Design this kitchen- starting planning process over

JessHSApril 21, 2014

I have asked for help with a design layout before, but it was off of plans that I got from Home Depot. I want to start again fresh, with a somewhat blank slate since I want to have a more cohesive kitchen design and I know this group can give me better ideas.

The house is a 1970's ranch, but with some nice features like cathedral ceilings in the living/dining room and a floor to ceiling stone fireplace in the living room. Outside is cement board vertical wood look siding.

We are a family of 4 that cooks most of our meals, but not gourmet by any means. We are vegetarian. I love to bake, but try not to very often since I am trying to lose weight. We have lots of gadgets that we use often- microwave is a must, use breadmaker to make most of our bread, have Cuisinart food processor, KA mixer, steamer, waffle maker, and blender are all regularly used. Most are currently on a cart at the end of a counter run. I am ok with getting them in and out, although breadmaker would be nice to have out somewhere.

Priority for me is function over form. I would love to have a place for everything, which helps me to put things away. Kitchen is also laundry area, bifold doors currently close off washer/dryer and pantry area. The dog is fed in the dining room, but the food is kept in the kitchen.

Budget is low to mid? Maybe around $15,000. Haven't got this nailed down yet. We will get new appliances, but not high end ones. So standard 30" range, etc. Wood floor will stay. Not looking to make structural changes or change around where appliances are- but could be convinced if it really improves function and is not a budget buster. We are on a slab so I think that would be cost prohibitive. I would like to move the dishwasher though if possible, it is in a horrible place now right across from the fridge- maybe to the other side of the sink?

Other thoughts- I am really perplexed about how to use the side of the kitchen with the bay window and laundry area. We had a round table there at one time and I am not interested in going back to an eat in kitchen- then the dining room table becomes a horizontal clutter catcher. Plus eating out of the mess of the kitchen is more relaxing. Right now I have some chairs, and a cabinet that is basically our command center, but it doesn't feel like an integrated kitchen. Feel I am looking for is light and bright, warm and homey, relaxing and fun. Basically a family home kitchen, not a showroom.

Here is my kitchen dimensions, mostly to scale:

Here is the view down the galley towards the dining room:

Here is the view to the opposite end of the room:

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Some more photos-

View of doorway into family room:

View of laundry/pantry closet:

View of bay window:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:09PM
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What direction does the bay window face? Even if I wanted to use my dining room for all dinners, I would seriously consider a breakfast area in that window, particular if it gets morning/early afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:18PM
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The window faces west. So blinding evening sun in the eyes- when we ate here we would often have to pull the shades to eat at dinner.

I cannot keep two tables clean of clutter. When we had the dining table and the round kitchen table, one was full of stuff- whichever one we were not eating at. Finally got rid of the round kitchen table completely when I was tired of it looking bad all the time.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:50PM
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I would think about doing a window seat in the bay window area. Maybe something with a lift-up bench so that you can store things inside? Question, how often do you have the drying rack out?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:04PM
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We have the drying rack out pretty often- lots of our clothes (almost all of my husband's) have to be hang dried. I would love to do something different with that- have something in the closet area or pull down from the wall or something else. Also, our washer and drier are stackable. I have toyed with stacking them in the closet and doing something different with the shelving which is nothing fancy right now.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I don't have a comprehensive plan, but I think totally YES stack the washer and dryer, take out the shelves, and put in a pull-out drying rack like the one linked below inside the closet. Then, where the stand-alone tall cabinet is, put in a better pantry cabinet space there. Maybe something sort of hutch-y that has counter space? You can store the big appliances below and bring them out onto the counter to use them. I will go look for a picture of what I'm talking about...

Here is a link that might be useful: pull-out drying rack

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:41PM
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This is the general idea of what I might put down at the end near the bay window and laundry area. See how there is an outlet right there next to the counter? You could store appliances in the lower cabinets and use them right there if you wanted. Especially something like a bread maker where you will be leaving it out and letting it do its thing for a while.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:47PM
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My first thought also was to stack the W/D.

Maybe on that end wall you could have a shallow food pantry... like one or two cans deep (using space between the studs for extra depth?). Kind of like this one and the link to the thread is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: between the studs pantry thread

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:07PM
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YES, the hutch-y thing is what I was thinking, too. Totally maximize that space on that wall.

