It's finally happening! Layout review, please...

spartans99January 14, 2014


I have posted on this forum requesting some layout feedback in the past year; unfortunately, we were not able to move forward with our project because of some other priorities including a master bath renovation. Due to the delays, we have had a significant amount of time to think about what we wanted / needed in a kitchen remodel. We had previously considered and had drawings / layout options which included taking down a wall between the kitchen and dining room. After many conversations with our contractor, considerations of our budget and determining our true needs within the house, we are leaving the wall in place and have a modest amount of space to work with.

I am posting a proposal of our layout of the approximate 21'8" x 11'2" space. It is a long, narrow space and we currently struggle with the u shape / peninsula layout. The main reason why I do not want to continue with the u shape layout is that I end up with people in my work space while I am cooking (especially when we entertain). With an L-shape + island as proposed here, I envision that the majority of traffic through the kitchen between the Living Room/Dining room (to the left) and Family room (to the right) will pass behind the island and stay out of the main triangle. We do NOT need seating at the island (which we don't really have space for anyway) as we plan to keep a smaller table with four chairs in the existing eat in space. I realize that 37" and 38" aisles are not ideal; however, after reading so many postings on this forum, looking at pictures of kitchens with aisles of similar widths and actually walking around kitchen displays with these types of aisles, my husband and I are both comfortable with the amount of room we have around the island.

All of this said, I am very interested in the optimal arrangement of cabinetry and appliances to make this space function the most efficiently.

A few notes that may or may not come through on the layout:
- We prefer to have a 30" gas range with a separate under counter micro/oven combo (or possibly a 30" double oven range w separate microwave).
- I am looking at a single bowl composite sink and may not need a full 33" sink base (considering the 25" sink).

I am sure I am missing some information that may be relevant, so please let me know if you have any questions. I have submitted this plan to my contractor and I am also awaiting bids on the cabinetry from a local custom cabinetry shop, home depot (kraftmaid), and a local lumberyard that sells Medallion. They are all aware that this layout may change, but we are finally ready to start this process and we wanted to get the ball rolling so we can take advantage of discounts offered in January.

I greatly appreciate any feedback you are willing to offer! Thank you!

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Oh! I almost forgot to include the layout of our entire first floor as it exists today so you can get an idea of how the kitchen relates to the other rooms.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Have you considered consolidating to a single dining table and replacing the eat-in table with an island or peninsula?

This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 14:38

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Yes, we have considered it and we are not opposed to an island or other counter height seating instead of a dining chair. However, we do want to make sure there is space for breakfast and quick serve meals for our family of 4; although we could have most other meals in our dining room.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Kathy Rivera

First let me say I'm not a stickler for giant aisles. I was working on some layouts for my own space (also 11' wide) with 36" aisles. I ended up not going with them for other reasons. I also have a narrow spot in my new kitchen - 33" between fridge door and end of peninsula counter. Two people can slide past one another fine, and if the fridge is open, you just have to wait a second for the person to be done.

HOWEVER! I think an entire main walkway from one side of the house to the other at 38" is just too narrow. I even think the narrow aisle on the sink side is fine b/c it's just the cook in there pivoting from one counter to the other. But if you really want to corral people out of your space, it's going to be a big bottleneck of people on the other side of the island. And b/c of that, if you are entertaining and people are feeling squished, they are going to make their way to the other side and squish the cook in that already narrow aisle. If you turn that island and make it into a peninsula, people will stay over there, seated b/c it's more comfy than standing! :)

PLUS, I have a door way like yours on the bottom part of the plan that walks into the room. I did consider an island which would have been the same distance from the door to the island as you are showing. I kept thinking it was ok b/c it's 'just the edge of the island' encroaching into that space. I taped it out on the floor and thought it was fine. Then I moved a table over to simulate an island - BAM, it was like walking into a wall. It just cut everything off visually and gave me a little panic like, "Which way do I go?!?"

