Layout Suggestions - Please Help!

AdlithaAugust 17, 2013

I just bought a new house and am completely remodeling the kitchen and breakfast area. I'm planning to use Ikea cabinets (Abstrakt gloss white) and I was hoping for some suggestions on my layout. Here is a link to the plan in Ikea's Kitchen Planner: My Kitchen

Background: Its just me. On a normal weeknight, I stick to quick cooking meals, using the microwave or cooktop mostly, or maybe the crock pot once I have room to leave it out. I don't use the oven much, sometimes for cheesecake, or the occasional casserole. I do like to cook though, and tend to go more elaborate when I have the time, or someone to cook for. (I'm an avid Food Network fan.) When I have friends over, I'd like to have seating facing into the cooking area to socialize while I cook. This is my first house and I'm moving from an apartment, so pretty much anything is more storage and counter space than I have now. Convenience is primary.

Info about the plan:

I'm planning on a FP drawer dishwasher to the left of the sink. I have a 24" wide drawer there as a placeholder.

My biggest concern is actually the breakfast area. With the bar, I'm not sure that I have enough room for a table. And without a table, it seems like a lot of wasted space (which isn't exactly limited, but I don't want an awkward empty corner). I like the idea of the bar for socializing while I cook though. (The breakfast area is open to the family room is part of the traffic path from the back door/mudroom into the family room.) Any ideas for this space??

Also, I was planning on extending the counter (quartz) in front of the opening between the family room and breakfast area as a desk of sorts, open underneath, with a waterfall on the end. I'm not sure what kind of supports it would need though. There was a half wall here, which I've already removed. Suggestions?

Any other thoughts on the layout?

I hope that's enough information (and not too much).
Thanks in advance for the help!

Update: Here is a top down view of the layout for anyone without easy access to the Ikea Kitchen Planner. Thanks again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Plan in Ikea 3D Planner

This post was edited by Adlitha on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 0:35

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Hi! In order to see your kitchen plan, Ikea wants me to install their software. You might get more responses if you find a way to post the plan itself here and not just a link to it -- just a thought. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Sometimes its just easier to draw it out on graph paper, take a photo and post it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Sorry about the delay. Here is the top view with dimensions:

This post was edited by Adlitha on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 0:38

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:31AM
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A view of the wall facing toward the family room.

A couple of notes:
1. The left side is a desk area, open underneath.
2. The tall cabinet with the oven should have a microwave and oven stacked together.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Is that the range and hood on the peninsula? If so I don't think you would be able to add bar seating there too. Could you move it to the back wall instead? That would give a more open feel and a nice sitting area. I personally don't like the range by the seating area. Too much potential for accidents and not ever enough space to eat or spread out the paper and have coffee!
Just a n idea and good luck!!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 2:10AM
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Just another idea. I don't like having my back to people either, when I cook and I think Sdegraff is right...there isn't enough room for the range and stools. What about this...with counter added above stools.

From [Farmhouse plans](

View of range and prep sink...

From Farmhouse plans

Also, I'm not sure what openings are windows and what are doors, in your I would recommend a bench/banquette with a small table or two (kind of like cocktail party seating) for your guests, as well as the counter with stools. This way, they can sample your cooking/baking and relax with something to drink, while you cook :)

From Farmhouse plans

From [Farmhouse plans](
    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Those look really charming, Lavender.

Adlitha, you're not sure yet how you will be using the "breakfast area" space, which suggests you might dine elsewhere? But you do know you want friends with you as you cook, ergo some counter seating seems to have priority.

Of course, just because something's labeled "breakfast" room doesn't mean it's a room or has to be used for dining.

While you live with hit, how about putting a handsome little desk or writing table in front of your windows, wherever they are--flanked with a couple of side chairs for drinks, conversation, paperwork in the sunshine? The desk could be at a right angle to the windows, angled toward them or the kitchen, or facing them, whichever you like, or all in turn. It could move to the living room or a bedroom, or the front hall.

In other words, flexibility. Or, how about a pair of easy chairs sharing an ottoman in front of the windows for conversation?

I'm not crazy about building everything in. Your desk idea may be perfect for you, and the waterfall end does sound nice, but just for feedback, mine gets messier than I'd care for one used as a room divider. A chance to mess up two rooms in one view line? Also, I could find hundreds of pieces of furniture that I felt would add far more charm and character than an extension of the kitchen cabinets, and, of course, I would prefer not to bolt it into place protruding into the room. Just set it there and enjoy. Again, it's not my kitchen and I'm lacking your particular vision, so take it for what it's worth.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Thanks. Those are great suggestions.

