Reality check on my kitchen plan before I get in too deep

cevamalJuly 27, 2013

I live in a 80s split foyer and have hated the kitchen since we moved in six years ago.

We're finally starting to get serious about a remodel and I have a plan from a kitchen designer but I wanted to get feedback here before I commit and start moving forward.

First I need to apologize for the quality of the drawings. I just threw them together with sketchup. It's my first attempt, and it shows. The goofy bump-out over the sink is my attempt at a window.

We have four kids age 0-10. I cook and bake a lot and practically live in the kitchen, usually with a toddler underfoot. I care a great deal more about function over form and don't really have a "grand vision" of the aesthetics. (Which is a good thing, I think. It gives us a lot of flexibility.)

I loathe the "big box" that is my current kitchen. I know it's intended to be eat-in but we don't use it that way. The dining room is immediately off of the kitchen and we eat 100% of our meals there.

It's impossible to work on anything with the kids. The kitchenaid mixer is in the interior corner so two people can't access it easily.

There's nowhere logical to put dishes. The way the dishwasher is tucked in the corner means that when open it blocks every cabinet in that corner. Consequently we have the dishes in the cabinet to the left of the stove so everything has to be carried across the room.

We put virtually everything in the dishwasher and spend very little time at the sink so it feels like a waste to have it under the window. In fact I often find myself balancing a cutting board over the sink so I can work in front of the window.

Either I end up "banished to the kitchen" while everyone else is hanging out in the living room, or people are hanging out in the kitchen with me but I inevitably have my back to them and there's nowhere to sit.

The bookcases are half-height and hold cookbooks, small appliances, and some of those 12x12 fabric bins to store water bottles, lunch boxes, playdoh, etc.

I can't figure out how to attach a second picture (without linking them from somewhere else) so I'll reply with the proposed kitchen layout.

This post was edited by cevamal on Sat, Jul 27, 13 at 13:37

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What we want to do is knock out the two walls the bookcases are on and make the kitchen/living room/dining area open. We had a similar design in our old house and really preferred it.

The island means people have somewhere to sit and chat while I'm cooking, plus the kids can sit there to eat for things like pancakes and crepes where I'm handing them out as I make them.

The island is all one height because I want lots of space for rolling out dough.

The sink is in the corner both to free up the window for counterspace that we'll actually use, and to help make a more logical spot for the dishwasher.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:41PM
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I wonder if you're prepping in front of the window, because you're so closed off, right now. Once the walls are down, I'd want to prep at the island. Maybe have the baking area there, where little helpers will be able to help and not be too close to the cook top.

What about this? I'm guessing you have a load bearing wall, between the kitchen and living room (check to be sure) so you might need a post or two, on the edge of the island. The dining room 'wall' might be able to move down a foot or so, to allow space for the dishwasher, then fridge.

The baking area is all on one wall, with prep on the island. Plenty of storage and space to spread out :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:03PM
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The wall is load bearing but we can take it out and leave a support beam, basically a really huge doorway. We've already talked to an engineer. I'm fairly sold on not having columns.

I do intend the island to be the main workspace. There will be a cabinet in it to store the kitchen aid.

I also really want the cooktop in the island so I don't have my back to the room when I'm working.

The wall to the dining room is already bumped out a little, I just realized I didn't reflect that in the sketches. I'm wary of going further because we both need the space in the dining room and there's a patio door on that wall.

If I move the dishwasher to the right of the sink there's still nowhere to put dishes.

Thank you very ,much for the feedback! I'm really grateful to have somewhere to kick this stuff around.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:35PM
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I understand what you mean, about the cooktop and the dishes! It's slow right now, but I'm sure more people will be on the forum, later.

For now, here are a few pictures. Not exactly what you want, but maybe they'll give you some ideas. From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

If you had the budget, bumping out the kitchen wall a few feet would give you a lot more possibilities. Of course, most of us don't have that kind of budget, but it is a pretty kitchen :) From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Definitely can't bump out the wall, but how great would that be?!

(This is a split foyer so the kitchen is on the second floor and the first is half below grade.)

