How would YOU layout this kitchen?

juline17January 4, 2014

Hi there! I'm new here, but I'm already getting so much help from reading old posts -thank you!

I'm currently working on a layout plan of kitchen in the new "forever" acreage home we're building this summer, and could really use some help. We're a family of 4, with two young kids. We both cook, sometimes together (and sometimes with "help"), although usually nothing fancy (we're just too busy). Baking is usually limited to kids' bake-sales and Christmas. We have frequent guests, and like to (informally) entertain. I'm a coffee/cappuccino drinker, but only on the weekends when we're home, and I should also admit that although I try to keep the kitchen clean and uncluttered, I often fail miserably...

Kitchen preferences:

-Walk-in pantry with extra freezer and storage for small appliances would be handy
-DH "requires" the dual sink under the bay window (with herb garden), centered on the outside wall
-Island, with area for kids to eat breakfast/do homework or guests to visit
-Dedicated trash/recycling/compost cabinet/drawer(s)
-Single range, or alternatively a separate (convection) cooktop with wall oven (a second range will be located in guest suite for whenever we need an extra oven)
-Good ventilation (how would that work with a separate unit?)

We started with this house plan:, but have made several modifications, most importantly increasing the width of the kitchen (and master br) to incorporate two br's upstairs. We have also swapped out the laundry room with a larger mudroom; sacrificing my large closet and half-bath in the hallway for a laundry room by the bathroom. We're also considering to add a deck with a door from the kitchen for easy access to the BBQ.

This is the area we have to work with (we have already moved the walls once, and would prefer to leave them as-is due to roof pitch). Feel free to add windows though :) What would you do here?

Kitchen dimensions: left wall is 8'; bottom wall is 18' 8"; and right wall is 9'

Here is a link that might be useful: original house plan

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This is my lastest (best?) attempt:

I don't mind it, however, I'm sure it can be improved upon, and I'm not sure where to best place the dishes/drawers/etc. The "walk-in" pantry was added to decrease the width and make the triangle work, and had the benefit of potentially fitting in a stand-up freezer and appliances we don't use every day. We're also considering adding a small window in there and having an arched opening into the kitchen. I also added a small pantry in the kitchen for the day-to-day stuff.

I would like to have a pretty good idea of what I want before I make the appointment with the KD, I would appreciate any input at all (both kitchen and otherwise)

Thanks a bunch!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Is the walk in pantry the little empty room to the right of the kitchen, or are you wanting it in the kitchen proper?

This layout part isn't my strong suit, but it doesn't seem like you have enough depth for an island with seating.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:00PM
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Yes, the "walk-in" pantry is just the shelves on the wall opposite to the freezer, mainly for storing large food items and small appliances.

I'm honestly not sure how much the island would be used for seating. My kids are not in school yet, and currenly they eat all the meals at the kitchen table. That being said, I was hoping to use the island for food prep, and occationaly for seating, so if there is a way to improve it, I would be all ears:)

I see that I forgot to add the dimension from the dw/sink to the other edge of the island, sorry, it's 21"

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Your list of wants takes more real estate than you have. :-) Something has to give. You need a much larger kitchen or a smaller want list. Start by prioritizing the wants and analyzing the budget for a price increase to add space. Remember that the average kitchen remodel costs approximately 50k and you will be doing all of that plus the infrastructure as well.

BTW the only person who can reach the window in the current configuration would have 4' arms.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:46PM
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LOL live_wire_oak, you have a good point. However, my hubby just stated that he's willing to climb onto the counters if that window needs to be opened... guess he REALLY wants that bay window ;)

But maybe it's not even necessary to open that window if we get a glass door on the one side, and another window on the other (as for cleaning it, it happens so rarely that it's not a real issue...)

As for wants, I thought I kind of fit everything into my plan above (but maybe there isn't enough storage?) The only items from my wish list requiring extra space would be the drawer garbage, extra pantry and freezer. Of those, I think the freezer would go first. The extra pantry could be eliminated if I got enough storage in the kitchen itself.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:05PM
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Herbs grown in the bay window behind the sink? Do you plan to actually eat the herbs?

Just asking, because plants near a sink like that inevitably get little splashes and spots of water and suds and general ickiness from stuff being washed there. Not the sort of thing that's always easy to see or rinse off completely. Nor would one want to add a touch of fresh tarragon splashed with Dawn Grease Cutter from the last time you scrubbed the broiler tray.

