Need help with kitchen

bwasek03August 19, 2014

I've got a post going on the "Building a House" forum, and thought I might be able to get some more insight over here in kitchens. The house I've been designing is almost exactly what I want. What I'm struggling with is the placement of the dining table. I think it looks like it was thrown in there as an afterthought. But if I don't put it where I have it, then I'll have a bunch of wide open wasted space. I've attached the whole house plan to get a perspective of how it all goes together. I'll get a zoomed in view of the kitchen/dining room when I get a chance. Please if anyone out there has any suggestions on what I can do without adding any more sq. footage, I would greatly appreciate it!

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I see what you mean. It's something I struggle with in my dining room, too. I don't have the space or layout you have, though, so I do have some ideas for you.

You need to do some things to make that dining room stand out from the rest of the open space. I would suggest at least a rug as well as the biggest and/or statement-making chandelier that doesn't look oversized for the table. You can google how to size the chandelier to the table. Also the rug should be 2 feet wider than the table on all sides so that when the chairs get pushed out the chair legs are still on the rug.

By the way, you will need to move the table more toward the stairs. If one square is one foot, and it looks like it is, 3.5 feet is not enough room between the island and the dining table - especially when there are people sitting at one or both. Those people will stick out about 18" into the aisle, so there needs to be room to get between them, and therefore it should be more like 5 feet from island counter edge to table edge. Here's a pic - note I added another 18" to the 44" example because you would have individuals sitting on both sides of the person walking by.

FYI, pushing the dining table away from the island 1.5 feet will then put it only 2.5 feet from the wall with the stairs. Your table is sized for only two people to sit on that side, which is good. If you had 3, the person in the middle would need at least 3 feet between the table and the wall to be able to sidle behind the people next to them to get out to go to the bathroom or whatever. If he can't do that, one of the people on either side of him would have to get up and out so he could also get out - what a pain! If you plan to get a longer table and seat 3 on that side, you would have to shrink the width of the table by at least 6" to get that space. If you keep two seated on that side, you might think about doing a high-backed upholstered bench or sofa against the stair wall - now THAT would give some presence. Here's some examples:

Contemporary Dining Room by Markham Furniture & Accessories Woodcraft Furniture

Regardless, your space is tight, and you should note that you definitely don't have room for any furniture such as a sideboard on that stair wall. If it's a solid wall (doubtful, given the stairs..), perhaps you can hang some art or a mirror, which would further help with defining the dining area.

Good luck! I wish I had the space you have :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 2:45PM
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Tracie - thanks for your helpfulness, I was actually looking for a chart like the one you posted with distance requirements. I have been toying around with the layout a little bit, and I think I've come up with a solution. I currently have a quick and dirty version set up on a less-than-spectacular CAD program, and I'll get the real thing updated tonight and I'll be sure to re-post my new layout. As a side note, that wall for the stairs isn't actually a wall at all. There will only be a railing and the stairwell will be open to the finished basement. Hence the reason there is a big window right over top of the stairs to catch the cross breeze coming from the west.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Ah, I see. So this is a one story home and those stairs go down, not up?

Either way, the window over the stairs will be very nice but sounds like a major visual feature, which may make it harder to make the dining room stand out - or they may fight each other. Perhaps you should go with a large but mostly transparent chandelier - think lots of glass or negative space - so it doesn't impede the view out the window that much. Then, add a vibrant rug under the table to ground it and add color and/or pattern. If the window is not floor to ceiling, you might still try a high-back bench if it won't cover up (much) of the window.

I'm linking the NKBA guidelines in case it helps you with your new layout. I will try to check back.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Thirty-One Kitchen Design Rules, Illustrated

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Ok, so here is the updated layout I came up with. I've created more space around the dining table, but lost a decent amount of wall cabinets. I did however add a lot more counter space/cabinets underneath.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:36PM
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Based on my experience with a peninsula with a cabinet at the end, I don't think you will be able to get four people on that side. While there may theoretically be room for someone to sit there, it will feel like the cabinet is looming overhead.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:45PM
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I agree with the cabinet being in the way of the last seat, but I doubt anyone will ever sit there. I think it will go there just to make the whole thing look symmetrical. I have some friends that use that area as the phone/notepad area and I may do the same, so there is never anyone sitting there for an extended period.

Here is a look at it in 3D. Please disregard the color scheme, that is not how it will look. I was just playing with the CAD program to see what it will do.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:51PM
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Ok, so I re-did the whole thing. That huge island I think is a bit of an overkill, but my wife thinks otherwise. I think if this is the plan we go with, I'm sure we'll have that huge island. Does anyone have something of that size? Does it have any advantages? I'm more worried about the cost of the extra cabinetry and/or granite that will be involved with it. Any other suggestions that might make this a little better?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:35PM
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Your second plan with the peninsula is a much better option that the big, triangular island. It really does dominate the space. Additionally, at that angle the space in front of the seating becomes inconvenient for anything but seating.

How strongly do you feel about seating at the island? I am wondering if a couple seating areas at the end of the original island would not be better suited for your space, since shrinking the depth of the island would free up some space for your table. Many people will feel four at the island immediately adjacent to a full table is redundant.

The main reason I am asking is because of appliances in the corners of your kitchen workspace. This is the least efficient way to arrange a large element. So if there is a way to get those wall ovens out of the diagonal corner that would be your best bet.

Is there a specific reason behind the wall ovens and not an integrated range? Some people do have problems bending over to work ovens under a stove.

Here is an elevation of my kitchen that I am just finishing up now. It is fairly accurate as far as the layout goes, with the exception of the cabinet over the fridge and that I have a hood/fan under the cabinet above the range.

My footprint is only about 10x11, so I can see something similar working well for you, given that you have more space. My sink is beneath my window in a 36" cabinet. I moved my fridge to the other wall so I could gain space beside my stove. Now I have 24" on either side, whereas I only had 12" on ether side. It still feels a little tight sometimes, but it is soooo much better. My point being that you want to have more like 24" of landing beside your range.

Oh, and one advantage for me is that I have a large laundry/storage room down the hall so pantry space is not so much an issue. But I do solemnly declare, I have more than enough cupboard space because of it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Bwasek, I checked out your thread in the Building a Home forum and see you moved the stairs. I think that was a great idea and gives you more room for your dining room. That said, you should go back to the island layout for your kitchen. It was much more efficient and had counter space where it was needed. The two other layouts you posted are not the best use of your space. Can you post a whole house and close up with the island layout so we can help you tweak it?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:14PM
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BUMP for the OP.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:59AM
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I love islands shaped like that (Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 23:35) because it enables 2 people to be prepping and see / talk to each other at the same time.

It reminds me of that chef's kitchen in Washington state...

What's his name - the one with all the great restaurants in Seattle?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 2:15PM
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