Kitchen Island Clearance Dimensions

jeff2013July 14, 2013

I am building a new house and received my preliminary design from the architect.

The central island has clearnce dimensions as follows
1. 4ft 7 1/8inches to the right work zone
2. 4ft, to the left clean up zone
3. 3ft, to the top frig
4. 30inches, to the bottom dining hallway

I would like to have up to two people work in the kitchen so I appreciate the space in the work/clean up zones. On the other hand, it seems a little too excessive to me. How about 3'6" and 4'? The extra 1ft saved can be put into the great room.

Any suggestions regarding the clearance and other layout issues? Thanks!

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Sophie Wheeler

3' to the fridge is way too small. 30" is below code minimum of 36". The whole thing is pretty unworkable from a workflow standpoint. You have room for a single island done left to right rather than the double island oriented vertically. To get the layout you show, your kitchen would have to be 2' wider top to to bottom, or the small island has to become MUCH smaller. Even that won't solve some of the issues.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Welcome Jeff!

I have to say that I agree with HollySprings - there are more than just aisle issues with this kitchen (and the aisles are indeed an issue).

Unfortunately, you're a victim of an architect-designed kitchen: designed to look nice; not designed to function well.

I had an interesting encounter this weekend. I was a meeting with a group that included an architect. Somehow we got on the subject of kitchens - particularly architect-designed kitchen. I was able to diplomatically bring up the functional issues we often see with kitchens designed by you know what his response was? "Most architects don't cook so they have no idea how to design a functional kitchen." I laughed and told him (very briefly) about this forum that we say exactly the same thing! (I "softened" it by telling him that we agree that architects design very nice looking kitchens.) We also agreed that it is far easier to make a functional kitchen look nice than it is to try to make a "nice looking" but dysfunctional kitchen functional.

[The above was to give you some background and insight into architect-designed kitchens.]

First, your aisles: Be aware that the NKBA recommends a minimum of a 42-inch aisle for a single worker kitchen and a minimum of a 48-inch aisle for a multi-worker kitchen. That being said, a 36" aisle may work for a single-worker kitchen if there are no appliances opening into it that would block it completely and if it is not a path through the kitchen (i.e., no outside traffic coming through). For a multi-worker like you want, 48" sounds like a good size. If you have seating on an aisle, then wider aisles are obviously needed. (Keep in mind, too, that you will need a 15" overhang for counter seating - that's clear knee/leg space. If you have seating behind a sink, especially a cleanup sink, I recommend at least 18" b/w the faucet and the edge of the seating overhang. If it's behind a cooktop or range, then 24".). Aisles behind seating should be at least 44" if there are no work counters or cabinets or appliances behind the seats and if traffic will not be passing behind the seats. If there is traffic but no counters or appliances, then 48" to 54" are needed. If there are counters or cabinets or appliances behind the seats, then 54" to 60" are needed.

To address this and other issues, my recommendations are:

  1. If this is a new build and the walls (exterior and/or interior) and windows are not final:
  1. Start with a list of what you want from your kitchen - you've already started it in your first post.
  1. How you see your kitchen used - cooking only, main hub of the home with homework being done while you're cooking and a general hang-out place, party-central, etc.:

  2. What appliances you would like (in addition to the basic refrigerator, range, DW, MW)

  3. If you want "special" versions of the appliances

  4. Family composition, etc.

Consider the location and possible "designs" you're interested in:

  1. Do you want an island? A peninsula?

  2. Do you want seating in the kitchen? If so, counter or table?

  3. Do you want windows to let in light?

  4. Do you want it near the main family entry point? Think about bringing in far do you want to carry them (to the refrigerator/freezer or cabinets)?

  5. Think about your pantry design - what do you want in it? Just shelves? A surface/counter for staging things or performing some tasks? Again, think about the location of the pantry with regards to entering the house with groceries.

Finally, I strongly recommend looking at the overall flow of the rooms through the house and how they relate to each other. I don't know if you've done this already, but I recommend posting your design on the Building a Home forum. If this is a remodel of an existing home OR if this is a new build and the walls, etc. cannot be changed:

  1. Where are you flexible? What can change/what cannot change?

  2. The above questions about your family, appliances, etc. also apply here, but you will have less flexibility than if this is a new build with full flexibility regarding the walls, windows, and size.

Before you go much further designing this kitchen, I recommend you check out either the "Read Me" thread or the Kitchen FAQs - both have a topic for asking for layout help.

Most recent full Read Me thread:

Kitchen FAQs:

[Edited to add aisle widths behind seating.]

This post was edited by buehl on Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 16:20

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 4:13PM
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HollySprings, Thank you for your responses here and also in the build forum. So you do see some problems about the clearances. My understanding is that we need at least 36inches from island to non appliance aisle, maybe 42 inches to the aisle with an appliance and 48inches to the cleaning/cook aisles.

Buehl, Wow! You are so nice to give me such detialed directions on how to design a kitchen. I had read the Read Me thread and the FAQ pages before and just realized they were complied by you. Good job. That is very very helpful.

I like your story about the architect design kitchen. I too will have my experience with builders, designer, and architect to share. I will share it after I finish my house. :)

At your suggestion, I may start a new post to ask for kitchen layout help. Here are my responses to the questions on the list.

Yes. This is a new build. We are currently in the process of designing the house and kitchen is the most challenging area for us.

a. Start with a list of what you want from your kitchen
We are a family of 5 with a 13 yr girl, 9 yr boy, and a soon to be born baby boy. We cook a lot at home. Usually both my wife and me will be cooking/cleanning in the kitchen. Starthing this summer, I have let my daughter help wash dishes for allowances.

Our current house has a living area of under 1600sqft and the kitchen is about 12ft by 14 ft, which seems a good size fo the house. When we planned a new house of over 3000sqft, the first thought is we need a big kitchen. So we are looking at 14ft by 16ft or even 16ft by 16ft.

We don't bake that ofen. Once a month on average. I think single wall oven will be handy. Sometimes the kids will bake cookies and cakes for fun.

We are function-over-form. So the goal is to have a kitchen with good experience for us in it with its efficiency cooking, cleaning, storage, and other duties.

i. How you see your kitchen used - cooking only, main hub of the home with homework being done while you're cooking and a general hang-out place, party-central, etc.:

Cooking first and mainly.

ii.What appliances you would like (in addition to the basic refrigerator, range, DW, MW)
A powerful range hood with +700cfm and vent to the exterior is a must. I am not sure if we need to do make-up vent with all electric appliances.

We like to have a separate single wall oven (vs oven in the range).

iii.If you want "special" versions of the appliances
Stainless steel appliances.

iv.Family composition, etc.
See above

b.Consider the location and possible "designs" you're interested in:
i.Do you want an island? A peninsula?
Yes. An island is a must. Our current house has a peninsula and I am not sure if I need that.

ii.Do you want seating in the kitchen? If so, counter or table?
It would be nice to have some seating area. Counter or table both OK.

iii.Do you want windows to let in light?
I love to windows for both natural light and good views. However, the current kitchen design has only exterior wall to the west and I am very concerned about the summer heat in Texas so I did not plan a window there.

iv.Do you want it near the main family entry point? Think about bringing in far do you want to carry them (to the refrigerator/freezer or cabinets)?
Yes. The kithen shall be close to garage entrance. I don't want it be visible from the front entrance/foyer as I like I am trying to keep their first glances simple. Just too many things in the kitchen.

v.Think about your pantry design - what do you want in it? Just shelves? A surface/counter for staging things or performing some tasks? Again, think about the location of the pantry with regards to entering the house with groceries.
I like to have a pantry for storage, foods, mops, and other items. If we have enough space, we may use it as a control center (main panel, secruity system, internet, etc).

c.Finally, I strongly recommend looking at the overall flow of the rooms through the house and how they relate to each other. I don't know if you've done this already, but I recommend posting your design on the Building a Home forum.

Yes. I posted my design in the building foruma and received a lot of good comments regarding the overall layout. The biggest challenge is the kitchen right now as it needs to be connected to dining, breafast,and the great room. Another issue is that I may need to downsize the house as the living sqft is over my original plan.

I am attaching a revised design of the house.

Two options:
First I would like to see if we can improve the current layout to make it work. This is a prefered route as it does not involve structure changes of the whole house design.

Second, we are open to totally new different layouts if neccessary.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:38PM
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I don't see this house as a very budget oriented design. If that's your intent, then I think you need to change architects. And start over with the mission statement for your house as well as your kitchen.

Your current kitchen space won't give you what you want due to too many constrictions and odd relationships to the rest of the space. Plus, there's 3 places to eat, which is completely unnecessary. Pick 2 and do them well instead. I'd personally eliminate the round breakfast budget buster area. And combine all of the utility and pantry areas into a good transition area between the garage and living space. There are too many cut up inefficient spaces there currently. It's designed by someone who doesn't do laundry or bring groceries into the house. Probably doesn't have kids either. And there is no reason to have that silly bump in for the AC condensers. It adds $$ to the design and only increases the noise transfer to the house and inefficient air flow to them. It's a poor design from someone who supposedly understands mechanicals. All of the jogs and roof oddities are more whimsical and nonsensical rather than having an organic outgrowth from a logically organized interior space. He must love Legos.

Here's some quick and dirty cut and paste that greatly simplifies things, cuts costs, and zones things correctly. If I can do that in 10 minutes, an actual architect should be able to do MUCH better with just a couple of hours.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 5:34PM
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I like this design MUCH better than the original!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 6:22PM
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GreenDesigns, Thank you so much for your inputs.

1. I like your layout of the transition from the garage into the living area of the house very much. The placement of laundry/mud/pwdr makes a lot of sense to me. I also like the pantry together with the frige being close to the garage entry for easier grocery dropping.

2. The kicthen looks much more spacious right now by getting rid of the second island.

3. I did a quick calculation and the total sqft area of the main floor has actually decreased a little bit. That puls the removal of the expensive curved wall, and the jogs for the AC bump in, shall help my overall build budget.

The questions I have in my mind include
A. How to define the breafast area between the great room and the kitchen? I am not sure if we can simply remove that area and just use the island for breakfast eating. The original plan's breakfast area somewhow looks attractive to us if we can afford it.

B. Regarding the AC condenser placement, the right side wall faces west which has a lot of summer heat, however, we still like the AC to that side (instead of the east side) as we do not like to hear the noise from them. Do you have suggestions here? How about indoor units? I am not sure if we need a AC closet somewhere to hold the air handlers?

Merrygardener, I know. As I was thinking about finalizing my plan. Now, I am starting to scratch my head and ask myself, Now What?

Anyway, I think I am learning a lot of good ideas here and hopefully that will help me to improve the design of my kitchen and the house as a whole. Jf

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Bravo to GreenDesigns!

If you are concerned with defining the eating area, a low wall or bank of cabinets/beverage fridge could help. Or simply framing out the opening with short stub walls and/or an arch to define the transition could help.

One thing is you still have an HVAC run to define -- it could help define some of those transitions between spaces.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Good job GreenDesigns!

One recommendation - personally, I would rather have a separate Laundry Room from the Mud Room.

(1) I wouldn't want my dirty laundry on display from the Mudroom

(2) I would rather have a dedicated laundry space so I could have the Washer & Dryer + folding table/space + laundry tub + hanging rack for clothes that need to be hung dry + a place for a drying rack for clothes that need to be dried flat. AND a door to hide all the laundry paraphernalia when I have guests (or when I just don't want to see it!)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Great job, Green Designs! So much improvement!

Three tweaks I'd make, if it were mine:

- I'd downsize the breakfast table a bit; this would give a little more space in the great room. They're a family of 4, almost 5, so that's do-able -- and they have the giant table in the dining room.

- I'd install a small pass-through between the kitchen and the pantry. Very handy to go into the pantry and "pass through" all the cans needed for dinner -- just set them on the countertop.

- Similarly, consider an opening between the kitchen /dining room so that if you wanted to do so, you could hand the dishes straight through to someone standing at the sink.

The only thing I dislike about this plan is that it includes two corner-cabinets, which are both expensive and inefficient . . . but I don't see any way to eliminate this problem, and I do like the overall design.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Gooster, Thank you for your inputs about how to define the eaing area. I asked the architect again and I was told it is better to have dedicated HVAC closets instead of using attic for air handlers.

Buehl, Yes. I would put a wall to separate the laundry from the mudroom so we are going to have a door to close it off if necessary. That will help keep it quiet too.

Mrs Pete, Good eye on the more space in the great room. I love everyting proposed by GreenDesigns except for that concern. I like your ideas of those pass throughs from pantry/dining to kitchen. Those small things can help our life in meaningful ways.

I am attaching the updated floor plans (wtih reduced sqft) and will post my version of the kitchen area for comments.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 15:58

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:29AM
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The sqft of the house has been reduced to a number that I feel comfortable with. I am OK with the overall design. While I am still do not like the kitchen layout, I am trying to see if things can work out by staying within the footprints of the house.

Here is a new layout of the area.

1. One side of the mudroom cubbies and the desk were taken out. That will give more space to laundry/pwdr and help with the garage entrance hall.

2. I like the idea of keeping the main sink/dw on the side (as opposed to the serving island). I just moved it to the side close to the breakfast area instead of the HVAC side. That will give us bettter view to the backyard and keep sight on kids going up/down on the stairs.

3. I am not sure about the frige/oven placement.

a) I tried to switch the two. That will need a foot clearance from the fridge to the pantry wall and we can do storage outside/inside the pantry. A well defined work triangle may help the work. However, it may be a little bit cramped there.

b) The current configuration may help the space a ittle bit as we are not baking that often. My biggest concern is we do not have a good triangle now. The cooktop to the frige distance is over 11ft. We do have an island as a landing space in the middle. Not sure how bad is that.

Thanks for your suggestions! Jf

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Attacched is my latest drawing of the kitchen layout.

I need to get back to the architect in the next few days for him to finalize the floor plans and proceed with the construction documents.

Any suggestions please? Thanks! JF

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 18:48

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I mean this in the nicest possible way, but what is the hang up with the two islands? Everyone on two boards keeps saying that it just doesn't work in this space. The math shows that it doesn't work. What makes you stick to this idea so strongly?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Not to toot my own horn, but I gave you something MUCH more functional that that layout. The second island is useless, and the pantry is in an inconvenient spot. You're hung up on the expensive round section for a table and a lot of other foundation jogs that aren't pulling their weight. I saw your elevations on the other forum, and they're not good. The roof is horrendously complex and unattractive.

Overall, I'm not impressed with your architect. At all. He doesn't have a good grasp of flow or even 3D space. Or budget. He keeps putting in expensive details---and you keep letting him. Like it's his thesis project or something rather than a house that you actually have to pay for and build and live in.

Kick him to the curb, or stand up to him better. You're not getting your money's worth.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:47PM
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I really like GreenDesign's floor plan better than what you got from the architect too -- Green's design has much better flow. For example, in the architect's plan you have a bench in the hall instead of a mudroom and I fear that round table will become the drop zone for family stuff. I am not usually a fan of combined laundry/mudrooms as I feel dirty laundry should not be the first sight about returning from home. Laundry in my household takes up a great deal of space. Nevertheless, the combined mudroom/laundry that Green has designed will be much more functional than the bench the architect shows.

We worked with an architect too (fully registered like yours). However, it was our interior designer and in the later planning stages GW that really helped us to get a floor plan that flowed. Our architect was great with the construction drawings and general construction knowledge so his input was still valuable no question. Perhaps, after picking through what you like from kind GW posters, you should meet with a local interior designer and get that professional's opinion on the flow and use of space in your floor plan (show them the options from this board) I might get a second opinion on the exterior elevations from a second architect (perhaps work out an hourly wage for this architect) given the cautions expressed on your other thread in the Building a Home forum. Whatever you do, please don't allow your architect to start construction drawings. There are too many wrinkles to smooth out on the inside and out.

Good luck with your plans.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:18PM
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I also don't understand the two islands. the left one seems completely useless and just something that would be in the way. Now if you got rid of it you could extend the other one some and actually have a usable island instead of one that isn't really big enough to cover good use and another that would just be a dumping ground.

You do realize that rounded seating area is going to be a lot of custom work including curved windows. Bending of drywall and trim and the same for any cutting of flooring. Not to mention the outside siding and trim. Not an inexpensive feature and I don't find it particularly fitting with your house style either. How will you put window treatments in that area as well? Again need something that is more custom.

