Crowded kitchen - can you help?

Kris HaseltonAugust 10, 2012

We are in the early stages of planning. When school starts again, I am hoping to get things rolling.

I tried this once before and had a really small photo upload. I'm hoping this works better!

We are very crowded in our kitchen. I cook most meals, but almost certainly someone else is in the kitchen with me (hubby or 3 kids).

Things I like:

- the doors that open outside the actual kitchen, where the blind corner would be. We have all the kid art supplies in there and it's great.

- the small cabinet next to the d/w works well for holding tray types of things.

- the peninsula

- the cabinets that are light maple and are in good shape (LaFata brand)

Things I don't like:

- the corner sink makes it hard to open the windows or clean the counter

- the d/w is a bit closet to the sink, although it does work

- nowhere to put trash (it's in the dining room)

- the very useless pantry that has fixed shelves 24' apart.

Other things:

- we eat breakfast and lunch at the peninsula

- we eat dinner in the dining room

- I have a desk on the wall of the bathroom by the family room.

- We do not have a table in the eating area of the kitchen at all.

Here is my attempt at a photo of the layout.


So, not a lot of space. We can move the peninsula out to line up with the edge of the wall and gain about 6'. I am open to ideas for rearranging if it improves things!

Here is a link that might be useful:

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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I resized your picture--if this is large enough, I can add the original.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:12PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Oops, I meant if it isn't large enough, but here is the original, that shows the kitchen section more clearly:

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Kris Haselton

Thanks mama goose!

One more thing I thought of - I'd love to get the microwave somewhere other than over the range. It'd be nice if it was low enough that kids could use it. I'm sure my 8 year old could heat up pancakes if he could reach it :).

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Are those actual walls on either side of the fridge? We had one stub wall like that which we got rid of during the demo. It gave us a lot more possibilities for design.

Love those corner windows, but I can see the design problem. Hopefully the design gurus will show up with all sorts of clever ideas.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Consider switching the dishwasher with the drawers. As shown now, the sink will be blocked when you open the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Kris Haselton

Yes, those are actual walls on both sides of the fridge. We are open to eliminating 1 or 2. I kind of like the one by the dining room, since I hang lunch bags on it.

Surprisingly, while it's tight, the dishwasher/sink works okay. I do end up standing facing a window, rather than facing the sink to rinse and load the d/w. I've considered swapping them and putting the trash next between the d/w and sink, but don't know if that would be too tight. And it worries me having the d/w vent right next to the cabinets on the peninsula. Our old house had that set up and those cabinets were pretty worn from the steam.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:02PM
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"We are very crowded in our kitchen."

"Things I don't like:
- the corner sink makes it hard to open the windows or clean the counter
- the d/w is a bit closet to the sink, although it does work
- nowhere to put trash (it's in the dining room)
- the very useless pantry that has fixed shelves 24' apart."

"Things I like...the peninsula..."

An observation...

The reason your kitchen is crowded, you have a corner sink you don't like, you have no room for trash (although you could make room), and the DW is too close is......the peninsula.

Have you considered eliminating that peninsula or at lest making it shallower and eliminating the seating on it (and thereby gaining more space on that wall)? Have you considered replacing the doors in the bay with sliding doors (freeing up space) and then adding a table? I think it would give you your desired (I think) table space in the kitchen as well as use what appears to be wasted space to the right of the kitchen - a lot of wasted space!

[Except for the desk - do you need it? I'm asking b/c one of the big things people want to get rid of when they remodel is a desk in the kitchen as it's a clutter magnet.]

Would you be open to moving the range to the area protected by the peninsula and the sink to approx where the range currently is?

Add a 90-degree corner susan and you'd be surprised how much more space there is inside the "U".

How about something like this? It keeps most of what you like and solves everything that you don't like...

You have two "tray" type cabinets, one 12" wide and the other 9" wide. One can be used for cutting boards and the other for cookie sheets, etc.

