layout for review

young-gardenerJuly 8, 2014

We could use some feedback on our kitchen plan. Many thanks to all of you who've helped me get this far!!

For reference:

We are a family of three, with number 4 due in a few weeks. Our son is 1 1/2. We plan to be in this home for a while (and are just preparing to move into it.)

In terms of room structure, the plan reflects the addition of three new windows. On the wall to the right of the range is a doorway to the laundry room.

We don't have a typical "enter through the kitchen" house as our garage is in the basement and the stairs don't lead into the kitchen. On that note, I want to avoid any "drop zones." If we need one, it will be out of the kitchen (mud space in basement or laundry room adjacent if DH needs an upstairs spot).

I'll attach a rough map of the parts of the house nearest the kitchen, to give you an idea of the flow. (Please ignore my chicken scratch measurement notes. We're making some changes so the wall numbers aren't right on there like they are on the kitchen plan. I was just too lazy to draw up a clean copy.)

Layout notes:

I'm planning to store everyday dishes in the hutch directly across from the dishwasher for easy unloading. DW is on the end so it's closest to where we will enter with dirty dishes.

Pots/pans will go in the units on each side of the range.

Sink is shown as a double with an offset sink but will not be set up that way. I've considered having the sink cabinet pulled out a smidge.

Baking zone is to the left of the fridge and will be pulled out to 30" deep. I'm planning to make the base cabinet to the left of fridge drawers instead of pullouts, even though I love the look of the doors. Obviously, there's a spacing issue going on with the open shelves, so I need to have that addressed.

Stools for my little helpers will be stored under the baking table.

Uppers have taken on extra depth as well (15" for the single cabinet and 18" for the hutch toppers).

Knobs and pulls were just randomly assigned by the designer who put the plan into the program. Same goes for the counters.

There is a pantry just inside the laundry room, and we will have about 6 feet of cabinetry/counter in there, as well, dedicated to "now & then" kitchen stuff.

Additional Issues to think on:

DH thinks we should combine the two windows on the left (large one and one on left of range) and have just one.

He also thinks I should flip flop the baking zone and hutch. I explained the functionality behind why I put them where they are, but he said, "It's only a few steps." He feels that the lowered baking table will just be a desk and so it should be near the breakfast room. I can't stand having desk space in my kitchen, so I'd like to avoid anything that would invite that. ;)

Thoughts on design, flow/functionality, the above issues, or others?

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Wow - there is a lot I love about your kitchen, in the style, its balance and some details. In fact, I prefer the balance you have now of the two windows left of stove staying separate - how the stove is centered between to matching windows and how the picture window is centered over the sink.

I also like how with it being a long walls how its somewhat separated into the picture window sink and the pair of windows with stove. Hard to explain but just seems to make them somewhat defined areas.

Like the stove with windows at the side- dont see that every day and looks great. Cant tell if theyre stationary but if so, would consider double hung- Id have them open in spring / summer when cooking.

Your work triangle seems highly functional and love the cabinet across from it. That style where it looks like a hutch but specifically where the top half is indented back (and the touch of drawers at base of top half). Kudos on the location with the DW - my current townhouse DW is at end of a island, requires trips to get to cabinets.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:21AM
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The dining room seems way too far from kitchen, especially when to bring food to the dining room, you have to bring it thru the breakfast area, the library and the living room. I'd think you'd want it somewhat adjacent to the kitchen.

The library I wouldnt think to have right outside the breakfast nook / kitchen unless its a more of a TV room. Homes Ive known with library or study have them noticeably away from the activity of the kitchen, usually off from the living room (like where youve the dining area).

Also would want kitchen having another entry to the family room also without having to go thru breakfast / library.

No offense because I did the same thing but your rooms seem kind of box-y like how the kitchen is same width of breakfast and laundry. My architect adjusted my rooms to be more proportional (although I kept my crazy big master bath :D). I would enlarge kitchen by pushing fridge wall in towards living room which looks like it could spare i. A galley kitchen can be much more manageable for more than one person working in it with some extra space between both sides of it.

