Rebuilding after Tornado- Feedback on Kitchen Plan?

IWillNotFearTheStormFebruary 10, 2014

Hi, we lost our home in a tornado in November and are doing a complete rebuild. Most of our floor plan will be the same as before, except for moving the laundry upstairs and enclosing some unused porch space. The home building forum sent me over here to get some of your expert input and advice on our kitchen layout (you guys come HIGHLY recommended! :)). The kitchen is similar to how it was before, but the island is turned 90 degrees (we used to have a smaller, shorter island with 2 seats with their backs toward the eating area) and the microwave is in a cabinet by the pantry. (It was over the range, then broke, and we put the new one on the countertop to open the area over the range. I'm tall, hubby's short, and we both cook. I liked the extra openness but hated the microwave taking up counter space). I'm wondering if we could somehow fit 4 seats around the island? Also, we're thinking about moving the microwave to an over-the-range model so it's closer to our main workspaces and so we won't have to deal with fitting the cabinet if we need to replace it at some point. What should I be thinking about to decide microwave placement? If we moved it back over the stove, we'd likely extend the pantry to fill in that space. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the kitchen in general, as well as specifics on the island and microwave. We were not planning on building, so we're coming at this with LOTS to learn! Thanks so much for your help!

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I'm useless as far as design is concerned, but wanted to tell you you're in very good hands with the members here.

I had a fire. Cannot IMAGINE a tornado. I hope everyone came through unscathed.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 3:44PM
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We were all okay, and even found our dog alive and healthy. It's going to be a long road, but we're looking forward to getting HOME!

This post was edited by IWillNotFearTheStorm on Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 17:12

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Its hard to read your layout even when clicking on it. Can you post a close up?

I would find a spot in the lower part of the upper cabinet for the mw or put on open shelving. Another option is a drawer mw, possibly in the island.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Welcome "Stormy" - so sorry to hear that you lost your home, but glad to know that your family remained intact and even your dog was okay. I also hope that some of your family treasures (photos and the like) were able to be rescued.

You'll find a tremendous amount of help here...I'm sure that your head is spinning with all the things you will be going through with a build.

When is your build getting started? If it's possible, post a close up of the kitchen area so that we can see more of what's going on with dimensions, placements, and so on. Also, it would be helpful to know how much CAN change (door/window locations, etc.).

You'll find that the majority of us aren't fans of an OTR (over the range) microwave and are likely to steer you away from that. We are big fans of drawers and making a well functioning kitchen. :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:40PM
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I'm so glad for you.
We lost 3 of our kitties and our Golden Retriever. It's been several years and I'm still not over that.

These guys are great, like I said, so prepare for more info than you ever expected goes into a kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:10PM
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Is this better? If not, I can try scanning it in. I'm hoping Photoshop did the trick. Thanks, you guys!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:37PM
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I think the layout is fine; but I don't think you'll fit 4 seats around the island without things getting really cramped--walkway-wise. Also, will your fridge have water in it? If not, you may want to prioritize that so that your children won't have to walk past/thru the range/work zone to get from MW/pantry to sink for water with their snack.

I'm sure others will have some good suggestions for you too.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:18PM
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How big is your island? How often do you use ;your microwave.
Why two pantries?

An OTR microwave doesn't give you the venting that is required if you do a lot of cooking.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:53AM
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I am so sorry for what you went through, but so glad that everyone, including the dog, was OK. I am also not a kitchen designer as far as layout advice, but I would like to repeat what a few have said and suggest that you get all, or mostly all drawers (will full extensions) for the lower cabinets. I would also recommend a "Frameless" or European style cabinet, so that you can maximize storage space. My whole set of pots and pans fits in one large pull-out drawer, and 2 sets of dishes in another one because frameless are deep enough and does not have those stiles hitting the tops of drawer contents and limiting what you can put in them. Good luck

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 2:41AM
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I'm sorry that you lost your home in the tornado.

What are the dimensions of the island? Here you can find valuable info re island seating, aisles, etc. So, since NKBA recommends 24" wide15" deep overhang for each seater at counter height, if the island can be 87" wide, 3 can sit on the long side and 1 on the short. Seems like you'd have traffic behind the seaters, for that NKBA recommended aisle is 65" from the edge of the counter to the pantry.

Can you swap the range and sink? That way long side of the island will be across the range, and 2 can prep at the same time. You may also consider adding another sink on the island. On the other wall, It can be the fridge, DW, and the sink.

