Peninsula or island?

flgargoyleSeptember 9, 2012

I'm busy building my own house, and have pretty much laid out the kitchen, but am undecided which is better for our lay-out; peninsula or island? There are drawings of each below. The window locations are set, and the larger (clean-up) sink and range locations are pretty much locked in. What I hope to create is a separate work area for cooking, which incorporates the refrigerator, prep sink, prep corner, and range. Clean-up happens on the other side of the kitchen. The kitchen is fully open to the adjacent dining room, and further over, the living room, with vestigial walls serving to delineate the separate rooms. With the peninsula, I envisioned friends sitting at the peninsula chatting with the cook(s). I don't think the island would work well for that due to the limited room, but I would gain additional counter space. In both options, the peninsula/island is 3' X 7'. We both cook, but are near retirement, and only entertain in small groups; maybe 8 people at the most; usually less. Thoughts?

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It would help to have the room dimensions, but I prefer the peninsula in this case, for all that they're out of style at GW at the moment.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:17PM
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The peninsula works best, but you have your plumbing needs crossed. Add a prep sink added to it, and move the cleanup sink on the opposite counter. THat way the food moves from the fridge to the prep counter (peninsula) with the water right there to wash it or rinse your hands, then pivot and step and place it in the cooking zone.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:40PM
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We have the same kitchen configuration, without the prep sink. I find going around the island tiresome. I really like your peninsula design.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:45PM
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What a nightmare to work around your friends sitting at an island with that direction!! You'd make yourself crazy.

I prefer peninsulas because I have have lazy Susan cabinets and it keeps people out of the way ... a little.

Have you drawn that out with the island running the same way as the peninsula?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:47PM
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There's not enough room to run the island the other way. As it is, there is 42" clearance all around; I wouldn't want less than 36".

The clean-up sink is locked into place. My wife specifically wanted 'her' sink to have a big window looking out at the view, so we have a triple window ordered for that spot, and the opening is already there.

The wooden counter in the corner next to the prep sink is a prep station, and there is no cabinet under it. Rather, you have the option of sitting down while prepping food- what a novel idea! I'm a tool and die maker by trade- on my feet all day, and we take every opportunity to sit down when doing bench work. Why do so few kitchens have a place to work sitting down?

I originally designed it with the prep sink in the corner, with the prep area between the sink and the refrigerator. Either option is available- Which do you think is better? I kind of like the idea of being able to look out the window while working, plus it will add natural light during the daytime. The prep sink will be the deepest 25" sink I can find so that I can fill pots for the stove.

The kitchen interior dimensions (without cabinets) are 12'6" left to right; 14'6" top to bottom. All of the fixtures are 'standard' 25" counter depth, 30" range, and 33" clean-up sink, although I'm trying to find the money for that gorgeous Kohler Stages 45!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:25PM
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I too prefer the peninsula and it could also work as a place for putting appetizers or even as a buffet serving place without having people in the kitchen.

If you are near retirement and are planning to stay for awhile in your home - the bigger area in the kitchen with the peninsula works better for someone with a cane, crutches or walker. My DH and I are near retirement but are still very active and we have lots of room available for injuries from skiing or running, etc. that may require crutches or a cane. The island would/could get in the way.

It looks like you have put a lot of thought into your space.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Yes would help to have the dimensions, and are 2 sinks necessary?
I clearly prefer the pennisula.

-It allows you to have a large expanse of uninterrupted counterspace for guests to sit at or for prep where you can wipe off the counters around into the sink with one swipe.
-It would allow an appliance garage if you wish, maybe with a glass front cab or something different above, cabs that open from the dining side below??
-It keeps your guests on the dining side rather than in the work area.
-And from the dining room side act somewhat as a barrier if you have dishes or stuff to clean up at the sink.

I thik the island would be a pain to work around, but that depends on the dimensions.

I know from experience because I've had both in my current kitchen which is somewhat similar to yours, probably smaller, with the same appliance layout minus the prep sink. My kitchen nook and windows are where your dining room is and my sink wall is a half wall where our family room is.
Originally had a island like # 2 and it was a pain to work around especially with 2 cooks, appliances open and guests coming in to "help".

