Feedback on Layout

mountmerkelSeptember 18, 2013

Hello Kitchen Gurus,
After many many redesigns and requotes, we have finally landed on a design and received a quote that is in-budget to build our new house! Now that we've reached this milestone, I'm refining our kitchen design. I know there are a lot of experienced people on this site and I would really appreciate any advice or feedback you can provide.

Us: couple in our early 30's with one baby. Hope to have 3-4 kids total. We are building on a family farm in Pennsylvania. The lot and view face to the south (windows behind the sink will be looking north toward the woods).

One thing I am trying to decide is whether to go for the built-in bench in the kitchen, shown in the second series of pictures. It would be used as a comfy spot to entice people to hang out in the kitchen with me while I cook! Although I would be sacrificing counter/cabinet space, and we already have island seating.

Any feedback or advice would be appreciated! Thank you in advance.

No bench:

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I don't think I like the bench stuck back in the corner - I can't imagine myself sitting there, isolated from both the kitchen and the family room. With island seating already, how would you expect the bench to be used?

In your bottom plan, with cabinets instead of bench, you show a diagonal corner. Is this a lazy/super susan? I have a small kitchen, and the diagonal corner works well for me, providing much-needed counter space. In your case, you might get batter use of the space by using a regular square cabinet in the corner, accessible from the family room side (I'd use it for board games).

You'll want to put drawers in as many base cabinets as possible.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:02PM
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No kitchen guru here...but I see people sitting more on the island than over in the corner. It also becomes it's own little conversation area over there as opposed to being able to join in the conversation, especially if there are also people sitting at the island.

Is that your fridge next to the storage/pantry? I would flip flop it with the stove for easy access from the living room..people coming in for snacks/drinks. Or is there a separate family room? If you do leave it on the other wall I would at least flip flop it with the storage so it is closer to the sink. I might also cut down the storage and have a counter there so you have a landing spot for taking things out of the fridge..maybe even fit in a microwave in that area as well.

Im not very adept at reading plans so maybe you have already figured microwave placement, etc...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:07PM
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My vote is for the second design. Two reasons, one, people will not want to be in a corner while you work, most will want to help so the island is where they will be. Second, the corner along the outside wall is pretty inexcessible. If you choose this one, I would make a cabinet in the living room that is lighted just behind the seat for that area. Then what is left is about 3-4' for seating. I have visions of 3 small kids and crumbs getting in that area and ants everywhere.
I do have a bit of an issue with the aisles. 3' 2 5/16" is not large enough for a house with 3 kids. I would either reduce the size of the island to ensure the minimum of 42" (on the sink side as well). You wouldn't notice it at all from the storage area and the island would have minimal effect. You would still have plenty of room for people to sit at the island and not block the aisle to the other areas of your home.
Most of the guidelines people talk about are there for a reason. Fire plays a big part of it, but ease of living in a space without having to squeeze by another person is important, too. Most stairs are 7/11. Your brain knows this and when your foot hits either too soon or too late, you trip. Hence, the guideline that steps adhere to the 7/11. It is so in the kitchen where mishaps can maim and scar people. Keep the future kiddos safe and this one as well.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:41PM
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I don't like the bench, and I agree that your aisles need to be wider - I'd actually go with 48" aisles as you're going to have a lot of people milling around for a long time. Just as importantly however, your island is a barrier between your fridge and range, and as a busy mom you will drive yourself mad constantly jogging around it. You have some beautiful symmetry going on and I wouldn't want to move the range from that gorgeous stone wall (put some lexin over it for easy cleaning), but you need to figure out how to get the fridge up in the top left corner of the kitchen and if you can't, need to consider putting range where sink is by deleting center window, moving prep sink to top end of island, putting sink on left wall with some airy open shelves on the stone, and flipping pantry and fridge. I can tell that matter what you do, this will be a gorgeous home. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 5:18PM
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I would put cabinets there, rather than the bench and definitely the prep sink on the island. However, I would shrink the storage and move the stools to the right side of the island. This would give you room at the 'bottom' of the plan (against the windows) for a very nice bench/window seat.

