Kitchen remodel -- please help with layout

ILoveCookieFebruary 7, 2014

Our kitchen remodeling is happening much sooner than I have hoped. I am very excited, and would like to gather your wisdom. :)

Here is some background:

The house has 6 staggered levels (built around a hill). The kitchen is on the 3rd level, right above the garage (1st level) and right below the master suite (5th level). The house was built in the mid-1980's, and the previous/original owner enclosed a couple decks on the kitchen level in the late-1980's. That's why you are going to see some exterior walls in my drawing for the kitchen.

There is only my husband and me in the house, but we expect to add two little ones in the next few years. Usually there is only one cook in the kitchen, as husband and I have learned over the years not to get in each other's way.

Here is the current layout:

My drawing below is a layout that I came up with for the new kitchen. I will explain where things are right now -- the gas cooktop is on the island (where the dishwasher is in the drawing) with a downdraft vent; the gas oven and microwave and pantry are on wall H; the fridge is exactly where it is in the drawing; there are upper cabinets along the sink run. I can get food in and out of the fridge without problem, but the right door of the fridge does touch wall G when wide open, so if I want to take a drawer out, I'd need to slide the entire fridge out.

The door to the backyard cannot be moved because this is the only good way to get to the backyard (due to the hilly nature of this property). The doorway that goes from the staircase to the kitchen cannot be moved either. The windows can be changed, but I hope we won't have to.

Here is what we are dreaming (well, mostly me):

We want to open up some walls, add a gas fireplace, replace old appliances (only the 35" fridge is new), replace old laminate cabinets, and change the kitchen layout somewhat to accommodate a rectangular dining table that we haven't ordered yet (it will be approx. 36"-40" by 6'-7').

I want to have a Bluestar range (probably 30" or 36") instead of separate oven and cooktop. I want to put the range on an exterior wall, and add a powerful vent hood above. Both husband and I really like doing stir-fries, so I am sure we will appreciate Bluestar's 22K BTU burners. We like grilled food too, and don't have an outdoor grill, so we are also considering the Bluestar 36" range with a grill in the middle. However, from what I read, the grill would require a beefier ventilation and make up air system that might cost an arm and a leg. Husband is also concerned about the flame when the grill is in use.

I'd like to have a hutch or buffet for storing large items like serving plates. I want to have fewer built-in cabinets, and more freestanding pieces, if that makes sense.

I also want to have no upper cabinets. I don't mind having some open shelves. Husband understands why I dislike uppers, but thinks it might be a mistake not to have any. My argument is, we can always add shelves or uppers if we regret later.

So below is what I came up with. The dimensions are not exact, but very close, and I forgot to add a pantry and a microwave drawer... Anyway, would you please take a look? Your inputs will be highly appreciated. I am sure there is lots of room for improvement. Thank you!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 8:14

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liriodendron

Would you mind repeating just the text part of your post in a separate comment below? The horizontal pixel size of your image blows the right hand margin on the column so the text flows under the house ads on the right, making it unreadable.

You could re-size your image in PB, or just copy your text below mine as if it were a comment. That usually does the trick.

Thanks,

L.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:38PM
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ILoveCookie

liriodendron, here is the repeated text --

Our kitchen remodeling is happening much sooner than I have hoped. I am very excited, and would like to gather your wisdom. :)

Here is some background:

The house has 6 staggered levels (built around a hill). The kitchen is on the 3rd level, right above the garage (1st level) and right below the master suite (5th level). The house was built in the mid-1980's, and the previous/original owner enclosed a couple decks on the kitchen level in the late-1980's. That's why you are going to see some exterior walls in my drawing for the kitchen.

There is only my husband and me in the house, but we expect to add two little ones in the next few years. Usually there is only one cook in the kitchen, as husband and I have learned over the years not to get in each other's way.

Here is the current layout:

My drawing below is a layout that I came up with for the new kitchen. I will explain where things are right now -- the gas cooktop is on the island (where the dishwasher is in the drawing) with a downdraft vent; the gas oven and microwave and pantry are on wall H; the fridge is exactly where it is in the drawing; there are upper cabinets along the sink run.

The door to the backyard cannot be moved. The doorway that goes from the staircase to the kitchen cannot be moved either. The windows can be changed, but I hope we won't have to.

Here is what we are dreaming (well, mostly me):

We want to open up some walls, add a fireplace, replace old appliances (only the 35" fridge is new), replace old laminate cabinets, and change the kitchen layout somewhat to accommodate a rectangular dining table that we haven't ordered yet (it will be approx. 36"-40" by 6'-7').

I want to have a Bluestar range (probably 30" or 36") instead of separate oven and cooktop. I want to put the range on an exterior wall, and add a powerful vent hood above. Both husband and I really like doing stir-fries, so I am sure we will appreciate Bluestar's 22K BTU burners. We like grilled food too, and don't have an outdoor grill, so we are also considering the Bluestar 36" range with a grill in the middle. However, from what I read, the grill would require a beefier ventilation and make up air system that might cost an arm and a leg. Husband is also concerned about the flame when the grill is in use.

I'd like to have a hutch or buffet for storing large items like serving plates. I want to have fewer built-in cabinets, and more freestanding pieces, if that makes sense.

I also want to have no upper cabinets. I don't mind having some open shelves. Husband understands why I dislike uppers, but thinks it might be a mistake not to have any. My argument is, we can always add shelves or uppers if we regret later.

So below is what I came up with. The dimensions are not exact, but very close, and I forgot to add a pantry and a microwave drawer... Anyway, would you please take a look? Your inputs will be highly appreciated. I am sure there is lots of room for improvement. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:53PM
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liriodendron

Merci!

That works perfectly! FYI, I think the max horizontal pixel size is 500, but it may be less. Yours are 550, but reducing them might make them unreadable.

