Time to make my final layout decisions, please help?

home4all6May 15, 2013

Hello GW friends!
I haven't been around at all lately--life has been busy and we have also just completed a master bath addition (woo-hoo!)
And now it is (finally) time to tackle my kitchen reno!
We have worked with an architect to make these plans, so I *think* we've done the best we can do with the given space, without having to add-on, which I am adamant about.
Our house was built around 1916, but has been added onto a few times. Our current kitchen appears to have been an addition in the 40's or 50's. It is large and bright, but very disconnected from the rest of the house, with a zig-zaggy trek to get to the rest of the house. I hate it. The other problem is that we mostly use the side-door to get in/out of the house--it is our main traffic spot--and it comes right into the middle of my kitchen. And there land all the coats, boots, backpacks, mitts, and all the other crap that 4 kids under 8 require in a midwestern town.
My requirements:
~A more connected kitchen (to the rest of the house)
~Storage spaces for kids 'stuff'
~Eat-in area in kitchen, for 4-6 people
~views to backyard
I think I am getting all of these in my new plan. I wish we could fit an eat-in table in there, which we currently have, but I just can't make it work. We are opening the kitchen to the DR, so the DR table will be our everyday table. I am a cook and a baker, and I usually have helpers--they are currently small helpers, but they just keep growing, and they just keep helping, too :)
I'm going to paste some pictures here of the current plans, and I'd appreciate any feedback anyone might choose to provide. I've been in the thinking and dreaming stage for many years, but the prospect of making this a reality has me completely doubting every decision I thought I had made. (I apologize to those of you who have seen some of these before!)

new plan: (we are leaning towards a 48" gas range, with 2 ovens, b/c we don't have the wall space for a second oven.)



north wall:

west wall:


pantry wall:

mini dry bar:

The pantry wall is only 12" deep, and there will be a window over the first 5' of lower cabinets and shelves. I'm not exactly sure what to do with this space?? I also plan on having hook and cubby storage on the backside of the sink cabinets, along the basement stairs, for visitors coats and shoes.
The stairs to the basement will go down into a mudroom below the kitchen, with cubbies for each kid and storage lockers for all the gear they require. I plan on putting a bowl of candy down there in the early days to train them to go straight downstairs upon entering the house ;)
I will link to my album, with a few other inspiration pics, but I think this mostly covers it.
Thanks for reading!

Here is a link that might be useful: my kitchen files

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How nice to be here when you came back, Home4all6. And how nice to see that are working within your existing space.

Love the candy idea and the image that conjures up. I am ondering where the homework stuff goes, though. Seems like you should have a dump space for the backpacks on the main level, or do you?

Is that a closet under the stairs up to the right of the doorway into the kitchen? Regarding the question about built-ins below the deck window, can you have too much storage in this area? Seemingly you're thinking you might.

I think I might want to widen the wing walls separating the kitchen from DRM. With all those chair, stool, and table legs, and for all the usual reasons, it seems desirable to give the DRM a bit stronger identity and to put the kitchen cabinets firmly in the kitchen. Would you still need that little white chunk thing against the wing wall on the right or would it have to stay?

I may be wrong, but maybe I suggested opening the kitchen to the new stairs and family piling in and across the stairs to the view to the back. In any case, I love it. What a great idea--and execution. :)

You have room for a nice 48" stove, and the scale for it. I wouldn't do 30". It just seems too small for the scale of the room, besides being unnecessarily crowded with pots sometimes.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Thanks, Rosie! It's nice to be back! I had to step away for a bit, because I find I get too invested in other kitchens, and my family and other household duties start to feel very neglected :)

The backpacks are a big question here. I think either hooks behind the kitchen sink, on the way down the stairs, OR hooks on the wall under the window to the deck, where I had cabinets that are X'ed out in the plans. Neither is the ideal solution though...same problem with the mountains of school papers that come home. Not sure where they will go in this plan?

There is a closet under the stairs, currently. That is wher eI was thinking of putting in a min-fridge and some bar storage. It's along the entrance to the kitchen, but not in it, so easily accessible from the rest of the house. AS for the displaced coats, they will move to the basement mudroom, and we will buy or build a hall tree/bench area in our front entrance for guests' coats.

