Help with kitchen design! Totally from scratch - eek!

sbollagJuly 29, 2014

Hi folks,

First time posting on the Kitchens board. We are renovating our 1870s New Orleans house, and designing the kitchen basically totally from scratch - all that was in it when we bought it were a sink, stove, and refrigerator, no counters, cabinets, etc. We are pushing out the rear wall of the kitchen approximately three feet (we would go more, but the door needs to line up with the hall way that we are opening back up - it had been closed up with two bathrooms - and the curved room and windows prevent moving it back any further). When it's all said and done it will be roughly 13'6" by 12'6", and the ceilings will be about 10', perhaps a little higher.

This is our first stab at a layout. We are thinking to move the one window that is on the existing side wall to the rear, and put it together with the existing window in that wall to make a nice big double window over the old farmhouse sink that came with the house (of course, that will mean some counter will be in front of windows too, but since we're rebuilding that whole wall, is there any reason we can't just make those windows higher, especially since we have high ceilings?? - actually, looking at the existing floor plans, I believe the sill height is just over 41", so that should be just fine then - I need to go home and measure!), and then just make some high windows above the cabinets on the side of the house to get some natural light in there. We also did inherit a wonderful 1954 O'Keefe and Merrit stove, so we're definitely incorporating that.

Musts include the island (mainly for prep, with a small sink and a couple of induction burners, secondarily for seating) and wall ovens (the O&M has a teeny-tiny oven).

We also decided to make this funny space, what would otherwise be dead space between the kitchen and den/family room a small butler's pantry/wet bar. It's not very big, but should be just enough room for a small counter and sink and ice maker, and a pantry cabinet on the other side).

We are not sure yet what we will be doing in terms of countertops, but we are almost certainly going to be making custom cabinets out of wood that came out of the house (that sounds pretty cool to us - talk about recycling!), so that should make things much easier.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestion, etc. would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Hard to tell without seeing pics of the existing space I guess. Looks like a functional kitchen but I'm confused by the location of the ovens.

Also, look at your "work triangle" and decide if its the most efficient it can be - you don't want to be tripping over your island or spouse while unloading dishes from the dishwasher or trying to grab something out of the fridge while you're cooking at the stove. Think about the ways you use your kitchen and see if that layout still makes sense.

Another thing to consider is the size of the island vs the amount of space you have to walk around. I think 32" between the island and the base cabinets is the minimum I think but very tight. 42" is comfortable, anything bigger is great especially if you and your spouse like to cook together.

Windows higher up on the wall shouldn't be a problem - the only thing you might contend with is the architectural view from the street - will that goof up how your house looks on the outside?

I love butler pantries and only wish I lived in a house cool enough for one.

I don't really have much input otherwise except that if either of you are technically capable, Google Sketchup has been a life saver for me, especially when trying to envision where things are in space and how much room you'll have to maneuver around.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Sounds like a fun project!

I can't tell which is the 13' 6" wall and which is the 12' 6" wall.

If the span from window/sink wall to fridge is 13' 6", it's tight quarters for sink and cabs, two aisles, an island and a fridge, especially if the fridge is standard depth and not counter depth or built-in.

162" - room dimension
25.5" - depth of sink/cab run (w/ 1.5" counter overhang)
35" - depth of standard depth fridge, inc door and handles
72" - 2 aisles at bare minimum of 36" each
29.5" for island.

Call it 27" - that's one run of 24" deep cabinets with 1.5" counter overhang all around. Add that bit of extra width to each aisle but even at 37.25" each, you're below the recommended minimum width of 42" for a one-butt kitchen (48"is the rec for a two-butt kitchen). The aisle recs are based on today's appliance sizes. DWs of today have a taller door and thus take up more aisle space when open than DWs of the past. (Are you including a DW? I don't see one in your space.)

Additionally, 36" isn't an adequate aisle by the fridge because that's just barely more than the depth of the fridge. That will make it hard to move the fridge in and out of the space without damaging counters.

Now if you were to go with a counter-depth fridge, you'd gain a few inches (about 31" with handles vs 35" with handles). Built-in fridges may be as deep as 27" with handles, give or take. Integrated fridges will be shallower still.

BUT that's still not enough if you want to have seating along the long side of the island. The island would need to be at least 40.5" wide (25.5" for 24" deep cab + counter overhang and 15" seating overhang) plus the additional aisle space required for seating (44" is recommended).

Your plan needs work. In order to help you better, we need more info from you.

We need to know what size fridge you intend to purchase because that will affect lay-out suggestions. We also need to know what size oven or ovens you're buying, if you plan on including a DW, if you want a MW and we need to know the dimensions of the (very cool!) O & M stove.

We also need to know more about you and who else lives there? Do you enterta1n? Have children? Who cooks? More than one cook? Etc. See the sticky thread at the top of the forum page. Oh, wait, scratch that. That thread isn't nearly as useful as the one buehl started (see link below).

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

This post was edited by lisa_a on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 1:32

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Thanks for the quick replies!

I am posting a new layout, much bigger, so this should be easier to see. But don't pay too much attention necessarily to the placement of the appliances, as this is what our builder drew up. We definitely don't want the wall ovens beside the fridge. Also, the SO says she really wants counter/cabinet space on either side of the fridge, though I'm wondering if it's better to have the fridge flush with the wall, and just a longer counter run on the one side of it? It's basically either 36" fridge plus 2'10" of counter/cabinet, or say +/-15" counter/cabinet, 36" fridge, +/-19" counter/cabinet.

I also talked to my builder this morning, and I think we've figured it out so that we can just make it work (we're going to cheat some space from inside walls). So it is now going to be much closer to 14 feet, maybe just an inch or so less.

Also, I think we are going to go with just one window on the rear wall, over the sink. My builder thought that putting the two together there would just eat up too much space on that wall, it'd be 90+" with trim and everything, on 9.5 feet of wall (to the corner, it's about 11.5 total), and I think he's correct. So we may keep a window on the wall where the stove is going, or we may just eliminate it entirely (just have some high, eyebrow-type windows, as the ceiling is actually going to be closer to 12 feet, certainly over 11).

We are going to go with a counter-depth fridge (would love to do a built-in or integrated, but that's just not in the cards), so that will help. And since we're doing custom cabinets, I figured we can make the counters slightly shallower, so here's where I'm at:

168" wall to wall
23.5" sink counter (we are including a dishwasher there, but I am going to try to set that even a bit more into the wall)
28" counter-depth fridge counter
80" two aisles at a more comfortable 40" each
36.5" for island

Now to answer your other questions - in terms of oven, we are going to go with double wall ovens (because as I think I said, the O & M oven is essentially useless), we're thinking standard size, which I guess is 30"? And the O & M is 36" wide, so a bit bigger than standard stoves today, but it's not one of those huge old ones.

I do want a MW (the SO says she could live without it, but I can't imagine), so do need to figure that out. I'm thinking that if we do do the fridge flush with the wall, no counter space on the right of it, then to the left of it would be a good place for the MW.

I did read these various guides before posting, I'm sorry if it did not appear so (I posted in a hurry). As for the use of the kitchen, right now it is just the two of us, though that could change in the future (or it may not). We do like to entertain, but we can also be serious about not letting everyone congregate in the kitchen. It's really a one cook kitchen, I like to dabble, but she's the trained chef.

Other questions?

Thanks so much again! So appreciate the feedback, and hope to hear from others.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:44PM
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