Thoughts on Unfitted Kitchen Layout?

mtnrdredux_gwSeptember 11, 2013

Our realtor took some kitchen msmts. for me. I'd consider this a draft plan for now.

Below are some photos of what is there now (nearly all of it to be removed).

Good size, approx. 19.5 x 14.5 for the kitchen only. Ceilings 8.5 feet high

Butler's pantry has sink and d/w; and storage and counterspace ... probably won't need to change the Butler's Pantry layout

Storage also in K china cab built in, and in pantry closet and DR china closet.

Ive always wanted to do an unfitted kitchen!

Window placement on long wall at top of plan constricts layout; may be willing to change windows; exterior elevation on that wall is not symmetrical anyway

Some sort of structural/element column on that run?

Door opens in and hits appliances; although it is an exterior door, it is onto a screened back porch so maybe I can make it open out?

Washer and dryer to be relocated!

(number key below)
1. Northstar retro fridge
2. F/P d/w drawers (will also replace the Butler's pantry d/w with same), will need to build a box to hold the d/w, and top with a thick butcher block
3.Clarion sink w double drainboards and legs (use skirt)
4. Either from John Boos or custom; cart/island with two open shelves underneath, stainless steel top, approx 5'
5. Northstar retro range
6. Furniture piece for storage and a place for toaster, coffeemaker

Kitchen photos:

BUTLER's pantry (no layout changes contemplated)

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Ok, I am NO expert here (agonizing about my own layout myself), but I've gotten such great feedback from so many folks here, so I'll take a stab at it and help if I can. I'm sure others will chime in.

WOW - you have a great open space, and I'm thinking of so many options for you. How much are you willing to reconfigure? It looks like half of your kitchen is completely under-utilized and you could restructure it to make the kitchen a great gathering place.

some initial thoughts:

1. work zones - prep, cook, wash? where are they? All your appliances are in a single line, so I see a lot of back-n-forth, or people tripping over each other.

2. that range - eesh! and the door! corners are no fun, and that's why people use them for cabinets. What about putting your range more in the center of the stretch, and flipping your main sink to the island? I would definitely fight to have a 2-3' landing spot on both sides of my range - both for storage purposes/easy access, and for prepping and cooking.

3. fridge in the far corner - do you need quick access to any particular entrance(s)? what about moving the fridge (1) to location (6), if you don't want appliances/sink in the island?

4. butler's pantry - what's in there, and what's its function? I have one of those, and I'm getting rid of it, found it not to have much purpose. Do you want a wetbar, for entertaining guests? Do you want a large walk-in pantry? And if you want both, do you want guests walking into the 'wetbar' sink area and seeing your pantry? And what's the maid's pantry?

5. Seating. Are you thinking of keeping the bench/dining table in the center of your kitchen? Or island, with dining elsewhere? Or island with seating? Maybe this is way off, but if I could redo the space, I'm imagining a nice banquette or breakfast table in place of that gigantic walk-in butler area... (and a nice, large gathering island with some casual seating in the kitchen center). Would open up the kitchen even more.

6. I think you should keep the W/D right where it is!! Haha, j/k. :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:30PM
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I have that fridge location...but it's the doorway to the laundry. Not as busy and still blocked, when fridge is open.

Can you move the fridge to the wall between the doorways? Where the old stove is now?

That would give you room for an unfitted hutch/cabinet unit that you could paint/stain another color. I would put the big sink between the two windows and the range on the far end (where you have it in your plan). Maybe some pans hanging on the walls, by the range?

Is that wood piece structural, on the left side of that right window? If so, I would add some paneling to tie in between the two windows and maybe hang a plate rack/drying rack, above the sink.

I am the one person (I think) that's not loving the table and benches. They seem too big, the table corners look sharp (I prefer rounded corners, when you have to work around it) and in that wonderful space, you need some great seating! Comfy chairs (upholstered seats with outdoor fabric?) and a window seat or reading chair, in the corner by the maid's room.

The pantry is adorable and I wouldn't do much of anything, except maybe paint the walls.

Regardless of what you choose for finishes/colors...I would make this a room that the entire family wants to spend time in, which means furniture you can sit on and be comfy in, but still easy to keep clean :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Thanks, New, for your thoughtful comments.. By way of context, this is a beach house, and we are trying to make it casual (although the house is fairly formal as it is now, this room not withstanding!). I envision many or perhaps most meals eaten in the dining room, which has the view and is very large and pleasant. We plan to add a window seat to the DR.

There is a door to a maid's room, and there is a door next to it to a pantry. There is also a door to the hall and one to the outside.

The kitchen will be for prep, clean up, kids grabbing a meal, art projects, etc.

We will essentially gut the kitchen, leaving the BP intact and the china hutch in tact. Would consider new windows on the long wall on top of the plan. Prefer not to do anything structural.

