The Second Sink

If you cook frequently at home, second sink is a big help. It helps separate prep area and washing area. You can wash veggies, rice, fruits, hands ūüôā and get water for cooking from the prep sink, while the used utensils and dishes go in the washing sink. Many people opt for double sink for the same purpose. Our kitchen came with a single sink, however there was scope for a second sink. We also wanted to separate drinking water from the washing sink. We are using the sink attached to the main counter as prep sink.

First Sink

Our second sink serves as washing sink. We have built a drying cabinet above the washing sink. This is how it looks.

second sink view from kitchen                                   Drying Cabinet

It does does not have base ply so that water can drain from below.

Home Kitchen Design

In our previous post,  we decided to go with a carpenter for our internal furniture including kitchen. As I mentioned that, we decided to do the design part ourselves than hire an interior designer.

Now, more details on the kitchen part.  If you do not have an existing platform, you can go with a fully modular kitchen. A fully modular kitchen is the one in which standard sized boxes/carcasses are made and fitted in your kitchen with granite slab placed on top of it. It is more convenient if your kitchen design does not match with the platform that the builder is providing.

We had an existing platform with Kadappa, so we went for a custom kitchen. There are many things to consider while building your kitchen interior

Your Design Needs:

Think carefully about how you use your kitchen, what would make it more functional or beautiful

List Down Everything:

  • List size and rough count of utensils and containers (dabbas) that you want to accommodate- this will help you a lot on the design. Account for everything you have in kitchen- even the not so frequently used equipment- you want a space for everything even if it may be in the loft. You may also want to understand the things that you have to get rid of
  • List of appliances that you currently have and are planning to use- you want them to be handy, but not clutter your work space.
  • Kitchen spaces for design:

  • Under counter space >> Read more
  • Wall cabinet space >> Read more
  • Loft space >> Read more
  • Loft Space

    Do you need a loft above the wall unit? We knew we did- there were 3 reasons for it

    • Like most of us in India- we get lots of dust in our house. Even though we resolve to clean our house more often, we hardly have the time to clean the top of cabinets. It is the place where a lot of dust would settle and make the Diwali/Holi cleaning a nightmare. This goes with our design principle in the previous post about having minimal flat surfaces.
    • We have some stuff which we do not use quite often, but do need once in a while- like the big utensils you need when you invite a lot of guests. The loft would let us keep them without coming in our way every day and taking up premium space below.
    • We wanted the chimney to vent out of the house and the loft would conceal the ugly vent pipe.

    There are 2 things that I think are important for loft:

    • The most basic thing is to keep the loft boundaries in line with the wall cabinet boundaries. You do not want a mismatch there.

    Cabinet_Loft_Alignment

    • Secondly, try not to have narrow shutter doors, keep the shutter doors broad as it gives a better look. Get profile (lift up) shutters the ones that open on top – it is much easier for accessing things. You would already be on a ladder or stool while accessing things from loft- you do not want to hold the sides which usually open only 90 degree. With profile lift-up shutters- you can easily access things as the shutter goes above- you will need pump when you go for the lift-up shutters. Make sure that the profile shutters do not collide with fan, wall or curtain rod, when they open.

    Since you already have a base for your loft in form of wall-cabinet top, there is no need to make boxes. It is in fact better to not have boxes made for loft as it will give you wider space to put things than the shutter. Just ask the carpenter to make frames to hold shutters/hinges.

    << back to Home Kitchen Design

    Wall Cabinet space

    Wall cabinet design:

    Depending on where your cooktop/hob will be fitted, leave out the corresponding space for chimney above it. Finalize the size of the chimney so that you know how much space you have for cabinets.

    • Wall¬†cabinet shutter types:
      • 2-door shelved cabinets:¬†They are basic wall cabinets. The hinges sit on sides. You will have to put partition(s) based on the shelf-size that you need- We recommend glass partitions as they are thin and they do not bend.

    CabinetSpace_2 Door

    • Profile/lift-up cabinets:¬†These open on the top- the hinges are at the top. There are many fancy/electrical hinges available for these cabinets. They look good when they are wider (minimum 2 feet). I have not seen narrow¬†profile cabinets.

    CabinetSpaceProfile_Liftup

    • Wall cabinet shutter Materials:
      • Opaque Shutters:¬†I would suggest to go with plywood rather than MDF for wall cabinet shutters as they are on a moving joint. Commercial ply – MR grade should be sufficient, it need not be BWR or BWP.
      • Glass Shutters with aluminium frame:¬†I like frosted glass instead of plain, it looks more elegant especially if you plan to have lights inside
      • Glass Shutters with wooden frame:¬†As I mentioned for completely opaque shutters, MR grade plywood is sufficient for wooden frame to support glass.