Sdegraff: Yes, its a cooktop (induction) with hood at the peninsula. I was a bit concerned about the placement, but hadn't come up with a good alternative. I had planned to extend the counter over the bar stools though. Sorry I didn't get that into the drawing.

Lavender: I hadn't considered that placement for the stove or adding a second prep sink. I'll have to give that some more thought. It does seem like a better option for not having my backs to the guests. I'm not sure I want to give up the space for a prep sink, but maybe just a pot filler for the cooktop? There is already water over there for the fridge. I also lose the pantry in the corner, so I'll have to think about where that might go.

The two openings on the wall with the sink are windows. Everything else is a door. Clockwise from the window in the breakfast room the doors are: outside via the mudroom (with a half bath and an extra freezer), a small closet, and the big opening into the family room.

I love that first picture of the benches. I was thinking of something like that, but worried about space. Those small stools might be just the thing to tuck away and not interfere with the other seating so much.

Thanks again. : )

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Thanks Rosie. I like the idea of an actual desk in what I'm calling the "breakfast area". My main concern is the same as what you mentioned about the desk extension/room divider, except an actual desk would accumulate even more clutter. You are right though that if its furniture, it's more flexible and I can move it if I don't like it.

I'd actually envisioned using the "desk" (room divider) as a table of sorts, with seating on either side. But I'm sure it will act as a landing zone given its position on the path from the backdoor to the family room. My vision here might just be how I'm "fixing" what was there originally, which was a cabinet bank with countertop with a raised back and small ledge toward the family room side. (That ledge was probably to hide the clutter from the family room, but I figure that most of what will end up on the counter probably belongs in the family room anyway.)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:38PM
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If I understand your description...that's a window above the sink and next to it (breakfast area) so no doorways on the 'top' part of the kitchen? What if you did this? Stools at the counter (close to the family room) and a lounge/banquette area by the window?

From [Farmhouse plans](
    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 2:06PM
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I really like that layout, especially how it pulls the two spaces together to make it feel like one bigger room. As much as I hate admitting my laziness, my biggest concern here is the traffic path from the family room into the kitchen. For day to day use, I'm not going to want to walk around the bar to get to the kitchen. :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 2:38PM
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You kitchen is less than 12' deep, so I don't think you'll have too many extra steps (LOL) but only you know what you're willing to live with...of course, those extra steps mean a little less guilt after cheesecake :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Love the last layout!!! Well done lavender and you are right about the cheesecake guilt!!

I know you mentioned about having your back to guests while cooking. So I just wanted to mention thy in have found that most of then"cooking is prep" not standing at the stove, unless you are doing something fiddily that require constant stirring like Risotto!
Otherwise it is more likely to set and forget! Just checking occasionally! Just something to think about or pay attention to when you actually cook!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Thanks again everybody. These are some great suggestions.

Sdegraff, that's an excellant point about spending more time prepping than actually tending to food on the cooktop.

As far as having my back to people though, unfortunately, its worse than that. Its hard to think about standing there facing that direction. I would be constantly turning back and forth.

I think the placement on the wall toward the family room (on the lower edge of our drawings) is a good compromise, since I would only be turning 90 degrees each time the food needed tending.

Here's a current revision that I'm thinking about. It moves the cooktop (7) and peninsula to the lower wall, per lavender's suggestion. But I added back the pantry (9) in the corner and removed the prep sink. (I'm not sure I need one for a kitchen this small, and I really need a pantry.) I don't have an oven in the layout at the moment, but I'm thinking of putting it in one of the base cabinet (10 or 13, maybe). I could go with a range, but I think large drawers under the cooktop would be very convenient.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:06PM
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So true about the cheesecake.

But I'm moving from a 700 sq ft efficiency apartment with a 7'x9' kitchen, so this seems huge. : )

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:23PM
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The latest layout is cramming the cooktop into a small area. If you must have a pantry (and I definitely understand the need), then I would move either it or the refrigerator to the upper left wall so you have workspace where you need it and, possibly a prep sink.

In general, when you separate the Prep & Cooking Zones like this, you really need a prep sink. It can make the difference b/w a wonderfully functional kitchen and an annoying kitchen b/c you have cross a wide aisle every time you need water or need to rinse/wash veggies, fruit, etc. In your case, the aisle is over 7.5' wide!

