Help with kitchen design/layout

leeber01June 10, 2013

Getting close to having to make a final decision and I'm overwhelmed by the choices. Not good, considering I can't even commit to a final floorplan.

What do you think of this layout? We're basically gutting the kitchen and taking down the wall between the kitchen and family room. We're moving plumbing and gas lines so I'm open to other changes. However, I do want to keep the bay window by the exterior wall for a eat-in table. I would also prefer keeping all three openings into/out of the kitchen (which makes long cabinet runs hard).

The other complicating factor is that there is a small hall heading to the side door/laundry room along that exterior wall so don't want to block that off.

My biggest concern is that I won't have a big expanse of countertop for cooking/baking. Then again, I'll have more than what I do now, so maybe that will be enough? Also, with my one sink on the island, I wonder if it'll be annoying to have to put glasses away in a cabinet next to the fridge.

What do you guys think? Would greatly appreciate any input from the great minds of this forum! Thanks in advance.

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leeber01 case it helps, here is the first floor layout, although it's not exactly to scale. That little wall between the kitchen (by the window) and the side door will probably stay (30").

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I think that sort of front dining room, in a not very large home will become passe and when you look at what you are doing-just keeping everything as is,basically,and the same 2 eating venues but neither of them are really part of the living space, yet you want to "open it up", i don't really see the point. Pull the dining room sq footage into your options and look at the whole space ,front to back as a living unit and see how far you can go with a plan giving you ,say an island with seating and one main eating area which will be flexible.....[formal or day to day].Personally, I could work in the kitchen,but considering the above and the handicap of a few things like counter runs,and the fact that this is not going to improve your home one bit, I would go for something else.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Hmm...I definitely see what you're saying but I don't think we have the desire to lose the formal dining room, since we actually do use it pretty regularly. There's another "
formal" living space not shown here (we have a splanch), and the flow of the house works for us, other than the kitchen not being open to the family room/den.

It's a tough space with a lot of issues but hoping to make it work. Thanks for your ideas!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Ok, more ideas is always better.

This moves one door a little to keep the range on the same side if the walkway as the water and provide a large counter space. Also keeps the cooking space protected a little. A small prep sink might be helpful if you do a lot of baking or other cooking that needs both space and water.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 6:00PM
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And this one puts the cleanup in a different location, you can use large drawers to the one side for dishes. Also a large counter area on the open wall, I think in this case a small prep sink might help so you can easily prep there instead of next to the main sink. Most of your cooking time is spent on prep, so you would still face the living room most.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 6:03PM
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You are going to have to give up something if you want a more functional kitchen. You got a little chopped up counters here and there 0with no real useful counter space to work on. Really ask yourself why you want to keep what you have and what you are willing to compromise.

If you open up the wall between the den and open up the sink, you either have to give yourself a foot or so or put up a short wall so things don't fall off the counter on to the next room. I don't see the point of opening up the wall just to 'peak' into the room. You have just lost the upper cabs without gaining any improvement in the kitchen.

For example, I may consider moving the sink to the bay (the bay window may have to get changed to the counter level), and figure out how to open up the kitchen to the den with a seating island if possible. In this option, you will give up the table next to the bay but you gain the sink in front of the huge window.

Draw multiple plans and don't worry if it is possible or not. Just explore ideas first. Then critique each plan for its own sake.
I think you have more work to do on your plan.

PS: having only 1 table forces you to use the dining room table more often.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 6:09PM
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Leeber01, I agree that this needs more thought. No grand idea came, but I knew I'd have to have better work space, and I did think, like Williamsem, that moving the door to the dining room down a bit would give you more work counter.

But then I realized I had no idea how many people the table in the bay needs to seat or how large it is, how much kitchen space you need simply for through traffic. ??

Also, I imagine that undepicted bay is a nice feature. If it were mine, I'd need to find a way not to run kitchen equipment right up to the moldings.

Stream of thought going on here...

I like circular traffic flows through active rooms, so for me any changes would have to keep that.