I've had a behind- the- sink-bay window, and it becomes a dead zone, not at all the attractive place you'd think it would be. And it is a real PITA to keep those windows clean (from sink splashes), never mind to open them.

Plus horticulturally, if you where there's winter the space can get awfully cold. My sink/ bay window was in VA, and I regularly lost things to cold in that winter.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:28AM
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I agree with LWO, it's like trying to shoehorn a size 10 into a size 5. Also agree with liriodendron, I have a bay window in my current kitchen and the glass is always splattered and it is a stressful place for plants, although mine faces due west which gets just too dang hot in summer. You have a southeast exposure and that would be much nicer for the plants.

In your second view, what is that door swing on the left of the kitchen? I don't see that in the whole floorplan view.

Just wondering if turning the whole thing wouldn't have better flow... ie, where you put the pantry wall... have the stove etc over there and run an island perpendicular to how it is drawn now, but pushed down closer to the left side (the 8' wall).

Is there a basement to this house?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:41AM
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Regarding the bay window, I put one over my kitchen sink and I think it would work for you as well. Mine is a casement and only the side windows open, with a crank. The sill is raised slightly whIch keeps water from running into the sill and splashing up. My sink is bumped out about 2 inches to allow amble room for faucets. The sink is about 34 inches and I think the window is about 50 inches.

I do not have live plants on my window, so I can't comment on how that would function.

For me, my idea to put granite on the sill occurred after my counters and faucets were installed. To get the sill in, I had to have the plumber come and remove the faucet before the granite sill could be installed. Also, since the window was installed based on the assumption that the sill would be tiled, my granite was to thick to fit in the depth that was allowed for under the window. This meant that I had to have the granite shaved down a bit to fit. This was quite expensive / labor intensive and I was only able afford it because it was a small piece and my granite installer wanted to make it work for me. I guess what I am trying to say is that the window needs to be carefully planned so that you have enough space to install faucet and sill.

I plan to tile the small space between the counter and sill. I'm almost ABB.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:00AM
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I had to change to the laptop to be able to do some changes to the plan. (I need a quick and simple Paint like program for my Android tablet and I haven't found it yet.)
The plan as a whole has several issues. The big one that I didn't address is the oddly angled master suite that eats up space and makes the whole section awkward and expensive.

What I did address was the garage placement. If you are on acreage, you will want a side load garage. Front load garages are a necessity in a small urban location, but they are never attractive. There are plenty of locations that only allow side loads because of aesthetic concerns. It's a MUCH better look.

The bay window works MUCH better enlarged to be a real bay, and placed as a feature in the dining area. Growing herbs sounds great in abstract, but the reality is that indoor plants need supplemental light and you're always fighting spider mites and fungus. If you truly want to grow herbs, get a Harbor Freight greenhouse and add in the (ugly) supplemental light that they will need. (Yes, even in a Southern exposure. Without it they will become leggy and diseased.)

The kitchen layout itself is lengthened so as to allow for the requested functions. There still isn't enough room to really allow for seating at the island, but with the peninsula with seating there, it's not needed. The added prep sink on the island will keep prep there so you won't be walking a million steps around a barrier. Placing the range between two windows gives you a focal point from the family room and also gives you several areas to act as prep space. In the original, you had about 18" of room between the sink and range, and that is where all of the actual work in a single sink kitchen takes place. With this layout, you have that area between the sink and range to serve as a prep, and the entire island acts as prep with both the short and long sided being able to access the prep sink for the main prep and another secondary prep spot. Because there is no overhang, the other long side can also serve for another worker. And another worker can man the cleanup sink and load the dirty dishes.

The large walk in pantry with a window for a small desk area can store a massive amount of food and small appliances, while the dish hutch just across the aisle next to the stairs can hold all of your everyday storage and is convenient for someone to unload the DW to, as well as someone to set the table. And I added a functional porch, as the original paltry overhang isn't functional. This will give you protection from the weather for visitors, as well as a nice shady spot protected from the hot Southern summer sun. In the winter, the sun's angle will be low enough that you will still get direct light into the entry and pantry, but since they are low priority rooms for occupancy, it's not a big worry even if you are somewhere that maximizing winter sun is a priority.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:29AM
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Hopefully you're willing to read through all of this, as it would "sacrifice" your island, but provide what you are asking for all the same. Here's what a non-expert would do.