I like Lavender_Lass' layout from "Aug 18, 13 at 14:06". It provides plenty of workspace for prepping and cooking as well as a water source where it's needed. You might even consider a corner prep sink to add additional workspace on the bottom wall since you need at least one tall appliance/pantry on the bottom wall.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:47AM
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I would have just added the pantry, but I'm worried about the "tunnel" effect if I add the tall cabinet back without moving the fridge. Has anyone done this? Is it actually an issue? I know it's generally recommended that you not put tall appliances and cabinets flanking a doorway.

I appreciate that I probably won't want to walk back and forth to the sink to wash vegetables and such. But I still think the space is a little small for a second sink.

What if I move the peninsula back to its original location, but leave the cooktop on the lower wall. I could eliminate the bar seating so there is room for the benches, which I like better anyway. Then prep would be done on the peninsula, next to the original sink. Does that fix the prep space problem?

Update: Here is a picture of what I'm thinking.

This post was edited by Adlitha on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 19:55

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:58PM
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When I start imagining actually cooking in the space, I can see why you added the prep sink. That stretch of countertop from sink to cooktop is where I spend the majority of my time in my current kitchen (even though its tiny and on a corner). I wish there was a way to orient that stretch such that I could be facing toward the breakfast area, while I prep at least.

Y'all have all been extremely helpful and I'm sure I can't say thank you enough. :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:24AM
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No kitchen is perfect...and the tunnel effect might be the best of your choices, for this space. Play around with it some more, but think about how you cook, more than how it looks.

Here is a version with Buehl's corner sink. I also added some lighting...hope this helps :)

From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:21PM
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It seems like fridge placement is the sticking point.

If you weren't going with Ikea, I'd suggest ditching the upper left corner altogether (galley-style on the left side of the kitchen), and putting the fridge there, with extra deep uppers and lowers to make up for the lost storage and counter space. I'd leave the peninsula at the bottom.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Interesting idea, Annkh. I wouldn't have thought of that. I'm not really worried about cabinet space, but the fridge and dishwasher won't both fit to the left of the sink. I like the galley style layout, but I think my kitchen is too wide for it to work right.

After a lot of thought, I have the cooktop back on the peninsula. Without adding a second sink (which I don't want to do for cost, space, & upkeep reasons), I think that's the only way to get the sink and cooktop in one stretch of counter, not facing the back wall. I have shifted the cooktop to the right to maximize the contiguous workspace and added a 10" overhang to the peninsula. I haven't figured out how to handle the overhang extending past the edge of the window though.

I'm okay with sacrificing space in the breakfast area, but I'd still like to figure out how to have a corner bench like the ones in lavender's images, though, if there's room.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:06PM
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If that's what you want, how about this? The cooktop on the peninsula doesn't worry me...I actually like that, if you have a deep enough counter for seating. What I don't like about the original plan is your lack of prep space between the sink and cooktop.

This would give you more prep, even if the dishwasher had to be on the right side of the sink (lack of space on the left) and you would have a window/light in your prep area. I'd keep the back wall the same...pantry/oven/fridge and maybe the microwave.

Stools and bench should fit...may need a very small table or end table/shelf for drinks. What do you think?

From Farmhouse plans

Herbs in window...

From Farmhouse plans

Cute corner sink idea...

From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:19PM
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I like lavender_lass's layout the best, even without the prep sink. While it is a convenient item, it in kitchen of your size with a single cook, I don't think it's necessary. I also think the modified galley with deeper counters is a viable alternative. You can still achieve that with IKEA cabinets if they are built-out and only the countertops made deeper. I'm concerned that you are trying to put too many features into a smallish kitchen and it won't work as efficiently as it would otherwise. Wall ovens, separate cooktop, pantry, desk, banquette, peninsula with seating is a lot for this space. For counter seating the recommended overhang is 15". I am not a fan of having seating opposite a cooktop and I think there are other more viable alternatives. Have you tried it out IRL, esp. with only a 10" overhang opposite?

Is there a separate dining area? If so would you consider opening up this area to that?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Thanks again Lavender. Your suggestions are great. I agree that the lack of prep space is an issue. I'll need to check into the cost of moving the sink. I had been generally avoiding that because I was afraid of the extra expense, but it looks like it may very well be worth it.

