Layout 1 or 2? (or something else all together...)

melissat99April 23, 2013

Thank you to liriodendron and herbflavor for responding to my earlier thread looking for overall layout help (thread here). I'm currently considering 2 variations on an island based layout and am wondering which option others would pick (or if you would do something different all together.)

A few additional notes:
-We are a family of 4 with 2 small children. We are not avid cookers, but do cook at home a lot and the kids like to help.
-We tend towards more informal entertaining but do like to have friends over, and want a space that lets folks mingle easily between kitchen, family room and yard.
-The table, bench & chairs in the layouts are our current table and I think they fit in the breakfast nook, but if they don't work in reality we will move them to the dining room and get a new table for that space, but we do want kitchen table seating.
-The blue lines above the sink along the wall represent an existing 28wx29h window centered over that sink
-There is an existing hood at the cooktop location
-Adding the prep sink to the island requires installing drains into a concrete slab
-The tall pantry next to the Prep sink in Layout 2 would be for family stuff rather than food (i.e. a mudroom type function), and this pantry could be widened if a prep sink in this layout is unnecessary
-The cleanup sink along the wall would be a single bowl if there is a prep sink present, and a 70/30 split double bowl if not.

And I apologize for the quality of my images - I can't currently install layout software on my computer, so these were created using excel. Key points there are that the cabinet to pantry width should be 2" wider than shown (68" rather than 66"), and I intend for the cooktop to island distance to be 39" rather than the 36" shown but haven't figured out how to place lines in the middle of cells.

I've included the current and proposed layouts below, as well as 2 pictures of the current kitchen. Thanks for your help!

Current Layout:

Layout 1:

Layout 2:

Current Kitchen panorama:

View into Kitchen with Peninsula Upper Doors removed:

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Your drawings are just fine. I am always amazed when people find it easier to lay things out in Excel or another computer program as opposed to just using ordinary graph paper, a straight edge and a dark pen. But what matters is getting it down on graph paper.

Anyway, I guess I prefer (sort of) the layout with a prep sink on the island, but I am daunted by the drain in a slab issue. (I have only ever lived with full basements, so cutting into a slab seems huge to me).

I am a little confused about the "counter-depth" fridge that sticks out 6" from the counter. Is that the box or just the handles? Could you fudge it a bit by recessing it into the wall a tad? Or at least enough to make it less obtrusive.

What I would suggest is moving it to where the wall oven is shown now. That would centralize all your food storage making gathering ingredients easy. Also stowing groceries coming into the house from the store woud be a breeze. Haul all the bags and boxes to the counter top in the little hallway and then unload dry goods to pantry and cold stuff to the nearby fridge. This seems an important enough element to make some sacrifice to get it.

Then move the ovens over to where the "mudroom pantry" is pictured. That would be an optimal placement for the ovens to my mind. The mass of the cab containing the ovens would be a useful visual "bookend" to the counter run, helping to define the kitchen space nicely. It would make cooking so much easier (and safer) to have the ovens just a step or so away from the cooktop, and basically together. This is the best of both worlds (cooktop and wall oven), without the loss associated with having them too widely separated, as is unfortunately often seen in kitchens these days. Is the hood an exterior-exhausting one? If you already have the duct work and fan, I wouldn't consider moving it.

Now re sinks: I would keep the clean-up sink under the window, but put the DW on the breakfast room side to keep it as far away from the main cooking area as possible. For the prep sink, I would have it on the same counter run as the cooktop (assuming it can't economically be on the island), even though it eats up a bit of space. I assume you could piggy-back its plumbing supply, drain and vent stack on the one serving the powder room.

Having it not on the island is a small loss in convenience, but the economics of the slab business may make it best. But losing the prep sink altogether would be much worse, I think. A prep sink is for washing off chicken hands, cleaning veggies, adding water to cooking things and draining pasta. All those things could be done with a prep sink on the cooktop run, with perhaps small inconvenience of dripping across the aisle and a little loss of counter (and oven plunk) space on the cooktop run. But the island will take up that slack, nicely,

Now for the trash can placement. Many people find that its more convenient to have it associated with the prep space than the clean-up sink (even though I know people scrape plates into it at clean-up). May I suggest a double-duty location - on the left hand (as drawn) end of the island It could open into the aisle so that it's handy for both places. Obviously I'm suggesting having it open towards the sink, not the cooktop. It's fine to have an island that has cabs with different orientations.

