Layout help/comments, please

PaintAnythingJuly 12, 2013

We're buying a new house later this month. Before we move in, we're removing a wall in the kitchen to allow a view of the water. :)

There are two sections of bearing wall outside the kitchen area that will remain in place. Because they will frame the view of the water, my inclination is to center the island between them.

In addition, there won't be a lot of space for upper cabinets, so I'd like to keep the existing 16" deep pantry on the left wall if possible.

I've sketched a plan that seems to make the most sense, but I'd appreciate help tweaking the layout (or scrapping it altogether, if necessary!).



This post was edited by PaintAnything on Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 19:39

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I'm no layout guru like many here, but if you don't mind I will tell you what I don't like about this layout.....sorry....please feel free to dismiss any of the following:

1. Two pantries at opposite ends of the kitchen make no sense to me (the beans are in that pantry, no they're in that pantry). Also, the big pantry is taking up a lot of valuable real estate. I would relocate the double ovens and enlarge the smaller pantry in that corner.
2. I'm not a fan of cooktops on islands. I could be wrong, but to me they just seem like an accident waiting to happen. I would try to put the ovens and cooktop where the long pantry is on the left wall.
3. I would maybe flip flop the trash and DW with the idea that you do have uppers to the right of the sink and could unload at least some of your dishes/glassware into those cabinets.
4. I'm not sure what that is next to the ice, so can't comment on that yet.
5. Prep sink location does not make sense to me...I would put that on the island or ditch it altogether. And maybe tuck the wine fridge elsewhere (in that corner by the window or on the island)and use that wall for the fridge and then put more uppers and have more counter space on the sink run.

I'll be interested to see what others, way more experienced than me, come up with!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:50PM
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Meant to add...I know my plan makes for a big " triangle"... Just not sure how to avoid that in a large kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Please don't take this the wrong way, but when do you plan on asking advantage if that view? Seems like a lot of trouble to look out the window while at the cooktop, while you also need to watch the food! Prep will likely end up next to the sink since there is more room plus water (most time is sent prepping), cleanup will be at the sink, and guests are sitting with their back to the view!

If you can clarify what you are hoping to get with the new view in the kitchen, I think that will dictate what direction revisions need to go in.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Joanie and Williamsem,

Thanks for the feedback.

I've been reading GW for a long time, but Im new to posting here, and I wasn't sure if I should have explained more in my first post. I guess I should have! ;)

You both make good points, and if we were doing a major remodel, I'd do things somewhat differently. For now, though, we're doing a smaller budget remodel, (i.e. trying to keep a lot of the footprint and work around it) and my options are a bit limited.

Williamsem, the goals are:

1. Open up the floor plan. The wall that separates the kitchen from the rest of the living areas makes the kitchen dark and isolated, so getting rid of that wall is a major priority.

In addition, most of the back of the house is glass, so by removing that wall, we'll be able to see the water from the kitchen.

2. Create a functional family kitchen without a total gut of the space. We want to do a partial remodel now, then live in the space for a couple of years before doing a bigger remodel.

We're intentionally keeping some less-than-ideal parts of the space (cramped laundry area, door-banger hallway off the garage, etc.) for now, knowing that in a few years, we're likely to be undertaking a more extensive remodel.

I'm sorry I wasn't more clear in my first post; I wasn't sure how much detail to give.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Removing the wall to have water view is amazing and you will forever wish you'd turned the kitchen around at the same time.

You said this is a minor reno with a major coming in two years. It's unclear what your plans are. Are you planning to buy new cabinets and countertops now and then replace them in two years? If so, you will have spent a lot of money on the house that will never be recovered. Better to do a major overhaul once.

If you can't do the major reno now, my advice is to leave the kitchen as is until you are ready for the major overhaul. If it's horrible, you could freshen it up now with new hardware, inexpensive countertops, etc. as a way to hold you over until you're ready for the major.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:31AM
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The only way that I'd split this reno in half is if ONLY the structural changes were happening right now, as in removing ALL of that wall and the adjacent den wall and replacing it all with steel. And not touching the kitchen at all.

Two years will be here in no time. Leave well enough alone with the current kitchen until you can do it all at once. It's actually more expensive to try to do it in stages, and you have much less freedom in a layout to try to do it in stages.