6. LOL! Crazy, eh?

5. I don't want to give up the BP. No idea if we will keep the "picnic table". I categorically don't want an island; trying to go Retro. (1906 house)

4. There is a swinging door from it to the DR. I consider it vital, esp since I am going un fitted, since the BP has all the storage space for dishes. It will also have a second sink and second d/w. I also like the look.

3. That might be a good idea. One one hand, we are getting rid of the big hulking black woodstove, and I didnt want to put another mass there, but it might work.
Esp since our retro fridge is kind of a star.

2. There is a 5' stainless counter to the right of the range. Problem with moving the range is you cant go under a window, and there is not a lot of wallspace, esp if I want to put that large sink under the window.

Another aspect ... this is an aerial view, but if the plan were an elevation, youd see that in my original plan the two tall elements book-end the whole line up; fridge on one end, range and hood on the other end .... I like that look.

1. Prep - on the 5' stainless counter and or the butcher block that sits on top of the D/W.
Cook - on the range, or the m/w on the counter in the BP.
Clean - sink and d/w in kitchen (for food prep) and in BP (for dishes).

Here is an alternate plan based on your suggestion. It does make an L "triangle", and it solves the door swing problem. But I lose my buffet (#6) and I am not sure how having the massive fridge will feel vis a vis flow of the room.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Hi Lavender,

I like the wood panelling idea, will look into that. We don't know what it is, and we swear we never saw it before. No accident this whacky line up is not in any listing photos! Did you notice the only sink is in the BP? odd

I moved the fridge.

As for the table, I have no idea if we will like it or not. Its not really important to me at this point, since no matter what we will have a table, not an island. We can decide on which one anytime, I figure.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:08AM
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I'm not much help, but it looks like you're keeping the sink in the butler's pantry, and I'm so disappointed because I was going to motor cross-country to buy it at your garage sale!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Don't know how I totally missed the DR (oops!) So that makes sense that you don't need seating. But without a table or island in the middle of your kitchen, I'm stumped as to what you would do with that open space... kids worktable? watch the cook? maybe another portable prep-space?

If you keep the stove (5) in the position you have it in the revised plan, it would be nice to at least trim that wall back - it'd be annoying to have to 'reach around' that wall every time you want to throw a dirty utensil/dish into the cleanup sink while cooking. Plus, you could have extra elbow room AND landing spot to the right.

I get the elevation thing. With the range/hood to the right (5), maybe you could put a floor-to-ceiling cab (or some other tall interest piece) to the left of the sink (3) and get that book-end look you want. I think having a fridge door blocking an entrance would be a dealbreaker for me.

Now gotta see this star retro fridge. Post a pic!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:34AM
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LOL, Bpathome

New, Oh, there will be a table there, I just don't know if it will be the monstrosity that sits there now... It will be used for food prep and people grabbing a snack or eating but not as a family (when we'd prob use the dining room).

WOuld not take down the wall to the BP; then its not a BP, right? Also may be load bearing. Recall in the last layout the range has 5' of stainless counter to the left. BTW, in my primary house I wanted to make my French range the star, and it sits all by itself with nothing to the right or left (in fact there are doorways to the great room on either side), so i know about landing areas! Unless you are using all the burners at once, an unused burner is a landing area, but so is stainless steel in this plan.

Interesting point about a hutch to balance the height!

As for the retro fridge, I am either going with a custom seaglass or a buttercup yellow Northstar.

See discussions about my fridge and range choice ad infinitum, here and in the link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: appliance colors; yet another thread

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 7:35AM
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I think I can feel what you're going for and it's my favorite sort of kitchen...I am always tucking away ideas for whatever my next kitchen will be, and I really love this work table from The Shaker Workshops. It is a way to have a workspace in the middle of the room without the look of an island. Of course it's not much different from the table you've got in terms of functionality, but its slenderness and wheels make it both useful and pretty, I think:

There is a company in England,, that makes all sorts of furniture pieces for unfitted kitchens. They all have that plain, British aesthetic that I love, but ymmv. I use it for inspiration; I'm not sure they even ship to the U.S. Good luck...I can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 7:37AM
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The Workshop of David T Smith would be a good company for you. They are located in Ohio, but travel for installations. Linked below.

Why don't you put the coffeemaker and toaster in the BP? If you use a coffeemaker with a carafe, once the pot is finished, no reason to go back into the BP. Ours it tucked away in what we call the coffee station. Toaster and microwave are in our walk-in pantry. I'm sure you've seen my unfitted English French Gray Island kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: David T Smith

This post was edited by allison0704 on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 9:00

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Ok,umm, so who would like to buy an 8 foot long picnic table?

Because I am in love with the one you posted. Gorgeous. I really think I might buy it, if i can assuage the guilt over the fate of the old one.

It is fab:

Maybe paired with some of these!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Circus Peanut

Hi Mountain,

I've been away a lot recently due to family health issues, but am watching your project with interest, as I've bought a very similar shingle house the same age about an hour north of yours (Portland).

