40 years of same kitchen - layout advice/ideas, please!

MadsMamaApril 7, 2011

I have enjoyed reading all of the wonderful ideas and wisdom on this forum, and now it is time for my first post! We are planning a kitchen remodel and I would love feedback on how we can improve the layout. My parents built the house 40 years ago; now I live here with my mom and my toddler daughter (& our English Bulldog).

Here's the scope of our remodel:

New cabinets

New counters/backsplash

New appliances (except for the double wall ovens, which are fairly new, so we'd like to keep those)

Refinish (replace?) floors

New window

We are not moving any walls and want to try to limit plumbing and electrical work to a minimum.

In terms of appliances, this is what we're thinking:

30" Cooktop

36" CD FD refrigerator

Dishwasher drawers (2 stacked) - currently, it's a tight squeeze between the open dishwasher door and the island, so hoping the drawers are a good solution.

Under counter microwave.

Some ideas/thoughts/questions:

Should we move the cooktop off the island? If so, where? Next to ovens?

The tall pantry next to the wall ovens is used for an assortment of things we sometimes use, rarely use and never use. It's not a food storage area. We could probably lose some of the width here if needed to accommodate more counter space on the other side of the ovens if we were to move the cooktop there.

Love to bake, so would like a dedicated baking center (all baking ingredients/tools are scattered throughout the kitchen currently).

The shallow pantry cannot be deepened - it backs up to the adjoining room's closet, which we don't want to change.

Thinking of 2 pullout pantries flanking the refrigerator (and losing the 22" counter currently next to the refrigerator).

We want the sink to stay in its current position.

Main traffic is through door leading from/to entry. Little traffic through entry to FDR.

We want mainly all drawers on the lower cabinets (thanks to all of your inspiring photos!)

Should we lose the soffit and raise the cabinets to the ceiling? The ceiling height is 9'.

Would be nice to have a dedicated "spot"/snack drawer for my daughter.

Need a landing spot for the phone, mail, etc. Ideas for this?

Whew, that's a lot of information! For those of you who made it through my rambling, thank you for your time and thoughts! Let me know if I can answer any questions.

~ MadsMama

First Floor Layout:

Kitchen Layout:

Current kitchen photos:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! I have no input for you because I'm not a layout person. But I can tell you have a great space, and it's been this way for 40 years? Wow, no wonder you weren't in a hurry to remodel, it really doesn't show it's age. I mean it's a bit dated, but it looks pretty dang good for 40. (Not that 40 is old, by any means).

Can we have a close up of that tile? I think it is pretty cool.

You have a lot of room. I'm sure Buehl and the others are going to have a ball with this. I'll jump in later, I'm sure. Congrats on your first post and you did a pretty great job. Did you do the Sweeby test? What were your results? IF not you can find it in the "If you're new..." thread.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 6:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bee, thank you! Your kitchen is one of my favorites - in fact, I ordered a sample of your backsplash tile after seeing it in your space - gorgeous. Here's a close-up of our tile. If I hadn't been looking at it since I was 2 years old, I'd probably love it. But, let's just say I am ready for a change! :)

Tile close-up:

I haven't taken the Sweeby test, but I will. Looks like it would be a great exercise!

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anyone? Buehl and others, would love your advice, particularly on the cooktop and baking area placement...

Thanks so much!

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are starting off with a pretty nice kitchen. :) Your parents did a great job but I can sure understand being ready to redo it.

If I'm reading correctly your new kitchen will be very similar to your current one? One inexpensive change you could make is to do a built-in look on your pantry /refrigerator wall. I found a link to natal's pantry that is similar. You would probably need 2 sets of doors to reach all of your space.

Use the link below and scroll down towards the bottom to see Natal's post.

I would suggest doing away with the small cabinet between your pantry and refrigerator and making it all pantry. Your island is close enough to be your refrigerator landing spot so you shouldn't miss that cabinet.

You could make the pantry a little deeper than what you have by using an inch or two out of the kitchen. I would make it flush all the way to your refrigerator. The left side will be deeper (where your current cabinet is) for a broom or vacuum or dog food or recycle cans or whatever.

It's not a big change but would give a different look.

