Floor layout help, old house, smallish kitchen

rmtdougApril 29, 2014

Greetings to all: I have reached a roadblock and seek your help! I've read every thread here I can find on small kitchens and/or old houses. I've learned so much. You folks are great!

I'm doing a multi-year whole house remodel and am at the point where I have to make some decisions about the kitchen as it involves the floor plan.

The house is two story 1600 sf, built in 1917. It has basement space under the kitchen, so I have complete access. I'm gutting to the studs room-by-room and updating everything. I'm to the point where wiring work is now involving the first floor of the house and I seek help about where walls and openings go around the kitchen, plus I seek some ideas of a basic kitchen layout, i.e. doors, opening, walls, sink, stove, fridge, DW, etc. Some things I can move, some things not, and some things I do not want to move, but I will consider all ideas.

For the personal particulars, it's just me and my wife. We are approaching retirement age and plan to stay here as long as we can. 20 years would not be a stretch. My wife is fully mobile but disabled, so we do not entertain much, mostly one or two friends or family at a time and quite rarely. I work at home and am doing 90% of the work on the house. We have two cats. We cook almost all meals at home. I can live just fine with a microwave and fry pan. She likes to bake. Neither one of us goes for fancy food.

Oh yeah, my wife really does not like someone else in the kitchen when she is cooking, but I want a kitchen where I can sneak in and make a sandwich, open the fridge, etc, without disrupting her when she is there.

Here is the 1st floor as it exists now. We both hate the kitchen. It's the only thing about our house we do not like. My wife is fine with Any Kitchen But This One:

Plan A:
This is the first plan I worked on starting two years ago, using the existing walls and removing the china cabinet and fridge nook. It's the best I can come up with using the existing floor plan and would be the least expensive:

Here is a 3D view of Plan A:

Plan B
This is a drawing that a close friend of mine came up with. He is a successful builder and consulted with his real estate buddies, etc. It involves knocking out all the walls and putting in an island. I personally think it does not mesh well with a 100 year old house, but I am keeping an open mind:

Plan C:
This is somewhat of a compromise between Plan A and B. The wall between the kitchen and Dining room is opened up and we can keep the arches between all the downstairs rooms intact and generally keep the house looking as it is. Plus it keeps some privacy between the kitchen and the rest of the house, which I personally prefer, but I am keeping an open mind:

Here is one idea for a Plan C layout. I did not even save the file, but I like that we can have two sinks and a place for me to fix a snack without disturbing anyone in the cooking area:

The dimensions found in Plan C are the most accurate. Consider them maximums. I am really looking forward to hearing from everyone. Thanks, Doug

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I like plan "A" the best. Especially if the work table to the right of the door is on locking casters.

If you look at it, it gives you the most counter space, and a better traffic flow than C.

B? No way! You lose useful kitchen area for a redundant dining nook and a trendy island. I don;t think he and his buds cook.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Lazy, I'm torn between A and C as my preference. With A, the table certainly could be put on casters but it's literally three steps from anywhere else in the kitchen. How do you figure the traffic being better in A? Is it the walking around the wall in C?

With C, I would not mind walking "around" to get to the back door. The entire house really is not that big, and maybe then we would use the side door in the stairwell more often. I'm really anxious to see what people come up with. Of course, none of these plans are set in stone.

My friend is a very good cook, but he grills year around :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:55PM
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robo (z6a)

Would seating in the kitchen be nice for you, for your wife, would anyone sit to prep or need a wheelchair friendly place to prep? Is mobility an issue now or in 10 years?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 6:12PM
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We are both fully mobile and unless some accident occurs I don't see a wheelchair in our future. If it came to that, we would probably have to move. The house would need major structural remodeling to make any bathrooms accessible.

As for seating, the current kitchen table looks out to the backyard which has a small pond and nice trees. Although we live right in town, it's very private. The view is the same from the dining room, so we plan to use that in the future for looking out the window. We are both in agreement that the kitchen will primarily be used for cooking and preparing meals.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:57PM
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I would say plan A without a doubt in my mind. I think it addresses all your concerns and stipulations in a very cohesive way. For instance, you absolutely can sneak in and use the fridge and counter space to the right of the door while being minimally intrusive.

And the redundancy of the table AND island in Plan B was what struck me the most, right away. A complete waste of space.

