seeking advice on layout

KallistoMarch 1, 2013

First post, but I have learned so much from lurking here and taking in all the good advice and goodwill. The resources to be found here are invaluable.

We are embarking on a kitchen remodel of our 1969 colonial with its original kitchen. The major problems with our existing layout are a bottleneck in front of the fridge, and no real venting. We are a family of 4 with 2 small children. My husband is a fantastic home cook, while I try to keep up with his dishes.

Our budget is modest. We have found a flexible and affordable GC for remodel and installation. For cabinets, he likes Schrock from Menards (we are in the Midwest) and we are also pricing out HD options. We are also interested in Barker RTA and waiting on a sample door to check out their painted finish.

I have attached our existing and proposed layouts. We plan to remove the wall between kitchen and laundry/pantry, move the laundry to the basement, and yes, we will miss our main floor laundry. Any miracle solutions are welcome!

We want to open up the kitchen to the breakfast nook area, removing the peninsula. (A future plan might be to add banquette seating at the picture window.) In general, we want better traffic flow. The space seems too small for even the smallest fixed island.

My challenges are making sure we have enough storage, as we're giving up storage in the laundry/pantry. I'd also like to find a spot for a small broom closet. Oh, and it seems that the corner cabinets will look rather crowded in there next to the full height pantry.

As a side note, our two year old has developmental disabilities. She will likely walk, so mobility/access is not a primary concern in this design. I would be interested, however, in hearing from others who may have experience about things to consider as we plan this space. Her disorder means that her movement will be somewhat clumsy, in layman's terms, so fewer barriers are probably better?

Thanks for reading this far. I look forward to hearing suggestions!

existing layout:

and proposed new layout:

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A few questions:

-what do you use the area to the right of the fridge for? Do you use that sink?
-do you use the sink in the current laundry area at all?
-can the door on the right move?
-are you open to moving the main sink?
-would you consider keeping the peninsula?

I'm getting bits and pieces of ideas in my head for brainstorming. Will try to post tomorrow after you reply.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Thank you so much for the good questions! The sink on the fridge wall is a 12x12 sink used mostly for beverages/coffee and drinks. I love having it there; I was thinking a slightly larger one would make a good secondary prep zone, for kids, making lunches, etc.

The laundry area sink is a utility sink, and no, we don't really use it. And yes, we could move the main sink. (We sure do have a lot of sinks in the space.) I am clearly influenced by the current layout and the traditional sink-window placement. But there is a downside to this placement as the front door and foyer looks straight at the sink-window-pile of dishes.

Yes, the opening to the dining room on the right can shift. The peninsula currently allows for very little clearance when the door to the basement is open, but perhaps a shortened version could work well.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 7:12AM
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Is the breakfast area the only eating area in the home? OK, no, now that I see that you have a DR to the right of the laundry room, which is pretty unusual. Hmmmmm..... can you post the layout of the whole floor? There's an idea circulating in my brain, but it will depend on how wedded you are to having two dining spaces and what the rest of the space looks like. Are you are formal family who enjoys sitting down to dinner, or do you do most of your meals in an informal manner? Would you rather that the kitchen feel more connected to the family space or the eating space? Does the eating space need to be connected to the family space?

Think about how your family lives in the home, and what's important to you. What I'm thinking is to shift the kitchen to the breakfast area rather than it's current spot. Then move the dining room to the current kitchen area, so that you have a better view from the foyer. And then the formal dining room can become the laundry and pantry area, perhaps with a wet bar/coffee bar there to serve the DR.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Ok, here are some ideas. I'm by no means a layout expert, but I always go with more ideas is better when brainstorming.

Moving the sink to the peninsula. Makes a nice long prep zone, can work side by side. Will have DW in prep, but we all make tradeoffs somewhere. Keeps laundry accessible.

Same idea without the laundry sink, so more breathing room in that passage by the fridge.

This is probably the easiest, keeps most things the same. Prep sink with faucet on end so you can access from both sides.

Moves the DR door to make a sort of galley. Adds storage to DR. Keeps laundry, but stacked (might be harder for your DD if she is able to do laundry due to height). If the wall below the W/D opens to another room, you could consider putting them side by side in a closet that opens to that other room.

That little peninsula with the DW seems handy. Can the access to the stairs be through a different room? Not sure how they are set up, but maybe it's as easy as just making the doorway in another wall if it's a landing area behind the door?

Hope this sparks some ideas that work! Pick and choose what helps.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Such creative ideas, williamsem! None of the KDs I've spoken with have come up with anything half as interesting. Wow, thanks.