I love the corner sinks with windows on both sides. Alas, mine would give you a view into the hall bathroom. :-D

I'm interested in the angled island in your first pic. Pros/cons to that over my current design?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you want the island to be the center of action, then do your best to make it a great prep zone by moving the cooktop to the back wall and putting a prep sink on the island. Cooking is only 10% of the time you spend in the kitchen. Prepping is 70%. If you have a water source on the island, you'll spend that 70% of time working and chatting with the visitors on the island. And I'd do a range instead of a separate cooktop and wall ovens. It's more space efficient. If you want a second oven, I'd put it under counter on the island.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:37PM
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I don't know if an angle cooktop would work, or not. Normally the GWer's say you need plenty of prep space around the cooktop, but here are a few pictures.

Corner sink, no windows, but very pretty From Farmhouse plans

Cooktop on angle From Farmhouse plans

Cooktop on side of island From Farmhouse plans

My favorite kitchen (I think it's all the windows, plants and cool vintage sink) from Laura Calder's pre-remodel kitchen. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Here's a link, if you want to see the cooktop. She has a big island with lots of prep space :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Laura Calder kitchen

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:43PM
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We have a split foyer too. We are in the process of adding an addition to it. My old kitchen layout looks like a blend of your before and proposed kitchen. What I wanted to know was where are the staircases and what can you see from the foyer. In my original kitchen we can see the cleanup sink straight ahead from the foyer, so I wondered if yours was the same. Not a nice sight line at all. When you remove the walls it will be even more on display. Is there any chance of swapping the dining room and kitchen locations? I realize that is much more substantial dollars, but what a difference that will make to the sight lines. If a bit of wall was kept it would provide a bit of visual blocking too. Our next door neighbours (also split foyer owners) swapped their dining room and kitchen and it is gorgeous.

Can you let us know more about the surrounding space especially if you would consider changing the location of the kitchen at all.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Here's a very rough unmeasured sketch of the rest of the upstairs. Switching rooms is not possible. We're already at the very limits of our budget. Plus I like how the dining room opens to the living room so when we have a lot of people we can extend the table into there. If we switched rooms the table couldn't extend far enough.

The island will be in sight from the entrance but the sink will not be.

I knew posting here that the island cooktop would be unpopular, but the walls removed, cooktop island, and double wall ovens are how I've been envisioning my kitchen ever since I can remember.

I am trying to stay open to other ideas but it's hard to go back on what I've always wanted and the workflow I've been mentally running through for years.

I keep reading the "10% cooking" statistic and have a hard time believing it. I'm often cooking and prepping simultaneously. I'll put on a skillet to heat up, chop the onion, toss it in, start chopping other ingredients, etc.

I'm going to spend the next week paying close attention to what I'm doing in the kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Hollysprings, I am interested in your design. It's the first I've seen that keeps the fridge and range in their current location but looks like there's still a workable solution for the dishwasher and dishes. I can't figure out where I'd put a pantry cabinet, though, and I've got my heart set on that.

Right now there's a coat closet turned pantry just outside of the kitchen (it's part of the bedroom next to the stairs) which is way too far away from the action. I want to have a pantry cabinet for the most frequently used stuff and then use that closet for the extra, unopened stuff.

Here's what I don't understand: what is it about putting the cooktop in the island that makes it unusable for prep and chatting with guests? It seems like there's still plenty of space there. Plus it's REALLY common that people are in the kitchen chatting with me when I'm working at the stove.

This post was edited by cevamal on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 9:48

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Your plan is almost identical to our house prior to addition. Is the staircase on the right of landing up or down?

I see with a family of 6 you will need lots of dining space. Even a few guest plus family equals a crowd. Are you sure you need so many seats on the island with the dining room table so close? If you do want a cooktop on the island, it would be better to keep cooktop and seating far from each other. I understand your desire to want a cooktop on the island so you can face out. We are doing the same thing.

As per pantry, any chance you could put a reach in small pantry it to the right of the fridge inside the current dining room?

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:57AM
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I don't have a lot to offer, but a question or two.