In Plan C the fridge is way too far outside the primary work zone, and two sinks seems like a waste of space for just the two of you.

To be honest, when you showed that first plan and before I realized there were options, I thought "What does he need from GW? That looks great!" That plan shows how much time and thought you have already put into it. Obvious careful consideration. Plan C is trying too hard to appease a friend, maybe?

What I would recommend, though, is to eliminate the 12" upper cab beside the fridge (Plan A here) and make it an 18" like the lower. An consider a blind corner cab or an easy-reach for the corner, because then you can increase the size of the cabs that flank it, particularly that other 12"-er. Trust me, they are nigh onto useless, even with just the two of you. They are difficult to fit anything into and difficult to rummage around in.

Other than that I see that first plan as a home run. Of course, I say that all the time and someone with actual knowledge and experience steps in to point out all the seemingly obvious things I fail to consider. :o)

GW Kitchens is a marvie place....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:44PM
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All I have to contribute (is nothing) is the thought that too many renovating GCs, developers or builders have bought into this OPEN IT UP mentality. Sometimes that's not the answer, particularly in a charming, older home. 1917 and those early decades produced some gorgeous homes. They're now treasures.

That said, .... A.
Plus, you need to post some "before" pictures. Not only are they (eye candy) helpful, but they're sooooo cool!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:50PM
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robo (z6a)

I was trying to make plan C work because I like the more direct traffic pattern to the back door and I think it protects your wife's workspace better. If you did go with plan C I would consider moving the whole cleanup operation to the left side of the kitchen (DW and sink) and putting a largish prep sink on the right hand side, with the counters going continuously around the U. That way the cleaner can clean while the cook cooks. And I'd keep the opening dining-kitchen relatively small and nice looking. Personally I feel that although the fridge is relatively far from the prep zone compared to your kitchen size, it's really not that far because your kitchen isn't huge, and there are no barriers in the way.

But: I didn't come up with any super great ideas for plan C so I'm looking back at plan A. There are different opinions on 24" vs 18" dishwashers. Personally I'd go for a 24" if at all possible (cheaper and more practical for pots and pans), and keep it to the right of the sink (again, trying to protect wife's prep and cooking space). I would prize that over keeping the sink directly centered under the window, especially since you don't have to look at the sink from a great distance. I'd consider going down to a single bowl 24" sink - but the largest one you can squeeze in the cabinet.

Personally I'd switch from a diagonal front corner cab as an upper to an L-shaped easy-reach cab or just a blind corner. Reason for this is that corner is turning into your wife's primary prep space, and it's nice to have that extra headroom/airspace in the corner.

Easy reach upper cabinet

I'd also reverse the door swing between dining and kitchen so you don't have to walk "around" the door to get into the kitchen.

Looks like a really cool space! Congratulations on doing so much work, seems like a huge project. Looking forward to seeing pictures :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:44AM
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But robotropolis, how will he "sneak" in if he doesn't have a door to hide behind? ;o)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:55AM
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Seems like the reaction to Plan B is in line with my way of thinking. Seems that not much else can be done with A, but what about floorplan C? Can it work?

Greenhaven: Thank you for the kind words on plan A. My wife said it would be fine, but I view it as the extreme on the minimum side. I still worry, though, about having the main traffic to the back door going through the space like it does now, which is the main reason we both hate the current kitchen. Plan C changes that mostly. I agree the uppers are kind of wonky and the details need some work. We may even go with shelving. I need a final floor layout first before moving on to the rest.

My intention on Plan C is to open up between the kitchen and dining room because we are losing the ability to sit at the kitchen table and look out the window. My plan B friend was right in that respect. We need easier access between the kitchen and sitting area. The problem with the fridge in the C drawing is exactly why I abandoned that particular layout...but....the whole space is in play. I did think about two 24" fridge/freezers but could not figure out where to put the other one. Two sinks couldn't hurt, right? If they can fit, I say go for it!

CEFreeman: Hello kindred spirit! Our local Habitat re-store is my main hangout :) We love our little house, but unfortunately the last century has not been kind to it. I am slowly undoing the years of abuse and am updating everything. I will post some pics later today after work, but fair warning: It's a big mess!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Robotopolis, Thank you, thank you! I agree 100% on the tweaks to plan A. I never thought about the corner upper being in the way and yet that is exactly one of the problems in the existing kitchen in the space with the 20" counter. I do think I could squeeze in a 24" DW. The door is currently a swinging door and does swing the other way, but in Plan A it would have to swing that way to allow access to the light switch.

