Help mostly with kitchen layout but also MB

atreegrowsMarch 4, 2013

Hi. This is my first posting and I really need your help. We’ve been tinkering with this design for a while but never seem to work out the quirks in our layout.

We bought our 1922 home (1372 sf, 3BR, 1 ¾ bath) in a great neighborhood in So Cal 3 years ago. It has some original Craftsman features, which are holding up well. But the awkward and ugly 1970s kitchen and equally awful bath show their age. Also, access to master is only through ugly bath or middle BR.

1. Open up kitchen and improve flow by removing wall between hall and office; combine with kitchen. Install FD to new deck.
2. Update kitchen with basic but functional appliances (36” range, bottom-freezer fridge) and Ikea-type cabinets, etc.
3. Create separate entrance to master, without passing through a bath or BR. (We thought about opening up existing hall all the way to the MB, but we’d lose 2 closets.)
4. Create larger master bath to include combo tub/shower. My DH takes showers; I take baths. We’d love to have separate fixtures, but we’re short on space.
5. Move WD from basement to kitchen.

1. Zones: I’ve read about the importance of zones and am concerned the fridge is too far away from sink, but I'm having trouble relocating it. Any ideas?
2. Aesthetics: There’s a clear symmetry and elegance to existing LR and DR with clean, white trim on fireplace mantel and built-ins (see photos below). I thought about creating a raised bar separating DR from kitchen with similar trim and openings on either side to mimic symmetry of built-ins, but not sure there’s space. Ideas?
3. Addition? Does anyone think a small addition (i.e. cantilevered bump out) to the MB would be a good idea? We thought extending it 2-3 feet would give us more room for closets/bath but none of the GC or architects thought it would be worth the money.

A little about us:
1. I have a DH and DS (5yo).
2. We use our DR all the time and like the open kitchen.
3. We use a MW but not as a matching built-in so I haven’t indicated it on layout.
4. We love to cook.

Existing layout: From Labeled CAD drawings

Proposed layout: From Labeled CAD drawings

Whole house layout: From Existing layout

Image from LR, thru DR, to kitchen (note white trim): From March 4, 2013

Image of fireplace mantel and built-in: From March 4, 2013

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robo (z6a)

Wow, what an interesting layout! Great opportunity to fix the problems with master bath entering master bed. I just finished a bath/master remodel with similar sizes (except my bath is about half that size -- sad) so have some thoughts.

For your kitchen, you probably need to post a more clear layout with dimensions. I think your drawings are pretty off and it will help redoing them to scale on graph paper.

First impression, not in love with the peninsula blocking off your fridge. If you took the wall cabinets down over the peninsula you have now, and made it a bit shorter, would you still hate it? Because I could really picture keeping close to the original foot print in this scenario. How big is the closet that you could potentially recess the fridge into? Could you recess a wall of tall (oven, pantry, fridge) on that wall? I'm thinking the hallway to your bedroom isn't necessarily high traffic. Then you still could open up the back room, bringing more light, and do your mudroom laundry room there. It would also be an amazing spot for a built in breakfast nook, although that is might be less practical for you.

In my city, there are many older houses with interesting kitchen renovations. One thing people do is move one entire zone to an adjacent area. In your case you moved the cooking zone. I would be more tempted to move the food storage zone, which would include the fridge. Unfortunately this is less convenient in the sense people like DS have to walk through your kitchen to get to fridge.

Finally for your master bedroom, have you considered doing a wall of built in closets instead of a walk in? They can look very cool. I have a 5 x 6 walk in closet and I find it cramped and a waste of space. Don't forget you need 2 feet to walk between 2 feet of hanging clothes on either side so really you're only getting 8 feet of hanging space for a 24 square foot loss of square footage from your bedroom. Compare this to a potential 14 feet! from going across the back wall for only 28 sf loss of footage, or 12 feet from going across the bottom wall.

Contemporary Bedroom design by Miami Interior Designer Cindy Ray Interiors, Inc.

Typically in a bath that size, the bathtub would be across the back wall. Have you considered this option? This will constrain the length of the bathtub (to 5 feet) but will give you more options for width. I see the window over the tub in your layout: you could put the window over the vanity, which is a charming old fashioned look.

