Kitchen Layout Help

brewgirlApril 1, 2013

Long time lurker, first time poster. My husband and I are finally ready to move forward with a long anticipated upstairs remodel. I'd love some input and advice on layout, as we've gone through several scenarios, but want to make sure that we aren't overlooking anything. The layout I'll post below "feels" the best to us, but it also gives us the least amount of cabinet space. It is still more than we currently have though.

About us: We have two kids, 6 & 9. My husband rarely cooks, but helps with the clean up. I love to cook and bake bread (though rarely bake things like cookies or cakes-could be my awful 24" oven or just not my thing). The kids cook dinner a few times a month and the 6 year old loves to cook with me most days. We like to entertain and frequently have a few families over for meals. One or twice a year we host a large party (75+ people).

We are opening up the kitchen into the living room as I often feel confined in my current kitchen and find that we all end up in the kitchen together anyway. We also have a nice view out our front windows, so it would be lovely to see that as well. I'm imagining a space where the kids can do homework, we can play board games (a frequent past time), and read.

Some other notes about the drawing below and our space:
-The ceiling slopes from a height of 7'8" on the fireplace end to 12' on the piano end.
-I'd really like to have the range in the island. Still trying to decide if the hood hanging over top would bug me.
-I'm leaning toward a 36" all gas range with miele speed oven mounted undercounter in the island. I am leaving the door open to consider a 48". I like to prep next to my cooktop.
-We are considering enlarging Deck door A to an 8' slider, if space permits.
-Deck door B is currently a window that looks into the backyard and trees. We are looking into enlarging that into a series of windows and slider or french door sliders. Right now we are thinking a total span of 10-12'. The 2'8" wall to the left of Deck Door B contains all of the upstairs home electrical runs, so it can't be completely removed.
-The Bench in the front entryway is currently a closet. In this layout we have to shrink it to a cubby with hooks and a bench to make the entryway into the hall large enough. We could steal space from the adjacent laundry room for a coat closet, but that would mean people walking into the house would have a straight view down the hall to the bedrooms. (i.e. no more naked dash to the linen closet or laundry room for clothes). I love the privacy the closet currently provides.
-The fireplace doesn't exist yet, but we have the gas line run to the area and a direct vent unit picked out.
-I'm thinking the island will need to get a bit larger to get the proper overhang for comfortable seating.

Any thoughts or input greatly appreciated!

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A few things first: you can't have a fridge right up against a wall like that and be able to open both doors fully, get your drawers out for cleaning, etc. You need a 9 or 12" pull out pantry between it and the wall, or cut back that wall so it doesn't interfere with the door swing.

Minimum recommended overhang for counter height seating is 15". We are tall in my house and I went with 18". People's knees gotta go somewhere :)

Re the bench - they tend to look messy. I got rid of mine. Can't you deepen that bench "nook" northwards and still have a closet?

Now for the actual kitchen layout..

For most people, 70% of your time in the kitchen is spent prepping, 20% cleaning up, and only 10% cooking. Your island is not big enough to both prep and cook, so you will be prepping facing the back wall instead of being able to face the family room.

Also, an island hood needs to be much larger than the cooktop and also stronger than you would need since all the heat, oils, grease and steam ("HOGS") will go in all directions. This means $$$, and the extra strength could push you into needing a heated and conditioned makeup air system (by code) which is even more $$$. You could go without of course, but then all the uncaptured oil and grease will end up all over your furniture, piano, walls, etc.

Option 1: If you're still OK with the drawbacks of the island range, do the range in the island with the oversized hood. Then, put your sink on the back wall - NOT directly across from the range but rather off-set to the right, with the DW to the right of that. Put your extra oven undercounter wherever on the back wall. Deepen the back wall counters to 30" instead of 24" since you will be prepping there.

Option 2: If you want to prep next to your range, put the range to the right of the back wall, and put a prep sink in between it and the stove. Again, deepen the back wall counters since you will be prepping there. The cleanup sink goes on the island.

Option 3: This is my favorite - range on back wall, cleanup sink (and it's accompanying messiness) also on back wall. Put range in the middle of the back wall (where it is on your posted layout), cleanup sink and DW to the right of it DW should be all the way at the right end of the counter run). Prep sink goes on the left end (or center) of the island. You have two prep areas: the island next to the prep sink, and between the cleanup sink and range. This is perfect for when your little ones get bigger and want to work on their own while you're in the kitchen. In a pinch, you can use the left edge of the island and over the DW on the other side of the prep sink if they have friends over too. Your second oven goes under counter in the island. If YOU wish to prep primarily between cleanup sink and range, again, deepen those counters to 30".

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:53PM
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I have a 30x30 room which includes the kitchen, D, L (including a 6ft plus grand piano). Very similar scale as yours. Piano takes up a huge amount of space and there is nothing you can do to avoid that!

