Small kitchen layout thoughts?

che1seaJune 1, 2008

I am working on floor plans for a house we are going to build in the next few years and I was wondering what you all thought of the kitchen layout.

Up at the top I have the dining table with built in benches.

The dishwasher is next to the sink and the refrigerator is on the right hand wall. Opposite is the range which is backed by the fireplace, beyond which is the living room.

The windows by the sink look out into a sunspace.

Yes the house is going to be rather small :).

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Are you thinking of having a sleeping loft? What do the stairs lead to? I'll be following this thread carefully as I am thinking about building a cottage. Have you been to the "Smaller Houses" forum? How do you plan to ventilate the stove? Sorry, I don't mean to bombard you with questions.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Just some thoughts as I look at the plan: I prefer to see ranges placed so that the cook can tend to business without a lot of traffic going past, or interfering with the cook's paths to the sink and refrigerator. Having the stove on an exterior wall can mean easier and better venting. If you save the island for prep space, you can visit with people seated there without the noise of the fan, and without them dealing with steam or spatters. I would keep the aisle between the island and perimeter counters to 3 1/2 to 4' for efficiency/limitation of unnecessary steps.

Best wishes with your plan. It's smart to start thinking about it ahead of time, so you can adjust and improve the plan as ideas occur to you, and you're not in a rush about anything.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:24PM
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The range seems rather isolated out there in the middle of the space. If it were me, I would want more counter space on at least one side of it - but then I make jam which does use a lot of space :)

The range and fridge directly opposite each other might give you issues with opening doors - if the oven door is open with someone reaching in, is there room to walk behind, or to open the fridge door at the same time?

The small section of base cabinets N of the fridge - is that a full height cabinet like a pantry? If not, it seems so small as to be not very useful, might be better to have the fridge on the end of the run and a longer counter, with the swing of the fridge door switched so the long run of counter is the landing zone.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:27PM
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Thanks for the suggestions.
kevinw1 - I also make jam and plan on adding canning so I should have thought of that.
kitchendetective - I hadn't thought about venting. I think the range will probably move to the east wall, the fridge will move the then end and instead there will be an island a bit closer in. Below is a link to the full plan, the stairs lead to under the roof living space. Ross Chapin has some really cute cottage plans and I have seen some good ones at I think we will be coming up with our own just because few of the plans I can find are really designed for passive solar (or straw bale) and smaller plans so often include tiny kitchens or don't have a pantry or...
rhome410 - thanks for the suggestions. I hadn't really thought about how far the island was from the other cabinets.
The kitchen in the only house I have owned so far is only 8 x 10 so walking long distances are not something I have had to consider yet :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Full house plans

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:19AM
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che1sea, if you are going to be canning, I'd suggest a pot filler faucet over the range (I'd love one!) and having your range and sink close enough that you can slide the canner along to empty it. Carrying a full canner across the aisle to the sink is a horrid thought. Bailing it out in stages is nearly as bad.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:23AM
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I don't think I'd like the fireplace chimney in the middle of the room.

If there's enough space, I would consider moving the fireplace to the corner where the sectional sofa is. Then change the island to a triangle, with the wide part facing the fireplace and a sofa against the island (not my most favorite place for a sofa).

If that doesn't work for you, I would still like to see the island become a triangle, with the fireplace backing up to it. I think it would soften the space and make the LR flow better.

There's too much wasted space (5'4") between the pantry and the bathroom. I would give all that space to the pantry, and push the banquet(?) seating 2' into the pantry area.

By moving the kit table further into the pantry space you can move the fridge to the end and put the range on the same wall. You could even change the island to a long rectangle and move it slightly closer to the fridge/range (giving more space to the LR). Right now, the island is encroaching into the LR space.

Just trying to think of other ways you could configure the space. Good luck, and HTH.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:29AM
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napagirl- thanks for your suggestions. I am having trouble picturing the triangle island. How would that work? What kind of triangle? Oriented how? Also I apparently forgot to put in the outside door which is what takes up the space next to the pantry, the entry. Though I have considered a bump out for the entry in which case I could adjust the pantry a bit to leave more room for the dining table. I prefer to have the fireplace in the middle of the room rather than a sofa. Also I prefer to have a bit more between the kitchen and living room visually. I personally don't like the "great room" feel much, for me it isn't so much in the middle of the room but more a wall between the rooms. Or at least that is how I envision it.
kevinw1 - maybe switching the sink and DW, so that the sink is nearer the corner? I considered a corner sink but I worried there wouldn't be enough counter space left beside the range.
Here is an updated kitchen with some of your suggestions added. It also shows the true thickness of the outside (strawbale) walls. Though the south wall may end up thinner.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:10AM
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Thanks for the updated floorplan.
Maybe a triangle island is not a good idea ... I was just trying to get the fireplace to face the LR a little better.

