Help with kitchen layout

atmoscatJune 10, 2014

Hi all, I'm new to posting on Gardenweb, but have been reading for a long time. I'm hoping you can help me figure out how to rearrange my kitchen.

The 1850's house we moved into 2 years ago is in great shape except for the kitchen/family room area, which needs a major overhaul. There's quite a bit of space, but as you can see from the layout below, there are a number of structural elements that make the kitchen particularly difficult.

The kitchen has 5 doors and 2 large windows that go almost to the floor. The windows can't be changed because they face the street and are an important part of the facade (also we're in a historic district, so no exterior changes are allowed.) For storage, the current kitchen has 4 cabinets in the island and a free-standing hutch against the wall opposite the sink. That's it!! There is a large pantry, but it's a long walk from the kitchen. The only counter space in the kitchen is the island. At least it's a decent size.

Amazingly, the kitchen works pretty well. It's easy to get to dishes (in hutch) or the fridge or sink, even if someone's cooking at the stove. When we have guests, we can have lots of people in the kitchen and still be able to get things done. It does drive me crazy that there's no counter to the left of the sink. We use the end of the family room directly adjacent to the kitchen as a casual dining area. It's nice, because it looks out on the back yard.

Behind the kitchen is a bath, the pantry, and a 'utility kitchen', which contains a large vintage (but I don't think original) slate sink. For now, until we redo the future mudroom, we hang coats and stuff back there, but otherwise it's mostly wasted space. (It's also sided with rough, dark, unfinished barn board - added in the 70's, not original - so it's really dark and hard to clean.) We'd like to rearrange this space and open it up to the kitchen and/or family room to make better use of it.

However, between the kitchen and the utility kitchen is a back staircase to the second floor (master BR) that we use a lot, and also the only stairs to the basement. At the end of the staircase is a chimney that we probably can't remove because of the historic district. This means right now we are leaning away from opening the kitchen wall to the utility kitchen (though I'd still be open to considering this).

What I would like to do is move the door to the stairway from the kitchen side to the utility side, which would eliminate one of the kitchen doors and give us a longer wall and corner to work with. I'd also like to move the bathroom and pantry and open up the family room wall as shown in the second post below.

After that, I'm at a loss for how to rearrange the kitchen to add more storage and a better layout. I've tried a few things, but none of them work all that well. I was hoping someone here might have some suggestions. I'm really open to anything.

One more note: one side of the kitchen opens directly to the foyer. Anyone who comes in the front door can see right in, so sight lines there are important.

Thanks for reading - I would love to hear your ideas!

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Here's a sketch of the changes I have in mind so far. I haven't moved any of the kitchen appliances yet. Consider that a blank slate. The location of the doors between the kitchen and family room or utility kitchen could move if needed.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:40AM
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Bumping back to first page since no responses yet. I guess it's a tricky one!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I'm no expert but changing the doorway to open to the pantry is good as it allows your refrigerator to be moved to that spot in the kitchen. you can then have cabinets between the stove and refrigerator. I would live in the house for a bit before tearing down the wall south of the familly room area. I'd check furniture placemnt in that area first.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 4:11PM
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Thanks for your reply. Yes, that would be a good spot for the fridge. I'm still really struggling with where to put the sink, though. Any ideas? In the island? Another possibility would be to keep it on the same wall it's on now, but move it down towards the family room and make a window through to the new opened space. Thoughts?

I agree about the furniture placement if we open up that wall. I haven't figured that out yet either. Suggestions on furniture arrangement or other ways to reconfigure the spaces from what we have now would be welcome.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:12AM
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No real suggestions, but I thought I'd link a Houzz search with some ideas for kitchens with low windows. Maybe some inspiration there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz search for low windows

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:02AM
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How will you use that area in front of the pantry and bathroom after you take down that wall? My concern is that the pantry and bathroom now open into the family room space. When you take down that wall, you lose separation of this service area from the living area. And I am just not clear what you gain? You could use that whole area with a wall, furniture in the family room and storage in the servic area.... Just not understanding, sorry.

In the kitchen, if you can close off/ move the door to the stairs and put it in the pantry that's a great move. Will you still use that stairs to the mbr if it leads to the pantry? Will you add a sink to the laundry? What's on the other end of the mud room?

Where does that top swinging door in the kitchen lead? Seems to be behind the main stairs and thers a closet.... Is that the way to the formal dinning room?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Seems to me that the area to the right of the stairs is bigger and has more usable wall space. Would you consider moving the kitchen into that spot (already has sink, so water/drains/etc.) and putting the bathroom and pantry where the kitchen is now?