Maybe look at making it a half hexagon or something like that with straight edges ie no custom curved windows needed. No bending of drywall/trim etc. and you can install gutters without issues on it too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Mrs Pete,
Over the last 4+ months, we (me, a first a house designer and later the current architect) have tried more than a dozen configurations for the kitchen. L with one island, U with one island, half side wall half open to great room, you name it.

The current layout is not all my idea but I did give it the green light for it to be there for so long. Possible reasons of the second islan include
1. Well defined kithcen area. It is a rectangle area defined by the support beam for exterior walls of the second floor gameroom. It does have some benefits. For example, now the great room / kitchen is separated by by different ceilings (vaulted 12f? in GR ad flat 9ft in Kitchen) AND the second island.

2. The second island would be used as a table/desk for kids as a sitting area for them to do homework or just watch us while we are cooking. It can also be used as a serving area for gatherings. We may ocassionaly use it as cooking surface. BTW, the dining is intended to be used as playroom for our kids.

I understand that you and others dislike the second island and there must be some good reasons. So I am open to other ideas. Thank you for all your help.

I know. You did a great job there and you knew it. Not just me, many others here think highly of your design even you said you did it within 10 minutes. I have been struggling with this kitchen design for months.

I explained in my earlier respones that I could not follow your suggested design exactly because the great room size would not be big enough (reduced from 17.5ft to 13ft). That is the main reason. Another less imporant one is somehow my wife (and part of me) is still attached to that breakfast area, not just curve walls, but also a dedicated area away from the great room with some nice views and breeze from backyard.

Thank you for your following of our build and I am asking for your continued support. Your thoughts and ideas help us a lot. My revision actually included some of your ideas already.

I am paying good money to the architect so I really like him to take care of the overall structure, roofs, elevations, and budget. I am able to understand issues related to floor plans and flows.

It is a tough situation as I like to give him some freedom to work on the project, especially in areas that I have no knowedge at al.

I just hope the problems in the design can be fixed as this is my second designer/architect, and I cannot afford a third one. Again, I appreicate your critical review of the plans and your insights on the design.


Thak you for your inputs. I like GreenDesin's floor plan (especailly the garage to living/kitchen transition area) as everybody else. While I can borrow some of his ideas, I cannot follow it exactly with the limited great room size there. Yes, adequate laundry room space is very important as we are using it everyday. In my revised plan, I have a enlarged laundry room with a door. I don't know which bench you refer to in the architect's design but one side of the cubbies in the mudroom and a desk off the breakfast area to simplify the design there.

I know. I had experience with both a designer and an architect and would share with ppl here once our house is finished. My architect is not perfect but good at least acceptable to me but I am not comfortable to either critisize him or defend him while I am still his client. However, there should not be any problem is we are talking about issues about the design just not too much about the person.

I agree that GW posters here are very helpful and they are excellent in reviewing floor plans because of their rich experience in the area. Buidlig a new house is so demanding and this forum has made the process much less stressful. Hope someday I can become one of them and help future homeowners with their build.

Thank you for your warnings on not to rush to let the architect finishup the construction documents. I need to make sure both elevations and floor plans work.

BTW, I don't know what you do but you seem to have excellent personal skills. You wrote a response on the builder not responding thread and it was very impressive. I feel thankful for your kind words, consiliatory tone and your focus on problem solving, which will help the OP and ppl from arguing right or wrong stuff. I was about to reply to you there just to compliment then. So here I go.


OK. See my reponse to Mrs Pete regarding the second island. But I am now open to any possible layout within the area defined by the structure (see following drawing). I will try your idea to see if it works for us.

I understand that the breakfast area might be expensive to build and difficult to decorate. I would bring the issues with the architect. As one of very few "design' feature proposed by the architect, we are inclined to keep it if we can afford it.

The wall section would be round, but I guess the window glasses would be straight. I am not sure if that helps a little. We will explore the idea of multi straight sections instead curved wall.

Thank you so much for your inputs on our design.

Attached is a drawing showing my kitchen design challenge.

The green area of about 16.5ft x 15.3ft is free for use

Red, taken by laundry chute and coats; not to touch.

Orange HVAC, and hallway to it prefered to stay but touchable if we have to move it.

Forget everything we have so far in the design, what is the best kitchen layout do you have in your mind? Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

I am going to try differnt things and report back.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 1:52

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:25AM
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Attached is a drawing (with file name planZero) showing my kitchen design challenge.

The green area of about 16.5ft x 15.3ft is free for use (subject to good connection/flow with breakfast/garage entry hallway, great room, and dining room).

Red, taken by laundry chute and coats; not to touch.

Orange HVAC, and hallway to it prefered to stay but touchable if we have to move it.

Forget everything we have so far in the design, what is the best kitchen layout do you have in your mind? Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

I am going to try differnt things and report back.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 1:38

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Hi Jeff,

Hopefully, you will get some redesigns of the kitchen from the layout experts around here given the parameters of the above post. It makes sense not to have to shrink the size of your great room as there is plenty of kitchen space to work with. The kitchen is the hardest part of the house to design. We took two years to get it as right as we could (while we are still tweaking it). Hopefully, you will not need nearly as long. We also tried many, many versions with two islands. In the end we settled on an L with one very large island. I can see that seating in this kitchen will be very important if you are planning to use the dining room as a playroom most of the time.

As per the mudroom, I thought the rectangles to the right of the door was a bench. I guess you are using it as your paper drop zone in the form of a desk. Will you and the family enter from the garage? If so be sure there is space to hang knapsacks, shoes and jackets as soon as you enter. If not, I imagine the kids will just drop their knapsacks right at the door and the next person entering will need to push the first person's knapsack out of the way to get the door open. I don't know how old your kids are or how well trained they are, but give the entry/stuff storing flow some thought. Of course, I believe you live in TX, and we live in Canada so the coat, boots, snowpants issue around here is really an important design concern.

Thank you for your kind remarks about my efforts to be a peacemaker on that other thread (builder blues one) that went a little negative. In answer to your questions as to what I do, I am an elementary school teacher and Mom to 5. DH and I are also owner/builders who are very, very slowly building our former house into a dream house via an addition/remodel while we all live in the construction site sort of home. We started building 19 months ago and are only a little over half done. I am also a bit of a GW addict and have gone to GW repeatedly for all sorts of puzzles and problems and have received lots of solutions. However, just like you are we needed to rework the design ourselves umpteen times by getting mainly DH to repeatedly draw up version after version as I got new ideas and then running by our favourite versions with the designer or architect.

Keep reworking it and you will be glad you persevered.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:04AM
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I think the larger issues is the overall home design, not necessarily the kitchen design. It's hard to put a round peg into a square hole and make it work. In other words, the space left to the kitchen and breakfast area is constrained by the design of the rest of the space, and that's why it's having a difficult time working out. To me, that's a "back to scratch" type point in the design. Start with the lot, it's views, it's restrictions, and then go from there. Then the budget will determine the complexity of what goes on that lot.

The home design that you were given has some good things about it, but overall, it's overwrought (the godawful roof) and lacks flow. Those are two sins that should never be done by a professional, unless it's a "workthrough" type of design sketch that only leads to something better.

As you indicate that you are in the final design stages, well, I'm not seeing anything that is worthy of that title. Yet. And given the all wonky angles suggestion that the architect previously proposed, I'm not sure that you're going to get where you need to be with this person. He seems to have zero grasp of how his design affects a homeowner's budget first of all.

He does have an single person's "urban cool" type aesthetic, but he's not designing a loft space for himself here. Sometimes it's difficult for designers to rise above their own preferences and biases. I think that might be the case here with your architect.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Right, so I'm not one of the layout experts, but here's an idea based on your restrictions.

This gives you economical prep and cooking zones and a segregated (if smallish) clean-up zone. One issue is that the pantry is a bit far away from the action.

A few things: I put the fridge and ovens on the north wall and pantry to the southwest, but they could be swapped depending on how you expect to use the space. I'd probably want the fridge close to the breakfast area for easy access since that's where you'll be eating. Another possibility would be the fridge and one pantry on the north wall, with the ovens and a second pantry in the southwest corner.

For dish storage I envision drawers in the island facing the sink/dw area.

Island size and seating allowed are approximate, to depend on clearances. I wouldn't put seating on the cleanup side.

Lastly, if you really think you'll be using the dining room space as a playroom, I'd widen the opening between the kitchen and that room significantly so someone in the kitchen can see into the playroom without having to step away from the prep area.

Of course, if you're going to use that area as a playroom and not have a big dining table in there, then you're going to be lacking space for seating larger groups.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:08AM
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I understand that in an open floor plan like yours it IS important to "define the kitchen area, but it sounds like you've done it well with the ceiling -- and personally I like that concept very much. You don't need to do it a second time with an island, especially when the island simply doesn't fit into the space. People will "get it".

One nice wide island will allow the kids to do homework /someone to sit and chat while someone else is cooking. In fact, a single island will function better than the double islands because the cook will be close enough to interact with the person sitting across the island -- shouting across two islands and a walkway won't be necessary.

I don't dislike the two-island concept in general, but it simply doesn't work in this space. To get the second island in, you've been forced to "chop up" the rest of your kitchen into little bits, which are all located inconvenient steps apart from one another. Green Designs drew you a first-draft idea that is far superior to the double-island concept. It streamlines the workspace, gives a comfortable flow pattern, and fits the shape available. Yes, it was drawn in 10 minutes. That's because it's a simple, classic design -- not a recreation of the wheel.

Is that, perhaps, what you dislike about it? You're trying very hard to create something new, unique, different -- it shows in the complicated roof, the wonky angles, and more. . . and Green Designs' drawing is "too plain"? If so, consider this: Classic became classic for a reason. It works! Are you fearful that a simple, straightforward design will be "too dull" or "not you"? If so, remember that you bring in personality through your cabinetry, countertops and backsplash -- not by sacrificing function for an avante-guard layout.

As for the curved breakfast area, I kind of like it. It's going to be incredibly expensive to build, of course, but it is a cool item in a very visible space, and -- unlike the double islands -- it does not impede function. I personally would polish Green Designs' concept for a simple, classic kitchen . . . and then have the WOW moment with the breakfast area. Making the kitchen more simple will make the breakfast area stand out all the more strongly.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Here is a general idea of what you could do. Not drawn to scale as I don't have the time for that. Just a quick sketch.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Let me first thank everyone here for your inputs. It has been very helpful. I read very single word of your writing wholeheartedly. I would try to get back some of the points but if I could not do it in time is because I am struggling/trying hard with the different ideas.

Flying_C, thank you for your time and drawing a design. Some quick comments about your design.

1. Single island. The overall design is good so I am now focusng on this single island concept to see if it works out for us.

2. Storage location. I like the idea of fridge close to breakfast eating. If possible, pantry shall be there too. I will see if we have space there. Not just for eating, storage place there is aslo good for grocery unloading from garage entry.

3. Opening to DR. The orange hallway plus the new green area in front of panty is estimated to be 7 ft wide. Will that be too open? It is good to keep an eye on kids playing in the area. I am concerned when we need to use it occasionaly for dining, will the kitchen look good to the guests?

I would do a quick sketchup drawing and show it here soon. JF

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Wow! I like it.

I like to keep the sink/dw in the spot as it has a better view there. Sure, it is a trade off so the frige/pantry are a little bit far from eating and garage entry. I am going to try out both options of placing the sink/dw.

The overall flow looks really good to me. My first concern is do I have enough cabinets for storage?
Another thing is will the fridge be too close to cooktop?

Thanks again for Flying_C and Lifya. I am typing with a smiling face right now as I believe this is going to work.:)

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 12:09

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Jeff, I vote for the last design. I imagine groceries coming in from the garage, landing on the island and being sorted from there.

If you plan your cabinets and your pantry layout well you should be ok for storage. I think your pantry will be able to hold a lot.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I like Lyfia's design! I do have some concerns about you breakfast area being too close to the windows. It looks a little tight for those back chairs. Have you thought about a curved banquette? That might give you more space and more storage too! It would also play up the curve of your island :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I thought I'd toss in some ideas for the mudroom/laundry area. Would it be possible to move the garage door over a little? That would free up some entry way space. There could be a small drop zone near the bathroom. I also thought if you are willing to sacrifice some space in the laundry room you could add a bench and coat hooks opposite them. You could add a pocket door that separates the coat/bench area with the laundry or even a pocket door to the entire mudroom/laundry so you could close it off and not have to look at it while at the table.

A note in general though: Although I really like the idea of the round nook, you may want to rethink it's purpose. It feels a little odd to have an eating area so close to a utility area. I could however, imagine it being a great place for homework and other kid projects and perhaps that is what you intended. Maybe the area would even serve as a nice warm, sunny play room area, and where you could use your dining room more as a dining room rather than play room area. As a cook, you would certainly have much more visibility to little ones (and older as they do homework) if they are in that round area.

Just a thought...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:49PM
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With the breakfast area could you do a rounded bump out just the size of a built in banquette? None of the other walls or foundation would have to change. It would move the table about 1 1/2' which would help the flow.

I will search for a pic of what I mean and post it if I can find one.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Traditional Kitchen by Dc Metro Architects & Designers AHMANN LLC

Not exactly but hopefully you get the idea.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:29PM
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I agree with most of the comments you've gotten till now and I can't add anything helpful to them. I just want to say something about the breakfast eating area. From the looks of it, the table is less than 4', correct? Having had a 48" round table in a similar style nook, I can tell you that a 48" table is comfortable for four, manageable but a little cramped for five. Just because the chairs fit around it, doesn't make it comfortable. And judging from the diagram, there is nowhere within arms reach to put down anything that may not fit easily on the table. I think you need to rethink the size of the table - 48" should be the minimum, but 54" would be better. Take it from someone who's lived with it. Also, the table seems pretty cramped where it is right now. I think you'll find over time that it will annoy you.

The other question is, what direction do the windows face? We had floor-to-ceiling windows in our south-facing breakfast room previously, and I can tell you that it can get extremely, uncomfortably hot during the day. This is especially true in the winter when any shade trees you may have will be bare. This problem can be solved by drawing the shades, but then you've defeated the purpose of the nice view. So be sure you know how the sun will be hitting those windows before you put the table right up against them.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:34PM
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First drawing of the L shaped Kitchen with an Island.

1. Kitchen footprint. I don't know why but I am trying to line up things so that I have a kitchen area of rectangle shape. The short leg of L, the straight side of the island, and the hallway to DR is lined up.See tiled floor.

a) Reduced kitchen area means less cabinets/counter space. Just to make sure we are OK there.

b) We are losing the single wall oven. Again, it is not something we have to include, especailly when the kitchen is smaller now. Something to think about.

c) The placement of teh friddge close to stove and pantry. Will it work OK there?

d) Shall I put a door to pantry? I am now letting it open.

3. Alternatives
a) Put main sink / dw on the island.
b) Put wall oven and fridge to the space curently taken by sink/dw.

Please keep your ideas flowing. Thanks! Jf

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I suspect you might be getting overwhelmed and frustrated - but I will add one more comment/suggestion. Is there a way to move the powder room closer to the center of the first floor? Somehow perhaps where the closet is for the study/music room. I know you need a closet for that room but maybe you can steal some small space from under the stairs? The reason I suggest this is because it is a much more central place for a powder room. Your guests don't have to traipse through the house all the way to the back past the laundry room to the bathroom (e.g piano teacher wants to use the powder room before leaving to the next lesson). If you could somehow swing that, then you will have a very nice pantry/laundry room and kitchen area near that table. It's too bad you have to keep the chute location, because if you didn't you could move the laundry closer to the garage/mudroom and use what you have as the laundry room as a pantry. It would also get rid of that odd corner so you'd have a much more cohesive kitchen and room for an island. Here's a rough sketch that's not fully fleshed out but you get the idea. Maybe put the double sink and DW in the island. I'm not quite sure what you'd do with that pantry space next to the dining room. Maybe somehow reconfig the coat closet and add the powder room there? Not quite sure, but you get the idea.

I certainly appreciate you wanting that round area as it adds some interest to an otherwise boxy house. I called my architect "The King of Angles" because he designed a very interesting ceiling line that really makes the space interesting. It took us quite a while to figure out the flow though - but in the end it was worth it because we got a great, interesting non-standard space that is very functional.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Hey Jeff!

