Any advice on reconfiguring my vintage kitchen?

kmcgJune 22, 2011

I got really helpful responses in my recent thread about the "essential-ness" of a prep sink, along with some requests for visuals. So I thought I'd better start a new thread before launching in with lots of new info. I'll be as brief as possible, but I apologize in advance if I'm wordy!

We recently moved into an Edwardian house with a kitchen that looks really good but doesn't function so well. The sink and dishwasher are stuck in this odd little alcove, which I'm calling the pantry because it seems like it could have once been a butler's pantry. Dimensions are 95" on the window wall by 51 inches deep. There is a 35" opening to this room. With the current setup, the open dishwasher door blocks the opening. You can empty the dishwasher by standing to its left, where most of the dishes live. But that's about the best I can say for this space. My husband and I, plus the dog and the kids if they are home from college, tend to need to get into this space at the same time, to get dishes, water, do prep, cleanup, etc. I want to solve this bottleneck problem, but retain most of the cabinetry and current character of the kitchen, which I basically really like.

Here's the alcove, followed by pix of the range wall and the fridge wall:

We removed an old furnace and chimney from the middle of the kitchen, so we freed up space for some kind of peninsula. There's space for about 54" in length, and 39" in width - so basically a row of base cabinets with an overhang so that a couple of stools can pull up at the peninsula. The short end of the peninsula would fit up against the wall space where the chimney was. Behind the wall is the pantry/alcove on the left, and a powder room on the right (in this picture, behind the door on the far right). The peninsula area is marked in blue tape.

Here's the floor plan of the room:

There are 3 basic options I've come up with for dealing with this pantry bottleneck:

1. Keep the walls to the pantry intact, reconfigure the cabinets inside that pantry, and add a peninsula in the main part of the kitchen. With this option, I would move the sink and DW onto the peninsula, shrinking the work triangle and eliminating the pantry bottleneck. The peninsula would be around 54" x 39", with a bar overhang on the long side, away from the prep action. I'd have 41-42" between sink/DW and the facing fridge - is that enough?

Option #1 gives me lots of flexibility about how to configure the cabinets within the pantry space. I could wrap base cabinets in a U-shape, or put tall pantry cabinets on one side, and new base cabinets on the other.(I need to keep the upper cabinet on the south wall in this pantry. It's custom fit to the window location, and would cost too much to recreate - i.e., it's got inset doors, is glazed, and reaches to the 9-foot ceiling.)

Option 2. We could keep the pantry separate from the rest of the kitchen as in Option 1, but keep the sink and DW where they are now. On the new peninsula, put a prep sink. This would open up the bottleneck in the work triangle, and allow us to keep the cleanup area and small appliance clutter back in the pantry. I would not gain much in storage (no tall pantry cabinets), but this option would require very little construction and it has some aesthetic appeal. I would consider adding open shelving above the old sink and a wall cabinet above the peninsula. Here's a rough idea of this option:

Option 3. Remove the partition wall on the right as you enter the pantry. This opens up about 28" of space. Then reconfigure cabinets as in option 1, moving sink and DW to the peninsula. The main difference here is that we would have a continuous countertop running from inside the pantry out to the peninsula. It would make the kitchen more open and bring the pantry space into the main space. We could open the walls up all the way to the ceiling, or just continue the trimline at the top of the doorway that's there now. Either way, opening the wall is going to require the most construction and most expense. Also, it means no tall pantry cabinets, which is something I really loved about my previous kitchen. Here's a really feeble sketch of this option:

As far as my appliances wish-list, I'd love to use the Kohler Stages 33" sink (or 45" inch for the main sink, if it would fit). I also love the idea of dish drawers. I think I'll go for a French door fridge, if I can find one to fit the small space of the current cabinets (33" wide limit). I'm going to keep the wall oven until it dies, and then figure out whether the newly installed LaCanche is enough. Before I added the range, all the appliances were 25 years old, so they're likely to get replaced in this remodel.

So there you have it. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether to open up the pantry or keep it relatively separate, and if I keep it separate, whether to move the sink/DW out into the main space, or just add a prep sink.



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are the opening on the lower right windows or doors? form the 3d it looks like 1 of each.

so far, I'd wack off those little side walls going into the pantry/sink/dw area and stick the refridge back where the sink is. run the cabs on the other side on around to where the fridge was. put the sink and dw there.

might rethink it some more later. gotta run a few errands now.

what's the cab behind the door used for? is that door used to come in/go out a lot?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 4:59PM
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Kathy- I really like your kitchen...beautiful range, great stool and it goes so well with the floor! You do have some challenges, with your space, but I like your idea for the peninsula. Do you have enough room to sit at the stool and still access the fridge and pantry area? If so, I think it would be great. Also wanted to say...what a cute dog!

Your kitchen reminds me of one I just saw in the BH&G's Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine. Maybe these pictures will give you a few ideas...and parts of it are so similar to your kitchen. Hope these help :)

Nice range and you can see the pantry (with sink and dishwasher) in the background. It's 8' x 8'. Here's a close up of the pantry area.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:26PM
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I have to reread your post more closely, but counting the squares in your floor (are those 12" tiles?) it looks to me you could knock out that one fiddly wall and put in an island rather than a peninsula. This would allow traffic into the pantry, where the cleanup sink would be. Then put prep sink and prep storage in the island.

However, I can't tell if this is right because I can't count the squares in front of the range.

Also, can you make choice #3 bigger?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:47PM
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Love you stove!

With the DW open on the penninsula, doesn't that just move the bottleneck to a different spot while making a bottleneck for the fridge as well?

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:48PM
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desertsteph - Right, there's a tall window on the right side of that floorplan, and a doorway at the lower right. Passage is to the hall/back door and onward to dining room. The cabinet to the right of the powder room door is a shallow little storage cabinet (at center of the photo below). Here's a photo from before we removed the chimney. *sadly, the pretty copper potrack was the previous owner's*

I don't know if you were asking about another door, though. I forgot to note in my first post that the little square in the lower left corner is just a placeholder; the opening to the living room is actually a straight line between the front of the fridge and the front of the wall oven cabinet.

I like your idea of the fridge in the opened-up pantry, and the sink/DW where the fridge now is. This might work, although moving the plumbing this far over might be too much. However, we're going to be adding an upstairs bath right above this, so it could perhaps be a great solution. If we did this swap, would we need to worry about too much traffic having to go all the way back to the fridge?

lavender - Thanks for the photos; there's a real similarity. I'm afraid the stool would have to live on the other side of the peninsula; it's pretty fat, and sits there now only because it's filling that empty space where the chimney used to be. We don't want the dog to fall down the hole to the basement! (He's a collie, btw, but just got his summer haircut)

marcolo: those are 12" tiles. I thought about doing an island, but it would have to be short - almost square. If we knock out the fiddly wall, that opens up the space in front of the sink, but the powder room is on the other side of the wall where the chimney was. We can't break into that wall, so there's not space for a walkway behind an island. I am pretty bad at the design software, but I'll try to go back and get a larger view of option 3 and post it soon.

dillyny: I have that same concern about creating a new bottleneck. I'm thinking dishdrawers could help with the access - they don't have to stick out so far. But yes, an open dishwasher is a problem, and someone would have to scoot between there and the opposite wall. I'd have to be careful not to put the DW directly opposite the fridge, for sure. The current bottleneck is made worse by the fact that the pantry houses dishes and glasses, trash and compost, plus sink and DW and the largest expanse of prep space in the kitchen. I'm hopeful that opening up prep space on a peninsula will help a lot, as will putting some dish storage space out in the middle of the kitchen. It would just be easier to get to.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I like the idea of moving the fridge into the pantry and putting the sink/dishwasher, where the fridge is now. If you took down that little wall, between the pantry and proposed peninsula...would you really need the peninsula?

