Layout help

8mpgApril 22, 2013

I have a thread started in the home building forum and I was suggested to cross-post it here. Great idea. Anyways, the house is actually a renovation. The dining area and kitchen are actually swapped currently. This layout allows for a large opening near the front door to the dining room so there is no tunnel effect.

Anyways, this is the proposed layout:

There was concern about the distance between the fridge and counter and it is actually 3' (2' 11 5/8"). The island can easily be trimmed down though to 24" boxes on the sides of the sink rather than the 30". The plan is all Ikea boxes and we will be building our own doors/faces. Also, the island will have an arched curve on the table side. The house does not have a pantry so the 24" cabinets on either side of the refrigerator are 88" tall pull out pantry cabinets.

Please add any suggestions.

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If you are entering physically as well as visually from the main entrance of the home into dining room, and kitchen as well,esentially, I'd place the main sink on the perimeter and off to one side or the other.You can have a small interesting/good looking sink and faucet on the island with work sink and dishwasher elsewhere and help function as well.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:02PM
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I like the symmetrical look with the sink and range back to back...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 1:54AM
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Having the sink and range back to back may make for a symmetrical arrangment, but it's a serious functional defect IMO.

The aisle isn't wide enough for two workers in the kitchen to stand and work at them simultaneously. (At best it's only about a one and a half butt aisle.) What happens when either one (or both!) happen to want to open and look in the oven or DW with the drop down doors? You've concentrated two of the main action centers into one a single section of the aisle in this otherwise quite big kitchen.

If you're determined to have the main sink on the island then slip it down towards one end or the other and maximise the working space around it, rather than chopping the counter up into two equal-sized lumps just for the sake of symmetry.

If at all posssible try to plan on having the DW on the side of the sink as far away from the oven door as you can.

If you are only having one sink I'd try to get it at a point on the direct travel path between fridge and cooker. The difficulty with this goal is that it is somewhat contradictory with the other important goal of not having a drop-down door within the main action zone, but instead on the outer edge. This is one of the problems with "the clean-up sink on the island" plan.

However, if you can swing a second prep sink, then have that one in this position. (Think about something like frozen peas which need some water in the bottom of the pan/steamer before they get put on the stove. I'd try to aim for a path that puts the original positions for the items/work stations in a line like this: peas>pot>water>stove, without having to backtrack. No plan is perfect on this score,, but it's a goal to aim for.)

Your kitchen is big enough (19' + on the long dimension) you don't want to make the trip to do the above example into a 40' long trek due to having to criss-cross from end to end.

Also kitchen studies show that more time is spent prepping, rather than doing dishwashing or range-top activity, so if the purpose of having the island is to maximise the time spent facing the non-cooks seated on the other side, then plan to use the island surface as the primary prepping space not the outer counter top where your back is to them.

Here's one set (there are many more, undoubtedly) of ideas to play with: (Assume the position of recessed fridge is an important design-driving anchor). Shift the range and hood somewhat along the run away fromcentered as they are now and make them closer to the fridge end., Put a prep sink in the island shifted towards fridge end. (No DW door issue with a prep sink.) This can be either be just shifted part way up, or actually in the corner, perhaps accessible from both the range counter and the end of the island nearest the fridge. There are advantages/disadvantages to both positions. Then place the clean up sink on the outer counter but more towards the opposite end. Now people can work at both sink and range at the same time without ever bumping into to each other. You've separated these two into distinct activity-based zones.

If a prep sink on the island is a no-go. Then at least separate the two work zones and have the sink on the island closer to the fridge and the cooktop on its counter farther away. Then you can zig-zag from food storage to sink and then across the aisle to range. It's a less efficient working environment (makes for longer travel distances on almost everything you do), but a functional improvement none-the-less.

Another option is to have the prep sink on the outer counter (as well as the main clean up sink) and keep the unbroken island as the main prep surface. This is probably more economical from the plumbing point of view.

One of the benefits of having both the range and clean-up sink on the outer aisle is that you can shove used utensils from stove down towards the clean up sink leaving the more-visible counter top (the island surface) clean. You can store the pots and pans under the counter in the DMZ between the clean-up zone and stove. Handy to both positions. You could store your dishes on the return leg of that counter -- also handy to the DW, but keeping people tasked with setting the table completely out of the main cooking action zone during meal prep. The dishes used in plating food could be stored on the island with drawers facing the work aisle. Also convenient to put them away from a DW on the outer run. You don't have to store all the dishes together just because they are in the same category. Dishes that are set on the table empty can be stored where access to them doesn't intrude in the main the action aisle.

Kick the cooking-show stage-set visual out of your head. It's designed for a situation where the focus of the space is for the audience to see the cook's hands at work , more than anything else. Think, instead, of yourself working within that aisle and how to make that job as efficient and effective as possible. Sometimes I think the aisles are the most important things in a kitchen design.

Make yourself some copies of the bare dimensions of your room (best done on graph paper so you're keeping it real while you noodle the possibilities) and move the work zones around and around.

Don't worry too much at this stage about the sizes of the varying cab units -- just think about how you (and other people helping) will be moving around in the aisles from work zone to work zone to get the meal out . Once you've got the best locations of the action zones sorted out, then re-populate the design with actual cab-sized units. You may have to tweak a bit to get your ideas to work with what you can buy.



    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 5:55AM
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Our kitchens are nearly the same size and shape. I walk from one end to the other many times a day and it is not really very long.

