Critique this kitchen?

TammyTEApril 11, 2014

-Should I do away with the closet by the dishwasher? (I was thinking of a place to keep brooms and such.)
-Is there enough space in the walkways? 3'4.5" on both sides and then 4' on the end. The plan is for an all fridge/all freezer that would be counter depth.
-I want a small prep sink in the island on the bottom left end by the fridge.
-Where would you put the TRASH? My first thought was in the island on the upper left. Scrape dishes. When veggies are being prepped that stuff usually goes into a container, not the trash. So I think it would mostly be used near the dishwasher/sink. I thought it would be best on the left because it would be accessible to people with trash that isn't from the kitchen.
-What about the dishwasher? It seems good for loading from the table. BUT I am unsure of where to put dishes. If that closet stays there, where would I put them? If the trash is on the upper left of the island, that takes out the next possible spot for dishes.

Should I stick a smaller closet on the end and make space for dish storage?

Any other thoughts?

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I would consider a smaller closet on the side with the refrigerator and freezer.

I don't know if you can change it but you don't really gain anything with the slanted wall in the office and you may want to make that room a more regular shape, move the door into it and move the closet.

That diagonal funnels the hallway down into a kind of odd transition to and from the dining area, because there is no other diagonal repeated anywhere in the plan. You may also want to put the entry closet up toward the end of the entry hall and create a more generous square entry with a place for a bench or small chest and mirror. It's awfully crowded by the door and the closet doors and entry door interfere with each other.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:23PM
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Thanks. I like the idea of a smaller closet on the fridge end.

As for the entry, the piano will probably go in that space above the closet. It's not ideal but I lost my music room when condensing the plan. (I had envisioned a lovely little room for all the instruments with a door that would *close* while the children practice. LOL

I see what you are saying about the diagonal wall. I'm working on that space as well.

Would also love your thoughts on the dishwasher/trash situation. :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:46AM
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It may make more sense to put the closet near the bottom of the steps also out in the entry and make that closet an alcove for the piano.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:54AM
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I'm not sure if the closet at the stairs will have a flat floor. I assume it will. Basement is supposed to have 9' ceilings. That's a thought. Although I like the option of having the foyer more open if the piano isn't there. We may decide to just put it in the basement although I'm pretty sure I would prefer it on the main level.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:01PM
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You can put a pull-out broom closet in a space of 6"-7" so that might be a good option for you and will give you more counter space next to the DW. That could free-up anywhere from 24" to 27" for more drawers and uppers.

Your walkway measurements - are those cabinet to cabinet or counter to counter? Counters will have an overhang of anywhere from 3/4" to 1" so you could potentially lose from 1 1/2" to 2" of walkway space.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Just a few ideas :)

You have a lot of closets! While I know everyone needs storage, I did turn one into a china cabinet and the other into an entertainment/media area. Also added a closet in the den/office.

The master closet door could swing in..against the wall and not take up bathroom space. Also swapped the powder room and laundry, for a little more space and easier entry on that end.

The kitchen...I agree, the closet should be smaller and by the fridge. I would have the dishwasher on the left of the sink and garbage on the right. A small garbage under prep sink would be nice, too.

Do you plan to have any stool seating? If you move the prep sink down (or other end) you could add a stool or two.

Hope this helps :) From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 6:42PM
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Have you given any consideration to workflow? For most people, that big island is a huge barrier. I wouldn't want to have to go round and round it to get from the fridge to the sink. The one major station on each wall plan for a U works in a tight space, but as soon as you put an island in the middle, it becomes difficult.

For most cooking flow of work is from fridge and pantry > prep sink > prep and compost/recycling/trash > stove > plating and finishing > table > clearing table drop zone > wraps and containers (to fridge) and garbage > clean up sink > dishwasher/drainer. The prep area might also be the plating and finishing and the clearing drop zone, and one sink might be for both prep and cleanup, but the path generally holds. If you're doing a set recipe, you might be comfortable doing a single trip to the fridge when you gather all of your ingredients, but most people don't cook that way.

It might be helpful to have the end of the counter open to the dining area by the sink, but if you're going to have a structure there, I'd change the closet for the refrigerator. The freezer could remain on the other side to balance it, and if you want that closet you could also put that there.

In this version, with the sink where it is because of the window (unless you're open to moving it, or moving both), the sink is a little tight to the fridge for convenience, especially if you have people popping in and out for stuff, but there's plenty of prep space on the island and the counter to the right of the sink, that keeps you from being squished in, and is a natural flow to the stove. This arrangement also works for the clearing.

I know a lot of people are anxious to have dish storage by the DW, but either way works. Dishes by the table mean less walk to set the table and more walk to put them away. Dishes by the DW are more walk through the kitchen to set, and less walk to put them away. My own preference is to remove extraneous tasks as much as possible from the working part of the kitchen, and putting dishes away usually happens when nothing is cooking, so I like the dishes farther from the cookspace, but that's personal choice. If you want them right at the sink/DW you could put them in the island across the way. The main problem with that is the door/drawer of the DW being in the way, but you can work around that.

It's okay to put the trash farther into the kitchen, either on the far side of the sink or equivalent in the island, since the dishes are going to the sink area anyway. You can train your family to go in one side of the U and out the other if you're worried about traffic jams. :) For other than clearing the table, farther into the kitchen is better for the trash that comes from cooking. Also have handy trash and recycling for general use by family members outside of the kitchen proper. You don't need them coming into the kitchen, even if it's the end of the island, just to throw random stuff away.

