Plea for help, how does this look?

SnbtwinsSeptember 7, 2012

Here are our latest plans. I am driving myself and everyone else crazy! I am trying to figure out if there is enough space between table and island. This will be the only eating area in the house. As drawn, the island is 3'6" x 9 (which is much smaller then I originally wanted). I did want at least 4' wide, I prefer 5'. There is 3' between the chairs and the island stools. The kitchen is 17x10 and the range wall to the windows in the dining area is 21'. Do you think I should push the wall back another 2 feet?

The width of the family room and kitchen is 36'8"

This certainly isn't my dream kitchen space, but I am learning that I will never have that. :(

Thanks for any suggestions!

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This is probably going to throw a huge monkey wrench in to your head, but keep in mind I know nuttin' about nuttin.

My first impression, though, is what I'm going to offer, but again, I have no idea if this would work because I can't picture dimensions.

Have you considered turning the island 90degrees counter clockwise? You could deepen your island, open the kitchen, and give a little division between the HUGE family room and the kitchen.

Why is your pantry in the family room?
It looks like you go down to your mudroom. What's over it? Is the kitchen open to the level below?

Remember I don't know much about required spaces at all, I just know this floor plan didn't hit me as something I'd like. You have this cavernous family room and everything else is crammed into the right side of the house.

I"m sorry that this probably wasn't anything to help you.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:47AM
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CEF, thank you for the reply. To answer your questions, yes, the family room is large but I would put the back of the couch facing the sink wall, which I think will help make it less cavernous. I was also toying with the idea of making the room not as wide.

The kitchen was originally drawn where the family room is now, therefore the pantry was there and I guess the architect just left it, since no place else to put it. The house is a ranch, nothing is above the kitchen or mudroom. When you walk in the side door, you can go down to the basement or up to the house. The front door is level with the rooms.

I actually would like to turn the island, but then I have to cut the length, not sure how long it could be then. I am soooo confused, as you can tell. Thanks again for any help!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Three feet between chairs and island stools is very tight, especially if you live in the real world where people get up and leave their stools/chairs sticking out. (If you don't live there, please tell me how you managed to break your family of this habit!)

I have 3 feet between our island (with stools beneath) and a wall, and it works fine for us because it's not a major traffic spot. We can walk by just fine, even when someone is sitting there with a stool pushed way out. However, if I think about having another set of chairs where that wall is, it seems very tight to me. It *might* be workable if you can train your family to push chairs under, if you get small stools that tuck completely under the island, and if you don't plan to have people in both spots at once. If you'll ever have people in both spots, though, it will be an obstacle course to try to squeeze through--and the only alternate path to both your sinks is right through the work zone by the stove.

I wonder if it might work better to plan for a stool at the living room end of your island. How many people are typically going to be at the island? If it's only one or two, then perhaps you could just have a spot on the living room end and the spot right around the corner from it, nixing the other two spots that interfere with the chairs more.

Or what if you extend your island slightly toward the living room to allow people to sit around the living room end? Then the part that backs up to the dining table could have shallow storage to hold things used at the table. Several people at GW have islands that have one end that gets larger to accommodate seating at that one end.

Also, I think you may be able to shrink your aisle width on the cooking side slightly, but that will depend on your comfort level, how many cooks are typically in there, your (and other family members') size, and how traffic paths work through your kitchen. Right now your sinks make a lot of traffic in that corner of your kitchen.

Speaking of sinks, I wonder why both of your sinks are squished at the main sink end of your kitchen. It seems like one might work better toward the other end of the island to give you a spot to wash produce without having to trek all the way from the fridge, past the stove, to the sink by the window.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:00PM
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What are the dimensions of your dining table ? Do you already have it or are you planning to purchase it ? I cannot read the dimensions on your plan. What does it say on the left end of your table ? __' 9-7/8"

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:13PM
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I know how you feel - I drove everyone crazy for months on our plans.

As you know, my space is pretty similar. If you can push it out 2 feet - take it! That would give you 23', and here's how it would break down: 8.5' for the dining area + 3' for walk-way + 2' for stool pull-out + 3.5' for island + 4' for aisle + 2' for cabinets.

