Feedback on our Floorplan, please! (60's ranch with open concept)

buildinvaMarch 26, 2013

We are buying a 60's ranch and will do a gut remodel, resulting in a 1,000 sq ft open living space. The yard is an acre and backs to a sweet little creek, so we have great views along the back of the house.

We are a family of 4 who frequently have a house full of kids. We live casually and comfortably, but I do love beautiful spaces! We are planning a budget white kitchen, possibly from IKEA.

I would love feedback on our floorplan, especially the kitchen space. Please excuse the erasure marks! The scale is 1 sq = 1 ft. I've spent hours browsing and reading here and other sites and have learned so much!

Any questions, please ask. Thank you so much for your time and input!!!

((Note: We are trying to work with a lot of our existing furniture to keep costs down. The 40 inch round table pictured on the right will NOT be there, however, so the chairs can move over to make the walkway wide enough. The door in the bottom right of the picture is the front door. The slanted line on the bottom left represents the existing fireplace, which we do not have $$ to change or remove.))

This post was edited by buildinva on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 18:18

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It's too light to read. Can you see if you can darken it up some?

One thing I can read is the butt to butt conflict with the sink and cooktop. Not enough aisle space to pull that off, and it wouldn't be optimal even if you had a 48" aisle.

There also doesn't appear to be a quiet "away" space here for you to get away from all of the noise and activity. And the entry just dumps you into the home with no sense of welcoming or anticipation for the space beyond.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:09PM
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How about moving the kitchen to the right, in an L-shape, with an island? Dining table could move toward the top of the picture, and you wouldn't have to move the existing french door. Reverse the sectional and chairs, so your walkway to the kitchen is along the right wall.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Thanks for the feedback!

LWO: I tried to darken it. Is that better? GREAT point about the stove/sink! I hadn't even thought of that but you are most certainly right. I will need to move one. Which do you think would look better aesthetically to move? For the entry, there is an existing "arch" that will remain, and also a built-in bookcase. We will use art and lighting to help set the space apart as well. It's true that there is no quiet space here. We will use our bedrooms and the basement for that. I don't expect this space to be quiet very often!

annkh: the problem is that there is a very low & wide window in that space. I think it's maybe 24 inches off the floor and 78 inches wide. We do not want to move it. We also cannot move the kitchen left because there is an adjoining room there and a passageway from the garage.

I'm also thinking I want 2 sinks. I would keep the island sink for prep and add a clean up sink between the stove and fridge. This would move the dishwasher, of course. Any thoughts on that?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Stove, as a symbolic hearth, rules; sink slinks as much out of sight as possible because, IMO, not only is it not nearly as handsome as many are encouraged to think to justify expensive hardware, but it tends to collect uncharming detritus around it. Let the eyes just pass on by, which is happily an era-compliant look. They didn't know a sink was supposed to be, even could be, a wow! feature back then. BTW, they also didn't tend to know about large, deep 1-sink sinks into which a whole dinner's worth of mess could just disappear. I LOVE mine.

BTW, the stove doesn't HAVE to rule, of course; that's a more current idea, and it actually often wasn't a feature at all in those days. Your kitchen might benefit by letting it also disappear into a handsome unified design meant to rule as a whole. My own (sort of traditional kitchen) is a drop-in cooktop with drawers beneath--so the counter and counter line are straight and uninterrupted. The oven's under counter elsewhere where it's not very visible from outside. (In my case, attention goes to the decorative wood vent hood above the stove and the windows flanking it.)

I'd definitely keep to a simple open galley, as symmetric as possible--most attractive and space efficient of all layouts when it must be totally open (except a very symmetric U, which takes more space and may have function problems if not equipped with an island). A galley is also among the most highly functional of all layouts.

If there's nothing going on at the right end of the island, why not slide a stool around there? Then someone could sit without presenting his back to everyone else in the room.

I love white kitchens and have one, but if you're going to do flat-panel simple cabinets to go with the architecture, wood, even very light wood, I think is more handsome than plain white, which usually seems to lack something, even for me. (There is a higher-end high-gloss that looks very good, though; my DIL is trying to talk our son into it, and I'm on her side.) In any case, although I've never wanted wood, in your case I'd at least consider seeing just how light I could go with Ikea flat-panel wood for the lower cabinets, blending with a similarly pale honey-colored maple floor (one of my very favorite features from that general era), and then go white or off-white for the uppers to blend in with the walls.

