Kitchen layout help
Hi everyone, we have finally decided that it's time to redo our kitchen. We did some things to make it more bearable over the last few years, but now it's time to change it on a much bigger level. Basically it's going to be gutted. We want new cupboards, backsplash, counters, flooring and lighting. And windows. Even though I'm excited, I'm also very overwhelmed with all the decisions to be made. I've been saving pictures of kitchens I really like over the years, and the common pattern is a cottage style theme. I really want white cupboards, and just a warm, comfortable, inviting room. We're a family of 4, and we like to have friends and family over often. I enjoy both cooking and baking, but on a relaxed level (no fancy gourmet, just basic home cooking). Since it's a 4 level split, and the kitchen and dining room are the entire level, it is where everyone always seems to be. I would really like a more distinguished "entrance" area by the back door, a homework/cozy nook for the kids if possible, and dining space that can accommodate extra people. And I LOVE banquettes, but don't know how or where I could put one.
The sink needs to stay where it is. I like the island that is there, but we're open to taking it out or changing it for a new one. I do not want a sink or a stove in it. I like just the empty top for rolling out dough, or having prep space. The kitchen actually functions fairly well where the appliances are (which I just roughly penciled in on the layout sketch). The ceiling is vaulted, with the peak being right over the pony wall (which is awful and the first thing I want removed). I'm thinking pot lights in the ceiling with some hanging lights over areas (island, dining), considering maybe taller cabinets on both sides of the kitchen (which then would mean a smaller island).
This is a rough sketch of the shape with dimensions, as well as pictures of the current kitchen. I appreciate any advice and suggestions, and am mostly just looking for basic floor plan ideas, and how to make the most out of the space. Once I have that planned, I'll worry about the backsplash and flooring.