kitchen with large angled island....zones wrong

illinigirlMay 17, 2013

We toured a home with this kitchen that has a feature I fell in love with- a large (LARGE) angled island that seats 6. We have 5 in our family so I knew going in that I wanted a large island with plenty of seating but I didn't think I would like an angled island, but I do.

Anyways, there are so many things wrong with the zones of this kitchen that I wondered if it's possible to make it work.
1) Sink too far from cook top
2) DW too far from storage cabinets (can't tell from photo but the DW is in the island next to the sink)
3) there is a second island right behind the stove (my second pic will show that). i feel the second island may be awkward/clunky, but possibly serves as a prep area in between the sink and stove. not sure if it serves that function effectively.

what changes could be made to keep the bones of this plan but make it more functional? anything?

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here you can see where the second island is.

I don't have a lot of dimensions to give you but I do know the angled island is 48" deep. the fridge and wall oven and pantry are on the wall that would be on the left in the photo. you can see that i am standing in the foyer entrance of the home and the family room is adjacent to the kitchen where you see the carpet begin.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Debbi Branka

I think it's gorgeous! My thought is everyone is all hung up on this zone thing. (OMGosh - don't kick me off GW please!!!) It's beautiful and it has seating for your whole family. Sure, some things might be awkward at first and take some getting used to, but once you get used to them, you will be comfortable and things will flow just fine.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:38AM
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No, it won't be "just fine". Zones are important. If you don't understand zones, then you don't understand ergonomics and work flow. You work too hard to do the same thing that you could work half as hard to do if the layout was better. I know Americans need more exercise, but making the kitchen into a treadmill isn't the solution.

The work flow is horrible. And will cause you to take many many more steps than needed, plus it will have people crowding and crashng together where they overlap the zones.

You could move the oven down to the left of the cooktop and attach the island to the wall there as a peninsula and shorten the whole thing up. But, you'd still have too many steps between the sink and cooktop and not have a second source of water. Even adding a second source of water on that barrier island wouldn't really help as the island is already too small and couldn't lose any space to a sink.

I'm afraid that the best substitute would be an actual table in the right place there instead of the island, as well as redesigning the prep island to be larger. It's hard to see where tto put the cleanup zone though without a layout.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:28AM
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what about moving the sink closer to the cooktop end of the island? Is having a sink off center within the island a no-no? We wouldn't have the built in espresso machine so it would be open there for unloading dishes onto a counter top before putting them up into cabinets.

I am working on getting some dimensions from the builder.

thanks for your input so far.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Debbi Branka

Making that island into a pennisula would close off the openness of this kitchen. The openness is much of the beauty of it. Obviously we all have different opinions and different needs. I personally don't think a second source of water is imperative, and I have no use for zones either. I would love this kitchen and I doubt I would change anything.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:54AM
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The kitchen




Great room


Island is 19â long L

Center Island is �" 3x5

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Sophie Wheeler

I'd like for people who "don't care" about zones try to drive a car with the windshield wiper lever on the passenger side. And maybe put the dock for the MP3 player in the trunk. Or put the manual gear shift lever on the left? Without moving to right hand drive? Think you could get in and out of the car very easily? It's the same when you have such a large kitchen with the components in the wrong spot. Sure, YOU can "compensate" for it, but why should you? Why should YOU do all of the "workarounds" to bad design? Wouldn't living with good design be much easier?

Just because you don't "get" it, doesn't mean that putting things in the proper place for optimum workflow is bunkum. There are very sound principles behind work zone theory. It makes life much easier rather than much harder. Who wouldn't want to make cooking in their kitchen easier?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:42AM
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That island seats four. Who's going to volunteer to sit cramped up behind that sink and get splashed?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:56AM
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I'm neither a designer nor a zone expert. However, I wouldn't call that angled thing an island. I'd call it two walls without uppers. Or a corral.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I've never understood the appeal of island seating right next to a table. If you want the whole family to sit together, why not seat them at the table?

OP, you mentioned the DW far from dish storage. Where IS the dish storage in this kitchen? We can't really tell what storage space is available on the big island. Are there dish drawers?

At first blush it is a beautiful space, but I have to agree with the others that it is not a very functional one. The fridge is in a walkway, and not readily accessible to anything (stove, sink, or dining room). You said there's a pantry next to the fridge, but is there a counter? Where do you put things that come out of the fridge?

There is a ton of counter space on the island, but are you the type of family that can keep it clear all the time? Or will it be piled high with stuff? Are you OK with that?

Where do you put things like the toaster, coffee maker, knife block - things that often sit on counters? There isn't space for all that on the stove wall.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:20AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I had the same thought as linelle--that's a kitchen with upper walls missing.

As for the prep island, if it is 3x5 (it's obscured in the pic, and looks smaller), that is enough space for a small prep sink and work space. I have a table/island the same size, without sink, but there is plenty of room to assemble ingredients, chop veg, roll dough, etc. What are the widths of the aisles?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:25AM
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you guys have really good points and I think you are right. the more I look at it the more dysfunctional it seems....and why should I try to fix a design? better to start with a good one.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Is this a new build or a house that you are considering buying?

