old kitchen space--does this make sense?

Fori is not pleasedMarch 17, 2013

As you may know, I am toying with the idea of putting a new kitchen in a new addition (which we are intending to do regardless of if it contains a new kitchen) or sticking it in its original location in the front of the smallish house.

The sticking point of putting the kitchen in new construction is what to do with the old kitchen room. So I think I have a plan. The spouse thinks it works but what do spouses know? I want to cut the old kitchen in half with a real laundry room (ooooo! We currently have machines in the garage) and storage space and a very small office/play room/den. The windows in here face the street.

I don't have a real layout of laundry room yet, just a general idea. I mainly want to know if the sizes of these rooms work and if the locations (especially the laundry room right off the house's entry) are okay.

Here is my favorite sketch of the house layout which unfortunately is oriented upside down compared to the above drawing. The yellow blob is approximately where the new kitchen would be. I'll need professional help for that but I want to know what is reasonable and what I want before I start paying. (In spite of what the architect types tell you on the building/remodeling forums, unless you have no idea, the pros won't give you what you want if you don't tell them what you want.)

The proposed laundry room has a pocket door into the entry hall. It would probably look better than our kitchen normally does. :) But the door can be closed. We can put the W/D behind cabinetry and/or under a counter but they have to be on the window side of the room. There's no room for them on the other side because I don't want to mess with the existing door. Solid wall of cabinets on the other side to help with coat closet overload as well as general storage and laundry stuff. Whatever--that's the general idea. There is a coat closet in the entry hall but we fill it.

The "office" door opposite leads to an angled room with a half bath, doors to back yard and garage, coat closet, pantry closet, and pantry cabinet. Access to the new kitchen would likely be through the back door here (as well as through what is marked "family room" on lower drawing).

Too weird? Too small? I'd swap the office and laundry to get a nicer room off the entry, but it's too skinny to be good for that I think. I don't need a wall between them but it would help with furniture placement in the tiny office. Pocket door there, naturally. Probably open all the time.

If it helps, this is a one story casual mid century (but not modern!) ranch. Everything is close to everything else. It is not a hardship to do laundry in the garage but a laundry room sounds cool.

Thanks! F

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I know you're trying to take advantage of the water/drain connections there, but I wouldn't like a laundry room off of the entry. I'd rather see the space closed off to the entry and repurposed to a master suite, or a bar for the family room, or something else. Anything but a laundry room. I'd make the laundry room part of the addition instead.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Fori is not pleased

You're probably right, GD. I don't think it would be much tackier than a kitchen right there, but it does seem wrong. I could do laundry in the triangle room just as easily. I'm not too concerned about the plumbing connections--we're on a crawl space and it's pretty easy to access (and those pipes are due to be replaced anyway).

Would using the entire room (not subdivided) produce too weird an office or den? The 9.5 width of the galley end is tricky.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:04PM
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What about having the laundry where you plan to have the office (former nook) since it will give you more space and not be right off the entry. Instead, what about a mudroom area right off the entry? Keep the pocket door, but less noise and easy access from both entrances. You could also keep the sink and have bench/locker area on the other side. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I think the drawing you posted at the top of your message will work nicely for all the days in the year when you're doing family laundry, and then you can just close the pocket door when you entertain.

When I saw that you already have kitchen and half bath function in the pre-addition space, I wondered if you had room to actually create a separate, independent little studio that someone like an elderly parent or a live-in caregiver could use? You'd have to add a shower in the mix, but the other elements already seem to be there. Just an idea, but if you have anyone on the horizon who might need such an arrangement, you've got the time and space to do it now.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Just curious, what's wrong with a laundry room off the entry, if it can be closed off from view? Is it the noise?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Fori is not pleased

Exactly, Beasty! I don't know what would be wrong with it there. I also have a coat closet off the entry and it doesn't even have finished plaster in it! I guess the only problem is that it just "isn't done". I suppose it could be noisy but we could so some sound proofing.

It's a casual house, and it's from the period where all the nice parts of the home faced the back yard. And yeah, the kitchen wasn't considered the nice part. It makes sense to put the utilitarian stuff in the front where we won't hang out and socialize. And yet...

Smiling, an elderly parent apartment!!?? Yikes! Actually that's one reason we bought this house. A spare room. (We do have room to add a bathroom off it if absolutely necessary.) No kitchen. If they can cook still, they can go live in a condo. :P

LLass, I was sort of thinking the laundry room WOULD be partly mudroom, although we enter through the garage usually and dump junk in the triangle room. And we don't actually have mud.