Love all the windows :)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Could you post a shot of the entire 1st floor plan?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:43PM
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I vote for no bench plus wider aisles. Eventually, you'll have lots of bodies milling about your kitchen; you'll want room to move about without traffic jams.

Also, I don't see a vent hood over your range. That stone wall is lovely but it's going to get very grungy very quickly without a range hood - and it will be a PITA to clean unless you put lexan over it, as tracie.erin suggests (I think you mean lexan, not lexin, right, tracie?) . A vent hood won't eliminate the cleaning chores completely but it will reduce it, keeping the range wall cleaner longer.

I see another issue. With 42" aisles all around, you'll have about a 48" wide island (guessing at dimensions a bit), which is only enough room to seat 2 people not 3 as you show and the aisles aren't wide enough to seat anyone on the sides of the island (you should plan for 24" min of counter width for each diner, 44" minimum for aisles to allow people to walk behind seated diners). Your plan of 5 seats at your island looks good on paper but it won't work well in reality. Even if you cheat your aisles to 38", as you show on paper, you won't gain enough width for 3 seats at the bottom edge of the island.

The only way I can see you fitting 5 diners in your kitchen - without playing with your plan more, that is - is to turn the island 90 deg, butt it up against the stone wall and turn it into a peninsula. I think you'd have about a 9' long island, round the seating edge and you could get 5 seats along the lower edge. That would also pull company in closer to visit with you while you cook. You'd likely want to move the range to the north wall, with windows on either side of it, and the clean-up sink to the peninsula with a prep sink to the right of the range. Or you put a prep sink in the peninsula and the clean-up sink and DW to the right of the range. You'll likely need to eliminate that odd angled wall so that you have enough room to run the cabs all the way to the entry into the kitchen.

Do you want us to draw out a few ideas or are you absolutely set on this plan, no ifs, ands or butts, and all you want is an up or down vote on the bench from us?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:51PM
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I'm picturing my kids climbing over that bench to get to the living room. Kids will create circular traffic patterns (chasing each other...ask me how I know. :-), and there's a great one with your bench design...over the bench into the living room, around the horn and back through the kitchen (possibly past the range) to the bench.

I do like the idea of a cozy, cushioned bench-like reading nook, but I'd love to see that near a window somewhere.

I agree w/ others that your fridge is not in a handy location, and that it also looks like a fabulous house.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:01PM
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What about something like this? From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:43PM
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I kind of like the bench, if you are the rare person who can give up the cabinet space. I think it makes the kitchen more interesting, and gives more prominence to the stone wall and stove (I have my range against a stone wall, with no cabs on either side, and I like it that way).

Also, assuming you make it comfy, I do think people will sit there. In my last house I had a sofa in my kitchen. People thought i was crazy, but they all wanted to sit there. (Control freak here --- I dont let people help me cook, id rather they relax and chat and have some wine).

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Another no bench vote, and agree with others about aisles, and place of fridge.

Also, I think, the aisle b/w north wall cabs and storage would bring people right to your kitchen if the entry next to the laundry will be your mostly used entry to the house.
Though you might loose some cabs there, consider moving the pantry to the north (entry from the south or from the kitchen side). I would also move the DW on the other side of the sink, so corner b/w the main sink and range can be another prep area. A narrower island (maybe sit only 4), prep sink can be in the middle or more to the south depending on the width of appliances. Maybe a broom closet or pantry next to the fridge can fit.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:12AM
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Wow, what creative ideas! Thank you for all of your feedback. My "productivity app" only lets me spend 10 minutes on this site during working hours, so I'll try to respond quickly and will spend more time looking over things tonight!

