Layout critique and other questions/fears

cal_quailApril 15, 2014

Thanks for looking at my layout. It's pretty much to scale. My main concerns surround the island, but I'm sure y'all will have other great questions and ideas. It's just DH and I and he's the better and more active cook. I'm the sous chef, shopper, and aspiring cook.

I drew in the island 3' x 6. I've had it as long as 7'. In reading here, I'm wondering what a good length would be for traffic and if it's too wide. I've had two KD's put it in that way and it's what I want, but I don't want to regret it. A KA Architect II microwave will go into it. We're debating where. It will fit into a 24" cabinet. I've had it towards the fridge, thinking that the end by the washer will function partially as a pantry. But I really want a top drawer at the fridge end of the island. We also want to put tray storage into the island. Not sure how much/how/where. I've read so much drawer-love, now I wonder if something would be better for cutting boards/cookie sheets trays, etc.

The sink is a little vague, no? The plan is a Koehler Whitehaven apron-front. DH wants 36" I can't fathom a sink that big. He will agree to 33". The cabinets will be Innermost and they say that a 33" sink fits a 33" base, etc. (I've been told it's often the case you need/get a larger one.) We have a single bowl now that's about 25". I love the single bowl. Can't imagine even the 32, let alone 36". Any thoughts appreciated. IIRC, if we got 33" we can get a 6" pull out. If we go 36" we would just use a 3" filler.

We have Heath dishes and serving pieces and I'm excited to have them on the open shelves. Yes, dust catchers and potential junk catchers. Feel free to talk me out of it. :) I look forward to the air-y-ness I think it'll bring. Right now, there's a 33" cabinet there and a peninsula that juts out just below that cuts the kitchen in half.

The windows are new and door soon to be replaced with a single light door (more light, yay!). The house is brick so the top/front, left and part of the bottom are exterior walls and brick (so nothing is moving structurally).

We have a 30" pantry now with no roll outs and I hate the cavernous pit. On the one hand I like the clean run of cabinets and counter on the bottom wall with the range. On the other, I worry about the expanse of it. The 27" upper and lower will, I believe, function as the pantry, along with things in the upper 21's by the range. Thinking of pots and pans in the lower 21's by the range. We have a 30" with rollouts now and love it. My idea was 30" in island to just mimic it. DH thinks the 21's would be better for them. I'm really unsure how to use all that storage on that side of the room and I'm afraid of doing it 'wrong'. Especially reading all of the drawer posts.

The cabinets under the window will have dog and cat food and that's all I have planned. I'm thinking small appliances on Susan. Possibly there...

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A few quick thoughts: first of all, the island is way too big for the space. You're only showing 36" aisles, and that's cabinet-to-cabinet - there will be at least one inch countertop overhang, making your aisles only 34". That's pretty narrow for more than one person using the kitchen.

Next, your range is a long way from the sink. Imagine lugging a steaming pot of noodles around the island to drain it at the sink. Are you getting a new range? Does it have to be 36"? A standard 30" range would fit nicely on the wall where you have the fridge shown now. Where is the range now? Is it vented to the outside?

Then I'd put the fridge on the bottom wall, along with your pantry cabinets.

I'm sure some of the experts will weigh in.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Regarding the door from breezeway/door to office and door to family/dining room [rest of house] as well the space between wash/dryer and broom closet-what are the dimensions of your "doors"......this is a large space all walled off...I'd desire a different opening to office probably and open the space to family room...but the context of this within the house as a whole should be explained or drawn out. Far too big of a space to not link it and open it up better to other area.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Can you clarify a few things - Annkh said you're only showing 36" aisles but I don't read it that way (I may well be wrong). How many inches does each square represent?

Also, what is written on the island?

One thing I definitely agree with - you should have a water source between the fridge and the range.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:32AM
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herbflavor I'd love to open it to the house and always hoped to do so (been here 14 years) but it's load bearing and we don't want to deal (and DH doesn't want it open for various reasons including its a good wall for art in the dining room...which are limited in DR/FR).

