Is this kitchen/breakfast room floor plan ok?

Bridget HelmJune 19, 2013

Our lot is narrow, and i insisted on getting our garage tucked away in the back, so we are locked in to this footprint. I made a few changes to the floorplan of our kitchen and breakfast room that you can see in red.
I shaved the peninsula down a foot so that there's more traffic space.

I omitted the wall separating the breakfast room from the kitchen a d chopped off the ends of the bench. You can see this in the squiggly red scratch outs.

Now the breakfast is open to the kitchen AND the peninsula can have 2 or 3 small stools on the breakfast room side in addition to the 2 stools in the Some have commented on peninsulas being "dated", but there won't be any overhead cabinets separating the kitchen from the breakfast room. That to me is what screams dated-- The cabinets that hang from the ceiling with no wall. We won't be doing that. Although I don't mind that in certain homes. Lots of MCMods have them.

Anyway, This layout will allow for 19 feet of upper cabinets including the pantry and 24.5 feet of lowers including the pantry. So I think that's sufficient.

It's about 3 more feet of cabinets than what I have in our house now, and I'm pleased with what I currently have.

We are thinking about possibly putting a SMALL builtin wetbar on the 5 foot wall in between the 2 cased openings to the den. Theres only 4.5 feet between that wall and the peninsula. Yay or nay?? If not there, then I will purchase a piece of furniture/ bar cart to put in the den somewhere.

Oh, the kitchen interior dimensions are about 11 wide by 16 deep. The breakfast area interior is a titch over 8x10

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Bridget Helm

I thought I should add that I don't want a kitchen open to the family room. I like it separate.

Here's a pic of how the spaces relate to the rest of the house

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:39PM
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Bridget Helm


    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 1:11AM
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It's hard to read the room sizes. Is the breakfast area 9x10 ish? If so, I think the table/chairs along with the bar stools will make it feel crowded. Do you need stools if you have seating that close?

Will you be the only person working in the kitchen? Or will you have spouse/kids there with now? Don't just think about today - do you have kids that will grow into kitchen helpers? Spouse who will retire and spend more time there? The work triangle doesn't seem like it would work well for multiple people. Opening the DW will put the door in the way of someone at the stove. Passing between fridge and sink will involve getting in the way of the person at the stove.

Consider moving your sink to where the trash is now to improve the work triangle. Put the DW to the left of the sink and trash to the right. You can then rinse veggies and chop/prep looking out the window where the sink is now.

OR - add a prep sink and trash to the peninsula end.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 6:20AM
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Bridget Helm

Yes. The breakfast is about 9x10 and kitchen 11 by 16 or 17 interior.

My husband NEVER cooks. He doesn't even know where we keep our plates. Lol. He will grill outside a couple of times a year. My 11 year old is taking an interest, so I can see her helping while I prep for a holiday etc.

It's not a problem if I can't put stools in the breakfast room. I just wanted opinions on how the breakfast room open the peninsula would look/feel. Is it really strange??

I think the architect put a wall there originally because he thought the peninsula open to the breakfast room would look or feel awkward.

I will consider your work triangle suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:15AM
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IMO, BMH, opening the peninsula will benefit both spaces visually. I'm one of those who likes different spaces with different moods, not everything open, but of course anything can be overdone. People have been tearing out those tiny, closed-off Victorian-era "breakfast rooms" for the better part of a century now. As for appearance, it'll be fine. Go check Houzz or some other sites to see tons of current pix. What functions well never really goes out of style, just gets re-presented with different finishes.

I am concerned, though, about the scale of your outfitting for this room. Be scrupulous about what space is actually required for everything, right down to the last inch and more. Measure the footprint of stools and draw that in on your drawing; THAT is their size, and the space they will consume is many times larger than what you're showing there, closer to the depth your counter is showing.

Same for the bench. Good chairs are far more comfortable than perching on a shallow unupholstered bench. If you're going to build in one that has a comfortably slanted back and allows your feet to slide back under the seat, again necessary for comfort, it will require significant more depth than you're showing. If you upholster to create the kind of seating that makes people relax in and prepare to stay a while, more depth still will be needed.

As for closing off the passage at the end with a wet bar, that would turn this kitchen, already a dead, end into a dead end only reached by investing in a detour.

A few cooks specifically want a closed kitchen to keep others out, but much of the revolution in kitchen layout over the past 30 years has been about getting rid of the little lady's dead-end kitchen and, instead, establishing a nice flow in, out, and through the kitchen for the entire family. (Not accidental that it occurred as more women worked outside the home and more hands were needed in the kitchen.)