I'm not an expert, but I've lived in a lot of houses, so I have a feel for what works. I love the suggestions you're getting for the kitchen!

If you keep the existing laundry area, I suggest moving the laundry sink to the opposite wall - next to the chute. That gives you the whole expanse of counter to the left of the WD for folding, sorting, etc. I think the sink smack in the middle of the counter will drastically reduce its usefulness, and I suspect you'll use the counter a lot more than you'll use the sink.

I also think the round table in the nook looks really crowded. There is no space to get out for the 3 people sitting next to the window. My Mom's dining room is like this (rectangular, but with a similar locked-in problem along one wall). It is only used for holiday meals, so we deal with it, but on a daily basis it would be a pain in the neck. I see the table and chairs moving out to the right, which puts them right in the traffic path from the garage. And, as someone else pointed out, it is the logical drop zone, since there isn't one anywhere else.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 3:43PM
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I think you are heading in the right direction. I didn't mean my sketch to be literal, but for you to see a different direction.

I think keeping fridge and pantry together will help when you unload groceries as most will go in one or the other.

I think you could get a wall oven in there if you moved the range over some or if you switched the clean up to be on the top side of the island. If you move the range over you get a little less space on each side, but having the wall oven and mw there might be worth it.

I don't think you need a 18" next to the fridge if you did a 12" pull-out. I had one of those in my old kitchen and it functioned great. But I guess it depends on the type of fridge you'd have.

BTW you can make the island longer ie stick out further too. It doesn't look like it would be interfering with your walking space at all by the great room due to the wall that is sticking out there already to the left of the entry closet.

I like keeping the clean-up area closest to the area where you would be eating most of your meals. Less of a walk to then put away your dishes.

With a deeper island you'd get more storage too. I prefer my storage to be in drawers as much as possible as it is just easier to access in general and wish I had more lower storage like my old kitchen.

Not sure if you need 4'6" between stove and island. I had 4' in my old house and it was also the path to the sink (couldn't move the plumbing - not in budget) and it was lots of space to walk by.

I would want a door on the pantry. Maybe do a pocket door then you can leave it open and not have it be in the way.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Overall, I really like it! I think you might want to move your dishwasher to the other side of the sink and put the trash on the right....closer to the range.

The island is a little large (you have to clean it) but I like the curve!

I still think a banquette might be a better solution. Love Debrak's took that for inspiration :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Ok going to suggest something that may not be popular and I don't know exactly how to draw it.

Combine the power room and the laundry. I will have my laundry (stackable) in a closet off of my kitchen. There is no laundry sink. In the basement where the w and d are now I have a laundry sink that I hardly ever use for laundry related duties. Instead it is used to wash out paint brushes, garden tools, etc. I fold my laundry in front of the tv or on my bed so not having a counter space is not a big deal to me and I do at least 2 loads a day. I don't know if this would work for you but just throwing out the idea.

So if you reduce the size of the laundry area or combine with the power room, which would reduce the space used you might have some SF to work with.

I have no idea if that would help the kitchen or not.

Also, I think this was covered before but does that hvac closet have to be exactly there?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 6:37PM
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lavender - don't want to harp on the table/banquette too much, but your drawing reminded me of the drawback of a banquette with a round table. As my architect told me, and your drawing makes visible, it's difficult to have a round table with a banquette because the curve of the banquette will generally not match the curve of the table, and so other than the seat directly in the center of the banquette bench, none of the seats really angle in to the table comfortably. In the banquette scenario, you'd be better off with a square/rectangle shape, or, if you prefer rounded, then something closer to hexagonal (think bay window shape). And looking back at debrak's picture, even that might not work. Notice how they have an oval table, and the seats still don't look like they would be easy to use with the table.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:16PM
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What if you square out the breakfast table area and have a square or rectangular table with window on two sides. It would be cheaper and probably more comfortable. It could still be a bump out.

Can you let us know what your family needs in terms of a mudroom (i.e. do you remove shoes, number of knapsacks coming and going, etc). I do like the idea suggested above to relocate the powder room more to the front of the house, so the laundry and mudroom could be larger and maybe even the pantry could move to where the laundry is shown. I also don't think a walk in pantry is a necessity as reach in ones are good too.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:37PM
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You guys are awesome! Thank you everyone! To be honest, I was kind of desperate yesterday. As we were talking about finalizing the design, everything seemed to fall apart. Not only floor plans but also the elevations and roofs. For now, I think I am making real progress in the kitchen layout thanks to your inputs. I still need to seek feedbacks about the elevations and roofs but I will do it over the build a home forum.

Revised drawing
1. Built-in banquette. One feet bump out of the curved wall and one feet from innner space. I put a 4ft round table there. Final sitting / furniture arrangement will still need to be worked out. But I like the idea and it may help the space tigthnes issue a little bit.

2. Laundry. Sink moved to original place off the chute for bigger coontinous counter space.

3. Oven. Added single wall oven w/ microwave on top to the other side of the cooktop. A little bit less than 2ft landing surface on each side. Not sure if that is good enough. I may aslo need to do a simple 3D model to make sure they look right. If the space is too tight or it does not look right, we are ready to give that away. My wife still prefer a wall oven to a range even we do not bake that ofen.

4. DW. Switched to left side of sink so it the door will not interfere with oven (in case we need the oven there).

5. Shelves/Drawers/Upper Cabinets. I put 1ft storage space behind the coat/havc wall, which is aligned with the 1ft wall clearance of the fridge.

6. Flooring. As I image three seat around the curved side of the island with the added 1ft storage space, I manage to define maximal available area (green area in the design challenge problem) as kitchen with some tile flooring.

7. Door. I added a pocket door there.

8. Window. I have two 17" small window to both sides of the cooktop. Again, not sure if they would look right in the tiny deep spae there.

I still need to work out the exact clearance of the aisles around the island and the proper size for the island. My main concerns would be that long leg of the L.

Will it work ok for cook, prep, clean up, and storage?
Do I have enough counter surface area and storage?
Are the clearance right?

Thank you for your reading and continued support on my journey to a functional kitchen.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 8:56PM
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So you are only tiling the area marked on the layout above? What is the other flooring going to be? If hardwood why not just do all hardwood?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Ok, one more shot at a possible layout. Not fleshed out, but you get the idea. Powder room is moved, but laundry room is kept. HVAC goes in laundry room. I realize moving the powder room to the center messes up the symmetry of the dining entrance, but your arch can play around with that some. Also, you have to figure out what to do with the old pantry space - maybe a desk area? Can you put a window there? Or merge it with the kitchen. Just ideas to mull over...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:25PM
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I could see one type of flooring in the great room, and a second type in the rest of the areas shown above. I think it makes more sense to tie the table to the kitchen - I'd do a curve from the table area to the kitchen (so it looks like a backwards question mark).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I still think the powder room and laundry area could be reworked. What if the powder room could be a narrow room against the outside wall to take in the window (toilet faces sink with door in middle). Then you could have the area immediately to the left of entry door (left as you enter) for some coat hooks/drop zone. The laundry could take up the balance of the space without a wall between laundry and mudroom/family entrance if you wanted a bigger laundry.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Carol makes a very good point about the table fitting the banquette space. Here's a rectangular version...with a different bathroom. Not sure if the depth is quite right, but it's what is in the plan now. I added the shower because there's room...and you might need to wash off muddy dogs or kids, at some point :)

Also, I made the laundry room a little smaller (gasp!) but this way, you have a much better view from the main sink, out those lovely windows...and a space for cookbooks, etc. From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:51PM
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I like the rectangular banquette in the bump out. Thanks for drawing it out Lavender_lass for Jeff and his DW to see.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Just noticed, you might want to either change the double French door in the studio to a glass pocket double door or change the hand of the swing of the entry door. If someone swings that entry door all the way open and the French doors are open it will collide. My neighbor has a similar layout and recently swapped out her double French door for that reason.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Re: Tiling
I am not sure about flooring and ceiling plans of the house yet. I used it only to inidicate the kitchen area. We are very messy, with 2 kids 13 and 9 and a soon to born baby, I am thiniking that hardfloor may be difficult to deal with in the kitchen. Tile is more water resistant I guess. We just hate carpets as kids have bad allergies. We may need to use carpet in the 2nd floor game room. I don't mind title floors everywhere if hardwood is not in the budget. Everyone seems to be concerned bout the cost of the build.

Re: Square breakfast area
I did think about that idea and I agree that it make economical sense. Since it is one o the very few "design" feature proposed by the architect (after we removed all the angle walls), we are inclined to keep it IF we can afford it. I would check with the architect about extra cost and possible ways of furniture placement there.

Re: Mudroom / Powder

I do think a mudroom is very useful for us to drop backpacks, remove shoes, hang up coats (in TX, we rarely wear heavy coats), etc. Original designs include mudroom cubbies. However, it is OK if we do not have space for mudroom. We can live without the mudroom needs. We are messy anyway.

I used to have powder room under the stairs opening to the foyer. Maybe I shall revisit the idea especailly if that does not change the overall structure of the house.

Yes. I really like the panrty and frigde close to eating area an the garage entrance as propoed in GreenDesign's drawing.

Re: Table / Banquette

I like the idea of built-in banquette and also recognize that it may not match with the round table. We may need custom table and special seating arrangment to make it work. Anyway, it is a bonus feature so we do not have to have it.

Re: Combined laundry / powder
It is an interesting idea and I will look into it. Main problem is that the second floor laundry chute will come down directly to that spot in the laudry so we might move the whole wall up.

Re: HVAC closet
I asked the architect before of switching locations of the hvac and pantry. I was told hat the HVAC is beter to be placed at a more central location to allowing easy ducting to 2nd floor and other areas. I think it is touchable as long as it it is close to the ac units outside and havac closet upstairs.

Re: Stove/Island Clearance and Island Length
I need help here regarding the appropriate dimensions for both. I do not know if 4-6 is better than 4 so I am just tryig to play conservative. I never has such a big island before so I need to seek people's experience regarding how big is not too big.

Re: Crowed breakfast area w/ round table

I see it and do not have a good soluton yet. Removal of the second island may have relieved the problem a little bit. Still working on it.

Re: round area as non standard design feature
Yes. We (especially wife) are inclined to keep it if in the end money is stll there.

Re: round table size
We currently have a 36 and seems to be OK for four of us. I am now puttinga 48" table for 5 (2kids and a baby). I know the area is tight and that is the issue we need to deal with.

Re: windows orientation
The great room windows face south. So the breakfast area receives morning sun, which may be nice. Hopefully, at noon the sun is taken care of by the patio. Please visit the building a home for elevations of the house.

Re: Mudroom/Laundry/Breakfast usage
I would see if there is a way to accumodate the mudroom there. Good idea on bench/coats inside laundry.

Yes. Good point about possible downside of eating in the area close to utility. We like to see kids in that area of the island table. Playroom/dining maybe out of our sight.

@Mrs Pete,

Thanking for your inputs again. I am now in the process of putting a single island in the kitchen.

I like Green Designs' work. I just cannot copy it and make it work due to much reduced great room area. I may lack the experience of designing a kitchen, or even imagine how things work out better there as I currently have a kitchen with Gallery setup and on island at all.

One thing is maybe I have a slow learning curve or I am just stubborn in my own world. However, I am mature enough to be open to any suggestions in building my house as it is a once a lifetime experience and has a heavy price tag with it. I would be too stupid not to try all my best to make it right. Therefore, I did not dislike green design's work because it was done in 10 minutes. On the contrary, I admire him very much.

Again, talking about classis, I know they are classic for a reason. I appreciate beatuy in simplicty. And I am a practical person as I am in the engineering related work. Those untraidtional ideas of angled walls, round breakfas area, multileve hip roofs, are all the architect's work. I will open another thread in the building a home forum to explain why I am allowing him to try out the ideas. In short, I have no knowldege there so I defer my judgement to him due to my respect to a professional in the area. I know there is a problem in this approach. It is still my house for use to live. Anyway, thanks a lot!

@Live Wire Oak,

Thank you for your comments. I am now working on the floor plan and think we shall be able to work it out with help from a lot of GW ppl here.

Regarding the roofs, do you have specific reasons how it won't work? I am going to open a new thread in the building a home forum. I looke forward to your response there.

Sorry for writing so long. I am confident that we can sort out the kithcen floor plan.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 23:13

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:30PM
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It is great to see so many good ideas keep flashing in. This is going to work. Many thanks to everyone! Jf

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Hi, Jeff, I know you are getting a lot of comments, which is great, but probably also overwhelming, as you are dealing with so many different aspects of the design at once. I just want to clarify one thing about the sunlight in the breakfast area - generally speaking, mid-day is not the issue since the sun will be overhead. In your case, you need to be thinking about the angle of the sun in the morning. While it may not be as hot outside in the morning as it gets at mid-day, if you have the sunlight streaming directly in through your windows in the morning, it will get uncomfortably hot, and the sun will be shining directly in people's eyes. Just make sure you consider the angle of the sun and how it might affect that area when you are eating your breakfast.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:13AM
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I will 2nd the idea of checking the sunlight issue. In our dining room the windows face west so than means at dinner time during the summer, someone at the table is blinded by the light. DH said its frustrating as we have to close the blinds and turn on the light when the sun is shining outside.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Sophie Wheeler

The square breakfast area works so much better on so many levels! I suggest you go and price a few of the curved windows that the round area will need. 10x the price of "regular" windows wouldn't be at all an exaggeration. If it's that little. Most also aren't operable, so if you are in a temperate climate where you might want to enjoy the breeze, you won't be able to do so.

I think one point that you may be missing is that a rectangular breakfast table won't really take up much more room than the second island that you had in the space. If you make the primary island for prep work only, and use the space that you had allocated for that second island to make it the prime casual dining space, you're not "losing" any space or making the great room smaller. It's the same size it was, with almost the same functions, and it has the same basic amount of "stuff" in it as with the double island plan. It's just tweaked, and called a table instead of an island.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Re: Sunlight issue in breakfast area

Yes. I would check it out. There is a patio on the back outside the breakfast area. Not sure if that helps. I would raise the issue with the architect too. Thanks!

Re: Square breakfast area (instead of round area)
Ye. I agree it is difficult to place furniture, expensive to build and may affect the traffic flow in the area. So we are considering that option now. BTW, t windows/glasses are rectangular in the architect's drawing. Not sure if they wil match round wall section OK.

Re: Second island area as breakfast
OK. I see your point. That is very close to Green Design's work. For some reason, I tried but could not get it to work. May you sketch something for me please? I am mainly concerned about 1) reduced area in great room. 2) well defined, dedicated breakfast area as it would be used daily.


I am attaching a link to the building a home thread about the roofs and elevations. You may post comments on at isse too.

In the meantime, I am still playing with different kitchen layouts and would post for help later.

Thank you so much!


House Roofs and Elevations Check

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 17:13

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Revised plan with square breakfast area and some modificaiton in powder and laundry based o ideas from Lavender. My wife still likes the round breakfast and I promised her to bring it back if in the end money is still

I switched the door swing direction to have easier access to the lavatory and it help block sight of the toilet from outside. I checked the measurement and it seems that we have enough room so I placed a shwoer with seating.

I like the idea of moving the powder and putting pantry close to garage. Beause of the laundry chute, the pantry is away from the kitchen with luandry in between. In addtion, the noise from the HVAC air intake maybe a concern. So the pwdr will stay for now.



    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Close up view of the kitchen area.

Let me know if you have any comments about the layout. I have some concern about the many items on the wall side. I am not srue 6-3 open distan i good enough.

If this is going to work. I will need to plan the storage space carefully and do a 3D view to make sure the kitchen look nice.

Thanks a lot ! Jf

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Are you set on a wall oven/separate cooktop? I ask this because the amount of counter top would be something to thing about. A range would give you 30" or more of counter and cabinet space.

Is that a sink in the island?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Sorry that I missed some brilliant posts in my earlier response. It must have happened while was writing that long one.

I wanna thank everyone for your help! I was kind of neverous, scratching my head, jumping through different forums. I just posted some pictures about roofs and elevations over the building a home forum. It is such a relief to see some progress on the kitchen layout, which is critical to the overall flow of the design.

