Not My Dream Kitchen/FR - plan & layout. Help me choose? Please?

jenswrensSeptember 10, 2012

Starting over from scratch after a 2 year hiatus. I am paralyzed with indecision, and have been so discouraged. I cannot seem to move forward. I have no one to ask. No one really cares. So I am begging here, hesitantly, for some advice.

Below are several renditions of my new architect's original plan. I feel so discombobulated at this point, I don't even remember what it is you need to know to be able to help me choose. Just ask whatever I forgot.

Basically, in comparison to the plans we did 2 yrs ago, I loved almost everything about this new original plan - except of course, the kitchen! I tried and tried to play with this first kitchen, and I never could make it work without completely reconfiguring the whole south side of the house. I staked out both kitchens (architect version) on the ground, and tried to walk around in it, and it just physically didn't fit.

I want to be logical, and not try to design my whole house around a dream kitchen, but alas, I am after all, TKO. Talk me down? I am flailing here, as you will see.

The garage is a drive-under, located underneath the FR. There is absolutely no other garage option on this property, other than a drive-under. I have a limited footprint, and a limited lot coverage. I'm not willing to give up house/living space for an on-level garage. There (hopefully) will be a near-level drive-up area at the front and side door, with a high retaining wall separating the front door area from the lower driveway/garage area. Land slopes to the south.

Views/privacy/sunlight is all to the south/east/west. South is located at the left of all the following plans. Road and north is to the right. House faces east.

Probably too many different plans and pics to be posting, but here follows my stream-of-consciousness plan/layout angst. Feel free to rip me to shreds. Or not. I need something, anything - a catalyst. To go either go forward or spontaneously combust. Whichever. All replies are welcome.


Architect's Original Plan:

Architect's Modified Plan (I was concerned about better garage access):

My DH's Attempt at Modification (with my Dream Kitchen layout):

My Attempt at a Compromise:

And then, we needed Less Crookedness:

And finally, a Different Breakfast Table option:

Land Looking West:

Looking Northeast:

Looking South:

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Alex House

I want to be logical, and not try to design my whole house around a dream kitchen, but alas, I am after all, TKO. Talk me down? I am flailing here, as you will see.

I feel your pain because I'm in nearly the same position as you except it's my roof lines that are driving me batty.

I've gone through countless iterations of what I want on my first floor and because I have fewer room needs than your plans shows, meaning fewer combinations, I've tried my hand at playing with orientations in order to achieve my multiple goals.

What I'm finding is that no matter what I do, when I pull on the string in one place the rest of the tapestry is affected, so design, as I see it (I'm no professional) has to flow organically, one feature flowing naturally into the next. I'm sensing that you're hitting that same wall - the combination of shapes/orientations isn't working throughout the whole house.

I wouldn't hesitate for even a moment in scraping a plan that you don't feel completely comfortable with and I wouldn't for a moment think that you're illogical for building a whole plan around your kitchen. I'm pretty much doing that right now. What I found was that the kitchen was the room that was/is driving me the battiest, so if I start with a blank slate (still mindful of my conditions, which in your case would be the underground garage plus other points) and then play around with the kitchen shape + workflow + adjoining rooms & features and get those issues mostly settled in the kitchen then the rest of the house can flow outwards from there.

I noticed that your architects original plan had an angled section and that he put secondary rooms in there, leaving the primary rooms in the traditional square/block pattern. The square rooms are definitely easier to work with.

Your attempt at a compromise put a functional room into the angled wing and this created an awkward junction between the family room and the kitchen right at the kitchen.

Why not continue the angle with the kitchen included and then try to use the space where the two wings of the house meet in a way that serves a purpose.

So my words of advice to you are to break the problems down into individual problems and then try to solve one at a time before proceeding to the next. Count on a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back type of process as you'll find yourself going back to what you think you had solved which now presents as a problem due to something you've just done, and then begin the process again, one step at a time.

I don't know what you want to accomplish with the kitchen design, but one thing I would try is to orient the kitchen with the family room. In your crooked picture, find the point where the DR meets the kitchen and draw your 45 wall starting there. Then draw another 45 line right at your door, losing the little window wall to the left of the entry. Now the awkward angled space is right where your pantry and closets are located and it is here that you can hide the awkward space into secondary rooms.

