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I've enjoyed reading this. I'm in a 1930's cottage and a former owner remodeled the kitchen in the 90's. They did a lot of things well although it is possibly no longer in style. But I have Shaker cabinets stained in a teal glaze. I'd never have picked it but it hides kitchen grime between cleanings without being depressing grainy brown. It has decidedly cheap 4 inch white tiles for a backsplash. I bought pricey outlet covers in a cheerful ( if dated ) pattern of blue Delft dishes with lemons in them ) it required 7; 2 in a specialized size but I feel it perked the backsplash up just enough. The countertops are white Corian in excellent condition-also not in style but I like them. You cannot stain them or ding them. The kitchen has some deep drawers for pots and pans but not that wonderful pot lid storage. I will have to figure out how to add that ! It does have a pull out for the trash-which I love. It also has a great , very wide implement drawer with lots of sections. The lighting isn't great-under cabinets have narrow fluorescent tubes and ceilings have old circular fluorescent fixtures. I supplement with table lamps. Which brings me to this: There is no stove hood-because the center of room location renders it impossible and code in my state does not require one. So I cook on a gas cooktop with no venting unless I open a nearby door. I have a lamp with a linen shade on the bar top just behind the stove so that I can see what I am doing because there is also no lighting over the stove. The white lamp shade does not get visibly dirty or greasy and I inspect it often. I am uncertain as to what people are cooking which causes all the grease and splatters that are so frequently lamented. My stovetop gets greasy and I wash it regularly. But most of it is not traveling far. All in all I think that it is nice to have a pretty kitchen but spending $ 20,000-$40,000 is not an option for me. The cost of a new fridge, new gas stove and new dishwasher plus replacing a cracked and peeling floor when I moved in was already very high -more than $ 10,000. If the cabinets were ugly I would spring for professional painting but not for a tear out.

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The amount of grease and grim from cooking whether gas or electric comes from how a person cooks. You get it basically from heat cooking any fat product. This includes meat fats (hamburgers), lard, oil of any kind, shortening, butter, margarine, baked goods, sauces, dairy products, vegetable fats and even food scraps (spam anyone?).

Methods include cooking any of the above with high heat, rapid heating, adding food to properly unheated oils, fats, etc. Dropping food into a pan does cause splatters. Deed frying really shouldn't be done inside the house, but outside. With all these frying machines, people use them inside the house. They should be used outside and used properly.

So a simply put a teaspoon of oil in a pan, heat it up, add an egg or two for a quick easy over or omelet will produce that grease. Over time, that will accumulate if not cleaned whether in the air or on a surface. And yes, great and grime can travel through the air currents and land on nearby surfaces, or you can carry grease on your hands and fingers and transfer them to cabinets. After all, you hands are naturally oiled, so adding more too them doesn't help.

This is why good ventilation is a must, whether whole house ventilation or several windows opened for a good air flow or a fan aka "hood" above a cook top whether part of a range or as individual is really necessary. I will suck those grease molecules out through a duct to the outside. It doesn't cure platters, but only improved methods of cooking will help that.

If you cook without meat, veggie oils and the like as listed above, you'll have little to no grease/grime in your kitchen. Perhaps it'll be a trend toward vegetarian cooking with steam heat instead of cooking with animal fats or animal/veggie oils. :)

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I used to actually label drawers and doors to make it easier/safer for visitors, babysitters, gatherings of multiple cooks who otherwise walked around opening & slamming every door and drawer searching for utensils, ingredients, etc. So our latest kitchen was deliberately designed to be transparent for multiple users: Base cabinets are door-less with pull-outs. Upper cabs are open boxes w/ shelves. Utensils and cookware are on display as collections that we consider quite attractive. (We did a test run in our previous house to determine whether grease got deposited on things in open cabinets--simply removed cabinet doors. It didn't, and it hasn't here either. I used to fear that but it's baseless, so we went ahead w/o doors as part of the new design.) BTW I hate cluttered counters; it's the walls and shelves that display items, not the counter!

Paneled appliances that look like cabinets or drawers? appliance garages? This is just a pretense that "There's no kitchen here--move along...." A form of denial IMHO. Ours says, THIS IS A KITCHEN--ENJOY! (And, "Please look at my beautiful cookware!") My husband, who used to accuse me of "hiding" things or "moving" them, is very happy now to share cooking space. And my mom immediately felt at home--no mysteries! Speaking of which--for people "aging in place," this kind of transparency means safety as well, and convenience for caretakers, etc.

OUTLETS: Our electrician refused to install plug molding strips--fire hazard in a kitchen, not code (although we are not in an area subject to code inspection). But we do have an outlet BEHIND a drawer; our coffeemaker is in that drawer, gets pulled out every morning, and gets pushed back after breakfast, stays plugged in. First saw this idea in a hotel. Any time there's an outlet in or behind a drawer, the space inside shrinks to accommodate and safely buffer the wired parts outside the drawer.

We have a pop-up outlet in our 7' island. It was the only practical solution given the excess of drawers and shelves we planned for the structure (hardwiring takes up space, as did plumbing for the prep sink which is of course at the corner!), and it is used frequently. The flat, round outlet is 100% waterproof (and crumb-proof). I cover it with a trivet, a tile, or a fruit bowl; I find it an unfortunate blemish in the countertop but it was a compromise. And I love it for what it does!

One other outlet idea: When our (door-free) upper cabinets were installed, I had the electrician install outlets above them (invisible from below). We now have transformers up there that power wireless switches for indirect lighting in various locations. Wireless is a real thrill.

Our kitchen is unique (according to our contractor) but its reflection of our values & needs has already inspired others who visit. Please, don't be afraid to make your space work for you; judge ideas according to what you really do in your kitchen. Experiment a little and see what works for your situation.


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