Layout Critique, please!

mkc913January 7, 2014

Hi - please let me know your thoughts on the layout below. We are a family of 5 with 3 small children. We entertain a lot and the kitchen is the gathering space of the house. We are not fancy cooks and tend to go for form over function. The kitchen is small in scale compared to the rest of the house (1930s) so we're trying to open up the space and maximize the flow. This layout is a complete reworking of the existing space, but keeping the windows where they are (brick exterior).

Thanks for any thoughts!

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Wondering how convenient it will be to unload the dishwasher - where will glasses, plates, and silverwear be stored?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:14PM
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I know you prefer form over function, but I do think you want some function too. The ones glaring to me are below - in addition to the above post.

You will need to open up the whole wall there to the dining room past the island if you want to be able to have anybody walking behind those stools when somebody is sitting there without touching or squeezing by unless everybody that visits are skinny.

Your refrigerator door will likely hit the wall every time one of the kids open it.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Thanks - these are helpful points. I hadn't thought about unloading the dishwasher or exactly what is going in each cabinet. The upper cabinets above the dishwasher and to the left of the sink will hold some of it, with the silverware maybe in the drawer below, but some stuff will also be in the upper cabinets on either side of the range. This is a lot more cabinet space than we have now so I haven't really mapped out what will go where.

I agree on the wall opening. I need to measure but I think we can open it all the way up.

And yes the fridge item is one I've thought of. The cabinet designer thinks we can put a little bit of filler on the left of the fridge to help with this but you're probably right.

Other ideas on how to address any of the above?

This post was edited by mkc913 on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 16:55

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:50PM
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Change most of your bases to drawers. You really should make a list of all your stuff. Then map it out where it will go.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Any other baths on the floor? With .Powder Room at one end and the Play Room at the other, I think you'd need a much wider aisle in front of the range. I hope you have room on DR side to have the seats partly there . Also instead of having all 5 seats in a row you can consider using 2 or 3 sides of the island.

Fridge and sink are .too far from each other, so I think you should consider another sink on the island.

If you can change the windows plumbing etc. maybe swapping the fridge with sink/DW will be better. Fridge would be closer DR, Mud room and MW if you do that.Oops forgot about your brick walls, but maybe consider having MW near the fridge then (in the island perhaps)

I'm not sure how wide the filler next to the fridge has to be, but I can tell 4' is not enough.

This post was edited by sena01 on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 17:33

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 5:26PM
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It's unfortunate that unloading the dishwasher interferes with the sink and that you'lll have to travel so far to put stuff away. Fridges in the corner are also sub-optimal as noted above. Fortunately that wall is enormous, so you have plenty of room to shift stuff around a little.

To mitigate the DW issue I'd consider moving the sink ~24" left and add 24" of base and wall cabinetry to the right of the DW. Then you could store your most frequently used flatwear, plates, and bowls in drawers in the base cabs and glasswear in the wall cabs.

To mitigate the fridge issue I'd consider including an 12-24" tall cabinet to the left of the fridge.

All that being said, I just noticed the aisle widths, which seem too small to me. Have you read through the 31 kitchen design rules?

Here is a link that might be useful: 31 kitchen design rules

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Can you post a whole floorplan of the first floor?

It all seems really spread out but yet congested, somehow. And think about the 5 chairs lined up in a row... not really conducive to conversation between people seated. More like a diner counter.

Can the fridge go down where the tall pantry is by the mudroom door? Maybe the doorway has to be moved towards the sink wall a bit for it to fit.

The 36" aisle b/w the island and the range wall is pretty tight for the amount of traffic that is going to be going through there, IMO.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I will check out the design rules. I know the aisles are a little tight but it's a long/narrow room so not a lot of options. We could maybe steal a few feet from the dining room which is oversized. Unfortunately I don't have a full floor plan. There is not another bathroom downstairs though there is one at the top of the back stairs off the kitchen.

The opening between the kitchen and laundry/playroom can't be moved much as that is the original brick exterior of the house pre-addition.

There is a prep sink on the island in the corner closest to the fridge.

The main sink is centered under a window. Not sure how moving it to the left would look. There is no space to the left of the fridge currently. It's a staircase that leads outside. It's a side by side fridge with the narrower freezer door on the left, if that makes a difference.

Good point on the 5 chairs in a row. Maybe stealing dining room space gives me flexibility to make the island a little more square and shift a couple seats to the side. Hmmm.

Keep it coming.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:21PM
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> To mitigate the fridge issue I'd consider including an 12-24" tall cabinet to the left of the fridge.