Glad to see you moved the table into the pantry area. I don't like pocket doors, so I'd nix the ones in the pantry and bathroom. A hinge door that swings against the toilet will assure that its never on view, and no one can "forget to close the door". I'd also like to see the kitchen sink centered on the two windows. My old kitchen had a similar arrangement (stove/sink) and I loved prepping in the corner, surrounded by countertop. If that's a 36" counter depth fridge, I'd suggest a 42" instead (which is about the same as a standard depth 36").

Can you squeeze a small coat closet into part of the pantry space, by the door? That would be useful.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:01AM
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One of the things that's good about this forum is that we don't all have the same opinions and experiences, so you can hear varying viewpoints. With very much respect for napagirl, I disagree, at least in part, with a couple of her last points. We have 9 pocket doors in our new house and we like them just fine...A great space saver in a small/efficiently-sized house. We have solid core doors and good quality hardware, which makes them much better than chintzier ones I've seen and dealt with in the past.

I would want the sink centered under the one of those windows, but not necessarily between the 2, unless it works out best functionally and cabinet-use wise.

I completely agree that a coat closet would be a good idea. In fact, other than the master closet, I see no others in the house, which would worry me a lot. Closets are another thing that can be very useful (and very necessary) in a smaller home.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 3:59AM
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can i just ask??? in a house this small....why a pantry the size if your bath? have you considered robbing some space from there so you could extend the kitchen a bit more???

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:58AM
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Somehow it feels like the living room and kitchen should trade spaces. I'll bet you've tried that already.

In the second drawing, you might want to put the sink back where is was. When kiddos get a bit older and want to help, having the water in the corner is a pita. The other thing I always try to do think about where the dishes will be stored and not place the dw between me and the dish storage area. The other placement I would try is the sink in the island. You would be edge on to the windows and the dining area.

I think I would try really hard to get the laundry on the first floor - even if that meant that part of the pantry went to the basement (long term and short term storage). In your case, you might make a cool room down there to get some root vegatable storage as well as longer term canning storage.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:06AM
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I have to agree with rhome410. I like pocket doors and I will make very sure that they are good ones. You can't see it on what I posted but there is an entryway that would be the spot the coats go. The is also storage under the stairs and there will be storage in the benches in the dining room, under some built in seating in the living room and bookshelves in the wall behind the sofa in the living room.

igloochic - the pantry is that big because we will use a pantry that big, also the plan is to use it not just for food storage but also the broom closet and such.

bmropanic - I haven't tried trading the two but I the kitchen would end up a bit cramped since it would be occupying a smaller L than before. I am not sure where the dishes will be stored. I will have to think about that.
The laundry is in the bathroom already (stack W/D in the corner). We won't be having a basement because our building site is almost perfectly flat but we do plan on having a separate root cellar.

napagirl - that fridge will most likely be a normal depth fridge unless we end up with solar power then it will be a wider counter depth sunfrost.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:13PM
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I like the way you have the kitchen arranged in that drawing, che1sea. If you put the MW (if you plan to have one) in the island opposite the fridge, that makes a good snack-prep area that doesn't require snackers to come right into the kitchen and disturb you. That's assuming you have snack-wanting kids or other family :-)

I took out the pocket door to the bath in my current house. The damp air from the bath had got into the pocket and grown mold all over the walls inside the pocket. I'm not sure if a better installation would prevent that.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:06PM
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Sorry for the laundry thing. I don't know if this has any appeal or is just different. Split the pantry area into a long set in the hall and a long, but not as wide pantry in its original location.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 3:18PM
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kevinw1 - what is a MW? I do have at least one snack wanting kid, so far his most common demand is for a fried egg... strange huh? I will take that mold issue into consideration, I have never encountered it before myself but I definitely see where it could happen.

bmorepanic - I do like the idea of making the pantry a little narrower and even taking some space from the living room to add a hall closet but I am not sure if I like the dining area more separate from the kitchen. One thought I had was that the dining area was somewhere people could sit and chat with the cook without being in the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:30PM
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MW=microwave. Not that you would want to boil an egg in one :-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:47PM
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