Well, here's my current floor plan and a boatload of questions!

purrusJanuary 31, 2013

Hi everyone,
Here is a not-very-good screenshot of our current (horrible) floor plan.

We are planning to redo the kitchen, eat-in kitchen, and dining room (which will not be needed as the "official" dining room, as we'll be using one end of the living room as a dining room). I want to completely rethink the layout with the ultimate goal of enlarging our current kitchen footprint.

There are two of us, and I am the only cook. There may be a third person joining us in the future... of a small variety... and so we are hoping to finish this by fall. (I know that is a rush by GW standards, but there are various factors that make this necessary!) I love baking and cooking and am very interested in making this as functional a space as possible!

Details: We want to keep our windows if possible because they are fairly new, which is why I noted that the two larger windows are somewhat low to the ground. Also, we hope to someday build a sunroom behind the large window in the dining room (replacing that dining room window with a door), so we don't want to put anything permanent under or around that window (and it's too low to have normal-sized usable cabinetry underneath it anyway).

We also know that we are going to tear down the non-structural wall between the kitchen and dining room. This will definitely open up the cramped kitchen. I hope also to move the dishwasher (which is currently in the peninsula) to the right of the sink, and then the range next to that. This may require moving the sink over a bit.

What I don't know is whether I should move the eat-in kitchen to where the dining room is now. There is a current table we use in our eat-in kitchen that is a family heirloom and quite beautiful that we want to use in the eat-in kitchen, wherever that ends up. This table is 3' x 4'4". If we did that, I could have a large run of upper and lower-level cabinets along the far wall of the dining room, and the table is small enough that it would still fit, especially with a more open layout.

If we made the current dining room the eat-in kitchen, we could have some more lower cabinets where the current eat-in kitchen is located, but the low window is a concern. The sill begins at 29" above the floor, and as I posted in my recent thread on this topic, I'm not sure what to do with a window that is so low, except that I am very interested in a baking counter with seating area.

I'm just getting started here and feeling very overwhelmed, but putting it all on the screen has helped me visualize some possibilities. Basically, I am wondering whether I am on the right track with my possible layout (I know it's very scattered right now, but I don't know where else to start), and whether any of you see other possibilities that I haven't seen.

Thanks in advance!

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I'm not all that sure about so much relocation of things....Remove the small wall between family room and dinette and widen the opening between kitchen and dining room,and widen living room/dining opening. The sunroom [to be] will make a secondary destination on the right side of this floor of the house and I'd want better sight lines/light flowing throughout,but not necessarily day to day eating assigned there. If you leave the dining room there,the sunroom will be a restful,away from the action, quieter room and I think it's enjoyment will be greater and in a different way. If you don't use the dining room too much,just push the table furthur against the wall or drop or remove the leaves, but you'll enjoy passing thru to the sunroom a lot more than winding around the daily used dinette table with chairs always in the middle of the space.As well,always hearing and seeing kitchen action from sunroom,changes the dynamic. Remove the peninsula and remove the half wall between kitchen and family room.Without the peninsula you can do a compact U or L with worktable type kitchen-but you had more extensive changes in location and everything else in mind for the kitchen. With what i mentionned,the locations are basically the same due to your plan for a sunroom and I think a well planned U kitchen,or an L with a worktable, will give you what you need,and in this case I'd keep the 2 seating zones, on opposite sides of kitchen. Would that be the only possible location for the sunroom and it's entry,for a particular reason? I would definitely firm up the outline for that and think about it's impact-it's a wonderful idea and will enhance things quite a bit.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Hi there! Thank you for your comments!

I have a contractor coming Monday who has done lots of work for us. We're talking about the kitchen, of cousre, but also about the possible future sunroom (though that really is a long way off). Yes, that is the only possible location for various reasons, unfortunately.

The dining room is a bit short for my large dining table, actually, so I haven't been using it as a dining table for a long time. (I love my table and don't want to get rid of it.) However, I have toyed with the idea of a built-in banquette seating situation for the smaller 3' by 4'4" table, if we moved it in there, which would indeed move it further out of the way, but would also affect my plan to have a wall of storage and some extra counter space on the far wall of the DR.

For the U kitchen, are you talking about getting rid of the peninsula and then putting cabinets where the eat-in kitchen is now? (I'm terrible at visualizing things, obviously...) The kitchen as it stands is so small and does not function well at all. I hate the layout. And, if I widen the opening between the kitchen/DR, then I have to find a place for the range, which is really tricky!!