We changed to a peninsula (mines off the fridge side though) which solved all of the above. I feel like I have much more counter space and it's much easier to keep tidy. I drop less on the floor. Also able to ass an appliance garage where I keep my toaster oven and Kitchenaid mixer and I can slide both out on the island as needed. Love that.

Please keep us posted. Time for us to remodel again and I'm always looking for inspiration from spaces that seem similar to mine.

Other option mentioned, have you tried turning the island parallel to the range and dining area to see what it gives you?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Looks like I was writing while you were posting back so disregard my last Q. I too don't have room to turn an island parallel to the dining area unless I get rid of my sink wall and I don't know if I'm ready for a kitchen that's completely "exposed" to my family room.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Can you please tell me what kdesign software you use to create your layouts. I need to start tinkering with something like that. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Does your wife do most of the cleanup? Is that why the cleanup sink is "hers"? If not, why does it matter which sink goes under the window? Personally, I'd want the sink that was used the most for prepping to be under the sink so I could enjoy the view while working. On the other hand, if your wife does most of the prepping and most of the cleanup - both - then I understand her point of view. However, the DW will get in her way.... Where is the DW, btw?

It would be very helpful if you would post actual dimensions of the space... you really need the diagonal corner? It takes away from the counter frontage available and crowds the workspace. Can you reach into the depths of that corner? Most people cannot.

90-degree corners work best for most people and in most situations. They allow you better access to the corner itself, make it much easier to reach the cabinets above the corner, and give you more "elbow" room to work and stand at the counters - both sides!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 4:23PM
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I like the island kitchen but change the prep corner to a 90 degree turn, place the smaller prep sink closer to that corner and have the under counter stool between frig and small sink if you wish it.The longer run between fridge and prep sink is necessary in many regards rather than the interruption of sink in the middle. I see that center island as becoming really useful and people will learn to love it for multiple functions. Regarding peninsula concept:the wasted space in the central part of the kitchen and the peninsula off to the side would have me struggling to get a look for the space and using the kitchen seems less desirable than the island style with tweaks.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 5:13PM
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My wife (bless her) is obsessed with keeping dishes clean. When I cook, she is one step behind me, cleaning everything. I would be more inclined to do the kind of cooking that requires a lot of prep work.

My software is Google Sketch-Up, which is free, and works fine once you get used to it. I've designed the entire house using it.

The DW would either be along side the clean-up sink, or in the peninsula, depending upon the layout.

Why 2 sinks? It has to do with the dynamics of the two people involved. As I said, my wife is obsessed with clean-up, so one sink tends to be 'occupied' much of the time. What typically happens is this: I come in from the grill with marinade dripping from my hands only to find both sides of the sink in use one way or the other. After 30 wonderful years of marriage, I feel 2 sinks would be the minimum. Our current kitchen is tiny, with only 11' of counter space, so with all of the added room, another sink will be most appreciated. I'm building the house myself, so the added cost is negligible. Since my wife also does prep work, she might be using the clean-up sink during prep as well, especially for the big holiday events.

My first choice is the peninsula, but it occurred to me that an island would be possible, so I decided to put it out there to see what others think.

As for the diagonal corner- I thought it would make more use of the space, not less. I would keep all my knife blocks in the corner, and yes, I can reach that far. Maybe as I start building the kitchen, I'll do mock-ups to see how it all 'feels'.

This kitchen will have few or possibly no overhead cabinets. My vertically challenged wife gets little use out of them, and for me, they are right in my face. They can always be added later if needed. If I build any uppers, they would be on the refrigerator wall only. I'm putting a lot of thought into the lowers, with mostly drawers, strategically designed to house all of our stuff. There will also be a pantry in the dining room area, across the hallway next to the refrigerator. Not ideal, but the best I can do with the limits of the kitchen size. This is a very small house by GW standards, about 1250 sq ft. The pantry will be used for small appliances and bulk dry goods.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 5:57PM
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I like your diagonal corner with seating and no cabinet beneath. I also am working on having one counter space area that is extra deep and wide. I have fantasies about being able to put all the ingredients in front of me and making whatever.