What does the rest of the first floor look like and how does it flow?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:39PM
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Since you can't do much with the front...can you change the back? Can windows be moved/resized?

If so, maybe consider putting the kitchen in the back and making the current kitchen a dining room, den or small family room.

I like the utility kitchen and it gives you great storage. Moving the door to the upstairs seems like a great use of space. If you're not attached to the sink, maybe replace it with a smaller one and make a nice butler's pantry or snack area back there. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:09PM
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What about the side windows (currently in the Pantry & Bath)? How far off the floor are they? Can they be moved/changed? I understand the front windows cannot....but does the restriction extend to the side as well?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:45PM
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If budget and architecture allows, I agree with controlfreakecs -- you could put the kitchen (L with an island) in the lower right corner and move the casual eating area to the other end of the FR, with an opening to the two. The door to the stairs would now open to the kitchen (swapped). A powderroom could be inserted between the old kitchen and new, right above the stairs in the drawing (where there is a sink and plumbing already available). The old kitchen could be a library or office -- or it all could be an extended butler's pantry+PR.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Controlfreakecs and Gooster, great ideas.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 4:51PM
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Can the Guest Bedroom/Mudroom/Laundry door be moved to the FR? It looks like the GB/MR/LR is sunken, so the stairs would have to be modified a bit.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! crl, thanks for the link. There are some good ideas in there. Lots of people use benches, which I would definitely consider. One even has the sink in front with the window extending behind it - maybe that's something to think about. It would really help with the layout.

Jennifer, controlfreak, lavender, you all raise really good points/questions. It's really helpful to get new perspectives.

I'm posting the full layout of the first floor below so you can see the flow. To the left of the kitchen in the front is the foyer, then the dining room. The living room is through the door at the top left of the kitchen (facing the back of the house). On the other side of the future mud room is a barn/garage. I really love the flow of the house. For an old house, it's really light, open, airy, and well connected (high ceilings and good light help). It's why we bought it. It's just that back corner that's an issue. Even the kitchen has good traffic flow, it just has a cramped work area and no storage.

The family room faces south and opens onto a patio. It now has a pair of french doors in the middle with double windows on each side (not the sliders shown - this was updated just before we bought it). This is our main family entrance, so that means lots of traffic through the middle of the family room, and coats, shoes, papers, bags, etc. etc. collect in there. I want to try to route the drop-off traffic through the mud room, but with 2 young kids, I'm sure there will always be a good amount of traffic through the middle of that room as well.

lavender, we can make any changes to the back we want. The traffic pattern creates a natural division of that room into two spaces, so the eating/family room arrangement sort of works (more on this below). Also, there are currently no utilities back there. But I want to come up with the best solution, so it's definitely worth thinking about relocating the kitchen back there. Maybe shifting the french doors to one side would help?

The same goes for swapping the kitchen with the pantry and bath. I hadn't thought about it, but you're right, controlfreak, that space is bigger. But that would put the pantry and bath right in the front and center of the house, with lots of thru traffic from front door, LR, and main stairs to the kitchen, so I'm not sure it would work.

Jennifer, you're absolutely right to question taking that wall down. I guess what I was trying to gain was a bigger family room and also to get more light into the utility kitchen area. It is really dark back there right now, although part of that is the finishes. With the eating area and traffic pattern, the useable area in family room ends up being about 11' deep by 8 or 9' wide - too small to really use. It's mostly toy storage, then the kids take their toys into the living room to play! But, I do see how opening it up creates its own problems. Take a look at the new sketch I'm posting below to see if you think it's an improvement.

I'm not sure if we'll still use the stairs as much if they open to the pantry instead of the kitchen. Probably not, but I think it's probably worth it to gain a more workable kitchen.

Thanks again for your comments. Keep 'em coming!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:21PM
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Oops, I missed a few new messages while I was posting. This is my best idea for the kitchen so far if it remains in the current location. Plus, I shifted the wall between the family room and utility kitchen to make the FR a little bigger while still addressing Jennifer's point about maintaining separation between living and service areas. (The blobs in the FR are possible seating layout.) Let me know what you think.