@Laura, Thank you for your ideas with drawing of moving the powder. I see the need of a powder closer to foyer for easier guest access and that is a very good location. It is also beneficial to have pantry closer to garage entry and our eating area. However, I do not like the pantry is separated from the kitchen by laundry. So the laundry chute is the deal breaker. On a second thought, we may let the chute go. This would be tough but I would think about it.
Good eye on the double French door in the study/music room. The architect made a change to that in his latest drawing. If it is not too off topic, I would like to post the overall floor plan for people to see.

@Ann, Thank you for your suggestions on the flooring. I am not there yet but it is always good to plan ahead. By backward question mark, do you mean extend the round breakfast table area to make if half circle and then come down straight into kitchen? I like it. I was thinking doing something similar on ceiling arrangement.

@Lavender, Yes. That opens up everything. My wife (and part of me) is attached to the curved table area without thinking too much about cost, furniture, and flow there. But now I see the practical benefits of have a rectangle area there, I am giving it a try.

@Soibean, I know. The architect gave us his drawings about a week ago and I am supposed to give him my feedbacks by this weekend. The floor plans (mainly kitchen area and bathrooms) are critical but I feel comfortable to deal with. When people are pointing out serious problems about roofs and elevations, I do not have much clue and sometimes I was getting frustrated. I cannot thank everyone here for your inputs.

@Carol, I see your points of pushing for the mudroom function here. That would be of great use. Not sure if you have comments on the latest drawing. The laundry is kind of small now. But we have more open space outside. So it is always a balanced decision. Hard call. You are always very supportive of members on GW. BTW, I am a teacher too. Just much older kids :)

@Debra, Very good and tough question on the wall oven. My wife said we need one and I am inclined to have a single wall oven too. My current house is only 1600sqft with a very functional gallery setup kitchen of about 14x11ft and we do not have one. Not sure if this has something to do with the craving of things we do not currently have.
I see your point. The counter and cabinet space is kind of tight. I REALLY dislike the oven blocking sitting at the turning point of the L (the laundry chute should be blamed too but probably I cannot touch it). It would be nice if I have more continuous counter space there. I am thinking of ways of improving it now.

Yes. It is a prep sink on the island. I would see if I can find some symbol from sketchup on my next drawings.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Do you have pics showing the plan with the laundry chute above? Maybe some of the really talented people here have some ideas on how to work that one out too so it won't limit your kitchen.

BTW I wouldn't do a wall there for the oven. I would just use an oven cabinet. You might also consider if you want a bit more counter space to one side of the stove that you would be ok.

Did you see about putting the clean up in the island and change its shape some and move the oven over to the clean-up area?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 10:49AM
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You said probably for the laundry chute. Personally I would REALLY try to move it. The area between my sink (only 1) and my range is prime prep area. I have over 6' then a turn with another 1', then the range. I can't imagine any less. I also have an island not that different from what you have planned. I also use that space.

Everyone/family is different with different cooking styles/needs. You need to make this kitchen your own. We can all give your our suggestions and experiences but only you can decide if it is right for you.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I think you're way too hung up on the laundry chute. I looked at your overall plans on Building, and see that you have a master bedroom on the main floor, and 3 bedrooms upstairs. That means the vast majority of your laundry will come from the second floor, and the laundry chute isn't conveniently located near the bedrooms - it's way the heck across the playroom. In my family, it would never get used. And even if it did, all that laundry needs to be lugged back upstairs (presumably in laundry baskets), so someone has to go up to get the basket(s) anyway.

I would try to find room for the laundry upstairs, near the HVAC. That frees up space for the pantry closer to the garage door - with more room, once your eliminate the laundry chute. You would haul far fewer clothes up and down the stairs, if you were just carrying for you and DH, instead of 3 kids.

I understand having the laundry on the first floor, where the action is. But unless you're in the kitchen (which won't be all day), it isn't really convenient to the rest of the house. If you have to get up from the study to move clothes to the dryer, you might as well run upstairs. And I would find the noise of the laundry a distraction while having a quiet breakfast or lunch in the nook.

The appeal of main floor laundry is as an alternative to laundry in the basement (which was the norm when/where I grew up). Now I think having the laundry near the majority of the bedrooms is most practical.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Ditto on the laundry upstairs. Unless you have staff doing your laundry.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 12:33PM
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I haven't had a chance to read all the many, many responses - but I did notice the latest comments about the laundry room location....

If this is going to be your "forever" home (i.e., you plan to retire in this home), then I strongly suggest you leave the Laundry Room on the first floor. When you're young, carrying laundry upstairs one floor is no big deal (and, if kids are involved, they can carry their own laundry upstairs!). However, as you age, stairs can become an issue and when you're older you will be very glad you left it on the first floor! [I'm already noticing it as I have developed arthritis in my knees and going down stairs causes me some pain. (Up is usually fine - it only bothers me occasionally.)]

Our Laundry Room is still in the basement and all the bedrooms are on the second floor - but someday, if we stay here, we plan to add a first-floor Master Suite + Laundry Room. [I have my kids and DH take laundry downstairs!]

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:17PM
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I'd get rid of that laundry chute in a heartbeat based on where it is located upstairs. It just won't get used so complicating your kitchen layout for nothing.

For a laundry chute to make sense it needs to be near where people dress/undress. Unless you relocate the laundry or the bedrooms I would remove it.

Adding upstairs floorplan to this thread for ease:

This post was edited by lyfia on Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 14:01

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Buehl, you're exactly right. I forgot to add my thoughts about either doing a second laundry area downstairs (perhaps just a stacked WD), or at least plumbing/venting for one in the future, when it is easy to do so.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I agree with Buehl. There are some on this board who really like their laundry upstairs, and others who like it on main floor (I love mine on the main floor). Given you have a main floor master bedroom, having at least a stacking washer/dryer on the main floor would suit your needs long term. You could put a stackable unit upstairs and down. Fast forward 18 years and your baby may be off to college and it is just the two of you doing laundry. Then it would be a drag to have to go upstairs to do laundry. Of course, if you are not planning to stay that long in this house then you don't have to think of what would be convenient 20 years from now. What ever you do, try to avoid having laundry right beside the new baby's room as laundry machines are noisy. You could always do insulation around the laundry walls if the only spot is near the baby's room.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Jeff- Carol actually pointed out that the rectangular banquette might work better, in you space :)

Since your wife prefers the round one (it is pretty) I thought I'd offer some L-shaped banquettes with different table shapes. Maybe this will give you some ideas.... From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Thank you all for your continued support! I had some doubts about the overall design when people raised serious issues about the exteriors and roofs of the design. One of the possible reasons is that the exterior design followed the inside floor plans too closely and the soluton is to sit back from the iniside, start from outside, and use desired exterios and roofs to provide informaton for floor plan changes. Do several in/out iterations from there and meet in the middle for a good design. Otherwise, the house (from outside) would be just another common one on block without architectual sense.

While that is the ideal process, there are some difficultiies here
1) I may not be ale to afford it with a limited design budget.
2) I agree that there maybe some flexibilty for floor plans to give room for architectural considerations in some scenarios. However, the inside floor plans, flooring, ceiling, etc. are very very important because that is where I am associated with my house most of the time.
3) Everybody likes a house with attractive looking. Sometimes I do not have a good taste. Not because I do not care but I really cann't tell. I am relying on the architect to take care of the apperances.

Therefore, I would ask the architect to consider take an outside-in approach to think about possible alternive ways of 3D orgnaization, roof covering, and exterior arrangement.

In the meantime, I would continue revising with the plans with your help, curretly in the kitchen area, and next bathrooms with understanding that the arichtect may do something differently for the final design not o include the revisions. At least, the architect shall know better what does not meet my needs/requirements.

This is getting off topic and sorry for writing so long. JF

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:59AM
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Laundry stay on main floor (easier with new baby living with us for first few years)

Still trying to keep the laundry chute as a design feature for the kids to play with. I plan to add a pulley for cloth to go up. Hope kids would love to do laundry more this way. A good idea of doing laundry closet upstairs. Maybe just the 240V outlets and water lines for future remodeling.

Right now I am still having a hard time to place the oven. Let me know which option you like better. Thanks!

A. Oven with sink/dw. No landing space to left of clean up sink. Same issue if sink/dw placed on island.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:12AM
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Option B. Oven to another corner of the kitchen with more counter space. However, it is getting crowded and it is getting chopped. Option A is clearly a L with an island. Here is sort of U (interruptd by pantry) puls an island. Some ambiguilty here.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:18AM
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Hi Jeff,

You definitely won't want option A with no landing area on left of sink. The kitchen guidelines recommends, I believe, a minimum of 18 inches on one side and 24 inches on other side of a clean-up sink. I would not want to go less than 24 inches on both sides of a clean-up sink.

As per laundry chute with pulleys, it sounds like you might like a manual dumb waiter. They are made by Silent Servant. They are not cheap, but way less than the electric dumb waiters. However, I do agree that the upstairs location of the laundry chute may not be that useful.

I am a bit confused by your statement: " I may not be able to afford it with a limited design budget" If your design budget is very limited, why are you considering several expensive features? Why not boost your design budget and lower a few of your upgrades (e.g. that expensive circle bump out). Paper is relatively cheap compared to actual building.

I also know nothing about roof designs. However, is it possible that all the changes in ceiling heights you are planning may be leading to a more expensive/complicated roof?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:03AM
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No to the 1st as the landing space to the left of the sink is too small.

The 2nd is better but I don't like the oven placement. If one element was going to move out of the "L" I would do the refrigerator.

Have you actually gotten some estimates on this build?
I would not before you proceed as it may give you a different perspective.

I understand your desire to not design an ordinary box. A good architect would be able to take a cost effective design and add character to it without breaking the bank.

Some architects are good at drawing blueprints. Some are good at overall design. Far fewer are good with kitchen design. A rare few have all these qualities.

Make sure your architect has the abilities to give you want you want/need within your budget. A good architect should be able to make suggestions on how to reduce the cost while maintaining character and the livability.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:22AM
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I actually like option B, since this will give you more prep space on the back wall. If you put a range, rather than a cooktop could have the second oven in the new location, with a microwave above it. This would give you a snack/baking area, away from the main work area. With the prep sink so close by, this will be a great place for the kids to use :)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Thank you for posting the 2nd floor plan for people to see the location of laundry chute. Yes. I would also seek advices on master bath room layout.

Yes. Long enough continuous cook surface is important. I understand that I need to make decisions, a lot of them in the process. Sometimes I just do not see clearly what is at stake or run out of ideas/imagination. Learning the experience and different perspectives from all of you is very important in my decision making process.

@Ann, @Dadereni,@Bueh, @Carol,

Thank you for suggestions on placing the laundry upstairs. It is also very good point keepig laundry room on main floor. S it really depends.

I love those beautiful pictures. It like your idea about the microwave (coffee too I guess) in that area to make it a dual use baking / snack bar area. Thanks!

Re: Laundry on Main Floor
I am starting to let my 12 yr daughter do some laundry, but it is still mainly ours job. Considering we are expecting a new baby soon, it would be just too much for my wife to carry a baby and clothes on stairs. It would be a good idea to have a 2nd laundry closet somewhere on 2nd floor and we can plan the hook ups for a future project.

Re: Laundry Chute
I see that it is a long walk from the kids bedrooms. I am doing it as a design feature for the kids and would consider pulley system for folded clothes.
I see that the kitchen layout is hitting the limit right now and if in the end we are still not satisfied then the chute has to go. If still not satisfied, I will consider moving laundry / powder/pantry.

Re: Clean Up Sink on Island
For now, it looks like the sink/dw has to be on the short leg of the L. DW, sink, and trash to allow adequate counter space on both sides of the sink. I checked the island dimensions in the latest layout and it is not big enough.
If we make the island a rectangular shape and extend the length, we may be able to do it. I will give it a try.
So far, all votes went against option A. So I am taking another look at option B with additional dimensions added. Some concerns

1.Fridge placement.
My wife somehow like the to swap it with the stove and probably move it closer to pantry. She has some concerns about the fridge being against the wall (the size is the actual measure and there 1ft clearance would be good for the French door to open fully). She is also concerned that hot stove is too cold to the sub zero fridge.

Debra? Why do you like to remove the fridge instead of the oven out of the L?

I like the current layout as prep sink, stove, and fridge are close to each other. In addition, the fridge is close to pantry to be our unified food storage place. Another good thing is that the fridge would be used more often than the oven and the hallway / pantry door area is spacious. My question is how to use the 1ft wall clearance space? Maybe some wine racks/open shelves or small drawers.

2.Storage planning.
Our ceiling would be 9ft high in the kitchen area and we plan to do high cabinets ceiling height. I measured the total high cabinets have about 9ft linear length. It is kind of short. I do see that we have additional storage under the island. I would need to do more detailed 3D drawing to see how that works out.

3. Island clearance.
Right now it is 48” in the work aisle, 42 in the cleaning up aisle and 36 in the oven / snack bar aisle. The seat clearance is about 42 from curve side to oven, which is good only for edge pass.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:09PM
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A picture showing the kitchen in a bigger area. I switched the door to powder to a outswing. My previous drawing has an inswing door and it is a little bit awkward to me.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! JF

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:16PM
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I might be missing info in the thread but is the wall oven that is out of the L the only oven?

In my house with 2 adults 2 teens I like having the refrigerator out of the L. The reasons are that often someone needs to get to the refrigerator but they do not need to come into the prime work area. Such as getting ice, drinks, snacks, condiments, etc.

That our experience, do what works for your family.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:20PM
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I like the last iteration, but the aisle is too small between stool and oven. What about switching the oven and the counter space? If nothing else, would you consider taking a few inches from dining room to help it out?

I think the fridge is fine in the "L" because you don't have to cross into the work zone to get to it but it is convenient for prepping/cooking. I had a barrier island in my pre-reno kitchen and I hated walking around the island every time I needed something from the fridge, no matter how convenient it was to our primary eating space, I couldn't get over the location when I was cooking.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:41PM
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I am not sure. As we do not bake that ofen may use it once a month. I am thinking of single wall oven to go with cooktop. That would allow some storage space under the cooktop. However, I am open to ideas to better design the kitchen.

Thanks for sharing your experience and I understand it better. One concern about the current layout is the stove/fridge/prep sink help get thing close by hands but may feel crowded.


Thank you for your inputs. I see that too. I did not switch for fearing of not enough clearance in front of the oven door agaist the island. By placing the oven to the corner, there is some problem with the stool. I hope the stool can be tugged under the round head part.

I redued the lenghth of the island by about 7". I did not reduced the width of 4-10 for fear of no enugh seating space for three stools.

Attach is the drawing with the small change.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Sorry if I seem confused. I'm sure its me not you.

You have a cooktop only on the right side wall? The only oven is on the bottom wall?

If that is correct don't you use your oven for more than baking?

If I'm understanding this wrong, please ignore, lol.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:03PM
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If you are confused, it's because I am not 100% sure about my cooking needs / kitchen plans yets. To make things worse, in my earler posts I had stove placement refered to oven and I used baking to represent all needs of oven. Sorry for those mistake/typos.

Let me clarify where I am on the issue.

When the architct asked me if I really need those double wall oven. My response was right now we only have an all-in-one stove with range top over oven. My wife would love to have a separate wall oven. A signle wall oven with microwave on it would be good.

Next question is shall I keep the range or go with a cooktop? I prefer a cooktop because I think the underneath space would be nice to store big items for cooking.

It seems most ppl here have range oven and then a second wall oven. I may go that route too if I see our needs there. Yes, we occasionaly roasted turkeyes, baked cake and cooked fish in the oven but not that ofen.

With that, do you see a better place to slide the oven to the right side of the wall (over HVAC/hallway) or stay as in the drawing?

To follow your comments on architects, my wife shows a strange respect to them. She is very mad with me drawing over layouts from the architet. It is like How dare you? Ha ha.



    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:19PM
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Let me get back to your comments on architecure design. Yes. Good design on paper is much cheaper than change orders during construction. In my case, I had quit our previous design project with a home designer when we had 2-story living and very different elevations. I cann't say it is a waste of money and efforts just because we did not go that route but we did spend some money there. It is likely that the current design fee will exceed what was in our achitectural design contract. It is hourly rate with a cap, but if we are not satisfied with his basic exteriors and ask for something significantly different, I guess it is fair for him to charge us more.