With an open space, where the new peninsula might go...the fridge would be easy to access and the sink/dishwasher would also be easy to access. Can you possibly gain a little seating, by opening up the wall, between the new sink and living room, where the fridge is now? Maybe a half wall, with stools on the other side? Even if it's a load bearing wall, you might be able to open up enough space for a stool or two.

I agree...nice pot rack, belonging to the former owners :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:32PM
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I can see why you want to keep the cabs - I really like them!

I think moving the fridge back would open things up a lot more. Would it place the fridge that far away from anyone wanting into it? It would keep it (and those getting in/out of it) away from the cooks area.

Tho, looking again taking out both of those partial walls (they take up a lot of space considering the size of the kitchen!) and running cab/counter up to the fridge (where it is), putting the sink in the center back wall and dw on right of sink then (next to wall adjoining the PR) would keep one from falling over an open dw door and allow one to stand in front of sink to unload the dishes into cabinet to the left of the sink.

Would you be able to enlarge the window over the sink?

If you have a basement changing the plumbing shouldn't be that big of a problem. If you're putting a bath upstairs above where the fridge is now, they'll be running pipes up that wall anyway.

Also, not knowing how much wall would remain to the left of that door (if the partial wall by PR is removed) you might be able to put a floor to ceiling shallow cabinet. Maybe with glass in the upper doors for dish storage?

Your stove is the color of my bf's 64 Mustang convertible when I was in HS! We called it poppy red. Love it!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I hope you don't mind, but I want to share some pictures with you of my 1928 kitchen before my reno last year. I too had a "sink pantry" where the only cabinets in the entire kitchen were placed. I lived with this for 15 years. Truthfully, I loved it and everything else about my old home. Yours is the first kitchen I have seen with this "sink pantry" room. It was so hard to visualize the drastic layout changes that needed to take place. That wall behind the fridge came down since the chimney is behind the stove. I put a peninsula there to connect the dining and living room and the sink wall is now on the right of the refridgerator under windows.

I am wondering what is behind your refridgerator? I can see from your pictures the entry door and your layout reminds me somewhat of mine. Perhaps you should post more of your entire first floor layout and identify the other rooms surrounding the kitchen. Maybe you have more options than you think. I know it is very difficult with these older wonderful homes.

I just want you to know how much I appreciate seeing that sink/pantry room you have. I LOVE it! Sadly, mine is just a pantry now, open to the kitchen with nice views of the backyard.

Tracy M.




    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Shoot - I just lost a very detailed response to these last two posts. But cutting to the chase, I don't want to open the kitchen to the living room. The house is too traditional, LR ceilings are box-beam so the transition would be weird, and we are okay with a separate kitchen (this being our empty nest downsize house). I would rather avoid the expense of expanding the window, and there's some unknown chase (maybe plumbing) going up the entire wall just to the right. Don't know if we could expand. We do have a basement. I just need to keep this part of the remodel under control, as the big bucks need to be reserved for the upstairs (4 BR house with only one full bath, and no shower - definitely needs work!).

But the fridge/sink swap is intriguing. I can't access the Ikea kitchen design software, which is where my stuff is stored. But I'll work on that asap. I like the idea of not having an island, preserving access to that back area. I lose the opportunity to increase storage, but I could put a farmhouse table in there to increase prep space. And I love the idea of a shallow cabinet next to the bathroom. I might be able to figure something out.

That said, I would welcome others to chime in with thoughts on the original 3 options :)

I'm glad you like the stove - a LaCanche I found on Craigslist. I was dying for a burst of color, and needed to replace a dying cooktop, so I was so relieved it didn't turn out looking like Halloween!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 10:26PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I have serious pantry envy! Love the vintage elements of the kitchen. If you keep the short wall across from the current sink, you might consider a shallow pantry between the studs. Floor to ceiling adjustable shelves would provide lots of storage for canned goods, spices, glassware, etc. I recently did that and added doors, but since that area in your kitchen is out of sight, you wouldn't need doors.

If the wall has to go, you could still do the same thing to the right of the sink. Think about old ironing-board cabinets converted to shallow pantries.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:37AM
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I am still completely confused as to what the layout is now. I can't keep the openings straight. Can you post more 360 pictures, plus a full first-floor plan?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:27AM
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tracee - Thanks for posting about your similar dilemma. I'd love to see the "after" shots. When you said "SOMEHOW THE ENTIRE KITCHEN ENDED UP INSIDE THIS PANTRY" I knew exactly what you meant! That's where we are.

I don't have a full first floor diagram to post right now, but it's fairly easy to explain. You can see the living room through the doorway in the 3rd picture. To the right of the living room and behind the fridge wall is a small room that was probably once a music room (given the placement of a high, broad window above where a piano would have gone). It is open to the living room. I currently have our TV in there - a sort of separate sitting room that's really quite charming - despite the big TV!. At some point, there was a doorway between the kitchen and this small room, so someone probably used it as a breakfast room. (I heard that an old dowager once used our formal dining room as her bedroom, when she was too old to go up the stairs, so this might have been the dining room.) In any event, there was once a doorway between the kitchen and this room, which the previous owners blocked off in 1985 so they could recess the fridge and add cabinets around it. The wall where the range is backs up to the downstairs and upstairs staircases, so there's no flex in that space.

Our house was built in 1906, and I'm happy to keep it basically configured as it is, working within the confines of the kitchen + pantry area. I wish I could remove the powder room and make it part of the kitchen, but it occupies the only place a powder room could go.

marcolo - I've got zero skills when it comes to figuring out floor-plan software, so I'm sorry to have nothing better to post at this point. If you look up-thread at the floor plan posted there, the doorway to the LR is on Wall B. Doorway to the back hall is on Wall A, and the stairway is behind this wall. Door to powder room is on Wall C (marking is somewhat obscured, but it's the door leading into the cut-out corner in the upper right). There's a window on the far right wall, and one in the pantry. Does that help at all?

Thanks everyone! I'm going to see if I can get some new plans done and post later.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:13PM
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My understanding is that the plan looks something like this, with the 'cabinet' next to the oven, actually part of the living room and the doorway should be even with the front of the fridge. The power room is at the top of the page and it's a window on the right side.

Here's a quick sketch, with the fridge moved to where the sink used to be and the dishwasher and sink moved to the fridge wall. The two pantry walls are gone and a small mobile table/island can be used for extra prep. Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:46PM
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Add me to the list concerned about the peninsula acting as a chokepoint.

It also almost gives you two kitchens: with the sink outside, I can see people using the counters, the peninsula, etc. and becoming reluctant to go "all the way" into the pantry to use that sink, or to put things away in the cabinets -- not sure how many people are using this kitchen, but that may mean lots of nagging!

If you want to keep the flow open into that pantry alcove, you need to do just that -- not throw anything into the stream to divert the flow. Or block it off, use it as a pantry again and keep the kitchen as a kitchen and use it as you will.

As for the cost of tearing down the two little pieces of wall -- that is honestly not a huge expense.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:48PM
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Adorable kitchen! But yes, it could be more functional.

Your floor plan and your pictures don't seem to match. In your plan, you show full depth cabinets in the sink pantry to the left of the window (along the fridge wall). However, they look shallower in your photos. Can you clarify this, please?

Putting that aside for the moment....