Thanks for the new comments!! I'll think them over and post another response.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Wow, I didn't realize until I tried moving things how much bigger the space in the bottom corner is. Maybe 2 or 3 feet wider, but it makes a big difference. My very rough sketch is below. I didn't really try to figure out the best places for appliances yet.

gooster, is that what you meant for the powder room location? I suppose it could even be a little wider by moving the wall into the kitchen a little farther. Doors to the powder room and stairs could open on either side.

buehl, I marked on the new drawing which windows are low. Because of how the house sits on the lot, that side is visible from the road, so we'd definitely have to get any changes cleared, and they'd have to be fairly minor. I'm thinking maybe we could enlarge the small window and make it counter height and put the sink under it. You're right that the mudroom steps down from the main house, so the steps would have to be modified, but it could open into the family room.

Let me know what you think!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:28PM
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I think you're moving in the right direction. I don't like a powder room opening right into the kitchen though. Could that be incorporated into the mud room area? The. You'd also have another area for some cabinetry, perhaps a drink/snack station.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 7:47PM
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atmoscat: Yes, you got what I meant. The extra two or three feet give you the room to do the island with the recommended aisle widths, plus maybe even squeeze shallow cabinets against the PR wall. If you didn't want to put the FR down in front, you could make the PR larger and subdivide the space into an office/study corner (open to the FR) and butler's pantry (down in the front, leading to the DR).

I might open the stairs going up to the kitchen side (no door, probably a better flow) and move the fridge to the opposite side. It's too bad you have another low window on that side. It would be nice to have the full length. I used a window seat under my low window.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:36AM
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Here is an idea that keeps your kitchen location near the dining room, has an island and table in kitchen, opens up your family room, keeps the pantry and has the bathroom in a private location.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Thanks for the additional ideas! Christina, good suggestion about moving the bath to the mudroom area. I think that would work. It would also free up space for a small pantry and a passage between the kitchen and family room. I put those changes in the new sketch below.

gooster, I agree about the stairs opening to the kitchen. In my last sketch, I forgot that front low window was there and put cabinets straight across. So, I changed that and put the door on that side, plus some shallow cabinets or shelves and moved the fridge down. I think we need the larger family room space, and front-facing is okay (it's not like we play quietly these days, although maybe that will change in the future!) so I left that open. I do like the idea of putting a storage and desk area in the current family room area for computers, HW (in a few years), etc.

This layout looks really good to me. The biggest drawback I see is the distance between the kitchen and bath and the dining room/living room area. In terms of the space itself, though, I think it's the best option so far. Thank you for coming up with it!

Karen, your idea is really interesting, too, thanks! I had thought about moving the eating area to the front, but couldn't figure out how to make it work. This has a lot of potential and really opens up the family room.

If anyone has thoughts on which of these options they like (or not) and why, please let me know. I think I'm going to try to get some idea of costs for the structural changes in various options to see what we're up against!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Karenseb's layout gives you:

1. Good circular flow downstairs.
2. A big enough bath to put in a shower.
3. A big enough pantry to actually store something.
4. The biggest family room you can have.
5. Would probably be the least expensive.

I would explore this layout more fully before deciding. Moving the kitchen has its advantages, but that would involve major surgery. Given the restrictions on the front of the house, in the long run, I think you would be happier with the family room in the back of the house. That gives you much better flexibility as it relates to the back of the house.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Quick idea...have fun with the planning! From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:52PM
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WOW - this has been a great thread to read through all these great ideas. I love designing, so I offer the following thoughts for your consideration.

1. Since you need to use the stairs to the 2nd floor to get to the MBR, I think that opening is best accessed from a more "living" designed space vs. a utility area.
2. You mentioned in an earlier posting that the current family room's windows open to a nice view. That prompted a thought to use a peninsula in your kitchen instead of an island and make the kitchen/family room an open concept all one room so the kitchen can take advantage of the beautiful view as well. By removing the wall currently between the FR/Kitchen/Utility that should be doable. I am assuming the FR has lots of windows or French Doors ??? Either way, consider installing that - set your table parallel to the windows on one end of the 21'8" run with the TV/Sofa, etc. on the other end. The peninsula should look out to that open concept/window wall and could also be a bar.
3. I agree to turn the back Guest BR into the Mud/Laundry room and include the 1/2 bath there. It is a much better use of that size space.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:17PM
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You're right, Barb, I can't believe what amazing ideas people have come up with. I think when you actually live with something it's easy to get stuck not being able to see outside of what you already have, and it helps to have fresh eyes to see other possibilities.

