Kitchen Layout help, please -esp fridge placement

kellyh_2010July 17, 2013

We are trying to finalize our kitchen layout and I'd love to get your opinions/advice. I have read through all the materials on zones, placements, etc. Thank you to everyone who contributed to that and all those posts here. It is an unbelievable wealth of information!

Specific questions:
1. I like where the fridge is now, but my husband is worried that it's too far away from the action. We currently have a small galley kitchen so everything is within 1-2 steps. My husband would like to swap the fridge and ovens.
- I get his point, but it will make the range off center from the island (my pet-peeve) and we're currently planning on a 48 in fridge which seems massive so I like it being a little out of the way.
- On it's own, the fridge could be accessed by people for drinks/snacks and not interfere with other people cooking.
- For ovens, we are leaning towards a 36 in gas range and a Miele steam combi oven w/warming drawer. However, we may do a range top and then the oven wall would have the Miele combi, regular oven, warming drawer.

2. Island/Prep sink: I would like it on the end closest to the main sink. Is that too close to the main sink? The other options are centering it (I'd prefer not to break up the space) or the opposite end which would mean having only one seat on the short side and 3 along the long side of the island.

3. Island configuration: Originally we had planned for a 4.5' x 9' island that would have 4 seats across the long side. We have had to remove our kitchen table (we've tried so many iterations and it just doesn't work) so we changed the seating to wrap it around the side. The dimension of the island is now 5' x 8'. Opinions? We are a family of 4 and would eat most family dinners in our dining room adjacent to the kitchen or outside (we live in the SF Bay Area). The reality is during the week between work, coaching and kids' sports, we only all eat dinner together 2 maybe 3 times a week. During the summer, we eat outside frequently. It's usually my two kids and me during the school year, but we do sit down for meals and I do think it's important to be able to look at each other and have a conversation :)

I have included the architect,s drawings with dimensions and also a sketch that is hopefully easier to read.

TIA - I appreciate any and all feedback!

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Architect's drawing w/dimensions

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 3:14PM
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I'm no expert here but your range top seems to far away from the sink.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Thanks, Debra -
We are planning to put a prep sink in the island. Does that help?

I like symmetry so wanted the range centered on the island but maybe I need to give that up.

We could also bring the kitchen wall in a foot or two from the side with the main sink if the kitchen feels too large/spread out overall.

I appreciate the comments!!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 5:43PM
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I agree with putting a prep sink in the island. If you put it somewhat centered with the right hand edge of the stove you should not impact your island seating. I would foresee you doing a lot of prep on that large expanse of counter between the cooktop and main sink.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 5:59PM
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We currently have a fridge with no "landing zone" nearby for moving food in/out and it is a pain. It looks like you'll have the same problem here. Can you move the doorway to the dining room to the left so you can have some countertop by the fridge? Move the desk elsewhere. Then put the prep sink on the side of the island closest to the fridge to improve your triangle.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Remodelfla - thanks, that is what I was thinking too.

Cindy - that is one of my concerns. Originally, we had the seating all across the front so the island actually extended out another foot or so closer to the fridge so I was expecting to use that as the landing space, but now that we've added seating on the fridge side, the architect added more room for the passage way.

What do you think about switching the ovens and fridge? I suspect there is the same issue, but we don't use the oven as much as we use the fridge. :)

I will also look into changing the DR opening as you suggested. I'm just afraid that might look weird having the opening so off center. I don't want to sacrifice functionality for looks but also want everything to flow well.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:07PM
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KellyH, My first thought when I looked at your plan was to switch the fridge with the oven, and move the range down toward the sink a bit. It really doesn't have to be centered with the island, in fact, it could create an awkward jam if two people were using both things at the same time. Also, the fridge against the wall would bother me. Some of the internal drawers new a fully opened door to extend out. Otherwise it looks good. Have you chosen your appliances, yet?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:48PM
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Thanks Barbara !
Where would you put the prep sink if we moved the fridge and then range down a bit? Still on the corner closer to the main sink?