So, along the lines of making it socially acceptable, isn't it possible to do a laundry room to look like a bar? Seriously, I don't need a honkin' laundry sink. A nice bar sink would totally suffice. Use nice cabinets, nice counters? Just in case someone sees it? If I tried to pull that off, would it work better if open to the (let's call it a ) den? Den and liquor. It kind of goes?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Well, it wouldn't work in MY laundry room, but that's not to say it wouldn't work in YOUR laundry room (LOL). Only you know how organized and tidy your laundry area will be. For me, it would be too much noise and laundry spilling out of baskets.

If you want a bar, why not have a bar sink and bar area, where you have the kitchen now? Maybe a combination bar/butler's pantry/beverage area? It would be great for parties!

I'm not really clear with what you want to do with the current nook space. You said an office/playroom/den, but wouldn't that need a little more space for all those functions? Have you considered adding such a space off the new kitchen and having the separate living room/dining room areas in your current spaces? Maybe I'm just not seeing how you'll use the family room, living room and playroom spaces, but I'm guessing one of these spaces will also have the dining table.

Do you have a more current plan of what you're hoping to change? I usually can remember most people's spaces, but lately I've been so busy, it's hard to recall everyone's plans :)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Our last rental had a mudroom/laundry just as you entered the house. It had a door so I could close it. It was fine. In fact, with small children who would come in caked in mud sometimes, it was handy as I would make them strip before they got past the tiled entry hallway.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

Crl_, it WOULD be a handy location, a place to hang up backpacks and remove muddy stuff if necessary (but really, any mud we have comes in the back door.). I need an old fashioned box room! Or at least additional cabinetry.

LLass, it wouldn't be ALL those things. It would be a playroom. When the kids get older or if we had to sell, it would THEN be an office. Because it is certainly a petite room.

Currently our laundry area isn't messy because we don't sort or fold there. It's just machine use. (Once I caught my visiting mother folding laundry on my vintage Mercury with the big hood but that was an exception.)

My current plan is vague. :)

Somewhere in the vicinity of the yellow blob we will install a kitchen and dining area. We will put some wall between what's labeled as "Family" and Living" rooms.

I don't really want a bar. I just want to make my laundry room in the front of the house socially acceptable. I can put a folding area behind doors (or just try to keep it tidy?). I don't even need a sink. Don't have one now, don't miss it. The only time I've ever used a laundry sink was during a kitchen remodel. If I need to soak something, the powder room sink is quite utilitarian. But I could easily put laundry stuff into the room by the powder room, which leaves us with...isn't this room too oddly proportioned to be anything but a galley kitchen or a laundry room? So that's why I was thinking a glorified closet (with laundry) and a small "office".

I can leave it as an L. But that is even harder to deal with. I can't really stick my piano in it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Circus Peanut

Fori, I keep coming back to this thread because I lerve you and want to help, but can't figure out how.

I don't quite grok the measurements, but why can't you expand that half bath to give it a tub for a foot/dog/kid/washing station, for instance? And why can't you put the laundry where the nook is now, and just open the walls to make the entry and living room bigger?

I cannot photoshop my way out of a paper bag, alas, so don't let your laughter at my mad skillz deter you:

As I understand the current plan:

Wild proposal:

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Fori is not pleased

Haha. You photoshop skillz pwn mine. :)

This is an interesting plan (and better than anything that hack architect we hired last year came up with). So instead of using all the exkitchen, you'd recycle some of it into the entry and LR. We'd still have laundry off the entry but it would be less RIGHT THERE.

I confess that I like my compact entry. Most people hate this. Super dated. I like its casual unpretentiousness and how it offers a little privacy to the LR. Mid-paint job photo from living room (yes, I know the glass block and farm door are nuts together):

This is the kitchen door--yeah I'll get around to refinishing and replacing these doors with something equally dated--from the entry:

Is it superbad?

The passage to the living room is wide and partly because of the windows in the LR, the entry feels large and bright. We don't need it bigger because we usually enter through the garage. Even when we have guests for holidays, it's not a crunch because we don't have the kind of climate where you have to get ready to go outside (BTDT.).

