Kitchen layout help-- fridge placement

maj13April 7, 2014

Looking for some quick thoughts on where to put my refrigerator. This is a major reno of a medium-sized kitchen, including new custom cabinets, so there is some flexibility.

Current location (option 1): I don't love this, as we are losing some counter space, but mostly because we want a FD fridge, and I know it's going to bother me to keep hitting the wall when opening the left-side door. If we went with this option, we'd likely put in a narrow (12") cabinet to the left of the fridge to keep the door off the wall.

Proposed location (option 2) shown in light blue: I think I like this location better, but the trade-off here is less room for the pantry (which is small to begin with). Complicating things is the fact that the pantry is under a stairway, and about half of it will be no higher than 55".

If this were your space, which option would you go with? I'll post a wider persepctive as well, to give some context of the room. Thanks.

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Larger perspective of layout.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Am I correct in assuming that if you go with option 2, you will be able to turn the fridge to open toward the kitchen? And keep the side wall? I think you'd have to move the pocket door over to get into the pantry. Do you use that space as pantry storage now (the blue space)?

Option 1: the fridge is closer to the work area, but still out of the way. You lose counter, but you have a lot of that on the peninsula. You also lose upper cabinet space. How much depends on the exact fridge model, and how much room you need on the side to open the doors enough to remove the drawers. A pull-out to the left of the fridge could make up for lost cabinet space. You have a lot of pantry space in the blue area, which is much less expensive storage space than another three feet of cabinets plus countertop.

Option 2: gives you more counter and cabinet space. But to me it looks like the fridge is a mistake - it says "Oh, we have a lovely new kitchen - but crap! We forgot about the fridge!" and stuck it somewhere as an afterthought. And I would think that you'd have to enclose it with a wall, rather than a fridge surround, for the pocket door to close against. That takes up precious inches of space.

Other than the odd look of Option 2, I think the answer depends on what kind of storage space you need - will the additional base and upper cabinets of Option 2 make up for the lost pantry space? Will the peninsula meet your counter needs if you go with Option 1?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Thanks, annkh; that's really helpful-- I hadn't thought about the idea that the fridge would look a little like an afterthought in option 2.

To answer your questions: yep; we would have the fridge open toward the kitchen in option 2, and we'd have it enclosed, but with a wall, like you've indicated (so would keep the sidewall).

We're not actually using the space yet-- it's an update of the kitchen in a place we've just purchased. So I feel like we could go in any direction (within confines of the space), and wanted to avoid making a mistake with the fridge.

Will think carefully about where we need the space more-- pantry vs. counter/cabinet. I think you're right in that the solution to this dilemma probably lies in the answer to that question.

Many thanks for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:55PM
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Is there enough room to rotate fridge 90 degrees, slide it so it backs to pantry, and extend counter to corner? I hope that made sense.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:41PM
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OOTM_Mom; I think I see what you're saying. There should be enough "wall space", but I don't think it'll work, since the pantry is under a stairway (which, as you look at the diagram, rises from left to right). I don't think we'd have enough height under the stains to fit in the fridge until we're about where the word "pantry" is on the diagram.

I do like the idea, though, and I'll double check to see if we could squeeze it in. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:14PM
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would not place fridge in pantry zone. the kitchen is a U scheme with fridge technically not in the U, in plan 1.What do you gain by messing with the pantry. It doesn't change the U aspect of your kitchen scheme,really, and you lose the pantry.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Thanks, herbflavor-- seems like most are in favor of leaving the fridge where it is. I guess I was thinking by moving to location #2, it would make the fridge seem more accessible, but maybe just moving it off the wall in location #1 (by putting in a narrow cabinet on the left) would work for us. Appreciate the input.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:01PM
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If you really don't like where it is, how about putting it where the 36'' base cab is?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:11PM
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Whoops-- I see I've gone and left out some pretty important information. mdln (and others); the DW and 36" base cab are in a peninsula separating the kitchen from dining area. Sorry about that-- not sure if this changes any of the previous comments.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:16PM
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LOL, you don't want the back of your fridge facing your DR? :-)

Is this what OOTM_mom meant, by turn fridge sideways?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:35PM
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Mdln, yes, that is what I was picturing. Doesnt look like there is quite enough room.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Ah....I hadn't thought about that-- thanks, mdln (and OOTM_mom if that's what you meant)! It might work there, and we wouldn't run into problems trying to squeeze it under the staircase this way. Will think about this option as well. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:36AM
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One thought - it looks like you've got an overhang on the peninsula for seating - but with the dining room right there - plus a walkway to the deck - I don't think you have room for that.

