Urgent help needed for kitchen floor plan

azmomMarch 9, 2013

We have a small yet difficult kitchen. I have spent tons of time trying to improve the floor plan and flow. We are supposed to place kitchen cabinet order this month, yet the floor plan is still not finalized yet. It has been so stressful.

I thought I had better run by the good folks on this board for inputs and suggestions. Yesterday, Buehl helped me to upload photos. Buehl, thank you a million!!!. Below is the drawing of our existing kitchen layout. Please ask questions, review and criticize the floor plan.

(1) Existing layout:

The kitchen is a pass through kitchen opens to formal dining room, utility room, family room and other part of the house. It has low ceiling, is short of storage space with bad work flow.

(2) Changes in the plan:

a. Raise ceiling in the Kitchen area.
b. Replace kitchen cabinets, countertop, appliances, sink, plumbing fixtures and lighting.
c. Center kitchen sink to window.
d. Replace cook range with cook top,
e. Replace oven with 1 wall oven and 1 MW/induction oven.
f. Enlarge island with more cabinets to be accessed from front and back sides.
g. Keep existing sitting on one side of the island.
i. Move refrigerator to give more counter space.

(3) Problems

a. Where to relocate ovens and refrigerator? If put both at the current pantry and desk area, would they be too far from sink and cooktop? Where else are good spots?
b. Where is the landing spot for ovens?
c. Would it make sense to change islandâÂÂs orientation, so people sit next to island would fact window instead of cook top? The window is good size with good view.
d. We can change the entire pantry and desk areas. DH wants to keep a door way from kitchen to the Formal Dining Room. It could be moved a few feet if we want to put ref. and ovens together,
e. How to improve the work flow for preparation, cooking and baking?
f. How to make the kitchen plan a cohesive one and minimize the negative nature of a pass through kitchen?

Thank you in advance for the help. Any inputs and suggestions will be immensely appreciated.

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I would move the sink over to be more in the middle of the bump out or move the range down at least some as it looks to me that your main prep space will be between the sink or range and you have very little space. I have around that amount and it is not sufficient IMO. I absolutely hate that part in my current kitchen. Just can't figure out how to improve it in mine though.

Where do you plan to keep your pots and pans? Doesn't look like you have any cabinets or drawers large enough to accommodate that near the range.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:09PM
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What a nice big window! I think you're right to consider moving the island (turning it 90 degrees) so folks can see out that window.

With the window wall and the open island, you only have two possible locations for the fridge and ovens. I'd put them both on that pantry wall and move the DR door as far as possible in one direction or the other to give you the maximum stretch of working counter between the ovens and fridge.

If you centered the sink on the window, and turned the island, it looks like you could extend the length of the island enough to put a prep sink directly behind the range, that would be so convenient (and recenter the range on that wall if you move the fridge.

Best of luck sorting through it all. I'm working on a layout now, too, and know how when you change on thing, then everything else also shifts. That's going to be such a nice kitchen with the great window and big island!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Hello lyfia,

You spotted one of the shortcomings.

We plan to move sink and cooktop exactly as you suggested. The bumped area is where the window is, the sink will center to the window, currently, it is off center toward one side of the window.

I want more counter space, it is why I want to move the refrigerator out from its current location.

We will add drawers below cooktop for pots and pans. Put more drawers next to cooktop for cooking utensils and spices.

One of the reason to move island's orientation is to have a bank of drawers on the island, opposite to the DW, to make it easy to load dishes.

Also, the island is far away from cooking area. I hope our resident kitchen design gurus would chime in to validate the idea of moving island, or give suggestions of placing the island.

I am taking measurements for small appliances, pots and pans, cookware, containers, dinnerware, serving pieces..etc. so that we could order drawers for right locations and of right sizes. Most of the lower cabinets will be drawers. I plan to have different configuration for corner cabinet, I hate the current lazy susan in it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:56PM
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The island is functually useless in its current location--almost twice the distance from the cooking zone that it should be. Turn it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Hello Smiling,

You are right, I want to center the cooktop once refrigerator is moved out.

I never thought about adding a prep sink, because the kitchen is not that big. I need to think about it.

I like your suggestions of moving DR door as far as possible to either direction. What worries me is if refrigerator and oven area are too far away from the "main" kitchen and become an annex. I also heard that the rule of " refrigerator should not locate at heavy traffic area", but do not know how to get around that.

One thing nice of the kitchen is the large window, we can see back yard, patio and swimming pool.


Thank you for the inputs. How far away the island should be relative to the range once it is turned?

Do I really have a cooking zone or any zone (cooking, baking and prepration) by having the cooktop and ovens at two locations? It seems the "zones" have been fragmented with this challenging layout.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Please give me your suggestions regarding moving refrigerator and ovens.

