does this open floor plan allow for a functional kitchen

illinigirlMay 21, 2013

This plan is based on an actual home we recently toured. I posted the kitchen last week and the consensus was that it needed to be re-designed to be functional at all. Well I drew out the dimensions of the areas that are open to the kitchen with the numbers given to me by the builder and then I put in the basic elements of the kitchen minus the sink and d/w. Here is what I came up with. I wanted to get some input to see if this is a layout we can work with to get a functional kitchen.

Like I said I didn't put in the sink. seems like the only place would be to put it in the island, perhaps on one end or the other. I would not prefer it to be in the middle because I want one continuous stretch of island work surface.

One question I had was how far is the maximum distance the island can be away from the cook top wall. I know the minimum is 48" which is what i put into the drawing, but perhaps it can be even farther?

What do you think? Where would you put the sink? Will this kitchen be functional?

We are a family of 5 who gravitates toward eating at the island daily, though not usually all of us at the same time.

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Where is the sink? I would probably move the frig over so it's not right behind island unless there is plenty of room there to open the frig.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:07PM
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yes, the fridge could be moved, but there are 5 feet between the fridge and island. I didn't put the sink in because I'm undecided about where to put it. I would assume in the island on one side or the other but NOT in the middle. That was one of the questions in my text- where to put the sink and d/w?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Put the sink and the DW and trash in the island.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:14PM
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Put the cleanup sink next to the fridge and move the fridge down a bit. Then put a prep sink on the island. And make the seating area of the island an arc so that people end up facing each other more. And you can probably have seating on one end too.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Ok. I am concerned about the main cleanup sink facing a wall. If the sink was in that wall then the dishwasher would also be on that wall and that is a walk way to the family room. Not sure that would work.

I do like the arced island idea and the prep sink idea.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:22PM
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I would move the fridge all (or almost all) the way down toward the FR. That will keep people getting snacks and ice out of your way. Then put your clean up sink maybe 3 or 4 feet down from the fridge. Even if that's a walkway, with 5 feet there would be plenty of room for people to get by you. Put a prep sink on the left end of the island (toward the fridge wall), but facing the stove. That way you don't have to stand in the walkway from the door to prep and you have lots of room on the island across from the stove to prep. I might also consider moving the ovens to the opposite side of the stove at the other end of that wall. The other thing that seems to be missing is a pantry. HTH!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:42PM
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flwrs n co: yep, there is a pantry along the fridge wall towards the end close to the family room, but i left it off because i think it can be put in multiple places.
1) right as you walk into the kitchen from the doorway I marked, to the right. So on the left if you are facing the plan. I thought perhaps it could 'L' along behind the fridge wall.
2) before you enter the kitchen running behind the stove wall.
3) as it is currently placed, at the end of the fridge wall closest to the family room.

If the fridge is so close to the family room won't the kitchen work triangle be too big? too far away from cook top? I do like your idea about the wall ovens out of the way towards the casual dining area. Of the major appliances that is the one I use least (although I do use it a good amount).

ty for the input so far. It sounds then like I could make this into a functional space? It's workable?

I intentionally left off other parts of the plan because they are more complicated than I know how to draw. There is significant mudroom space behind the kitchen (out the doorway that I marked) and there is going to be a small room in front of the family room sort of in between the kitchen and family room but in front of them. That room is for a piano and small amount of seating and book shelves. so kind of a leisure room. The main entrance is off the family room, bottom left of the plan as you face it. The stairs up and down are also located in the mudroom area off the back of the kitchen. That was one of my requirements is no main staircase, only a back staircase, hidden out of the way.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:29PM
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The kitchen you've drawn looks very functional and very nice to me. Certainly it seems like you could set the island out further if you wished. Lay out some boxes and see just what you like; you can bring it in to the inch.

If you want to keep cleanup on the island, I'd suggest on the left side. That's farther from where people may still be sitting at the dining area and passing into the family area and would help maintain a relatively, open uncluttered area at the other end for socializing at all times.

Whatever you do on the left wall, the refrigerator's bulk will be a defining element. I'd prefer its bottom side at very most lined up with the bottom line of the island, but preferably its top side lined up with the island's inner line as you show it (or even the whole thing lined up on the cook's corridor, which would be my preference for my working convenience although you might have trouble persuading people not to run directly from table to fridge if it were there). Putting it lower than the island's hard edge would extend the working kitchen into the family room social space, and keeping that from happening is always my own preference, and so unnecessary here where you have such nice room to work with.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:29PM
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also, in the island then, from left to right would be sink, then d/w, then trash bin, so the trash bin ends up directly across the cook top? is there a problem with that?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:51PM
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"also, in the island then, from left to right would be sink, then d/w, then trash bin, so the trash bin ends up directly across the cook top? is there a problem with that?"
I don't think that would be a problem, but I would rather have the sink in the middle. But as you don't want to loose prep space another alternative can be sink, trash, DW.

