layout experts...measurements not working out (I think)

Molly PhillipsSeptember 27, 2012 all know who you are. Please help.

So, Hollysprings suggested I move the fridge and add a peninsula with a corner prep sink. I taped it out, adding space for a 15 inch sink and trying not to make the peninsula be wider than the entrance to our great room so I don't have to make the archway into the great room smaller.

It made the peninsula only 3 feet wide, which I know the recommendation is 41 inches with chairs. Also, to fit the 15 inch sink at the corner, it gives me about 10 inches between the peninsula and stove. Is that enough space?

Also, on the layout below, you can see where the existing pantry cabinet is. DH thinks if we keep it, it will be too tight between the peninsula and pantry - it's a little more than 5 feet of square space based on my rough taping/estimates. The dark corner is pretty much wasted space currently; however, the microwave is hidden in the pantry so I'd have to find a place for that if we moved it.

Finally, I'm attaching a photo as one would walk in from our front door, looking into the dining room and kitchen entrance. We are planning to make that dining room a less formal eat-in area. Is there a way to open that up to the kitchen without making it so the kitchen is *that* noticable if you're coming in the front door? I'm wondering if my peninsula, or maybe an island, should go at that end of the kitchen instead of the other end that's currently on this layout. However, someone had mentioned that I don't want that much openness to the front of the house, where people coming in can see the mess.

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Molly Phillips

Here's the shot from the front entrance into the dining room (there is a butcher block cart blocking the kitchen entrance that is usually not there. Also, ignore the clutter. Life with young kids....)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Molly Phillips

And finally, a mock up of Hollysprings' suggestion so you don't have to look at previous posts.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I think it works fine--without the seating. With the table right there, and it is RIGHT THERE, why would you even want seating in the kitchen? With your space constraints, I cannot even see where you can get seating into that kitchen. An island wouldn't even have enough space for traffic, much less traffic behind someone seated.

Removing the seating would allow you to have an additional 12" before the start of the peninsula, and that's plenty of room to create that "prep cockpit" where everything gets unloaded from the fridge to the peninsula and prepped there facing the folks seated at the table. It may seem to be "crowded" to you because you no longer have to walk all over to get everything you need. You just have to stand in one spot and work. There's plenty of prep space, and it's in the right location for a change! However, the fridge crowds the cleanup sink too much and you need to move the sink down to the left to get more room in between the two.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Molly Phillips

Well, to clarify, I want to get rid of that breakfast table - speaking of it being RIGHT there, it is RIGHT in the middle of the main walkway from the garage entrance and utility room and the chairs are constantly in the way. By removing that table, we'll then eat our meals in the dining room, which I'm trying to make less formal. However, I'd like to have something for the kids to sit on in the kitchen to eat snacks or lunch when DH isn't home...thus the chairs on the peninsula.

You're not the first person to tell me to move my sink down if the fridge goes there. And I personally am one that likes the DW to the right of my sink, not the left. However, I started this whole project as a mini-remodel. Nothing I'm doing is going to add value to the house, only sanity to my life. I'm already moving the fridge and DW and I may have to get new counters because of that anyway, but if I move the sink, I *definitely* have to get new counters. My mini-remodel just doubled in price with all of this movement, you know?

Which leads me to this next question...IF I have to move the sink too, then is this still the best layout? I mean, if I'm paying for it, I may as well do it right.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:57PM
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This has very little to do with the kitchen layout per se, but it may help give you some temporary sanity until you get the bigger details figured out. Have you considered replacing the 2 chairs that are in the walkway between the arched openings with a bench? A bench could tuck under the table farther than the chairs and be out of the way (in theory, at least--I have littles too and know how they love to move things around!)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Molly Phillips

Thanks, laughable...good idea.

I measured what would be the space between the sink and fridge (if moved) and it's only 12.5 inches. I don't know why, but when I hand wash dishes, I usually put them to the left of the sink now, though. Think 12.5 inches is enough for anything? Not even sure what I could put in cabinets that small.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Well... you could do something like this over the sink. It might look really cute with some fiesta ware dishes in it. It would probably look nice in a wood color to match your cabs,too if the teal seems to bright to you.

Eclectic Dish Racks design by

If it was at my house, it might end up looking more like this (grin):

What do you hand wash? Are they things that require lots of room like pots and pans, or just little putsy stuff that could fit in a smallish rack to the right of the sink? There are some narrower racks that I saw when I googled dish rack images.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Molly Phillips

I don't hand wash much....HATE doing it. Usually just knives, pots or anything too big to fit in the DW and I just put them on a towel that's on top of the counter until they dry (*puts paper bag over head to hide in shame*). Everything else goes in the dishwasher.

Everyone is just telling me the sink is too close to the fridge. If I added a filler cabinet that's 12.5 inches wide, I could probably make it a pullout to store zip lock bags, aluminum foil, etc. I just don't want it to *feel* tight.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:11PM
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You are probably the best one to judge whether or not it feels tight. Put a box or something of the sort on the counter 12.5" from the sink to block yourself in. Make it stick out as far from the wall as your fridge would. Is it comfortable or no?

We let our stuff air dry all the time. No way to fit it all in the DW. Pass me a bag. : )

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Do you really need two kinds of seating in your kitchen since you also have a dining room?

I am always puzzled by this in the plans I see here. I do get why there should be perch-ish, quick-meal seating in a kitchen, but I don't get why people don't eat every day in their DRs. I also do understand why having a second, more informal eating place (aka the breakfast room) might work if you have a really big house. But to have it at the expense of a well-sized for good function kitchen doesn't make sense to me.

