Advice on Kitchen Layout for new construction home

ahkimJanuary 2, 2014

Happy New Years Everyone!

I'm hoping for some advice on our kitchen layout. We are building a new home based on their existing plan, however the builder is letting us tweak the layout some. By Monday the 6th, I need to finalize the kitchen.

We are paying $2000 to cantilever the kitchen 18" so we can get a center island and additional cabinets. However, to keep the walk-in pantry, it seems we have to take some space from the flex room. The flex room will be the kids play area (they are 1 and 3 yrs old). I'm ok taking some space from the flex room since we spent so much time in the kitchen. We've never had a walk-in pantry but that's very high on our want list.

Would you change anything? Do you see any issues?


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Here is the new layout.

The costs to add the walk in pantry as drawn (additional framing / electrical light and switch / wood floor / extra drywall / extra door) would be $1,000.

This post was edited by ahkim on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 4:52

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:48AM
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Much better use of the space for the extra outlay of funds.
I really like the WI pantry set up moving into the flex room
The space is still a decent size with good wall area for furniture placement.
I might make a suggestion to have your island made non anchored to the floor so you can rotate it 90 if you want.
I had this size island in a house a few years back and loved the flexibility of having it moveable. Plus if you rotate the island sitters can look out the window and not at the range.
I might also suggest a closable doorway; french doors or sliding barndoor something to help corral the toddlers and hide their toddler chic décor from you front door. This is an almost identical layout to the home we had when the kids were itty-bitty and I so wished for some kind of a door.
Great kitchen improvement!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:53AM
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Nice layout! I agree with ppbenn about the space making more sense in the pantry than the flex room.

It looks like you could have deep cabinets (uppers and lowers) on the fridge/range side. That will increase the amount of storage and counter space, and make your fridge not stick out so far.

How about details? Are your base cabinets all (or mostly) drawers? What sort of cabinet in the corner? I would recommend an Easy Reach upper cabinet, instead of angled. Do the uppers go to the ceiling? How high? Where will you store dishes?

The best thing I did as I planned my kitchen remodel was decide up front where things would go - silverware, utensils, potholders, pots and pans, spices, trash/recycling.

Best wishes to you for a speedy and uneventful build!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 10:28AM
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I'm a big fan of wide walkways, but the 6' walkway between the kitchen and flex room seems awkwardly large. Are you planning some furniture there or something? What will that room be used for after the kids outgrow the play room? Office maybe? I'd definitely think about future uses of that room because the playroom use will be relatively short lived.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Good point, Gaucho. Maybe the pantry could extend into the walkway, making it wider, but then make it less deep? And a pocket door into the pantry would be more convenient than the swinging door.

My college-aged kids still use our family room like a play room, for movies and video games. The nature of the toys changes, but the desire for dedicated "play" space does not! It's also a place for a table fro board games and jigsaw puzzles for the whole family, without taking over the living room.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 3:42PM
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I am looking at the plan and working on a few suggestions. This is just a rough drawing of ideas and changes. I agree with Gaucho on the wide opening not being desirable. Also plan to have the cabinets around the refrigerator extend at least 30 inches on the side of the refrigerator so it does not stick out into the space.

My pantry is 66 X 70 and has shelving on 3 sides with a 24 inch door. Cant tell how deep your drawing is but if you center the door you could have shelving on both sides. I have 11 inch shelving on each side and 26 inch deep on the long back wall. I also had a piece of granite placed on one of the side shelves 18 inches deep and use it for my coffee maker and toaster.

Looking at your mudroom - You might want a bench and coat hooks in there instead of a big closet. I love having a easy place to hang coats and put our shoes when we come in from the garage.

This post was edited by rtwilliams on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 16:14

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:11PM
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Another rough - really rough drawing!!

This has the wall to the playroom backed out a few inches to accommodate the 42 inch walkway around the island.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Nice layout change - makes the space much more functional.

