last minute help on kitchen layout

Skyangel23January 21, 2014

We are building a modest home in Florida. We will have 10 ft ceilings and 42" cabinets, but laminate countertops, laminate or vinyl plank flooring, ect. We just finished blocking the exterior, so no interior walls have been built yet. The plumbing is in on the slab foundation, however, so I don�t think the sink can be moved, although other appliances/cabinets can. I regret not finding this site earlier, but it is what it is, I guess.

I have concerns about our kitchen. The size is 16.6 by 12.6 but some of that is cut off with the angled peninsula. The breakfast nook is 16 by 13. I have always had an island in previous kitchens, and this one seems too small for one. I am worried the long, angled peninsula will block in the kitchen with only one exit point to the main living areas. The counter will be single height, so I assume the large area next to the sink will be the main prep area. I am not sure about aesthetics or functionality of the long, angled peninsula. Because the breakfast nook also acts as a walkway from living room to family room, and because it is all at an angle, it appears the angled peninsula may be a necessity.

I do like that the sink faces the breakfast nook and the windows to the outside. We are on two wooded acres, so the views and natural lighting will be great. I also like that while at the peninsula, I will be able to see what�s going on in the family room and even a bit of the living room.
We are a family of four, with two kids, three and eight. My husband works with me in the kitchen. We are not gourmet cooks, and try to keep prep and cooking to under 30 minutes most nights. The kids will hang out with us at the peninsula/island and/or kitchen table on a regular basis.

The kitchen table in the breakfast nook will be the primary eating space. One thing I am concerned about is that we are planning to have large potluck, bring-your-own dish get-togethers. Food is usually snack type stuff, chips, breads, salads, ect., where guests may prep a bit but wouldn�t be baking dishes or anything. I am concerned about the opening becoming a bottle neck area. The rest of the house is great for this, with multiple hang-out areas, including the lanai and outdoor fire pit.

What I would like to know is if there are any minor efficiency improvements we could make, and if there is a way to transform the peninsula into an island, or somehow alter the peninsula�s shape so there is more room/wider opening into kitchen without drastically changing other elements. OR, if the peninsula will work best with this kitchen, then I can hopefully just relax and put my mind at rest.

I created a Flickr account to show several more pictures. I hope it works okay. There are several pictures of the model home that has the same floor plan as ours, only ours is a bit larger. We will have taller cabinets, no overhangs or soffits, and a flush countertop. And I switched the fridge and range; it is correct in the drawn images.

Thank you so much for your help, and let me know if I need to provide additional information.

Here is a link that might be useful: my flickr photostream

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You might want to consider making the lower cabinets left of the cooktop drawers.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Can you put in outside venting for your range and move the mw somewhere else?

Personally I would change most if not all bases to drawers.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:29AM
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I tried to see on the floor plan in your Flickr account, but I can't zoom enough. But from what I can see, IF the width of the entry going around the peninsula is wide enough, there is no question, I'd "square off" the peninsula -- you would end up with much more functional space in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:34AM
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could you shift the sink to the right? Counter between sink and range is primary prep and it looks a little small.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I will see if I can get a zoomed in picture of the kitchen floorplan uploaded. If not, I can do it the old fashioned way with pen and graph paper.

I believe the width of the breakfast nook is about 8 to 10 feet where the peninsula starts on the left against the wall, eventually hitting 13 feet wide. This space must encompass walk through to family room and the kitchen table.

I am planning on backless benches or slim chairs to slide underneath the peninsula when no one is seated there. It doesn't seem like there is much room to move the peninsula out and square it off, although I would like too.

I will try to do as many drawers as I can, but at $400 per drawer stack, I'm not sure how many I can do. Would you say next to the cook top is the most important place for drawers if we can only do one?

I think range hoods look beautiful, but I am not sure about the extra cost as budget is an issue. Plus, is my kitchen too small for one?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:30PM
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If you extend the left of the peninsula to line with about 1/3 rd of the sliding doors, can you have something like this?

Also 2 more things I noticed, will you be able to use the fridge so close to the wall, or would the wall be short enough so door, drawers can open freely? You seem to have long way to reach the DR from the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:04AM
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accidental double post

This post was edited by Skyangel23 on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 9:24

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Is that $400 more than the cost of a cabinet with a door and shelf? Or just $400. The difference may not be as much as you think. Also, check into roll outs. Sometimes roll outs are as much as drawers but maybe not. Roll outs can be installed later.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Thank you, Sena01, for that excellent rendering. I will have to graph this and figure out how much square footage would be available for walk-ways and such, as well as the interior of the kitchen.

