We designed the kitchen cooking area to be much like a ships galley, where most things are on hand and easily accessible and the cooking area / sink etc are all just a step or two away from each other. We wanted plenty of available worktop preparation area both around the cooker and also between the cooker and the sink, our other design feature is that we wanted open accessible shelving for foodstuffs, herbs and spices and gadgets/ equipment etc.
The island was designed with the installation of an under the counter commercial style stainless steel fridge that is about twice the size of a normal under the counter domestic fridge. That has been installed and is running well. The only issue with it is that it is deep so we are searching for the right sized plastic type baskets to make access / storage and segregation easier.
We opted for an under-counter electric fan oven/ grill because all the (bottled) gas ovens we have used have been pretty shite and difficult to vary or maintain temperature. I took the advice of some pro chefs/cook we know who said “gas range and electric oven” was the way to go.
Where the oven is to be situated means that when the door was open it would block access in and out of the galley area but then we found a rather natty little number by Neff that the door opens and then slides under the oven. We are well chuffed with it and it is easy to operate. That said there are several functions and as all our ovens before this have been On or Off and temp setting having range of features to play with is great but we will have to learn how to get the best out of each cooking procedure. Luckily it has an extensive and easy to understand instruction booklet.
and door open which just slides underneath Tra La
We selected a 5 ring gas (bottled) hob with the one large ring on the side so you can still get pots on all the others. WE chose Neff again as it had excellent reviews and ticked all the right boxes boxes for us in terms of size, appearance and quality.
The work tops themselves took us a couple of years of um-ing and ahh-ing and looking at different types and styles and comparing our own experience with others. Due to its durability and easy to clean functionality (and is regular feature in any seriouis commercial professional kitchen I had always leaned towards stainless steel, although MrsB, quite rightly, was concerned that it may look too industrial and out of place in a country cottage kitchen. As we explored and researched other different ones (granite wood re-constituted stone, melamine, etc etc we slowly but surely eliminated all other contenders and came back to stainless but we wanted bespoke tops with splash backs and over-hangs.
It took some time to find the right fabricator but finally settle on Complete Catering Contracts (www.completecateringcontracts.co.uk) based in Hastings. They were helpful beyond the call of duty and kept in good contact and produced the goods on time (a day ahead of schedule)
The tops themselves were well made and fitted well and we are very happy with the result
What we did was to build the framework for the kitchen tops and then fit 18mm marine ply tops. WE cut out exact;y where the hob hole was to go and used 4 x 2 wood attached to the surface where the splash backs were to bend up against.
Here is the carcass
here with the marine ply top cut to size with hob hole and the 4 x 2 inm place for the splash back positions. You can see the island template made as well
Then it just needed some liaising with Complete catering and soem notes written on the templates
Then pack them off with the courier (in Brittany I use the Red Van Man who is superb.
Then off they went across the sea to return three weeks later and with a bit of “you lift and I’ll grunt” No your way” No my way” and a mad dash by MrsB not to be in the photo they were in place.
Get the kettle on
We still have the finishing to do around the edge of the splash-backs and the til;ing to do on the walls of the island and various other bits and pieces but now they are in place we are rather chuffed with how good they look and how the overall dynamic will be when all the finishing touches are put in place.
Love and Peace