Kitchen Layout, need suggestions

mrsemmapeelAugust 6, 2012

Sorry this is so long. I am trying to give the info requested in the kitchen layout instructions thread. We hope to start our remodel next year, and it is our first kitchen redo and we'd like to DIY as much as possible.

We have a limited budget, so if the current cabinetry can be recycled that would help. I feel like the current layout is wasting space, so we need some help brainstorming layout changes. I try to come up with ideas, but then I feel like gutting it. ☹ Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

About us: Just me and the hubby. We cook with microwave and stove top daily, and I bake some when I have time. We would like to have more people over, and more interaction between kitchen & LR. We eat in the LR, which has taken over the dining space anyway.


1. More counterspace

2. No more tippy toes to get into the microwave

3. Brighter space

4. Larger more functional island, possibly with seating

5. Stovetop out of corner so we can interact with LR while cooking

6. Better storage & pantry space

7. Better mix of modern & rustic if possible

8. Eliminate propane powered stovetop (no more smelly tank) if possible

9. Baking center (though not a priority)

  1. Coffee area for hubby if possible

  2. Hide side of fridge or get out of view from front door

Rest of house: This is a log cabin but we do not have the big log walls, just flat, blonde wood walls (D-logs). Living/dining are open to kitchen with vaulted ceiling. Kitchen has a loft over it.

Style: Since the home is log, the walls and vaulted ceiling area are all wood (pine). We would love to get away from wood grain and brighten up the cave-like kitchen. We prefer simple to ornate. Appliances are black and all but stovetop are likely to stay (maybe change MW?). We want rid of the gas stovetop, so we can stop renting the smelly propane tank (rural area). Rest of house is all electric.

Cabinets/Counters: Current cabinets are too few, but are real wood. The style is rustic pine or "Mexican." The island and hutch sorta match, but the cabinets are somewhat different (especially the wood grain & color). We are leaning toward painting the cabinets some shade of white if we can recycle them. We would love granite countertops or something nicer than the current laminate, but that would have to be the only splurge.

Positives: We are not afraid of DIY, it just takes us forever. I am currently learning more about cabinet making and doing some practice in my closet remodel. Not that I would wanna build a whole kitchen, but an addition here or there to fill gaps, open shelving, breakfast bar, etc., would be doable.

Inspiration piece: I have 1" tumbled travertine mosaic with 1" glass tiles mixed in, leftover from our bathroom that I would like to use as the backsplash. It is exactly the blend of rustic & modern we are going for. Here is a similar mosaic, though ours is more grey/blue tones: (see link below layout)

Layout Drawing Explanations:

-Xs are where the 10.5" beam holding up the loft is. Rest of ceiling under loft is 8 feet. Vaulted in Living/dining rooms. Uppers and hutch are 9" from top of ceiling now, with elaborate crown molding (not our style).

-MW is very high and far back over stove top.

-Island location is approximate.

-Top of hutch has three tall glass doors, middle one is locked. Sits on bottom of hutch, which is 33.75" tall (counters are 37" with laminate countertop). We would love to get some counterspace back, and have considered raising the top to the ceiling and using the base as counter space. This thing is hard to work around!

- We walk between the island and log beam in center of house to get to back door. Not sure if traffic could be re-routed.

-Log wall is the exterior window wall. It has electrical and the sink plumbing. Laundry room is on other side of hutch wall. Plumbing for upstairs bath is above laundry room; breaker box is behind current fridge location. Electrical conduit from breaker box to under island location (which is why island is so far out) can fit more wiring if needed.

-Sliding door is along log exterior wall (sink wall) in the DR, the DR actually goes out another 8-10 feet or so from the kitchen.


Current Layout:

Here is a link that might be useful: Style inspiration backsplash tile

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know if there is much in the way of little things. Recycling your existing cabinets is always the hardest thing to do. It takes a lot of planning and the help of a fine carpenter because some of your existing cabinets would need to get reconstructed and some others made.

The problem with setting out to recycle the cabinets WHEN THE FLOOR PLAN doesn't work is shown with the corner cooktop/oven combo. I don't think I'd want the cooktop in a corner like that either. But if you take that out (microwave, cooktop and oven move), you don't have a cabinet in the corner. Worse, you don't have extra cabinet doors lying around, nor any assurance that you'd be able to buy a 45" corner unit.

