About to pull the trigger-- will you take one more look?

swfrSeptember 2, 2013

Several weeks ago many of you helped me create a kitchen plan that was above and beyond what I could see in the space that we have. So I will always feel grateful for the influence this website has had in making our kitchen take shape. But now we're at the point where we're going to stop dreaming about it and start making it happen-- I need to sign off on the cabinet order by the end of this week.

I'm hoping all of you, professionals and laypeople alike, will take a look at what I have planned and let me know if you see anything that you think might be worth considering.

Here's what I know:
Fridge: kenmore elite 31 cu ft french door
Range: GE cafe 30" dual fuel
Sink: Franke white fireclay farmhouse
Prep sink: undermount SS
Counters: Caesarstone-- Piatra Gray on perimeter and Frosty Carrina on Island
Cabinets: Merillat Masterpiece Dove White perimeter, Classics Maple Sable island
Flooring: Hickory in color Saddle (Mullican Hillshire line)
Backsplash: Handmade white subway tiles 3 x 6 (don't have the details for this in front of me right now)

And here is the floor plan with clearances and everything. (I think I'll have the elevation plans back from the KD tomorrow so I'll try to add that when I get them.)

I appreciate any and all comments! Thanks so much.

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Looks great! Very functional.

I'd make sure the HVAC can vent the pantry since there is a fridge in there generating heat. Not sure what is needed, but might be as easy as well placed returns.

Very individual choice, but I'd switch the island sink and trash. I tend to spread a bit, and would prefer a larger area on one side to use. I can see where some would prefer two equal sides though, especially if you may have many hands helping.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Williamsem, thanks so much! That was just the kind of comments I was hoping to get-- important things to consider to make sure I have all my bases covered. I did play with moving the prep sink around on that island, but ultimately decided that I liked it centered. Both because I am a symmetry fanatic, but also because of the idea of having prep space for two chefs. Right now it is just me, but I have two young kids who both show an interest in helping out down the road. I think having two nice work stations there might be very useful.
The ventilation for the pantry was something I had originally been warned about but had forgotten about. I will most definitely bring that up with the builder. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Oh, it looks really nice! I agree with Williamsem about switching the island sink and trash, because I spread out too...especially when I'm baking.

Know you've been asked this before, but why aren't there any windows on the long wall? I found this picture the other day and think it's very pretty...don't know if it's your style, but thought I'd post it anyway :) From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:17PM
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I can see this being a warm and inviting space!

I am just finishing my kitchen remodel, and the thing that I found the most useful during the process was to inventory ALL my things, and figure out where they would go in the new space. Cooking utensils, bakeware, pots and pans, cookie sheets, stock pot, flour and sugar - everything.

As I put things away in the new kitchen, I had a good feel for what would go where and I measured things like my flour/sugar canisters to see how deep the drawer needed to be to put them where I wanted.

DH is the cook in the family, and I designed the kitchen (and put everything away). As he is starting to use the kitchen, he has had no trouble finding things in their new locations, because they make sense - things are close to their point of use.

The more detailed you can be in the planning stages, finding homes for your most used and most loved items - the better your design will be.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:28PM
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You might think about doing deeper cabinets on the range/fridge run so that the fridge can appear to be more built in. Is that a narrow pull out pantry or what next to the fridge? You do need something there for it to open well, and it's a good opportunity for a something like that. 12" would be as small as I'd go there.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Thank you, lavender lass- very pretty! The wall.is windowless because it would look right into our neighbor's house abd I'd rather have the cabinets. But maybe that's something I should look at one more time.
Green design, that's six inches of dead space that I have decided to leave blank because it is what the fridge needs. I have considered pulling the cabinets deeper but then ran into problems on the cleanup wall. I just couldn't make it work. Plus we are really stretching our budget as it is, so I just had to walk away from the idea, despite how much I'd like the fridge to appear more built in.
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:35PM
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If your main fridge will have a single door, the handle should be on the right so you can use the adjacent counter as your landing space. If its a double door fridge, consider that the fridge door is going to block the "packing lunch" counter and your island will be the landing zone. Meaning, you bring groceries in and set them on the island; you take a big bowl out of fridge and set it on the island. I specifically planned a counter adjacent to my fridge for landing, not realizing that IRL, the fridge door is a barricade and its just easier to set stuff on island.