So, this is actually a basic and significant layout question. How do you want your kitchen to relate to the rest of your home and family? The little hook on the counter suggests a territory marker/barrier to me and should be enough definition for the current layout, unless you'd like to enlarge your territory to a wet bar? :) If you did close off the doorway with a wet bar, the hook would create a really byzantine route of access, so I'm guessing you'd probably want to remove it and claim the entire space for active kitchen work.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:00PM
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When you say you're 'locked into' this plan...can you can still open up spaces and bump the breakfast room out, even with the kitchen? Making that area one big space would give you a lot more possibilities.

If that's possible, I would put the pantry, fridge and wall oven on the back wall, the cook top (with windows on either side or above it, depending on code) where you have the sink and move the sink to the peninsula.

If you like your current layout, opening up the entire peninsula to the breakfast room (by making the breakfast room even with the kitchen) would give you a lot better flow and room for a bigger breakfast table. You could still have a banquette on the far wall...or a window seat at the end, if you like the idea of more seating :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:11PM
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The breakfast room is too small for everyday dining. And I don't see an actual dining room anywhere. Adding seating to the peninsula gives you 2 dysfunctional places to eat. 3, if you have a dining room not in the picture, as it would be too far from the kitchen to be used. I'd focus on making a single dining area comfortable to host just the family or expandable for hosting guests. Then maybe a casual stool in the kitchen. But I'd probably move the kitchen to the breakfast area and the eating area to the current kitchen. That would let the eating area expand into the living area when needed for extra seating. But, it would leave you needing to expand the current breakfast area to be large enough to serve as a functional kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:33PM
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I've seen your posts on the other board, but I do suspect you'll get better information about kitchens on this one. Things I can point out:

- No, penninsulas aren't dated. "Dated" refers to things that come and go in style: White cabinets and subway tile vs. avacado appliances and Corian countertops are examples of things that are "in" vs. "dated". In contrast, layout is about efficiency. In design, you shouldn't think about what's new and hot; rather, you should think about what works in your space.

- You're focusing on the penninsula as "the problem", but I think the real issue is that you have a very odd footprint for the kitchen /breakfast room.

- The penninsula is creating a too-narrow entrance and an odd flow pattern to the breakfast room. I dislike it for these reasons, but NOT because it's "dated'.

- Corners in kitchens are inefficient (yes, I'm ALL ABOUT efficient). It's hard to reach to the back of the countertop. The counterspace underneath is difficult to access: Of course, you can "fix this" with a Lazy Susan or other contraption, but those are very expensive and aren't as useful as plain old cabinets or -- better yet -- drawers. And you have THREE corners. So that's three trouble spots, three expensive cabinet spots.

- Obviously, losing the penninsula would rid yourself of one corner, and because straight line cabinets provide more usable space, you're losing square footage . . . but not efficient space.

- You could rid yourself of one of the dreaded corners by creating a corner pantry. A triangle-shaped room doesn't have a much storage as a rectangular room, but it's an inexpensive option, and it'll put storage right where you need it.

- I like removing the wall between the kitchen /breakfast room and adding stools there . . . but a person on a stool -- even a child -- needs at least two foot of space, so you realistically have space for perhaps three stools (and two of them are in a walkway).

- I don't think this matters though because you have the breakfast table right there. Why have two different seating areas side by side?

- As for seating, I agree with the above poster that good chairs are more comfortable than shallow, unupholstered benches . . . but you don't have to build shallow unupholstered benches. A well-built banquette is wonderful, but you must pay attention to the details.

- You have an L-shaped staircase behind your pantry. Open up the space underneath the staircase, and you could have a long, deep pantry. The portion to the back will be short, but no one's ever said, "I have too much storage." At the worst, you could shove a couple plastic bins in the shortest space under the stairs.

- Your dishwasher location is going to be a problem. Imagine what happens when the door is open: It blocks access to a portion of your cabinets -- both upper and lower. If you switch the sink to the spot under the other window, you can put the dishwasher to the left of the sink . . . and it's not in the way when it's open.

You have potential here, but I don't think you'd be happy with the plan "as is".

