What 'cons' did you choose to live with?

needsometips08July 2, 2009

Since the perfect kitchen doesn't seem to actually be possible, I am curious in your kitchen renovation, which "cons" did you choose to live with in order to make more important gains elsewhere?

And if you have your new kitchen done, how is that con working out? Regrets or not as bad as you expected?

It appears I have 3 sets of cons to pick between:

1) lack of adequate dish storage near DW (and period) and a crossing of zones (between clean up and cooking)

2) fridge far from work zone (8' from prep sink, 13' from stove, 17' from clean up sink) and smaller pantry space (28" by up to 30" deep verses a 6' run)

3) a functional choice that both hubby and I very, very, very strongly dislike asthetically and crams the fridge, prep sink, microwave, and range into a very tiny area.

I am having the hardest time ever. None of these options seem feasible, but I HAVE to pick one.

I am hoping by hearing your guys' stories about picking cons and how they turned out, it will lead to some spec of insight so that I can better choose.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am blessed with few real regrets (but still admit to occasional 2nd-guessing). I've tried to design 'the perfect kitchen' since I've had this one, and really don't come up with anything better...Each design has drawbacks or frustrations somewhere. Here are my 'cons' and what I traded for:

1) We have no landing space by our fridge/freezer set. I usually don't find it a problem, but occasionally. A smallish concession in order to have the all-fridge and all-freezer instead of a refrigerator-freezer in the kitchen and full freezer elsewhere.

2) Our dishes are all by the cleanup area, which I love and wouldn't change, but it means we don't have dishes or silverware handy to the bfast area (where toaster oven, peanut butter, etc., and cereal live), or the microwave and coffeemaker area. But I tried to divide dishes and silverware into 2 places in our last house and it was a dismal failure...I'd rather walk across the kitchen to grab a spoon and cup or bowl.

3) Small pantry...Better than no pantry! If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have designed in pantry storage where I did the dead corner between the stove and sink run, because I am short on space for storing baking dishes and baking pans in a more cohesive, organized way...They're too split up around the kitchen.

4) Less efficient workspace for when I work by myself, in exchange to have room for multiple workers (my cooking and baking kids, and cleanup crews) not to run over me or each other when busy, which is certainly a joy I'm glad to trade for. This is where your zone-crossing thing would be a no-go for me, especially since it combines with the no dish storage issue...but you know that already! ;-)

5) Bfast counter is far from a sink, which means it too often gets missed in cleanup, or is left messy too long. Drives my dh nuts, and I'd like improvement, but it's not huge to me.

6) This is one I knew ahead...I chose a harder to clean gas rangetop over safe and easy clean induction in order to have more large burners. I wish maybe I'd thought about a combination...But I have to say having the 8 large burners was definitely the right choice over having a 36" induction unit with 5 burners, not all large, which is what I thought was my alternative.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I actually consider myself lucky in that, together with KD, we have a great layout that, IMO, is attractive, too. However, I did lose about 9 square feet in a corner because we had a chimney that we didn't want to get rid of. I was just afraid of a huge can of worms opening up if we took the chimney out.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 6:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I lived with my kitchen for 10 years so I knew exactly what I wanted different and made sure I got it. So far I only have the following cons, which could have been avoided during the construction phase but I just didn't' think about it.

1. I would have turned my outlets sideways and added an extra one closer to the stove. I tried making bacon on the griddle last night and couldn't place it on the stove to vent out because the plug wasn't close enough.

2. Too much plumbing under sink caused me to lose my under the sink pull-out garbage. (double sink with disposer)

3. Went with laminate flooring and it stresses me out that water will get in-between the boards and de-laminate them.

If I were you, I would be ok with con #2.
#1, I set it all up that I don't really have to move while putting the dishes away. Much better than my old kitchen.
#3 My father and his wife had the nicest kitchen BUT the stove, and sink are only separated by a corner and when they are cooking they are crammed in there and they both hate it. Such a nice kitchen and it's only good for 1 cook.

I would pick #2. Right now my fridge is 11 feet away from my sink, 5 feet away from my island and 14 feet from my range. Doesn't bother me at all. It was either put the fridge in the current location or lose precious counter/cabinet space to have it closer.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 7:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that con #2 would be the least painful. I get everything that I need from the fridge for dinner and put it on the island across the aisle, the closest landing space. Walk around the island and everything is arm's reach from my workspace on that same island. Insufficient dish storage or a layout I hated would bother me multiple times a day.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also agree with #2 being your best (worst) option. We made the same choice. I have friends that have a fridge out of the recommended triangle length and they never have issues. I tried walking their kitchen and it really didn't bother me either. It may not be ideal, but it isn't painful. Walking into a kitchen that I spent $$$ on and hating the way it looked - that would be painful to me! The dish storage being on the "wrong" side of the kitchen would be a problem, but mainly because our kids are involved with unpacking the dw and setting the table and I know I'd be tripping over them as I got meal ready. (Again - painful!) HTH.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with other posters that #2 seems the most livable of your "cons". Do you have a landing space near the fridge in that layout? If so, that could make up for the distance otherwise.

Your #1 could be livable, depending on what "near" means. That is, if you have to take a few steps, fine, but if you have to walk all the way across the kitchen to put away dishes, not good. Also, what do you mean by crossing clean-up and cooking zones? If it is to put away clean dishes, that is no big deal to me, because that task could always be put off until later. Neither my husband nor I often do serious clean-up at the same time I'm cooking, so that wouldn't bother me much. If you have a lot of people in the kitchen at once, that could be a big problem.

I certainly wouldn't compromise and do #3. If both of you dislike the aesthetics that much, you'll likely never be happy with that, even if it's super functional (which it doesn't sound like it is).

My "cons" that I chose to live with were few. The placement I chose for my fridge and stove was not the most natural choice, and several people suggested switching them. Functionally, this might have been slightly better, but aesthetically, I'm glad I chose the layout I did, even if it sacrificed a little bit of functionality. If it had been a major difference in functionality, I would not have chosen it.

I also ended up with a deeper pantry than I would have preferred, but the sacrifice in having to dig for food items is balanced by the easier storage of cooking and serving dishes in the same cabinet run. It's 18" deep, which makes finding the right can or jar difficult sometimes, but it means that all my serving platters and such fit well.

I did end up with fewer shallow utensil drawers than ideal and one narrow cabinet that isn't particularly useful, but that's only because I didn't think through my storage needs thoroughly enough.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you should remove #3 from consideration and just focus on #1 and #2. The way you worded the #3, ("very, very, very strongly dislike" and "crams") makes me think that whatever the pros of this option, the cons would definitely outweigh them for you.

As for me, my kitchen has both lack of convenient dish storage and less pantry than I would like. (Woo!) If I could change one, I think I would go for better dish storage. I dislike trekking all over the kitchen once a day to get things put away (particularly since I have to go around the dishwasher door multiple times.) The pantry overflow I store elsewhere in the house, which is an OK compromise for me.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great thread! I will be following w/ interest because I can't choose between all the "cons" in my kitchen plans as well. As far as your situation goes I would choose plan #2 if you feel you can sacrifice the pantry space. I have had a fridge far from my stove and sink w/ no problems. You certainly never have to worry @ someone grabbing a drink getting in your way!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not working full time in my kitchen yet and there are a few things that bother me but only one I can't do anything about. The trash is too far from the sink and I really hate it. I knew this was going to be a problem but changing it would have meant putting it in my main work space where it would have been a nuisance when others wanted to use it while I was working. I'm not sure if it was the lesser of two evils or not. I'm hoping a small pull out bin under the sink will save me.

