Does this Kitchen Plan Make Sense?

sbp725February 11, 2013

I have been lurking here for a few weeks and have been blown away by how much knowledge there is on this board, so I decided to introduce myself and my project.
My husband and I have purchased a 1929 bungalow-style home on a lake, and we are doing a whole-house rehab before moving in, including a small addition on the lake side of the house. As I'm sure many of you can relate, I am obsessing about the kitchen the most. I am posting our tentative kitchen plan here for feedback, as well as a follow-up comment that shows the proposed layout of the whole first floor, as drawn by our architect.

The rough plan here is from a designer who works for a cabinetry vendor we may use. As I look at the plan, I am a little worried that the kitchen is too small relative to the rest of the first floor and that perhaps the layout could be improved for better work flow.

Some information about me: my husband and I both cook a lot, often together. We have one young son, 18 months. We will probably have one more child. We also are part of a dinner club and like to entertain, so our kitchen can get crowded. Our current kitchen is about a 10x10 square, so we definitely want the new one to feel more spacious. We also have a fair amount of gadgets (stand mixer, food processors, etc.), so storage is a priority in our remodel, as well as the ability to accommodate at least two cooks.

The formal dining room and the living room are the only 2 rooms on the first floor that are remaining intact in the renovation, so location of walls as drawn is not set in stone. One caveat is that the righthand wall of the kitchen "U" probably needs to stay, since it is attached to an original built-in Craftsman hutch on the other side (dining room) that we don't want to disturb.

I am open to redrawing the whole kitchen if need be, to maximize space and utility. Any feedback or alternate ideas would be much appreciated! I feel like we are in over our heads.

This post was edited by sbp725 on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 16:28

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Here are the plans for the whole first floor. The drawing shows the built-in dining room hutch abutting the kitchen. The appliances in this drawing were just drawn in by our architect as place-holders for sizing purposes.

This post was edited by sbp725 on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 16:19

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:08PM
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just a question about the addition in relation to entry/exit and outdoor space, considering that is the side with view....what are the stairs going up in 2 segments to the entry door near the eatin nook??the only thing I can figure out is this is an elevation side of the property??
It would be nicer to have a french or patio door going out to deck but you may have constraints for now if you can't bring the grade up. Is that the issue? think long term though.....a later renovation? I'd probably tighten up the kitchen[bring sink side of U in a few feet] , and not expect seating at the island but instead add a few feet to eating nook and plan for a slightly bigger table as people will be migrating to that side of the space/not lining up at the island-okay to use island for laying out food however.Place the fridge on one of the sides of the U-people can access easier and they will be heading to it even tho you think you are serving everyone at all times what they is a traffic pattern-don't make it more difficult. I probably would have done an L with the island and omit the one side of the U altogether with the sink-you can get a lot on that L . And movement up and down from table is a little easier. but the U is okay if that's your choice. Have you ever had a lake or secondhome or vacation home? You are embarking very quickly after purchase on a project-anything on water with access is valuable property[depending on location of course] to really put the money down until you know more about your the house lives...what happens when large groups are there? etc...might be early to do this kind of work.I do understand the excitement,don't get me wrong.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:38PM
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herbflavor, thank you for your thoughtful comments. You are correct about the stairs and the elevation: the first floor of the house is about 4 feet off the ground, and we have to have our deck/patio less than 3 feet high due to city restrictions on what kind of structures you can have on a lake lot. So we're still trying to figure that part of it out.

I agree that it would be best to live in the house for a while before embarking on the renovation. However, that's not really an option. The house is currently a 2-flat that we're converting back to a single family home. It isn't a second home or vacation property, but rather will be our only residence. It's actually in an urban area (Madison, Wis.) and we now live just 3 blocks away, but we will be moving when work is complete.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:00PM
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oh that explains the "bungalow " on the Lake...Mendota or Monona? My grandparents lived on Castle Place at Giddings Park off Gorham St on the Isthmus.....I can picture it all now!![yes it's more city living...and happens to be on the lake.]

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:09PM
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herbflavor: it's on Monona, actually! Not far from Giddings Park, just on the other side of the Isthmus.

