can a kitchen be too big?

slkinpaAugust 5, 2007

Hi, I have been looking at this site for a few months now and I love it! I am in the very beginning stages of house building. We are just working on our house plans. I can't decide on the size of kitchen I want. I know the house will be between 2800 and 3000 square feet and I want to have the biggest kitchen possible, but do you think a kitchen can be too big and not flow with the rest of the house? I want to make sure I have plenty of counterspace and cabinets and I want an island with a prep sink in it. Ideally I want the kitchen to be at least 15'x16',not including the breakfast room, but I don't want it to look out of place. I hope you can understand this and it wasn't too confusing. Any suggestions would be great. I am a complete novice when it comes to this kind of stuff. Thanks!

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15 X 16 is not too large a kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 11:01PM
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It's only too big if it's not laid out correctly and you get worn out from having to walk too much.LOL

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 11:14PM
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our last house was 2700 sq feet on 2 levels and our kitchen was 12' x 19' in an L shape with an island. Part of the space also included an area for a table, and the rear wall had a patio door that walked out to the deck. The size was ok for 2 people - but would have been better with a few extra feet in both dimensions. The refrig was not built in so it stuck out and did not look right. We also figured out (as we were getting ready to sell) that using a small bistro table with 2 chairs made the space look a lot bigger instead of a larger table for 4 - and opened up the area for the door leading to the deck.

In our new house - the kitchen is about the same size but this time we have the built in refrig, a seperate morning room room for the table, and both a bar and island. The kitchen adjoins the dining room, family room, and morning roonm in an open design. This layout has fewer wall cabinets than our last house - but much more below cabinet space. We actually found in our last house that much of the wall cabinet space was unused because you needed a ladder to reach it. The bar and island provide much more food prep areas and more usable storage space. Bending down and reaching back (which I hate) was addressed by using a lot of pull outs.

I think a 15' x 16' kitchen space sounds about the right proportion to your house size - but the design of that space is critical. Having a pro do the layout - before the house plans are finalized - is worth the effort.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:26AM
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Of course it can. Remember that the food prep. area is primarily a workspace/laboratory. Keep a tight work area between your major appliances and sink(s). The social and eating areas can take up the residual space.

It's always instructive to see what professional chefs prefer: overwhelmingly that is a galley work space (the rest of the kitchen can take any shape). It is the most efficient layout. But most people choose not to use it because their focus is more on aesthetics than function.

After living for seven years in an old house with a 12 x 12 foot kitchen, and having sore legs and feet from walking my legs off, I will never again have my kitchen's work areas in anything other than a tight galley. Four feet is the minimum and four and a half feet is the maximum for me. The pros generally prefer 3 feet.

One other thing I learned from working in a high-end kitchenwares shop where we had weekly cooking demonstrations by guest chefs, was that you need FAR fewer, and far more basic appliances and gadgets to turn out perfect food than we home cooks burden ourselves with. So, don't let your equipment complicate your tasks unnecessarily. If it's for show/resale that's another story. Just keep some simple tools available for real life.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:01AM
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Yes, it can be too big and not function well. I was a little worried about ours since we have a huge island. But if the work triangle is spaced correctly, everything will be fine. And 15x16 sounds like a good proportion to the size of your house. Here's an article about kitchen design. If you Google "Kitchen Triangle" there are several more! Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen layouts

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:09AM
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My house is 3500 sq ft and my kitchen (excluding breakfast room) is 13 X 23. It is large and spacious with wide aisles.

But my work triangle is very efficient and includes my pantry within that space. We purchased a stock plan from Southern Livign but had the kitchen redrawn by a local architect. He really made my kitchen much better than the original.

I think it would be hard to have a kitchen that is "too big" unless it is laid out poorly with an inefficient work area.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:19AM
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Thanks everyone for your input It is very helpful, I feel much better now and relieved I won't have to settle for a smaller kitchen then I want. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 4:58PM
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Our kitchen is 24' x 24' it works for us.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 5:53PM
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Here's our 12'x14' kitchen in a 4,110 s.f. home. Small but works ok. Unless you're the only one using the kitchen, the work triangle is often passe´. The alternative approach is zoning--different areas for different activities, such as food prep, kids play place.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 6:53PM
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that doesn't sound too big at all to me. I think it's important to have lots of walk space between the island and the countertops, if you're doing an island. We had 39" in our last home and it felt crowded if 2-3 people were in there at once because you couldn't walk behind someone without brushing against them slightly. so we widened our aisles to 48" in our new house and it's just perfect.

I could see where pro chefs would want less room. All they're doing is cooking all day, non-stop, so a couple fewer steps each direction saves them tons of time and energy. But for a home kitchen where you make one or two meals a day, a couple extra steps is no big deal and the payoff from having extra room is well worth it. That way your husband and kids and dogs can run around and you still aren't crowded.

I am not sure what the sq. ft. is for exactly our kitchen, because we have a breakfast nook at the end that extends out into a bay-style window. But it's 25' x 15.5' counting the breakfast room. I think it's about 14' x 15.5' for just the kitchen, but don't quote me on that. we also have a 9' long butler's pantry with tons of extra cabinets that are perfect for storing holiday dishes and stuff we don't use as often. our house is 3,600 sq. ft. overall and I feel like the kitchen could have gone a little bigger and still not have seemed oversized.

Oh, we also have a 10.5' x 5' walk-in pantry. That is the best part of the entire house!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:30PM
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ooh, worthy, nice!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:01PM
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Thanks again everyone, all of your suggestions are great. I think what I am going to do is measure out what I want in my basement and walk my layout before I decide, you know make a pretend kitchen. I am of those people that needs to see what I want. If I could I would go in everyones house and measure all their rooms so I would know what I wanted. You all have such beautiful houses I hope my turns out half as nice!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:16PM
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slkinpa, that makes lots of sense - try to put boxes up for the pretend kitchen layout so you'll get a sense of how it will feel with the cabinets in place and the island (if you're doing one, that is.)

I agree with you that the only way to know what works is to measure it out in an existing house. I measured every room and kitchen aisle in my last house in order to know what size room worked for me and where I needed a tad more space. maybe you can go into some model homes in your area and measure those kitchens? that might give you a starting point.

here is my kitchen with its 48" walkways:

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:38PM
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Have you visited us over on the kitchen forum? It's a great place for layout advice...and anything else related to kitchens.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:09PM
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kygirl99, that's a good idea with the boxes, I definetly will do that. And thanks rhome410 I'll head over to the kitchen forum and check it out.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:22PM
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worthy~ I haven't seen photos of your kitchen. WOW! It's gorgeous. Love those autumny colors. YUM!

Kygirl~ I love your kitchen today as much as when I drooled a few days ago. You have some great aisle space in that kitchen. I'm not getting that much... wish I could get more space in mine! Yours looks so easy to work in. :o)

Love the cardboard box idea. I'm going to do that as soon as we get out to our new house. I'm a visual person too, and I think the box idea is a great way to "see" how the space is going to work. Good idea.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 6:41PM
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My kitchen in the house I'm building is very small. I don't have the exact measurements, but I don't have to walk more than 10 steps either way to get to the fridge, sink and stove. I have a large walk in pantry so there was no need for more space just to walk around in. I don't do a lot of cooking anymore either so there's really no need for a large kitchen for just DH and myself. This is our last house so if the small kitchen hurts the resale after we're gone, it won't be our problem. LOL We custom built our little house to suit us and our pets, not the next family to live in the house.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 1:12AM
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