I would hate it if I had centered my prep sink on the island. Looks like you'll only have about 3 ft of counter space on each side of prep sink. Do you prep in a small area now? Are you already accustomed to that?

I'll also point out that you will most likely stand at your sink and empty dishwasher. You will not be able to reach over to dish storage drawer. You will need to stack on counter and then put away. I have to do this also, and its not a problem for me, but its something to be aware of.

I have a drawer under my MW in island, and I keep my Tupperware in it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Wow, what a great space! You've decided to center your prep sink for good reasons, but for me switching the trash and sink would work better nevertheless.

One of my biggest regrets in my kitchen is the fact that the prep sink is too small. It's in an 18" base, and I can't fit a saucepan in it for filling because of the handle. It's surprising how much smaller than the base a sink has to be, so you might want to measure your pots against the specs of sinks you're considering.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:25AM
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You are going to love this kitchen! Make sure the door to the pantry is wide enough to get the frig in and out, and there is clearance inside the pantry to move it into position. You'll probably have to take the door off to get the frig in, but that shouldn't be a problem, altho the square shelf for food will lessen clearance for moving it into the pantry. Concur with ventilation for the frig. Can't wait to see the final pix.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Your kitchen looks fabulous. I second the opinion on moving trash to have a wider prep area. Have you considered a second dishwasher in the prep zone? Even a single drawer one.. I have one and am finding it very convenient to throw in prep tools, bowls, containers for cuisinart etc. also great for party overflows... With such a fabulous kitchen, you can be sure that you will be entertaining more ..meaning more dishes.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Kristen Hallock

I read you post and came up with my idea about what I would change and then I read everyone elses.

I would also move the prep sink. I dont know how useful the island will be for prep with the sink smack dab in the middle.

I would also try to add a window. We just added windows in our windowless wall (also looks to our neighbors house) and it has made a world of difference. before our kitchen was dark and dreary and now just with 2 19" wide windows it is full of light.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:27PM
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If you don't want to look at the neighbors, and don't want to look at the tall flowering things you could grow outside the windows, and do want cabinets on that wall, perhaps you'd consider doing something cool like making the backsplash in that area windows, or glass blocks, to still get natural light in?

Rustic Kitchen by Houston Interior Designers & Decorators Terri Symington, ASID

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 6:52PM
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I love your plan and that you posted a nice neat drawing we could all easily read.
You mentioned that you have 2 young children but not their ages. I have two children also, 12 and 14. One of the things I love most about our new kitchen, is that I planned for the packing lunches drawer in the island. That enables me to face the kids while I pack their lunches and they sit at the island and eat.
One top drawer is my wraps and cutting boards, behind us is our fridge, the bottom drawer is the lunchboxes and containers. It is working really well.
I also would recommend shifting the prep sink and the trash.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:27PM
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Ok, I was thinking about this today. No, I have no idea why.

What are the plans for those two little areas next to the range? If they're purely decorative or placeholders for a future larger range, they should be fine. If you plan on spacer pullouts, think carefully about how you will use them. They have very small interiors which significantly limits their utility. I love the pegboard style, which might appeal to some, but still limited. That space might serve you better by adding it to the drawers next to them.

The "coffee" cabinet may also deserve a second look. I'm guessing it's 12 inches? You might want to mock that up with a box. It's surprisingly small, even in my frameless cabs. With a face frame you are talking about a 9 in (roughly) opening for access. A piece of paper is 8.5 x 11, for reference. I find my frameless 12 in pull out pantry is fine (shallow is good for pantries!), but the 12 in tray pullout is a little small (though functional) and the 12 in upper pull out is borderline (access is tough with the hood, which we all missed). I'm now decidedly against most 12 inch cabinets if possible, just too small for many things. My old kitchen had face frames, and I don't think I'd want anything less than 18 in.