I don't think there will ever be too much storage here! The reason I X'ed out those cabinets was to make room for backpacks right inside the entrance.

We actually have widened those wing walls between the 2 rooms. I was hoping to put in pocket doors there, so that the DR could be separated on rare occasions (school projects, etc.) So that made it about a 3' wing wall on each side, with a 6 foot opening between. I'm not sure if we would put anything on the kitchen side of those walls, but the side near the stairs is a possibility, and might make a good landing area for the non-kitcheny things that live int he kitchen (office supplies, papers, calendars, chargers, etc.)

I am thrilled about our decision to make the entrance in the rear, and the stairs to the basement go down there, and have the sink on a peninsula that leaves that wall open to the back. I think that wall of windows will be wonderful! And I'm willing to sacrifice upper storage on that wall to achieve this goal!

And es, the 48" range is almost an absolute. We have our eyes on a discounted 48" bluestar. We do have the room, and I'd really like to have 2 ovens.

All in all, I'm very happy with this plan--I think we've got it! But, I always like to check, check, doublecheck before I make the final decision.

Thanks for your thoughts :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Is there anyway you could put a prep sink in the island on the bottom corner by the frig?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 6:58PM
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remodelfla, YES! I am planning on doing just that! It is in the cabinet schemes, but not the original plan from the architect--I've added it in (I've been on GW long enough to know that a prep sink there was a highly regarded idea!)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Hi home4all6! So exciting about your master bath addition and now your kitchen plans! Have you thought about making the pantry hutch into lockers but with nice doors that match your cabinetry? There could be shelves inside for papers etc. I would keep the cabinets under the window as well because again you can never have too much storage! I personally wouldn't do open shelves there with little kids because quickly it can be a mess of artwork, papers, etc and seeing as its open to the kitchen I would want to hide the mess :). I only have two little ones in school and one still at home and the "stuff" is out of control! Another idea would be to keep the backpacks on hooks (hidden or not) under the window and make the pantry hutch a message center type hutch for all of the stuff like the white one with cork board and a walnut top about halfway done this page:


(I had that pic in my inspiration file and always loved it). Good luck with everything! So excited for you!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Thanks, aokat! As I've said, your kitchen is one of my absolute favorites!!
My concern in this plan is I have no real pantry. Just those 5-6 feet of 12" deep, floor to ceiling strorage. I just can't wrap my head around that space and how much I will actually store in there? We can put bulk stuff in the mudroom, down below the kitchen, and we have a chest freezer down there, too.
But I'm afraid that I will need it all for food storage. I'd like to use one of the 3 'towers" as a message center/dropzone, paper spot if I can spare the space for that use (and I'm really hoping I can!) It will look like it's all pantry, but one will be a secret desk/drop zone area that can be closed so as to hide the clutter :)
Thanks for that photo--I love it!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Ok, what if I made the area under the big window(s) into an empty shell of sorts, with area for shelves, but for now, the shelves removed and 4 backpack hooks inside? Would this look bad? No coats or other stuff there, but backpacks, bc homework will be done in the kitchen anyway.
(For what it's worth, the backdoor will open onto the spot, so ~3' of it will be behind the door when it is open.)
And then use the first tower of the 3 part shallow pantry as a dropzone/paper storage/charging station, etc?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:15PM
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What are the dimensions on the pantry wall?

You are smart to recognize how you really live, and plan for backpack space. I think the tidiest look would be a low built-in, open at the top. Eventually you could put a hinged lid and window seat, but for now, keep it open. Top access keeps things from spilling into the walkway, and dividers inside separates each person's stuff.

In my upcoming remodel, I'm building what I call a "pantry wall", but it will function as command center, desk, and pantry. It will be 5' wide, floor to ceiling, 12" deep on one side and 20" deep on the other. On the 12" side, I plan to keep cookbooks, canned goods, small appliances. No pullouts. I'm adding 2 outlets inside one of the cabinets, for chargers.

