Please critique my lay out

marcia59June 1, 2013

It will be mostly a one cook kitchen. I know the clearances on the long side of the island are a bit tight, but my KD says I'll be ok. I know there are prettier places to put a MW, but we really, really like having it on the counter. I still need to spend some time figuring out if the drawer configurations are exactly right, ie, exactly how many drawers I want in each stack.

This is a gut renovation of an existing kitchen, including taking down a wall between the current kitchen and current DR to make it one big space. A table will go in the big empty space on the left of the layout.

What else can I tell you that will help?


Tall cabs on the left are a broom closet and storage for cleaning. Elux 30" double electric oven. Bosch induction cooktop. In the corner, there will be a super susan on the bottom and the wall cab will have L shaped shelves. I'll but stepped cabinet organizers on the shelves and use that for spice storage.

To the right of the fridge (LG standard depth french door) you're seeing the side of a bookcase I'll use for cookbooks.

Left to right, you're seeing the side of a desk, a tall, shallow pantry cabinet, shallow base and wall cab, another tall shallow pantry cabinet and then the side of another bookcase that I'll use for display. If I have enough storage space, I'm thinking about changing the wall cab in the middle for open shelves and/or something shorter than 36" or maybe even eliminating it completely. I'd love it as a spot to hang some art or use open shelves for display.

This is the sink side of the island. I messed up the scan. It's actually 2 3 drawer stacks.

The desk. I keep tons of recipes in files, so I wanted a file drawer. Also, my 11 year old needs a public spot for his PC (no computer in the bedroom!) and this seems to be the best spot for it, so I needed a desk space big enough to handle a PC.

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quick driveby to get things rolling:
1. pull the sink side cabinets out to 30" deep to be flushed w/ standard depth fridge.
- why is fridge door opening away from kitchen?

2. I would make sink windows down to the counter.

3. where's your microwave?

4. try to squeeze in another small trash outside of the cooking zone, so people don't have to cross into your cooktop/sink work zone to throw stuff out.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:31PM
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I would put the DW on the other side of the sink. Closer to the prep area
to stash dirty dishes.

Can you put the MW in the island? At least make a niche for it in case you change your mind later. Looks like you could easily add another foot to the island.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:46PM
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1. I see what you mean about the pulling the cabs out. It would look nicer when I get to the fridge, but two problems. If I pull out the sink side cabs, then I don't have enough clearance between the cabs and the island. Also, it messes with the corner cab and encroaches on the cooktop wall of cabs. The fridge is actually a French door. My KD's software, oddly, doesn't have a FD option so she just threw that in there.

2. The windows currently exist and start a few inches above the sink. The elevation isn't quite an accurate picture of the windows.

3. You can see my MW to the left of the fridge. It's the blue box on the counter behind some unreadable words. I know it doesn't look as nice there as when it's in a niche or in a stack or one of the many other things that get done with microwaves these days, but DH and I have a very, very strong preference for the MW at counter height with some counter space in front of it. I often pull something out of the MW, directly on to the counter in front of it, to stir or check or whatever. I don't want to lose that ability. I don't want to have to take something out of the MW and carry it somewhere in order to set it down. The KD and I looked at building something around it where it is, but GE says if it's sitting on a counter, it needs 3" of clearance on either side and nothing looked good.

4. Will definitely think about the extra trash. Good thought.

5. For various reasons I considered the DW to the left of the sink. DH and I are righties. I grew up with a lefty mom and, therefore, the DW on the left of the sink. It wouldn't bother me. But DH, who does most of the dishes, is adamant about wanting it on the right. Also worth noting, the we currently have the sink and DW in pretty much the locations shown on the plan and we prep to the left of the sink. The DW is in a good spot for us. I anticipate prepping to the left of the sink and on the island. Also, we tend to put dirty dishes in or near the sink during prep and then clean up afterwards. I thought the common wisdom here was to have the DW on the opposite side of the sink from prep so that the open DW isn't in the way of the person doing the prep.