I've gone back to study the photographs.

To summarize:

1) Consider making the necessary wall changes to pantry space to permit a deeper cab run oppostie. Enough to fit in the so-called counter-depth fridge where the wall ovens are now.

2) move wall ovens to the family room end of the cooktop run.

3) Prep sink in the island (first choice) or on cooktop counter next to ovens (second choice and not a bad one considering the ease of plumbing connections behind it in the PR)

4) Move trash pullout to the sink-run end of the island and have it pull out towards the sink run: Put it in the lower left corner of the island (as drawn). You might also be able to have it run not so much into the island as along the side from top to bottom (as drawn) of the island. In other words a shallow, but wide drawer, making it convenient to sink (scraping and emptying strainer); prep (just open and sweep the stuff in along the left edge of island) and also to pantry fridge for in the inevitable trash generated when bringing groercies in and the odd thing that dies and goes icky in the crisper.

5) Move DW to the breakfast nook side of the fridge to unjam that important section of corridor. (Keep dishes nearby to for ease of unloading and so your kids can get at them to set the table w/o getting into the main action zone during meal prep.)

6) As for seating at the island, while your kids are little I might have a couple of stools, but don't make enough so the whole family can sit there together. As long as you have a kitchen table (and a dining room), you have plenty of space for eating casual meals at the table. Don't tempt fate by adding a full set of stools at the counter.

7) Make the island your main prep space (where you'll be spending most tme anyway as studies of kitchen have consistently shown). Make sure you plan to have everything you need for prepping in the island (knives, bowls, colander, stick blender, lunch packing meterials, etc.). Store your cookware in the cabs under the cooktop and any wall cabs.

8) If you use coffee machines, rice cookers, breadmachine frequently they can live on the counter between fridge and DR entrance. (This would also be a good space for a tiny wet bar area, if you wanted one. You run the plumbing along behind everything and piggy back on the main sink faciilities.)

9) Loosing a little depth to the walk in pantry (to accomodate any bumpouts needed by the CD fridge opposite) seems like a reasonable trade-off for the convenience of one-stop food storage and getting the oven and cooktop associated along one counter.

Keep in mind these ideas are based on my priorities, and not necessarily yours. But I hope they help you in imaging other scenarios. I know when I was working over my own plans, the ideas that others offered, even if not wholly adopted where very important to me in enlarging and refining my choices.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:40AM
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I have to respectfully disagree with liriodendron. I can't think of a worse location in a family home for a refrigerator than the current location of the advantium. That forces anyone interested in a snack or beverage right into your work zone.

Personally, I think layout 1 is pretty close to perfect as drawn. However, the prep sink is what makes it work, so you need to know for certain if you can do that before choosing that layout.

I do not see stools drawn in for layout 1, which I think is good. You don't need them with the table right there, and things would be too tight for back to back seating if you tried to squeeze them in. My kids have always preferred to do their homework at the kitchen table. They've never been ones to perch on stools at the island.

If you have to go with layout 2 due to the slab issues and want a 2nd sink, I would consider putting it at the other end of that run, and look into moving the range down (I know, that means moving the venting.) But as drawn, you will be taking items (say, lettuce to wash) from the fridge past the range to the prep sink.... honestly, I think you'll end up just stopping at the clean-up sink instead, and the prep sink will rarely get used in the location you currently show.