You can also (just barely) fit a decent sized shower, a small tub, a small vanity, and toilet in 12 feet. Have the door open opposite the vanity (better yet, do a barn or pocket door) From bottom to top: shower (3 feet), toilet (30 inches), vanity (30 inches), tub (3 feet). Recess a couple of honkin' big medicine cabinets over your slimline vanity (I got amazing ones on ebay for cheap), pick a slimline toilet and you have yourself a small but functional bathroom that doesn't need to feel cramped.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I would start with some graph paper to layout your current layout with accurate measurements. Post that (large) and I think you will get more help.

As it appears now I prefer your current layout. New one seems to choppy. Even if you don't want a built in MW you still need to plan for it now. You don't want to end up with it on the counter.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:49PM
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I'm also having issues with the small diagrams - I keep picking up the laptop and holding it closer to my nose.

Bedroom: I like the new doors out to the new deck. At 14 x 14, this is a small bedroom, but still large enough for a queen bed and some moving around room. My bedroom is about this size. Our small walk-in closet, though, is about 6.5' wide and 6.25' long, with a cut-out corner due to the shower on the other side of the wall. I don't think 4 x 6 is realistic. You *might* be able to get away with 5 x 6, but do you want to/can you lose the space from the BR?

A wall of cabinets like robotropolis suggested might work better for you. We did something similar to replace our dressers and provide needed storage. Not having to work with a window wall would be a bonus:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Thanks very much robotropolis, debrak and suzannes!

I'm going to try to post a clearer layout with dimensions and then respond in more detail.

One question: Are people able to click on the layout to open it into a larger format, as I am on my computer? I followed directions to resize photos to medium (400 x 400). Is that the best way for diagrams or should I try to post in original size?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 2:21PM
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Yes, I just tried and they do get larger. Without a grid though, no one can tell for example how large your range/stove is, or the sink, etc. Noting the the room is
15 x 9.5 doesn't help as much as seeing it on a grid.

With exact measurements, many here will take your diagram and play around with it giving you some layouts to consider.

I also agree with the idea of a wall of closets/built ins instead of a walkin. I think walkins are overrated. Just did our master bedroom with bath and our kitchen. Our bedroom has two double door closets along a wall. DH has his, I have mine. Sharing a walkin with my DH would drive me crazy.

Get some graph paper, you can download some it needed. Layout everything acurately with a dark pen, take photo of it or scan it. Make sure it is clear.

With my remodel I found it much easier to plan around with graphpaper than the design program I had. Another Idea, once you have it diagrammed with existing walls but kitchen stuff removed, make a few copies of it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Here’s my attempt at creating the existing layout with dimensions on graph paper: From updated house plan

Here’s the same sketch showing existing appliances and fixtures: From updated house plan

Does this help? If you click on the drawing, it should open up to original size. If the measurements look off--keep in mind the remodel on the back of the house was done w/o the help of an architect or designer. Everything is irregular and squeezy! (Also, my original post has a couple of CAD drawings to scale, including the whole house. I’m still getting the hang of how to post things most effectively here. Please bear with me.)

Thank you so much for such helpful suggestions. Comments:

1. Peninsula: I don't hate where it is now but I worry there's not enough space to land range, have prep space and lessen bottleneck of kitchen. I'm also trying to find a design that is harmonious with strong symmetry of LR.

2. Fridge: I'm very open to moving an entire zone to another room. With this unusual layout I know I'll have to make compromises. I've included the dimensions of the hall closets. Would you suggest fridge where I've put it in my original layout, or perhaps where I had the range, or where i had W/D? Any suggestions are welcome.

3. Built-ins: Love the idea of built-ins in the MB instead of walk-in closet.

4. Tub: Yes, considered tub across back wall. I didn't realize you could fit four fixtures in 12 feet. I will start looking for a five-foot tub and slimline fixtures.

Debrak: Thanks for tips on graph paper.

Suzannes!: Thanks for posting pics of your closet. I'm taking note of how well you organized everything for maximum storage!

