Can you see your kitchen from your front door?

cucinamiaMarch 12, 2014

I am relocating my kitchen from a hidden spot of the house to the center back, which makes it visible from the front door. The architect is concerned that you'd be able to see straight into the kitchen and has recommended a false wall or a niche with artwork to mask the kitchen. I tend to be unconcerned but admit that you'll probably be able to see the chaos of cooking and dishes on the drying rack. I'm trying to create an open feel, and this seems blocky and unnecessary (and almost old-fashioned - I'm likely to just bring any visitor straight into the messy kitchen anyway!)

Here's the view. The dark hutch mimics where the proposed wall/niche would be. The sink and dishwasher would be on the far wall (wing chair)

Obviously this is a personal choice, but I'm curious what you can see as you enter your house.

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We are mid-way through a reno that opens our kitchen to the front door. Actually it would be much closer viewed than what you show. When you walk in the front door you are in a tiny foyer that is about 4 feet wide and the back wall, directly across and 4 feet from the front door is now a 1/2 wall on the other side of which is our kitchen. I have lived with a closed off kitchen for so long that I love being able to see the whole first floor of the house as soon as you walk in. I don't care if there are dishes in the sink or the stove isn't spotless. The people I welcome into my home don't care about that...and if they start caring about how my kitchen looks instead of spending time with my DH and I, they will no longer be welcomed into my home!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:26AM
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This is the view from our front door:

Do I like it? Not really, but I cannot imagine blocking off any access to it, physically or visually. When we redo our kitchen I will be having the fridge moved to where the baker's rack is now (stop-gap measure) and plan to have a glass-front cabinet above it and to the right of it to hold dishes and pretties to hopefully draw the eye away from the sink and any potential dirty dishes.

(Be kind in your judgement, we have only just moved in!)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:29AM
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I'm weird about that like your architect is too... the false wall might help anyway though, it would give space maybe for the fridge to go or some wall or tall cabinets that would be useful.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:33AM
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Elraes Miller

I had a small pocket door to my kitchen from the living room. Opened the wall up and yes, you can see the entire kitchen when entering into the LR. I did put a large/high bookcase on the wall between areas, so one has to actually enter the house to see it. Seeing the kitchen doesn't bother me. Both kitchen and LR feel so much more open. Both rooms have large windows which brings in wonderful light and views.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Thanks all! Nice to have quick input and thoughts . . . & a photo.
dcward - your comment about distance caught me - and I think that my actual kitchen is set back far enough (there's even a door to the basement on the left between the foyer and the new kitchen that you can't see in my photo)

greenhaven - I think you're right about fooling the eye. I'm going to have some open shelving on the wall (above that chair) that could hold some attractive things and distract from my counters. Plus we might go with a peninsula where the hutch is, so you'd see the stools first (another barrier, I know). Are you considering a paneled fridge?

schicksal - are you an architect?;-) That was her plan for the back side - a way to accomodate the fridge. If you're curious, here's my thread about the layouts. See design #3. We are currently considering a hybrid of these - ditching the broom closet and shifting fridge onto the real wall but keeping the peninsula - time to update!!

technicolor - a pocket door is a great thought . . . wonder if I'd always just leave it open?

Here is a link that might be useful: Three layouts - island? where to put fridge?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:57AM
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Elraes Miller

If you had room for two pocket doors, similar to entering a library, I'd say yes. One pocket door just wasn't practical to me and never used it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:07AM
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Amateur architect. :) It's what I wanted to do before going into engineering. Architecture and interior design run in my family though. It's wonderful, there's always free advice.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:48AM
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The decision is about what would bother YOU.

I will be able to see the kitchen from the front door and it bothers me - so am designing that part of the kitchen to not have the large SS stove/fridge in the line of sight.

However a friend just redesigned her house and the entire kitchen is visible from the front door, she loves it. (I don't - but that does not matter, it's her house.)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I have a ranch and when we remodeled we opened up a lot. However, if you think about the central, load-bearing wall running parallel with the front door, you must walk in the house, pass the living room on your right and through an archway, to look right to see the kitchen. So no, it's not visible.

I was cogniscent of my own mess issues to know I didn't want that. Everyone was pushing me to open that load-bearing wall up to the living room. That would mean my dining area and kitchen would both be visible.

I just get tired of seeing a mess everywhere I look. Being under constant construction, which you won't be, Just a little privacy is nice.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:16AM
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After looking at all your drawings on the other thread, and rereading your original post about wanting an open feel I think you would ultimately be dissatisfied with a blocker wall. I love the way your u-shape developed itself.

I thought at first the original peninsula was good, since LR traffic heads to the right anyway, but anyone sitting at stools would be blocking that LR walkway and it would not be blocking a view of the sink anyway!

Do you bring groceries in through the front door? I know that is only an occasional thing but I would be annoyed at dodging a partial wall after only the second trip, lol!

Yes, I have considered a panelled fridge (or maybe dishwasher) but more for how it would integrate the appliances into the cab design and not for how it looks from the front door. We are fairly utilitarian here, lol! Panelling appliances will ultimately depend on what finishes and color/contrast themes I decide to go with. For instance, if I do a white or mostly white counter on darkcabs I will feel a white or ss dw will visually bleed off the counter. Love a virtual designer to help me consider these things!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:35AM
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I have a small entry way. As you walk in the front door, you see the door of the coat closet. To the left you see our living room. To the right you see our breakfast nook (separate room from the kitchen).