Door to office is standard interior, 30 I think. Doorway (no door) to DR is about 43". Door to breezeway is 36 .

annkh I agree with the narrow aisles. That's one of the big things I'd like confirmation of. There may be a teeny bit more (like extra 1.5") of width in the room, but that's it. I'd love the seating at the island, but with only a 12" overhang, that'd be tight as well. Probably better to forgo that, but what would be a good alternative? Shallower cabinet for part of the island? How about thoughts on length?

Now we have an electric/downdraft on the peninsula that juts out to the left of the DW(similar position). The W/D are in the same position, but we're going smaller to get then under counter. The gas is there, so that wall for the range is easiest. I'd be perfectly happy with a 30" range (of the run of the mill type) but DH wants 36" Bluestar. We thought keeping the range on that wall would be best because of expense of getting gas elsewhere in the kitchen (slab floor...would it go thru ceiling?) but we'd save on a 30" so that would help. I'll assume that's not a possibility, though that was DH's first choice for placement, so I won't rule it out.

Thanks guys.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:48AM
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I see each square as 4" (three squares per foot). The cabinets are 6 squares deep; the 36" LS corner and 3-foot island are both 9 squares.

The aisles on both sides of the island are 9 squares.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:54AM
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sjhockeyfan it's 3 squares per ft. 4" per square. It says 'seating' on the island. The plan has been to have an overhang on that side for seating (because of the view and I'd think it'd be safer by the sink than the stove), but as voiced above I think 24" deep cabinets and 12" overhang plus counter ledge will be too much. I could go with shallower cabinets (must check spec on microwave...could also move microwave, suggestions taken).

On the sink/range arrangement, it's not ideal, and that's an argument for making sure the island doesn't encroach too far to block that path, but I'd think I could live with it. I thought of another sink by the laundry, at that end of the counter, but seemed overkill. I've never had two sinks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:55AM
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I'm not one who thinks all kitchens need a second sink, but the problem in this layout is there are 9' between the sink and the cooktop. So, for example, when you are ready to drain pasta, you have to walk 9' with a full pot of hot water to do so. With only one sink, I'd consider switching the refrigerator to the wall adjoining the family room, and the range to the wall adjoining the office. Or even better - put the cooktop on the "front" wall (which will make it easier to vent, being an exterior wall), the sink and dishwasher on the wall adjoining the office, and the refrigerator on the wall adjoining the family room.

Sorry, but there really is no room for island seating. I'd make the island a little less than 3' wide, so you gain a little aisle width, but you can't also have seats impeding the use of the sink and dishwasher (or cooktop, in my preferred configuration). You could probably tuck one small stool under an overhang, but not for eating, just for perching.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:02PM
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I forgot to ask about the hood (and don't know what to search on.)

I've read in the 'stuff I wish I would have done differently' threads that people wish they had a wider hood than range. In my example, if I did a 42" hood, I'd just go to 18" wall cabinets on either side, rather than 21?

Also hoping for comments on the sink size.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:54PM
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I agree with sjhockeyfan there is no room for seating at the island as shown. OK, I'm gong to be blunt here, so I apologize upfront - but I have a lot of concerns about this layout.

First, to have seating on an aisle that has cabinets, counters, or appliances behind the seating, you need at least a 48" aisle. If it's also a major thoroughfare through the kitchen (and it is), you need more like 54". You also don't want to make the aisle behind the island so crowded that people are forced to cross into the Cooking Zone to get through the kitchen.

Second, you need a 15" overhang (clear space). Skimping on the 15" will only result in people sitting farther out into the aisle - people take up the same amount of space whether you have an adequate overhang or not - the difference is comfort (or lack thereof).

If I counted correctly your kitchen is 13' wide (39 boxes x 4" = 156" = 13'). To have a setup similar to what you show, you need: 25.5" counters on the window wall + 54" aisle + 41.5" deep island + 42" aisle + 25.5" range wall = 188.5" = 15'8.5"

You're short by 32.5" (188.5" - 156")

(Island: 1.5" overhang + 24" deep cabinets + 1" decorative door + 15" overhang = 41.5")

You could reduce the aisles a bit - maybe 51" on the sink side and 39" on the range side (but with a range sticking out 3" to 6" when including the handle, that brings your aisle down to 33" to 36") - but you only gain 6". Even if you skimped on the overhang and people squeezed themselves in to try and take up less room in the aisle, that's still only another 3" (for a total of 9"). Even dropping to a 48" aisle only brings the total of "gained" space to 12" - nowhere near enough.