Have you considered how you will use all the space of the living room. You might find you dont need it quite so large and can expand certain adjacent rooms (like kitchen I mentioned). Or not but dont find out like me afterwards your not happy with area to manage furniture within.

Just some thoughts

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:56AM
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Jaynes is right about the placement of the dining room. It should be flipped with the library. It doesn't matter how you use the house, though. That is, if you furnish it that way, and like it, fine. But while you're remodeling, do make sure that the library could be furnished as a functional dining room (that is, go easy on the built-in shelves and cabinets. I was going to get built-ins for my library, balked at the price, and had a friend who knew the shelving at Plummer's design the library perfectly from them. My longed for window seat is supposed to be a TV cabinet from the old days. Friend said, "If it'll hold a 300 lb. TV, it'll hold a couple of people!".) You said you'd be there for "awhile", not "forever", and even in a forever house, sometimes life changes fast and you have to sell unexpectedly.

The floorplan actually calls for a door into the kitchen from the family room, too, but that would limit your kitchen, and is a good trade-off.

The kitchen itself looks functional, but light on storage. There's a lot of dish hutch, and no pantry. Can you put some pantry storage in your laundry room?

Big burning question: How will groceries get into the house? Are you really going to bring all the perishables up the stairs with a toddler and an infant? Get delivery? Have full time help? Or is there a level parking spot outside of the garage? Perhaps you will have a high quality fridge/freezer in the garage just for stashing the groceries in while you get the kids? Even if there's a dumbwaiter, it's only useful if there's an adult on each end, and usually the one with the kids is the one doing the shopping. What happens when there's a big toddler and a little toddler? In five years, if you're done, they can both be helpers, but you need a strategy for now. Everyone I've known who had a basement garage and babies had live in help!

Then, at the top of the stairs, there's a bit of a maze to get to the kitchen. Speaking of which, have you considered putting in a passthrough window into the family room over the baking table? It can be under your eye level shelf. Through which you can keep an eye on the kids from the kitchen. And if it's openable, you can also set things out for viewing parties (I'm assuming that's where the TV is) and other kinds of gatherings. You could even give the baking table double duty as a bar for adult parties. I think it would help a lot. You have something shown there in the FR, but I think it would make the house function a lot better, and maybe that can move. Or you can do the swap with the hutch that your husband wants.

In general I agree with you about the baking area. If it's for baking you don't want junk piling up there. OTOH, you have no landing space for groceries either. You can just keep a basket to dump anything inappropriate that is on the baking counter in and move it to the proper landing area. Or hide it. :) Best strategy is to sweetly say, "Will you please put our stuff where it belongs so I can use the counter?" Taking credit for it takes away the sting, and they eventually learn, unless they're consciously intransigent.

I do agree with your husband about the windows. What you have drawn looks like you took down a wall in between the big window and the little window. Either make a series of little windows all the same size, or one big one and a little one on the far side of the range.

This is all picayune stuff. The kitchen looks like it'll function fine, and it's pretty.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:40AM
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Hi, gang! A bit behind on messages (here and on the related posts)...busy getting ready for the move.

Thank you for all of the feedback! It's so helpful to hear different perspectives.

First up, let me just say how MUCH I wish I could throw many of your ideas into action! (Sadly, there are some structural things I'm having to work around...notes on those to follow.)

A couple of quick notes that will catch several of the ideas you had at once:

Regarding the house: It's not new construction (rats!) but rather a 1980 "ranch" that looks like a story and a half from the street. I'll post some shots of that and the garage situation. So, I'm a bit stuck when it comes to major shapes/layout.

Regarding the remodel in general: Our budget is super small given what we had to pay in order to live close to DH's office. The kitchen is going to be a tight, tight squeeze. Pretty much, it's "do as much as I can in there and hold off on the rest." ie, live with the outdated bathrooms, need for a backyard clearing, older windows, etc. for a good while.