As for appliances... ha, we've been all over the place. We had pretty much decided on an all gas range - Wolf or Capital. But today my husband mentioned revisiting a range top!!

We were initially enticed by the Thermador promotion because we fell in love with their Freedom Columns (who knew I could like a fridge so much) but after reading all the reviews on this site and others, we've back away from that.

However, my husband really wants a steam combi oven. We walked in during a demo at our local appliance store so we are considering a Miele or possible a Wolf combi steam.

Refrigerator is still unknown...I would love not to pay for a built-in 48 inch so was considering having my architect recess the wall so we could get a standard depth, but I hate my current sxs standard depth fridge. My husband does not like the french door styles so we haven't resolved that yet. If we do move it to the wall with the range, we have space behind the wall to recess if we decide to go that way.

As for the others, I was going to get a Sharp MW drawer for the island and probably a panel ready Kitchen Aid WD. Oh, and dishwasher unknown, I was looking at Bosch for value/price. I'd like something quiet since it's an open room, but we mostly run the DW on our 4 hour delay now so it goes in the middle of the night.

What do you think?

I definitely feel like it's been hard to find a mid-range with appliances.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:20PM
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My kitchen has nearly the same exact layout (appliances in same spots except my DW and ovens are on the other side of the sink; I have no "bottom" wall). It works wonderfully, so my responses are based on my experience :)

1) -
Swapping fridge and ovens would force the range or cooktop up the wall so that it was more centered on the wall but still directly across from the island. I would prefer that aesthetically.
-People can theoretically still access the fridge without bothering the cook, but since I assume your dish storage is over by the cleanup sink, I think you would have people coming through your cooking zone (get glass or dish, go to fridge) no matter what. Your cooking aisle is wide enough to handle that though - it's exactly what mine is; again, same layout.
-I would prefer to do the range instead of the cooktop. If you do the cooktop I think the top appliance in the oven stack is going to be too high and the bottom one two low for convenient use.
2) Your island is big enough to keep the 2 person seating on the end and have the prep sink at that end as well. IE, have your 15" overhang, and the cabinet next to it has the prep sink in it. Honestly you have a huuuuuuge aisle between the island and DR opening (opening! not even another wall) so I'd probably also go ahead and lengthen the island so it lines up with the end of the range wall. I don't think you need it but you seem to be concerned with the prep sink cutting up your prep space.

3) As above you can make the island bigger, but even if you don't, definitely keep your 2 + 2 island seating. It's definitely important to make conversation easy and stadium seating (in a row) prevents that.

4) Additional comment: Put your DW on the other side of your sink. A 4' aisle gives plenty of room to get around it when it's open. Plus if you leave it where it is and want to put dishes away in that top right corner, you will have to unload the DW onto the counter, close it, then put the dishes away. Even if you don't keep dishes in that corner. an open DW will block access to it.

5) Additional comment: If you are replacing windows go with a triple window - I have a double and it annoys me to have the divider in front of my face while I'm at the sink. I'd probably actually get rid of all the uppers on that wall and put in a large triple window that comes down to the counter.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Great feedback, thank you, Tracie.erin. It's helpful to hear about your experience with a similar layout.

If we move the fridge to the range wall, would you leave the oven there too or move the oven to where the fridge currently is planned? I thought about that too, but might be too crowded. I would create a beverage bar in the fridge space if we did that.

Originally the island did extend to the same length as the range wall, but with our new version they shortened it. I'm assuming it was because of the seating but you're right, it does seem like a big space. We are meeting with them next week so I wanted feedback first but will definitely bring it up

The DW was also originally on the left and was moved to the right but I'm not sure why, but definitely prefer it on the left.

The architect is also meeting with the engineer today so depending upon that outcome, my goal is to have as much of the sink wall as possible be windows. And will make sure there isn't a divider in the middle :) I would prefer to have a wall of windows and no uppers there.

