Kitchen layout dilemma...please help!

bicyclegirl1August 23, 2013

I'm so confused what to do w/ my layout. I would appreciate any feedback you guys have.

I have a very small kitchen & options are limited since there are 2 windows & 2 doors in there. Starting off w/ the range wall...there's a window on the right side of the wall. I'm going to be putting a hood above the range & have attached a pic of what I'd like to do, but I'll come back to this in a minute. I'm putting 2-24" drawer cab's to the right of the range & will need a cab/counter on the left. If I go any smaller than the 2-24" cabs on the right I get too close to the window for the range hood I'd like to copy. So, I'm going to have to keep those 2 cab's if I do that hood. On the back wall where I want to put my sink under the window, the back door is to the right of that. Again, I'd like to put a cab/counter on the right of the sink. If I put a 12" cab to the right of sink, AND a 15" or 18" cabinet on the left of range, when I come in the back door, it's going to be pretty darn tight. I use that door to bring in groceries & such, so don't want to be too squeezed coming in. I hope this makes sense! Also, I'd like to do the cab on the left of the range w/ drawers (like on the right side) instead of a cab w/ a door so it can flow w/ the right side. They only have 15" or 18" cab's w/ drawers. I think the 18" is going to be too big, so maybe not really an option. I'm not sure the 15" is even going to work either. The 12" has a door & I don't think it'll look as good w/ a door when the right side has drawers! So, part of my dilemma is the 2 cab's - the one on the left of the range & the one on the right of the sink & coming in the back door. By the way, I'm putting in a 30" range.

But, that's not all! If I do the range hood like the one in the bottom picture, when coming in the back door, am I going to be slammed w/ this big piece of wood in my face? Is that going to look stupid? I will be pretty bummed if I can't do that hood!

I am at my wits end w/ this design. I should have ordered my cabinets by now, but I keep getting halted because of this dilemma! I'm ok w/ moving plumbing & electric. I just can't move the back door or any of the windows. I'll go too far over budget if I do that.

Oh, one more thing, I can't figure out where to put the microwave in this layout either!

Thank you for taking a look. I'm looking forward to some great feedback!

This post was edited by bicyclegirl on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 17:13

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Countertops for Ikea cabinets are 25 5/8" deep, even if you're not using a counter made by ikea. Generally speaking, the counters would also extend at least 3/4" further than the side of the cabinet or coverpanel.

For example, if you use a 15" cabinet with a coverpanel, the counter top would measure 15-3/4" + depth of a coverpanel ~3/8" or decorative door panel ~3/4" for width by 25-5/8". On both the sink wall and the range wall, take your handy dandy blue tape and tape a line 25-5/8" out from the wall, running parallel to the wall.

If you have a 36" exterior door in the corner, use the blue tape to make a small mark about 40" from the door along the line parallel to the range wall. Don't tack it down too well. Use the blue tape to make a mark the on the tape parallel to the sink wall about 49" from the range wall.

Measure the distance between the two tape cross points - the red line on the drawing. It should be about 36" or greater. If it's less, you can have trouble carrying grocery bags and moving appliances in and out.

If it is equal or larger, but your current cabinets do not extend as far, take a dimension object and put it(them) on the floor to become an obstacle that you'll need to navigate. A stack of books works really well for this - nothing bad happens if they're knocked over. A small table or cabinet is ok too - you just want to temporarily take up the space that the cabinets would take up while you continue to use the door normally.

If it feels ok to you and your family, it will be fine.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Thanks bmore, I'm sorry to say, but I'm a bit confused! Are you saying IKEA cab's are 25 5/8" deep vs the regular 24" depth? If that's not what you're saying, then do other countertops for other cabinets not come out 25 5/8"? If not, why do IKEA cabinets have to have that?

Do you have any other suggestions regarding changing my floor plan around if indeed it's too small of an opening? What about my vent hood?