Of course you'd have to move the fridge to the right to accomodate adding a tall cabinet to it's left. so your counter would get a little shorter, but I think that's OK cuz the counter is enormous.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:26PM
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That's a window to the right of the fridge.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:39PM
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Could you steal more from the DR for the fridge. I don't know how to post pictures from Houzz but here are the links.



    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:45PM
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I see. Some really difficult constraints in play here. I agree with deedles that it seems really cramped and that a floorplan including the surrounding rooms might yield better ideas. I recommend graph paper.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:51PM
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When on houzz, on a photo, right click. Click on embed. Click on large image (which highlights it) then right click, choose copy. Then paste it in your post.

Contemporary Kitchen by Essex Junction Photographers Susan Teare, Professional Photographer

Contemporary Hall by Essex Junction Photographers Susan Teare, Professional Photographer

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 19:13

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 7:09PM
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@debrak2008, thanks ))

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 7:18PM
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I wondered how to do that - thanks!!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Yes, OP.. you can draw up an easy floorplan with the basic measurements on graph paper and then scan it in or heck, even take a picture of the graph paper. It really helps people to see the kitchen in relation to the whole. Mark the unmovables in a separate color so you don't have to answer "we can't move the window" 18 times. There is an answer to your layout that you will know is best, rest assured.
My biggest problem seeing my best layout was me having pre-conceived ideas of what I wanted/didn't want that stopped me from seeing what the space required me to do to make it work (which was leaving the layout mostly alone with a few changes). I'm not saying you are having the same issue, but I've noted it here a few times so I always encourage people to just really keep an open mind to possibilities as they are offered. You never know which one is the 'AHA' suggestion!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Ok -- sorry for the delay, but I'm back with my long narrow kitchen with a bunch of windows and doors... Here is the floor plan of the rooms on the first floor surrounding the kitchen. I've marked the windows, stairs and brick wall that can't be moved in red. Re. the brick wall between the kitchen and laundry room, it can be widened a bit but not completely taken away. The architect came up with another option which I didn't love for a variety of reasons. Will post that next for your thoughts...

This post was edited by mkc913 on Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 14:33

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 2:20PM
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Here is the latest idea from the architect. He was initially attempting to widen my 36" aisle in the original drawing and address some other ideas. Not loving the "island" against a wall (though I can't really picture it so maybe I'm not being open minded enough). It's also only adding an inch to the aisle which feels pointless. Feels less open then the original design with 2 aisles. I was hoping for seating for at least 5 at the island but maybe that's not feasible.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 2:30PM
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What is between the stairs that lead outside and the island in your last drawing? It looks different from your initial post. Is this a possible new wall with something built in? Is it intended to be part of the kitchen?

Also, is your plan to keep the existing dining room functioning as a dining room? Do you use that room for any of your family meals or just for holidays / entertaining?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:04PM
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The part that juts out is the existing wall that's going away. That will hopefully be a little coffee/wine area that will be at least partially recessed into the wall and the closet on the other side will go away. It was originally drawn as a tall pantry but I'm trying to see if we have the depth to do the wine/coffee area instead and still have decent clearance from the stairs into the kitchen. I'd like to keep the dining room as is if possible. We do use it for some family meals and it has a bunch of lovely built ins and french doors that are balanced, so messing with the size of the room would upset that too much I fear.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:17PM
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As someone with a much smaller and narrower galley kitchen (still pre-reno), I can only tell you how awful it is to have a mere 36" aisle in a kitchen that also acts as a passageway between rooms. I totally understand the allure of an island or other kind of in-kitchen eating space, but the options you've posted are sacrificing safety and comfort for that eating space. I'm sure the layout gurus here can suggest ways to incorporate a few stools or bench seating or something else like that in the space you have available, but definitely don't compromise on a decent aisle. In my kitchen's current condition, I have to warn my kids anytime I want to take anything out of the oven, and no one can pass if someone is staring at the inside of the fridge. I'm going to spend a lot of money to fix that; don't spend a lot of money on a renovation to wind up with those problems!!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I don't care for the island (peninsula actually) in your architects latest drawing for a couple reasons.

For one, all of the space for seating means very little space for storage underneath, and it looks like you could use the storage space. Do you need so many seats at the island?

Also, I think it will be underutilized. The side opposite the range will get used when cooking, and folks will probably sit on the right side from time to time, but I'd be surprised if the rest of it got used with any regularity, which is unfortunate given the amount of space & money that it will require.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:45PM
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Thanks for confirming what I was thinking about the peninsula. Does anyone have other layout suggestions, either improvements to the version w/ 2 aisles, or new ideas?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:15AM
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I know you said you don't want to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room, but here goes anyway.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Another one with something resembling an island and DR room wall removed.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:04PM
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