If you remove one wall of cabs & counters, you will be able to fit seating. Or, you can try putting one seat on the left end (where there's no cabinetry, appliances, or counters - get rid of the '21" broom'.) [If there are no counters, cabinets, or appliances behind the seats, 48" should be fine as a major thoroughfare - not ideal, but workable.] 25.5" counters on the window wall + 42" aisle + 41.5" deep island + 48" aisle = 157"

But, you will need to either do something about that low window or be willing to put cabinets in front of the window.

Is there any possibility of replacing the low window with a counter-height window?

As to your aisles, you need to measure from counter-edge-to-counter edge or counter edge-to-appliance handle - whichever sticks out into the aisle the farthest.

The standard counter overhang is 1.5".

If you have 36" aisles cabinet-to-cabinet, then your aisles are really 33". The range will stick out even further, so there's an even narrower aisle on that side. Also, be sure the aisle on the sink side is wide enough to be able to open the DW fully (it should be, but double-check to be sure).

Have you considered a stackable washer & dryer and putting them in a closet in the space where you show the dryer? ...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:32AM
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"... if we got 33" we can get a 6" pull out. If we go 36" we would just use a 3" filler..."

Don't settle for filler - get "filler pullouts" - they save space by eliminating cabinet walls. They are pullouts that attach to the walls of the cabinets on either side of them. For base cabinets, you can get them for 3", 6", and 9" spaces.

Possible uses - use for spice storage, cutting board storage, tray storage, cleaning supplies, or pullouts for hanging dish towels.

Thread (2008): Which Rev-a-shelf 3' filler pull-out is most useful?

Thread (2007): Rev-A-Shelf Spice Racks for Fillers -- Have you seen these!!!!

Rev-A-Shelf Base Filler Pullouts (you can get them cheaper elsewhere)

Rev-A-Shelf Upper Cabinet Filler Pullouts

Rev-A-Shelf Tall Filler Pullouts

For broom storage, you could steal some space next to the W/D and either get a 6"/9" tall pullout cab to use as a utility cab or build one in a 5-1/4" space or so. See the IkeaFans link below.

4" Broom closet from IkeaFans

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:04AM
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Without changing too much (well....maybe some!)

Notice the workflow - it's more natural. You go from the refrigerator to the island for prepping and then to the range for cooking/roasting/baking or MW and finally to the DR for serving.

There are two seats in the Kitchen - one at the island and one in front of the window. Since the window is so low, I thought I'd take advantage of it and put in a window seat.

The dog & cat dishes can flank the window seat with a counter above the "alcoves". Table height is 30", so counters 30.5" high would be perfect for "end tables" next to the window seat.

However, do you think the animals will be in the way of the doorway when eating/drinking?


Just noticed...

" are new..."

* New as in you haven't put them in yet and can still change them? Maybe make that left window a counter-height window? The right window as well...
* Make one or both a bay or bow window?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:10AM
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Sink size... I have a 30 double bowl currently, and love the thought of bigger. Bigger bowl to fit cookie sheets, smoker racks etc. So I went big... Really big. Not a standard sink size..., 42". It is free standing on its own table like support. If it were me and I had the option to go to a 36, I would do it. Is this a single 36 or a 70/30 etc you are considering? I'm assuming single and you may be fine with the 33. You can always set a small bowl in it for a little water area, but you can't make it bigger to hold larger. If you do go smaller, then you will (more than likely) use filler in the cabinets.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:00AM
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Just a random point from someone with a much smaller kitchen who is stealing space from a laundry area - have you specc'd your washer - dryer yet? You'll have to go pretty small to fit them in regular 24" deep cabinets either stacked or side by side. Even then I'd be surprised if you can fit the hookups and venting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:50AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Swap the range with the fridge and ditch the island in favor of a peninsula. That will give you the seating that you want, and the peninsula canbe use as the primary prep space. Yes, that makes the sink to range space tight, but it makes for clearer and safer traffic patterns plus the sating that is desired.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:40AM
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Thank you buehl!

