The Button Box


When we built our house I knew nothing about what I needed to tell the carpenters to get my perfect kitchen when it was finished. The carpenter built the cabinets in place but I didn’t know what the height should have been. As I have gotten older I can see several things that I should have thought about and asked about.
When I talked to our carpenter about the kitchen I told him I wanted a baking area in the corner of the kitchen. Our kitchen is an L shape with another turn to the right with more cabinets and then the fridge. The long part of the kitchen runs N-S and then the left turn towards the west, and then a short turn to the north where the fridge sets at the end of the cabinets.
I wanted the baking area in the corner where it made the right turn back to the north where there are more cabinets and then the fridge. The baking corner where the cabinet makes the turn back to the north would have been the perfect place to drop the counter down a few inches for stirring at a comfortable height. Even dropping it 6 inches would have been great for a woman’s height.
I remember telling the carpenter that I wanted the baking area cabinets and counter to be lower so it is easier to stir things in a bowl and pour them into the pans. I am 5’6″ tall, but even the normal cabinet height is a little too tall for me. Our counter tops hit me at the waist and to be comfortable to mix things they should be a little lower. The carpenter just put them all the same height and they are perfect for my husband but not for me.
But the carpenter didn’t bother to check on that or ask me along the way, he just kept doing things like he always did. Since they were not already built it was a perfect opportunity to get it right for my height.
So every time I bake and don’t want to use the Kitchen Aid mixer, I have to take the bowl over to the kitchen sink, on the other side of the kitchen, to mix all the ingredients together. It is an inconvenience because all my ingredients I bake with are on the other side of the room if I need something.
When I came out one night to check on the progress the carpenter was still in the house working and there was a space between the lower cabinet doors and the lazy Susan door in the corner of the baking area. I asked him what he was going to do with that space. He said he was going to put another pull out towel rack there since it was about the same width.
I asked him why would I want a towel rack clear across the room from the sink? All I got was a blank look from him. Then I told him what I wanted in that space and showed him a picture. I wanted three little shallow pull out drawers that went clear back to the back of the cabinet to put spices and baking items in.
I could see the light bulb come on as he thought about that idea. I bet the three little shallow drawers showed up in a lot of the houses out here after that. Those three little drawers were the best part of the kitchen when we moved in. The little narrow and shallow drawers are the perfect place to keep the vanilla and all the little containers and bottles of ingredients you use for baking.
The corner where those three little drawers are is the spot I wanted the cabinet lowered for a baking area. The higher kitchen cabinets didn’t bother me too much when I was younger even though I would have liked them lower. I just learned to mix things at a height that was about 4-6 inches higher than I would have liked. But now with arthritis in my shoulders and elbows it sure would be nice if the counters were lower especially for hand mixing.
The three little drawers were the best part of the kitchen until my husband built pull out drawers to house the items that usually reside under the counters by the stove and I love them. All my pots and pans are on those pull out drawers. They work great and I love having the pots and pans on them.
He built some for the baking area also for the cookie sheets and the sugar and flour containers or anything heavy that I don’t want in the higher cabinets. Now I don’t have to get on my knees and dig in the back of the shelf for something I need to cook or bake with.
The electrician asked me one night, when I stopped in to look things over in the kitchen: where do you want the lights over the vanity in the bathroom. This was the vanity that my husband who is 6′ tall would use for shaving. I told him about eye level would be perfect to shine light on his face. I am sure he had met my husband but I reminded him that he was 6 ‘tall.
The electrician must have been about 6’6″. He put the lights at his eye level. When I stopped in the next night he happened to be working in the kitchen. I went into the bathroom and looked at where the lights were. Then I went and got him.
I told him again my husband was 6’ and that those lights would be at the top of his head and casting shadows onto his face when he shaved. Yes, they were eye level for the electrician but way to high for my husband. So I told him they had to come down about 6 inches so they would be right for my husband when he shaved. He moved the lights down to the level we needed the next day.
It might be fun to build another house now that I know you have to stay on top of the details everyday to get things like you want them. But I am not sure I could handle dealing with the aggravation at my age to get a perfect kitchen and bath. To contact Sandy: therapy [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here