Would you please review kitchen floorplan? 1880s house

IslandgardenMay 15, 2013


I am new to posting, though I have read the forum for some time. I would greatly appreciate feedback and assistance with a kitchen remodel.

House: 1880s shingle style house with a dark and not very functional kitchen facing north in New England. Currenlty the whole kitchen space (kitchen + eating area is 11'10" by 18'. The plan will expand it only slightly--the bumpout is approximately 3' x 8.5' and the door is moved back by about 4' giving us a bit more room when we enter the house. (The original door is still on the plan as the door to a new coat closet).

North-facing: The three windows in the plan over the sink face northwest and the bumpout faces northeast so the corner of the kitchen is due north. Mature trees all around.

Goal: renovate the kitchen and keep the footprint as similar as possible with two exceptions, already shown on the plan: 1) 3 foot bumpout oriented to the northeast with a deep banquette window seat to create an eating nook with lovely views to a small but pretty garden and 2) move the back door by a few feet to improve the rear entry.

The butler's pantry will keep its layout and for now the refrigerator stays there (I hate the way all fridges look and do not mind 2 extra steps to get there). This is because we need to keep the piano in the center of the kitchen (for now) to motivate practice. In the future, if we do not have a piano this space could become the pantry or the fridge could move there and the current location of the fridge could become the pantry.

Dishwasher stays in the butler's pantry since it works so well there and we will continue to store plates and cutlery and glassware there to serve both the kitchen and the dining room (which is next to the butler's pantry).

I am enclosing the plans for the revisions, which I designed and had an architect convert to CAD. Architect liked the plan and really had no changed to offer.

1. Is 4'6" (54") the right amount of clearance between the counter and the peninsula? or should we go a bit wider? two of us cook, not at the same stove at the same time but husband is not tiny (6'5"). But enlarging this impinges on the eating area

2. I want a really deep banquette that is a proper window seat that one could nap on. Windows with tempered glass will go all the way down to the seat cushion since one will not be able to lean back if seated on the banquette to eat. Problem--right now the width of this eating area is about 9 feet. As shown we have a banquette on the right side as well so the table is off center (to allow more room to access the peninsula and its stools, when in use). This means that the table is NOT centered on the 3 windows of the bumpout and there is not a good place to hang the light fixture that does not look odd. So should we center the table and just have 3 feet on either side and a 3 foot table? other ideas?

3. Counter depth--might use 30 inch counters on the two shorter sides (the counter run with the stove and the one parallel to it). Thoughts? How much more expensive would that be for deeper cabinets?

4. Where should the microwave go? if it goes in the peninsula, would you put it on the open end or opening into the center of the kitchen?

5. Lighting--since it is an old house I do not want to perforate the ceiling all over with can lights but do need good light (north facing). Thoughts?

6. For those with a bumpout to the northeast with trees around, would skylights in the bumpout make much difference to the light or would it just leak all our heat out in winter? We are already adding two additional windows on the sink side and have the windows in the bumpout but the entry is heavily shaded by a sleeping porch above so maximizing light is a goal.

7. Would a beadboard ceiling painted a glossy white lighten the space?

8. Pantry--we are losing a big walk in panty area that now takes up almost half the kitchen space and means that we do not even have a sink in the main part of the kitchen. I loathe the pantry as it is a black hole--way too much in it and nothing can be found. But when it goes so does food storage. Ideas for convenient food storage in the plan? Less storage will be better, but no storage not so good.

9. I would love to use high end recycled cabinets--and experience with those?

10. Casement windows: I would like them over the sink and in the bumpout but although the architect did not say anything about it, it seems that a person coming up the back stairs could run right into an open casement window unless it folds all the way back and attaches.

11. This plan has a lot of blind corner lower cabinets. I don't think I can avoid that but I need to figure out how to use them effectively. Ideas? was going to have a cabinet under peninsula to be accessed from open side though others here mentioned repeatedly bumping their heads on these.

Any other thoughts much appreciated. Thank you!

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You don't necessarily need to put in 3 corner cabinets. For the peninsula, I would consider putting a cabinet that is accessible from the back. Though, I have seen some cabinet manufacturers make a corner cabinet that is accessible from the backside as well. One of those other corner cabinets, you might want a Super Susan. Personally, I don't like the blind cabinets, due to accessibility issues.