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Bridget Helm

thank you rosie for your input. I do need to tell the architect that we need to draw the table as a 3x5 and that I have some great corkscrew stools from CB2 that are 12.5" I just drew them on the plan to scale and we will only be able to fit 2 on the kitchen side and 2 on the breakfast side. I'm not sure that i will put them on the breakfast side. that may too be cluttered. we don't need that much seating, anyhow.

as for the wetbar, i think you may have misunderstood. i don't want to close off the cased openings. that would be awful!!! i just thought we could put a tiny built IN bar into that little 5 foot wall between the cased openings, but that may be too cluttered there too?? i am meeting with the architect again next week, but I wanted to be prepared with my requests - to remove or keep the breakfast room wall etc. Like you, I think omitting it is a MUST. I'm also trying to decide if I'd prefer a bench only along the window wall rather than an L shaped bench. My chairs are 14x14 litle cafe chairs, so maybe we can have one at each head of the table and 2 at the front and the bench along the back??

lavendar lass, unfortunately, we can't expand the breakfast room any further out. That's the driveway. So we are truly locked in. Trust me, we've tossed plans around to the point of being dizzy.

greendesigns, there is a 14x13 formal dining room that opens to the foyer and the family room with 7' wide cased openings. this is where we will put food for parties or showers etc. and where we will eat if we host holidays. i like it there because guests can flow from the dining room where food is to the den and onto the back porch. they would go from front door to foyer to food table in dining room to den to back porch. i'm still working on where I will put a bar or barcart

now, if we are just having a couple of friends over for a football game etc., we usually put all of the children in the breakfast room to eat and the adults in the dining or the kids outside and the adults in the breakfast room if we grilled outside. at least that's what we do in our current house.

is the breakfast room REALLY too small to eat in? i've had a few people that i truly trust tell me that it's just fine for a 3x5 oval table. the rounded corners of the table will help

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:29PM
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Bridget Helm

thank you mrs. Pete! i took notes on your suggestions. i think that 5 feet walking space between the fridge and the peninsula will be ok, right? there will be 4.5 between the peninsula and breakfast room wall. the stools that will be in that walkway are backless and will tuck under, but it will be tight if someone is sitting there. would it be weird to not have stools? i can't picture an island or peninsula with no stools?? if it's too cramped, we don't have to have stools

over the weekend i put in my notes to tell the architect to build under the stairs in the pantry for extra storage - hurricane emergency supplies and water can fit there maybe

greendesigns, you can see the formal dining to the left of the den

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Sorry, I misunderstood where the wet bar would go, BMH.

My daughter's pantry runs under her stairs and she loves having the extra space back there.

Regarding corners, someone posted recently that they put drawers on both stretches of counter right up to the corner and happily abandoned the blind corner space to get the extra drawer space. In your case, you could do the same on one, and potentially 2 corners, but also access the blind corner space by doors on the other side (G-hook corner for sure, bathroom corner potentially. That would leave the inside kitchen with one corner with a good susan and the addition of more highly functional drawer space in the others. I think I might well go this way if it were mine.

I looked up those stools, and the FOOTPRINT is more than stated. Good thing, or they'd be very unstable. Again, it's the larger dimension that counts. Can't put two things in one space, and that goes for big bodies overhanging those little seats too, and the legs splaying out as needed to fit themselves in.

I've had a breakfast space smaller in both dimensions than that. It's a nice space, and an oval table sounds great. But again, draw it to scale. You've given enough room for a high school bleacher bench, but, remember, those don't back to vertical walls--which would not allow even slumping a bit to find a comfortable position. People in the corners couldn't even lean forward on the table to try to get comfortable.

If you want people to gravitate there instead of putting in time and leaving as quickly as possible, you'll have to make it comfy, and that will require more space. About 18" minimum for the seat depth alone (more for big people), plus back depth. Upholstered or not, the back should slope a bit and should be set out from the wall a bit so that people can lean back without bumping their heads on the wall (which will also protect the walls from hair oils and friction and even allow hanging something on them for decoration.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 5:26PM
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Bridget Helm

the architect zipped through it knowing that our carpenter is known for his great banquettes. I've been in his latest house with a banquette and it's perfect - slanted and set away from the window and wall a little. so i think it will turn out right. my main concern was if there was enough room to pull it off. i drew in things to scale today and it works - but only without the stools in the breakfast room, but those weren't necessary

I'm confused about these drawers in the corners?? i have a corner in my kitchen now and I have one cabinet that has the space in the far corner where i keep my HUGE mixing bowl, mixer, cake pans, muffin tins and huge traveling cake container. i bake about 4 times a year, so i figured i'd keep those less used items in that hard to reach place.

can someone explain more about these drawers in the corner? i don't want to fool with a lazy susan. my parents have those and they aggravate me.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Are your kitchen and breakfast room looking out over the driveway?

