French country kitchen plan

lavender_lassNovember 18, 2010

So, here is my kitchen plan, for my little farmhouse. Can you believe this is most of the 1904 building? Just another 8' to the right...and the dining area is the old porch, which we need to renovate and open up to the kitchen. I know my chairs and ottoman are a little too small and I probably need more room around the wood stove in the corner, but you hopefully get the idea :)

The dining room table is huge, but that's because I'm showing it fully extended, for big holiday get togethers. The work table may end up being an island, with a few stools (still debating about that).

I'm also including a few inspiration pictures, but I'd say it's (my idea) of a french country kitchen. What do you think? Any suggestions?

There's going to be a big panty (6' x 10') behind the hutch wall of the dining area, with the laundry and half bath on the other side of the fridge/sink wall.

The rest of the first floor (to the right) is front hall with stairs and the 1950's addition, with the living room (with fireplace) and a bedroom and full bath behind it.

This is a terrible sketch (I'm really not an artist LOL) but maybe it will show you how I want to fix up the front of my little farmhouse/cottage :)

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I'd suggest posting this on the Home Decorating will find loads of folks willing to offer ideas.

What are the dimensions of the kitchen/porch?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 4:59AM
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1 square = 1 foot, so the kitchen is 13' x 22' and the porch is 10' x 15'. The kitchen was originally a 13' x 12' living room and 13' x 10' kitchen/dining, with a non-load bearing wall taken down...or at least that's the plan.

It's a really small house (the stair hall is 8' x 22') which used to be a bedroom and stairs) and the addition is 18' x 27'. There's a little bath bump out at the end of the stair hall that's got to be torn down and completely re-done. It's actually pulling away from the house.

I know many people hate to tear down walls in old houses, but this one started out life as a tiny little farmhouse, that could be heated with a woodstove in the living room and one in the kitchen...with a sleeping loft/attic over the top (the high peak on the drawing).

The house was so small, before the addition, that in the summers, they had to take the wood stove out of the living room, in order to use the front door. Then in the winter, they brought the stove back in and moved the couch in front of the door...which is where I'm putting the wood stove, in the plan :)

The old wood stoves backed up to a chimney in the middle of the room (where the wall is now) but that chimney was later blocked off and taken out, when the furnace was added, with the addition.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Lav, looks like you have a good start on a plan. Exciting! I know you've been thinking about it for a while. Some would say that a fridge should not be against a wall (so the door will completely open). It is something to think about. My fridge is actually against a wall and as long as you leave a couple inches for opening it should be fine. Otherwise you could put a tall skinny cabinet to the left of the fridge to store something (step stools are sometimes stored like that). Where will you enter with groceries etc.? Is there a back door? Think about coming in to unload groceries, do you have a logical "landing" place? And think about "traffic" through the room. It is looking good to me. You may want to post on the kitchen's forum too, there are some real layout experts over there. One thing that helped me (as much as it drove me nuts at the time!) is my DH kept asking me where things were "going to live?"... in other words, where I was going to store and use everything. It really helped with the plan and in the end everything did have a place!
Have fun planning!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 5:42PM
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Kim- Thanks for the suggestions! Actually, I have asked over on the kitchen forum and I have a revised plan. What do you think? I switched the fridge and the second oven/microwave and added a prep sink in the island. This way I have one area for cooking/baking and a separate clean up area. Also, I hardly ever use the microwave, but my husband loves to use it. Most of his "snacks" are in the big freezer, which will be right around the corner.

I do a lot of baking, so a second oven would be wonderful. I just can't decide if I want it raised or under the counter. While raised is very nice, I don't know if I want to lose the counter space, by the sink.