    Hinges:

    • Hinge Types:
      • Normal L Hinges:¬†These are basic hinges which fit on the edge of the shutter and carcass. They will need magnets
      • Auto close Hinges:¬†These will close on their own after you bring it to about 45 degrees. However they will cause a thud while closing. These do not need magnets.
      • Soft close Hinges:¬†They are like auto close hinges, however they close softly. These do not need magnets as well.
    • Hinge Brands:¬†Hettich and Hafele are well known brands for hinges. There are many known brands for L hinges which are easily available even in your nearby hardware stores.

    << back to Home Kitchen Design

    Under counter space

    Under ‚Äďcounter design:

    You need to decide on how many drawers you need and how they can be placed below the counter. The space under the sink do not have drawers, usually they have simple hinged doors which can hold dustbin on the inside.  You will need to consider:

    1. Utensils/equipment that you need to fit- e.g. how many cookers you own and what are their sizes. If you are planning to have a built-in oven, are you planning it below the counter or in a separate tall unit
    2. SS/Tandem box basket sizes available to you based on the brand that you selected for it or discuss it with your fabrication guy. Take the channel width into consideration- your hardware dealer and carpenter can help you figure it out- it is usually about 1-1.5 inches per pair.
    3. Try to make the design symmetrical- it gives better visual appeal. Don’t worry if there is an odd space of 6- 12 inches in which you are not able to fit a decent drawer. Pullouts can be used here.

    Frame types:

    • Wooden partitions which hold the channels/runners. Plywood types used for kitchen are commercial ply (IS-303) and sometimes marine ply (IS-710). Commercial ply itself comes in a very wide variety and brands.
      • It comes as MR (moisture resistant) or BWR (boiling water resistant)- I would recommend IS-303 BWR or IS-710 (boiling water proof) for under counter especially under the sink
      • The type of soft and hard wood combination. The more the¬†hard wood, the higher the price and sturdier it is. Soft wood layers are needed nonetheless otherwise it would not be possible to put screw/nails. In the market, if you say Garjan plywood- they will give you the ply with higher hardwood
      • Well-known brands are Century Ply, GreenPly, KitPly. Even S3-Euro seems to be an emerging brand.
    • Hollow aluminum pipe frames filled with wood (mango wood usually) so that the channels can be screwed on them.
    • Stainless steel cubical frames which come fitted with their own channels/runners from the¬†fabrication factory. Since they come with pre fitted channels, carpenter does not have any control over accuracy of channels also Quadro channels cannot be fitted on such frames.

    Basket Types

    • Stainless steel wired baskets- They come in 2 qualities- SS-202 and SS-304. The difference between them is mainly the percentages of nickel and chromium. SS-304 is more resistant to corrosion than SS-202, but it is also costlier. There are several brands which give SS-304 material with assurance of the percentage- like Everyday, Evershine, Sleek. They come in standard sizes of width, depth and height, but they have many sizes available. You can also get this custom manufactured as per your requirement from a local manufacturer, but I am not sure if they would meet the percentage of contents. There are different types of wired baskets:
      • Thali Basket
      • Plate Basket (similar to thali basket but thinner)
      • Cutlery Basket
      • Cup-Saucer Basket
      • Plain Basket
      • Pullouts- 3 shelves/2 shelves
    • “Tandem Box”- A “Tandem box” is actually the name of a product by a specific brand, however it is used by this name in the market. It is a combined product with channel/runner and drawer slides. You only have to fit it with a shutter of your choice. The benefit of this option is that it would be really smooth as the assembly of sides with channels is done in the factory and is covered so dust does not go inside the assembly. The downside is that they are costly. Also- you need to buy the accessories/dividers separately which adds to the cost. They are ideal replacement for plain baskets

    Shutters under counter:

    I recommend BWR or BWP plywood for the shutter under the sink or any other shutter which would be in contact with water. For others, you can go with either MR/BWR IS-303 commercial plywood with laminate. MDF+membrane is also okay for drawer shutters as they do not have moving joint and also need to lift only their own weight. However, note that your carpenter would not be able to make these- they would have to be made in a factory- your carpenter/contractor can help you in finding these.