Also, I think you could gain some efficiency by using sliding doors instead of bifold, then you are not having to reach around them to get at things against a side wall.

I cannot read the dimensions on either side of the doorway to the dining room...and how wide is that doorway?

P.S., do you have a gas range or electric?

This post was edited by greenhaven on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 14:24

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Just a quick work-up, since I agree with the others about the rest of the space; stack the washer and dryer, a large, hutch-y piece of furniture on and in which you can store appliances, good shelving in the laundry closet.

What about swapping the fridge to the other side of the room (as shown below) and building a ceiling-height pantry on the range wall? Then it would not matter which side of the sink the DW is on, except that to move it to the right of the sink (as shown) does put it across from the range.

The rest is simply a matter of plugging in the right size and style cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:45PM
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The dimensions from wall to dining room doorway are about 33.5 inches on each side. The doorway itself is 35.5 inches.
Greenhaven- thanks so much for your mock up. I have thought about switching the fridge, but have two concerns. First, it would block light from the bay window and the galley part of the kitchen is very dark already so I worry it will be too dark without that light. And second we do not currently have an icemaker, but I wanted to get one in a new fridge, so it would not just be moving electric but a water line which I thought would be painful? There is a water line (capped off) by the current fridge placement.

The range is electric. I am assuming the new one will be too. I do have natural gas in the house for other things- is it expensive to get another line for a range? I am on a slab so I thought that changing around utilities was difficult and expensive. I would love gas burners rather than electric.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:07PM
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It was a breeze to change our electric to natural gas but we already had it to the furnace and we had a basement. Slabs do complicate things for sure! The best thing to do is a get a quote, then you can know for sure.

You are right about the fridge blocking light, I have a similar problem here at my house. I did just paint all my cabinets white-ish and that made a huge difference in the feel of the kitchen. Are you planning light cabinets?

As for the water line, I doubt it would be a big or complicated deal to run a water line from your sink, which is what a lot of people do anyway. You are still left with the issue of the light.

What is the worst thing about having the DW across from the fridge? It seems your two logical choices are across from the fridge or from the range, and I am not sure which is worse.

At any rate, if you keep your electric range it is probablynot difficult to shift it to the left or right toavoid being directly across from the DW.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:57PM
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lavender_lass of four. I think I would want some seating in the kitchen, but I can see using the dining room table for all main meals.

What about a couple of stools for 'helpers' and a small table (with window seat) for using lap tops, cup of coffee, quick sandwich, etc?

Could you swap the fridge and range? It looks like you have an electric at most, a swap of electrical outlets. If so...that would give you the ability to put the fridge closer to the dining room and have the range closer to the small prep peninsula. Mostly for seating, 'helpers' decorating cookies (when not on the diet!) and cutting up veggies.

Just another idea :)

From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:26PM
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lavender lass- I really like your ideas! I'm going to have to play with that idea of moving the fridge. It would actually solve a few problems. Having the tall things on that part of the kitchen would not be blocking any natural light and would make it possible to have an over the fridge cabinet for storing trays that I was going to bypass because I did not want to have the "wall of wood" on the far side of the fridge and also did not want to block off the good natural light on that side of the room (the family room has the best light and the bay window second best in the whole house.)

And I love the two seat peninsula!

I had been thinking that moving the dishwasher to the right of the sink would move the dish area to that side of the kitchen, next to the dining room. And keep clean and dirty dishes in that area. But then we would be right across from the fridge again, which doesn't work well. Husband makes the kids' lunches while they are putting the dishes away often. So maybe that should stay on the left of the sink. The other thing is that I wanted to move the dishes to drawers, which might not be possible with the dishwasher/peninsula option.

I am so glad to be getting help to think outside of the box.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I'm glad you like it! :)

With the dishwasher on the would have the peninsula to help buffer the dishwasher being open...and there's less chance the oven will be open as much as the fridge!

Also, if sandwiches are made on the right side of the kitchen...then that area is close to the fridge.

Personally, I like upper cabinet storage for dishes and lower for pots and pans...but lots of people do like dishes in drawers. If it were me, I'd probably have cups and glasses in glass uppers to right of sink and a plate rack above the dishwasher...maybe with a few mugs below.

That would be such a nice way to store the plates (for me) with easy access to the range. I often serve the food already on the plates...and I wish I had mine closer to my range!