:) Kelly

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Sorry for the delay. Tooth issue. OK, first, I know that I am in the minority here, but prepping in an area across from where I cook is not something that appeals to me. I had a prep sink in an island in our previous home and never used it. BUT, it occurred to me when I read your previous post, that I'm married to a wonderful guy who wouldn't know the difference between a steam combi oven and a toaster. He doesn't cook a lick. That said, would your prep sink be used to prep something other than the main dish to be cooked on the stove, like salads? I guess it seems like you would still use the area between the sink and the cooktop/range to do that? I would put the prep sink on the long side, so I had room for the veggies/prep stuff. I like to spread out. And I'm kind of messy- def not one of those cooks that cleans up as i go.
The fridge has been the hardest purchase decision for me, too. When you read the reviews, it's demoralizing.

And the wall oven, too, though it looks like it will be an electrolux wave touch. I like the bosch induction range and thank goodness it gets good reviews. I'd love a gaggnau steam oven, but I also want a steam shower, so have to consider the budget lol.
Oh, and I love the MW drawer, esp since it'll be in the island.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Hi - sorry about your tooth! I hope everything is ok.

I have been trying to think about how we prep/cook/clean up now and you bring up some good points. Currently, we have a galley and the sink is opposite the cooktop so I am used to that. It's small so I have 3.5' on one side of the sink and less than 2' on the other side and that is IT for prep/clean up/whatever else :) The cooktop is flanked by our wall oven and refrigerator and has less than 12" on either side (1962 codes!).

Originally, we had planned to have the main sink in the island and then an eating nook under the windows and probably no prep sink. We couldn't make the nook work so then ended up with counters there and it made more sense, or so we thought, to move the main sink to look out the windows and to free up the island. I kind of assumed I'd do a lot of the work at the island and would get a bigger prep sink. However, now that I walk through those scenarios it seems kind of weird because the dishwasher will be on the other wall. For instance, making school lunches - I was going to have a drawer for their containers/boxes in the island, but assuming I use a knife and cutting board, would I then wash the cutting board in the prep sink but move the knife to the main sink? Seems odd. Am I over thinking this? I also envisioned prepping dinner at the island and on the range while my kids do homework on the other side.

Regarding husbands, it's great having one who likes to cook even if he doesn't have much time for it :) After seeing a brief demo, and thinking about what we eat, it started to make sense. We steam or roast vegetables most nights and then grill or roast some type of meat/fish/chicken, etc. He fell in love with the Miele automation but I am skeptical that I will take the time to really learn it, especially once school starts up and our schedule gets busy. The Electrolux was my choice for a regular oven! We also seriously consider the Electrolux gas range.

We still have time so am hopping to go to some of the combi steam oven classes or demos before making a final decision.

It must feel good to have your appliances mostly decided. Have you started your project already?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:59PM
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lol, I feel like I'm moving at a snails pace. I'm having trouble deciding where to put things. I tend to analyze things to death, but I think in a kitchen it's important to think about how you work and arrange things so that they make the most sense to you. Having said that, I could probably get used to most things and am streesing too much.
You know, if you think you are going to do most of your prepping on the island, why not make that your main sink and bring the DW over to it as well? I love that look in photos, and since you're used to that already, it makes sense. You may have to relocate those 2 side chairs to the front, OR move the island a tad toward the new oven location and extend the length just a bit to give you more work space. OR what about having a huge island/galley setup and eliminating the counters of the window wall.
Why is it that ideas about your kitchen are flowing freely and when I look at my own I am paralyzed??!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 9:48PM
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I've been doing a lot of analyzing too of how I prep and cook. I want my main sink and DW on my island so I can see into the FR and DR as I prep and clean (ie load dishes into the DW) but plan on a good sized "second" sink on my cooktop counter for washing pots and pans or in your case under the window. I think in all the kitchens I've worked in the prep and clean up space was always in the same place so I can't image having to cut my meat in one place, then having to carry the dirty cutting board (with possible meat "juice") a few feet over to another counter to wash

Also with the second sink, it makes space for at least 2 people involved with clean up. 1 to carry dishes from DR and load into DW while another washes the dirty pots and pans and cooktop. And with a decent sized second sink it make room for multiple cooks without elbow fighting.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:36PM
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It seems to me that just swapping the fridge with the oven would make a pretty small work triangle. With a family of four, you likely will have more than one cook in the kitchen, especially when the children are teens. If you go that route, I'd move the cooktop/range down the wall some to give you more space. Although then it wouldn't be in the middle of the island - always trade-offs.