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:17PM
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If the single pinch point in the upper left is less than 36" but at least 32" you should be okay, if the doorways in your house are 32". This isn't a passageway or aisle, its a single narrow point (between two opposing counter corners) in the same way that a doorway is a discrete point of a few inches (of wall thickness). Of course 36" + is preferable but may not be achievable --you don't have the square footage for all the suggested allowances. You certainly don't want to leave the range free ended on the left just to get a commodious walkway.

If the interior doorways leading to the kitchen are 32" (which is typical in residential construction) you won't get anything absolutely requiring 36" into the kitchen in the first place.

You also have the slight advantage that counter Height is 36" and most people's elbows are Above 36" when carrying packages unless they are very short. You don't have this advantage in a doorway, which is full height.

36" is the minimum for passages 24" in length or more.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:32PM
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24" is the standard box depth, and most coutertops will be around the same size as the Ikea brand to extend out past the door/drawer fronts.

Specific to your quesiton about hood size, I think that is a large hood in a small kitchen. You also don't appear to a have good counter space for prep work other than to the right of the stove, which is ackward for moving between sink and stove.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:49AM
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what is the room beyond the have 71 inches between your runs.....couldn't you create a peninsula at the top-extend beyond window then make a turn with some stools on the side in the other room...whatever that room is? Or second option, with all the inches between the runs/,make them deeper-30 inches....sink and dishwaher at top and fridge/range on lower wall. I'd let go of that larger hood fabrication idea-too much for your space.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 8:08AM
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You guys are so great w/ your ideas. Please forgive me tho, because I"m a little confused on what some of you are saying. Are you guys designers because I have no idea what some of the things you're mentioning are! I've looked up a few, like coverpanel, but other things I've not been able to figure out what you're talking about. Sorry!

palimpsest, I don't know what a pinch point is & what do you mean I don't have the sq footage for suggested allowances?

Cindy, are you saying what bmore said isn't relevant? You are correct that I don't have great prep space in this kitchen. I will tell you, what will be there after all is said & done, will be a lot more than what's there now, tho! Currently on the wall I want to put my range on, now sits a 50" wide dresser w/ drawers that I use to prep. On the opposite wall where my fridge & sink are now, are 2-21" prep spaces w/ the sink between them! Not much space, but it is a small kitchen! This is the layout from 1939! I'm single so it's worked ok for the time being, but I'm so ready to have this be a better functioning kitchen!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:50AM
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herbflavor, the room you enter into the kitchen from is my small living room! Key word, small! My whole house is a whopping 750 sq ft. So, unfortunately, the space in the kitchen is what I have to work w/ & nothing more! I have thought about making that wall a counter but I don't have any space to put stools on the opposite side in the living rm, so I think I'm better off w/ a space I can maybe utilize w/ a few open shelves. That is if I stay w/ the layout from IKEA. I'm not sure what a "run" is. Can you help w/ this so I can understand a little better? Are you talking about counter space length? If I put my sink & dw on the wall where I was thinking about putting my range, 1st of all, the sink won't be able to go under the window there because the space between the window & the wall to the living rm is about 2-3"! I could put my sink closer to the window than the range & have lower cab's on both sides, but upper cab's will be a problem, when coming in from the back door, just as the range hood I had wanted....which looks like that's not an option now.

I'm so completely frustrated w/ all of this! Errrr! Since it's looking like the hood I wanted to do isn't a good idea for this space, does anyone have a good idea of a hood that would fit in here? I was hoping not to have to do the kind that is SS & has the hood w/ the chimney. I was going to make the one I wanted out of a pine wood that would match some upper cab's I was going have custom made for the other wall where the sink & dw was going to go. I'd love any suggestions or pictures if anyone has anything.

Thanks again for all of your feedback. You guys are great!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:34AM
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The narrowest point in the kitchen is between the two counters, so that is a pinch point, slang-wise.

If you add up all the guidelines for set-down spaces, work spaces and clearances, about 13 running feet of counter top at least 24" deep is required to meet these allowances.

