Finalizing kitchen layout--help wanted!

nmjenFebruary 5, 2014

Hello all,

I have been lurking here for several months, and have gotten some wonderful ideas from you all. I was hoping I could pick your brains as we are approaching finalization of our kitchen layout plans.

A few things about us & our kitchen:

We're a family of 3--mom, dad, and 7-year-old. I'm the main cook in the family, but occasionally the others will be in there, too (ideally doing dishes, but more likely, stealing cookies). We've lived in this house for 10 years, and there are some things about the current layout that work well for us, and others that don't. I cook--and bake--a lot, so it's important to me to have a functional space. We also entertain once or twice a month, so we want a space that works for that, too.

Our main goal is to open the kitchen into the den and integrate it into that space. Given the current layout of the house and the scope of this project, we are not looking at knocking out any more walls or opening other spaces. Windows will remain where they are, due to a brick exterior and few options for other placements. The below layout is actually in many ways quite similar to what we have now, so I am hopeful that it will fix the things that annoy me while keeping the things that work.

The total dimensions of the kitchen/eat-in area are 25' x 10'.

Any input you could give would be very appreciated.

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Hey BakerJen! I have a few things I would change. I hope you don't mind. IMHO, I would almost reverse your kitchen.

Is it necessary to have 2 entrances to the den? The door from the main part of the kitchen seems to chop it up. Could the entrance from there just be eliminated. If needed, the breakfast nook entrance could be widened and everything shuffled down toward where the fridge currently is.

I would put the ovens where the prep sink currently is, handier for the baking center.

I would put the cooktop where the closed-up den door was, leaving the counter between the ovens and the cooktop and adding another counter to the left of the cooktop. This gives you additional landing/prep space if needed.

On the other side, I would then move the fridge to where the ovens were.

Then put the prep sink where the cooktop was. This way, flour cleanup is closer to the bake centre.

Or, an alternative is to put the prep sink on the peninsula where the bake center is and the baking center where the cooktop was. This way you would still have a large prep area and baking center.

If you look at it, the "work triangle" is tighter and should mean less steps.
I hope you don't mind my "reconstructing", but you did ask.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:53AM
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Thanks, canuckplayer--I appreciate your thoughts, and the kind way you offered your suggestions. :)

You're right--opening that wall to the den gives me a lot less to work with in terms of layout. Your idea creates more of a U-style kitchen, which is easier to work in. It really is a struggle between having an optimal layout and having that space be as open as possible, which I think right now is my #1 goal. Thanks for your suggestions--I'll definitely think about them!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:43AM
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I totally agree with canuckplayer. It might be helpful if you can post the current layout and maybe some photos. There are other ways to get an open feeling without it being a walkway.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:28AM
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I like your plan! The only things I might change is moving the fridge across to the prep area...and scooting the prep sink over just a bit, so when you're standing there, you're not blocking the walkway by the baking peninsula.

Will it be all open to the den? I added a few stools and a cabinet (with books above) on the backside of the fridge. This would provide a bit more storage...and cookbook/display space.

So, easy access to the fridge...and the clean up area and less walking between fridge and prep area. Just an idea :) From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 13:29

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:22PM
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I like where you're headed with this, LL. I hope it's okay that I adapted your plan a bit for another version for BakerJen to consider.

BakerJen, the first thing I did was create a banquette for your small dining area. (I'm shocked that I beat you to suggesting a banquette, LL. ;-) ) That allowed me to eliminate the baking peninsula for a straight run of counter, dead-ending into the banquette bench, which extends beyond the table. You could end the bench sooner but don't extend the counter closer to the banquette or it will feel crowded, IMO. You may gain a bit of counter this way but even if you have the same amount of counter and cabinetry space, it's more usable because it's not at a corner.

I swapped LL's suggested placement of the fridge to the end closest to the banquette area so that someone can get items from the fridge without crossing the cooking zone and so that there weren't two tall items across from each other. That seemed a bit claustrophobic to me. Also, if you store cook books in the bookcase behind the fridge, this puts them close to the banquette - easier to grab one and sit down to peruse while sipping coffee.

You could shorten the island to 96" - still enough room for 4 seats at the counter - and add display shelves to the side of the fridge, too.