For example, Lavender, that layout you posted is great and I would never have thought of it. If we were to move the kitchen to the back, it would give it a wonderful feel, with windows all along the sink wall. The layout is really nice, too. I wouldn't change anything you did. It would involve changing out the windows and doors on that back wall, though. rmtdoug, you're right that either lavender's layout or gooster's, with the kitchen in the front corner, would involve really major work, and that may or may not be in the cards (depends partly on how patient I am -- if we wait longer, we can probably do more).

I agree Karenseb's layout really optimizes the current space without making major changes (DH will like that), and gives us lots of storage space (as does lavender's). Karenseb's also has the features Barb mentioned, which take advantage of the backyard view.

What do you think are the pros and cons of Karenseb's vs. the island layout below (the island sink is maybe not ideal). I tweaked it some from the one posted above to make the bath entrance more private, but I'm also thinking that instead of having a wall between the family room and the pantry area, I'd maybe do a half wall of bookshelves or cabinets to give us more storage for toys, etc, keep that area open, but still provide some separation.

Barb, I think you're right about using the back stairs more from a living space - I zip up and down them all the time now, but having to go around the corner instead may change that. Still, it seems to be worth the trade-off to make other spaces more functional. On your other point, not only is the "guest bedroom" an awkward size space for a bedroom, it's also currently uninsulated and barely heated, so it doesn't really function as a bedroom. I think they just called it a bedroom so that they could list the house as having 4. But, we have plans to create a 4th bedroom in the finished attic space, so we won't lose anything by converting that room to a mudroom (which we desperately need.)

I now have a lot of really good options to consider that I didn't before. They each have really strong points in their favor. I'm going to need to spend some time really thinking about how we'd function in the different spaces and what would be involved in making the changes, and get some information on costs. Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate it. Let me know if you have thoughts on the two options that basically keep the current kitchen location or anything else. People's opinions about what works or doesn't in the various options is really helpful!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Atmoscat - Here's a sketch to give you an idea of what I was inspired with. Certainly not knowing your exact dimensions may limit some of these suggestions. However, I offer with the hope it will generate some inspiration for you. Do you have a back door somewhere near the mud room/laundry? If so, the large pantry could become a combination pantry/mud room/house organization room and include more fun details since it is so large, and then allow the 1/2 bath space to increase. I was also imagining a really cool barn door for the entry to the pantry. That would be visible from the family room which could really be cool. The kitchen side may need some tweaking due to the stairwell which limits your counters. Good luck !!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:40PM
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I would not put a bath in the mudroom. That room is almost the exact size of my kitchen, so I can visualize it perfectly. In a four-bedroom house, it's way too small for a bath/laundry/mudroom. Plus, your house is sized for a family and that means you need as many full baths as possible. At a minimum, put a corner shower in the downstairs bath.

Some things to consider when deciding. This is all the Ka-Ching stuff:

1. How will you vent your cooktop. Where will the ducting go to get the air outside? Plan on a minimum of 6 inch duct.

2. How easy will it be to move plumbing. Don't lose sight that you not only have to route drains but vents as well. Drains go down, vents go up.

3. How easy to rewire. Old houses are full of surprises in the framing. Something as simple as drilling a hole and shoving a wire through rarely happens. This goes with plumbing, too.

4. Insulation, ventilation, window size/placement. Ya gotta keep the air moving!

5. Removing/moving load bearing walls?

You have a lot of great options. Only you can decide which one meets your lifestyle and budget best. Be patient. A solution always presents itself eventually.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:18PM
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Hi Barb, interesting ideas. I see you put the sink in front of the window. The window's quite low - were you thinking to put it in front anyway, or was that just not clear? I actually found some photos of sinks in front of low windows on the Houzz search crl posted earlier. I'll try to link one below. Is this really something I should consider? Because if so, it opens a lot more possibilities for the current kitchen location.

I also love your barn door idea and the huge pantry, maybe combined with an office or organization room as you called it - that's what I really need to corral all the stuff my family generates! I was sort of thinking of putting a desk in the mudroom/laundry room, though I know that's putting a lot of functions into one space.

To answer your question, the mudroom does not currently have an exterior door. We plan on adding a door to the patio (the one shown in the top left corner), which would really help with access to that part of the house.

rmtdoug, those are excellent questions. I tend to agree about the bathroom size and location. The current bathroom has a shower. We don't use it much now, but I can see it getting more use in the future when the kids are older. Also it would be a trek from the LR if the bath's in the mudroom. To answer your questions:

1-3. Venting, plumbing, and electrical are all things we'll need to think about, as the current services need work (no existing vent hood, some knob-and-tube wiring, etc.). We'll probably end up pretty much gutting the utility kitchen space. It's currently finished with rough ship-lap siding that's covering old plaster in some places but not others. I'm sure it will be a can of worms.