That's what I wanted to hear. I'm sorry you felt the need to apologize. I knew, from reading many of the threads you linked, that what we'd been given wouldn't work well. I just couldn't break free from it (given all the other constraints we have).

I'd thought of a similar idea for the island last night (swing the seat to the end) and just have a standard base depth cabinet the rest of the way.

We initially had a few ideas for the W/D. One was stacking (initially with our existing units, but they're so deep, we would switch to the smaller ones) and one was swinging them under the window, next to the breezeway door. (that I apparently didn't mark as a window). I like the stacking idea. I also like the idea of moving the utility cab to there. Thanks.

Moving the microwave to that location works too. We'd bounced back and forth with it, we just didn't want it right next to the laundry. Now it's not. We're thinking of the KA Microwave. They make some that are micro/convection and I wanted one until I saw one and saw the inside. It looked horrible to clean. The GE looked better. I could get behind that. It just seems like another big expensive appliance where I've gotten along just fine with a lil' $200 microwave and one oven forever. (On the other hand, it would mean I would ditch my big Breville toaster oven, which I use as an oven 50% of the time, in favor of just a little toaster, which I wouldn't even keep out on the counter.)

The windows are new as in they were installed in February. The house is brick (not normal red bricks, but different gray, really dense and long bricks) and has rounded brick around the sides of the windows. Not that there wouldn't be any way to change window location/size, but we weren't/aren't willing to do it. The first KD had seating under the window, but we agreed we wouldn't use it and we'd rather get as much storage as possible there. When I said dog/cat food, currently, their bowls are in the traffic pattern at then end of the fridge and just to the left of there. I might move them. I hadn't thought of it. But I don't see doing seating there. We currently have a 'desk' area in the kitchen that is just a junk collector. I feel a window seat would be the same.

I've only lived with old-school pull-out cutting boards. They are a good height for me and I feel I could even go a bit lower (5'2"). I think I might often be comfortable prepping at the 30" h cabinets under the window. I wouldn't have built in a 30" h area if I didn't have the window-obstacle, but I think it could work well for me.

I've tried to think in terms of zones, and it's so foreign because right now we have one zone that's all three (cooking, cleaning, and prepping). The fridge, sink, and D/W are where they will be (moved inches one way or another) and the range is in a peninsula��"they're in a U. There's roughly a 4 ft square of floor space between them. So while the room is...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:53AM
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The initial idea was to start looking now (a month or so ago) to get a rough budget idea and plan to do this NEXT summer (two school teachers). Then we got all excited and want it NOW.

I'm somewhat inclined to try to talk DH into waiting for next summer rather than rushing. We'll see how that goes.

Another thing we kicked around was trying to get the W/D out of the kitchen all together. We gave up on that. But I have someone coming out next week who I'll ask about it.

We have a water heater in the hallway with linen cabinets next to it. I had always hoped to ditch the water heater (gas there, so dryer would have that) in favor of tankless and a small stacker there. We had one person look and it's too small, and it'd be somewhat difficult to work in the vent and drain. I talked to him some more another time and we talked about annexing the linen closet. That'd give us the extra space. We could go condenser for the vent. Then we just have the drain to worry about.

I'd suggested maybe we do one or both the bathrooms that back up to this area THIS year and move the W/D and wait on the kitchen. DH didn't like that idea (remember, he's the cook).

I might broach that again.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Windows - got it - no changes! My parents have red brick and were never able to match the new brick when they shortened their LR windows, so I understand your reluctance and agree with you - no smaller windows.

The window that's left of the breezeway - how far off the ground is it?

Do you have a layout of the entire first floor?

A few years ago, someone showed how they handled putting cabinets in front of a low window without blocking the window completely. IIRC, the cabinet was open in the back and you could see the window through the cabinet. I wish I could remember who that was! Anyone out there remember???

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:32PM
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The breezeway window is about 52" off the ground and about 18" down from the ceiling and about 28" from the corner.

It's a one-story/ranch.