First, are you left or right handed? If you're right-handed, the DW is more efficiently on the right of the sink. If you're (wait for it) left-handed, the left.

I am HUGE on efficiency.

I think you might want to check your fridge placement for your prep work.
Right now, when you take things out of the fridge, where do you put them to rest? When you're loading the fridge, again, where do they rest?

I knew nothing about kitchen efficiency when I started putting my kitchen back together. Now, I have only the 24" DW between my sink and fridge. I do everything there. Truly, if I'd known, it would have been a completely different design. I'm even thinking of putting the fridge on the other side of the wall, in the mudroom, and putting in cabinets where it stood. Then I'd have enough space to actually work.

I have more counterspace than God, yet I am always on this little, 24" piece.
Really look at where you set things.

Oh - cookspace in the island? I wouldn't have it. It's too hot, too burn-possible, and you can't set anything else down. You use a good chunk of the remainder of the island for prepping to put ON the stove.

Ovens? they take up good wall space and once something's in them, you don't use them until you take it out. Set them somewhere aside.

Just musings while I stare at my 24" counter. I'm even thinking of a skinnier fridge to squeeze a few more inches out of it. Ahhh.... a smaller sink..... (stop me)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Dish storage can be across from the DW in drawers in the island. Love mine in the island.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:06AM
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I agree about the prep/cook being rather parallel and simultaneous.....the bigger issue about island cooktop which isn't addressed yet is the's much easier and less costly to place a hood under cabinet on wall [or bigger chimney style hood against wall], than installing venting at the island position. Do address your ventilation issues:budget, aesthetics,what is doable for your home and scope of this project.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Yes, island venting is lots more expensive than perimeter cooktop venting. Induction cooktops are saver than other styles of cooktops, and they can also be prepped on when not in use as they don't stay hot. What kind of cooktop were you considering for the island?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Sophie Wheeler

A 30" cooking station takes up approximately 60" of space just to serve as the cooking zone. (15" of landing space, 30" of cooking surface, 15" of landing space.) A prep station takes approximately 36", preferably next to water. If you want to both cook and prep with adequate room for each, your island needs to be 8' long. That doesn't count any overhangs for seating. If you want seating on two sides, that extends the length by another 15". You're up to 9'. And you still don't have the all important access to water without turning back to the sink and stepping across the aisle.

In your plan, with the normal workflow from cold storage to water, the most used prep station will be on top of the DW. Meaning that you'll both have your back to the seated people and that someone else can't load or unload the DW while you are cooking or you'll bump into each other. And, with only a corner sink, no one could access the DW to load or unload even if it were moved to the other side of the L because you'd still intersect in a corner than only one person can occupy. It's a one person working kitchen, with no sociability with the cook, and will cost a LOT more because island ventilation is MUCH more expensive than venting a perimeter cooking zone.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Looking at your overall plan, you could do two shallow pantry cabinets flanking the patio door.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Lots of great input this morning, thank you so much! I'm composing a reply in a separate window in the hopes that I can touch on everything. :)

The stairs come up on the left, go down on the right, so they walk up and straight into the existing kitchen.

The original design had three seats on the island but we bumped it up to four because there are four kids.

I'm wary of stealing more space from the dining room for the pantry, but that's a possibility.

My husband and I are right handed. My oldest is a leftie, but she can cope. ;)

When I take things about of the fridge I generally trek them across the kitchen to next to the stove. In the new kitchen I envision taking them out of the fridge and setting them on the island. Same for unloading groceries: walk upstairs (oh, do I loathe that about a split foyer...) set them on the island, load the fridge.

I cook on gas (and moved heaven and earth to get it run to this house) and there is no way I'm changing to anything else. I'd like to have an electric oven but a gas oven wouldn't kill me. My current oven is terrible so anything would be a major upgrade.

I'm not even sure I need a double oven. I bought a Breville toaster oven recently and it's amazing. I use it for everything that fits in it (and it holds a 9x13 pan) so in effect I have double ovens now.