I have refused to even rent an apartment where you walked in to a direct view of the kitchen. I would absolutely refuse to buy a house where you can see the kitchen directly from the front door. I suppose if it were a very open concept layout and the kitchen was across a big space far from the front door, I would be okay with it though it would not be my preference. To each his own though.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:44AM
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I would not like it, but hey Im an old house fan and prefer walls and are clearly defined spaces..... and also am not very prompt about doing my dishes. Traditionally, of course, the front door is where you greet your guests so how traditional do you want to be in how your house functions?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:01AM
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Our foyer wall blocks the view of the kitchen from the front door. But as soon as you walk into the main living space (10 feet) the kitchen will be in view off to the left. Which is fine with me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:07AM
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I think the advantages of "openness" can be offset by "visual clutter". I think you can have the potential for openness that can be modulated by smaller walls or pocket doors.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:08AM
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In our old house, we knocked down the wall that separated the kitchen from the front room, so you could see the entire kitchen from the front door, straight through to the family room. While not ideal, the openness of the house more than made up for it. It was awkward to begin with, the wall just to the left of the front door ran the entire length of the front room and kitchen with just a door into the master bedroom. This was from a previous owner's remodel that took the small dining area across from the kitchen for a master closet and bathroom remodel. When we remodeled the kitchen, we used that wall as part of the kitchen, allowing for an inset refrigerator and cabinets to replace what we lost by removing the wall and wall cabinets. I'm not sure it works in every house, but it worked well for us and when we sold that house, everybody loved the kitchen.

Not the best photo, this was taken before the cabinet end panels were done.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Yes, the kitchen is completely visible from the front door. We have an open floor plan in our house, so when you walk in the house, you see the kitchen and the great room. It sort of bugs me, but on the other hand, if we had a visible barrier, people would still see the mess - if there was one - when they came inside. I've always tended to be tidy while in the kitchen; this floor plan encourages that tendency...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Our house has two fronts, of a sort. There is a formal front door which no one ever uses because our side has a fairly formal entrance also, so people go there automatically. And, yes, there is a large, direct view from the side/main entrance into our kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Thanks again to all for the encouragement, wisdom, photos, push-back and new ideas - what fun to pitch this out to the world, go off to pick up my kids from school, and find such nice food for thought upon my return. Of course I'm running out again (birthday party rounds) so I'll process this a bit before I respond.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:34PM
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this is the view from the middle of the den. The front foyer is behind me, about 15 feet off my right shoulder, with a full wall gas fireplace and stone hearth directly aft. So, not from the door exactly, but almost. We LOVE it, as does anyone who has seen it. Good luck. Go open!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 3:20PM
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When you walk in our front door you are in the living room and you can see the dining room, the kitchen, the wet bar area, the master bedroom door, the basement door, and the kids rooms and bathroom.

So, yeah. Pretty much the only thing you can't see is the mudroom and walk in pantry. I love it like this. It is so open and there is so much natural light. Open floor plan isn't for everyone, I have always loved the look of old Victorian style houses as well but this is just what works for us.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 3:28PM
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@kashka_kat - thought I was the only other one who likes old houses with clearly defined rooms!

I had to open the space between my LR & DR (due to circumstances beyond my control) and am still having a hard time with what everyone else who has seen it is saying, "the open concept will be so great."

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:07PM
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This is what you see when you come in our front door:

But since hardly anyone comes into our house through the front door, this is what you actually see. The patio door entrance is to the left of the refrigerator, which is the way most people arrive:

And this is what that view used to look like:

Obviously the open concept doesn't work for everyone, and doesn't always fit the architecture of the house. i grew up in PA where very old houses were the norm, and mostly small and closed off were how a lot of the rooms were. When I first moved west I thought that was what I wanted, but moving to the bay area in CA - for a young couple-we were just happy to find a house we could afford, and this was a long time ago. When we moved into this house, almost 34 years ago, I really liked the open concept, such that it was. And there was a formal dining room, which I wanted. But that room really cut things up, and contributed to the choppiness of the space, and the less than ideal function of the kitchen. Removing 2 walls, the refrigerator wall in the first "before" pic above, and the hutch/desk wall in the 2nd, made our kitchen visible from a lot of our living area. But to us the openness enhances not only the form, but most especially the function.

I know this thread was about seeing the kitchen from your front door-sorry to go OT.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:49PM
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I love the OT bits - no worries! I learn from everything. And thanks to all for the nice pictures - truly worth 1,000 words.

We have both a front door and a back door/mud room that opens right into the eating part of the kitchen, so this question is largely about the formal entrance to the house. Groceries, while still a trek, will come in through the back door. If re-sale were an issue, I'd very seriously consider those opinions about wanting the kitchen fully hidden.

As it turns out, I think I'm ending up with a nice middle-of-the-road approach. Because of the age (1910) and construction (concrete) of my house, we can only partially open things up. We are managing to take down one wall to gain an eat-in space in the kitchen, but enough walls stay in place that there will be some separation.

I think I'm tending towards leaving the view into the kitchen unobstructed and channel gladys1924's thoughts of perpetual tidiness!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:21PM
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My kitchen is visible from the front door, albeit, it isn't a direct or full view and it's at a distance. I never would think about it when buying a house, and it has never bothered me. I LOVE how my kitchen looks, though, and am very clean. So, that could help... :)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:34PM
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My home was built in 1954... When you enter through my front door, the living is on the right and the kitchen is pretty much on the left. It's small, but in plain sight.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:40PM
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    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:58PM
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