Kitchen Table 'IN' The Kitchen...Please Help Me Decide

sandy808May 3, 2010

We are in the process of (trying anyway) to finish up a floor plan for our new smaller home. Our kitchen is the most important room to us, and the pantry, laundry, and extra 1/2 bath layout hinge on what I do. I'm going to present a couple of ideas, and would like your thoughts.

We are having an open floor plan with kitchen and great room adjoing each other without a wall. They will be facing a beautiful view of our woods. The kitchen will be on one outer wall of the house, so that two differing walls can have windows.

Idea #1: Place the table in front, in the "corner", which gives full view of the woods on two sides, putting the kitchen work area directly behind it. We like the idea of the full view on two sides while eating. I can also have a prep island for baking. Has to be a L shaped layout due to open floor plan.

The disadvantage is that the trek to set the table and clean it up is a bit long, and is essentially a separate "dining room" without a wall between it. It also reduces laundry and storage area that can fall in the square footage behind the kitchen.

Overall, this is probably the nicest eating area despite the disadvantages.

Idea#2: Have an L shaped kitchen, trying to put as many windows over counter area as possible, and centering the table in that area. Makes serving and cleaning up easy. Old fashioned way of eating. Makes good use of space.

Cons of this idea are: counters/ sinks/ etc. in the view area, even with windows, and no chance of having a work island. I'm also worried about "ring around the table" while cooking, although I have the freedom to choose distances between table and counter in my design. I would just steal space from the great room area. Wondering if this can be done and not feel like the table is in the way, or a sense of being closed in.

Idea#3 is a hybrid of the above two. Still an L shaped kitchen, but run counters down all the way on one side of the table and L-ing behind it. The table would have one side that faces directly out window, but would have some kitchen work space to the right of it, as well as behind. This still frees up some square footage behind the kitchen for a walk in pantry, etc. but may look odd overall.

It is extremely hard for me to visualize these ideas, even with computer software. Most of the feel we get in a home is emotional, and you actually have to experience it.

I am stuck mentally and have to become unstuck very soon. The dimensions of the home pose some constraints in modern design, because we are modeling it after the old Cracker style homes with full wrap around porch that existed in Florida when it was first settled. We feel that a 32 ft. depth by 58 ft. long is the max we can push it and have it still look good from the outside. Much more depth, and the roofline changes to either a hip or pyramid roof, neither of which I want.

The other thing is, this is our last home. Period. We love the land it will be sitting on.


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All of your ideas sound like good possibilities. Do you have any floor plans of the proposed choices?

From your description, it sounds like Idea #1 would be very nice, offers the best view and still gives you good storage and counter space (with the island). It sounds like the dining area will still be open to the kitchen, but the island will help screen a bit of the work area from the eating area.

I like an L-shaped kitchen with an island, in fact that's what I'm planning when I remodel our old farmhouse, so I may be a little biased in my opinion. My kitchen will open to a dining area opposite the island and off to one side is a small seating area with a woodstove. I've gone back and forth several times, but this idea always ends up being my favorite :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 5:01PM
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Thanks lavender lass. I keep going back and forth too....over 4 months now. It's time we get the show on the road and get to the point of blueprints.

The problem I'm having is there is truly no perfect solution, and that's scary. I keep coming back to my first idea too, so my husband feels we should make a decision, stick with it, and refine it.

I'm not extremely computer literate, but when I get my idea grafted out, I'll post it. It may help others struggling with the same issues.

I would actually go even smaller on square footage of the house, but I feel it is important to plan storage areas in the house. Most floor plans have absolutely no storage whatsoever, and I like to can and freeze food, as well as stocking up on sale and wholesale priced items when I can find them. And then where do the cat carriers, extra litter, Christmas ornaments, and suitcases go?

I am also a big fan of walk in pantries (just like walk in clothes closets). I want one for cookware and one for food staples. I feel this cuts down on required cabinetry needed and makes for more convenience in the kitchen. This way I can splurge on quality in the cabinets without spending thousands and thousands of dollars. Designing it is not easy, as there are virtually no ideas to go on "out there".

I guess we should trust our gut and go with the choice that keeps presenting itself.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 9:54PM
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Hi Sandy, I don't have a lot of help for you, but wanted to welcome you to the 'small' forum. :o) The folks here are really friendly and helpful. If you don't get a lot of replies here, don't give up ... it's a fairly slow forum. You might also want to post over on the kitchen forum as well - there are some designers over there that also have some good ideas!

I used Ikea software to help me visualize our space prior to starting our reno - it really helped me 'see' in 3D what the area would look like afterwards. It's fairly easy to use, and you can save different views.

Other folks around here have used other software with good success. :o)


    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:22PM
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Sandy- Great idea to plan for more storage! I think it's not that difficult to live within a smaller footprint, if we have someplace to put everything that we need and love :)

My mom recently downsized to a much smaller home. She got rid of a lot of things that weren't that important to her, but still had quite a few things she wanted to keep and have easy access to. She included a lot of closets and extra storage in her home and she's SO glad she did! Even so, she now wishes she'd included more room for Christmas decorations...she loves them. LOL

As for the kitchen, the magazines and design shows always show it carefully staged, but a kitchen may not always look so perfect when being lived in. It's nice to have an island (maybe with a big vase of flowers I can set there at the last minute) to screen my dinner mess from my dinner guests...of course, not everyone is as messy a cook as I am, but I do have a good time :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Sandy, I quote here: And then where do the cat carriers, extra litter, Christmas ornaments, and suitcases go?

Well, they go somewhere that is not high dollar storage space. Unless you use your cat carriers every day or every week, they could go up in the attic, or out in back of the garage, or some other SECONDARY storage space. Like a place to store all your extra vases or the china you use only at Thanksgiving could be packed up and kept in secondary storage too. Such things as Christmas ornaments will be in the way for 10-11 months of the year, and stand a greater chance of breakage.

The only thing on that list which could go where your big stash of t-paper and p-towels and volume purchases might be stored, would be the kitty litter extra supply.

Get all that stuff away from your prime time kitchen pantry if you can. You will have the luxury of the kitchen table where you want it if you don't have to create a monster storage area.

When I was thinking about a walkin closet location for a master bedroom, my DH wanted to put it on the back wall where the nice easterly exposure gave sunlight and a view of the garden. I said NO WAY. We are instead going to put it on the north wall, which faces the nosy neighbor and of course needs NO view but will have instead clerestory windows up high on the wall to let light into the space.

See if you can find a secondary storage site which can allow you to shrink your pantry a little and get even 4 more square feet of open space for your table or work island.

If you have the basics of a floor plan, draw it out and then scan the image to your computer--or take a digital photo of it and upload it here. I've done that and got the message across. Seeing a picture is easier to visualize what you are talking about. Words can be so....general.

Always neat to have another room, another house, to think about. It gives us all some good practice imagining WHAT IF. Glad to see you here, Sandy..

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:43PM
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more help can be given if layouts are posted here. 1 for each option. without those it's difficult to visualize.

graph paper can be downloaded free online. make it big enough to see on here and label things clearly. like doors, windows, other entrances into the rooms. put measurements on it for the windows, doorways, rooms, where you want the rooms 'divided' etc.

maybe to view here it should be 2 squares per ft in measurement on the layout.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 2:08AM
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I have a table in the kitchen. The only thing advised is not to have it close to the stove. Suggest a good 10 ft if possible. Our little kitchens can get quite warm when cooking. Sure would love to be doing what you are, my layout is set and can't be changed without major work. No dining room, but my company is informal.

Yes, can you post a layout. we love to play and hopefully add some positive input.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 7:35AM
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Thank you so much. I've been lurking here a while and have enjoyed the overall niceness of the people here. It's refreshing. I also love the antique rose forum and have participated in that for years.

I agree about giving valuable square footage to things that do not matter. However, in Florida (even north Florida where I am) we can't have basements because we would have very wet ones.

A garage will be built after the house is completed, as we need to be sure we have enough money for the house. I also want to get into the house first, to make sure it is sited where I will not be looking at it from a prime spot in the house. Right now the plan is for us to site it on the pantry and laundry end, hiding it from the kitchen. I've had friends that built a garage right away and ended up looking at it while eating.

We do, however, have a barn that we built, and I did think of the carriers going in there. What I'm trying to plan for is for when I'm getting up there in years and the inconvenience of having to go to the barn for things. While I don't feel 56 is old, another 15 years may be giving me a little different perspective on things. However, it may just have to be that way, and maybe in reality it won't be all that inconvenient.

I love my Christmas ornaments too, and they are very special to me. I have things my children made me when small, as well as gift ornaments from special people.

I'm working on graft paper now, which really tells the story! Despite using more space, it's probably nicer to keep our view when eating unobstructed. I'll try that layout first.

I love the ideas here, and I especially enjoy the down to earth people that participate on this forum.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:57AM
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I've always like the idea the British have....a trunk room. That's what my mom wanted in her new house :)

If you don't have a basement and the garage is going to be a while, can you put in an extra bedroom (smaller) with storage on all the walls? Later, if you get the garage, use storage that can be moved out there. Then, the bedroom can be for guests or a hobby room, but you'll have your storage for now and not be saying, where did I put the......

Just a thought :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 12:16PM
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hi sandy and welcome :) I would love to see some layouts too of the three choices but from what you said choice no 1 sounds really appealing so far.

Agree with ML about storage real estate, I have limited storage space and I've started reorganising my storage areas. I found I was storing things in certain places because it seemed like that's where they belonged but now I try to store things near where I use them and it saves a lot of walking back and forth and I move items I dont use much to the top of cupboards etc.

Im not sure what sort of carriers you have but I have one that is plastic and comes apart. It was taking up a lot of space in the cupboard so I took it apart and stacked the top and door inside the bottom section and it only takes up half the space now. I use it so rarely and it would only take 5 minutes to put back together when I need it. For a while I even used it as dog beds, I just put foam and bedding in the separate top and bottom sections to make two beds and they were ideal until my little dogs outgrew them so all I was storing was the door in the cupboard so if you have that type you could even use them as cat beds and put the two halves back together when you need a carrier.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Hi Sandy and welcome. Hoping you can get the software figured out so we can see what you are wanting to do. Really hard for me to follow the description in words.