Now, the fact that everyone is having problems with Plan C tells me there still might be gold there. I need to explore that space fully before eliminating it. The opening between the kitchen and dining in the C floor plan is currently 5 feet.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:49AM
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robo (z6a)

Here's one idea for a plan C. It gives your wife a 4.5 foot wide U shape to cook in which means other butts are NOT allowed in her cooking zone. But at least the fridge is on the outside. With this plan you might be able to salvage the china cab in dining room if it is nice.

The reason I didn't do shelves to either side of the stove is because ...well, you could have them. But you would need to figure out what to do with shelves that stick out in front of the window to the left of the stove. Either make them open or curve them toward the window or something.

To maximize space and eliminate annoying fillers on either side of the stove, I pulled the cabinets on the arms of the "U" shape out from the wall a couple of inches. This gives you a few extra deep inches of counter space on the arms of the U and lets you have 15" deep upper cabinets on the bottom wall, which will gain you storage space. Depending on budget, one source for extra deep counters is IKEA butcherblock, which comes in either 25.5" deep (standard) or 40" deep pieces.

If you could move your entry door - your workflow might improve (it's nice to go Fridge-sink-stove - but you'd be staring at the fridge from the dining room instead of that nice window.

If your wife is a "clean as she goes" person this setup might not work well as the cleaning zone is so separated from the work zone.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 11:27

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:10AM
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I like plan A better than plans B or C, but I'm not sure I like the peninsula or the location of the oven. It seems to break up an already small space unnecessarily.

What if you put a wall oven and microwave combo between the door and window then a counter extending under the window. You can tuck a stool under it for your snacking, and it could act as a baking center for your wife/oven landing zone. Behind the door, I think I'd just make a wall of 18" deep tall cabinets.

AND make the tweaks Robot suggested with the corner cab and 24" DW.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:52AM
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Robo, excellent! Yes, the door can be moved to the left, so your second layout could be used. I would have to do a formal layout to see exactly what would fit, but this is exactly what I am looking for; ideas for placement of the major components.

My wife, unfortunately, does not have the energy anymore to clean much. She spends most of her time resting. She's good for about 5-6 hours a day of normal activity. The burden of shopping and heavy cleaning falls on my shoulders now. We need a kitchen that is not real complicated with clean lines and surfaces and easy to maintain. I thought we would go with soapstone counters and easy to clean backsplash. The base cabinets will be faceless with all drawers.

Controlfreakecs: I would say the peninsula is flexible :) I think I tried a wall oven between the door and the window, but from the plan standpoint it did not seem to work for some forgotten reason. I think it might have been the oven door and fridge doors colliding or some such thing (first rule in our house: If it can be dented, it will be) Where the oven is now in Plan A, it is elevated by 12" plus it's the only thing I could put in that dead space next to the chimney.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 1:59PM
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robo (z6a)

rmtdoug - just wondering - would a seat at a prep counter possibly be helpful if it were well placed? I know I keep coming back to mobility things which is not your situation, just personal experience as I have a lot of issues with my feet and prefer to sit to prep which might help with fatigue as well? My husband is the primary cook but I sit to prep at our peninsula.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:47PM
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In any of the plans, if you really want to keep out of your wife's way when she is cooking, you might want to put a bar sink next to the refrigerator (and near the door from the dining room).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Robotropolis, That's a tough question re a seat. I can't answer that. I know that I could not sit and prep because it would kill my back. My wife has never mentioned wanting a seat to prep, but then again our meals are quite simple and 90% of the time don't require a lot of prep. It is also possible over the years that I will have to take over more and more of the cooking duties, so a seat would be less likely needed rather than more. That's my best guess looking ahead.

Okmoreh: Thanks. I am trying to find a spot for two sinks and have everything mesh. I am confident we can find a solution.

I will hopefully have some pictures and a better drawing of the Plan C space tonight because I can't go forward with the wiring until I can decide where the opening will be to the kitchen, floorplan A or floorplan C.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Here are a few pictures. As can be seen, the house now lacks any real old-world charm, but it is wonderfully light filled.