I had been thinking about storing dishes in a drawer, and you're right, there would be drawers right across from the DW in the island. That would make it easier for the kids to put dishes away (right now they use a stool).

Venting is indeed an issue. We've been looking at the glass island hoods like:


(oops...this isn't do I inline images?)

But it's something to keep clean and bonk your head on.

Our current range is not properly ventilated. It's one of those awful hoods that just sucks up air, supposedly filters it, and then spits it back in the cook's face. Awesome. I don't even think it's up to code for a gas range. :o

IOW we'd have to vent either way, but keeping the range on the wall would indeed be easier and cheaper.

I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate the feedback. Keep it coming!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:42AM
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Ok, my husband and I have been talking and we're really warming toward's Holly's sketch (linked again below.)

Could I get more feedback on this one specifically?

I'm iffy on the prep sink. The regular sink is *right there* and this would mean running plumbing to the island and it would break up the island.

I'm confused by this, though:

"Looking at your overall plan, you could do two shallow pantry cabinets flanking the patio door."

Are you talking about putting the pantry in the dining room? I absolutely do not want that so I'm thinking I may be misinterpreting. Then again, with the corner lazy susan and all the drawers (all lower cabinets will be drawers, except the trash/recycling/compost) maybe I won't need a pantry?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Just a quickie with the just pantries put in place and no perimeter changes. With the walls opened, I don't think they affect the table placement at all. If you feel they are "heavy" you could do some textured glass in the upper doors that obscured the contents but still lightened things up.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Yes, the walk upstairs with groceries is a pain in split-foyers. We are putting in a manual dumb waiter between basement and kitchen.

I like Hollysprings' plan. I get your need for a cooktop on the island, but a gas cooktop would require even more space than an induction. Not sure you have the room for a gas cooktop on an island especially with seating.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The prep sink may be a bit of a cost, but it's the key to successfully prepping on the island. Without it, you'll probably prep in the corner. Prep needs good access to water. Just a small sink on the corner splits prep and cleanup functions to allow multiple people to work in this kitchen. You will have a secondary prep spot in the corner that won't interfere with someone loading the dishes and both legs of the island have access to water to have two more people prepping on the island without interfering with the cleanup person. So, you go from a 1 person kitchen to a 4 person kitchen (plus visitors on stools) just by adding the prep sink.

For the pantry cabinets, do them like a "hutch" and you'll get the storage and it won't be so pantry like.

Just make the glass frosted or another obscure glass choice.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Everybody's got access to water. The cleanup person and 3rd prepper might have a bit of a conflict, but depending on how many kids you have, that can rotate access successfully. You still have good room for 3 people to be working in the kitchen all at once with minimal conflict.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:49AM
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I'm about half there on the prep sink. It just seems strange to have two sinks four feet apart! I do most of my prep now in the corner or next to the stove, so not immediately adjacent to the sink.

I wonder if we're talking about pantries with different purposes?

I want storage for flour & sugar (multiple types), spices, vinegars, oils, baking powder/soda, canned goods, etc. That is absolutely not going in the dining room. I already have a pantry that's a step out of the kitchen and it's a PITA.

I wouldn't be opposed to more storage in the dining room (I can always use more storage!) but I need space in the kitchen for a food pantry.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I am not going to say prep sinks are not necessary...because I know several GWers have them and LOVE them :)

I will say that I don't have one and I love to bake, so having the island completely open for rolling out dough would be my first choice. It really depends on how you cook. With four kids and lots of prepping, the prep sink might be the best thing about the new kitchen. As you said earlier, pay attention to how you prepare meals...and think about what you'd like to change.

Also, I can see that the range and under counter oven will give you a lot more counter space. I have a wall oven and love it, mainly because when I go to my mom's...I feel like I'm standing on my head to get things out of her oven. Again, it's all what you like and (in my case) what your back likes, after throwing too much hay out for horses!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 2:29PM
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I bake a LOT. (There's a peach pie cooling right now.)

I had the same thought about uninterrupted space for rolling out dough, etc. but then the island is 30+ square feet...losing a foot for the sink probably wouldn't have a major impact.

