but that makes taking out the compost pretty easy.

Julia
13 days ago

How do you pick wood type/finish for kitchen cabinets? We are in the midst of the design phase of our remodel and I CANNOT DECIDE what type of wood to use for our cabinets— could you do a post on this?? We are debating between cherry (unstained/natural finish), maple (but I’m afraid of yellowing), and white oak (ditto). How do people decide?!?!

And if all of the trim in our house is painted white, will wood look weird?? So worried we are going to make a VERY EXPENSIVE mistake.

Karyn Meadows
13 days ago
Reply to  Julia

We have solid maple cabinets and I will warn you, they do not take well to re-staining. Ours have been installed for 15 years and are showing a ton of dings, so we will likely just paint them. Ugh. Don’t pick it if you want wood that will last.

SW
13 days ago

Looking good! Adding my 2 cents: Mudroom: I always see pictures of built in benches with boots in front of it, because they’re too tall to fit under! If you’re going to wear wellies or riding boots, it would be great if the bench were a bit higher (and it’s actually more comfortable to sit on) and then the boots can slide under, at their full length. Also agreed with someone else who said to keep some coat storage closed, you won’t use them all at once. I would add/find a spot to air dry things, either hooks for coats on hangers and a bar. I also love the idea of drawers with mesh to dry sweaters/delicates on a flat surface. Kitchen: +1 on the dishwasher on the right. Think of every item you’ll use daily and find a spot within 1 or 2 steps from DW. Ideally you wouldn’t want to even move your feet! iirc YHL did it in their Richmond kitchen and it makes your life so much easier. In that same vane, we created a breakfast cabinet in our very small NYC kitchen and works so well! It has mugs and everything we need for tea:… Read more »

SW
12 days ago
Reply to  SW

For the shoes in the mudroom, I forgot to say that trays are great! They’re not very pretty, but I’ve seen some lined with rocks for drainage. They’re just way more practical than having to mop all the time because of wet/muddy shoes.

Dagmar
13 days ago

Emily- we are big fans of your blog!

We are now installing a pull out drying rack in the mudroom for those ‘dry flat’ jumpers.

As someone mentioned here already, it is worth designing your kitchen layouts/3d floorplans with the dishwasher fully open- you will get a better sense of circulation areas.

Good luck and cannot wait to see the end result.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Dagmar

Dagmar…that was my grandmother’s name.
Are you Danish??

Linda
13 days ago

Ideally the pull out trash should be on one side of the sink and the dishwasher on the other for scrape, rinse and load.

I think you will regret not making room for the printer on the first floor where you will be doing most of your work.

Karyn Meadows
13 days ago

On the right side of the range where you have a drawer for roasting pans, it might make more sense to carve out a narrow vertical cabinet so you can stack them vertically. It would take a lot less space and would be more useful for the sheet pans.

Jocelyn Richgels
13 days ago

Where are your baking sheets, trays, etc. going? Ours are in slats above the refrigerator and this seems to be a perfect use of that space. Along with cutting boards, I think you want them vertical and not stacked on top of each other.

Kari
13 days ago

OMG – it all looks so lovely! Watching it all unfold is such fun!! I want to hop on with the folks who expressed concern about the garbage/recycling on the far side of the dishwasher. At one point in life I was a volunteer waitress at a charity tea room. I paid attention to how the very efficient commercial kitchen was laid out and adapted it when we built our house. Natural flow/efficiency is critical to doing dishes (my least favorite household chore). Anything that makes the chore take longer makes me grumpy. We have garbage/recycling next to sink, then sink, then narrow bank of drawers (hang with me here!), then dishwasher. The secret to the extra bank of drawers is that it allows space for someone to stand next to you and help! Hemming yourself in tightly at the sink between garbage and dishwasher means you work alone. No way!! When it’s just our family, one person scrapes plates and rinses, the next person stands in front of the bank of drawers and loads the dishwasher. When we have parties, one person scrapes, one rinses/ washes, one loads, and there is room on the far side of the dishwasher… Read more »

Sally
13 days ago
Reply to  Kari

This is super useful. I am saving these notes for our kitchen which I hope to do in the next 12 months.

V
12 days ago
Reply to  Kari

Modern dishwashers shouldn’t require rinsing after scraping. A lot of engineering goes into this to prevent wasting water by hand rinsing. I never pre-rinse and dishes come out absolutely clean. Just commenting since you said anything that makes the task longer makes you grumpy!

