Layout Help (again) - new dimensions/pics

dominosJanuary 25, 2012

I've posted before here (links below) but I'm starting a fresh thread to basically ask - should I enlarge the kitchen or leave it alone? Thank you SO much to those who have provided me with ideas before and sorry for the repetition!

We want to remodel the kitchen and make it more functional and social than it is now. We have 3 kids so the dream kitchen includes an island or peninsula for homework/snacks/baking projects, lots of storage, micro shelf or drawer and a 30 or 36 inch range. We have a CD fridge we're keeping. There are often a few of us in the kitchen for breakfast/lunch but one main cook. And the kitchen is at the front of the house so there are visibility/aesthetic issues to consider.

Here is the current floorplan:

And pics...

Current kitchen:

Stove wall (door to hallway):

Current side door:

View from dining room looking towards kitchen (front door is at far right of photo):

View from front door (kitchen is behind wall with mirror):

View from kitchen towards dining room:

I have spent hours on options in the current footprint (not moving walls/windows/doors) and got great feedback! I took everyone's ideas (remodelfla, rosie, lavendar, lisa A's "K" plan and others) and narrowed it down to this (blank floorplan is at top, possible layout at bottom):

It includes the dreaded corner sink since I can't figure out how to center the range between windows with room for sink and d/w on that run. This plan is fine but it doesn't really make my heart sing, isn't a major change and is still pretty low on storage.

SO - now I want to consider moving walls, doors and windows and bumping out to take part of the porch on the front of the house. We originally were only going to spend that kind of money if we could squeeze in a half bath but now I want to know if bumping out would make the difference between a great kitchen and overall home floorplan and an OK kitchen. So I am asking for more feedback. Is the porch the promised land for my dream kitchen/dining/living? How would you redo this whole area if it were yours? (Entry can be reworked but door cannnot move towards living room) Or is it little gain for lots o dollas and I should stick to my footprint?

Please help an overanalyzer on the path towards a decision...

Here is a link that might be useful: my last thread on this layout...

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Domino- Your kitchen is cute! The only problem I see is that the range is at the end of the cabinets, but yours is so cool (and you have those burner covers) that I don't think that is even a big issue.

What I would do...would be to open up the wall, between the kitchen and dining room with a pass though. Maybe add some cabinets in the kitchen, to go under the window and replace the Ikea island...then have the pass through open above where the island is now...and keep a post/narrow wall, between the doorway and the cut out.

If there's no room for stools, it would still be a good idea. Your kitchen is so pretty, what you're going to see through the pass through are those wonderful glass door uppers, with your dishes in them. Being able to talk to people in the dining room will make the kitchen feel much bigger...and less isolated. But, there would still be enough division, to keep the areas feeling separate, so you avoid a too open concept (or what you've called the boxcar look).

If I'd known your kitchen was already this nice, I would never have encouraged you to remodel it. Adding the pass through will make such a difference and if you want to jazz things up a bit, paint the back of your glass uppers the soft yellow, a light blue or some other color, to highlight your dishes. Save your money, unless you have to do the second upstairs bathroom...and maybe move downstairs (or move a few of the kids down) if things get too cramped, in the future.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Lavender - Thanks! Actually this whole process started (over a year ago) with exactly the idea you are proposing. I wasn't going to remodel the whole thing, just make a half wall between kitchen and dining and build cabs beneath (that's another story)

And I agree - the kitchen does not "look" bad (a facelift of white tile and new linoleum a decade ago has held up well and it has sweet classic/vintage elements that I like a lot). BUT it's not functional. The counters are all 18-21 inches deep (useless) except for the 24 inches by the range. The cab doors/drawers are falling apart (some are off in the pics) .The vintage range is cute but the oven is tiny - has terribly erratic temps (I burn everything), and is a gas guzzler. The second oven is broken and it's a hazard where it is. I hate cooking on it in that spot since it's the main (27 inch) traffic path in and out of the kitchen. The traipsing in and out of that pinch point by everyone at every meal is really a problem (and every guest stands right there by the corner of the range too). There is little storage, and my micro and toaster oven take up all the counters. So, while it looks cute and vintage the reality is not so great. My realtor also came over to look at it and confirmed that if we were to sell in the next few years the counters, etc would need to be upgraded in this market.

So - you think a pass through at bar height (regardless of how much I do to the kitch) like a cutout window? Or open all the way except for the top and one post? Or open all the way (no soffit-ish thing or post)....?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Yeah, I am thinking no tile countertops.