4. I haven't thought about the ventilation question too much. Most of the front and side windows wouldn't change. Do you see particular issues I should be aware of?

5. The wall between the kitchen and family room is definitely load bearing (it used to be the back wall of the house). I think all the plans call for opening up that wall to varying degrees, so there's going to have to be a structural solution to that.

These are things I need to be thinking about, so thanks for bringing them up, and for the encouragement. I know this is going to be a long process, but it's hard to be patient sometimes!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sink in front of window

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 12:15PM
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I wasn't clear on the window being a low window in that location. However, I now see that you had indicated that earlier. I also reviewed the photo link you provided from It seems doable, but I would likely re-do the window if that was the final decision for location of the kitchen sink. I agree with rmtdoug regarding all the ventilation/ducting for both plumbing and electrical. Lots to think about. Try to be patient. I took 4 years to design our current home and would always work on it until I got stumped and then put it away for a few days. The patience paid off though. We have remained in our house for 26 years now and intend to stay as we truly enjoy and love our home.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Budget is always an issue! :)

Here's an idea, based on your earlier post. I would not change the pantry, bathroom or sink (for now) just concentrate on the kitchen. All I did was move the doorway to this area.

I like the layout, but I would move the cooktop (range?) over just a bit, so it's centered on the doorway from the entry...and the wall. By adding an oven/microwave, it gives you more walkway between the cooking area and island. (Oven doors opening take up valuable square footage.) I would use a cooktop, unless you have a vintage range...or need the extra oven.

The island I made a little smaller and swapped the sink and dishwasher. This way you can open the dishwasher without getting in the way of the cook. At least, not so much... LOL

You have a HUGE pantry (lucky you!) so I moved the extra narrow storage to hopefully make room for stools. By putting them on three sides, it's more like a table, but you could have less stools and more storage space (under island) if you prefer.

Finally, I love a banquette (and you have formal dining) so I added the banquette and a loveseat/small sofa and chair to your 'family' area. Still lots of light...and you can keep the sliders or change some of them to regular windows, as budget allows. Hope this helps :)

Also...if you don't want (or can't fit) stools around the island...maybe two on one end, or one on each end with shelves/storage facing the entry? Just a few ideas... From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 16:30

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Lavender, those are great suggestions. It had not occurred to me to go with wall ovens instead of a range to eliminate the oven door issue, but that's a great solution. Same goes for the dishwasher location. I love banquettes, too! Nice layout in the family room.

I agree with you that one of the big advantages of keeping the current kitchen location is that we could do things in stages - kitchen then pantry/bath/utility/mudroom separately. Still, I really like both the ideas that move the kitchen. We'll see how it goes.

Barb, thanks for your encouragement. Everyone has been so helpful. I'll keep you all posted on the layout and I'll definitely be back to get advice on all the design decisions that follow. So much good information here!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 8:37AM
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Are both doors into the space necessary? You've got one from the foyer and another one from that little hall. You've got two entries into the kitchen side by side right there by the family room. Could the one from the little hall be moved 90 degrees so it opens into the family room? You wouldn't actually even need a door, just close off the door that's there and make an opening into the family room. Then you'd have that wall that backs up to the stairs to work with. Alternatively you could close off the door from the foyer to gain some wall space.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 9:52AM
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atmoscat: good luck with your project planning. I see you have many options here. Just two things to point out:

If the space on the left is 12ft exactly you will find out that it is tough to get an island with seating in that width and get properly sized aisles and an island with an appropriate overhang. You need anywhere from 12'4 to 12'8".

As you and others pointed out, you'll likely be rewiring everything (and you'll want to). You might also be replacing old pipes. If so, and you are on a crawl space, the cost to swap sides won't be as much as you might think. This is because you have drain and water to tie into on both sides, without a whole lot of new runs or re-routing. Obviously, you also have the main bearing wall down the middle, plus the bearing walls around the up/down staircases.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Atmoscat, specifically, I refer to ventilation as it relates to your heating and cooling needs. I'm dealing with the same thing in my 100-year-old house complete gut and remodel. The building department considers this new construction and I have to plan how to control moisture and fresh air movement in an old house that was built with none of these issues in mind.

I don't know your location or how you heat and cool, but I had to plan how to move air around the house so that the building department was satisfied. The requirements vary from climate to climate, so you should educate yourself on whole house ventilation as it relates to your climate. This will help in your planning and decision-making process. Plus, it's a fascinating subject. The technology is changing so rapidly!