I was talking to the KD about whether I should extend the island some and add some seating at the end and she was concerned that it would get in the way of the fridge. But if I'm not adding seating on the long sides, I could extend it some and put the trash on the end. Or I could extend it some and add just one seat on the end. I only have 1 child and, while it's not that far from the working part of the kitchen to the table, he might like being able to sit and have breakfast or a snack and talk to me more easily than he could from across the room. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 8:56PM
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The only thing I don't love is the location of the fridge. It's great for people in the dining area, who want to grab a beverage, but it doesn't work as well for someone cooking. The island also becomes a bit of an obstacle, if someone is getting a drink of water and you need to get something out of the fridge, while cooking.

Maybe you don't do that, but I constantly move between these two appliances...getting milk or butter, cheese, veggies, etc. My mom's kitchen has a similar layout between fridge, sink and range, but she has a work table rather than an island. When it starts feeling claustrophobic, we move the table over a foot or two and keep cooking :)

I know you said you're mostly a one cook kitchen, but without a second sink you might get a little crowded. What's behind the pantry wall?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:23AM
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Suggest making the desk counter height, easier to stand and look at your recipes, still works for the computer, doesn't date your design so much.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Take this the right way, please, Marcia, but to me it looks as if you may have gotten a little carried away with filling empty space. How about just erasing up to half of this kitchen plan? There really can be too much of a good thing.

Unless you've always loved the streamlined Midcentury look of built-ins and this is a step to realizing that dream? Unless cooking is your profession or avocation and you really need space for all your cooking projects?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Interesting idea about the desk.

rosie, I'm not offended, I'm just not sure what you think should be eliminated. I admit the island is a little tight, but I've been living in this kitchen for 15 years, it actually has a layout very similar to the one I'm planning and the thing I'm most desperate for is more prep space and the island will be the perfect thing for that. Second on the list is more/better storage space. Is this about the desk and the bookcases? What do you think I should get rid of and why?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Marcia, if it's similar in spread to what you have and you like it--with the current tweaking of course, then you're well on your way to what will be right for you. BTW, I made room for an island with shallow wall storage too and really like it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Oh, I forgot. Lavendar lass, I'm ok but not thrilled with the location of the fridge, but can't figure out where to put it that would be better. Currently it's over where the wall ovens are, with a wall oven next to it, but it tends to create something of a bottle neck as you come through either of the two doorways near it. Also, in it's current location, you see it from the side as you come in the front door. Honestly, it never bothered me, but more than one KD seemed aesthetically troubled by that. The doorway at the top towards the right end of the plan that says 35 1/2" is the doorway to the front hall and is opposite the front door.

Behind the pantry wall is a staircase to the basement. We actually briefly considered moving it for various reasons, but there aren't any good places to move it to. And it means I can't really put the fridge there.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:29PM
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I'm horrible with layouts, but wanted to let you know that we ended up with a DW left of the sink to keep it out of the main prep area after advice from others on here. I hate it there and if it wasn't such a big pain to move it, I would do it in a heartbeat. It doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but it is to me. I'd rather have that thing right in the way and it be convenient for me, considering that I'm the only one who uses it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Re right/left handedness and sink position.

This is counter-intuitive, but if you are a rightie then you hold the dish in your left hand when you're scraping it with your dominant hand. The left hand is just holding the item in position, the right is doing whatever active work is needed. (Just like you would hold a notebook with your left-hand so you could write in it with your right hand.)

I'm a strongly dominant rght-hander and I find I then stash the dish in the drainer (I only hand wash) with my left hand rather than switching it to my dominant hand.

So having the DW on the left is more convenient than having to pivot or reach across my own body to stow something on my right or change hands for each item.

Even the necessary fiddling I need to do to tuck something in is best done with my dominant hand with the to-be-stashed item held off in the left hand until I've arranged the near-by items with my right in order to make room for it.

I didn't believe this when I first read it, but I asked my DH to watch me wash dishes with the drainer on both sides and it was clear which was the best in terms of efficiency: for right-handed persons, put the DW on the left so they don't have to pivot or change hands with every item.



    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:09PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I like your layout, and the storage you've planned. It seems as if you've thought out the need for the desk, too, although I do like the idea of counter height.