That's not always possible in a small kitchen broken up with door and window openings, but they are guidelines. There are almost no specific residential code requirements except for clearances for cooking appliances required by the manufacturer and overhead clearances to combustible surfaces.

For example, it's recommended that a range have a minimum of 12" on one side and 15" on the other, for a total of 27". It may be necessary (but not ideal) to place the range in a corner, which may require something like only 3" on the wall side for minimum clearances to a vertical surface, not a flammable surface.

Likewise, it is considered ideal to have 21" between the DW door and a run of cabinets whose face is 90 degrees to the DW rather having minimal clearance between the DW and the face of the cabinets around the corner. Sometimes this 21" is not available.

Same with 12-15" on the hinge side of the refrigerator to allow for full extension of the drawer or to allow them to be pulled out for cleaning. This isn't always available.

That's what I mean about suggested allowances. They make for the best kitchen, but sometimes you have to make compromises given the amount of space allotted to your own kitchen. These suggested allowances are often quoted as some part of International Residential Building Code, but they are not. Some local codes are incredibly stringent, (mostly on the west coast it seems, but most local codes are not). Many of the dimensions are National Kitchen and Bath Association guidelines and some are American Disabilities Act guidelines or American National Standards Institute guidelines.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:47AM
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First, I love your inspiration picture! That is such a great there a possibility of moving the range?

Just a quick idea...and I think those hoods look great with upper cabinets on each side. Kind of gives them 'balance' on the wall. From Farmhouse plans

And something like this cabinet on the left, as you enter from the back door, against the keep it from looking so bulky. Great storage, too. From Farmhouse plans

(Also, I'm sure everyone has explained this, but the countertop sticks out a bit, over the cabinet. They protect the drawers a bit and you have that overhang of the countertop over the lower cabinet...that's why the 25 5/8"...the countertop sticks out an extra 1 5/8")

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Lavender, thank you for your feedback...& explaining the extra
1 5/8". I had a feeling that's what was being said! I'm going to have to ck w/ IKEA about the coverpanel to make sure there's not extra inches, beyond the normal 1 5/8" because of that piece. I sure hope not!

I'm going to try to see about putting the fridge on the wall I was considering for the range. I'm just not sure because of blocking the light from that window. But, I'll measure it out & see what happens. If I were to move the range to the other wall, I have the pantry as you enter from the living rm, then a cab, the range, another cab, but where would i put the DW? I'm trying to put a corner cab over by the sink because I need the storage I'm going to get from a lazy susan type thing. So, a DW can't go there. I don't think you'd want to put a DW next to a range?

I like that picture of the cab you posted. My style is kind of country french, but not really country! My bottom cab's are going to be a cream color & on top, I was going to custom the upper cabs made from pine & have chicken wire in them w/ burlap behind that. Those were going to be on the fridge wall. That custom hood was going to be made from pine like the uppers on the opposite wall, to balance out that look. If I just had a few more inches, that would be great! But, a few others have already reinforced my idea of it being too bulky over there. I think it could work if I moved the range to the other wall, but I'm in another dilemma of where to put the DW!! Errrrr, this is the most frustrating thing I've done yet! Worse than the appliance choices!!! That was a piece of cake compared to this!!

I hope some designers are out there that can throw in a few suggestions on placement! Anyone?!?!

Thanks again. If you come up w/ any other ideas lavender, I'd love to see them! Have a nice evening.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:48PM
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I wondered if you were going to have a that's the little cabinet by the fridge? Using the pine would be such a great feature. Don't give up on your range hood, just yet.

One other idea...can you lose the pantry? If so, you could slide the fridge over (just leave a small gap for opening the doors all the way, to clean) and put the range on that wall.

The counter by the door would be for prep and setting down groceries. The sink and dishwasher would be on the other cabinet with the window.