It seems to me like the access under the stairs is what's getting in the way here. Does that pocket door exist now? Is there a range vent in the location where you show the range, or is everything changed around from existing?

Here's what I'm thinking - since you have seating so close, rethink the purpose of the peninsula. If you access the space under the stairs from the end rather than the side (as you face the stairs from the mudroom, you see the door next to it), you have new blank wall in the kitchen. I would eliminate or shorten the peninsula, put the fridge along the new blank wall, like mldn suggested.

If you cut off the peninsula completely, you may have room for a small island.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Very interesting annkh-- we've gone back and forth on the peninsula vs. island decision a few times. In fact, the kitchen currently has an island configuration right now. We decided to go with the peninsula, as the island seemed to create clearance issues on 2 sides. I think if we had a few more feet to work with, we'd be keeping the island configuration, but the space just feels a bit too small for it. As far as seating at the peninsula-- I see this as "emergency seating", and something we won't use too much, but would like to have if needed.

Right now, the pocket door doesn't exist, and the range vent will need to move slightly from its original location (see below).

Nice idea to access the pantry from the end, but I don't think there is enough room. After framing for walls, the pantry will only be about 30" wide, so it'll be more of a reach-in, and difficult to walk into from the end.

Really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this layout-- we're at permitting stage right now and I suspect I'm feeling a little bit of anxiety before doing things that can't be undone, but also want to make sure to pick the best design I can with the space available.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:14AM
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I previously had a raised bar peninsula adjacent to a small DR in my U-shaped kitchen, so I was going to make the same comments as annkh. I would think about the occasional emergency seating vs. working in that tight U everyday, and how closed off it makes the kitchen and DR feel. It seems you have room for a table that seats 6, and 8 with an extension.

If you eliminate the peninsula and put the DW next to the sink, will you be able to end the sink wall with at least a 15" base cab? You'd gain a generous upper and a small base cab to make up for the loss of the peninsula cab. You lose counter prep, but you do have 27" to prep between sink and stove. I have 47" to prep at the end of my peninsula, but I still use the 30" between sink and stove for most of my prep. You should have room for a small baking island.

I might also look at a 30" sink base and an undermount sink to gain a few more inches around the sink. Even with the peninsula plan, a smaller sink will make it feel more spacious.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:39AM
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Thanks may_flowers; will revisit the peninsula vs. island (but this time smaller than in original floorplan) idea. I admit that I'd miss the storage under the peninsula, and the extra potential seating, but my biggest concern is that I think I'd really like to be able to look out into the DR while I'm in the kitchen. If no peninsula, I feel like I'd always have my back to the DR. Appreciate your insight, especially since you seem to have been in a similar position.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:11PM
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My suggestion is outside of your box. It would mean getting rid of your peninsula and its seating, which you really don't have room for anyway, but it also means getting rid of the open concept to a certain extent which you may really want.

I am assuming that your kitchen is 15' long roughly speaking.

Get rid of the peninsula and put the DW next to the sink with a 15-18" cabinet beside it. This is now your clean-up zone.

Now, we're going to build a tall wall. Put a walk through doorway in - about 2 1/2' wide - which goes into the DR. This allows access to your deck without having to walk through the kitchen and then through the DR.

The tall wall can probably have 3' pantry, 3' CD fridge, 2' counter with cabinets and then another doorway which goes into the DR and gives access to the family room as well.

Where the fridge is currently located will become more counter and cabinets. or you could do cabinets and pull-out broom closet or whatever you need.

Where your current coat closet is become an entrance into the kitchen.

I don't know if that makes sense or if it is completely against what you want but it may steer you into seeing some other options,

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Here's another idea for you.

