Kitchen Layout

caben15October 13, 2013

I asked a related question in the Kitchens forum last week but didn't get much response.

I'm trying to figure out the layout of the refrigerator in my kitchen design. I have some options and I'd be interested to hear the opinions of those on this forum...

This is how the layout is shown on our plans currently (click the pictures for a bigger size):

There is a tight work triangle between the refrigerator, prep area and range, which pleases me.

What worries me however is the 36" counter depth fridge. In a previous residence I installed a 48" counter depth fridge and found it ... compact to say the least. I had initially anticipated surviving with this smaller fridge by having a backup in the garage, but I am growing concerned as we have a little one now and there is more stuff in the fridge. The annoyance of having to go out to the garage for stuff not found in the main fridge is not something I want to encounter on a daily basis. There is not room in the nearby pantry for a fridge, btw.

I think a 36" fridge column would work for us however, so I began playing around with some alternates:

In this one I flip the fridge and the wall oven, and add a 24" freezer column next to the 36" fridge column. The concern I have with this one is that it distorts the work triangle wrt. the prep zone and the range, and the counter to the left of the freezer (to be used for storage of appliances like a KitchenAid mixer, food processor etc) becomes less accessible from the prep area. The benefit is that the fridge/freezer are still adjacent and are now out of the immediate work area so they can be accessed while cooking is in progress.

This was the second concept. I left the fridge and wall oven where they were - but made the fridge an all-fridge column and added a 24" freezer column to the far left of the wall oven. I liked this because the freezer is relatively less frequently used, and this kept the fridge close to the prep area. The downside now that I can see is that the freezer is a good trek from the fridge, so if you want a drink with ice in it, you'd have to get a glass from the glass cabinet (near the cleanup sink) and trudge over to the freezer, then trudge back to the fridge to get your beverage.

Other notes:

- I've considered fridge/freezer drawers, but they don't work well with our cabinet style (flush inset), and don't generally seem to offer much space.
- I'm resisting having two fridges or two freezers, because I think it'd be confusing as to what items were in what unit. Did I put the butter in this one or that one?

Additional context:

We are a significant remodel of a 1960s house. We are constrained to the existing footprint + some additions that are already locked in (in permitting phase, structural engineering done, etc.) i.e. no further changes to building envelope at this point.
The kitchen caps one end of a large "great room". The kitchen is towards the interior of the house, with a small half-banquette area on the exterior wall for everyday meals.
The island is intended to give me a commanding view of the entire great room from the prep/cooking area.
The position of the cleanup sink and the window it's centered on cannot change, as it is tightly constrained by an existing perpendicular wall on the other side of that wall.

Does anyone have any clever ideas that I haven't considered? Am I just over thinking this? Is a 36" Over/Under counter-depth fridge/freezer enough for a family of 2-4 who would occasionally entertain up to 10-12? Thanks in advance!

This post was edited by caben on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 1:54

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I like the last plan, especially if the microwave is in the oven stack. You don't need to access the freezer as often and it takes a little traffic away from your main work area...more like a separate snack area. You might also include a beverage fridge, by the freezer, just for drinks and to avoid the cross traffic between fridge and freezer.

All your plans have a very small prep sink...I think that might need to be a bit bigger. Otherwise, it looks good. Do you plan to have a table with your banquette. Or just casual seating?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I love the layout of my kitchen, more than I expected. It may have some considerations for your layout.

The back wall has the cooktop with at least 24" counter on either side, with the fridge on the end of the line.

The side has the DW and the large clean up sink.

The island has only a small prep sink, and it's located with space on both sides of it...not on the edge.

This works well for us as I have my cooking area...fridge, prep sink, cooktop, while DH has his clean up area. So we can operate together without being in each others' way. Further, I love that the island keeps people on the sitting side of the island where I can talk to them while I cook, but no one is in my way.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Sophie Wheeler

It's a poor layout for someone who likes to cook with the family. I don't have time to tweak it the diagram this morning, but you should post on the Kitchen Forum to get some basic layout revisions here. That island prep zone is way too small because of the centered range, and it doesn't appear to have adequate ventilation planned. Plus, it's back to back with the cleanup zone. It would be better to make a feature of the cooking zone of the back wall, with the prep sink remaining on the island.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:54AM
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Thanks for posting the layout of your kitchen. We will be having almost the same layout as you. Glad to hear this is working well for you. Can you tell me the dimensions of your island and the overhand you have on the seating side.

Caben, The island is huge and you are going to have seams if you use solid surface. Are you ok with that? Also not a huge fan of the range on the island but might work in your case due to the size of the island. Are you going to have a table at the bench? If so that space you might be to tight.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I did post to the kitchen forum but didn't receive much response.

I put the range in the island because in a past kitchen I had the range against a wall and I didn't like that this left my back to the room for much of the time during meal preparation. Ventilation shouldn't be an issue with a Modernaire hood. It'll be one of the lower profile designs so as not to intrude in the view.

The aisles are wide (4'6) so I'm hopeful we won't bump into each other too much. Due to being a remodel on existing foundation, we are somewhat constrained where certain elements are, so if I want the cleanup sink under a window, that's pretty much the only place for it. I'd rather not do dishes staring at a blank wall.

Yes a table at the bench. It will be a smaller one.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:08PM
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I had the range on my island in my last home and, as originally built, there was only about 2' of space on either side and not much space on the back side of the range where the bar stools were. I liked being able to face the family room while I was at the stove, but really disliked how little space I had left to work with. We remodeled that kitchen and I expanded the island significantly, which helped. Still, in the new house we are building (which has a similar layout to yours), I decided to put the range on the back wall and only a small prep sink in the island. I just think having a full island to work with is much more usable for having multiple people working at the same time, setting food out when hosting, etc.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:52PM
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