You don't tell us - or if you did, I missed it - the age and construction of your cabinets. If they are site built, you may not be able to move them. The wall they are attached to may provide much of their structural strength, which means they will fall apart once you take them off the wall. Check this first before trying to work with your given cabinet sizes. If they can't be moved, then you know you will have to start with new cabinets OR work within the given lay-out.

If you can't move the cabinets and don't or can't go to the expense of new cabinets, removing the right-hand wall between proper kitchen and sink pantry will be fairly inexpensive and will alleviate some of the crowding you experience now.

If you can move the cabinets or choose to either go with all new cabinets or have custom cabinets built to match the ones you'll keep (not as expensive as it might sound), moving the fridge to the sink location would give your kitchen a better work flow - fridge to sink to range. However, you won't be able to - or you won't want to - have the fridge smack up against the wall to its right. That wall will prevent the fridge door from swinging open all the way, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, to pull out fridge drawers. Adding a narrow pull-out cabinet (pantry or broom cabinet) between wall and fridge will solve that problem.

If you want to add seating to your kitchen, add a built-in bench in the corner to the right of your range under the low set windows. You can add storage to the benches.

Another idea to use that area is to install ... hmmm, not sure what to call this so let's go with floating counter. No cabinets below, just a counter spanning the distance between shallow cabinet near the powder room door and cabinets to the right of the range. That would give you more prep space near your range, allowing you to leave the center of your kitchen open, which will help relieve traffic jams.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:12PM
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Need additional dimensions, please. Measure to window or door opening, not to molding but also provide width of molding.

Sink pantry, sink wall, left to right:
Corner to window
Window width
Window to corner

Fridge wall dimensions, top to bottom:
Corner to doorway
Width of doorway
Doorway to corner

Range wall, left to right:
Corner to window
Window width (and window height above floor)
Window to corner

Shallow cab wall:
Corner to window
Window width (and window height above floor if diff from above)
Window to corner.

Powder room wall:
Corner to doorway
Width of doorway
Doorway to corner

Can the powder room door be moved to the left? This may allow you to put in full depth cabs on the wall to the right of the PR. If that's possible, can you install a prep sink in this location?

How deep is your fridge? Standard depth or counter depth? Are you keeping it?

One more question. Do you plan to keep the wall oven? You should check local code and your range's owners' manual to learn requirements for distance from heat source (burners) to flammable material (cab side). That looks tight to me but it may be allowed. If it's not to code and you wish to keep the wall oven, one way to address this would be to continue the tile on the side of the oven cabinet. However, if you ditch the wall oven, you would gain more prep space around your range.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:37PM
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I'm killing time waiting for call backs from various people so I drew up a few ideas for you. They may or may not work depending on existing dimensions and whether the PR door can be moved.

The first two plans - Plan A and Plan B - don't move the PR door but do eliminate the oven cab. You can install a wall oven or a MW drawer below the counter. You could even consider a speed oven, which will perform as a MW and an oven. Just check that you can install the one you choose under the counter since not all brands allow that installation method.

I moved the fridge and tall cabinet to the existing sink wall, reusing those cabinets. You'll need to have a new cabinet side panel built to go on the left of the fridge but that shouldn't be an issue.

Plan A

Plan B

If you go with a floating counter, you can shift the range to the right, gaining room to put a prep sink to the left of the range and moving it farther from traffic coming through the doorway.

You could also install a prep sink in the counter in front of the low window ala how Sombreuil_Mongrel did in her old house kitchen:

The above would allow you to keep the wall oven cabinet just inside the door into the kitchen and still have prep room between range and wall oven.

Plans C & D move the PR door, allowing full depth counter/cabs on the far right wall.

Plan C

Plan D

You could add a movable island but it would have to be fairly small - 2' x 3' at most - to keep it from becoming a road block that is constantly getting moved about. IMO, you're better off adding counter along the perimeter of your kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 4:17PM
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Lisa- Not to discourage your good ideas, but I believe the opening in the bottom right corner is a door. It looks like it, in the layout, at the top...under Option 2.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 4:54PM
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What a flurry of activity while I was working on new floor plans! Thanks to everyone who has posted! Lavender lass - yes, that's a better graphic of the layout; I'm using the Ikea kitchen planner, and it doesn't do certain things. It won't allow me to draw a cabinet shallower than 12", so Lisa, you are right: the upper cab to the left of the pantry window is indeed only about 10" deep, so the photos and plan don't match.

Lisa - your 4 options are wonderful. Thank you so much! I'll try to address the various questions they raise.

Lavender is correct - the lower right opening is a doorway that can't be closed off, so there goes the clever floating counter - that would have been a brilliant solution. I hope you don't feel like you've wasted your time; it's always interesting and productive for me to see what neat ideas people come up with.

The PR door can't be moved, and I do like the cabinets in that corner, so I'm happy to keep them. I've got a bench under that window, as you suggested, Lisa. I like it, but husband and daughter think it adds clutter so it may have to leave. In the same vein, I don't think DH would go for a prep sink in front of this window; he's opposed to adding much of anything.

The cabinets were built on site, I think in about 1985. The backs of the glass uppers are all bead board - basically the wall. I'm pretty comfortable replacing the base cabinets where necessary; I could get a close enough match to the existing cabs, but gain a lot in function with nice drawers and other fittings. I am reluctant to take out the glass front uppers, partly because they probably can't be re-used, and partly because of the holes it will leave in walls and ceiling. Plus they are functional and pretty as is, so I want to keep them.

The wall oven is an open question. My husband likes its convection feature, so when I got the new range I agreed that we could keep the wall oven until it dies, and then decide what to put in its place. But for now, our agreement is that it stays. It could move down, though, gaining additional counter space, so I'll definitely add that to the list of options. I would lose some valuable storage in that wall oven cabinet, but could perhaps make up for it. I don't have the budget to move the range; it would require moving the gas line and redoing the backsplash and range hood install, in addition to the cabinet changes. So your Plan A would work; Plan B would not.

Given these constraints, I focused on the pantry area and open center of the room in my initial drawings. I'll give you some specific measurements for areas that you asked about and are still relevant.
Sink pantry, sink wall, left to right:
Corner to window = 14 (counting molding)
Window width = 27 (+ 4.5" molding on each side)
Window to corner = 54 (but there's a chase, mentioned up-thread, that creates a slight bump-out in the wall above the sink, 44" in from the right corner)

Fridge wall dimensions, top to bottom:
Corner to doorway = 36
Width of doorway = 31
Doorway to corner = 11" from doorway to the edge of the current fridge recess; this wall can't be adjusted. From that point, 49" to end of fridge recess + 6" wall + 51" inside pantry area. Total usable space if pantry wall is removed = 106

Powder room wall: total 60; can't move door; there's 17" space between molding outside the door and the corner of the wall (the part that would remain after knocking down pantry wall)

Range wall: cabinet to right of range is possibly expendable, about 36" wide. Cabinet to left: need to keep in place.

So, I did some drawings that show the fridge-sink swap, which I'll post below. One option is fridge to right of window, on the same wall. This is the first drawing, and is the same basic plan as Lisa's.

It would be nice to keep the fridge surround cabinets, but not a complete tragedy if they had to be replaced. This makes me wonder: is there any stock cabinetry in a 9" width? That's about all I could fit if I put the fridge on the window wall. I could fit in a pantry to the left of the fridge if I backed it up to the PR wall, as shown in the second pair of drawings further down.

The other option (next 2 drawings) is fridge backing up to powder room wall, with a peninsula next to it (not to say that I'm not listening to those of you who are trying to avoid a pinched space!! I just wanted to explore the way it would look) If I do this swap, I would probably start from scratch with a new fridge; mine has a bit of a death rattle already. So I could do counter-depth. The space between fridge and opposite cabinets in this plan would be about 41", assuming I can find a 30" deep fridge.