Sounds like the vote is "no" on the bench -- thanks! Lavender Lass, I LOVE the window seat idea! I'm going to try to make that work. The stone wall is actually the back of the fireplace that faces the living room. I'll post my inspiration picture below.

Thank you to everyone who suggested 42" aisles -- I totally agree, and shrunk the island to make that work. I'll have to revisit seating at the island to make sure I can still fit 5. I also am intrigued by Lisa's suggestion of making it a peninsula instead. But would it be annoying to have to walk around the peninsula to access the living room?

Lavendar and Sena, I'm going to spend more time looking at your mockups tonight.

For those who asked, the entire first floor plan is attached.

Thanks again everyone for the thoughtful advice.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:45AM
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inspiration pic

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:46AM
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After seeing your inspiration picture my revised suggestion would be to either have a peninsula as lisa_a suggested or go with something as below.

I still think you should close the aisle at the top because it might be an attractive route to take between LR and entry+bath for other people.

And Levender's window seat would look great.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:00PM
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Is this layout an improvement in terms of refrigerator location? I'm picturing a little "trap door" on the outside of the pantry to drop off groceries coming in from the garage.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Sena - I just realized my revised layout is very similar to the one you posted! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:05PM
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I wouldn't bother with the trap door - by the time you've carried the groceries through the back entry, you only have a few more steps to turn the corner into the kitchen and set them on the island, or next to the fridge. I think the trap door would take up valuable wall space on the back of the pantry.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:34PM
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I came up with a kitchen flipped on its head because of this sentence of yours "The lot and view face to the south (windows behind the sink will be looking north toward the woods)." A view to the woods is nice but from what you wrote, it sounds like the preferred view is to the south. If that's the case, I wondered why you oriented most of the kitchen viewing - from clean-up sink and island seating - towards the north not the south. I also wasn't keen on how far away the clean-up sink is from the dining room, which, I'm presuming, will be where you take most of your meals.

Anyhoo, this is what I came up with:

This puts the kitchen closer to the DR, a plus for clean-up chores and for getting last minute items out of the fridge, it doesn't change the range or prep sink views but it does give a presumed better view for clean-up sink and island seats. It also doesn't make company go through the kitchen or around the kitchen to get to the family room. The other thing I like is that it's a shorter trip from kitchen to grill, which I'm assuming is out the door at the bottom end of the kitchen.

I pulled the cabs on the sink wall away from the wall to deepen the counters next to the fridge to 31.5" to make a standard-depth fridge look built-in. You'll love the deeper counters, esp behind the sink.

This plan gives you roughly the same amount of storage as your initial plan. I calculated that the 5x5 storage with an angled corner would give you about 84 cu ft of storage (12" deep shelves, 84" high, 5' wall, 4' wall, 3' wall - each wall is less 12" of shelving on the adjacent wall. Does that make sense?) btw, 6' of pantry cabinets would give you the same amount of storage in only a 2' deep footprint.

I have a few more ideas but I've got to stop playing with kitchens and get my own work done. ;-)

Oh, one really important thing! I need you to double check my math regarding the size of your kitchen, side to side. I added up the dimensions along the top wall and came up with 19' 5/16" (2' 11 5/16" + 3' + 2" + 3' + 2" + 3" + (guessing but think it's) 6' 9"). I'm presuming that the 15' that is marked on your plan is side to side to the left pantry wall. Am I correct or off my rocker?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Lisa- I like that! Just wish the fridge had another location. It would be nice to see out the door..and see who is entering. And the side of the fridge is viewed from the dining room. Too bad it wouldn't work in the pantry area, but then the island is blocking it from the stove.

What if we moved it to the back wall, with matching cabinet on other side (broom closet) and bench/window seat, in between? That would give easy access from the family room and keep fridge close to range. What do you think? Can we bump out that 'north' wall a bit?