Remaining question: Now that I've posted a clean drawing of the layout, are there any other suggestions on how to organize kitchen zones using the current footprint of the kitchen + office + hall, with a bit of extra square footage potentially coming from part of master bath and/or hallway closets?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:02PM
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robo (z6a)

Some ideas:

Give coat closet to BR2. Take their closet as the entry vestibule to your room. That saves a LOT of floor space and basically eliminates your need to add on to the MBR. Steal a jog from BR1 for coat closet.

Would you find it convenient to have access to laundry directly from MBR? Just thinking here...

I might be tempted to sink fridge into the bathroom wall. Drawback - very visible from living and dining if that bothers you.

To keep a more formal look, if you like that, you could have an actual entrance to kitchen from dining room on right but do a nicely trimmed big passthrough centred on living room. This would allow you to keep L of cabinets. Which I may or may not be too fixated on.

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Interior Designer Jeanne Finnerty

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 20:49

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:40PM
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Have you checking for any load bearing walls that can't be moved?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:20PM
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robo (z6a)

First thoughts but maybe way too similar to your old layout. That bathroom does look pretty crammed, and I only gave you a laundry closet. On the plus side I think the kitchen space has been rationalized and everything is in a convenient spot. You also gain a few feet of counter space. The enormous pantry will hopefully make up for almost 0 upper cabinets possible.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 18:55

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Debrak: I haven’t yet had a structural engineer take a look, but several GCs and an architect didn’t think it was a problem to move those walls.

Robotropolis: Thanks very much for your layout. I like the MBR and MB and am intrigued by the idea of using the closet from BR2 as a vestibule to the MBR. One question: Do I need to worry that guests in the LR/DR/Kitchen could view an unmade bed from through that doorway, or is it possible to ensure the sightline would reach the window and outdoors, but not the bed?

Re, the kitchen: I’m still unsure. As you mentioned, it’s not great to have the fridge in full view and I’d like to try to better use the space in the mudroom/laundry room area.

I'm attaching a new sketch. (Apologies for the messiness.) We often unload groceries by the back door. What about putting the fridge in the mudroom where you had the pantry? Is that too far from the sink or stove? Then I tried the W/D (un-stacked) against the sidewall with shallow cabinets above. (I kept the sink and stove where they were for simplicity, but also because there’s a window above the sink. Perhaps I can get away with the limited prep space near the stove?)

Then my question is what to do with the corner of the kitchen near the MB? Is there room for access to the MBR, plus something else, i.e. counter space, prep space, pantry etc?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:43PM
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I keep looking at the double french doors. They take alot of space, and it leaves alot of space open in the middle of that room.

That back area seems like it would be a nice area to sit in.

I'm getting out my graph paper. Hope to post some ideas tomorrow.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 9:46PM
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robo (z6a)

I too think that back room looks like a good nook area.

I really just wanted to redo the L layout from before but for the sake of doing something different, here's a galley. Downsides: stove across busy aisle from sink - potential boiling pasta pot disasters, fridge still way outta the way. Upside: sweeeet banquette in back room, washer and dryer near bedrooms, genuine laundry room.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:43PM
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My camera is acting up this morning so bear with me as I descibe what I diagrammed. I will refer to the layout you posted on thursday march 7th.

Where you have the L switch the range and sink. Thinking it would be easier for venting to be on an outside wall. The length of the L along the dining room could be adjusted. No upper cabinets in the L.

Where you have the WD on that layout I put upper and lower cabinets. Lets call this "pantry"

Where you have the fridge on that layout I put a stackable W/D next to the fridge. I actually have this in my own kitchen. Will try to post a photo later.

Now imagine countertop extending from the "pantry and wraping around the corner to meet the counter/cabinets next to where I put the range. Open area under the counter where I imagine two stools for light meals or to hang out.

For this last idea refer to the galley layout robotropolis posted, where the W/D is put cabinets for dishes and frequently used items.

I like what robotropolis did with the master bedroom/bath/entrance.