This is looking from the dining room into the living room. This was taken two weeks ago right before I gutted the stairwell:

This is looking from the side entry door up three steps to the stair landing. The door is to the kitchen:

This is the kitchen one year ago after our cast iron sink literally started to fall through the counter. Knowing that everything would be ripped out in a year or two...or three, I just replaced the countertop with laminate and put in a $15 sink from the re-store. You can see the edge of the stove on the right and the depth of the "dead space" nook to the left of the chimney. Out of sight is the tiny fridge nook with a tiny fridge and the round table with two chairs:

This is the kitchen as we currently use it. My back is to the wall in this view, so as you can see there is not much space. All the cabinets in the kitchen are in this picture:

Finally, these last two pics are of the bedroom over the kitchen and dining room. This is the one room I have finished so far and is what the house will look like when I am done, sort of. The trim is VG fir and the floor is laminate. Downstairs will have similar VG fir trim and engineered hardwood flooring with something else in the kitchen, don't know what yet:

Reverse view:

Three years ago I replaced the roof. Two years ago I replaced all the windows and siding. Last summer/fall I did the upstairs bedroom. Now I am doing the other bedroom and the stairwell.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:01PM
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Oh those sketch ups robotropolis did are great!! At first I was like "Say whaat?" in regards to the cleanup area being separate, but the prep sink makes it all make sense.

Rmtdoug, I think your house will be so great when you are done! And your wife will love the new kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:19PM
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Chiming in to say first, you're doing a beautiful job so far! And your existing kitchen is ahead of its time: cupboards to the ceiling and all those drawers! And finally, that is a very cool door!

Now back to your regularly scheduled kitchen commentary from the knowledgeable GWers.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:19PM
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Here is a more detailed blank floor layout using the C plan. The dimensions are as accurate as I can measure given the limitations of not knowing exactly how thick the lath and plaster is on the walls and not having full access to the kitchen yet. I'm okay that they are within 1-2 inches on the longest dimensions.

The door at the top can be moved to the left. I want the space in the entry to the right for pantry space. I will probably leave it as a 32" door.

The window on the left can be moved down the wall up to 3 feet without totally messing up my new siding job. It can be resized, too. The bottom is currently 38" off the floor, enough to fit a counter under it.

I will be using this drawing as my working plan.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 11:24PM
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robo (z6a)

Here's one idea. I still don't love the idea of the fridge being the first thing you see from the dining room however. :( And I have three tall things scattered throughout the kitchen - I think it would be nicer to have all the tall stuff together.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 9:31AM
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bpathome, greenhaven, Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it.

Robotopolis, I'm overwhelmed. Thank you so much for these ideas. I'm swamped with work today but I hope tonight I can put something together for review.

What does everyone think about two 24" fridge/freezers instead of one big one? One could be put on the left wall and the other in the cooking zone?

Also, there is a basement for storage and quite a bit of storage upstairs, so the kitchen can basically be stripped down to the essentials for everyday/weekly use. I'm hoping that will help in trying to fit everything in.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:25AM
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robo (z6a)

form over function? The fridge is about 12 feet from the stove in this drawing, which is about the maximum recommended distance I think.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:01AM
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I don't have a lot to add... just to say that in plan A, I'd sure try to put in pocket doors! In such a small kitchen, eliminating the door swings would be nice. Cute house!

This post was edited by xena45 on Thu, May 1, 14 at 14:07

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Robo, Just popped in for a break. I would not want to move the window just for form's sake, I'm sorry to say, as it would be a tedious job going back over existing work. I had planned on counter-depth everything so maybe the fridge would not stick out visually as much wherever it ends up. Plus, it does not have to be 36" Even a 30" CD would still be tons bigger than what we have now.

I keep coming up with more and more ideas based on the feedback so far. Thank you, everyone.

Still don't hear any love for, say, two 24" CD fridges instead of one big fridge :) Does anyone have an opinion?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 2:49PM
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robo (z6a)

Maybe a 30" CD plus bar fridge for your snack area?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:33PM
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I'm not sure if I missed it, but wondering why you would consider 2 fridges? We are a 2 person household and find our 33" fridge plenty big enough for our needs. Granted, ours is SD, but we are thinking about recessing it into the wall in order to gain a couple of inches. I also know myself and my DH well enough to know that I'd always be looking for something in the "wrong" fridge. You and yours may be better organized/trained than we are though!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Sherri58, Well, they would definitely have to be 24" CD fridges. Anything bigger would defeat the purpose. I think with short walls, having that extra 12" in any one particular place might add more flexibility than trying find room for one 33-36" space. Sort of like two arm chairs instead of a three seat sofa in a small room. It just works better in a small space.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:30PM
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robo, yeah, a bar fridge is always in the back of my mind, but every time I consider it, I picture myself in old age on hands and knees trying to find something in the back of it. It sort of ruins it for me :)