I'm going to meet with my kitchen designer soon to talk over the changes and I'll see what she thinks.

I do see the virtue in being able to wash your hands *right there* where you're working. I'm always covered in something...dough, peach juice, raw meat, what have you.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I really like HollySprings' layout - she did basically what I was thinking as I began reading the thread.

About the prep sink: I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how useful the sink is when :-) you start using it...especially with 4 children - all of whom will shortly be helping out! (Children grow up so I'm sure you've noticed by now!) My prep sink is one of the things I love about my new kitchen. I always have a clear sink to work in - no dirty dishes in my way or sharing it with someone else (cleaning up, washing hands, additional prepping, etc.)

In addition, it allows you to be "part of the action" for all prepping and cooking.

As to cost, it's usually not as expensive as you would think - except for those on a slab (then it can get expensive - and dirty!)

But, be aware you will lose more than one foot of space. The sink base will need to be at least 18" wide and 6 to 8 inches of landing space on the left is highly recommended. (Helps minimize knocking things off onto the floor and gives you a bit of landing space on the left side.) I think you can make up for it by extending the island so it's flush with the wall segment you're leaving up. The seats would be in the old hallway, but I think you have plenty of room for it.

Speaking of the wall segment....if the refrigerator is against that wall segment, then you will need to do one of two things:

(1) Shorten the wall so it's no deeper than the refrigerator carcass/box. Unless the refrigerator is a true built-in refrigerator, to open fully for both full access and cleaning, the doors must extend out past all adjacent walls, cabinets, counters, etc.

(2) If the wall cannot be shortened, then you will need 6" to 12" of filler or cabinet b/w the wall and the refrigerator. The amount needed will depend on how deep the wall is and what it takes to ensure the doors don't bump into the wall b/f they're opened fully.

I wanted to make one comment in case the island cooktop comes up again. You want the island to be a large expanse for rolling out dough...putting a cooktop in the island drastically reduces the space you would have available for rolling out dough. You'd probably have to roll from the seating side - on the other side of the island...far from ideal (a PIA, IMHO). Removing the cooktop from the island is one of the best changes made so far! (Plus, you would need at least 24" b/w the edge/back of the cooktop and the edge of any seating at the island for safety's sake...even with induction. It's the splattering/steam/smoke that are the biggest issues - not the hot surface, although that is still a consideration. With a flame, you would also want to reduce the possibility of papers (homework, magazines, newspapers, etc.) catching fire.

------------------------------------------ find out how to post pictures in the message box, see the "Read Me" thread. Scroll down to the "Posting Pictures" topic.

[Edited to fix typos.])

Here is a link that might be useful: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

This post was edited by buehl on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 16:39

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Clarification about the refrigerator- if that wall is no more than 30" deep and you get a full size refrigerator (36"x36"), then you won't need the "filler" even if you leave the wall at 30".

If it's deeper than 30" or your refrigerator carcass/box is shallower than the wall, then you will need the filler.

With four children, I strongly recommend either a standard-depth refrigerator or one cabinet-depth in the kitchen and another refrigerator elsewhere.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 4:59PM
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We have another full size fridge in the garage.

I currently have a fridge boxed in by a wall and it's awful. I definitely won't do that again! (Well, not that it was my fault this time.) I would like the option of replacing it with cabinet depth when the time comes so it doesn't protrude into the kitchen right at the entry.

The designer's plan already has us shortening that wall, so shortening with a cabinet depth in mind is no problem. Then again, her plan had a narrow pantry next to the fridge which also helped with this. I just don't know if there's space to do that, keep the stove on that wall, and have enough space to the left of the stove.

Plan A is to keep our current fridge initially to spread out expenses.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Since you don't have the wall oven anymore, maybe a corner range would give you more space for the pantry. You could put dishes above the sink/dishwasher and in drawers on the island. The prep sink could be located wherever you like on the island. Just another option :) From Farmhouse plans

Here are a few examples, some with islands and one with peninsula... From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

And a close up of cabinetry around the corner range... From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:57PM
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With 4 kids to be fed, I'd want the fridge very close to eating areas. I'd try doing a LO with the fridge at the right end of the sink run. This puts it close to the island and the DR. It's still out of the cooking area. Move the sink and dw 2' to the left. That should make room for a cabinet between dw and fridge - depends on width of fridge. Silverware and dishes can be stored in that cabinet and in drawers in the island. That puts them in a handy place for setting the DR table or for at the island seats.