So, this is where it's leading me: How about closing off the kitchen door to the hall? Keeping the major appliances roughly where they are, this would give you 3 additional feet of work space in the stove-prep area (clean-up doesn't need it).

If eliminating that door made you miss seeing into the hall, you could put in a little chat and view window above the sink counter. I wish I had a picture of a genuinely wonderful traditional one I remember. It was nicely framed with good moldings and had a handsome chest with lamp, etc., below it so no one could walk right up to it and stare in at the dirty dishes. You, happily, have nice room for something similar. That window's view on the opposite wall was of a showpiece stove and hood in a luscious red with white kitchen. Yours would be even better--the window bay and garden beyond, but, like them, yould have shutters at yours--inside--to close it off when you wished.

Regarding the microwave and pantry: I'd move the microwave to hopefully just right of the refrigerator in the cabinet above the counter. It wouldn't be so available to those at the table, but I'd make the tradeoff to preserve the bay area. (To keep it there in a different way, more below.)

Regarding the pantry, I would flank the table area with 2 floor-to-ceiling shallow pantries. You have just short of 3 feet on each side. Six feet of 12" deep pantries (one 3' on each side) would provide a LOT of storage. This depth would leave a 9-inch clearance on each side to the bay, not considering what trim might be there, and could be increased a bit if you chose. This would also be nicely symmetric.

Note, speaking from experience because a 12"-deep wall pantry is what I have, you could USE the wall thickness to gain a few additional inches needed to set a smaller microwave into the pantry wall. We gained about 3-1/2" by framing a niche into the wall, so that we had about 15-1/2", plus the shelf we put on the bottom had a little 3/4" or so overhang--not that the MW needed it, we just thought it looked better.
BTW, why the deadline? Is it hard or self-imposed?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies and suggestions. It's given me a lot to think about. I definitely agree that the layout needs work, and likely major revisions.

I wanted to keep all 3 openings in/out of the kitchen because our family really does use all of them but I'm beginning to accept that at least one will have to be moved/closed.

Rosie, we're a family of 4 with two young kids (5 and 19 months). We eat most of our meals in the kitchen but make a point to have at least one weekend dinner in the dining room (fewer distractions, different feel, you know?)

The plans don't really reflect it but the idea is to open up the wall into the family room, creating an island with seating on the other side, facing into the kitchen. Despite the addition of this seating, I think I want to keep the little table just because I like flexibility of having an eat-in space for all of us without the formality of the dining room. Might be unrealistic and have to rethink that.

Am seriously considering all suggestions and discussing with my husband, who would like me to stop agonizing and changing my mind every 5 minutes. :-)

Williamsem, thank you so much for your ideas. Am going downstairs to stare at my kitchen some more to see if moving the opening is just what I need.

Kaismom, you hit the nail on the head regarding the limitations of our current kitchen. THought about moving cabinets to the wall with the window but that side looks right at our neighbor's house/sideyard which is fairly close. But definitely something to consider.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Hmm...trying to rethink the layout and come up with something better that allows me to keep all three openings. What about this?

Also, I apologize for the terrible layouts. Obviously my technical skills are not much better than my kitchen design skills. :-)

Oh--that small square on the island is supposed to be a prep sink.

This post was edited by leeber01 on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 12:34

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Your island is too far away from the cooktop to make sense - about 7 1/2 feet. You will be prepping in that cramped corner between the range and sink because it's the most convenient counter space.

I don't think you have the room for a table in the kitchen "area" (maybe you can float a table between den and kitchen - not sure) and an island can serve that purpose just as well, so here are my suggestions. Sorry for the rough quality of them! In the first option, the aisles are 48" to the right, 36" top and bottom. The second one is 48" right, 36" top.

Sometimes layouts can be hard to visualize so here is an example of an anchored island like I am suggesting in the second option - mamadadapaige's stunning and prizewinning kitchen.

This post was edited by tracie.erin on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 13:59

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:53PM
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