Layout feedback and backsplash questions

purrusJuly 11, 2014

Hi everyone,

I am not new here--posted a lot last year, then ditched the project due to some unfortunate structural complications. Now, we've found a new designer and are dedicated to getting the kitchen finished this summer/fall.

First, I chose some materials yesterday at our kitchen designer's showroom. This is quartz with our cabinets and then a subway tile backsplash. I love subway tiles and all-white kitchens, but when I looked at the glossy vs matte white subway, I really disliked the glossy with the quartz. Now, though, I am rethinking it... any thoughts on how this would look in an all-white kitchen? I guess I was picturing the glossy subway tile as taking away from my countertops. Now, though, I'm thinking glossy might just look sleek and gorgeous. Thoughts? Can I go wrong either way?

Then, here is our layout as it stands right now.

I don't have a copy of the dimensions because we haven't signed the agreement yet (we have to do a few more things before we sign the agreement, like double check that our soffits can really be removed, which can't happen until Monday). However, are there any thoughts on this layout as it stands now? The lower corner cabinet will be a large lazy susan. the long peninsula will function as extra counter space and also a table for an eat-in kitchen. Also, the peninsula will have a 12-in-deep cabinet underneath it for extra storage (originally she had drawn in legs, which I saw as a waste of space). The angle solves the problem of the tiny original kitchen, which was just a square and very frustrating for more than one person to work in.

More pictures:

Coffee area to right of fridge

And finally, a horrible mockup of our current kitchen. Apologies for my complete and total lack of ability in the graphics department.

aaaand some IRL pics of our current kitchen

We'll be doing this with an eight-month-old who has just started crawling and pulling up on stuff, so I'll also need all of your best advice for living through this with a little one. Oh my.

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Oh, I forgot to list my most hated features of our current kitchen:

- boxed in feeling, hard for anyone else to participate in food prep and horrible flow from dining room because the doorway is partially blocked by fridge
-hanging cabinets block view into and out of kitchen
-dishwasher is perpendicular to sink and blocks cabinets where dishes live when it is open
-not enough storage partially due to bad use of space and soffits

I think the new layout mostly addresses these issues without doing anything major like knocking down walls, which we can't do because the only non-load-bearing wall next to the kitchen also houses all of the plumbing and HVAC for the second story. (big sad face)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:10AM
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I'm SO not an expert, but the first things I'd question are:

-the coffee station feels like it's in such a hole, what about switching the pantry and coffee station

-it seems that even though your DW is now angled, if your dishes are still going to go in that cabinet above, it still will be blocked by the DW when open

-the whole angled layout seems odd. I know that sometimes odd-on-paper is the best arrangement given the space and lots of time to think, but It's definitely something that jumps out as questionable as someone looking in

Since you mentioned DW blocking dishes, probably best to say where you envision them going in the current plan.

It looks like our kitchens are somewhat similar in size and shape and current barrier peninsulas to get rid of and low windows to work around. I feel your pain.

BTW, the chair at your current kitchen table looks really cool, what I can see of it!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:51AM
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I am not a layout expert, but I really dislike the angled layout. Have you considered putting a window seat with storage under the low window? Could that be used with a table and other chairs to give you an eating space while making the kitchen feel more open?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:12AM
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I also am not a layout expert, but I think the angled peninsula does not work in your kitchen. Call me crazy, but I wondered if an island type table at the end of your kitchen connecting to your kitchen counter with a built in bench on the left side would work. Your dishwasher is in a better location and you get more long counter space and another upper cabinet.
If that doesn't work, maybe you could extend the cabinets on that wall a little closer to the window on the left side and put a small round table in the eat in area.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Karensab, I love that idea. Problem is the stupid window is low, and getting a shorter window and filling in the brick would be stupidly expensive. :(

I really hate the current layout of the kitchen. Now that I have a child, I want a layout that will allow more participation in the kitchen activities, but my current counter space would not allow this. So, the idea was to remove the peninsula, but of cousre that would make me lose all kinds of cabinet and counter space. Her other idea was to basically keep our current configuration, and maybe just widen it a little (and also move the fridge to the center--that wall with the fridge would pretty much stay the same).

