new construction kitchen - opinions on design

michelleknFebruary 19, 2014

Hi. We bought a new construction home. Trying to decide if we should change the layout in the kitchen. I am posting a picture of the kitchen how it is set up in the model home. The kitchen area is about 18' x 15'. It is an open floor plan with family room on the other side and dining room on other side of that. There is 115" from island to end of kitchen which has sliding glass doors out to backyard.

We do not have an EIK now and mostly use our two seater island for breakfast. Trying to decide if it's better for us to add to island or keep the EIK table.

Our choices are:

1. keep the current layout. concerning about wasted space in corner of kitchen near window and not much space around eik table.

2. remove the EIK area and turn the island and make the island longer. Right now it is 85" and seats three. We would make it long enough to seat 5 - 4 along one side and one on corner near sliding glass doors. We still have the problem of the empty space next to window. Would it look bad to have island extend past the cabs behind it?

3. Enclose the window to left of sink and put upper and lower cabinets here and turn the island to seat 5. Would need to pay for cabs and fee to enclose window due to permits. This would be the most expensive option.

What do you think?? Thank you for helping me think this through.

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That's a very lovely kitchen. I'm personally not a fan of eating meals at an island (or any counter) seating, so I would keep it the way it is, but that's a personal preference for tables over counters. The only problem I see is that there is no water source near the refrigerator and cooktop (it would be nice to have a sink in between, but the cleanup sink in your layout is otherwise nicely segregated from the prep and cooking areas). And again, of course my personal preference, I would definitely NOT enclose that window!

This post was edited by sjhockeyfan on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 11:39

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:37AM
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looks like a great layout to me.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:43AM
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I dislike option number 3 the most. Personally, if I were to consider closing up that large window, I'd want the other window above the sink widened considerably. I would not want to lose all the natural light that those windows provide, even at the expense of extra cabinet space. One of the things I hated about my kitchen pre-reno was the lack of natural light and airflow. I couldn't wait to add a bigger window!

I don't know how I feel about lining up five people to eat at bar-type seating. Having everyone sit in a line like that for meals (even casual meals), doesn't seem very conducive to conversation. It also seems like it would be very uncomfortable, always having to twist your neck to the left or right, or lean back or forward in your seat to talk to the person two or three seats down from where you are sitting. I would definitely want another seating option to be available.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:46AM
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When I'm making meals I'm in and out of the refrigerator a lot, and splashing some wine or juice or condiment into the pan. But I tend to put things into the oven for 30 minutes, then take them out. So I would swap the fridge and oven to put the fridge contents closer to where I need them for prep, and closer to the dishes for pouring drinks and plating cold meals.

That is a really pretty kitchen! You could put a small freestanding cabinet or add shallow cabinetry, maybe 12" deep, under the window, but don't close it off.

Another vote for keeping the eat-in. When you have casual company you might not always want to eat in the dining room, but don't want to eat at the counter, either.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Is there another dining room? Could you use this as the only dining space? How does it open to the living room? A layout diagram would be very helpful.

I like the layout too - surprisingly good, for a spec house. I have never had an island, but I do have dining right next to kitchen, so I feel like island seating is redundant.

I don't see the space under the window as "wasted" (and I'm a stickler for wasted space) - I see it as open and lovely. If you feel the need to fill it up, put a bookcase or a window seat under it, or a comfy chair in the corner - I would love a reading nook next to that window!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:06PM
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We have already planned a few changes to the model home. The frig will be where the double oven is and there will be a pantry to the right of it. We will have a slide in range with hood like shown. There is a microwave cabinet in island.

Here's a picture from the dining room to show the whole area.

We hadn't considered changing the layout until we saw another owner at the design center and saw their plans which got us thinking. Keep the opinions coming - very helpful!

This post was edited by michellekn on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 13:31

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:24PM
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Whoa, extreme open concept! I would find it awkward to walk past a table to put food on another table. I don't understand the need for multiple eating areas in one space (but then, our house has only one eating space). And I don't see a dining table on one side of the couch as any more formal than the dining table on the other side of the couch.

I would most definitely put a dining table next to the kitchen, and expand the living room into the space now occupied by the "formal" dining table.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:31PM
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I'm with annkh, I am not a fan of the DR area on the other side of the FR area. Given the huge, open concept of this home, I echo her suggestion of opting for one large dining area with island seating (for company to visit while you're in the kitchen, kids to eat snack or do homework, etc) at the kitchen end of this home.

Can you post a plan with dimensions?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Are you getting those cabinets?
From my monitor, they look like a really great color.

I also have never understood multiple dining areas in the same room. Now, I have had occasion to sit at a 6 person island, which caused the conversation between friends to become stilted. No one could see the others' faces. We were glad to adjourn to the table behind us for dessert.