Move the stove down about a ft and put your oven and mw on the end of that run. there should still be room there for a drawer below the oven and storage above too.

You'll be able to drain a pot of hot water going along the counter to the big sink - no need to cross the aisle putting any of the little ones in danger if they dart around underfoot...

Move the prep sink down about half way - allowing room for seating in the lower left corner and making room across the top of the island for rolling out dough.

As your kids grow they'll be helping in the kitchen - possibly one unloading or loading the dw and one washing fruit or veggies at the prep sink.

Is it possible to enlarge the window over the sink? That'd let in more light.

I didn't figure this according to any tight measurements - I just eyeballed the LO of holly's in your 11:17 post. With 4 kids I think you'll still need more food storage space. Depending on how much you have in dishes, gadgets and small equipment to be stored within the kit space, you should still have space there for food supplies used day to day. Keep larger supplies of things, less used items and pots in the pantry closet. My pantry is several steps outside of my kitchen - just across the back hall going to the mudroom and back door.

The older the kids get, the more they're gonna eat.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:23PM
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I already have a pantry a couple of steps outside the kitchen so food storage is not a problem. It's a normal-sized coat closet with pull-out Ikea shelves and it holds a great deal.

What I need from kitchen pantry space is for the things I listed above. Baking supplies, etc.

I can't imagine having the sink not centered under the window or in the corner. I think that would look very odd.

I talked to my designer tonight and she saw no concerns with the new design. Now the question is where to put the microwave and toaster oven? (Breville smart oven).

Here's a sketch (with appliances and cabinets measured, unlike the first ones) with a couple of possibilities. I saw a post here of a microwave shelf in an upper corner cabinet that I'm leaning towards. There was another one with a door over it with a garage door hinge that was quite interesting.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:58PM
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I guess I should have posted this earlier....not sure if the window is in the correct place, but you get the idea. (I'm in the middle of scheduling shifts for a stand at our County Fair and am doing this when I need a break!) It's what HollySprings was saying with a couple of tweaks of my own...

MW in corner: Personally, I would not want the MW in the middle of the kitchen like that. It draws people into the working areas of the kitchen. MWs and refrigerators work best when they're on the periphery - accessible by those working in the kitchen (prepping, cooking, cleaning up) and accessible by those looking for a snack...without getting in each others way! In my layout, I show three options...a MW drawer which has become one of my favorite items in my kitchen (my DH really likes it as well) and two alternative locations - my least favorite where you show it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:22PM
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Hi! I didn't read through all of the thread but here's my two cents. I have 3 year olds and am very worried about safety of a cooktop on the island. In fact, that is part of the reason why we are doing a full reno. The kids could try to reach over, oil could splatter, etc. Even with induction, I'd be concerned that I'd turn my back for one second and a pot of boiling water would get knocked over. I think you should consider the designs with the cooktop on the surrounding wall.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Buhel, what did you use to do your drawing? It's embarrassing how much better it is than mine!

We talked about a microwave drawer but my husband would really prefer to stick with a standard microwave.

I'm not overly concerned about the microwave being in the middle of things. No one uses it for snacks. It either gets used by me when I'm cooking (in which case I want it handy!) or for reheating leftovers (which means I'm not cooking).

Of your suggestions the spot to the right of the dishwasher is a possibility but I'd hate to lose that space for dishes.

