Help with kitchen plans

lesleypFebruary 25, 2011

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of renovating a little (1250 sq.ft.) 1960's ranch house. Here is the floorplan I am considering (although this is subject to change since the interior walls aren't up yet!)The garage is on the north side of the house (cut off in the picture) and the planned garage door will lead to a small landing. From there you can either come into the laundry area or go downstairs to the daylight basement:

I would love your input on how I have designed the kitchen and foyer/mudroom. I would like to have a shoe-free home, so having a mudroom that can be accessed from either the garage or the front door is important to me. (We get 75+ inches of rain a year here!) The pictures show a bench behind the front door and a free standing coat closet (the big white box) but they are optional. I was just trying to get a sense of how much storage I might be able to cram into the entry area!

Option 1: Full wall between kitchen and entry area (looking West now)

Notice the green wall at the back of the kitchen

Option 2: Partial wall with entry flowing into kitchen area

Partial green wall

I am also trying to figure out the best cabinet configuration, so the perspective pix show different approaches. This home is just for me and my SO, no kids (unless you count the cat!) I love to cook so having ample counter and storage space is important to me. But because this is an older ranch, it doesn't have soaring ceilings -- just 9ft at the ridge beam, sloping down to 8ft at the sidewalls. So, I don't want to overwhelm the space with cabinets.

What do you think? What do you like? Dislike?

Thanks in advance for your feedback and suggestions!

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I like the full wall. It seems more balanced, with the green on both sides of the peak, especially at the top.

Lesley- I posted some ideas on the 'island' thread, so let me know what you think :)

Best of luck with your remodel!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 2:51PM
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I like the full wall also. One of the things I like is that you have, in your mockup, a cabinet on both sides of the ref, so the ref door wouldn't be opening into the entry, as it would in your 2nd layout.

I think it's good planning to make sure you have space for an entry closet and mudroom. (We are also a shoe-off home, and our mudroom is a very well used space!)

I'm hoping some of the layout gurus comment on your kitchen layout. If you could post a scale layout (not 3D but an overhead view of the floor plan), with all the measurements incl. walls, windows, distance window to corner, etc., that would help the gurus help you.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Um, do you have many guests?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:59PM
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[Sorry - didn't realize you brought the discussion over here, so I am copying the note I wrote to you on the other thread]

lesleyp -- I wanted to respond because your space is very similar to my space (with some slight variations). (I will post a formal plan soon for the GW jury to evaluate -- we spent months going back and forth between an island and a pensinula/U-shape layout.)
We have a similar plan in the works for an island with seating (actually, our island will be narrower towards the wall near the range, and will widen where space allows for seating. We have open space where you have the tall pantry, so there won't be anything "behind" the seats.)

One thing you may not have considered is that the 2-level counter will require additional structure (such as a 3-4 inch bearing wall) to support the weight of the upper-level counter. Thus, your 12 inches proposed overhang (assuming 12 inches if it is a 3 ft wide island) may shrink down to around 9 inches, which may not be comfortable for seating (and may make folks tend to push their stools further out into the "traffic" path of the walkway.

Even considering the "hiding" possibilities on 2 levels, I would think that this space calls for a single level island for those reasons.

Another idea -- would you consider extending your island by 12 at the narrow end to get one additional seat. In that way, you could avoid any obstruction of the walkway/traffic lane when it's just one person at the island. (We're having seating for 3, two on the long side, and one at the end.)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:51PM
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Thanks for all the excellent feedback so far! GardenWeb rocks!

LavenderLass, thank you for your detailed comments and pix on the Island thread (see link below for a great discussion about single vs. bi-level islands). I agree that the arrival experience should be welcoming. I just can't figure out how to squeeze more space out of the entry without encroaching on the kitchen.

Unfortunately flipping the kitchen and the LR isn't really an option because there is a series of low windows on the South and West sides to capture the views and passive solar. Also, there is no direct entrance through the LR -- just a wrap around deck. This view is looking south:

As you can see above, I actually had the 2nd BR/office opening to the LR in my earlier plans. However, I moved away from that idea because I was concerned with having no wall space in the LR to place furniture against. (Laying out furniture seems even harder than laying out the plans!)

Chicagoans, thanks for suggesting I show all the cabinet measurements. Here they are, with a single level island, since that seems to be the consensus so far:

Marcolo, the front door is planned for the NE corner, hopefully it is better marked on the new picture. I don't actually have many guests so that is why a grand foyer isn't very important to me. (Then again, if my house weren't gutted perhaps I wouldn't be so embarrassed to have people over!) Here is the *original* house floorplan -- I am trying to move the front door so I don't have so much space lost to hallway. Plus the current entry is just 4' wide, so it is very awkward to greet guests:

JGS, thanks for your input -- I look forward to seeing your pix. I'm not entirely sure about extending the island. If I understand what you mean, I think it would interrupt the flow to the deck (see the doorway in the first picture above). Also, there is a 4"x6" post that holds up the ridge beam so that is another obstruction.