I really love the windows and door outside...much like Laura Calder's kitchen. (Oh, come knew I had to post this, eventually! LOL)

Lots of windows... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Windows and door... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Thanks, LL. And I agree: I'm not keen on the fridge location either but since the OP wants to keep the chimney as a focal wall and two other walls are full of windows, that only leaves one wall, which is taken up by the walk-in pantry.

So I came up with this idea:

I moved the kitchen door around the corner into the DR. This isn't to replace the double doors in the DR, only augment it. I shifted the fridge down and added a china hutch/DR buffet to its side, facing the DR. That gives the fridge a pretty side and adds a serving counter for the DR, which it lacks at present.

I swapped the walk-in pantry for pull-out pantry cabs - same amount of storage - changed the length and width of the island to put 3 facing the south view windows and 2 facing the chimney (with still 4' between counter and pantry cabs) and - woo hoo! - added a bump-out window seat to the space. I increased the width of the aisle between window seat and island to 5' so that even when there are people seated in both locations, there is still sufficient room to walk past them.

mountmerkel, I have a question about your DR. How wide is your table? If it's 42" wide, you'll have 42" aisles around it, which is just below the recommended NKBA minimum of 44" aisles behind seated diners. I wouldn't go with a table wider than 42" or else your clearance will be tight and a PITA. (I speak from experience, I currently have a 48" dining table in my 10' wide DR and it's tight, tight, tight. We're exploring bumping out our windows to gain some much needed elbow room. Thanks to GW for the idea! I wish someone has warned me about this issue when we were building. Sigh.)

If your table is wider than 42", one way you can ease the pinch points is to make the upper DR wall a half wall or go with pillars and open arches between them.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 5:57PM
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I was thinking something like this...if the fridge isn't blocking the doorway too much. It's nice that it's easy to reach from the family room, though!

Maybe pantry or broom closet on other side? With small countertop on each side of window seat...somewhere to set your beverage...and things out of the fridge :) From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Nice idea, LL, if the OP can afford to add 38 sq ft to the plan. I'd reverse it, though, so that the fridge is closer to the DR.

I was thinking along the lines of a prefab window seat, complete with windows, framing, support rigging and roofing for the window seat I proposed. Not sure how its cost compares to new construction costs but it was a heckuva lot cheaper for us to add a window seat like this than to add a bump-out that required a new foundation.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 7:57PM
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I cheated and bumped out the bottom, even with the family the earlier version :)

Personally, I like the fridge by the range...but everyone has different preferences. Plus, makes for quick runs for drinks, when watching movies! LOL

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Fwiw, my kitchen uses the back of the great room fpl as a backsplash for my range, too. (below) I got the idea from a local cottage inn we stayed at, where the bathroom had a stonewall that was simply the back of the fireplace in the LR.

I had never seen your inspiration pic before. If you like the look, you should also google Maus House IIRC (try AtticMag).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:29PM
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How about changing the island in lisa's layout to a peninsula?

Pantry+fridge similar to OP's original layout. Fridge, both close to DR and not too far from LR and range. I am not sure if a window seat would fit though.

With 8' for pantry and fridge, if fridge and surrounding panel/pantry cab take up 4' of that 8' it would be better to keep the peninsula less than 4'. So an angled island for the 5th seat may be required.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Holy cow! You all have been busy :-) I really appreciate all the effort. Lisa, I love the idea of flip-flopping the kitchen to face south. I actually had it that way originally, and I forget why I changed it. But you're right, it makes much more sense in relation to the dining room and living room access.

I think right now I'm leaning toward Lisa's first design (Kitchen C?). I would like to keep the door in the kitchen because it's a wrap-around porch, which would lose it's function if we eliminated the kitchen door. It's also important to keep the footprint of the kitchen narrower than the living room for the purposes of the exterior (I'll post pictures).

Lisa, can you tell me more about prefab window seats? My husband is concerned with bumping out the foundation, and I'm also not sure if it would work with our exterior. But, I would love a window seat there, and I like the new location facing north.

My dining room table (in the mock-up) is 5'6" from chair back to chair back.