Valinsv, I'm not really attached to all of the features, just trying to figure out what's a viable option. As far as relative priority goes (in case everyone isn't completely fed up with me):

- Pantry: required. I don't consider the pantry an optional feature. There was one built-in in the corner that I removed for a little more flexibility and because I thought I could better use the space with a pantry cabinet. (Less space lost to the 4" thick walls and full-size door. Plus full-extension drawers!)

- Desk: Completely optional. I'm never planning to use the "desk" as a desk. It's just a counter top extended without cabinets underneath, that I've taken to referring to as a desk. (Sorry if that's confusing.) There was a counter extending out there with a wall behind (that I also removed). And I thought it would open things up and look neat to extend the counter without the cabinets, with the waterfall counter at the end.

- Banquette: ?? I'm not sure what you are referring to as a banquette.

- Separate cooktop: preferred. I like the storage underneath for the pots and pans that I will be using on the cooktop.

- Wall oven: optional. I prefer the look and having it at waist level. (And prefer to stack the microwave here as well.) This seemed like a tradeoff between counterspace (with lower oven/range) and cabinet space (with wall oven).

- Peninsula with seating: optional. I'd like to have seating facing toward the kitchen, but it wouldn't necessarily have to be the peninsula. I really like the benches as well and agree that there is probably too much going on with the peninsula, "desk" and bench seating.

For the overhang, I've been aiming for at least 11", which is the depth of a counter height bar area that I sat at that was comfortable. I didn't sit at if for a long time though, so I guess it might not be if its used for a long duration.

Yes, I have a separate dining room and formal living room. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to use the different spaces, but I'll probably use the dining room (which is adjacent to the kitchen) as a study/work area and the formal living as my game room (with the dining table), so its probably not feasible to open it up. I'm attaching my floor plan though, if you have any suggestions. (As you can tell, the use of the different rooms isn't even set in stone.)

These are the original floor plans. I don't really have a ping pong table in the family room. : )

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Banquette is what I showed in the pictures. Bench seating, banquette, 'booth' in's what you have drawn in the corner :)

I don't think it would be too difficult to move the sink, since you're really just 'sliding it over' a few feet. A contractor can give you better info, but I would think it would be cheaper than adding the prep sink.

My favorite kitchen (Laura Calder's) has the cooktop on the island, with separate wall ovens...and lots of plants in the windows!

From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Also, if you're only planning to have 11" for the bar with will probably be too close to the burners. How much do you fry/saute, when people are over?

It might be safer to have bookcases or display on the back of the cooktop area...and go with the benches (banquette) and small table. If you decide to use the desk area, you could have a stool that slides under and bring that over to the banquette/benches for extra seating. Very adult, with the small cocktail table vs. children's eating area.

And...the game table sounds wonderful! Perfect for everyday, but could be expanded for dinners and holidays :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:43PM
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I don't ever deep fry, but I might sauté or stir fry while I have guests. Is the concern is grease splatter? How much space would you recommend as a minimum? If I raised the seating, with a backsplash behind the cooktop, does that reduce the concern?

If I raise it, I was thinking I could offset it from the rest of the peninsula, pulling it away from the window slightly, which would let me extend a little further as well. This is the closest I could find to what I'm thinking, but not wrapped around the end.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:38PM
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That's what I would do, to have stool seating by the cooktop. The short backsplash also gives you room for outlets, a way to keep oils, pepper, etc. from sliding too far back...and a great place to display a fancy tile. Not very large, so you can get something a little more special/expensive than the rest of the kitchen :)

There are some people on the forum, who think you should never have seating this close to the cooktop...but it all depends on your situation. Do you have small children? Do you have someone reading the paper (and pushing it back, too close to the burners) with morning coffee? Do you prepare a lot of food that splatters?

It doesn't sound like you do (and neither do I) but it is a good idea to go over your situation and mentally check off possible concerns. For me, I'd rather talk to people, while I'm cooking (and stirring, which seems to keep me stuck at the cooktop the most often) than have my back to them. Again, it all depends on what works best, for you.

Keep working on your plan. I think it's going to be wonderful...I would want to visit with you, in that kitchen! One other thing you might want to do is measure exactly how far it is from the back of your peninsula to the bench wall. Then, you'll know how much space you have for the counter, stools and possible bench/banquette seating. Remember to leave space for people to push the stools back and stand up.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:53PM
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