I have also been seated at a large, curved island which was much better. However, rather than being a u-shaped island, it was solid there, so the chef couldn't reach the far guests across this massive island. But we could talk!

I doubt that helps at all, but it's something to consider.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:19PM
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I agree with the others that it seems like an awfully long trek to the dining area ... it seems quite inconvenient. I, too, would switch the dining seating over to the living room area and vice versa. Does one space really need island seating, casual meal seating, AND formal meal seating? I would give some thought to rearranging the space to reflect how you would actually use it.

I do like the idea of using the area under the window for some additional storage. Maybe a server or a sideboard if there is enough height there?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:31PM
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More info----I know it's not the ideal set up with the dining room on the opposite side of the kitchen but we can't change that. The fireplace is in the family room and it can't be moved so the family room needs to stay put.

Right now trying to decide if I keep the set up as is or I turn the island, make it larger to seat 5 or 6 (4 on one side and 1-2 on the other) and give up the EIK table. We would eat dinners at the main dining area.

CEFreeman - I think we are getting white but I agree these cabs look great also.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Only you know whether you'd be happy with an island seating 6 instead of a table. Personally, I'd hate it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:15PM
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"Only you know whether you'd be happy with an island seating 6 instead of a table. Personally, I'd hate it."

I have to agree. If you used the island for prep, you'd have to clean everything off of it before people could eat.

Sorry, michellekn, I missed the fireplace in your picture. Given that detail, I'd vote for leaving the layout as is with the separate EIK table.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:37PM
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With no layout and dimensions, it's really hard to know what might be a good suggestion. However, I would not want my largest eating table on the other side of the main seating area/family room. I'd have a less formal (than what they show for their DR), but large dining table and chairs between the island and fireplace area. And I'd make the existing DR into a 2nd conversation/den/activity area with a round or square table with 4 chairs (and some padded folding chairs stored somewhere) that could be extended to seat 8+ people if you needed more eating places for large gatherings.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:18PM
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You don't need to let the fireplace location dictate room use. Search through houzz and you'll see lots of dining rooms with fireplaces. Here are a few:

Traditional Family Room by Dublin Architects & Designers RTA Studio

Mediterranean Dining Room by San Juan Capistrano Artists & Artisans Interior Art

Rustic Dining Room by Beverly Interior Designers & Decorators Siemasko + Verbridge

Rustic Dining Room by Austin Architects & Designers Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Traditional Dining Room by Atlanta Architects & Designers Frederick + Frederick Architects

Traditional Dining Room by Mclean Design-Build Firms Tradition Homes

... starting to wish I had a way to add a fireplace to my dining room. ;-)

If you're going to keep the DR where it is on the plan, I would add "buy tea cart" to your shopping list so that you can easily carry platters and such to the dining area. You can leave it in the DR when not in use.

This post was edited by lisa_a on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 19:46

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:44PM
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I have a very similar kitchen layout. However, my kitchen has a smaller island without seating. We have a large kitchen table that always has 6 chairs, but we can easily fit 8 chairs, and 10 chairs if need be. Like your setup, the kitchen table is next to a window.

There is 110" from the end of our island to the end of our kitchen and there is plenty of room for the table and the chairs to be pulled in and out. HOwever, like I said, there is not any island seating, and if there were stools it would be a tight fit with the table.

I love this set up. We use our kitchen table all the time--for everything from meals, to crafts, to decorating cookies, internet surfing, reading the newspaper and doing the crossword puzzle, carving pumpkins, etc.

We have free standing buffet type cabinetry under the window. It holds my kid's craft stuff and my laptop (i usually use my laptop at the kitchen table.). It also has a mail sorter and space to organize my kids school paperwork. We do have a home office, but this is where I keep stuff I use everyday.

When we do a kitchen remodel, I may put a window seat there, but will have to really think hard as the server we have now is heavily utilized.

My mother has a setup with island seating, then a casual family area, then the dining area. I hate it! Every Monday evening, when I am there for dinner, I think how inconvenient it is to have to carry everything back and forth through the living area. Her island is always covered with stuff (prep stuff as well as mail and paperwork) so sitting there makes me feel claustrophobic. Also, we have lots of kids in the family, and something always spills in the walk between kitchen and dining area.

My husband has mentioned getting rid of our kitchen table and getting a huge island when we remodel, but once I pointed out that he would always have to sit on barstools vs kitchen chairs, and how much we use our kitchen table, he agrees that it stays.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

This post was edited by kristinekr on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 23:20

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:09PM
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OK, now I want a fire place in my dining room.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:32PM
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