I am concernd about my design fees for two reasons. First, I am taking this as part of huse build process and I am learning how to do budget control. Second, even I dont mind paying several thousand dollars, I need to make sure I will come up with something good not just for him to try out different ideas.

Sorry for the delayed respone on the important issue. I just have too many things to deal with and I need a clear strategy here. Next I would revise masterbath layout and will meet with the architect to do a reality check and discuss nex steps.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 10:57

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Ok. Thanks for clearing that up!

I personally would be OK if there was a full range at the cooktop area and then another oven on the bottom wall. Only you and your wife can determine whether to have a full range or not.

Not meaning to bash architects! BUT there is a wide range of talents and experience. Most appear not to be experts in kitchen design. My DD has a friend who plans on becoming an architect. I have strongly encouraged her to also become an expert in kitchen design in which she has an interest. An architect who can design a functional and beautiful kitchen would be worth their weight in gold!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:47PM
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I think you should out swing your powder room door the other way. This way when the kids leave the door open, it's against the wall and not in the middle of the hallway.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 3:59AM
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Interesting thread.

1) My biggest concern:
The sink not being in front of a window.
How is that going to be a fun place to be if it's not in front of a window?

Jeff, try to find pictures of kitchens with sinks not in front of windows that look good. From memory, to make that scenario look good, a designer took a lot of extra care about what was above, or not above, the sink. You have to make that area special somehow.

Trying to remember... First one that comes to mind (sinks not in front of window that looks great) is the New York City kitchen from the TV show White Collar.

That picture doesn't do the area above the sink area justice. On the show the puck lights make the backsplash above the sink glisten. The 2 open shelves provide room for art and a collection.

Suggestion: add an outlet at the base of one of the open shelves. You could have a photo frame of favorite family pictures running. Like this one that is motion activated:

Or 2 photo frames. We all have so many digital pictures that go un-looked at!

2)Thing I like the most
The banquette. But then I love banquettes. They are comfy, intimate and save precious square footage.

2a) If you can, make the table shorter than the banquette seating. If I had to re-do my banquette, I'd make the (custom) table below smaller. I've watched differently abled people use the banquette (knee problems). In general they love the banquette, because that last 6 inches before the butt hits the seat that normally creates pain or instability - they can just 'free fall' and everything is OK or stable. However, exiting from the banquette is easier for people with knee problems with bench 'overhang' to scooch down on before standing directly up.

Also that open space becomes a place to hang. People just tend to plop there and talk.

Designed to seat 5. Table could have been smaller and 5 people would still have worked fine. I didn't know about GW when I did this!

2b) Banquette Bench surface depth

Take the tallest person in the household. While seated, measure from where their butt begins against the seat back to the crease in their knees. Compare this to a favorite restaurant booth bench. (never mind the odd looks you will get with a tape measure...)

Ask your builder to make that the Bench surface depth. (I believe guidelines are it should be at least 18".)

Communicate this to your builder as:
Bench surface depth + back cushion depth = bench total depth

I didn't do this, and my builder built the dimension I intended to be surface depth to be total depth. So mine feels (to me) not deep enough by a smidge.

Barnes and Noble has a book on built-ins that give all the standard dimensions for banquettes, things like
- tilt the bench back 5 degrees for comfort
- bench height at edge not including the cushion should be X
- etc

3) How to tie in the banquette table with the island rounded part

Maybe use the same wood stain on the wood in each.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:08AM
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My clean-up sink is not under a window and I don't have any fancier backsplash there than the rest of my kitchen. Hasn't bothered me one bit. The only thing I do there is clean-up, load the dishwasher, and occasionally prep raw meats. I look out at our great room space while doing almost all of my prepping and cooking. Personally, I love my set up. You can find my finished kitchen on the finished kitchen blog.

If the oven is an even worse fit at the other end of that counter, then so be it. I just wanted you to measure it out and try. I figured that turing around and needing a landing space, it would be easier at a part of the island without a stool.

My parents had a wall oven from the time I was about 12. I don't ever remember setting hot things on the counter adjacent to the wall oven, always onto the island behind. My parents current kitchen is at an awkward location to turn around and set things down. It is one of many things I hate about that kitchen when I go over there to cook for my father now that mom has died.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:24PM
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You are right regarding architects and kitchen design. I think when it comes to floor plans, kitchen is the most important/challenging part of the whole house. Maybe bathrooms would come next. I am very a newbie here and even I can tell that one or two things done by the architect do not look right. You have seen enough in the original design of my kitchen and will probably see more when I am posting the master bath next.

Yes. You are right. I thought about that too. I did it because I was worried for privacy consideration. I just don’t know bad it would be for people in the breakfast to see the toilet and guests coming out of the room. When I measured it, we still have about 4ft clearance in the hallway when the door is open as it. I am not sure if there is some mechanism to hold the door at that max position.

Thank you for following my thread and providing your inputs. This helps me a lot.
Re: Sink against wall without a window
How to make the sink over there a fun place is important. Pictures from the show give me some ideas how to do it. Sometimes it is just hard for me to visualize it without any experience. I like to have an outlet there. The automatic on/off feature the picture frame from your link is very nice.
I would keep looking for more example pictures.
Re: Banquette
Your banquette and built-in table look great. I love the beautiful windows. I see the angled transition between the two benches would make a better seating area there.
Yes. I decided on the banquette at the suggestions of Debra and many other GWers here.
I actually went to the Logan’s Roadhouse today for lunch and took a booth. I did not bring my measure tape but the bench depth is about the size of my forearm.
I would consider carefully regarding the table size and bench depth to make it comfortable.

@ Controlfreakercs,
It is good to learn that your sink without a wall works well for you. I tried but could not find yours in the finished kitchen blog. Do you have a link to it?
I see your point of making the oven closer being closer to the island.
I have not talked to my architect yet. I just received email comments from him regarding the proposed kitchen layout as follows.
1. The kitchen layout is adequate but the circulation aisles are really tight.
2. The pantry is quite narrow. We still need to do shelving and the wall for the pocket door would be used due to the way how pocket door works.
3. Windows are placed over wall cabinets to provide day lighting.
4. There is a problem for the oven being so far away from the cooking zone. In addition, it cause heat for the nearby seating and people passing through the aisle. Fridge and oven shall be swapped.
5. The round breakfast area shall be kept for better south view without much additional cost.

I did a new drawing based on his comments.
1) Increase both the top and bottom island clearance by 6”. So 48 top, 48 right, and 42 bottom are current space around the island. The current island is about 4ft by 6ft (including the round head). Three stools might be tight.
2) Not sure if a outswing door would help but I am OK with current pantry size.
3) Not sure how that works. It will depend on the window size and location. If there is high cabinets under the windows, not sure how it will work. It is a wall facing west. Maybe the architect is trying to avoid the summer heat due to direct lighting.
4) I pushed the oven to the other end of the wall, making it closer to other appliances. I am still trying to put the fridge at the current location. Somehow I feel that fridge will be used much more often than an oven and I need more space in front of it.
5) Not sure how the round banquette will work. Still working on a possible custom table.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:35AM
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First try of a custom table to fit the round banquette area. It looks kind of weird though.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:56AM
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re: Banquette table

I was not suggesting to make your table custom. I was suggesting to make the table shorter than the banquette seating. The diagram looks like you are already doing that. But just in case someone at the last minute suggests a bigger table that goes all the way in front of your banquette seating, say no :-).

If you do a "L" shaped breakfast area,
I like your simple L-shaped banquette shown in your posting on:Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 17:16 best.

You don't need / want an angled bench section in the corner like I did. The seating in the short side of your "L" is 3' wide which is comfy for 1 person.

More importantly in your case, a rectangular-shaped table keeps the chairs along the table out of the traffic zone.

If you go with a rounded window and banquette seat, you shouldn't need a custom-shaped table.

A round table would be fine, as long as your clearances including the table chairs are good and don't encroach on the traffic aisles. A round table would probably mean you'd have extra banquette seating extending beyond the table which I find to be a good thing.

You still might want the table to be custom-built simply because
- You might find that it's almost the same price as buying what you wanted. That's why I went custom with my banquette table.
- This helps ensure the stain between the banquette table and kitchen island circular part match.

Also, the L-shaped would be a lot less expensive than the circular as I think you already indicated.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:22AM
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Hmmm.... it seems to render the island nearly useless. Seating is too tight, prep space is greatly reduced. If you got rid of the idea of oven and counter along that wall altogether and went with a range, you'd have a functional island again.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Yes. I know that a simple L banquette with a rectangular table make everying easier.

The only benefit of a round breakfast area is better view from the sink area. Here is revised custom table to give it another shot. It works better there for seating arrangent but I find it doesn't look right and / or hard to tie to rest of the areas, especially the round island part.

The wall has actually a quater circle with two sraight sections of different length. I figured that even a round table is hard to work well with the a round banquette.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Masterbath layout issues deleted.

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 14:44

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Masterbath layout issues deleted.

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 14:43

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:24PM
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I would recommend the bath forum for you bathroom layout. They are very helpful there as well.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:02PM
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I think that's a good idea. To focus really on the kitchen here and help me solve one problem at a time, I have moved the questions regarding bath layout to the bath forum.

Visit my other thread seeking bathroom layout help

I am still need to figure out the aisle clearance dimensions on the kitchen.

Thanks! JF

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I'll throw out yet another idea... How about swapping pantry with HVAC? It will make the hall to the dining room off center, but I don't think that's a big deal. I realize it's probably better to have HVAC central, but this layout for the kitchen feels like it flows better. I also swapped the sink and range with the logic being that sink and dishwasher are closer to where dishes and utensils are stored and range is closer to where food is served. You could also play around with your windows too (although the HVAC right outside might pose a problem). I can imagine pulling things out of the refrig and placing on the island for prep. You said oven wasn't used so much so maybe it can be out of the way as in this layout. I also like the run of counter space next to the sink for additional prepping and for piling the dirty dishes from the dining room area. Again, just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 2:43PM
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The curved window is very cool, but if you think it might be too expensive...what about a big bay? You could seat two people "at" the table, along with two chairs...but two other people could just sit and talk, on the edges. Just an idea :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:11PM
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I like the bay window idea presented by Lavender_lass. It has to be cheaper than the round wall/window route, but will still allow a nice view and light from different directions seen and enjoyed from the sink.

Do you think you will use that shower much. I am not sure if you have a pet that you want to bath there, but otherwise, I am surprised you want to use space for a shower. I still think a long powder room with toilet facing sink could save space and allow you to expand your mudroom/laundry area. For a family of 5, the laundry space is quite small. I would play around with that area if I was you , to see what alternatives you can come up with to maximize space where you need it the most.

I also wondered about the windows in the bathroom shown. Do you want a window in the shower?


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:34PM
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scratch my previous post as I see a range where I put it isn't possible because of the requirement to vent directly outside. It looks like that spot has an upstairs above it. Sorry about that.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Yes. Thank you for pointing that out. I am very worried about that too. I know but we are just very hesistant about removing the standalone oven. I am doing another check on the island clearance issue.

Thank you for that idea and I appreciate your drawing very much. The sink is now facing windows and I like the increased landing area for sink. One thing that I noticed is hot oven is so close to the fridge and I am not sure if that is a problem. My wife feel like the oven and fridge shall be swapped in the latest design for that concern (in addtion to the fridge against wall)

How did you do that? You are always having amazing ideas. I like your color sketch. I am borrowing your idea of oval table and would try it on the round breakfast area. If it doesn’t work out, I will surely consider a bay window there, which shall work very nice.

Yes. I like her idea of bay window too. I still need to do a reality check on my budget. A good thing is that I was told by two builders that the windows are still going to be rectangle and the extra cost associated with the round walls is minimal.
I agree that the laundry room is tight and powder is too big. The shower was there because I have not found a better use of it. We would carefully consider how to move some space from powder to laundry. Thanks!

This has been bothering me for too long time. It is one of the design parameters that we have to decide otherwise it would hold the whole process back.

The architect is pushing for 4ft 6inches island clearance (ideally 5ft as he said) . He said that would allow people to work in the aisle and others can still pass. I feel that I cannot afford that much space and try to see if we can steal a few inches and still be good. I am even not sure about the 3.5 or 4ft in the clean up aisle, 3.0 or 3.5 ft in the oven side are necessary for good circulation if I have a tight space. It is clear to me I need no more no less than 4ft in the cooking side. I don’t think the more the better.

It seems that I cannot make a simple decision on this and I am getting a little bit frustrated here. I am now getting back to the original question as indicated by the title of this thread.

This isn’t rocket science and I exhausted my efforts.
1) I have read enough about the design guidelines of minimum 36 or 42 inches clearance and did my homework online but I am just tired of researching them over and again.
2) I am drawing all the doors of refrigerator, dishwasher, and single wall oven with their actual sizes or best guess of the appliances that we are going to use. The counter depth would be 25.5 inches which I assume is the standard. I understand that the actual appliance depth would vary.
3) I have a mobile island so I mocked the different set ups in my current house. I tried to walk in the aisle with door open and closed, I also stood in front of the doors and even practiced bending myself to pickup items from DW/oven.

My new proposal:
1. 42 inches cleaning up aisle, which gives me about 15inches empty space when DW door is fully opened
2. 42 inches oven aisle, which gives me about 15inches empty space when single wall oven door is fully opened.
3. 48 inches cooking aisle, which would allow multiple people working in the area and also provide 2ft island clearance when the French door of the fridge is open.

Can somebody straight out this issue for me please by telling me if these numbers are good enough, excessive or inadequate?

Put it in another way. If you have a dishwasher/oven/stove across an island, what are your dimensions there? Based on your personal experience, do you find them adequate or always wish you could have bigger clearance?

Re: Curved breakfast area with oval table

I am drawing a oval table (3ft by 6ft) to match the curved banquette. I also did some flooring designs in the area and in the kitchen to match it.

It looks the seating would work and I kind of like the flooring. How do you think?



This post was edited by jeff2013 on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 13:04

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 3:07AM
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The drawing showing the clearance around the island.

1. Top cleaning up aisle 42 inches. DW sink door opens as dashed line. Over 15 inches in front of open door.
2. Bottom oven / snack bar aisle 42 inches. Oven door opens as dashed line. Over 15 inces in front of door.
3. Right cooking / fridge aisle 48 inches. over 24 inch clearance when french doors are open.

Let me know if the numbers are OK.

Thanks a lot! JF

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 3:22AM
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I personally like 42" aisles. Close enough to easily move things from the perimeter to the island but still enough space that others can pass by without having to move.

Looks good to me!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Thank you for your feedback on the aisle sizes. I also think that 42" of both DW/sink and oven/snack areas will work very well. I even tried 36" and it was doable but less comfortable to use.

48" in the cooking zone seems more than enough to me. I plan on it as I see the fridge on the side, and the through passing from fridge to sink.

So I do not get it when the architect said my aisles are tight and insists on 54" working aisles (ideally 60" he said).


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 9:44

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Opps. repeated post deleted.

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 9:46

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Mock it up. Thats what we did. We pretended to be working back to back at the island and the sink. We felt comfortable with the 42" and as I said that works great for us.

I won't comment any further on the architect, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:42AM
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I have a 48 inch aisle between my island and my cooktop. I have my one and only sink in the island and it is across from the cooktop. One person can be at the sink and one at the cooktop without bumping butts. The is plenty of room to walk through if someone is working at either location. There is room to walk through if the dishwasher is open or if the drawers on the cooktop wall are open. And since it is an island there is always the alternate route around the island that can be used. I think you could definitely get by with less than 54 inches on any aisles that do not have seating to contend with.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:07PM
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This post was edited by jeff2013 on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 13:32

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:28PM
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It is a very good idea to mock things up. I did exactly that last night with a mobile island. It is just myself though. I would do another one with both my wife and me in the aisles to see how things work out for us.


Good to know that you have 48 inch aisle between island and cooktop and you see plenty of room for two persons to work on opposite sides or for people to walk through while one is working. That is the same space that I am planning for so what you told me is very reassuring. Thank you for sharing your experience.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:29PM
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One of the mistakes I made with my kitchen is that even though it's not small, I end out 'wanting' to do all the prep in a small space. (on the island between the sink and the cooktop)

I promise you will need / want a bigger prep area to the right of that island sink. Plus, it seems / feels to me like your house needs a bigger kitchen island. You have gone from having two islands to a too tiny one!