Regarding the wall to the living room: Yes, we'd love to open it. BUT, both structurally and financially, we can't. The fireplace is on that wall. Ideally, the kitchen would be much more open. That's why we're taking out as much of the breakfast room wall as possible.

Entertaining: Yes, we'd love more connection between the spaces. Sigh. I've been trying to work out somewhere to have a place to put out food for such events. I know I can fit one somewhere! Other than that, we only eat at the table. And, believe it or not, we don't have a tv. (I know, I know, we're so strange. haha!)

The dining room: You are right. It is a strange, strange place to put it. In real life, the library is the home's dining room. For a few years, we aren't going to use it that way. It's being setup as a library so the little ones have a place nearby to play/read/etc. (We'll be homeschooling, so that's a factor, too.) I've drawn up builtins to flank the window in there, but they are hutch style for when it reverts back to a DR. Why the sunroom for dining? Most nights, DH isn't home in time to see our little one before bed, let alone dinner. So, a huge % of our meals will happen in the breakfast room, just me and the littles. I'm investing in a cute butler's cart for the night's when we are blessed enough to sit around the table in the sunroom and eat, then hang out while we watch the kids play in the sandbox on the porch or in the yard. It's odd, but for the short term, it makes the most sense for us. We'll see in real life, right?? :)

Regarding the garage and groceries: Yup, it is what it is. Boo. When we were house shopping, the realtor had us make a wish list. Mine included the comment: "Driveunder garages are a deal breaker for me." Well, if I didn't ever eat my words. DH says it's "no big deal" and will work out great. As the baby lugger, I know it's going to be tough for a good number of years. But, something had to give in order to get into the area where we needed to be. And, the garage it was. As for the basement: YES, there will be a fridge (ours is nice but too deep for a galley kitchen) and hopefully a deep freeze, too. So, I won't have as much to haul upstairs. The plan is that only the "use it soon" stuff will head on upstairs. There's also a huge unfinished room where I could put extra cans and whatnot to rotate into the upstairs pantry, if need be, though I don't think it'll end up that way. We use very little packaged food.

Pantry: Yes, there is an existing pantry in the laundry room. It's not huge, but based on our food usage, it should do nicely for our dry goods. Most of my dry goods are kept in glass jars (beans, rice, flours, oats, bran), which I also have slotted some open shelving for in both kitchen and laundry. I need to double count my jars when we unpack and make sure I've calculated enough linear feet for them. I like them out in a single row instead of on deep shelves. Cans? We tend to have ten or less around the house at a time, unless there is some crazy sale on something I think might be convenient.

Ok, I think that covers the things that were mentioned in both posts. Now on to the other stuff....

Pllog- Thank you for the feedback! I like the way you phrased the junk response and will be trying that (as I sit here and look at the pile of junk on the raised bar of our rental. haha!) Grocery landing space. Hm. I'll have to think on that. The table would be a tight place. And, there's not much space to the left of the sink. Perhaps it would be wise to store my butler's cart nearish to my point of entry from the stairs so I can dump and roll. Windows: It sounds like we need to try drawing it up several ways and see what looks right. The initial goal was to have balancing windows on each side of the range. But, if it's going to look like a mistake, that wouldn't really make sense. :) As for hired help: YES, PLEASE!!! Ah, wouldn't THAT be something!! I'm already stressing over how I'll find time to clean this place. We're going from 1700 sqft to 2800, as well as gaining a basement. I'm a bit worried since I'm also adding a baby at the same time. I've already warned DH that I'll be grocery shopping nights/weekends while he keeps the little ones so it will be more efficient. Luckily, he's excited about that. HA! We'll see how it goes... How long will we be here? That IS the question. DH has trouble "committing" mentally but also isn't one to uproot. So, odds are *really* good that the kids will finish school here, but one never really knows. So, I dare not say "forever" lest I jinx us. :) Will check out Plummers...hadn't heard of them. Thanks!