The pantry is counter-depth, so the fridge doors should open fine. The builder originally had it against another wall where a perpendicular wall would have prevented the door opening fully; we moved it next to the pantry.

Also, you are correct that the dining room is quite a ways from the kitchen. Fortunately we are casual diners, and it would only be used maybe once a month, and even then informally during large get-togethers. Which is why for us it is very important that the peninsula or island doesn't extend too far into the walkway/eating space, because we will use that every day.

As far as base drawers, it is $400 additional each for the big pots and pans drawer. I may only be able to do one drawer stack now, so it's good to know I can add pull-outs later, although aesthetically the drawers look very nice.

I've tried to crop a close up of the kitchen showing dimensions.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:14PM
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grr. another accidental double post.

This post was edited by Skyangel23 on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Thanks for the help so far. Is there any feasible way to change the peninsula to an island, so that there are two walkways in and out of the kitchen from that end? And is this even something I should try to do?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Might you consider bagging the nook table and conslidating dining to a single dining space, presumably the dining room? That would give you tons of space for many different super kitchen designs.

Even with the nook table though, I think you have room for an island. But then are you gonna put seating at the island, within 10' of two other seating areas? Folks post stuff like that all the time, but I think it's silly.

This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 12:46

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Hi Gaucho,
Unfortunately the dining room is below the kitchen through a hallway, not connected at all, and not practical for daily meals. The peninsula/island would have small stools for seating for the kids to be near us coloring/doing homework/snacks while we clean or prepare meals, and occasionally as extra seating for large groups. The nook table is where I planned to have most meals at--great natural lighting, pretty views of the woods, and next to the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I'm no expert, but I think, if you leave the left wall empty you may have an island.

Since there'd be multiple cooks, I'd keep the aisles in front of the range and fridge counters 48". If you can shorten the left wall you may have a longer island depending what you'll have on the LR and nook side. If the wall stays I guess an aisle of 36" can work there.

If you have just 2 seats on the island I believe your storage would not be a lot less than the peninsula alternative.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:27PM
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I think you'd like an island, like Sena has drawn. Your angled peninsula had a lot of wasted space in the angled corners, so while you'd lose some upper cabs, the flow improves enough to make it a strong contender. The pantry will make up for a lot of the lost space.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:02PM
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Thank you so much, Sena, for that rendering. I got some graph paper and tried to recreate it, but keeping the left wall cabinets and moving the island up a few feet. I made the island 8 ft by 3 ft but I could do 7 ft. by 3 ft to give more than 3 ft of space between left wall and bottom edge of island. Should it be 8 ft. by 4 ft?

I've included measurements for the space between range wall and the island, and measurements for the new nook space. Is there still enough space for a table and walk through there? I am open to a bench/banquet set-up for the table against one of the windows. Since the sink plumbing is in already, I think the sink would need to stay about where it is, maybe it could be moved around about a foot or so.

Does the left run of cabinets look okay shortened? It would only be 3-4 feet of cabinet.
Thank you so much for your help!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:05PM
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I like that. Then maybe a 42" round table in the nook?

One thing to consider is where glasswear and plates will be stored. Unloading the dishwasher can be kind of a chore if it's a long hike to stowe the plates, bowls, &/or glasses.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:17AM
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If you'll have 10' for the nook, then either a round table as GG suggested or a 36" deep rectangle table can work. With no seating on the island side, table can be 36" from the wall, and you can have 2 chairs there. 2 can sit at the ends of the long side, and there'd be 48" b/w edges of the table and the island.

In the kitchen, I think glass/plate storage can be next to the fridge. However, if you need to carry big pots of boiling water to the sink to dump, there'd be a long way to travel.

Are you concerned about less storage or less counter in the island design? If it's less storage maybe you can consider a tall cab at the left end of the range wall for the base and wall cabs you'd loose. Maybe the price difference can be negligible.

Did you try an island facing the pantry wall? But that could mean moving the range to the right wall and maybe not a very good idea, since I assume traffic from the bedrooms to the FR room would pass in front of the range.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:12AM
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I definitely want the range outside of the walk ways. It would be a ways to walk between sink and range (7 to 8 feet, app.), but I think that would be worth it for the extra entry into the kitchen and the more open feel. I also like the sink facing forward, so that I can look outside and watch the kids at the table or in the family room.

Is a 7 x 3.5 island enough for prep space if the main sink is there as well?