The trash pullout is in the Prep Zone and next to the Cooking Zone (ideal) plus, as an added bonus, it's also in the Cleanup Zone!

The DW will be easy to load/unload now that it's on a straight run and, for the same reason, the sink will be much easier to use!

The primary Prep Zone is in front of the windows. The majority of people spend 70% or more of their time prepping, so it's nice to have the Prep Zone in front of a window! [The paradigm of the "sink must be under a window" is a hold over to when all dishes were washed, rinsed, & dried by hand. With the advent of DWs, this is no longer necessary.]

The peninsula is nice secondary Prep Zone.

The MW is next to the refrigerator and is in a "Snack Center"

Instead of the fixed-shelf pantry w/deep shelves (24" is definitely too deep for this type of pantry!), there is pullout pantry cabinet b/w the DR and refrigerator.

The Refrigerator is "built in", so you can still hang lunch bags on it!

The only real negative I see to this is the DW opening into the path to the DR, not in the doorway, but in the path.

With work zones marked...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:08AM
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There are a lot of people on here that are really good with layouts and they will be able to guide you very well. I just wanted to put my two cents in, things that jump off the page to me.
The area where your fridge is. I would loose those walls and it looks to me like you have room for floor to ceiling pantries. Possibly 2 of them with the fridge. Hands down that's my favorite in my new kitchen. They look nice and with pull out shelves nothing gets lost in the back. You can use side panels to give the illusion of walls again.
Next I dont care for corner sink and like what Buhel did moving it down the wall. Next consider pull outs for your corners I had 2 corners in my old space not used. I did some tricks and made use of both and one is now a corner base with two pull outs really like it. Keep plugging away at it it's a lot of work but in the end you will have something that works.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Kris Haselton

Wow, what a lot to think about! Thanks for putting the time in for this!

We've not considered eliminating the peninsula, but would if it really improved things. We like not having the table there because it tends to be the most traveled part of the house. We had one a few years ago and it was just in the way. And, thruthfully, it seems silly to have a dining room that never gets used and to have 2 tables. The dining room holds a piano as well, which would be tough to relocate to repurpose that room.

Also about the peninsula - it's great for having 3 kids help me bake. They can be around it and all help without being completely in each other's way. I know that reason goes away in a few years as they get older.

What if we did a rounded out counter on the peninsula to let people sit at it still? We have no plans to move, so if it's slightly in front of the doors, especially a slider or single door, it might be fine.

We have considered sliding doors, or a single French door, but figure we'll see what we need for the kitchen and do it then.

The desk doesn't have to be there, but it has to be somewhere. My dad built it and it's not something I can just get rid of. I actually like it in the kitchen because I find it's easier to keep up on things and be around where the kids are. I could probably find another spot for it though.

I like the range being more protected. Right now, it's really in the way, especially with kids running around.

Would swapping the sink and d/w work? I ask because if we eat in the dining room, I'd have to keep opening and closing the d/w to rinse dishes, dump liquids, etc in the sink. If they were reversed, I could just keep the d/w open.

Last night, I wondered if swapping the fridge with our current pantry work. Kids getting into the fridge while I'm in the kitchen is always annoying and I thought if the fridge were slightly outside the kitchen, maybe that would work.

Thanks for the ideas. I'll look at the corner cabinet options, too.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I don't see why you couldn't move the sink a ft toward the Dr and put the dw to the left of the sink. The door shouldn't open into the stove space - tho, it'll be close.

If you do that, I wouldn't put the pantry by the DR door. I'd run the counter straight to the wall and maybe put the mw on a shelf under the upper cab there. Maybe put it on the counter for now until the kids get taller? And put the pantry back next to the fridge.

You could run the peninsula counter on into the 'open' space on a curve or angle. Don't know that it'd be good for resale but if you plan to be there a number of yrs, do it the way it'll work for you. A rounded end on it could make it possible for some to be able to see out the sliding door (is there a view?).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Kris Haselton

Just a view of the neighbor's back yard :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 5:47PM
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