I will go back up and read what you wrote. Looks interesting and a six-level house is certainly intriguing.

L.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:14AM
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benjesbride

Ha! I had to laugh because my husband and I decided we're better off if there's just one of us in a kitchen.

I'd recommend consulting a structural engineer before getting in too deep with the floor plan. We consulted a structural engineer about two weeks ago. Our kitchen wall used to be an exterior wall. Moving or removing the wall was cost prohibitive. Even if we did change the wall, it is load bearing and would require a beam that would be in a weird looking spot.

If that wall is removed, will your kitchen have 8' ceiling to the stove and then vault upward? That might look odd.

Is the F area a breakfast nook? Do you want two eating areas?

Functionally, do you bring your groceries in from the backyard door or the opening next to the Hutch?

What an exciting project ahead for you!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:16AM
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liriodendron

In no particular order my first thoughts:

1) Fireplace should be in a place where you want to draw up seating and sit around. Fireplaces are extremely strong people magnets, and where you have yours placed now is not a good place to sit because of the doorway traffic. A fireplace that is just parked somewhere arbitrary w/o seating makes a design feel out of balance to me. Fireplaces (and woodstoves) messy. I have one in my current kitchen and since it can't be moved, I;m moving the kitchen to get away from it. (This house is a wood-heated one, so I can't do without that hearth, it formerly was where the wood-fired cookstove was.) Maybe there's another place in your larger plans that would be better for the FP. You could capture that space for floor-to-ceiling pantry (eliminating some upper-cab needs.)

2) ++++ on getting a range vs cooktop and ovens. Though I can see a second wall oven, not necessarily near the range if you want another oven and do baking which doesn't generate any HOGS that need to be vented. I couldn't work in a kitchen with the ovens separated from the cooktop because I do a lot of cooking that uses both for the same item. Plus when I use my broiler, it makes odors and some smoke, which need venting.

3) Wouldn't get a grill. I have one, big PITA to clean, and have used it only a few times in 20-years of having it. Long ago disconnected the gas lines and installed a slab of granite on the range over where it used to be. If we want grilled stuff, we cook it outside (and over wood) rather stinky gas indoors.

4) I think your island is too long. It would be barrier to delivering food to the table, and tight clearances at refrigerator end between it's lower right corner and whater vestiges of wall/corner support remains.

5) +++ for having working island not the ubiquitous birds-on-a-wire island seating five feet from your table.

6) Wouldn't have your DW by itself across the aisle from the sink. I'd have the clean-up sink there with the DW. And prep sink near the stove, if you want one.

7) make sure your fridge door will open against the wall (many won't).

8) you can run counters across a lower windsill, or even cabs with a window well cut-out of the counter, though sometimes people find that is a pain.

9) I would try to figure out some close-in perch place for the no-cooking adult to hang out with the cook during prep. Nothing says adult-oriented luxury to me as much as a great upholstered easy chair, or two, or small sofa in the kitchen. Maybe over by the windows as long as your climate doesn't make that too cold during the winter? Only concern with that is that it is pretty far away from the cook's primary orbit for easy conversation.

Animals need feeding. I'll noodle some more on general layout, which I haven't really thought about, just details on your plans.

L.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:40AM
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ILoveCookie

benjesbride, liriodendron, thank you very much for your comments!

We've talked to a KD about our desire to remove some walls. We gave her a copy of the blueprint so she can consult her own architect. We like posts and beams, and don't mind adding some when needed. The cost will be a concern.

I can get food in and out of the existing 35" fridge (next to wall G) without problem. The right door does touch wall G when wide open. If I want to take a drawer out, I'd need to slide the entire fridge out, which is fine because I rarely need to remove a drawer. :)

I forgot to mention that the fireplace will be gas. We do have an existing 30-year old wood-burning manufactured fireplace in the living room (4th level). But it's not usable because it was not installed properly, and it's not cost-effective to repair due to the age, and the manufacturer no longer exists. We could replace the entire thing, but we shouldn't, because there is a grand piano next to this existing fireplace -- there is no where else to place this piano, physically speaking -- and we don't want to risk ruining it by the heat from the fireplace. I desperately want a gas fireplace, and thought kitchen is a logical place to add one because we are in the kitchen most of the time when we are home.

Here is my response to the questions.

[ If that wall is removed, will your kitchen have 8' ceiling to the stove and then vault upward? That might look odd. ]

You are exactly right. Husband and I thought it might look odd too. We don't have a good idea on how to work around it.

[ Is the F area a breakfast nook? Do you want two eating areas? ]

We want only one eating area. We temporarily have a small breakfast table in the F area, to enjoy the view and the sunlight. We plan to retire this table once the remodel is complete. We will probably put a rocking chair and another comfortable chair in the F area, if it hasn't been re-purposed during the remodel.

[ Functionally, do you bring your groceries in from the backyard door or the opening next to the Hutch? ]

The backyard door is only good for accessing the backyard, due to the hilly nature of this property. So everything has to come into the kitchen through the opening next to the Hutch.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 9:12

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:45AM
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benjesbride

Id try to work with that exterior wall; the ceiling and structural stuff would be a deal breaker for me. If you plan in having kiddos, that enclosed porch area with backyard access will be a perfect play room, especially if you can see in there from the kitchen prep area. (in the meantime it could be an office, hobby room, etc.)

I suspect it would not be a huge project to raise up the sunken living room area. Maybe with all floors level, the dining room could move to the breakfast nook and your kitchen could be parallel on the old exterior wall (so you look beyond the island and the living/dining out to the view.

Do you read the "style by emily henderson" blog? She recently bought a house that is something like six levels on a hillside. I'm wondering if your homes are similar style. You might check it out for inspiration.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:25PM
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