Kitchen island spacing question

kolkyJune 9, 2014

This is my first post but I've read the site for a while and have gotten some great information off of it.

I have a question about the layout of my new kitchen. Attached is a picture of what it will look like (apologize for the lack of scale).

My concern is with the size of the island I will only have ~32" between the island and some of my back cabinets. It is really only one corner of the island that this affects and this will likely be the least traveled part of the kitchen

My one option is to tear out the pantry I just finished framing out and make it about 4 inches shallower.

My question is do you think it is worth tearing out the pantry and re-framing it (not drywalled yet) or will I be ok with that 32" pathway on that one corner of the island. The rest of that side of the island has at least 40" between it and the other set of cabinets.

Moving the island down will also put my sink more in front of my fridge which I am not sure I want.

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And the space between those two sets of cabinets on the wall with the 32" in spacing is actually a fireplace. It sits flush against the wall so that area is actually open even though it looks like it sticks out in the picture.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:57PM
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32" is way too narrow for a passage in a kitchen. Couple that with the fact that it's in front of a heat source, and something has to change. You need minimum 48" in front of that fireplace, and another foot would be better for people traffic to not risk getting burned. Your island needs to shrink by around 24".

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:28PM
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You won't even be able to see the fireplace with the island blocking it.

Is this space being gutted? Is the fireplace there now?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Fireplace is already there.

There is actually about 56" between the fireplace and island. It's just the one corner of those cabinets where the is the 32" space. Everything else is fine.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Personally, I like shallow pantries. If I read your diagram correctly, you have shown a 28 inch pantry. Can you do a 12 or 14 inch one?


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:08PM
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I'd consider both making the pantry shallower (will there be pull-outs? If so, depth isn't as critical, but if not, you'll never be able to see/find what's in the back) and shortening the island by a few inches. You should 4 stools at the island - how long is the entire island?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Not pertinent to your question, but is there really 11" difference in depth between your fridge and the island (40") and the next cabinet over? (51")? Or am I reading it wrong?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:42PM
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I'm confused about the fireplace - is it facing into the kitchen or is that the back of it and it is actually facing into another room.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 8:02PM
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So I did some more rearranging, dry fit the cabinets and mocked out countertops. It was tighter than I thought in the back corner so I think I am going to have to make the pantry shallower. I think I will make the pantry about have about a 19" interior depth rather than the 28" it has now.

After that, my new measurements give me:

- 34" on that back corner
- 58" between the fireplace and island
- 50" between the pantry and island

Still have 51" between the island and other cabinets and 45" between the island and wall.

@cal_quail: The reason there is an 11" difference between the fridge and counter is because I am including roughly 2" for space behind the fridge for the water line and the door and handles on the fridge.

@blfenton: The fireplace faces into the kitchen. It is on an exterior wall so it is flush with the wall.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Are you planning on doing pull-outs in the pantry? If not, it would be better to go shallower than 19" just to make the pantry contents easier to access. I would still want to go shallower on the pantry as 34" would be too tight for me. If you Google search Gardenweb and pantries you can read about designing a functional pantry (of course many of the pantries described are walk-ins which is different).

Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:24PM
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If you can see the above plan, I have a 29" pinch point between one island corner and my HVAC stack bump out. I juts measured it, it actually turned out to be 28.5". All my measurements would be universally panned by kitchen design pros, and I would agree, except I love having my island. love it. It would be worth it to be to turn side ways to walk around it! :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 10:40PM
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A framed pantry is a waste of 4 1/2" at least, which is the thickness of a 2x4 and two sheets of drywall. Rip it out and install pantry cabinets sized to give you the aisle space you need.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 9:39AM
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FWIW, our KD designed our kitchen with 18" deep pantry cabs (he "cheated them back" from the "normal" cab depth of 24" to allow for an island. This was GENIUS in our opinion(!). No other KD's we'd spoken with came up with a plan that allowed for an island. They all insisted that it wasn't possible.

Besides looking into doing something like we did with the pantry cab depth, it appears in your diagram, that you might also have a couple inches to steal from the aisle on other side of the island???

We ended up with 36" (maybe a little more) between the island and the pantry/msg ctr cabs, and 42" or so on the opposite side (across from our main prep counters, sink, DW....). We tweaked the KD's original plans, biasing the island's placement to allow for the wider spacing on the DW side (so we can walk around the DW door when opened for loading/unloading).

We have pull-outs in our two pantry cabs, as well as some adjustable shelves,, and there is a lot of storage space. We added a few pull-outs while installation was underway, including a shallow height one for cans and such. I'd have to stand on a step ladder to reach stuff beyond the front row of "stuff" stored there on a regular shelf, or on a pull-out. The pull-out makes stuff stored further back so much more accessible!

One recommendation; if you do use shallower pantry cabs, find out if they can make your shelves/pull-outs as deep (f to b) and as wide (side to side) as possible. Ours are a few inches less deep than the back wall of the pantry cabs (something to do with "standard" length blum glides). Had they used slightly longer glides, they could have used/built deeper (wider?) pull-out boxes, which would have increased our storage capacity even more. We did make sure the pull-outs completely fill the cab space from side wall to side wall.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I originally had pantry cabinets in my design. They were $6000 just for those cabinets. Instead I decided to frame out the pantry and use french doors with this type of design.

Interior Doors by Alpharetta Doors Falcon Door Company

Saved me about $5,000 and I like the way it looks better than the pantry cabinets.

I'm not too worried about the space in between the pantry and Island anymore once I make it narrower.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:55PM
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