So... what to do?

I think Controlfreakercs had the best idea:

>> If you got rid of the idea of oven and counter along that wall altogether and went with a range, you'd have a functional island again.

Here's what would be my reason for moving the oven to under the range: In the past 2 weeks, the frequency of use in my kitchen'appliances' has been:
(most frequent)dish sink
Breville Toaster Oven
prep sink
(least frequent)big oven

The big oven gets used only 2 times / week, and everything else gets used daily. (Weekly I roast big platters of veggies with lemon and and a dusting parmesean. Then into ziplocs they go where people can grab them for snacks and fast re-heating.)

Therefore, my oven should be in the LEAST convenient place in my kitchen when prioritized vs all the other appliances.

It would be tough to prep my big platters of veggies on your island, and that's where I'd want to do it.

The opportunity this creates: that wall could then be a feature wall or an art wall. I think it's spectacular when people make room for art in their kitchen. When I say "art" I don't mean just a classic painting, I mean whatever strikes you/ your family as something beautiful to look at or enjoy. Then it's not just room that's mostly about function.

I'm trying to think if there are any ultra low-profile (low depth) kitchen purposes that wall could serve besides art.

It would be perfect for art combined with a very low profile ultra chic and functional message center: I was at Best Buy today and saw the Dell XPS 18. It's like an 18" diagonal tablet !!! That would be one serious photo display on that wall that could also function as a family calendar (we use Cozi from any browser or smartphone). Just ideas to play with. And best of all you don't have to make any decisions now about it **except**: Put an electrical outlet HIGH on that wall. Assume it will be covered up if unneeded by art or something low profile. But if you don't have an outlet high, you'll have unsightly cords. Electrical cords and beauty don't co-exist.

Another example use of that wall (where the oven currently is): You could decorate that wall or a part of that wall seasonally with christmas lights, easter lights, St. Patricks day lights ;-) , kids accomplishments du jour, etc.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:02AM
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In fact, if you increase the size of that island such that you have a 4" (yes, 48") walkway between it and your feature wall, you probably now have room in the island to put the oven there if you wanted to. I've seen pictures of 2 ovens side by side in their islands.

But I'd rather have it under the cooktop, and use the island for precious drawer space. You will always need / want more drawers. Where is your microwave?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:08AM
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Thank you so much for your thoughts! I agree that a bigger landing area for the prep sink shall work better.

The prep sink is about 20” wide, and that gives me about 24” counter space to the right and only 6.5” to the left. We are short of at least 1ft to the left. While I can play with different ideas of using a smaller prep sink, placing the prep sink in the middle or pushing it further to the edge, the main limitation is that the island narrow side faces the work zone. For example, I can certainly extend the length of the island but that would not help.

Re: Island Size
The island has a size of about 4ft wide and 6 ft long. It seems to be a good size to me. Maybe the reason is that we don’t have a fixed island in our current house. We only have a tiny 18” by 27” mobile island.
A wider island will provide bigger surfaces to both sides of the prep sink and also storage space under it (even though the more efficient way of increasing island storage here is to make it longer not wider).

Re: Wall Oven vs Range
Moving the oven to under the range and getting rid of the counter along that wall would increase the island width by 1-2ft, resulting in a squarer 5ft by 6ft or 6ft by 6ft island. That would enable a more desirable island size and prep area discussed above.
I am open to this idea and would do a drawing based on that. Again, we don’t have a wall oven and my wife sees an opportunity of having one when we are building a new house.
Another issue is how to make that wall look right and you have already given me some good suggestions on that. I used to have layouts with 1ft deep drawers/shelves/cabinets along that side to match the part beside the fridge.

Re: Microwave
Right now, the microwave is on top of the single wall oven. So that side of the counter space would be used as a snack area too.

Re: Pantry Shelving
Besides the aisle sizes, another comment from the architect is that I now have a much reduced size in pantry and he said that we still need to do shelving and the wall with the pocket door would not be able to put shelves because of the mechanism how pocket door works.
Attached is a drawing with the pantry set up.
1. Glass sliding door of 32”.
2. Shelves on three side walls with depth of 6”, 10”, and 20” and linear length of 29”, 47”, AND 29” respectively.
3. The walkway is 47” by 27”.

My concerns / questions
A. I am concerned about the tight empty space inside the pantry. I do need to turn around to place/retrieve big items from the right side facing exterior wall. I may do a mock up using some closet in my current house.

B. I am not sure if the sizes of the shelves (6/10/20) are OK.

Next, I still need to work out the areas of laundry/powder/mudroom to see if we can steal some space of the shower (or get rid of the shower) and the 5ft by 6ft ‘hallway’ to powder/laundry back to enlarge the laundry.

Let me know if you have any comments. Thanks a lot! JF

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Fri, Aug 2, 13 at 17:40

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Hi Jeff,

That pantry is certainly going to hold tons. I do know by researching for my pantry that 20 inches would be seen as too deep, unless you are doing pullouts. If this was my kitchen, I would prefer more kitchen space and less pantry space. Are you planning on putting any large appliances in the pantry (e.g. freezer) in which case that will change my opinion on the 20 inch side?

Be sure to do a Google search using the words gardenweb and pantry and you will come up with lots of good threads talking about how to design a pantry.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Thank you for that information. I was not even thinking about the pantry space until the architect told me there may not be enough storage space inside the pantry and there is a problem with the wall holding the pocket door. Then I started to worry about the details about the pantry setup.

Yes. I did some googling and found out that the max shelf depth without a pullout is said to be 18" and most items requires no more than 9". I did a 20" on the short side as I was trying to be more than enough. I may reduce a few inches there but it won't save me much space. I also think that side is difficult to access and most items won't go there. A bigger depth may help a little bit for us to reach some bulky ones that have to be there. No. There won't be a freezer. Even the stand mixer shall find their place in the kitchen not the pantry I guess.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Did you find this pantry thread from GW? It links to many other pantry threads. There is one on walk-in pantries that might be suitable. Have you figured out and then measured what you are storing in the pantry? You will likely find that even 18 inch shelf depth is too much.

Are you and your DW sure you want a large walk-in pantry instead of more space in the kitchen?

Hopefully, you will hear from some fans of large pantries. I am not one of them.

Keep plugging at it. I am trying to design my pantry this weekend too. It is a small reach in one, and my kitchen is quite a bit larger than yours.


Here is a link that might be useful: GW pantry thread

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Jeff- I'm sure you've already addressed these issues, but it's now such a long thread...I thought it would be easier to ask again :)

A few things...Are those windows on either side of the cooktop? Could you move the sink there (add another window in the middle) and move the cooktop to the other location?

This would allow you to see the breakfast area, but still have a vent...and prep on the long side of the island. From Farmhouse plans

I show this all the time...lots of windows over the sink, in Laura Calder's kitchen! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Another idea...if you do decide to not use the wall oven and make the island bigger, you could put the table on the end. I really like this kitchen! Maybe have a seating area in the nook (couple of chairs) that would tuck into the curve or bay? From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Thank you for the link to the pantry thread from GW. I will check it out. My current kitchen has a small reach in pantry too and it works very well for us. I don't think we have particular needs for a large pantry. I would like to have a lot of drawers instead of cabinets in my kitchen. I don't have a good idea about the storage placement yet. Just want to finalize the layout first. When the architect mentioned that my pantry is too small that worried me (looks like that I am worried about too many things). Therefore I took sometime to look into the issue. I feel good to learn that I was well covered there.

I saw your kichen layout and it is so beautiful and apparently well-planned by you and the KD. Very professional drawing. Glad that you are making good progress with your kitchen.


Thank you for your drawing and those beautiful pictures. Laura T did a similar mock up for me ealier but she stroke out the idea when she saw the 2nd floor room above the range hood there making outward venting impossible or diffcult.

I did a drawing based on this idea anyway. The aisles are 4ft on cooking side, 4ft on sink/dw side and 3.5ft on oven/snack side. I extended it a little bit so now it is 3'8" wide and 7'6" long. I did a curved flooring section to match those of the round island and the curved breakfast.

I will follow up with the architect. Hoepfully this is doable as it is below the edge of the exterior wall on 2nd floor gameroom and we have 2'10" floor spacing.

I was told by the architect that the widnows are placed over high cabinets so they are just for natural lighting and not outside view. Not sure how this works.

Regarding the oven, I am still keeping it as of now. I will need to compare the two layouts (assuming it is a go from the architect) and choose one.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 12:44AM
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Hi Jeff,

I would look into whether you can have ventilation for a floor that has a room above. I would imagine you can, just based pn what we have been told (we are able to do it). However, I could be 100% wrong as your situation may preclude it. I do think having the stove closer to your prep sink works better (in other words the way it is above is a better spot for the cooktop to my untrained eye). As per the windows, do you have the option of a lower window or two so you can see outside? I think this is the side of your house, but still there would more to see at the sink than a blank wall.

As per our plans we have worked with a interior designer who has helped us immensely with our house design as a whole. However, she has not seen the recent kitchen plans which are quite different from our old two island concept that she helped us with. Our recent plans grew from several rounds of feedback from GW and lots and lots of time from our end (like you are doing with your plans). My husband draws them up in Corel Draw.

BTW, I really don't think you have room for more than 2 stools on the end of your island as you need 24 inches of width for each diner. The shape for the seating spot would have to widen some how to do three.

Have you seen the NKBA guildelines? These guidelines are great for planning smart kitchens.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 8:49AM
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I really didn't look at the actual size of your island before. What is the total length to the longest point?

I'm going to take a photo of my with stools to give you some idea of how yours will look. Mine is 70" by 42" and radiused at one end just like yours is drawn. As Carol referred to, we have 2 stools and the curved part and 1 on each side.

I'll post the photo which should explain.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Here is a photo.

FYI Green designs suggested our radius (was doing a rectangle) and some very smart people here did the math to determine the radius and how much space each diner would have. I believe it came out that each seat got 24" or close to it. Since my islands width is only 2" less than yours there is no way to get 3 seated people in there. I can say that we have had 4 people in those seats and while comfortable you can't fit in another.
Also note our stools are backless which make it easier to slide under. If you want a back, they do take up space.

I will say that my DD has had up to a total of 6 people around the island. Teenagers don't really care how cramped they are and it wasn't for an extended time.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:59AM
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If you can move the cooktop to behind the laundry as shown most recently by you this morning, I think that would allow you to increase your laundry area and change the full bath back to powder as you would not need to have a view from the cooking area like you tend to see with cleaning sinks. I think that is when you lost your room in the laundry so your clean-up sink was not blocked by a wall.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Laundry chute in playroom . . . of course it will get used !! As kids we used to love jumping/sliding down the laundry chute at my friends house. Having the chute in the playroom makes it a perfect location for that. I don't know that it will often get used for clothes though because it is so far from the upstairs baths & bedrooms. I don't mind the jog into the kitchen. Corners are so often wasted space anyway in kitchens.

See layout picture at the end of all this text.

I like a lot of the ideas by laurat88 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 12:49. And I like it more than the last one shown in the thread by jeff2013 on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 17:16. I used the same dimensions you guys already had used. Here is what I have put together ...

Leave garage door where you both had it.

Changed location of door to bath so you cannot see sink or toilet when door is open unless standing right at the door. And so you cannot see into bath when sitting at island or breakfast table. Ewwwww

I am showing a 1x3'6" window high on the wall above the shower in the bath and a standard window in the laundry.

A standard bath size is 5x8. At 5x9 you have room for a wider than normal tub/shower and room for a wider vanity. I have 32" door going into bath so it will be (somewhat) accessible for a wheelchair (this is not ADA compliant bath which also requires 5x5 clear floor area in the room, but at least a wheelchair can roll in there if ever needed, which is better than normal 24 28 or 30" bath door). A standard tub or shower unit is 32x60 or wide ones at 36x60. Will you use a manufactured unit or will this be custom tiled ? Right now you have the room interior at 5'1.5" wide, which means you will have to build the wall out a little bit (1.5") so the width there is only 5' for a manufactured unit to fit. I have showing a standard 21" deep vanity which is 3'6" wide. Also shown is 36x60 shower.

Outside the bath is a 15x21 cabinet/desk/small table/drop zone for mail, keys, purse, etc. Partially hidden behind the corner.

I got rid of the large bookcase which basically turned a lot of your extra large laundry room space into a hallway. I changed it to a smaller, under the counter bookcase that faces the garage door.

I have incorporated the cubby/lockers inside the laundry room. Cubbies stay MESSY. I don't think you would want them on display in that hallway so you can look at the mess while you are eating breakfast and your guests can see them from the Great Room and anytime they use the bath. I have a pocket door to laundry right now, but it could alternately be swing door - close door when needed to hide the mess. There are three 18" wide lockers and standard base/upper cabinet at the end of them. That could be changed, of course to make them wider or more narrow, etc. Across from them are coat hooks with shelf(s) above and it would be good to have shoe shelves below.

One thing about this laundry room - it is very wide. You have a very wide walkway going down the middle there. You could easily use some of that space in the kitchen. Although, it would mess up the location of your laundry chute. As shown, I have 4'6" between laundry sink cabinet and front of washer dryer, after allowing 31" for depth to face of washer dryer (29" pulled out 2" to allow room for hoses, etc behind). If depth of cubby/lockers was 31" (to bring even with face of washer dryer), and the shelves at the coat hooks were 12" you would still have 3'6" between the cubbies and the coat hook shelves. Use a dryer vent box behind the dryer to allow the duct to be recessed in the wall and allow the dryer to be pushed flush to the wall. Be sure this is installed at the correct height for where the vent comes out the back of your dryer !!

Laundry from chute should land in something. I suggest a very large laundry bin pullout drawer. Or, maybe it lands at counter height with a door to access and under where it lands you could separate dirties into whites darks etc (a big bin drawer with dividers built in it or a few baskets for separating into). If you don't do a dumbwaiter, have somewhere in the laundry for each person in the household to have a small laundry basket. Their clean folded clothes go in their basket and they are responsible for carrying their own clothes to their room and putting away. For example, each person's basket could be on a shelf in their locker.

Shown above sink is a hanging rod. Clothes out of dryer go straight on hangers. Saves time because you don't fold, carry to room, unfold, hang. Also helps prevent wrinkles because they go straight on hanger. Rod can also be used to hang clothes to drip dry. Upper cabinet beside rod. Upper cabinets above washer dryer going all the way down to the cubbies (I forgot to draw them in, sorry).

Do you have top load washer or front load ? If front load, you will have the space on top of them for folding, or you could have continuous counter going from cabinet all the way across the top of washer & dryer. If front load, make sure which way yours open and plan for connections to be on the correct side (left or right). Also, I have front load and prefer them to both open from the middle. Makes it easier when transferring wet clothes from washer to dryer. My dryer door was reversible so I was able to put washer on left and dryer on right. Cubbies and cabinet could be deeper than 24" to be even with front of washer & dryer. When planning this, be sure to plan room for depth needed for hoses behind washer & dryer. As another option you could have two(!) sets of front load washer dryer and stack them. At the least, you could build with connections for this for "one day". If you stack, you can have cabinets above the stacks, or you could just leave them open on top. When stacked they are only about 6 feet tall (some a couple inches more than this), so still very easy to reach the controls on the top unit, even at 5'2" tall (that's my height). If you stack, make sure you order the washer as one left hinge and one right hinge, same with the dryers. That way when stacked they will all open to the middle.

Since this is new construction, wherever the fridge ends up, plan for it to be recessed into wall. If you allow a recessed area about 5-6" deep behind where fridge will go, you can use standard depth fridge (waaay cheaper) and it will look counter depth. One way to do this, framers can frame it out like a 'doorway' behind the fridge and fridge tucks back into the space. From the other side, the wall is finished/sheetrocked like normal and you cannot tell the difference.

Do you have pets ? Where will they be fed ? If cat, where will litter box go ? If dog, is he crated, where will crate go ? You could plan space for these things in laundry. You could even build a cat/doggie door so they could still go in the laundry room when the door is closed. If you do banquet seating, another option is to have the dog bed located under the banquet.

