Need initial floor plan comments

gigibozoJune 6, 2012

Hi everyone! I have enjoyed this forum for the past few months. So many drool-worthy kitchens!

My husband and I purchased a project house as a weekend/vacation home. The house is exactly 100 years old with a lot of charm. Originally the area homes were built as cottages in this shore area.

We have had the help of an architect to redesign the first and third floors. On the first floor we would like to open up the area to the dining and living rooms. We are moving the half bath (currently opposite the refrigerator!) to an area off of the foyer. This will give us more room for the kitchen.

Currently we are working on the exterior. We will be siding the house within the month. While I didn't plan on having to make any concrete decisions on the kitchen until next year, I am faced with one now. The current openings for the kitchen and bathroom windows will be sided over and we need to decide on the opening for the new window.

I think I like the floor plan as is, but I would like to know if anyone has a different idea that might be more functional. BTW, I would center the sink on the window.

I am posting the original first floor layout and then the architect's proposal.

I welcome any thoughts.


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Here is the architect's proposal.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Sorry the proposed plan is kind of crooked. The area between the washer/dryer and closet leads out to the deck through sliding glass doors.

Here is a pic of the living room dining room area. the wall to the left would be opened up to the new kitchen with a similar opening to the one in the living room going out to the hallway.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I wouldn't care about centering the sink on the whole window if it's centered under half. But that's your call.

I would, however, swap the sink and dw, assuming the dish storage is on the left side of the sink. This will also eliminate the possibility of someone having the dw open while someone is trying to navigate between the sink and stove.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:14PM
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I wouldn't care about centering the sink on the whole window if it's centered under half. But that's your call.

I agree with Rhome, but then again, I am biased because that is what I did! See how this looks to you:

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Sophie Wheeler

In a small vacation home, I wouldn't waste the funding or counterspace on separate wall ovens and a cooktop. Just find a range instead and gain 30" of counter space. And while counter space is precious, it doesn't look as though you really have room for an island. You need at the very minimum 36" of aisle around it to be able to move in the kitchen, which translates to at least 39" between cabinets. And, 36" is much too small for some people. 48" is the goal, with some settling for 42". And unless you are going to choose a built in fridge (expensive) for a vacation home, a normal fridge will stick out around 36" into the room by the time you count the handles. If you've got enough room, you could possibly recess it somewhat into the laundry area and gain some of that space back.

The other issue that your plan has is that the traffic flow out to the deck will probably be quite heavy, and that's not that wide of a path, or an attractive one. I'd rather see the major traffic to the exterior be through a french door in the dining area than a small door in the laundry room. However, you have a much larger foyer than you really need, and moving the half bath there only utilizes so much of it, so think about also moving the laundry into that area as well. That would free up that back porch area to be a small sitting area or breakfast table and create a nicer pathway to the exterior.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:36PM
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What a fantastic project, Gigibozo. I'm so jealous. I also agree with everyone so far, but especially and strongly with Hollysprings' second paragraph.

You don't indicate where your better views and problem exposures are, which would be nice to know; and I really don't know what is possible or desirable in many respect, but here are my initial knee-jerk "I wonders/I'd wants."

1. I'd want the kitchen to open directly onto the outside social areas and/or garden.
2. I'd want ingress and egress areas to be as charming as all the other active living areas.
3. I'd want a circular floor plan, no dead ends in a busy, exuberantly livable vacation home.
4. Could I compact the laundry/wet bathing suit/closet/powder room functions in part of that large foyer? Or rather, how to do that and still have a circular traffic flow? Would I need to make the kitchen a bit smaller?
5. I wonder if that extension onto the deck wouldn't make a great little sitting area for plopping down and chatting with the cook? Or?
6. What might I have to do outside to make the front door a natural wet-suit entry? Should the foyer have a door on the side?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I think the architect's plan is actually pretty great. The one change I would make would be to make the windows bigger and have the upper cabinets terminate along the N/S walls, especially with a W-facing kitchen, in a vacation home. It's going to be lovely.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Just a few suggestions...

Maybe make the powder room sink a bit bigger, move the door over just a bit...and add a bench with hooks, in the entry? Could this replace the closet?

Then, shift the washer/dryer to the other wall and give yourself room for a little breakfast table and window on that side wall...with access to the back slider.

I'd move the fridge next to the pantry, have the range in the corner and the sink under the windows (dishwasher on the other end. A little work table or island with room for a few stools, would be nice, too. I'd think about a movable work table, so you have more flexibility in the space. Hope this helps :)

Plan... From Cottage house plans

Corner range... From Cottage house plans

And another example... From Cottage house plans

Bench with hooks, in the entry area... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:37PM
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I think you could either center it under one window or could even line up the outer edge with the outer edge of the window or the trim.