Thank you to all for your wonderful suggestions and all the work you have put into the layout ideas! I appreciate the effort and help so much.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:18AM
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What a lovely home you're building!

IMO, the wrap around deck would still makes sense if you moved the kitchen door around the corner into the DR but I understand your preference.

On Plan C, if you stick with pocket doors on the pantry (they are so handy so I would) you could enlarge the island to 5' 4", reducing the aisle between island and pantry to 44", the minimum recommended aisle for walking behind seated diners. Since there are no doors opening into the aisle, it is definitely doable, IMO. That way you get a bit more room at the counter when two people sit at the corner. Right now there are only 12 inches to spare, which is a bit tight so 4 more inches would help. I wouldn't make it wider than that, though, or it becomes really difficult to clean the center of the island. It depends on your height and arm reach, though. For instance, at 5'4", I can comfortable reach to 30" to clean a counter.

You could also curve the top end to gain a bit more elbow room. Like this:

Seating overhangs shouldn't be less than 15" - kids will grow - and many here like 18" overhangs, especially if many in the family are tall. The narrow strip in the middle of the island is a row of shallow (15" - 18") cabs, used to store infrequently used items (Christmas platters, etc). The cab closest to the sink run can be turned to face the sink run instead.

Box bay or bay windows are offered by most window companies so ask your builder if your window company offers them. If not, you'll need to find a window company whose windows look similar to the windows of the company you're using. Anderson and Milgard are two companies that I know of that offer box and bay windows but I know there are more.

They look like this on the outside:

And this on the inside:

Hope this helps! Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:32PM
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I think flipping the kitchen (as Lisa has) makes a lot more sense, for traffic flow from the front door to the living room.

My only question...why is the french door in the dining room on the side? Why not center it, in the room? It would look better from the outside, IMHO. And since you have the kitchen door, it's not your main access to the back. Just wondering :)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:04PM
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I believe this is a box bay. I've always liked this window seat... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:07PM
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That is a box bay, LL, but it's not what I was suggesting. That goes to the floor (there is storage below the bench), which means it needs a foundation. The ones I'm suggesting are cantilevered out, no foundation necessary and no storage below either. We're adding a 8" to 9" bump out box window to our DR to gain elbow room but unfortunately, we aren't able to use a pre-fab unit. No one makes one the dimensions we need.

mountmerkel, I meant to add that you don't necessarily need to widen the island and round the overhang. You can do one or the other. If you are considering adding a window seat to the north wall, I would keep a 48" aisle between it and counter seating so you have plenty of room for people to move about, especially since that is your only way into the family room. I can imagine that it will get very busy when you have a full house. ;-)

I'm not sure i understand what you mean by "My dining room table (in the mock-up) is 5'6" from chair back to chair back." Is that with chairs pushed all the way in or pulled out as if diners are seated at the table? Either way, you'll only have 30" on both sides. If it's with chairs pushed in, that's on the tight side because it means you likely have only 36" between table and wall. If it's with chairs pulled out as if diners are seated at the table, that means you likely have at least 44" and perhaps as much as 50" between table and wall, which is good.

LL makes a good point about centering the double French doors, however, given your DR clearances, I'd leave the double French doors where you show them since you've got more length then width in that room.

One more tip that I learned the hard way. Make sure your porch is deep enough for chairs and aisle room. Our deck is 7' wide and it works if the chairs are up against the house wall (and not rockers) but I wish it was at least a foot wider.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Lisa- Good eye! I thought it was a box bay, which is what I need in my dining room remodel. I know Sarah Richardson did one in her farmhouse remodel...and it was expensive, but made a huge difference! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Loved that DR! And that house! I wish they'd make new episodes of that show.