Greendesigns, those are also good questions. I didn't indicate on the drawing that the picture window is 24" from the floor, and it's next to a door leading to the patio and yard. Adjacent wall is all built-ins. The picture window offers a lovely view with lots of light, so I am hesitant to shrink it. I would indeed like for the kitchen and breakfast areas to feel more connected, but I haven't included that space in any reconfigured kitchen because of the window and door.

We have in past houses used our DR daily, but in our 2 years in this house, not so much. I think it is the DR's separate feeling that draws us to the breakfast table. (Oh, and squeezing past the fridge to get to the DR!) So these ideas of connecting the spaces more are great ones.

Thanks again. Love all these thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Yes, I think posting a layout of your entire first floor will help all these layout gurus tremendously (one of which is not me!)

I'm assuming with the style of your home there is probably a formal living room somewhere. Do you use that space regularly, if there is one?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Hi, and welcome to GW,
I played with your layout for a while. It is a tough one. Too much empty space in the middle to leave empty, but not enough for an island.

Here's one I came up with. I can't totally endorse it, but there may be things here you can use.

1. I really wanted to keep the laundry room on the main floor, and there SHOULD be enough space here for it.

2. For efficient use of space, I'd keep the peninsula between kitchen and breakfast room but remove any upper cabs.

3. Most prep happens between the sink and the range. In your plan, there was only a 2' space there. Lots of space on the other side, but far from the sink.

The prep sink space beside the fridge was very cramped. I would not prep there. Too far from range and just 2' on each side of the sink, between a wall and the fridge. I moved the prep sink to the peninsula where it can serve the breakfast room and the prep area.

4. The cleanup area in your plan is also the best prep area. I would prep there, not across the room in the cramped fridge space. So no good place to pile dirty pans and dishes. I moved the cleanup sink across the kitchen to the area by the fridge. Not ideal, but it frees a good prep area, and there is should be about 4' of upper cabs for easy storage of dishes and glassware as they come out of the DW.

5. I know neither sink is any longer under the window. But what a great place to prep! And from the prep sink in the island the cook can see out the picture window in the breakfast room.

6. But poor you, the cleanup worker will not have much of a view!

Anyway, maybe some ideas here that will be useful. It really is a difficult one to work with. (I tried to eliminate the refrigerator wall stuff and use a long island, but traffic patterns made that impossible.)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Yes, it's a typical layout for homes of the age/style. Here's a rough layout (not exactly to scale). We do use the front LR, whose space use is driven mostly by a baby grand hand-me-down. Possibly the only 'grand' element of the house.

I haven't thought too much about space reconfiguration because of our budget constraints. (That and we do enjoy the traditional separation of living spaces; it seems fitting for the house.)

If not for that fridge bottleneck we would happily squeeze into the current kitchen layout! I've thought about recessing the fridge but ductwork is in the way. And would those extra inches make a real difference? I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 4:48PM
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I'll toss a few ideas out:

First, is there any way to move your laundry to the 2nd floor rather than to the basement? I had a second floor laundry in one of our homes, and it was wonderful. It made keeping up on the laundry so efficient and easy.

Second, please check out Sixtyohno's kitchen and Saphire Moon's because they both have elements that are somewhat similar to your own home.

Let me describe what I drew since it's coming up micro-sized. I left the peninsula, but you could certainly take it out. I also left the sink, but we'll talk more about that in a minute. Across the top of the picture, it goes sink, stove, and then a fridge parallel to the peninsula on the right hand side. This gets all of your main work elements into a protected area of the kitchen so that you are no longer crossing a major pathway while doing most of your cooking. Along the bottom edge of the kitchen is what I'll call 'The Great Wall of Storage'. : ) This could be all pantry, pantry and broom closet, or even a small bar area with a sink in addition to the pantry and broom storage. It's currently 2' deep, but you could make it shallower if it is only going to be storage with no bar area. This would make the walkway to the dining room a bit wider, in addition to making it more challenging to lose things in the pantry. For wall pantries, sometimes shallower is better. I'm not sure how wide the walkway really is... so I'm not sure which depth would be best in your situation.

Best wishes!

I'd like to swap the sink and stove locations in my drawing to help the 'fridge-sink-stove' flow, but I didn't do that to try to keep costs lower. If your contractor could move the window reasonably, it might be nice to do so and put the sink where I put the stove. Or, some folks have put stoves under windows, but you'll want to run this through your inspector since some can get a little cranky about stoves under windows. Personally, I like it.

Sixtyohno's kitchen reveal thread:

Here is a link that might be useful: the other kitchen reveal

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Thank you! Meeting with KD this week and hope to get some feedback.

I hear you about how a W/D should fit somewhere in there... just can't quite find the ideal spot. I might need to procure one of those undercounter washers that we have lived with abroad. So handy!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:05PM
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