Kitchen Layout Help?

sapphireriverJuly 13, 2013

We are buying a house that a nice big kitchen, but really needs updating. The basic layout seems okay to me, but I'm willing to change it too. I'd like to use the existing cabinets and just replace the doors. I also want to replace all the appliances, the countertops and probably new floors. We will be also be removing some interior walls that I've labeled in my pictures. This will make the kitchen and the dining room one large room.

I cook a lot from scratch and have two young children who are mainly underfoot right now, but hopefully will be helping me in the kitchen once they get older. I like pretty things, but I'm very much a function over form person (form follows function!). I'm tired of cooking in cramped, badly functioning kitchens.

I'd like a large pantry, but could use the utility room for some of that. I really want a lot of counterspace. The island needs to be big enough to sit at. I'd love a double oven, large range and a utility sink in addition to a single bowl farmhouse sink but am willing to compromise on those. I'd like soapstone or maybe granite countertops and white shaker style cabinets. I want a hood over the range, which means the microwave will need to go somewhere else. The range should probably stay in it's current location as there is already an outside vent there.

I'll put in this post the current layout, the rough proposed layout and a basic picture of how it looks now, but if you want to see more pictures of the kitchen, I have a lot.

Also, I have a Houzz kitchen ideabook.

What do y'all think? Should anything be rearranged? And what should go on the other side of the fridge where there is currently the desk and bookshelf/cabinet that you can see in the bottom picture?

This post was edited by annica on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 23:09

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I would close off the door to the balcony and put french doors out from the living room (former dining room) instead. Then I'd move the fridge to the other side of the sink (by the former door to the balcony) and move the range down to the other wall, where the fridge used to be. This would give you lots of prep space between the sink and range and you could add a baking area, under the little window.

I'd put a vent over the range (since it's still an outside wall) and move the microwave to the island or on the other side of the little window, if there's room. Hope that helps :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 4:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd leave the door to the balcony if you will be grilling out there. Move the door though, so it doesn't impact the cabeint flow on the right. If you won't grill out there, get rid of the door.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The house is made out of cement blocks so doing anything to the outside walls would be difficult. We could fill in the door to the balcony from the kitchen, but we will be grilling on the balcony, so it's nice to have there. There is a door to the balcony from the living room area though it looks like a window in the layout. You can see more of that side of the kitchen below. Maybe move the refrigerator to where the pantry is currently?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anyone else?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While you are waiting for responses check out the "new to kitchens" thread posted by buehl.

Here is a link that might be useful: new to kitchens

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is another recent thread on how to get more responses.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to get more reponses.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Current layout...while this layout isn't horrible, it could certainly use some help.

Biggest issues I have with it:

  • Where you need counterspace, it's sorely lacking (b/w the sink and range)

  • The counterspace that does exist is located where it's not needed and almost useless

  • OTR MW - you have plenty of space for a true hood and better MW

  • The congestion at the door

However, you state:

"...I'd like to use the existing cabinets and just replace the doors..."

Yet you also state:

"...I'm tired of cooking in cramped, badly functioning kitchens...."

Doing much about the layout to eliminate the cramped Prep Zone that currently exists will be difficult if you cannot change the cabinets. An island with a sink will help....

Another thing to think about: If you are replacing the flooring, it's best to put the flooring under the cabinets as well (unless it's a floating floor) for a variety of reasons...
(1) To keep the flooring level with the bottom of the cabinets and appliances
(2) To not trap your appliances in their space
(3) So when you look under the range or DW you see the same flooring as the rest of the kitchen
(4) So you don't lock yourself into this layout "forever" b/c you replaced the flooring with the existing cabinets in-place where they are now.


  • What condition are the cabinets in?

  • Are they worth saving?

  • Are they worth spending $$$$ on countertops and flooring that will be specific to the existing layout/cabinets?

  • Will the cabinets "go" with the expensive countertop or will they stick out like a sore thumb?

  • The countertop materials you're looking at, especially soapstone, can be quite expensive - putting them on the existing cabinets can be a huge waste of money if you decide to upgrade the cabinetry won't be able to re-use the counters.

I'm not being insulting - I'm trying to get you to think about what you're doing. I'll be honest...based on the pictures in your album, they look like low-level builder-grade cabinets that will look worse once you upgrade everything else. In addition, the functionality of the cabinets is not up-to-date. Drawers or, at least, roll out tray shelves are far more functional than these cabinets as would a few "specialty" cabinets like a trash pullout (2 bins - one for trash & one for recyclables).