I don't know what you have in mind for your baking center but I keep my flour/sugar/baking soda & powder/salt etc on a roll out drawer in a lower cabinet. When I bake I just open that cabinet door and roll out the drawer and measure the ingredients without even removing them from the drawer.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: pantry next to refrigerator

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any possibility of giving up the closet in the library and insetting the fridge and wall oven in that spot? Then create a new pantry where the fridge is...

I'd want to get the cooktop off the island for sure, and put it on the wall.

If you can't use the first idea, you could possibly move the ovens to the left (where the pantry is) and put the cooktop 6" right of where the ovens are, so you have a foot between ovens and cooktop. But that would be tight, and a long way from stove to fridge.

It really looks like a lovely kitchen and home...except for the cooktop on the tiny island. And I understand that you're just ready for something new and different.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cool kitchen!! I absolutely love the tile!

I think the most obvious change is to get the double ovens with the frig and then put the cooktop where the ovens were. You put a tech center on the frig/oven wall.

Or you could eliminate the peninsula, put the frig on the end of the sink run by the table and then make a longer island, still putting the ovens where the frig was and moving the cooktop.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sundownr - great ideas, thank you! You're correct that we are keeping the same "shell" - so, no major structural changes. Love Natal's pantry - and I agree, we need to lose the 22" of cabinet/counter space between the refrigerator & pantry. Hadn't considered taking away a little space from the kitchen, but that's worth exploring to get a little more depth for the pantry.

rhome410 - thank you! I WISH we could lose the closet in the den. But if we do ever sell (not that we're planning to anytime soon), having the closet technically makes it another bedroom. So, not sure we'd want to sacrifice that. Like your idea about moving the ovens and putting the cooktop next to them, but the distance to the fridge was my concern, too.

houseful - thank you! Like I said in an earlier post, I really like the tile, too. But 40 years of it...well, you get it! :) That's a great idea re: eliminating the peninsula - think I'll play with that a bit. I'll also see what we could do to move the ovens - hadn't thought of that!

What do you guys think about maybe enlarging the island another 6-8"? It would eat some space between the island & the ovens and peninsula, but give us more workspace and landing space from the ovens.

Keep the great ideas coming! Really appreciate everyone's suggestions...

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What size are the double ovens? 30"? How wide is the cabinet they're in now?

Do you need the peninsula? Would a longer island work just as well as the peninsula? However, I don't think you could have more than one seat at the island b/c your kitchen is a little narrow.

If you can remove the soffits, I would. Then you could have stacked upper cabinets...36" + 12" + 6" crown molding. Store items rarely used in them (take them out of that 30" pantry they're currently in!)

However, before you make too many plans, check to see what's inside the soffits. Can you remove them? Sometimes they're empty, sometimes they contain plumbing or HVAC. How to check? Cut holes in them. Even if you cannot remove them totally, you might be able to at least reduce their depth and cover then with shallow cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I just answered one of my own questions concerning the ovens.

In your layout, the cabinet appears to be 27" wide (57" - 30") so the ovens cannot be any more than 27" wide. There aren't too many 24" ovens in the USA, so I suspect the ovens are 27" ovens (based on your profile, you're from the USA).

I'm still wondering, though, what size cabinet they're currently in.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl, thanks for the input - the ovens are 27" (Viking); the cabinet is also 27" wide.

If we were to get rid of the ovens and replace them with a range, that would "fix" the challenge with the island cooktop (and also create a nice focal point on that wall). Do you think that's a the best approach? Hate to remove the ovens since they're relatively new, but suppose I could sell them.

The soffits don't have any HVAC or plumbing (99% sure on this - was tempted to whip out my Santoku knife to check but decided against that!) :)

I don't think we'd want to lose the peninsula - it's a great surface for prep, serving, eating, etc. And, as you mentioned, it's a fairly narrow kitchen, so the island wouldn't provide much seating.

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK...a problem. The numbers are not adding up.

You have the "top" wall at 171".

However, when I add up the peninsula + island + pantry + aisles, I get 195"...a pretty significant difference!

29" + 46" + 36" + 47" + 37" = 195"
Even assuming the 46" aisle is really measured from the 24" deep cabinets, that's still only 5" less...190"

An inch or two, I could understand since most houses do not have perfectly straight & parallel walls. But, 19" (or 24") is a bit much!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So, it looks like I grabbed the 171" number from another set of measurements I was taking. Sorry about that! It is, in fact, 195".