This final drawing is a bigger version of my original option 3, as requested by a previous post.

Again, thanks for all the energy you guys are putting in to help me think this through!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Oh, drat, I totally missed the brief comment that that was a door not a window in that corner. And no, kmcg, I don't feel like I wasted my time so no worries. ;-)

The more you move away from your existing lay-out, the more likely it will cost about the same to re-use/modify existing cabinets than it would be to buy new. It could possibly cost more. At least that's what I discovered when we initially thought we'd just change out a few of our cabinets. One additional bonus with new cabinets is that you could get frameless (what Ikea offers), which will maximize all your storage space in your kitchen. Insets are a great look and more periodic appropriate but you lose storage space. Only you can decide if form should trump function. If you stick with inset, definitely go for drawers over doors in your base cabinets. They are so much more functional.

If this were my kitchen, I wouldn't put seating at the peninsula next to the PR. I wouldn't be keen on sitting there when someone is going in and out - and using - the PR. I think you're better off adding shallow cabinetry on that side to give you more storage.

Instead I'd opt to put a prep sink at the end of the peninsula ala elizpiz' kitchen (see link). Your peninsula would only be 3" narrower than hers (I'm assuming 1.5" counter overhang). Like this:

The end cab would be a 36" sink cab. The cab next to the PR door would be 24" W x 12" deep. A 36" wide cabinet to the right of the fridge will provide great storage. I listed the fridge cab as 39" wide, assuming frameless cabs and 36" wide CD fridge. If you go with framed cabs, either overlay or inset, you'll need to allow for a larger fridge cabinet, which means shrinking the cabinet to the right of the fridge.

Aisle widths are counter to counter.

CD fridges are deeper than counters, not counting handles, which is why I show the difference in aisle width between fridge and sink counter and peninsula and sink counter.

Your range also sits deeper than standard cabinets, which is why I allowed 49" aisle between peninsula and range counter. You may have enough room for two people work butt to butt - one at range, one at prep sink - while someone sidles through on the way to the PR.

I added uppers along the PW wall above the peninsula: a 24" wide cab facing the sink wall and a 12" wide cab facing the range wall. You can do open storage in this smaller one, perhaps a place to stash cookbooks and pretty bowls.

Counter space - approx 183.5" total
(estimated on the sink wall, depends on sink): 26" to left of sink, 48" to its right.
Peninsula (long side) 61.5"
Range wall - hard to tell but approx 24" on each side.

btw, counter space for the L set-up (fridge on top wall) is about 115".

Here is a link that might be useful: Elizpiz' finished kitchen photos

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:25PM
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that I estimated the aisle width between peninsula and existing shallow cab. With this plan - actually with all of them - you can keep this hutch cabinet, saving you some money. Since it acts as a stand-alone piece, you don't have to worry about matching counter, finish or cab style.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:31PM
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Ooh, I like! So much counter space! Yes, I think there's adequate space between the peninsula and the little hutch (54" from edge of peninsula counter to the wall, minus about 13" for hutch). I really like Elizpiz' island, so thanks for those shots.

I will have to think hard about whether to trade seating for storage on the peninsula. I crave more storage, but this is not a terribly busy kitchen - basically 2 of us in there together for dinner prep, but otherwise a solo operation for day to day stuff. So I don't think it would be so crowded or that a person on a stool would make PR access awkward. (It could be an issue during a party, but that's pretty infrequent.)

I was actually thinking about doing the prep sink in a 24" base cabinet on the end, across from the range, which would still allow the overhang for seating. But your drawing offers some tantalizing storage! It would be a great place for a trash pullout next to the sink. I also like how you wrapped the upper cabinets around that corner.

Now here's a big question: with the sink out in the main kitchen space now, would a prep sink be redundant? As much as I like the idea, I don't want to force it unless it would truly be useful. Moving plumbing to 2 new places might be a tough sell with my DH, who thinks the kitchen is pretty good and will want to spend more on our upstairs remodel.

Okay, dog is begging for a walk, so I'll return to this later. Thanks for the help!

I know what you mean about starting down that path to cabinet replacement. Once you price it out, it often makes sense to just switch completely.... and as I said, I really value the increased function of modern drawers and pantry pullouts (I did a large kitchen with Ikea cabs in 2005, and it was amazing how much better the kitchen worked with all those drawers.)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Glad you like it! ;-)

Whether a prep sink is redundant or not depends on how you work in your kitchen. One of the advantages of a prep sink on the peninsula is that it's a shorter, more direct walk to dump a pot of boiling water. Only you can decide whether that's a bigger plus than seating there, though.

Here's the same plan without the prep sink but with 2 stools at the peninsula.

I increased the depth of the shallow cab next to the PW from 12" to 14" so that you'd have 15.5" overhang (15" overhang is recommended). If you're going with stock cabs, you can use a 12" cab and set it forward 2" to do the same thing. Add a piece of beadboard to cover the gap at the end.

I also increased the width of cabinets on the other side to match the same overhang (15.5"), splitting the cab span into a 18" trash cab and 28" wide drawers. This may change, depending on your preferences. It also may be affected by the cab to the left of the fridge. You may need a spacer cab between the 9" pull-out pantry cab and the wall so that it can pull out clear of molding and such. You'll need to ask your cabinet supplier about this.

The peninsula gives you a nice, large space for prep work, baking projects or whatever you choose.

Now it's up to you to imagine yourself in the space, go through the motions of meal prep, clean-up and figure out what you want to store where. For instance, where will the coffee maker go? The toaster? The mixer and baking pans? Think about your kitchen on a daily basis and when you entertain. Then tweak the plan as necessary.

(I love Elizpiz' island and your whole kitchen!)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:18AM
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I like Lisa's last plan! I don't think you need a prep sink and the seating is great...and doesn't block access to the powder room. That would be a nice kitchen to cook in :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Yes, I do too! I think I've got some great options now if I go with the fridge/sink swap. Whether I can do that will depend on 2 things: how the plumbing works out for the upstairs bath remodel, and how amenable hubby is to a more extensive kitchen disruption.

The upstairs remodel is in the planning stages, but we can't go forward completely until we sell our house that we moved out of to move into this one. Not as quick a process as we had hoped... sigh.

Meanwhile, I'll keep noodling away at the other versions that didn't involve moving the fridge. Right now, I'm trying to calculate for each option the net gain in storage and counter frontage, as well as the less tangible gain in function.

So if anyone wants to weigh in on best alternatives if we don't opt to move the fridge (either because of plumbing constraints or budget), please do! Lisa and Lavender, thanks a million for your help so far; I really love what you've come up with!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:11PM
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I'm certainly no expert, but since you have an icemaker, don't you already have some kind of water lines, on that side of the kitchen? Are you still going to use an icemaker, with the new kitchen? It doesn't seem like it would be that expensive or difficult, to swap the fridge and sink. You don't have to worry about going around any doorways, it's just continuous wall space. Maybe check with a GC (initial estimates are often free) and get a price, so you know how much money you need to budget? You may be pleasantly surprised with the answer...which would be great, because that's a wonderful plan :)

As for selling your other is finally summer vacation, so hopefully, your house will sell in the next few months!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:31PM
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One more to consider:

This allows you to stick with a SD fridge (my other plans call for a CD fridge) since it sounds like you can or already have it recessed into the wall in its current location. It also means you won't have to move plumbing lines for the ice maker. Both will save you money, perhaps off-setting the cost of moving the sink plumbing (although you won't be moving it far). With the fridge closer to the end, anyone wanting to access it won't have to cross through the clean-up or prep zones. The fridge and pantry cabs, however, will block more of the light coming in the window. Pity you don't have the budget to move or enlarge the window in there.

