What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

jill314August 14, 2013

Edited to add: Revised floor plan a few posts down. I'm deleting the original since it has issues!

Below is a diagram (more or less to scale) of my kitchen. The door to the hall cannot be moved (it could be closed off, but I would rather not do that) and I would rather not get rid of the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. I am thinking that what makes the most sense is to basically leave the refrigerator, sink, and range where they are, put a shallow (12") pantry cabinet in the narrow space next to the doorway, and base & wall cabinets along the rest of that long wall. The part that is giving me trouble is the wall with the window on it.

Just for context, we are a family of 6 and we often have other people over for meals. We also host big extended family dinners quite often, so we do want a very functional kitchen despite the small size. We plan to have some cabinets installed in the dining room to help mitigate the fact that there is just not room for a lot of cabinet space in the kitchen.

Any layout suggestions or ideas are most welcome. :)

This post was edited by jill314 on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 10:03

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Welcome, Jill314!

I was reviewing your space and noticed that the measurements do not add up...

The top wall = 160.75"
The bottom wall = 48" + 44.75" + 48" = 140.75"

I can understand a difference of an inch or two (like the side walls), but 20" seems a bit excessive! I'm assuming one or more of the bottom numbers are off or there's a jog in the bottom wall somewhere that makes that wall shorter...

Left wall = 14.75" + 40" + 43" = 97.75"
Right wall = 30.25" + 37" + 29.5" = 96.75"

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Ah, thanks. The archway in the bottom wall is actually 64.75, not 44.75. Whoops.

I think the left/right wall differences are probably due to the difficulties in getting a completely accurate measurement by myself.

Thanks for catching that!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Okay, never mind, I just looked at my drawing again and the left/right wall difference is because the top measurement is supposed to be 13.75, not 14.75.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Okay, I think I fixed the issues. Let's try again:

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Well, a seemingly simple thing would be to narrow the hall doorway to 28", which is a standard width, so you could run a standard counter all the way down the stove wall. Is there a reason why that shouldn't be done?

Depending, you could conceivably even deepen that counter to 26, 28, or 30" to give you significantly more work space. 30" is very nice. I had it once and can't believe I didn't do it here, even though I have more space than I need anyway. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:06PM
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The doorway width includes the door frame. I believe the doorway opening is already 28" or 30". However I can't really use the space past the door frame, so it's only 13.75" of usable space between the wall and the door.

Right now, the counters are all shallower than the standard depth, so I think that even standard depth will seem big to us. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Can you move the dining room arch to the left? If so, then you can create a very nice U-shaped kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Lisa, thanks so much for weighing in. :) It is not out of the question to move the arch. However there are a couple of issues with doing that. One is that the opposite side of the dining room has a similar arch that is centered in the room, so if the arch to the kitchen is off-center it will look odd. Another issue (perhaps more important as far as the kitchen is concerned) is that if there are counters along both "long" ends of the kitchen (top and bottom in the above floorplan), then in order to have a dishwasher next to the sink, we'd have to move the sink, which adds expense. Another issue is that the kitchen is so narrow that if the counters are standard depth, then there is less than 4' in between, which is pretty tight if more than one person is going to be in there at a time (which will often be the case).

If someone has a specific plan where moving the arch would make everything wonderful, I'd definitely consider it!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:57PM
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I think you're right about your layout. With the Hall doorway in it's present location, it really limits what can be done on that top wall. In addition, with such a large opening to the DR, the bottom wall is also limited...and an island will not fit b/c of the bottom wall(s).

So, here's something I came up with on my lunch hour (and then I had a meeting and couldn't back to it until the end of the day):


  • Refrigerator...

