Feedback on layout please

mltomsAugust 17, 2013

Hello, DH and I are going to gut our kitchen. We currently have the original 1987 kitchen (complete with pickled oak cabinets), and an incredibly odd island, which we like call "battleship stove."

Here's an image of the current layout (the real angles aren't quite so weird, but I didn't care to make that image perfect)

Here is a pic of the bare walls with all the infrastructure details:

We just got our first plans back from the KD on Friday at 5:30.




Unfortunately, he only included the elevations and not the floor plan. So, I spent this morning with the cabinet spec book, and did my best guesstimate of the layout. Here's what I came up with.

Opinions are welcome!

Some notes:
-I am the primary cook. Mostly dinner, sometimes massive cake or chocolate extravaganzas. DH helps with prep and clean up. No others in the house.
-We want a modest (by GW-standards) upgrade. We'll spend some extra money to get a hood, good sinks, and an electrolux induction range, but we don't want to go into counter-depth fridges, microwave drawers, double ovens (sigh).
-DH doesn't want to plaster over the "window" to the living room.
-The most important part of the reno is getting a vented hood. I'm sink of the Jenn-air downdraft. GC and I have a plan for whichever way the ceiling joists run.
-I already think I want to swap the dishwasher to the other side of the sink to avoid the fridge problem.

Thanks for any input!

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I'm no expert and hopefully you will get great input from the real KD 's here, but first and foremost I would get the stove off the island because a big hood hanging down in the middle of the room is very intrusive and obstructs the view out the window. Can you center the stove on the fridge wall and perhaps move the fridge on the wall near the pantry. I'm not liking the shape of the island...seems too big. Can you lose the pantry and extend the cabs into that area and on the other side do a floor to ceiling pantry where the bar sink is....I know, probably more than what you want to do and you would have to close in that opening, but unless you use that bar area a lot I think that corner could be utilized better.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Also not an expert, but more ideas is always better!

Those funny looking things next to the fridge are my freehand finger drawing of bifold doors to the pantry, entry moved into the kitchen,

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Joaniepoanie (love the name!) I don't really want the range in the island, but there's a HVAC intake jutting into the space on the right hand wall. There's not enough room for the range on that wall :(

As for the bar sink area, DH is a massive coffee drinker, so it holds two coffee grinders and the coffee maker. We both like that it keeps the coffee mess in a contained zone.

And, the pantry is pretty much stuck being a pantry because the ceiling there is 7'. Thanks for the ideas. It's always good to be asked :) I agree that the island seems big. Part of me would love all that flat space for my massive baking days, but I don't know how much I would like it for everyday cooking.

Williamsem- Very interesting idea. I'm not loving the fridge placement, but the peninsula looks fabulous!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:55PM
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How about moving the HVAC intake? Don't rule it out before you have gotten estimates or explored DIY.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Could you 'fill in' by the a/c duct, so that the wall is even...and then put the range there? Don't know if you could take out the pantry, but this might work, if you could. I know you have tall windows, but I thought an upholstered bench might work (with easy to clean, outdoor fabric). Just another idea :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:32PM
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debrak2008, we did check. The only option was putting it into the floor of the dining room, and I really really didn't want to do that.

Here are two possibilities inspired by you all. I went back and looked, and if I left the lazy susan and HVAC cabinet cover where there were in the KD's plan, I DID have room for a stove:

[This is also inspired by feedback beuhl gave me a few years ago when I was pipe dreaming... DH brought me back to reality.]

And here's an attempt at getting the peninsula without putting the fridge in the middle of the room. I think I would love the look, but I'd give up almost all of my wall cabinets.

Ignore the boxes on the left of the picture. I forgot I had them there while playing around.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:36PM
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I like these iterations better. In the first one, I think I'd put the fridge in the corner so you get more counter space next to the sink...two 18" counters won't really be that serviceable...too small. I really like the second one since I'm not a fan of islands...find them to be barriers you always have to walk around. Also like that your back isn't to rest of kitchen while at the sink, which is where a majority of time is spent.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:11AM
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In both scenarios I also like moving the pantry door to the kitchen side where it will be barely noticeable.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:01PM
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This is two variations of changing the PANTRY.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 7:11PM
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If your floor plan is correct, then the aisles in the design th KD gave you are too narrow, particularly the one between the sink and stove. Three feet is only what we call here a "one butt" kitchen, meaning two workers can not simultaneously work at the two work centers with out stepping back and into each other. Combined with the fact that a sink usually has a DW and and DW usually has drop-down door and, well, you got trouble in paradise! (The two other aisle widths are slightly better, but not really generous, even for a two-person household.)