I built a very simple box for my MW (with suggested clearances), to resemble a vintage bread box. We're used to opening the door for access, but even people who have been in my kitchen often, forget the MW is in there. :)

My DW is left of the sink--in my prep space, but it doesn't usually cause a problem, since I don't prep and load/unload dishes at the same time. And, liriodendron, I am right-handed/left eye dominant, so I'm very comfortable with the DW in that location, too.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Interesting point, Liriodendron! When we moved into our house (25 (!) years ago, I though the DW was on the "wrong" side for me (a rightie). I don't know if it's because we read left to right in our culture or what... But after all these years, the DW seems to be in the correct location now (left of the sink) and it will be that way in our new house, too-- mostly so it isn't between the sink and cooktop. But now that I see how you look at it-- I'm thinking maybe it is more ergonomically correct than I thought! And I rarely even scrape plates...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I'm a righty and I find that I do scrape holding with my left hand, then I put the dishes in a pile on the counter directly above the dw, then load right handed into the dw. Never load anything left handed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:54PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

A couple of thoughts this morning:

Your layout is similar to mine, although the sink/DW and stove locations are switched. We also opened up a wall between kitchen and DR, and have an island ap. the same size, 3x5. One side of my kitchen has an ell with the work areas, and the other long wall has storage and a baking/buffet counter.

You have good traffic flow through the kitchen, the fridge is convenient for diners, and your cooktop is in a protected area. Maybe I like this layout because it works well for me.

I think you have room at the end of the island for enough overhang to keep a stool tucked under. That would be a convenient for a place for your son to have a quick snack, a place to pay bills, if your son is using the computer desk, or a place for a guest to perch while you're busy in the kitchen. It would also provide landing space for the fridge.

If you posted your aisle widths, I missed them. How much clearance do you plan for each side of the island?

The only thing I would suggest is putting a small bar sink in the counter on the storage wall. It could be pressed into service as a second prep area if you had a helper, and would solve the problem of someone needing access to water while you're preparing a meal. I know that wall is shallow cabinets, but it looks as if you might have enough clearance to bump out the middle cabinet a few inches. IMO that would be a good location for the extra trash pull-out that was mentioned. If it's not feasible to put plumbing on that wall, ignore this suggestion. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Of all the things I've stood around my kitchen wishing for while we've been in the house, a second sink has really never been one of them. It must be just a function of how we use the kitchen. Of course, that doesn't mean that if I had one I wouldn't love it.

Countertop to countertop clearances around the island are 37.25" on each of the long sides, so I'm reluctant to do anything to reduce those.

I'm definitely thinking about extending the island on the fridge end and making the desk counter height.

mama goose, could I ask you to post a picture of your microwave box? It sounds intriguing.

Thank you all so much for this help. GW is a wonderful resource.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 4:52PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

As I type the microwave is in use. I wanted a vintage style kitchen, with the MW convenient to the fridge, as it had always been. Since most of my kitchen was done with salvaged finds, I used an old cabinet door, which I lined with some left-over aluminum flashing. I don't have a lot of landing space on that side of the stove, so the door can double as landing space for either the fridge or stove. I had to downsize to a smaller MW to fit the box, and I was careful to leave recommended clearances on side and top, and open ventilation on both sides in the back. In addition, there are 'breathing holes' drilled in the shelf above.

Before it was painted the final color, kitchen in progress:

How it fits under the upper cab (with fancy-schmancy power strip attached. ;)

Painted, with upper cabinet enclosed. The painted wooden bar on the front is the handle, but also doubles as a support to keep the door level when it's open.

I have similar aisle widths around the island, visible on the left, and although they're tight, it's workable.

About the second sink: No kitchen I've visited IRL has a second sink. Mine is actually behind the main sink, sharing plumbing, and with a pony wall-type divide, but still convenient. And convenient it is--I use it to thaw, unwrap and rinse raw meat, because it's smaller than the main sink, and easier to clean, and no one is running water for whatever, over it. If I have a sink full of tomatoes, apples, etc, it's really nice to have the extra sink for draining hot water from canners. The coffee maker sits on that counter most of the time, keeping it out of the kitchen work areas.

I just can't tell you how much I appreciate having that little sink, if someone offers to help prepare a big family meal. I can get them out of my work/cleanup area, but we still see eye-to-eye.

Everyone uses his/her kitchen differently--ymmv--but if you think you might use an extra sink in the future, it will be easier to plan for it now.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Thanks. That's very helpful. Your kitchen is charming.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:36PM
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