Small kitchen layout help (looking for Jakuvall)

lenzaiAugust 4, 2014

Hi GW!
I posted earlier this year when we just moved to the house and received some great advice on how I can best rearrange the small kitchen. Finally ready to take the plunge. Interviewing contractors last week and this week.
I've been TKO about my own kitchen for about 7 months and learned a lot from reading GW. Posting the current layout I came up with and looking for any additional advice.

Jakuvall - I commented on a thread about most efficient cabinet use and looking for some thoughts on drawers/vs not drawers for the cabinets flanking the range (and anything else too!)

General notes: currently just two of us, I'm main cook but husband does breakfast and we cook together sometimes and manage in this space. I've been cooking with less than 2/3s of my stuff (the rest is still packed away) and I don't miss most of it.
Planning on having kids in this house. We're not tall 5'5 and 5'8 and are used to small spaces (hence the small old house).
I like to entertain and have been able to seat 10 at the dining room table and make all the food in the space we have now. Not posting the original layout but it has a passage and walkway in place of the upper right corner. and there used to be a wall right below the door between kitchen and dining - that is coming down

Looking for: function over form; frameless cabinets, 9' ceilings so cabs going all the way up.
Plaster (just in kitchen) is being taken down to upgrade electrical and plumbing and lighting. Fridge will be counter depth.
Window, door and opening cannot be moved :( everything else is fair game.
The peninsula idea is a recent addition, gives a little extra prep space and a good place to put the microwave (drawer). No overhand or seating planned with it. I think it would look better w/out the peninsula but the extra space is tempting and necessary and gets the MW off the counters.

Kitchen - boxes are 6"

Kitchen and Dining - boxes are 12"

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our layouts are almost identical, so what jumps out is the inadequate primary prep space in your wet zone between sink and range--21". I have 47" to the left of my sink on a peninsula, but I find myself always at the sink and the 30" counter to the left of the range. BUT, I'm the only cook and I cook for two, so it's not unbearable. It doesn't matter how tall you are or what you're used to--you're going to want to wring some necks when you're trying to get dinner ready in a 21" prep zone and others want in for a glass or silverware. (That will also be your dish storage, close to the DW.)

I looked back at your old thread and Lisa_a posted this plan that gave you a 30" cabinet and a larger sink. Were these measurements off? If so I'll delete the image so it doesn't confuse anyone. But if it's viable, it's a better plan imo.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 16:18

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It took me a minute, may_flowers, before I recognized my mouse writing to realize that was a plan I drew. ;-) btw, that plan required stealing a foot from the adjacent DR.

I've linked to the old thread, which contains relevant info, including the whole house plan, and previous suggestions that didn't work to save time this go round.

I'm not Jakuvall but I hope you won't mind feedback from me.

Sorry, but I don't care for your current plan. A 23" sink is an unusual size - first problem - and it's shoved into the corner, making its small size function even smaller. If you swap out the 24" DW for an 18" DW (opt for European brands, they are space efficient, holding more than you expect), you'll gain some much needed breathing room for your sink.

However, as may_flowers points out, you still have very little counter between sink and range. Put function over form and swap the range with the cab to its right. The range won't be centered on that wall but you'll gain much needed work space between sink and range.

Since your latest plan shows a peninsula where the DR wall is on your previous plans, I'm assuming that the DR wall is coming down. Is that an accurate assumption?

Here is a link that might be useful: Small kitchen layout help

This post was edited by lisa_a on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 1:21

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

may_flowers and lisa_a
Thanks again for looking at this.

The C layout that you posted from the original thread is NOT possible in the sink corner since there are only 74 inches MAX available on that wall. (the C layout assumes 87" of space even with a 18" dishwasher).
That layout may have assumed moving that wall back which is not possible now - due to the way the other room is configured - if you can remove the image it would make it less confusing.

I do agree that more prep space would be good. I currently prep over the dishwasher and have about 26 inches of space there, then just use the space by the range as a drop zone so I guess i assumed a similar set up.