Future resale consideration - the flex space would be counted as another bedroom if you add a closet and a framed doorway. It would be wonderful to have a built-in space to stash toys now when they're little and games/junk when they're older. You don't need to install a door now, but having the option would result in much better value in an appraisal by calling that space an additional bedroom than calling it flex space.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 5:51PM
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According to a recent discussion with my tax assessor, if a room has a closet it will automatically be considered a bedroom and thus taxed accordingly. Sometimes a big $ jump that one doesn't wish to have for a "playroom".
I personally like the wide opening into the room. You could put a big chest there for toy storage. A desk area, whatever. Something besides a skinny hall.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Ppbenn- I’ve considered a closable door from the front to hide the room, I’ve been back and forth on that idea.

annkh- What’s considered deep cabinets? I see rtwilliams mentioned 30”. I’ve been so busy with the floor plan and selling our current home that I haven’t even thought about the details yet. I have an Ikea kitchen now and everything is the soft-close sliding drawers and I’d like to do that again.

Gaucho et al - interesting point about the hall to the playroom being too open. We actually wanted it open to the kitchen so my wife can see the kids while she’s cooking. But it seems a lot of people think it’s too open?

Rtwilliams- thanks for the sketches! I’m thinking about them now…

About the Mud Room, I’m considering moving the washer/dryer upstairs so the mud room will be very open.

As for the idea of a future bedroom, the home is originally a 4 BR upstairs but we are removing the a doorway to make one BR an open loft. Plus, we’ll have a 800 sq ft basement that can add another BR if necessary.

Thanks again everyone.

This post was edited by ahkim on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 0:48

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:46AM
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With more information on your house and family. you might want to make the flex space an extension of the kitchen without a wall by moving the pantry to the stair wall and making it longer instead of wide you open that up to extend the kitchen a bit more.

At a later date when your children are older the flex space could be a dinette area and the other dining room more for big family meals.

The nice thing about new construction is that you can make the space suit your family. I found a few spaces on Houzz that may inspire you. is a great tool for inspiration!

Farmhouse Kids by Austin Architects & Designers Tim Cuppett Architects

Transitional Kitchen by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Cheryl Scrymgeour Designs

Traditional Kitchen by Naperville Architects & Designers Cory Smith Architecture

Traditional Kitchen by Raleigh Interior Designers & Decorators Driggs Designs

Transitional Kitchen by Calgary Home Builders Rockwood Custom Homes

Contemporary Kitchen by Hopkins Architects & Designers Kuhl Design Build LLC

Contemporary Kitchen by Hopkins Architects & Designers Kuhl Design Build LLC

This post was edited by rtwilliams on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 11:17

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 11:14AM
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I understand the motivation for the big opening to the playroom given it's initial intended use - that makes sense. But I'm struggling to make sense of the long term use for that space and I think you should figure that out before you build walls and install cabinets and counters because I can pretty much guarantee that those walls, cabinets, and counters will outlast the usefullness of that space as a kids play space.

If, for example, you will want to use that space as a bedroom or office in the future, then I think you'd want a smaller opening.

That being said, I agree with ppbenn that the large walkway does create a good space for something like a bench with shoes underneath, chest for storage, utility desk, or even a credenza or hutch for dish storage or whatever.

Anyhow, I'm just suggesting that you think it through, not that the current plan is inherently flawed.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:28PM
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A similar kitchen layout is being discussed on this thread. Thought you might want to look at it.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:28PM
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I think GG makes a good point that the use of the room will change over time, however, it would be super-easy to frame in and build a regular door entry in the future should you want to do that.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:35PM
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I like the flex space as on the original layout. It would be easy to extend walls, add doors, or add a closet in the future. The space could change functions, playroom, then office, then teenage hang out area, extra bedroom, etc.

The only negative to having a space like that is it would be best to always have a designated function for the room. Meaning what is it today? If its a playroom then set it up as a playroom. Now an office? Then set it up as an office. My thinking is that any space that does not have a designated function will collect junk and clutter and then won't be used at all.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 1:12PM
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Adding - making this a "bedroom" wouldn't work unless future buyers are not paying attention, because it appears there is no full bathroom on this floor.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Is there an opening from your garage into your foyer? I can't tell from the blueprint. If not, you might want to consider one. Looks like it is a long walk from the mud room to the kitchen with groceries.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Sure you could put a door in at some time in the future, but then you'd have a 28-36" doorway in a 6' wall, which is an inefficient use of space at best, and likely still fairly awkward looking. So I don't recommend blithely assuming that you can rework the wall later.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Well, actually, it wasn't suggested "blithely" - I think you could close it off with a regular door and build a closet in the new entrance area so you don't have to take away space from the room itself.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 3:17PM
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You've improved the kitchen nicely with your proposed plan. I like the idea of a large pantry very much. My one concern is that the flex space is not visible from the kitchen unless you happen to be on the sitting side of the island. I'm assuming you'll be using the cooking side while the kids are playing, and they won't be able to be seen because of the pantry being in the way. That would be a big oops, imho!

