Questions in my mind:
What are you keeping?
Are you tied to the range staying in the corner? (Can the hood be rerouted?)
How are you planning to repair the floor where the half wall is located?
What is your lighting plan? (I currently only see lights in the hood.)
What is on the wall right beside the pantry cabinet?
How do/would guests most often enter the kitchen?
Keeping: nothing. Everything goes except the crown molding on the ceiling.
Range staying in corner/hood rerouting: This was an old chimney outlet, so I think I could probably reroute it, but I'm not really sure. I like the idea of keeping the hot wall on the same side as the fireplace (it's to the right of the half wall in the pics) just to keep the 'warm' away from the 'cool,' i.e. fridge. However it's a neat idea, and worth investigating. Only other thing to keep in mind is that I am not sure what's under the tile. I am pretty sure it's laid on concrete which is on top of the solid stone foundation. There is no basement on this part. That means that any re-jiggering involving for example gas lines and electricity would mean digging a trench in the concrete, or hiding pipes somehow.
Repair the floor: IF we can find the tile, I'll re-lay tile. Otherwise, area rug. It really ties the room together.
Lighting plan: THere is basically no lighting right now. It's horrible. We will do under-cabinet LEDs per your suggestion, for sure, as well as up-lighting. I am unsure what to do with the giant plaster medallion on the ceiling. I would like to have a nice fixture there, but this room is really two distinct spaces, and I really want task lighting / pot hanger/rack above the island, so I'm not sure how to do that without making the ceiling look 'busy.'
Wall right beside the pantry cabinet: Not sure what you're referring to here. If you mean the spot where the fridge is now, that's one of the radiators. However we could theoretically remove it as the fireplace puts out plenty of heat in the winter, but I'd like to keep it if possible.
Guests come in via either the door leading to the deck, the front door (we have another 'main' front door though) and through the open space between the kitchen/living and dining room.
I see what you mean about a corner island facing a corner stove. But I've included 48" of space from the oven front to the island corner, so in theory it'll be OK. Casters/rolling island would help, but I am of course not against the idea of lopping a corner off in the name of easier access.
gmac one of the things norm abram says in his videos is exactly what you say, he doesn't want lower cabinets, just drawers. We are going the same route, it will make things so much easier. My only concern is stuff getting trapped behind there, but it's not very likely, really.
Also I think we all have the same spice grinder. Mine is black, though.
Another thing we will have to do, is to replace the window. Right now the counter and sink are about 6" higher than the bottom of the window, so you can't actually open it (it opens inwards). We are going to replace it with a two-section window, with a bottom part that doesn't open and a top part that does open. The surround on the window is solid stone and I don't want to get a mason in to build it up - we'll just bump out the countertop a bit to cover it up so things don't get trapped behind there.
We absolutely need outlets. I have one plug in the entire damn kitchen, and I've got a multiplug plugged into it. We will most likely have to have an electrician in to add some circuits for the oven and fridge. I think it's only one 16 amp fuse right now, so if you use the dishwasher, oven, hood, and water boiler all at the same time, the circuit trips. Thankfully the fuse box is right there on the far wall and at eye level, so it's easy to fix.
Another thing we have to keep in mind is how things flow around the fireplace.
Also we're pretty much 100% decided on doing a concrete countertop. We are going to get this book: www.amazon.com/Concrete-Countertops-Simple-Step---Step/dp/1561588822
Which is supposed to make everything very clear. Even if I screw up somehow, it will still be orders of magnitude cheaper to have done countertops ourselves than to have bought even a less expensive granite top.