My biggest concern is if this will be a more strange layout, where refrigerator and ovens are too far away from the main kitchen and become an annex.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:51AM
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in the 45 in desk nook I'd put a vertical stack containing one oven and microwave-30 in width probably.The remainder 15 in would be some pull out pantry space. Leave the dining opening as is.Place side by side fridge on lower part of 97 in wall, other side of dining opening. Use the other 60 in for your "pantry"including some sort of counter/niche area at the top, that functions as a "desk". Are you turning the island 90 degrees?..you'll have landing for fridge items right behind you....RU planning to center cooktop on top wall of L? How about a single large deep sink at window with dishwasher and small sink somewhere on island/or vice versa..calculate where the secondary usage spot is likely to be considering change of microwave and fridge locations,and flow of people in and out of your kitchen....since lots of foot traffic other than the cook revolves around fridge/some dishware retrieval/microwave and fridge as destinations.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Herbflavor, thank you for the inputs.

Yes, I want to center cooktop on top wall of L. To open the kitchen a bit more, the section of the wall next to refrigerator (in its current location) will be removed, may be new counter can be used as landing.

We thought about placing ovens and refrigerator as you suggested, but my concern is ovens will not have landing close by for hot cookie sheet or bake ware.

Also will it make ovens like orphans away from the main kitchen?

It seems turning the island 90 degree is a smart decision (many thanks to smiling and marcolo). Do I need to widen the island from current 38â once it turns in order to provide sufficient counter space for top of the L wall? What is the suitable width for the purpose?

We are thinking about changing the current pantry to top and lower cabinets with counter top. GC said moving the door way should not cost much extra since ceiling will be raised and pantry will be ripped out.

We do not have any experience and background in remodeling. Planning for the remodeling has been very challenging and stressful. Please keep your suggestions coming in, they are so helpful and assuring.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 1:29PM
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If you're concerned about the traffic, there's another way to get the tall fridge and ovens out of traffic and nearer than over on that pantry wall. You could put the range in the turned island (with an island hood). Make the new island at least 48" wide so you can have 24" cabinets on both sides. Then put the fridge and ovens on the wall where you now have the range and fridge. Then everything is out of the main thru-traffic aisle, and you can still have seating facing the big window.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I think you should reconsider your choice to do wall ovens and a cooktop. You would be better served by a range for most tasks. Maybe add a second oven where the floor to ceiling cabinets are located for a dedicated baking center, but keep the main kitchen elements right where they are and how they exist and just turn the island and add a prep sink. For the desk area, make that a step in pantry. They hold a TON of stuff and are very efficient. Shorten the wall with the fridge in it so that it only comes out to the case of the fridge so you can have better swing for opening it. Put your MW with the single wall oven and now you have a pretty good snack center that's not invading your prep zone.

BTW, kudos for having such a well drawn diagram in your plea for help. It made it easy to see where the opportunities were and to cut and past a few things.

This post was edited by hollysprings on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 16:05

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I give a big thumbs up to the square island that hollysprings posted.

My current kitchen also has a tight corner between sink and stove, where I find myself jammed even if I'm the only person working in the kitchen. It makes me pretty nuts. I have an idea for opening up that space, since you seem able to move the dining room door. All these comments are based on hollyspring's drawing.

You would put your fridge where the dining room door now is, and put the dining room door where hollysprings drew a wall oven (with snack zone). Where the step in pantry is drawn, you might create a beverage/snack station next to the fridge, so people coming from the family room can get drinks without tangling with whomever is cooking. That would be the primary landing zone for the fridge, with island also available.

You could then shift the range to the right and create a longer stretch of counter between range and sink. The range will also be across from the island. If you skip the prep sink or keep it small, the island could have some good pot storage.

The area remaining above the dining door (closest to the hall) could then be a pantry cabinet of some sort for extra storage. That corner is not handy while cooking, but I'm thinking a place for pet food, canned food, rarely used cooking implements and the like.

The fridge is pretty far away from the cooking action in that case. Depending on how you work, that might be fine or annoying. I'd keep it at or near the edge of the island so you don't have to run *around* the island to get to it, just past the island.

Looks like you're in for a beautiful kitchen when all the work is done!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Hello Smiling, Hollyspring and Sarahstew,

Thank you so much for the suggestions, they definitely opened my eyes, especially having a step in pantry. I missed the step in pantry in our previous house, I never dream that we have the space for one now.

Hollyspring, it is so kind of you to point out "zones" in the layout where I have not being able to identify them for months. It highlights the differences between a "professional" and a novice.

We want to stay in this house for a long time. We plan the remodeling with "aging" in mind, try not to "bend over" if we don't need to, such as to access an oven under cooktop, such as using drawers to access stored items instead of getting down on the floor to dig out what is needed like we do now.