You still have a decent section of counter on the peninsula and a larger, unbroken counter across from the sink.

One other idea - swap out the shallow cabinet to the right of the PR for a floor to ceiling shallow pantry cab. Then you can have a nice long stretch of counter next to the fridge.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:37PM
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For the fridge swap, I was more worried about moving the drain location so the sink/DW could be where the fridge is now. It's possible that I will be installing a new toilet right above that spot, though, so the plumbing move might be an inexpensive part of the larger package. This new plan (thanks Lisa!) does give me a larger - or at least more funtional - pantry cabinet next to the fridge, and the sink/DW would be easy to relocate. Definitely a contender!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 3:01PM
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You're welcome, kmcg!

I think this last plan might be the one I'd choose. The fridge might block a bit more light coming in the kitchen window in this location, however, having the sink wall so open - very few uppers - make counteract that and make the kitchen appear quite open and bright.

Oh, and I thought of a way to keep the existing shallow cab and make it work as a pantry. If you swap out the glass for more obscure glass, you keep the cuteness but hide the necessities. See some examples in the link below. Another way to do the same thing, if it suits your style, is to put up curtains on the insides of the door. In other words, if you don't want to be locked into keeping this as a display cab, you don't have to be.

Please keep us posted. And don't forget to post when you're finished. I'd love to see your new kitchen. I live vicariously through others' remodels while I wait to do mine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kelly's Kitchen Sync - 5 Glass Patterns for a Glass Door Revolution

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:51PM
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If I were going to restructure this kitchen, I'd put the range where the sink is in the last plan with a little prep sink next to the fridge. Then I'd put a cleanup sink where the range is now. All the zones would now be well separated and cooking and prep would be totally protected. In this configuration, the peninsula could be even longer because you wouldn't be worrying about the oven door.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 1:30PM
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fwiw, i agree with marcolo. it provides prep space and access to the fridge close at hand while you're cooking and eliminates the need to potentially walk around people passing through the kitchen on your way to the range.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 2:53PM
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Yes, that would be a great set-up. In fact, it was one of the first ideas I drew up. But I didn't post it because the OP said that her budget did not include moving the gas line and vent hood ducting. She asked that the range stay where it is.

Moving the gas line might not be that expensive - I think our quote was about $250 to move it 6 feet, which is all we need - but moving duct work can prove costly. We also got a quote on adding ducting for an island hood (we currently have a downdraft for our island cook top). Ouch! It's cheaper for us to move the cook top to a perimeter wall because venting was much cheaper in this location.

That said, if the ducting in the OP's kitchen already runs towards the top wall that could make tapping into it easier and less costly if the range and sink swapped positions in the last plan. It would still require ceiling repair but since there will already be some wall and ceiling repair when the walls come down, perhaps it wouldn't be much of an additional expense.

kmcg, if this is an option you might consider - at least getting quotes on - let me know and I'll draw it up for you.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 1:54AM
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I would seriously consider that alternate layout. Lisa_a, I think you did a fabulous job with the constraints imposed, but you unavoidably ended up with the major hub of traffic through the entire kitchen from all rooms crossing right in front of the range. I don't think the OP realizes how bad a situation that is because it's different from what's there now, where there's more space to walk around the range.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Good point, marcolo (and thanks!). It's one reason why I made the aisle between range wall and peninsula so generous.

I've drawn up your suggested plan. Came out quite nicely.

Measurements, as before, are estimated and may adjust a bit in the final plan (and the drawing isn't to scale). I would rather have had the wall oven/MW drawer to the left of the range but there isn't enough room (wall is 59", hood is 36"). Seemed the next best place is to the right of the range but that does create pinch points - and potential door collisions - with pantry and fridge across the aisle. However, an oven is used much less frequently than other kitchen appliances and this is a secondary oven so it may not be much of an issue on a regular basis. A MW drawer is used more regularly but since it doesn't extend as far, it also may be less of a concern. Putting the range here does eliminate the hazard of someone walking into the kitchen from another room and into an open oven door and that is a plus.

kmcg, I completely understand if money trumps the ideal (as if often the case) but quotes are cheap and costs might not be as bad as you fear.

Oh, I just saw another possibility. If the prep sink was moved to the peninsula, then the under-counter wall oven or MW drawer could be put all the way at the end of the fridge run. There's still some overlap with the range's oven door but perhaps not so bad and it wouldn't block the entry into the kitchen as badly as it would in the other location. However, I won't draw this up unless you, kmcg, tell me that you wish to pursue moving the range.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Hi guys - sorry I was gone for a bit and missed the excitement! I agree that this would be a really smart layout, and I wonder why the PO's didn't do it that way when they remodeled. But I'm going to have to be firm (for this remodel at least) on keeping the range where it is. We've just got too much to do in our bathroom and upstairs remodel; the kitchen is supposed to be this tiny little project. If I go too crazy, DH won't be able to handle it. Out house has a really bizarre stucco-type finish that makes us leery of knocking any more holes in the wall for the venting. For an instant I thought of using the old chimney chase, but then realized the upstairs remodel depends on that space being open.

Here's a photo of the range hood, just in case you're curious. It exits out the wall to the left:

Sooo... I do feel like the current range location is working fine; it's usually just my husband and I in the house, and sight lines are good so nobody has come close to running into oven doors, or a cook at the stove. I'd be more concerned if I had little kids, I think. Also, with a 33" countertop next to the range, I rarely find myself crossing back to the sink area with food in hand. That said, I am glad that several of you have emphasized the importance of a wide aisle between the range and the future peninsula. I'll work with that in mind.

I still really like Lisa's fridge/sink swap. I would be a very happy camper even if all I accomplish is to move the prep area out of the back pantry zone - so either adding a small peninsula with prep sink, or opening up the pantry and inching the sink out toward the middle of the room would be great.

What about putting the prep sink (or even main sink) on the end of the peninsula, across from the stove? Assuming a wide aisle (is 4' enough?), that would avoid the sink/DW vs. fridge conflict. If I did put the main sink on the end, I'd have to go around the corner to load the DW, which probably is not ideal. Has anyone ever seen that work?

Another idea I had was to leave the DW where it is, and bring the counter around the corner to its right, then put the sink sort of midway along that stretch leading out to the peninsula. That, though, would leave only 1 foot on either side of the DW. So should I cross this option off the list? I'll post the diagram and 3D view (Please ignore how narrow the aisle is; I will adjust!)

And finally, back to the issue of whether to obscure the glass in the little hutch. Good idea Lisa! I have lots of decorative items to put in the hutch, but I also have lots of glass uppers in other places that I might eventually change out to do frosted glass. Thanks for the suggestion.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 6:05PM
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First, the current range location is irrelevant. You are massively shrinking the space behind the range in the proposed layout and forcing all traffic into it.

Second, quotes cost you nothing. I think it would be well worth your time just to ask.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 6:15PM
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Do be careful about cramming too much into the "pantry" don't want everyone trying to crowd in there (like you're experiencing now, I think).

Be sure the refrigerator doors stick out past the side wall so you can open the doors fully. I think, though, that you are going to have to consider a counter-depth refrigerator even in this location. You have 7'11" (95") to work with in that alcove.