The front door is on the other side of the wood stove and the back door is behind the kitchen, opposite the laundry area. Since we live on a farm, we need a lot of pantry space. So, what do you think of the changes?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 8:41PM
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I like the second plan better BUT I'm not wild about that oven by the door. I can see it being open and someone coming around that corner cutting it sharp and tripping and burning themselves. I'd be incline to put closer to the stove under the counter or across from the stove.
Think about the heat that wood stove is going to put off and how it will affect your fridge. All that extra heat in the winter will make it work harder and increase your energy cost.
Also where are you going to lay firewood once you bring it inside? Your stove area has no space for or kindling or newspapers for starting fires.
As for the bathroom why not use a pocket door, save the space the door would take up and use it for storage.Flip the sink so it faces where the door is now and then where the sink is make storage. No house can ever have too much storage space!!!!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:03PM
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Well....some of the kitchen people are concerned about the fridge being too close to the woodstove, as you mentioned, Carol. So, I'm going to take all of your excellent advice and go back to plan 1. I'm not sure about the island, but I'll know more after I visit my friend's house. I want to see if I like the space between the island and perimeter counters. If it's too close, at least with a work table, I can move it over closer to the dining area, when more people are working in the kitchen. An extra 6" to 12" can make a lot of difference :)

Carol- Nice idea about the bathroom, but the main bath is on the other side of that wall, with the sink, toilet, and bathtub along that wall. No room to move the wall, so that's why the narrow half bath. However, it's much closer to the back door, so that's nice. A pocket door is an interesting idea. I'm already thinking about using one between the dining area and the laundry room. Maybe one that looks like a french door? What do you think? (To laundry, not bath LOL)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:32PM
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FWIW, I have my oven under the counter because I could not bear to give up counter space. It works for us just fine. The "cons" are that you do have to squat down to look into the window and (some people will say) as you age, lifting heavy things out of the oven might prove a challenge.

One other comment. As I recall, it is you and DH living in the house most of the time, with extended family, nieces and nephews visiting and sometimes helping out, right? Over on the kitchens forum, they are infatuated with prep sinks. I swear, I look at some of the kitchens posted and the prep sink is about two steps from the main sink. Our household is just the two of us, and we don't have a prep sink and I never seem to wish I had one. Maybe you don't miss what you've never had. If you find yourself needing to save on your budget, or if you really prefer the flexibility of a farm table, remember that a prep sink is not a necessity. Now, if you do see a functional need for a prep sink or you want one, I liked it closer to your fridge because fruits and vegetables come out of the fridge and go straight to the prep sink in that configuration.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 2:47PM
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Move the sink over closer to the toilet so it faces where the door is. Use the space where the sink is pictured in the bath as a closet or open storage.
No need to move walls just move objects!:)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 2:48PM
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Carol- The 1/2 bath is a little less than 4' wide. I don't think there would be room to move the sink :(

Kim- Yes, it is just me and DH, with lots of visitors (LOL). Since I'm moving the fridge back towards the pantry (because of the woodstove) I don't think I need the prep sink, either. It really doesn't work, with the fridge on the other side of the room. Plus, this way, I can still use a work table, over an island. I'm just not sure I could deal with 42" to 48" aisles. It might feel a little too cramped, especially when the kids come out to help. You can always move a work table over a few inches :)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Hi lavender.

I keep looking at your plan because your kitchen is so similar in size and shape to mine and it sounds like you use it the same way I do. We just have different decorating taste!

Anyway, I think that people on the kitchen forum are overly obsessed with counter space. With an island that big, I think you can get away with a raised oven, which I believe is more convenient, especially if you really bake a lot. You know you need to check on things regularly.

Are you installing a range or just a cooktop? I ask because I think it is important to have an oven close to the cooktop. I find that a lot of things I cook start off on the stove and finish in the oven, and I dont like to carry hot food across the kitchen. Ooops, that's right, you switched to plan 1 with the oven closer.

Anyway, love your kitchen plans. Don't be afraid to start over from scratch to see if you can find something better. I did that and ended up developing a much better plan!

You might want to try a table in that kitchen, instead of an island. Maybe that is just my anti-island bias, but I prefer the look and flexibility of tables over islands.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 12:46AM
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Josh- I'm back to the table, too. I tried out the 42" to 48" path...and it was too tight. I fit (LOL) but not the nieces, nephews, friends, etc. who like to help cook.