The * besides two measurements are because these are best guesses based on cabinet sizes. If I'm off one way or the other, you'll need to adjust the measurements accordingly.

The sink is shifted to the right with the DW to its right and the range is shifted towards the window wall but otherwise the sink, range, and fridge are in roughly the same locations as they are in your plan. I eliminated the peninsula in favor of an island, turned 90 deg from its placement it is in the original floor plan. That puts the seating not back to back with the table, which is a plus, IMO.

I created a corner pantry. It's angled front means that you have room to fully open your fridge doors. It also may give you easier access to the items inside the pantry (couldn't quite tell how deep the pantry was in your plan).

Reconfiguring the pantry area opened up room for a recessed section of cabs and counter next to it. I put the MW here, creating a snack area that is convenient to pantry and fridge but out of the primary kitchen work zone. You could also create a beverage center here. Or both.

The aisle measurements by the fridge are based on my assumption that your fridge is standard depth, not counter depth. I used 33" as the box and door depth. The handles generally add about 2" to the depth but since they aren't directly across from the island, I didn't take their added depth into account.

If you opt for a counter depth fridge instead, you can increase the island's width by 7.5". You could also split the difference between island and table, increasing the width of your table, too.

I have another idea noodling about in my head but the sun is shining and my garden is calling. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 3:53PM
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Thanks, blfenton. I'm coming around to the idea that we may never use the peninsula as a seating area (although I still like it for other reasons!). But I think I'd really miss the open feel if we put a wall up. Will keep this in mind, though, and like you said-- thinking along these lines may help us come up with another idea that ticks all the boxes. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Lisa, I don't think the OP can put a pantry in the corner - the stairs have a landing, then turn 180° and go up. Where you have the pantry door, the stairs would be right in your face.

The potential fridge placement in the first post would tuck the fridge under the top of the stairs.

Now that I look more closely at the OP's post at 10:14, that doesn't work either, for the same reason.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Very interesting idea, lisa_a-- thanks for your help! I'm coming around to the idea of swapping out the peninsula with a small island, and I like your notion of rotating it 90 degrees.

I think all of this is do-able, except for the area where you've put the pantry. Since that space is under stairs, the height there is limited to 55", and we'd be stooping a bit if we wanted to actually get into the pantry (although it might work well as a reach-in). But I can see swapping your MW/beverage space with the area you've designated as the pantry-- that might work well as an appliance garage area. Thanks so much for taking the time suggesting this!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:42PM
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annkh; you're right the pantry won't work in lisa_a's suggestion, but it's giving me some good ideas about what might work. The fridge could move to the option #2 location (under the top of the stairs), but it's a tight fit, and we'd have to put it right at the very end of that "pantry wall".

Starting to think that the best solution may involve doing away with the peninsula.

My SO is going to kill me when I suggest it to her...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:47PM
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My sink and DW are on the peninsula, but I face the wall between the sink and stove most of the time. You could put the sink on the peninsula and prep in front of the window. The sink might look better on the peninsula instead of crowding the bottom of the U, and your window would look uncluttered with pretty drawer bases under it. So your peninsula run could be trash pullout, sink, DW. Access the peninsula corner from the DR side.

Oh, fridge you say? Someone else can worry about that. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 5:07PM
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You know, I wondered about the stairs area but since the current kitchen's set-up has counter and cabs going partially under that area, I thought that perhaps I was just confused. Are there only lower cabs in that area?

Can you post photos of the kitchen in its current state? That would help me visualize better.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Sure thing-- the current set up is really a bit awkward. Lower cabs only, and not really any usable counter space (as far as prep goes-- could be ok for storage).

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:49PM
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Thanks for your input, everyone-- really appreciate your insight and ideas. I think we're going with Option #1, and will move the fridge a little away from the wall and closer to the range.

We're still deciding between a slightly smaller peninsula vs. a small island, oriented as lisa_a showed in her 15:53 post.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:10AM
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Honestly, I don't think the current kitchen is all THAT bad. What do you dislike the most about it?

I think a lot of problems might be solvable with replacing the cabs next to the fridge with a reach in pantry closet, adding a prep sink to the island, and moving the DW to the other side of the sink - a single bowl sink in a smaller sink cab might make this possible. Alter island direction or size to improve aisle widths.