Standard-depth refrigerators are around 36" deep, including doors & handles. Counter-depth refrigerators are around 31" deep. By getting a CD refrigerator, you gain 5" on that aisle. This is important in the layouts that have cabinets + peninsula on all three walls of the alcove.

Now that all these layouts have been thrown out there...what cabinets (type and size) do you(we) have to work with? If you want to reuse as many of your cabinets as possible, this is crucial information for any useful layouts! You do appear willing to consider at least some new that helps with your options.

If you have a lot of flexibility, I think you could make it even more functional...but probably at the expense of not being able to use as many of your old cabinets.

Here's another proposal that seems more functional to me. It protects the Prep & Cooking Zones from traffic, it keeps the Prep & Cooking Zones together (no zone-crossing or wide-aisle crossing), and it still provides seating at a peninsula that can also be used for additional prep or as a Baking Center since it's across from the wall oven. Like Lisa's, it has the wall oven under the counter and a MW Drawer. Note that the left wall segment was removed and the right was shortened to allow a deeper peninsula. It could be another 3" deeper, reducing the aisle b/w the refrigerator and the peninsula by the same's doable. But as it stands, the nice wide aisle will prevent bottlenecks from forming in front of the refrigerator. Note that in this layout, a standard-depth refrigerator will work. If possible, you could also recess the refrigerator into the back wall an inch or two...but not all the way b/c I don't think you want to take space away from the LR. It's not necessary though.

You could move the prep sink to where the MW drawer is and move the MW drawer to the peninsula. However, putting a sink so close to the refrigerator may be an issue b/c that's the landing zone for refrigerator. The peninsula is a bit far to be landing zone...and besides, it would put the items from the refrigerator too far from the Prep Zone (you'd put items on the peninsula and then have to pick them up and take them over to the Prep Zone.)

With Zones:

Two downsides, though, are:

(1) Less cabinet storage. With the elimination of one wall of cabinets to make more room and the addition of the corner prep sink, there's quite a bit of lost storage. So, if you don't have more storage elsewhere, you may have to compromise on functionality to gain storage. Unfortunately, remodeling almost always results in compromises since you don't have the flexibility of adding space here, taking it away there, etc. to totally customize your space.

(2) The DW opens into the LR doorway.

Determine what are the most important things to you and make your decisions based on those things.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:30PM
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Thanks Buehl! I really appreciate your illustration of the prep zones. I'm hoping to keep this a very low-cost tweak, keeping the upper cabinets and trying to avoid really huge demo/wall and ceiling reconstruction. But if you guys keep at it with your brilliant floorplans, you'll convince me to move my range :) I will definitely ask my contractor about the cost of moving the venthood and gas line.

One thing that would be very easy to implement is a narrower peninsula. I definitely don't want to recreate the current logjam. I'm now intently observing how the kitchen works when we're cooking together, or if a couple of us are trying to get breakfast at the same time. Even moving dish and utensil storage out of the alcove would help a lot. And getting a second sink or moving the main one out would be a big help, I think.

I keep coming back to the same sink question: do I need a prep sink in a kitchen this small? I didn't have one in my previous kitchen, and it was huge - never a problem. Perhaps it worked because I did the layout and it worked, instead of inheriting someone else's odd choices!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:05PM
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Buehl, the powder room door swings inward already. At least I spotted hinges on the kitchen side of the door in one of the photos above (spotted after I did one of my drawings).

How large is the aisle between peninsula and existing hutch? I estimate it to be about 36", which IMO is too narrow to include seating, especially when it's the path to something as regularly used as a PR, which is likely the only bathroom on the 1st floor.

Also, the existing fridge is SD, recessed into the wall. The OP posted, "...there was once a doorway between the kitchen and this room, which the previous owners blocked off in 1985 so they could recess the fridge and add cabinets around it."

kmcg, you posted that you wanted the Kohler Stages sink. Are you considering the 33" or the 45" sink? I meant to ask this earlier but kept forgetting. I drew the plans for a 36" sink cabinet, which should work for the 33" sink (although Kohler doesn't spec this on their website).

I'm glad you're considering getting quotes on moving the range. Quotes are free and the information will help you decide if you can swing the additional costs involved with a larger remodel.

(Would it be helpful to you for me to draw up zones on the plans I posted?)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:53AM
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I've been following this thread with interest. I'm far from a pro at layouts, so I haven't posted before now, but I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts.

First, one of the few regrets I've had regarding the renovation of our old house was that I didn't challenge my own assumptions harder. We made a couple of decisions based on "we can't move that" or "I already re-habbed that and I don't want to do it again, so it has to stay the way it is". I took certain things as "given" and didn't didn't think through whether they really HAD to be the way I thought they did. If I ever go through this house renovation stuff again, I will try very very hard to challenge all of the assumptions that I make. You will probably live with your decisions for a very long time. Better long term results may justify more short term pain.

The other thing I wanted to add has to do with my own kitchen layout. There is foot traffic through my kitchen. To get to the screened porch or the half bath, you pass right through my kitchen. But you don't pass through my cooking zone or my prep zone because they are located at the end in their own dead-end space. I think this is one of the best things I did in terms of layout. It's mostly just DH and I when I cook, but it would still bug me if he was crossing my path when I was trying to work. With my layout, when we have guests, they can hang out nearby without me scalding them.

When I look at your current stove location, all I see is how crazy that would make me. If anyone is trying to help set the table or go to the bathroom, they'll pass through your workspace. I really like the last plan that lisa_a put together incorporating marcolo's suggestion. It gives a perfect little work triangle, with prep and cooking zones out of traffic, and with the stove located so that the cook can still socialize with friends hanging out at the peninsula. It allows someone to empty the dishwasher and set the table without getting underfoot. I really like this plan version.

I understand that these projects and their associated disruption and costs can really spiral. I guess I'm just suggesting that you make sure you take the long term approach and give yourself the best results that you can.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I still like Lisa's earlier plan, with the fridge switched with the sink. It gets rid of the biggest problem the OP has, which is a cramped area around the dishwasher and sink.

When people are over visiting, the prep area next to the fridge can seat a few guests...then later serve as a dirty dish landing area, when clearing the dining table. The fridge and pantry, back in the corner, will be fine...since this is a home to two people, not six.

Kmcg- I hope it works out okay to move the fridge and sink drain, since this would bring your sink closer to the range and make it easier to use the kitchen. I like the range, with the wall oven, in its current location...and if it's worked for you so far, probably isn't a big issue :)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:16AM
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Once again, thanks so much for the ideas! I'm sure some of you have experienced a spouse who doesn't exactly share your "irrational exuberance" over a remodel project :) I'll keep working on adjusting my husband's attitude, but I also wanted to explain a bit about my reticence to make huge changes. Based on talking to a contractor previously when installing the Lacanche, I worry that moving the whole range wall would be too big a deal. But I will inquire, yes.

It's funny that the range in this spot has not bothered me. I think it's partly because I like it being the focal point of the kitchen (I love color!), and I like being able to dash in and out of the kitchen from either direction to take a quick peek at what's on the stove. It's also a convenient place to serve from. Maybe the fact that I have a very slow moving dog and grown kids helps here too - there's not a flurry of activity in this space, and the house is too small to ever have giant parties. Who knows, but I think I will be happy with the kitchen even if we don't move the range.

It might reassure you if I mention that the passage to the powder room is often through the doorway Buehl labeled "front hall". This is the way to the basement, back door to the yard, dining room, and an alternate way to the upstairs. So it gets used perhaps more than the doorway to the living room - hence, not so much traffic passing the range.