Another big con is having no prep sink but that was never a do-able option so doesn't really count.

I have a small kitchen and the fridge is about 7 ft from the sink/prep zone and I consider it quite close; just a few steps. I think option #2 is your best option. Knowing the layout I can honestly say I'd LOVE to work in that kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I concur with the others who wrote that option 2 is the easiest to live with. I take out what I need from the fridge and set it on the work space. The process is reversed during clean-up and putting leftovers away after a meal. I find this very comfortable.

My kitchen is great and I love it, but there are 2 very minor inconveniences. I store coffee mugs 17' away from dishwasher because of the location of the coffee buffet. I love having a coffee/tea buffet and I have become adept at holding several mugs at a time. The other inconvenience is that the trash is not directly under the main sink but under the 3/4 sink on the far end. I do not use the disposal often because we have a septic system and often need to empty the contents of the strainer. I always worry about dripping water. On the other hand, the location of the trash works great after meals when I have a helper scraping plates and handing them over for the dishwasher. The arrangement provides plenty of room for more than one person to work.

So finally my cons and pros as well.

Good luck with your design. I am sure it will turn out fine.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My cabinets aren't installed yet, so I can only talk about design. My biggest cons--or should I say compromises?--are what I put in to switch from the neverending quest for the perfect plan, and something workable that I could hire someone to build: The MW is still on the stair wall, where I would have preferred it on an outside wall, and, in order to solve my own #2 which was a big motivation for the redo, I had to have an island where I would have preferred a table. The latter does gain me an extra workzone and sink, however, so it's not all bad. :)

Another con is one I refuse to repine over because it was also the whole point: I have floor to ceiling cabinetry everywhere. The kitchen area is the only real storage in the house. There's a grimy storeroom out behind the studio, and a grimier garage. For anything classed as "indoors", including the folding chairs, the kitchen is it. So the kitchen is going from open and airy, to a great big fitted walk-in closet. On purpose. No graceful sightlines, staggered cabinets, and crown molding. Function, function, function.

Regarding Needsometips's cons, I'd take #1 over #2 any day. Rhome has a plethora of kids she can use as landing spaces and fetchers. I don't know if she does, but she does reference multiple cooks. I hated having the fridge 16' from the stove. Hated it. Despised it. In my previous kitchen the fridge was about 10 feet from the sink and across the aisle. Hated that too. Carrying nice, clean, easy to stack dishes is so much easier than having to plan when to stop stirring to get what's needed from the fridge, or juggle bags of produce from fridge to sink.

I grew up with the dishes in a different room than the DW. It was about 20' around three corners to put them away. A full DW takes four trips: One stack of plates, two armloads of glasses, fingers hooked in mug handles, and small items, and one basket of flatware. Plus whatever gets put away in the kitchen. Much easier than cooking in too big a footprint.

Re #3, cooking in too small a footprint can be no good too. A well laid out boat/RV galley can be a pleasure to cook in, but the equipment is sized accordingly as well. Putting full sized appliances and more than one cook into the same amount of space is a nightmare. It's easier to trek around a too big kitchen than fit two people in one square foot of floor.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a small opposite wall kitchen/dining room and every decision was a big compromise.

I went with an induction cooktop on the sink side and an undercounter oven on the opposite side instead of a range. I had major appliances located against the side walls and getting them away from the walls so that the appliances were more usable left only 2ft of countertop between cooktop and sink on one side and less countertop entirely on the other side. I also extended the kitchen side of the room 7in at the expense of the dining side. I had 60in of upper peninsula cabinets and went down to 30in to open the dining area to the kitchen area.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am still living with the old kitchen but the cabinet order went in and demolition is scheduled for late July. It will be several months before I know if I made the right decisions for my use of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Keep in mind that in layout #1, the fridge is just as far if not further from both the range and the prep sink than in layout #2. The only thing it's closer to in layout #1 is the clean up sink.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Every "con" I have has a "pro" that overrode it. The ones I chose to live with are:

1. Our main aisle through the kitchen is too narrow. But I chose to have once-in-awhile congestion there rather than give up our 48" range or the stools next to the peninsula.. Our dishwasher drawers are in this narrow space but they are simple to close up quickly to give room for someone to pass by.

2. Our fridge is out of the prep area but I'd prefer to have it really handy to the table (it seems that loading/unloading the table is more of a hassle than grabbing stuff for cooking) and handy to others so that they won't come into the prep area (unless it's to help cook.)

3. None of our dish storage is next to the dw. I'd rather store dishes at point of use (dishes and silverware near the table, mugs near coffee maker, cups near tea kettle) than where I unload them from the dw. I get to choose when I unload the dw and walking a few steps while I have time to kill is better than having to walk the steps when I'm rushing to set the table while cooking. It's easy for someone else to set the table without intruding on the cooking area.

4. Clean up zones: our clean up zones are spread throughout the kitchen. The main clean up sink is in the prep area and I can throw stuff I want to wash by hand into it while I'm cooking. The dw (or dd's in our case) is at the smaller "prep" sink on the other side of the prep penninsula where it is convenient for clearing the table and prep penninsula. I store leftover containers on another counter so that a theoretical 3rd person can be putting food away while hand washing is done at the main sink and dw loading is done at the smaller sink. The majority of clean up in our kitchen takes place after prep so I really don't have any problem with overlapping or crossing of zones. Someone can be loading prep dishes into the dw while I'm working on the other side of the penninsula but I don't want anyone cleaning up at the main sink while I'm working (I can often get a jump on the hand washables if there is time to kill.)

Our design eventually worked itself out around the things I considered "must haves"--such as lots of windows, a dish cabinet/hutch dividing the kitchen from the table, a 48" range and 2 sinks at opposite ends of the room.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that it sounds like you'll never be happy with #3. As far as 1 versus 2: How do you cook? How many cooks are usually working at the same time?

We're still working on our remodel, but we bought our new fridge last year, because the old one died. Knowing that the remodel was coming we bought for the new kitchen, which is being moved to a different room. So, we've had our fridge in a totally different room since September -probably about 20' away. Also, due to storage issues, our pantry has been in that room for longer. For me, I get out everything I need to cook, even if it means making 2 or 3 trips from fridge/pantry to kitchen. No need to decide when to stop stirring because everything is next to the stove. If there is a natural break in the cooking, I'll put some of the stuff back. My DH doesn't plan ahead so good and often makes stuff up as he goes. He does most of the cooking and I tend to use that time to finish up dishes fromt he last meal or play with my daughter in a nearby room. If he needs something else from the fridge, I go get it for him. Also, myself or one of the kids will get out condiments for the table while setting it which minimizes what needs to be out during cooking time. With this in mind, I made sure there was a path from dishes and fridge to the DR that doesn't cross with the cooking/prep area.

However, if you have one person who often cooks when no one else is home or when others are upstairs or something. You would probably hate this.

Maybe you should review the sweeby test to see if it helps you think through your style/needs. In the end, one cook's perfect kitchen is another cook's worst nightmare ;)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Beverly has a good point: I don't often cook to a recipe. I'll be in the middle of something and decide it needs something from the fridge. The fridge to stove thing isn't so bad if you know exactly what you're going to want and can set it out ahead of time.

Fridge to sink is always important. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before anything else, #3 really is OUT, right?