Sounds like you are going about planning the right way. WE have to look at our garage from the kitchen but there was no other choice. I totally agree with you If there is a way to avoid it do so.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Thanks everybody! I'm really blessed that we were able to sell our house that we had built in a subdivision. We are country type folks and after 13 years living on top of neighbors took the financial hit and got out of there. We now have 10 acres in a small farming town and are loving it. While we have neighbors, there are no houses in sight....just fields and timber. Having some space gives us the luxery to place things (like a garage) without restrictions. I actually find I'm doing just fine without a garage right now anyway. I just don't go grocery shopping if rain is forecast.

I like idea #1 the best, as well. I'm going to graph it out and make it work. The hardest part is making the kitchen flow properly. As mentioned here, pictures in magazines or books don't help much. They look beautiful until you ask yourself where in the world is the kitchen sink (or the stove, or refrigerator). They truly are staged. Sometimes I see the whole concept and think "what are they thinking"? For example, a stove on the opposite side of an island from the sink or refrig. I guess you're supposed to play ring around the island. I just shake my head and chuckle.

It's taking me a while, but it'll come. Good idea about the kitty carrier storage. I like to have them handy in case of emergency situations. Sometimes I'll leave one around and one of them will take a nap in it.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:00PM
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Sandy, I'm in Mobile, so I know the kind of climate you have to deal with. So many things just cannot be stored in a tightly closed UNAIRCONDITIONED space. Things like paint need to have air circulation, but not be open to critters coming in. Raccoons are the worst, but don't seem to bother cats. Before we enclosed our back porch, just insect screening was out there. The coons ripped it apart and dragged a full 25 lb bag of dog food out the door. My nephew was here and got a picture of the occasion. A big mama coon with two babies.

Plus, you have to worry about paint, which might combust on you. Find a coolish (HA!) place to store it instead of in the barn if you keep animals out there. Unless it has some good circulation. I would recommend 1/2" hardware cloth as ventilation, making sure it stayed dry also.

I am working on our small cottage in the city, neighbors are close, but we have a privacy fence. We have reached the age you are just anticipating, and it does make a difference. My DH just put 3 carriers up in the attic for me, since he thinks I get dizzy when my sugar goes up. These carriers are all metal, not plastic, so the heat will not bother them up there. However, in another month, I will only go up there early in the morning.

Build your house now with features for disability included. If you have a bad back, find a spot where you can raise the dishwasher up about a foot to keep from leaning over. If you have to, put a drawer beneath that dish washer and store smaller items there. I'm about to order a 11" deep single sink in stainless for my kitchen, a Kraus 29" sink I saw at Vintage Tub and Bath. I'll have a place in the kitchen to work with my house plants.

I may have visited the Antique Rose Forum a couple of times, but not recently. We have a harder time with roses along the Gulf Coast, and I've tried a lot of them. You'll find a lot of us on this forum are also avid--and very creative--gardeners. Stick around and enjoy the discussions. It's like a travelling block party, with a little bit of everything thrown in. :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 5:39PM
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"what are they thinking"? For example, a stove on the opposite side of an island from the sink or refrig"

Ah Been there done that and I did it to myself!!! BUT I NEEDED that island so badly I put up with it in the way. It was on wheels so I was able to push it over when needed AND it made a good landing for things coming out of or into the fridge.

WE are in the city here but it is a city of 150 - 170 people. Three of the 5 houses that back up to us are empty. Two for sale one tiny moble home old and the other a pretty nice little house. Some one here would fit nicely in it.LOL

We had 8 acres at the las house but since we do not have large animals any longer we did not want to be bothered with all that land to deal with. Here we only have a small half acre and it is a triangle making it worse to fit things on AND it also includes part of a steep hill so with septic house and garage we used up just about all of this little half acre. We need to have a garage. Joe has too many boy toys. And he also built me a small loft with a real stairway up to it to store my over flow furniture. I like to switch things up often.

I agree with ML on thinking ahead to that time and making things now to work for then. We have a large master bath with walk in shower instead of tub over shower. We also have that in guest bath so there is option to do a bath thing but I never take a bath always shower.

We have an open to the living room kitchen with dinning room kitchen all one room and I have it set up as sitting room as we never ate at the table, believe me I tried to get Joe to do it and NO way. We eat in living room in front of TV.

I have a fold up table I can set up if we should have a real sit down dinner or we could eat on the front porch. There is a table out there. Again it just does not happen. Shrug. After 25 years I have pretty much given up on sit down dinners.

About time to get dinner. What to do with a slab of ham???


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 7:35PM
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"Build your house now with features for disability included."

I agree. my sister built her house 2 yrs ago with that in mind. They had wide hallways put in, double doors into the mstr bedroom. no carpeting etc - in case she'd need a walker or wheel chair.

i am also going to do as much of that as I can to my place. can't widen the hallway but the mstr bdrm opens into the LR/DR and it wouldn't be difficult to widen that doorway later if needed. the mstr bath has a separate shower - which I'm looking forward to now. I hate climbing over the tub ledge here. I am also planning some changes for the kitchen - to make things easier to reach w/o reaching up much or way down low.

someone on kitchens posted she'd put her dw up 10" - I asked her to post of pic. if she does, i'll post a link on this board. I also have a few pics of dw up higher if anyone wants to see them.

Those mag pics are mostly just set ups - not real kitchens. most are poorly laid out! look pretty tho- lol!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:11PM
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I agree with planning for old age if one would rather stay in their home no matter what. I've always wanted a loft for sewing, and most likely I would be able to enjoy that for many years. My husband was against it for both building and energy costs, but said I could have one without a fuss if I wanted. I decide not to have one in the end. We will be super insulating this house, but it still costs more to heat and cool that much of a vault. We figure it essentially doubles the volume of climate control areas.

We're doing a nice single story open floor plan. I'm making all access in the house wheelchair, walker, broken leg friendly. I'm not going to eqiup the house as if we are handicapped, but, IF we ever do need that type of change, the flexibility is going to be there in order to make changes. Hopefully we'll still be hiking mountain paths in our 90's and not need any changes. I guess the broken leg could certainly be a possibility though. I just hope not.

I'm having a sewing room with 1/2 bath access that can double as a guest room (couch that pulls into a bed) when someone visits. I'm not having extra bedrooms that just sit most of the year. Since I don't want to feel cut off from my husband if I want to sew a little during our evening time, I'm having either french doors or old fashioned pocket doors (like my grandma had) that open directly into the great room. Most of the time it will all be left open, but I can close it to keep the cats off my quilt projects if I want. I have one kitty that opens my drawyers and steals bobbins and my chicken pin cushion.

I'm having real wood floors. The kind that I have to sand and finish before they go down. It's essentially going to be an old Florida Cracker style home with full wrap around porches and rocking chairs. I got tired of the carpet war when I still had teenagers home. Too hard to keep clean. I was always losing sewing pins in it, which did not please the person stepping on them.

I had a good laugh about the racoons. They are so cute, but what rascals! I've had similar experiences, but never has a 25 pound bag of food been dragged off. I did catch a mouse stealing my husband's watch in one house. We didn't have our baseboards on yet, and I heard some banging in the bathroom wall. When I got up to investigate, a mouse was just disappearing into the base of the wall with the watch. I caught the watch before it completely went in the walls. Can you imagine? My husband would have accused me of misplacing his watch while cleaning or something.

Moccasinlanding, I am in North Florida. Valdosta is only a 45 minute to an hour drive away, so we have similar soil and climate. I love it here, but sometimes in the middle of August I start getting testy.

shadesof idaho, hope I didn't offend about my kitchen comment. We all make mistakes. I designed my last kitchen, but the builder put the gas line for my stove WAY across the kitchen from my sink. It was quite the trek with boiling pots of pasta to drain. It also crossed the entry into the kitchen which is dangerous. I had been told "it was impossible to vent it from a position near the sink". I fell for it, but know better now. Gas stoves vent out the roof. All that had to be done was vent it in a different spot. This is why my new kitchen planning is driving me nuts. I am paranoid about messing up and am trying to think everything through. My daughter suggested a moveable island, just in case. Good idea, except a prep sink might be nice. I'll have to think on that one.

We're not having a builder this time. We have the skills to build ourselves, which is what we are going to do. We've also met a few very talented people in the building trade that we can hire to help with the heavy stuff.

This thread has been fun....and very homey. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 11:00PM
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Hahaha Offend me? NO way I was laughing at myself for doing the island. RIGHT IN THE WAY. Dang. I really did do it to myself. Was not one of my better moves and yet it did make the kitchen work better. Was just a pain to go around all of the time I did learn to grab everything at once from fridge and work the island on that side then go to the other side. And the wheels helped and I honestly used that island constantly. Still using it here in this house as it was really a desk I made into an island. Has mosaic top on it so I can set hot pots down on it. It is now at the end of my counter.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 11:47PM
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Found a picture of the island. The fridge was on the left of the room out of the picture.

The problem with this kitchen was there was too much room between sink and stove and fridge. And not a really good place to set things that came out of the fridge but to walk back and fourth again and again across the room.

Here is a link that might be useful: Island

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 11:53PM
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Sandy, my DH's older brother is 83, had two knee replacements, and still goes hiking and mountain climbing. He'd done the entire Appalachian Trail in 150 mile segments I think, plus many other places. Not for me! I'm a sea level girl.

I'll look up the building recommendations from Americans w/Disabilities Act and see what they suggest...besides wider doors and flat floors and grab rails and so on.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Disabilities Act

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:32AM
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Hi Sandy, welcome to the group. I am very much a visual person, so I'm anxious to see a layout of your home. I've seen pics of kitchens with an 'L' shape that do not have any uppers on the window walls. It still gave a beautiful view from the windows.

That is a good point about the stove being opposite from the sink. You know that I recently moved my stove out of the corner to a position accross from the sink. I bought a small rolling island cart to sit things on if need be. It's amazing how big your kitchen feels when you have to carry a pot of boiling water across the room to the sink.

Chris, is that a regular cabinet that you put wheels on? Is it just 4 wheels? Since you still have it, it must be stable, right?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:54AM
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I love your island on wheels. Perhaps if I have any doubts about "mistakes" that's the route to take. At least it can then be moved around.