The bottom line - 11 feet is just not enough for an island. :( I tried. I tried and tried and tried. You just really need 12 feet to make it work well.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:12PM
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KathyNY76, I greatly appreciate you sharing your situation which sounds very similar! One thing I wanted to share is that our current layout has a u-shape containing the sink, dw, and cooktop; then we have a wall of cabinets across from the "u" and it contains the pantry, refrigerator and double ovens. In this setup, the refrigerator and ovens are only accessible by crossing the main aisle connecting the two sides of the house. Therefore, my work triangle is ALWAYS interrupted when I am cooking - whether it is on a normal day with just our family or when we entertain. Additionally, the aisle space between the ends of the "u" and the other side of cabinetry is only 35". I guess I thought this new layout with 37/38" aisles would certainly beat what we have today. That said, I guess either way it won't be perfect and in both scenarios there will be sacrifices.

Regarding the island and door placement, that was also something my husband was concerned about and I think we could mock it up to see how much of an issue it may be for us. Our contractor has told my husband that we could move that doorway further down towards the family room with little cost and that would help with this situation; but then we have to rethink the shallow cabinetry near the eat in space.

Would you mind please sending me a link to your finished kitchen so I can see how you laid out your plan? I would love to learn from what your did. Thank you again for your time and feedback!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 4:37PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

My kitchen is ap 13.5' wide and I barely managed a 3' wide island, with 36" and 37" aisles. Your DW will be a barrier, but that would not be a big deal to me. Mine opens into the length of the aisle, which is more convenient, but there aren't that many times a day that the door needs to be completely open.

More of a concern is that your grid seems to be off on the bottom side. If each square is 6", your aisle is 33" at best--not 38", as noted. Please check your measurements before investing any more time (and emotional attachment) in this plan.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Did you see homebuyer's reveal? I believe s/he has similar aisles (but not a major walkway I think). As homebuyer indicates DW door may give you trouble in the tight aisle.

When you alone or with company eat in the DR I would expect traffic to pass in front of your range as helpers set or clean the table. If you can live with a sink not centered in front of the window I would consider something like this. I guess oven doors in a tight aisle could be better since they stay open for a shorter time than a DW door. Maybe the MW/oven can face the exterior wall, and you can then consider a 24' island rather than a 30' one.

This post was edited by sena01 on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 17:28

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Thanks for the feedback mama_goose. You are correct that my grid isn't 100% aligned to the 6" square. I should have noted this in the original posting and provided the following detail. We have a confirmed measurement (per the contractor) of 134" between the sink wall and the empty wall. The measurements should be as follows:

26" sink run (24" base cabinets + 2" overhang)
37" aisle
33" island (30" total cabinet depth + 1.5" overhang on each side)
38" aisle
Total = 134"

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:32PM
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sena01, Thanks for the feedback and mockup! I don't mind the sink off center so that is definitely a possibility. With the refrigerator and range swapped, my only concern is how that looks when we are sitting in the family room as it is completely open to the kitchen. I am going to have to think through that more carefully as the benefits could outweigh the visual.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:44PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

IIRC, code is minimum aisle 36", so you be will OK then--your aisles are actually an inch wider than mine, and my kitchen functions very well. That said, I'd like a couple of extra inches of aisle space, especially when the kitchen is full of relatives (potential helpers/hinderers) on family dinner Sundays.

The saving grace of a 36" aisle on the non-cooking side of my kitchen is that across from the island is a base cabinet, with the uppers set back 13" from the counter edge. Plenty of room for one person, and if, when I pass someone else in that aisle, my hip grazes the perimeter counter top, there is ample shoulder room--a solid wall will not have the shoulder space available.

That aisle in my kitchen is a major walkway between the DR and playroom, with a doorway from the LR thrown in for good measure. There's a bench on that side of the island, which is where my daughters and grandson have quick snacks. At ap.162" wide, the kitchen works well for us--you will ultimately know what will work for your family.