Please keep the comments coming -- they are so helpful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Great thread on kitchen islands

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:17PM
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Based on all the feedback from the island thread, here's a new picture:

There is a fourth barstool on the side next to the stove in case I have a big crowd. (There is a load bearing pillar on the opposite short side, so I can't add seating there.)

Thoughts? Ideas? Critiques?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 4:10AM
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Lesley- I think you've squeezed a lot of living area into this small floor plan...and if you never plan to sell, it might work really well for you.

I have a few mentioned a daylight basement. What kind of living space is down there? Is there a family room and space for more bedrooms, even a bath? Also, this may seem like an odd question, but do you have stairs that are enclosed...or do you have to go outside to access them? I see in the original plan, they're near the hallway.

Working within the constraints of your current plan, I would recommend the following changes. You lose a bedroom, but you gain a much better entry way and a small dining area. I think both of these are going to be VERY important, if you ever plan to sell your home...even 30 years from now...and again, this is just one idea :)

I would move the entry and make it a combination entry/small office...concealed behind nice built ins and almost looking like a buffet area. This would give you a nice work area and views through the kitchen and accessing those windows. I moved the hall bath over and also the door to the other bedroom...and added a small linen closet. If possible, it might be nice to switch the master bath/closet, so your bathroom hook-ups are back to back...usually saves you a few dollars.

There are now openings opposite the front door, into the hallway...and a large opening into the kitchen/dining/living area. There is also a view into the kitchen, from the entry (like Leela's kitchen...see below) but you're not walking through the kitchen.

I moved your woodstove to the back wall of the linen closet, making way for a nice little dining area. There's still plenty of room for TV, etc. and the woodstove should still be far enough from the as not to be too hot.

The kitchen now accesses the laundry room, but I took out the door to the front. You could move the door to the garage over, across from the kitchen entry, or leave it as is. This would give you the entire wall for cubbies or a bench (if you want a window there) and still have the closet for coats, etc.

There's also space for a closet in the new entryway, next to the desk/office area. Here's a quick sketch, with pictures of Leela's kitchen. You don't have to have the stools, but I like the way you can see into the kitchen and that counter would make an excellent message center/mail drop. I hope this gives you some more ideas! :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Sorry about that -- I didn't notice the pillar (or the doorway). You're right, another stool won't work there. I like the new picture with the single level island, but I will make one other suggestion.

You might want to have some additional space (beyond the 42" minimum) on the side with seating. I know that I may be scolded by some kitchen planning purists, but you could steal 3 inches from the dishwasher aisle to add to the walkway behind the stools, to provide that additional room. (Thus, 39" on the DW aisle, 45" on the stool side.) We are living with a similar layout now (for the past 9 years) and our clearance on the DW side is only 36 inches. It's only pinched when the DW door is down, but otherwise workable. I realize that "at least" 42" is the guideline, but you can make do with less. The final decision has to be based on what your space will allow.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Lesley- I thought the tall pantry was still by the fridge, which works better for opening up the wall (if you like the idea) to the new entry.

Another thing, if you do move the entry, the width of your aisle, behind the stools, is not such a big concern. It would no longer be the major traffic pattern, through the house.

Also, the table is more of a bistro table with chairs...just some place where you can visit with friends, without the 'diner' feel. Stools at the island are great, but it's hard for the person in the middle to talk to others, without feeling like they're in a tennis game. Much easier to talk around a table :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:42AM
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Sorry for the radio silence this past week or so. I had a bit of a crisis to deal with but now the dust has finally settled. (phew!)

Lavender_lass, thank you so much for taking the time to make a drawing. I can't see your sketch now, but I saw it when you first posted. I like a bunch of your ideas, but unfortunately some of the new plan is already in place (like the wood stove and the stairwell) so I don't have complete flexibility.

You brought up several very good questions:
- the stairwell to the basement is enclosed, I just ran out of steam when putting the drawing together in SketchUp
- the daylight basement does have space for a family room, spare bedroom and bath. However the ceiling height downstairs is only 7'2" which is just barely over the code minimum. So, I tend to think of this as space for visiting guests more so than for everyday use

I definitely don't want to do anything that will harm the resale value of the house, so I appreciate the feedback!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 2:22AM
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Lesley- Sorry, I had a message from photobucket that I had too many pictures! If you like, I can always repost them :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Hi Lavender_Lass, I would very much like to see your drawing again! I have reworked my plan using a bunch of your suggestions. I moved over to the Small House forum, since I am dealing with much more than just the kitchen.

I hope you and others will come take a look and let me know what you think of the revised, "less is more" plan.

Here is a link that might be useful: Small House thread with the newest plan

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 5:17AM
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