Table vs. Island

LizPel12March 7, 2013

Hello - newbie here - I have tried searching, sorry if this is repetitive, but it is hard to wade through all the great information on this site! We are just starting to think about renovating the small kitchen in our new house. The current layout allows for a small 4-person breakfast table (conveniently, we are a family of four!) but does not offer the best work environment for the chef (DH) and is not really a place for guests to congregate. I've not had a kitchen table before, and I love it! As we begin to think about this, we are looking at three options:

1) renovate in the existing footprint (plan attached - what you can't see is that we are reorienting a closet so the eating area is gaining 3 feet of wall space next to the pantry even if we just do this, so it is a reasonable improvement)
2) 3' cantilevered bumpout to the right (range wall), add center island and replace current eating area with 12" deep pantry/storage wall to the left (42" btw. range and island and 48" btw. island and pantry wall, 36" DW/sink to island - island approx. 68"x36" with 48"x24" of cabinetry so 10" overhang on each end and 12" overhang on pantry wall side). In this option the fridge would move to the start of the range run - in/near corner by door from dining room
3) breakfast room addition (approx 9x11) off the back (sink/DW wall) creating approx. 5' peninsula where sink/DW are and also the pantry wall, but 24" deep

For both 2 & 3 we would likely open the door from the dining room (wall oposite sink) for better flow.

We are leaning to Option 2, so my question is, will I miss having a kitchen table terribly? Option 2 is the chef's favorite - I think he misses our smaller kitchens where he could turn around from the stove to his prep area, and pull up a stool for a nice perch while slicing and dicing - we have no stools in our current kitchen. Budget is also definitely a consideration and that is the more budget-friendly addition. We do want a place where people will feel comfortable hanging out. I'm also including a picture of my inspiration kitchen for Option 2. Oh, and kitchen is currently approx. 11' by 14'

Many thanks for your honest feedback - I am afraid of making a mistake and always longing for my table back! That said, I kind of think of the island option as a fixed counter-height table with a couple of cabs...

This post was edited by LizPel12 on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 15:58

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Here is the inspiration photo - obviously things would be in different places - but to get the idea. We looked at this house and I loved the kitchen, but perhaps I was wooed by the beautiful cabinetry.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Your layout is not showing up.

If you haven't already please read the "new to kitchens..." thread posted by buehl that is usually on page 1 or 2. It will give you tons of info on planning a kitchen. You could say its the "best of".

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Table: convenient for sitting/dining. Not convenient for additional appliances or fixtures

Island: convenient for appliances, fixtures, plumbing, wiring, etc. Also convenient for bar stools, eating, etc. Not convenient for comfortable sit-down dining.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Thanks for the hint - I did read it, but missed the google search tip, which was very helpful.

Don't know why the layout is not showing up now, it was originally. Hmmm... not very tech savvy but will try again.

A little more about our family - DH is primary cook, but I do a lot of cooking for kids as well as cleaning. 2 kids are 3 and 5. We like to have people over - cocktails, dinner, coffee, brunch, etc... No one ever ends up in this kitchen the way they did in our old house with a smaller but updated kitchen.

Thanks for any layout advice - hope this works this time!

This post was edited by LizPel12 on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 15:57

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Trying one more time! It always works with the preview, or I would not keep trying...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Hi. I'm not sure I completely understand the issue, but I do get about wanting workspace in the kitchen. We did a redo of our kitchen over a year ago. Frankly, while were able to move a wall back about 9 inches (that's right--just 9 inches) to get some extra space, our kitchen was (and is) still narrow. It also has issues with 3 different entrances. We HAD to have a workspace, and it also had to serve as seating area for up to four people, so we ordered a hard maple butcher block top from a sustainable sawmill in Ohio and then had a simple farm table (harvest table) built under it. It works out great for us. Does that help?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Thanks irmaly, it does help - am I correct in seeing that this is counter-height? I think you hit the nail on the head. We need an additional work space, but it doesn't fit in with the kitchen the current size/configuration, but we also need seating.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Yes. From the bottom of the table apron to the floor is just under 31 inches. From floor to top of the table is 37 inches (2 inches butcher block top). The butcher block top is 68 by 25 inches (the biggest we could get it and still move around it). 25 inches is narrow but works out perfectly. EVERYONE comes and sits at this table. Think about what you're going to use for bar stools too before you finalize your size. We actually bought the stools before we had the table made. I happily recommend Hardwood Lumber Company out of Ohio for the butcher block top. They were absolutely wonderful to work with, and the price for the top was reasonable too, or so I thought. Someone here recommended them, and they were great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardwood Lumber Company

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Thank you! This is so useful, and I love that you included that everyone sits at your table, as I should have mentioned in my last post that while we need workspace and seating, I really want a congregating space as well. I will definitely check out the butcher block tops. Thanks again for your input!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Oh, and I have been browsing stools online, and envision stools without backs that tuck underneath on the ends, and larger stools with backs on the long side - shallowest ones I've found that look comfortable will stick out around 7 inches when pushed in, reducing the aisle behind them.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:21PM
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A carpenter friend of ours made the table AFTER we purchased both the top and the stools. We all sat in the kitchen with sawhorses and plywood and measuring tape and the stools to make sure we got the seating just right. My husband wanted a back on the stools (he has a bad back). We looked and looked and looked and finally found the old toledo stools which are great for us. Note that the backs of these stools do not come up too high from the top of the table, so they are not in our way during food prep. The backs actually adjust, and we could bring them down even further it we wanted to. I guess what I'm saying is it is a good idea to think about those backs no matter which ones you buy. Our friend made the table out of local Ashe, and I primed and painted the base. Here's a picture of the table "raw," before we painted the base or oiled the butcher block top.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Do you have a dining room in your house? If so, maybe that counter height table would work out well. I wonder why a person couldn't have locking casters on the legs, to make moving it easier?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:30PM
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deedles, we don't ever need to move the table. We do have a separate dining room.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I love all the thought put into that table! Given the need for the addition to our kitchen, it is hard to sort of "fake" where the island would be and what the stool needs would be for now. But I have definitely been thinking about the stools, as if we do away with the kitchen table I want the seating to becomfortable!

deedles, we do have a dining room - the door next to the seating area/range run is into the dining room, and when we have dinner together we eat in the dining room. Breakfast is in the kitchen, usually me feeding the kids during the week, and the four of us on weekends. lunch is pretty casual, and often not all together. The dining room being so close to the kitchen helps get me comfortable with losing the table. I envision making the opening btw dining room and kitchen larger if we do an addition - it's currently 36". The problem with the counter height table on casters is that it doesn't reside in the right place for prep/cooking, so would be being moved back and forth constantly. But, I like the idea of not doing an addition if we don't need to!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:42PM
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irmaly - those are beautiful wood products!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:01PM
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This is a tough decision. If you go to a chain restraunt and you have your choice of seating, will you pick the standard type table or the pub style table?
If you haven't already done so, dine at a bar height table or counter and see how you & family like it.

To help you decide, can you now eliminate your breakfast seating and see how it works to use the dining room more for a week or two? I think if your separate dining room is not overly formal and has a line of sight to kitchen, it could work.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:16PM
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dilly ny, thanks, those are some good ideas and questions! I think we'd always choose the table in a restaurant setting. That said, my parents kitchen is like our option 3, with seating for 2 at the peninsula and a great farm table eating area. We all eat in both spaces regularly!

Our dining room is definitely not overly formal, but I don't know if I'm willing to give up my kitchen seating for a week or two ;-)

I searched further and I found a very similar thread, with one post by "sparklekitty" that truly resonated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous Thread: Island or Table?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 7:14PM
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