BLFenton is right about the aisles. Your measurements are doable IF that's the counter to counter measure. Some people are happy enough with 36", but 42" is usually the minimum for comfort, especially with more than one person in the room, and with no other way to go except all the way around the island. You can make your 40.5" work, but I'd go with flush edge counters. Make sure to verify that the swing radius of your fridge and freezer doors will fit. Counter depth really means a few inches out from the counter, as is depicted in the plan, and if they're freestanding they probably have another inch or two just of floor space.

For me, just moving the fridge to the other side takes your plan from "before" picture to liveable. If I bought a house with the plan as depicted, I'd be remodeling immediately. That oversized barrier island makes the three legged U model unworkable.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Lavender- Those are good ideas. I hadn't thought of a media center in that spot. I had planned on putting the upright piano in the foyer because we lost our music room when downsizing the plan. :(

I also still don't have a spot for my personal desk space. I like to be close to the kitchen and school room but I don't think I really want to be IN the school room, which is the office.

I like having a window in both the half bath and the laundry but I'm not sure what it would do to the exterior.

plllog-Does it help that there will be a prep sink in the bottom left of the island? My plan was to have prep be at that spot on the island. Dishes/clean up by the big sink.

Do you guys think it would be better to make the island 36" wide?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Yes, of course, a prep sink will help. You said you'd have one in your introduction, which I read four different times, and I totally missed it. My apologies! I figured that you specifically didn't want one since I didn't see any mention, but it was my seeing that was to blame! I think I skipped right over it to the word TRASH. :)

Given the sink there, the island is definitely too wide You can't open the cooler doors with someone standing at the sink. Zigzags make for the best workflow. I would move the prep sink farther into the kitchen. Leave landing space in front of the fridge and put your work station farther down. Then you aren't competing for aisle space with those doors, and you're away from the people getting drinks, ice, putting condiments and pickles on the table, etc. If you do that, you might be able to work with the island size as drawn.

Before you commit, you should really mark out the aisles with tape on a driveway or court or something, and use cardboard boxes as cabinets and pretend to cook. This is an old saw of a prescription here, but it really works. Feeling it in three dimensions, actual size, can make a huge difference. Make sure to stack up high the boxes that represent the fridge and freezer, and pull them out the correct number of inches. Represent the overhangs of the counters too, because they're in question. Have people try to get by while you're working, and encourage the dog (if you have one) to join in. That's really the best way to know if the widths are marginal okay or marginal tears. A true (between counters or fridge handles) 40" is plenty for one person to work, or for two people to pass. The issue is people passing while you're trying to work. And the doors.

I stand by what I said about the DW and trash. Moving the closet might work for you, but beware of closing in that bottom right corner. You need at least a few feet between the slab side of a closet or cooler and the corner proper, or it just becomes a dead cave where coffee makers go to die. And paper towels, pitchers, etc. :) If you're just planning to load up that corner with small appliances, it's not such a big deal, but if you ever want to work there, it's an important consideration.

OTOH, if you can fit in your closet on the fridge side, you can make the area where it's shown into a china hutch. You can even do it secretary style (or have it be a free standing piece) to give you a desk you can shut up, but I don't predict that you'd like sitting there. A better idea would be to devote a drawer to office stuff. Make containers that maximize the drawer space and make it easy to set things you need on the table and work there. It would be much nicer. There was even an infomercial awhile back for a mat that folds all your paper work together so you don't have to keep resorting it when you take it out. Then have a goodly charging station for your computer (I'm assuming you didn't mean you wanted a sprawling desktop computer in your great room).

If you don't want to devote a kitchen/china hutch drawer to your office stuff, you could also keep it in the schoolroom and still bring it out to work at the table. You could even get a taboret to keep your things in to move them around, or something like the old Billpayer Desk, which is essentially a rolling file cabinet with a drop down desk surface and a couple of organizers. Any of these could be used in the schoolroom when you need to supervise, or when the kids are elsewhere if you want privacy, or could be easily moved into the great room, if you want to avail yourself of the windows and view. For anything that wouldn't fit into a drawer, you probably don't need it close to hand. You can designate office storage in the schoolroom or master or even the garage, and just keep the stuff you're working on currently right to hand.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:00AM
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plllog - LOL I figured you must have missed the prep sink info. :)

You've given me a lot to think about here. I like the idea of setting up a 3D kitchen to work in. My husband is not a small man and I can already see my kids are going to be tall. I really want my kitchen to work well for a few to work in at a time. Right now we stumble all over each other. Mostly fighting for the one sink. We will have someone doing dishes (no dishwasher here in our temp home gah!), someone prepping veggies, someone prepping lettuce, a cook at the stovetop and a few young ones in the mix. No dog here I don't think one would fit.

I like the idea of moving the sink over into the kitchen more. That's a good point.

I had to read and reread what you said about the bottom right corner. I think I see what you are saying. My plan for that space was blender right by the fridge. I use my blender a few times a day and often get things out of the fridge/freezer for ingredients. The dry ingredients used most often would go in the cabinet above. That would also serve as my baking area. We are gluten free, so I don't do a lot of bread kneading or pastry making that requires tons of space anymore but I do need a place to mix batters and such. I plan to just have a small hand mixer and various bowls for that.