I'd open it up. Don't do a cutout window. Either make it a pony wall/bar, or open it entirely up. Let's see what some better than me kitchen layout people come up with.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Here's an idea. Take down the wall and close up the kitchen access to the hall. With the wall gone and the table scooted over with a banquette, you can access the hall pretty easily from the other opening. No other structural changes. Your back door stays and your windows stay. Use the wall next to the back door for a pegboard organizer and use the peninsula next to the 42" high pony wall (to keep stuff from falling on diners) as a mobile butcher block topped cart that can roll to the location you need it the most during prep.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Would it be possible to sacrifice that small bedroom? Half could be a PR accessed from the hall, the other half a pantry accessed from the kitchen. Personally, I am in love with huge pantries. Go ahead and move the side door to a more central location and put the pantry door in line with the cabinet fronts or perhaps slightly recessed.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:22AM
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I liked Lisa's 'K', 'L', or 'M' better than what you have right now. I particularly liked the idea of the clean up sink being opposite the range, and a small prep sink on the same side of the range so that you won't be dragging dripping produce or boiling past water across an aisle, but have more room on either side of the range. Why does your current plan not incorporate these ideas?

Unfortunately, I think you have to give up the idea of a peninsula that you can sit at in your space. The dining area is your only dining area in the house, and it needs to have the space around it to sit comfortably and expand for possible guests. Trust me when I say that when the rooms are opened up that table will get used for homework, projects, board games, etc. I know because my kids use our table for all these purposes even though we have an island. The table is actually more comfortable to sit at, and when the rooms are opened up so that everyone feels together, you won't miss having the peninsula or island seating. Counter seating has become a part of the "dream" kitchen and the magazines and home shows like to make us think that we all need them, but they originated for spaces that don't have room for a kitchen table. Now people want both, but there are many times that it just can't happen. If I had to choose between counter seating or table seating I would choose table every time.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Thanks for the ideas!

kirkhall - Yes - that tile is no fun. I'm leaning towards the pony wall...

Green Designs - clever idea on the pegboard. I'm not sure that's my style but I will noodle on it. Did you leave the sidedoor where it is to help me with cost? I thought moving it towards the windows would help with my flow and storage/counter on that wall but maybe not? I like the shallow dish storage idea if I move the table over.

Christina504 - Nope - can't take the bedroom. 2 of my kids actually share that one. Although a pantry sounds dreamy. What about the porch space??

controlfreakecs - Yes - this plan is actually pretty much Lisa's "K" plan but with the door moved over and the fridge run scooted down. I couldn't figure out how to copy that plan here. I cannot do her L and M plans since I can't go a 3 feet out to the side along that whole kitchen wall (setbacks) . And my preference is for the sink not be in the path from table to fridge (lots of dinner cleanup traffic there) or facing a wall if a window is available.. Lisa is amazing and I am indebted to her for all the time she has spent trying to help me! Oh - and I have definitely given up on peninsula seating in the current space - I get that. I was just wondering if the porch space could help me achieve that.

So - no one thinks the porch is the answer huh? Like Lisa's "J" plan on the last thread? Would it be worth the bumpout cost?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Domino- Of course incorporating the porch is the answer...but is that going to be too expensive? If not, it would give you so much more room! It would also allow you to change those windows, so it's easier to fit in your appliances. You would also be able to have an island or peninsula, for seating.

Honestly, if the kitchen needs a remodel, then that's what I would focus on. The bedroom/bathroom situation 'sounds' like it could be resolved by moving the older kids downstairs, in a few years. Do you have egress windows? Do you need them? That would be the only thing I'd be concerned about right now. Then DH can move his office upstairs and the kids can be downstairs...which they'll love :)

So, incorporate the porch into the kitchen addition. Now, you just have to decide how to work in the dining room. I like the idea of an island, separating the dining room, from the kitchen. That way, your dining room is still a dining room (not a kitchen table) and you still have easy access to the living room. As Lisa pointed out, the dining room table will be easier to expand for holidays, if the dining room/living room are one big space. Does that help? Don't'll get there...and maybe Summerfield will give you some ideas, too!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Hi Domino,

This version, set up in the IKEA planner, is in your space as it is, with the wall down.

If you want a different door style, you can always use a 3rd party, like Scherr's.

I really like your glass cabinets, and wanted to keep them convenient to your sink - any size you choose - which is in a 49" blind corner.

The cooktop is induction. IKEA's can't go above an oven, so I split them up. The microwave could be a GE Spacemaker or Sharp over-counter.

That diagonal pantry, on view from the LR and DR, is 3 upper corner cabinets stacked. I contemplated a counter there, but thought the inevitable clutter would not make a good first impression.

The taller cabinets hide the cooktop from view, but the schmoozer gets a seat at the counter, lowered in front of the window.

Counter above stool.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA planner file

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 4:34PM
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I like that the range is moved out of a dangerous location. With the cramped passageway in its present location, it sort of blocks everyone from entering the kitchen to get a glass of water or to get the dishes to set the table. Having it in the "C" part of the kitchen lets soeone access the fridge without cramping the cook, and it also serves to keep the cooking activity from view in the living and dining areas. But, someone can sit there and chat with the cook.