Some good points have been made. Regarding #1, I have no storage by the DW and pretty little near it, and after working out where various types of dishes will go, it's really not a problem. It's on the end of an L counter with no uppers and faces the short, non-doored end of the island, broom closet directly across the traffic aisle to its left. I put the cups/glasses in the closest cupboard--on the outside corner of the island, facing the coffeemaker across the traffic aisle. The silverware goes in the closest drawers on the sink end of the L. That sort of thing. Stuff that can be stacked and carried easily goes to farther drawers, continuing a point-of-use distribution. Unloading really only strikes us as the usual bother it always was. Having the island by the DW to set stuff on temporarily helps. Having lived with it, I'd make the same choice again.

Our fridge is on one side of a 13'-wide kitchen, with the stove on the other, with a slight swing around end of the prep island in the middle. I chose it since I just didn't want the mass of the fridge in its ideal place on the outside wall by the stove--totally aesthetic function over proximity function. Not wonderfully convenient, but again not at all a spoiler. If I'm getting a bunch of stuff out, I'll just shift and turn to set it on the outside of the island, but most of the time I carry it with me back to my prep side by the stove. Good point about cooking styles. I'm the kind who always has to go back for something else, and any mild aggravation will arise from that. Having lived with it, I'd make the same choice again.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

I'm going with a less attractive fridge. I was all set for a totally integrated invisible fridge, but we really only have room for a 36" fridge. The integrated 36"ers have enough space almost, but at my height, too much of them is inaccessible so they wouldn't be functionally big enough. I'll be getting a normal counter depth freestanding fridge instead. I know it'll work; I've had one before. But it'll be visible from the front yard.

So I'm choosing to live with a less-than-ideal fridge. Or a functional instead of pretty fridge. Not that I dislike regular fridges, but I didn't want a fridge apparent from the street. On the bright side, I now have about $5k saved to put into one-way window film or something.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is really hard for me to look at the "cons" list without seeing the "pros" that would go with it. You are right, there isn't a perfect kitchen (or rather there are lots of perfect kitchens if your space allows you to live/cook/eat in a way that is right for you). What would you gain from each of your cons?

Ours (and this is a short version of the list):

Con: fridge (counter depth with less storage) and laundry in an awkward alcove that is also a walkway. Pro and why we chose it: opening up a wall meant direct access from the kitchen to one of the exterior terraces where we grill and it allowed a very narrow office to function as a room (and not a walkway). Putting the fridge there meant we could have a lot of counter space and make a galley kitchen function well for two cooks.

Con: less storage (upper cabinets). Pro: adding a huge window that makes the kitchen feel larger, makes the space light and bright, and a pleasure to be in.

Con: Small kitchen without seating or an eat-in spot. Pro: Keeping the 2nd bathroom (and the only one on that floor). Keeping the size of the kitchen better proportioned to the rest of the house. Having an excuse to always eat looking out at tree-top views (from the living/dining room), or on a terrace (instead of a dark kitchen).

Con: Water heater in a cabinet right next to the front door (oh yes) when the planned tankless water heater turned out to be impossible. Pro: the water heater isn't in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Fori, Have you considered a fridge you can put custom panels on, and inserting art? Or Marmoleum?

Or Marmoleum art?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We've been in our new kitchen for a year now. I really have very few cons despite the limitations we had.

Con #1: Fridge is about 8 feet across from the sink. I don't find this to be an issue very often. There is a landing place a step away if needed.

Con #2: Trash is located directly under the main (and only) sink. I think this causes more issues than anything else in the kitchen. Interesting note on this: This has NEVER been an issue in the 21 years we've been married or since the kids came along 14 and 12 years ago. It IS an issue now because all of a sudden everyone actually enjoys working and helping out in the kitchen. Color me shocked.

Con #3: Cutlery and utensils are located a fair distance away from what I use as my baking area and the area I use if I need a large expanse of counter space. However, these items are located directly beside my dishwasher and close to the eating areas, both bar and table. I will add that my dishes and regular cups are located immediately above the dishwasher while coffee cups and wine glasses are a few steps away. This issue could actually be solved with purchase of a few duplicate items if it really irritated me that much. It would also help tremendously if said children, ages 14 and 12, actually put things where they belonged when emptying the dishwasher.

That's about it. The trash issue drives me the most insane. However, I had never encountered the problem before the remodel so it never occurred to me to address it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This has turned out to be a good thread. It's interesting seeing how each compromise really seems to come down to personal preferences, and what each person can live with is different and subjective.

As far as how mine is developing, I've tweaked the layout of #3 to make it actually athestically acceptable with the added perk of moving the message center to the pantry area so it's out of my work space. It's growing on me.

Here's pics - asthetics only. Do you think they have the same feel or drastically different? Am I losing much to give up that cab run?

Option #2, that has my beloved cabinet run that I love:

Option #3 that has the paneled fridge and altered beloved cabinet run:

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 5:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although I can see why you like #2, I really have to say #3 looks very good and gives you a wonderfully functional work area. You would love having the fridge so accessible. So, as you say it comes down to pleasing personal preferences--probalby the most important function of all.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get how pleasing the symmetry of #2 is. But #3 isn't at all what I thought of when I read "crammed" and "very tiny area". I thought you meant all right up against each other! Number 2 makes me nervous because I keep wondering where the fridge is. I would rather work in #3. I might do something funny with the island sink, like put the faucet at the outside corner, so that it would be easy to use from the range side or from the aisle. Make it a round sink or a corner shape so there's room.

I'm trying to figure out what it is about #2 that makes me nervous. It can't just be the fridge because I still feel nervous even when I pretend you have fridge drawers, or a big fridge at the coffee station, or whatever. It's VERY pleasing to look at but makes me nervous. I think, maybe, the fridge provides a stop to the counter area, which otherwise runs open into the passage. I mean this in terms of sight lines rather than function. #3 is more contained. The open run next to the column and archway feels wrong to me, and unfinished. Awkward. (Visually.) Even though it has the pretty symmetry.

Are there three sinks in there? Is there a beverage fridge in the coffee area?

If you're leaning toward #3, try words like "efficient" and "compact" rather than "crammed". Smaller kitchen footprints are generally more pleasant to cook in. In this layout there's still plenty of room for someone to be working at the island, someone to be working at the stove, and someone to be using the clean-up sink, without getting in each other's way. The bottleneck is mainly at the fridge. No one can pass while the fridge is open, and everyone needs to get into the fridge, not just the cook. If you have a secondary fridge for drinks and snacks, and condiments that get set on the table regularly at meals, it will improve the flow there. But even if this is the only fridge, it can be managed.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like number 3 both aesthetically and practically. The only change I might make would be to move the prep sink more to the center in order to have direct landing space from the fridge.

Having the fridge far from everything is probably doable for about the first 6 months, but will prove pretty exasperating after that...

Good Luck :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like them both...but have to agree that if the refrigerator is too far away I wouldn't like it...so until I see where the refrigerator is in #2, I have to vote for #3.

Could we see a flat layout of #2 & #3, including what's in the pantry, so we can see where everything is?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

option #1 (which is revived. My husband likes it the best. I'd have to rethink dish storage, but I think it's do-able. Oh, and the dishwasher would be moved to the other side of the sink).

option 2 (which is my current layout now, but 3 steps tighter - and the prep sink is actually my current main sink. So I know how this layout feels. It's pretty workable.)

option 3 (and I'd considered 3 sinks, but would probably do just the island)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm still voting for #3...in case you had any doubt. :-) I think the prep sink will serve both areas (prep and coffee bar) adequately.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 11:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Another renewed vote for #3.