I suggest either moving the pantry to the wall adjacent the stairs as suggested earlier, or...

How about a pair of shallower reach-in pantries with pocket French doors in between? The kids will play better in the playroom if they can actually see mom and dad in the kitchen. There are times it might be nice to see them playing without hearing them so much, especially if technology seeps into their play. You know, they will get older, and this might also be a fantastic space for doing homework right off the kitchen, and be a visible spot for keeping an eye on their internet research and so forth.

Actually, the right hand pantry that I drew could make a great breakfast station for the toaster, coffee maker, cereal storage, sandwich making supplies, lunch boxes, command center, etc if you don't need 2 pantries.

Best wishes! : )

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Wow - so many good comments - it's a tough decision.

Here's what I'm thinking:

1. The current use will be a playroom. Future use will likely be an office for me and/or a study area for the kids. I do not expect this to be anything else.

2. Good point about the not being able to see the kids because the walk-in pantry is in the way. Moving it to the right is an intriguing idea - i'm going to sketch it up in PDF (bluebeam) and see if it fits. I'm thinking it's a tight fit between the pantry and island.

The sketch by laughable is what the builder originally proposed to me, but my wife really wanted the walk-in pantry.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:59PM
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After thinking about all the comments, the problem with the walk-in pantry is that it leaves the flex room in a non-rectangular shape. Also, it blocks the view from the main work area of the kitchen. So, my wife is ok with eliminating the walk-in pantry. To those that have it, how great is it? Is it worth keeping?

I sketched what laughable did and put some dimensions to it. See below. My comments:

**If we add French doors or pockets doors, it would to the foyer, we are ok with leaving it open to the kitchen.

**Kept 42" (3'6") for all walkways.

**10x12 seems to be getting tight for a play room but it's not that bad, right?

***Are we wasting space in the kitchen? The right side pantry seems to take a lot of space.

***Would it be best to have a full height pantry?

Anything else?

This post was edited by ahkim on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 23:32

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:31AM
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Ah..typical planning process, changed our minds one last time, we'd like to keep the walk-in pantry but moved it to the other side to allow better view of the flex room.

I think it's between option 3, 4, or the builder's original plan (labeled New Plan at beginning of post).

This post was edited by ahkim on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 17:33

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:28PM
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10 x 12 seems like a great sized playroom or office. The other plans make the flex room look like glorified hallways. sorry. : (

Your island will function best if it runs parallel to the stove. Are you making provision for a prep sink? That would improve the function of the kitchen, too.

What if you built in a combo pantry toy storage (etc, and so forth) along the left wall of the playroom that would only be 18-24" deep. It could even include a built in bench (or that could go under the window.)

Too tired to dig up lots of ideas, but here are a few:

Traditional Kitchen by Rockville Kitchen & Bath Designers JACK ROSEN CUSTOM KITCHENS

Tropical Kitchen by Kailua Interior Designers & Decorators Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs

This would give you tons of usable storage space without sacrificing much square footage.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:10PM
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I agree - island is best when parallel to stove.

I also see your point about the flex room feeling like a hallway in plan 3 & 4. The plan you sketched (Plan L) is starting to look good again. Maybe a walk-in pantry just doesn't fit our space well...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:36PM
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It can be disappointing to give up something that seems so appealing, but I think it would be more disappointing to not have the flex space work the way you would like it to.

If you do decide to go with "Plan L", I recommend talking to the builder about framing the opening between the kitchen and flex room to a standard dimension. (I just checked with DH, who is a remodeler, and he says to build the opening 2" wider than the doors you would plan to use. So, if you wanted to use a pair of 30" doors, you'd need a 62" opening.) This way, if you decide at some point in the future that you'd like to put doors in, it will be a relatively simple project to pop some doors into the opening.

