Robbing Peter to Pay Paul - Woes of Small Spaces

steph2000September 10, 2013

My partner and I are going back and forth about how deep to make the seating at the peninsula versus how deep to make the aisle. There's only 6 inches, really, to play with. Which, perhaps, doesn't really make a whit of difference. But, living in a small house does teach you that every inch can count, so I am posting here to see what people think.

Option 1 is to make the aisle in the kitchen as deep as possible. That's about 62 1/2 inches, without much of a overhang (partner's preliminary designs include 1 1/8" overhang but that's with no doors and we are using frameless). This leaves the peninsula to be 34" deep, which leaves about 9" for seating.

Option 2 is to make the aisle in the kitchen as narrow as possible and put the extra inches into the peninsula depth. That would make the aisle 56 1/2" and the peninsula seating more like 15", which I know is what is recommended for counter height seating.

Is it more important to have as deep an aisle as possible? Or, is this a workable aisle depth and should we indulge in the deeper peninsula for seating? Does anyone know how many inches are generally needed to have a 2-butt kitchen, as opposed to a 1-butt? My partner is in LOVE with deep peninsulas and is pushing hard to go that direction. I am just not sure if we really have the inches to spare...

What would you do?

The only software I have at my disposal right now will not extend the counter depth out past the cabinets, so you can't really get a good visual of this. We are working with a better software program, but I'll try to show you roughly what we are working with.

Option 1 - Deeper Aisle, Narrow Peninsula:


Option 2 - Narrow Aisle, Deep Peninsula:

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heidihausfrau

If it were me, I would make a wider aisle with a narrower peninsula. Lots of time is spent walking around and working in the kitchen vs. sitting there to eat. We have about 54" in our u-shaped area. It is roomy enough for 2-3.

But our peninsula hangs into our living room and we did give ourselves 12" overhang there for seating. Kids sit there a lot! Not just for eating,but homework and coloring and such. We use every inch of that counter space!

For family harmony--- can you compromise?!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:25PM
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herbflavor

56 is not particularly narrow....it'll be fine. push the sink toward the middle of that counter run[as in option 1] and you'll have zig zag positions for people at counter spots......to the right of fridge some landing, then across to the peninsula[most people will do transient things at the end half]...then zig zag to person at sink....and lastly person at range who will use counter left and right of their position......no butts in collision with each other.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:33PM
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suzanne_sl

I'd go with the narrower aisle. Ours is 48" which works fine for us*. Like heidihausfrau, we use every inch of the peninsula surface.

* We don't have a U though. We have an L with the peninsula parallel to the the long leg and an opening between the peninsula end and the short leg of the L. With a U, I'd think you need a little more width at the enclosed end for maneuverability.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:37PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

I don't think 9" would work for seating, but I question the conventional wisdom that 15" is needed. We've had the same peninsula seating for 25 years and I recently measured it and found it was 13"-- it has always been more than enough-- my knees don't get near it, and I honestly think 12" would be fine. Of course, I don't think we "belly up" all the way to it, either! Find one you think is comfortable and measure it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:47PM
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palimpsest

This is 58" including the overhangs. It could be narrower but then you limit the storage on each side. The houses across my street were designed with 36" exactly. There is a 30" range at the end with nothing on each side.

This kitchen also has a 9" overhang. There was going to be no overhang, but we had about 9" to play with so we did it to make the counter wider. The kids would sit there, and people would sit on the other side and prep, as I talked about in another thread, but it wasn't comfortable for adults to sit and actually eat, other than a snack.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:02PM
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RoRo67

12" is the preferred OH for eating. A kitchen with 2 people cooking need at least 48" preferrable 54", this is what kitchen designers go by. That would make your isle on Option 2 work just fine, giving you plenty of space for both to be in the kitchen, and give you the larger eat at counter. My vote is for Option 2!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:30PM
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jellytoast

I vote for the wider aisle, especially with two people working in there. But I need lots of "personal space" around me to feel comfortable and if someone is crowding me, I get anxious. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen so my comfort IN THE KITCHEN is more important to me. Plus, visually, I think the wider aisle just looks better because it makes the kitchen look so much more spacious. And the wider cabinets on either side of the range would be more functional ... you could keep cooking utensils in the drawers.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:42PM
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deedles

Go thirteen on the overhang and make your aisle 58 1/2. Everybody is happy then.

I totally understand agonizing about a few inches. Totally and completely.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 3:08PM
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lavender_lass

I think you need the wider aisle...but can't you use corbels or something to support the eating area and get a little more space?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 3:34PM
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cookncarpenter

How about split the difference? 59 1/2" and a 12" overhang?
We've had an 11 1/2" overhang for 25 years, and no knee bumping...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:09PM
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palimpsest

I don't think you will be able to tell much if you remove a couple of inches from the work aisle. You Will be able to tell if you add a couple to the overhang.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:39PM
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williamsem

I think option 2 will be fine, and give you both an adequate aisle and seating. Can you mock up those aisle widths with boxes, or chairs, or couch/table/etc to try out? I had cardboard on chairs for almost a week trying out the fridge clearance for the new kitchen, and it actually feels a little bigger IRL. Probably because I'm not worried about knocking the cardboard down!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:47PM
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angela12345

I also vote for either option 2 with 15" overhang, or option 3 with slightly less overhang of 12-13".

We have 15" overhang with corbels supporting the granite. I was worried that 15" might not be enough and we would bang our knees on the corbels. We have never come even close to banging our knees and could have gone with slightly less than 15" easily.

One thing we love is the huge workspace on the peninsula.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:23PM
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ivaniphone

Go for whatever design gives you drawers on either side of the stove.

In designs posted, that's option 1.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:40PM
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ivaniphone

Go for whatever design gives you drawers on either side of the stove.

In designs posted, that's option 1.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:43PM
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SaltLife631

Is it feasible to move the doorway shown in the pics over to the right? It may be possible to have the best of both worlds, but there are other factors that come will come into play. It is at worth exploring all options. If not I would shoot for having the aisle between 59.5" leaving a 12" overhang.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:57PM
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steph2000

My time is limited today and I'm trying to chew on the various sides of this...

Thanks so much for your input, everyone. Lots of things to think about.

It's not possible to change the doorway, which leads into the hall to the bathroom and bedrooms. The peninsula could be expanded out into the LR after the hallway area but I've not been keen on the idea of creating an obstruction around the traffic patterns. We probably won't use corbels to support the overhang and will construct some kind of metal framework on top the cabinets to support the overhang.

I think palimpsest's point that the inches are going to be more keenly seen and experienced on the peninsula than the aisle is a good one. It's also a great idea to mock it up. I'm not opposed to splitting the difference, though 12" is the desired seating for bar height, 15" for counter and 18" for table height and I don't want compromise to mean we lose value both ways. My partner REALLY loves the look and functionality of the deep peninsula and is pressing hard to make it as deep as we can. I love that look, too, but if the aisle space is an issue, I'm not sure we can indulge our fancies. I guess I'm so used to not being able to have what I want in this small house for practicality's sake. So, the question becomes does 3-6" more inches really add to the aisle in a way that is going to make the kitchen function better for us or is it room to spare?

It's interesting that many of the people who have more narrow aisles and say they are happy with them still recommend I go wider. I'm not sure what to make of that part of the feedback, really. It seems incongruent...

This post was edited by Steph2000 on Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 14:04

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 12:51PM
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