If you can't do a prep sink at all, I like layout 2, no prep sink, and still move the range down toward the tall pantry several inches to give you more landing space on that short side. The 18" you currently show is a bare minimum, in my mind, and more would be better. In fact, adding even 3 inches and using a 21" cab there would be something I'd look into for any of the layouts. I don't think it would make things too tight in front of the ovens.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Thank you liriodendron & controlfreakecs for the replies - they are very helpful! As for island sink / slab drain issue, we've gotten some estimates that the plumbing work will cost on the order of 3K+. Since we plan to live in the house long term I think the monetary cost is worth it, but I'm not sure yet whether or not there are other issues with busting the slab (damaging the vapor barrier, etc.) that will make it not worth it. Our existing vent hood does vent to the outside (i believe), and I do not have an issue with minor venting changes to extend the distance to the outside. So I've made the following proposed changes to the layouts, where Layout 1 includes an island prep sink and Layout 2 does not. I should also note that the cabinets on the outside wall across from the current pantry closet are visible from the front door, so I'd like to keep that view pretty if possible.

Synopsis of Changes to Layout 1 / Island Sink:
1A - Move trash to island, move cooktop down wall to provide larger right side landing zone, put prep sink on wall end of island (to give landing zone for refrigerator), add 2 stools at end (I sit at my Mom's island while she cooks a lot, so like the idea that my kids could perch there and help with the process.)

1B - All of the above changes PLUS removing the built in pantry closet and relocating refrigerator to this space along with added pantry cabinets, move Advantiium/Oven to family run end of cooktop run, put in an appliance garge in that space.

Synopsis of Changes to Layout 2 / NO Island Sink:
2A- Move prep sink to other end of cooktop run, increase landing zone to both sides of cook top, flip DW and trash locations. Am a little concerned with the increase in the Barrier Island effect with this plan.

2B- remove prep sink all together, move Ovens to end of cooktop run, put in appliance garage where ovens had been, add bar sink to cabinets across from pantry closet.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:09AM
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I also disagree with moving the fridge to where your ovens are drawn. While it would centralize food storage, a nice idea for the cook, it would come at the expense of having everyone else drawn into and across all your work areas. That's actually about the worst place I can imaging having a fridge with a family and kids. It wouldn't have worked for my family with kids (I'm down to one at home for just another year and he's at school, meetings and rehearsals most of the days and into the evenings).

I would probably prefer your first layout as a balance between the cook's needs and the family's. If you get everything to the table before a meal and don't need drink refills for everyone during a meal, I think the fridge placement will work. If you tend to have to get up and get things from the fridge half a dozen times a meal (we did) then the second layout might work better (you need to be more organized as a cook), but I agree that the prep sink will probably not be used much then. If it is next to a mudroom pantry cabinet, it might wind up being hand washers in your way rather than your prep sink. KWIM?

I couldn't move my fridge off the back wall of my kitchen without making everything worse. We put fridge drawers in the breakfast room to draw much of the beverage, breakfast, making lunches and snacking traffic out of the kitchen. It worked well for us, but it was an added expense. Neither of your fridge locations are as blocked as our was, so I think you can make either work. I would pick the one that works best for your traffic -- in other words, do you go back and forth more when baking and cooking or do family members get up from the table to get forgotten items, drink refills, etc more during meals? The first layout is further for putting away after a meal, but that is easy enough to consolidate.

Have you worked in the existing kitchen layout? Does that oven location work for you? It is a bit restrictive and would bother some people. It could also be an issue if kids are in the pantry while you are cooking or baking.

I could be okay with an oven there, but I do not like micro placement there. It is across the kitchen from the fridge and across from the breakfast room and family room. The only thing it seems well placed for there would be taking micro popcorn (which we don't use) out of the pantry and then taking it into what I think is the dining room. Everything else is in the way. I would try to fit a micro into the end near the breakfast table or near the cooktop and fridge -- on the family room side. We got a micro drawer to make the placement work for us. They are more money, but it was still our least expensive appliance and solved a lot of issues. Well worth it for us.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:48AM
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I like 1A best. We also have a slab foundation, and putting a sink in the island did not add a lot of extra cost. Our GC had to saw cut a trench from the main sink wall to the island anyway, to run the electrical conduit for the mandatory outlets on the island, so the trench was already a sunk cost. He just used the same trench for electrical conduit and water pipes. We made our island width 3" wider than the total depth of front and back base cabinets plus counter overhang, so there was a 3" gap between the backs of the cabinets for the standing drain pipe and electrical to come out of the slab without interferring with storage in the cabinets (the channel was hidden by end panels).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:05PM
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I still like the original layout #1 best, no seating (sorry, I know it is a nice idea.) If you put an overhang at the family room end, you really only have space for 1. It is recommended 24" per person. I know you are thinking of small kids, but 6" is a significant difference, and kids grow faster than you would believe. We first began planning my new kitchen almost 6 yrs. ago . . . I would never have guess that by the time we were in our finished kitchen less than a year my little boy would be bigger than me. He's not quite 12. So, 1A is good too, but only one stool.