It's always good to have an "away" room available to those who need some quiet space, or for those that would like to make some noise without bothering others. (See Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House books for a thorough explanation of "away rooms".)

You have a nice floorplan and I wish you the best as you move forward in the project. It's going to be a great family home. : )

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:04AM
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I think laughable has some good points.
But I love the layout in 2014-3. I like the idea of the island seating towards the sink window. The changes I would make to 2014-3 would be to add some length to the island towards the dining room I think 72 X 42 for the counter top of the island. The base cabinets under it will be a slightly smaller footprint. The island seating should be no problem because it is on the non-appliance side and the stools will be in when no one is using it. A 24 inch deep cabinet with a 16 - 18 inch overhang for stools is pretty standard. making it 42 inches deep on the counter-top.

What dimensions do you have on the pantry in 2014-3?

Be sure to build the refrigerator and side cabinet out to 30 inches. Plan a spot for your microwave.

Looking good. I also wanted a walk in pantry when we remodeled and LOVE it! I think you can have the walk in pantry and your island. You are getting there for sure.

I think your flex space would look amazing with french doors at the entry way opening. When this turns into a office space or entertainment space.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:20AM
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So the 99% final plan is below. One thing I'll change is to make the island a few inches wider. Maybe 3'.

I would've like to have made the walk in pantry work, but the builder felt that traffic flow would've been tight.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 5:01PM
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It looks great! I think you will be very happy you explored your options and made a educated decision! Building a new home is stressful and you can put this behind you and move on to your next of many decisions.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:15AM
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Hello everyone - just wanted to share an update. Here is the drawing from the cabinet builder. I'm might make a couple small edits, but this is pretty much ready to go!

***There are a total of 20 pull out shelves behind the pantry doors and base cabinets.

***The island contains a custom large pullout trash and the other side has a standard 2-trash pull out for our dog food.

***Cabinets are white, floor is a dark brown. Granite is undecided. Either silver/grey or wine river granite ($1000 upcharge). What do you think?

This post was edited by ahkim on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 5:25

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:15AM
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I think I would move the DW to the right of the sink. I assume glasses will be beside fridge, and dishes will be on the range wall. I think the DW should be as close to these things as possible. You can jog your sink a little left to accommodate.
Or, put the DW in the island.

This post was edited by canuckplayer on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 12:24

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Is it just me, or is the kitchen flipped from your last layout?

Canuck, I don't think the DW can go on the other side of the sink - that's prep space, and trying to open the DW there would be a pain. And when it's open, you wouldn't be able to get to the corner cabinets anyway.

On the island might work, opening toward the sink, if there's room.

Ahkim, I am not a fan of diagonal upper corner cabs. Do you plan to put a lazy susan in there? If not, it's very difficult to access - and your tiny cabinet next to it will be pretty much useless. I replaced my diagonal corners with easy-reach, and I love them!

I'm also not crazy about staggered cabinet heights. In your space, it looks really choppy. Do the taller ones go to the ceiling? I'd run everything the same as the taller ones (or to the ceiling).

I have a little base cab like yours next to the sink - I use it for cookie sheets and cutting boards. Will you use it for the same, or are you planning to put tray storage above the fridge?

With all your delightful pantry space, do you really need the lazy susan in the corner? In my kitchen, I closed off the corner completely, and put nice drawers on both sides. Your 21" drawer stack could become at least 30", and you could have a 21" stack next to the sink. (you'll need some spacer in the corner so the drawers can open without hitting the pulls on the adjacent drawer).

Speaking of drawers - I notice you have three base cabinets without drawers - next to the range, to the left of the sink, and on the island. Do you have specific plans for those spaces, where you feel shelves will be more useful than drawers?

How close are you to pulling the trigger? You must be so excited!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:05PM
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Ann - yes the kitchen is flipped - due to exterior reasons. Thanks for the comments - we made some minor edits and are now final. They measured the space a day ago and the final plan is below. Home should be ready in 2-3 months.

By the way, I'm posting a separate question about the granite selection since it's not really a layout issue.

Thank you again everyone. I'll post some photos when complete.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:35AM
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