I probably already mentioned somewhere about my last kitchen having everything too far apart. It was pretty, but I sure hated all the back and forth stuff. The counter space on the longer legs with cabinets essentially was wasted space. Sure, you can decorate it, but too expensive to have counter space not in use all the time. I found if the kitchen is aggravating to work in, I don't cook as much. I almost think too large a space is worse than one a little too small.

Still working with the graph paper. Boy, when you change one thing it creates three other problems! It's even harder when you start thinking outside the box and start adding walk in pantries that you want conveniently located. It's easy if you don't mind the house getting larger. I don't want a larger house. I feel 1800 square feet is plenty to maintain. I'd go a bit smaller, but then my sewing area shrinks too much and it bungles up my pantries.

If I decide to go the portable island route (in other words, not fixed forever into the kitchen floor plan), would a 5 foot long by three feet wide island be too cumbersome to move around? I find I like having about 5 feet of space to work on.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 2:09PM
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Sandy, I just re-read your original post. Have you looked at any plans for lakefront houses? They are usually arranged to take best advantage of the view.
--"We like the idea of the full view on two sides while eating"--

I hope you don't mind me asking, but do you really sit at the table enough hours in the day to give it the best view? If you had the largest windows you could afford and just lower cabinets behind the table you would still have a view.

Also, I know this is not exactly the layout you are going for, but Shades has a really neat pantry.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:36PM
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Loretta, The island was /is an old oak desk. Actually antique. But it was in bad shape so I did not feel bad to re-create it to island and adding the extra wood made it strong again.

there is six 2 inch wheels under it. Joe put two cross boards to mount them. He figured it all out. I put braces across in the knee hole and added a shelf across the bottom and then added two of those large plastic drawers. One holds baggeis foil wax paper that kind of thing. The other drawer holds my towels and cloth napkins, dish cloths rags. When I used it as island the silver was in the side wood drawers and also our TV trays. Not those things are on my regular cabinets. Towels and baggies still in the plastic drawers.

It is pretty strong now and so heavy being oak and having the mosaic on the top.

Yes our pantry is a good one. It is not all that large but holds all of pour food. I have no food in the cabinets. Except the coffee and creamer tea popcorn. Spices in one small cabinet. Everything else is in the pantry.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 6:02PM
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Our house is going to be a very open floor plan and we have already worked out the basic concept for it. The whole thing is designed for maximum natural light and airflow throught all the rooms. It's been 7 months of head banging, but we're almost there. There wasn't one conventional floor plan available that we liked, or that would have worked quite right for our property. Lakefront view ideas helped some. We're also using old fashioned "cabin in the woods" concepts, which tend to be very open plans.
We don't have any "bad" views on our property. It's all pretty land and we see no other homes from any point on it. The "view" is an area with some ancient Live Oaks and a pond, with lots of birds and wildlife, so it's pretty and peaceful.

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and outdoors the rest of the time. The kitchen is truly the heart of our home. In the home we raised our children in, our kitchen was always full of livliness and happiness. Well, one time our son threw up mushrooms at the table. That wasn't so fun. Found out he hated mushrooms....the hard way.

The delemna for me has been the exact layout for the kitchen, one that will feel the nicest and also be highly functional. The square footage has pretty much already been allocated for it. I just need to make some decisions, as there is more than one way to make a nice kitchen, and I love hearing ideas from other people.

The kitchen adjoins the great room without barriers, allowing the table to expand for a large crowd.

I think, as you said, large windows over a counter can also work and be nice. The hardest part in that design is wondering if the work areas may get too spread out, and also would put my back to the table. Every design has its pros and cons I guess.

One of the highest compliments I've had in my life over the years has been when someone comes over. In every one of our homes the remark is made how warm and comfortable that person feels the minute they walk in. They just want to go into the kitchen, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in. Don't need thousands of dollars to achieve that, just the right layout and windows.

I'll check out the pantry ideas. The more ideas the better!


    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Sandy this is the floor plan of just the working part of our kitchen. The dinning area is the other side of the 52 by 26 counter and open to the living room. We do not have a family room. Our house is only 1300 SQ FT.

The whole kitchen dinning room is about 22 foot long by 12 1/2 foot wide. The corner pantry is only just under 4 by 4 foot.

Your description of hammering out your house plans reminds me of when we built our first house. We both sat down one evening each with blank paper pad. We did not talk to each other we just drew what we each wanted. Then compared and it was exactly the same and that is what we built.

Having said this. After living in the house a few years we decided if we had only moved the master bedroom door to the other side of the room it would have made a wonderful and useful wall to the kitchen. And it still could have been done. We just did not do it.

When I put this house together at the manufactured home pace I agonized over it. Measured all my furniture and cut it out on graph paper and when we moved in I knew where each piece would go. Made several changes since.

Also since I now have the smaller love seat in the kitchen it does feel cozy and already have had people over and they gravitated to the kitchen couch instead of the living room. We really like this house.It is warm and comfortable and works for us. That is so important so it is very good you are considering all your options.


Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen redo

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 11:10PM
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In my MoccasinLanding kitchen, I redid it for $5000 several years back. Did not refinish the cabs, nor the floors.
I found a really nice unfinished microwave cart with a butcher block top, on wheels, with two shelves below. Since the kitchen was not wide enough for a permanent fixed island, this cart was perfect. I also hung a small scale above it, my pot rack, and raised up to the ceiling out of the way, but able to lower by a pulley and a cleat tied the line off at the nearby wall. It was in the center of my work triangle, and I could walk totally around it without dodging or having to step sideways, it was that small and the angles were just great. I had a corner sink, which helped a lot. I also created a counter height bar for 2 stools at the end of the kitchen and that is where I ate all my meals--I could push the stool back and peer around the passageway and see the TV in the living room.

So you can have an island if the circumstances are right.

With Casa Del Sol, I do not think I'll have space to put an island permanently in the middle, because there will be a traffic pattern through the middle going from the dining room through to the back door. The sink will be on the south wall, and 8 feet away from it on same wall will be the fridge. On the opposite wall will be the small stove.
I plan to get the 24" range by Bertazzoni. There is exactly 8' across the kitchen from sink to stove, and then between the stove and fridge, THAt measures 8' too. So a perfect work triangle. With only two of us living here (plus critters), I don't expect taking pots to the sink will present much of a hazard.

I do like a galley kitchen. I wwill sort of have a higher bar or counter top positioned in the dining area across from the dining table, so it will hide the range side of the kitchen from the living areas, and give me a place to sit and watch over the cooking or just be comfy.

Who was it said she could not get her DH to have a sit down dinner at the table? Well, I cannot get mine to have a casual meal or eat anywhere EXCEPT at a table! So the bar will be mostly for me, since that is something I enjoy, and it is missing totally from our lives.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:09AM
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You two are so nice! Chris, your kitchen floor plan is very similar to what I had in mind. I actually worked a peninsula layout, but keep going back to the island for some reason. The pennisula saves space and has the same effect as an island work area. At least, I'm guessing what I'm looking at is a pennisula? If so, do you ever feel trapped by it?

My layout is a little different in that my L wraps back where your refrig is, and the wall that has your stove opens into another pantry. I think even with a pantry there may be wall space for a freezer or hutch. My laundry room will be up where yours is, but I am going to leave the door opening without a door, and make it about 5 feet wide. There will be a sliding glass door in the laundry room to outside, so it will double as an entry in the house as well. So, it will be tucked away (sort of), but not totally hidden. The light and air will flow through the house. I never close my laundry room door anyway and I want to make this one a nice space to work in. The sliding door will be nice because I can zip outside to hang up wash and not have a door slamming all over.

Your pantry is exactly where I am planning my pots and pans, (etc.) pantry. I have debated putting the door to it in the corner as you have, but wasn't sure if it should be straight on the back wall instead. How is the corner entry working out for you? I'm planning on about a 6 ft. by 6 ft. walk in.

The only reservations my husband and I have about siting the table down in the end of the kitchen area, is that it essentially makes a separate dining without walls. We had a similar scenario in our last house and it seems like a lot of running around each day toting dishes, glassware, and food back and forth.

I thought of having my kitchen sink and dishwasher in the island. However, I am not sure that would leave enough prep area without making the island really long. What do you think would be a good size and still leave a good prep area?

My husband won't eat at a bar in the kitchen either. He's old fashoned that way. Too many good memories around kitchen tables I guess. His actual preferance is to have the table smack dab in the middle of things. I swear men live for food and the mail.

Striking a balance sure is hard, isn't it?

I have seen some pictures of kitchens that had the table in them, or an island set up as if it were a table in there, with a large expanse of windows over the sink and dishwasher area. It does preserve the view. I'm worried about my pantry access being as convenient as being able to plop stuff on a work island.

I feel smaller homes are cozier and just plain nicer to live in than large ones. I would actually go smaller than 1800 square feet, but I want a big sewing room and, since I'm not getting any younger, I'm going to have it. Fortunately, my husband feels the same way. I was hoping to get it down to 1600 square feet, but If I shrink my dimensions on the house anymore than I have, it ripples profoundly, and the room won't be large enough for what I do. It also blows away all the walk in pantry storage I want in the kitchen. I am short, so upper cabinets are almost useless to me beyond the first or second shelf. That's why I want the pantries. My grandma had a wonderful one for her kitchen stuff. It seems "way back then" that was how they did things. It's also very cost effective over tons of fancy cbinets. I am hoping to squeeze in a walk in laundry storage for the Sam's Club and sale hauls.

Chris, thank you for sharing your kitchen with me. It helps to see REAL kitchens instead of the glossy magazine pages. I still want to get a layout on here for critique. My husband has to help with that, as I'm not super computer saavy. One of our daughters is coming to visit this weekend, so I may get sidetracked for a few days.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Sandy, if you can get a bit of time online, go to the IKEA website and browse their kitchen layouts.

There is one configuration which shows an island on one side, with maybe the stove on that side (cannot remember)and then at table height, which is about 5 inches lower, the dining table side. You could use stools with backs, or regular dining chairs. Some of this depends on how many folks you plan on eating in your kitchen.