I'm still conflicted about the 18" vs 24" dishwasher. I was all set and almost sold my husband on it (he's the chief washer) and then went to look at appliances and everyone adamantly tried to talk me out of it, from appliance people, to friends who are realtors to interior designers saying an 18" in a house not a condo will be a tough sell later and i'll regret it in general (we expect to be in this house for at least 10 years).

The 23" sink label in the top image is really a 24" cabinet. I have a 20x16 sink now (went and measured) and I find it's enough so I figured I'd go with whatever the biggest one is I can fit into a 24" cabinet.

Lisa_a - the wall is coming down!!! Which I'm very excited about as it will bring way more light into the kitchen. It does bring with it aesthetic concerns that if things are not centered I will see that daily from the dining room - since we eat there, but I'm trying to get around that issue given the general lack of options.

So if I move the range to the right, will it be weird to have the susan cabinet next to it? Am I going to have to get the doors that spin instead of the piano hinged? We do cook together with me on one side of the range and husband on the other and I don't know if that nook will be enough for him. Also, what happens to the upper cabinet distribution? I did a little mockup but it brought more complications to resolve:

I think I come across as obstinate, which I'm not, truly, just trying to think through it all and decide priorities going forward which is annoyingly hard.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No worries, I didn't think you were obstinate. You have seemed open to new ideas but it's good to know what you want and don't want in a kitchen.

And now for something completely different (I must be channeling Monty Python today ;-) )

I ditched the U lay-out with peninsula for an L with island. The aisles are on the narrowish side but IMO doable, especially since there aren't any cabinets opening into the 36" aisle between island and exterior wall.

You will likely need to reduce the window's width but that's the only structural change beyond your commitment to removing the DR wall. The island doesn't extend any further into your DR than the peninsula did.

You lose one corner cabinet (a good loss) and while it's still a 24" sink, it's not crowded into a corner and you've got more prep room on both sides of your range. That's a definite step-up from your above plan.

Will the lack of symmetry on the top wall bother you? I centered the fridge on the island but you could also reduce the pantry width and move the fridge over.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's certainly different (no shrubbery though :)
Not sure if it works with the swing of the door. Hinge is on the left side and while it can be switched, the outer screen door has to remain with hinge on the left as the steps from the house are under the window.

I can ask the GC if the range can be vented from that side. Vents have to go into the ceiling and through all the floor joists I think.

If keeping the U layout, does switching the sink and dishwasher gain me anything besides more complicated plumbing? I suppose I couldn't prep and unload the dishwasher at the same time and lose the "drop zone" coming into the house but maybe it's worth it for the flow around the sink?

Man I wish I had 6 more inches or no door.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One idea I considered was a corner range. Shrink the pantry to 12" and move the fridge down. Nhbaskets had a corner range and loved it. If you google her name and gardenweb, you'll see her post about her kitchen being on P&F's website. It looks very spacious. Another poster here, amck, is using the same KD and doing a corner range.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had some time to track down a photo for you. Throwing it out there in case anyone wants to play around with the idea.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's another idea:

An L with island again but with the sink and DW next to the fridge and the range on the top wall where you had it earlier. I included a pull-out pantry at the end but you could also just do cabs and counter and center the range in that space.

Notice that this plan gives you a 30" sink, it's not shoved into the corner and you have more counter between sink and range than your plan gave you (30" vs 21").

The island is narrow but it adds more counter area - use it to set up buffet service for parties - and storage.

The islands in these kitchens are about 18" x 60", roughly the dimensions of the island I drew for you.

Contemporary Kitchen by Asheville Interior Designers & Decorators Greeson & Fast Design

Traditional Kitchen by Mill Valley Architects & Building Designers Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Contemporary Kitchen

Corner ranges can be tricky so be sure your contractor has experience installing a range in a corner. You'll need to allocate about 48" of corner space for the range, plus you have to watch out for conflicts between hood and cabinets, and oven doors and cabinets on adjoining walls. Read the following blog posts written by Kelly Morisseau, CMKBD, about the pros and cons of corner ranges.