I also need a place to keep produce out that is not in the fridge. We usually keep onions, garlic, apples and bananas out somewhere. Potatoes are in a bin. Not sure where to put that. I was thinking maybe the produce could go in that bottom right section. I hesitate to make a built in spot for potatoes. I wonder if I should keep a section of cabinets off of the right end of the island and let the counter come out as an overhang. Then I could put a potato bin under there. Maybe a spot to keep a stool for the little ones that are constantly dragging stools/chairs around to help.

I've really got to think about this whole desk thing. Right now I have a large desk and I keep current school binders and such for the kids there along with some of my other stuff. Maybe I should consider separating all of that. I could have all the school related items in a spot on a shelf in the school room. Another shelf for my personal items. That's mainly just research on allergy/diet stuff, medical info on the kids, homeschool ideas and books... Then just have my laptop and notebook that go somewhere else. I don't know though. I really like having it all right where I am most of the time. When I come across something I can just grab the binder or book and mark it, write it down or whatever. Or I guess I could have a space in the school room that is "mine" with those things all together on shelves but I could also have a spot out in the main part of the house that is also designated for me to be. Hmmmm really got to think that one through. It's such a big part of my day.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:31PM
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I totally get it about your desk. You have a system that works for you. You just seemed to be pulled in a couple of directions, knowing that the schoolroom was really the place for the desk, but not really wanting it to be in the schoolroom. :)

So, things to think about while you're thinking it through: How much of each kid's binder do you look at when you pick it up? Are you just adding new things to the end, or do you do a review? If the latter, you could easily put the binder on the shelf, and have a multi pocket single binder for all the new stuff for each of the kids in your condensed desk area to which you add the new things as they cross your desk. Then, once a week, you could do the filing and put each kid's new papers into their binder's in the schoolroom. Perhaps sit down with each kid and have a conference while you're doing it, if that seems appropriate. Same with the medical stuff and the research stuff. You can easily get a binder/file off the shelf when you need to review the whole thing, and just keep new papers that require your attention in your desk area.

But that whole way of doing it might not work for you at all!

I have an armoire style desk with my computer, design work, household paperwork, etc., where I work a lot. All the catalogs, invitations, and other kinds of mail go to where I sit in the kitchen, however. :) I keep recipes on my computer, and some printouts in binders in the kitchen, some cookbooks in the kitchen, and more on the shelves next to my desk. And all the back files and papers, and most of the books, in a library upstairs. It works. I found I didn't like being cooped up in the library with the computer, so got the armoire, which hides the mess, so I could work downstairs. And every now and then I haul baskets of paperwork up or down. :)

Re the kitchen: I think the bottom right corner as drawn will work for your purposes, but probably not if it gets much smaller. I think you need 3-4 feet before the corner to make it a really useful counter, and really, 4' if the kids are going to help there, but you may find the island is the better workspace when all are helping, and it's only the blender and other quick mom things that are more convenient in that corner. Then, 3' past the corner would be plenty. What you could do with the closet where it's shown, if it's a broom closet or pantry rather than a coat closet, is make it a little smaller, and have a china cabinet facing the dining area on the end. Because of the location of the door, you might have to make the closet a pullout cabinet instead. That can be useful. A structural closet is generally cheaper to build, but it also takes up more floorspace for the width of the studs. I'm not sure of the measures, but if that's a 3' wide cabinet, you could have a 15" china cabinet, 10" pullout pantry and 11" pull out broom closet.

All of the foregoing about closets is as an alternative to putting a closet on the fridge side and cramping the corner. Especially with all those helpers in the kitchen, you're going to want as many stations as you can get. Which leads me back to the fact that your main work stations are almost all on barely wide enough aisles. With so many people working in the kitchen, I think you'd be a lot more comfortable with 48" aisles, or even 45". you have traps at either end--cooler doors and DW door, which will keep people from passing while they're open. With 48" aisles, there's room to get around them. If your kids are the most polite ones in the world, coziness isn't a problem. If they're more likely to say, "You're in my way!" than stand peaceably waiting, a smaller island might add to family harmony. Especially when elbows and knees are involved. :)

How wide is your island? You mentioned going down to 36". Is that the next possibility for the cabinets? Or did you mean the top? You can have a bigger top than cabinets, or put some 2x4's in the center to push narrower cabinets out a bit, or you can get bigger cabinets and cut down the backs, to make an in between sized island.

Re the end of the island, I don't know enough about storing potatoes (here, they go in the fridge or they go bad). Is across from the range a good place for them?

Since I seem to have missed what the closet was for, and it seems a bit mutable, perhaps you could go oldfashioned and put in what has been called a California Cooler? Not a great idea if you have snow, but in the cooler parts of temperate California, they used to put in a narrow pantry cabinet that had mesh screening to the outside, to provide and airy and cool place to store produce. You can also store cans and things in there. Anything that won't react to changing humidity. This is the antithesis to the sealed house notion currently in vogue, and might make your HVAC work harder, but it's what I thought of when you mentioned produce storage.

If I were you, I'd definitely get produce off the counter. Can you afford to give up a cabinet in the island for those basket pullouts they show? Not just the potatoes, but the onions, garlic and bananas too?