Putting the main sink in the island means you'll have dirty dishes front and center for people coming into the house from the door in the family room as well as from people in the family room. Also clean dishes if you use a dish drainer. May not be an issue for you, but something to consider.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:05AM
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If we move the fridge to the range wall, would you leave the oven there too or move the oven to where the fridge currently is planned? I thought about that too, but might be too crowded. I would create a beverage bar in the fridge space if we did that.

I was thinking ovens on the bottom wall. However, maybe that wouldn't work for your family - if you use the oven constantly, if that aisle is too well trafficked, etc.

You could put the ovens on the right wall and it would work. The math works out to having 21" on either side of the fridge NOT including a 36" corner cabinet, which adds and additional 12" of space before you hit the sink wall counter, if that makes sense. I'd probably do 24" between range and whatever's next to it, with 30" (counting the corner cabinet) between the range and sink wall.

Honestly though, if the ovens go on the right wall I'd then prefer to see you go to a separate fridge/freezer setup so the range can be directly across from the island again. Fridge stays on right wall and freezer goes on bottom wall.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Barbara, Jams, Cindy and Tracie - You've given me a lot to think about :) I love your comments. I need to really think about how we cook now and in the future - my kids are 9 and 11 so we are in that transition from little kids with me doing most of the work to them being more independent in the kitchen. They are both interested in cooking and like to help out.

Tracie.Erin - You're right, I do think the oven should go on the bottom wall. I use it a fair amount, more in the winter but part of this remodel/addition is to give us more room. I don't want to bunch everything up into a replica of what we have now :)
I had also thought about putting the oven to the left of the window wall, but that felt too cramped with the dishwasher/main sink. I am going to play around with those dimensions a little too. I also had planned to have the window wall as open as possible and then the family room wall will be french doors and as much door/window as possible.

Jams, Cindy and Barbara - you all bring up really good points about the sink placement. It really does come down to how you work and some trade-offs, huh? My husband keeps telling me to come up with 'use cases' and I did when we first started but I should think through a few more scenarios based on your feedback.

I've read through so many posts about a clean up sink w/DW and a prep sink and the size of the prep sink but I don't think I've read what people do about carrying dishes or utensils from the prep area to the DW. Maybe I need a more specific post about helps so much hearing how people do it.

Barbara, I do think it's easier to help other people with their situations, but I also tend to over analyze. Hopefully though in talking through some of this with other people and hearing their situations, it helps you decide what you want too. It's a lot of time and money though so it's probably worth some over-analysis :)

I really appreciate all your thoughts and time!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:53AM
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I'll throw out a different suggestion - but this is appliance dependent. IF you are thinking steam/combi (Miele) see if they can be installed below the counter. Then get a full gas range for your second oven. That's what we wound up doing. We have a 36" Wolf full range and a 24" Miele speed oven (steam combi wasn't available yet). We have it under the island. This will free up room for you and give you a pantry where you have your refrig now. See the pic. You get the idea. With this layout you still have 2 ovens, a range and a sink on the island (you can swap location with the steam combi) and you have a pantry area. Just a thought...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I think laurat88 has the right idea. The fridge and pantry look just right. I would move the oven further up, centered on the sink isle. When the hot oven door is open, you want plenty of room to maneuver.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:43PM
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laurat88 and nhend, interesting idea... I really had not thought about putting an oven, other than a mw drawer, in the island. We had planned to have our everyday food stuff in the kitchen and then extras in the laundry room/pantry off the kitchen, but I also like the idea of having that pantry where you put it. Thanks for the suggestion - I would not have thought about that and it's a big space!

My husband has been out of town so I'm looking forward to going over everyone's ideas with him this weekend! Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:48AM
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