In addition to debrak"s suggestions, MW can go to the pantry cab next to the fridge with a rollout shelf under it for landing. This is itsgraniteforus"s arrangment in this post.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 3:36AM
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I like the pull-out below the MW. I am so new at this, I don't even know what's available! We use the MW a lot- melting butter for cooking, heating leftovers for lunch, making hot chocolate, etc., so all times of the day. I'd like to have it in easy reach when I'm cooking. Would it look weird to have it in a cabinet in the main kitchen area? I've seen some people have them in their islands... is it too low, or is it pretty comfortable to use? I really appreciate the input on types of shelves, island sizes, etc. Our old island was about 48" wide (I'm guessing based on the width of the bench we still have). The reason for 2 pantries is that's what was in the house when we bought it. :) We used the one by the fridge for boxed goods, canned goods, etc. The longer closet one held small appliances, placemats, tablecloths (Okay, one tablecloth. We are not fancy people. And the placemats were plastic ones for the kids :)), cake containers, and our stand mixer. We liked having lots of storage in there so figured we'd do it again, but we're not necessarily tied to that layout. They're taking out the foundation and starting from scratch, so we have a blank slate. I do like the sink on the back wall so I can keep an eye on the kids when they're in the back yard. For those of you with drawers, how many deep and how many shallow do you have? I'd love to put my pots and plastic storage stuff in drawers, and I guess for plastic wrap and foil. What else do you use them for? Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 10:51AM
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I don't get where people think frameless cabinets have "maximized space."

I have all drawer cabinets and wouldn't trade them.
I can tell you, though, that my 4-drawer cabinets have 3 shallower drawers that are pretty (stupid) useless. Can't fit a lot in them. My 3-drawer cabinets have deeper drawers and I love them.

I have drawer cabinets from 12" wide (again, pretty useless) to 36" wide (wonderful!) I have 3" deep drawers (hello..? to put what in 2.5" space?) to drawers that are 15" deep. Love them and so do my pots, pans, plasticware, and anything dead bodies I need to hide. Oops. TMI.

My microwave is in a base cabinet and I now wish I had gone with a GE space saver that fits in a cabinet over a counter. Not an OTR, but in the cabinet over where I prep if I actually cook. I probably will retrofit that in the future. I hate bending over and I'm only 5'2". The drawer under that is 12" deep and great, so another 12" drawer retrofitted into the former microwave area will be a bonus.

Love my drawers.
What's in them? Glad you asked ....
Pots & Pans
Baking dishes (I don't have the cool stand-up slots, but like them)
Junk drawer (ok, 3 of those right now)
An entire set of china
Tools for building cabinets or stripping them.
Silverware (of course)
12" hold hot pads & mitts
Giant utensils like ladles, grillware, etc.
Folded up, small paper bags
Canisters (with the labels on the tops so I can look down and see them)
Spices (same labeling)
Bulk crap such as rice, flour, sugar, etc.

My 15" deep x 30" wide drawer I built for under my farm sink holds every cleaning supply and DW soap, etc., I have. LOVE it.

Ok, you get the idea.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 11:34AM
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I have all my dishes and casseroles in drawers. Pots, pans, and plastic containers. I have one 3 drawer stack I call my baking area. Besides, foil and plastic wrap it has my flour, sugars, baking accessories, etc. Its the cab to the left of the dw. Kitchen was not finished and a bit messy for the photo.

I have all 3 drawer stacks. Only cabinets not drawers are sink base, 9" flat pan cab, and an easy reach corner.

I have a GE spacesaver that sits on the bottom open shelf in pic. Had we put a wall cabinet there we would have gotten the kind with the mw area at the bottom and doors above.

The mw would not look weird at all in a cabinet in the main kitchen area. Thats where you use it! We also you are mw constantly. I wanted it to have its own area so it is over the dw on the left side of the sink. I did not want it between the sink and the range as that is main prep area.

Here is a pic but the mw is not in place yet.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:54PM
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I use my microwave frequently as well. It is a Sharp drawer model, which accomodates my 5'2" height and my DH's 6'2" perfectly. I'll post a link to them on Amazon below.
They are pricey, but I love it and have had no problems with it. I would not trade it for any other model. Current reviews are mixed on Amazon. If you are interested, you might want to research them in this forum and in the appliances forum.
Here is a photo of our installation: the MW is at the far end of the island and a small prep sink is beside it. There is room for a single large drawer under the MW.

The second pic shows the open MW drawer. On this side of the MW, the under-sink drawer is open to show where I store the lids to cover dishes heating in the MW.

