Rough layout -- please critique?

OaktownJuly 25, 2013

Hi kitchen gurus, we would love any feedback you could give us on the rough layout of our kitchen, in particular, placement of appliances and fixtures in relation to each other. If we can get your seal of approval on a layout concept, we'd feel more secure working out measurements and more detail.

Here's a very crude sketch (the icons are just placeholders and not the actual appliance/fixture sizes), the room is 16'X21'.

Beyond this room: Top leads to large covered porch area. Right is dining room and living room. Bottom goes to workroom/pantry. Left is garden and lawn area for kids play.

Right wall (Cleanup area): Dishwasher is left of cleanup sink. Compost somewhere. The sketch is showing a pass though in the sink area to collect from the dining room. We would store dishes and glasses here.

Bottom wall (Food/snack area): Microwave drawer on this wall, toaster oven would live on the counter. Trash/recycling in the lower left area of the room or in the adjacent workroom/pantry.

Left wall (Cooking area): The sink is meant to be a prep/pot sink. Most frequently used pots and pans will hang on wall between sink and range. The long wall area behind the range cannot be changed.

Kitchen table: We would use this for some food prep (some of us are short), homework, and eating. We would prefer not to have an island because my husband really detests counter-height seating.

About us: Family of 7, including 3 young kids and 2 grandparents. Several of us like to cook but it is rare to have more than one person cooking at a time. We have anywhere from 4 to 10 people for meals, depending on who is traveling, working late, or visiting. We'll have breakfasts and quick snacks at the kitchen table and when the whole family is around we'll eat dinner at the dining table in the next room.

Sorry for the essay, any other information that would be helpful, please let me know. Thanks for any opinions and please fire away!

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Looks very pleasant. I'm a big table in kitchen fan--and door to garden fan.

How about sliding the stove down so it no longer backs to the table and chairs? The door in that corner is a quiet one, right, so little traffic? You'd prep by the table.

This would then also put the prep sink somewhere on the prep area on the other end of the counter, which would work better for me than moving washed veggies across the stove to the prep counter.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:22AM
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if you need a pass thru and a doorway into dining room I would make one wider opening....close the one or the other up...say for an example, widen and create one opening to dining room at pass-thru position......close the lower doorway giving you two walls to use in the lower right....[an L] and then your floorspace at the top is cleared for a nicer, more inviting table/chair arrangement.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 8:40AM
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Wow, thanks so much rosie and herbflavor!

rosie -- I had hoped to prep between the sink and stove in the layout above, since the sink won't actually be so big, but I see it still might be a bit cramped. So, something like this?

herbflavor -- actually all 3 openings on the right wall go to one large area which has dining and then living on the far side. The upper and lower doorways go past either end of the dining table. If we move the doorway to the pass-through location, folks would have to walk around the dining room table to get into the kitchen. The wall punctuated by openings is a compromise between family members who wanted to have the kitchen more open and those who wanted it closed off -- this way it is "closeable." I will try sketching up your idea, but I have to admit that I am the one a bit smitten with the pass-through area, that would be designed to look like a built-in from the dining room, these are some inspiration photos:

Traditional Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Nicole Hollis

Traditional Dining Room by Pasadena Design-Build Firms HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

Traditional Dining Room by Peachtree City Architects & Designers Historical Concepts

Any other opinions or suggestions also would be welcome.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:20AM
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A passthrough from the dining room can be handy, but if it's over a sink you have to have someone on the kitchen side to receive the dishes, and that person has to reach over the sink and faucet, so that placement is less handy. It can be nice to have a door AND a passthrough, so things can be cleared while bringing out dessert, for example. Anything to speed up dessert delivery is our motto!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Could you sketch up the layout of the whole house, so we can see how the other rooms relate to the kitchen?

About the fridge/snack area - is the main traffic flow through the kitchen from the lower right (dining/living), or from outside/porch? If it's the latter, you'll have people tromping through your work zones to get a snack. But I don't have any suggestions to change the layout.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:51AM
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No expert here...but any way to slide everything down so table could be at top in front of the covered porch area and turned the other way (nicer view while eating too?)...I see potential traffic jams at sink/stove with people either sitting at table or errant chairs not pushed in, etc...this would mean you could also have an island for prep/ law says you have to have seating there...I agree with DH--I don't like counter-height seating either.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:03AM
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extend a run off 90 degree from top of left wall counter run......then over on right side with pass thru and doorways run a 12 in deep setup for your food setup/passing/laying out food /etc......will be much less clamor/from the other side with no sink and clean up...yet you can do your passing activity. Table now can be pushed to the right and down a tighten up things on left with the L-lots of options for sink with range further down....a small prep sink close to range and bigger cleanup sink higher up-in corner-or short end of L which if done right with swivel and fantastic faucets will allow some use for those coming in off porch....or vice versa the small and bigger sink positions.Your inspiration shots have a wall of mixed elements with built in the wall construction/double sided glass doors/ various mixtures of heights/trim/detail..... You will achieve a porthole unless you commit to a serious outlay of design/construction. With all the windows/ambience on the other walls I would allow a shallow more modest setup on the interior wall if you are really invested in the passing activity.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:18AM
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herbflavor, you are very perceptive! I suspect do have a sentimental attachment to the pass through and the cleanup sink location. The concept was developed with and for my dear, dear mother-in-law. She stayed with us frequently and always insisted on washing dishes after dinner, one of her wishes for the new house was to have the dish sink "in the middle of things." She passed away just a couple of months ago. So, we do need to re-think whether or not we really want the pass-through. What prompted my original post is that the architect sent me a sketch of the pass-through cabinetry (which was quite lovely) and I called a brief a time out to first get input here and assess whether we're headed down the right track with the general layout.

annkh and joanie, I will see if I can get some other drawings posted tonight.