BTW, I don't remember her name offhand, but someone just posted a picture of her simple modern kitchen with green stone counters that's just gorgeous.

Shot my "I-would" wad. I'll enjoy seeing your personal vision for your new home develop.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Thanks for the feedback, Rosie! I appreciate your ideas and time!! I agree with you about the stove being the center as the "hearth." That's a great visual. Wild you move the sink then? I'm thinking closer to the fridge...

I'm going to ikea this week and will definitely be open to wood. Although I have a white kitchen in mind, I won't rule out light wood just yet since I'm early in my process. We don't even close for 3 more weeks! I like the idea of the high gloss white. I can envision a shiny enameled look being very modern sleek.

Reading another post I realized that I need a broom closet. Have to figure that one out somehow...

Please share any other thoughts or feedback!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Aside from the broom closet, have you given a lot of thought to what you normally store in your kitchen and where you'll put it? It is always a good idea to do a detailed inventory of your current kitchen - pots, pans, large appliances (kitchen aid, toaster oven, microwave) and think about where these things will go.

Will you want a place devoted to coffee? Do you plan to have upper cabinets on the wall around your cooktop? Do you want a baking center? How many cooks work in your kitchen at once?

How old are your kids? Where do they do their homework?

Do you want two ovens or one?

We recently did a gut remodel of our California style ranch, originally custom built in 1957. It had an open floor plan that was really dark in the middle. It also had 8' ceilings. We were able to raise the roof a bit and make the ceilings in the main living space go to 9', with a soffit around the perimeter to accomodate the hipped roof rafters. It completely opened up the space. We also added a gable-end in the middle of our roof plan so we could put a window in, letting light come down in the middle of the space.

Is there a 2nd story above this living space? You noted it's a ranch so I guess not. I think you may need more light in there, even with all those windows (what direction do they face relative to the sun?).

I love those mid-century dramatic fireplaces. What does it look like? I think you miss a terrific opportunity if you try to hide it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:12AM
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I'd strongly consider trying to put the kitchen into a corner for an L shape with an island if at all feasible; even if it requires modifying a window. Where is the daily entry into the house that you'd be using when you come in the house with groceries? Try to situate your kitchen near that. I know you are anxious to get started right away, but as you are considering some major changes to this home, there would be a definite plus to just moving in and living in the space 3-6 months before doing these types of improvements. You'd get a better sense of your space in different times of year and seasons and what your needs are, and so avoid a potential costly mistake. Even though you have an open floor plan, it's important to define your spaces, closets and half walls can really help. Have you ever had a sectional floating in the middle of the room? There is bound to be an unattractive side where the seam is. With kids, it may slide around. Console tables against the back really help to ground it. It seems to just be floating in the middle of the room with no end tables or console tables to help ground it. Also have you thought about lighting? Even with recessed lighting you will still need lamps for reading, homework, etc.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:50PM
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karen: Thank you so much for your feedback!! The broom! I had not even thought of that. Thank you! I need to figure out a spot. I have completed an inventory of my kitchen and it looks as though everything will fit. It might be tight--the new kitchen will be smaller. But this is all the space I have to work with, so I'll have to make it work!

I am the only cook, but as my kids get older I imagine they will want to help more. DH does do a lot of clean-up. I would ideally move the d/w and clea-up sink to the wall and keep the island sink for prep. But I don't think my space is big enough to pull that off... ??

There is good natural light, but we'll be adding recessed lighting, pendants, and UCL as well. I have asked the contractor to price out bumping up the ceiling, but I have a feeling it will be cost-prohibitive. We are on a tight budget as we have to do the whole house, not just the kitchen.

The fireplace is pretty ugly, but I'm confident we can make that look better with paint and decorating.

valinsv: We will enter the house through the passageway in the top left of the picture. It is a hall that leads to the garage door and my small office. Great point about the sectional "floating." I'm still not sure I want to do the sectional. Originally I wanted opposing sofas, but I don't think the space is large enough for that. We will have at least 3 tables for lamps in the space, in addition to 2 chandeliers, pendants, recessed & UCL. Do you think that will be enough?

I have made some revisions based on feedback and will post that in a separate thread. Let me know what you think!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:21AM
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