Sink in Kitchen Island - What Does that Add to the Price?

dreamojeanApril 9, 2013

IâÂÂm interested in feedback as to what putting a sink and dishwasher in a kitchen island weâÂÂre adding, adds to the price of the kitchen job for an old New York City (Brooklyn) brownstone. Complicating things is that we have nice hardwood floors and a nice tin ceiling in that room that we prefer to keep (the tin ceiling is higher priority, we could replace the floor if we had to). We just added a header over the future kitchen island after taking out the wall between two rooms to make room for the island, and weâÂÂll need a column/post (and might have two posts for symmetry, book-ending the island). Can we keep the floor and/or tin ceiling if we add the sink in the island? I personally prefer an island with no appliances but the appliance/cabinet wall is 10 feet long if we leave an airshaft and fitting everything along 10â will be a challenge; so having the island contain one appliance would give us a better triangle and breathing room.

So for us itâÂÂs a question of, do we cut into the air shaft and dumbwaiter for more space, or put an appliance into the island ��" and which one is a better value for the extra money. If we HAD to do neither, itâÂÂll be one of the more crowded 10-foot-long kitchens running along one wall, with a nice sized island opposite the workhorse wall (basically no countertop other than on the island)â¦

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As a former appraiser I can say that individual items, even quite expensive ones often add so little compared to the entire price ($200K? $700K?) that their value contribution is not measurable. They usually also add significantly less than it would cost to install them.

What does sell is the entire thing. If the sink fixed a "functional obsolescence" issue that would cause prospective buyers to frown a bit at the kitchen layout then it'd add far more value than it cost.

Style can be a functional obsolescence problem. In some stylish markets an "old" color granite can cost significantly more than it would cost to replace with something in style. (In another, less style-conscious, more tight-budget market, buyers would'n't pay much more for granite than for 10-year-old tile.)

If the kitchen actually functioned fine but you thought a second sink might be "desirable," but installing it cost a charming old feature, it might well take away value.

Sometimes an change can be a wash value-wise, or even cost a bit, but still be worth doing because it makes a property sell faster. In a slow or buyer's market, worth doing. In a hot, seller's market, definitely don't bother.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Have you posted your floor-plan for specific feedback yet? You might get some good insights that way. Trying to put all the major appliances in 1 10' section sounds pretty tight, although I know NYC kitchens can be more compact that way.

Also, I left you some pictures in your thread looking for islands with posts the other day. Not sure if you got them or not.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Just throwing this out there. I'm guessing that cutting into the air shaft will cost a bit less, running water and plumbing to an island would be the better way to spend the money. I think almost everyone would agree that adding extra counterspace would be far more important, especially if the other option was losing more counter. I don't know much about actual brownstone structures (I'm not well traveled and they don't exist anywhere near me), but I see no reason you couldn't keep your floor. Do you have a basement? Kitchen on the first floor? If so, it should be a simple matter of cutting a few holes for water lines and drains so the lines can be run up into the cabinets. However, if your kitchen isn't on the first floor or you don't have a basement/crawlspace with access to the kitchen floor, you're going to be looking at higher costs.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Here is the floor plan give or take if we have an island (which we want) - right now we have temporary posts where the island will be and we can bookend the island with posts or just have one post on one side of the island as needed for support. As for the window at the bottom of the kitchen, we intend to turn that into a door to a deck and stairs to the garden (the attached photo shows the door off the dining room but that creates other issues so we changed that plan). And the drawing shows the sink in the island but obviously that in't decided. What also isn't decided is whether the fridge should face INTO the kitchen area or OUT into the common area so people can come and go and grab stuff from the fridge while the cooks do their thing...

To answer mrsmortarmixer, our kitchen is on the "parlor floor" (2nd floor basically) so we don't have the luxury of hiding pipes in our celler (which was done for a previous owner's first floor kitchen renovation already).
Laughable, I saw your posts of columns/posts, thank you so much!
(PS we made the decision earlier today, after I initially posted, to just gamble on opening up the airshaft/dumbwaiter by taking out the huge 60 year old ducts (and substituting more modern vents that are much smaller and can be put someplace less obtrusive like near the wall where the other pipes are). This way, we gain a few feet even if in the end it becomes a pantry or something; we are still weighing layout and sink-in-island but this way we should have more space to play with