We even have the same garish yellow wall paint -- the '80's answer to "Craftsman style", I suspect.

In our case, that flat wooden 'chute' on the wall to the left of your window (our is in our butler's pantry) hides the house stack vent and would be quite difficult to resituate without major wall-opening work. ... actually, looking closer, you do have the same one in your BP, to the left of the sink on the wall. Hmmm. Poor photo of ours from initial realtor tour:

We have the wooden wainscoting Lavender references, throughout the entire kitchen and BP, and we are not sure whether to keep it or not. The beadboard gaps have collected an interesting century's worth of gunk. Still, it's lovely and original, and we'll work with it if we can.

What are you thinking about the floor? Is that currently a sheet vinyl?

I like your kitchen table, but would probably put it elsewhere in the house, since the benefit of a large center table in an unfitted kitchen is its usefulness as a work space, and the immobile benches on that beast prevent standing comfortably up next to the top for peeling things, kneading dough, etc. But how perfect for a kids' coloring table in the rumpus room!

We have very similar dimensions in our kitchen/BP, with a large adjacent dining room via swinging door. We're also mulling over the issue of functionality vis-a-vis cleaning and cooking space. We weren't at first thinking 2 dishwashers, but I'm beginning to imagine that it won't work otherwise -- after I prep, where do I throw the dirty bowls and knives without walking 8 feet over and inside the BP where our current DW is? Etc. I like your dish drawer plan.

Another query: where is the heating in this space and do you have to work around it? I can't see any radiators in the photos and wonder whether that was the sole function of the castiron range you're going to remove. That would be typical for these parts.

Depending on when you use this home, I can advise from Mainer experience that you'll want at least some heat in there for 3 seasons (unless you put in an AGA), and you'll really benefit if you plan to aim that heat somewhere towards your toes in the sink/cleanup area. :-)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:13AM
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I am so sorry to hear about your family health issues. I recall your postings before and I have always liked your style.

How ironic, did you say you just purchased?

We would not try to re-situate what I agree, probably hides plumbing. My first thought was to drywall it or paint it, but Lav's idea to make it bigger is kind of interesting.

LOL, gunk. I agree, Id keep it if its original.

The floor is sheet vinyl. I'm contemplating seveal options. One, Armstrong makes a sheet vinyl that is large b/w diamonds. Cheap and durable id guess. Actually looks fairly nice, as it is a sort of muted or old world b/w.
Our second choice would be to take it up and paint the wood floor. Our third choice is a linoelum or vinyl tile .... not sure about water issues.

You make a good point about the benches. I figure the table is my last concern, though.

D/w are really not that pricey and it's always nice to have extra whenyou entertain

The cast iron range is not functioning, it is decorative. So we have asked them to remove it prior to closing.

Heat is a big issue. This was a seasonal house until just a few months ago. The sellers added heat and insulation, presumably to make it more saleable. We are going up for an inspection this weekend and one area of discussion will be where we may need to add heat, as I am always skeptical of decisions sellers make for resale as opposed to their own use. I am thinking radiant floor heat in the kitchen.

I don't know how much we will use it off season, but Id like to be able to go there if we'd like.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Door to the back porch: can it swing out? This will allow you to use that first 2 ft from the wall effectively. You can keep the current door and have the carpenter rehang it.

In a house like this, the function is NOT the same as a primary residence. How many people do you expect to have there on weekends? We were at our friends beach house and had a lobster dinner with about 12 or 14 at the table. The best things about their house is the long big table that allows us to all eat together. We sat, ate, played games and laughed late into the evening.

In general, people do not have really large parties (50 plus) at their second homes. Mostly, you use the house with 2 or 3 families that are spending the weekend/week together.

I would work backwards from where everyone will sit and eat, then go from there. Do you see a large gathering using that big table in the kitchen or the dining room? Maybe you will just place the food on the table in the kitchen and eat in the DR.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:09PM
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I was reviewing this thread and just realized I had not responded!

You make good points about the difference in how you use summer homes vs your primary home.

I imagine most meals will be eaten in the dining room, because it has the views and because , with the pocket doors open, you can see into the LR. The kitchen feels a little isolated by contrast, thru the butler's pantry or, alternatively, down a hall from the LR. But there are back stairs to the kitchen, so it may be popular for breakfast or late night snacks.

I am going to make the DR less formal, to encourage its use. Already the DR table is a rather rough hewn wood, thought formal in style. We plan to add a window seat and lots of pillow. I see this becoming one of the most used rooms in the house, for eating, and for games.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 7:56PM
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I'm sorry that this is off topic, but I must know. Your ceiling looks like a drop ceiling in the first pic. Is there, possibly, something fabulous hidden there?

Also, I have to say, I love all your wood.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 8:00PM
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