Some things need a lot of planning in advance, and the kitchen is certainly one of them. We need to know where things will go to plan the electrical and water/waste installations. Having spent considerable time browsing brochures and kitchen websites, we generally leaned in a "landhaus" or country style, but knew we'd never end up with something as good as the glossy photos, or the various showrooms we'd visited.
Enter Schäfer + Fitz, a fairly local company recommended by a friend.
After an initial meeting with Herr Weber, one of their salesmen who handily lives in our village, we discussed a couple of options for layouts, which I threw myself into using an online planner. On the floor plans, the kitchen looks large, but with low ceilings, one wall full of doors and a window, a great big post in the middle of the room and the early decision to put the dining room table in one half of it, space becomes a bit of a premium.
Early ideas were a U shape, which made great use of the working area, but threw a barrier across the middle of the room.
An L shape, with an island, and a couple of tall cabinets to house the fridge, a larder and an oven at a height (I really liked the idea of having the latter two items).
And so, after much deliberation, and many late evenings playing with combinations of all of the above, we decided on as simple and as open as possible, with loads of workspace. This meant sacrificing some of the things I really wanted, but I think it's more practical.
Our final meeting with Herr Weber was this afternoon, picking out individual pieces of equipment (I had to scale back on my oven and dishwasher choices, which were way over our budget, but we've chosen an excellent fridge and hob), and we've basically ordered this to be installed in Spring next year, getting a good deal just about within our budget, but with, we think, great quality stuff.
Of course, what is not modelled above are things like the posts and beams, not to mention the extractor hood, so here's an early preview from Schäfer + Fitz.