Prep would probably be to the left of the sink - so that is one big work triangle with an island in the middle and is that a paneled DW or a pull-out trash that you would be standing in front of when prepping.. There is a traffic way right through the work triangle and I agree about the seating in front of the sink - talk about claustrophobic with a high-arc tap right in the middle of your face.

Re zones: My old kitchen was 11x9 and was a zone nightmare - nothing worked in terms of prep, clean-up or cooking. The new kitchen is 20x9 and although larger I take fewer steps for each of the zones and have fewer traffic issues because of proper zone planning than in the old kitchen. I innately understood that and my KD reinforced it. You don't have to be a kitchen expert to understand the benefits of proper kitchen planning and yes - zones do matter.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:05PM
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yes this would be for a new home. we haven't even picked a plan yet. we are meeting with builders and looking at plans. We loved the open feel of this home I pictured, but I knew right away that the zones were all wrong. I am nothing of an expert so I thought perhaps some minor changes could make a difference but in the end I don't think they will.

I absolutely "believe" in current kitchen as much as I wish it were larger at least I can say it is pretty functional with the space given. My d/w is close to sink and close to cupboards. My range is opposite the d/w with plenty of room to walk by, and still close to the sink as well. I have a nice large deep peninsula (8feet, 36" deep) for prep and also serves as a eat up area with standard height bar stools.

I am just not sure how to achieve an open kitchen that is well designed. Kitchen open to the family room and dining area that is. And i'd really like to avoid anything but a prep sink in the island area.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 2:33PM
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First glance I think ooooh nice cabinets love the color and style and love the floor, but when I think of living in that space it's another story.

Would hate to sit behind the sink. Not enough room with the sink on one level. Would it always be spotless and everything cleaned up and put away before sitting down to eat? Doubt it or dinner is cold.

And that 2nd island in between is a barrier that would drive me nuts. Especially running back and forth to the sink or putting dishes away.

Only seeing the pendants from one angle, but even from that angle the placement looks odd. Look to be centered over the island but not centered with anything else, the other island, hood, cabs in the background or even the grids on the ceiling which makes it more obvious to me.

I'm not a KD or expert in anyway and have to wonder what drives a design like this? Is it builders thinking buyers want a large open kitchen with island seating and some pendants so that's what we'll give them even if it isn't functional? Buyers will be so caught up in the aesthetics they wont even notice? That's what it seems like.
Reminds me of the old advertising adage: sell the sizzle not the steak.

It's a shame cuz the finishes look really nice as does the door with the transom and the view. Curious, where is this home located?

This post was edited by island on Fri, May 17, 13 at 15:14

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 3:08PM
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I'm glad you've seen how dysfunctional that kitchen is. It makes me itch just thinking about working in there.

IMHO, it's easy to create a functional kitchen open to a DR and FR. I did it, with enormous help from the forum.

DR is in the left foreground. The corner of the table is just barely in frame here. The FR is open just to the right of the counter stools. I can't believe how easy it is to work in a well laid out kitchen.

(Excuse the cutting board in the sink, and the fact that my kitchen isn't completed.)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 3:11PM
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Breezy, that cutting board in the sink is inexcusable. :p

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:07PM
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As I paged down this thread, I was thinking exactly what Breezygirl said. The OP said she fell in love with the angled island, but like many infatuations we may have, whether it be men or kitchen features :), the bloom comes off the rose real fast. I find the angled island has corners that I know that my hip, or even more certainly, my kids' heads, will bump. It's a barrier to movement, and it precludes, as you've noticed, good zonage. I also agree with all the posters and the OP who say that good layout and zones are important. If you haven't before had a kitchen with good layout, once you do have it, you will never want a kitchen without it.

If you are buying that house, I say take out the angled island entirely, and start with a new great layout that you will love. You are buying a house to live in happily with your family; you shouldn't have to deal with a frustrating kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:21PM
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If you are having trouble deciding on a floor plan you like, why don't you post a few here? Will they let you make changes to the kitchen if you like everything else about the plan?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:51PM
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oh yes, we haven't gotten far into this at all. We can pick any plan. We just started meeting with builders. It's just that I find it much easier to see something I like and make changes than to endlessly page through plans online or in books.

here is something that is maybe close, however we would need to cut the sq footage down to perhaps 3000-3300 on 2 stories (this plan is over 3900 sq foot on 1.5 stories). I would put the master up on the second level and have a modestly sized leisure (piano) room off the entrance near the family room. No formal dining room or study like this plan has.
Square off the kitchen and modify the mud/laundry areas.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:00PM
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breezy-noticed the 'new' table (compared to my memory of previously posted breezy awesome kitchen pics) with the bowl of brightly colored squash but had to scroll back up and hunt for the cutting board. ;)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:22PM
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