Sounds like you are in the same class as me: pick everything apart until you know you made the right choice for you. I'm well aware of the flaws and limitations of my new kitchen, but I'm also well aware of what benefits came with those trade offs. And I am at peace with those choices. I bet you will be too!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Really nicely said, Williamsem! Thanks, I need this mantra today:

"pick everything apart until you know you made the right choice for you. I'm well aware of the flaws and limitations of my new kitchen, but I'm also well aware of what benefits came with those trade offs. And I am at peace with those choices.'

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:07PM
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I agree with the others regarding switching the prep sink and the trash in the island. A centered prep sink, although symmetrical, does not look right and imo is not a good use of the space; it cuts down on the benefits to having a larger un-interrupted prep area.

Also regarding the island, is the entire island one level, or is the part where the stools are going to be raised? If raised, I'd suggest considering having it all one level; which increases usable counter space.

Good luck and congrats on your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:53PM
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To all of you who have chimed in, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I am blown away, once again, by this community and it's shared wisdom. I have looked at every single thing that you all have brought up-- and once again I think my kitchen will be better because of it!

Windows-- I won't be adding windows to that back wall, both because of my storage desires and also because I don't want to be on top of the neighbors. But your comments did make me add another window to the bank of windows in the breakfast table area. I love letting natural light in and I appreciate the push to get me to add that. I will also be very careful to make sure we have enough overhead and under cabinet light to keep it bright and cheerful.

Sink location-- you all have made such good points that I have finally come to terms with the idea of moving the sink off center. My KD is going to think I'm crazy because I've had her move it back and forth with each version of the drawings, but you guys are right. I'll love that expanse of counter.

Counter height-- the whole island is counter height. I've had a raised bar and really didn't like it. I want to maximize my work space and have room for the kids to sit on the other side and do homework or have a snack. (Or have friends over there drinking wine while I prep.)

Stove area layout-- I keep waiting for the latest elevation sketches to come back from the KD so you can see how all this looks 3D. Those cabinets flanking the stove are there to hold up the mantel hood. There are open shelving units (18") on the counter and then full 15" wide, 24" deep, 42" tall wall cabinets above. I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do with such deep wall cabinets in that location. Any thoughts?

I also appreciate the little things like making sure the door is wide enough for the fridge to get in the pantry (it wouldn't have been unless that had been pointed out!) or how I'd prefer to make lunches while facing the kids eating breakfast at the island. I absolutely agree with Williamsem that the process of picking this apart will both help me avoid any unforeseen problems as well as make peace with any issues that are worth accepting. Once again, thank you!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Your layout looks fantastic to me. Great relation to the nearby spaces and looks to have excellent storage and prep space. Your materials sound lovely too. I look forward to seeing the end result.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:21AM
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A lot of good points have been brought up.

What about the aisles? It looks like you're measuring cabinet-to-cabinet. If that's the case, then be aware that each counter will stick another 1.5" out into the aisles, including the perimeter and the front and sides of the island. While it's fine on the range and sink sides of the island, I'm a little concerned about the distance b/w the island and the wall to the right of the DW...that aisle will probably be less than 36". Not a big issue normally, but it is going to be the main path b/w the kitchen and deck. Just something to think about.

Are those cabinets behind the main island cabinets? Is the seating overhang at least 15"? (It looks like it's more like 9" to 12" - too shallow for most people to sit comfortably) If the seating overhang is not at least 15", then I recommend either reducing the depth of those shallow cabinets or adding another 5" (or whatever it takes to get it to 15" to the overhang toward the Nook.)

48"D island - 1.5" overhang - 24"D cabs - 12"D cabs - 1" decorative door = 9.5" seating overhang

You need another 5.5" of overhang

About the DW and dishes - we have exactly that configuration/design. We stand on the right side of the DW to unload, not the left. That way it's quick and easy to unload the DW and put dishes directly into the cabinet above. There's no reason to stand in front of the sink when unloading the DW.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I would swap the microwave and lunch prep areas. Or can you put the microwave at the end of the island where it would be easier to access.