A reader asks: A cooktop or range in the corner?

A Design Reader Asks: Help with range in the corner?

I'm not saying it can't be done or isn't a good idea. I am saying that it needs to be carefully engineered so that it functions without a hitch. Oh, and you'll want to build a false wall for the angle, like this

Traditional Kitchen by Guelph Kitchen & Bath Designers Paragon Kitchens

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Her kitchen is lovely and the corner cook top works well in the space.

FYI, a corner cook top is a lot easier to design and install than a corner range. A cook top doesn't extend deeper than the counter; a range does.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the information, Lisa. I see now that nhbaskets has a cooktop, and I don't think lenzai has room for wall ovens.

The skinny island plan doesn't give her enough drawer storage. For instance, where does silverware go? If the island is changed to cabinets for dish/silverware storage, can she find full-extension glides that length? IIRC, Blum makes 21" and 27". I also don't like only an 18" D counter for a secondary prep area.

I'd love to use the counter under the window for prep and coffee. I'm going against everything I believe about small kitchens, but what if you added a prep sink there? It would be a prep dream for two with the clean-up sink on the fridge wall as in Lisa's plan #2 and the prep on the opposite wall. A 24" clean-up sink would be fine with a second sink. Both areas would have generous counter space. Of course the pantry would go, but you'd gain all that base storage in cabs under the window. You might have room for a 6 or 8" deep pantry alongside the fridge for packaged and canned goods.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lenzai here:
I responded yesterday but it seems the system ate my post.
Anyway: I'm not sure how I feel about the skinny island. My husband is lovely but clumsy and I can just see him running/tripping that over daily. In all the places we've lived we had an open space in the middle of the kitchen and I kinda like doing a little dance around ourselves :) (sometimes there's actual dancing involved)

Putting the sink next to the fridge is an interesting idea. There is plumbing there since the fridge has water lines (and we're pulling up the floor up anyway).
As far as having a sink NOT under a window, what considerations must I account for as far as upper cabinets? I really like the idea of a coffee/tea station by the window with a tiny sink and the drinking water filter there. I'm going to mock this up and see how much storage I get out of this.
Can I still keep my peninsula with this? I've become a little enamored with the idea of an undercounter microwave and also something to hide part of the door (it's ugly and gets dirty easily.

I'm worried about losing the pantry but as long as there's cabinet space for the food it doesn't need to be a "true" pantry cabinet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are drawer glides that work for shallower drawers. I'm doing a drawer in a 15" deep cab, which is what the same cab depth as the island I drew, and I've seen them in 18" deep cabs. I don't recall brand or even if they're soft close. This would be a question for her contractor and cabinet maker.

I forgot to add the MW shelf to the island. A GE Spacemaker II is shallow enough to fit into an upper cab so it would easily fit onto a shelf on the narrow island.

Here are two more ideas for you, lenzai.

This first one ditches the island for perimeter cabs and an peninsula. I added suggested organizational ideas.

The corner next to the sink is voided so that I could add a drawer base next to the range. The other option is to add the blind corner to your sink cab and add shelves for storing bulk goods. Not the most convenient but it does make use of that space. Cloudswift did this in her kitchen. She's still around so if you gave her a shout out, I'm sure she'd share photos of this set-up in her kitchen.

I did not add a prep sink as may_flowers suggested, opting for a sizable chunk of uninterrupted counter instead.

Here's my second idea:

Depending on code for your area, you may be able to put a range in front of a window. Here are some inspiration photos to show you what that would look like.

Spaces by Austin Architects & Building Designers Tim Cuppett Architects

Contemporary Kitchen

There are at least 2 GWers who placed their ranges in front of windows but dang if I can remember their screen names to help you find their kitchens. If this is a possibility, you could start a new thread asking for help finding these kitchens.

If code does not allow you to place a range in front of a window, eliminate the window completely or add narrow windows on each side of the range.