Other than that, I agree with getting the cooking surface off of the island and putting it on the wall to the left. Cooking is only 10% of the time you spend in a kitchen, and you'd be spending a whole lot of money to open up to a view that you'd constantly have your back to.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Economic issues aside, I'm not sure PaintEverything would end up mostly working with her back to the people and view, even if two of the three points of a likely work triangle and a good counter are on the sink wall. The counter faces blank wall and has cabinets in the cook's face. A good place to throw together a couple sandwiches, maybe, but throwing together a beef stroganoff?

To me this design looks as if it works pretty well, PaintEverything, and seems to make sense in view of your desire to do a limited remodel for now. Regarding stoves in islands, there are 2 kinds of people: firmly opposed and just fine with them. As long as you're the latter... :)

I sort of regret people at the island turning their backs to others in the den, but it's nice anyway. Williamsen mentioned the view, but I suspect you have plenty of other seating facing that and it will be nice for the cook.

I'm wondering though---back to your mention of a "big triangle." You do actually have two, a quite nice natural triangle formed between the long side of the island and main counter and one sort of warping, or wrapping if you prefer, around the right side of the kitchen. I've had kitchens define where I will work before, not vice versa, and I'm wondering if the dynamics of the kitchen might keep you between the two long counters.

ITM, while you find out, maybe just erase the word prep by the side sink? I sort of doubt you'll develop a habit of walking around to it, but I could be wrong. It's not farther away so much as outside what would normally be the "messy" work area. Notice how if you draw lines from stove to fridge to prep sink that work triangle needs work, or as as Joanieponie says, doesn't seem to make sense?

If you did end up with your work triangle in standard position, the DW location would make especially good sense where it is because you could designate that side of the sink for clean.

Otherwise, my only real sticker is that the refrigerator ends the line of view from the dining room. That's fixable by covering the front with the same surface as the cabinets, of course. Or smile and live with it since you're anticipating a more conprehensive remodel some day.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Thanks, Rosie.

I agree that having the guests' backs to the water isn't ideal, but I'm not sure there are other feasible options -- short of losing a lot of storage (and having seating perpendicular to the sink or cooktop in the island).

You're right -- the extra sink is not a true "prep" sink, and I don't really envision using it as one. I only meant to indicate a small (extra) sink. We'd use it for coffee/beverages, as that area would be dh's wine and coffee area. :)

I'm adding a full house floor plan in a separate post, by way of further explanation for the way we're thinking about renovating.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Here is a mockup of the house's floor plan. Other than the wall noted as the one to be removed, any future kitchen renovation will *not* be likely to involve changing the remaining walls in the living/dining/den areas in any way. They'll stay as-is.

For now, as part of our "partial" remodel, we intend to reconfigure the existing slab cabinets to be used along the sink wall, because they're solid wood, well built and can be freshened up with paint and hardware.

We plan to buy new slab cabinets for the island and along the wall against the laundry room, and we'll be putting in new countertops throughout.

Does that make it clearer? :)


This post was edited by PaintAnything on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 11:31

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Oh, I wouldn't personally mind having having guests' backs to the water in that one area. As an appraiser in SoCal where 15' in height will gain a view and 50 a spectacular one, I saw far, far more properties err by over-exposing a view than design to maximize its beauty. Especially in the context of your house as a whole, it makes sense for people who come sit there to focus on the kitchen scene, maybe even glance out the kitchen window toward the neighorhood.

I love single-level courtyard houses. A friend in Ojai, California used to have one with a spectacular mountain view that was almost a mirror image of your layout. Hers had a truly massive mid-century mod fireplace thing in sort of an L+ between DRM/LRM/Enry, though. Except for the flue, you looked (barely if you were short) over the top of this thing. The contractor could have hidden the bodies of many enemies in there, just one theory of many about what the original thinking was.

(Edited to clean up various typos.)

This post was edited by rosie on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Its an interesting choice - what to trade off for which. The drawing is just the start of another one.

The other thing you could think about for the long term is trading around the den to the kitchen area, dining to den and kitchen to dining.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Bmore- I like your plan! I was thinking the same type of thing...but moving dining room to kitchen and kitchen/keeping room into dining/den. I don't think that's what OP wants, but it would sure take advantage of the view!

I don't know what the landscaping/view is like in the front, but putting in french doors to a courtyard in new dining room/former kitchen would be lovely.

Of course, it's always SO much easier to spend other people's money :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 2:08AM
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