I am pressed for time tonight, but I will see if I can make more than cautionary comments later, or tomorrow. I see several others have started the ball rolling with drawings. It's impressive what can be worked out by the collaborations here.

You'll likely get a lot of useful help, especially if you engage with the posters. If something doesn't work for you, feel free to comment, but sometimes a little more explanation (on both sides) gets to the reason for a suggestion and a better solution can be found.

For some odd reason many of us (both amateurs, and pros) like working on other people's kitchen designs. It's a weird habit, but harmless and somewhat useful.

Have you read the "New to Kitchen Forum, Read Me First" thread that Buehl keeps updated, and mostly floating around on the first page? Tons of useful info.



    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 7:27PM
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bmorepanic - I like the angled pantry door! I was playing around with something similar today, but I see how that little angle allows the island to become much bigger. I started trying to think about where I would put things (another tip I got here)

Ignore the 24" on the countertop extension. I just grabbed that box, it's scaled to 18" extension.

liriodendron - I see what you mean about the 3' aisles. Right now we have 5' between stove and sink, and it's more than enough, but 3 wouldn't be enough. I'd love any input you may have. I have read the new to kitchen forums, and I've lurked around for a while. It's just a whole new ball game when you're about to pull the trigger!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:18PM
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Maybe flip the 21" and the 24" cabinets at the bar. You may end up wanting an undercounter ref over there. You can put an 18" wide sink in a 21" cabinet, but you can't put a 24" ref in one.

It would be nice if the ref was closer to counterdepth. The ref doors make access to the corner ?susan? a little bit wanky. Changing over to a angled corner helps with the susan access but makes access to the wall cabinets wanky.

I wonder if it would work to change over to GIANT wall of tall - with every cabinet on the wall about 30" deep? This would disguise a normal depth ref, add more storage, could put the micro there too. Alas, it does nothing good about accessing the corner.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Hi All, I've gotten more info on the layout the KD did. It's not as bad as I thought, but I'm still worried about it. My main beef are 1) cooktop still in island and all the issues that entails. 2) prep areas are broken up over left perimeter and island.

Thanks to your suggestions, I've tried two other layouts. The first is without changing the pantry. The second gets me a bigger island as the pantry door moves.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 1:11PM
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I like getting the stove off the island, and the fact that you've eliminated a corner.

A couple of little things I noticed: what's up with the little upper between the fridge and the sink? That one looks like it comes closer to the window than the upper on the right side, and might look a little odd.

The corner in the upper right - I had the exact corner in my old kitchen. Lazy Susan base, diagonal corner above, 12" upper next to the range. For us, it wasn't at all functional. There wasn't enough counter space to the left of the stove; the tiny upper cabinet wasn't very efficient; the upper corner held a lot o stuff, but it was hard to see and find things in there.

In my new kitchen, I moved the range a foot to the right. That gave me more counter above, and allowed for drawers next to the range. I closed off the corner completely, so I could have drawers on both sides of the corner. The upper corner is an Easy Reach, and the upper between that and the range is 24" wide - lots of room for spice (there is a built-in spice rack on one door), and cooking and baking supplies. I have another drawer stack to the right of the range, 34" wide.

The key to corners is to know exactly what you will put in them - that will help determine the layout that works best for you.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 2:50PM
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A couple of things....

First, I like the angled pantry door b/c it puts the pantry entrance in the kitchen and closer to "the action" without the pantry door getting in the way of anything in the kitchen. The larger island is another benefit, but the door location is the bigger benefit, IMHO.

I don't remember - is there a reason you aren't putting a prep sink in the island? It would make both the island and the kitchen as a whole so much more functional! You could still have a small bar sink (that's probably all you you really need in a coffee/tea/beverage center - you don't need a big sink to add water to a coffeemaker.) Unless you're on a slab, plumbing isn't generally all that expensive. I was surprised how little it cost us to add another sink in our kitchen when we remodeled.

I see a lot of issues with the KD-designed kitchen. My recommendation is to ditch it and use one that others here have worked with you to come up with - they are far better!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 3:46PM
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The upper cabinet left of the sink was me not thinking straight :) I would definitely want the upper cabinets to be equidistant from the window edge.

I would love to move the range to the right, but in the first post, you'll see there there is a HVAC return duct currently hidden in the cabinets (weird 80s house design). It's currently as far right as we can go. We're not planning on using the lazy susan/corner cab as that much storage, but was the countertop issue really that bad?


Thanks for the input. No real reason not to have a prep sink, only that 3 sinks seemed a little bit much. DH really likes the web bar area for his coffee. The other issue is cost: We're on a crawlspace, so plumbing isn't the issue, but DH wants the sinks to match, and I've got my heart set on the huge blanco 1.75 with drainboard. The smallest silgranit sinks are 14-17" and still cost a pretty penny.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Definitely the last plan. That corner of the pantry that sticks out...I would bump into that, at least once a day. The larger island may allow you to have one extra seat, too.