I agree with the reasons why so many like the peninsula but for myself, I've decided to go with form over function on my kitchen (which isn't built yet) because I think an Island seems so much "happier" and more elegant. A peninsula seems somewhat dated.

My island will be a tad wider than yours and I am putting a prep sink on the island and forming almost a galley type kitchen on one side of the island. On the other side of the island where I am tolerating a more narrow aisle (36), is a relatively shallow length of pantry cabinets along with wall oven. Don't need to worry too much about going "round the island" since I will be primarily focused on one side and my cleanup sink will be "adjacent" to my galley area.

I don't think you could really lose either way except by not having the seating. That would bother me had I not been able to widen my island a bit to 42 inches putting one seat on the end and one on adjacent side.

Good luck and thanks for sharing. It has helped me to hear the opinions of others regarding island vs peninsula. They haven't changed my mind though we still have a ways to go before construction.

I also use sketchup. It has made an incredible difference to me in being able to easily modify my design and quickly see results - I was dragging my heels until I got sketchup going and it has really helped me be inspired and enjoy the design process along the way.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I am definitely an island girl, but not as drawn. I think your kitchen needs a square island, just a pinch wider than the drawn island. I might do it moveable with open space underneath, chunky legs. Just feels like it might be right.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Peninsula would be my choice. For all of the reasons others have stated above.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Our current kitchen has a very similar layout and size (from what I can gather). For this size kitchen I really think the peninsula is the better choice for a lot of reasons (better use of space, easier work flow, more separation from non-cooks).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Peninsula. Without the prep sink. It's not in the right spot to get used for prep unless you want to face a corner. Which you won't choose to do if you have the peninsula. The food will travel to the peninsula from the fridge and you'll use the cleanup sink to wash it. And that's why the DW is on the wrong side.

Or the fridge and peninsula should be swapped if you want to use the prep sink for prep, but I would move it to the corner to be able to have more contiguous workspace. You could make the cleanup sink counters deeper to be able to disguise the depth of the fridge, and it would give you better room for a deep sink and faucet.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:18PM
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...and put the DW to the left of the cleanup sink so it's not in the way of the secondary Prep Zone (b/w cleanup sink & range).

Nice HollySprings!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Gargoye thanks for the design software info, sounds great!

Buehl I'd put the DW to the left of the big sink too. Gargoyle where is it now?

Holly with the peninsula where you put it, wouldn't chairs or stools on the dining side of the it block the entry? Gargoyle is there room for chairs there?

Holly you've pretty much drawn my current layout and I can't have seating at the peninsula for the reason I mentioned. My fridge is inside the U by the peninsula. Like the fridge better in your layout, but I only have a half wall there. Maybe I'll figure out what to do with my kitchen by watching what happens with Gargoyle's! thanks for sharing G.

I don't think peninsulas are dated. What works best depends on size. We see more islands because kitchens have gotten bigger and can accomodate them.
There are some great looking kitchens with peninsulas in this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz. island Vs Peninsula.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:51PM
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I should have also stated that I'm after function way more than form. To me, a kitchen is a work space, and should be laid out for ease and comfort. We rarely entertain- maybe 3-4 times a year, so it needs to function well for the other 361 days of the year. Someone also commented on wheelchair access; the whole house is designed with handicap access in mind, should the need ever arise. It's funny how your perspective on these things changes as you get older!

The doorway next to the refrigerator leads to the Master suite, including laundry. I wouldn't want stools along that pathway.

The DW would probably go to the left of the big sink. That stretch of counter is 96", which leaves 31-1/2" on either side for a DW. If I spring for the big Kohler Stages, I might not have room, in which case, I would put the DW in the peninsula.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 6:35AM
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I like your original plan...the peninsula...but I thought your prep sink was in the corner. That would give you more counterspace by the fridge. And I like the big windows, too :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Most people would want to prep on the peninsula, facing out towards the dining room. It's more social, and less confining feeling. The way you originally have it laid out, you will be prepping in the corner, facing a wall. That's not really fun, especially if you ever have people over. You feel like you're being punished. Or you'll still prep on the peninsula and fight over the sink and bump into each other because the DW is on the wrong side to have the sink serve the prep and cleanup functions.

