More layout help - what if I could do anything?

elofgrenMay 23, 2013

We've been trying to find the perfect floorplan for our existing space (see the thread here), and I just wondered what great ideas you would all have if I was willing to remove a wall, get rid of a bathroom & closet, and expand the size of our kitchen. I'm having trouble finding an awesome layout that would make the (much more major) renovation/addition worth it. It seems like it's just too small for (for example) an island, and I kept making layouts that look like a labyrinth for the necessary paths through. Could you help?

Here's the rules:

  • Door at top of plan stays where it is. That's the main entrance to the house, from a mudroom.

  • Two doors at bottom right of plan stay where they are. (Note an 18" cabinet fits behind the bottom door, along the right wall.) Bottom door goes to a study and the one next to it goes to the basement.

  • All windows stay (windowsill height at right is 36", at top is 57").

  • Radiator can move but has to be in the room somewhere. It can go under a countertop.

  • Wall at left needs to be a wall (no "open floor plan") but the doorway can be any size and anywhere in that wall.

  • The dining room is to the left of the kitchen, but the plan should work still if the dining room is moved to "under" the kitchen (through the door at the bottom)

  • We have existing appliances: 36" counter-depth side-by-side fridge and 30" freestanding range (NXR), and a standard 24" dishwasher. I need a spot for a coffeemaker & grinder, and a KA stand mixer (can be in a lower cabinet), a microwave (no OTR!), and a countertop toaster oven.

That's all, I think. Islands or worktables or peninsulas are OK. The light lines on the plan are 1 foot increments.

Here's our whole house as it is now, and a blank plan is below.

Thanks in advance for any ideas, even sketchy or half-baked ones.


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And here's my first try. I put a worktable in the center, but it's pretty tight to the stove door or to the dishwasher door. In our 1910s craftsman house a sturdy worktable would look right at home. There's a prep sink in the bottom left corner.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Here's another one. Has a room-within-a-room vibe. The pantry storage would be at top- and bottom-right. Way far away from any sort of work area.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Good to "see" you again. Back to the drawing board? There should be plenty of people interested in helping you break out of the old box entirely and move out to claim new territory.

Oh, just saw your jump-starts and came back to say I really like #1. I could work there. :)

(BTW, you thought you were on the right track before you bought a 36" refrigerator. It's not surprising if you changed your mind because of a number of other issues, but just in case--don't lose your powder room because the need to place a large refrigerator is a cumbersome last straw. It could go away almost as fast as it came.)

This post was edited by rosie on Thu, May 23, 13 at 18:17

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Well, it makes me NUTS to have the main entrance to the house directly into the kitchen. I have that now and I am moving the kitchen away from its present location just to cure that.

I live in the country and everybody heads to the back or barn yard door of a farm house. I loathe this because my mudroom gives right on the kitchen now. My solution: move the kitchen and make it so the mud room leads in to the newly-designated sitting room - a public space, formerly the kitchen. People will still use the back door, but they will find themselves entering the "front" door, but it will too late to change their paths. My mudroom will become my "front hall". One the side (and somewhat hidden from the obvious approach to the house) is the door to the woodroom, which is being reconfigured to include typical mudroomy features like hanging pegs for barn coats, trays for muddy boots, harness hooks, shelves for garden trugs, etc.

That's the first thing I would change in your plan.



    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Rosie: I'm sure 3" of fridge isn't going to make us change our whole floor plan. If it does, you're right, it can go. The loss we would take on it would be a small one in the grand scheme.

I just wondered. If I moved the bathroom, what would I gain? Would it be worth it? (Not that I know how much money that would be anyway!) If I wind up with the same plan but just more open space in the middle, that's not worth it. Two feet more counter space - not worth it.

A 100% more functional kitchen? Worth it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:51PM
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As was suggested on your other layout thread, the radiator certainly makes things challenging.

If you have access to the underside of the floor, how about going radiant for the room? Then you could reclaim that space, maybe put the sink there, in front of the window... I'd explore other options to heat the kitchen vs. mucking with load bearing walls.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 7:33PM
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The wall I'm thinking of removing is perpendicular to the floor joists (which would indicate that it is load-bearing) but maybe isn't original. We suspect that one or the other of those two walls (left and right of the bathroom) was added to the house.