What is that next to the prep sink? A dishwasher drawer? Wine fridge?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing I've noticed, and I don't know if it's coincidence or relevant, but the people who feel the most strong about NOT doing #3 are the ones who spend the most time in our house (hubby, my closest 3 friends).

I don't know if there is some element that feels wrong about it that you only notice in person, but someone suggested I put a big cardboard fridge there and see how imposing it feels. She bets once it's there, I won't even entertain it further.....I don't know!

Ug, this is kitchen hell!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Also, if I do option #2, which is basically my current layout, I will put a 15" wide (counter height - I found one that size) next to the main sink so that butter, milk, cheese, and eggs can be in there - all the most used staples close at hand.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I still like the layout where the large pantry stays and the fridge and coffee bar replace the hutch. Is that one totally out of the running?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that #3 does look best on paper, overall.

Have yout tried #1 but moving the cleanup sink and DW to the island and having a prep sink by the window. It would be a good workflow and nice to have a view when prepping or baking there. The dishes could be stored behind the DW adn be close to the table and island. The pantry and fridge are separated -- some folks don't mid separated food storage and some do.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, it doesn't really benefit me since it doesn't save any steps.

And it looks really obtrusive from the family room view into the dining room. Like a huge wardrobe sitting along a hallway. Especially cause the pantry is recessed. And if you bring the pantry forward, it closes the opening of the dining room, which defeats the purpose of taking the wall down to create a more open feel.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Still #3.

The refrigerator is a problem in #1... First, you'll need 6" or more of filler b/w it & the wall to allow it to open fully. (Please don't tell me you're going to put the hinges on the other side of the refrigerator so you won't need filler...) Second, it limits your workspace to the right of the sink. Third, it's in the way of the cleanup zone and doesn't contribute to anything in that location except force someone while prepping & cooking to cross the cleanup zone and have the DW in the way. Fourth, it's too far away from the DR. Fifth, while the island isn't a barrier b/w the refrigerator & range or cleanup sink, it is a barrier b/w the prep zone on the island and the refrigerator...a location that will need easy access. Oh, and I just noticed when the refrigerator is open it will block access to/from that door...where does that door lead?

As to your friends...how is their design sense when it comes to function? Would you trust them to design your kitchen for you keeping in mind the truly functional aspects as well as form?

Much as I like my friends & love my family, most of them are clueless when it comes to kitchen design. I've cringed on occasion when they've commented on kitchens we've seen. My DH objected to several ideas I (& GW) had for our kitchen but in the end let me do what I wanted anyway since he knew I would use it the most and that it meant more to me than him. Now he tells me he never should have objected to anything b/c everything came out so well. He said even when seeing the design he didn't picture it the way it turned out...it turned out much better!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am going to be the odd man out and say #2 for one main reason: you said you homeschool and that the kids will be in the DR and you want to be able to work in the kitchen and keep an eye on them at that same time. Kind of hard to do around a big fridge BUT I would split the pantry up (1/2 next the fridge for snacks and stuff the kids will be into, and 1/2 in the "fridge" spot of layout #3 for cooking and baking stuff). Best of both worlds. :)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 1:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, Rubyfig, you are exactly right regarding homeschooling. I don't like so many things about #3:

1. what you mentioned, that fridge blocks the line of sight into there. It wouldn't be easy to talk through that fridge or really feel connected to what's happening in there in any way. For that table to be such a large part of our lives, I really don't want it to feel like it's in a separate room. I want a seamless and open flow between the 2 areas. I want that dining area to be a natural extension if possible.

2. Visually it's such a bohemeth piece that it dominates the whole kitchen there. I hate the look of fridges, and my kitchen becomes all about the fridge in that area.

3. The cabinet run doesn't look as good, and my uppers are REALLY limited in that layout.

4. It creates that artificial corner to the left of the range, which I really do not like. It looks like it sticks out rather than being flush with cabinetry.

4. I am very concerned about the functioning for that space. For one cook, great. But imagine while I am prepping, my husband opens the fridge door and his elbow bumps into my back, and I go to move out of the way, slamming my leg into the open microwave drawer because my son is warming up a snack. It just looks like it would have potential for crowding if any more than one person attempts to use that space.

No, I would not choose my friends to design my kitchen, and 98% of folks looking at functionality point to #3. And I KNOW it's the most functional, but then, how do I learn to get over the 4 things above? How can I embrace something I do not like looking at (that fridge)? What if I regret it when I am done? How can I know if I will regret it?

I will be building cardboard appliances tomorrow......

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does having a bev fridge (for cooking staples) within 1 step distance from the range not fix all the issues with layout #2?

That leaves mostly prep stuff in the main fridge and it's close to the prep area.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are my answers to your 4 (actually 5) concerns above...but it's your kitchen and we don't wish to fight you.

1. I homeschool, too, which doesn't help on this concern, since I'm not getting why the fridge is such a block between you and the kids in the dining room if the trade off for the fridge is a wall with upper cabinets... A solid fridge or a solid wall are both no good for seeing or talking through. I don't think the depth of the fridge over the depth of the cabinets will make that much difference.

2. Much better function over a look we're all betting you'll get used to and not notice in a few days

3. You have more uppers by the stove than I do and my top shelves are empty...A lot of opinions here have said it does look good, and not at all as bad as you'd described. Can you try a look at it with fresh eyes?

4a. Not sure what an artificial corner is. :-)

4b. On the contrary, having the fridge on the stove side of the room rather than the crossing zone problem I've discussed before, allows more people to use your kitchen at once. (Then there's also the dish storage problem, which, I think, is bigger than you're realizing) You will likely stand to prep shifted over in front of the stove more, not directly in front of the fridge doors, which, additionally, are only open for a minute or two, at most? ...If it would make you feel much better, you could shift the sink toward the stove and leave counter across from the fridge...This would give you, potentially, work areas on either side of the prep sink, which could be good, or at least, work perfectly well. You then would probably want to leave the 3rd sink in the coffee area. Buehl listed other reasons why the fridge is a problem on the sink run. When you have to add a 12" cabinet between it and the wall so the doors can open properly, will you still feel it's a viable option?

As I said, we can only advise, based on our experience and opinion...It's your space. We don't want you to say, "Why didn't someone tell me?" or "Why didn't I consider this fully?" You have to make a decision based on all views and facts and decide to be happy living with it for a LONG time. In the end we want you to have the best kitchen possible, whatever that is for you and your family.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you feel closed in with #3. were you going to have the fridge covered like your cabs? maybe it wouldn't be so imposing if SS and counter depth?

dh and friends see you in action in your kitchen/home. They know how you work. I wouldn't base everything on what they say, but they are a good indicator.
it blocks you off from the comings and goings of the kids/family between DR and FR etc. and that was one thing you wanted - to be able to keep an eye on the kids, school work etc. More open feel.

I still like the refridge in the #2 position.

would you not feel so closed off if in #3 that was a 1' deep flr to ceiling dish cab? and the kids had to carry the dishes from dw around to it? or even store dishes in upper cabs there and drawers under counter. how often would they be unloading dw while you are cooking?

or maybe you should put your working sink there w/ dw across from it in the island and your prep sink by the window? between stove and refridge?

other things noted here:
"It's 18" deep, which makes finding the right can or jar difficult sometimes, but it means that all my serving platters and such fit well."

how about making a shelf or 2 less deep? or putting sliders on them?

"I did end up with fewer shallow utensil drawers than ideal"

how many are ideal?