So, if you are the only cook and don't mind facing the wall, you can have everything on the perimeter. You can have the sink in the middle, trash and DW on fridge side, and range at the other end. Depth of the island can be decreased, so even when DW door is open, going back and forth from sink to fridge will not be hard.

If you want to keep the sink on the island it might be better to have it near the fridge, have a clean up sink on the short wall and place DW between this sink and range.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:13PM
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I would move the sink and DW to the bottom counter run in your drawing and add a smaller sized prep sink to the island. Have you considered doing a reach-in type pantry instead of two pantry cabinets? It'd most likely be less expensive and offer more flexibility for storage to have one larger space instead of the two smaller cabinets. I think a corner pantry would work well in your space.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:27PM
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Listen to what people are saying. You have a lot of wasted counterspace...counterspace that's located too far from the major appliances and primary work zones.

Move the Cleanup Zone to the perimeter where your dirty dishes aren't front and center and where attention isn't being drawn to them.

If you want your range to be center stage, then make it the focal point with the island used as the Prep Zone.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:43PM
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The island is too big. There't not enough clearance between the fridge and the island or the perimeter counter and the island. You couldn't even get a refrigerator in that space with that little clearance. There's not enough space between the island and range, or the island and the table. 36" only works with a single cook without an appliance sticking out into the aisle. Your range will stick out into the aisle. And you need 60" between back to back seating if you plan on having someone walk between them. The back to back stove/sink thing also doesn't work. You'd need a much larger aisle, and then it wastes so much other space because it's in the wrong spots.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Yeah, there's not nearly enough clearance in the original plan. The back to back seating is especially egregious with no ability to even get into the seats. That dining space clearance is awfully tight as well. I think a banquette would help in that case, but I can't tell if the bottom wall opening is a window or a door. If it's a window, then it's perfect for a sunny banquette. If it's a door, then the entire space isn't big enough for the traffic that needs to go through it and something has to give.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Thanks for the replies guys have definitely brought up things I havent and never would have thought of. I figured with the sink and all the appliance on more of one side of the kitchen (middle towards the fridge) would make life easier. The kitchen we have now has 36" between the island and the perimeter cabinets and we have never had any problems. I figured 42" would be enough between sink and stove. We are also not any type of gourmet cooks...I do all the cooking, the fiance cleans.

Also, with the layout above, I dont really see any times that we would have more than 8 eating at the table...I dont think we would have people sitting at the island as well as at the table. There are only 2 of us that will even be living there.

Well, I took the suggestions and:
-shrunk the island about 1' which allows just about 4' on all the sides of the island
-moved the sink/dishwasher to the bottom wall
-moved the table over just a bit

If you guys have more advice, Im listening. The microwave will be in a base cabinet on the island towards the refrigerator facing the range in the 24" cabinet.

The bad news is I spent $4200 at Ikea today as it was the last day I had to jump in on their 20% off sale. Good news is, I can easily return the few cabinets I wont be using and hopefully just pick up the correct ones in the store when it comes time to do the kitchen and keep the 20% off (good for 90 days)

Thanks again everyone

GreenDesigns - That is a window just below the table. The entry it to the right of that, you can see it better in this new picture. I originally planned for a banquette but lots of people in the home building section said there was too much wasted space without a full size table.

This post was edited by 8mpg on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 23:11

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:58PM
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I'd do the banquette in a heartbeat. You still don't have enough clearance between the two seating areas. And you also need a prep sink on the island. Without it, the island is a barrier in the way rather than the helpful prep zone that you'd like it to be. You're also not going to be able to do the overhang that you envision using the cabinetry that you have indicated. Overhangs need to be supported, and you have no place to really attach the needed corbels to. There's no pony wall or cabinet back. You'd need stretcher bars and cabinet legs to do a "table", and a different design to the cabientry, or a LOT of steel. But, since the table is right there 3' away, you really don't need island seating anyway. And that would help with the clearance issues to eliminate it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Thanks for the reply. There will be a pony wall on that side between the top and bottom 24" cabinets. There will be a 3/4" plywood top along with steel reinforcement bars.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:11PM
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I think it looks like there is enough space. A bit on the tighter side, but not unworkable. Could always get a narrower table and if stools doesn't work you can always remove them.

I wouldn't want a banquet as the only dining space. Though it should be noted the banquet and kitchen was in a different place when you had that in the plan.

I do think a prep sink would be worth it, but I didn't have one in my old house and used the island all the time for prep anyways.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:52PM
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I'd eliminate the island seating if you are going to go with double depth cabinets. Or eliminate the double depth cabinets like I showed in my diagram above. You don't have room for both the deeper cabinets and the back to back seating. You need to pick one or the other.

Also, a prep sink is essential when you have the 3 points of the triangle have an island in the middle. Otherwise, the island is a barrier, not an aid. Yours is exacerbated by the long distance between the refrigerator and sink. Having a prep sink and a cleanup sink allows multiple kitchen participants. You can rinse a head of lettuce for salad with the chili while someone else loads the DW with all of the prep stuff from making that chili. Or you can easily be unloading the clean DW in the morning while someone accesses the prep sink for water for coffee and oatmeal.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Thanks.. I will look into a prep sink. I just worry of the costs to add a sink/faucet/plumbing. We are on a tight budget. Subtracting the island seating is doable and would be cheaper with less granit.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:34PM
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