If you could remove the radiator, what would the plan be?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Ok, something else completely different. Hope it sparks some ideas!

Oops! Forgot to draw in the door to the dining room. It's the wall space between the bath and closet.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:02PM
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I'd prefer the 1st layout, but it will be real tight. It may be better to have a smaller cab next to the fridge, then prep sink next to it.

Is that a window next to DR door? If not, maybe you can move the door, have the fridge and a base cab for your coffee machine etc. on the upper wall. Then have the prep sink on the other side of the DR door.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:18PM
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I don't need a bathroom. The idea is I move it to an addition above the plan shown. You can just see the sink I added at the top of the plan.

Yeah, that's a window. A real pretty one with original divided-glass woodwork. Small, though. It has hooks on the bottom now for some coats.

Even if the window were not there, it's directly over a bulkhead staircase to the basement - so can't have the entry door there.

I worry about having full-depth countertop so close to the bottom of the plan - it makes a "pinch point" between the corner of the counter and the opposite wall corner.

I'll try to clean up both your ideas and post them.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:35PM
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With radiator pulled, sink in its place :

And drafts, not following your style choices, but showing a lot of counter space and relatively open space:

I'd flip the basement door to open towards the stairs to help avoid traffic jams with the swinging door. You could put microwave in base cab near range, toaster over in corner by range.
Edit: add pantry storage in area above bathroom - open shelves, full-height cabs, etc...

This post was edited by seattleCraftsman on Fri, May 24, 13 at 0:10

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:08AM
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I cannot help on actual layout, but I do believe a radiator would fit under a sink. Or at least in some of the old farm houses out this way, they are done that way. Cabinet panels are holes that allow air circulation. Even if you didn't want a sink there, you could easily put a cabinet and countertop over it if the height is workable.

I also agree with liriodendron. I wouldn't want my main entrance in the kitchen. I live in an old farmhouse, and the best way you fix that problem is to stick the kitchen in the front of the house with the front door leading right into it. Since we've lived here, not a single person has ever come to the front door.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:56AM
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Looks like you're keeping the bathroom where it is? There's not room for a full-depth counter in the passageway at bottom right. I'd have to do something like this:

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:07AM
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There's actually room for a fridge on the top wall, with side panels and all. I just measured. Could look like this:

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:17AM
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There's actually room for a fridge on the top wall, with side panels and all. I just measured. Could look like this:"
Yes, that was what I meant, though thought fridge could be on the left, assuming no window there.

But if you don't like the fridge right next to the entry, something like this might work. It sort of separates the kitchen from the entry.

Edited to add more explanation.

This post was edited by sena01 on Fri, May 24, 13 at 9:18

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Just a quick suggestion based on problems I have with my own kitchen layout: depending on how/what you cook, if the cooktop is too far from a water source or main sink area (if you opt not to have a prep or cleanup sink), you'll find yourself dreading spaghetti nights. My one and only kitchen sink is about 8.5 feet away from my stove. Carrying large pots and pans to and from the stove is a chore, and when I'm hauling a huge stockpot filled with water it's a nightmare (canning is pretty much out of the question). This problem is compounded by the fact that our layout, like many of your proposed layouts, features main walkways through work triangles/centers of the kitchen... so imagine carrying a 20 quart pot from the sink to the stove and sidestepping people--and pets, if you have them.

Since we're not in a position to renovate (2 small kids, 1 breadwinner), my solution was to put a large island/worktable in the middle so I had an intermediate landing spot for stockpots and pans. Still not ideal, but better than nothing.

Just a consideration.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 9:29AM
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sena01, I think you may have found the only way I could have an island.

Meantime I've been messing with fridge-by-the-door plan, came up with this:

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Does the prep sink have to be under the MW? I like that area for hot dish landing.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:06AM
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I was really just thinking about the coffee nook, the pass-through, and the fridge. But yes, I just plopped the sink without thinking. How's this?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:32AM
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That would work better in my opinion.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:36AM
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How deep is the MW? If you need deeper uppers, somewhere with less traffic may be preferable (next to pantry?).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Boy, considering adding a new powder room outside and enlarging the kitchen really makes a difference. This particular design gives you a wonderful work space. The little L also means that family would be directed through the middle without coming too close to the stove.