Truly, and I have a peninsula and no island in my u-shaped kitchen, I think a peninsula would make the work zone feel cramped and closed off in your space.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:13AM
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I agree with Control - while it isn't perfect, there aren't any glaring safety or layout concerns. I think that odd counter by the fridge would be a perfect spot for a microwave.

What's the hurry to remodel? You might come up with a much better plan if you live with it for a while, and figure out how you use the space. Determine what works for you in the current layout, and what you really hate.

Is there currently any way to access the space under the stairs? It looks like the fridge closes it off completely. You might be fine with that, if you have adequate storage elsewhere in the house. That might be a decision best made after you've moved in.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Thanks, control and annkh-- I think we got on a bit of a slippery slope with respect to renovations. We want to change the counters and appliances for sure, as well as the color of the cabinets. Once we realized we'd be doing all that, it was an easy step to think " why not move the configuration around a bit, too?"

I don't like the fridge where it is, partly because it's location requires we get a somewhat non-standard height model, which limits our choices somewhat. I also feel like there isn't enough space between the island and the fridge currently.

SO really likes the idea of a peninsula-- I think I'm more open to an island, if smaller and/or oriented differently. The overall goal is to make the space more open (so appreciate your comments on how the peninsula might make it feel closed off).

We're thinking about scaling back a bit, moving the fridge to sit on wall with the range, leaving the oddly-placed cabs by the current fridge in place (for a microwave) and turning the box where the fridge currently is into a pantry.

Which still leaves us "arguing" over the peninsula.

Thanks again for your thoughts-- they're really helping me think this through.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:14PM
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What if you took Lisa's island plan, but tried it with the fridge next to the DW? You'd need to scoot the sink and DW a bit to the left, but it seems it should fit. Then center the range on the left wall and make the entire space under the stairs a pantry.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Looking at the space, it seems too small for much of an island, too long (window to stairs) for a peninsula. How about a G-shape?

I'm taking the stairs out of the plan altogether, and assuming 10 feet on the window wall, and 13 feet to the stairs. I started with the fridge where it is - but pulled forward, so it isn't under the stairs. I put a full-height pantry left of the fridge.

On the opposite side is a short peninsula, with a lazy susan in the corner, and a DW on the end. The corner could also be a cabinet accessed from the other side. I didn't put the DW next to the sink, so the sink could stay centered. I have my DW on the adjacent leg of a U, and it really isn't the problem many here make it out to be.

The footprint is smaller with this configuration, but you gain a lot of storage on the fridge wall, and gain full access to the area under the stairs, to use however you want.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Here's the 3D view - this was just a quick sketch with Lowe's kitchen planner - there are a lot of details missing!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Here's a plan that is a slight variation of your current kitchen.

By eliminating the cabs and counter on the window wall and shifting the sink to the range wall, the island can be lengthened, creating a more useful work area with room for a prep sink, plus room for 3 seats. This creates 2 distinct work areas, a clean-up zone at the top end of the kitchen and a prep area between pantry, fridge, prep sink and range at the lower end. I purposely did not put the prep sink at the lower end of the island, saving that space for a fridge and pantry landing zone. I'm guessing it's also the likely landing spot for groceries as they come into the kitchen.

The aisle between island and table is less than 60", NKBA's recommended minimum for back to back seating, however I decided that those 3" were better used in the aisle between perimeter wall and island. Because ranges tend to be deeper than counters, you'll likely end up with about 42" aisle between range and island.

The aisle between island and fridge is counter edge to fridge door. The aisle between island and pantry cabs will be about 3" more. Keeping the fridge in roughly the same location as it currently is hides the additional depth of a standard depth fridge. That's a plus, IMO.

I noticed that your plans spec that cabs and such are to be carefully removed for reuse. However I hope that you're able to add new cabs to the kitchen so that you can add the pull-out pantry cabs (P on the plan) and the doors for the appliance garage (AG on the plan) I spec'd in this lay-out. I suggest that you add a false front to the pantry cab closest to the range wall so that it looks full height even though the interior space won't be. That illusion will create a "wall of tall" along that wall.