P - stands for pantry. I wasn't sure what this cabinet was for so I arbitrarily gave it a designation.

btw, the banquette gives you the option of getting a 36" dia table. Just be sure to keep about 40" between table edge and baking counter run so that even with the chair is pulled out, it won't interfere with that area and so that someone can get past the chair to the bench without smacking their hip bones on the counter's edge.

One downside of this plan is that setting the table will require crossing the cooking zone. Where do you plan to eat most of your meals? At the table, at the island or in the DR? Where is your DR?

If you plan to eat most meals at the table, I have another idea that would eliminate the long walk from dish storage to table and table to DW.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Lisa- Interesting idea! I do like banquettes, but I wasn't sure if there was a separate dining room. I like the table and little peninsula, since they break up the 'long hall' effect of the space.

I also like that the den has access to the fridge and water/glasses, and clean up, without going through the main work area. I have a galley kitchen right now and it's such a pain, when people cut through or lean against the counters. You don't want to be rude, but they're IN THE WAY! LOL

Also, depending on what you want to see from the den, the fridge is blocking the ovens, but you can see the baking area from the stools. And the oven and fridge doors have plenty of room to open and not block traffic.

A lot depends on what Jen is looking for, but I think the banquette is a cute idea...if it provides enough seating. While L-shaped banquettes are really cute, I'm king of leaning towards one wall banquettes (chairs on three sides) lately. It just seems easier to access and expand the table, if necessary :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:42PM
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I changed eating/kitchen and came up with a long L. Not much of a baker, so not sure if this would suit you, but there'd be ample counter in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Swapping kitchen and eating area crossed my mind, too, sena. Nice to see it in 3-D.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:23PM
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Yes, Lisa, I was actually surprised when no one suggested that, lol. But if the kitchen is OP's only eating area as LL mentioned then both island and table could be tight when eating moves to the other side..

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:31PM
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I really like LL's layout. I think it looks super functional and also gets you what you want and need. Where is your food storage? Do you have enough pantry/cabinet space? I'm a baker myself and having enough storage was a big priority for me.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:00PM
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You all are astonishing! Thank you for taking the time and effort to give me your thoughts and share your talents. :)

LL and Lisa, you ladies read my mind regarding cookbooks and banquettes! I am a total cookbook fiend, so finding a spot for those is definitely part of what I'm thinking about. :) And I love your vision of sitting on the banquette, flipping through cookbooks and drinking my coffee, in my beautiful new space. That might be the vision that sustains me through the trauma of remodeling.

LL, I think your idea of moving the fridge over--and backing it with bookcases--is a definite possibility. Unfortunately, as you can see from below, moving the den walkway over there would put it in the 1/2 bath that currently lives there, but this still gives me something good to think about. Figuring out where the fridge should live has been the hardest part of this whole thing, and I appreciate your solution (especially because it involves books)!

As to the banquette--it's not in the plan I posted, partly because it may be phase II (in terms of costs, etc.), but I would very much like to have a wall of cabinets, ending in a banquette, along that wall of the eat-in area, as Lisa drew. I forgot to label it, but your "P" for pantry was exactly right. :)

Thankfully, the eat-in area is not our only dining area; weirdly, our dining room is at a bit of a distance, in combination with our living room. We typically use the eat-in area when it's just the three of us, but have the dining room for when we entertain.

I've toyed with the idea of having island seating, but am currently thinking that the back of the island will be bookcases, and between that and this mental image I have of people (okay, my in-laws) sitting at the stools and staring at me while I cook (something I really hate!), I'm leaning away from having seating there.

Sena, your 3D rendering is really wonderful, and gives me a totally different way of seeing the space.

Swfr, the unnamed cabinet on the eat-in side is to be a 36" x 18" pantry, and I think between this and the other drawers & cabinets, it should store all my extra flour, sugars, and other baking goodies. :) Being well-stocked is definitely essential for baking!

I'm attaching a portion of our floorplan below, which shows a bit of the current layout. As you can see, our current plan closes off the doorway to the entry, so that the space is not quite so broken-up. I apologize for the quality of the picture; apparently, someone (I'm blaming the 7-year-old) decided the floorplan would be a good place mat. (And the area near the dishwasher is just plain cabinets to the wall; again, I blame the kid for the "enhancements" there.)

I know the peninsula is a bit weird; as you can see, we have one now that is narrower and slightly longer. It's where I currently have a marble slab and roll out my doughs, and I really like having the ability to work the dough from both sides of the peninsula--hence my inclination to keep it.