It's true that the powder room door swings outward. It will run into the sink if I change the swing, but that could be adjusted later if it becomes a problem.
How large is the aisle between peninsula and existing hutch? It should be around 41-42". Granted, not great for seating if the door swings out. So I like Lisa's idea of seating toward the end of the peninsula. Or maybe I give up on seating... That would be sad, but I mostly want the peninsula for some additional counter space. (You know, now that I ponder this more, I think very few people would even use the PR if there's someone sitting nearby. Would it be unreasonable for that person to use the upstairs bathroom on the rare occasion when someone's sitting at the counter?)

Yes, the existing fridge is SD, recessed into the wall, as Lisa said. But it is so old that it's actually only about 31" deep. I've got my eye on replacing it with a CD side by side fridge - especially if I end up ripping out the fridge surround cabinets, which allows me to go wider than the current one (33").

I would love the 45" Kohler Stages sink, but I don't think it's realistic with the amount of space I have. I have seen the 33" in a 36" sink cabinet. I suspect it could fit in a 30" if it is next to a cabinet whose top drawer could be squeezed a bit. If I had room, I'd put a 30" sink base next to a 15" trash pullout, and have the shelf part of the sink overlap. The Ticor look-alike sink is not as wide, so would be good for a prep sink; it could fit in a 24" base with the shelf overlapping another cabinet, or a 33" base on its own.

lisa - don't worry about redrawing with the zones marked - I'll work that out.

The more I stare at the kitchen, the more I like lisa's fridge/sink swap plan - the one lavender likes. So on that topic, what would you say should be the biggest priority: avoid fridge across from sink situation? avoid fridge across from DW situation? Both? I'm a little worried about putting the fridge al the way back in the pantry area. It makes a lot of sense from a logical layout standpoint, but I wonder if it would feel like the fridge is too hard to get to (like the sink feels now)?

Thanks for the help, guys!


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 12:53PM
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I'm SO glad to see the swap Lisa made so that the fridge is more accessible from the cooking area.

If you're going to leave the range in place, I like her plan with it in the original location...If you're going to move the range, I prefer her plan to Buehl's (no offense intended), because I feel like that one is lacking in reasonable prep space. For me the peninsula would be an awkward location for the "fridge to prep sink to prep counter to stove" work pattern.

I would hesitate to put cabinets in a U in the alcove, leaving the dw on the back wall, because when it's open it would block access to almost everything (all the cabinets) in there.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:08PM
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I think your current sink/DW situation feels congested because you have a 35" opening into a space that is shallow (21" in front of sink to wall? Did I do my math correctly? 59" wall - 4" for wall thickness - 25.5" for cab/counter = 21"). Of course that feels crowded! It is! That won't be the situation with the sink/DW set-up in this plan.

You have 44" between sink/DW and opposing counter. We have 39" between our DW and island counter and it works, although a little more leg room would be nice. You have room to stand next to the DW and unload the contents into the cabinets across from it or above it. Although if you're short like me (a hair under 5'4"), you won't be able to access the upper shelves in the cab above the DW with the DW door open.

I agree with Rhome: having the fridge closer to the range is a plus. It also means that anyone who wants to grab something out of the fridge does not need to cross into the clean-up or prep areas.

We have 41" between kitchen table and island (without seating), which is the main path through the kitchen from front hall to back door or FR. It works for us (but again, I wish I had a few more inches) so 41" between peninsula and hutch should work for you. But I wouldn't go smaller than that and a few more inches of breathing space would be better since you have a door that opens outward as well as a cabinet that opens into the same space as well.

But these are my preferences. And this is your kitchen. ;-)

I guess I need to get my eyes checked. ;-) It sure looks like there is a hinge on the outside of the PR door in one of your photos above.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:42PM
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rhome - I think you're right about not leaving the dishwasher in the middle of a U of cabinets. Too tight on either side.

Lisa - that alcove is 51" deep, so there's about 24" of space in front of the DW, and it does completely block the doorway. Anything will be an improvement, and 44" would be luxurious!!

So fridge closer to range makes sense to you guys - I agree, it will be nice if people grabbing drinks don't have to go back to the alcove. And this option (the last one lisa pictured) would be far cheaper to do than any of the others. Though that fridge-sink swap idea is still in the running; it's practical in so many ways.

Your eyes are fine, lisa - there are hinges on the outside of the door, but it swings away from the powder room. Just to be more precise on the measurements, the little hutch is 13" deep, and the outside swinging edge of the door is 51" from the corner. Then there's about 4" of molding and 17" of wall to the point where the future wall would turn the corner to the alcove. If I'm not trying to get a sink on the peninsula, I'm thinking I could do maybe a 36" drawer base with a shallow cabinet on the PR side (back to back). This would allow an overhang at the end, facing the range, where I can stash a couple of stools.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 2:50PM
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My eyes are fine, it's my brain that is a problem. Looked at the doors in my house ... well, d'oh, yes, the hinges are on the swing side of the door. LOL

17" from door molding to corner ... that means that the peninsula that Buehl drew would jut 10" beyond the corner (including counter overhang). Would this alleviate or recreate the log jam you have in the pantry area? I would definitely want that corner rounded but I'm a klutz. And I have the bruises to prove it. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 8:19PM
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I can see why not moving the sink is appealing, but isn't the fridge being open, while you're trying to go from range to sink, part of the problem? I always thought kitchens were supposed to have fridge, sink, that the sink is placed between the two other appliances. Otherwise, you have to go past the fridge (which might be open by someone else) to drain pasta, or take just washed and chopped veggies to the range.

I still like the pantry/fridge in the alcove, sink in the middle and range, as is...but of course, I've never cooked in your kitchen...this is just going from the overall plan and your pictures :)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 9:01PM
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lisa - you're right, the peninsula in buehl's plan would stick out about 10". I see that she left part of the partition up, which would actually look great because of how the molding around that entry is done. But it could be slightly more constricting than ideal.

lavender - the fridge is not in the way as currently configured, but adding a peninsula could create a problem. I remind myself that the original complaint I had with the current layout is that the sink and main prep area are so far away from the range. So in that sense, swapping fridge and sink makes me very happy. I know we've talked mostly about opening up the alcove by removing both partition walls, but the fridge and a 15" pantry would fit perfectly behind the partition on the right side. That would preserve the architectural detailing of that partition, which has some nice trim around it. It would also make the fridge look built-in if I do the pantry and over-fridge cabinet right. I'd have to figure out how to preserve that same detailing when I open up the partition wall on the left, but I think it could be done. It's an interesting prospect.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:11PM
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If any of you are still thinking about my kitchen goal for this post is to allow you to talk me out of (or into) an option I keep toying with: the idea of wrapping the alcove in a U of cabinets so that I maximize counter space. That leaves the dreaded corners, but I had some thoughts about how I could place the Kohler Stages 33" in a blind cabinet base so as to use some of the dead space in the corner. Basically, I would have the shallow shelf part of the sink extend over into the corner space. I will post a couple views with the sink pushed into the corner that backs up to the PR wall, and then of the sink centered under the awkward window. The window option would require that the cabinets perpendicular to the left of the sink be only 18" deep, as they are now.

sink in far corner of alcove; DW to right of sink

sink under window

I also started reading threads about corner sinks, so I played with that idea in the kitchen planner. Unfortunately, there's no corner base sink cabinet in the Ikea software - except for those batwing kinds, so I'm showing a drawing with gaps in the counter; I used a 24" sink base to show the frontage. I have no idea how much cabinet it will take to hold a 30" undermount sink, but I'm guessing 42" length on the wall side. The drawings make this look a little too cozy, but it sure appeals to me to maximize the use of corner space this way, and to have more unbroken counter on the now shrunken peninsula. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:52PM
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Kathy, I think your kitchen is REALLY charming and gorgeous right now, except for the bottleneck issue at the DW/sink. I also can see you need more counter space and more storage space. I have another option for you. But first, do you really need the powder room? If not, you could keep the integrity of the current kitchen intact and just increase the size by claiming the powder room for the kitchen. Opening that up would solve the bottle neck issue and give you room for tall cabinets, counters and a small island.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 11:27AM
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"You know, now that I ponder this more, I think very few people would even use the PR if there's someone sitting nearby. Would it be unreasonable for that person to use the upstairs bathroom on the rare occasion when someone's sitting at the counter?"