What about having 2 sinks on the island? On the left prep sink+ trash, On the right, add 3 cabs for trash, cleanup sink and DW facing DR to have a T shaped, 12' island. And move island a foot to FR to keep 48" aisle. Since you marked the DR as casual I guess it won't look too strange.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I agree with separating the cleanup and prep zones by moving the cleanup zone next to the fridge and putting a prep sink on the island. I know with the other non functional design that the thing that you were attracted to was the large amount of seating all around the island. Here's an option for that same type of gathering spot but it maintains the functionality of the kitchen. It's crudely done in Paint, but you can get the idea of the circular flow. It does have a modern aesthetic, but you could translate that into something more traditional and still maintain the circular shapes that make this so functional and social. Look at Johnny Grey's work in England to see what you could do with a more traditional vibe.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Sophie Wheeler

BTW, most of the time you spend in the kitchen (70%) is prep, and keeping the island for that means that you spend most of your time facing the home (not the wall) and interacting with your guests. With 2 DW's to absorb all of the dirty dishes, cleanup ought to go rather quickly for whomever gets assigned that chore.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 8:48PM
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thanks holly springs,
i would be concerned about having a d/w open up right at the doorway entry. Also, where is the trash bin in the plan?

Also, the microwave will be above the wall oven. I think I'm planning on a single wall oven with a convection/micro above it. It will take up similar (a little less) space as a double wall oven vertically. I really like the wall oven moved over towards the dining area.

I'm not fond of the oval shape of the island. And i'm still wary of a sink facing the wall. It just seems....odd. not sure why. perhaps when i get farther into the process and get some 3D's done it will help me visualize it better. I'm so used to a sink at a window and in this design that's not possible.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:12PM
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It's a very functional design and I speak from experience as it's what I have. And I love the layout, it works perfectly for us.

Agree about the two sinks, but for me I wanted my main sink in island with cleanup zone to the left of the sink and prep zone to the right of the sink. The sink on the fridge run is a beverage/snack sink. That works way better for our family than having the cleanup sink on the fridge run. I am the cook and cleaner, DH is the snacker and mess-maker, so I love having him over there and out of my work zone and never our paths should cross when I'm busy making dinner. :)

For me, I plate all our meals at the range and I wanted the our main dishes nearby for that reason, so moving the dishwasher across the other side of the kitchen would be poorly functioning layout for me. For people that serve family style, on the other hand, it would be preferable to have the dishwasher and therefore the dishes across the way so a family member could set the table while the main cook is prepping.

So that's a long-winded way of saying there is no one perfect answer. You need to really think through how your family uses a kitchen, especially the traffic patterns at the most busy times when you're getting meals ready.

But as I say, I think the bones are great. Two sinks is the way to go, whether it's cleanup on the fridge aisle & prep in the island, or cleanup/prep in the island & and snack/secondary prep on the aisle.

Here is our kitchen so you can see what the bones might look like. In your case you'd have the wider expanse of counters beside the fridge area but hopefully this will give you an idea re. the general appliance and island sink placements. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:21AM
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thanks for posting your kitchen, it is beautiful! Indeed your layout is similar to the sketch I posted :)

may I ask how wide your fridge is, and also how big your main sink and island length are please?


anyone else have any input? I so much appreciate all the responses so far.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 1:08PM
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I just have to say that the island that holly posted is one of the most creative and functional ones I've seen on GW. A lot of the "out there" stuff that you see doesn't seem to actually work and that one does. What makes it work so well though is the curved area for seating. No "birds on a wire" really makes it easy for those seated to converse with each other and the cook.

Even if you don't care for the shape, I'd really try to use the overall layout with the prep sink and large prep area with seating on multiple sides.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 1:18PM
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yes, i love the way people would face each other. love it. It's a great design. I'm having trouble conceptualizing a more traditional shape (other than rectangle?) though.

Holly springs, how large an island is the one you drew in? it looks to take up a similar amount of space horizontally, so perhaps it is close to 10 feet across?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 1:28PM
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illinigirl, ours is the all-fridge, all-freezer twins at 33" each so 66" total. You'll have a lot more room for counters on your run with a standard fridge.

Island is 10 x 4.5 feet counting overhang ... the length is 9'9" of cabinets because 10' is the max caesarstone size and we wanted the island in one slab without seams. Sink base is 36" and offset to the left side of the island. I agree with you about the value of a wide expanse of prep space and not centering the sink is the best decision we made. Our config is 24" dw, 36" sink, 24" dw drawer, 15" trash compactor and 18" recycle.

Good luck with your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 6:43PM
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I know that many people talk about facing the wall for the clean up sink. In my house, it takes me 30 mins or more after dinner to clean up completely. You should time yourself after your dinner to see how long it takes to clean up. I would NOT want to face the wall while cleaning up. Cleaning up after a meal is the least favorite part of the kitchen duty and I needed to make it as pleasant as possible. This means that I needed to face something nice; a view out the window, look into the next room etc.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 6:54PM
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