The depth of the pantry cabinet (next to ovens) is 29"; but the counter depth on the other side of the ovens is 24". I am assuming there is an additional 5" of space behind the counter wall. So, that's how I am getting to the 195" number.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

you could move the ovens to where the pantry is and put the cook top in where the ovens are now. I wouldn't want the cook top on the island - especially with a little one around.

I'd rather have the fridge where the pantry is myself... the cook top where the ovens are and then put the ovens where the fridge is now. I'd keep the counter top next to the 'fridge' / ovens tho for some landing space. you might want some next to it rather than having to twirl around to the island to 'land' especially if a young one is moving about under foot.

If you remove the soffits and add cabs up there, that's where you can store the stuff you seldom use (from that end run pantry).

and then you could just send me the cabinets doors/drawer fronts and pantry (shallow one) doors ... and I'll use them when I redo my kitchen... I love those pantry doors!

that is a lovely kitchen as is - the whole house looks to be very nice. Love all of the windows!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It looks like there is a wall (based on the original blueprint) next to the fridge. Is there? And if so, how deep is it and could it be removed? Could the closet be made a little smaller? It looks like you only need 5 inches (a little more for code/safety reasons) to fit the wall ovens next to the refrigerator.

I also think you should lose the peninsula and go for a larger island. You could put the refrigerator where the peninsula currently comes out, then put the ovens approximately where the fridge is now.

If you keep that 22" cab. that is between the fridge and the pantry, I would at least move it down so that it is the one on the end, to make it a more convenient phone/mail landing spot.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't overspend if the house will be on the market in the next five years. Your mom's situation may be in flux in the next 5-10 years.
You could go a long, long way by just refacing and new countertops, with an eye toward a updated look; painted cabinets, soapstone counter tops on the perimeter, different color island with either a dark butcherblock or a white marble top. You can keep the layout and cabinet boxes, but update the door style on some or all of them. Refinish the hardwood floors and stain fairly dark; add a bright area rug, and you'll have the "something's gotta give kitchen". Refacing is likely to knock 10,000 off the budget, and will avoid a lot of other disturbances. You really have a great space with tons of potential.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would get rid of the island. I think it would make the kitchen more spacious.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, thank you - you guys have given me a lot to think about!

desertsteph - really like your idea to move the ovens to where the pantry is. Thanks for your kind words, too - the doors are yours! ;)

controlfreakecs - there is a wall next to the fridge - because of the smallish space of our family room, we would lose our "sofa wall" if we removed that. We may be able to take a little space from the closet - something to consider, for sure!

Casey - very good advice! We did look into refacing about a year ago, and where I live (Bay Area/Marin), it's almost as expensive to do that as it is to replace the cabinets. I actually plan to stay in the house and raise my daughter here, so we'll get a lot of good years using the kitchen. Funny you mention the "Something's Gotta Give" kitchen - that's one of my inspirations for the remodel!

saw50st8 - you're right - it would definitely open it up - need to think about whether I want to sacrifice all that storage space.

Thanks again, all...keep the ideas coming!

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I forgot to add that the backsplash is the only finish worth saving, IMO; I can fully appreciate that having been around it all your life you are tired of it, but to fresh eyes it is really something.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 3:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FYI....I have a few layouts I'm finalizing...with and without an island as well as with and without a peninsula. I hope to finish them tonight, but right now I have to see my kids off for their band trip!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looking forward to your layouts, Buehl. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Layout #1


Layout #2


Layout #3


Layout #4


Layout #5


Layout #6


Layout #7

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl, I am BLOWN AWAY!! Thank you, thank you! You've given me so many amazing ideas - I am heading out right now, but just had to say thanks. I will "digest" later today/tonight and be back with some thoughts...

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am again stunned by the generosity and camaraderie I find on this website. It is just a lovely place to visit :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've now had some time to study these wonderful options (again, Buehl, I am so grateful for your generosity... you've helped me visualize the space in a whole new way. Thank you!)

I like them all for different reasons, but I am really loving #4. It keeps the sink centered on the window, which we'd like, and it gives us ample prep/storage in multiple locations.

Question - since we would like to keep our double ovens, do you think it's feasible to put them where the 24" pantry is now (adjacent to the stove), and make a smaller (12") pull out pantry on the end? So, it would be:

Pantry (12") - Ovens (27") - Counter (15") - Cooktop (30") - Counter.

