Help Me Decide - Narrow Kitchen Island

nehomeSeptember 19, 2013

I've attached a picture of my kitchen with a mock island set up. The kitchen is narrow at 138". I've been pondering various layouts for months and had posted a plan on GW. The feedback included don't plan on having seating at the island and that the island was too close to the table. The island has now been designed with no seating at the end that is across from the fridge wall and 3 stools at the other end. We have also turned the table. I don't have copies of the current plans to post and I am finding it difficult to decide based on the paper plan anyway. I'm hoping this mock island set up will help me decide how it all "feels" and get some input from you all.

Here is what will change from the current kitchen - fridge will stay on that wall but push down in place of the pantry cab. The clearance from the corner of the fridge to the corner of the island will be 42". There will be 12" cabs on the rest of that wall with a 37" aisle clearance to the island (no seating). There are three stools at the other end of the island with a 49 1/2" clearance. The aisle on the sink side is 36" which seems to be fine for me. I need to decide:

1. Do I like coming into the kitchen directly into the island? Does this look good from the foyer? I have been used to a more open floor plan with the peninsula but the peninsula does not get used for prep or eating. I did receive positive feedback last time from others who had a narrow kitchen with an island who felt the kitchen was more open than with a peninsula. Not sure if my entrance from the foyer makes a difference.

2. Assuming the island makes sense, I need to decide on the range location:

Plan A - keep the range where it is so all appliances are outside of the island area. A "hutch" style cabinet with glass doors and an appliance garage located at the end where the peninsula is to balance the "heaviness" of all appliances at the other end.

PROS - keeps the triangle with easy access to fridge, water, range, the pretty glass hutch will be in view from the front door/foyer

CONS - no room for a lazy susan and end up with a narrow counter and cab as I have now

Plan B - move the range to the sink wall where the peninsula currently is so the island functions more of a prep space and the distribution of appliances is more balanced. There will be additional counter/cabinetry next to the range so it is not at the end of the cabinet run. "Hutch" style cabs with glass doors and appliance garage move to where the range is.

PROS - balances the kitchen better, island behind range provides additional prep space

CONS - may make that area of the kitchen too congested when entertaining with people at the island and me at the range, the range will be in view of the front door

What is the feedback? I have additional photos if it helps.

(don't know why photo is turned?)

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This is better

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Another angle

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:30PM
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My vote would be not to do it.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:11PM
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your kitchen is pretty much like mine. I have 6' between the walls, and KD said not enough space for an island. You could extend the peninsula.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:20PM
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robo (z6a)

Think of it this way - you have 11.5 feet of space to work with. -2 feet on one side for sink run, -1 foot on the other side for your 1 foot depth pantry. -7 feet for minimum walkways on either side of your island (3.3 feet on either side, plus counter overhang). The minimum walkway to your fridge probably isn't a great idea because that looks like a major pathway through your house. But anyway, assuming you go with the minimum, that leaves you 1.5 feet depth for an island with no seating whatsoever. I can't see that being useful. To add seating you need to add room for the chairs to be pulled back, which means at least a 44" aisle if you don't anticipate needing to get into the pantry when people are seated (remember right now you're only working with 40"). You also get no storage on the island because it is being used entirely for knee space for your stools. And the narrow depth of only 18" makes it impractical for prep.

Could you work on your peninsula to make it more useful for prep and more attractive for seating, for example, a deeper overhang, more comfortable stools, maybe a prep sink, maybe move the fridge actually closer to the peninsula so it's a natural landing spot for stuff from the fridge? Maybe add an undercounter microwave and some pendant lighting?

If you position the fridge a bit farther from the peninsula, you have room for a 5.5 foot peninsula, which would give generous seating for two or semi-ok seating for 3.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:58PM
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My kitchen is about same width and I concluded that island won't fit. Would you consider moving/removing interior walls? We were able to fit an island in our space by removing part of a wall.

Here's the original layout

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:15PM
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And here's how I was able to fit an island. Notice that I removed a section of the wall between the kitchen and the stairs to create an island from a peninsula.

BTW, I agree with Robot that the island isn't a beat all end all and that the peninsula could be just as good.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Just to clarify the fridge gets pushed down and the island does not extend down as far as the fridge so that space is all open. It is a counter depth fridge but doesn't fit under the cabinets right now but it will sit back further. The island begins at about the dishwasher. There is no seating at the end of the island that is opposite the 12" cabinets, which will be were the desk is now. The first stool is about where the entry from the foyer is and that is a 49 1/2" clearance.

I think the reason the peninsula has never been used much is because our table had previously been turned the other direction and its awkward to gather along that counter. Someone gets trapped in that back corner against the wall. It might be better with the table now turned but some people sit at the table and then anyone at the peninsula has their back to them. As far as prep space it is too far away from the range and fridge. An island just seems to attract hanging around it.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Do you have another dining table in the house? We had two dining tables and decided to get rid of one and give that space to the kitchen - might you consider that?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Unfortunately the fridge wall is a stairwell. One of the GCs proposed cantilevering the sink wall out 2' for a minimal cost. This sounds like a great idea but the other GC felt it was a major job at major cost - the two were about $15K different with their estimates for the bump out. I'm a little afraid of what we could be getting myself into with the bump out for a project that started with just new appliances. We ultimately decided to totally update but its been a struggle coming up with a layout.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:41PM
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I see. How about the wall opposite the stairwell door - what's behind that?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 4:51PM
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You mean to the left of the kitchen table - that is our dining room. There are similar homes in our neighborhood that have opened up the entry into the dining room and run their island down that end of the kitchen in place of a kitchen table. One kitchen has an L shaped island. The other kitchen has counters/cabinets the full length of the kitchen with the island running toward the dining room direction with a wide opening. I really don't want to give up my kitchen table though. I can see having quick meals at the island but don't want to give up sitting down at the table. The dining room doesn't really lend itself to that. I can't see having weekday dinners in there.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 5:40PM
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I see. I'm an informal guy, so I've never really cared for separate formal & informal living/dining spaces, but I appreciate that others feel differently. Anyhow, in that case I don't think you can fit an island. But again, I think the peninsula could be modified to provide what you want.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 5:48PM
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