This is the only way I can see to keep the windows and not have bulky items by the door. You would have storage under the window (by door) and upper cabinet storage. Would that be enough? From Farmhouse plans

Possible idea for area over window. Maybe an upper (with the chicken wire) then the plate rack, then window? From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Ikea cabinets actually are a bit deeper. A 24" cabinet may not be 24", too!

Sometimes cabinet measurements are to the front of the door and sometimes they are to the front of the cabinet. If the measurement doesn't include the door, you need to allow for it.

Generally speaking, a counter overhangs the front of the cabinet by 3/4". When thinking about aisles or clearance in a tight space where every inch counts, you need to switch to using countertop measurements. In a 12 x 16 foot kitchen, its not going to matter too much, but in yours it will.

An ikea cabinet, with doors, is about 24-7/8". The about part is because walls and floors vary in how straight and level they are. So, depending on your house, an installed cabinet may not be perfectly flush to the wall but it will look straight across the entire cabinet run. Your counters could be "normal" or you might have some small depth variances.

The red corner needs to be looked at specially, cause it's small and tight. The only person who can answer how much room you actually need at the door before starting cabinets is you.

I was trying to tell you how to figure something like that out. If you don't have a roll of blue painter's tape yet - go buy some. You'll need it later anyway.

I'm big on modeling how something will work before committing to it. So I'll use piles of books, tables, cardboard or other bits of stuff to "create" the spacing and then see what living with it is like. I feel its important to do it in real 3d stuff when possible. Sometimes, you can use past experience to know what's wide enough, but sometimes you can't.

And just because palimpsest is saying 32" and I'm saying 36" doesn't make either one right for you.

As an example, in my kitchen the worst spacial place is the tiny hall in front of the basement door its about 36" wide and about 34" long. I am forever wacking my arm on the door knob. But also, we had a 42" wide but only about 36" long aisle for a long time, so I really got to see how I felt about the difference carrying groceries or laundry through aisles of varying sizes.

You could live with the same spacing and feel differently than I do about it.

Different people here have different points of view about spacing

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:53PM
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As much as I think you can get away with certain minimum spacings, I would not want the range in either near-end position as shown in the first drawing (either where you have it or, alternately, where you show the sink in the first drawing. I think the Positions + the narrow pinch point are what I don't care for in combination in the first plan.

I also don't think the DW around the corner from the sink, works because it is actually behind you when you are at the sink.

I think the latest one posted by Lavender is closer to what I would plan, and if I could I would want a radius corner on one or other of the corners near the back door.

You may not be able to achieve the traditional symmetry and centering under the window of the sink and still get the best layout in this kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Palimpsest, sometimes it does work to have the sink and DW on adjacent runs - mine was that way for 24 years in my old kitchen, and it is the same way in the new kitchen. In fact, in the new kitchen I moved the DW even further from the sink, to allow space to comfortably stand between DW and corner to load./unload.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:21AM
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I think if you can do 30" or so, it's fine. 21"-24" is too close.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:05AM
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As has already been said, "somethings gotta' give" in this kitchen, leaving you with a less than ideal layout in some aspect. If at all possible, I would want my sink and cooktop to be on the same counter run. I like lavender_lass's second layout with the following changes.

1. On the wall to the left of the door as you enter the kitchen, place a counter depth refrigerator enclosed by a cabinet panel on both sides. I like what the builders of my patio home did in that situation since my fridge is also at the end of a cabinet run with a breakfast table next to it. On the end they have a short wall 4.5" wide and 18" deep. This gives a stairstep effect on the end and softens the look. The wood panel on the side of the fridge extends 8" beyond the short "wall." Next to the fridge put a narrow pull out pantry, then a small base cabinet of some type, such as a 9" tray cabinet or a narrow pull out and then a wall oven under the window. I recommend a 27" Bosch oven in a 30" base cabinet since this oven has large interior dimensions relative to it's size. However, there is also room for a 30" wall oven, under the counter, as well. With this layout, the fridge and pantry could also be reversed. I recommend splitting up the cooktop and oven to give you additional drawers beneath the cooktop on the primary working side of the kitchen.