I would urge you to try to include a prep sink in your island, by the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drawer microwave on Amazon

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Okay, you've got me excited about the drawers! (Even a drawer microwave? Who knew?!) So, thinking about flooring... we had ceramic tile before, which was nice to look at but cold to stand on. The kitchen is open to an informal dining area, which opens to a dining room turned playroom off to the side. All these will be hardwood. The informal dining is between the kitchen and living room (all open), and the living room will have carpet (DH's request). The mudroom/bathroom area off the kitchen will be some kind of tile. We're talking about doing hardwood in the kitchen, but is that a bad idea? We generally have more liquid on the floor in the informal dining area due to spilled drinks than we do in the kitchen, but I know some people say wood in the kitchen is high maintenance. If we did decide on tile instead of hardwood in the kitchen, would that look okay to have the LR with carpet, then the informal dining/playroom hardwood, then the kitchen tile? You can see all these areas from anywhere in the room. Thanks again for sharing your experience and expertise!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 1:59PM
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I was all set on ceramic tile in my kitchen but a whole lot of people here talked me into hardwood. Love it. Easy to stand on. Easy to care for. Will it look perfect? No.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:13PM
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We're thinking we'll go for distressed look anyway, so "not perfect" sounds perfect! DH is very ... fastidious about the condition of the house, and with 2 kids, it stresses me out. I'm hoping if we go with high-durability, low-maintenance, and embrace the distressed look, he can relax a little. I think what I really want is a beach house in Illinois. :)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:20PM
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There are many, many threads on GW about drawers. Here's a link to one with helpful information & links to other threads about drawers. Thanks to GW, I went with almost all drawers in my lower cabinets. It's more expensive but so worth it.
I had hardwood for 17 years in my old kitchen & stayed with hardwood for this one. I don't find it to be high maintenance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Everything I wanted to know about drawers

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:02PM
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I think you'll be VERY glad about your drawers. When I first started our remodel journey, I thought that I would get the typical "door and then a pull out" in most of our cabinets. In our previous home, we had a few pull outs, which I enjoyed having. But, much more sense.

And, yes, while drawers ARE more expensive than just doing regular base cabinets, if you're planning on putting rollouts in them anyway, your cost is right back there. It was funny when I was talking with cabinet makers - everyone kept pointing to the number of drawers that was bringing the cost up, and we "could save so much if you just go with standard base cabinets". When asked about the cost to then put rollouts in, they agreed that the cost was going to be about the same. But, be prepared, if talking costs, you will be told that it's going to cost more.

This will be the first that we've had hardwood in a kitchen, so I don't know how it will be overall. I do plan on an area rug to help with any splatters/spills.

We didn't want to do a built in MW (and we aren't heavy MW users, so I wanted to conceal it and we went with a barrister style door) - I've attached a picture of where our MW will go...forgive the mid-construction mess in the cabinet. Also went with the idea of having a roll out shelf to have an easy place to stir anything that's being MWed and then we have a shelf above that will hold the splatter shield that I use. DH wanted the MW container area to be big so that we could get the biggest MW (to him, bigger is always me, I would have been find with a smaller MW area!)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Thanks so much, you guys! The pictures are helpful and inspiring. Some day I'll have "after" photos, too! :) Re: the island, it's longer and narrower than it was in the old house, and I'm wondering if I could increase seating from the 2 before to 4. If I widened it by 8 inches, it would be 44" wide, I think, by 72" long. Is that enough space to comfortably fit 4 seats, either 2 to a side or 1 on one side and 3 on the other? And if I shrink that aisle to 48", will it be too crowded? That closet/pantry was where we kept small appliances and extra/big/overflow items, so it wasn't like we were running over there during every meal prep. I'm not sure how much that'll change if we keep the MW by the pantry, maybe more use of that aisle, but then it seems like we would actually prefer fewer steps to the MW? Thanks for letting me think out loud. This whole thing is making me feel scatterbrained, and I'm sure it'll get worse before it gets better! :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:20AM
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Not sure I follow what you are trying to do with the island. You need 24" space per person and 15" overhand at counter height.

Can you draw a diagram? Just use graph paper if needed.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:01AM
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You can have 3+1 seating with a 72x44 island, 2+2 can be tight on the 44 side, but in either way you'll have stools in front of the pantry.It's not just pantry or MW use, I think you should also consider the garage entry and the 1/2 bath behind the pantry wall. Maybe you can make it work, if bath and mudroom can be resized and pantry made a little shallower. I believe you already plan to move the MW closer to the range..

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:45AM
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