Do you have a spot for dinner guests and a more formal dining experience? Nothing says they cannot be related. Like the kitchen table/island combo could be the spot for the serving dishes to sit and the formal table a couple of feet away with no wall between. Am I saying this right? Hope so.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Sandy that is a peninsula and I do not feel trapped at all by it. BUT I would also have preferred it be an island and considered not having it there at all. It was different when the house came with J shaped cabinets and it was wonderful except they made a HUGE mistake with the kitchen wall and it turned my dinning room to 7 foot wide only and NOT enough. If I had a table set up in there it would mean carrying the turkey through the bathroom to set it on the far end of the table. UCK. And people could not walk by But I am not reliving all that fiasco.

At the other house I had 36 inches or so on one side of the island to get by it and about 30 inches on the other side. Was enough room.

I needed the cabinet space here so when they rebuilt the peninsula it worked for me. I have my pots and pans under the sink.

The corner door on the pantry works well. If it were square on my size of pantry it would be too confined. Below is a picture of a 6 by 6 1/2 foot pantry and how it was set up. Another house we had. ALSO go through those pictures. There is a large island in the center area and it was great. I lived on that island as a work space in the kitchen. Had big cabinet and one bank of drawers Was fairly large and a person could pull up stools to it to eat if they wanted to. I only did that when I was working on the cemetery maps. When I worked for the cemetery. OH so that will tell me the size as the maps were 4 1/2 foot long and there was just a little on the ends so the island must have been 5 foot long. The maps were 2 foot wide and the island was much wider than that.

My only problem with no door to the laundry is it makes lots of noise when washer is running and hubby is watching TV. Does not bother me.I would love a larger laundry but it is what it is. A door could always be put in that door way. I was thinking of guests coming and it would make the guest bath feel larger if it were open to the laundry room. For now the new window will have to do. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Look through the thumbnails for the pantry and island in the kitchen and huge laundry room.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:15PM
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Chris, thank you for the link to the house photos. What a beautiful home! I love your quilts and I enjoy making them as a hobby and gifts for family. Moccasinlanding, I'll be sure to check out the IKEA website for ideas.

It sounds as though our county is understanding of changes within the rooms while building, as long as the basic structure is built according to blueprints, and everything is still done by code. My husband would like to shave another hundered square feet off the house, and asked if I could try and make it work. I'm going to give it a try.....

We know pretty much where we want all the rooms in the house. I'll just have to make a decision on the basic plan of how we want our table, etc. to be in the kitchen (in other words what style of kitchen, I guess), allocate enough room for it, and work out the fine details during construction. Sometimes things don't fall in place until you can actually see things during construction.

If you come up with any more thoughts, be sure to chime in.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:25PM
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...and I just visited IKEA and saw their VARDE kitchen cart.
It is about 25" x 19" x 33" tall. Two casters and two regular bottomed legs so it is highly mobile. It is birch.

Not bad for about $129.
Anyway, it is one way to get your island and also get it out of the way.

Here is the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Varde kitchen cart

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 2:17AM
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I cannot find the photo of an invention of mine from 2004/5 when I lived in a friend's river house which had been vacant for seven years. It was the tiniest kitchen, I think the house was a "kit" house from the early 1940s.

Anyway, I had to have some place to put my kitchen stuff. Since the walls were plaster and it was verbotten to mess with them, I had to make a structure from 2x2 lumber that attached only to the wood moldings and straddled the electric range. Eventually I painted it my favorite yellow, THREADED GOLD by Behr paints. So if you are interested in "finding" space where you think none exists, take a look at this high-rise shelf setup, which serves as a visible pantry storage, spice area, small pot rack and who knows what else. The butcher block rolling microwave cart took up all the space between the stove and the doorway to the dining room. It was my only cabinet work surface, because behind me on the opposite wall of the kitchen was the original cast iron enameled double dish drain single sink which was as long as Shades and took up the whole space. The refrigerator went in a tiny closet/pantry off the side out of sight in this photo...I think I was standing in that closet taking the photo. I had a regular base cabinet in there with the large microwave sitting on it. I put a lot of deep shelves up to store pots and pans, with canned goods in the cabinet under the microwave.

It was a charming little kitchen really. Notice the palm trees on the lower walls? That is plaster with grooves making it LOOK like a tiled surface, but not. My friend was so pleased with how the whole house was cleaning up that she and her DH removed the old asphalt tile and laid new, and then she painted lightly every other faux tile square a base coat of my yellow paint, over the white semigloss enamel, and then she did the two-color brown/green palm tree stenciling. She has more patience than I do, and I still love that little kitchen.

Hope you use the ideas to come up with something that will work in YOUR kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: River House kitchen space saver

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 6:11PM
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That is a really neat rack and holds so much. Great idea. Once in a tiny kitchen I build 1 by 6 shelves that sat up on the top of the molded counter edging. I think I screwed it to the bottom of the cabinets. I do not think I have a picture of this. I was pretty much on the dame lines as your shelf system you built. It is amazing how much a person can store on smaller shelves. Love the pot holder too. Great design. Going to save that. No place in my kitchen for it but there is the sewing room.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:33AM
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We have an open concept small house (like 1080 square feet small). :) It's a bilevel, if you're familiar with that layout. So here's what we did when we went knocking down walls.

We kept the kitchen as is.. I really LOVE our L shaped kitchen. Where the wall used to be we put in an island. We couldn't do a very big one. 5 feet long, 3 wide. A few feet away is the kitchen table. I really like the layout. It's really a kitchen/dining combo and then the living room is in the front of the house. I tried to separate the spaces a bit with furniture positioning.

I know some people don't like open concept, but it made our house feel SO MUCH bigger and less cramped to have that all gone. And anybody who has been in the run of the mill bilevel/split foyer knows what I'm talking about! Plus, it is SO nice to be able to see my kids and what they're up to. Because, seriously, one of them would climb on top of the TV when I was in the kitchen.

Good luck with your decision.. I'm partial to #1!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Well, I'm still going crazy trying to get this whole kitchen thing right. I worked with a kitchen designer at Home Depot, and after putting idea #1 down and really looking at it, some of the ergonomics weren't quite right, and there wasn't room for much cabinet storage as it seemed to be all appliances.

The other issue we got into was the kitchen table ends up being quite a ways from the kitchen itself, making dailey serving and cleanup a pain. This can happen despite the whole area being totally open with no walls. By the time we made the "L" and put an island in with proper spacing, it no longer semed to be very convenient to put dishes away or set the table.

An open floor plan, with not wanting to block views is an extremely difficult design to come up with. You wouldn't think so, especially with a clean slate, but it is!

Idea #1, which is a popular trend today, is essentially a seperate dining room and kitchen....just one without a wall between them. The distances from one end of the kitchen to the table can be anywhere from 20 to 26 feet, if clearances are what they should be and not squeezed.

One thing that has been an eye opener with living in a tiny trailer has been how extremely easy it has been to quickly serve dinner and clean it up. The table is right there. In my face practically.

You know what my husband keeps saying? That he likes homey kitchens and not "dining rooms". He keeps handing me an article printed off with pictures of Julia Child's kitchen. This morning over coffee, he again handed me the article and said "Now THAT is what I call a kitchen".

The lady at Home Depot said we can try a version of the table in the kitchen, with perhaps a nook for a nice portable island that can be put into use when necessary. I'm going to try and get with her early next week.

I'm going to really study the racks also. I never thought of using one in my sewing room. Great idea! Gosh, I can't wait to have a sewing room again. I'm sandwhiched in between the kitchen table and the couch right now.

Courtney134, I love open plans as well. We have been a close knit family from day one, and even though it's just my husband and I now, we still like open best. Done correctly, there is a great deal of space in a small home with this kind of concept. I wish I could see how you did your kitchen. It sounds like you figured out how to have what you want and still have the table close by.

Have any of you tried putting your dinnerware in base drawyers? The kitchen designer at Home Depot said with pegs to keep things in order they are easy to get in and out. I'm not so sure. A custom cabinet maker told me that many people say they have a hard time grabbing the dishes to get them out.

I think a hutch near the dishwasher and table would be the best, myself. And, there MUST be some way to still see the woods nicely, and still have the kind of kitchen my husband likes. And, not have me running here there and everywhere to take care of dishes, etc.

I wish the kitchen angel would visit me and put some sort of brilliant idea in my head while I'm sleeping!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:51PM
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Thanks so much for posting your photos. I went through all of them. But the thanks is for the site, so much easier to use and signed up for it. Now I can post photos so much easier and move them over in a flash. Obviously I really like it and will be using it for more than just GW.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 7:28AM
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Hi Sandy,
I have just one open room now on our main floor. Kitchen/LR everything is all together. I LOVE it. We are not finished yet, but it is coming together. I linked a thread below where I've posted some update shots.
I agree with courtney134 - having it all open makes it feel so much bigger. It seems we have way more floor space than we did before.
In our 'new' kitchen I have no upper cabs for dinnerware, so it's in a lower drawer now. So far it works great! I'll try to get a pic later today.
ML - love your 'space saver'!

Here is a link that might be useful: our reno progress

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Here's a pic of our drawer with the dishes. It looks a bit different now as we've added a drawer, but you get the idea. :o) The drawer fronts are just temp as DH is making them after all the rest of the work is done.
As I mentioned before, having the dishes below seems to be working really well for us. It's different not reaching up for them (as well as all my serving dishes etc) but as I'm getting used to it, it's fine. I really like having the full-extension so I can see everything all at once. When they were up in a cupboard it was a pain to get stuff out of the back. Half the time I forgot what was up there.
We do have the glasses/mugs we use all the time in the little cupboard above, but that's all that's up there as it's pretty tiny.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Thanks for the pictures Missy. It looks as though you have a good working storage system. I also prefer to have windows in front of me rather than upper cabinets, as you have. I am only 5'3", so uppers are useless for me beyond the second shelf. I think it's easier to have glasses in as well.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Just a little note to "bump" this thread back up.
Sandy, Missy/PrairieGirl has so many great features in her kitchen. I've changed my way of looking at things here, drawing inspiration from her storage cabs.