If not that, and especially since you said your family is growing tall, how about some open bins underneath the cabinets in that corner? It could be as simple as a shelf about 8" down, perhaps with some baskets, or it could be fancy with sides and dividers. You could reflect it on the clean-up side and have sink related stuff up off the counter.

Especially since your family is growing tall, unless you expect to be having a few new babies (i.e., be using it for more than five years), I'd hate to see you dedicate a space specifically to a booster stool. A lot of people put a folding step in a baseboard drawer, but you could also stash a stepstool in the closet, or just outside the kitchen.

One of the reasons I'm talking down having an overhang on the stove side of the island, is that inevitably, people will invade that space, and the space around the range is something you want to protect. It's one thing having a helper you can keep an eye on standing on a stool, and quite another having a dis-helper hiding under the counter and startling you just as you're turning with a hot pan.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:19PM
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I have a suggestion for the door into the master closet. Put in a pocket door. The door is never in the way and it will free up the space that a swinging door will take.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:37PM
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Oh great thoughts! I need to reread this when I check back in. A few thoughts real quick.

I am 5'3" so I use the stool too. :) I think most of my kids will be taller than me. My oldest is 11yo and she is just about my height and has bigger feet. LOL

Good point about the overhang near the range.

Can't do the produce storage suggestion...we are in Indiana. Sometimes we get quite a bit of snow, rain and sunshine all on the same day. ;-)

I need to look at what amounts those pull out baskets would hold. We often will purchase 3-4 bunches of bananas at a time. They either get eaten or I put the last couple in the freezer for muffins and smoothies. I use at least 1 usually 2 and sometimes 3 Large onions per day. So I have several of those at a time. Potatoes we don't do a lot here but when I bake them I bake as many as I can fit in the oven at once and use them up. So sometimes we have a large bag and sometimes we have none. LOL Apples come and go depending on the season/price.

Desk - an armoire desk would be fabulous. My biggest concern is that I would just keep it open all the time. That's just what I end up doing. (Bad habit I know.) I do love that look though. I guess I could just have something like that and make sure to close it up for special company. Regular company already knows I'm a piler. LOL

I really wish I had a space for a pantry. Nothing huge or walk in but just a 18" deep one to store extra bulk items like rice, canned goods and potatoes. I guess I could keep the excess rice and canned goods in the basement. We really don't use much canned goods anymore though.

I've gotta run.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Yes, I was considering a pocket door there too. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:41PM
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Do you prefer a stool or a stepladder? I'm 5'8" but have 9" ceilings and keep a 6' fiberglass painter's ladder (gift from my brother) in my broomcloset. It's in the way, and gets leaned up against the wall in the entry hall while we're cleaning, but it's so good to have. They make very sturdy, much narrower and easier to store, ladders. If you prefer a stool and want to to also be a platform for little kids, you might consider a Kik Step or Task It and have a cubby just for the stool to kick into. Maybe even have it underneath some produce baskets.

Do you have room in your garage for bulk produce? I know Indiana can get hot and humid, so it might not work for Summer, but if your garage is unheated or only partially heated, it would be a good place to store apples, onions, carrots potatoes, etc. Or maybe the basement. You could send a kid out with a slide out basket to bring in what you need for a day or two. :) I don't know how that would work for bananas. Once they come out of the storage where they keep them from ripening, I don't think you can stop it, though they do ripen slower in cooler circumstances.

OTOH, maybe you have storage elsewhere for a lot of what most people keep in the kitchen. Seldom used cookware/bakeware (especially holiday related), specialty small appliances, etc. You could turn the whole prep side of your island into bulk food storage. Ventilate the drawers with mesh fronts. Have a rice bin, etc. Nothing too specialized so you can change apples for oranges or whatever.

The thing to do is plan out the things you use all the time every day, like the bananas, onions, and blender, daily dishes and pots and tools, and give them the best places in the kitchen. Find a place for bulk and less often used foods outside of the kitchen, and another place for less used cookware. Put the company and holiday dishes, anything you don't use at least once a week, outside of the kitchen too.

Plan for that. Then, if you have room, let things back in. And if the cake safe lives on a shelf in your daughter's closet, well, worse things have happened. :)

I keep my desk open too, but it's pretty easy to pile the sprawl up in the middle and close the doors. It doesn't have to be tidy to look tidy. :) I'm big on things being clean, not just looking clean, but not so much on the tidy. :D If you had an armoire desk, where would you put it? If you have a place, you can start with your old desk there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:53PM
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Thanks. These are great ideas.

The desk? Well, maybe if I didn't use the space where that closet is off the dining/office wall, I could put it between the dining and living windows on the back wall. Yep. RIGHT where people would look coming in from the front door. LOL Not at all ideal, but I'm not sure where else would be a good location for everyday use.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:25PM
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It's an excellent place for the desk--and a really eye-catching piece of art above it. :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 8:20PM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

Don't do a pocket door going into the master bedroom. They are not good noise blockers as well as being loud. If one of you head to bed early, the door will need to be closed how everything is open on the first floor. Even good pocket doors make noise when they slide and close. I also don't see what you have to gain by using one. A piece of furniture can't be put on that short wall, it is in a traffic pattern.

