First Post - Help with My Design

AquaLoveJuly 17, 2014

I've been lurking for a month or more, reading everything I can--this site is a wonderful source of information! My husband and I are essentially empty nesters, our youngest is a senior in college, so we decided to embrace our new stage in life. We sold our house and bought a townhouse a couple blocks from the beach, with restaurants and shops in easy walking distance, where we can feel like we're on vacation all the time.

We've been here three weeks, and I'm trying to nail down a design for the kitchen. I think we're going to do an Ikea Adel kitchen, reusing the current ss appliances, a 30" top freezer fridge and a slide in range. We don't want to put a lot of money into remodeling because we may end up turning this into a rental if we find that it's too small or we can't stand being without a garage. Anyway, the issues I've struggled with:
1. The d/w is currently adjacent to the sink and next to the stove. I'm willing to go to an 18" d/w to get it next to the sink. I'd like to use the existing 24" d/w but the sink cabinet would have to be off center to the right of the window. I read the discussion about centering the faucet instead of the sink, but the livingroom looks directly at the sink cabinet so I think the cabinet needs to be centered.
2. I'd like the range hood area to be a nice focal point, since it's what will be seen first when entering the front door or coming down the stairs. I'm thinking glass cabinets on each side, and maybe tile all the way up the wall, maybe blue/teal/aqua tile.
3. Roll out trash, in the island?

I think I've written enough for now, here's the design I'm playing around with, and the current floorplan, I'm interested in your thoughts:

The current floor plan, narrow U shaped 10 x 10.5 kitchen. The front door is to the left of the refrigerator, there's a 40" wall between them. There is also a 40" wall at the end of the counter across from the fridge, this wall can be removed.

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Get Inspired by Latest Interior Design, Modular Kitchen, Wardrobe, Tv Unit, Crockery, Bar Unit and Shoe Rack ideas from Interior Design

Here is a link that might be useful: Modular Kitchen Design Ideas

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:32AM
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Go away, Earmark01, we know spam when we see it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:51AM
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I'll give this some more thought tomorrow, AquaLove, but my initial reaction is that 36" is too narrow an aisle between fridge and island. You're only giving yourself 1" of spare clearance beyond the depth of the fridge. That's going to make it very difficult to move it in and out of place.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:56AM
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First thoughts. 36" aisle is way too narrow by the fridge. Aside from the issue of getting the fridge out to clean or repair, it's annoyingly narrow to use. Especially in a busy zone housing the fridge, DW and sink.

Second thing is there is no way I'd give up a 24" DW for an 18" DW just to center the sink on the window. It's one of those things you'll only notice during design and it won't matter once the kitchen is done. I especially wouldn't do it if it means I couldn't use the 24" DW I already had.

We've had some threads here where people talk about how important they think it is to center the sink with a window, only to discover their current sink isn't centered and they never noticed it. Centering it means you're giving up the function of the 24" DW, plus adding the expense of needing to purchase a new DW. Not worth it IMHO. Using the 24" DW with the 36" sink right next to it will look (and be!) purposeful and just fine.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:04AM
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The area between the fridge and the sink is too tight. Expecially since you have the mw there. Move the fridge to the end of the long side of the L, and move the range down a little. Put the mw between the range and the fridge or put it where the fridge is now on the layout out (too the left of the sink).


Move the sink to the wall with the range.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:22AM
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I would put the fridge near the dining room, at the end of the range run. Then there's plenty of room for the sink and DW on the window wall.

Move the range closer to the sink to provide a landing area between range and fridge. Put a super susan in the corner instead of a blind corner. You may have to downsize the sink base a little.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:13AM
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I was going to say you have what looks like a 42" aisle on the sink run, and it's only 36" where the fridge juts into it, which would be fine. However, you have what looks like a stub wall next to the fridge, which narrows the clearance there even further. If you are keeping that wall, I'd consider the logistics of getting a fridge out (all the way around the island instead of straight out the door) vs. moving the fridge to the range wall, and make a conscious decision about which you'd prefer.