Re: the layout, I agree that the fridge should probably be in a different location, maybe on the shorter side of the "U" that doesn't have any appliances on it in the current layout. I'd "lose" some upper cabinet space that way, but I think I'd regain it by being able to put a pantry or other cabinetry where the fridge is now shown in the design drawing.

This post was edited by sbp725 on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 20:25

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I agree with the above, putting the fridge on the short U would dramatically improve the plan. You can make the old fridge space into a coffee center / beverage station or extra pantry storage, or both.

With the fridge in the U area I think this is a great plan; very functional.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:30PM
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oh I'm getting a flood of memories....spent so much time around the Isthmus and both the East and West side with relatives and the "Square" and Gorham St. Around Norris Ct apts, grandma used to take us hand in hand to the Model Meat market to pick up her order or the Charmleys drug store and sit at the soda fountain with us never forget these places. Probably those little stores and markets have had at least 5 or 6 reincarnations by now.[You can just about guess my age!!] Well someone better post about your plan....consider this a bump with reflection.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:37PM
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If I had your space I would use it a little differently. I wouldn't add a breakfast room but extend the kitchen all the way to your new wall and put in a second island, side-by-side with the current island.

We have a large island and when we have people over they always sit around the island. And they ignore the dining room that is just steps away. I would love to have a double island. We use ours for everything - homework, craft projects, baking, buffets etc.

That may not work for your lifestyle but I bring it up in case it will. :)

I actually pinned this just the other day (it's the same link as below)

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen with side-by-side double island on houzz

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:16PM
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That is not a small kitchen, especially for a bungalow. I think it is quite large for a bungalow. It is larger than the kitchen in my house and I bet double what I had in my first house -- a bungalow/cottage type of similar vintage to yours. It is also pretty open so no problem with it feeling smaller cuz its closed in. I would even go so far as to say that you are in that area where you start to lose efficiency in the workspace as you get larger.

I do agree that the fridge is inconveniently placed. If you are going to use separate fridge and freezer, having the freezer over there might not be bad. That would be a fine location for a beverage/snack service area since it could separate the traffic flow from the work spaces of the kitchen while still supporting entertaining in all the living areas, but I'd want my fridge for cooking to be closer to the action. The wall to the right seems to be the natural place -- both as the tall wall and the location near the cooktop and prep sink, but you will need to adapt the end of that run and the corner.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Looks to me like you have enough room for a larger range, you might want to get one with two ovens.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:42AM
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robo (z6a)

Would you consider moving the prep sink over so anyone at it isn't back to back with someone at the stove? Would you consider a slightly smaller prep sink? Looks like a big sink for the size of island.

Agree on moving the fridge. Everything now is so beautifully symmetrical though, can you commit to a counter depth to keep your aisles as is?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:20AM
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Robotropolis: Good point. Moving the prep sink and making it smaller makes a lot of sense. Maybe it should go more in the middle so as not to crowd the person at the stove? My husband has suggested putting the prep sink on the opposite long side of the island so that people can come in from the family room to fill a water glass (we probably won't have a water/ice dispenser on the fridge, due to all the problems we have with our current one). I'm not sure putting the sink on the opposite side makes sense, though, in relation to the other appliances.

For those that have suggested a beverage station: I like this idea! We are big coffee drinkers, and in our current kitchen our coffee maker on the counter causes all sorts of traffic jams.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:43AM
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I really like sundownr's idea about doing away with the eat-in area and expanding the kitchen and having two islands.

I would want to be able to see the lake view from the kitchen and the wall with your sink on it blocks that. And, if you frequently entertain, I'm sure your guests would LOVE the view from the kitchen as well.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:17AM
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I have a 4-seater round table about that far away from my kitchen, which includes an island with seating. No one ever sits there unless I a) don't let them sit down at the island at all, or b) have the table set prettily and guilt them into sitting there.

However, I can also see how it would be nice to not have the kitchen that ate the house, that that eat-in area would be a nice, cozy little spot to do up with airy drapes and gorgeous comfy upholstered chairs, maybe a homework spot for a kid that won't be distracted by the view, etc. Perhaps my table will get used once we start having kids...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:28AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Would a butler's pantry be out of place in a 1920's bungalow? Expounding on sundowner's idea, move the kitchen over into the eating area, but consider a butler's pantry/walk-in pantry between the kitchen and DR.

