Layout Sanity Check

ILoveCookieApril 3, 2014

For budgetary reason, we decide to keep the existing footprint of the kitchen, and re-locate appliances within this footprint to make the kitchen more usable. We are going to meet with our KD again in the next few weeks, and would like to have a sanity check before that. Would you please take a look at our changes below, to see if these changes make sense, and if not, what could / should we do instead?

I don't have a copy of the drawing of the new layout (will ask the KD for one during next meeting), so I will post a couple pictures of the existing kitchen, and describe the changes. Please bear with me. If there is anything we could / should change, please let us know, so we could bring it up with our KD during next meeting. Thank you very much!

Here is the existing kitchen:

Here are the changes we plan to make. The cabinets / countertop / appliances / sink / etc will all be new, except the fridge.

Fridge: remain where it is, 36" wide, will have wall cabinets above it.
Sink: remain where it is, will change from 36" two-bowl to 30" single-bowl.
Dishwasher: move to the right side of the sink, will be paneled to match cabinets.
Trash pullout: put it on the left side of the sink, will be 18" wide.
Cooktop: move to where the oven and microwave stack is, will install BlueStar 30" range.
Range hood: 36" wide, 27" deep, 30" above range, duct will run sideways inside wall cabinets.
Microwave: move to island, have it sit on a shelf under countertop, will face the sink. Will probably get a microwave with the controls along the top for easy access.

Pantry: replace existing pantry with countertop and cabinets, add a new pantry in the adjacent breakfast room.
Island: remove the lower section, keep the higher section where it is and possibly shorten it somewhat.
Seating at island: not critical; maybe have one stool near the fridge, facing the range wall.
Breakfast room: near the range. It's open to the kitchen and will have banquet seating for 4 people.
Dining room: near the fridge. It's open to the kitchen, and can seat 6-8 people.

Flooring: change to natural white oak to match the rest of the house.
Base cabinets: install 3-drawer base wherever possible.
Wall cabinets: flank the range; not sure if they also should flank the sink window? Definitely will have wall cabs between sink and fridge, as dishwasher will be there.

I'd like to hear your opinions. Thank you very much!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 13:08

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Gosh, your "before" is awesome! Those cabinets are great and I'd re-use them.

I'd build in the fridge, remove the garage (?) beside the fridge, and add some visual interest to the island, maybe some trim that matches the details on the cabinets. I can understand wanting the Bluestar, they are great. But I would re-work the cabinets that you have since you are not making dramatic layout changes.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:58PM
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I don't have any problems with your current layout, but the new layout will make venting easier, so that's good too! In the new layout, will you have any separate ovens, or will those be part of the BS range?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:23PM
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sjhockeyfan -- the oven will be part of the BS range. We won't have a separate built-in oven, because we don't use the oven much, perhaps only once a month for heating frozen pizza? I think if we need another oven down the road, we could get a Breville smart convection oven, and put it on the countertop, possibly between the sink and the fridge, where the appliance garage is right now.

feisty68 -- the "before" pictures were taken by a professional. I agree that the kitchen looks great in the pictures! :) In reality, some of these 30-year old laminate cabinets have been damaged by water. Some of them smell weird even when empty, especially the pantry and the drawers in the island.

I don't feel too bad replacing the cabinets, but husband has said exactly what you said -- try reusing some cabinets and possibly some appliances. For instance, the Miele dishwasher is only 12 years old, and still has a few years to go. However, I feel like it might be easier to replace it during the remodel rather than later?

And yes, we plan to frame the fridge so it looks more built-in. The fridge we have now is not what's shown in the pictures above (the sellers took it). We have a Kitchen Aid fridge, white, with french door and bottom freezer.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 15:01

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:53PM
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With your fridge in its current location, can you fully open the doors and fully open the drawers? In the pictures it appears the fridge is up against a wall. My friends have that and claim it is a real pain and the only thing they regret about their new kitchen.

Anyway, if you have the space I would suggest adding a pull-out next to the fridge. We have a step-in pantry in the room adjacent to the kitchen, but in our pull-out I keep tea, cereal and snacks items for the kids, breads and things like PB&J.

Just a thought. I like having a place for food storage IN the kitchen for the most frequently (daily) used items. And it looks like your fridge would function better with a little space out from the wall on the right.