I don't think you need a sink on the island. It's a nice addition, if you want to stand and prep a lot, but the sink is right behind you. I agree with Buehl...ditch the KD and go with this plan. Unless the KD can get you some huge discount and wants to use this better plan :)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 6:26PM
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The angled pantry plan gets my vote, too. Heads and tails better than the KD's plan.

Additional comments:

I'd ditch the upper cab to the left of the sink. A 9" cab isn't very useful and once you adjust it to make the window reveal the same as the other side, you basically have too skinny a cab to be of use. I understand why you put a cab there - to balance the look on the other side of the sink - but I think its small size will make it look more out of place than if there wasn't a cab there.

One other thing: You have an 18" overhang on the back of the island that I'm assuming is for island seating. You don't have enough clearance between the island and the HVAC ducting. You should aim for 44" of clearance behind seating. I think you should lose the additional 12" of cab storage under the island so that you have sufficient clearance for island seating.

One way to gain more storage in the island is to make the island cabs 30" deep instead of 24". That gains you a 44 1/2 " aisle for seating.

I also wouldn't bother with the angled cab next to the 2nd sink. You have sufficient aisle space and you'd gain better storage in that cab.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:53PM
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mltoms, the whole corner was a non-starter for us; the short counter space was only part of it. Perhaps if there hadn't been an angled cabinet in the corner, that counter would have been more useful. The bigger issue was poor upper cabinet storage, and poor storage in the LS. We kept potholders in the LS, for example - close to the range, but not that convenient to get. We had spices in the 12" cabinet to the left of the range, but it wasn't nearly enough room to organize it well.

With your prep space on the island, it will probably be less of an issue for you than it was for us.

In your space, I'd eliminate the upper diagonal - either do a custom Easy Reach, with the right "leg" longer than the left, all the way to the range hood. Or, make it a blind corner, so you have a wider cabinet near the stove.

Where will you put cooking utensils?

Another possibility for the corner base is a blind corner accessible from the sink wall side, and a pull-out next to the range. I've seen pictures here of units with utensils on top (stored vertically), in a fairly narrow space.

Again, the key is to determine in advance where you will store utensils, pots and pans, potholders, spices - all the things you need near the range.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Slightly different....

Why did I put a prep sink in the island? Because, to be honest, that huge sink on the perimeter takes up so much room that you don't have as much prep space as I, personally, would like - free and clear of the sink. Yes, the drainboard could be used for prepping, but I'm concerned it will end being used for drip drying hand-washed dishes and, therefore, not be available for prep space.

By adding the prep sink to the island, the island now becomes a nice big Prep Zone. It also helps the kitchen to become a multi-cook kitchen with plenty of space for cake decorating, etc....and with a water source right there as well. You still have over 63" of work space on one side of the prep sink in the island.

If you'd like a bit more aisle space b/w the sink wall and the island, you could (1) eliminate the 12" deep cabinets in the middle of the island, (2) reduce them to 9", or (3) reduce the aisle behind the seats (but I wouldn't take more than 3" off that aisle).

I would put the MW in one of four spaces (all shown on the layout):

  1. Hanging from an upper cabinet to the right of the range

  2. Under the counter in an alcove in the island (but only if no one in your family is particularly tall - it would not be a very good location if you have anyone even moderately tall in the family)

  3. On or under the counter in the Coffee Center

  4. On the counter in the corner b/w the sink and range

Regarding the utility cabinet...b/c of the new pantry design, you probably won't need any more than a 9" pullout b/w the pantry wall and the refrigerator. This will give you additional inches of much needed work space to the right of the sink.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 1:14AM
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Did I read that right, "potholders in a lazy susan"??? In our old kitchen, our lazy susan fit all our pots & pans, colanders, and a couple of oversize serving pieces (yes, things were stacked/layered). Many people here store small appliances in their susans. I really wanted one in our new kitchen for small appliances, but lost out to our Pet Center. I still have a minor regret that I don't have the corner susan I wanted...oh well.

Blindcorner cabinets are worse, IMO - my MIL has a blind corner upper and base and hates them both. No, she doesn't have a pullout in either one, but even pullouts can be an issue. If something falls off the pullout inside, you can't close the pullout until you crawl inside the cabinet to retrieve the fallen item. In addition, you need to get one of the top-of-the-line pullouts to get one that will last a reasonable length of time - this is one item you should not "cheap out" on, if you have a blindcorner. [Working in my MIL's kitchen has made begin to think that if a blindcorner is your only option - then maybe a "dead corner" is better. I'm not yet totally convinced of that, though, since some people here seem to have found creative ways to use them - like roll out tray shelves (but you can't store much in front of them).]