In place of an island, I would place a small rectangle table. This would allow for plenty of seating, viewing into the family room, plenty of room for coffee and studies...hopefully you're still willing to read at this point. I love islands when they work, I can't see how it would work, but perhaps one of the experts can help you. I'm hearing so far, that something is going to have to give.

As far as the kitchen goes, I would make a wide U-shape. Starting on the left (closest to the living room)...

cabinet, range, cabinet turn
cabinets, sink, DW, cabinets, turn

cabinet, frig, wall ovens (table would be your landing spot).

The wall you have now for freezer, pantry & broom closet would now be IN your kitchen. If you care, your sink would then be centered. You'd have a GREAT prepping area between the range and sink, and a nice one between the frig and sink.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Thank you for all your suggestions!!! I'll work them into a new plan soon.

To answer some of the questions/comments first;
-yes, there is a basement.
-The door from the kitchen would go out to a separate deck with a BBQ
-The house will be located on an open prairie in Canada, and the main reason for not placing the garage opening towards the north (currently, we have -50C/-58F with the NW predominant wind chill...). Much safer towards the east :)
-There are generally a week or two in the summer which "requires" A/C, and a nice shaded overhang with access to winter sun will certainly be perfect
-other than the island, what are the main problems with my previous design?

Although moving the walls would be possible, it's something I really would like to avoid for structural reasons.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:07PM
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No half-bath on the first floor?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:15PM
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"what are the main problems with my previous design?"

The range and sink are too close together. You need 12" of emergency landing space for the range and 18" of plonking space minimum on one side of the sink (24" on the other). The door to the exterior dumps traffic right into the too small aisleway between the island and sink---right in the prep zone. The DW isn't next to the cleanup sink. The pantry is too small for the storage you need, and the size freezer that you show. It won't have enough ventilation, nor will you be able to swing the door open fully. (The fridge in the kitchen has the same clearance issue against the wall shown.) Yet the pantry takes up valuable kitchen space that is needed. It's making an already small kitchen way too small. I've already discussed the inability to clean the bay window and difficulty of actually using it for growing plants.

Plus, there is the overall poor traffic flow to the home that has guests traveling past a mouse maze of stairways and through the messy kitchen to get to any place to sit and have a conversation. (WHY are there so many stairs? They waste valuable and expensive space.) There are other issues with this plan that should be addressed before it's finalized. I suggest posting in the Building a Home Forum for additional help with the overall layout.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:56PM
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This post was edited by juline17 on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 22:38

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I like the bay window, but it can be difficult to reach there...what about slightly smaller window, but more of them?

Just a quick idea...freezer and broom closet could maybe go elsewhere, but this would give you pantry, fridge, range, sink, dishwasher and prep sink....with seating :) From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:04PM
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I really appreciate your input. Here is a revised design. The space left of the island is increased to 48" (DH would really like the window-door for easy access to the BBQ). Is that enough for proper work flow? The DW is now beside the sink, which is moved away from the stove to get the required work space.

The centered bay window is scrapped, however, I'm worried that this window configuration would look pretty goofy from the outside.

LVO, there are only two stairs in the house, one to get upstairs (from the living room), and one in the hallway to get to the guest suite. Although I love our guests dearly, they often stay for long periods of time and I also like to have some personal space ;)

Lavender, I like your idea, although the view from the sink will be right at the garage. Perhaps switching the two? I'll look into that

Bpathome, there is no half-bath. We do have 3 full baths, and figured that is more than enough cleaning for me;)

This post was edited by juline17 on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 17:39

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:38PM
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This is another option. The centered window remains (I might be able to get out of the bay window idea...), but the freezer has been removed from the kitchen. Like the previous version, the space to the left of the island is increased to 48"

I think I like the shorter island (should be enough storage along the wall now), and the fact that my broom closet also remains. The open shelves (hidden from outside the kitchen) can store my small appliances.

What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:45PM
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I have some suggestions, but I'm not even sure I understand the plan right or not. For one thing I can't see how you enter the house from the garage and totally puzzled by the 2nd door of the laundry on the right. Anyway, please excuse my amateurish suggestions if they don't make any sense.

The closet across the entry door, can you make that deeper and use one side for coats etc. and the other for (kitchen?) other storage. I guess you'll need some kind of pull outs for that.