You have a lot of room to work with in your kitchen space, so mix it up, try things that you normally wouldn't, and may well reject, but try these new ideas in order to see how they play out and how they affect other aspects of your plan. Try bumpouts, try peninsulas, try a banquette, try a bay window, try an irregular shaped room (beyond just a room at a 45 angle to the adjacent room.)

Most importantly though is to spell out what you want in your kitchen and which of the designs that you posted most speaks to you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:33AM
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I can "hear" your anguish in your OP. The design phase was by far the worst for me, and I wasn't even designing a whole house. I'm sorry this has been so rough on you. Your new views are worth fighting to obtain.

Taking into consideration that I've not designed a house, I like the kitchen and flow in the designs termed DH's attempt and Less Crookedness. In DH's attempt, the breakfast table bump out spot isn't large enough if I'm reading that right as 4' 10" less the wall depth. A banquettes would be lovely there.

In Less Crookedness, I like that the breakfast table is in the kitchen, as opposed to the plans with it in the family room. I can't tell what your measurements for aisle spacing would be. It appears as of you have plenty of space.

Speaking of space, what is the aisle width between island and range? It looks too large. If the side aisle measurement you show at 4'8" is narrower like to appears, then you must have at least 5.5' on the island/range aide, no? I would shrink that down to a max of 4'. That aisle isn't a major thoroughfare to dictate extra space. Plus, prepping at the island and moving across to the cooking surface will be much easier as a quick pivot if the aisle is 4' or slightly less. (I have 41.5" or so between prep island and range top and find it perfect for the amount of cooking I do.)

Another quick thought. The pantry opening isn't in an ideal locale if you plan on storing all your food stuffs in it. You might consider having the door into it moved to the butler's pantry wall. That way, it's a shorter and easier distance to your prep zone, and it moves it out of the way of the house's traffic and entry area. You could use the counter, if there is one, in the BP for loading/landing space. The door could be a pocket or it could open inwards. Or maybe sans door?

From what I can see, you are definitely honing in a great kitchen and house plan. Relax and pat yourself on the back. You're doing it, woman!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 5:00AM
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I'd combine living and dining and place along back where dining and study are located. place study or guest room in front living room location. Be sure and make it a full bath instead of a half bath....the house warrants this guest room with full bath option on main floor. The pantry and storage vestibule between kitchen and dining are in the middle of the home and block flow.This is a home where you want good flow.Calculate the sq footage that you need for these storage functions and contain it against a kitchen wall off to the side. You'll have space because the kitchen will move over to the right-there is plenty of underutilized space between foyer and now absent pantry rooms.With a more open connection between kitchen and dining, envision a more flexible dining setup-could be used day to day and at times use a table extension and bring in more chairs as for holidays or larger gatherings? In a way, if you can decrease the seating for meals option from 3 currently to 2,I think it might be wise.The family room feels better to me without the dining table as part of it. Perhaps either do a bigger island with more dedicated seating.Or create a corridor kitchen now with the expanded left to right configuration[or maybe a U shape],and then have a kitchen table in that general area....along with the dining room setup. When you look at this entire floor of the home and get the overall scheme to work with more potential for going into the future for a variety of lifestyle needs,then the kitchen will make more sense and be a little easier. I think you have to stand back and look at the "overall" some more.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 7:26AM
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Thank yo, herbflavor!
I am confused at this HUGE dining room and study, then a GIANT living area and an unnecessary, teensy Living room.

May I ask your family size?
What are you planning for these spaces?
Are you one who actually does entertain and needs all this (to me) wasted space?

I agree with the full bathroom thing.
I also like the idea of expanding the kitchen into the dining room and making it more a part of the house.

Not knowing anything about your family, I think this is a lot of museum rooms.

I also feel how you do. However, at least you have a DH and Architect, so I sure wouldn't say you have "one one to ask" nor that "no one cares". It seems you've already asked both of the above, and I'm sure at least the Architect cares just to get you what you want -- when you decide -- and get paid. Your DH enough to draw a whole 'nother plan.

Take a breath, girlie. You aint got it so bad! Stymied? Yes. In the right place? Yes. Remind yourself you don't have to do anything until you have an A HA, or feel its perfect. Don't settle, just slow down. You have a fabulous space, beautiful property and a beautiful dog. :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:50AM
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