Odd dishwasher placement--ergonomic or terrible?

slateberryFebruary 27, 2013

First I should just admit that dh does most of the dishes--a real sweetie, so I'm giving weight to his preferences as shown in the diagram below:

originally I had the two dishwashers flanking the cleanup sink on the left wall. Most of the dish storage is in the wall cabinets at the top of the diagram. I haven't drawn the doors in yet but they will be a mixture of glass and solids. There are two silverware drawers in the middle of the cabinets.

DH is asking for one dishwasher to the right of the sink (DW 1 in the diagram), and one in the island across from the sink (DW 2). He thinks DW2 will be easy to load either from the island top or the cleanup sink across the ~48" aisle, and handy to unload into the cabinets at the top of the diagram.

If I put DW2 to the left of the sink, it's a bit of a trip up to the cabinets to put everything away.

DW1 might be our secondary, overflow DW, because at only 11" clearance between its right edge and the dish cabinet, (I believe NKBA recommends a minimum of 21") I don't really see someone standing in that narrow gap and unloading into the cabinets. I don't even see how the lower doors could open when DW1 is open. So they would have to stand at the end of the pulled out dishwasher drawers, lean over, and unload. Maybe not too bad, but flies against the NKBA guidelines. The only way to increase the size of that gap would be to make the windows on the left wall off center, and I'm not sure I can bring myself to do that. Yes, I want good function, but symmetry is just so beautiful, I'm willing to give a bit to get a bit.

for a little more context of traffic flow etc, here is a zoomed out view of the kitchen:

so, any advice/observations? This placement is pretty much a non-reversable decision, so I want to get it right on the first try.

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Looks like a horse apiece to me. Actually his point about unloading from the island seems valid. If he does the dishes I'd let him put it in the bathroom if he wanted it. Lucky you.

hey, is that a cowgirl in your kitchen?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Dripping water across your floors will increase with it across the aisle. It will be worse ergonomically to twist and turn to load across the aisle than it will to just load adjacent to the sink. And, plumbing it will be very difficult as you will have to create a standpipe like a laundry room has behind the DW for the drain hose to empty into. You cannot discharge a DW directly into a drain line. It has to be discharged into an indirect manner. Draining into the garbage disposal or via a fitting for the sink before the trap will suffice for that when it's next to a sink. When it's not next to the sink, the standpipe bit has to be done. And that means that you will need a "wet wall" behind it to house the drain pipes and the standpipe. That will have to be factored into the overall depth of the island and it'll have to be in precisely the correct spot to work.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Like live wire oak pointed out, unless you have the DW right next to the prep sink in the island, the install will be hard. Would he consider moving it to the side the prep sink is on?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:52AM
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I think the prep sink side of the island may be better anyway for DW2. If it's directly behind the clean up sink, when it's sitting open, isn't it a bit of a hazard?I can imagine I'd have my back to it, and I'd always forget and step back into it.. Also, if it's open, no one can pass behind the person standing at the sink. And I agree with live_wire_oak, I would use the one next to the clean up sink as the primary one.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:49PM
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Another advantage with the second one next to the prep sink, if you are having a large party and help with the cleanup then you will have two stations for cleanup and loading the DWs, pretty cool. That's what we usually do every Thanksgiving, though don't have a second DW. Lucky you!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:07PM
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In other words, you have now just lost your prep sink. It is now a secondary cleanup sink, which you may be permitted to use when other people see fit to carry their dishes elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:00PM
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From the drawing, the DW drain can be connected to the sink that is in the island. No standpipe required. Airgap yes, standpipe no.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:08PM
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LOL Deedles! If we don't plan the remodel well, we will be doing dishes in the bathroom for a while...
and it is a cowgirl. She's one of the sketchup people from the component library. My daughter asked me to put some people in my model for scale. I love the little girl staring expectantly at the spot where the fridge should be. and in her world, it actually will magically appear all of the sudden.

If only it were so simple in my world...

OK, Marcolo hit the nail on the head...I do feel like my dedicated prep area is getting a bit invaded. Not sure if that should happen, except perhaps for Thanksgiving. But if I design it this way and it happens all the time, then it's my fault.

Setting that aside for a minute (but only a minute), I want to ask GWlolo: if I tell you there's only 39" from the island to the cooktop cabinets, would you still want me to put the dishwasher next to the prep sink?

Thanks for the feedback about installation complications and twisting--those are just the sorts of things I might not have foreseen, and was hoping to uncover with this post. Weedmeister, if I do the whole wet wall/drainpipe thing, can I avoid the airgap? I want to minimize the number of things sticking out of the countertop on the island; I think i'd be willing to nudge the sink closer to DW2 or have all kinds of plumbing stuff going on in the guts of the island rather than having another dealybob sticking out in the middle of nowhere on the island.

I agree with the comment about step back hazard if DW2 is across from the sink. I'm not so worried about cross traffic bc other users (that would be me putting away leftovers) would be going toward the fridge side of the room and using the clear path over there.

So does anyone want to discuss the merits of both dishwashers flanking the main cleanup sink? I pointed out the weaknesses (if DW2 is left of the sink, it will be the one that's easiest to use but it will be furthest from the dish storage), but we're talking (3" filler + 30" sink +3" filler +24" DW1 + 11") equals 6 feet to the china cabinet--is that so bad?

Or maybe DW1 will be easy enough for loading that we'll be willing to put up with unloading it while standing in front of it instead of alongside it, and it will be the main DW and the other would be for overflow, at which point we wouldn't care that it is 6 feet from the china cabinet.

Well this is good you've got me all over the map and considering more things. I'm definitely going to leave this up for more comments before I decide. Thank you all very much.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:58PM
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The kitchen we just ripped out had a DW perpendicular to the wall with the uppers where most of the dishes were stored, just like your DW1. I absolutely hated unloading the dishwasher. I had to stand to the left side of it (in front of your sink), lift the clean dishes onto to counter, then close the DW door so I could reach the uppers to put the dishes away. It was easier to put the dishes away in cabinets that were further away, because at least I could avoid the 2-step transfer. We scrape dirty dishes before putting in DW, rather than rinsing, so I would be fine with a DW at the end of the island as long as the trash is handy.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 5:18PM
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