And that's exactly what I meant. Do you remember if it was pre-fab or built on-site? They aren't inexpensive but my understanding is that it's still cheaper than pouring a foundation. But that could be for remodels and not new construction. I've only priced the former.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:14PM
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No, I think you're right. It was a brick house and I think that added to the expense. I'm sure you could get a nice box bay for half what she paid...and it was a long way from the city, too. Maybe a couple of hours? Remember the first drive out, with Tommy? LOL

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Okay, I mocked up Lisa's Kitchen C design and although there are many things I love about it (31" deep counters? Brilliant!), the refrigerator location is just not that... pretty. It blocks view through the door onto the front porch, and I really like that door. So, I went with Lisa's general layout, but moved the refrigerator back to the panty and went with Sena's idea for a peninsula instead of an island. What do you think? Is this more functional? I would really like a beautiful island, but a peninsula is just as functional, right? And now there aren't any obstacles in the path to the refrigerator. Am I on the right track?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:38PM
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A fat T-island?

Top of T facing main sink 6'x2', seating 3, and bottom 4'x4' (or 4.5'), seating 2, facing the range. Aisles at the 6' part would be roughly 3.5' for 2'. Then increase to 4' or more if you have less island width.
The 3.5 aisle would be about a feet away from the range if I made no calculation errors and at the other aisle would be in front of (part of?) the pantry door. So, I think it is doable if this sort of an island is acceptable for you.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Mountmerkel, I like a U-shape, but I'm not sure about the pantry area. It looks like you kept Lisa's pocket doors, but in your last layout you don't have room for them. And the L-shaped pantry seems like it loses a lot of storage space to access the area behind the fridge.

I see two possibilities.
1) narrow the pantry to fridge depth. Either keep the walk-in format, our build in big pull-outs (depending on what you want to store there).

2) Keep the depth, but access the area behind the fridge from the other side. Put in glass doors and use it as a built-in china cabinet, or put a in a counter and use it as a sideboard.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:24AM
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I was thinking accessing the pantry from the other side would be better too, so you have a reach in pantry next to the fridge for food, but the other side can be split into bulk/paper goods storage and utility space for vacuum, mop, cleaning supplies, etc.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Great idea to split the pantry! I love it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:43PM
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I wish you had some 'landing space' next to the fridge. Your stools are blocking island access, which leaves you the bottom of 'T' or counter by the sink.

If you're going to open the back side of the pantry for actual pantry storage, why not have a counter next to the fridge (microwave above or below?) and make that area a separate snack area. Pantry access could be on the other side and it would give you a place for kids/guests to grab a snack, without getting into your main work area.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 1:24PM
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There are a lot of pluses about your latest plan but I'm sorry to see you lose the symmetry of the range and hood centered on the FR fireplace chimney. Generally, I'll choose function over symmetry but this was such a nice feature of your kitchen that I thought I'd see if there was a way to keep it along with the other items on your wish list.

I also am not keen about pushing the range into the corner of the peninsula since that will make it harder for more than one person to work at the range at the same time. Additionally, I think you'd find the shallow pantry space behind the fridge difficult to use IRL (looks to be 2' or 3' total with shelving taking up close to half the width, that's tight!). I also don't like the pinch point (looks to be about 3') between the hallway table and the pantry wall corner. I also think you'll be happier with keeping the full hallway width at the bottom of the stairs, not just for daily life but for when you move furniture in and out (trust me, I have pinch points I didn't realize I'd have when we built our home and it's made furniture moving a PITA).

So here's what I came up with:

It's an amalgam of my C, C-1 and D plans with a twist. ;-)

I kept the general L shape of your kitchen with the range centered on chimney, clean-up sink under the south wall windows, prep sink on island across from range and deck door on the south wall. I also kept the fridge on the wall facing the range, near the DR.

The big change I made is swapping the walk-in pantry for a row of 15" deep cabinets on either side of a window seat on the north wall. The cabs may cost more than framing, sheetrocking and adding shelves to a walk in pantry but this gives you a window seat without the cost of a bump-out so it may be an even money swap - or perhaps even cheaper.