Traditional Kitchen by Lake Oswego Interior Designers & Decorators Jenny Baines, Jennifer Baines Interiors

They will be very narrow so possibly not worth the effort and cost but you could add a window over the peninsula to make up for the loss of the window by the range.

The range is up against a corner and it is farther to go to fill up a pot with water or to drain a pot of pasta but you get a *huge* section of uninterrupted counter for prepping between sink and range.

This last plan could be adapted to a corner range but I do not have the knowledge to design that with any confidence.

Anyhoo, lots of ideas for you to mull over to come up with the plan that works best for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was busy drawing and didn't see your response, lenzai, until after I posted. Here are inspiration pics of sinks against walls, not under windows.

Traditional Kitchen by Novato Kitchen & Bath Designers Julie Williams Design

Contemporary Kitchen by Burbank Interior Designers & Decorators A.S.D. Interiors - Shirry Dolgin, Owner

Farmhouse Kitchen by Kent Kitchen & Bath Designers Trish Namm, Allied ASID - Kent Kitchen Works

Traditional Kitchen by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Tobi Fairley Interior Design

There are also many GWers who don't have their sinks under windows so if you start a thread asking to see the set-up, I'm sure you'd get responses.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks guys (or gals).
Range under the window is a novel idea but not happening. I have a solid brick house so would like to avoid any window work. My dream option is going to be to make the current window taller (back to it's original height - previous owners shrank it) but this is only possible if I can come under budget on cabinets and appliances orders.

lisa_a - thank you for the sink not under window pics.
From my playing around with the layout, it looks like the sink will have to be wedged against something - one corner or the other or the fridge to get the maximum cabinet space. I've never had the sink against a wall layout, I wonder how that set up works in reality. Would my elbows or the big pans bang against the fridge panel? If sink is against the fridge, the DW is in the corner and that is good for counter space but I think harder for emptying it getting in the way of the range space?

I was actually considering ditching the upper right corner cabinet and voiding that space to make the other cabinets larger. I'm thinking of asking the contractor to use that space from the other side (hall) to make a cubby for the vacuum cleaner so it'll be somewhat useful.

Ok I think I have to decide on cramped sink in space vs. window view, vs. next to fridge.

I see that I need more space between range and sink (in any location), so thank you for that advice.
I'm going to mock up some more and think through where things need to go so that i'm not forced to run across the kitchen to put away a dish or get a utensil etc.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whatever you do, do not put the sink up against a wall or a fridge. People do that in tiny NYC apts but that's not your situation. I think you'd regret not giving yourself elbow room and counter on each side of the sink.

What if you were to turn the U plan on its side like this?

I recall that you said you'd have to check with your contractor about venting the range on the side wall but if that's doable, this plan has potential. You aren't looking at a wall when at the sink but into the DR and towards the front of the house.

The dish hutch to the counter would hold dishes, glasses and silverware. Easy access to unloading DW and setting table. Here are some inspiration pics

Traditional Kitchen by Youngstown General Contractors Shannon Cabinetry

Transitional Kitchen by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

Traditional Kitchen by Youngstown General Contractors Shannon Cabinetry

Even with the cab sitting on the counter, you'd have at least 15" of elbow room between sink edge and hutch cab.

This post was edited by lisa_a on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 14:50

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks may_flowers.

That's a totally different take on the layout. I was wondering if I could manage a peninsula facing the other way like this.
The door opens inside and towards the dining room (hinge on left) so do you think that's an issue with this layout with regard to traffic flow (not that there's much traffic with this entrance)

There's only about 22 inches to the window so I'd have to make the window smaller, but it's not impossible (as my GC pointed out)

I really like the china hutch. I was actually planning on putting something like that shallow and free standing or built-in into the dining room for all the non everyday china and glassware.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lisa's plan E is my layout. I considered putting a counter hutch on the peninsula, but you can't really access it well from the side, and certainly not the upper shelves in any cabinet over a peninsula. There's too much prep/dish washing going on in that main prep corner and you'll want your counter free. It would also need to hold coffee- making stuff. I tried coffee near the fridge where we don't prep, but it got annoying to be away from the water and trash. That's why I'd like your separate prep counter with a water source--to move the morning stuff away from the stove. I'd also add trash to the prep sink cabinet.