Can your budget stretch for a built-in fridge? That 40" opening between fridge and island with young kids will be OK for a while, but as they get older, it's going to feel a bit tight, especially since the fridge door will block part of that opening. I'd get a single door 36" built in fridge, that way you could use the landing space on the counter. But you'd have to find the money in your budget, as built ins are much more expensive.

Your FD fridge will also block the lunch prep area, and that will become a dead space because you go in and out of that right-hand door on a FD fridge more than the left hand door. You will have to use the island as a landing space for the fridge. I would definitely move the lunch prep space to the island -- if you are using it every day, you won't want to be smushed behind the fridge door.

I cook a lot, so for me a 30" range would be way too small. Can you do a 36" cooktop and a wall oven? You definitely have space for it. If you are planning on having kitchen helpers, the 36" cooktop allows space for two people at the stove. I have a 36" hood over my 36" cooktop, and it works fine. I had the same setup in my old house, and it worked fine there too.

I'd move the prep sink closer to the door. You don't need symmetry in a kitchen, you need function. You will get very tired of having that prep sink smack in the middle of your prep/homework area on the island. And make it as large as possible. I'm told you can get a 17" sink into an 18" sink base. I have a smaller prep sink, and it's OK, but I wish I'd been able to get the larger prep sink.

In my kitchen, I raised the breakfast bar because I'm a messy cook, and I didn't want water getting all over the kids' homework!

I think 15" wide, 24" deep uppers won't get used, unless you have pullouts for them. Anything trapped in the back won't be accessible.

Also, that 3' opening at the end of your island is pretty tight. I would shorten your island by 6", since you will be going in and out there constantly, and will bump into the doorway or island. That 6" will make a HUGE difference in the way your kitchen/eating area functions.

You are almost there -- don't stop until you are certain about everything. Can you tape it out on the floor of your living room and walk around it, making sure you are happy with all the openings, placement of appliances, etc? I did that with my kitchen, and that allowed me to make tweaks that improved it considerably. Looking at it on paper isn't the same until you actually sit down in and move around in the space.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:12AM
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Okay, I finally have an update. I have made the changes that everyone on here has helped me to see. The microwave has moved to next to the fridge. The sink has moved down. The island has shrunk by 6" to allow for a wider opening between the sink area wall and the island. The 24" deep cabinets flanking the vent hood is going to be pull-outs. Each one of these changes is thanks to all of you!
So if any of you awesome people have any more awesome ideas, I'd still love to hear them!

Here also is my KD's drawing of how our fridge wall is going to look with the mantle hood. The microwave belongs in the 24" base cabinet next to the fridge, so just use your imagination there. :)

Thanks again, everyone!!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 5:47PM
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What are the uppers on either side of the range? Are those corbels underneath? I just want to make sure you have room to set things down on the counter, on either side of the range.

I love the layout, overall! My only concern is that the range wall seems a bit 'heavy' in the drawing. I know you don't want to add windows...but what about glass doors for the larger upper cabinets? Even if you don't want to see the contents, there should be a glass that will bounce a little light around and still be fairly opaque.

The island looks great! What are you using on the breakfast room side? Wood, beadboard, painted stained? Also (just curious) have you decided on finishes yet? :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 6:11PM
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I'm excited for you. Is your whole long wall extra deep - either deep because the cabinets *and* drawers are (so you can get more in them, 2 full rows of pots, for example) or deep because the standard depth cabinets are set 4" from the wall? I'm so happy I have deep drawers, and tall drawers! I'm using every bonus inch.

Ask yourself where things will live in your new kitchen. Mixer? coffee maker? food processor? blender? Do you own and use a lot of appliances? Large pots and pans? Multiple sets of dishes? Serving platters, bowls, ice buckets?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 6:18PM
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I would want the prep sink closer to the range for filling pots and dumping pots of boiling pasta water. But that puts it very close to the main sink. I could function very well without a prep sink at all in this floor plan. I would probably use the island for baking but do my messy prep to the right of the range. It just seems more convenient to me than turning back and forth from island to range.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:55PM
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