    Channels: There are some standard brands for these in India- some of them are Hettich, Hafele, Grass, Enox.. Some support upto 30kg, some support upto 50kg. Check the specifications with your dealer. Below are the types of channels widely available in the market:

    • Telescopic: These are the channels that open like a telescope- in 3 parts. They are attached to the side of the wooden drawer/wire basket. They are usually not expensive.
    • Telescopic soft close:Just as the name suggests, they are same as telescopic channels, but close softly rather than with a thud
    • “Quadro Channel”: It is name of a product ¬†by Hettich, but is used in the market in general for such channels. The channel opens in a single go rather than in parts like a telescopic channel and hence it is smoother. These channels are also soft close.
    • Push to open Channel:¬†You do not have to pull out the drawer, but give a small push to open them. However, as per our talk with the dealer, these types of channels are not a success.
    • Tandem box:It is a combination of both a basket¬†and a channel. The channel is similar to quadro channel, but concealed. So, dust will not go inside the channel and it would stay like that for longer.

    An important word of caution for channels: If you are going with SS baskets- do check with your basket provider about which channel type and brand are compatible with the basket types. We made a mistake of buying Hettich quadro channels and everyday baskets- they were not compatible and it was a big hassle to get the channels returned to the dealer.

    << back to Home Kitchen Design

    Starting home interior

    So, the possession of our house was in sight and we were super excited- finally we were going to go to our own home. As we are both working, we decided to get the interior done before moving to the new house.

    I love beautiful and functional houses. Somehow, my own rented house never looked pretty or sorted. We had to rush at the last hour before the guests would arrive to hide the clutter in the cupboards and drawers. So, the first thing I wanted in my new house was a place for everything. Secondly, as my husband rightly suggested was to avoid flat surfaces as far as possible as they are the places where the clutter and dust would accumulate eventually. Ofcourse, it is not possible to have interior without flat surfaces, but we tried to have only as few open flat surfaces as we needed, and covered the rest of them till the ceiling.

    With our original budget which was about 2.5 lac (stretched), getting kitchen done and wardrobes in 1 or both bedrooms of our 2BHK apartment was top priority. For kitchen, we visited many kitchen specialists and showrooms in our area. Below were our constraints and requirements

    • We had L shaped kitchen platform with kadappa (This is standard in most Indian kitchens- it is a concrete slab on which the granite sits).
    • Builder had given 1 single-sink, there was no service balcony
    • We wanted separate places/sinks for washing utensils and for drinking water filtering/storage outlet to make it feel clean when we go for drinking water
    • We wanted a hob (the one that comes at same level as the kitchen platform) rather than a cooktop which sits on the kitchen platform and a chimney
    • I like baking and love the neat looks of built-in-oven
    • We wanted the platform to not have stuff lying (e.g. appliances, sugar, salt, masala box, ghee, oil etc) on it as far as possible, so that it can be easily cleaned after each cooking
    • We wanted drawers under platforms, wall cabinets with loft above it- so that a) chimney outlet can be covered b) dust does not sit on top of the wall cabinets

    There are many options for getting kitchen done in the market. In our opinion, there are 2 major categories:

    1. The specialists get the carcasses/boxes and baskets ready at their premises/factory ‚Äďwhich takes around 15-30 days and fit everything (channels, hinges, handles) at your home in 3-5 days. This would be more convenient if you already moved in the house. Usually, they use MDF shutters and commercial ply (IS-303) boxes. The MDF shutter usually comes with membrane on it which gives a more finished edge than a ply-laminate shutter. MDF is probably okay as drawer shutter as it only has to carry its own weight and has no moving part. However, we were not in favour of this option for hinged shutters needed for wall cabinets.

    Each store has its own method and formula for charging you. We got estimates ranging from 2 lacs to 3.5 lacs for our basic kitchen without any appliances. The charges were quite more than what our budget allowed, we were ready to compromise a little, however NONE of them could solve all our kitchen needs

    1. The other option is to get a carpenter and get the kitchen done by him. They usually are a team of 2-3 people who work on a project. They charge 30-35% of total materials used. It is not very logical as if you use superior material, the labour cost also goes up. They also come with so called interior designers who charge 10% on total cost including carpentry.

    A note about interior designers (applies to both a and b options):¬†I am not sure if this is industry wide or we were just unfortunate, but these designers in kitchen stores or the one attached to the carpenters were not receptive to our needs and put limited thought process ‚Äď none of them took full ownership of the project. I doubt if they were qualified. A good designer would have been a big value-add, but neither did we find a good one, nor did our budget and time allow us to find a more qualified one.

    We went with option b without the designer part. That we played on our own J. It gave us more flexibility in terms of design and material as well. We hired a carpenter who agreed to charge us 33%. He also showed us some of his previous work.

    This is our kitchen plan

    kitchen plan

    This is how the final kitchen looks. The first two photos are from living/dining room and the last photo is from the main platform towards the second sink built in empty space in the plan above:

    kitchen view from dining area

    Kitchen view from living room

    second sink view from kitchen

    We will publish more details on the design, material and process in the next post. Happy reading!