My sink/DW is very similar to the plan sena01 posted, and BTW, my fridge is partially visible from the front door and LR. In a small house, you give a little, take a little. ;)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:14PM
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Thanks mama_goose. Good to know of other similar aisle widths that work well. I can see how your perimeter aisle with the major walkway would be nicer than a flat wall and provide extra shoulder room. Something I need to probably consider a bit more. But as you said, give a little, take a little.

With regard to the cabinet layout, I would greatly appreciate some feedback on the placement of the trash pullout (18") in relationship to the sink, dw, range and refrigerator. Right now, it is on the perimeter of the L, but wondering if I should consider placing it in the island?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:43PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

You don't show a sink in the island, so I think you will be prepping in the corner between sink and range? I'd switch the sink and the trash pull-out, putting the trash in the prep area. That would make an efficient set-up--food goes from the fridge--->to the sink--->to prep--->to the stove.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 9:10PM
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Switching the sink and trash pullout would actually give me more prep space between the range and sink. I was thinking I would also do a lot of prep on the island. As it is today, I do a lot of prep in a small space or deal with doing it on the peninsula and carrying it across an aisle that is too wide to get it to the cooktop.

What about trash in the island? Would that help provide enough access for prep, plus I wonder about clean up / kids and DH clearing the table - head to trash first before handing off dishes for clean up in sink / DW?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:25PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Although I compost most of our plant matter scraps, it's nice to open the trash pull-out and sweep the small bits and crumbs off the counter, directly into the can.

DH and kids won't be cleaning up until well after prep is finished, so no conflict of interest there, and trash will be next to the sink.

I suppose if trash is in the island, but just a quick pivot from prep area, it would work. Without a water source, I don't see much prep taking place on the island. In my kitchen (marble top), it's mostly used for rolling out dough, and as landing space for baked goods. You'll find that prime prep space is naturally between sink and range--that's the space that I claim for myself. Helpers are relegated to island or perimeter.

If you really want to prep on the island, consider sena01's layout suggestion. It would be easier to prep on an island that is parallel to the range, and clean-up crew would encounter trash pull-out before sink. If your kids are old enough (or, soon will be) to help prep, consider a small prep sink in the island--that way you will have two prep spaces.

Of the two layouts, I prefer yours, because the range is protected from traffic. But, I prefer it only if your primary prep in is the corner.

Sena01's layout has the advantage of being more open--less light is blocked when the fridge is relocated to the left wall, but as you mentioned, your clean-up area will be more visible from the family room.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:57AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Let me throw out another idea (full moon/sleepless night). Have you considered locating the DW/sink on the left wall, and the range and fridge on the long wall? Venting a hood would be easier on an exterior wall, and instead of one window, a smaller window could be placed on each side of the range; added advantage--your prep space would have a view.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Kathy Rivera

Here is the plan for my space. Our FR is on the right like yours, but it is not completely open. There is a large doorway, but there is also 5.5' of wall that had to stay as it had the whole plumbing stack for the house. So we took out the DR wall instead. However, you might be able to do a layout like this just opposite - have your peninsula on the R side and keep the DR wall as is.

That said, I am very intrigued by mama_goose's idea and think you should try to play around with that a bit...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Thanks everyone! I am working on an alternate layout given the feedback. While I do that, can you provide any thoughts to these two areas:

1) in the island is it more efficient to have staggered depth cabinets in order to provide different types of storage and access on both sides? I current have a 9" deep cabinet on the outside of the island behind a 21" deep cabinet. Obviously depending on where the micro/oven combo gets placed, this could change. Would 24" and 6" depth combo of cabinets back to back be better?

2) on the right side of the picture, does it bother anyone that the table/chairs, pantry/hutch and sliding patio doors are not all centered? We have this as an existing issue today and it hasn't bothered me at all; however, every time I look at the picture it throws me off. Maybe that's something I am overthinking.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:33PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

1) Really depends on the items you plan to store there--if you will use it for baking, make room for cooky sheets, rolling pins, mixer, etc. If you fix a lot of big family breakfasts, store the griddle, toaster, juicer, etc., and make sure there are sufficient outlets. Or store cereal boxes and bowls for quick breakfasts that the kids can get for themselves.