Not only is the work table more in keeping with my "look" but it can move over 6" when I need more space. It's also a better height for my little helpers.

We'll probably put a bar with barstools, in the basement rec room, so everyone will get their place to sit. Kids in the kitchen, husband and his friends in the man space :)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 12:42PM
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Ah... a French Country kitchen for you and a basement man-cave for him! tee-hee... makes me laugh, Lav!

If only my DH had a man-cave to retreat to, guess his lap-top and desk are his retreat!

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Thank Kim. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! :)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 2:16PM
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Hey, Lavender!
I can read the plan you posted here much better.
One comment about the pantry. I'd put a pair of bifold doors
on it, because a solid door opening INWARD would make it hard to access the stored items behind the open door, and then you'd not be able to come out holding a pressure cooker or roaster and stand beside the door to open it again. And having a solid door open OUTWARD is normal with closets etc, but I think would be in the way of traffic. I'm all for bifold or shutter doors for ventilation too.

Then, have you thought about moving the sink and the DW into the center island? I think you'd be happier with a view out the window, and still have room for your stools at the far side. you could then bring that oven away from the end of the cabinet run, so no injuries from getting burned.
Or, to open up the work triangle a little, moving the fridge to that side of the room would keep the room more accessible from the front door and the living room.

If your oven/microwave area is adjacent to your stove, you could have that in the corner and take your stove a little further down the wall, so the sink and stove would not be opposite one another, making it easier to have multiple cooks and prep going on.

Still like your social areas, with the chairs beside the vestibule and front door, and the table in front of your large window wall. Very friendly kitchen

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Hi Lavender,

I agree with moccasinlanding on the pantry doors, although I would actually put solid doors and not heat the pantry, so it will function like an English larder, a cool storage area where you can leave things that like cool, but not cold temperatures.

Are you planning to install a range? or a cooktop? I was looking at frigidaire 40 inch ranges for my kitchen, they have several nice options that would give you one large and one small oven, and then you could just do one wall oven at eye level. Sounds lovely to me. These are mostly electrics, which I think you said you want.

You may want to try a masonry fireplace instead of a stove. A mason could build you one and I think that a fireplace sounds like it might be more in tune with how you want to use the wood fire. I know you want to be able to warm up soup or heat a kettle, but you could just get a camp stove with propane for those items. I pull mine out whenever we have power cuts. Thank god we got a gas stove now!

I love your kitchen plan. My mother has a friend who always has an upholstered comfy chair in her kitchen, and it just feels so homey. I think that a roaring log fire with some comfy chairs would be so comfy on a cold day!


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 6:43PM
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Josh- A fireplace would be very nice, but I'm still leaning toward the little cobalt blue Jotul stove I saw at a woodstove shop. Very cute and the perfect blue...also has the little glass front, so you can see the flames...and just enough room for a teakettle on top. This little stove would never heat the whole house, but it should warm up the kitchen :)

I do have a beautiful big brick fireplace in the living room (across the entry from the kitchen). It's a rose colored brick and it's the focal point of the room. It has a door on one side (all old farmhouses have so many doors outside) but I'm thinking of replacing it with a window seat...with wood storage below. The other side is slightly narrower (about 3') so the perfect place for a bookcase.

Back in the kitchen, I think the fridge is going to have to go further away from the woodstove, but after seeing the new issue of BH&G Beautiful Kitchens, I'm still thinking about an island. While I love a big work table, some of these islands are beautiful! One has this little prep sink, with a goose nect faucet....this is why I'm glad I'm planning everything before I spend ANY money on remodeling! LOL

As for the pantry, I'm thinking about making an archway between the pantry and the laundry room. The idea of having it cooler is appealing, but it's on the west corner of the house...and we have hot summers.

I'm so glad to see you had a good memory of the upholstered chair in the kitchen. I've always thought a couple of "comfy" chairs are the perfect touch to a country style kitchen :)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 11:25AM
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