My range to DR wall measurement is 28', but I need an extra 2.5' because my table is turned the other way and an extra 2.5 feet for the leaf to pull out. Take off those 5' and it would be 23'.

You can do it without the extra 2 feet - you'll just have 8' for dining, 2' for walkway, and 1.5' for stool pull-out. It would work, but it would be tighter. If you opt for a stool like the one below, you won't need any more than a foot for it.

If you want me to pull out my leaf and take pictures with the chair and stools out, let me know!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:02PM
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I like Windy's idea of putting the seating at the family room side of the island. If you widened the island just a bit you could put two seats at the end and one around the corner where it wouldn't be much in the way of your DR table. If you think you will be sitting at the island OR at the table then maybe the closeness won't matter as much if you keep your seating on the long side.

Have you considered swapping your closet for your pantry? You would need the door to enter on the kitchen side but it would bring your pantry items closer. You may be able to build that pantry out so that the front wall is flush with the front of the fridge. This would give your fridge a "built in" look and enlarge your pantry.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:03PM
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A couple more thoughts. The island width is actually good. You have plenty of room for your stools and it will be easier to reach across to clean. I assume the sink and MW location were just thrown in there by the architect (like the furniture placement in the family room). It will work a lot better if your MW faces the range and if the sink is closer to the other end. Your layout is so much like mine except you have a lot longer range wall, which I would have liked. You can even put a pantry cabinet next to the refrigerator and use the pantry as game/toy storage.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Thank you all so much for the help!

Angela12345, my dining table is 60x38 plus an 18" leaf. That dimension to the left of the table is 11'9 7/8"

mpagmom, WindyCityLindy and camphappy, I tried to draw what you suggested with the island and pantry, how does this look?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Can you swap the location of the main sink and the DW? Moving the sink down would make it more functional if you don't have to walk around the corner of th island to reach it.

I suggest you set up the space where you're currently living...use card tables or existing tables or tv trays or whatever you have and put some chairs there to actually visualize the space between the table and the island. I think you'll find it tight.

Why would you stop the cabinetry so short of the end of the wall in the kitchen? I would think you'd want to make use of that space, even if you put in a bar area or a desk area.

I agree with others that the space attribution is out of balance and the kitchen especially can expand toward the family room without issue. You'd gain far more than you'd lose. I also agree about the pantry location being awkward.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:35PM
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I think that looks better. I would suggest moving the prep sink a bit more to the family room end. I would try to have it about 18-24" from that end of the island. That would give you more usable prep surface on the other side of it.

Switching the closet and pantry and bringing the new pantry out to the front of the counter run makes your pantry much more usable, I think. It also seems to give you a bit more counter run between it and the stove.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:39PM
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You could also leave the fridge where it was and make the pantry more of an "L" shape if that makes sense. Might be nice if you wanted more space in there. My pantry is "L" shaped (and tiny) but I'm using the extra little corner to store all my office stuff in to keep the clutter out of view.
Also, make sure the door to the pantry opens up toward the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Some dining dimensions ...

Ideally, you need 24-28" of width for each seated person. 30" would be Very graciously spacious. At a bare minimum, you need about 21" width for bar seating. I actually have 18.5" each for my 4 barstools, which are just round so not very large stools (Acme Furniture 07258). I would not do a dining table with personal space this narrow at 18-21", but you can get away with it a little more easily at a bar. When we are actually sitting at our peninsula, we normally pull one of the stools around to the end which has an 8" overhang. This gives each person 24" wide. When it's kids sitting there, the decreased space works ok for them and they all 4 stay side by side with 18.5" each

Here are dining table rules for clearance around the table ... Allow 24" from table edge for a seated diner with no obstruction (wall, furniture, etc) behind. Allow 32" from table edge to wall for a seated diner with no traffic passing behind diner. If traffic passes behind a seated diner between the table and an obstruction, allow minimum 36" to allow someone to slide behind / edge past a seated diner, or minimum 42-44" from table edge to allow traffic to walk behind a seated diner. And allow 60" for a wheelchair to pass. To allow for a dining table right next to an island with barstools, add approx 18", assuming a fairly modest sized barstool. So ... you would need minimum 42 + 18 = 60" between the edge of the dining table and the edge of the island counter to allow traffic in between the chairs and the stools. Understand, these are minimums, more would feel more spacious. But these dimensions are comfortable.