2) Totally a non-issue for me.

Here's another full moon idea: Since the bottom wall backs onto the stairs, have you considered shallow (wall-depth) pantries for canned goods, or recessed shelves for display/storage of plates and platters? You can reclaim a lot of storage for little investment and effort, by using the space between the studs. I have one such pantry, lined with beadboard sheets and with adjustable shelves.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:06PM
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mama_goose - good points on #1. Need to give my overall storage plan / layout more consideration.

2) have you been talking with my DH?!? He had that idea a few weeks ago about shallow pantries recessed into the space between the studs as well. I am interested in exploring this a bit further and have found some pictures here on GW and on Houzz which seem very functional and visually appealing. Would you think 6" depth (3" recess / 3" floor space), with a reduced island size of 30" total (vs. 33" now) would be appropriate? This would keep the aisle at 38". Also, I wonder if I can simply order door fronts for these built ins and have the contractor build the rest or if I really need to order full cabinets. ???

I had been pushing this option off for some time as I was hopeful my DH would come around to my design ideaâ¦which was two fold - 1) create an opening into the kitchen from the main stairs in the foyer (at the point the stairs come down to the landing) - allowing us to come downstairs and go directly into the kitchen. and 2) open the walls below the stairs and remove the door to the basement / adding banisters / railing ⦠both of which would open up the floor plan on the first floor. DH completely disagrees and doesn't want to spend money in those areas. Needless to say, I have given up on this and therefore, I am reconsidering the recessed pantry idea. Thanks for the reminder! I am adding that into the revised plan (coming soon).

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Okay! I have two new options for the layout. In both scenarios the island was reduced to 30" total width to account for a 6" deep recessed wall of pantry space.

Here is option 2:

This post was edited by spartans99 on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 14:07

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:57AM
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Option 3:

This post was edited by spartans99 on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 14:12

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:59AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Your new plans are posted upside down. If I knew how to rotate them, I would, because they would be easier to compare to the previous plan.

As for the shallow pantry, are you planning to use overlay, or inset doors? With overlay, you'll have more room in the recess; with inset, the depth is reduced by the thickness of the doors. I'm sure you know this, but we might have some newbies searching for this info. My shallow pantry is 6" deep, with partial overlay doors, because I actually recessed it under the end of the stairs (backed up to a closet), and re-used doors from my old cabinets. We removed part of a wall, built a new header, which increased the wall depth, plus added 3/4" trim. This pic and the following two pics show the pantry in progress. This one shows it finished, with recycled doors.

I'd measure the largest can I planned to store, and go from there. If you want the shelves to be two 15oz cans deep, you'll need 6"; one 30oz can needs 4". Or, if you preserve foods at home, using pt. and qt. jars, take that into consideration.

For a work island without a seating overhang, 30" sounds fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Between studs storage images

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Sorry about the upside down pictures. Seems if you click on it, then it opens in the right orientation. I am going to try to reattach/edit those posts.

Re the shallow pantry, we are using overlay.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 2:05PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thank you!

#2 I like the range in the protected area on the left, with the fridge on the end of the long run. If you eat most of your meals at the small table, and the family hangs out mostly in the family room, then the fridge is convenient for grazers and snackers. I'd relocate the MW to that end of the island, closer to the fridge--that should help keep them out of your work area.

#3 My DW is between my sink and range--I don't mind prepping over the DW (which usually isn't running while I prep), but that's been mentioned as a big inconvenience by some.