Thank you all.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 12:35PM
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I like the pass-through and think they're unfortunately underutilized, but this is definitely the time to to examine all options. One thing I'm not crazy about would be having messy--and busy--work areas on both sides of the table, inevitably also requiring running around the table now and then. I love tables right in the middle of the action, but now that I think of it, it'd be more like in the room next to the action; having grease crackling on one side and pans crashing on the other might just be a bit much. But, like everything, this would depend. :)

Yes, sliding the stove down there is more like I was thinking. You did mention a smaller prep sink and prepping in the corner, and as long as you could up that @2 feet to 3 or so that would seem workable too in that respect. It would be a tighter work triangle mostly skirting the end of the table, which would be nice.

However, chair or bench legs, people getting in and out, right behind where you're maneuvering boiling water and hotter-still grease seems undesirable if you can avoid it.

My own table-in-kitchen was round, sitting fewer people, and the 9 o'clock chair closest to the stove was mine.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:03PM
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rosie and joaniepoanie, we will think some more about traffic jams.

Our kids are very good about respecting the "no zone" -- in our house now they know to stay out of the designated area when someone is cooking. It's the adults who move around and lean on the counters getting in the way (no seating area in current kitchen) -- I figured if there are chairs they might at least stay put.

Most of the traffic into the kitchen should come from the lower right doorway, but folks would come back in from the covered porch. Maybe this isn't such a good idea, but I was also kind of thinking we could swing the the bench out across the top left area to use as a roadblock, "don't cut through this side of the table, cooking is happening!"

I was thinking that pots, cooking utensils and serving platters would stay on the left side and not cross beyond the kitchen table, they'll get washed at the prep/pot sink. Eating dishes would stay on the right side of the table and be cleaned and stored near the cleanup sink. If we are eating in the dining room, the serving plates have a longer way to go, but we have plenty of hands to carry them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:39PM
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The pass-through idea is a really cool one. I hope you can get it to work out.

Only suggestion I have relates to your trash idea. Put a trash pull-out/recycling to the right of your prep sink instead of away from it.

My only other thought is to make sure you have your fridge closer to the cooking wall end of it's counter run instead of the clean-up wall end.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:45PM
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Here is an early sketch showing the area surrounding the kitchen. We've changed a number of things but the arrangement of rooms is still the same. The front door also is the family entrance. The room labeled "Pantry" will double as my "mom cave" where I can keep an eye on the kids playing on the lawn or driveway while I attempt/pretend to organize the household :-).

Any other thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:15PM
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Your other purpose for table and chairs--leaning adults-gave me a good chuckle. The other reason they're hanging on the counters is to add eye contact to the conversation, so providing chairs may work best if you occasionally glance around and "nail" them in place. :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Your other purpose for table and chairs--leaning adults-gave me a good chuckle. The other reason they're hanging on the counters is to add eye contact to the communication, so providing chairs may work best if you occasionally glance around and "nail" them in place. :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Why so many doors? I think triple hung windows, with sills at the floor, could be nice instead of most of the doors along the top of the plan. They let in a lot of light and air, easier to screen, don't swing inner out giving you floor space for other things.

The pantry might be more useful and more cave-like if it weren't so divided by circulation.

You might want a few more inches around all sides of your table, so that pulling out chairs doesn't interfere with an open oven or dishwasher. I'm not sure how the passthrough will work, but carrying dishes around isn't a big deal. I do like that the mess is screened from the more formal dining/living space yet there's still a visual connection between people in both spaces.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 9:29AM
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dadereni, the doors lead out to a sizeable covered porch area shared with a guest cottage/wing. Our fireplace will be on the wall of the cottage, opposite the gaggle of kitchen doors. Originally we were thinking of having a folding or lift-and-slide system here but it didn't really fit with the rest of the house -- the french doors are cohesive with the rear elevation. I think we will keep the middle two doors open when we are using the porch area. We also wanted to have the option of opening the two flanking doors instead, if, for example, we wanted temporarily to put a table up against the middle set of doors. Maybe this is just trying to be too cute?

Here is where I think we are headed on the rough layout, thanks to the comments so far.

blfenton and others, where would you suggest putting the trash/recycling in this setup? Trash to the right of the prep/pot sink and recycling down on the refrigerator/microwave wall?

dadereni and others, do you have any suggestions how I might get a few extra inches around the table? The kitchen is a smidge over 16' on the interior. We could get a narrower table, get a shorter table, or push the table off-center from the pass through. We also might steal a few inches from the pass through but I suspect that might be too complicated.

rosie -- The eye contact thing is hard for me when I am prepping. My knife skills are not the best, and more than once I've cut my fingers when distracted. This has made me very careful about keeping my eyes on my work when there's a knife involved. I am able to stir and talk at the same time, though!

Thank you all!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:42PM
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