2. To the right of the door as you enter the kitchen, I would place the dishwasher as annkh suggests. Although having it next to the sink is recommended, I think this would be an acceptable compromise for your situation. If you have the DW at the end of the counter with a heavy stone countertop, there needs to be at least a 3" spacer at the very end to provide needed support for the stone.

Whether you close off the corner, have an L-shaped cabinet, or a diagonal corner cabinet is personal preference. I recall the GW forum members had a debate about this when annkh was planning her kitchen layout. My decision was to put a 36" diagonal corner cabinet with a super susan in it for the base cabinet with a 27" diagonal corner corner cabinet above. For the wall cabinet, I purchased D-shaped Rev-a-shelf lazy susans. They sit on the shelf. There is no center pole just like the super susan in the base cabinet below. As that diagonal corner is very deep, there is room for a small microwave on the counter at the very back and still have plenty of working space in front of the MW. If you go with a diagonal corner cabinet, I would place a 6" wide cabinet , such as a 5 drawer 24" deep cabinet next to it as you turn the corner. This keeps one from feeling too jammed up in that corner. I have that arrangement with my cooktop and never feel closed in. You need to look at corner cabinets in the kitchen layouts on the showroom floors to decide on your preference and where you want to store things. Strong points can also be made for closing off the corner, as I believe annkh along with many others, have done. You have said that you prefer not to "waste the space" in that corner.

Referring back to the second layout by lavender_lass, I would put the sink where she has it but an induction cootop where she has the fridge with at 6" between the cooktop and the wall. The design experts are correct in recommending against putting a cooktop at the end of a cabinet run but any kitchen, especially a small one, is about making compromises. Although your kitchen is not a galley, I would google --GW kitchen forum + Brooklyn Galley Kitchen Finished (not white) -- to see ideals for how she handled the ends of her cabinet runs.
She opened up her ends and still kept a small piece of counter edge raised up to provide a feeling of separation between the kitchen and DR. You could also remove the wall completely on each side and this would provide you with at least 4" of additional counter space if you decide to keep all the counter at the same height. Having 10" to 11" on the left side of the cooktop would be very nice. If you look at Brooklyn galley's kitchen, to the right of her stove, next to the window, she has a small curved wall display cabinet with open shelves, probably 9" wide, which would give a nice finished look facing your living area beyond the kitchen.

As previously said, I would put drawers beneath the cooktop and a drawer bank between the sink and the cooktop. A 30" sink cabinet with a 30" farmhouse sink would give a large sink in your kitchen.

My final word is to think through your top priorities for your kitchen, and visualize yourself working in this space.
You'll know it when you have the layout worked out that will make you happy.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Great ideas everyone! I appreciate all of these ideas...& education! Definitely back to the drawing board!

Texasgal, could you post a picture of your fridge so I can see the stairstep effect you did? I'm a visual person so would love to see what you're talking about. Unfortunately, I can't do a wall oven because I have a 30" wolf range! Where in TX are you? I'm in Austin.

palimpsest, what do you mean by a radius corner? Is this a turning area for the person cooking?

lavender, thank you so much for the drawings. As I said, I'm a visual person, so you have helped me tremendously! I'm liking your 2nd idea. It has definitely given me a whole different way of looking at this kitchen w/ all of the additional feedback.

Thank you to all of you. I love this website! Hopefully I'll have a great kitchen to post the final product one day in the sort of near future! This is such a slow process!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:26PM
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No, I would just do a slightly rounded corner on the countertops, if possible rather than the square 90-degree corner.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Bicyclegirl, I'm in far NE Houston, close to the airport. I was up your way just last weekend visiting #2 DS and DIL. Your username fits for health conscious Austin. Now I understand why your house is so small. The cost of Austin housing is expensive for Texas.