What do you think?

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You don't have room for all that on the 105" wall: 12" + 27" + 15" + 30" = 84"

105" - 84" = 21"

21" isn't enough room. You need a minimum of 27" b/w the "top" wall and the cooktop cabinet. In addition, putting the cooktop right up to the adjacent counter run (sink run) will give you a very tight Cooking Zone as well as reduce the functionality of the workspace b/w the sink and cooktop for more than one person.

You could try a corner cooktop, but it will also reduce the workspace in front of the cooktop and, to make it more functional, move the sink & DW to the right (and causing the window to be off-center).

But...do you really need that 12" tall pantry with the 21" tall pantry b/w the refrigerator and walled pantry? It's only 3" less than the 24" you currently have.

Here's how it would look if you tried to put a 12" pantry + ovens on the wall:


Here are other ideas with the ovens...
(the range in #8 could be either a range or cooktop)



    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I need to fire the person doing the measurements (that would be me!). The wall that's marked 105" is actually 116.5". So, the measurement from the edge of the counter to the edge of the current pantry is accurate (92.5) on my layout. Then, it's an additional 24" to the backsplash. When I did the original measurements, I must have been just adding the upper cupboards together.

To answer your question - we don't need to have the 12" pantry - but I think based on the accurate meas., it will fit, correct?

Is it a bad thing to have the ovens on the end of the run near the door? The main traffic is through to the foyer, but just curious if that's considered less than ideal.

Thank you, again, so much Buehl. Hope you've had a good weekend! :)

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want to keep the ovens on the left wall, then those "extra" 11" will actually make it more worakble. If you look at layout #10, there's so little workspace where you need it most...b/w the cooktop and sink...as well as limited landing space. It's really tight. Add in those 11" and it's a little better.

I really think the 12" pantry has to go if you insist on keeping the ovens on that left wall. Realize, also, that you've crammed everything into the left corner of the kitchen and will then have massive amounts of counterspace where it's pretty much wasted and will either be a dust collector or a junk magnet (the 66" to the right of the DW and the island).. Neither place is convenient to the range/cooktop or refrigerator and will not work as Prep or Cooking Zones or Baking Center. OTOH, if you moved the ovens to the right of the DW on the end, both the counter b/w the sink and ovens and in the island would be ideal for a Baking Center. You could then put in an 18" pantry cabinet to the left of the range/cooktop and still have plenty of room for prepping and cooking.

What about this?


And with zones...


May I suggest you remeasure everything? I'm suggesting it b/c I'm not sure the measurements all add up. For example, what's the actual distanced b/w the top wall and the pantry wall/door? That measurement was never given and I had to try to calculate it and other measurements. And the distance b/w the two pantries...24" pantry cabinet & 10" deep walled-in pantry.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We don't need to keep the 12" pantry. I see what you mean about it being cramped. I am having a harder time convincing my mom to get rid of the peninsula. We may end up keeping the island & peninsula (unless we get a rendering from our still to-be-hired kitchen designer that convinces her otherwise). So, layout #3 may be closer to our choice. Not sure that changes anything in terms of the oven/cooktop wall?

We had someone do measurements a year ago - he didn't give them to me since we put a stop on the project. But, I'll try to get a hold of them or I'll take new measurements with someone helping me. I'll post them as soon as possible.

Thank you!

~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was wondering....I know you want to keep the closet in the Library, but could you move it to the other end? I.e., move the refrigerator all the way to the left and move the closet & walled-in pantry all the way over to the right.

Alternatively, could you extend the "bottom" wall 6" or so to the right? It would allow you to fit the refrigerator + ovens on that wall w/o modifying or moving the closet in the Library.

If the measurements are correct, is there only 34" b/w the walled-in pantry and the left wall's corner? Is there only 27" b/w the walled-in pantry and the ovens? Those are very, very tight aisles...especially with an oven there.

Because of this potential issue, in Layout #15 I show what is more reasonable...reducing the 18" tall pantry to 12" to gain another 6" for that aisle to make it 33" b/w the walled-in pantry and the corner of the left wall. If the actual aisles are wider, you might be able to stick with the wider pantries.

