Powder room between dining room and kitchen?

lavender_lassOctober 10, 2011

If you had room for a walk-in pantry or powder room, between your kitchen and dining room, which would you choose. There is space for a pantry and bath, on the other side of the kitchen, but you'd have to walk through the kitchen to reach them. I've seen this in floor plans (usually of older style homes) but I guess I'm wondering if the convenience for guests of the powder room, outweighs potential problems.

Does anyone have a powder room, between their dining room and kitchen? Do you like it, or wish you had a walk in pantry, instead? Thanks in advance :)

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When I took possession of my 95 year old home, the powder room door was inside the kitchen, which was totally unacceptable to me.

While renovating, we moved the powder room entrance, into a closet which you enter from the dining room. Essentially, that space might have been a butler's pantry at one time, I have no idea. Possibly, it was where the original back door to the house was? Anyone's guess. The powder room was definitely added later, that much we know.

Anyway, I thought entering the powder room through one door off the dining room, into a small "room" (i.e. the pantry area which I now use as a coat closet since there is no other closet on the 1st floor) and then, into the powder room was far better to enter it directly in the kitchen.

There was also another "door" boarded up IN the dining room too - which may have been the original door to the powder room (actually I'd place money on it) but that certainly wasn't a good choice) (we took off the door and are making that into a shelved area now).

If you're considering giving up a powder room for the sake of a pantry - I can't tell you how happy I am to have saved it. We nearly discarded it, thinking we could live with the one large bathroom upstairs but after living here a year and having contractors and other visitors traipse through my home frequently the thought of having them go upstairs into my private space would really have bothered me. Let alone the convenience of another toilet in the house. The room is small - we *just* managed to squeeze in the toilet and sink near each other (it's a petite pedestal sink) but once inside, it feels roomy enough.

We also haven't found that having it off the dining room to be too much of an issue. Most people don't tend to use it in the middle of dinner for one thing. And, we did very good insulation in the walls to help sound-proof (and good ventilation fan helps muffle sounds too).

Maybe, you have enough space to do both? There are some very small corner sinks that hang off the wall, which take up barely any room real estate. Perhaps having a tiny powder room and a small pantry would be somewhat of a compromise?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Personally, I would opt for the pantry--I have one and it is great for extra storage! There is a closet off my hall next to the kitchen, and the previous owners put a toilet in it for use without having to go upstairs or down to the half in the basement. No door, just a shower curtain. :(

My first task after removing the hall carpet, was to remove that toilet--I just don't think having it next to the entrance to my kitchen was a good idea. I am much happier with a closet alcove than a toilet in my downstairs hall.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 4:40PM
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Thank you for the responses!

I can see some good points...so I'm thinking about having a smaller, walk through pantry (part food, part dishes) between the dining room and kitchen. Where the powder room area would be, I may open it up from the other side (add a few feet where the closet is) and make the entrance to the bathroom there, instead.

It would be a few more steps to get there, but there would be much more privacy. Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Pretty much all the houses around here (1915-1930 or so) have a tiny bathroom which you must enter through the kitchen. Before making them into first floor bathrooms, they were pantries. Prior owner made our "pantry" half the size, so the bathroom is even tinier, but it added room to the kitchen. My next door neighbor's house has the full pantry area, so his bathroom is large enough that his washer and dryer are in there too. Another neighbor had a bathroom in that space, but took it out and uses the space for his office.
Even though it wouldn't be how I would design a new house, I would definitely keep my pantry-turned-bathroom-space. I guess I'm just used to it being off the kitchen now.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:40AM
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In Massachusetts, a lot of the older houses have a powder room with door that opens from the kitchen. I have seen at least 4 personally, including the house that I bought.

I think that what usually happens in this part of the country is there was a butler's pantry or other walk-in pantry off the kitchen, and only one bath upstairs, so to add a powder room, people convert the kitchen pantry into the powder room.

For my own house, it was clearly the butler's pantry running between the kitchen and dining room, and the previous owner "cut" it into two with a wall, and had the powder room door open into the kitchen and turned the other half into a closet off the dining room.

I'm currently renovating the kitchen, and there was so much negative feedback about having the powder room door into the kitchen (from my spouse and in-laws, who are from another part of the country), that we're walling up the door on the kitchen side, and opening the powder room space to the current closet side (with door off the other room--now the family room instead of the dining room).