What are dimensions of garage ? I am confused about the garage doors. At an absolute bare minimum you need 18x18 for 2 cars side by side and that is an extremely tight garage. And likely not long enough for a truck, especially not a crew cab truck (2013 GMC Sierra 2500 Crew Cab Truck is 21.67 ft long and that is not counting space at the ends so you can pull in far enough without hitting the wall).

Also, where is the door to the back porch/patio ? I am showing an option for that on the wall perpendicular to the garage door. Gives quick access from the backyard to the bath if coming in muddy (or just 'need' quick access : )

If you made the wall for the bath & laundry even with where the garage wall jogs out for the water heater, you wouldn't have the odd roofline above it. It would likely give you extra square footage without costing any or much more because of the savings in the roof.

edit because pic didn't show up first time

This post was edited by angela12345 on Sat, Aug 3, 13 at 14:48

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Angela- Great use of the laundry room, for extra storage! The cubbies and hooks are wonderful and very good point about pets. I have kitties and finding a good spot for their food and litter box is always a big part of any remodeling plan :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 3:00PM
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That is a much better use of space in the entry/laundry mud area, Angela. I am not sure you read Jeff's reply to my question as to whether he would use a shower in this location. However, it sounded like he only put the shower there cause there was space in the bathroom to use up (in other words it sounds like he didn't need it there). How about pushing your bath design in so the toilet is on the outside wall and the shower is eliminated. That would give a slightly roomier entry area/drop zone at the garage door?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 3:08PM
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That island that lavender_lass drew on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 21:51 and you on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 23:19 is perfect. Because
- There's enough room to the right of the sink for comfy prep
- 2 people could both prep and use the sink
- Most importantly, it just looks right.
- It's more comfy for the 3 people sitting across.
- You would put trash pull-out right next to that sink. That location is ideal for throwing out science experiments from the fridge.
- It's so ideal for the primary cook. S/he can stand there next to the prep sink and control the whole house :-). See all comings and goings. Point the knife at people as they walk by for emphasis.

I don't think the island in your Sat, Aug 3, 13 at 0:44 drawing would be fun at all.
- Visually, that sink location on the island seems odd for some reason.
- Primary cook's back would be to people walking in from garage. I'm sure that is bad feng shui :-).
- 2' on either side of that sink for prep is definitely not enough.

Ex: Let's say you and spouse invite me over to make my delicious roasted vegetable platter for your family :-).

I use this cutting board
I'd need space for un-washed brussel sprouts and cauliflower NEXT TO the cutting board. After washing they go ON the cutting board. The prepped veggies go on a big jelly roll pan on the OTHER SIDE OF cutting board for salt and peppering.

Similar if I were prepping hamburgers or making chocolate chip cookies.

I couldn't do that comfortably in 2' of prep space.
Could I make it work? Of course! (Would I complain? Never.) Humans are adaptive, we can make any situation work. But you are designing this scenario now.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:50PM
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PS: Whatever you do, don't make your prep sink smaller!

My prep sink is too small. Even though it's right there, sometimes I walk to my cleanup sink to use it instead.

In my next kitchen my prep sink will be a Kohler Stages 33. I think they look bad-a*s and probably function amazingly well.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Deleted. Messed up with another thread on master bath.Sorry (:

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Sat, Aug 3, 13 at 19:15

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Picture gone...

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Sat, Aug 3, 13 at 20:36

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Thank you all so much for the wonderful ideas and suggestions! Both my wife and me admire your talents and really appreciate it.

I would respond to your comments later but for now I just could not wait to post the drawings based on your inputs.

Latest layout of the kitchen section (ver11).

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Sat, Aug 3, 13 at 19:37

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:25PM
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And the laundry/mudroom/powder section.

Again, I would follow up with my comments later. Thanks!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Hi Jeff,

I wanted to clarify your needs as per the shower in that bathroom. Seems like a spot where a shower would not get much use (i.e. far from most bedrooms). Why not eliminate the shower (as it is not an inexpensive item), and slide the toilet and sink down. Then you could use the new space for one or more of the following: a larger drop/mail sort zone with message centre, an entrance closet, a shoe shelf perhaps with a bench in the landing. Otherwise, I fear family will be tempted to dump stuff on that nice breakfast table. Does that make any sense or do you want to keep the shower?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 8:46PM
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I think I'd have to name that island "the bullet" because of its shape. I would cut out the far-wall-with-oven cabinets in order to make the island wider. Those cabinets are going to become clutter-magnets anyway since they're out of the main work areas, and cabinets are very expensive.

Speaking of expensive, you've said a couple times you're concerned about budget. Going with a plain range instead of a cooktop and a separate oven will be a big savings. A good range can be had for $1000, whereas two separate items will cost twice that much . . . Even if you're going with only a single oven.

I also like Lavendar's idea to go with a bay window at the kitchen table. It'll be a monumental savings and gives essentially the same look.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I'm very late to the game.

1. Yes, big supporter of mudroom.
Can you flip the bathroom and the mudroom, so that you come into the mudroom first, so that the doorway into the mudroom is in the middle instead of at the end (which will function like a bottleneck).?

2. How do you cook?
My style of cooking is to stand between the sink and the range. I prep right there: washing my greens in the sink, slicing them up in the middle, and plopping them right into the pot on the range (or icky bloody chicken thighs).
So my idea is to:
- move the fridge and oven onto the sink/DW wall (keep fridge out of cooking circle)
- move the sink/DW into the island (big deep sink hides mucho)
- then add the prep sink on the range wall, so you won't be dripping food swinging from the island prep sink to the range wall.

But that's my 2cents.

good luck,

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Another version of the laundry/mudroom/powder with no shower.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:45AM
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Jeff, no need to follow up with comments on every item in my (long winded!) post. I know how time consuming what you are going thru right now is, planning a whole house !! At some point, you will want to sit down and slowly re-read the entire thread. You will likely find really good comments that people made that you missed somehow the first time through, or forgot about thru the process. That's what happened to me when we were building and our thread got really long.

My thoughts on giving up the shower ... I can see many pluses for keeping the shower and also see why you may choose to give it up. Assuming you give it up ... If you move the lockers to outside the bath, you will lose your mail/keys/drop zone. Even though it was fairly tiny, I can see needing a little 'command center'. And you have separated the lockers from the coat hooks, which means the hooks may not get used very much. If you move the lockers, then I would make the coat hook section into shelves all the way from top to bottom instead, or even better a shallow cabinet with shelving inside. I can always see lots of uses for more storage. If you keep the lockers inside the laundry, then I would make that a desk outside the bath. Personally, my first choice would probably be to keep the shower, second choice would be to have desk outside bath and lockers across from coat hooks.

Don't forget to leave room for molding/trim around doorways when planning. Looks like the vanity comes right up to the door opening.

One thing I forgot in my long post: where possible, use deeper upper cabinets ... 14 or 15" deep uppers will store 4 drinking glasses deep instead of 3. And your large 12" mixing bowls/salad serving bowls/canning pot/crockpot just barely won't fit in the 12" uppers, but they will in deeper uppers, etc etc. I would bring the upper cabinets all the way across the top of the washer dryer (unless you plan on stacking them).

If you end up with a 6 ft long oval table, you can have 3 chairs along the long curved side.

My thoughts on kitchen ... With the most recent layout, I think I would naturally end up prepping at the main sink, right next to the fridge, rather than walking around the island to the prep sink. Also, people will likely pass thru the cooking zone to get to the cleanup sink (instead of walking around the island). You are showing windows behind the upper cabinets on the cleanup wall. I'm sure that's a mistake ?

I am on iPad and can't draw out what I am thinking for kitchen right now. I will try to describe . . .
Put fridge where you currently have oven. Recess fridge into HVAC closet. I think that closet is bigger than it needs to be, so I think you have room for that. Our HVAC closet is much smaller than the one you have shown. Put oven where you had fridge. What is the 1 ft wide you had next to fridge ? Pullout ? They are very expensive. I would slide oven as close to pantry as possible and get rid of pullout. People typically use pullouts when they don't have a nice big pantry like you do. Put prep sink in same spot or nearly same spot but on opposite side of the island, almost across from fridge. As another option, prep sink could go on corner to be accessed from both sides. Swap the location of cooktop and sink. Center cooktop to new space with oven slid down.

This leaves you with fridge outside of the cooking zone for snackers grabbing something while kitchen is in action. And closer to the table to grab something from fridge you realize you forgot after sitting down. Makes a better flow from fridge to prep to cooktop, and a tighter triangle. Brings ovens back into the cooking zone, but also still leaves them near fridge and pantry for microwaving. People can get to MW without having to pass cooktop. Gets cleanup sink out of the way so you don't have to pass thru the cooking zone to get there. And closer to the table for cleaning up after dinner ! Supposedly something like 70% of your time in the kitchen is spent prepping. With prep sink on opposite side of the island, you are facing out towards the windows rather than facing a wall (if prepping at big sink as I would naturally incline), or facing the oven stack (if using the prep sink).

Wherever your prep zone ends up, put trash there ! It would be nice if this same trash was fairly easy to access from cooktop. At cleanup sink, you will only need a small can, could easily be under the sink.

Love your pantry design with the 3 different depths of shelves. I bet you will find you use the 6" and 10" shelves the most. Stuff will get pushed to the back and hidden on 20" deep shelves.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:53AM
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new kitchen layout (ver12) featuring
1.48"x92" island w/ round head. The width is determined by the top and bottom aisle dimensions. As for the length, there are 3 parts after removing the half circle. 24" seating area, 18" sink diameter, and about another 24" landing space in between.

2. Aisles of 42" to sink/DW, 45" to cooktop, and 45" to fridge

3.18" round prep sink at the corner of the island acccessible from both fridge and cooktop side.

4. recessed fridge with cabinet panels on both sides.

5. OPTIONAL 5 16-inch stools tucked under overhang surrounding the island post allowing each taking 24" of island seating space.

How will this kitchen work/look? Please let me know your thoughts. Any suggestion on improving the kitchen design is highly appreciated! JF

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Mon, Aug 5, 13 at 3:51

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:20AM
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How about a prep sink designed such that a cutting board fits on top of part of it? (Suggest starting a new topic to see what sink models with this feature people have used if you aren't set on round. Or, maybe round ones have the feature too? I lust after the Kohler Stages 33, but I've seen lots of others lately.)

I like that location of the oven better. It's using less prime-time real-estate. Therefore, when you do have very hot cookware or platters to move in and out of the oven, people are less likely to be in your traffic zone. So less risk of burn / spill collisions.
(Just don't trap anyone in the pantry when you open the oven door!)

I'd want the microwave in a drawer next to the fridge.
With a microwave next to the fridge, and a toaster and coffee maker on the counter, you'd have a self-contained snack / breakfast making station.

Peanut butter & jelly toast with coffee & cream - no problem
(I use the microwave to soften the peanut butter, so I can use less but still get good coverage)
Yogurt with apple peel + homemade granola + coffee - check!

I wish you could find another 2 feet of width (top to bottom) to add to your kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:10AM
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I do agree with MareLuce's wish for two more feet top to bottom for your kitchen. That way you could have more counter space on your island. The only way I could see you get a foot more width top to bottom would be to reduce the pantry to a shallow 12 inch pantry and place it in the run where you show the fridge right now. My sister has a shallow wide pantry of 12 inches and she loves it! Nothing gets lost in her pantry. The best depth for pantry items is around 12-14 feet maximum with a depth of 5 inches or so for cans. In this scenario, the fridge would have to move somewhere where the old pantry was. I don't suppose you could use the left over 2 feet for a closet in the dining room to store you kids' toys as you said you were going to use the dining room as a play room most of the time. Anyway, that idea may not please you in the least as it would take away the large pantry you were hoping for.

I do like most of what you have drawn above, although I think 5 seats around the island is too many most of the time with your breakfast table right there. It really eats into your island prep space. Also, I am less sure about the sink against a wall. I would have it against the wall before reducing your laundry size again. No layout is ever going to be perfect. There will always be some cons that you accept and move forward.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Wow Jeff, I am impressed with your interpretation of my description. Spot on !!! I worked up the below layout on Sunday but never had a chance to post it. I am posting it now, mostly because I had already done the work *grin*. But also to describe a couple more things.

You have the option of fitting a freezer in your pantry. See link at the bottom of this post for some options on a freezer for this location, and they're not very expensive! I know nothing about if it's ok to put a freezer in a pantry. I would think it would be fine, because your pantry is a good size. If you do this, make sure the handle is on the left and hinge on the right for the freezer you choose. The only issue I can think of is the freezer heating up that space. This could be easily solved with a vent high up on the wall. It could even be over the oven stack cabinet so you wouldn't see it (unless you are doing cabinets to the ceiling) or anywhere high up on that wall (heat rises).

I am showing oven with MW above. I am also showing optionally a MW drawer. Thats a hard decision ... MW drawers are more expensive and may have some problems with them because they are fairly new technology. It depends on how your family uses the MW - for snacking or when you cook. We use it almost exclusively while we are cooking, so I am one who wants the MW in the cooking zone. Plus it's still close to fridge and pantry for snacking there. Another option may be to have double stacked ovens and a MW above, especially if none of them are really tall. I have seen this done many times before. You have to make sure with the ovens you choose that the MW doesn't end up too high up.

I do like the idea of beside the fridge being the coffee zone. You could also make that area into a bar type area with glass doors on the uppers to display drink glasses etc, and liquor stored in the cabinets below.

I only show 3 stools at island, but you can fit more.

I am showing 3 options for prep sink ... on the long edge, angled in the corner, or square in the corner. You can still have a square prep sink on a corner (not round), you would square it up with the cabinet and have the faucet installed on a corner instead of on a side. Rhome410 did this with her sink.

Have your cabinet above the fridge come out the full depth of the fridge, so it is even with the face of the fridge. Same with the washer dryer ... if you stack them and if you have cabinets above them (rather than leaving them open above), have the cabinet over them come out even with the face of the washer dryer.

Start planing out your storage. What goes where so it is most convenient to the point of useage (coffee cups near coffee maker, dishes near dishwasher, spatulas near cooktop, trash near prep sink, etc) ? How big does the area need to be to hold what will go in that space. Drawers everywhere possible.
Everything I Wanted to Know about Drawers . . .
Planning for storage . . .

Have a door from playroom into the attic space over laundry for walk in attic storage.

I am showing an option to increase the length of the laundry and simplify the roofline above it. The picture will be in the next post.

Here is a link that might be useful: Freezer options for pantry

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:13AM
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I am showing an option to increase the length of the laundry and simplify the roofline above it. The added length gives you more cabinet space in the laundry and another 18x18 cubby/locker.

Also, I have decreased the width of the laundry by 6" and added it to the bathroom. This still leaves you with 36" between the bench down in front of the cubby/lockers and the shelves facing it, and allows you to change the bath layout which gives you a 21"x39" desk outside of the bath. I am showing 2 options for the shape of the shower and the location of the door.

Simpler walls & rooflines save money. It is *possible* that the 30sf extra in this area will actually save you money.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Lots of great links and ideas here Angela, I am going to read them myself right after I type this. I like the three options for prep sink (especially the square one in corner with tap on angle like Rhome did.

Only a few things that would still bother me about your design. I still vote for removing the shower and having a big command centre/mail sorting desk instead. What is shown is rather small for a family of 5. I agree with Angela about keeping the lookers and coat hooks all together in the mudroom (I do wish that mudroom was the first room upon entry but that looks hard to fix). Only you, Jeff and your family, will be able to figure out if you will use an expansive shower fixture in that location. Also, the window in the shower area is a complication that could be avoided. Not the best spot for a window in my book especially for a city lot near neighbours.

The other area that bothers me is the bookshelf behind the DW, assuming it was meant to be a full height bookshelf. I would like to be able to look sideways and converse with someone at the breakfast table while I did dishes. I would not like having that shelf blocking me in. Of course if the shelf is short no worries. I think cookbooks could go in the pantry.

I am very intrigued by Angela's mention of a way to increase laundry area by simplifying the roof line and also the idea of an attic storage area over laundry. I don't understand them, but they sure sound good to me.

