I've been reading up on your forums now for awhile, lots of great info here. I finally decided to take the plunge and join.
Over the next year I get to design my dream kitchen! And I'm fortunate enough to have the budget to do it right and not cut corners or scrimp unnecessarily. That said, I don't want to waste money either, I don't care about big brand names or any of that nonsense, I care about reliability, ease of use, performance and function over fashion.
The first thing I'm trying to decide is on basic design/layout. Initially I had thought to have a big island in the center with the gas range in the center and butcher block counters on either side (chop and prep then right into the adjacent pan). Ovens would be installed at eye level on the walls along with lots of counter space and cupboards for storage and appliances, etc. But as I've started looking at layouts and designs it seems that most people go with an island for a breakfast bar type idea, often with a sink on it and stools on one side to sit at and they place their range against a wall. Is this more practical for running gas lines and ventilation and such? Or is it just a style preference for most people?
Second question is much more open-ended...quite simply, what kind of things would you consider if you were me? What kind of design/layouts do you like? What have you found works really well? What do you hate when you have to cook in someone else's kitchen? What equipment or setup is indispensible to you? What would you do differently if you could do something over? Looking for anything you care to share here, anything that will get my wheels turning and guide me in my research and planning.
Much obliged, thanks in advance for the help!