I am so, so frustrated. I have so little time now and what I do have is precious. I just want something to work so we can get this done finally!! ugh!

That said, I do appreciate your feedback and other ideas. Please keep them coming. I really need help!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Treat the window as tho it was shorter, ie, take counter straight across in front of window, covering part of the bottom. Did that in my last kitchen, opened up a much better option for kitchen layout.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:26PM
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In a recent post, someone included some pictures of counter/cabinets in front of low windows (I can't seem to find it now!). I think especially if you're not putting cabinets in front of the window, just a table like Karenseb posted, it would look just fine.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Huh, I totally never thought of that before. Would I still get about the same amount of cabinet space?? And the table would be lower right? Or would it be counter height?? Counter height would block more window..

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Maggieq, do you have a pic of the cabinet in front of your windows? I feel like I need an example. Thanks so much for all this help!!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:21PM
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I think this is the kitchen with the cabinet in front of the windows. In that case, the owner was dealing with windows that were original to the house that they wanted to(or had to?) maintain.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinets in front of windows

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:42PM
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I found some pictures on houzz if you search for low window kitchen design. How much window would be blocked by the counter, just a few inches? I might think harder about cabinets in front of the window, but table seems like no big deal.

Contemporary Kitchen

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Fascinating. Thank you for the ideas!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Sorry, no pix, we haven't lived there is over 6 years.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:59PM
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If you would rather have your window show, perhaps you could do a built in banquet or a bench under the window with a 42 or 48 in square table if it fits.
Or maybe you could do a banquet on the window wall and the short wall.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Someone posted late on my 'critique my layout' thread with lots of cabinets in front of windows pics.

Many people suggested a window seat in front of my window. I didn't want that. At one point DH suggested something similar to what caligirl5 posted up thread, except my window is about the same distance from the floor as yours...just below normal table height.

I was going to try to get the counter JUST under the window sill. The windows in many other rooms are at that same height. (such is the nature of a brick house, right?) I have a table in front of one of those windows, and my desk in front of another. I think that's a nice height for me to work at doing some things. But I wanted storage. So for me, I opted for cabinets under the window at a lower height. I thought they were 24"h+4.5"toekick. But the KD thought that would be cutting it too close with counter material and uneven floors, etc. so they're 21"h+4.5" toekick, so they'll be 25.5". I'm not sure what I'm going to do on top of them. I may put granite because our slabs were ginormous but we needed two, so I'll just be paying extra fabricating at this point. And with 2cm granite they'll be 26.25". Or, I may get some thick butcher block and get them to be a bit taller. I'll see when they're in. If I leave them lower height, I bet people will end up sitting on them in a pinch. ;)

Where is the entrance to the bathroom? And I just noticed that the wall in the window part of the kitchen is a half wall. Any chance it can be moved/removed?

Where I'm going with the last question is I was wondering if there's anything that could go on the wall that backs up to the bathroom if the traffic pattern changed. (Could be a horrible idea, just throwing it out there). As I looked at my original layout in my thread, I was reminded that when I moved out my W/D I noticed that I THINK where my high window is in that corner USED to be the door to the breezeway. I knew the door we have in that wall was added after the fact. I keep forgetting to go look outside and look for more evidence of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: my layout critique thread with window pics

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:57PM
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Your kitchen footprint is just about exactly like mine. Unfortunately we could not remove soffits, but we moved the cabs down closer to the nook windows and added a banquette. You would be surprised just how much that opens up the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Have to say I'm not a fan of the current plan. That angle looks awkward and makes your DW placement really awkward. I like the idea of a banquet like Karenseb posted. I also agree with swapping the coffee area with the pantry cabinet.