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Pitiful, isn't it? The same LS held an odd assortment of things, ranging from crock pot to colanders to potatoes. My storage was horrific. I only had 6 drawers in the whole kitchen, including a 12"-wide 4-drawer stack opposite the range (it's a U). The other drawers held flatware and cooking utensils. I had a 48" sink base. My single base cabinet (that wasn't a sink or a LS) had a half shelf. Small appliances were in the china hutch, or on top of the fridge. Food items purchased in bulk (cereal, pop, soup) were stored on metal shelves in the basement.

You can perhaps appreciate my shudder when the OP presented exactly the same corner arrangement!

I have a super susan in my new kitchen - I am not opposed to them. If the 9" upper cabinet next to the range is a pull-out, that could work nicely.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:58AM
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Annkh...I'm glad you have better storage now!

Yes, the 9" cab b/w the refrigerator and wall is a full-height pullout. Or, it could be a top pullout + bottom pullout.

See the link below for an example. (Rev-A-Shelf is not the only company that sells such hardware/inserts, so look around.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Rev-A-Shelf Pullout Wood Tall/Pantry Accessories

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:31AM
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What you drew (plus thinking about the additional comments from others) is much better than what the KD did.

I'm going to point out just a few things, most very general, to think about.

A corner is difficult to use in any meaningful way for doing prep. Unless you use an angled corner, you can only work at one side or the other. In the drawings above with the range on the dining room side wall, the person at the range "controls" the corner space. It's worth thinking a little about who gets how disturbed when:
-- Dishes are loaded/unloaded from dishwasher
-- Person makes snack (ref-micro-sink-dishes-silverware-trash)
-- Location of trash and whether to have multiple locations (i.e. spouse gonna run that drippy coffee filter to the other side of the island?).

Spend some time sitting back and noticing what actually goes on simultaneously in the kitchen. The idea is to both make everything convenient but yet not have pathways that twist up everyday tasks. There may not be a way to get everything, but know the trade-offs.

A seated person takes up about 24" of aisle space. A person needs about 32" minimum to become seated. A 42" aisle to a blank wall (measuring counter to wall) with stools ends up with an aisle 18" wide behind the seated people. It's the kind of thing that's ok if its just used occasionally for passage, but not ok if there is a destination on both sides. An example would be the bar and an entertainment deck behind the left side wall would cause lots of people to go behind the folks seated in the stools.

Pinch points tend to make people consider going around the "other side" of an island, they trot through the work area instead of the seating area because it looks like the passage is wider. That can be annoying if frequent.

Since it looks like you have table space in the kitchen, consider ditching the stools for a double-sided island. It's what I would do - I don't like tight spaces and pushing stools back in constantly.

A hood is supposed to be 24-27" deep. It will work better if its also wider than the range as buehl has shown. IF your hood is the recommended depth, you could have some issues with accessing the corner wall cabinet - with the odds of its affecting you getting larger with right handedness. It kinda of plays out like this...

There is less than one foot of counter frontage for your body facing the cabinet. You'd be reaching with your right hand. Your right shoulder will not clear the hood projection. So you'd do stuff like open the cabinet door with your left hand with your face in the hood, then poke your head over to see where the thing you want is, then place you face in the hood again while finding the item by feel.

Different issue but still with hoods (and a little bit also with corners). Be careful how you spec the opening of the wall cabinet doors so they don't open into the hood. Yes, you could install a chain to limit the opening.

Lastly, that chain would have had a life span of about 10 minutes with my brothers and current spouse. Your family might be different and that's ok. It's just an example of planning for how you and your family ARE, not how you daydream they would become. Always try to evaluate whether or not a given thing would work for your actual family as well as listening to how something worked out for someone else.

Wow, I way the h-ll lecture :)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Hi all,

Life got kind of crazy, but I wanted to stop in and thank you all for your advice. While I know the kitchen layout isn't what everyone would have chosen, I think it will work for us. The biggest limiting factor was that we wanted to stick with Wolf cabinets, which has no customization.

Here's the final layout (sorry, buehl, no sink in the island, though I did really consider it :)

And, work has already started:
Here's the bain of the kitchen, the back of the HVAC return, and my new joy: a vented, over the range duct!

And, the lovely newly angled pantry door:

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Have fun, and best wishes to you for a speedy and uneventful install!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Such a little detail, angling that door, but I understand why you call it lovely. :) Pictures soon hopefully?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:55AM
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