Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TKO Tuesday: A Little More on the Cooking Zone

I realized when cleaning my hood and backsplash, that I'd forgotten to include something last week that I think is important about my cooking area...  Or, actually, behind it.

The counters in that area are 28" deep.  I did this, mostly, because of the microwave protruding so much farther from the wall than a regular upper cabinet, and I wanted room to work in that area without the microwave in my forehead.  This extra depth allows a little more room for prep, and for storing things on the counter, while still having room to work. 

Some people put deeper cabinetry under a deeper countertop, but we didn't.  With Hubby making our cabinets, we decided it was more efficient and economical use of 48" wide plywood to keep the pieces at 24".  Longer drawer glides would have been more expensive, too, and only to add a few inches to already roomy drawers and shelves.

My favorite aspect about it, though, was one of those accidental bonuses I didn't foresee. 
 Because the counter is deeper, we brought the rangetop away from the wall  so that the front would be the same as if it were installed in standard-depth counters.  This left a 3+ inch gap behind the stove, for which we had a piece wrapped in stainless when we had our counters fabricated.

That spacer, as it turns out, catches the majority of splashes from the stove, that, otherwise, would go directly onto and up the backsplash.  I scrubbed our backsplash with a degreaser type of kitchen cleaner today, and after 3 years, there was hardly anything to clean off.  I, of course, have cleaned off a couple of splashes from when I've clumsily flicked something straight onto the stone, but other than the occasional swipe with a damp cloth, it hasn't been as thoroughly cleaned as I did today.  

The other thing I have to say is that the stone, although certainly fireproof, so suitable in that sense, seemed an impractical choice for someone who prefers 'easy clean' and might get a little lazy (or busy) and let things slide.  

I thought I was giving up practical function for form on this choice.  On the contrary, it's not as hard as it looks to wipe down (just work in the direction of the grain with each tile),  has been easy to maintain, and the variation in color hides any little splashes I have neglected.  I sealed the stone before grouting, and again after it was completed.  Now that I've used a harsher cleaner on it, I should probably do it again.  I could understand that smaller stones with the same roughness to their faces might be more challenging.  And, truthfully, grouting was no picnic...

I know that I haven't discussed my stainless counters, which are a big positive in my cooking area.  I plan to do a post on counter materials another time, and wanted mostly to stick to planning and design right now.
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