Layout help - please help me plan a functional kitchen!

sauteApril 21, 2013

Hello - I'm a long time Kitchen forum reader (possibly an addict?). I have been mulling over the design for our kitchen for a couple of years and have come up with a few options. I would love your suggestions of how to layout my kitchen to make it function as well as possible.

Our house is a four bedroom Victorian that we are slowly restoring. It's about 3000 square feet. We are family of three with one child under 10 (not planning on any more). While we have no plans to move, in our designs we are keeping in mind that the next family to live here will likely have more than one child. The kitchen is visible from the front foyer of the house (through the door to the living room shown in the images below). We have some ideas about what we'd like to do finish wise, but first we need to decide on a good layout.

I am the primary cook. We are a tall family (I'm 5'11"). I enjoy cooking, especially on the weekends when I have more time - I can happily spend much of the day in the kitchen cooking and baking. I often have a helper to wash dishes. On weeknights, I am cooking dinner while a helper hand washes the (plastic) lunch dishes. On weekends, we may work together on a special dinner.

We have a formal dining room that we use regularly and will keep - we have the space, enjoy the formal room and collect antique furniture and dishware that is displayed and used in that room.

We entertain a few times a month - usually the group is 6-10 (total), but we also host one or two large indoor family gatherings each year (20-25). Our socializing usually starts in the kitchen with drinks and appetizers; we eat dinner in the dining room.

My wish list:
- two sinks
- a spacious prep area with no wall cabinets; the prep area cannot face the back (greenhouse) wall - this is how I work now, with my back to the rest of the house, and I hate it
- I do like to bake and would like an area to use the mixer and baking pans while someone else is using the prep area and stove top; I do not roll out a lot of dough and do not want a lower counter for that purpose

- 36" gas range with a well matched vent hood - planning on a Bluestar
- 2nd oven - 24" under counter AEG (I am in Canada and the oven I want is readily available - most of the time I will use this oven)
- dishwasher - Miele - already have it and it's great
- fridge - counter depth - I'd prefer a single door if possible, but will be okay with a french door - the bigger the capacity of the fridge the better (I have an additional freezer in the basement)

- the doors to the living room, entrance porch and family room are fixed
- the window on the greenhouse (back) wall is new, so position is flexible, but the height is limited because of the greenhouse roofline
- the pass through to the family room is new, approximate location is fixed but size is flexible
- the window on the right side of the room is fixed and very low - cabinets cannot be placed in front of the window
- the range can only be located on the back (greenhouse) or right (entrance) wall to allow for venting
- the 'working' end of the kitchen will be approximately the back half of the kitchen; we will keep a table with four chairs at the living room end of the kitchen (this is roughly the current set up and we like it)

I have come up with three general layouts, created with the IKEA kitchen planner. The images do not accurately show the cabinets we'd like and none show the range hood, but they've been very helpful in visualizing options. The empty base cabinet is the location of the second oven. The ceiling is 8'-9"; where there is a smallish gap shown between cabinets and ceiling/soffit, we would fill with crown. The soffit on the back wall is new and would conceal the vent for the range (can only vent out the right wall),

Layout A with peninsula:

Layout B with island and shallow pantry cupboards on the right (I'd put a shallow plate rack above these cupboards):

Layout C with island and cleanup sink on right wall (instead of the cabinets shown over the cleanup sink, I was thinking of a plate rack that would hold all of our everyday dishes). I imagine a shelf spanning the space over the back window and would display bowls/platters/pitchers there):

If you've read this far, thanks for your patience! I would truly appreciate all feedback regarding your favorite of these plans, or suggestions for how to lay out the space differently. Thank you.

This post was edited by saute on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 13:41

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I can't read your layouts even when clicking on them. Please post larger sized layouts. If you can't do that with the Ikea planner than just use graph paper.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Thanks for letting me know. I've replaced the images with larger ones - hope these are better.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Don't hate me.

You need to post measurements. What are the aisle widths, counter edge to counter edge? How deep are the counters as they appear different? Any other measurements you can provide will be helpful.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:37PM
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I'm just glad you told me :)

For the next while I'm helping DH hang some drywall in the bathroom- will add measurements around dinner time.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Sophie Wheeler

In for a penny, in for a pound. If you're going to do a passthrough, it's not that much more complicated to just take down the whole wall. And although changing out that exterior window to a shorter one is difficult, it's also not that difficult. If you use the DR for the majority of your meals, then you don't need the additional table in the kitchen, although you probably do want some casual seating.