Doing the math ... If your room is 11'9", you have 141" minus 38" for your table minus 42" on the wall side = 61-7/8" on your island side. This means you have plenty of room to have seating at your table and at your island on the table side. You can play with your dimensions some ... allowing 38" on the wall side would give 65-7/8" on the island side.

Personally, I would have seating all the way down the long side of your island as well as overhang for seating on the end. It makes for better conversation to have the island seating in an L. If I was the one working at the sink, I would like someone seated down by me to chat, not everyone grouped at the other end of the island 9+ feet away from me.

The length of the room is very spacious for your table. You will be able to leave the 18" leaf in it all the time and still have plenty of room. 60" + 18" leaf + 48" right end of table + 24" living room end of table = 12'6". You even have room to have a sideboard on the right end of your table.

I agree with above suggestions to move prep sink a little more left down the island towards the living room.

Something to think about ... If you can plan to recess the fridge a bit OR have deeper base cabinets that come out closer to the fridge depth, you can have a counter depth look without the higher expense...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Do you really need island seating less than four feet from your table? Why not just always eat at the table?

Also suggest you reverse the swing of the pantry door so it opens toward the cooking area. That way you won't be having to walk around it every time you go in there.

In addition, having the largest seating position (sofa) facing at right angles away from the fireplace is to build in a perpetual design tension with the atavistic power of a hearth. You may be planning to supplant it with the modern "hearth", i.e. a ginormous TV on the wall across from the Sofa. but that begs the question why inject the visual and emotional pull of a hearth - not to mention the expense of it - if you're going to basically ignore it? If you must have the sofa there (relative to the FP) then plan on designing a small secondary seating area focused on the hearth - otherwise it's just a big pile 'o bricks lurking in your room. (See the Home Dec forum for the many pleas for help to integrate the FPs orphaned by wide screens.)


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:55PM
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what will be in the mudroom to the right of the pantry and behind the fridge? looks like steps on the LO. you could set the fridge back into that area.

you could also have the end of the island half rounded (on FR end) with seating on the end and on the rounding part merging into some on the side.

I think maybe the mw should move also. maybe to a shelf under the upper cabs next to the fridge or under the counter there. where it is now might cause a traffic jam if anyone wants to use it while someone is cooking at the stove.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I have to agree a bit with Lirio in that island seating so close to a nice DR table seems redundant. Just eat at the table. If your dining room table table serves more as a worktable for homework, sewing or craft projects, etc ,then I can see wanting both close together.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:55AM
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Just turn the table 90 degrees and attach the table to the island. Dining height is more comfortable, and island seating is redundant with the table right there. There doesn't seem to be an exterior door or any real reason for traffic to pass between the island and table, so why not make it one big island/table.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Seconding what lwo said, adding that you could position a "loose" table in the same way - up against the island - most of the time, but move it out for bigger or more formal occasions.

I'm not sure you have enough width for a walk-in pantry with the entrance on that side - even planning on using just one side. You sorta need about (really minimum) 30" space between the wall and shelves for walking through carrying stuff, turning around and bending over to reach things. Plus, I know this is just "idea" paper, but the opening for the stairs needs to be at least 3 feet with like 42" even better because you'll be toting laundry baskets through there.

This is a strange comment from a kitchen person, but the family room doors and fireplace positioning would bother me. Maybe have both the fireplace and a tv thing on the blank wall, replacing the original location of the fireplace with glass panels.

Just a visual for clarity.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 5:31AM
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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions.

I think I am going to find out how much the estimates go up by adding 2 feet to make the room 23'. I definitely want to keep seating at the island, even though the dining table is so close by. I don't love the idea of a table attached to the island because it will be our only table.

Do you think I am better off bringing the cabinets to the end of the wall or using that blank space for a bar area? I am also trying to determine if I should get rid of the windows in the dining room on the sink wall since I could probably use that space for a buffet or china cabinet?

bmorepanic - I agree about the fireplace, I like your drawing, thank you.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I'm thinking now about extending the cabinetry into the dining area, similar to positano and kelleg. I think this would help tie the two rooms into each other.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:37AM
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I would never elminate windows! If you want to extend the cabinetry, just put in shorter windows as the "backsplash" to the buffet area. The bigger problem though is that you will also need to increase the length of the dining area as well as the width if you want to have an actual walkway between the seating areas and room for a buffet counter in the dining area. It simply isn't large enough to do all the tasks you want. You would need to do more than a 2' bumpout as well. Do a 6' bumpout, and you can have the deeper island that you want as well as plenty of room between the seating. But, you would also need to bumpout in the other direction at least 6' to account for the buffet and traffic patterns in front of the buffet if you chose to do that.