I DO like the idea of putting trash at the opposite end of the island. Convenient for prep and for clean-up. I doubt you will be able to open it toward the clean-up sink the way you have it drawn. You can get them as small as 12" wide, but they need the full 24" depth, I believe. Maybe a "tip-out" style like the hampers they put in bathrooms? Even if you have to pull the trash out toward the range wall, I think it is a much better spot for it all around.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:45PM
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I actually like 1b best.

People are going to cut back and forth across your work zone with the fridge as located in 1a ... at least they would in my house. Get coffee, cut through work zone for cream. Get bread and peanut butter from pantry, cut through prep zone for jam, then back to sink counter to make sandwich, then cut through prep again to put jam away, etc etc ad nauseam. Would drive me crazy.

I'd rather have the fridge near the pantry and dishes so they can at least cut through just once, or better yet go directly there from the table side. 1b looks near perfect to me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Well, if you want the bigger island, I'd choose option 1, but for more seating and overall layout...I actually think your current plan has some possibilities.

The breakfast table looks a little squished with the big island and there's not much (or no) island seating. If you keep the peninsula, you could have your stools there...just add a prep sink. The fridge can stay where it is and you could get rid of the island entirely and have room for a table with chairs on all four sides.

Have you seen Mermanmike's kitchen? Might not work for your style, but I wanted to show you, just as an alternative. Very cozy :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Mermanmike's kitchen

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:53PM
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thank you so much to everyone for the replies - it was a lot of very useful thoughts about appliance placement / work flow and I really appreciate it, especially since this is a new house for us and I haven't worked in this specific space. kaysd - I was especially glad to hear that adding plumbing to a slab wasn't *too* costly, so as of now I'm going forward with an island prep sink.

To that end I think I've settled on the following layout / elevations, as it keeps the fridge / microwave relatively handy to others and isolates at least the cooktop/sink portion of the cooking triangle. Though as always I would love additional feedback!

I'm still thinking I'll add 2 seats at the family room end of the space (on opposite sides, so each person has 24wx18d inches of space). And lavendar_lass - thank you for the link, Mermanmike's kitchen is definitely great, but I don't think it's the right choice for me, as I really think the Island layout will work better for the way I live, and better integrate the kitchen and family room into a unified space, while still keeping visitors out of the real business section of the kitchen.


Sink wall Elevation:

Cooktop wall Elevation:

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Keep in mind you'll need a filler to the right of the fridge to open the right-hand door, if it's near the breakfast area.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Thanks annkh - I think I forgot to put that into the layout, but I was trying to show that in the elevation. Am thinking about doing a similar 'framing' look around the Appliance cabinet to provide symmetry and further visual separation between the kitchen and butler's pantry section. This kitchen is so much bigger than anything we've had in the past that I don't think I'll mind the couple inches of loss of storage space (especially since we're doing frameless cabinets)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:58PM
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above the beverage fridge[which is quite large-RUsure about that size unit?]....I'd put a side hinged cabinet with door that slides back[pocket door?] this cabinet comes down to counter,and when in use has some of your barware/coffee supplies/stuff....make as wide as you need-between 18-24 in wide or wider if you want dbl doors.....eliminate then the appl garage from middle of this run. But is the pantry not a spot that you can fit up in this sort of way.....perhaps something else is going on in pantry-brooms/coat hooks/recycling?? I would probably do the side hinged cab of a narrower width..or even 24 inch max width with dbl doors..... and segregate out the fine china cabinet over for china....then everyday ware closer to sink and eating and fridge location....moving left to right on this wall. Not sure about prep sink placement....maybe others will advise....i like the "overall"

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 1:15PM
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