I am a few inches taller than you, but I think leaving upper cabs out or minimized is a great option in smaller spaces. Especially if I use the roll out high density storage drawers like Missy does.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 3:37PM
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lots of posters on 'kitchens' put their dishes in drawers - none have posted a problem with dishes sliding around - and others have asked them about that! most don't use pegs either.

i only have a few regular dishes but still plan a drawer for them. I'll love not having to reach up to get dishes - or put them away!

buehl has a thread with her drawers posted and so does kmgard. kmgard just posted her finished kitchen the other day so should still be on p 1 or 2...or maybe 3

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 4:15PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, sandy808, I can't offer any advice, but it's good to hear that you are country folk (me, too). I have to agree that there are lots of nice people on this forum. And I agree that Missy's kitchen is full of wonderful ideas.

I'd like to have a large drawer in the baking center that I'm planning. I just need to get DH on board...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 6:25PM
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We've just gotten back today from a trip up north for our oldest son's wedding. We had a great time! I took a much needed break from house design.

On the way home we stopped at a couple of log cabin places to get some ideas. I couldn't decide whether to put a loft in our house for a sewing area or not. My husband pointed out that it makes the house huge (going upwards), and was something to consider for upkeep. After looking at a few more homes with lofts, I actually like the look of a single story better. I like a slightly vaulted ceiling, but not the huge ones that are involved with a loft. The single story versions made me feel like I was going to the cabin in the woods for a relaxing retreat. Nice. However, we sure haven't seen any ready made floor plans that we like. I think we are getting close designing one on our own though.

I did see some kitchens that were both spacious (without being ridiculously large), and had the table part of the kitchen. I think the trick is to design it so the cook is not dealing with the table as a barrier. Same as with an island.

I love the storage ideas I am getting here, and am planning on using a good number of them in my kitchen. I really like the drawyer ideas and like how much more open a kitchen can be by using them for storage and putting more windows in the walls instead.

I hope this thread keeps going for awhile. The feedback has been wonderful.

Anyone here sew? I can't figure out how to have a sewing area without closing off another room for it. I hated being closed off in my last house. We're trying to keep the house open and airy, and my husband thinks I should set up a spot in the great room for it. I'm just not sure how I would like that. Sewing can be pretty messy at times, but my husband said our home is to actually live in, not be a stage set.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 9:27PM
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ML Started a great thread on sewing spaces. One thing I did do for mine is use a child gate in the door way to keep the dogs out, hair and not much space makes it easier if they stay out.I do not feel so closed off this way.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sewing spaces

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 1:17AM
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Wow...I sure love that antique thread cabinet! The kitty in the photo by the sewing machine (in the slide show link) made me chuckle. I get lots of "help" from one of my kitties as well. I set a towel on the rolling cabinet next to me and am trying to get him to lay there while I sew. I'm so afraid he'll get hurt by the machine.

It sounds as though there are some issues with carving out a space in a reasonably sized home. It also sounds as though it may not quite work out having it in the corner of the living room. Hmmm....this is a toughie!

I have found that if the spare room is not quite large enough though, from personal experience, that it is more aggravating than dealing with the sewing clutter in the living room. I never had quite enough room for my sewing table and cutting table spread out to capacity. Yet this room was technically large enough for a small bedroom.

My husband suggested a gazebo attatched to our wrap around porch as a sewing studio,if I didn't like sharing open spaces for it, but I am not sure that I want to go "outside" to access my sewing area.

I'm thinking I may have to have a small room for cutting and storage, that might be able to double as a guest sleeping area when needed, with the sewing machine table outside the room. Feels like it would be a pain to do this. It's hard because I like to leave my iron and ironing board set up, and let's face it, they are not the most attractive to look at. My husband doesn't mind, but I do. Still toying with the floor plan. Gosh, this is tough!

I do know Chris that I hate feeling closed off, and it sounds as though you have the same feelings regarding that. Hard to keep pets out, isn't it?! I resigned myself to living with cat hair, but I do worry if I have an iron out cooling down.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 3:46PM
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Well my experience with outside working space is I did not like to go out there and be all alone all the time . Or felt guilty being out there leaving hubby all alone in the house.Even in another room we are still together. I know sounds weird. There is just something about having to GO somewhere else.And there was heat and cold issues winter and summer.

Also at first here I had my sewing machine in one room and all fabrics and cutting space in another and that did not work for me either. I spent too much time going back and forth and it was annoying enough to make me almost stop sewing or haul it all out in the living room.

My solution was to do a HUGE purge and furniture switch and make room in the smaller room for all the sewing things. The fold up table is perfect and when I am not sewing I tuck it in beside the china cabinet. Since we rarely have company I made the room just work for them but work really well for me for sewing. As in just work I mean there is just barely enough room beside the bed when two people would come to be able to walk up both sides. They stay here a night or two. I live here the rest of the time. Make the space for you. Unless you have lots of company.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 6:59PM
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Chris, we don't get enough company to waste space on keeping a guest room strictly as that alone. I appreciate your sharing your experiences with me in trying to make a sewing space for yourself. It really has helped me make a decision. After much thought, I feel I need to have a dedicated room, perhaps adjoining the living room area, but with french doors so I can close it off if we have an overnight guest or I need to keep the kitties out. I think maybe a small couch that pulls out into a double bed in there might be the way to go. Or an air mattress.

I don't want to be isolated from my husband either, especially if I want to finish something up in the evening. We like to be together, even if we are doing separate things.

In my last house I had a small sewing room, but I hadn't planned it out well enough. It was way too small to have the sewing table opened all the way up and have a cutting table set up at the same time. I had to use closets throughout the house to stash batting, etc. in. It was totally annoying, and I don't think I sewed as much as a result. The room also seemed too isolated from my husband in the evening.

So....I need to make a decent sized room, inside the house, so that I have a good creative space. So many house designers just don't get it either. They look at you like you're insane if you say you need a room at least 15 by 15, and the dream would be 20 by 20. They always say "for a sewing room"?! Now if I say it is a sewing STUDIO, they think of it much differently. Suddenly I rank up there with an artist or someone who writes novels. Anyway, I'm going to shrink some things up in order to get the sewing space I need. We decided we don't need a very big bedroom or bathroom.

For some reason men don't seem to mind going outside the home to a workshop or barn to putter. I truly didn't have a desire to go outside the house to sew, even if it was a room connected with a breezeway. I'd be afraid to leave the stove unattended, and it would be a pain to switch laundry loads. I could climate control it, but I couldn't picture myself going out there alone if inspiration struck at midnight, or we had some bad thunderstorms.

My husband has a saying. It's "this is our house, not a guest house". We always seem to make do if we get a huge bunch of family staying anyway. Everyone just camps out.

I have a very large oak rolltop desk that I'd like to fit in the sewing room if I can. I've had it a long time, it's pretty, and though I've purged a lot, I don't want to part with it. Do you think a large quilting sewing table and the large Horn brand cutting table (opened up and in use) would fit in a 15 by 15 room comfortably with the desk, or do I need a few feet more? I'm hoping I can have a storage closet in addition.

I can just see this house....big kitchen and big sewing room, with small other rooms. Oh well.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 10:38PM
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I agree, "oh well.." I figure that if I have couches and inflatable beds and cots and folding beds, I have provided for guests, too.

I had to come on and tell you that I looked up "Horn Cutting Table" on a search because I had not hear of it, and found this thing (below). Ain't it wonderful? Funny, I just don't have $2800 lying around to buy one! I could see someone throwing a table cloth on it and using it for a dining table until the urge to sew comes and then the dining area turns into a production center...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:41PM
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OH WOW that is a great table!! Never heard of one either and was thinking to search for it. Thanks for saving me the time. Nancy.

My sewing room is 9 by 13. No closet. I have a Futon that when made up as couch is 38 deep by 81 long. A small night stand that is 21 by 16 deep and a small dresser that is 21 by 11 deep. Another hamper I use for night stand that is 20 by 12 deep. My desk I use as sewing table is 30 by 22 deep. The fold up cutting lay out table is 5' by 27" deep. Then the china cabinet is 36 by 16 deep and finally another table that is 28 by 16 deep. The ironing board folds up behind the door when not in use or in front of the small table. There is enough room to walk around with out any trouble.

I had to LOL at "I don't want to be isolated from my husband either, especially if I want to finish something up in the evening. We like to be together, even if we are doing separate things." You do understand. Hard to put in words it is not like we have to be in each others pocket every second. I just do not want to be away.

I am picturing a roll top desk with all the cubby holes in the desk part with two sets of drawers on each side. If you could use it for your sewing things instead of a desk. I am happier with the futon even though it is ugly because there is lots of storage space under it.I keep fabrics in thin suitcases under it. Also in the china cabinet. the tiny dresser holds sewing notions. I converted a large jewelry box to hold my threads.

I use the hamper bedside table to hold the linens for the futon and the other side table to hold the blankets and pillows.

I have re-purposed many pieces of furniture to work for me. What normal person would use a china cabinet for fabrics? AND when we do have company or I need a real dinning table I use the fold up sewing table for that.

I think 15 by 15 would be way more than enough.

My STUDIO I do my mosaics in is only 10 1/2 by 13. I would have loved to have it a little larger but it works just fine as it is.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:11AM
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can you post what you have so far for a house layout? it would help to see it.

use a piece of graph paper and draw your sewing table into your room to see how it fits - along with anything else you'll need in it. like fabric storage, ironing board etc.

I think a large kitchen can be a hazard - to one's feet, legs etc!! having things rather close makes more sense to me. I don't want to be walking much of a distance to get from the sink to the stove or refridge. where I am now I can reach the sink, hotplate, oven and fridge without moving my feet much - I do have to turn a bit to the right for the oven and fridge - it helps to move at least 1 foot to do that...

this is my plan for my future kitchen - it's the same LO as now except where the cooktop is drawn now has a full range in it and the base cabs aren't all drawers.

I didn't draw in other than the base part and it isn't to scale (a bit, but not really). there is a window over the sink, a fan over the stove and upper cabs. where I drew the little oven (that box on counter) now has a full oven cab (with no oven - for mw I think).

the run w/little oven on it has a cook top where the line is darker. the dotted area on the other end is the corner cab and the top run attaches there. one run is about 7' from the corner cab and the other about 8'. everything will be close and handy so I don't have to do a lot of walking.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 2:18AM
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I do not do much ironing, still waiting for the wrinkled look to come back in style.