The pantry, where fridge is drawn, could still be a beverage center, and the butler's pantry would provide lots of storage for all your kitchen gadgets. The built-in on the DR wall would be preserved, and you wouldn't need the whole 9' for the pantry, making the kitchen a little larger to accommodate guests and cooks.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:05PM
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mama_goose: I'm giddy with the possibility of all the storage a butler's pantry would provide. Were you thinking the door to the pantry would be perpendicular or parallel to the exterior wall of the house? The only way I can picture it is if the door were parallel (so the entrance to the pantry would be sort of around the corner from the rest of the kitchen). But maybe I'm a little confused about exactly what a butler's pantry is. When I try to look up images of one, I get such varied results. I guess I think of it as sort of a walk-in closet for gadgets, etc., like this?

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Architect Michael Kim Assoc

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:24PM
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I haven't had a chance to take a good look at your kitchen layout yet, but the first thing that struck me is whether you have a view from your kitchen sink or if there is a wall there.

My house is a bit similar in design - a very long, narrow house with a bit of water view off the back. Our original floor plan had our kitchen where yours is, with an eat in area where your existing family room is. We had a deck then running the width of the house on the back, and eventually enclosed 3/4 of the deck as a screened in porch with doors off the eat in area (your existing family room). This wasn't supposed to be our long term home, but 16 years later, we are still here and our family has expanded. We ended up tearing off the screened in porch and turning the existing space into a family room (with new master on the second story above it). We also then enclosed most of what was left of the deck (where your eat in area is) and made that a mudroom. My kitchen sink is/was exactly where yours is, and prior to the add on, had a window with a nice view of the water. We left the window space there so that I can look through the mudroom to the water (double french doors lead out to the remaining deck).

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen especially at my sink, between prepping for meals and cleaning up after them. Much more time than I ever spend at my kitchen table! I am so glad that we left that opening from the window so that I can see the nice view out the back.

If you have a wall there, I'd really encourage you to remove it and have that open to your eat in area.

I'm starting the process of redoing our kitchen and have tried many different ways to rework my floor plan as it gets congested, especially in the morning, with my family members. However, I just can't figure out a way to redo the layout and still take advantage of the view unless I leave my sink where it is and come sunset, it really is just amazing to stand there making dinner and look out at the pink and orange sky.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:50PM
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fourkids4us: No, that wall is not a solid wall. It's actually not a wall at all (that sounded like Dr. Suess). The main kitchen sink will be located on a peninsula counter that will be open to the eat-in area. I agree with you about having a view from the sink, which is why I started by putting the sink there and I'm working everything else around it, or trying to.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:13PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

sbp725, that's exactly what I had in mind, door parallel to outside wall. I'd have only an opening--no door, because I love the look of kitchens and pantries of that vintage. But if hiding your mess is part of the goal, then add a door. You could have a small sink in there, too, to help with cleanup and hand washing, close to the beverage/bar area.

If you google 'butler's pantries' there are some beautiful examples, some right here one GW.

*Edited to add another thought--if you put the fridge on the wall that would be between the butler's pantry and kitchen, you could recess it to counter depth, without the expense (and loss of storage) of a true counter depth fridge.*

This post was edited by mama_goose on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 16:36

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:29PM
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I really like Mamagoose's idea about a butler's pantry! That picture is wonderful and the kitchen would be so much nicer with the windows over the sink. Great ideas :)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:27PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

(((lavender lass)))

I found a blog with some nice pictures of pantries--I would cheat on my kitchen with either the cream, or apple green one about halfway down. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Enchanted Home (yeah, I know, but the pics are nice)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:50PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Also, check out the cute, little, country cousin in this blog:

Here is a link that might be useful: Scroll down

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Love the idea of the butler's pantry!

I was also confused by your cleanup sink placement. I thought you had it facing a full wall with no view. Even so, I think that tiny area for the table will be underutilized.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Mamagoose- I like the one with the chalk board door and the great shelves with brackets...and those cute glass bottles for everything in the pantry :)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:45PM
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