Best advise I can give you is spend the time to get the layout right. You sound rushed. You don't want to spend all this time, effort and money only to end up with a kitchen that doesn't function for you. You'll get a lot of great advise here. You may want to draw out a picture of your raw space on graph paper. I know the experts here will be able to help you design a more functional space than what you've come up with so far. Take your time and get it right! Everyone here wants you to have the best kitchen you can!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You think u hate the current layout----just go ahead with the one you posted. It'll give you a whole new definition of hate.

We need dimensions to figure out anything real here.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:29PM
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With Karen's first layout with the island counter, you at least get some deep prep space. You lose that with a table or banquet layout. You are also losing some counter space between the sink and stove by moving your stove closer to the corner. In your current kitchen photo, every square inch of your counter is occupied with appliances, crocks, and a knife holder. I really think you need the seating area to also function as additional prep area.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Hi everyone,

Well, now I am thinking that maybe I should forgo my dream of having a place for people to sit in the kitchen and just line the whole durn thing with cabinets. I am still weirded out by cabs in front of the windows (mine are sliders, and they would be cut off by about two inches---however, still very openable). I really like the drawing with the table, but think I might as well just have cabinets since storage is a major concern. The current dining room could act as a breakfast nook, and the half wall between the kitchen and the family room could be a small bar of sorts (I could always add a piece of granite to the top of it, and I already own bar stools).

I dunno, thoughts?

To those who think I seem like I am rushing--yes, I am. I have an unusual work lull for the next several months and after that it will be insanity for a long while. With my eight month old getting harder to contain by the day, it seems that time is of the essence.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 7:57PM
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I think you could raise the window if you're willing to look at solutions for filling in the space that don't require replacing the brick. Perhaps a built-in window box like

Traditional Exterior by Western Springs Architects & Building Designers Studio 1 Architects

or this

Contemporary Exterior by Philadelphia Architects & Building Designers Rasmussen / Su Architects
would fill in the space nicely.

If you opt to bump the window out, you could trim the new area in wood like this:

Traditional Exterior by Toronto Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Infinite Possibilities

or this

Traditional Exterior by Chicago Design-Build Firms John Hall Homes

All of the above would make the window changes look intentional and designed, not a "oops, we didn't replace the brick."

You have two smallish dining areas; I'd be tempted to take down the DR wall and make it one large kitchen/dining space. If you can swing that additional cost, that is. If you want more concrete suggestions, please post dimensions for all walls, doorways and windows. For instance, is there a doorway that opens into the EIK from the half bath/entry to garage area? Or does it open towards the entry?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:33PM
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Yes, I have thought about that, not replacing the brick, but the idea of a window box is a new one! I like that. I will mention it today.Above the window is aluminum paneling, so it's not an issue above it, just below it.

My original plan (which I loved and had a good reaction from you guys) was to remove the wall between the current kitchen and current DR for a great big super kitchen layout. That plan was destroyed by the discovery that ALL of the second story's HVAC and water travels through that wall, and we'd have to reroute it all to the tune of an additional $5K. However, one of my neighbors did bring up the idea of potentially knocking out half the wall and rerouting all that stuff in a column. We'd already decided to ditch the idea of combining dining room and kitchen at that point (because I was 9 months pregnant and out of my mind, LOL), but perhaps it's worth another thought.

There is no door way to the garage from the EIK... it's kind of hard to explain, but nothing that affects the kitchen.

Someone asked about the half wall to the living room--yes, I believe it can be removed. Maybe I could bring cabinets all the way across, have a slight overhang there, and then use bar stools?

I looked at all of the pictures of windows behind cabinets in cal_quail's thread... very helpful. I have a feeling my KD is going to think I am smoking crack, but I'm still going to show her some of these. Again, mine are sliders, so I don't think they will look as nice as the double-hungs do in these pictures, but still worth a thought.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:32PM
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