From a function standpoint, the best thing to do is get rid of that particular island first. You could have a biug rectangular island there instead - enough room to gain a fair number of base cabinets and put an induction top there.

Ordinarily, I'd vote for the cooktop on the ref wall - but in your case, the ref would completely block your view and there's really no where else for the ref to go. Unless you considered something like ref drawers? There are newer makes and models that can be had for less than $1k. You could put a unit in the island and then park a spare ref somewhere else?

Another thought close to those is to turn your existing kitchen into a big "U" and make both long legs extra deep. This would add a lot of base cabinet space but possibly also feel hemmed in.

There are definite issues with doing this sort of thing, and I wouldn't know how many of them you might run into.

Cooktops take more electricity than a line run for outlets can handle. So, expect some big bills no matter what.

You'd need a vent of some sort - either one of those popup ones or an overhead one. Vents for island cooktops ain't cheap to begin with, and you don't have duct work from anywhere close by to the island. You might have ductwork leading from your existing hood and you might not. I don't know enough about log houses to speculate on that.

People don't necessarily put finish flooring under an island or under cabinets - redoing flooring gets pricey.

Cabinets, appliances and rough-ins can get damaged in being removed and reinstalled.

So, I know this isn't what you want to hear, but maybe think through what you need and what you want, do some reading on what makes a good kitchen (A motion minded kitchen by Sam Clark comes to mind). Think about the best result you could have and then see how you could take steps that lead from what you have to where you'd like to be.

It may be that you do end up replacing the kitchen cabinets - OR - perhaps you live in an area where a lot of similar cabinets were popular and you could "find" some through craigslist or a seller of used cabinets.

I always play a game of what's the least I could do (in your case - rip out the island, get a 4x7 used restaurant work table to be the island (no electricity required - but you could have electrician run an outlet on a pipe). See if moving prep changes the way the kitchen feels to work in.

And what's the most I can do (rip it all out and replace with my ideal floor plan after saving every penny I could for about 5 years).


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It doesn't look like you really have many cabinets, other than the hutch. As a matter of fact, it kind of looks like the kitchen was designed around the hutch.

What style do you like? Can you do Ikea? They are inexpensive. I would fix the layout before spending money on anything else. Function first!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks! Yes, I guess the problem I keep running into is that the people who had the house before us threw this together at the last minute because of time/budget problems. So there really aren't enough cabinets, and the layout is non-functional. At least you've confirmed it isn't just my imagination.

Forgot to mention, the whole bottom floor is stained concrete, which we like, so no flooring issues. Also, our fantastic electrician who did the bathroom verified he could run the line for more electric in the island inexpensively through existing pipes.

The hutch's style is very common here for furniture. Haven't seen it as cabinets before. I'm adding a link to that style of furniture like the hutch. It's far more rustic than we'd ever choose, but kinda suits a Texas log cabin if it weren't for the function issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Style of hutch & cabinets

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Funny, we love Ikea for all our furniture, but I looked at their cabinets a couple weeks ago and was disappointed to not find any real wood cabinets. Maybe I missed that section? We do have salvage yards nearby that sell lots of cabinets.

I'm attaching a picture of a kitchen I like that is in a log cabin. I'd want more storage and upper cabinets and this is obviously huge, but it gives you an idea of the style that would be ideal. Modern & bright meets log cabin.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oops, one more thing, we have no current vent, and have never used one. It's pretty drafty in here, so maybe that's why I never noticed! Oh dear.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:25PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Close matches to Conestoga popular White paint colors
We often get asked whose paints Conestoga uses on their...
Cabinet Joint
How to deal with high contractor bids based on your location?
In a way, I'm echoing what beachem is saying about...
Very cool island sink with retractable faucet
Has anyone seen this Sink by Blanco? It is made to...
Kraus brand faucet/sink?
Does anyone have experience with this brand? There...
Lighting 7 foot ceiling pantry
I am doing a bank of cabinets in my 9 foot by 7 foot...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™