"I do not use the disposal often because we have a septic system"

disposal not good with septic? there's one in my new place - maybe i shouldn't use it? I'm not used to one so no big deal I guess.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 4:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it's time for you & your DH to sit down and do some serious soul-searching. You've gotten our opinions on all 3 layouts...the pros/cons. So now, what do you really want? A fully functional kitchen that looks nice or one that's semi-functional that looks even better in yours & DH's opinions. (And, in the end, your opinions are the only ones that count...not your friends', not your extended family's, not those of us here at GW...it's yours & your DH's only.)

Do you prefer function over form or are you discovering that maybe you really do prefer form over function...it's OK to choose form. Just be honest w/yourself and I think you'll find the decision a little easier.

BTW...if it comes down to #1 vs #2, I would vote for #2 w/an under counter refrigerator. BTW...is the one you found a "Beverage" chiller/refrigerator or is it a "regular" refrigerator? The reason I'm asking is that some "Beverage" refrigerators don't get as cold as a regular refrigerator...that could be an issue for some foods. (In #1, the added filler is going to either further reduce the amount of workspace to the right of the sink to almost nothing or you'll have to move the sink to the left where it will start to encroach on the cooking zone as well as reduce the workspace on the left. If you want the DW on the right, then you'll definitely have to move the sink to the left.)

Desertsteph...you can use a GD when you're on a septic system. Just don't overload it. You may also have to get your tank pumped out every one or two years (depending on your family size). We used to pump ours out every 3 years or so but now that we have a GD (yeah!!!) we're planning to do it every two years.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get why you don't like option 3, and I agree with you. We had huge issues with refrigerator placement in our kitchen, because we have so many windows and doors, and we removed the one solid wall in the kitchen space to open it up to the rest of the house, and to make an eating area (I live in a very old, pretty big house that had a very small kitchen for its size).

We actually had to take out two windows to be able to have a range and range hood, and to have any hope of having a refrigerator. (We didn't actually take them out, from the outside of the house, they are still there, it is a brick house, and there was no way to brick them up without it showing. It just looks like the lights are off from the outside.)

We had to move and make smaller an original walk-in pantry, etc. Then, when we finally figured out that we would have a tall slim Thermador Freedom fridge on one side of a U and a freezer on the other side of the U, we thought we'd solved the refrigerator problem. When the cabinetry box was installed that the fridge and freezer would go in, we realized that it was going to close everything in, and was awful. I cried all night. Luckily, everyone agreed, KD, GC, etc. We had to do a major redesign.

A complicated set of changes later, involving moving our basement door, etc., ordering new cabinets, we ended up with our refrigerator pretty far across the room from the range. We also could only fit a much smaller fridge than we wanted in that space, and it had to be a fully-integrated fridge, because the space was too narrow to have it jut out into the walkway. Anyway, we ended up putting refrigerator and freezer drawers where the original fridge and freezer were supposed to be, so that we'd have more cubic feet, and also to have fridge space near the cooking area.

The drawing of our original design looked okay, even though it wasn't ideal, but the reality of how boxed in it would look when it was installed was much different, much worse. If your instinct is telling you that you are going to feel boxed in with your fridge in option 3, and that you don't like the way that cabinet run will look, then I would not do it. I also think that the fridge placement in option 2 is not bad, it is not that far away from your cooking area. I think after a very short time, you won't even think about it. We put the fridge drawers near the range so that we'd have cooking essentials nearby, but honestly, half the time when I need things, I have to go the main fridge anyway. I try to keep milk and butter etc in the fridge drawers, but I don't always remember, or I run out, or someone else puts them away. It isn't a big deal at all to go the main fridge, and mine is farther away than yours, I think. I'm glad I put in the drawers, because the other fridge would have been too small, and now I have room to keep cold drinks, etc. and not have a totally crammed refrigerator, but I think people get a little nutty about a few extra steps.

If people seeing the actual space, and not a drawing, are against option 3, there is a reason. Unless you are building from scratch, it is impossible to make everything perfect, and, as my mother kept telling me when we were freaking out about the fridge, you can really get used to almost anything.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea:

In this picture, the main refrigerator is on the left, it is totally flush in the wall, you can see the handles sticking out, and you can get an idea how far it is from the range:

In this picture, you can see the range wall. The fridge and freezer columns were orginally supposed to be perpindicular the range wall, on either side, where we now have upper cabinets. Now, the bottom on either side are two freezer drawers, and two refrigerator drawers.

Another view:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In option #2, you've got room to put a fridge (I'd suggest looking at fridge drawers -- Perlick or Subzero) probably in the island near the prep sink with a trash pullout in there also. If you've got $2000-$2500 for the fridge plus panels if you want to match the cabinetry, then I think you could have the cooking essentials closer to the work zones and keep the beverage traffic out of the main kitchen area.

I have fridge drawers in my breakfast room, so I work opposite of that, but I love having the functions divided. Just make sure that the small fridge would hold enough for you and the way you cook adn be cold enough to keep food fresh. As pointed out above, a lot of beverage chillers do not. I think Perlick and SZ are the most solidly made drawers. I have Perlick because I needed 24" and SZ's are 27". They seemed like a plurge, but what they have done for traffic flow in the kitchen has been wonderful. The fridge drawers are my sister's favorite thing inthe whole remodel. So maybe that splurge will be likethe micro drawer was for me -- something you didn't plan to pay that much for but that makes all the puzzle peices fit and becomes well worth it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jeannie, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your experience. I really appreciate it so much. Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous. I recognize your range hood because I've had it in my inspiration files for about 6 months!

What happened with you guys is exactly what I am afraid of - that it will feel all wrong, except I can't reorder cause mine are custom.

And what's the most interesting about the whole thing is that on paper, and likely even on software mockups, it probably looked just fine.

Something just dawned on me - yesterday when I went back to my inspiration pics to look at their fridge placement, they were no help. I couldn't see the fridge in the pic. So just now, I pulled up my "whole kitchen" inspiration files (I also have componant inspiration pics). I have 11 of them, and there is only one that shows the fridge - just one!! And it's Sharb's so it's hidden in what looks more like an armoire - and that's exactly what I'd have to do with mine to even cope with it. When I showed that to one of my friends whose sense of design I admire yesterday (cause I was using it as an example of what maybe I could do to make #3 a more appealing option), she pointed out that the scale of Sharb's kitchen made that armoire look appropriate. She has a large Viking range and hood, a very large island, but my island will be 1/2 the size of hers. My range will be a 30" slide in. My fridge will be the backdrop, the canvas of my kitchen, not off to the side. The scale is so very different in hers where it works vs my smaller scale.

I think it's telling that basically if I saw a fridge in a picture, it didn't make it into my inspiration files. I know I saw hundreds of stunning kitchens over the last 6 months, but the "best of the best" in appeal (for me personally) were the ones with no fridge visible!

Lascatx, thank you for your input about how separate fridge areas are working for you.

Buehl, you may be right - maybe it is that I am willing to sacrafice some function to get more form. And if so, I can honestly admit that - because I don't think I am doing anything absolutely ridiculously stupid, function-wise) if I choose #2. But maybe intuitively, I am picking up that something won't sit right about proportion or feel of the fridge there. Maybe if I was trained in design I would be able to identify which it is - I just want form - or something more intuitively. I guess I will never know.