I would have the DW on the Other side of the sink from the cooktop, and

I think I would shift the island over so it was not in the path to the fridge.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:41PM
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I'll leave the layout to the more knowledgeable members.

But I do know bathrooms a bit, being a frequent user due to some medical issues. A bit of a bathroom connoisseur.

I think having a separate door between the powder room toilet and sink will be very hard to manage. I can certainly appreciate the privacy a second door adds. But the logistics of entering, then shimmying around the sink to get the second door open, then maneuvering around it to use the sink will be hard.

Given the age of the house and the fantastic archways you have, and are adding, he would be my thoughts:
1. Make the powder room a toilet with a Small corner sink as pictured, but extend a strip of countertop to the wall next to the door, maybe 12 inches deep? I'm sure someone here will be able to help with that measurement. Put the mirror above that piece, opposite the toilet. The counter will allow a lady to place her purse there for making touchups without having to worry about balancing it on the sink.

2. Put a nice coat rack in the corner next to the stairs. Maybe even an umbrella stand. I think it would be in keeping with the character of the house.

3. If you want access to a sink at all times there, which is why I would think there is a door in the powder room, I bet you could find a beautiful stand and sink that looks like an old fashion wash basin to put along the wall shared with the living room. I think it would make a nice reception nook where guests could hang their outterwear and wash up if desired before proceeding.

I might be crazy though. Maybe that's a horrible plan. But the second door is definitely worth removing.

By the way, those wood floors are awesome. I saw an old house around here that had floors like that in all the rooms, tin ceilings, beautiful doorways with double doors to the front room, a butlers pantry and brick walls. If I had the DIY skills to restore it to it's former glory I would have bought it in a heartbeat. It was in very rough shape, but salvageable for the right person.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:59PM
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If this is a vacation home, will there often be many people there? Extended family? Friends?

Unfortunately, architects aren't very good at functional layouts - "nice looking", yes, but not so much functional. This isn't a horrible layout, but it could definitely be improved whether it will be a "private" vacation house or one in which your friends and family will be joining you.

Make sure you have adequate aisles around the island - if the kitchen will have several people working in it, then plan for a bare minimum of 42" on each side with no seating...48" may be better, especially in front of the sink and refrigerator. If seating, aim for 54" to 66" on the aisle with seating, especially if there will be counters or appliances behind the seating. Aisle widths include the distances b/w island corners and walls, etc. (If "private" or few people in the kitchen, then 36" to 42" will be fine - with 42" b/w the DW and refrigerator with no seating.) Remember, aisle widths are measured counter edge-to-counter edge or appliance handle(s), not cabinet-to-cabinet or appliance door.

Perhaps a prep sink in the island would be useful and worth the funding - you will have multiple Prep Zones (island and b/w sink & range) plus you will have a sink for handwashing, drinks, etc. With many people, I think it might be very important - much more important than separate ovens & cooktop.

DW - definitely move it! right now, it's in the way of someone trying to prep b/w the cooktop/range and issue even if you won't be having extended family & friends over. Dish storage would also be much better on the left side of the kitchen so emptying the DW doesn't get in the way of someone prepping or cooking and so the same for someone setting the table.

Right now, the island is a barrier b/w the refrigerator and prepping on the island. You also will have to cross the Cleanup Zone to get to the refrigerator from both the Prep and Cooking Zones. One of your goals should be to minimize zone-crossing. I strongly recommend you consider moving the refrigerator to where the pantry & ovens are now. It would keep the refrigerator on the periphery while putting it closer to the Prep & Cooking Zones - where it's used the most. It will also be closer to the DR. You could put a larger pantry (if needed) where the refrigerator is now and, if you really need it, the ovens.

You will most likely need more room b/w the cooktop/range and ovens (or refrigerator). If you move the refrigerator, I think it will take less space than the ovens + pantry so you will gain a few inches.

Where is the MW? Would you consider putting it in the island on the far end (on the DR end)? If you have a prep sink, it is then on the periphery, near the refrigerator, near a water source, and accessible for both kitchen workers and snackers w/o getting in each others way.

If you're changing the windows, consider one big window rather than two smaller windows - that way you won't have a center stile/trim/wall to look at from the sink. On the other hand, if you center the sink on the right window, the current windows will be fine...but consider a wall of all windows if you have a great view out those windows!

Powder Room...Williamsem brought up some very good points!

Just some thoughts!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Thanks for all of the advice everyone. You are all so helpful. I thought just a little more background might be helpful.

The house will primarily be used on weekends and then for more extended periods of time during the summer. My husband and I have 4 children, one who is married with a baby and another on the way. The youngest will finish high school next year. Fortunately the house has 4 bedrooms(with the world's tiniest closets!) on the second floor and we are converting the third floor to a master suite with balcony. So, many times it will be just us, but at other times we will have a crowd.