I can't change the powder room because I already painted it. Okay, bad excuse, but I have a terrible problem in that I want to retain many of the original features of the house (which most people think are terrible). I love the goofy builtins that were used to square off parts of that unsquare room.

I probably need a therapist before an architect. But this concept is intriguing. I don't need larger rooms though (except for the one I want to turn into a closet) and if we add a full bath, it would preferably be on the bedroom side (with pool access).

I really like your kitchen design. You forgot to extend the garage so I can park 4 cars though, but I can pencil that in.

ANYway, this is a new way to look at it and I shall do so! Thanks, Peanut! (Psst, does a retro ranch totally need a Cu counter or what??)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Have you read Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House book? It's one of my favorite reads. Circuspeanut's plan makes me think of one of Susanka's designs that includes making the entry for the family as welcoming as the entry for "formal guests" (We don't have too many of those here at our house, thankfully!) One of the houses she designed had the entry from the garage attached to the entry to the front of the house, with a half-bathroom accessible to that same area. I don't know about you, but for many of our guests, their first stop after getting in the door is the powder room. It would be nice if it was close and convenient to the door they come in.

I understand just having finished a project and not wanting to redo it, but I am wondering about putting the laundry in the current bathroom by the garage and turning the area where Circuspeanut drew the washer and dryer into a 1/2 bath with a pocket door. Where it says "1000 cabinets" could be the coat closet. (Oh, to live in a climate where this wasn't totally necessary must be lovely!) Any chance those fun built-ins that are squaring up the powder room could be turned into laundry storage cabinets?

I wish you well with your project! : )

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:03PM
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If you can move some walls...any chance you can put in a support beam and take out the wall between the current kitchen and living room? If you put the dining room in the front (maybe with a window seat) and have the living room in the back...you could put the kitchen in the current family room.

I wouldn't put up a full wall, but maybe a half wall with dividers with plants/books, etc. Or is that too 70s rather than 50s? Anyway, keep the light and flow, but give the kitchen a little privacy. And keep the fireplace :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:19PM
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If I were looking at the home as a prospect I'd wonder why with a large kitchen addition the laundry wasn't incorporated in that area between garage and kitchen somehow. If laundry rooms off main entries were a wise feature you'd be seeing just that. The old kitchen could be left as a bonus space-perhaps a game table/bookcases and closed up wall storage /reading nook.I'd seriously not put a laundry room off main entry.There has been a trend to place laundry in bedroom wings of homes ...your home [if you will be redoing something with a bath on that side] might be a good candidate for that. I wouldn't worry about "filling" up the old kitchen: proceeding with the new kitchen in detail will facilitate calculations about what needs to happen in adjacent areas.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:26PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks, all. I should probably get that book--I keep hearing good things about it and I'm pretty sure it applies.

I'm kidding about not wanting to kill the powder room because of the fresh paint. It's only 47" x 57" so it wasn't exactly a big job and I didn't do anything else.

The triangular room is weird and screws me up trying to get it into a software-friendly format. It's hard enough for me to learn a program with 90 degree angles...but let's just make that the laundry room like Herb suggests. There's plenty of space. In fact, my spouse that does all the laundry doesn't even mind having it in the garage. So laundry is a red herring. Ignore laundry! (like I do! hahahhhahahahaha).

What I want from this space, and hopefully without affecting other spaces which are kind of how I like them or will be once I replace some of the wall between FR and LR, is a place I can stick a small office and perhaps a little storage without looking goofy.

I don't need a sink in it or a washer and dryer. Maybe I could line the 9.5' portion with cabinets and enough bookshelves to call it a library hallway, leaving it open (or not) to the "office"?


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:42PM
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I think the old kitchen might work as a purported dining room.

What I mean by purported is, you could use it as an office (a nicely-appointed office) and built in whatever amenities that space might need, such as bookshelves and built in lowers.

However, it could feel like it's the original dining room. Maybe even put a cute chandy over your jauntily-placed desk floating in the center of the room. You could get all the function you want without creating a WTF moment upon entering the home.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Fori is not pleased

Do you really think I can pull that off, Marcolo? l'm gonna do some measuring and sketching.

And thanks for labeling my problem: avoiding the WTF. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Circus Peanut

Ooooh, you could be like Juliet Binoche in Caché! But less world-weary.