Hope the pic is helpful.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That last picture is really nice. Similar to what my parents have (their kitchen is just a tad bigger but better window and door locations).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm glad the last plan may work for you, lenzai! I don't know why I didn't think of this possibility sooner.

I don't think it's an issue with the door swing - I left 45" of aisle between the end of the peninsula and the exterior wall - but you could also talk to your contractor about reversing the door so that it hinges on the right, not left.

"I kinda like doing a little dance around ourselves :) (sometimes there's actual dancing involved)" Love that imagery!

may_flowers, the peninsula I drew for lenzai isn't as deep as yours (nice kitchen!) so reaching the china hutch shouldn't be as much of an issue. That said, lenzai, either do a mock-up or pretend to reach up into a china hutch like the one in Plan E and see how it works for you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah. Always exciting to find a different solution.
I like the sink facing the dining room. It does seem like there are fewer lower cabinets though for things than the U with the peninsula. I don't get how that happened since its just turned on its side.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't forget that the 30" pantry pull-out will hold a *lot* of stuff for you. At 84" tall, it will offer about 35 cu ft of storage. That's a lot more than a 30" base cab and 30" upper can provide.

Tally what you own and assign items to cabinets in the various plans you have to consider. That way you'll know that whichever plan you choose, you'll have enough storage.

As you start to narrow down your plan choices, mentally prepare a meal in each kitchen and see how it works for you. That will help you identify hiccups so that you can address them on paper before moving forward with a plan.

It's your kitchen, not mine, so I generally don't state a personal preference but I think of the plans I've drawn up for you, Plans C and E are my favorites. Plan C offers more counter space but Plan E has the pull-out pantry. I don't know which I'd choose so I'm glad I don't have to! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The depth of the peninsula isn't what makes it hard to reach into. On my third cabinet, which starts near the corner, it's difficult reaching into all but the bottom shelf. It's only 15" wide and has glasses and coffee, so I don't have to negotiate dishes and silverware in and out of it. At counter level, it's awkward pulling the electric water kettle in and out. It's all done leaning in at an angle, unlike a hutch you stand in front of. That's why my last cab is a display shelf.

You also need a splash zone behind the sink. My peninsula is 36" and I get splash about 12" behind it and heavy drips/puddles for several inches behind the faucet from wet hands.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 18:55

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:54PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
My Kitchen Renovation Using Scherr's RTA Cabinets Begins
We start demolition on Monday. We have been actively...
Ordered my cabinets in rustic beech
What I am wondering is why all the kitchen magazines...
Old, Deep Cast Iron Sink or New Sink? I can't decide
Hello, would love to hear from those of you who have...
Cindy McMahon
Soapstone in the Midwest/St. Louis area?
Hi everyone. I've been lurking here for the past year,...
"Ledge" sinks and accessories -- do you use them?
I'm considering an undermount stainless sink that has...
Sponsored Products
TRIBECCA HOME Nova Cherry 3-piece Kitchen Counter Height Dining Set
Dublin Whiskey Decanter
Classic Hostess
Polished Chrome Whitehaus WHOSA30-4.3 Bath Wall Mounted Rain Showerhead
$99.00 | Blue Bath
Distressed Metal Cabinet
| Dot & Bo
4-Door Ella Buffet Dark Espresso Finish
Zuri Furniture
Elkay Kitchen Celebrity Top Mount Stainless Steel 25x21-1/4x6-7/8 Single Bowl
Home Depot
Collins Leather Chair - Brighton Energy Pink
Joybird Furniture
Sample-vestige Terra Brown Tiles Sample
$2.99 | TileBar
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™