If you eat most meals in the DR and use the LR more, then the fridge location is more convenient in this plan. But if you always plate at the stove (we do), then eat in the DR, the stove location on the long wall is less convenient. See how much fun this can really be? ;)

Everything considered, you have a nice-sized kitchen, with room to include all the necessities, but it's not so big that it becomes a hike to prepare a meal. Depending on your family's lifestyle, either plan looks good. But I still like trash in the prep zone. :P

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Kathy Rivera

Couple quick things...
1) Nix the 3" pullouts. You can only use those between two cabinets. The ones that are next to the stove have to be mounted to a piece of plywood. So they actually take up more than 3". And they don't hold all that much. You only use them if you really need to b/c you have an odd layout or something. You don't need them.

2) In the island you are sometimes showing a 21" deep drawers. Don't do that. It makes the drawers significantly smaller and, thus, less useful. Skip the 6" shallow on the back and just make them regular size cabs/drawers.

3) Why are you not going all the way to the door wall in your plans? You are giving up a valuable 9"? For instance, in Option 3, if you took everything to the end and got rid of the 3" fillers, you could have a 15" cab between DW and stove. This happens to be my set up and makes for a perfect place to store the knives and stand in front of while prepping so I'm not always in front of the DW. AND, it makes for a better amount of prep space there.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 3:53PM
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Thank you both for the feedback! I have tried to take into consideration some of your points further and created a new plan (see Option 4 below).

I am starting to feel very comfortable with the range along the exterior wall and fridge along the short end of the L. I have adjusted some of the cabinets in between and removed the 3" pull outs as suggested (thank you! I didn't know they couldn't be installed that way.). I also moved the cabinetry on the long part of the L down against the doorwall. I feel a lot better about this plan than the others; however, I still have these reservations:

1) Now that the cabinets are moved down to the doorwall, will I have an issue with the countertop overhang running into the door trim? If so, I was thinking I could make the corner super susan an asymmetrical 36x33 with the 33" next to the sink base, then just scoot everything down to the left so I have 3" of wall between the end of the cabinets and the door trim. This also gives a perfect symmetry of 6" between the cabinets and window trim on both sides of the window (in the layout below it is 6" and 9" on the left and right of the window respectively). (I realize I may be a little OCD on that last point and it may not even be a big deal!)

2) I have moved the micro/oven combo to the island and changed the cabinetry within the island to standard 24" depth. However, since I only have a 30" space to work with, I am not sure how it will look having a 3" overhang on each side.

3) Should I consider adding another 12" to the right side of the island? I think this might be getting too close for also having a 42" round table with 4 chairs in the eat-in space; but I noted it as a consideration on the drawing.

KathyNY76 - is that the GE Cafe 30" range with warming drawer? If so, I would love to hear how it's working for you. That is one of the models we are considering.

Option 4:

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Kathy Rivera

You can cut into the door molding if needed for the counter - I had to do that in my master bath. It doesn't bother me, but it might bother you. I think scooting down 3" is fine, too. I know designers don't love those assymetrical susans, but as long as the opening is on the bigger side, I don't think it will be a big deal. There's actually a thread about it somewhere...

Here's another thing to think about...I'm not sure about having that wall corner cab on it's own at the end. It *may* need to be attached to a cab on both sides - some of the bigger wall cabs have that caveat. Also, I'm not sure how it would look on it's own. You may think about just bringing the cabs straight along the fridge wall.

Also, think about storage. Where are your plates going to go? Your pots pans? I'm wondering if you might want to put the trash somewhere else and make a large 36-39" drawer in the island with one drawer for plates and one for pots/pans?
You can put the trash between fridge and lazy susan. I know that seems far away on paper, but your sink/range are now set up just like mine and my trash is on my peninsula next to the susan. I pull it open and then prep between sink and stove. I easily can toss stuff into from there and if it's something gross, one step and I'm there. Besides, you may need to account for 3" of cab for fridge surround, so that 21" may need to go down to 18" anyway.

I'm not sure what you mean about 3" of overhang on the counter? You can make the overhang as shallow as you need. In fact, with narrow aisles, it's probably best to go down to .75 or 1". And I wouldn't add on to the island end as that will make it more of a stopping point when you walk in from that doorway below it.