I would use a slider at the rear so open doors would not be blocking access to anything.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:02AM
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Debrak and Robotropolis: You’ve given me a lot to think about, I feel like we’re almost there. A few comments if I can take some more of your time…

1. The problem with swapping the sink and range is that the sink sits under a window, probably not a good place for a range, right? There’s already venting above the current stovetop, does that help? Also, a sink on the “L” would be in full sight of our DR and LR, whereas in its current location we can hide some dirty dishes in the corner.
2. The idea of FDs is to let in as much cool air as possible when we return on a warm evening and are trying to find the energy to cook in our hot kitchen. Also, we had a sliding door in our last house and I found it a pain to open and close. Would it save space to have FDs open out?
3. (and Robotropolis) Not sure if we need an eating nook in the back. We use DR all the time and may have a small table on deck right outside back door. The house is quite small and can feel maze-like. What we need is additional storage and areas that don’t feel obstructed. So having an area with some open space feels good.

1. I love the clean look of the galley kitchen in your last layout. If we didn’t need a table in nook, but wanted to maximize storage, what would you suggest there? Would you consider keeping W/D?
2. I feel like the most complicated and significant part of this remodel is the access to the MBR and what to do with that corner of the kitchen. I would give up some usable space (and locate W/D elsewhere) if we resolved how best to access MBR and even maybe MB. Could you see a way to make MB accessible to guests without going through MBR, perhaps by using a pocket door that could close off that area? Otherwise guests coming in from backyard would need to enter MBR or go almost to front door then turn around to use other bath.

Debrak and Robotropolis:
I’m wondering what you think about a galley vs. L shape, considering the rest of our floor plan. Currently, you can see the entire back of the house as soon as you open front door. I’m attaching some photos. Would a galley or an L shape work better, both aesthetically and in terms of flow? Would you suggest creating a partial wall, feature wall, etc. to block off some of the kitchen/laundry area?

One other thing: We live in a very warm, inland area of Los Angeles. One of the reasons we chose our house was because it was on a big lot (10,000 sf) and we love to garden, grill, sit outside, etc. A key goal has been to better connect the back of the house with the outside.

View from front door thru LR to DR, kitchen:

View of corner of kitchen where access would be to MRB (wall behind toaster oven):

View to outside. This is where we’d lik FDs leading to deck:

Turning around, this is view from kitchen to DR, LR, front door:

View of DR to LR and front door:

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:09PM
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robo (z6a)

Love the photos and envy your heat! Still snowbound up here.

Didn't realize you wanted to keep the master bath open to the house! You might have to give up the separate shower/bath -- an architect could help you decide whether or not it's worth shoehorning in.

Personally I'm still attached to the L. I think making the L with a huge arched opening as I posted above will be the most formal option and get you the best-functioning kitchen.

Here's an option that's big on hallway, maybe short on practicality? The arrows indicate pocket doors. You could put the fridge back where the pantry is by the French doors. If you did that and scooched the island a little close to sink/stove area (depends if it's a one-butt kitchen or two - 42-48" aisle counter to counter -- which means 46-52" + counter overhang) it might encourage people to go to the outside of the island to get to the fridge, which might help offset the disadvantage of fridge in the back. Do not attempt to put seating at this island. A portable island topped with butcher block might be a really nice option here.

I was kind of hoping one of the real layout masters would chime in by now, I'm defniitely not that!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:46AM
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robo (z6a)

You may wish to have the option of closing off the washer and dryer area during entertaining or for noise. This gives you that. I'm worried about storage for you so I gave you a 12" deep pantry here in place of all the uppers you won't have any more.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:59AM
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robo (z6a)

Another idea. This one smells like more of a winner to me. Still a long trek to the fridge but I like the straight shot to the back door for you. Plus wall of windows or patio doors on the left.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 1:59

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 1:24AM
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I wasn't sure if you already had venting or not. If you have venting in place than no need to which range and sink.

The rear door might be a cold climate/warm climate thing. I live in Western New York state. Sounds like you need the air more than the light? Where I live we would need screens to leave those doors open. Would you need to do that?

Sliding glass doors have come along way (in function and looks) so you might want to check them out if you haven't seen the newer ones.

I have a single french door and three windows at the back of our house in the kitchen area. I get lots of light, can open the windows, but never leave the door open as there is no screen.

With yours I was just picturing two big french doors open, with screens, blocking access to the fridge, w/d, etc. so thats why suggesting a nice slider.

I like both of the options robotropolis just posted.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:45AM
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