Scanner wasn't working too well (possibly its operator). I think you can see anything important. The water heater and linen closet in question are #1 and #2. Thought it might be of interest that #3 is a water heater that was, no doubt, added at some point when the washer was added (built in 1947). If we relocated the washer, we could get rid of that WH. That'd be awesome. I also drew in the current peninsula for reference (#4).

I don't think the floorplan is to scale, never checked. And I'm positive that I didn't put the walls in too well. But you should get the general flow. (Ignore the random squiggle in front of the master closet). The 'den' is DH's office. It's a great room but often becomes the 'throw stuff in there and close the doors' room when people come over. DH offered up part of the room if it would make sense to move the W/D there. I don't think it does.

The master bath is super tiny. I don't go in there. It has a single sink and a small stall shower. The hall bath is long and narrow. I use that. The room across from the hall bath is my office and the room at the end of the hall is my dressing room/closet.

(before the new windows)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:37PM
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I put the picture at the end to get a sense of the style of the house. The kitchen is actually just out of view to the right.

I'm back on board with moving ahead this summer.

I was just looking in more detail at the sink options we're considering. I finally took the time to figure out the difference between the two sinks at each size...short apron for mounting on regular sink base and tall apron for mounting on an apron front sink base. Any thoughts on the two? I get that the short is for retrofitting an existing sink on a regular base, but the short doors on an apron front base seem so...short.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Whitehaven sinks

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:39AM
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we just had the 33" Whitehaven short apron put in. We picked it because of the off-set drain so we could put a pull-out, door mounted garbage (Rev-A-Shelf) on the left. Worked great. The sink is huge. Unless you are obsessive ot wash your grown kids in the kitchen sink, 33" should be more than enough.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:28PM
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There have been a couple of low window/kitchen cabinet solutions that I can remember. I could only find one of them.

sombreuil_mongrel put a sink in front of a low window and it was a really nice solution. Below is a link with some pictures.

I've read through this thread and have to say that I agree with the great advise you've been given regarding the layout you first posted. You're going to be so much happier if you spend the time, and frustration, of organizing your space better and getting a layout that works. What you have planned now doesn't work for all the reasons you've already heard.

Had an idea and thought I'd throw it out there. Could the door from the kitchen/breezeway be moved down to the other end of wall so you had a straight shot from the front door to the kitchen? Then forget that run of cabinetry along the wall where you have the W/D and the range. Where the old doorway was located, you could place cabinetry there, have shelves in front of the low window to display your kitchen items (or put your sink there like sombreuil_mongrel). That would keep traffic out of the kitchen and give you space for a larger island with seating.

Then you could place your W/D in a nice cabinet in the other end of the breezeway or wall that off and access it from a pocket door in the kitchen where the old door was located. I hope that makes sense.

I wouldn't be afraid of moving the gas line in the kitchen just because you have a slab foundation. I had to move plumbing in my previous home and it sounds a lot worse than it is. It really wasn't that big a deal. The contractor had a tool that cut through the slab, moved the plumbing and had it done before the end of the day. Well worth it if it gives you an efficient layout.

And the kitchen sink, never heard anyone complain that they'd bought a sink and regretted it because it was too big. I'd put in the biggest sink you can fit. My 36" single seemed HUGE at first. I love it but wouldn't complain if it was bigger. :)

Found some pictures that show how others handled a low window in the kitchen.

Traditional Kitchen by Newton Center General Contractors Byggmeister Inc

Contemporary Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Malcolm Davis Architecture

Traditional Kitchen by Huntington Kitchen & Bath Designers Susan Serra, CKD

Farmhouse Kitchen by Charlotte Architects & Building Designers Pursley Dixon Architecture

Contemporary Kitchen by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Favreau Design

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:03PM
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Thanks for the recent comments. My cabinets are due Wednesday. The layout is much of what I had, a couple ideas from buehl, and some tweaks that came about when we figured out some of the challenges with the masonry walls and changed some appliances.

The window wall will be similar to the last white kitchen pic, but with 3 27"w cabinets and no raise backup at the wall. Island has seating at the end like buehl had, but at other end. It's about 30"w and has a bookcase at the end by the breezeway. It's got 24"d bases with 6" deep cabinets behind them.

Also, we switched from the Whitehaven to a Silgranit Super Single.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:38AM
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