Kitchen layout advice needed...thanks!

redjulieFebruary 28, 2014

We are looking to remodel our kitchen and would love input! We are up for moving windows and our sink so I did not include the current layout. Also, our goal is to open up the back of the house (the back door is at the top) and will probably move the bathroom to the current nook where our stove is. Another "must" is to have a mudroom area by the back door- an area to hang coats and place shoes, bags etc. We have two children so that is a priority! I would also love some bar seating for the kids to eat/work at. The black rectangle is a chimney which we will keep, hopefully exposing the brick. Finally, we are open to opening the wall between the kitchen and dining area and will put more kitchen-type storage along the interior wall.

Thanks for any and all ideas!

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First comment - leave the bathroom (or will that be the mud room?) where it is but move the door out of the kitchen!

Can you post a floor plan that shows the rest of the floor?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:47PM
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That would be much easier, but we are determined to open the kitchen to the backyard, so I was thinking the bathroom could be a mud room area, open to kitchen. I'd like to be able to watch my kids playing while I am inside but do wish we could leave the bathroom as is, moving the door as you suggested.

I'll post another photo- we have a very odd layout.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Here is our full first floor- we debated opening it up a bit, but may stick with the basic floor plan to cut down on costs, and preserve the privacy of the back bedroom. Not sure if we are missing out on an opportunity for better flow etc. or not!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 5:03PM
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I too agree, definitely remove that door from the kitchen into the bath. Some mess/odors should never infiltrate the kitchen. If that door is sealed off, you could take that sink wall and wrap it around on both sides, creating a U. This way the range could be put on the longer U, where that door used to be, and it would become part of the kitchen.
Where the range is now, could be a banquette so you would have eat-in space in the kitchen.

Is that the only bath on this level?
Do you have an ensuite with that bedroom, or do you have to come through the living room, then dining room, then kitchen to use it? That isn't very functional.
What does the entry by the bedroom lead from? I know you said you wanted to preserve the privacy of the bedroom, but it is surrounded by all the public rooms.

Or, if no ensuite, you could put the DR where the BR is, opening a doorway to the kitchen. Opposite that doorway, backing up to the stairs, could be floor-to-ceiling cabinets for pantry/storage. The old DR would become the LR and the old LR would become the BR. This would still preserve the bedroom's private entrance.

But, if you can live without that private entrance, sealing off that entrance and removing the closet, you could move the bathroom into there. The entrance to the bathroom would be where that closet is now. This would leave the rear entrance from the kitchen only for a mudroom where you could put storage, a bench and hooks.

This post was edited by canuckplayer on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 22:34

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:33PM
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Oops, forgot about the fridge wall. Add upper and bases from right of fridge to wall.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Moving the bath adds 20K to a project that will already be in the 50K zone without doing ay structural elements at all. You'll be at 100K before you know it if you need to upgrade your electrical service, or upgrade galvanized pipes, and start mucking about with adding windows and doors. Not exactly a budget remodel. Did you have that number in mid for your project? More? Less?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:04PM
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Thanks, Canuckplayer!

only bathroom on this level.

I think the stove area is too small for a banquette. Only about 5 ft across I'm afraid.

I have thought of some of the ideas you mentioned and I think perhaps living in our home for a few more months might give me a better idea of what to do.

I hesitate changing the living room to the study as the LR is in the front of the house, with a view to the street. I think we would miss looking out those windows to the "action" on the street, seeing guests arrive etc.

The entrance near the bedroom is just from a porch. I think it was a main entrance at one point but now there are no stairs leading up to the porch. The actual front door is the one on the left.

I wish we could give up the study but our 2nd floor has only 3 bedrooms and we really would like the extra private space for desks and guest room... BUT... If we gave it up we could have LR, Family room and dining.

Still, it does seem like the closet (old foyer) near the study is a waste of space- would like to add it to the front or back doors!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:09PM
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I recall your other post on the whether you can get an island in here (which is not really in the size you want, without some structural changes due to the black obstacles and other constraints). I'm giving you a bump, here.