Otherwise, I think your plan looks great.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:17PM
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I think if we need another oven down the road, we could get a Breville smart convection oven

My kitchen is much smaller than yours but we planned ours with a similar notion in mind. I haven't yet purchased the Breville, but the minute I need a second oven, I will!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I totally get your wanting to get the cooktop off the island, and to do that you have to think about how to accommodate that.

First I want to ask: are you switching the dishwasher and reducing the sink base to get the sink centered on the window? I have been chewing on that and think I get it, now.

I think your island is very much to-scale for your kitchen. I would also pull that lower part out, but I would not shorten what you have. In fact, I would probably still allow for an overhang in the "back" and leave the overhang toward the dining room. rest assured someone will want to come in and lean on the counter while you are working in there and you have little to lose.

You have a lot of height, and a LOT of storage space. If it were my kitchen I would probably increase the space around your window, open it up a bit.

You also have such high ceilings that tall cabinets would work very well. I normally don't like them just to have them, but they wold give some scale to the room as a whole, and maybe allow you to maximize the distance between countertop and the bottom of the cabinets. Standard is fine, but if you have the room, a few more inches makes a world of difference.

One more thing, you did not say anything about your clearances between island and sink and island and range. I recommend you get to those minimum clearances, about 42" if you are not there now. We just moved our island and the difference between 42" and 60" is significant.

Otherwise I think your layout is very workable!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:30PM
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controlfreakecs -- you are right, the fridge door cannot fully open on the right side due to the wall. Our KD suggests that we move the fridge a few inches over to the left, so we can fully open the doors.

There will be a 21" (I think) base cabinet between the dishwasher and the fridge. The KD thinks it will be nice to store silverware in the top drawer, and store food at the bottom. I think the bottom can be drawers, pull out, or shelves. Would a pull out be more efficient than drawers?

greenhaven -- yes, we are shrinking the sink base cabinet from 39" to 33". We plan to center the sink on the window, and put the dishwasher on the right side of the sink.

It's a very good point about mounting the wall cabinets a few inches higher than usual. I was against having wall cabinets at the very beginning, because I dislike having them so close to my face. Now, if they are installed higher, it will probably feel very different!

Husband likes to have mugs, cups, etc, closer to the fridge. So initially I wanted to have some open shelves between the sink window and the fridge, and hang some artwork on the other side of the sink window, just to open up the room a bit. But husband was against open shelves for dust / grease reason. Then I decided I don't really like seeing a bunch of mugs and bowls and plates out in the open, so we changed the open shelves to wall cabinets. Now KD asks us if we'd like to add wall cabinets to the other side of the window for symmetry reason....

I very much like to have a stool at the end of the island. The idea of possibly shortening the tall island has something to do with some potential clearance issue around the island. There is an approx. 5' run of a half wall (shown in the picture below) that runs in parallel to the tall island. If the sink isle width is 42", then the path between the island and the half wall will be approx. 33"-34" wide at some point, I think. We cannot get rid of this half wall because it's there for a good reason -- prevent people from falling into the adjacent sunken den, lol.

Anyway, I will re-measure the kitchen tonight to double check the isle widths.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 17:07

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 4:19PM
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I would try to keep some seating at the island, maybe by extending the overhang on the side that you currently have the table? It seems that you don't want it for "eating", as you have the breakfast room. But without it, the cook might end up being somewhat isolated in the kitchen, if there is no easy way for others to hang out while someone else is cooking.

Also, the island doesn't necessarily have to be a rectangle, if you have issues with clearances -- it can be a tear drop shape.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:34PM
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hbrrbh -- I really like the idea of a non-rectangular island!

Now that you mention having an overhang on the side where I currently have the table, I think greenhaven suggested exactly the same thing, except that I didn't understand her/his suggestion until I read your post.

I am going to ask our KD to play with the island shape, so we can have enough clearance on all sides, AND fit one or two more stools at the island. :)

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 17:57

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:54PM
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I'm going to invite that photographer over here ;)

In any case, that is a lovely space you're working with. Yes, if the cabinets don't feel clean then it's time to retire them. I'm doing IKEA boxes/hardware (love!) and custom fronts.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:23PM
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Thank you again, everyone, for your excellent suggestions.

I updated my drawing to have the microwave next to the fridge. I also changed a few other things. Would you please take another look?

So I moved the microwave to the left of the fridge, and added a shallow drawer between the shelf and the countertop. The shelf needs to be 24" deep due to the microwave depth and clearance requirement. I probably could get rid of the countertop under the microwave shelf, and make the top and bottom cabinets into one unit, like a pantry but 24" deep. The drawers under the microwave shelf (probably 30"-33" wide) can be used for storing utensils, plates, and bowls.