Only, the ironing board I have is not adequate for my tasks, since it is a table top board. I was thinking of getting the IKEA 18" base cabinet with the fold out ironing board and installing it beside the washing machine. This laundry area will wind up being sort of in a hidden corner of the new kitchen plan.

And when I sew, it is usually in the wee hours, always have been a night owl. When I did the most sewing, it was in the family room after hours, so to speak. Or, I'd be sewing and listening to the TV whatever was playing. Especially if it was a ball game, which I did not need to watch. Such occasions can be very amiable.

I love the idea of having the French doors which can give you the option of privacy or companionship. Also making a place for any guests. I've never made peace with inflatable beds, but if you can get them out of the way yet easy to access, sounds good to me. That would be easier to handle when you are older and cannot deal with a heavy sofabed...I refuse to give up my options to rearrange furniture. So I go for modular things. IKEA products satisfy that need IMHO.
Without breaking the bank.

Steph, your L-shaped kitchen is very compact and quite accessible. The plan could be in an open concept home very easily. Also, a rolling microwave cart with a drop leaf could be wheeled in to use for food prep, or a place to add a stool and sit down to do your work. Even a stool with wheels can be easily done. Think about those diner stools made of chrome with a round swivel top and a back. You'd be scooting from one end of the kitchen to another.

And you have DRAWERS in most places. Is that a dishwasher to the left of your sink? Do you have a window anywhere?
I might suggest a stainless steel rod mounted on the wall behind your cooktop. IKEA makes them very cheap.They are good for a few favorite pots or utinsels on hooks. And then you can put up a couple of open shelves with your everyday dishes on them. If not that, then for a little vertical interest, hang a glass covered picture in the corner to balance the fridge height. Or hang from the ceiling one of those series of wire baskets to hold your potatos and onions and other non refrigerated fresh foods. Or a live plant if there is enough light.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 11:49AM
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I hadn't seen the Horn Multi Lift 50000 before. If it's $2800, I'd say that's a bit pricey! I wouldn't pay that! My cutting table opens up to about 6 feet and has drawyers and compartments to store things. It was about $800 several years ago. My mother in law gave me the money for it as a gift. Today in hindsight, I could have had something just as nice (maybe nicer), and a lot less expensive by purchasing a wood portable island, or making one.

I had to laugh about waiting for wrinkled clothes to come back in style. I hate to iron as well. The iron gets used to press my sewing projects as I sew, usually while I am wearing a wrinkled blouse:)

My last sewing room was 11 feet by 12 feet, and I could hardly move around the sewing table and cutting table when both were opened up fully to work on. I also use an old fashioned wood clothes drying rack to hang fabric strips and ironed fat quarters on, so that takes up some room too. Making quilts involves large spaces because of the bulky volumes one is working with as the quilt progresses. I had great natural lighting though.

My husband and I stopped at a log home model last week and I saw a kitchen that was about 20 by 20, and I could picture it for myself. I loved it. It was an L-shaped kitchen work area, no island (not needed), the kitchen table was part of the kitchen, lots of windows and counterspace, and I could picture room for my grandmother's antique ice box that I have, as well as a hutch in there. It was perfect. There was enough room for friends and family to gather without tripping up the cook. The trick would be to get that kitchen to work with the rest of the house flow the way I want.

I have been very frustrated beccause I don't have a totally specific house floorplan figured out yet. In fact, as much as I want this house, I'm finding I get sick to my stomach at the thought of sitting down with graph paper any more. I've been at this for 7 months and still only have the general concepts of it done. The fact is, though I have specific needs and ideas, I am NOT a house designer! My husband has the ability to do the detailed blueprints from the floorplan, but since he does not cook, do laundry, or sew, he has no concept on how to help me. When someone asks Craig when we will start building and he says as soon as Sandy gets it designed, I just about blow my stack. It's suddenly all on me, and my fault that it isn't done. At least that's how I interpret the comment. He's just being a guy, and most likely does not mean anything by it. It hasn't been fun, and is becoming less so every day.

So....though we had a horrible experience with an architect, and lost a lot of money, I think I am going to bite the bullet and try to work with the man that helps with the log cabin floorplans. He's $500 for 5 revisions, but that's a lot less to lose if it doesn't work out than the stupid architect I had! It would be nice to come up with something and then post it here for your feedback.

By the way Chris, I can picture using a china cabinet for fabric. I'm thinking how pretty all those fabrics look through the glass. Right now I'm having to use a glass front bookcase for my dinner dishes and coffee mugs because I have about 2 cabinets in this mobile home.

I need a house.

Sandy :(

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 4:09PM
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I use to iron a lot when the kids were in school plus dhs (X) shirts and pants for work. I still have the ironing board but haven't used it in 20 yrs. I will if i ever sew again tho.

I like the idea of the french doors also. She could put sheers on the inside of them to blur her sewing stuff from the LR if she wanted also. then just open the doors up when sewing and it'd be almost like being in the same room with her dh!

my kitchen is very open - the backside of it is totally open to the hallway and the other side has 2 doorways with a partial wall between them (see pic). it has a laminate 'bar' in it now which will come out(go into my sewing/craft room) and my very old pedestal table will go in that space. I can sit at the table with my coffee - I'm going to attempt to have the tv w/in view in th adjoining room for watching the news.

I have 2 southwestern prints to put up in the kitchen, 1 will go on that partial wall and I was thinking of putting one on the wall above where I drew in that little counter oven. if the heat won't ruin it... that wall has a cab now but I'm thinking of not replacing that cab. will have to live in it awhile to see how it all 'feels' to me first.

yes, mostly drawers - that's what I want to change it to and yes, dw to left of sink and window over the sink.

Here in the desert most everything needs to be behind doors because of the dust storms. The dust seems to filter right thru walls and windows... I've picked out a southwestern metal sculpture for over the stove/cook top. I have thought about a very small shelf next to the stove area for salt, pepper etc. It doesn't need to be very big - I'll look for something southwest with maybe a coyote on it.

and i do have one of those hanging wire baskets! hmmm... maybe I could hang that for my bananas, apples etc.

there's the glasswork in the partial wall. I'll hang one of my prints over it (eventually have glass removed and drywalled). over to the far left you can see just a little bit of the refridge in it (not mine). it's bigger than my fridge is. it is the same place mine will be tho.
my pedestal table is about the same size as that laminate piece.
on past that wall is the LR/DR (about 13' x 24'). off to the far right is the back hall and pantry. the hall is open to the kitchen.

southwestern metal sculpture - it looks wider here than it really is.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 5:26PM
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Ironing? Ladies, you need to learn about the water-squirt method. Hang the clothing on a hangere that gives it the correct shape. If slacks, you might put each leg on its own pant/skirt hanger and spread the legs a bit. Spray with water bottle, somewhere between a mist and a squirt, depending on the fabrics and the wrinkles. Hang item on shower rod or other hanging place. Gently shake item, squirt more as needed. When the wrinkles are relaxed, let it dry. I had a polyester (fake silk) blouse that turned into a raisin in the washer. Hung it on a good hanger that gave it shape, then clipped about five or six skirt hangers to the bottom hems, pulling the hem fabric so it was taut between the clips on each hanger. Each hanger added weight, as well as pulling the shirt flat between each clip. I squirted the shirt and let it dry with the hangers hanging down from it. It looked PRESSED when it dried.

Here is a link that might be useful: All small houses could use this!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 12:39AM
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desertsteph, thank you for sharing your home. I love the metal sculpture! We get a lot of dust when the windows are open here as well. We live on a dirt road, and since there is sand in the soil (even my clay soil has sand in it) it makes the house dusty. I don't want open shelves in the kitchen for that reason. I'd be constantly cleaning.

I was thinking of hanging sheers on the french doors, and all the positive comments about using french doors on the sewing room made up my mind to use them. I woke up this morning and started to graph out a few house floor plan possibilities. I've had major mental blocks for 7 months, but something must have clicked while I was sleeping. Either that, or I'm not being so fussy now. I'm hoping my husband will 3D them this weekend so I can "walk through" them. Then I will pick one to perfect. I decided that I'm not going to sweat some of the storage areas, but rather leave room for them. Our county is pretty lenient about making internal changes while constructing, as long as it is not anything load bearing or structural. We need to break ground before too long, before I crack up.

Nancy in mich, I'm going to try your "ironing" method on my linen blouse. I try to wash it when the weather is nice and a bit of a breeze is blowing so I can hang it on the clothesline. This week I was able to hang everything outside, and my clothes look better than if they'd been in the dryer and then ironed. Soft and not a wrinkle in sight.

Life's too short for ironing, wouldn't you say? However, sewing projects really need to be pressed as they are sewn, but that type of ironing is fun.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:26PM
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yw Sandy! that's my 'future' home. I hope to get into it soon... I love some of the SW decorating also - cacti, animals, Indian symbols etc.

yes, there's so much dirt/dust blowing around here I want glass fronts if it's something I want to look at. Life's too short for a lot of dusting too!
the only ironing I'd do these days is if I decide to sew again. Maybe when I have a room I can keep things out in I will.

glad you're opting for the french doors w/sheers. it won't seem so closed off for you yet if you want to you can shut those doors!

I think it's easy enough to get mired in all of the decisions that have to be made. I go in circles over what sink, what handles, etc. It can paralyze you!

A good look at your LO and maybe we can help you squeeze in every inch of storage for the future. never can seem to have enough of it.

I also love to hang my things out on the line. the breeze here whips things around and shakes them out too. I'll have to put up a better line when I get moved. I just have a wire from one post to another now. until I moved here I hadn't hung out clothes since jr high!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:52PM
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I woke up yesterday feeling as though I had worked through some things about the floor plan, but couldn't quite remember what they were. Anyway, with coffee in hand, I started to graph some possible layouts. I then asked my husband to please 3D the things on the computer with his Chief Architect software so I can visualize them better. Then I will pick one to refine.

What I finally did was let go of the idea that everything "important" had to face the woods. My goodness, I said to myself, no view would be ugly and I have enough land to plant more trees anyway. The other thing I may do is leave some of the closets and storage areas "vague" but still allow the room for them. Our county is lenient enough to allow the homeowner to do whatever they want inside while under construction, as long as nothing is load bearing or structural.