Buying a new home is an exciting (and expensive) endeavor for most people. We often don't think through all our decisions when contemplating making it "our own" - especially when we are considering remodeling it right away.

IMHO, if you're going to spend $$$$ on new countertops and new flooring, I would also get new cabinets to fix the layout problems. If it's a matter of budget - I think you would be better served to move in and work in the kitchen for a while to (1) see what actually does work and what doesn't and (2) give you time to save enough money to also replace the cabinets.

In fact, even if you can afford new...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah, you have a lot of good points. I just know that cabinets are usually very expensive and I didn't want to spend money if the existing cabinets would work. However, when I remodel I do want to do it right. If I were to scrap the cabinets and so be basically starting from scratch, what would a good layout for this space?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 11:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remodeling a kitchen or designing a new one needs a great deal of planning. The kitchen is one of the most important areas in the home, so you would want to make sure that you end up building one that's both aesthetically beautiful and fully-functional. There are many different factors to consider when designing a kitchen, but before anything else, you would want to look for an inspiration first on how you're going to build and design it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Reverse the kitchen and dining zone in your plan...the entry onto balcony as part of dining ambience would be appealing and high value....analyze the whole property some more....Where is the garage, and the day to day entry/exit? Regarding the balcony--have you thought of extending it along the whole right side of the house-[get closer to deck usage rather than balcony only]....along with dining zone over there-big upgrade!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 7:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah, I did think about making the balcony bigger. It would be nice if it were extended. The garage is the basement, which you get to by the stairs in the utility room. The day to day entry/exit is either through basement/utility room or through the door that is next the utility room. It looks kind of like a window in the layout, the door part is hard to see.
There is actually a porch off the back of the house that's not shown, so the proposed dining room has outdoor access as well.

As for inspiration, I really like the farmhouse kitchen look. This is pretty close to the look I'm going for

Traditional Kitchen by Excelsior Design-Build Firms Lake Country Builders

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love the windows! If you want that look, though, you will need to consider moving and/or adding more windows and that means exterior wall changes. Previously, you seemed resistant to that idea b/c of the cement blocks. Has that changed?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a question regarding the measurements - which are correct? The kitchen-only measurements or the overall?

The sink wall on the Kitchen-only pic measures just shy of 13' (39" + 30" + 86" = 155" = 12'11"). That same wall on the overall pic is shown as 16'0" long - which is correct?

As far as measurements are concerned, it's more helpful to have the lengths of each wall/window/door/doorway and the distances b/w each wall/window/door/doorway. Measurements using appliances and cabinets are not very accurate. So, if you could post a layout with the wall/window/door/doorway measurements, it would help a lot!

For more information, see the "Layout Help" topic in the Read Me thread or the Kitchen FAQs. (A new Read Me thread will be started momentarily!)


If you are considering changing windows - would you consider closing up the one that's to the left of the refrigerator? Your options increase if you're willing to do that...

HerbFlavor's idea of switching the Dining Room and Kitchen (as you propose them) has merit. It would put the entry where you bring in groceries much closer to the kitchen. I would move the LR doorway, though, to the right at least 30" (more if you want an "L"). However, if you grill on the Balcony, the current kitchen location is better for that.

Are there two exterior doors in the DR or one plus a window?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New Read Me thread!

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

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like your inspiration picture! Why not use that for a starting off point for your plan?

The white cabinets and black (granite?) and wood counter tops will look wonderful. What if you leave the sink and dishwasher 'as is' but move the range over to the other wall (as in your picture). Close off the small window entirely (as already mentioned) and move the fridge to the end of that run of cabinets. So you'd have have fridge, prep space, range, counter top, corner, trash, sink, dishwasher. You could keep the microwave over the range or put it in the island.

As for the island, I'd turn it 90 degrees and put a prep sink (if possible) on the end nearest to the fridge. This would give you a lovely work area, away from the clean up area of the main sink. It would also provide a space for stools and a divider between your work area and the living room.

You could use the wood/butcher block counter top on the island or mix it in with the black granite, as in the picture. If there's room with the stools, you could have a nice hutch or pantry area, where you have the free-standing pantry now.