I am somewhat concerned about lost storage. If we take cabinets off the left hand wall, there would be about five feet of empty wall space. Would open shelves look good there? Maybe store nice dishes and/or snacks in pretty glass jars? Maybe with a slim accent table below it? My favorite kitchen style is modern country.

Thank you soooo much for your help so far! I truly hope our builder doesn't have a conniption because I really want to do this!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:08AM
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What if you made the island 7'x4' and had drawers on both sides? That would give you an additional 7' of base cabs for storage.

Regarding the traverse from the cooktop to the sink, it's definitely not too long, and crossing the walkway is acceptable in this case because it's not the primary traffic path.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:00PM
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I'm not liking how far the sink is from the stove area with the island. Where would you be doing all the prepping? Generally you want easy access to both the stove and a sink to do that or you will be carrying stuff pretty far. Heavy pot of pasta you need to drain, or cutting board with chopped stuff on it etc. Just too much walking back and forth imo.

Unless you could get a prep-sink in closer to the stove with enough room to prep then it would work.

I prefer the original layout even though there are a few triangles of wasted space. Would maybe consider sliding the sink and dw further down for more uninterrupted counter space, but the drawback is no easy access to put away dishes.

The peninsula version is my second choice, but it has similar issue with putting away dishes,

Only way I can see to solve the dishes issues is to have a drawer stack which holds plates and glasses in addition to silver ware for easy unloading.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:02PM
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Hi Lyfia,

Unfortunately the sink plumbing is already in, and would actually be the same distance from the stove whether peninsula or island, approx. 7 to 8 ft. across, but not through a main walkway. I think that is something we just have to live with.

A drawer stack next to DW is a great idea for everyday dishes and silverware. Thanks. :-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:33PM
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For carrying a pot of hot water then the no cross traffic is a plus.

For prepping though the island requires you to prep next to the sink or drip water along the way to carry it over next to the stove. Having a counter space in between sink and stove would be better and it looks like you have a better prep space in the original plan with a continuous counter there.

alternatively could you move the stove closer to the sink on the short wall if using the island configuration? Just a few steps instead of a hike.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:39PM
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As lyfia suggested you can move the range to the 7' wall. If the range is 30' you can have a 15-18" cab at the end of that run which I think would be safe enough. I would then consider moving the fridge to the bottom wall also and play with the island to see if you can have it parallel to the new range wall.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:02PM
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So I just talked with the builder: because slab has been poured, to get electric to an island will require jack-hammering into the slab. I asked how much it will cost, he's getting back to me but from researching online it looks like an additional $500 to $1000.

Do you think the island is that much of an improvement on the original angled peninsula design?

I do love the extra entrance into the kitchen, though, and I don't like the lefthand squished countertop area with the original design: On the seven foot wall it leaves only 4 ft of cab/counter before angling, and seems like it would feel cramped. Maybe not though. It also seems like a really long way to walk to get from living room into the kitchen. Opinions?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Ouch. Builder just said $2000 just to get electric to an island. Feeling really bummed right now. And mad at myself for not thinking of Sena's plan myself much, much earlier in the process ... It was a nice plan, Sena!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Wow that is a lot - we paid $250 to add a floor outlet into our great room to be pulled from our peninsula. The distance was around 7 feet. They were able to do a groove and not go all the way through the slab.

I'm not sold on the island plan unless you moved the stove, but can see liking the extra entrance and I'm betting that would be a well used entrance into the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:45PM
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I hope a pro will chime in.

There must be electric somewhere near where you plan the island because of DW placement in the original angled peninsula. So this additional $ 2.000.- doesn't make sense in my very amateurish opinion.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Should I ask about the $2000 charge in a new post?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:18PM
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Is it because it would have to be routed through an existing slab? I'm not qualified to estimate the cost for that, but it does sound kinda hard.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:31PM
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Yes, slab has been poured and the exterior walls blocked. They would have to jackhammer through the slab to lay the electric conduit. I don't think I should challenge them on the cost, even if it could be done cheaper. It's no good completing the build with negative feelings on both sides.

I just don't have the talent to see a space and imagine how it could be. We could only afford a few house plans, and this was the best one that had other elements we really wanted. When I found Garden Web I decided to post, since the kitchen layout concerned me but I didn't know how it could be improved. Of course, I found this site too late, for the island anyway.

Some minor changes can still be made with the peninsula, keeping in mind sink placement needs to stay nearly the same. Maybe it is not that bad as is? I have a hard time imagining myself utilizing a space that is still a drawing on paper.

I do want to say thank you GG and Lena for all your help. I am still open to suggestions as we haven't framed or chosen cabinets yet.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:27PM
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