I think your kitchen is really looking good. I think ventilation will also be important if you put a freezer in the pantry, which will be handy. Maybe you could start another thread asking if anyone has put a freezer in their pantry and what they did about ventilation.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:50AM
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That is brilliant change to the roof line. You are talented, Angela. I hate to pick, but the toilet will now be in full view upon entry and it might be nice to have 5 cubbies/lockers for the family of 5. I would reconfigure the bath and add that extra locker.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:55AM
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I agree, a lot of these things can only be determined by how Jeff's family works. Which is why I have so many "options", LOL.

Yes, the bookcase as I have it is short under the counter, with the countertop extending over the whole area. The window showing for the bath is a small window high up on the wall, above the shower, so no one should be able to see in. I am all about having daylight in rooms where possible.

I thought about 5 lockers too. Didn't know if mom & dad want a locker, don't want one, or could share one ?

OntarioMom, I know we were both posting at the same time, so you posted your first comment before you saw the pic with the longer laundry. I agree about the toilet. The only saving grace is it's so far back in the room that the only place you will be able to see the toilet is if you are right in front of the bath doorway.

Personally, my vote is for the shower because I can see so many uses for it. Coming in dirty from the yard, washing the dog, if they have a pool or hottub in backyard, if they have guests staying over (sleeping in study maybe?), etc. Plus an extra full bath gives more sales/appraised value to a house than a half bath (4BR 4bath). But in the end, it comes down to their uses and budget and I would understand if they choose to not include it.

For both pics, another way to have a larger command center and still have the shower is to make the vanity in there shorter. As I have it showing, the vanity is large at 42" long. If you drop back to a standard 2 door 27" wide vanity, you could increase the length of the desk to 54" instead of 39" as shown in the pic with the longer laundry.

Or with the shorter laundry room pic, make the bath a standard 5'x8' = standard shower 32"x60" instead of 36" wide, and vanity 27", which gives 21"x37" desk . . .

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 2:30PM
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I just remembered that Jeff talked about 7 foot clearance between his property and the property line. I wonder if he has already maxed out on the proper width, so might not be able to use your good idea for the increased laundry/simplified roof.


P.S. That drawer post you made was fantastic!!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Jeff- I don't like your newest kitchen plan. Sorry, but it seems like a lot of walking between appliances...and no prep space by the island sink.

Maybe the issue is that you want to prep, facing the great room...but your island is just too small to do this. What if you erased a bit of cabinetry and move the pantry (don't have to for it to work) but did something like this?

You could put the oven back over by the pantry or get a larger range with two ovens. This puts you back in the 'L' with your prep space on the island. Less walking! Keep the pantry and maybe a coffee bar over there...with an extra small sink if necessary. Give that space to the kids and keep the big work are for you and wife! Hope this helps :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Wow! You have such wonderful ideas. Thank you so much for the drawings, pictures and the links!!! I have read every single word and am going to read and read them over again.

I love your kitchen. The granite, flooring, and the doggy too. It helps me a lot to see that you have an island of similar shape and with an 42” aisle to sink. I like the idea of stools tuck under the island. So I am going to use round stools too. It is good to hear that your got help from GeenDesigns and other people on GW. I am grateful to have such forums . Thank you!

@ Lavender,
Thank you for bringing up the issue of the pet feeding. I do not have any good idea where I shall feed our dog yet.
I like your lovely idea of putting a seat instead of the linen closet in that prime location. We can always find space for towels. I am going to post links to master bath layout so others may comment on it there.

Thank you so much for your suggestion of a big island with adequate prep area. I will check out the stage 33 sink. I like the idea of cutting board over the sink. The $1k sink (add another $1k for the extendable faucet ) might be a concern due to our budget.
Thank you also for the comments on the oven and the microwave. I like the microwave to be close to the fridge too. I am not familiar with microwave drawer but I will check them out.
When you said you need another 2 ft from top to bottom, where do you need it most? To make the island wider (from 4ft to 5ft) or the aisles of 42”, 45” wider or a combination of both?
Yes. I would have new thread regarding prep sink shape, size, and location. Right now, I need to make sure the basic layout works OK before I give more consideration to the details (microwave, prep sink, storage, etc, are critically important in the design too).

@ MrsPete,
Thank you for your suggestion of making the island wider to make it look better. I am just hesitant to remove that side of the wall for fear of losing too much functions /items of a good sized kitchen.
Yes. I have concerns about my budget as the builders told me that I am about 10% over budget based on my numbers and their estimate using the sqft method. However, the architect told me to be patient with his design and he is confident that we are on track. I am very open with the architect regarding my budget and I am concerned but I also like to give the architect some freedom to work things out. It is a tough situation. I would post something about budget in the home forum soon and hope to hear more of your thoughts there.

Thank you for your comments. I saw your finished kitchen and it looks so beautiful with the windows.
You have a good point regarding the benefit of a mudroom close to the garage door. It seems that I do not have a solution here because of the way we have the powder and laundry.
Yes. Your style of cooking is the idea way and that is close to what I have in my current house. We have a gallery setup with on island. Fridge and sink on one side and stove on the other side. There is a nice work triangle of about 6ft for each side.
The difficulty here is that the island has a shorter side facing the long wall so it might not be wide enough to hold sink / dw.
Let me know if you have more thoughts on the latest layout.

I would follow up with the architect to see if ventilation is doable there if we choose to put stove in that area. I am not worried too much about it as it is likely the sink will stay there. I am still waiting for a chance to meet with the architect. The design has been hold up for about two weeks as I am trying to fix many of the issues in the kitchen and master bath. I also need to have a strategy regarding exteriors and budget control before the design goes to the final stage of construction documentation.
Kudos to you and your husband! Your kitchen is great. I switched from a home designer and am now working with an architect. I did not have a chance to work with an interior designer or kitchen designer. I am grateful for so many inputs from experienced people on GW forums.
Yes. I have the NKBA guidelines for kitchen and bath designs. I will read them again. Thank you for your kind reminder.
Thank you for echoing MareLuce’s comment on 2 more ft in the kitchen. I am not sure if I can do that. I would check with the architect. I agree that 5 seats are may be too much for the island. I think I am hitting the limit and I would really like to decide on a basic layout before my next meeting with the architect.


Re: Island Seats
We never planned for them. It is a bonus feature that was first proposed by GreenDesigns and later supported by many others here. I like the idea very much.
As I have 3 kids (ages 13,9,and 0), I would love to see 3 stools. I know when my baby grows to an age of using it, my daughter is propably out for college. I also see a picture of parents and kids sitting there or teens with their friends at a party, so I managed to have 5 seats with each taking 24” seating space on the island. There is 16” overhang to tuck in the stools.
However, this is optional and of secondary to cooking and storage needs in the kitchen. For example, if there is not enough storage, I may use the 2 2ft sitting area on the straight sides for under cabinets instead of stool space. Either way, the whole straight section would be used for prep space.

Re: Island Size
As of the now, the island is about 48” wide and 89” long (from base to round tip). The width is limited by the top 42” and bottom 45” aisles. The length is limited by the right 45” aisle and where it stops on the left. Clearance to the left is not an issue as the kitchen is open to the great room. I do have kitchen flooring to indicate the definition of the kitchen and there is about 43” distance from the island round head to that imaginary boundary.
I understand that there is a need for bigger island for more prep/landing surface area and more cabinet storage space. I would have concerns if the island is getting too big: 1) it is overwhelming everything else and might not look right; 2) it is difficult to reach the middle for cleaning and access items on the top.

Re: Laundry chute
I see it as a design feature for the kids. Hopefully they would like the idea of throwing dirty clothes down and raise clean clothes up so they would like to do more laundry themselves.
The idea of kids sliding down the laundry is intriguing. However, I need to take care of some safety issues to allow that happen. For example, to have a tilted slide instead of the direct jump down as of now and to have some soft landing space in the laundry room, etc. Otherwise, I would make sure that kids would not be able to jump down at all. For example, make the opening small enough.

Re: Laundry / Powder Layout
I like the recent drawings in this area better than the latest work from the architect (he made some small changes too and I can post it later). The simple lined up garage entrance works better than the garage entrance followed by a branched out hallway to powder/laundry as in the architect’s work. I actually presented something similar to the architect (see my July 20th post). Now I don’t understand why the architect did not make the changes. I need to make it clear to him that our layout is the way to go.

Re: Shower in Powder
I am still debating the pros and cons of a powder room with or without a shower.
(a) The good thing with a shower is that it may be easy for kids to take a quick shower right after they come back from swimming or games. It is easy to put dirty clothes to the laundry room.
We have a dog. Kids may give bath to the dog in the shower but my wife said that activity shall go to the laundry room.
The main concern is extra cost associated with the shower and I would check with the architect/builder regarding that.
(b) Without a shower, they maybe extra space for garage in front of the powder room.
It would be handy to put some cubbies there.
However, the concern would be it would be difficult for guests to use the powder room if it is pushed too far away from the garage door (It is always easy to tell them to it is close to the garage door to the right). It may be serving the guests well for them to take a long walk from the great room and then pass messy mud room. So we need to do it right if we decide to do the no shower option.

Re: Cubbies inside Laundry or in front of Shower
The cubbies inside the laundry would be able to be closed from our sight behind the door to laundry.
The cubbies in front the powder room (if we decide on the no shower powder option) is easier to be accessed as they are close to the garage entrance without going through a door.
I guess either way should be fine. A decision would be made based on overall consideration of how to use the mudroom, how to make the mudroom look good, and the extra cost of a shower (or tub/shower combo).

Re: Laundry
(a) The laundry is kind of wide (over 9ft). I am not sure if we can easily steal some of the laundry space and make the long side of the kitchen longer. There is a chute and the end sink/laundry wall is a load bearing wall with a support beam over it for second floor game room exterior wall. I would check with the architect. If we would like to save the real estate for better use, another idea is to push down the garage /powder wall down so we have more space in garage.

(b) I like the picture showing the recessed vent for the dryer. My current house has a vent exactly as in the left picture and it is always got pushed back toward the wall and stuck easily. I would make sure they do the dryer ven right. Such little details in the design really make big difference in the way we are going to live in the house.

(c) We have top loaders in our current house and they work fine. We have some concerns about front loading washers so I am not sure. I do like to have counter space for folding. Or we shall have space for a simple folding rack/table inside.

Re: Garage
Right now, the internal dimensions are 20ft wide by 23ft long. It has two garage doors to the back and to the side. The great room/master bedroom have sliding doors to the patio. In addition, the garage entrance is close to the side garage door.
I appreciate the way how you aligned the walls to simplify the roofline. The lasted design has a hipped roof in that section. I would post / link some pictures for the overall design of the house.

Re: Pet
We have a small dog (suzi and maltese hybrid). It is crated. I am thinking of a place in the laundry for the crate. And she would also play inside and outdoors. I am not sure if she can climb up the stairs by herself.

Re: Microwave Location
My wife likes it to be on the oven and the main reason is that is the natural place as she sees microwave takes a lot of space.
I am inclined to put it close to the fridge. I think that is where we would be using the microwave most often for breakfast preparation and for reheating foods out of the fridge. I like the idea of a snack/beverage area outside the work zone. There would be coffee maker, toaster, etc in that area.
I understand the need of using microwave during cooking. We may consider two microwaves, one beside the fridge and another over the oven.

Re: Prep Sink
I have not thought too much about the shape, size,and location about it yet.
I understand that we need good size no less than 18inches.
I put a round there as I see the need to use the sink from both fridge and cooktop sides. We also need to use it for baking.
A square of 2ft by 2ft may work better . I am also drawing a rectangle shape of 2ft x 3ft as a third option. I am a little bit concerned about the last one eating too much of the prep area. So I am more into the square one.


Attached is my latest drawing of the kitchen layout (ver12D). I have a concern of the fridge to cooktop distance being to large (about 11ft). My wife said it is ok as we have the island in between as a landing place.
Let me know if you think this works out OK. I know I cannot have it perfect but I like it to be acceptable for me to move forward.

Next, if this layout works, I will need to plan the storage/drawers/cabinets plan for the kitchen. And I am going to open a new thread as this is getting too long.
Please let me know your thoughts about the general layout of the kitchen.

Many thanks! JF

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Tue, Aug 6, 13 at 16:55

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:21PM
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I cannot see the newest pic. I love that you have kept everything in one thread so far. I got in late to the game so it was nice for me to see how the kitchen evolved thru other's suggestions and to read the background info. I think you are on the right track, thinking of the pros and cons for the different items and then making a decision based on what works for your family.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Edit to remove duplicated post
(I see you edited yours. I can see the pic now)

This post was edited by angela12345 on Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 9:27

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 5:00PM
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I bet your hitting the wall. It is so overwhelming all this designing and decision making to build a custom home. Just think of how much money you are savings on architect fees reworking the plans on your own.

I wanted you to have the link for Silent Servant manual dumb waiter as a consideration for your laundry chute. You talked about a pulley system for clothes to go up and down, so it sounds like you want a dumb waiter not a chute. It is something you have to plan for in advance as it is done at the framing stage.

I like the recent plans, and like the sink where it is shown now that I hear the intention for the bookshelf was not to block it. The clean-up run is nice and close to where you eat. I also like the T shaped island drawn by Lavender_lass.

Good luck with all this. Your house is going to work for you and your family!


Here is a link that might be useful: Silent servant dumb waiter

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I did not see your latest drawing before my last post. You have a great point regarding the potential problem of the curent layout. There is a 11ft walking distance between friddge and cooktop. The walk between prep sink and cooktop may not be that bad even there is a 90 degree turn. Right now, there is about 3.5-4ft prep area to the left of the sink (if the sink is 18" to 24" wide). In addition, there is a 2ft secondary prep area to the cooking side.

If this is not acceptable, I will try removing the all bottom wall section. That would really hurt (biting my tongue with teeth) but will do it if I have to. Thanks!

Thank you for your encouraging words. If you don't mind going through the long thread, I would keep it here till we find a workable layout.

Thanks to everyone's inputs, I think I have made a lot of progress and I am sure I will eventually get there. The design process just takes longer than what I expected. So, give it more time and I need to be patient.


This post was edited by jeff2013 on Tue, Aug 6, 13 at 17:21

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 5:16PM
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"Right now, there is about 3.5-4ft prep area to the left of the sink (if the sink is 18" to 24" wide). In addition, there is a 2ft secondary prep area to the cooking side."

But the large prep area to the left of the sink is not in the right spot. You will tend to naturally prep in the area that is closest to being between a water source and your cooking zone. The area to the right of the island sink is the place you should be focusing for adequate prep space. Your above statement made me think that this reality is not clicking for you as numerous people keep saying that your prep zone is too small, but your new drawings don't seem to reflect a desire to improve it.

Just putting extra counter space elsewhere and calling it the prep zone will not make actually make it your prep zone. Don't feel badly, when I started the same mistake was pointed out to me.

I have 35" between my prep sink (which is 16" circle) and my range. I would not want less. I could probably learn to manage with less, but would not want to plan on less than 30". Since my prep sink is in the corner of a peninsula, the other side of the sink has an additional whopping 53" that I use as my primary "baking zone" and a place to spread out if I am prepping lots of items. In addition to that, my clean up sink is located on the wall opposite the peninsula and I have 36" between it and the other side of the range, so my DH or one of the kids can easily prep there and access water at the clean up sink if necessary. Prep zones need to be adjacent to the cooking zone in order to actually work.

I think you asked to see my kitchen far upthread when discussing a sink without a window. Sorry I didn't get to it before, but here it is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Control Freak's kitchen

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:24PM
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I am learning something everyday and I feel good about it. I am ready to make compromises to make things right. For example, I do not need the stools or the round head part if that makes it look bad. I can even consider a gallery layout by putting up a wall between the great room and the kitchen.

Thank you for the link to the dumbwaiter. I will look into it.


I think I get it finally about what is actually counted as prep area. Thank you for the the link to your kitchen. I will study it more.

Here is a new layout (ver13A).

Please let me know if everyone thinks that I am going in the right direction here. Thanks! JF

This thread has run out of its maximal allowed number of posts. I am therefore opening a new thread to continue refining my kitchen design and to seek addtional inputs. Thanks! JF 08/07/2013

Kitchen Island Clearance Dimensions-Continued

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 15:21

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Technically, that works. Just be aware that does put your back to the people arriving home and those sitting at breakfast area. You will be able to converse with those seated at the island though.

I would love to see a version with Lavender's T shaped island.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:15PM
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