I saw that IKEA has a lazy susan corner base cabinet, which could be in the spot where 2 and 3 are, and the blind corner can be made useful that way. I'm thinking about that option for my kitchen redo also.

And I'd be interested in how it works out, Domino, because I am an IKEA fan, thinking about IKEA cabs to save my budget.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:14AM
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Domino- If you incorporated the porch, into your kitchen, it would give you a much better space. You could reuse your windows (if you want to) but that extra 3'-4' give you a much better layout. You could do a plan, similar to tbb123's, but you would have the room to put your range between the windows and your main sink, overlooking the dining room. If the stools will fit, you'd have the option of a raised counter or one level space. The sink is much safer than the range, near the stools.

You would also have room to move the side door over a few feet and give yourself that entire back wall, for the fridge, microwave, and pantry. It would make a wonderful snack area. If you need a prep sink, you could have it under the glass uppers (on the same wall as the side door) or over by the fridge. Either way, you'd have a lot more room and a much better traffic flow, through your space.

Now, would you like me to help you spend any more of your money? :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Yes, I tried to give you something with as few structural changes as possible. Even simple changes cost a great deal if you cannot DIY them. Just something as simple as changing the location of the back door is likely to cost 3-4K by the time the siding and insulation is all redone correctly by paid labor. Utilizing a porch is even more expensive. You can utilize the space but the structure won't meet interior modern building codes without a lot of work. You will have to repour the foundation, redo much of the framing, do siding, electrical, and roofing. About 20K worth. You might as well plan a full scale addition because that is exactly what you are doing.

In a small house like yours, your small kitchen suits it's character. Major changes that only enlarge the kitchen will leave it feeling "lopsided". As the home seems to have "growing pains" issues with your family using it other than just the kitchen, perhaps it might be best to take a look at what 40-120K put together with your home's market price could buy you in your market. (Average new kitchen price or new kitchen addition price.) Also look at the other intangibles such as age of house versus the age of any new contender---and it's infrastructure. You could come out ahead in comfort and livability by moving rather than remodeling an already pretty charming kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Green- Good points, except there's also all the closing costs and fees, associated with selling this house and buying a new one. A smaller addition might not be a bad thing, especially if Domino's current kitchen is in such disrepair that she's going to have to do all new cabinets/remodel, anyway.

Domino- While it will be more expensive, your kitchen would be much more usable (and sellable) with the porch added into the space. It's up to you, whether that would be worth the cost and mess, versus just making do with the space you have. And, the appliances and overall layout would function so much better, with that additional space!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Doing something like pushing out into the porch is tempting, but unless you rework the dining area too - doesn't really get you much because there will still come a place where the room is only 10 feet wide. This is looking wildly expensive, but I always get conservative about moving walls that are the exterior of the house or knocking down walls when I don't know their support roles. The second drawing is a doodle over your's showing the effect of adding the porch onto the kitchen without doing other changes.

The first plan does move or close doors and windows. I'm just showing you, not expecting you'd think its great... but hoping you'd reconsider the existing foot print.

You could have a very nice kitchen without the odd paths by doing some exterior changes and closing up the extra doorway to the bedrooms. The bigger doorway isn't even 5 feet away. The kitchen can be much more open to the dining area but doesn't have any form of seating - it uses the dining table.

This is because (I'll bet you know why, but I'm just making sure), you need to have a certain depth of counter to support seating - an extra 12-15" of knee room (meaning open area underneath the counter. When you have back to back seating as you'd have between the counter and the dining room, you need a minimum of about 4 feet from the counter edge to the dining table edge with more like 5 feet desirable if you'd like to use both types of seating at the same time.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I really like the bathroom-in-place-of-hall, which allows you to create a master suite, and can see why you'd explore annexing the porch to find room for it. I'm having trouble reading your dimensions for the dining and porch spaces. I'd like to have a go at your layout.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Domino, I keep getting grabbed by the potential asset that that pretty kitchen doorway to the outside offers. I really don't like all that fridge/storage stuff pushing out into the kitchen and into view, shoving a much nicer feature willy-nilly back in the corner, so I'd want to fix those problems.

If it were mine, I'd look at moving that outside door toward the front a little over a foot. That'd allow me to install a wall of storage approximately 12" deep on that back wall. That's what I have in my own kitchen now and, with or without closing off the bedroom door, that'd be some really good storage.

I'd then line up the doorway from the living area with the French door to create a clean uninterrupted view down the house and through the kitchen to the outside. That sort of thing is a big reason people think our home is so large when it's not.

The rest of the kitchen layout would be a shallow U. If the bedroom on the other side of the storage wall to the left allowed, I'd recess the fridge evenly into that wall. If not, I'd splurge for a cabinetry front to disguise it and place it on the back wall by the French door. In fact, with the view from the entry a factor, I'd probably want to disguise it anyway, taking money from the counter or other appliance budget if necessary. I'm usually big on letting appliances look like their wonderful selves, but not when
they're always going to affect the ambiance of the other living areas.

