advise with kitchen layout

Karen.1288January 26, 2013

I am about to meet with our kitchen designer for our last meeting soon and wanted to go prepared with all the advise that I could get form all of you. I have been learning a lot from reading others posts but am now ready to get some specifics from you guys. We are building, not sure if that matters here but the fridge is fixed where this design shows because it is recessed back into that wall. And I believe that the cooktop and sink would be very difficult to change at this point but please let me know if you think that some other configuration would greatly improve things.

I am already going to ask to switch out all of the base cabinets for drawers. The dishwasher is in the left cabinet next to the sink (left facing the sink). The garbage is further left to that on the interior side of the island. To the right of the sink is a column of drawers for silverware.

The mini-fridge has been moved to the middle of the row of lower cabinets without upper cabinets which is captured within a set of drawers on each side. Another column of drawers will be where the mini-fridge is depicted in this picture. Also we have decided to go with a microwave drawer in the base cabinet below where it is depicted here.

I hope that explains it well.

All advice is appreciated


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Are your double ovens low because of the 4 by 4 little cabs above them? I'd forgo the four little cubby hole cabs and raise the height of the dbl ovens. I'd omit the upper cabs running down to counter. Make the island bigger if you can. Widen the doorway by fridge if you can,as much as you can...even a few inches. It's a pinchpoint there. It'll be grand....I like the diag lay of the range-I suppose you've got some trimming out detail to go over around the hearth/mantle...I don't see a niche or small shelves or ledge-stuff that's usually a part of that, esp. with your size alloted there....don't you want that? Enjoy your new home.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:09PM
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This is a one person kitchen. And that one person still does a lot of walking around to prepare a meal, without having any real prep space to work in.

As is, the hood doesn't come forward enough for proper ventilation. You need to lose the two smaller cabients on the flanking walls next to it and bring it forward, plus put a filler in between it and the cabinets adjacent or you'll have clearance issues. A 36" cooktop in the corner uses a LOT of space that could be better utilized by having a corner storage cabinet. And yet, for all of the space it occupies, only one person can cook at a time. You can't have two people standing there ever.

I'd personally put the wall oven next to the fridge (which will have clearance problems unless it's a built in) and then do the cooktop on that wall. Do the MW as a base cabinet in the island. I don't know your dimensions, but I'd also try for the cleanup sink on the other leg, and have just a prep sink on the island. For such a large kitchen, there really is almost no actual prep space. I'd even go down to a range rather than a wall oven and cooktop if that meant I could separate cleanup and prep because it would mean that you could actually have multiple helpers in the kitchen rather than just one too crowded kitchen drudge that will be the occupant of the current layout.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:21PM
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I don't know how you are going to open your refrigerator door the whole way. This happened to a good friend of mine on her new build, and it drives her nuts. All it takes is a small pull-out pantry between the fridge and the wall to make it all work fine.

It seems to me that your primary prep space will end up being next to the range, probably on the left. Your back will be to visitors most of the time you are working and you will do a lot of dripping between the sink and that area.

My parents kitchen layout is fairly similar, with a corner cook-top. I have to be honest that I don't really enjoy working in their kitchen. And I've been doing it a lot lately, as my mother's caregiver.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:28PM
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Thanks for the good thoughts and recommendations. I am truly grateful for all of your comments.

The fridge door opening is something I will definitely address with our kd. moving the mw to the island is also a great idea.

I'm not too worried about it functioning as a "one person kitchen". perhaps I'm not experienced enough to sacrifice the look that I'm going for here for that (I really like the symmetry of this design and don't need the "usually non-valuable corner space" with the size of this. 95% of the time it will only be one person working in it. I also hate cleaning sinks so I only want one (with a disposal). All of these things have led to this design. Is my thinking inaccurate in that I could prep the the left of the cooktop and clean up on the island?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:18PM
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I would prefer to not have to go around a corner between the sink & fridge--probably banging into it with my hip half the time. If you put the sink on the end of the island between the stove and fridge, you'll get a more comfortable walking path/work triangle.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Yes, we tried that at first but I like to have counter space next to the sink to work with. I also thought to put it on the same wall as the fridge but that would also leave me with little counter space.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:55PM
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I agree with others about a corner cooktop taking up a lot of space, etc. They can also be difficult to install properly. Ask if there is an additional installation fee for the corner cooktop + hood...the hood is probably the most difficult aspect of a corner cooktop. (It it were a range, then both range & hood would be an issue.)