I shifted the double French doors over towards the kitchen so that they line up with the path through the DR and kitchen. Alternatively, you could keep the existing door/window set-up on that wall, reducing your remodeling costs.

I'm also curious to know what your issues with your current kitchen are. Here are the issues I see. All are addressable with fairly minor adjustments.

Based on my estimate of the size of your kitchen and the photo you posted, it looks like you have a fairly narrow aisle between island and fridge. That's one of the busiest areas of a kitchen so that's not ideal.

Obviously, the weird stairwell overhang over the cabs is problematic, both visually and functionally.

I also am not keen on the placement of the DW perpendicular to the sink. I know some people have this set-up and like it but I'd hate that extra twisting around to load the DW.

The last issue I see is the distance between fridge and sink and the island's placement between the two. It's not completely a barrier island but it still necessitates a jog in the path between fridge and sink. Adding a prep sink to the island in my Plan B eliminates those extra steps and indirect path.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:31PM
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Oops, I was busy with my drawing and post and didn't see your comment about the fridge height issues. That can be addressed by moving the fridge towards the DR in my Plan B.

You have quite a few ideas to mull over. That's a good thing! Best of luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:36PM
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lisa_a; will need some time to digest (and then compose a proper response), but for now all I can say is holy cow... that's outstanding!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:39PM
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annkh; I like that idea very much. Was in fact thinking along the same lines-- that a very short peninsula might work well. As lisa_a noted, I now have quite a few good ideas to mull over. Thanks so much for your help everyone!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:51PM
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lisa_a; I've had some time to procces your last idea, and I must say must initial reaction persists-- I like this very much. A couple of quick thoughts/questions:

I especially like this plan as it would potentially save us from having to reframe windows and doors, which could add up to a fair bit of cost savings.

I think moving the fridge toward DR is a simple fix to make it fit under the stairs. It will leave us with little truly usable room in the pantry, but I see this as a fair trade-off for what we'd gain.

I love the idea of a more usable island with a prep sink (never thougth we'd be able to fit that feature in!). I see you've drawn the island at 69" by 44". Any thoughts on going a little smaller to increase clearance (say 60" by 40" or even 60" by 36"), or do you think that defeats the purpose?

We did ask for existing cabinets to be saved (thinking we would reface) but have since decided to install new custom cabinets, so we can certainly accomodate AG and Pantry ideas you've suggested.

My biggest issue with the current kitchen (apart from updating counters and appliances) is the relatively small clearance between current island and fridge, which you've pointed out-- it makes the kitchen feel a little more crampled than the plans and pictures depict, I feel. We definitely want the Kitchen/DR space to feel more open, and I felt that the current island was too much of a barrier to smooth flow into and out of (and through) the kitchen.

Also do not like the area under the stairwell, as I think it looks bad and results in a lot of unusable space. A pantry for storage was also a priority when we started this design, so figuring out a way to use the space under the stairs for a pantry seemed like a good solution.

I really like your idea a lot-- apart from a smaller pantry (which I think can't be helped), it seems to solve a lot of our issues with the exisitng floorplan and the current design. Thanks again for spending the time to think this up and draw it out. Much appreciated!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Run your upper cabinets to the ceiling and get extra shelves for the uppers - it provides a surprising amount of extra storage.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:15PM
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just my 2 cents..
i currently have the set up of your first drawing. where you have the pantry i have a wall to the living room, i put a 6 inch deep 5 foot high free standing shelf along the wall (easy to make) and i keep anything in glass jars on that, i have a reach in pantry.(where your deck is i have a bed room with a bathroom next to it, door facing the kitchen, and the pantry is between the bedroom and bath), the shelf i have is narrow enough not to impede the entry next to the peninsula, and it keeps me from worrying about having a glass jar break in the pantry, everyone who sees it thinks its a great idea (i keep remains of boxes of pasta in canning jars etc). my kitchen is open to the dining room, which no one who i see with this design uses as a dining room because the walk way to the sliding glass doors eventually takes precedence (Florida = Lani), or if they do, the table is pushed up against the wall which leaves seating for 4. i also have a slim cabinet and a semi-corner upper cabinet(s) on the wall to the right of the sink,my dish washer is in the spot of your original drawing, i have a lazy susan corner on the bottom in the corner. The over hang of the upper cabinets makes a spot to park the appliances with a clean up area right next to the sink which keeps things from sprawling, i have a set of drawers instead of a cabinet on the outside of the dishwasher, very handy.. .