We envision the kitchen a clean, streamline, calm and soothing place. Therefore we want nothing on the island. Our choices are toward contemporary instead of traditional/transitional, such as induction cooktop, chimney vent hood, under mount sink with one faucet..etc.

Am I able to keep the above mentioned constraints/wishes by using the cooktop instead of a range?

May I ask why make the island square shape instead of rectangular? There may be design benefits of doing so, but I just cannot decipher it.

Thank you again for the feedback.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Azmom, you do not have your email enabled on your profile. Therefore, I am unable to respond directly to your request for assistance. I will respond here, so that others may have the benefit of the information as well.

First of all, for your island, it will not be used at all unless you do have a water source on it. The primary prep zone in any kitchen is between water and fire and adjacent to the storage. That's the tiny corner between your sink and the range. UNLESS you put a prep sink on the island. When you do that, and it doesn't have to be anything larger than 14", that transforms the island into the primary prep space with you facing out towards those who are seated there rather than you standing with your face in the corner and your back to the guests.

The square shape that Holly suggested could work and adds additional storage. I think the important takeaway from that is to have the "working " portion of the aisle facing the fridge and cooking surface. That minimizes your walking all over the kitchen to prepare a meal. A larger kitchen isn't a better kitchen, unless it's designed to be. Putting an island in the middle of a kitchen makes it less efficient, not more efficient---unless that island is in the right spot, with the right orientation, and has a water source on it. A large chunky island looks appropriate to the space,and I think the square works (especially with some nice chunky legs to make it more of a "table") but you could just make the island narrower and oriented left to right instead of top to bottom.

Here is one tweak to Holly's plan that I might make if you are OK with walking further in your prep, but only if you are willing to use a counter depth refrigerator or a built in one. Refrigerators belong on the perimeter of the kitchen space so that they can be accessed by those coming into the space without crossing your prep space. It's the busiest spot in the kitchen, and you have to have enough room for everyone to have that access. Whether or not you want to swap the wall oven with the fridge will depend on how often you use the wall oven for cooking. If you frequently sear something and then put it in the oven to finish, the range suggestion would be a good one. Or have the range be on the same run as the cooktop with the fridge across the aisle. If you are more into getting out fresh veggies and preparing them for a meal, then leaving Holly's plan alone might be the best layot for you. Either depends on having the prep sink there so that you actually use the island. Without a prep sink on the island, you're creating more work, more steps, and you'll default to just prepping in the corner.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:14AM
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I like hollysprings' layout plus sarahstew's tweaks, particularly the part about moving the fridge. The cooking area does seem cramped with the range there.

Hi AZ, the square island looks to be what you have room for based on the shape of your space and widths of the traffic aisles around it. It also seems to give you seating for four, two each on the right and bottom sides. Be sure to have the counter overhang the cabinetry no less 15" overhang on those sides to ensure the comfort of those sitting there.

You can switch to the cooktop instead of range, but I would be leery of doing that only because the wall oven location is sort of in a hallway. I'm picturing someone suddenly whipping around the corner while the oven door is open. Doing a range gives you a relatively protected space for at least one oven. However, your aging in place concerns are valid as well so I would definitely do at least one wall oven plus the range, or even the two wall ovens. I think the one wall oven is better though - I have two wall ovens, and one is too high while the other is a bit too low. Just one could be placed at the perfect height.

This post was edited by tracie.erin on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 9:30

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:26AM
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I would like a mixed version of LWO and holly. I have my ovens off by themselves and love it. It's like my own private area but the space it's in leads to my laundry room/pantry thus no traffic and used only by me. It kinda depends on where/what the top hallway leads to. The separate baking area also appeals to me since I love baking. If you don't bake at all, then it may not be as valuable to you. The idea of a separate cooktop and ovens is a good one. I switched to that and have never been happier with a setup.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:01AM
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live_wire_oak, tracie.erin, remodelfla,Smiling, Hollysprings, herbflavor, Sarahstew, lyfia, Marcolo, and Buehl,

I read what you said many times, and used imaginary test run with various scenarios in your suggested layouts. I think I finally understand the concepts of zones, the requirements of an efficient kitchen, the trade off of different arrangements, slowly I could tie things together and make them to fit our own needs.

This thread is like a crash course that has taught me so much. I sincerely appreciate your time, your wonderful design ideas as well as the theories behind them. The only regret I have is that I did not ask for your help earlier, it would have saved me tons of agony, time and energy.

I am so grateful; your inputs have saved me from making costly mistakes. I will incorporate your suggestions, discuss with DH and GC to finalize our plan. This is the first time I feel that we will have a functional and efficient kitchen. All because of your generosity. Thank you again.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:51PM
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