Honestly, in the beginning what started this renovation primarly was improving the asthetic appeal since we were at a point where we had to replace the floor and most appliances, and I hate the look of the honey oak I have (and they are cheap builder grade, showing lots of wear, to boot). But asthetics were my initial reason - make this kitchen look better. As I received an education from you GWer's I started realizing that function plays a huge role, but how much form (my original dream) am I willing to sacrafice to get function? People say to stay true to your original vision and it will turn out to be what you love, but my original vision in the very beginning was to have a kitchen that made me feel good (by looking more appealing), and thus improving the entire house since the kitchen really has such a huge influence on all the rooms around it. I've been in a lot of homes - my kitchen is way more "out there" in terms of it being more inescapable than most homes. My kitchen really sets the tone for the entire house. So a new kitchen is almost like a new house.

One thing for sure is that after seeing Jeannie's example that worked on paper, I am building a cardboard fridge this morning and mapping out the entire option #3 with duct tape and "working in it" to see how much vastly better it is! I don't have to map out #2 cause I already have that layout. #1 is out of the running.

I appreciate you guys walking through this process with me. Even if you don't pick the choice I'd make in the end, your input is invaluable. I know I will make the best choice because you've presented all options and "supporting evidence" :-). It's certaintly not going to be a decision of ignorance nor one where little thought was put into! So thank you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Desertsteph...you can use a GD when you're on a septic system. Just don't overload it. You may also have to get your tank pumped out every one or two years (depending on your family size). We used to pump ours out every 3 years or so but now that we have a GD (yeah!!!) we're planning to do it every two years"

thx! and oh dear... I've been here 11 yrs and haven't had it pumped... but it is just me, no GD and the septic was put in for a 3 or 4 bdrm home (large enough for family). I'll have a '4 bdrm' home soon, but it'll still be just me. and 1 bdrm won't be a bdrm anymore but a family room.
think I still need to check on that pumping out thing...

for the immediate future I won't have them remove it then - just won't use it. I had one in the 70's on a septic and I did use it. didn't use it a lot tho. I don't find I've missed having one either. I wouldn't pay to have one put in.

thx again for the info!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 5:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"but I think people get a little nutty about a few extra steps. "

I think so also. how long have people lived with and cooked in kitchens that were just jumbled together and seem to have NO reasoning behind them. Having one well planned out but having to take a few more steps in one area should not be held against it! There will never be the perfect kitchen - not for everyone. It will be wrong for someone.

OP - it does come down to what YOU (and dh) are willing to live with - and don't want to live with. It's the reasoning behind your redo and how it makes you 'feel' is an important part of it. You don't want to go thru all of this (and the expense) to still be uncomfortable in it / working in it.

Jeannie - I just LOOOOVE you kitchen. but even while I LOOOVE it, it would never do for me. I wouldn't be able to even remember what I had in all of those cabinets! lol! nor do I need them. (single and seldom cook).
yrs ago raising a growing family, it would have been great. I still had my memory and I cooked back then!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Needsometips, I can't wait to hear how your mockup goes. That's really the only way to get the feel.

In all of this you've been very consistent: You don't like the look of a fridge. You don't like fridges in your pretty pictures. You feel that the fridge makes option #2 "cramped". You also say that you've been living with a version of #2 and don't mind it. I've just spent a lot of money cutting down that same hike between stove and fridge, but if you're okay with it, then it's just not your issue.

An advantage I see to option #2 is that you can prep on the end of the island and really truly see into the dining room, as opposed to the range area where you really can't. You don't get as much pantry, but again, you know what you need best.

It's not an awful plan! It's actually logical: Hate seeing fridge => Hide fridge.

I don't know what your budget is, but generally things like fridge drawers are very expensive. That's another way to eliminate the hulk. Another expensive option, but maybe worth it to you for the looks, is the SubZero integrated line, which have a fridge box up, and either two freezer drawers or two fridge drawers down. There's an all freezer version as well, and a couple of widths.

You could make a smaller "Armoire" using the SZ and incorporating your pantry (option #2). and have it all broken up instead of hulkish. Or you could do something a little less extreme with custom panels that break up the surface of the fridge and help it to blend in.

That open end still makes me nervous (my problem, not yours), but you could solve it with some decor rather than a whole big fridge. :-)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FYI, I just spent 3 hours with a saw, cardboard boxes, duct tape, bedsheets, and scissors mocking up option #3.

On first impression, the fridge doesn't stick out as far as I imagined, but it does kinda block in the cooking part of the kitchen. But it's not as bad as I thought.

This baby is staying up for a few days.

Through almost 2 hours of discussion with hubby and many tears over such big sacrafices (with either plan - either a huge chunk of form gone or a huge chunk of fuction gone), I am starting to see the workability and sensability in #3 - and one of the best parts - if I do that plan, I will do a cooktop instead of a slide-in and a double oven in the pantry wall :-). Another perk - covered fridge so 1 less huge SS appliance to clean.

Oh my goodness.......

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In one of the threads recently someone mentioned a treatment you can put on the SS appliances that keeps them from smudging. Oh, maybe this was it, posted by Caryscott on June 10: My Mom went SS and it was rough going at first, she tried Method and Stainless Steel Magic wipes both of which were not that great. I finally decided to give consumable mineral oil (which was recommended here) a shot and not only is it streak free but it actually helps make her stainless appliance more resistant to smudges and drips (and it's cheap!).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am SO glad that you decided to lay out your kitchen with paper and cardboard and really see what the layout FEELS like. Through reading this entire thread, I was screaming that to you in my head.

The other thing that I kept thinking about was who designed your layouts? You shouldn't have so many cons or make so many big sacrifices. It might be useful to go to another (or even the same) kitchen place with your room measurements and tell them to go to town with it. You cna just tell them to hide the fridge. That person may come up with something so interesting and different that you never thought of since you didn't put any restrictions on them.

Also, from reading these, it sounds like you have so many duplicate areas and appliances. Do you really need a fridge and fridge drawers? Truly? Buy a bigger fridge (or individual fridge and freezer) and panel it and call it a day. Gadgets are great, but most people really want everything in one place. You don't want to have to open 1, then the other until you find what you need - it's not a restaurant. Something to keep in mind. Might make for a more functional layout and better aesthetics if you have less "stuff".

I am starting my reno in a few weeks - the only compromise we made was not having a pantry. Soundsbad, right? Well, when we did the layout and mentally put all of our stuff away in the new cabinets, we realized that we had more cabinet space then we do now with our pantry, AND it made for a better layout. Putting a pantry in would have either created a small dead-ish corner or blocked the way from the end of cabinets to the eating area - looked bad and was poor for setting the table, unloading DW, etc.
Just keep it in mind. Sometimes simpler IS better.

Good luck - I'm sure it will be beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A big concern I have with the placement of the fridge in layout #3 is access of the fridge to other members of the family while the cook is doing his or her thing. You've said you have children so with that in mind, I think I'd prefer layout #2 and purposely locate the fridge out of the work zone. I don't know what kind of fridge you're getting (maybe I missed that in your posts...sorry) but depending on how the doors open I think it will be hard to access in layout #3. Imagine putting up groceries with lots of little helpers...in layout #2 then you could have multiple folks storing food away in the fridge at the same time without stepping all over each other.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd go with 2. I too have my fridge farther away from my work space, and I'm okay with that. My biggest con that I had to live with is that my door to the outside will bump into the cabinets a little when it is opened. I could have made it open flat and gained a little bit of pantry space, but I would have lost my dishwasher or one of my only two good sized base cabinets. The dishwasher and that cabinet are TOTALLY worth having a slightly awkward door. I don't use that door all that often anyway, and the pantry is still a very good size (we're talking maybe 6 more inches of pantry?).