Trying to find examples that are more mid-mod and less Louis Quinze:

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:34PM
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I'm liking the library/office/dining area idea, especially if combined with LL's windowseat suggestion. : )

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Fori is not pleased

Yes, Peanut! Those are great! I like this concept. Still, it'll be snug. And the table in the middle will be covered in crayons for a few more years (but there WILL be a table!).

I think LLass told me to turn it into a library 2 years ago. And the window seat would be good Laughable, make it look less accidental. Hmmm.

I feel like I'd need a hidden door somewhere but I can figure that out later. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Too funny. I was going to suggest a hidden door. No casing, painted to match the wall, and no doorknob. A touch latch.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Fori is not pleased

nononono--veneered to match! Like photo #3, but more disguised.

Of course now I need a secret destination. Not like I can hide the garage.

Or...the front entry was (is still) paneled in that sheet mahogany stuff, Eichler style. If I put that back in, I could hide the exkitchen behind a secret door, use it for a laundry room, and nobody would know it was there!

Oy. I gotta stop buying fixeruppers.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Circus Peanut

Fori, my parents just bought an Eichler on the Peninsula as their retirement home project. It's mahogalicious! In fact, they too have the kitchen opening directly to the right as you enter the front door. Paneling as far as the eye can see. My mom is despairing because the paneling darkens the place but she can't/won't paint it out of historical respect.

I agree on the virtues of a smaller more private entranceway as a place to take off one's hat, check lipstick and correct slip peekage before tromping straight into the living room. Ideal if you have room for a coatrack, shelf for purses, and a mirror. We have a tiny little 5x5 vestibule with a second door and love it. Besides being great for stopping thermal loss, it's the perfect cat airlock.

People do forget that in sunny climes, you really don't need-capital-N a mudroom for dirty boots & dripping coats. But you could use my plan above and add a nice big coat closet or mudroom with shoe bench to the right of the door, either only on one side, or across the whole shebang, giving you another doorway between hall and office/laundry room. This would also be swell if you go shoeless in the house. My Japanese friends have special shoe racks with guest slippers in that very spot.

With that said, I'm off to shovel the 10" of new snow we just got last night here in Maine. My outlaws are arriving today for a long visit, 'nuff said.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Of all the ideas, I am liking the library/ dining/ office room concept. i think this will actually be way more functional than a mudroom/ laundry room.

Circus --> Friends of mine just bought a eichler in peninsula that they are renovating. I must say I lust after mid century modern stuff after every visit :)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:55AM
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If you create sort of a dining/library room there, have you thought about closing off the door to the entry and create an opening into the living or family room area instead?

I do like the idea of indoor laundry somewhere though. I really hated the going into the garage and do laundry part and then inevitably dropping something on the garage floor when transfering from washer to dryer. Since while wet it always seemed to pick something up from the garage floor. We lived in the desert though so always something and impossible to keep it clean as stuff blew in as soon as you opened the doors.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks all. I think I'll metaphorically pencil in a home office/den. As long as there actually ARE things that can be done with this space, it's okay to wait. I can throw in some furniture and then decide if the space allows for extensive built ins. (My 1000 cabinets!)

I guess I'll have to decide if it should be one decent-sized but oddly-shaped room or two small ones with normal proportions.

If we closed off the door to the entry, it would make the space more usable but interrupt a major traffic flow. We could retrain I suppose. :) But that's another decision that can (I think) be put off for later.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Fori- I know you like the small entry, but what if you add a closet and put double doors into the entry (isn't this 50s?) and then bump out part of the kitchen, so it's even with the nook.

This would give you a larger dining/library space and a back hall, between the kitchen and garage...perfect for extra pantry/storage space. You could also add a door from the dining room into this hall, if you like.

Just an idea, but it would open up your space and you could also have a larger entrance area, from the outside. Perfect for a bench and maybe a climbing rose??? :)

From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks Lass. I've thought about that--eating up the porch (the unbumped part is covered porch). It's actually a "cheap" addition (can use the existing roof and foundation) and many of the houses in my subdivision have done it. And after seeing them all, I decided I didn't like the look. I like my porch because due to the weird lot shape and location of the driveway, there isn't much between front door and driveway--there's only a small planting area and that's important for me to keep. So eating the porch would be even weirder on my house than others I've seen where it's merely unattractive.

But we did definitely consider it, especially before deciding to spiff up our porch which is part of a project currently underway (entire front yard including driveway is under construction at the moment).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 6:30PM
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