Your island is a "barrier" island - that means it's in the path b/w the sink and the refrigerator.

At the very least I would do three things:

(1) Move the DW to the right of the sink to get it out of the path b/w the sink and the cooktop - it will only take a couple of shin bruises as you go to/from the sink and cooktop for you to rue the day you put it on the left!

(2) Move the trash pullout to the left of the sink so it's usable from the Cooking Zone as well. Far more trash & recyclables are generated when prepping and cooking than cleaning up - so place it where it's most useful.

(3) If the refrigerator is not built-in, then either widen the doorway next to the refrigerator so the refrigerator doors stick out into the doorway OR put a 12" pantry or utility pullout b/w the doorway and the refrigerator. The doors of non-built-in refrigerators need to stick out past all the surrounding walls, cabinets, and counters to allow the doors to open fully. You need approx 12". [Since you say you cannot move the refrigerator, then widen the doorway.]

What is the purpose of the mini-fridge? Does it really belong in the kitchen? If it's for drinks or wine, I'd leave it where it is - out of the path of someone trying to work in the kitchen so someone getting a drink won't be in your way.

Prep Zone...Prepping in this kitchen will be problematical. The ideal Prep Zone:
Has a water source,
Has at least 36" of counterspace (42" is even better) b/w the sink and cooktop/range, and
Is near the cooktop/range (next to or, if it's not the cleanup sink, directly across from it)

You do not have that anywhere. Most of your counter space is where it will not be particularly useful b/c there's no water - behind the island to the left & right of the cooktop.

Note: You should also have 18" to 24" on the non-prep side of the cooktop for emergency landing space (or landing space in general)

You would be better off:
Moving the cleanup sink to the refrigerator perimeter wall with the DW on the right and the trash on the left
Moving the cooktop to the left and out of the corner
Then, get rid of the to-the-counter cabinets on both sides to gain needed counterspace.

This would give you a water source + counterspace + cooktop with the workflow Refrigerator --> Sink --> prep counter space --> cooktop.

It would also give you a nice expanse of uninterrupted counterspace in the island. While there's enough room for a prep sink in the island, I really don't there's enough enough room for a sink that functions as both a cleanup and prep sink - unless you add another couple of feet to the length of the island.

Island Seating...How much space is b/w the island and that row of cabinets + counter behind it? You need at least 48" if you don't plan to use that counter much, if you do plan to use it, aim for 60".

How deep is the overhang for the seats? You need at least 15" of clear leg/knee space. This means 15" after you account for the decorative door panels on the back and side of the cabinets in the island. Is that island at least 48" deep? That's what you need to have two seats on the side - 24" per seat and no shared leg space with the seat around the corner.

Do you have children or plan to have children while still in the house? Then plan for a multi-cook kitchen if you plan to have them help cleanup, prep, or cook. (If you have adult children, will they be bringing their families over and will they be "helping" in the kitchen?)

It sounds like looks are more important to you than function - is that the case? It's your kitchen, so if you're a "form over function" person, than we need to know. However, be aware that the vast majority of us are "function over form", so we will be commenting from that perspective. Do you work in the kitchen much? Some people do not...we've even had a couple of people admit that they never cook and that their kitchen is just a "show" kitchen - so don't feel bad if you fall into the rarely cook category! We're all different and we all have different likes/dislikes & priorities.

However, I will say is far, far easier to make a functional kitchen look nice than it is to make a nice looking but dysfunctional kitchen more functional.

Whatever you decide - good luck!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:56AM
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Thanks buehl, that was very helpful. I do see what you mean by the island being obstructive. It is 4ft by 9ft and the 4 ft side is not wide enough to have the sink there on the end. We met with the kd this morning and finalized everything. We moved the dw to the right of the sink so it would not be in the way of the working triangle and the garbage to the left of the sink. there was not enough room on the other side of the island for the mw. You learn so much from building and I'm sure I'll learn from this how to do it better next time. Thanks for all of the help! Now I'm off to pick tile!!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:29PM
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