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 23:31

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:29PM
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Do you mean a plate rack instead of an upper on the left side of the sink? Or below the upper? Do you have any pictures that can help me visualize?

I do serve up my plates in the kitchen. Right now plates are in a lower cabinet (so that the kids can empty the dishwasher) to the right of the range. And it is very convenient. I had not thought about that functionality about the kitchen before. I was just thinking the dishes should be close to the dining area. But close to the range may actually be more practical.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:42AM
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I am one of those who likes having the dishes in a lower cabinet, especially if the kids are going to set the table and empty the dishwasher. Do consider making that a drawer rather than a cabinet, and if you do, consider using extra-heavy duty glides on that one drawer. In my one 36" drawer, I can easily (with plenty of room to spare), fit 10 dinner plates, 10 salad plates, 10 cereal bowls, 10 soup bowls, my kitchen scale, and various other assorted bowls. I keep them in the middle drawer in the stack -- very convenient both from an access and an ergonomic standpoint (I do keep my glasses and cups in an upper cabinet above the dishwasher and between the sink and refrigerator).

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Next Questions:

If I go with LavenderLass' design, which I think that I am, I then have two follow on questions:

1. What type of fridge? I definitely want a freezer on bottom model. But french door or single door? And what about the different depths?

2. How would the peninsula work? Meaning would there be cabinets there with an overhang on the side with the stools? Or?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:54AM
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I have a galley too, with laundry off the kitchen, and love the idea of a peninsula. But it's not clear to me that it works well as suggested above - based on your previous posts, you have about 100" in width for the kitchen, right? If you have a 48" wide peninsula (seating for 2) on one side and then a regular depth cabinet on the other (25" including overhang), you've created a chokepoint that is just over 2 feet wide.

If my reading of your diagram/dimensions or my math is wrong, forget this point! If not, consider how you use the space. From my read of that last diagram, every time you opened the oven door you would block access to either end of the kitchen. That's not fun (and not the safest thing either if you have lunatic kids like mine.)

I'm biased - we just spent a bunch and possibly even reduced our counterspace all for the primary purpose of eliminating that kind of choke point. If you don't get a lot of traffic through the kitchen, then it's probably not a big deal. But I can say that having moved from 33" wide openings at either end to a 48"+ aisle for the whole galley, it feels a thousand times bigger (even though it's really not!) Try mocking up the space with boxes or blue tape and see how it feels.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:47AM
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smalloldhouse- thanks for the input. I will definitely check out the dimensions on whether we can do the peninsula or not. Unfortunately we can't make the galley any wider, as we are not going to tear down/move the load bearing wall. Luckily the kitchen is at the back corner of the house, so it doesn't have to be a main passageway- although it is used often.

Regardless of the peninsula- I am really excited about the idea of moving the fridge. Looking for input on what type of fridge might work best...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 4:33PM
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How big a fridge do you want? When I remodeled last summer, I really wanted a single door, freezer on the bottom, but it seemed that they were all two small. I'd never used a french door, and wasn't sure I'd like it. I felt like I would always be reaching around a door.

In the end I chose size over convenience - I got a FD fridge, larger than any single door I could find. We've used it for a year, and I really do love it. Maybe it's just because we went from an old single door, top freezer, and it's so nice to have everything closer to eye level (especially for the tall men in the house).

And yes, I have to reach around the door a lot. The fridge is at the end of a cabinet run, so we put groceries on the counter, and have to go around the door to put them in the fridge, but it's not a huge deal. The convenience of the bottom freezer makes up for it.

We're pretty good at keeping track of what is on which side, so most of the time we only have to open one door, which is nice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:19AM
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annkh- you are hitting the nail on the head with my concerns with the FD. I think I might be annoyed to always be reaching around the door. I'm not sure about size. Right now we have a small $400ish fridge that we bought when we had to for a rental that didn't come with it's own fridge and it is mostly ok size wise. Very occasionally I wish we had more room. I will have to check and see how many cubic feet it is.

Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Jess, another thing to consider - my Mom has a bottom freezer, but it has a door instead of a drawer. One has to just about sit on the floor to find things in the freezer.

Ours has a drawer, and it is SO much more convenient! I was afraid stuff would get lost in the bottom - like a chest freezer - but so far that hasn't happened.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:39AM
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