I also moved the 30" sink towards the range. It now centers on the left pane of the 60" french casement window, to allow more counter space (approx. 30"-33") on the right side of the sink. The trash pullout remains on the left side of the sink, so it's now closer to the range but further away from the microwave and the fridge.

The dishwasher is now in the island. I think the dishwasher should not overlap with the sink and the dish drawers. Otherwise they will interfere with each other when loading / unloading dishes. Alternatively, I could move the dishwasher back to the right side of the sink. But I am concerned that if I move it back, that area will become too crowded, given that the dishwasher, microwave, and fridge are all near each other.

I read in a couple old threads that it's generally not recommended to have the dishwasher across the isle from the sink. But I wonder if my loading / unloading habit could make a difference. For dirty dishes, I usually scrape, rinse, and stack them on the countertop, before loading them all together into the dishwasher. When unloading, I usually stack plates and bowls nicely on the countertop, before moving them all to their final destination.

Which placement of the dishwasher do you think is better for our situation, in the island, or between the sink and the microwave?

Thank you very much!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 15:42

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:37PM
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I like my dishwasher next to the sink (not across the aisle) so dripping water ends up in the dw rather than on the floor.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:03PM
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I think the MW placement you've shown really crowds the window and sink. I like it on the island more. And remember you're moving the fridge over to the left, so you can open the door. I think a narrow pullout would look much better than a filler, so you might need several inches there. The cabinets right next to the fridge eliminate your closest landing space.

Most DWs are a standard size, and they aren't at all difficult to remove or install (I've done it a couple of times in my house). You might as well use your DW until it dies, especially if you like it.

As for placement - I would decide based on how it affects the rest of the layout. If you put it by the sink, how much room do you have for cabinets to the right? Same question for island - if the DW is there, what else will be on the island? Which provides the best use of space?

Your layout above shows more doors than drawers on your base cabs - most folks here (me included) will recommend drawers. They are far more efficient than either cabinets or pullouts.

With changes to the island - will you be replacing your flooring? Or does your existing flooring go under the island?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:13PM
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annkh -- yes, the flooring will be replaced, and it will go under the base cabinets and the island.

Good idea about having a narrow pullout to the right of the fridge. It will definitely be more useful than a filler or a gap. I think controlfreakecs has suggested the same thing, but I didn't get her / his idea until now!

The base cabinets in the island, and those blocked by the island in my drawing, will all be 3-drawer stacks. I think the remaining base cabs need to be doors -- going from sink to range: trash pullout, super susan, vertical slots for baking sheets, pullout for oils/vinegar.

If the microwave is in the island, then the dishwasher will have to be next to the sink, as there is only enough cabinet space for one small cab (21" or narrower), and either the microwave or the dishwasher, due to the isle clearance issue I have.

Regarding the microwave crowding the window and sink -- could it be because there's nothing else on the left side of the window to balance it out? The existing kitchen has wall cabs on both sides of the window, and it seems to look okay (a picture is attached in my original post). I was hoping to open up the kitchen a little bit by getting rid of some wall cabs.

A quick mock-up with wall cabs added to the left side of the window:

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 17:43

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:32PM
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``One more thing, you did not say anything about your clearances between island and sink and island and range. I recommend you get to those minimum clearances, about 42" if you are not there now. We just moved our island and the difference between 42" and 60" is significant.``

greenhaven -- I forgot to ask, do you have an isle width of 60" between the island and the peripheral countertop?

I am entertaining the possibility of butting my island up against the half wall which separates the kitchen from the den (where the TV is). The half wall is 5' long, 38" tall. I guess it then becomes a galley type of kitchen. Anyway, if I make both the "island" and the peripheral counter 30" deep, I could have an isle width of about 60".

Right now my KD has 42" isle width on the sink side of the island, and 36" on the den side of the island, and the island will have to be very skinny (24" deep at most) where it overlaps with the half wall.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:04PM
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As I was re-reading this thread I realized I was not very clear about those clearances, lol! I DID have 60", which was waaaay too much. Now I have 42" and it is AWEsome! A pivot and maybe a half-step and I am at my island.

I will contribute to the other things on your other thread.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Thank you very much, greenhaven!

Thought I should add a link to my latest thread: Ditch Kitchen Island?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:57AM
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