Getting back to your kitchen, If you can, consider putting the Wolf range where I suggested you place the cooktop, in the counter run with the sink. I wash my hands often when cooking and would hate to walk across the kitchen with dirty hands that often. If you can, put cardboard or paper cutouts where appliances might go and walk through cooking a meal. I've never learned to post a photo on GW but will work on it as soon as possible to show you the short wall by my fridge.

Yes, it does take a great deal of time planning a kitchen. I made many trips to model kitchens in trying to make cabinet and layout decisions. However, without the great folks on GW I would not have an induction cooktop, a range hood, or a single bowl Orca sink.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Could you switch the door and window locations on the left hand wall? It's not as hard as creating a whole new opening or getting rid of an opening.

That way you could have two full width runs of counter to work with.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:11PM
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What Pal said about switching the door and window is the best spacial idea yet to me - being able to use both walls - and one of them could have counters 30" deep.

Also, most of the small cabinets could disappear - replaced with more usable sizes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:52PM
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I have been playing w/ moving the back door in the middle of the wall. My back stoop would have to be moved over if I do that & I'm afraid this could push my budget way over. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago I had plans for adding a kitchen on & making my current kitchen a DR. As I was waiting for my permit, I got laid off work & put my kitchen on hold at that pt. I was out of work for a yr & 1/2, so had to use some of this $ to help me live. So, my budget has been dwindled down quite a bit. But, I'll research this & see if it's doable.

Texasgal, it's actually very easy to post pics on here. I'm totally computer illiterate & if I can do it, anybody can it! Do a search for ""posting pictures & there's a thread that gives you very easy instructions. Unfortunately yes, it's very expensive to live here. Absolutely ridiculous. For my 750 sq ft home, my property taxes are outrageous! Not sure how much longer I'll be able to live here. May have to move out to the burbs just to survive. But, what I do love about Austin is the outdoor life. I'm big on cycling, obvious, & love the lakes to go stand up paddle board. I'm just 15 min's from townlake so am able to go after work in the eve's to get a good paddle in. Wouldn't be able to do that if Iived in the burbs!!

Thanks again to all!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:02AM
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One more idea...not perfect, but you do get the pantry and fridge together...and the range and sink on the same counter run. This means you don't have to cross the room, when prepping. Hate to lose the window, but this way you wouldn't have to move the door. Just another idea :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Thanks so much lavender! You're so sweet to help me.

My house is so small & obviously the kitchen is too, I don't want to cover the window in that corner. I need a lot of sunlight, big time, because of the small home! I think I'd feel really closed in w/out all of the windows in this house. I really like your 2nd idea & am going to play around w/ it this week....when I get some time to sit down & work on it. I'm so ready to get this finalized!

Thank you again for all of your great ideas. And again, your drawings! When all is said & done, I'll post pics of the final product!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:49PM
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I agree with the suggestion to swap the window and the back door. I'd look into economizing in other areas; like the counters, no backsplash, shelves instead of upper cabinets, used appliances, etc. as these items can always be updated later as funds allow, but the layout here is key and I also agree that if you can get by with few larger sized cabinets the cost will be cut there as well. I think you have the makings of a very charming space and the window views sound lovely.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 2:21AM
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I wonder what you came up with here? Also it would be nice to see photos of the original kitchen. I have been small space living my whole life and now that I will have a good amount of space to use for my kitchen I am more confused than ever! But I still love to see small spaces well utilized.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 2:55AM
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WW, I'll post some before pics soon. I probably can't get to it for a few days tho, but definitely will make sure to post some. I finally came up w/ a great floorplan after all of the feedback from these great & talented people. They really helped me more than they know. I can't wait to get it going. Things are about to start in the next few weeks.

Small places are hard to work with, but I'm sure large spaces can be challenging too. I don't know if you've asked for help here, but don't hesitate. They are all so willing to come to your rescue. bungalow_house just had 90+ responses on her layout & finally figured it out with the help of these folks. You won't regret reaching out.

I'll be posting before pics soon & then will do the final pics when all is said & done. However, I'm sure I'll be on here quite a few more times needing help with few things before the final moment!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:59AM
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