Would love some "Kitchen in a narrow townhouse" layout feedback!

LiliRenoFebruary 15, 2013

Hi Everyone,
We are gut renovating a townhouse and need to make some major decisions on kitchen layout now. I've posted a sketch of one of my layouts.

My must-haves: a large clean-up sink, at least 28" wide and a separate prep sink, or a super-long "galley sink" or Rachiele "signature II"-type sink;
an induction cooktop or range with a good vent hood.

Our townhouse is narrow, only 15' wall-to-wall. To go from entryway to living room (at back of house), you have to walk past the kitchen, so it is very public. You will also see the island straight ahead when you open in the front door.

I'm concerned that this layout cramps the clean-up sink and range areas. It also makes us put more small appliances on the island, which might make it cluttered. The problem is, I loathe to put the clean up sink on the island because, to be honest, we are not that neat with our dishes, and I don't see that changing. I also hesitate to put the range on the island, because a hood would partially block our view to the back yard. We put in large, expensive windows in our living room and would prefer to enjoy the full view. On the other hand, a hood would only obstruct the view from the front of the house, not from the dining or living room area.

My other ideas have a long "galley sink" or Rachiele signature II type sink against the wall. It would seem strange to me to have this in the island, so I think it would go against the wall, and the range would be on the island. I don't have safety concerns about having the range on the island, just the hood issue.

Any comments? Suggestions? Thank you so much in advance.

This post was edited by LiliReno on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 10:45

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herbflavor

enclose the fridge in an alcove exactly across from where you show it. You'll connect that alcove and wall jog with pantry wall. Either split the island to "enter" kitchen between 2 island sections or widen the opening to kitchen near dining table,and keep the long run to the right side of repositioned fridge. .With greater room on range wall,the sink and range and vent can be better spaced. The fridge and pantry next to it can be worked up as a secondary zone/now slightly out of the visual line with the encasement of fridge......build some counter into pantry/consider your small second sink there as well as setting up your mixer/juicer/etc-this will be a spot for some functions/counter apparatus you don't want on display.It's too big for "just"pantry with shelves ...adding base cabs with counter/sink/electrical outlets will allow the main wide open kitchen to work for this type of dwelling. Sink and dishwasher and range/vent is the maximum the outside wall can nicely handle....switch the fridge and use that jog/the hall is really wide-no loss but a gain when you utilize the pantry as well.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:34AM
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palimpsest

My question would be "have you really thought about all the implications of having a fully open kitchen at the entry of the house?".

This is a common feature of renovations in my city which features lots of 12', 15', 16' lots with narrow houses like yours, and I would say that the success of this can be very mixed.

If you are relatively neat and keep things "contained" it could work very well, but my general impression of a lot of the houses I see is clutter, because the first thing you see is counters with a lot of stuff on them. One of my clients did this before I came on board and he Hates it because he is not very tidy and he says his entire downstairs presents as a giant kitchen with a couch in it (his house is much smaller than yours).

I am not Against this, I have intentionally moved kitchens to this spot. And the house I am moving into has the kitchen in this spot. However I design the kitchen so that it can be buttoned up a bit. One has a very large sliding pocket door to close or partially close it off. Mine will have pocket doors and a design which places certain things like the sink out of first view. Creating Selective views in and out are also often more effective than opening it all.

What is the reason the pantry is narrower?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:36AM
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palimpsest

The fridge was put in an alcove on the peninsula side of the kitchen like herbflavor suggests. The kitchen is not finished and there is a concealed range hood above the range.

Here is before the cabinets were installed. The entry is next to the full length window in the background.

View from entry: open, but screened.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:49AM
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honorbiltkit

Am I correct in thinking that the pantry wall is where it is and the island extends farther out into the corridor so as to allow a relatively generous view down the length of the house to your windows across the back? I.e., the view from the front door would be over the island and the dining table to the end of the living room?

If so, would you consider having the island crafted with the vertical surfaces of the two ends and the corridor side length running six inches or so above the countertop. [The photo shows this kind of arrangement to provide an eating area, but the whole surround could in fact be just a couple inches deep.] Then you could have all the plumbing -- the majestic Rachiele sink and the dishwasher -- in the island. This would allow you to have more space for small appliances between your fridge and your range, as well as more work area, on the outside wall.

One thing I am not clear on is whether you plan to have have upper cabinets in the outside wall run or are going to primarily use the pantry for storage. If you have nine- or ten-foot ceilings, uppers to the top on the outside wall might look nice.

If I am totally misreading your intent, never mind. I too live in a long narrow townhouse, but with the kitchen at the back where the dogleg narrows it to 11 feet. I love to see how people deal with the challenges of these spaces.

Cheers.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 4:05AM
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blondelle

I don't see any advantage of having the kitchen totally open. Putting a partial wall where the bank of cabinets are next to the hall will give you space to place upper cabinets there for extra storage. I'm not sure how thick a wall has to be but if there's space I would consider it. Also doing a full banquette will give you about 18" more of counter and storage than you had before. You can place a low bookcase on the back of the banquette or a closed one on the bottom and open shelves above that. You can give it a built in look by using cabinet doors to face it in.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:36AM
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blondelle

Sorry, here's the image. Strange as it showed up in the preview.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:44AM
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LiliReno

Now this is what is so great about this forum. Having fresh eyes on something you've looked at a zillion times coming up with brand new ideas for you. Thanks, everyone! I think having upper cabs above the island would cut the space in half too much, but we will have upper cabs on the wall. We have thought about the openness issue, but we want light from the backyard to get as far into the house as possible, so we are keeping the kitchen open. There are no side windows! I'm really intrigued by the other suggestions, and have some questions for our architect on Monday.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:50PM
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blondelle

If you bring out the pantry wall you will have more space that you can use for a washer dryer if you want, but a smaller pantry area. You can also move the fridge there to have a longer run of counter and cabinets. I assume that's a load bearing wall there as it looks thicker. Moving that wall if you can, will give you more space to use however you like.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:27AM
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