As you can see from the layout picture, we have sliding glass doors to our backyard from the den/family room, so part of my desire for open views into the den is because I also want to be able to watch my son playing in the backyard while I'm cooking.

Thanks again for all your input--I knew this was a great resource, but all of your responses showed me again how very thoughtful and talented a group this is.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:14PM
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Okay... Given that you have a fixed corner (due to that 1/2 bath...)

I suggest you put your banquette in the corner where your DW is now and put your kitchen in the "dining" area. (I would also make your laundry door a pocket door, so there isn't a door swing in your kitchen. But, I am a fan of pocket doors.)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Kirkhall, funny you suggest pocket doors--that's what the doors into the entry and the den were/are now. Sadly, they went off track, so we don't really use them anymore. I agree that would make the entry in from the garage a lot more workable--definitely a consideration.

Unfortunately, what the drawings don't show is the height of the windows onto the porch--their lower edges are several inches below counter-height, and given that they are in brick walls (and the one facing into the entry way is actually glass blocks, not a regular window), we've considered them pretty much immovable. It's too bad, because otherwise, you're right--the layout when you swap the spaces seems a lot less chopped up.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:10AM
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Now I can see why you can't swap places, and it seems your original layout fits your needs/priorities.

But I think, if possible, every kitchen should have a sink on the range counter. So, although this layout I'm suggesting would have the fridge in full view from the den (some dislike it very much) and closest landing for fridge would be the cleanup counter or the cab next to the oven, I'd personally prefer it because of the sink/range placement. I don't know if you'll have any problems re venting, though.

The island and peninsula is the same as yours (just moved sink as per LL's suggestion). Left some distance b/w the garage entry and the cab next to the fridge so the entry wouldn't feel claustrophobic. That shallow cab facing main sink wall, can be for brooms or storage or for books.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:17AM
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Re: windows to porch. You can always ignore the height of the windows and run counter in front of them, if that will give you the best layout.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:12AM
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You can take the window out and shorten it and then fill in with bricks. You find the kind that most closely matches what you have and then you have a few options for making them match. Different costs apply to all of course.

1. You switch out bricks randomly with existing bricks to blend it in - this depends on how close match you have to and would be more costly.
2. you use masonry stain (or paint) the bricks to be a match.

I think if it is in your budget I would highly consider switching the kitchen and dining nook for better functionality.

If the other window is short and have brick below it then you could just re-use that brick and make it a taller window.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:27AM
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I don't think you need to swap your dining and kitchen areas...but if you like a banquette, here's one other idea :) From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Thanks, Sena and LL, for those mock-ups, and lyfia and MaggieQ for the suggestions about dealing with the window/brick conundrum.

It has been very helpful for me to get suggestions and new ways of looking at the space--having lived here for 10 years has somewhat blinkered my way of looking at the space, and it's been great to have my eyes opened to all the possible manipulations--especially if budget were no issue. :)

LL, that's a nice big banquette and great-looking island! As someone who always chooses a booth when we go out to eat, I'm almost giddy with the thought of having one in MY own house! :)

Sena, that's a really neat way of rendering the space and moving the appliances around. I don't have any issues with seeing the fridge from another room (I'd definitely rather see that than my dirty dishes!), but I do prefer to have the range on the same wall as the oven, though I'm not sure if that's a rational preference, or just what I'm used to.

I don't think we're going to flip the dining and kitchen spaces, given our current budget limitations, but all of these comments and suggestions have been very thoughtful, and I look forward to figuring out how to incorporate them into the final design. Thanks again to everyone!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:56PM
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How long is the wall that the fridge is on? A 36" wide fridge's cab will be 39"-40" wide and you'll want to allow room for the door swing so that the door doesn't hit the sink run's counter. You'd need a minimum of 75"-76" for a 36" Super Susan (or similar cab) and a fridge cab. It would be better if you had room to add a cabinet between the SS and the fridge cab - even a 6" pull-out would be helpful - to avoid dings in counter or fridge doors.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Lisa, you're right--I need to look carefully at that corner. Right now we've got an 18" cabinet between the corner and the fridge, and I know the fridge opens to about 17", but I need to sit down and figure out if, to get the best use of the space, we need to switch things around there a little, and perhaps extend down that section a little more.

Thanks for pointing that out! I definitely don't want to be dinging anything in my (hopefully very pretty) new kitchen. :)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 8:07PM
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