Is the dimension of the hall counting the closet or from wall to the door? As a fellow Hoosier I totally get the boot, coat, hat zone! I just wondered if some of that width to be used in the kitchen. Even 6 inches could make your aisle widths bigger in the kitchen. That whole corner just seems a little awkward right now.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Oh the pocket door was for the master bedroom *closet* entering from the bathroom. :)

Yeah, I asked her to move the bottom kitchen wall down just enough to get 42" walk ways on either side of the island. It should still leave that back hall at just over 5'. Of course I would LOVE a full mudroom but it's not going to happen. Really bad stuff will have to go in the garage. The garage is big enough that should be fine.

I just made a list of every possible thing I could think of and wrote down where to put it in the kitchen. I wish I could put that on here somehow to see what you all think. Any easy way to format that so you could see what I am thinking? I numbered each item and wrote the number on my printed plan. Is there a way I can do it on the computer to upload it here?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:20PM
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You could take a picture of your page, or you can type a table up. If you make a table, you can do it in HTML. If you don't know HTML, use the HTML codes for preformatting and just type like on a typewriter with spaces to make things line up.

The codes are before the table, then after, but take the spaces out from the middles of the angle brackets. It doesn't have to be a table. Anything you type between the codes will show up the way it looks on your screen, with the possible exception of if the lines go over. You should press enter at the ends of your lines, rather than relying on the automatic word wrap.

I'm not sure it's worth your while posting the whole thing if you have to type it out, because each of us uses our kitchens so differently. If you just post your list of stuff, we can help you think of things you might have forgotten.

While I'm all for wider aisles (and think, ideally, that 48" would be better for you), I worry that even those three inches to get to 42" aisle might make the door on the angled bit difficult. Remember, you're going to be carrying stuff through there, like laundry baskets, and, I think, groceries. While I want you to have lovely open aisles, I think that door is more important.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Thanks. I just put a pic in paint and put the numbers on there. Even if no one here reads it all, it was good for me to do. :) On the pic the numbers in red are in the upper cabinets, blue are lower (drawers and cabinets I didn't distinguish between those), green is on the counter. I'm thinking the microwave will be on a shelf even with the bottom of the upper cabinets.

I think the angled wall is going away. So there should be more walking room.

Here's my list:

1. dishes
4.serving dishes
6.spices and sweeteners
8.towels and washcloths pads
10.oven mits
11.serving utensils
12. plastic cups (kids get water and we use for smoothies)
13. tupperware and other containers for leftovers and fridge storage
14. knives
15.cutting boards
16.measuring spoons
17.measuring cups
18.mixing bowls
19.specialty flours
20.hand mixer processor
22.Large electric roaster
23.crock pots
24.turkey roasting pan (light weight)
25.electric skillets
26.casserole dishes
27.cookie sheets
28.muffin tins
29.mason jars
30.pitchers maker
33.onions, garlic
36.microwave mugs utensils large serving dishes
40.paper towels in use
41.paper plates
42.plastic utensils
43.ziploc baggies all sizes
44.alum foil, cling wrap
45.parchment and wax paper
46.extra paper towels not in use
48.bulk rice
49.canned goods
52.rice cooker washer detergent soap
60.extra spices
61.bulk oats
62.slop buckets
66.tablecloth, placemats

I don't think I have a place marked for the rice cooker, paper towels or toaster. I don't currently own a rice cooker or toaster. Those are just things I would like to get once we move. Paper towels are currently on a stand that just sits on the counter. I'm thinking I'll just do that as it works pretty well for us. Would love thoughts on placement and any items I may have forgotten.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:02PM
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I know you deal with allergies, but the only staples you mentioned were specialty flours, oats and rice. Sugars? Salt? Honey? Coffee? Tea? Specialty Pasta? Potato Flakes? Cereal other than oats? Other whole grains? Baking powder and baking soda? Gelatin? Pectin?

Okay, that's starting to get silly into smaller things, but also agar agar, cocoa powder, citric acid, etc., etc.

I think you've got a handle on most of the cookware and dishes, and only you know if you have enough room for them. It's the staples, canisters really, that struck me as being missing. You just may not use them much. I designed my kitchen around my canisters, making sure that my drawers were tall enough to hold the everyday ones. I also have a tall shelf in my pantry cupboard for the more exotic things...

Did you include small things, like prep bowls, ramekins, funnels, strainers, graters, reamers? I don't expect you to have enumerated them. Just remember that they take up room more than just "utensils" do.

I'm just trying to reflect back to you so that I might jog your memory of something you actually have and need to have room for. I'm not saying you need all this stuff. :) If I have time for a break tomorrow, I'll take a look at your arrangement. :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:27AM
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Thanks! I hadn't thought of the funnels, strainers and graters. I also forgot the salad spinner.

Yes, I'm sort of including the sugars and such with the spices. I usually keep it all together. Tupperware in the cabinets. We don't use other cereals much. More like a special occasion, so I'm sure that could fit in the pantry. One box is gone in one sitting. LOL I do need to note bulk honey, but I bet I can keep that in the basement as we don't go through it too fast.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:24AM
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Been working on the kitchen. It was suggested in the building forum that I do an L so I am trying this out. Would love thoughts over here as well.

I like that this gave me some more room in the back hall. I also made the laundry bigger and the school room smaller. (I mainly plan for that room to just be a quiet place for kids to work on seatwork away from the little tornadoes running around the rest of the house. They do math on the computer. Things like that. Also for storage of all the binders, books and such hidden away.)