I want to get the design close enough to get blueprints and get started, and the fine details can be worked out while the basic shell is going up. Since we are the builders, we have the freedom to do this. Naturally, I don't want to be moving walls and such during construction, but surely the kitchen layout can be fine tuned later.

My husband feels it would be more money wasted hiring someone else to work on the layout. We had a VERY bad experience with an architect on this, so we are not enthused about spending another $500 on someone who may or may not "get it".

I feel like I've made some new friends here, and I'm going to let you help me out with opinions on basic layout. We seem to have the same kind of thinking. I'll work on it further through the weekend, and hopefully will have something to post here soon.

I need a house! And my porch! It's to the point where we just have to do it. Perfection is impossible anyway.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:36PM
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you're right, it won't be perfect. somethings always get compromised on - it's life! but you can get as close as possible! we'll help... lol!

I think having things face different views is a good thing - if you have different good views, you want to see them all at sometime.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 6:26PM
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I tried to work on things tonight, but didn't I didn't make super detailed notes yesterday. It's funny how thoughts vanish. Anyway, I have enough to go on and am going to dedicate most of tomorrow to working on this. I would love to celebrate the 4th of July with blueprints.

I'll try to post something esarly next week. It may not look "professional" at that point, but hopefully good enough to get feedback from all, of you. My husband can make anything into the blueprints....he just needs to know where I want him to start.

The basic idea for the house is the "Fowler" plan on the crackerstylelog website. The floorplan isn't right for us because it is a bit closed in and doesn't have enough storage, but the porch and general look of the home is exactly what we want.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:27PM
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" It may not look "professional" at that point"

don't worry about that, just use a sheet of graph paper (google 'graph paper' and print it off).

then use each sq as 6" or 1'. give measurements for walls, doors, windows, cabs and appliances. make it big enough to be easily viewed and clear printing of measurements etc

even with my new glasses I think I'm blind sometimes...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 11:24PM
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One thing I did here when we were designing the house or making the changes we wanted. I had them put the doors NOT in the corners where possible. In the living room it allowed me to place furniture behind the door on the wall with out compromising being able to open the door. Jusr the 16 inches out from the corner left enough room for the hall tree and gun cabinet on the wall behind the door.
Leaving the top of the closet in my studio room open all the way up to the ceiling made it much more useable space for storage and that bit of pony wall can always be added should some one else want to. I hang curtains there.
Also not having doors on the closets and using curtains makes it so much easier to use them and lets our clothes breathe.
I am also one that likes glass fronted cabinets for things. Easier on the dusting situation. Who has time to dust??
Can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Initially I'm going to just do the basic rooms with dimensions. Closet dimensions as well. We can fine tune the cabinetry dimensions a little later. There are so many ways to lay out a house it is overwhelming. I just want to make the best use of space and keep as much light and air flowing throughout as possible. It is sometimes difficult to see if a room potentially closes in a house due to its placement.

I absolutely love glass front cabinets. With the children gone now, they stay neat and I don't mind having dishes showing. It looks more like a cottage that way.

I made the mistake in my last house with letting someone (house designer) talk me into moving doors going into rooms right at the end of a wall. What a waste of space! I found I couldn't put anything at all on that wall inside the room without making it feel as though it were an obstruction. Makes you wonder if these architects and house designers actually live in a house.

Chris, do you use the hall tree to hang coats? For your use or just guests? I wish I had my grandmother's now.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 1:19PM
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sandy - good idea. start with the basics!

i love glass fronts too - but i'm putting my dishes in drawers this time! would like cab doors with glass at the top tho. like the top shelf - one i can't reach anyway.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 5:38PM
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Yes we do use it to hang coats on and hats and shoes on the bottom shelf. Sometimes I get crazy seeing the clutter. Usually I hang my jackets in the laundry room and Joe uses the hall tree as his space. We have always used it.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Steph, I'm recommending a book for you to read. I thought about it when you said everything had to be behind doors because of dust. The book has the stories of the survivors of the dust bowl.

It is THE WORST HARD TIME, by Timothy Egan, National Book Award winner. Subtitle: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl. A huge environmental disaster....which changed lives and killed people and animals. I read it and could not put it down.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Sandy, can I make a suggestion about designing your house?

First: work on the individual rooms. And I mean draw the room as you wish it to look on your graph paper. Like a bathroom. Or if you plan a master suite, draw the bed area, the bath area, and the closet area. Then cut it out. Don't bother with windows unless you really really know where on your lot you want the bedroom view to be directed. If you know that, then you can put it on your LOT graph paper.

SECOND: Do your next room, and pick one that you pretty much know what you want it to be like. Again, leave off the windows and other openings, maybe even leave off the closets. Cut it out.

THIRD: Do your kitchen. Do your living room. Do you want a living/dining/family combo? Do you want a fireplace? Do you have a view you want to see from your living room or your kitchen? Then that tells you something about where you have to drop the drawing on your lot graph paper.

You can also move these rooms around on your lot graph paper. If you know you want to get up in the morning and you want to COME DOWN STAIRS, or WALK OUT ON A BALCONY OR PATIO, you can know something about where to put that room. Play with the things you KNOW you want, and fit the rest of the things you HAVE to have where they belong.

Consider where the power will come from the road. Where it connects to your house. Your DH can tell you that. Don't let the garage door (if you have one) be occupying prime real estate if you can help it. Turn it sideways or whatever, to keep driveby folks from looking into it. Try to keep your power and gas and water meters OUTSIDE your private areas too.

Work from what you know you want. Do one room at a time and put them together, with blank places in between that will be blocked out as you figure out their functions. I used to fall asleep designing houses in my head, and walking through the rooms. It was totally relaxing to me.

You can do this, and it can be fun. If you think better lying down (I do), then lie down and let your mind drift and think about what it will be like in your kitchen, your bedroom, your living room, what do you see in your mind when you walk to the front door to let a friend enter? This is turning your dream into a reality.

And make your DH participate in this process. Where does he want his tools, does he do the barbecue or the yard or keep any animals or go hunting or go fishing? Where does he see a TV, and does he want it close by to the kitchen during family time, or does he want a place for the guys to gather for poker or football? He's gotta step up to the plate too.

Have a good weekend, and please don't stress out.

Hmmm, you might even go to your lot with some yellow line and some stakes, and sort of lay out where you think your front door will be, etc. Why not? Visualizing is easier that way.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:46AM
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moccasin - thx for the book. have you ever seen a 'dust devil'? we have those out here. it's like a dust mini tornado - doesn't destroy buildings tho. when we have a dust storm you can see it coming from miles away. When it comes over you, you often can't see anything around you. it's like a wall of dust coming at you...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 2:11AM
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Sandy, if I had a porch like the one on the Fowler plan, well, I don't think I'd care about anything else! lol
Seriously, that plan is nice if you want an open floor plan. The porch is to-die-for!
You can do this! But when you've thought so much that your head feels like its going to explode, kick back, have a drink and imagine yourself on that porch!
Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 5:03PM
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moccasinlanding too bad you weren't one of my neighbors. I'd have you over here working on this with me. Between the two of us we'd have it figured out, quickly, I suspect. I'm going to try your idea and see how it works with making little paper rooms. It sure would save on all the graph paper I'm scribbling on and then discarding. Well, I did save a few. A couple may be able to be worked with, the other is to remind me of a layout I tried and didn't like. There are some definite views of the land for certain rooms, but at this point if the rooms work the way I want, I'm not going to try to make them all face that particular view. Fortunately, we've got 10 acres, so I have plenty of leeway with orientation.

My husband already has his space. The first thing we did was build a 32x56 barn. He has an air conditioned/heated office that is 32x16 within the barn, on one side. He is now sole breadwinner, so he certainly deserves the office. The rest of the barn is packed with garden stuff and all our stuff from our last house.

We don't have any animals yet, except our kitties. I would like a dog, a horse, and some chickens after the house is built. Not sure about a calf yet for beef. I don't know that I could have it butchered.

We decided on having a "carport" (or are they called porticos?) attatched to the house rather than a garage. A gargage would ruin the look of this style house, and it would only fill up with junk anyway. It will come after we make sure we have enough money for the house first. We do know where it will be located, and it will be oriented so we are not looking at it from the main rooms. One advantage of waiting to build the car area is that we can actually move in, and see where it should go, (and not go).

The big hangup, still, is my sewing area, and with trying to keep the house from getting too large. Today I was in the barn and the office, and I told my husband that the size office he has would be perfect for me. I could put my large roll top desk, treadmill, huge cutting table, bookcases, sewing table etc., and be happy as a clam. It would be a workout room, office, and sewing room all in one (Not in the barn, of coarse).

After making it clear, that no thanks, though I appreciated the offer, I didn't want the BARN added on to for sewing. What he suggested then is that I add an area on the house that is comparable. Said he'd rather do that than have second story with loft. I'll see. The style house we want will not look good if it gets too large.

idie2live, last night I chilled a whole bottle of wine, and drank it all while sitting outdoors with my husband. Needless to say, because I usually do not drink much, I was very silly by the end of the evening. Today I've had a feeling of peace (and a slight headache). I just feel like it will get there.

The porch will be my favorite part of the house. I've wanted a porch like that forever.

Tomorrow, I will start making paper rooms.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 11:32PM
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Sandy, about the porch. And Idie2live too.....did I miss the link to the porch in question? I'll check this thread again to look for it.

If it is covered, and it is big--or long and across the front of the house, would it be possible to balance the porch with a similar structure on the opposite side (or L-shaped junction) to work in the Ladies Room? Meaning, Sandy's place, of course. I'm thinking the 32 x 16 dimension for the porch, and the same approximately for the Ladies Room.

Sandy, what IS the style of the house, that would not look right if it gets too big? And what are the dimensions of the house that you picked as your inspiration? Is it the log cabin style? Or a cottage style?