It seems to me that some people are sit-down-at-the-table types and some are more casual island eaters.. when my daughter was younger we used the large area of the peninsula to make bread and such from the dining room side, that way she could sit up and reach and it was a nice area to use for lots of things.

the actual work flow on this for me is parking the grocery's on the peninsula and on flat stove top to load fridge, the biggest problem i have is with the microwave. first had it on the Pinn but if two people were in the kitchen there would be an issue with doing anything with the sink, i moved it to the other side of the sink, between it and the stove, its a better location but it uses up a lot of room and its awkward to get things in and out, for that reason alone i liked the idea of a microwave area. it looks like you currently have a microwave installed in the wall next to the fridge? My neighbor put his on the counter and then made a huge space above for an appliance garage, (think just one big shelf), you'd only have to close off the underside of the stairs really; the cool thing is he used a painting hinged on the corner side as a door.

i would say live with it for a minuet first, and then if you were going to do anything i'd put a pantry at the end of the room like in the 3-D model Anna has, also the peninsula, if you are not going to use that room then you might want to shorten it, mine is a bit tight and the other issue is where to put the trash.. if you are an under the sink person then fine, but otherwise i ended up putting it at the end of the peninsula, now its tucked under on the outer side with a stool in front.

what is really amazing is that so many people spent so much of their time to help you with this, and that i actually sat here and read each post.. it had a coffee table conversation feel to it, very well done everybody :)
best of luck with the new home, the only other thing i would say is, you have to decide if you and SO need a break from the stress of actually buying the house before you start tearing it up (warning: only do ONE ROOM at a time) or if you are the kind of folk who like to get it all out of the way so you can be done with it..

may your home always be filled with love (and big ideas)..

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:50PM
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annkh: we're definitely going to take the uppers to the ceiling. In fact, that might be what pushed us over the edge to get new cabinets instead of refacing the existing ones-- too much trouble and cost to try to stack on top of the uppers that are already there. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:23PM
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Miz P;

"what is really amazing is that so many people spent so much of their time to help you with this, ... very well done everybody"

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this thread. I can't say for sure what we're going to end up doing, but I feel certain we'll have considered a ton of great ideas before we start (including a bunch we never would have thought of on our own).

Have our first meeting with the cabinet-maker on Friday, and I've already printed out all the designs from this thread to show him.

I can't wait to get started :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:36PM
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So glad I could help! One of the pluses I see of going with an island over a peninsula is that an island won't crowd the DR area like a peninsula would. You could compensate for that by doing a banquette bench - built-in or free-standing - along the long wall of the DR. That one change would net you 18" - 20" (24" deep bench, table overhang of 2" to 4").

On to island sizes:

I wouldn't go less than 60" long if you want a prep sink. Otherwise, you won't have much room to work next to the sink. Without enough room, it's kinda pointless to add a prep sink to the island, IMO.

If you want seating, I wouldn't go less than 40" deep and I'd forgo any decorative panel on the backside to keep the seating overhang as deep as possible.

The numbers work out like this:
40" island
-25.5" cabs plus 1.5" counter overhang
14.5" seating overhang

NKBA recommends a minimum of 15" overhang for a 36" high counter. Some people do go shallower than that while others go deeper (a plus if you and your family are tall).

If you want to shrink it down to 36", I'd forgo island seating and opt for shallow storage on the backside of the island (9" is all you'll get, perfect for pantry items). It's pretty hard for most adults to sit comfortably with only 10.5" of overhang, plus I've yet to find stools shallow enough to fit completely under an overhang less than 12" (I've linked below to backless stools that are only 12" deep). If the stools' legs are going to interfere with aisle clearance anyway, you may as well have a deeper seating overhang, IMO.

Best of luck! Don't forgot to post your reveal photos!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pottery Barn Manchester Backless Barstool

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:36PM
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