-- Lee

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:01PM
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the powder room door was inside the kitchen

I guess the po's rejected the rule, "You don't eat where you sh**!"

I once bought a house like that too. The whole room along with the rest of the first floor and homemade addition went immediately to a landfill.

Spacesaving w.c.s and sinks--even combined units--make it feasible to squeeze a powder room into very small spaces.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:53PM
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I read alot of old house plans from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In even the tiniest houses, ones taht have a mere 4 rooms (2 on each floor) there is invariably a pantry off the kitchen.

Something to keep in mind is that the era in which these houses were built was a time without kitchen cabinets. In some cases the home owner could afford a "Hoosier" type cabinet, but even those werent really popular or affordable to most until the 1920's.

Since the 1970's folks have been retrofitting their original pantries into half-baths within the kitchen. To me thats just wierd. In my house the POs form the 50s tore out the back stairs and fitted in a half bath, which I just re-did. I dont know if this house ever had a pantry, but at least the half bath entrance is off the main hallway in the house, rather than the kitchen.

In some cases you can open a wall and put in a door so that you can enter the half bath from a location other than the kitchen. Most of the old house plans I read show the pantry on outside walls, so thats probably not an option in alot of homes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Half-bath redo

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 10:26AM
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I am starting a renovation of my pantry-bathroom, which was probably put in 50 years ago. I would definitely relocate the door if that was possible. I would never design a house this way, but my family needs a second bathroom more that we need a pantry.

Old house Jim - you bath is gorgeous! That's the toilet and sink I am looking for. Are they part of American Standard's "Standard Collection"?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 1:26PM
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the sink is AS, Standard, yes, I LOVE It, but its HUGE ... if you have a shorter family, get a step stool. Its special order. The toilet, however, is by Jacuzzi. We got that at Lowes. The shapes are identical, but the white color is very different. (read the blog for the whole horror story about the toilet and sink)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 3:18PM
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Jim I just read your story and looked at your pictures. I LOVE what you did. Looks GREAT.

I am awaiting an inspection... and may end up with an 1919 year built house.

The previous owners put a toilet in the closet, without changing anything else. I hope to turn the toilet, take out the linen closet wall, and putting a wall behind the toilet to still have a tiny closet after all that.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Moni (new to this forum)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 8:48AM
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I used to live in a neighborhood with a lot of 1920s bungalows. The standard layout had the living room then the dining room then a butlers pantry/breakfast non, then the kitchen. Most of these houses had one bath originally. So many of the over time ended up with a half bath going in where the breakfast nook was. I could understand the utility of it, but it allays seemed a little strange.

In a very large Spanish-style bungalow we once owned, a hall closet was converted to a half bath. It backed up to the butler's pantry but opened onto the central hall. It was a WONDERFUL use of the space, as there was enough storage elsewhere in that house.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Thanks for the kind words, Moni.

For all I share this tale:

In my previous old house there was no first floor bathroom, and we had an aging parent living with us. We decided to use a closet in the kitchen for a half bath. Sure, it was out of the main food prep area, but it still bugged me that there was a windowless room in the kitchen with a toilet in it (oh, we also carved out space in there for a stack W&D and possibly the tiniest sink, EVER).

When we put that house up for sale (we had finished the restoration and I was bored) about 95% of the potential buyers remarked negatively about the position of the bath in the kitchen. Our options, including time, were severely limited, but we could have thought just a little more carefully about how to enter the half-bath, and flipped the door to it so you enter from the foyer, which was where the back wall of the kitchen closet was. I guess we just didnt think about that.

My message is this: rather than do it fast and use whats already there, think carefully about adding a bath in a kitchen. In our case if we had been less anxious to get it done we could have been better able to sell the house faster and for a higher price.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Well our original full bath opens from the dining room! I hate that. I have debated about how to change it but the only option besides the kitchen is moving the door to the bath to inside the adjacent bedroom. Our dining room is so pretty, but then you look right into the bathroom while sitting at the dining room table. NOT what I want.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Thank you for all the responses. You've given me a lot to think about. After much debating about this and other issues, we've decided to move the powder room back to the utility area (actually adding on a utility area) and I think that will work best. It sounds like having the bathroom further from the dining area, is best, if possible.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 1:30PM
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