The 15" cab depth is great for storing small appliances and all manner of items, plus it gives you a combined total of 105 cu ft of storage (wow!). You can also go with 12" deep cabs for a total of 84 cu ft of storage, roughly the same as what you'd planned for in your very first plan. That gains you a bit more aisle at the kitchen and FR entries.

Landing space for pantry items is across the aisle, in some places, farther than preferred but I opted to retain adequate aisles over that convenience.

The cabinet on the side of the fridge, facing the north wall, can be your Command Central: the place for household paperwork, school schedules, etc.

If you give up a few inches of aisle between the side of the fridge and the exterior kitchen door, you could add serving platter storage on the side of the fridge like this (but part of the fridge cab):

Traditional Kitchen by Woodbridge Interior Designers & Decorators miriam manzo

That would be a nice view from the DR.

There are a couple drawbacks with this plan. One, the closest fridge landing space is on the island - awkward if someone is sitting there. You could also use the counter next to the sink (to the right looking at this plan) but at more than 5' away, that's farther than recommended (I estimated that the distance allotted for the deck door, from corner to counter is 48". I based my calculations on that figure. If it's more or less, the distance between fridge and counter corner will adjust accordingly). Shift the fridge 6" closer to the deck door and you'd reduce the distance from 5' 8" to a little less than 5' 4". Still farther than recommended but somewhat better.

The other drawback is that the two diners seated at the corner are a bit cozier than recommended. You could address this by reducing an aisle to lengthen the island. For instance, you could reduce the range aisle. A long-time GWer and lay-out guru rhome410 - she has a family of 10, as her name implies - purposely planned for a 36" aisle between her range top and her island. She wanted to discourage traffic from going past the range - she has wider aisles elsewhere - and she wanted a short distance between prep sink and range top for an easy pivot while prepping. Even though the aisle is narrower than recommended for a one- or two- cook kitchen, it works well for her. She's posted pics of 2 or 3 people working in this space - with a dog at their feet - to show that it works for them. Since you have a range, not a range top, I don't think I would go less than 39" so that you can accommodate an open oven door. I'm not recommending you do this, just suggesting it. You'll need to do some mock-ups to see what works for you.

You could also steal an inch or two or three from the fridge aisle. Just keep in mind that the aisle width I show is counter to counter, not counter to fridge door or handle. Those take up a few inches, which is not including in the aisle width. That's one reason why I made this aisle more generous than 4' so that there's room for the fridge doors and room to walk behind seated diners.

Or you could live with a tight corner for the times you seat 5 at the counter.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd throw this out there for you to consider. It's good to have options. ;-)

One more thing: we haven't talked about MW placement. If you can swing it, I'd opt for a MW drawer on the sink run or in the island, closest to the fridge.

Here is a link that might be useful: Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup, rhome410's blog

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Lisa, couldn't the spot right next to the fridge serve as landing zone? I can't tell what you have in that spot.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:53PM
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The cab next to the fridge faces the pantry wall so that it can serve as a Command Center for the OP. Since she hopes to have a large family, I thought this would be very useful.

But yes, you're right, annkh, if it was turned to face the island, it could serve as fridge landing space. Good suggestion. And a section of the pantry closest to the hallway could be converted into a Command Center. It could even stay behind doors so that the mess stays hidden when company's over.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Standing on the backs of geniuses.. note that this plan can also be flipped vertically.

I came up with this because I like Lisa's most recent layout a lot except for the barrier island. This alleviates that but its con is that the fridge location means intruders into your cooking zone. Only you can decide which is the lesser evil.

Honestly, Lisa's Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 13:32 plan is the best of those posted so far.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 2:24PM
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I absolutely love the way this kitchen plan has evolved and changed! One thought sparks an idea in someone else, which plants a seed in another brain - THIS, my wonderful friends, is what makes GW such a fantastic resource.