You have to figure out where you want your prep zone, and design things so that happens. In the peninsula diagram that I did, it's the prep zone. With the peninsula in the original location, the cleanup sink and the prep sink need to be swapped if you're going to prep on that peninsula. Which only makes sense, as prep is 70% of the time you spend in the kitchen, and cleanup is only 20%. You could be facing out the window when you need the water to wash off the carrots or clean up your chicken hands. I'd rather look out a window than at a wall or corner to do that!

Remember that the traffic flow is STORAGE ZONE(fridge)>landing zone> PREP ZONE>water source>COOKING ZONE>water source. If you want to go with that natural flow and prep on the peninsula, you're going to have to move things. And an island isn't better. It's a barrier island unless you put the prep sink on it, and it would have to be pretty small to get you proper clearances, and that would be too small for a prep sink.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:36PM
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"...wouldn't chairs or stools on the dining side of the it block the entry..."

They might block, but the advantage of protecting the Prep and Cooking Zones from traffic trumps seating space, at least in my opinion!

What Flgargoyle could do is move the peninsula into the kitchen by about a foot...that would provide enough room. Plus, the doorway isn't an enclosed doorway so people could just veer out into the DR to get by. [How do I know this will be OK? It's what I have...our seats are in the doorway b/w the DR and LR and Library/Computer Room (three rooms come together) and the only issue we have is when someone is sitting at the DR table (and that's b/c we only have 50" b/w the peninsula and the DR table...not enough!)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:53PM
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If I put the prep sink in the corner, then I have the proper work flow, but then the prep area is facing a wall, rather than being at least adjacent to a window.

The whole thought of chatting with friends while prepping sounds great, but it wouldn't happen very often. And there's nothing that says we can't change up the work stations for special occasions. Still, I'll play around with re-arranging things to see what happens. It would be nice to have a Kohler Stages for prep work, which is really what its designed for. Hmmmmmm.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Jay- I don't know that I'd want my main prep area to be that wall between the fridge and prep sink. Wouldn't you want to prep at the peninsula? And between the main sink and range?

How about Hollysprings' idea, but with the peninsula moved over a bit, to allow space for people at the stools?

From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:03PM
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You could put the prep sink in the corner on the peninsula...

There's some discussion about this on the thread linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: Layout help needed with too big but too small kitchen

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Why don't you guy's like where Gargoyle placed his peninsula in the original post??

To my eye it looks easier to get in and out of the kitchen to the dining room where he has it. Move it to the other side, in addition to the seating in the doorway, you also have to walk around it to go thru the doorway. Looks more like a barrier in that position. Plus he has his pantry across from the fridge. What am I missing?

Gargoyle one of my neighbors redid their kitchen and added a pantry to the dining side of it. The placement across the entry way with the fridge on the other side of it is the same as your layout. Their kitchen is small and the pantry cabs take up the entire wall behind the table so it just looks like a built in. It's so nice. Really improved the function and upgraded the look of the space.

Love these discussions and hearing how others see the space in their mind's eye

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Island, the peninsula would work perfectly fine in the original location IF he wants to stare at the wall while prepping (70% of the time you spend in your kitchen). If the peninsula is the desired location for prep, then the nearest water source would be the cleanup sink, NOT the prep sink. That means you've got a single sink sharing two functions, which can work just fine and has for many many years IF the cleanup zone is on the opposite side of the prep zone. That means the DW would need to be located on the right hand of the cleanup sink.

However, he's clearly expressed the desire to have separate cleanup and prep zones, anchored by sinks dedicated to each task. I think most people would just prefer the option of facing out into the room rather than a wall, and that's why there is such strong resistance to the original layout. I find that to be extremely awkward personally, and would do everything in my power to get out of the punishment corner. However, some people do prefer the less distraction of having people to interact with while prepping. They prefer to concentrate on tasks, and visitors be dammed until dinner is actually served. For that type of cook, prepping facing a wall or corner probably serves to limit that human interaction that this type of cook finds to be so annoying and distracting. There just aren't that many types of cooks represented, and it's a minority of most I've encountered over the years as well.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:54PM
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