    • To open fully, the refrigerator must not be against a wall (or other obstruction) that's deeper than the refrigerator's carcass/box. The doors must stick out past any adjacent obstructions. To accommodate this, there's a 9" Pantry pullout b/w the refrigerator and the wall. I'd prefer a 12' pullout for added space b/w the refrigerator and wall, but you only have 48" to work with on the bottom wall segment. (The left wall has even less room - 43", so I do not recommend turning the refrigerator.) [The Pantry Pullout could also be a Utility Pullout for a broom, swifter, etc. It depends on what you have a greater need for inside the kitchen itself.]
    • I don't know what size your refrigerator is or will be, but I recommend a refrigerator "alcove" with a minimum width of 36" and a height of 72" - even if you have to install filler in the short term (if your refrigerator is smaller than 36x72). Manufacturers seem to have landed on a "standard" size of 36"W x 72"H refrigerators. Refrigerators narrower than 36" are getting more and more difficult to find and we periodically get a request from a member frantically trying to find a refrigerator narrower than 36".
    • The refrigerator has a finished end panel on the exposed side with a full-depth cabinet above to give it a more "built-in" look w/o the cost of a built-in refrigerator.
    • Note: If you get a standard depth refrigerator, then I recommend you also get a pantry pullout deeper to match (no deeper than the refrigerator's carcass, though).

Zone Arrangements...

  • The three primary cooking zones are separated to allow multiple people to work in the kitchen at one time.

  • The Prep and Cleanup Zones are separated by the sink. Someone can be prepping while another person is cleaning up (loading/unloading the DW).

  • The Prep and Cooking Zones are adjacent to each other for an efficient workflow but there's enough room for someone to be cooking while someone else is prepping.

  • With the refrigerator in the bottom left corner, there will be very little, if any, zone-crossing in this kitchen! A good thing... :-)
    It's a direct line from the refrigerator to each zone w/o crossing into one of the other zones.

Cleanup Zone (right wall)...The Cleanup Zone comprises the sink + DW on the right wall.

  • There's a 24" upper cabinet for dish storage above the DW.

  • The sink is a single-bowl sink set in a 30" sink base. I recommend getting the biggest...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:39PM
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Thanks so much, buehl! There are some similarities to what I had in mind as a first go at things, but the differences, along with your explanations, are very helpful to see. I'm sure I will come back and read it several times over! For right now, it's been a long day and my brain is shutting down, so I should probably head to bed. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Haha, I must be picking the right things up if I come up with almost the same plan as buehl!

Working with the much more readable plan (vs my freehand one) buehl has kindly posted above, my preference would be to put the 6 in pullout space into the sink cabinet (so 36 in sink base) with the trash under one side, then take the 18+12 to the right of the range and make a 30 in drawer stack.

I think both are good options. For me, I'd make the changes I outlined because:
-after seeing what the useable space in a 6 in pull out, I could not come up with a good way to use it in my kitchen. You, however, may decide it's just what you need. One of the questions none of us can answer.
-my 12 in tray pull out isn't as great as I hoped, though I think that's more a function of the style used. I need to play with it. But if I could get a larger drawer stack by giving it up, I would in a heartbeat! If you are using framed cabinets, the useable space will also be less. That top drawer probably would not fit oven mits if framed (my silicone mits just barely fit and my 12 in drawer is frameless).
-if you plan the sink well, you can get 18 in for the garbage in the sink cabinet. I don't mind it. And if planned from the start you can make it whatever style you like. Plus in my small kitchen I couldn't bring myself to give up the space.

I think that 9 in pull out by the fridge might work better as a utility space vs pantry, just based on useable interior space. You can probably fit much more on a pegboard type system than narrow shelves. But definitely measure what you need to store vs shelf width, it might be the perfect size for some things.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:29PM
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I suspected that was the case for your DR but I had to ask.

Buehl drew up a very nice plan, given your constraints. One thing I would add is a two-sided glass cab between kitchen and DR either full height like this:

Contemporary Dining Room by Portland Interior Designers & Decorators Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Or with uppers and lowers with pass-through like this:

Traditional Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Designers Gast Architects

This cab would be accessible form kitchen and DR making it easy to put dishes away from the kitchen side and take them out to set the table on the DR side. The cabs would take the place of the wall and would extend into the DR, not the kitchen so it wouldn't interfere with the DW placement.

You could do a cab on the other side of the arch for additional storage if you need symmetry.

This post was edited by lisa_a on Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 2:17

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:30PM
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I have been away from the computer so I'm just now seeing the newest replies. Thanks so much!

Williamsen - thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess I'll have to think about what specifics will work best for us, but in the process it is very helpful to hear what has worked for other people!

Lisa - those photos are beautiful, and definitely something I hadn't thought of with the dining room cabinets. I'll have to think about whether something like that would work for us and be financially feasible. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:01AM
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