Other feedback on the microwave? Thoughts on the toaster oven?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:41AM
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I like buehl's spot for the mwave; to the right of sink.... either ge spacemaker on the bottom open section of your cabinet, which can be installed 15 in up from counter, so your first dish shelf would be 29 in up from counter-not bad.....OR the sharp over the counter which wedges between cabinets on either side with no extra air space needed[vents to the bottom]....but need a 24 in gap and it's taller than the spacemaker. Or if small unit works for your usage needs....a countertop unit that really does sit on counter.....can create also a niche-like area with a side panel that extends down to counter from right cabinet hides the cord and outlet a bit from the visual glance from dining room side of things.......this all depends on size mwave you have that chosen?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:55AM
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For storing baking dry goods like flours, sugars, baking powder, etc., my mom has them in a drawer in the island along with a sifter and measuring scoops; measuring spoons are in the shallower drawer above them with rubber scrapers, spoons, etc. She found it all very handy. She keeps cereal near the dishes, since it goes right into the bowls.

For oils, vinegars, and the like, a skinny pullout by the cooking zone might be convenient.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:22AM
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I don't want the microwave on the counter. I'm already going to have to have the Breville there and I want the counter as clear as possible.

What are the disadvantages to putting it in the corner, other than other people using it? As I said, it only gets used by me when I'm cooking and to reheat leftovers which means I'm not cooking. I really don't see it being a problem and it makes it more convenient for me to melt/soften butter, etc. while I'm cooking.

ETA: we have a small microwave now (exterior dimensions are about 19x10x13) and I have no desire for anything larger.

This post was edited by cevamal on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 14:37

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:36PM
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4 kids in the household: generally a mwave is situated where kids can use it.....even if you don't mind exchanging positions with your10-15 y olds so they can use it, while you are working between fridge and sink......can they reach up to a diagonal corner position with their "not yet adult frames"?....bringing a diagonal corner cabinet down a few inches makes a less than ideal corner counter usage.....seems that diagonal cabinets even without a mwave are better a few inches higher than the usual 18 inches from counter to allow free and wide use of the corner. Guess it depends on how you regard that corner....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:59PM
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The microwave in the corner might be a problem if that was your main prep area, but with the island...maybe not.

If you moved the range over a few inches, could you fit the microwave between the fridge and range? That would be a good location for you and any helpers, later on.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:49PM
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cevamal...I just use Microsoft PowerPoint. I have a "template" file with graph paper and the "fixtures" and "appliances" that I've created. Everything in the file is to the scale of 0.8" = 24". On the graph paper, the boxes are 1 box = 6". If you have PowerPoint and you'd like the file, email me from "My Page" (the link next to my name when I post a response).

I've attached a thread from 5 years ago (wow! has it been that long???) that gives you the basics of what I do. [I thought I had a more recent one, but if I do, I don't know where it is right now.]

Here is a link that might be useful: Modifying A Poster's Layout

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:59PM
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Connie K

Re: cooktop on the island:

I know you are starting to move away from this concept, but I want to emphasize how important I think it is NOT to have the cooktop on the island. This is from my experience, and I know everyone is different, but there is no way I would have the cooktop on the island simply from a safety standpoint. When my kids were younger, they sat at the island to do homework. They would have never felt comfortable sitting there if I was cooking. My mother had her cooktop on the island for 37 years, and she loved it, but the island was essentially a gigantic cooktop. She didn't do her prep there, and no one sat at the island while she cooked.

Think of the times you are cooking and your oil spits. All it takes is one time...and your kids will never sit at the island again. And I wouldn't want them sitting there. Do you want your precious sweeties injured? No.

Re: prep sink in the island even though you are not far from you main sink.

My cutting board is in the island, and even though it is a mere 3-4 ft. from the garbage disposal, I remember the first time I used it thinking,"How do I get this crap over to the sink without making a mess on the floor?" Our house is 27 years old, and prep sinks weren't the thing in our area at the time it was built. There are times when I wish I had it, but if I would redo the kitchen, I wouldn't put one in, and here's why: our island is the perfect party magnet. Guests and family just love to hang out at the island when someone is cooking or just to socialize. When we have a large party, we use the island as a buffet table. I think I would just view the prep sink as being in the way in a situation like that. But that's me.