The issue with venting your cooktop is pretty simple: If you cannot vent it straight up through the roof, place your stove so that it can be vented out between two ceiling joists. It's much harder to cross ceiling joists with a 6-8 inch pipe. This also plays into your ventilation needs. If you suck air out of your house, outside air must filter in to replace it from somewhere. It's much better to control from where and how much.

Your load-bearing wall is barely 20 feet. Replacing that wall with a beam is pretty minor. A competent DIY'er could do it once you knew what size you needed.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:36PM
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Christina, we could definitely move the door from the little hall in the upper left corner to open into the family room. I think it would change the sight line from kitchen to living room a little, but probably not too much. That definitely is something to consider, thanks! I think it would be harder to close the opening to the foyer, as that would make the route to the dining room and front stairs much longer.

gooster, I measured to check the floor plan dimensions. The width is exactly 12 ft. Currently, the counter depth (sink side) is about 25", then a 31" aisle (really!), 36" deep island, 33" aisle, and 18" hutch. I didn't realize until I measured how narrow the aisles are currently. So, to get the recommended aisle widths in that space we would probably have to eliminate the hutch. Hmmm (this is the sound of me leaning towards moving the kitchen.)

There is a full basement under the current kitchen and a very shallow crawl space under the utility kitchen/bath/pantry area. But, we would probably be replacing the subfloor in the current bath at least, so that would facilitate access for any needed plumbing. Good to know you think it's not that major. Clearly putting the kitchen in the current family room space would require more re-plumbing.

rmtdoug, okay, I understand now what you meant. Thanks for the heads up. I had not thought about ventilation in that regard. We have steam heat, but the heat in that part of the house is inadequate and needs to be beefed up (the current family room and mudroom were originally unheated additions that now have minimal electric heat), so I think we will need to consult with HVAC experts on this and learn more about the requirements (I will do some research!!)

Glad to hear putting a beam in is a relatively minor operation. But, although we're fairly handy, I'm not sure we're quite up to doing it ourselves. And given all the quirks an old house can have, I do want to get an engineer to look at it to make sure it's done correctly. (I'm a little worried about the underlying structure between the floor and the foundation.)

A lot to consider. Thanks for bringing my attention to all these issues!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:33PM
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You wrote that the utility kitchen is mostly wasted space right now. How do you intend to use it once you remodel? It seems redundant to me but perhaps you have a reason for it that you haven't shared (or that I missed in all the responses). Would you be willing to eliminate this space and move the slate sink to the laundry/mud room?

Also, would you consider eliminating the stairs to the MB? If so, this lay-out is an option:

I used the area currently used by the stairs to the MB to create an entry to a long pantry right off the kitchen. I shifted the basement door to open towards the FR to make room for an office (thought I read that you'd like one but now I can't find that comment) in the old utility kitchen area.

The full bath is moved towards the front of the house with a closet hiding the entry to the bathroom. The 7' width is the minimum width I'd recommend for the bathroom. You have room for a 4' vanity with sink and a 4' shower stall if you do glass walls on 2 sides. It will be less than 4' if you do a tiled wall at the end.

The island is made up of 30" deep cabinets to give you more storage and a deeper island top. There is no seating at the island. As someone above pointed out, your kitchen isn't wide enough for island seating.

I created a banquette for your eat-in kitchen area, just because. ;-)

Hopefully you can open up the FR wall as much as I've drawn but even if you can't, it will still be a more open area than you currently have.

Personally, I wouldn't move the kitchen from its current location to the side or the back of the house because that would mean a very long trip to the DR.

Does the full basement under the kitchen extend into the area under the entry? If so, would it be possible to move the basement stairs to the area under the main stairs and eliminate the 2nd set of stairs completely? That would gain you a huge area in which to create a new kitchen and FR.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Lisa, I really like this plan and if she were able to move the stairs to the basement, that would be nice. The pantry makes a lot of sense and the office would be very handy.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:57PM
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Okay...I'm just going to ask it (LOL) can we move the basement stairs under the main staircase? I know, super expensive...but I just had to ask. It would give you so much room in the kitchen and really open up that entire space.

So, if that's not an option...what about moving the dining room? Maybe have the den/library or even family room where the dining room is now...and have the dining room in the current kitchen location.

Then, you could move the kitchen to the pantry area and have the back area be a sunroom/breakfast nook and/or family area. Just a few ideas :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:32AM
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