So maybe you could lose the PR? Doing so would give you so many more options without having to spend money on redoing the rest of the kitchen. I'd hate to see your current kitchen get demolished when it's so beautiful. By removing the P.R. and walls, you could have your Kohler sink, a prep sink, tall cabinets, and island with seating. I'm really loving this idea, lol. Can't wait to see what you and the family think : )

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 11:56AM
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Oh judydel, if only I could! I'm giddy just imagining this huge square kitchen! It would absolutely solve everything, but I think we really need a half-bath on the main floor. I can't think of anyplace to move it; our house is only about 800 sf on the main floor, and we don't even have a coat closet that I could convert to a PR. Sigh...

Happy 4th of July!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:06PM
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Giddy : ) LOL That's exactly how I feel imagining it. I know a couple of people with small homes that have no first floor P.R. so I thought it was an idea worth exploring . . . especially because the potential to expand the kitchen is huge. But I can also see the value to having a downstairs P.R. : )

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:13PM
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The only one of those plans that appeals to me is the corner sink set-up. (That sounds quite harsh and it's not meant to, sorry.) I'm not fond of the squished up against the corner situation of your 1st idea. And the DW isn't conveniently located in the 2nd. At least I wouldn't find it conveniently located.

I have a corner sink lay-out and yes, it is a 42" corner cabinet with about 22" across the face to hold a 33" sink. They did have to notch the sides of the cabinets on each side of the sink to make room for the sink but this isn't an uncommon practice. We have had 2 people at the sink (hand-washing dishes at holiday time) and it works but it is tight.

I would ditch the corner cabinet above the sink but that's because I'm not a fan of them. I'm also not a fan of having that kind of cabinet smack in front of one's face when at the sink. I'd also extend the cabinets on each side of the sink, one to the window, the other to the corner to maximize storage. Instead of a corner cab, I'd opt for artwork or open shelves between the cabinets, meeting in the corner with the bottom shelf perhaps starting higher than 18" above the counter. I think that would be more inviting than staring at the front of a cabinet while at the sink.

I'm not sure how you end up with 43" between cabinets in the U, unless you're going with deeper cabinets or a counter overhang greater than 1.5". That space is 95" wide (7' 11"), subtract 25.5" twice for 24" cabs with 1.5" counter overhang across from each other and you get 44", not 43".

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:56PM
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No, lisa, it doesn't sound harsh at all. I am fully open to people saying "Don't do it!". In my quest for more counter space, I don't want to come up with a floorplan that tries to squeeze too much into one small area. It might be best overall to just do facing cabinets on the left and right sides of the alcove, but I think one advantage of the U-plan is it keeps the fridge and sink truly separate. I need to keep considering this.

But I'm glad to hear your corner sink works. I've never had one, and I know they're not super popular. Do you feel like it is the best use of your space, having lived with it?

I agree with you about the corner uppers - there's the head banging issue, and they would probably look too "monumental" for this simple kitchen. But some shelving between wall cabs might work.

I'm pretty sure you are right about the distance across the U being 44". My efforts with the kitchen planner software are a bit loose, and that little measuring bar is really loose, I think.

Yep judy, I guess I'm too old to imagine going upstairs every time I want to use the PR :)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 2:11PM
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We have a corner sink/corner window set-up that was common when our home was built. I do like it and if we were sticking with our lay-out, I'd likely keep the sink where it is. However, we're moving the cook top from the island (where it has only 16" on each side, way too little to make me happy) to the perimeter to the left of the sink. In order to gain more space between cook top and sink, we're opting for a standard L corner with the sink cabinet the first cabinet to the right to keep it under the window (very similar to Elizpiz' kitchen set-up).

The upside of a corner sink is that you don't have to deal with the issues of dead space when cabinets meet in a corner.

The downside is that corner sink cabinets eat up a lot of wall. And if you're not very tall (I'm a pinch under 5'4"), it's hard to reach the deep counter behind the sink. That's one thing I won't miss - climbing on the counter to wipe the counter behind the sink, something that is okay with laminate counters but discouraged with stone counters (weight at the wrong place can cause counter to crack).

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 2:59PM
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I think the sink is back in the corner, again making a bottle neck, where you least want it. Having the fridge/pantry in that area, across from the sink and dishwasher, seems to work better for flow, but you stare at the wall, while working at the sink.

What if you put a plate rack over the sink, maybe with hutch style storage on either side? Possibly even a mirror or some stained glass over the sink, too? I'd dress it up a bit (play up those vintage details) and I think you should leave the partition, framing in the fridge/pantry area. It would look more vintage and still give you an excellent prep/baking space with stools.

I think you're getting close to a solution that works with your home's style and your cooking needs. The challenge is working around the obstacles and creating a kitchen you love. It would be easy, if we could all start with a huge space and no obstacles, but much of the uniqueness and charm of each kitchen, is often a result of these obstacles...and the ways we deal with them :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:45AM
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You know, I could see the justification for tearing up all those lovely cabinets if you were getting something truly major out of it, like getting the range out of the line of traffic. But the more I look at all these gyrations, the more I think you shouldn't bother. I would probably leave the entire original kitchen as it is in the pantry--let that be your scullery or cleanup area. Then stick your peninsula with prep sink on it for draining pasta more conveniently. Much cheaper solution, and it preserves the good in what you've got.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:01PM
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I keep coming back to the idea of keeping the kitchen intact as is, and stealing the bathroom space. It would seem a much cheaper option. And then I'd search hard for another spot to but the half bath even if it means bumping out 3' x 5' to make room. A 3' x 5' bump out wouldn't be expensive.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:22PM
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I see your point, marcolo. I've been reading the recent thread about the calm white finished kitchen, and it reminds me that I've got a really good look going on already. So this is the option you like, assuming the range doesn't get moved:

It would be so easy to do, and I'm thinking I could improve the function of the pantry alcove even by switching the cleanup sink and the dishwasher, so the DW is in the corner, and the entry doorway leads you right to the sink. I'll have to check how that would work with a dishwasher door.

lavender, I agree that one could dress up the over-sink area #wherever it ends up# with vintage detailing. Any sink placement that is not on the peninsula involves looking right at a wall, but I do think there are ways to make that more attractive. And yes, I've not let go of your favorite fridge/sink swap plan. I'm glad you think it would be good to keep the partition walls up; the fridge+ pantry would fit perfectly in the right side of the alcove, and it does preserve that vintage pantry feel if we keep the partition. The other partition, on the left, is actually a bigger problem because that wall uses more space to allow for the recessed fridge. There's a lot of wasted space in that small area, so it would be a good wall to remove, or adjust in some way, if we can do it without destroying the architectural balance.

We actually are getting an offer on our house today #!!!!# so I can get serious about taking the next steps with the overall remodel plan, which will help us know about the plumbing options, and the bigger issue of moving the range #still don't think I can talk DH into that one, but it's still in the mix.#

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:53PM
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