There are lots of attractive domestic features out there, but unless you've got the life-style and resources of the Kardashians or the Spellings, something's gotta give!

Magnaverde's dictum (on the Home Dec page) is utterly correct, IMO.

I hand wash all my dishes and cooking stuff and my draining area is about 15"; I am increasing a bit this time around. Are you a righty or a lefty? I found (by studying how I do things) that I (a right handed person) hold the items in my left hand and manipuate the brush (or scrubbie) with my right, so stowing the dishes to the left works best: most efficient and least number of hand exchanges which is where you can drop slippery, wet items. Particularly since I sometimes have to adjust other previously-washed things already placed in the drainer. That requires the dexterity of my dominant hand, while I hold the just-washed item in my left. Does that make sense? You could test the distances using dry dishes for a series of typical meals to see if they fit in your proposed drainer-space.



    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Not sure this further's the OP's dilemma, but just mentioning, liri and others, that lifestyle really is key. The OP, for example, having little ones means for a relatively large surface-requirement. And seemingly, yours truly having bigger ones, means for a relatively largest surface-requirement -- lol!

We made for a very open floor plan which I had thought to add seating to, but makes sense in our family's current needs, to be surface-driven. We added counter space but have a DR already - I also thought it seemed extraneous, but dh wanted this and I didn't care so much. I don't, personally, actually use that countertop seating, but everyone else does while I short-order for them. We use the DR every time we sit down to dinner, which is about 5-6x/week. But then also I've just set up our former kitchen table in the "family room" adjacent which is completely strewn with homework. I was not liking how the teenagers made a beeline for their room and the laptop on arrival for home and was remembering how a computer expert had advised always requiring the computer be perused in public spaces only. So I made a rule that they be down here on this table -- the third surface then in basically one contiguous space (and, BTW, there's a secretary in the LR for dh now too!).

Anyway it's working better than I could possibly have dreamed. Kids facebooking far less, and in front of me: no run-away bullying sessions, hopefully. And they declare *liking* the "conference space" for HW sessions. I think this is analagous to whatever lovetodream has going on in that endearing shot of drawings and napkins and bags... (or whatever) for little kids. They need playdohing space and drawing space. And it's really, really nice that it be close, but separate from food-prep space.

There have been threads in the past investigating different family's use and preference for formal DRs. This seems to very personal with some feeling the dedicated sit-down eating space is really important, and others not at all. But I think it really is true that for some the space is critical to their family's operation. For me, having grown up with none, I thought a separate, formal DR was pretentious, but blue-blood (gone to seed) dh grew up with one and wanted it and I complied. I have grown to love it, a surprise.

So - all this is a long way of saying, I can see why you might want a formal DR, countertop seating and a kitchen table as well. We do and it works well for our household happenings. But I can certainly understand why on paper it seems excessive.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Ok, I accept that some people may see a separate DR as a pretentious, overly formal, non-applicable to their day to day lives, space.

But if you dislike the pretense, why not make the DR that you have non-pretentious by using, and decorating it, for your day to day life? Out with the mahogany Georgian sideboard and in with whatever makes your life easier to manage at the moment.

What I am trying to get at is to question why one might choose to have wasted space in the DR while crowding redundant layers of eating surface categories into the kitchen, thereby compromising its (primary) functionality.

If your family needs causual dining arrangements (and I can see why that would happen with young children) then accomodate them in the DR for the time being by changing the DR decor and fittings. It seems more sensible, at least to me.

I think it's peculiar that it has become more desirable to retain a show-piece room that doesn't work for your family, just for the sake of saying you have a formal DR, or because you use it twice a year at the holidays. It seems to me that in this situation it isn't the room itself that is the problem but rather it's the homeowners' fantasy life.

I'm actually not a particularly pro/anti DR person. If having a largely unused formal DR makes you happy, I'm perfectly happy with that.

Heck, I have a whole small bedroom fitted out with shelves and cupboards for linen storage. Others might see this as idiotic because it deprives us of the opportunity to have fantastic walk-in closet and ensuite MB bathing arrangements. But if I was lamenting my lack of same, and people saw the "linen room", they'd be perfectly justified in asking me whether my country-house-sized fantasy linen room met my actual current, stated, needs. Sometimes an outside observation is very useful in sorting this sort of thing out


    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Molly Phillips

You guys are right - which is why I'm trying to get rid of that breakfast table and make the DR less pretentious and more open!

What I'm trying to establish here - and get ideas on - is how to open that DR up more, yet still keep the kitchen where someone walking in the front door doesn't immediately see it. My kids won't spend time in the current DR if I'm in the kitchen because it's too closed off - Mom can't give them proper attention to ooh and ahh over EVERY.SINGLE.THING they do if I can't see it, right??!

The drawings I posted has the breakfast nook there but I don't intend to keep it. I do, however, have to get rid of the silk drapes, walnut table and upholstered dining chairs or we will feel waaaay too uptight to enjoy meals in there every night. We are NOT a silk/fancy china kind of folks.

aliris19, you raise an interesting point about playdoh and, eventually, laptops and facebook. I need to think about that more. :)

Also, the window seat where the breakfast nook is in the drawing is not currently there; however, there is a row of floor to ceiling windows and - probably most importantly to design - the walkway from the garage entrance to the great room that will forever be there. Not sure what to do with that space where the breakfast nook is, other than put some comfy chairs for reading or visiting while I'm working in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:28PM
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