To open the kitchen and living areas to each other, I'd do a simple half-height wall in front of the counter to hide the mess on it as one looked that way, with maybe a display shelf topping it, to create a nice clean-lined openness.

This falls short of your specific requirements (seems like I remember an island for kids :), but generally speaking it'd work very well and look very good.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:02PM
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Wonderful, helpful comments. Here is my long response! I fear my sunny day photos made my kitchen look it's best when in fact it is mostly dark (NW exposure- most of my neighbor's have a skylight here and I would love to splurge on this when we remodel). It's also always cluttered due to my limited counters/storage. I keep half my pantry in the garage as well as all my china and serving pieces and a second fridge. The "pretty" side door some of you mentioned or expanded actually opens onto our garbage cans, the neighbor's wall and steep steps (to the left) down to the patio behind the house so I probably shouldn't have called it a side "yard". There is really no yard there that would deserve true french doors or a view.

I think I have been convinced that if I do a kitchen only remodel I should keep to the current footprint (with the exception of shifting the sidedoor over or closing the door to the hall- I see that these could be net positives). I really was only interested in the porch addition if it got me a real "family kitchen" with secondary seating. Believe me, we already use the table all day long, but since it is used for every purpose (meals, snacks, homework, projects, multiple laptops, coloring, etc) I was fantasizing about the island/peninsula as a second surface. Within the current footprint I am on board with a C shaped layout, a half wall divider, side door shift and possibly closing the door to the hall (if it gets me better storage).

Lavender - Moving the kids downstairs gets complicated because there's only one bedroom down there (the office). And it's not big enough to fit bunks. No matter how creative I get there's going to be kids in our bath unless we add a bath upstairs. (BTW it's very light down there. We're on a hill and the back of the house gets the sun.)

tbb123 - Wow. thank you so much for mocking up the ikea plan. Every time I try their software it crashes on me but it is SO helpful to see it in 3D. It helped me feel good about the half wall, although I think I agree with moccasin that I wouldn't want the hood over it to block the view. I've thought about putting the sink there (as Lavender suggests) but run into dish storage issues once you have stove and dishwasher in place, and the back wall/corners of the kitchen becomes very underutilized. I really like the diagonal pantry cabs idea next to the fridge. The "schmoozer" spot is very clever! I fear my kids would fight over that :)and not sure how I feel about it's aesthetic fit in the (pretty traditional) living/dining room. I will try to post more complete measurements for you this evening after kids are in bed. Also check out my link below - those plans might help fill in the gaps. I am very grateful for your suggestions!

GreenDesigns - Points well taken. We have looked at the financials and believe it or not we are still better served putting 100-150K into remodeling then moving given the (high) home prices in our area/property taxes, etc. The porch "addition" (as well as a very small side bumpout)was originally explored so we could both update the kitchen and squeeze another bath upstairs. We put a lot of time into those plans but have some concerns about them. I would love your opinion on them...the thread with those plans is linked below. I've been working parallel paths on this project since no matter what the kitchen is getting remodeled!

bmorepanic - Thank you so much for the plans. The first would be awesome IF the side of the house was bigger/prettier (see my comments above). The second is puzzling to me - are you saying there is not enough room for an island there but too much empty space in the middle for it to make sense to bump out?

Rosie - I actually have a few inspiration pics with a 12 inch wall of storage for that exact wall! Want to share yours? :> I had been ruling out putting the fridge on the short back wall thinking "bad focal point" but I didn't think about a cabinet front. And I wasn't planning on replacing the fridge but maybe I should reconsider if it makes the layout work best. I would also have to find one with a water/ice dispenser since my kids are addicted to that feature on the current one.

You guys rock. So appreciate all the feedback.

Here is a link that might be useful: My thread with the bigger house remodel options (bath addition)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Porches are weird. They might or might not be framed with the house. When you take out a big bunch of exterior wall (14-24 feet), all kinds of things need to happen. It can be really expensive for wiring and plumbing if the porch is concrete or stone. In our case, the city made us dig a foundation for a small porch because they said the existing stone pier wasn't enough.

The costs of just bumping under an existing roof can be really high for what you get out of it. Which is some extra counter and no stools.

Your second bigger house remodel, depending on where you live, is north of $75k (possibly way north) and you still don't have enough room for stools where you've placed them. Because you need room to open cabinet doors and get stuff out while people are seated, it takes an aisle of about 4.5-5 feet to have stools in a walkway with cabinets behind them.

So yeah, I'd stay in the existing footprint of the house. And I'd likely still do the galley version and glass doors with privacy glass - just for the light.

Have you considered a skylight?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:37PM
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