Back to the kitchen. I am planning for an all fridge and all freezer. So that's why I have allotted 5' of space for the fridge unit. I guess I could put the blender over to the left of the range. I use a lot of spices when using the blender so they could be handy for both the blender usage and the stove top. It would be near the sink. I would just have to grab a few things from the fridge or freezer. I don't think it would be much less convenient than right by the fridge because I would have to walk around to the front of it anyway to get it open since it would most likely open to the right. Also, then I would have to have two sets of spices for some things or else walk over to the stove. Same for measuring spoons.

I think I would still want a prep sink in the island. There are so many times that the main sink is being used for dishes and someone needs to prep veggies. Where to put it? Seems like right across the fridge would be good but then that person is in the way if someone else needs fridge access. Also that would take away space in the island cabinets for dishes.

If I had the prep sink on the bottom side of the island would that be crazy? I would get anything out of the fridge that needs prepped and set it on top of the island right across from the fridge. Then the rest of the job is spent on the bottom side of the island cleaning and chopping. Also, where would I put the onions, garlic, potatoes, bananas and apples? I was considering baskets under the island on the bottom side facing the pantry wall. That would work if I was prepping over there. Would there be room for a sink and all those storage spots? It would only be 18" deep on that side as the island is 3' wide not 4'.

Now the space to the right of the range. I could put all the produce storage baskets over there I guess. It could also be a counter spot for crock pots and electric skillets/griddles.

Where to put the trash?


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:32PM
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I like this plan much better! If you're sure the new sized schoolroom will work for you as the kids get older...

I like that your desk has a place sort of in the main area, and almost in the schoolroom, but will you be happy working there, staring at a wall, and seated in the walking path with your back to all the action? I'm not sure that really works well...

Re the laundry room: Any laundry room is good. What you have drawn is perfectly fine for getting laundry done. But it sounds like you have at least four kids none of whom are teens yet. That sounds like a LOT of laundry. Especially where it gets really cold and wet. There doesn't seem to be room in there for laundry sorters, folding, hanging, etc. I keep thinking that there should be a way to open it to the hall and be able to close it up. NOT an accordion door. ;) Is that shaded box in the hall the broom closet? Would putting the LR and bath doors at the ends give you a useful contiguous wall between? Will there be a laundry chute? A laundry dumbwaiter? (That would be heaven!)

This might not be at all what you want, but if you put the laundry room door where the shaded box (brooms?) is now, and turned the machines so they're on the bathroom wall, you could, perhaps, have a slide open end to the schoolroom, so table space in there could be co-opted for folding, stacking, etc., and for sorting on mass laundry days. But that would mean more sound coming through, so if study time and laundry time are likely to be at the same time, maybe not so good. And it would be tight at the sink.

Would it encroach too much on your hall cum mud room to enclose the thing I think is a broom closet into the laundry room? and have an additional cupboard with sorters, and some kind of drop shelf for folding? And a pull out bar for hanging over the sink? And if you turned the fixtures in the bathroom, could you give a few inches back to the hall?

As to the kitchen, yes, you can put a sink on the stove side of the island. Many have and have liked that arrangement. With all your helpers, it would be good to have it offset from the stove, but if you can make it work, it would be better to have the island itself fully behind the stove. You want to make people have to turn the corner to get at the stove area. It's much safer.

Actually, looking at the plan, while you could put the sink on the end, I think it would be more useful if you put it on the pantry side next to the end. That gives you a better work station, and you can have people prepping, baking or whatever on the pantry side, out of the way, or on the end and pivoting to the stove. Much more flexible that way. You have water at the clean-up sink for the standard workpath, like for making your blender stuff, or for grabbing the squash, giving it a quick clean, and cutting it near the stove while you stir. But then you have an out of the way, here take this over there and do it station. Or if you're doing a big project, you can just dump all the food from the fridge in the middle of the island, then go around and do the prep on the end or pantry side. I wouldn't usually advocate that workpath, but since it's an auxiliary workstation, it seems the best way to make the most use of your aisle space.

One great thing about the L plus island kitchen is that it almost always works, even when it's put together wrong. :) And yours is put together right. :D

Re trash, the standard location is the other side of the clean-up sink from the DW. That would work. What's your trash? I know you keep veg scraps for compost or slop or something. So...packaging? Recycling? Food scraps? You don't need to be giving up the space for it, but it would be great to have trash both between clean-up and stove, and in the island on the pantry side near the table. :)

This isn't helpful. I don't know where to have the trash! Maybe as you flesh out your what goes where list, you'll get there.

Mine (offered as something to contrast): I don't want nasty garbage inside my cabinets, but I had an extra lower between the clean-up sink and corner that was just the right size, and trash pullouts are popular, so I have one with two bins. One is recycling for city pickup, and the other is recycling for deposit return. I have another city pickup recycling bin, a large open resin wastebasket, under the table side of the island, and one in the living room. I have more package and mail recycling than any other trash.

I have a vase style flowerpot for the compostable (vegan food scraps), which is also city pickup, and an old Rubbermaid garbage pail with lid for the actual garbage. It gets kicked around the floor between the sink area and the prep area depending on where it's needed, and there's room to stash it under the sink if I so wish.

So. How much trash do you have, and what is it? And will there be alternative places nearby for the family to use for stuff other than food garbage?