If the measurements are correct and you want that extra 6" in the aisle, then subtract 6" from any cabinet on the end of the left wall.

Change...I suspect your mother is resistant to change and that's why you cannot convince her to eliminate the peninsula, despite all the problems it solves and how it opens up the kitchen so well. She's been living with the peninsula for 40 years and is probably so used to it that she doesn't want to change. As we age, most of us become more and more change-adverse. It's not a good or bad thing, just a fact. Oh and just as an FYI, I'm not advocating removing the peninsula b/c I'm anti-peninsula, I put two peninsulas in my kitchen, but I did not put in an island. It's more like #7, but with only the Prep Zone, Cooking Zone, and Baking Center in the "U"; the Cleanup Zone is across from the "U". Oh, and the peninsulas aren't as wide/long. []

There are several problems w/#3, especially if you keep the ovens and keep the sink centered on the window.

(1) Combining the peninsula with an island makes for a very cramped workspace.

(2) You will probably not solve your baking storage needs or be able to create a dedicated area for baking b/c you won't be able to have a Baking Center convenient to the ovens.

(3) You will also have quite a bit of wasted counterspace...namely the peninsula and the right side of the sink. That's b/c it's not really convenient to the Cooking Zone, so it doesn't make a very good Prep Zone...at least not a primary Prep Zone. (It's also not a good Baking Center b/c it's not convenient to the ovens...the island is in the way.)

Here are some possibilities; #15 is probably the "best" b/c it eliminates the island and allows you easy access to everything. (I also did "zone" maps for each, they're at the end.)




In this layout, the absence of the island gives you much more work room, moves the refrigerator closer to the left wall, and allows less expensive appliances, in particular the refrigerator and DW. A standard depth refrigerator will now fit as will a standard DW...both less expensive than what you have been planning. Additionally, b/c the oven cabinet is pulled out from the wall around 6", you now have room for a 4" pullout broom closet behind it (see the link below).



Zone Maps

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: 4'' Broom Closet from Ikeafans

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl, thank you! Here are some answers and thoughts:

I was wondering....I know you want to keep the closet in the Library, but could you move it to the other end? I.e., move the refrigerator all the way to the left and move the closet & walled-in pantry all the way over to the right.

We can’t move the closet - it’s adjacent to a built-in bookcase - it would be cost prohibitive to make that change (expensive bookcase, walls are upholstered in library. It would be a big mess).

Here’s a photo of that wall.

Alternatively, could you extend the "bottom" wall 6" or so to the right? It would allow you to fit the refrigerator + ovens on that wall w/o modifying or moving the closet in the Library.

A great idea, but would take away precious space from an already snug family room seating area. That wall is the only long wall that can be used for our sofa. And, moving walls is really not in our budget.

I took some additional measurements and marked-up the original blueprint to the house. My sketch was not to scale, so I think that is throwing things off. Hopefully you can read the numbers and the layout will be a little easier to understand.

Updated layout w/measurements:

Re: Change. You are absolutely right - it does get harder. I think if we can get a rendering/elevation of what it would look like, she may be more inclined to agree. But I completely understand her resistance - I am pretty change-friendly, and it’s sometimes hard for me to envision! The good news is I think I am making progress - she seems to be more open to losing the peninsula.
It seems like if we were to get rid of the wall ovens and get a range to center on the current oven wall, that would solve a lot of the layout challenge - do you agree? As much as I would prefer to keep them, they are not worth saving at the expense of the overall functionality of the kitchen. We do have flexibility with this decision, whereas we don’t with others (i.e. moving the closet). Would like your thoughts on this…

Also, what about putting the fridge on the sink wall (at the end adjacent to the family room) and then put the wall ovens where the fridge currently is? For some reason, staring at the fridge from the family room seems more appealing than looking at the ovens.

Again, Buehl…my sincerest gratitude!
~ MadsMama

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What "Marble" Substitute Did You Go With?
I'm on the fence, whether I would be OK with marble...
Undermount sink keeps separating from granite
We recently had granite installed in our kitchen and...
Any reason a DW couldn't go next to a fridge?
We need to pull the trigger on our cabinets next week,...
KitchenCraft - will they last a lifetime?
Fell in love with a specific painted door when cruising...
Gap between backsplash and over-the-range microwave?
Hi, all. Does anyone have an over-the-range microwave...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™