Stage 1 and Stage 2. Your thoughts?
I've been lurking here on and off for about a year. I've learned so much (drawers, single bowl sink, etc). When we first bought our house two years ago, I intended to just paint or stain our cabinets. Shortly after moving in, we found the layout, while working for now (everyone has to eat), is very nonfunctional and some of the cabinets are in poor condition. Okay for the next few years but not worth my time to stain/paint. So we are making do until we can replace them with Ikea cabinets.
We probably will not do the actual remodel for 2-5 years but I like to dream and figure out what we can do now (stage 1). I was inspired by gardenweb and started moving things around on paper only to realize those changes would necessitate lots of plumbing and electrical work as well as new and expensive appliances (our current ones are 2 years old or less). I am taking a step back and we will be using our current appliances and leaving the range and sink/dishwasher in the same general area to cut down on costs.
About us: Using our kitchen will be our five boys, my husband and me. Currently the boys are ages ten through three (the youngest two were surprise twins). My husband and I are Deaf and communicate with sign language. We need to be able to easily see each other and our boys. Visibility is very important to us. When we figured out we would need to wait a few years before taking down the wall between the kitchen and living room, we went ahead and moved our refrigerator to an awkward spot so we could cut an opening in the wall (to see into the living room from the kitchen). This wall now is called our deaf-friendly wall. ;) Even though the refrigerator annoys me daily in its new position, I would still do it all over again. I cook and bake. My husband sometimes cooks. My boys sometimes help and as they get older, I will expect them to cook and clean up more. The kitchen is also used for games, homework, crafts and an exit to the backyard.
Mission Statement and considerations: I want our kitchen to be open to the living room and the backyard with ease of view to easily communicate with each other. Husband really wants to be able to stand right at the window and look out without a cabinet under it (I would like this too). I want no blind corners. We want a modern/midcentury feel with slab cabinets, nice lines, warm wood, and fewer uppers. Staying in budget is very important. Reusing our appliances is a must. Our dishwasher broke this year (after I started thinking remodel) and I was able to get a panel ready dishwasher for a great price off the floor. I want the peninsula gone and an island in its place to help with traffic patterns (Our current peninsula drives us nuts). No seating on the island needed because we have plenty in the living room and the dining table but I like the idea of an open spot to use for trash/recycling. We will be removing the wall between the living room and kitchen at some point, but will consider keeping in a pony wall or something similar by the island to make it easier with running electrical and placing outlets, etc. Lots of room around the dining table is important to us, which is why in the layouts, you will see the patio doors side of the kitchen completely empty. That is the space for our table that hopefully will seat 8-10 people. We have storage downstairs for things we buy in bulk, so while we still need pantry space upstairs, it doesn't need to be huge.
Right now the refrigerator is between the pantry and table in the middle of the wall. The upper cabinet next to it has been removed and the wall has a huge opening/window in it. Apologies that all the measurements are not there, I have it on another layout somewhere. The weird thing next to the circle (vent) on the far left is some kind of broom closet that I am going to get rid of. Non-negotiable. It makes that aisle feel so crowded and wastes so much space with the walls that make up the sides. Ten inches!
For right now (stage 1), I am considering getting rid of the peninsula this spring and moving the dishwasher to the wall right next to the sink then the refrigerator between it and the patio doors. This will leave an ugly spot with no flooring but I am willing to scrounge up some clearance flooring and cover it with a rug until we are ready to do a full remodel in 3-5 years. I would check craigslist and the restore to see if I could get some drawers or cabinets or/and use the peninsula for a makeshift island or run of drawers/counter along the deaf-friendly wall. We could live with this until we are ready to remodel and we would get a feel for if this general layout would function well for us.
The layout I am thinking of for in a few years (stage 2)
The upper cabinet above the dishwasher is for the microwave and is not going to the ceiling, only large enough for the microwave, unless we decide to put it above the stove. We don't use the hood much, so we could live with a vent/microwave there. I would love to have the wall above the dishwasher empty in this layout, but don't want to put it in the island. I know the aisle from the fridge to island is only 34 inches, but I am hoping in 5 years or so we will get a counterdeep refrigerator. We would use the first stage to see if those 34 inches is something we can live with. Very possible we could change the size and position of the island depending on our experience with stage 1.
Whew. That was a long post. Hope some of you read through it all and have some thoughts to share.