I wish I had the plan I threw away after we decided not to rebuild on our river property. I do plan to do a similar roof line on our derelict cement block garage when we get to that final project with our stucco cottage. It is a plain rectangular structure, and I want to make the roof in two different elevations. Stand at the drive by corner of the house and look at the building. It has 20 foot WIDE dimension you look at. It has the 24 foot DEPTH that it goes away from you. I think now about the right half of that as viewed from the street/driveway as being a slightly raised roof, so the top could have some drainage. Then the left half of it go dramatically UP as viewed from the street, and about 6 foot above the highest point of the other half. Just so I can put in some 6 foot tall vertical Lexan panels which will look out across the top of the lower roof area. You see, I'm considering planting on that lower half of the roof. It will be cooler inside. Also, I will then have room for a good sized LOFT under the high half of the garage. And beneath the loft? Well, that is where I want to install the exercise pool (Endless Pool makes them). The part under the low roof will be my winter plant room. That will be the final project for our Casa Del Sol.

Sandy, I know you are thinking no loft, but this kind of roofline could work for your loft and give it a view of its own and an expansiveness if placed in a less than desirable spot in your floor plan. A really wide set of steps going up could be out in the middle of your ground floor living space, and then you turn the space UNDER THE STEPS into drawers for storing fabric or longer items but a 48" wide set of steps could give you space to store fabric on BOLTS. However, if the steps/stairs were open on both sides, you could also have drawers a normal depth to open from both sides. If one side fronted your dining room, heck, that could give storage for a lot of table linens and dishes w/o having pieces of furniture in the way. And if the other side was in your kitchen, well, my glory you'd have umpteen drawers or open cubbies for tall items or trays or display of flowers and vases.

Gee, I wish I could be an architect, I'd have so much fun.
And you are right, Sandy, I need to be your neighbor for a while, and so do the rest of the folks on here who are enchanted with the opportunity to participate in shaping this wonderful new house of yours.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 3:53PM
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Well, I've drawn out about a bazillion rearrangements, and out of those my husband and I selected about three of them for me to play around with a bit, to see if one shouts that this is the one to refine. I have to take breaks from this process often or I get too stressed out. Trying to keep it somewhat enjoyable. Graph paper speaks. It can make it obvious when the floorplan closes the house in too much, blocks views, etc,. Sometimes it shows that despite a room looking large, there is no good place to put couches, etc. because of walking paths to other rooms.

The style house we are going to build is the old Florida "cracker style" home. It has a fairly steep pitched roof (metal), and a FULL wrap around porch. I don't want to bump out into or take away from the porch in any way. Most of the year we are able to use our porches. I've dreamed of this porch for years. It's more important to me than the sewing room, or anything else.

An idea as to how we want the outside of the house to look like is to go onto the site and look at the "Fowler" That's the porch I want.

I've come to the conclusion that I really don't want a loft. For one thing one never knows when they might break a leg. The other is I'm not getting any younger. After speaking with a few people that have lofts, many of them generally stop using them after awhile. Maybe it's the isolation thing. My husband and I also do not care for the extremely high vaulted ceilings that results over the unlofted area.

The other issue is, lofts adds a huge, huge amount to the building costs. I'm afraid of having a half completed home if we do a loft. I know we have enough money to build a single story. I think. If we are very, very careful, and eat beans and rice.

It's much cheaper to increase the base footprint, or build another structure than to build a loft and finish it off in nice wood. Some people will leave the floor joists exposed on the lower level, but I don't care for that look. I would want the ceiling portion done in tongue and groove like the walls. Heating and cooling costs also increase greatly with a lofted home, and they certainly aren't getting any cheaper!. The ceiling is so vaulted that it becomes wasted volume that is climate controlled.

I think what I will end up with is a sewing room that is decent sized, but not quite as large as I would like. If I situate it properly, such as french doors that open into the great room, I can just wheel my cutting table into there to cut if I need more space. It doesn't bother my husband or I if I do that, and it can get wheeled back into the sewing room if company is expected. We really don't entertain much anyway, and if someone stops over unexpected to say hi, it doesn't bother me if they see my stuff out.

I've been waiting to post a floor plan until we narrow the orientation of the rooms down to one we think will work. Then I truly want all of you to give me your thoughts on how best to refine it. I'll most liklely need help with the boxes that are storage areas and closets. Maybe with some prayer I will get to that point early this week.

Moccasinlanding, I LOVE your storage ideas with stairs and such. They are excellent. I do like lofts....a lot. However, when I wrote down the pros and cons, the cons seem to be greater in number. Lofts can make less than "nice" things happen to the house, such as the high vaults. It certainly makes the house much harder to maintain, especially the outside structure being so far up in the air. (Think huge ladders). However, when it comes down to it, my main worry is running out of money mid construction. I refuse to get a mortgage or loan again. It's too nice living debt free now.

My husband keeps saying how he can build me a sewing studio near the house (now to match it), for a reasonable amount of money. I've noticed that all the men I've spoken with LOVE detatched work areas. It must be a guy thing. They just don't understand my reluctance about it. The other evening we had a very violent thunderstorm. Bad lightning and rain, and we lost power for three hours. I pointed out that I couldn't see myself in a detatched studio in that kind of weather. In reality though, I wouldn't have stayed out in this imagined studio anyway.

I love him dearly, but I swear the male species is from another planet. They probably think the same thing about women:) Maybe we women just feel more secure doing things within our homes, while men are genetically programmed to leave the house in order to hunt dinner for us.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 3:58PM
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"I swear the male species is from another planet."

you're right about that! and they do. have any of you heard Mark Gungar? He's a minister, marriage counselor, speaker etc. you can find short clips of him in action on youtube. check him out. he is so FUNNY you'll roll laughing!

when my dbf came out Saturday with 2 buddies to 'decide' where to put the doublewide it ended up 10' west of where I'd previously told him. that 10' change just took the east end of it out of range of my boy dog so we wouldn't have to move his pen twice. once to bring in the doublewide then again later to move him up closer to the doublewide. I want him sort of 'attached' to where I'll be so I can look out the window and check on him - and no one can get to the door without going past him.

10' difference just because I couldn't REALLY know where it should go - I guess. I do understand him not wanting to move the pen twice - but he could have just said that. it wouldn't have mattered to me in the least. The less work that needs to be done, the better. men!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 2:30AM
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Sandy, I didn't want to hi-jack Steph's thread, but I saw you mentioned that you had thought about not having a bathtub in your new house at all. I took out the only tub in my house about 3 years ago. I think it was a great decision for me, since I never used it and figured since I was not planning to ever move, I could do what I wanted.
Now there are a couple of things I wish I had done or could have afforded to do differently. I used a pre-fab unit (acrylic??) with 2 'seats' in the corners. Those 'seats' are wasted space. I wish I had gotten a flat base and used a shower bench if needed. I also wish I could have had an all tile shower, but costs prevented this. My shower is the size of a tub (32" x 60") and even though I am 5'11" tall, I still really enjoy not having to step over the side of a tub.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:51PM
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ide - I don't mind you hijacking it!

I wanted a shower seat too (if I had / have to put in a new shower) but figure one of those movable seats will be fine too. probably even better. and I'd love a tiled shower also but agree the expense is too much. my sister said her shower cost something like 20,000.00 (can that be possible?).
having one the size of the tub space is a good move!

I was thinking to have dbf tear out the tub in mstr bath but then I thought maybe i'd keep it, put that shower bench in it, put my foot soaking bubbling basin in the tub and sit in there to soak my feet. if water spills it's in a good place for spilled water!

being tall gives you access to all the shelves in upper kitchen cabs - those I can't reach!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Sandy, for 20 years I worked in a male dominated industry where I had to learn how to think like a man, or to see things from their point of view. And it is different from us women. I HAD to learn in order to survive, because it was not a good place for a woman. However, "if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen." And I needed the money.

When you are discussing the house with your alien species, don't ever say PRETTY, FEMININE, PASTEL, COLORFUL, or any other term which has a female aura to it. Instead, emphasize EFFICIENT, STURDY, DURABLE, STRONG, COMPACT, WELL ENGINEERED OR WELL DESIGNED, and maybe throw in MASCULINE, DENIM, LEATHER, COMMANDING, DOMINANT, you get the idea. In your LOFT theme, I posted with a drawing for a roofline you might consider which could give you a loft without making a big vaulted ceiling....yeah, it can be done.

I wish I could find the floor plan for a house that was done this way. It had a deck on at least THREE SIDES, not a wraparound porch. But your porch would work with the roofline drawn as I show.

Gee, I wish I'd grown up to be an architect. It would be so much fun.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 8:31PM
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Hey, why don't you think about being a house designer? You'd be good at it. Most people can't afford an architect anyway, and frankly, I haven't found one that was very good. I know there must some good ones out there, but I haven't found one yet. The ones I've delt with are severely lacking in the house design common sense department. There is a huge need for someone that knows how the house should flow, and what kind of storage there should be....all without making convoluted floorplans that would cost a fortune to build.

I have worked in a male dominated profession as well, and really enjoyed it. I've always been an adventuresome sort and love the outdoors. No, I'm not adventuresome enough to go sky diving. Seems sort of stupid to jump out of an airplane that still has its wings attatched.

When I burned out on my job as an x-ray technologist, I learned to fly and got so hooked on it that I became a flight instructor over 20 years ago. I'm not actively instructing right now, but keep all my certification up in case I decide I want to do that again. You are absolutely right in stating that one has to think the way a male mind does. I had to learn that quickly when teaching them to fly, such as asserting who is the boss in that airplane (me). It was great fun, but times have changed and some of the people learning to fly now are arrogant sorts, and I don't tolerate arrogance.

Fortunately, my husband doesn't mind my lace curtains and ruffled muslin swags. But to be sure, when I need to "get my own way" about something I appeal to the "strong, well constructed, energy efficient" theme. The rest of time a homemade cherry pie or peanut butter cookies works wonders.

I still love lofts. BUT, I'm thinking it's not the way to go. I usually don't let others sway me too much, but it does appear that 9.5 people out of 10 would not build a second story home again. That's telling me something, and I can't afford to make a huge expensive mistake with this house. I would never be able to make a two story into a single story, but I can make a seperate studio from the house if need be. There's just more options with a single story home. The cost of energy is another factor.

Think about what I said about doing some house design. You wouldn't have to get bogged down full time, but could pick and choose. I think you'd really enjoy it!


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:21PM
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I see you have pretty good ideas friend!
Well as you are stuck to choose the dinning table with in your kitchens I guess the deigns I had would help you...


Here is a link that might be useful: Dinning table in kitchen

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:47AM
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