Additionally, I'd think about moving the fridge simply based on how much you have going on on that top wall. Getting the DW out of the fridge-range-sink triangle is like heaven, believe me. However, if you move the fridge the range has to move up, so I would want the sink and DW to move all the way to the left on the top wall. That involves moving/enlarging the window, if you care about the sink being under the window. It

By the way, if you are going with an undermount sink, the eye really only notices the faucet placement. Therefore you can have the faucet off-center to your sink but centered on your window (or if you enlarge the window and have a double or triple pane, centered on one of the panes or stiles), it will look totally fine to your eye. And even if you can't, you stop noticing really quickly. I'm speaking from experience :)

If you keep the layout as is, I would go down to a centered 24" or off-centered 30" sink so I could keep the 24" DW. They are expensive and may be a PITA once replacement is needed. Also, kudos on having the MW next to the fridge - right where it belongs :)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Why the island? It's a small space. Keep the U-shaped kitchen but just turn it 90 degrees. Extend the stub wall next to the fridge as far as necessary to arrange things just as you want.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Is there a pantry in your layout?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Nice to check in this morning and see additional posters agree with me that a 36" aisle in front of the fridge is too narrow and for the same reasons I stated. ;-)

Here's an option for you:

I made very simple changes to your plan.

Reduced the width of the island by 6" to create a 42" aisle between fridge and island.

Curved the seating overhang with the hope that the curve will make up for the loss of 6" and still allow 3 seats at the island.

Moved the sink to a 42" corner cab, which makes room for a standard 24" DW.

Shifted the range towards the DR to give you a 42" stretch of counter between sink and range. You still have a generous 29.5" of counter on the right side of it (the 28" denotes the cab width). You can tweak these dimensions as needed to fit cab sizes.

If your budget allows, you can replace the garden window with a wider window, stretching towards the sink but it's not necessary.

I allowed 33" for your fridge for fridge width and fridge cab. Aisle measurements are counter edge to counter edge. Numbers on cabs are cab widths. These may change an inch or so, depending on your cab company's specs.

I considered moving the fridge to the DR end, as others have suggested, but that would reduce that aisle's width there, which would reduce the island's depth or shift it towards the hallway. It would also reduce the counter space you'd have on either side of your range. Lastly, keeping the fridge on the top wall keeps the fridge to sink to range flow intact.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback, I knew there would be comments on the 36" aisle space, however I didn't think about the ramifications of the small aisle space if we needed to replace the fridge, thanks for alerting me to that issue. I have played around with putting the fridge on the end of the range run, but its juts out so far there won't be space for the island.

I can't move or change the size of the window, I'm in a townhome so that's not an option. I don't so much mind the sink being off-center under the window, I did follow the discussion about an off center sink balanced by the faucet being centered, and I think that would work. What I think would bother me is the sight line from the living room toward the window with the sink cabinet doors not lining up with the center of the window (which does have a divider in the center). I've even thought of putting the d/w to the right of the sink, with a break in the cabinets in front of the d/w. Corners are a waste anyway:

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:03PM
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IMO, an 18" DW for 2 people is more than ok. We had a 24" for the two of us and we got out of the habit of using it because it would take days to fill it up and by then, the dishes would be all crusty and wouldn't get clean. Of course, now we have little kids and we need the 24" one, but my parents who are empty nesters have the same problem we used to have and hardly ever use their dishwasher.

That said, if you want to use the 24", then I much prefer the corner sink idea to the sink that is off center to the window. That would drive me nuts to see every day.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:18PM
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AquaLove, did you see my suggested plan? You didn't respond to it at all yet you responded to other posters' comments. Starting to wonder if my posts aren't showing up for you.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:32PM
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I can see your posts Lisa, we must have been posting at the same time (takes me awhile to put a post together) and then I was off working on my moving boxes. I hadn't thought of a corner sink, that definitely eases the crunch in the fridge-sink area, and gets space for the 24" d/w. How big could I go with a sink in the corner? I'm okay with decreasing the size of the island to increase the aisle by the fridge, I was planning to put drawers facing the d/w for dinnerware and I was worried it was too far away from the d/w.

To answer some other questions, I don't want to do a U kitchen because there's only one way in and out and we're experiencing the problems with that now. I want to put something pantry-ish at the end of the range run, I'm thinking a 15" rollout, or even 24" of 12" deep pantry. I had a 36 x 24 pantry at my last house and so much got lost in it. Part of our philosophy with this move is cut way back on all the stuff that we have, including kitchen stuff. Does anyone else have 12" deep pantries?

Susie, I kind of agree with you that an 18" d/w is plenty for 2 people, in fact I think it will be better than a 24". We only run it about every 4 days now, even with my daughter here. We don't cook every day, we are more microwave and eating out types. But when we do, I handwash the pots and usually any big dishes, so our dishwasher is usually glasses, cereal bowls and plates. With an 18" d/w we could run it every day or two. My husband is also concerned about going to an 18".

FYI, I plan to do all drawers, we had them in our house in the kitchen we remodeled 18 years ago, and I miss them. We just spent some time in a rental before we moved here, and it didn't have drawers and I hated it, such an inefficient use of space.