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Can you do a wider diagram showing more of the adjacent space? And is that table your only place to eat? Because your island doesn't really work that well as an island. There's no landing space to one side at all, and your cleanup is right on top of your prep. It might work better as a peninsula. Or, it might work better if combined with a table. There may be other opportunities that you haven't thought about. But we need a wider shot to see if there might be better suggestions for the space.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Here's a wider diagram showing a mock-up of the layout before we took out the wall between future kitchen and future dining rooms and before we decided to put the door off the kitchen and not the dining room (so we can't have a sink in front of the window since it's going to be a door). So, picture one big room with a header and 1-2 posts/columns where the wall between the rooms used to be, and with the doors from the little hallway having been removed. And the little areas between kitchen and dining room are air shaft (closer to the far left wall) and dumbwaiter (with a little door to the hallway) and picture the dumbwaiter removed so it could be a narrow pantry, and likely most of the air shaft removed except for about 12" from the lefthand wall where plumbing/pipes will remain. Also, we prefer the sink along the main wall so we have a galley kitchen with one side of the galley being counters and appliances and the other side being an island or peninsula (i.e., island that extends down to the bottom wall so there is only one method of egress) but the problem I have with that is that with the door off the kitchen, a peninsula will require people to walk through the workspace to get to the deck/backyard and that could drive us crazy, whereas an island will let people go around us - but we'll have less countertop space to work with.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:27PM
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And one last picture upload, this time of the proposal for a peninsula with a sink in it - which is the subject of my original post, as to whether it makes sense from a cost perspective to put the sink in an island (or peninsula) - for a peninsula it might be easier to run plumbing through to the wall where the peninsula is connected, so that might be easier or less costly to do, but I'd be fine with a sink along the main wall, although then we give up our triangle.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:31PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Honestly, the original layout was much better than any of your new alternates. With the wall down, having a door in the DR is just as easy to get to as one in the kitchen. Just add a small mobile island about where the wall was. No seating. The table is right there just a step or two away if you want to socialize with kitchen visitors.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Just to clarify- our original layout was not an original layout because the prior owners took out the kitchen and changed it into a laundry room so we had been using the future dining room as a bedroom and the future kitchen as a laundry room/home office. So now we are modernizing our home so that we have a kitchen and dining room with an island and are working out the layout pretty much from scratch. Are you saying that you prefer the layout with the wall up and a small kitchen that is not visible from the dining room and a pocket door between them? We think that that is not a social enough layout so we are very happy to have an island or Peninsula and an open kitchen the question is just what kind of open kitchen

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Sophie Wheeler

No, open the wall up. But don't do the door. Keep the window.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:16PM
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Hollysprings, thanks for your suggestion - I wish it would work! It does seem like a good solution - We thought that too but the window off the dining room is 2" narrower than the one off the kitchen (29" vs. 31") and the dining room windows have gorgeous parallel trim (two long windows and one tiny high picture stained glass window between them with fantastic trim around the whole thing). We are told that if we put the door off the dining room chances are good we would lose the symmetry because we would have to widen the window where the door is not to mention the un-parallelism of having a door there. And the window is on a curve so harder to make into a door. I consider the window layout in the dining room a big selling point for resale of the house and beyond that it's just really pretty and I think losing it would be a shame if we can figure out an alternative. The contractor who has been doing the wall work (and who I trust) summarized it by saying that putting a door off the dining room is fighting the house and the door off the kitchen makes much more sense. So we come back to that problem.(oh and the architect's drawing above is really not to scale - I don't think a dishwasher would ever fit to the left of the sink facing out the window) I generally agree with you. These old new york city houses have so many amazing details - and so many design issues. If I remember I will post a picture of the dining room windows for context. So maybe a sink in the island is our next best option, to make a triangle and have open flow. It is not uncommon in these houses, I just fear the price tag

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:35PM
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Please start with some graph paper and make an accurate measured drawing of the spaces you have above. Post it with a new title such as, "Please help with layout of brownstone kitchen".

You'll get much better feedback this way. If you can put in a few pictures of the window unit you want to save or other pertinent details, that could be helpful to those who are trying to help you.

There isn't a lot of sense figuring out prices of sinks in islands until you have a plan that is really worth putting your money toward. I'm hoping that is not being too blunt. I'd like to see you have a kitchen you'd feel blessed to work in each day rather than one that might make you or your future owners feel batty when you try to use it. : )

As I look at your drawings I'm wondering if it would be to your advantage to swap the dining room and kitchen. Since this is on a 2nd floor, I don't know if this would be feasible or not.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Thanks laughable, swapping the dining room and kitchen is a great idea - just not affordable for us since it's a 2nd floor (parlor floor) kitchen and the plumbing, electrical etc. is already on the interior wall not the exterior one. the kitchen on the lower floor did in fact get moved to the far wall for more space and the prior owners (who were DIY'rs so it cost them much less than it would cost us) used the basement to run pipes where no one cares anyway - it looks bad in the unfinished basement but good on the first floor. But the prior owners managed to muck up the layout anyway with an L-shaped kitchen with fridge and stove next to each on the short end of the L, and sink/dishwasher and cabinets and a nice end pantry on the long part of the L, which means the corner of the L is between sink and stove and includes a LOT of dead space in the corner that we can't get to (but one of our cats loves sneaking into, where we can't reach her). So we put in a small "kitchen island on wheels" (kitchen cart) that really helps, and then get in each others' way a lot when trying to cook as a team. I'm trying to avoid the same mistakes.

We have an appointment with a kitchen design place that knows these old brownstones really well, and I'm leaning toward just going with a brownstone specialist kitchen design place. We might pay more but do it more "right" that way too, and it might mean I can ultimately take less time asking a gazilion questions online and not sleeping enough trying to figure this stuff out (including how to deal with the technology of posting multiple pictures to these posts!)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:34PM
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