So overwhelmed!! But thank you for these ideas. I am open to any and all ideas and I NEED some creative fresh eyes to make me think about all of this in a different way. I'm too close to it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:12AM
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OK-there is much in your thinking revolving around tables-putting dining room in liv room?/use of existing sentimental pieces/etc. Why don't you insert where you want the said seating with tables and mock up a trial kitchen down in the existing dining room,as you sound inclined to do. I would have a problem with "putting dining room" in living room....but get graph paper-measure table with clearance for chairs/a couch/couple of chairs and endtables/etc. Start with offering what you envision for a preliminary plan/you'll get more feedback.I don't think you are ready to have a GC come out, but maybe you take the leads from what the guys typically can see to quote you. You may as well say to him,"move the kitchen to the dining room" and see what transpires. And work back from that proposition.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Hi Herbflavor,

I'm not sure I want the whole kitchen in the DR. I would just like a larger footprint, and bumping out the back of our house isn't an option (we have a large tall deck and anyway, that would be well beyond our current budget).

I would love more ideas and suggestions. I am having a hard time seeing how I can improve this layout, which is currently unworkable. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:14PM
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29" would be low for a baking counter even by my standards and I"m barely 5'. It might make a good area buffet area for dish storage in drawers. That would greatly lengthen the sink run and you could put your DW left of the sink.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:20PM
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That's what I was thinking, remodelfla, and I am 5'10"! So, that's out. I am coming to the realization that we are going to have to replace with a shorter window and I'm OK with that. That would really give me a lot more flexibility. OK then. Do I need to get rid of the peninsula, still? Should I wrap cabinets around the current eat-in kitchen to where the family room half-wall is (I assume I can remove that and replace with cabs). If I did that, is it weird then to have people who enter my home walk right into the kitchen from the entryway? I've never thought about that before.

I really want a lot more storage and a more workable floor plan as I dearly love to cook. I am getting excited and can't wait till I'm to the stage where I'm choosing cabinets. Would love more feedback! Soon, I will post a revised floorplan of my potential new kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:01AM
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I think the restrictiveness of the lower windows is impeding a great layout. If you can budge on that, I think it would open up a lot of options. Kitchen counters don't work to well around windows that extend down to 29" just don't mix well.

If you house is quite a bit older, I've seen it work having cabinets in front of a windows. Your average "newer" house, I can't imagine it working?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Yes Aloha, I am quickly coming to the realization that I need to at least replace the one in the eat-in kitchen. (As I said in my first post, we're hoping to add on a sunroom behind the existing dining room, so those windows would become a door... so, we aren't putting cabs in front of those no matter what).

My house is not "old"--built in 1964--but the windows (le sigh) are only three years old. Oh well.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I'm going to mock up a floor plan of this and see what you all think. My DH will die when I tell him we'll have to replace the window, but he is all about this being what I want.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Here's a new floorplan.

Would I have room for an island or something like that in this layout?

I also would like, if possible:
- a baking area
- a coffee/espresso area (I'm thinking of that far wall of the new eat-in kitchen for this!)

The problem now is that stupid change in depth that occurs between the kitchen and the new eat-in kitchen. I can't just have a straight run of cabs there because of that, and what I've done in this layout is just silliness, which I realize. Any thoughts on how to handle this or a better location for my range?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Here's a picture of the living room that I am using as a seating area/dining room. (The couches, etc are all vintage cheap craigslist finds--and will be upgraded in the future!)

My table doesn't fit in the current DR, and I want a really large table, so this is what works for us for now. The door to the left is the dining room. I really want to widen that doorway.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:51AM
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More pics of current kitchen. This will let everyone know why I can't wait to remodel.

Looking from eat-in kitchen to kitchen proper. (I hate those stupid hanging cabs. I'm tall, and I can't see anything!)

Looking from eat-in kitchen to the wall with the fridge

Looking at eat-in kitchen/family room from kitchen

Looking at DR from front living room

Looking at DR from existing kitchen

Please forgive the messiness---I didn't bother to pick up much before snapping these. But, I figure it'll give you an idea of how cramped this layout is and a sense of the spaces overall. Thank you all for the advice so far and for all of the advice I still hope to receive--this forum is already a hugely helpful resource and I have been reading it for the past several weeks absorbing info!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:03AM
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And one more. The view toward the kitchen/eat-in kitchen from the entryway hall.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Whoops, here's the picture.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:15AM
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And, as far as my kitchen style, I think that the family room in my house is the best barometer of my style. Emphasis on black and white, but not too modern; mix of mcm/clean lines and more traditional style.

Of all of the finished kitchens I've looked at on GW, I love jerzeegirl's kitchen (though I think I might do all white cabs), and breezygirl's kitchen (although mine will be a totally different shape and likely a lot smaller, I love the aesthetic in general). I know I will end up going black and white in my kitchen, even if the cabs are all white. I just can't help myself (again, see my family room!)

Again: love to bake and cook. Would love a baking area and a coffee/espresso area. Need a workable layout that isn't cramped (if that's possible at all in my house).