No single person could have come up with all these iterations, and by the time it's all over, Mountmerkel will be assured of having the best possible design - because practicall y every possible option has been considered! Now choosing among all the possibilities... that is not a challenge I envy.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Oh hey - if you can afford fridge drawers, use Lisa's last layout and put fridge drawers over on the range side of the kitchen. They can hold all your prep stuff like milk, eggs, butter, and produce while your actual fridge is left for the rest of the family to access at will, out of your way, and where its location doesn't matter so much.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Great idea, tracie! You always have good insight and suggestions.

And yes, annkh, GW is a great place to hang-out. I've learned so much and continue to do so on a daily basis.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 4:54PM
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You have gotten an incredible amount of good suggestions!

I'll toss out a few other ideas for you to consider. One is to look into making the North wall a straight shot from the corner of the living room to the hall, rather than jogging it south. If I'm remembering right, each time you add a jog in the foundation, your building costs rise. By sending the whole north wall of the kitchen up 2', you'd gain enough room for your window seat and storage on either side of it, and possibly for less expense than doing a bump-out window seat.

This isn't related directly to the kitchen, but I'll toss this out there, too. We also have a first floor bedroom as well as a large brood. I'd recommend insulating the wall between your dining room and your bedroom and putting in a solid core door to your bedroom. There are times when there is a lot of activity in the house, and it's nice to be able to escape to the quiet retreat of your own room. If it's a hollow wall and a hollow core door, you'll hear every dish clink, every fork dropped on the floor, someone getting water and ice, someone making juice, the noises of the blender and mixer, every cupboard door opened and shut, nearly every word spoken...ask me how I know! The right wall of the dining room might be a good spot for future built-ins to buffer the bedroom even more from household sounds.

Regarding the location of the French door: I like the idea of centering it as someone suggested, but are you absolutely sure that the doors will swing outward onto the porch? The French doors that I am familiar with swing inward. My parents built a house with a French door in the dining room when I was growing up, and I remember the discomfort of having the dining room chair closest to the door always being in the way every time we wanted to open or shut that door. It was even worse when there was a *person sitting in said chair! Please make sure you get the right kind of door for your application. A nice sliding door might be a better option.

North light vs. South light in the kitchen. Ooh, this is a tough decision. Right now we have south facing windows over our kitchen counters. It is nice, but, that means that the windows are shorter since they only go to counter height. You'd get more light into your space with taller windows on the south side. However, that decision needs to be balanced by traffic flow and work space layout. (Glad it's your decision and not mine ; ))

Also sunlight related: a covered porch on the south side will make the interiors quite a bit darker. You might want to think about putting some skylights in the porch roof lined up with the windows below to let that gorgeous light farther into the home.

Overall, I'm quite fond of Lisa's plan from Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 13:32.

A couple questions: Where do you plan to have your guests come in and how do you plan to use your porch? I see what looks like 3 doors on the 3D view of the front. It might make more sense to eliminate the kitchen door and just use the French door. It can be a bit confusing for guests to know which door to go to when there are so many options. But if you picture many meals on the porch, a direct line from the kitchen might be better.

By getting rid of the kitchen door, you could push the fridge farther right in Lisa's plan I mentioned, and get another south facing window over the counter, and still do the hutch idea facing the dining area. Just ideas. : )

It's going to be a fantastic family home! : )

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Another one similar to lavender's Sep 18, 13 at 21:43, with fireplace and pantry moved to north.

I think, having the fireplace off center wouldn't look too bad since a doorway would cut that wall anyway. Except for the pantry corner, anyone working in the kitchen would not be bothered by pushed-back stools.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:18AM
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So many wonderful ideas! This is one other try...flipped again (I agree about the more light on south side with box bay) and fridge on end of sink run. I added a bookcase on side of fridge (facing hall) and a double pantry. Pantry storage on kitchen side...dishes and display on hall/dining side.

There are only three stools, because at least two people can sit on window seat :) From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Sep 25, 13 at 13:47

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 11:48AM
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