I don't know if you can do this, but a few more possibilities....add french doors or slider in the dining room and open up the doorways, into the living room. Even with a load bearing wall, you can widen doorways, just a lot harder to remove the entire wall. From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since the dimensions on the Kitchen closeup do not match on the overall pic, is it possible to get the following dimensions? Unless the overall is correct and to-scale...if it is, we can "count boxes" to get the dimensions - although some people may not want to have to do that... It would really be better if you could post the dimensions identified below.

And...let us know if there is any possibility of moving doors and/or windows or adding windows.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry to just be getting back to y'all. Thank you for all the replies. The measurements in the overall layout are from the real estate listing. The measurements of just the kitchen are from myself walking around with a tape measure. There is a small inset from the balcony into the kitchen (you can see it to the right of the balcony door and above the pantry) but it's not 3 feet. So... I don't know. Since we don't own the house yet, I'm afraid I can't get better measurements right now. At this point, it may be another two weeks or so until I'm in the house again. When I am in the house again, I will definitely do my best to get good, accurate measurements though.

I like windows, so I'm reluctant to remove the existing windows and while I'd love to add windows, I worry about the cost and difficulty of adding them since this is a concrete masonry unit house and not a frame house. This style of construction is very uncommon in upstate SC where we live.

Lavendar, I like your overall layout (especially the prep sink!) though I dislike losing a window. I was playing with idea of moving the main cleanup sink under the small window and the oven left in the existing location, but then I'm not sure where to put the fridge. And would it look odd to put the sink under the small window and just have counterspace under the double window?

HerbFlavor and Buehl, swapping the proposed dining room and the kitchen could work, but would it be odd to have everyone enter through the kitchen? It's technically the back of the house, but it functions like the front of the house because that's where all the parking is. I feel like if that's going to be the main entry for everyone, not just us, then it should have some sort of entry area which would seem to fit better in a dining area than a kitchen.

This post was edited by annica on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 14:13

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What if you keep the window and move the fridge down just a bit (in plan above) and have a counter height window over your prep area? That would be between the fridge and range, but you would have lots of light.

For the dining room, what if you keep the door (maybe a single french door?) and put a bench between the door and fridge. That would give you an entry area and a place to take off boots or shoes, without cluttering up the dining space.

Glad you like the prep sink :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, and I did read the new to kitchens thread. Am I missing something? I did try to follow the directions...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lavender, that could work well... Having a window over the prep area would be nice.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was referring to the measurements information. Measuring based on appliance sizes is not very accurate. Plus, I was pointing out that we really need measurements such as the distance b/w the corner and the window or b/w the and the doorways, etc. The distance b/w appliances and corners and the like aren't as useful when starting from scratch like I was trying to do.

Add that to the fact that your closeup isn't drawn to scale and the overall is obviously very wrong (shame on the realtor!) and that means we can't really cut & past and assume the sizes of things will be correct relative to the floor plan.

Back to the "drawing board" to see what else can be done...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is there a front door that guests would naturally gravitate to when entering your home? Or, is it too difficult to get from the parking area to the front door?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok. Sorry about the measurements not being very good. When I'm at the house next, I will bring a printout of your alphabetized measurements needed picture posted above and write those down.

There is a front door, but as it is currently no guests would use it as its access is blocked by a handicap ramp and it's not obvious which side of the house is the front as it's the side of the house that faces the road. The handicap ramp will not be staying, but I think we'll have to do something more than that to get people to go to the front door. We've been playing with the idea of making the current back of the house the front of the house since that's where the parking and most obvious entrance is.

This post was edited by annica on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 21:46

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

*sigh* The house tested high for radon. The sellers are refusing to install a mitigation system, so we're backing out.

Well, if we find another fixer upper, I know how to measure now. Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Annica- Don't worry! There really is another (better) house out there, waiting for you. It's good that you found out now about the radon...thank goodness for home inspections!

I look forward to seeing your next kitchen...and I know you'll find a house that's just right (and safe) for you and your family :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:20PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
Crack in Quartz countertop
I purchased my Quartz countertop 7 months ago and I...
Silestone Lagoon... Which one is the real deal????
I am experiencing the typical paralysis by analysis...
Anna Pensgen
Dishwasher in white, black or panel??
My 17 year old dishwasher needs to be replaced. It...
Anyone have Cambria Seagrove? Or Summerhill?
I have been GW lots lately trying to decide on countertops....
Lily Spider
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™