I finally got caught up on work and I'm just sitting down to work on my latest brainstorm for a plan. I know you eliminated that dead space next to the chimney but I can't let it go yet. I want to try one more thing.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Xena45, I've considered pocket doors. I will most definitely have to put one to the small bath off the kitchen. That space gets really busy with all the doors opening there. That would be the most logical place to start. I'm not sure a pocket door would work anywhere else given how much traffic goes through that space.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:40PM
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Quick and dirty, but everything fits. If I lose the wall oven and go to a range, that works even better. Nothing on the walls yet. My wife hates upper cabinets and she will always want shelves or just hooks to hang things instead of uppers. We will compromise somewhere in the middle :)

There are 24" counters at all sinks, cooktop, fridge, and oven but there are 14" counters connecting them. These would hold 12" drawers, deep enough for most things if they are wide drawers.

I have no idea what goes in the base cabinets but they are all drawers. I do not know where to put the microwave.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 2:09AM
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Keep one of the sinks near your rangetop. Makes it easier and safer to drain large pots of pasta. 12" reduced depth lower drawers are VERY small. I have 16" reduced depth lower drawers under my microwave shelf and they are pretty small. My cabinet company wouldnt even do drawers at only 12" deep.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 6:13AM
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robo (z6a)

I wouldn't go for the second fridge. It's messing up your layout.

By trying to get the increased depth beside chimney, which is only 8" after all, you're reducing counter depth and lower depth in half your kitchen, so your function is going downhill rapidly. Not to mention you're gaining the inches on the long dimension when your kitchen would most need expansion on the short dimension.

Why not use the depth somewhat like you have now, with a deeper small appliance hutch?

I think the best use of 12" deep cabs is as a full height shallow pantry.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:43AM
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Don't forget, I'm a guy. I only know microwave, frying pan, and sandwiches :) My wife is too sick to deal with the intense planning involved here. You are my only hope.

OTOM, I hear you. I'm trying to do this with Ikea bases and they do make 12" drawer bases, but you are the first person I've ever talked to that has real experience with limited depth. So.....

Robo, I will see what I can come up with from your first plan from the 4/30 11:30 post but move the door. That one seems to make the most sense when actually standing in the kitchen and visualizing it and knowing how we use the kitchen now. I still hate to lose that dead space next to the chimney but so be it if needed. I will try it with and without a wall oven.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but in a small kitchen wouldn't counter space trump storage?

This post was edited by rmtdoug on Fri, May 2, 14 at 12:50

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 12:44PM
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robo (z6a)

Ikea eh? Here's that option you mentioned drawn up in the IKEA planner.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:42PM
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robo (z6a)

Here's an IKEA version of plan A which you had drawn up already. I put 12" deep pantry cabinets on the bump out and moved the DW over to the right of the sink.

I have to admit it looks very nice. I may be getting swayed.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:07PM
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I've always liked Plan A. It took about three months to get there. Here is how I envisioned it laid out. Details can be changed, of course. However, I do like having the two sinks in Plan C. What to do...

Plan A view from front of the dishwasher:

View from front of the oven:

But back to plan C. Here are two layouts, one using the wall oven and one using a slide-in range. Notice that I moved the pantry out to the entry. Moving the door created plenty of space for that. I do like having two sinks.

With wall oven:

With the range (I think I like this better despite not having an elevated oven):

I think I'm close, but I still don't know where the #### entry goes to the kitchen! Use the existing door (plan A) or move it to the dining room (plan B)? I have to make a decision.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 12:28AM
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Why is there a door into the kitchen from the entry rather than eliminate it? I would not want to deal with a door to access the pantry including the whole idea of a door opening into my kitchen from the entry. To me, it makes a small kitchen seem even smaller. The eye would be able to see straight through to the window in the entry creating a much longer line of vision.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Texasgal, the short story is that entry used to be the outside back porch. It was never built to be indoor space and is very difficult to heat. Plus, all that space is way outside current property setbacks. If I tore it down and tried to rebuild it, I doubt they would let me. Eventually, I will see what I can do, but for now it's one of those quirky things about living in an old house.

