kitchen remodel -- thoughts on layouts

omstMarch 12, 2013

hi all,

i've been a reader for a little while, but recent member. because now i think i know enough to ask questions and maybe even contribute! the knowledge and advice y'all give is very impressive.

ok, so i'm redesigning my recently purchased condo. in particular, the kitchen is giving me a bit of a headache. i've included three images below (they are a motley of screenshot images, so i apologize for the low quality). the first is the current layout, which leaves a lot to be desired. don't even ask me why there's a totally empty space where a pantry might go next to the fridge. no idea.

some background: i live alone, enjoy baking and cooking, never have a very full fridge, and am very obsessed with function. i like things to work and not feel awkward. aesthetic delight is important too, but it really gets me when something looks superb but fails on function.

so, i've included two different ideas. the idea labelled 1 is not fully thought out, but it's a start. it troubles me for a number of reasons. i'm going to go through them here as this might help you understand my thought process and how i got to idea 2:

1) i want more continuous counter space than shown here in idea 1. the kitchens i've loved have big continuous work areas. i'd prefer to lose symmetry (which this layout appears to have in spades) and get more continuous counter space

2) the range: i think, after much thought, i'd prefer a cooktop and wall oven. but the concern i have with the wall oven is where to put it. i really don't like the idea of going under the cooktop. i feel the way wall oven controls are designed imply that you are positioning the wall oven on a wall, a ways up. they don't seem easy to look at, way down there. similar with an under counter microwave.

3) the size of the pantry and fridge. i'm not so concerned about resale value, which folks warn me about when i say 24" fridge. what matters to me is good use of space, and so i think a tall 24" fridge+freezer (say like 79-80" in height, a la a liebherr option..) is perfectly reasonable for me.

ok, all that said, i fiddled a bit myself and came up with the final image, labelled 2 (using different software, hence the totally different look). you can see i've shoved all the big wall size units to one side of the kitchen. i think it could work. maybe.

i was hoping some folks here might have other ideas i haven't thought of, or some things to watch out for with my ideas. i plan to talk to more kitchen designers, but as i said in the beginning i'm so impressed with folks here that i thought i'd ask and see what people think.


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The biggest problem with your #2 is no handy landing space near oven: huge functional issue for me. Landing space at frdige and pantry is also useful, but less of an issue since those items aren't HOT like styuff coming out of an oven will be.

I think there are other possible arrangements than a straight run across the back wall, but if you go with that design I'd have the pantry next to the right hand wall (to make sure no blocking of fridge door when open), the fridge next and the ovens to the left of that. That way you have unimpeded transfer from cooktop to oven, and the oven can use the prep surface as a plunk point.

I often (boringly, I'm sure) suggest function-minded people think in terms of food flow through the kitchen from entrance > storage (cold and/or dry) > prep > cooking > plating > return from eating area (skip this when grabbing a snack from the ice-cream carton by the light of the open fridge). Try not to have to back track (think peas from freezer to sink for a bit of water to cooktop to serving bowl or plate. ) In larger kitchens than yours isolating the clean up sink w/o a prep sink makes you trek over there for that 1/4 cup of water for the peas. In your case you can dump the peas in a pot and just step across the aisle to the erstwhile clean-up sink then zig back to the cook top, so you don't need a second sink.

For easiest venting it's best to have cooktop on an exterior wall.



    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Does either side of this kitchen have a garage on the other side? Or, I should ask, what's on the other side of the walls?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:40AM
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L: thank you for your thoughts! i think contemplating tasks is a very important step. i totally hear what you're saying about a landing zone near the oven, and thus understand your reconfiguration. i think it makes a lot of sense. i also liked this configuration because when i think of coming into the kitchen (entrance -> storage, as you stated), which is from that side (see picture), i can quickly set everything down on the island and put it all easily in the pantry and fridge.

i think you and Ginny20 bring up the good point of what's around here, because that might lend itself to other configurations. i've included an image below. the left hand side of the image is south, and that's where all the light is coming in from two very big windows in the great room, which is just down a short set of stairs (open concept).

to the right of the image (north) is a bedroom, and going further back my bathroom, laundry and guest room. on the west side (where the fridge is now) there is a condo hallway. to the east side there is another unit.

you'll notice in this pic i've shown an area which i've labelled desk area. one kitchen designer strongly encouraged me to put some wall units there, but i really really don't want to. i want a work desk there. the light is fantastic in the great room and the kitchen, but as you go farther back into the unit (it goes a ways) it gets quite dark. i so love light and so i only want to be back there for sleep and for bathroom, laundry, guest room etc.. it's important for me to have a nice desk space to sit and work on stuff in this sunny area, and that's the current placement idea.

another idea is to use the wall that's on the hallway run. i don't like this idea because i like the long long hallway that leads from the entrance (not shown) all the way through the kitchen down to the great room. but another designer suggested putting something on that wall. perhaps..

one thing i am scared of is my kitchen taking over. it's central in the space, and hence it should be redone and really make a statement. but i don't want it to encroach, though me and some designers have different opinions on what is encroachment, and what is tolerable.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:15PM
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I agree, switch the ovens with the pantry.

Have you seen this kitchen? Brooklyngalley must wonder about me, but I think her kitchen is a great example of a beautiful, efficient small kitchen. Lots of good ideas. She has the 24" Liebherr, as does my stepson in his Manhattan apartment. It's a good choice for a small space. If the next owner wants a bigger fridge, they can take out the pantry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brooklyn Galley Kitchen finished

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:35PM
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quick driveby:
- can you close off some off the steps to the greatroom?
that way you can make it U-shape, to gain more storage and countertop space.

good luck,


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:52PM
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thanks ginny20 and amanda. ginny20 -- that's a good observation regarding the larger fridge and removing the pantry.

amanda, it's an interesting idea regarding closing off some of the steps. in fact, there's a giant structural wood beam (the X with the box around it) that can't be touched right there, so it might be possible to do something there if needed.

thank you all for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:45AM
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