I assume a full scale or even bump-out addition is out of the picture, but you did mention moving the bath. What about a small add-on for the mudroom near the rear entrance? This all is getting quite pricey, however.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:35AM
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robo (z6a)

One idea (the luxury option): Move bathroom over to the side entrance next to bedroom so you have something that functions as a 'main floor master suite' -- good for resale.

Stove nook wall comes out flush with fridge and becomes a big walk in pantry. Could put a washer/dryer in here if needed instead and have a reach in pantry.

Open up back wall completely and Put bench and cubbies and hooks along back wall (former bathroom). Create a deep peninsula running parallel to the back wall (could have stools). Put sink and dw on peninsula . Put stove where sink was. Keep fridge about where it is now.

I live in a relatively low cost area. I moved my whole kitchen to make the house work better and it added $30k to a $30k Reno, including taking out a load bearing wall. And including 10k to finish old kitchen space. But I was lucky as the basement ceiling could be opened easily and it was not too bad to reroute everything (I think I paid plumber $3k and electrician $5k for labour).

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 6:45

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 6:23AM
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robo (z6a)

Something like this...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 7:41AM
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I came up with something, but I'm not too happy with it. Fridge is too far from the range and doesn't have nearby landing spot.

I move the bath to the nook and placed the door on the stair side. There's a shallow cab next to the bath door that can be used as drop zone for mails, charging station (maybe MW shelf above). Then I have a closet for coats, bags, etc., so they won't be effected by the kitchen smells. Next to the fridge is a tall pullout.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Wow! Thank you so much everyone. I'm a bit overwhelmed with ideas...

hollysprings: you are right- the numbers will add up quickly. We were thinking about 100k max but I think to stick with that I will have to focus on layout and be very willing to go with less expensive finishes. The layout is important to me- I'd like to get it right so we can enjoy this home for many years with two kids and all that entails...

gooster: I think we won't be able to do any sort of bump out, though the thought keeps coming to mind as I work on my graph paper!!

robotropolis: that's the layout I keep coming back to! It is the most practical, and I love that folks could come in the back door, drop their bags and sit down for a cup of coffee. All while I wash dishes and keep and eye on the kids in the back yard!

sena01: so intriguing moving the drop spot near the bath and allowing the bath to be less intrusive...I do like the idea of the back stairs being very open to the kitchen (we get great light through the stair window into the kitchen in the afternoon...) I'm going to give that more thought. Solves a few issues.

Thanks all! Very exciting ideas!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Hi all,
Thanks again for great ideas.

I am leaning towards robotropolis' idea, with peninsula at back door but husband thinks the room has "too many small areas"....I do prefer simple, but also want the kitchen to function well for us! Any thoughts on this? I think that sometimes "open" becomes more chaotic when there are no easy drop spots, awkward work triangle, etc. I don't want to end up with a big room with plenty of storage, but terrible flow, people (and kids) in my way while I cook, or an inability to easily store mudroom stuff and feed my kids breakfast in the kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 5:40PM
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robo (z6a)

What does your husband envision?

To me the layout is fairly clean and simple with straight walls and sight lines. But I'm sure there is room for improvement :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 6:05PM
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It's so hard to tell what he envisions...not much, I think (when it comes to our kitchen, that is!!). I like to consider all possibilities, so we don't miss an opportunity for a great layout. I think it feels too busy to him, with a peninsula and coat hooks, bench, in such close proximity. Other options we've considered just seem a bit unsafe, with kids changing into coats on the same wall as a stove etc. I like the division the peninsula provides and the view the sink would have.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:03PM
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robo (z6a)

How many kids? Two? What about a tall coat closet or closed cubbies on the back left hand wall instead of one of the stools?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:20PM
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That would work- now just need to sell my husband on the idea!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Can you reverse the opening of the back door, so that it opens the opposite way? That way, it is open to the mud area, rather than having to step further in to close the door.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 12:25AM
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I have some time to play with your layout, but first a couple questions.

Do you presently have a table in the kitchen? Or do you eat your meals in the DR?

Do you NEED a table in the future kitchen if you open it to the DR?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:40AM
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I am assuming that you plan to have meals in the DR after the two rooms are combined by the removal of the non-supporting wall.