Because we don't have a prep sink, the floor between the island and the sink can get dirtier than the rest of the kitchen. I joke that it's amazing how dirty the kitchen can get when you use it! But isn't that what kitchens are for? My mother washed her kitchen floor almost daily. But she made everything from scratch, plus she canned and froze her own vegetables and fruit. So if I have to wash that section of the floor more frequently than the rest, so be it.

Another thing I would consider is the clean-up triangle. One plan had the clean-up area include the sink, DW, and table. But the refrigerator is a huge part of clean-up. There's a lot of 'stuff" you have to put away. Also think about your landing area for putting leftovers into containers. We use our, yes, you guessed it, island for this. We keep out containers in a cabinet in the island.

I'm glad you are keeping an open mind about your plan. There are so many good ideas here. No kitchen plan is perfect. You're doing the right think by being more aware of your habits this week, so you can determine what your needs are.

Oh, and one more thing. There are many things in our gorgeous, upscale kitchen, that are wrong, mostly due to placement. But after living her for 22 years, we have gotten so accustomed to it, that we would never spend the money to "make it right". Now that we are retired, we would rather use that money for travel. Just food for thought, no pun intended.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Sorry for the radio silence! My KD was OOT and I just met with her to go over the changes inspired by this thread.

I've included a new floorplan with a lot more detail, especially on the island.

I'm still not 100% sold on the prep sink. I'm about 60%, my husband's about 40. A lot will depend on the cost to run plumbing. I'm keeping it in for now but we'll replace that with a four drawer unit if we decide against it.

The microwave space is small, but so is our microwave (19x10x13). I have no interest in a bigger one so as long as I can find a replacement (this one is 15+ years old and on life support) I'm fine with this plan. A full size microwave shelf would jut out too far to play nice next to the sink and I really want the cabinet to the right of the dishwasher available for glasses where the kids can reach them, not over a microwave.

The "M" cabinets won't be pretty to access (scrunching down under the island) but I am absolutely fine with that. There is no way I'm losing that storage space! It will go to things that are current squirreled away in bedroom closets throughout the house.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 2:44PM
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I'm going against the grain but I would not do the prep sink. It seems it is placed in prime landing space for taking things out of the refrigerator. My kitchen is somewhat like yours. My prime prep area is between the stove and sink. Secondary prep area is on the island. Not all prep requires water. If I'm rolling up burritos I may do it on the island. If I'm cutting veggies I'm next to the sink on either side.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Aren't you scared to say that here? I'm pretty sure that can get you banned! :D

Seriously though, I appreciate the input. I've been trying to pay attention to sink use this week and even without washing dishes there it does seem to be a high traffic point between washing veggies and washing hands.

BUT I can always send the kids around the corner to the hall bath to wash hands.

I'm still on the fence and happy to entertain arguments either way.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Maybe I'm odd in this way too. I really don't like people washing their hands in the kitchen. Let me explain. If you are washing your hands in the kitchen because you are preparing food, that is ok and makes sense. But if you just need to wash your hands because you just came home, or are about to sit down to dinner, or any other reason, then go in the bathroom, why come in the kitchen to do that?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:45PM
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I don't like the prep sink, with the island running in that direction. If you turned it 90 degrees, with the long prep space opposite the range...then I'd consider the prep sink. That would give you enough room to prep. As it is, you'll need the landing space by the fridge.

I know you need the pantry, but you're losing most of you space between the fridge and range. That would be too crowded for me, but others might not think so, with the island.

Where's your baking area going to be? The sink faucet is a barrier to the other side of the island, so if you do want it might want to move the faucet to the corner. Hope that helps :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:45PM
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The island cannot turn. That would put it down the stairs. :P

The space between the fridge and the range is 18", my mock-up is not quite to scale. Still not a lot of space, but better than as shown.

Right now I have several feet to the left of the stove which I do not use for prep at all. (It is typically piled with cra...Very Important Items. :o) Also in my current kitchen I have about a foot of counter between the fridge and the sink. I think the pantry is a sufficiently positive addition that I can deal with only 18" between the stove and the fridge.

Washing hands in the kitchen is about food prep (unless the kitchen is not otherwise in use). But there are often multiple people prepping.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:08PM
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