The laundry door on the left, can you delete that door and have an entry from the bath b/w the bath door and a resized shower (squarish). Then, you may gain some area on the left for storage. I guess you can get rid of the angled wall, and maybe the freezer and a small reach in pantry can go there.

For the kitchen, I think any island seating should be in the kitchen as hallway seems not wide enough both for traffic and seats. On the DR side of the main sink I'd have some shallow pantry cabs (15" deep?), DW, plate/glass storage and on the other side of the sink I'd have the range and the fridge. I think that way anyone setting/cleaning the table or loading/unloading the DW would not be in the way of prep and cooking.

Depending on the size of the fridge there may be some shallow shelves facing the range. I think you should have at least 42" (from edge to edge of counters) aisles b/w the island and fridge& sink wall. and also 60-65" b/w the island and pantry cabs. So, island can be about 40x72.

There can be trash cabs next to each sink, MW can be on the island facing hall. Also, an appliance garage on the deck side of the counter can house your coffee/cappuccino machine.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Why don't you swap the dining and the kitchen? This way you don't have to build an extra outdoor space for the bbq and you don't have to have to walk through the kitchen to get to the ready of the house.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:54PM
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sena, thank you! I now have another idea kicking around in my head for the kitchen.
The garage entrance to the house is the angled steps opposite to the mud room.
For the laundry room, I considered adding a door to the bathroom (it would also be very convenient when working outside), however, since there's only one bath on the main floor it wouldn't work when we have guests over. I also want a space to hang-dry mostly of my clothes (and an easy access to the clothes line in the back yard)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Thank you for being patient with me. The ideas have now had a couple of days to mature (with a few bottles of wine and some serious negotiation to assist...) The deck idea with access from the kitchen is scrapped, as is the necessity of a bay window.

However, the footprint of the house will have to remain. So, based on that, here is a new idea. Please, let me know what you think:

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:52AM
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This is basically the same layout, but I've ditched the walk-in pantry to make it a bit more symmetrical. However, I'm not sure it's going to matter, since the sink is off-center anyway. I supposed that can be solved with a smaller window though, although I would love as much light as possible. What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:55AM
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I like both. The range wall would probably look better on the 2nd one, but with or w/o the corner pantry I think the star of the kitchen will be the range wall, so I guess no one would notice the off center sink. You can try to center the faucet with the window, I think that is more noticeable than the sink.

I don't know which pantry would be more useful. I never had/needed a walk in, since I live in a mild climate and close to markets. But better to avoid deep shelves. Maybe this can help (some of the links don't work but still a lot of pics).

Make sure that the wall on the side of the fridge would allow the fridge doors to open freely. Maybe just have a broom closet or shelves on the side..

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:53AM
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You most recent layout with corner pantry is almost identical to Breezy's kitchen. She never did a "finished" thread, and I think she is still seeking a backsplash. But I'll link a thread that has several photos. You can try to search Breezygirl and see if you can come up with more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Breezy's beautiful kitchen

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:39AM
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Thank you so much for posting those links. It's good to find inspiration from others that have done similar things with their awesome kitchens.
I found even another from aokat15 that is very similar (link below)

As for pantry, I have no idea which is better. I guess that I would like the additional storage, but not sure that the layout is the most functional. Based on the links, I will definitely incorporate ventilation if I do go with a step-in pantry.
Perhaps I can extend the pantry up and push down the fridge a bit in order to fit a broom closet on the end ...hmmm, would I loose valuable cabinets between though?
I'm also not sure where I'd put my MW.

Also, are there any issues with a DW on the edge like this?

Here is a link that might be useful: aokat15's kitchen

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Looks like you're really going in the right direction.

I fooled around with some ideas...

Scootched the sink under the window and lost the corner cabinet... dead space in the corner but maybe this could be accessed by an outside door for, well, outside stuff? Or, if you compost you could get one of those in-counter compost buckets that could hang down in that space. They are nice stainless with a flush to the counter lid and I think it'd be handy... wish I could have worked one into my design.

Also, losing the corner cabinet would allow you to have a couple mondo big drawer bases to the right of the stove which would be really nice.

Added an open display shelf facing the hallway/DR which gets the DW away from the dead end of the counter and also could hold some pretty plates or whatever you like to display.

Re-drew the island overhang to shadow the angles of the hallway. Have to make sure of leg space but just an idea.

Whatever you do, this is feeling much more 'sensical' than where you started.. and look! It's only been a day and see how far you've come!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:45PM
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