Love the pantry. Roll Out Tray Shelves are your friends. :) Even for the heavy stuff, like the bulk rice. Um...check that with your cabinetmaker. Mine was very conservative about weight ratings, but some cabinets maybe can't take the hundred pound bag of rice. Make sure they know what you're putting in your pantry...

Re the produce, it occurs to me that if you're not sure you want to devote a cabinet to them, but think you might like it, you could get a regular cabinet with shelves and leave off the door, then use regular baskets on the shelves. If it doesn't work, you can put the door on and use it for other things. But don't store the door in the dark for a long time or it won't match the kitchen anymore.

For your organizing: I've found it very helpful, even though it's only a few steps to the spice rack, and a few more to the pantry, in my kitchen, to have a few things specifically at point of use. I have a little upper cupboard next to the stove that has oil, wine for cooking, Wondra flour for roux, gravies and sauces, salt, garlic pepper blend (2 kinds--with and without salt), a couple of herb blends, a tube of tomato paste. Maybe a couple more things. And I have beautiful salt and pepper grinders which stay on the stove area. If I'm preparing something on my island, they're right across, and if I'm throwing something together while it's cooking, they're right to hand.

If you had a cupboard or shelf like that between the stove and the blender, if I'm understanding right that you share spices with both, that would be very handy.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER!! That should be on your list! It needs to be easy to grab from near the stove, but not by the stove. Same with baking soda and a big lid. I've never had a kitchen fire, but it's really important to be ready for one. Maybe a smothering blanket too, especially if someone's sleeve catches fire. Seconds can make a huge difference.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:26AM
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I like the L too!

Maybe I messed it, but I didn't see cake pans or pie plates on your list. Those take up a whole drawer in my kitchen. Do you have a stock pot, or waffle iron?

Like plllog, I designed part of my kitchen around canisters. I made sure to measure everything, so the drawer designated for them was tall enough. Same with cake pans (stored on their sides).

I am a huge advocate of planning where things will go in the new space - I'm so happy to see you do this! And point of use is so important. I had potholders in my old kitchen - but not near the stove. For some things, I had to stop and think about where it should be, rather than where it was before.

Our cabinet maker built a spice rack inside a cabinet door next to my stove - it's wonderful. The shelves in the cab are recessed, to allow room for the rack, making the other small items in the cabinet easier to find.

My Mom recently moved from a big house to a small kitchen, and I helped her figure out where to put things in her new kitchen (as well as the rest of the house). A few times I used the phrase "valuable real estate", which she loved and embraced. Things used often get the prime real estate; things used rarely can be in places more difficult to reach.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Thank you both!

Cake and pie plates - Yes I do have those, but not many. They would be with the holiday dishes probably. I rarely use them. I used to bake frequently, but since going gf we just don't anymore. I miss baking bread, it was relaxing.

The largest pot I have right now is an 8 qt. I would like to get a larger stock pot though and would like to learn to can as well, but that stuff could stay in the basement or the garage. I do have a waffle iron, but don't use it much because of my egg allergy kid. I would like to start using it again when she is old enough to not eat other people's food. ;-) I'm debating on getting a toaster. We don't do a lot of bread but I can make pancakes and freeze them. Right now I just put them in the oven on a cookie sheet but I bet they would taste better out of a toaster.

The "broom closet" in the hall is actually what I was thinking would be like a drop zone. maybe an 18" cabinet with an upper above it? Not sure really. Just a place to put my purse/bag, main, outgoing items like library books that need returned. That sort of thing.

Desk- I don't think I would mind sitting that way. If I was actually facing the desk I would either be working on the computer, looking at papers or have a kid next to me looking at their work. Otherwise I go back and forth to the kitchen, dining table and school room. I like that the living room is right there out of the corner of my eye and within ear shot, but not right in front of me as a distraction.

I wish the school room could be twice as big to fit tons of book shelves and a comfy couch in there, but we had to cut something. ;-) Right now they use a computer for math and then have a station for listening to a cd on headphones for phonics and some read-along cd's for my kids learning to read. I like those to be easily accessible but kept out of the way of the younger crowd. So I think it would be big enough. Large, hands on type projects are done outside, in the basement or at the dining table. Or better co-op! LOL I don't do a lot of that. I do have a HUGE dry erase board that we love and there's really no space for it. :( It gets used quite a bit as they really enjoy doing some school work on it as it's something different rather than just always writing on paper. I guess it will have to go in the basement. It's 15' long. (We got it at a college auction. It's awesome!)

I'm hoping that small wall space to the right of the desk, right outside the school room door could be a spot to hang something like a chore board. A place to keep something for each kid like a clip board or to do sheets or...something. I don't know yet. But I am eyeing that spot as it would be handy for me to see from the desk and help them check off what they have done.

I love the open concept but I do see the lack of wall space.

As for laundry - I would really love to put a second laundry in the basement to be used while the kids are here. Not sure if I can make that happen or not.

Trash - Mainly raw meat trays from the store, cheese block wrappers, paper towels, paper plates, school papers, the bazillion drawings my preschooler makes, junk mail, veggie scraps, egg shells, tea bags, coffee filters.

That's all I can think of. A lot of it is burnable, which we will be able to do out there. I have never had a trash in the cabinet. It's always just sat out at the end of the counter or somewhere. I definitely want at least one can that holds 13 gal. I think I can get that in a pull out that doesn't have a drawer above, right?