Kj
12 days ago
Reply to  V
13 days ago

I second the thought of sink between DW and rubbish pull outs. My mother-in-law has the arrangement you have drawn and walking around the dishwasher to use the bin while cleaning up is super annoying. Also, I as a kitchen designer, 99x/100 I have put rubbish next to sink. We compost as well and just use a counter top container, you use it way more than you think and lots of nice ones on the market, def use the freezer if you’re main bin far away for rainy days.

13 days ago

Anne’s note about keeping “doing” and “getting” separate is almost a throwaway line in this post, but it’s such good advice. Our current kitchen has plates/bowls/cups/tupperware/flatware above and in front of the only area we can really prep and cook (next to the range). It’s my number one thing to re-work when we renovate. It seems small, but while my husband and I are chopping and cooking the other person usually hangs out and starts doing dishes or unloading the dishwasher. We’re always reaching around each other or waiting for the other person to move so we can get to the drawers and cabinets. Also, it intuitively makes sense that heat makes herbs and spices lose flavor more quickly, but I’d have a hard time giving up the functionality of being able to reach my spice drawer while I cook. I’m perpetually going “oh I think it needs more ___” while stirring something that needs careful tending, and I wouldn’t want the extra steps or time to go dig out the cumin or whatever. I think maybe I’d just add a skinny cabinet for upright cutting board/roasting pan storage as a heat barrier so I could keep it on the… Read more »

13 days ago

One note on the mudroom: I think you’re going to want more space for shoes in there.

After my husband and I moved to a house with a mudroom, our most-used shoes quickly just started to live in there. It’s so much more convenient, but there are also so many more pairs than I thought would be in there!

A pair of work boots for each of us, a pair of sneakers for each of us, a favorite pair of to-the-office shoes for each of us, and a pair of “just taking the garbage out!” shoes for each of us. I’m always carrying the extras back to our closet, but I’m perpetually surprised at the amount of shoes that are in there almost always.

Portia
13 days ago

I’m so enjoying watching you do this design process from afar. We are actually moving from the PNW to Austin and are renovating from afar, as well! We’ve just received our as-built drawing from the architect and are starting to work on the designs very soon! I wanted to ask about the kitchen cabinet company you are considering working with. I looked at their site and the work looks really nice but they are pretty far from Portland (they are on east coast?) …is there a reason to work with them over using someone local? I’ve started looking for local people in Austin area to do our cabinets but am not opposed to getting from some place else if it makes sense/they do great work. 🙂

Karyn Meadows
13 days ago

I forgot to add that your spice drawer would be much more functional if it was close to the range instead of the sink. Since you will use it in combo with the range, having it closer would be more functional. Love that you added a dog wash station!! Whoohoo!

Ashlea
13 days ago
Reply to  Karyn Meadows

I think the spices are still pretty convenient – they just need to step to the left to open the drawer while at the range. But it is nice to keep the most frequently used items close at hand (oils, s&p, etc). My parents spice cabinet is located in a similar layout and we don’t find it annoying. I look forward to when the design post comes, then we can get a better look at spacing.

Vivienne
13 days ago

Speaking of wet shoes (in your mudroom), I’d like to encourage you to look into a boot dryer. We have one which is indispensable in Alaska. It’s small, not terribly expensive but it takes care of wet shoes & mittens overnight. 😊

Beth
13 days ago

pullout garbage must be next to the sink!

Leslie
13 days ago

I’d want space for folding, hanging laundry. Office stuff doesn’t belong in mudroom. If pandemic taught us anything is that people are going to work/study from home and need a home office.

Kaity Johannsen
13 days ago

In our custom kitchen we put the racks, cutting boards, sheet pans, muffin tins and even our griddle pan in a cabinet above the double oven. I don’t know about you but we have a lot of that kind of stuff. Our designer thought it was too much space but it’s always full (we love to cook!). If you can afford the space, I’d allow 25-30″ of the vertical slats inside a cupboard. It might be one of my favorite custom features of our kitchen. Also we have dishwasher on left at our home and on the right at our cabin (in Lake Arrowhead!). I prefer it on the left and I am right handed. I have a friend who had a cutout in her coutertop to store her compost container. So basically it set in like an above mount sink. I thought it was a great idea.

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