Do you approve of the kitchen floor layout otherwise? I would like to know your thoughts. I'm still trying to decide where the doorways will go. I can't do the staircase wiring until that is decided.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 4:18PM
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I think I like the last plan you posted, but I agree that the door into the kitchen is in the way. Perhaps you could tile and put in radiant floor heating in the entry and bathroom or some other auxiliary heat and remove the entry door into the kitchen.
I like your plan A a lot, but the downfall is that I feel the kitchen is too separated from the dining room since this is your only eating area.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:55PM
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This is a fascinating thread so far!

I have a question.

In a very small kitchen, with two people who "don't do much prep", cook very simply, and foresee even less complicated cooking in the future....why two sinks? You will be sacrificing counter space and lower storage for another sink base. Why a double oven, either?

I haven't the imagination to choose between plans here, but I do think that Robotropolis has come up with some great ideas. I like using that alcove/dead space for built in shelves over an extra deep counter.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Good for you for having to courage to go for it. I was having a hard time figuring out where the back yard is, but a couple of thoughts. Since you are in a small house, to me a dedicated dining room sees impractical. You don't have to have an island though. Also have you considered flipping the kitchen and the dining room. What I do know from experience that when we entertain everyone jams into our small kitchen, keeping it too blocked off from the rest of the house could create a large bottleneck.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:40PM
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Thanks. I am leaning strongly to the C layout instead of the A. My wife will return home Sunday night and I will discuss all this with her. She went to visit friends and family while I destroyed the center of our house over the last two weeks. I put up the temporary stair handrails just tonight. The mess is all cleaned up and we are back to livable now.

I've thought about radiant, etc., in the entry. Until I'm further along, we will just leave it as is. Besides, I have a problem with a bathroom door opening directly onto a kitchen. It just seems so eeeww :) Maybe someday I'll revisit this. I've got no shortage of more important things to deal with.

Glad you enjoyed the thread. One never knows how people will react to another's personal dramas :)

The reason for two sinks in our case has a lot to do with my wife's illness. She gets sick really easily and even a simple cold last December put her in the emergency room. Germs are a big issue in our house. From the picture, you may think the kitchen is pretty dingy, but that's only because its really old and cleaned to excess. There are no germs in that kitchen! Hand and clothes washing is vital in our house. Plus, personality-wise, she is very territorial and the kitchen is her domain. She also has specific dietary needs that would drive a normal person nuts, so we basically have two separate food preparations going on all the time. I fix my own breakfast and lunch and she usually prepares something for dinner that will last two or three days. She then prepares her special meals separately. I cook on the weekends to give her a break when I am "not working." Ha! Our kitchen will have one oven, always.

Thank you. Courage has nothing to do with it. It's dire necessity. After 100 years, it's only a matter of time before something serious goes wrong. Plus, there is no insulation in the walls. To fix all the mechanicals I have to gut the house. Simple as that. Luckily, I have the skill and the tools to do almost all the work, especially the finish work. Otherwise, we could not afford it.

Yeah, the back yard is to your left on the plans. The dining room and kitchen share the wall facing the back yard. As for having the separate dining room. Well, it's just another room. It will have a table for eating but who knows what else it will be used for. The house is too small to have a formal anything. Separate rooms do fit our lifestyle. My wife needs a lot of quiet time. When we are gone, someone else can do whatever they want. My goal is to make sure they have a fully updated house to work with. I'm building in a lot of flexibility as I go along and documenting everything that I plan to pass on to future owners.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:28AM
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Last but not least, a special thank you to robotropolis and to all the others who gave me advice and input and especially for the questions; they helped guide my thinking. I'm 90% certain we will go with the C layout, with the kitchen opening into the dining room. The design needs a lot of tweaking still, but I feel comfortable enough to now make the decision and proceed with the electrical wiring I have to do.

The fact that I could get a basic layout to later build upon in just a few days is mostly due to the clear and thoughtful plans from robotropolis along with the input from all the other posters. You and the others are why GW is such a great place to visit.