I don't know what style you like, but maybe adding some arbors or something over the windows would let some flowers/vines grow over and give you something pretty outside the window. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:13PM
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I personally would prefer the kitchen space to be a "U" rather than a "G" and would lop off that end of the peninsula. If you are taking down the wall between the kitchen and breakfast room, your kids can sit right at the table to do homework or snack while you cook, or you could still put a couple of stools on the breakfast room side of the counter if they tuck under...but I would not like being stuck behind that "G" part of the peninsula...that would be gone.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Bridget Helm

i thougt about lopping off the end of the peninsula to make a U rather than G. but I think I will like to use that area of the peninsula as the "dry area" of the kitchen where I can put paperwork, bills etc in drawers there. i won't use that space to cook or prep. i will most likely use it to pay bills, so I will like the space to sort mail and stack and organize to do lists and such.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 12:37PM
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BMC, regarding what they did by running drawers to the corner, imagine taking 2 dressers, placing one on each wall, then pushing them toward each other until their front corners couldn't go any closer without keeping the drawers from opening. See the empty, closed-off space in the corner?

This couple got out their tape measure and calculator, measured how much highly efficient/beautifully accessible drawer space they would gain by doing this--in exchange for losing the empty space in the corner--and they decided it was well worth it. (I really should go look up the poster's name, such a bad memory, and it's such a valuable contribution.)

In your case one, and perhaps two, of those "lost" corner spaces could still be used by putting a door to it on the other side of the cabinet or wall behind. Thus, you could have the larger, excellent drawer space AND still use the corners for storage. Your third corner could still have a standard susan if you wished, but it'd just be one, not three.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 3:43PM
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" is the breakfast room REALLY too small to eat in? "

On the eating area ... check out the picture and the description for Rule #8 ...

Basically, Here are dining table clearance rules ...
Allow 24" for a seated diner with no obstruction (wall, furniture, counter, etc) behind.
Allow 32" from table edge to wall or obstruction for a seated diner with NO TRAFFIC passing behind diner.
Allow minimum 36" to allow someone to slide behind / edge past a seated diner when traffic passes behind a seated diner between the table and an obstruction,
Or, a minimum 42-44" to allow traffic to walk behind a seated diner.
Allow 60" from table edge for a wheelchair to pass behind.

To allow for a dining table right next to an island or peninsula with barstools, add approx 18", assuming a fairly modest sized barstool. So ... you would need minimum 42 + 18 = 60" between the edge of the dining table and the counter edge of the island or peninsula to allow traffic to walk in between (not "slide past").

Understand, these are minimums and depend on the size of the furniture, a couple more inches could feel more spacious. We have about 36" (maybe an inch or so more than that, no more than 38" for sure) between the table edge and the wall for a 13 foot long dining table that seats 14 (6 on each side and 1 on each end) and it is fairly comfortable even sliding past to get to the seats in the middle. Our chairs are normal size, not overly large and you don't have to "hug the wall" to get by.

Also, be sure to use the measurements from the counter overhang edge (the cabinets may be 24", but have a 1-2" overhang) and know your table measurements. Our table is 40" wide, but tables can vary GREATLY from about 32" wide to about 48" wide. If you are unsure, try to plan for a wider width.

These dimensions above are for regular chairs. Banquet seat dimensions would be a little different. On a round table, you can fudge the above numbers a little because the table curves away from you almost immediately. Not so much on an oval table. The curve on an oval is only on the corners, where there will already be plenty of space anyway. One thing that does help you is the doorway opening on 2 sides of the table which makes the traffic passing area feel more generous. There is no wall or obstruction behind the table there.

WIDTH NEEDED for dining ... Ideally, you need 24-28" of width for each seated person at a dinner table or for bar seating. 30" would be Very graciously spacious. At a bare minimum, you need about 21" width for bar seating.

KNEE SPACE: If putting stools or chairs on perpendicular sides of a table/island/peninsula, be sure the knee space is not shared by 2 seats.
For 30" high tables (table height) you need 18" table overhang / knee space
For 36" high counters (counter height) you need 15" counter overhang / knee space
For 42" high counters (bar height) you need 12" counter overhang / knee space
Some people do get by with less overhang at their bar or island.

I actually have 18.5" wide for each of my 4 barstools, which are just round so not very large stools (Acme Furniture 07258). I would not do a dining table with personal space this narrow at 18-21", but you can get away with it a little more easily at a bar. We have 15" overhang on the long side of our counter height (36" tall) peninsula. When we are sitting at our peninsula, we normally pull one of the stools around to the end which has an 8" overhang. The 8" counter overhang is not ideal by any means, but it is workable for occasional use. This gives each of the 3 stools on the long side 24.5" wide per person . When it's kids sitting there, the decreased space works ok for them and they all 4 stay side by side with 18.5" each

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:34AM
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