Jaynes- Thank you for all of your notes! Another entry for the kitchen would be grand. Alas....fireplace. I'd love to have a big open kitchen. Maybe someday. :) Boxy- Agreed! The original owners (only owners, now in their 90's) had it built. He was a builder, actually. I guess it suited them. But, I like a bit more in and out to my rooms. I guess things were different in 1980. I do wonder the same thing as you about the living room. It seems so large. I've been struggling with how to furnish it correctly so that it doesn't feel cavernous...while still not blocking the passageway to the sunroom. Will post a photo to give you an idea of what's happening on that wall the prevents bumping the kitchen into this space...

Here are some pictures to help with thinking through the grocery conundrum.

Front: could park at base of walkway, but it's still a hike up the hill....would end up having to either tote kids up first and put them upstairs or leave them waiting while I pile everything on the porch (which isn't really an option, honestly).

Current plan: have playroom and fridge in basement. Kids go in first, then groceries. Any moms out there who can help me come up with a plan that will work??

Kind of hard to see, but drive is on the right...

Rear: There's a door inside the 2 car garage which puts you in the mudroom. The stairs sit between the mudroom and play room.

Living Room fireplace wall that backs up to kitchen/laundry:

Temporary Library (originally the dining room, a bit tight for how we plan to use our dining room at the moment which is to say that it will be mostly for larger gatherings):

Pantry is just to the left, through the doorway shown:

I'll see if I can find the drawings for the library/dining built ins. You all likely have some great suggestions for keeping them multipurpose.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:53PM
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junco East Georgia zone 8a

Would it be possible to make a door between laundry room and family room? to the right of the fireplace/shelves?
That would help with access and circulation.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:27PM
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I think you will have a really nice kitchen.

I would match all the windows on the sink wall as closely as possible. I would leave the three in the bay as is, put three in front of the sink, and then one to right of the stove, 7 windows.

I love your outside. It's rare to have so much mature landscaping. Your house is a keeper.

If it's any consolation, I've packed our groceries 50 feet across the back yard from our detached garage for over 17 years. It hasn't killed me yet. Your kids will be too young to help for such a short time. I don't think packing your groceries is worth fretting about.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:08PM
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junco- Good idea. I'm headed to the house tomorrow to meet with an electrician, so I'll take time to check that out. I have a feeling it will fall right where the washer/dryer hookups are, but that's not to say they can't be moved (it would just be at the expense of my folding counter and laundry basket storage).

rmtdoug- Thanks for the window suggestion. I'm going to attempt to mock that up and see if it works better for DH. He had mentioned doing a big divided set. I don't recall what the designer set for the dimensions of the ones she plugged in. But, we're slated to go look at windows soon. Most of the ones I see online that are "big" windows are really sets of smaller windows. And, thank you, too, for the Momma advice. Having a garage is an upgrade for us. I packed the groceries through the rainy yard with baby in tow at our last house. ;)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Sophie Wheeler

What you have isn't unlivable. I'd live with it for a while to be able to save enough money to do American made cabinets rather than the Chinese Cliq. Also, on a budget, the 36'' range would be one of the first cuts to make in favor of a 30''.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:52PM
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Sounds like you cook from scratch a lot, so I wouldnt ditch the 36 for 30 unless you have to. I just went from 30 to 39 and it is so much easier to fit my large pots and pans. As for how to unpack with kids. Before mine could unclip themselves, I just left them locked in their carseats. They would frequently be asleep from the drive, and it kept them safe and out of trouble while unloading. It looks like you have a pretty private drive so that might be an option, or can you pull into garage and close door while unloading if you are concerned about someone stealing car while unattended? (Sorry, but something to think about unfortunately.) lovely house! Congratulations!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:24PM
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hollysprings- Thanks for the suggestions! Waiting is definitely a consideration over here. I keep telling DH that I can keep it for awhile if we can just open the breakfast room wall and take down some of those heavy uppers. We just lived through a 2 year kitchen remodel though, so he's anxious to get it over with. In a perfect world, we'd do it before we even moved in. But, the baby isn't going to wait for a kitchen remodel. Ha! (32 weeks tomorrow) We went back and forth on the range, but I ultimately decided that I'd rather have the functionality of the bigger range over bells and whistles in other places. We're going more basic on all of the other appliances. And, much to DH's horror, I don't want SS. ;) But, yes to the waiting. I keep showing him pictures of little things I could do to make it brighter as we wait. (One of the main reasons for the push is because we would have the kitchen floor laid at the same time as the rest of the rooms which are converting from carpet to wood, making the whole house consistent.)