Here are some ideas. I can fault a lot here, and I am not sure of dimensions. Just ideas for you to play with or discard.

I would consider using the wall space between the exterior door and the basement door for pegs for the kids to hang their coats.

I think when you need both exterior door and basement door open, one can fold back behind the other.

The lower height desk/baking table could, of course, just be a regular height cabinet.

Advantages: good work area between sink and range.
2 doors into the bathroom may be a bit strange, but would certainly make the bedroom more usable.

Disadvantages: Not sure if the DR is large enough for the cabinets as indicated and a DR table.

Anyway, just playing with your space.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Thanks, Bellsmom!

We do not need (or currently have) a table in the kitchen. We will eat in the dining room. I do want counter seating in the kitchen for the kids or coffee etc. Or just to keep folks away from cooking area!

I like your design and do think stools and cabinets can fit on that wall between kitchen and dining. We've been considering this idea for a while, but now I wonder if having stools backing up to the dining room table gets too congested if folks were both sitting at table, and at the counter (if we were having a party).

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Just wanted to add that we definitely are open to moving and adding windows and doors. The one in the bathroom is tiny, and I think moving the window in the kitchen opens up more layout possibilities.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 4:44PM
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First thought to congestion of stools along the counter if you are having a party:

Hide the stools. Buy stackable ones and tuck them away when there is a party.

Edited to add this idea: What if you replaced the back door with full glass french doors? You could easily have a six foot wide "window" that would really open the room to the back yard. Only the door on the right would usually be used. The other locked unless you needed the wide opening.

Here is a french door we added to our family room replacing what was a large closet. We left the existing windows on each side which used to hide in recessed niches. We LOVE the extra light and garden access. I don't LIKE the uneven window / door line at the top, but it was beyond our budget at the time to also remove the windows and replace them.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 12:47

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Here's my idea for you:

I kept a half bath near the back door/back yard for quick potty stops for kids. There is mudroom storage on each side of the aisle going to the bathroom. I'm envisioning two benches, 18" deep with a shoe shelve below the bench and coat hooks at the end of each against the bathroom wall.

The wall between sink and mudroom is an interior window, like this:

Rustic Dining Room by Norwich Architects & Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC

You can make them functional or fixed. This interior window will allow you to keep an eye on the kids playing outside while keeping the mess and smell of the mudroom out of the kitchen (if you have boys, you'll thank me when they hit middle school. A roomful of middle school boys can take one's breath away).

I turned the existing range area into a walk-in pantry and closet for the downstairs bedroom. I added a new full bath in the old foyer area for the downstairs bedroom. The lay-out is only conjecture since you didn't include sizes of that area (or for only walls either). As someone posted earlier, having what could be used as a master bedroom suite downstairs is generally be a plus when you sell.

The range has windows on either side of it but you could also ditch the windows and do upper cabs instead (no idea what kind of view you have out the side).

There is a small peninsula between kitchen and dining room. This has several purposes: more storage, keeps through traffic out of cooking zone and will serve as a sideboard to the DR. I did not add a counter overhang and stools because I didn't want to compromise the width of your DR.

Fridge stays roughly where it is (can't pinpoint exact location without more dimensions) with a snack area between it and the chimney. Kids coming in from outside can dash to pantry, fridge and snack zone without getting underfoot in the main part of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Once more, thanks for your ideas, all! It's so helpful to have additional eyes on this puzzle!

lisa__a: I never thought about keeping a half bath near the rear door- definitely possible to fit it without the current shower. A second bath should fit in the other area off the bedroom- I can't find my measuring tape but the space is comparable to the current first floor bath. I really like the idea of having a full bath if we are going to keep that room as a bed room.

Bellsmom: great idea for French door. My husband just mentioned getting one and your photo helps envision the amount of light possible (I didn't notice your uneven window/door line but I know how these things can bother me even when not another person notices!). We have a deck out that door so opening both doors could be nice in the summer. Of course then I may want to rethink a half bath right there....!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 5:57PM
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Please come back and let us know what you decide to do. I really want to see this space when you finish it!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 8:17PM
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Sure will! Just need to decide what will work best in the long run. Hope to have some reno pics and final layout in the next month (or two!).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:07PM
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