We have a pantry that allows a huge amount of storage and off loads the need from the kitchen. Can you carve out some of your laundry room to be your kitchen pantry? this will help with storage in your kitchen. Large quantities of stuff can go there; cases of beer/pop/wine, grains, rarely used appliances, turkey roaster, party platters etc .

If you are willing to open up the bench/current closet, then you can create a wall between the kitchen and the hall and have a L shaped kitchen, which will give you slightly more counter space and cabinets. This is a trade off. I like the private areas to be shielded from the public entry. I prefer what you have over thee L shaped kitchen with island. Just throwing out an idea.

I prefer the sink on the island versus the range on the island. you spend way more time over the sink than the range. I would not want to face the wall while I am at the sink. Not only that, the island become an unpleasant place to sit if the range is there; IMHO.

We play board games on the Dining table. Sometimes, the kids play on the LR floor. Your space will be good for that.

Where will you have your kids to their homework? Do you mean your island? My island does not have a sink for this specific reason. Again, having the range will make it hard for the kids use it to do homework. Will the kids use the dining table?

My 14 year old does all his homework in his room with his lap-top. This is a recent development. Most kids to their homework near their mom/dad after school unless your kids to go after school care and they do homework there. Homework means the computer. Where will that go? Even if you have a lap top, you need a convenient place for the printer, scanner, shredder, paper/pen, construction paper etc. Our kids play area is in the basement. It is not convenient enough for the things we need more immediately.

The storage to the left of piano looks like bookshelves. I would make that slightly deeper on the bottom with doors so that you have storage for kids stuff and office stuff. If you play the piano, you probably have a lot of sheet music laying around the piano. Again, storage issues.

This maybe a good spot for the printer. You can even have a pull out desk there. I think you need to use that space effectively. What about the spaces flanking the fireplace? Again, you need to think about storage for day to day living. All of our boards games, which are many get stored in the built in storage flanking the fireplace.

Do you need storage for home audio system? Do you have a place for that? My guess is that the TV/media go elsewhere, ie basement. As the kids get older, even the best intentioned parents bring home the Xbox and Wii.

Even though we have a TV/media room and kids play room in the basement, we do most of our daily living in our L/D/K space. I do not have a formal living room. This is where we live and this is where we store our day to day living stuff. You need storage. This is the key to living clutter free....

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:59PM
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Thanks for the feedback!

tracie - Excellent point about the fridge. The wall isn't actually there at the moment, so we could adjust its depth. I like your suggestion of a small pantry as well.

Unfortunately we can't deepen the nook without making the hallway entry point too narrow. The contractor assures me that he could put doors on the bench/coat hook area, so at least it could be closed off from view, which is better than having it in full view. Still trying looking for alternatives though, so if anyone has ideas, I'm all ears.

Re: island range Thanks for the info on the hood size issue. I hadn't taken that into consideration and it's definitely worth thinking about.

Counter depth - You're right, making the back counter 30" deep if we intend to use it for prep work would really make that space more usable.

Option 3 is definitely giving me pause. I hadn't considered putting both the range and the main sink along the back wall. The cabinet by the back slider is supposed to be a pantry, but if I could relocate that to the laundry room, it opens up this option. I see the obvious advantage of opening up the entire island for prep or projects, as well as separating out the clean up area from the cooking area, making it easier for more than one person to work at a time. I haven't given much thought at all to prep sinks, but in this layout I can see the benefits to having one on the island near the range.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Kaismom- Good to hear from someone with similar space. You make some excellent points about the need for storage. I'm especially liking the idea of stealing space from the laundry room to put a pantry on the wall facing the kitchen. This would free up space along the back wall for other functions.

We have looked into the L you suggest, but are feeling like it shortchanges us a little in lots of ways. Sounds like you understand.

Right now the kids do their homework at the dining table. I could see them doing it there or on the island. You make a good point about the transition to computers as they hit the teen years and it's something we should consider. We have a home office as well with all of the peripherals, but I'm going to pass this on to my geeky husband and see what his thoughts are on which technology he won't want to share with the kids. :)

We have a family room/playroom in the basement with all of the craft supplies and a work area set up. So all of those bits and pieces have homes. This is also where the tv is located and I've petitioned strongly to keep it that way. I need a low tech zone for my sanity.

You are correct in your guess that the rectangle by the piano signifies bookcases. We're still designing what we want to build, but the current plan is closed storage on the bottom for things like board games, instruments, music, etc. We're still trying to figure out the fireplace surround, but likely there will be built in storage involved. I'm liking the idea of a hideaway desk area...

You've given me a lot of storage ideas to think about. The goal is clutter free, so I think we need to take a closer look at what we will need and want to stash in these spaces. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:37PM
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