I'd go with your gut and stay away from 3. And really, I kind of like having the fridge separated...its on the wall closest to the rest of the house, so if someone wants to run in and grab a drink, they aren't coming into my cooking area.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Number 2 would be my choice ... I have 4 kids and would love to avoid the log jam created by a kid at an open fridge that will happen with number 3. Number 3 really looks like you will barely have enough space for anyone to use the fridge easily.

Getting the look that is right for you may be more important than a few extra steps. I adore your cabinet run in number 2. Number 3 is awkward and not attractive.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I applaud you giving #3 every chance, but if you don't decide after all this that it's really what you do want--ditch it. You don't like it.

BTW, I noticed the very same thing with refrigerators in glossy magazines. And I did the same thing as you sound like you're going to (and apparently many of those designers did)--I sacrificed some efficiency to remove the fridge from the main view lines. And also, very importantly, I moved its mass across the traffic aisle (like #1) so it wouldn't loom between me and the table at one end of the L and between me and the French door to the garden on the other end of the L.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The refrigerator is on the periphery of the kitchen in #3...the best location for easy access by the people working in the kitchen as well as snackers from the outside. Neither will get in the way of the other...unless they're actually in the refrigerator at the same time!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before you discard #3 think about changing the design a little bit. If you were to put glass doors on the cabinet above the fridge and keep the glass doors on the cabinet in the far right corner, you'll get a nice feeling of balance.
It would be great if the far right cabinet was the same width as the fridge.

Then center the cooktop in the space between the two 'anchors'. Put one solid-doored cabinet on each side of the cooktop and keep the shorter one above the cooktop with the valance.

When you draw this out I think you might like it. The glass doors above the fridge will go a long way to lessening the weight. If you leave the front in stainless it will also look less substantial than if you were to panel the front to match the cabinetry.

Note to Jeannie Kitchen: That is one incredible kitchen you have created - beautiful - Congratulations !

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

great visuals of you with cardboard, tape, scissors etc!

what fun - such a great way to actually 'see' it and get the feel of it. I hope it helps not confuses more. don't forget to have the kids 'use' the 'fridge' also.

remember form is important also. how you feel in and view your kitchen every day is important - nothing wrong with that!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 4:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

buehl: I guess I am in the minority here because in #3 I see 42 inches in front of the refrigerator which is directly in front of where a person would be standing to prep food by the prep sink. I just can't see how the refrigerator can be accessed by another person while someone is prepping, but then again I am a rather large person and I require a lot a clearance!!! lol

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I still think that, if you took option #2--which seems to be your favorite except for the fridge being so far away--and fiddled with it a bit, you might be able to come up with something more workable.

I tried a quick version of this. It still needs some work, but I think it gets the idea across. This option does make your dining room opening smaller than in your original #2, but it's still far larger than in your old layout with a regular sized door there. On the plus side, it gives you a much larger pantry area and brings the fridge closer to the work areas, while keeping it from sticking out too far into the room. Finally, it makes the coffee bar available as landing space for the fridge.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh I like holligator's latest version!!! I think I would sacrifice the space behind the refrigerator and use a full depth (larger capacity) fridge. It would still look flush and built in and no one would ever know.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just adding my opinion from a latecomer. Go with option #2 (in 3D) which you say has "my beloved cabinet run tht I love" design. And with the 2D plan that is option 1 which you say "is revived. My husband likes it the best" design. My reasons are: 1. The other option that has the refrigerator practically in front of the column leading from kitchen to dining and left of the stove obscures the beauty of the column from some view points. So why have a column? 2. With the refrigerator there, the upper cabinetry to its right is not symmetricl and really bothers me aesthetically. You show 1 glass cabinet, a set of symmetrical solid cabinets (and hood?) and 2 glass cabinets. You have plenty of room for the refrigerator to the right of the sink therefore out of the way as in option 1 (2D). Put some nice cabinetry above the refrigerator. 3. Rotate the center island 45 degrees so that the chairs are then with their backs to the pantry area. I think you have plenty of room. Then that makes that island more workable. If the island is too long, eliminate 1 seat. Do 4 people sit at an island counter all at once when there is a dining room? You need 36-40" between island and other work areas (36" is really narrow). Shift the prep. sink to the end nearest the dining room so as not to be directly in line with the big sink which will then be diagonally accross from it. You can also have the prep sink face the end of the island so cooks can work off the end not the side. You have room then to have a bi-level island with whatever you choose (a cook top, prep sink, cabinets, etc.) which is right in the work zones. I think a bi-level would be good at 24" wide in front and about 15" wide at the seating area. 4. Refrigerator in the pantry is just not an option. 5. Put a beverage refrigerator and some glass cabinetry above it for a coffee or wine center in the pantry. You could also put the prep sink in the pantry. I think it will be really more esthetically pleasing and more workable IMHO.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That looks like a full depth fridge to me. Bringing the fridge forward makes a big difference in how the Option 2 versions feel to me. While the fridge isn't THAT much closer, it doesn't feel pushed back into another room -- and having more pantry space is not a bad thing. It sets up good working zones -- but I would want some places for you most used cooking things (spices, maybe flour and sugar for baking, oils and vinegars) in your cooking area rather than having to walk across into the pantry for everything. I had a kitchen with that kind of arrangement that I hated, but it was considerably smaller than your kitchen -- just one wall and a small island with the pantry across a heavy use hallway. I think your space would work much better.

I don't think you'd need the third sink at the coffee bar or whatever you'd call it -- the prep sink is close enough, and you could pull it down a bit towards the end. Leave at least 9-10" for landing space -- 13" is better.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like holligater's latest LO also - gives you the best of both!
and if you leave the back of the fridge open in the pantry - it has the added benefit of easy access to clean the coils...lol! not sure it'd be safe that way tho.

"(spices, maybe flour and sugar for baking, oils and vinegars) in your cooking area rather than having to walk across into the pantry for everything."

I think most people with a pantry (outside of the cooking area) still keep a cabinet in the kitchen for things like that. I have one planned for my future kitchen also.

"option #2 (in 3D) which you say has "my beloved cabinet run tht I love" design. And with the 2D plan that is option 1 which you say "is revived. My husband likes it the best" design."

bringing things you've said in past posts about the LO centers in on your true feelings IMO.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 1:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I think most people with a pantry (outside of the cooking area) still keep a cabinet in the kitchen for things like that. I have one planned for my future kitchen also."

If you have the space -- I had 2 upper cabinets in the kitchen, period -- for dishes in one and cups and glasses in the other, plus the one above the ovens for my bakeware. I had one lower cabinet on my sink wall and the island which had a cooktop and downdraft. Nothing above it or by it for spices or oils. I was lucky to get some pots and pans around that bulky downdraft. And only 2 burners worked on that cooktop. The breakfast room had built-ins, but they didn't work for food storage. I got suckered by a great looking kitchen and learned that the best thing about that house was that it led me to this house (aided by a reno design that would have taken one of the smaller houses in the neighborhood and priced it out of the market). I don't take kitchens that function for granted any more, which is why you will see me take function over form and symmetry so often here. :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I actually have a storage space behind my refrigerator, as in Holligator's version. If you close off the doorway next to the fridge, and instead have a doorway behind and to the side of the fridge, that is what I have. There is an opening to the door to our basement, and then the door, and right behind the door is an entry into this behind-the-fridge space. As far as I know, there is no problem with having the back of the fridge exposed.