As expensive as bumpouts are, you can add the 6' to the entire structure in both dimensions just about as cheaply, because it simplifies the roofline and foundation.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Be aware that the way you show seating at the island is not realistic. First, you really need 48" for two seats on the end. You're short by 6". If you had 3 or 4 stools, I'd say 6" short might be OK, but not 2 people.

Second, you show two seats sharing the same knee space...and that won't work either. Here's an example of what I mean (it's from someone else's kitchen, not yours.)

The bottom line is that you only have room for 2 stools, one on the short end and one on the long end.

Regarding spacing b/w the island and DR table, I have 50" b/w my DR table and my peninsula...and it is not enough if someone is sitting at the DR table. In fact, now that my son is away at school, I've removed the chair from the DR table on the side that shares the aisle with the peninsula. (We had planned for 56", but we forgot to move the light in the DR ceiling when we opened up the DR to the kitchen and added a peninsula with to keep the light centered over the table, the table has to be too close to the peninsula. Since everyone in our family is tall, having the light lined up with the side of the table is not an option.)

Aisle widths in general...

  • Aisle width with seating - if no counters or appliances behind seats
  • If there is no traffic is behind a seat (e.g., a dead-end walkway with a wall behind the seats and no cabinets, counters, appliances, etc.), allow 32" of clearance from the counter/table edge to any wall or other obstruction behind the seating area.

If there is no traffic is behind a seat, allow at least 36" to edge past. If there is no traffic is behind a seat, allow at least 44" to walk past. Aisle width with seating - if counters or appliances behind seats

  • For one cook/worker in the kitchen: the width of a work aisle should be at least 42" for one cook
    (Note: Some people have found 36" wide enough...but this is usually either a one-cook kitchen or work space and no traffic goes through that aisle.)

    With seating also on the aisle, add another 24" to 30": 42" + 30" = 72" or 42" + 24" = 66"

For multiple cooks/workers in the kitchen: the width of a work aisle should be at least 48" for multiple cooks

With seating also on the aisle, add another 24" to 30": 48" + 30" = 78" or 48" + 24" = 72" FYI...always measure between the counter edge-to-counter edge (or whatever sticks out into the aisle the farthest...for an appliance, that is usually the handles.) For seating b/w a table & counter: I would have at least 32" + 24" = 56" (but it would be even better if it were at least 60")

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Now that I'm playing with the drawing myself, I think BmorePanic did take into account the extra looks like the island is over 48" deep and there may be around 15" b/w the left end and the beginning of the stool on the long that arrangement would work. It's hard to tell b/c there aren't many legible measurements on the plan overall...

(I should have known...BmorePanic is usually very good at aisle widths & overhangs!)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Buehl's numbers are very close to the numbers I suggested ... for example, I said allow 60" in between dining table and island/peninsula with seating. She has 50" in real life and says it would have been better if it was 60".

I got my numbers online originally, but mocked them up in real life to make sure they were accurate. Literally, pulled my dining table 36" from the wall and sat in the chair pretending to eat while hubby passed behind me. Yep, he was able to edge past behind me. Tried all kinds of dimensions out this way when we were designing our house. We were only allowed 2500sf max, so every single little inch was significant. We wanted everything to have the space it needed without feeling cramped but not a bit wasted. I wouldn't believe it could be done if someone told me, but in our 2 story house we have 6 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, spacious LR with 3 full size sofas 2 coffee tables and a chair, dining table that seats 14 plus 4 at peninsula, spacious kitchen with 2 fridges 2 dishwashers 2 sinks 1 stove plus built in oven & MW and so many cabinets that I have empty drawers and shelves, elevator, sunroom, office, laundry with 2 W/D, and a small little coffee bar. People cannot believe it is only 2500sf, and say it comes across as 3500-4000sf feel. I think it's because we planned it so carefully for 5 years.