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:26AM
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bumping, hoping for some advice since contractor comes Monday to talk about possibilities (not an exact plan, but I really want to have a general idea of the various possibilities and what I think would work best!)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 3:29PM
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here's a different plan to offer into your discussion....use the half wall location for a baking center that faces into kitchen side-can be closed behind doors when not in use-it will be like a closet in that it will go higher than what you have-so you'd need more than half wall to build onto. You'd still have nice view of fireplace and the light from family room won't be missed as you have good windows and the soffit cabinets will be coming down. Keep the window as is,and the brick area between windows now will house the sink-the run of cabinet and counter along there can be pushed out from wall for a little extra depth and do careful sink install so when at the baking center you can turn and use sink or a 2nd sink from the side approach. Then extend cabs and counter along rest of wall under current sink window,into corner,turn the corner and place range on the existing range wall with better hood. Can now do a centering of range with no need for corner cabinet so you'll have some counter to the right of range and yet still be able to widen walk thru to old dining room area. Fridge goes to the right hand side of that wall it's on now[in the closet location] To the left of fridge-extending into your old dining room you can run 15 or 18 in deep cabs and counter for a secondary station as you call it for coffee/laying out food or whatever you like. You have about 12 feet from window wall to fridge wall-you can have 36inches left side of range,then range ,then 15 in to the right of range,then 42 in passage to dining and still have the space for counter/cabs running along wall from fridge into dining area. And you'll have floorspace in the middle for a freestanding cart if you want. You get about a 12 foot run for sink/36 inches on left and 15 in on rt of range/undetermined run to the left of fridge/storage and more in baking center and optional cart. What this does is showcase your brick wall and Not mess with the windows/leaves range wall somewhat intact. I think pushing the range around that jog,into your eating area is to be avoided. If you want to extend things from kitchen into eating area it would be the fridge wall for better human access of snacks/drinks/food/coffee pot/etc.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Thank you herbflavor!

ACtually, I was hoping to get rid of the z-brick (it's the fake stuff, not nice real brick). I'm sort of amazed that anyone would think it needed showcasing! :)

Yes. The range was an issue in my revised floor plan. I like your idea except that I really want to have a more open feel, and want to avoid closing off the family room area (that's one reason why I want to do away with the hanging cabs). I'll have to think about that some more. Also, I am coming to terms with the need to replace that window in the current eat-in kitchen.

I definitely agree and see now that the fridge needs to move further to the right as you face it. It is so claustrophobic in there with the tiny doorway to the DR already blocked by the stupid fridge, which is of course way bigger than the old refrigerators used to be.

Again, I thank you for your advice. It is helping me start to see some of the various possibilities. I wish i had a decent layout that I could just replace like with like, but that isn't the case here... sigh.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:37AM
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I am not sure where doors and such are. This is a first, top of the head sketch of what occurs to me. There may be something here useful to you. I don't have much time and thought, since GC comes tomorrow, that even a quickie might generate ideas. So, FWIW:

The work areas are way too far apart to please me, too many long treks here and there. But, maybe useful somehow?

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 16:06

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:53AM
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realistically, a bump out of the kitchen area is what makes a lot of sense because of the narrow 8-10 section coming off fam room. The wider part of section[current kitchen],isn't really so wide anyway.....12 by 9 space with walkway....Alternatively,if you moved the whole kitnkaboodle to the right,you'd get 18 by 10 space for kitchen only...[end position-less walking through]. You might bring that up with the gentleman-I would.Could you expand half bath and morph it into laundry/closet/storage/bath/pantry in that narrow old dinette space-good use of construction money spent and would add resale to the home-unless something is lurking i don't see laundry or closets or pantry or anything like that-it's a lovely home with family room and liv/dining situated opposite each other-getting more in this middle area might be worth it all.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Hi Herbflavor.
Trust me, I'd love a bump out. However, that is complicated because of the huge deck out back and the fact that this is a colonial above a basement that could have been a walkout... i.e., the ground is way lower than the floor of the main level of the house if that makes sense. So we would either have to build the basement out and then build on top of that or we would have to backfill a lot of soil to build on, and we actually are interested in creating a walkout eventually, so the second option is out. Of cousre a bump out would also mean getting rid of our huge deck. I'm sure I'd have to wait ten years or more for a project of that size, and i'm just not willing to live with this nasty kitchen for that long.

There's a coat closet in the entryway hall, and the laundry's in the basement. I don't love that, but again---a huge, huge project to move it upstairs because there is not space and it would mean adding on. You are correct that there is no pantry. The entry from the garage is super cramped, but changing that would mean fundamentally altering the garage which is already barely large enough for our two cars.