Just curious, I find as I think about different scenarios that I use my previous home as a yardstick for sizes. In my home I had about 30 linear inches in a corner between my range and sink and that's where I always prepped, even though I had 5 linear feet on the other side of the sink. So in this current design I know I want more space between the sink and range than I had. The rental house we stayed at had a 24 x 48 island, a good landing spot for groceries but other than that it was just in the way. Anyway, I just wondered if everyone else uses there previous homes as points of reference.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:07PM
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Did not address my comment either (yet anyway). Why is there an island when your kitchen is 6 feet from your dining area?

I would keep a U design. It's the most efficient you could have in that space and the space is the perfect size for one.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Okay, I see you got back to my question. Note that with a U-shape, you would still have about 5.5 feet of floor width in the middle. That's plenty of room for people to pass, but that's your decision to make.

You also would not have to extend the stub wall completely down to make a full U. More like a lopsided U. That would help with access. It just depends on how you want to lay your work zones out.

I've had a 14" deep floor to ceiling pantry that was plenty deep enough. In fact, even then things got lost at the top and bottom. I think the key is that no matter now deep your pantry, have some way of pulling it out!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Sorry rmtdoug, the island is for counter space more than sitting. It's a U space with an extra entry/exit point in front of the fridge.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 4:30PM
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Just addressing the refrigerator...

(1) A 30" refrigerator may be difficult to replace down the line. Manufacturers are standardizing on 36"W x 70"H (maybe even 72"H). Yes, there are a few out there that are narrower, but each year there are fewer and fewer and those that remain, for the most part, are really basic with few options or they're high-end and very expensive. At the very least, I would make room for a 36" refrigerator and either put in a (removable) 6" pullout or use filler. If you put a cabinet above that's full-depth (recommended), mount it so the bottom of the cabinet is at least 71" off the floor and then use removable filler b/w the bottom of the cabinet and the top of the refrigerator or leave it open or install filler piece with a piano hinge so you can store things on top of the refrigerator but hide them with the filler piece.

(2) Unless the refrigerator has hinges on the right, you will not be able to open the refrigerator or freezer door fully. Functionally, the hinges should be on the left so you don't have to maneuver around that stub of wall or the refrigerator door - the kitchen is on the right, so the door should open so that it's easy to access from the right.

(3) With that narrow aisle, you will, as others have pointed out, have a problem pulling it out for cleaning, repair, or replacement (and then trying to maneuver a new one in place without damaging the adjacent cabinets or those on the island). You will also have a very narrow pinch point for passage b/w the island and the wall.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 5:05PM
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I have a 33" wide Kohler double bowl sink in my corner sink cab. It's a drop-in sink. If you were to do an undermount, you probably wouldn't be able to go as large since you'd have to make room for the sink lip and the undermount clips.

You could also recess the cabinet slightly and get an apron sink like this set-up (it's a 30" sink)

Traditional Kitchen by Excelsior Design-Build Firms Lake Country Builders

Buehl makes a valid point about fridge sizes. If you take out the side wall, you'd gain 4.5". Steal 1.5" from the cab between sink and DW and you'd have enough room for a 36" wide fridge. If you can't remove that wall, reduce its depth so that it's even with the fridge box, enabling you to fully open fridge doors and pull out drawers. As long as you keep at least a 12" cab between corner sink and DW, you'll be fine.

Another reason to increase the aisle between fridge and island: if you have less than 48" between cabs (45" between counters), the DR door and dish drawer in the island across from the DW will collide when both are open. I've done test runs for my remodel plus I've measured spans in kitchens on numerous remodeled home tours. I've seen more than 1 kitchen that wouldn't allow door and drawer to be open at the same time; an unfortunate outcome that could have been avoided.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:44PM
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Buehl, thanks for the feedback on my layout, I appreciate your help.
1. I hate to think I need to leave 36" for a fridge, I definitely won't be able to have the d/w next to the sink with a fridge space that large. I'll have to give that one a lot of thought.
2. There's no problem opening the fridge now, it opens on the left and it's next to the wall now. I had planned that I would have to pull it out about 10 inches when I want to remove the drawers and shelves for cleaning.
3. Yes, you're right the aisle needs to be larger, I'll have to shorten the island.

Lisa, Good idea about removing or reducing the wall by the fridge. I'm pretty sure it can be removed, we are removing the one on the other side of the kitchen entrance. We can remove the wall and the fridge enclosure can serve as the wall between the fridge and front door. I'm still thinking about the corner sink idea, that may be the solution.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:23AM
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I hate to disagree with Buehl, whose ideas and opinions I respect so much, but i believe there will always be a market for (and therefore a supply of) smaller fridges. Not as many choices or features as the big monsters, but certainly available.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:57AM
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