The house is on a "point" in an area with some similar homes and some pretty pricey homes. When we first went to see the house, our agent got a call that the house was under
contract with bank approval. We viewed it anyway and left heartsick as it was exactly what we were looking for. Three weeks later we got a call that the deal had fallen though. We closed on the house within a week! It was really meant to be. We knew that we would be putting money into the house, but we got a really good deal on it and the value is there.

Now back to the floor plan. The suggestion to put the dishwasher to the left definitely makes sense. I still think I want the window centered with the sink. I'm thinking double hung just to match all of the other windows
in the house.

The reason I thought the refrigerator might be better where the plan has it, is that it would be closer to the deck. I could put the glassware in the cabinet next to it. That way someone coming off the deck for a drink would not have to go all the way across the kitchen. The refrigerator would be counter depth with french doors to help with the space issues.

I was thinking of the wall oven for a few reasons. One, I prefer not to put the MW above the stove. I thought I would then put the MW and oven in the wall. Also, I like to bake, so thought it would be nice to have the wall oven with storage above for cookie sheets and pans and also a drawer below for storage. Below the cooktop I would then have drawers for pots and pans. Also, silliest reason of all, I have always wanted one. But I suppose I might have to rethink this one.

I like the idea of having the little breakfast table, but I really can't give up the closet. I need the space for the vacuum, cleaning items, excess coats (I wouldn't want them all in the foyer). I don't have another good spot for the W/D either.

Aisles, right now they are 42 from sink to island, and 36 on the other sides. I know it is tight. I have 42 at home here and it is okay, but 36 maybe not so much. I have an island at home and really use it a lot. I'm trying to hold onto the idea. I use it for preop, baking, serving appetizers and buffet style and unloading my groceries.

The powder room is actually located in the space where the basement stairs are currently. We have access to the basement from a door outside. The basement gets wet at times and we wouldn't use it to store anything of value. My husband is going to do something to fix the water issue, but I still wouldn't need access to it from the inside. So that door that Williamsem saw on the plan is just showing where the basement door used to be. I think it might be a good idea though to move the door down a little to get a better vanity situation.

The foyer is something that we considered a few times for finding room. Its a beautiful welcoming space with a nice pattern on the floor (the living room and dining room has this too). I will be putting some hooks up and also use the area for a small desk or a comfy little reading area.

The views are out to the W,S and E, with the E being the best, especially off the deck and dining room window. The S view is a water view only in the winter.

I'm posting some pics to give more of a visual. The first one is the foyer, but only shows a portion.

I appreciate all of the ideas and always welcome more.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:22AM
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This one is better of the foyer.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:29AM
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View to the West.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:34AM
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The house!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:37AM
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It's very charming, and I love your plan for the foyer. Making the most of a space you feel good just to walk into sounds just right.

Since you obviously are looking forward to doing a lot of cooking on vacation, a great kitchen also comes into focus. I initially agreed with possibly moving the refrigerator; however, as with this plan the other side of the kitchen would be strictly cook(s)' territory, keeping everyone from dashing back and forth over there all day seems...desirable. I'm sure there'll be plenty of hanging out in the kitchen as it is. :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Hi all,

The exterior of the house is 95% finished and we are starting to work on the interior. We have signed on with a KD who we really like and are planning on starting the kitchen sooner than we thought. The KD came up with this initial plan for our price proposal based off of the architect's rough drawing. We do know that the sink wall measures 7" longer than what he has here. The rest looks pretty accurate and they are coming out to measure later this week.

Without the extra 7", there is 42" between the island and the sink and 36" on the other sides of the island. A couple of thoughts I already have: We would only have one wall oven with the microwave above it. I think the dw needs to be on the left side of the sink, although the designer said that it was a toss-up because of the proximity to the refrigerator. The question becomes, then, if I am prepping food on the right side of the sink, where should the trash pullout go. Seems like it would be in my way. Also wondering how best to use the extra 7". I would really like a farmhouse sink and it could certainly be used for that with a wider sink base.

The island has two options right now. One with counter top and a open shelf underneath and one with some cabinetry. My husband would like to do the second option with a bookcase on the end instead of a stool. He would also like to make the island a few inches wider. I like a more open look and am thinking maybe the first option might work with a row of drawers (horizontally) below the counter.

Some other changes since my initial post: We found space for the laundry up on the second floor, so we now have room for a pantry either in that space or where the closet was planned. The opening to the dining room will be a little expanded on the left to widen that traffic area. Also we are moving the door to the half bath over a little so we can have a proper small sink there.

Hopefully the plan is readable once I post it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:03PM
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The outside. Porch needs to be finished in the spring. Ignore the upside down storm door. Don't understand how someone could think that it went that way!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:13PM
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