OOTM_M- Thank you for the input! Space on the range top is a concern for me. It often feels like I spend the majority of my day (ok, so maybe I do) cooking. If only lovely white ranges weren't so hard to find in a 36! I'd love the triple oven Aga Legacy but.....I can get something else for less. And so it goes. I do think we have room to close the door with the car inside, though I haven't tried it yet. I've made a practice of not leaving him in the car without me though. It gets pretty toasty in ATL and we don't have rear vents (now that's been fun!) But, it IS doable certain times of year! I sure hope car stealing wouldn't be an issue...but, I'm pretty new to the area, too. :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:02PM
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AGA intrigued me at first, but once I saw a Lacanche, I was done....

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:20PM
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You definitely have your priorities in the right place, especially the waiting. Remodeling on a deadline to move and deliver a baby does not sound good.

Since you're knocking together the breakfast area and dining room to make the library, I suggest that you put a nice library table in there that can double for family dining. Put a small table, like game sized (with leaves available) in the sunroom for sunny family dinners. For entertaining lots of family (I have dozens), design your living room so that furniture can be moved easily, and get banquet tables, and even easier if you rent (I get tables, chairs and table cloths, and considering I don't have to clean or store them, the price is surprisingly reasonable). If that doesn't work for you, the newer, plastic banquet tables are light enough to bring up from the basement. Some of the excess furniture might go in the sunroom. If you're having a buffet, you can put it out on a table in the library (even if you don't usually keep a table there).

So, no football games? You're lucky! I don't mind them so much, but the arguments over what channel might have another game and shifting through the numbers, when there's a whole roomful of people who would like to converse is something that makes me nuts. :) I thought the fireplace on your plan was an entertainment center. :) I do get why you can't break through the bookshelves to put in a passthrough. :) Your library setup will work well for minding the kids when they're small. Near term, you might want to make the breakfast area a playspace, and put the table in the library.

Knowing you have all that storage space in the basement relieves me. It's the best option. Put anything frozen in the basement freezer,

My house is up a flight of stairs from the garage, out front, but it's broken into three parts, with path in between. And no little kids. The previous owner's wife insisted on moving because of the kids. I have a freezer in the garage since my remodel, and it makes things so much easier, to stash the frozen and take other stuff up, leaving paper, cleaning and staples in the car for later. Since you also have a fridge, you can stash the heavy and delicate things, like milk and eggs, and things you just don't need right away. Agreed with OOTM that the safest place for the babies while you do the stashing is in their car seats if you're right there.

Being able to stash the groceries and keep an eye on the kids is sufficient. Getting the groceries upstairs can mostly wait until there's a spare adult. :) But I had this vision. A pulley system with hooks, high enough, or to the side enough, not to hit heads, but low/close enough to reach. Then you could hang grocery totes on the hooks and pull them up the stairs. :) Hillbilly dumbwaiter?

Yes, yes, yes to the cart at the top of the stairs!

Re ranges, I wouldn't skimp there!! The difference between meh cooking equipment and good (or big enough) is SO huge! Who cares about the floor matching? Vinyl is very functional. Spend it on the range!

Re pantry, it sounds like you have that well thought through. Just be sure to keep your jars high. I use polycarbonate because I drop them! The layout makes more sense now that I know that some of that display space is for your pantry jars. :) That'll look really pretty too.

Seeing the pictures, I think your best bet for the windows would actually be a series of double hung windows like the others around the house, unless you were planning to change them too.

It's a lovely house.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:58PM
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