(BTW, just to note, my suggestion was for a standard 30" refrigerator, one door opening toward the work surface, for an additional 6" or so of counter space (without too much less capacity than a 36" counter-depth). Very unexciting compared to the current possibilities, but it'd be a means to an end just in case you ultimately decided to stay within the current footprint.)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 11:02AM
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Sophie Wheeler

What about swapping the kitchen to the dining room, and then adding on a dining room out the rear? A dining room isn't an expensive space to add, actually, because there's no plumbing in it. Your current kitchen could become the world's most awesome mudroom/pantry/laundry room combination. The door to the powder room could flip and be accessed through the now kitchen, and you could recess a fridge into the closet, keeping some storage cubbies on the pantry side. The new DR could be light, bright, and full of windows. You could even add enough of a plain box on to have a family room and dining room out the rear. IF your property would allow that.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:40PM
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The only addition I'm willing to consider is the bathroom I've mentioned. Otherwise I'm constrained to the current footprint of our house. And I'll only really consider adding the bathroom if it's really really worth it. Like probably half-the-value-of-our-house worth it.

Thanks, though, and keep the ideas coming!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:08PM
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In the picture just above, the microwave upper is 18" deep, and the counter below (with the sink) is 30". We're are considering putting the microwave in the pantry area (see the other thread) and I don't really like it because the microwave door opens the wrong way. That's a spot for a family that doesn't use the microwave very much, and we do. But, that's the one spot that's already got deep-enough cabinets at the right height for a microwave. My wife, shorter than I am, would prefer it lower than 18" above the countertop, too.

(off-topic rant:)
I am fine with the interior size of my OTR microwave now, and it only protrudes from the (12") upper cabinets by 3.5" (including the door but not the handle). It seems like, after removing any ventilation & lighting capacity, a "full size" microwave with 1100 W of power should easily fit in a 13" upper cabinet, maybe with the door protruding an inch. Why are they all so deep? The shallowest 1100W MW that AjMadison sells is 14.75" - and there's only one! In the 13-14" depth range the most power you can have is 900W.

Along the same lines, a microwave-drawer should fit in a 18" cabinet, and they all require 21-22".

Is there somebody out there trying to microwave 20# turkeys or something? Three dinner plates at once? I don't get it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 3:02PM
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to get a full featured microwave-and many of the newer features are quite nice-[keep warm/a good defrost function/multple power levels in one cooking session/sensor/reheat/preprogrammed settings],the guts are a little more complex than just popcorn/oatmeal/beverage.With venting requirements comes extra inches-you can push it up to the side or the back of your cabinet but with compromised venting there is risk-to the microwave of failing sooner and damage to your cabinet box sides/back.A base cabinet of standard depth with venting inches around the sides and back is a nice way to go if your wife is shorter and with kids who will use it. People complain about bending, but the sensor buttons allow for less programming on your part and the turntable generally means less stirring and therefore leaving the process 'alone" less in/out of the unit so much.Microwaving is a fairly quick process-the bit of bending to insert and remove from below counter is something people can get used to and if they particularly get acquainted with the functions on a full featured unit, can make a strong case to place below counter.People who resist the full featured sized units and are content with 800 watt countertop types are in many regards better just having a spot on the counter for this unit,IMO.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 3:23PM
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My GE spacemaker is only 13" deep and sits nicely on a 11.5 " shelf.

Attached is not mine but a GWer with a ge spacemaker in cabinet.

Here is a link that might be useful: ge spacemaker in cabinet

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 6:48PM
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I'm just getting started
What program/web site did you use to do your ayout?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 5:23PM
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I'm just getting started
What program/web site did you use to do your ayout?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 5:25PM
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I kind of liked the u-shaped layout. It keeps traffic out of the work space, and gives people a place to perch, by the radiator, without being in the way.

Or, rotate the u-shape, so it's a "C", with the opening on the right. Gives a serving counter for the dining room and easy access to the pantry storage on that right-side wall.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:49PM
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