You can use an OTR (over the range) microwave, have an upper cabinet with a microwave shelf or do a microwave drawer in a lower cabinet.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Here is a link that shows a bunch of different ideas for blind corners. You can use it for some food storage which may work for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: blind corner thread

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:39PM
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robo (z6a)

Personally I would skip the side banquette and center the table. Might go for a slightly narrow table to ensure edge past space on the right.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Gpaceman--i would like a hood because all cooking smells head straight up the back stairs to the bedrooms so need a different location for the microwave. Also don't like reaching up for hot things

Remodelfla--that thread is great...but there seems to be no consensus on what works best. Probably need to see the options in person. I never liked the lazy susan i had years ago but maybe they have improved.

Robotropolis--i agree that centering the table would look best. Can anyone comment if 3 feet is too narrow for comfort between table and wall or peninsula for chairs at the breakfast table?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:59PM
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How high will be your base cabinets? If you are nearly as tall as your husband, you may consider higher base cabinets to increase your storage space. I am 5'9", my base cabinets are 31.5" and with counter and toe kick reach 37". If you are taller you may go higher than that. Also. you may consider having toe kick drawers.

And here is a crazy layout for you with only one corner. You may have about 90" width for drawers and a better chance to center your table.

Here is a link that might be useful: Loves2cook46's drawer looks like quite functional

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Sena01--thanks! great link and I will definitely ponder these ideas and see if they work better. If only the kitchen did not face north I would defnitely have this sort of plan because we already have a door right between the two counters on your plan (in fact to use it the counters would have to be shallow as you drew them) but sadly this door and its view are into both darkness and the 1960s house next door that is not very attractive.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Islandgarden, I can't comment on your space much but I was just reading one of Sarah Susanka Not So Big House books, I think Inside the Not so Big House. She discussed banquettes extensivly, what works and included diagrams with measurements. You might check it out.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Islandgarden, I can't comment on your space much but I was just reading one of Sarah Susanka Not So Big House books, I think Inside the Not so Big House. She discussed banquettes extensivly, what works and included diagrams with measurements. You might check it out.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Sorry, have to get back to work and didn't get to read the entire post...but if the fridge is going to stay in the pantry, is there room for a small under-counter fridge in the peninsula? That would allow you to grab needed items while you cook, without going to the pantry, but drinks and larger items would be in the main fridge.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:10PM
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lannegreene--brilliant suggestion! I read through those years ago but did not recall that this was in them. Just ordered about 5 of her books from the library and am searching this forum as well

lavendar_lass--my storage will be tight so I don't plan to add an undercounter fridge, but I am one of those people who is perfectly happy to take 2 more steps to get to the fridge since we have had it in this location for 11 years and I find it both convenient enough and out of the way. I can use all the steps I can get!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 5:35PM
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I wanted to comment on the skylight question. We recently installed skylights on south- and north-facing roof sections. The south one might as well be on the north because it is directly north of three very large cedar trees. In other words, it can't really ever get direct sunlight, and it's always in varying amounts of shade. Even that skylight, which is pretty much the worst-case scenario for light, makes a huge--HUGE--difference in how much light is in the house below it. The room beneath it went from quite dark and not very pleasant to a much brighter, more welcoming spot. Our north-facing skylight lets in even more light, so I suspect you'll be really happy with the increased light in your kitchen if you put a skylight where you're considering. The combination of that plus windows around the bump-out will probably make the banquette area a very pleasant place to sit.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 6:14PM
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WindyCityLindy--this is very encouraging. Would you put in 3 skylights in a row in the bumpout based on your experience and since it seems you may be from a cold climate too--have you noticed an issue with heat loss ? and if so is there any way to lessen that ? thanks!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Holly- Kay

We are in a wooded area and have two skylights in the living room and one in the kitchen and they give us a tremendous amount of light. I wish I didn't need them as I like a classic traditional look and would rather have an unbroken line of ceiling. To me skylights always read contemporary but I would install them again because of the brightness they add to my home.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:27AM
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