Think outside your box!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Layout A looks fine in general, but I also like those shallow pantry cupboards in layout B.

In layout B, maybe you can move the range to where the sink is and the sink to wall B (close to corner).That way the sink can be closer to the fridge. Dishwasher can be on wall A at an appropriate distance from the sink. The back window can be in the middle (or nearly so) of the wall as you have envisioned in layout C.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:28PM
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I like the idea hollysprings posted! Are those pantry cabs he/she added on the wall nearest the front of the house?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:13PM
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hollysprings - that's definitely something I hadn't thought of (and that's exactly why I've posted). I really don't know what's structurally possible (there's a second floor above and it's a load bearing wall in a balloon framed house) but it could be possible, or if not, a variation with a huge part of the wall would be an option). The family room is a step down from the kitchen, but I don't think that would be an obstacle. I need some time to get my head around it and will mull it over some more. One think I omitted from my layout was that the bottom right corner of the room is diagonally boxed with drywall - we're stuck with that because it contains the pipes and ducts for the bathroom and bedroom above, but we currently have a shallow pantry cupboard there, so it could still provide some storage. Definitely requires me thinking about things differently - thank you!!!

sena01 - I was set on plan A for a long time and think it would function pretty well, but when I saw the 3D version of the peninsula I didn't love how it cut off the room so much visually. In plan B, wall A seems tight with the corner cabinet, range, dishwasher and cleanup sink all crammed in to 14', but I like the openness of the island. I wondered about moving the dishwasher to the right of the cleanup sink - but I think there are guidelines that would push it out of the corner. I've also always had my dishwasher on the left ... I've heard you can adapt :)

smiling - I'm pretty sure that those are pantry cabinets - they'd definitely add a lot of storage (which I always seem to need!).

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:00PM
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OK, here's a tweak on Holly's plan if you can't take the whole wall down. You CAN do support posts and headers rather than a long engineered beam (but maybe not all that much cheaper) It would still let you have seating at the island, but the seats in the family room would be taller(with a foot rail on the back side of the wall) than those in the kitchen. The tall pantries could have a chase cut out of the rear with no problems and would add a lot of storage. What I like about either big island version is the circulation and flow through the space.

Where is your DR in relation to the rest of the space shown?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:56PM
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The collaboration on this site is amazing! I love how holly & GreenDesigns re-worked your space!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:12PM
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In design above, I'd want to move range closer to window--need plenty of room behind the range user who stands there. Currently there is a potential bottleneck while that person cooks.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:03AM
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florantha - yes, I would want to protect the range from traffic more than in that last layout.

The suggestions of opening up the long wall on the left are interesting, I don't think they are right for our family. We do want to keep a table in the kitchen and upon reflection, I don't really want the kitchen completely open to the family room since a little separation is nice when friends are over and the kids are watching a movie in there. I do think that the thoughts are ideas that could inspire other readers in their own planning.

I am leaning toward option C (last) in the original post, but I am a little hesitant about the fridge location. I like it along the back wall because it leaves the sides of the room more open, giving more of a feeling of connection to the family room and to the outside through the window on the right wall. The room is long and my idea was to place the bulky fridge to shorten the room, not narrow it. Placing the fridge on the back wall in the corner also allows room for a bigger (deeper) fridge without interfering with traffic in the room - I'd like to maximize my fridge space without going to the expense of a large built in. But I also know that it's preferable to have the fridge on the perimeter of the kitchen. The proposed location would not drive traffice through the prep and cooking area, but perhaps it's still a bad plan? Feedback would be appreciated.

For Layout C, the shallow pantry on the left side of the room is 12" cupboards, the space from there to the island is 41", the island is 41" wide, and the space from the island to the cleanup sink is 48". I've pulled the counters on the back wall so that the counters would be 30". Sorry not to have added these dimensions to the drawings.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 8:26AM
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I like layout B with the window and sink shown where the window is shown in layout C, or at least closer to that. I'd want the DW on the right of the sink so you could have it open without blocking things while cooking. Then I'd move the stove to be where the opening to the family room is. If you still want the opening then just make it open on the sides of the range. I think it is shanghaimom that has openings on each side of the range.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:23AM
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If you go with layout C, I think you should place a narrow cabinet between the refrigerator and the wall, so the door of the refrigerator can open freely.

Do you think you'll have enough counter space with that layout when you are baking, while someone else is doing prep and cooking? How about something like below?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:02PM
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