While you are designing your house floor plan, figure out the dimensions of your furniture and lay it out on your plan how you think it will be to make sure your sofas, beds, end tables, etc all work while still allowing room for walking around.

The 2 ft additional to the width of the room would be great if you can do it as it would allow the extra depth for fridge to look built in, wider island, and more space between the table and island. Ideal island width IMO is about 48"+ ... which is 24" cabinets, 12-15" hidden cabinets facing toward stools, 12-15" overhang.

I do not think you need to add length to the dining room. You have 17 feet to the middle of the door, which leaves 15.5 ft useable. You only need 12.5 feet, so you have plenty of room to add buffet type cabinetry at the end and still have room to spare.

Below helps illustrate seated dining clearances. From

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I prefer to have the island seating facing the range wall. I'm hoping by adding 2 feet to the room, I can have a wider island and a foot more between the table and island. It appears that kelleg has around 22' so I should be okay with 23'. I won't have people sitting at both the island and table at the same time, but I'm sure it will happen occasionally.

angela12345-wow, you sure packed a lot into your home, good for you! The space planning is so difficult.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I might add ... It's a vacation rental home that we use as a second home when it's vacant. We don't have any kids, and certainly not enough for 6 bedrooms !! : )

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Got the new drawings back after making the room 2 feet deeper. What do you think of the aisle clearances now? Also I am trying to decide between the two options. In the first one, the pantry cabinet is 3x2 and the CD fridge is right next to it. In option 2, the pantry cabinet is 4x2 and there is a drop zone before the fridge (for the phone, mail, etc..). Which do you think is better? Does the fridge look odd in option 2? Any other suggestions?

I'm thinking about having a bev fridge in the cabinetry in the dining area. I'm not fully sold on the prep sink but if I keep it I will move it to the other end of the island.

I think I may prefer option 1 but I have no clue where I will put my mail and my kids papers.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Aisle clearances look great now ! My vote is for the larger pantry. I'd go even bigger if it was me. Fridge right next to the pantry. Prep sink down the island, around the word New on the island.

Could you have space for mail elsewhere ? Maybe a spot by the cubbies ? A desk in the living room ? My dad has a piece of furniture by Sauder that looks like an armoire that is a desk when you open it up. You could have a hidden desk in the other closet by the pantry.

Instead of a 23 foot length of cabinets, I think the dining buffet would look great if there was a break between the kitchen cabinets and the dining buffet. With a different look than the kitchen cabinets.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:29PM
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Just noticed one more thing ... Now that you have bumped out 2 feet, should you / could you move the dining windows a bit away from the kitchen toward the top wall ? IMO, they would look best centered to the dining table, so do the math on how much clearance you are going to have between the top wall where the triple window is and the width of your table to determine the center line of the double window on the right wall.

Example, table is 38" wide so center is 19", add clearance of 42" on the wall side of the table where the triple window is = 61" to center line of the table and double windows, plus the width of the exterior wall. That would make the dimension 3'9" instead of 6'1-3/8" if I am doing my math correctly. If you make it 4'0", it would give a slightly wider clearance on the wall side of the table now and allow for a future 42" wide table In case you get one that is wider than the one you have currently.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I like the one with the ref closer to the range, but it pretty much needs another ref, possibly combined with sink to make a bev area work on the other side.

Other people use the ref, the micro and the trash. Because of what they're getting/heating from the ref and micro - they create the trash but also need cups, glasses, plates, paper goods and things to heat/reheat in. They'll scoot through your work area inna heartbeat to get what they want.

The other way to think about it is that you place a ref where others can access it and you get ref drawers.

Other stuff - think about whether you want to move the prep sink near the other short end of the island. It would be super convenient for prep or for staging a bar area when entertaining. Separating the sinks will help make more work areas. See what you think about it.

I might also trade the small open counter off to the end of the run - scooting the pantry to the side of the ref. This would give a drop location and/or a communication center with device charging.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Well, it looks like we may be purchasing a house instead of renovating. We found a house we love, hopefully it works out. I just wanted to thank you all for your suggestions. If we get the house the kitchen will be renovated at some point, it has good bones though. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:42PM
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