It is the GE Cafe with baking drawer and I love it! The reviews I read online complained a lot about the 'noise'. I have no idea what these people were talking about?!? It does have a fan that kicks on, but it's barely noticeable. My toe kick heater makes more noise. I've used the internal temp prob (awesome "trick") and the baking drawer got lots of use at Tgiving - perfect for stuffing/rolls/keep pies warm.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 6:45PM
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I cannot tell you how helpful this is - thank you!

Re: cutting into the trim, I don't think that's something we want to do. Considering leaving some more space here, and also your comment about moving the trash, I can reconfigure the corner of the L in the following way (see below) which would give us 3" at the end between the cabinet and the doorwall.

Short end of L:
- Refrigerator + 18" trash + 39" blind corner cab (opening on short end of L)

Long end of L"
- 3" filler next to BCC as required
- 6" pullout
- then everything else from sink down to 21" base would move down
- leaves 3" between cabinets and doorwall

Then, in the island, I could leave micro/oven at the end across from range and reconfigure the remaining 42" with 30" and 12" drawer bases? I am still sorting through the storage planâ¦need to really think about that more.

Also, re: the refrigerator, I have already planned for a 39" cabinet space to accommodate the refrigerator including spacing and cabinet surround, so I think we should be good there.

Re: the overhang on the island, what I was mentioning is that I would prefer the island to have a total depth of 30" (I have a smaller peninsula depth right now and it isn't enough). Therefore, if I have a 24" deep cabinet with standard 1.5" overhang (which I think I need - at least on the one side where the micro/oven combo handle will be), then that only brings me to 27". I know 3" isn't significant, but I really want to have that space for baking and projects. That's where the comment came from if I have only a standard 24" depth cabinet then I end up with 3" overhang on each side to get to 30". (sorry if that's confusing!)

And lastly - glad you love your Cafe!!!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:19PM
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I believe CD fridges are deeper than 24" (could be around 27", but I can't remember now, but seen that info in the forum in more than one tread); so I think it would be better to leave out the last 12" cab.

The cab over the fridge looks like 12" deep. I'd make that full depth if you planned it as only 12".

For extra storage you can also consider toe kick drawers.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:29PM
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RE counter depth fridges, the fridge box is 24" deep and the doors and handles are in front of that. So the total depth is 24" plus the depth of the doors and handles.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:33PM
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Thanks sena01! I am not sure why I am drawing the cab over fridge as 12" deep - that's not right. You are correct, it should be full depth and thank you for catching it!

I agree with you and KathyNY76 that the extra 12" on the island isn't really necessary. It's already 72" which is so much more than I have today it will be a dream.

KathyNY76 - you mentioned something about the corner cabinet being on it's own and this is something the cabinet companies have all said would work fine; however, I tend to agree that it might look odd to have a corner cabinet without another cabinet next to it. One of the KD's suggested we simply run the cabinets to the wall as you also said, and we could possibly even leave some portion open for cookbook storage / display. I would rather have storage over display, but the idea of moving my cookbooks back into my kitchen is wonderful (they are currently in the den! LOL).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:38PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Yikes, I thought that was 3" Filler on each side of the range in plans #2&3--time for new reading glasses.

If you're going with the plan to have the fridge on the left, you should consider leaving the MW on that end. Often, things go from the fridge, directly to the MW for reheating. And as I mentioned, that will keep snackers out of your cooking zone.

It looks as if you have 6" between the upper corner cabinet and the window. Would an old-fashioned open shelf work with the style you have planned? I have one, a little wider, beside my sink, for displaying vintage pottery. That would add balance without adding as much visual weight, and if you like that style, you could have one on the other side of the window, too.

Back to option #3 configuration on long wall--if you run the counter to the door/door trim, a bookcase could be built underneath, against the end cabinet, to accommodate cookbooks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea Hackers end unit

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:25PM
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