This was the result of our difficult fridge placement, creating what seemed like a lot of dead space. There are issues with floor levels, etc. But when we finally realized that we could solve our fridge problem, we did it. And I turned that space, not into a pantry, but a place to store all of my kids messy art supplies. The the kids turned this tiny space into their "art room." We put a tiny, very old school desk and chair in the space, and the kids like to sit in there and draw etc. They love their little nook, and it keeps the mess from their art crap out of sight.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So this has been a busy day. I read all of your guys' latest suggestions early this morning and re-did #3 with Sailorman's ideas, but unfortunately thought it ended up looking more lopsided, not less.

I re-did the plans that forgottensong suggested and again, it wasn't "it". DH took one look and said, "NO!" (Sorry, it really sounded good in theory.) My daughter even said, "not that one, there are only 3 stools"!

I've actually worked up Holligator's version a bunch of times before and keep revisiting it, and it's just not grabbing me. I think it's the funky pantry I am having a hard time with.

Over the last couple days DH and I have had several long conversations and mock up practice sessions, and through it, we eliminated plan #2. We eliminated it because we actually came to a point where we picked it, and I was so sad. I did not feel an ounce of peace. In the last dinner I cooked, I paid really close attention to how often I made the trek to the fridge, pantry, and garbage (which are all in the same area), and had an eye-opening realization: I really do NOT like that trek! I may have lived with it, but when I really examined how I felt about it, that was a con that turned cooking into more of a chore than it should be. For how much I cook, I should LOVE cooking - one would think!

LESSON LEARNED: It's funny how much clarity comes to you just before you pull the trigger. Something can look do-able on paper, but once it crosses from paper to about-to-be-reality, that's the moment of truth.

The cabinet maker wanted me to decide by end of day today, so this morning, we built another cardboard fridge for #1. So now I had my real fridge in position #2 (pantry), a cardboard fridge in position #3 (L of range, the eyesore position), and another cardboard fridge in position #1 (R of main sink, next to door to outside). And I got out a cookbook and hubby sat down at the island, and I fake cooked about 4 recipes, talking through each action with DH.

And in the end, shock of all shocks, we picked plan #1 and I have total peace about it. I called the cab maker. It's a go!!!!! Yay!!

I know it's not the choice some or most of you would make, but here's the deal. Our DW is the one appliance we are keeping since it's SS and pretty new. So I could measure the door. It's 27". So I turned a chair on end and had the "dishwashing door" sticking out the entire time I role played. I am going to leave enough room for almost 2 feet of passibility between the DW and the end of the island. Even with the DW door open, it wasn't a big deal.

I live with that con now. Only we have 13" of passibility. If I had to choose between the trek or the DW passibiltiy, I will hands down take the latter.

I was in 3 homes over the weekend and had to laugh cause all of them had the clean up zone smack dab between the fridge and range - so that con seems to be a common one. In fact, my mom, 5 closest friends, and mother in law all have that con!

Another thing I found in role playing was that having the fridge in position #3 had other cons besides being an eyesore and potential for fridge congestion (and it really was cramped with me at the island and hubby right behind me in the fridge!). But I found I was trading one trek for another. Instead of the fridge, I was making treks for utensils and to the pantry. Since the fridge takes up so much room, dish/utensil storage had to be further from the range and island and there was no room for the pantry staples in the main work area. The fridge being there was supposed to save steps, but I was taking as many trips outside the main workzone as I would have in the other layouts, just for other reasons.

I found that it's one or 2 steps max in layout #1 to empty all the fridge items onto the end of the island. Then walk around the edge of the island, and I don't have to leave the main working space for any reason except pantry staples. And I don't have fridge-raiders in my workspace. It was nice. And we chose it. And I am happy :-).

Whew, feels so good....so here's the final layout without cabinet makers final tweaks - notice I gained double ovens with this!:

I haven't totally figured out the beverage area yet - where the hutch against wall next to pantry is - I may try to put in a small bev fridge - maybe panel it? I will figure that out with the cabinet guy.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm glad you are going with this plan. The lovely column will show, the refrigerator is within reach and you will have your nice cabinet run. I think it looks smooth and refined.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How fabulous that you worked it through and found a choice you're good with!! You know what works for you. This way you'll get the uppers that you love and a nicely functional space. You've fixed what didn't work in the first version of this nicely.

As we all demonstrated at the top of the thread, there are almost always cons. With this plan you have a good workflow. And you finally sound happy!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

yep - I feel the peace in your post. that role playing really helps! that's the major reason i put off redoing mine for now - so I'd have a chance to live in it and see and feel how I'll use the space(s). cabs and counters use in my case.

so good that dh helped you with all of that - it is good to have someone talk it thru with you while you are doing it. and someone who knows you, the kitchen etc.

i'm not moving any appliances around so my layout is and will be just like yours - with the dw on the left of the sink. I'd like it on the right, but not enough room there w/o moving fridge etc. too much hassle and expense for me. my role playing for use of space will really only concern the cabinets - sizing and placement and if I want an island or not. much less work to go thru than you had!

what a work out you've had - but it'll be so worth it. can't wait to see it all done up!

so happy you figured out how to make it right and peaceful for you and your family!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 4:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the effort that you put into mocking up the layouts and "cooking" a few recipes. I am impressed that your DH did that with you -- mine is so far into "I don't care" mode that I don't think he'd participate. I think it looks like a great layout! Very spacious.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your new kitchen will be beautiful and functional. I really can't wait to see it complete so please post pictures! One consideration: In order to squeeze 4 people at a 7 ft island you may need smaller than average stools...just something to keep in mind while shopping.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm so glad you found an arrangement that makes you happy! You probably don't want to hear this now, but the basic layout you chose actually gives you some more options you might want to consider. :)

As cheri127 mentioned, a 7-foot island is really tight for four stools. We have 7.5 feet and, although four stools fit, four human beings sitting at stools don't fit--at least not comfortably.

If four seats is important to you, now that you have your main work area oriented to the right end of the kitchen, you may want to consider some alternative island seating arrangements. That orientation leaves you with a lot of options that could make the seating much more comfortable and natural (sitting more than two people in a line all facing the same direction isn't natural or conducive to interaction).

Here are a couple of possibilities...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Holligator, I never would have went there mentally so thank you! I will absolutely keep those options in mind.

Desertsteph, it will be fun to see in the end what you come up with too since we have the same appliance layout:-).

Scootermom - my husband is there too. But he knew that I would never be able to be at peace with anything without his input. So despite his having a SUPER busy day yesterday, he sat down with me first thing, chose to be fully engaged, and did it. Not only that, but his input was really good stuff. He's great! Poor guy has had to put up with hearing about nothing but kitchens for at least 6 months!

Everyone who gave your input - thank you so very much. All of it was helpful and valuable.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's a very nice plan. It's too bad this forum moves so fast. Your progression as you worked through all these possibilities, underlining the importance of on-site and personal factors that can't be put into a diagram, is a really worthwhile lesson.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:01PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best mid (low?) range painted cabinet: Kemper, Medallion, Home Crest
Love this forum and would love to know anyone's experience...
Suggestions on this kitchen plan
Please give me your comments on this floor plan. The...
Small Kitchen Reveal - Complete with total redo of the plan during!
It was hard to even begin to post since my kitchen...
Do I need an architect?
I have posted before about wanting to remodel my awful...
Help w/ Bosch convection microwave auto chef settings
I needed a new microwave. Didn't need this fancy thing,...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™