Do you guys think the space between the sink and fridge is big enough? (It's a 24" cabinet to house a dishwasher.)

plllog-Are you saying the range should move down a bit and be even with the island? I moved it up (leaving 3' to the upper corner) thinking that would give more space on the other side for things to sit out often like crock pots making broth, rice cooker since we eat rice almost daily. I see what you are saying about safety and having it behind the island.

Do you think there is room for a prep sink on the pantry side of the island? It would only be 18" deep.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:26PM
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I like the L...but I don't like the fridge blocking the view to the dining room. Would this work?

I also moved the piano to the desk area and the desk up by the kitchen. Personally, having the piano in the foyer seems a little tight and a bit cold...would you really want to play there? This way it's more a 'part' of the main space and sitting at the desk you can see the view outside.

You will have to be organized to keep kitchen clutter from moving to the desk...but I'm guessing if you home school that won't be a problem :) From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:27PM
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I just realized that I would not have 18" on one side of the island but only 12". That is not enough for a sink. LOL Do you think it's enough for the baskets for produce?

Here is what I was thinking for the island. If I keep the knives and cutting boards in the drawer there I guess that's pretty much where I will be cutting things. I could keep a small container under the prep sink for scraps and things like banana peels.

The corner cabinet is all my software would do. I was thinking one of those super susan's with the door that bends in an L shape. Not a cabinet with an angle.

I've got a set of drawers to the right of the big sink for towels and washcloths. Would 15" be a good size for that? It would probably hold pot holders as well since it's not far from the range. Should I have something like that over by the prep sink or just keep a spot to have a towel hanging for use over there and just replace as I go? Honestly, I usually just use my apron. LOL

I'm thinking dishes and silverware on the fridge side of the island in the bigger section, then the trash in the other section. What size is a good size for dishes in a drawer? I don't want to go so big that the drawer can't hold all the weight but I like the convenience of having them all in one place. What would you do with the 12" space on the fridge side of the island?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Actually, I'm guessing that the shallow cabinets would be perfect for the produce. You'll have to replenish often, but open storage in the kitchen isn't as good as cool and dark like a garage or basement for longer storage anyway. You should be able to keep a few days' worth in the kitchen with that arrangement, I'd think. You could also settle for a little less and use one of the 12" for cookbooks, pitchers, etc.

Will you be able to reach across the stove end of the island to the sink? For things like a quick rinse, I mean. I'm thinking it might be just a bit far, but maybe IRL you can have it to the far right of its cabinet ... But you're 5'3". That point may be moot. Next alternative: The big cabinet across the end might be too useful to change, but you could also do something like the sink in the end unit, though facing the pantry, and a narrow cabinet on the stove end of it for cuttingboards. That would make it more accessible from the end, but I don't know what kind of cabinets you have available.

Re drawers, the bigger the better. Every time you split them in two, side by side, you lose several inches to the structure. Check the weight allowances. I have 48" wide pot drawers full of cast iron. They're on 5/8" plywood boxes, but have solid bottoms and glides that are rated for up to 250 lbs. Those don't have soft close, but as I've said, my cabinetmaker is very conservative about these things. Check the weight ratings for your drawers, and go as big as you can.

One of the advantages of bigger drawers is that you can fit small things in between big things. Like saucers between dinner plates and rimmed soup plates.

Speaking of which, you might want to keep most of your hotpads near your other soft goods, but I'm a big believer in point of use. Keep a couple of silicone ones (don't boil your fingers when wet) by the stove (not that it's that far to the drawers in question), and really keep them there. Don't let them wander off to the table. :) Also have some by the microwave if you use one. I keep big mitts near my ovens, silicone pads by the cooktop, and the combo kind that are pads but have a fabric back so they stay on your hand by the microwave. They just all go in the closest drawer. And all the pretty ones are kept in the butler's pantry. :)

But, yes, your 15" drawer stack would be fine for towels and other softs. If they don't fit one way you can fold them the other way. (Remember, interior space is smaller.)

Re the corner cabinet, if you can get one with a third tray on the susan, it's worth it to have a shallow top one. There are all kinds of little things that become jumbled in drawers that might fit that well, and only need 4" clearance. Make sure if you do that though, that the remaining shelves are tall enough for what you want to store there. Definitely get the ones that rotate independently, and make sure you have a grabber around, in case something falls in a back corner. It can be the kind they give to folks with limited mobility, but this toy grabber actually works really well and is a lot shorter and easier to store. (My folks gave them to everybody at their holiday party one year, and I find mine invaluable!)

All of your plans here seem quite reasonable. I think you've got a handle on the project. :)

LL's plan would work fine (maybe not so much the desk), though I'd keep your style island. I have the opposite sense of it, though. True, the person at the cleanup sink is closed off from the great room, but so is the cleanup sink! So many people I know love their open kitchens but hate how much their sinks are front and center! And you don't need the open counter end, because you can clear to the island, where the trash seems to be going. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Yeah, I could do without seeing the sink if I can. ;-) We most always have some sort of dirty dish in there. Not full, but something usually. That's another reason why I want a prep sink. LOL

I just posted this arrangement in building but I'm unsure of all the different directions the cabinets would face.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:28PM
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