By moving everything to the right do you mean to the current dining room?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Hi Bellsmom,

Wow, thank you for taking the time to mock that up!! I don't even know how you did that.

I really like the ideas you have given me, especially the idea of a peninsula looking into the new eat-in kitchen (current DR). My concerns: the fridge and pantry wouldn't fit on the wall behind the half bath. It's quite narrow there and I doubt it would work, unfortunately. (I HATE how narrow it is there!) Also , I see what you mean about the work triangle being too spread out... I fully agree. It's hard with all of the pass throughs to other rooms. (I don't have any actual doors, just pass throughs, so at least we don't have to worry about clearance for a door opening/closing). You have really given me something to think about though, with prep area, cooking area, etc. Thank you very much for your thoughts about this!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:42PM
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yes-the whole kitchen down to former dining room[since he's coming-throw that out] It might not be as involved as one thinks and the space there is more ample.Cover all bases of possibilities at this stage.....

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Do you mean including the space from the original kitchen? Or existing DR space as kitchen? What would the kitchen become in that case?

A lot of food for thought. This is why I decided to post on GW!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:56PM
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with entire working kitchen shifted to dining room location, the current kitchen-at about 12 by 10 can house an island with seating/or a table/. the question would be the space around half wall-is there something this floor of the house lacks as far as storage/utility functions/etc....you seem to want the open/full view across the entire back of house,so maybe just leaving it alone is ok for a later time in the future to re-evaluate. Park some nice plants. Are you familiar with houzz.com-search for things like"corridor or narrow kitchen" ,as in Bell's sketch.... or "kitchen with island" or "eat in kitchen". You really can do this a couple of ways. A big thing is the fact you don't envision a bump out of the kitchen area at any time. The shift of kitchen therefore to the larger zone would have a draw for me/saying that,corridor kitchens have their place and can really be upstyled to be wonderful. You just have to figure out what is feasible even if willing to do a fair amt of work and some cost....what appeals to you....what enhances the home...what will work for the two of you starting a family and likely wanting to remain there. [I'm guessing on that bit]. do you have a printer-I'd have some pics from houzz and run them by the GC as each a different type of kitchen and just see how he responds. The easiest is to have your plan nailed down when GC comes out-I don't think you are that far. So use the time having him look at the infrastructure with different options for appliances/plumbing/gas locations and take it from there.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:00PM
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This is all interesting, Herbflavor. I do have a houzz account and have been saving pictures--also on Pinterest. I am really curious to hear what he has to say.

I guess a bump-out of the current DR isn't out of the question--the ground is higher there, but we'd still have to do some backfilling. I'll see what he says about that.

The good thing is that I know he's remodeled kitchens in similar houses in the area. Recently, I guess he finished one where the client combined their kitchen/DR, so that's good... maybe he will have some ideas about layout, which of course I'll post here to get feedback!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:03AM
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I have nothing of value to offer, but I wanted to compliment your neat dining room chandelier.

I was also wondering if you're in one of the LevittTown Cape Cods? I had that exact same kitchen layout in one when I was in temporary houseing after a fire. Those cabinets over the peninsula were stupid (I'm almost 5'3") but there's so little storage!

Anyway, I'm watching with interest.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Hi CEFreeman, no, not in LevittTown and not in a Cape Cod! This is a 1960s colonial. It's got some layout issues. :)

Contractor just left. He spent several hours here helping me envision various scenarios and we think we've got one that will allow me to keep my windows!! I'll post more later when I have time to be more fully descriptive but essentially the wall between ktichen and DR will come down as I hoped. The far wall of the current DR will be fridge, pantry, and a small coffee area with cabinets for mugs and glasses. Range will go on wall where fridge is now (centered) and the peninsula will be pushed further into the eat-in kitchen so that the dishwasher will fit to the left of the current sink. I can't figure out whether that means it will be too far from sink to fridge to range for my liking ,but I'll post a full layout later (when he sends it to me, should be by the end of the week!!). He thinks we can fit a bar sink over there too.

Thanks to all for your help so far!! Can't wait to post more details about the layout!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:58PM
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I have a similar floor plan (without the peninsula) and I, too, am trying to figure out how to have a larger dining area and a larger kitchen space. I also have low windows in my dining room, but have accepted the fact that I am going to have to suck up the cost and remove them so I can use that space for counter space. My plan, right now, is to take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, close off the wall from the current dining room into the living room, and make a new opening further down the wall, closer to the front hall in the living room into the kitchen. My thinking is that I will make a U-Shape kitchen in the dining room, possibly including a peninsula where my current kitchen is. This will make my actual kitchen much larger, and my eat-in kitchen area will be large enough to fit a large dining room table that seats 10-12. Is the cost to remove the windows breaking the budget to get the layout you want?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:02PM
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