I would not use glass fronts, as you have shown, if it will be storage space. You said "I don't know how much I would store there". I suggest you go through your existing cabinets, and make a list of what you have. Then go through the new layout, one cabinet/drawer at a time, and figure out what is going to go in each space. Measure stuff. Decide what will work in your space next to the fridge; where the dishes will go; where to put things that need to be handy for cooking. That will help you determine what's left to go in the pantry shelves.

One thing I asked my cabinet maker to do is add extra shelves to many of the upper cabinets. If the shelf will house cans of soup or coffee mugs, it doesn't need to be 12" high. I'll have more shelves, spaced closer together. Boxes of cereal need more space. I can see this being useful in your pantry cabinet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I really like your kitchen...especially with the 48" range and prep sink. Great additions to your already wonderful plan :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:59PM
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One other quick thing... A really good tip I got on here for my kitchen was to not have the prep sink on the outside corner. I moved mine in 15 inches (put the trash on the outside) and now have drop space" around it. Not sure how you feel about that and if you're set on your island setup but it is something to consider...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 7:30PM
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annkh, thanks for your input! The pantry wall is 12' long--that will not change. But the windows and tall pantry sizes are flexible. I think I'd like to split it, 6' of low storage under windows and 6' of tall pantry storage.
I love the idea of storage for backpacks that is open from the top, like a cubby for each backpack? Or maybe just divided in 2 wide sections that could each hold 2 backpacks. I'l have to lay it out...And I think we hinge the top right now, so it can be a bench.
I'd love to see the plan for your command center :)
I will not have the glass fronts. I'd love the look, but it's just not practical for me.

lavender_lass, thanks! You know what a work-in-progress this has been for us! Looks like we might be demoing next wednesday--AAAHHH!!!!

aokat15, I was actually thinking of having more overhang on that short end of the island, with another stool stuck under there. so, the sink would not sit right on the corner of the island. Do you think that would work?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 2:10PM
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I'm not sure how tall the lower parts of the pantry wall cabinets are; but if they are lower than counter, height, how about raising them? This would give you both more storage (on the left much more than needed for backpacks--drawers on top?) and a convenient surface when needed for checking and organizing backpacks and homework on the way out. And to display something nice to welcome everyone in. With those nice windows filling the left space, it'd still be very sunny and appealing.

As for open or closed, if you don't arrive at a good answer, how about keeping your options open by designing cabinets with doors and not ordering the doors right away?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Thanks, Rosie!
That pantry wall is still a work in progress. I'm taking it all in and thinking about what will be the most functional for our needs while looking nice.
I have another question, regarding garbge receptacles. I think we will do a double pull-out, with garbage and recycling. And we do compost here, as well.
So, where should I put this garbage pullout?
My 2 spots I'm considering are the last cabinet in the island, across the aisle from my clean-up sink. I imagine I will do most of my prepwork on the island, so it will be easy to drop garbage in there while working.
OR should it be in the clean-up sink run of cabinets, just to the left of the sink?
Any thoughts on this placement decision?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:11PM
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I think your new layout looks great. We did not have room for a walk-in pantry, but I love our pantry cabinets. We had a little over 6' of wall space, so we have two 38" wide x 8' high x 13" deep cabinets, side by side. I have 7 or 8 adjustable shelves in each cabinet, and they hold a lot of food.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Not clear where the hooks will fall along the back of the sink wall along the stairs. We have hooks along our stairs for jackets, hats, etc. and have found it to be a safety problem. We are two adults and really careful, but have nearly fallen a few times while hanging jackets. Something to think about if your kids and their friends will actually be standing on the stairs while accessing the hooks.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:29AM
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Regarding the garbage pull-out, I placed mine left of the sink, which is across from the end of the island like yours, because I don't have a garbage disposal. Most package disposables develop in prep, of course, and if I had a disposal for plate scrapings my pullout might well have been placed there.

Compostables will gather at the prep area, of course.

Recyclables; Have you considered whether there would be any advantage to placing your recycle pullout wherever they tend arrive from? In case a lot are from outside the kitchen, it would be nice for everyone not to have to enter busy work areas to get to it. Might enable something interesting in cabinet layout too--or mess it up of course.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 12:07PM
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