Thank you, again,

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:56AM
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robo (z6a)

Thanks Doug! If you would like some more help, the folks at ikeafans are super helpful and know so much about putting in an ikea kitchen, from different ways you can use deco strips to hacking cabs, plus they will work with your exact ikea planner file and make sure you have everything you need on your orders. the only reason we don't have an ikea kitchen right now is because dh was nervous about having a supplier 800 miles away instead of down the street.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:01AM
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Mtdoug, I'm happy that you like plan C and hope that your wife likes it as well. Agree that Robotropolis did a fantastic job. Here are some additional thoughts for tweeking "C" plan:
1. Since your dining room is large, you have the option of putting your snack area in there with a "wet bar" sink, an undercounter fridge, and a mini microwave. Shelves on brackets could go above. Other snacks, paper plates, etc. could be placed in decorative baskets on the shelves yet keep the mess out of view. This would allow the placement of a chair in the kitchen with it's back against that 41" wall space. Replace that larger sink with a small work table for sit down prep. With your good view there, you could even have the chair on castors to directly face the window and then move back to the corner when not in use. Where the small sink is in plan C, enlarge it and place a dishwasher to the left of the sink. Recycle can be placed on the wall next to the small prep table. A floor to ceiling pantry could be to the left of the recycle, in the left corner on the wall.
2. I would think another option is to place more storage or the pantry in the dining room rather than the entry. To give it more of a dining room look, pull out drawers could be in the lower portion and doors with textured glass that obscures (or gathered curtains inside the door) for shallow 12" uppers. That arrangement would make it flexible for resale with options for new owners.
3. To the right of the stove (cooktop?), you can either have an Easy Reach corner wall cabinet or a 27" diagonal corner wall cabinet. Most people on GW prefer the Easy Reach because it's better if two cooks are in the kitchen with more access to the counter. The advantage of the diagonal is that it stores a great deal more if after market D-shaped Super Susans (on ball bearings) are added to allow easy access to the far reaches of the back cabinet. The add ons are very reasonably priced. I'm a one person kitchen and desperately needed that storage so love my diagonal cabinet. See what your wife prefers, consider your top priority, and perhaps look at both types of cabinets in the showroom. Edited to add that I have a 36" diagonal base cabinet with two Super Susans below the 27" diagonal wall cabinet. This combination provides additional counter and prevents the upper from being "in your face." This combination works in a one cook small kitchen when storage needs to be maximized. Also, I don't like the added care that's needed with bifold doors on cabinets that get frequent use. In my other corner is a 33" Easy Reach base cabinet with bifold doors that is used for trash. Unfortunately, there was no room for a trash pullout in my kitchen, and I did not want trash under the sink. This obviously works only with one or two, and only kitchen trash goes here. There are no Super Susans in this cabinet, just shelves. Garbage that could have an odor goes in the freezer for trash day. I have a small plastic trash container on both the upper and lower shelf. Baking pans and large cooker are also stored vertically in that cabinet. The bottom line is that you and your wife need to plan what's going into each cabinet to determine which types of cabinets best meet your needs.
4. The 6" base vertical "spice drawers" work well in a small kitchen if you have a 6" space available and are short on drawers. These are 6" x 6" x 22"d that are available unfinished outside of Ikea. These hold all my "junk drawer" items such as large cooking spatulas, pizza cutter, ice cream scoop, long parchment paper box, rolling pin, etc.
It's been interesting to read about your progress and issues that need to be addressed. I hope you will allow GW to follow your progress as you bring your long awaiting plans to completion. It's obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into your planning.

This post was edited by Texasgal47 on Sun, May 4, 14 at 11:20

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:52AM
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Robo, I will certainly be around. First thing is to get this latest phase done sometime this summer and then I'll turn my attention to the plumbing and final planning for the kitchen/dining and upstairs bath. Thanks for the advice re ikeafans. I was just going to buy the raw boxes and I love...love..the drawers they sell. I put them in the first upstairs bedroom with my own fronts. They are a phenomenal drawer system.

Texasgal47, Thank you so much for that thoughtful reply. You mentioned things I did not even think about. I kind of knew about the different corner cabinets and hope to go with something more clever and elegant than lazy susans but that's all my software would allow. I would also love to have formal sitting in the kitchen but at this point I just don't know. A friend was visiting today and he and I were standing in the kitchen discussing the different plans and we both realized how small the space really is. The final plan will have to be approached with great caution and ruthless cutting of "fat." I love of idea of distilling something down to its essence and look forward to the challenge.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:13PM
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