I made a big mistake....

marrilynSeptember 29, 2013

I am in the process of having my kitchen redone. It's a galley kitchen and we were not making a lot of changes to the layout. We did, however, decide to move the refrigerator from one end to the other, keeping it on the same side. The reason for this was to have a nicer view as you walk in the front door (nice wood pantry rather than frig), and it was possible to recess the refrig four inches at the other end, making it a counter depth equivalent. It seemed like a good idea.

Until it got installed. This is the view from the other end. I do not like this, because I feel it blocks my kitchen off considerably. This is approximately the area where the table will be and I feel like whoever sits at the end of the table will also feel blocked off. This will also be the view that I will see most frequently as I walk in from the garage/mudroom or from our upstairs or family room. For some reason, I just did not realize that it would look like this.

So now I am trying to decide what to do.

1. I can put my refrigerator (which I have already purchased) where the pantry is, move the pantry down,and have the range on the end. This will work, but will somewhat crowd the doorway (to the foyer) on that side, as there is no way to recess it. It would also not allow one frig door (it is a FD refrig) to open completely, but it would open greater than 90 degrees and be functional.

2. I could do the same as option 1, but with a counter depth refrigerator.

3. I could leave the pantry where it is and put a counter depth refrig next to it, and the range on the end. This is my decorator's choice, as she likes the pantry where it is. I just don't know if it would seem awkward to have a frig in the middle of a run like that (hence my previous thread).

I am basically just asking about aesthetics and function. Obviously, I will also ultimately have to make a decision based on our budgetary restrictions as well.

I will listen to any and all opinions. Thanks.

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I don't think it is big mistake. It looks fine to me. It could be that it is just so different from what you had before or the vision that you had in your mind. I definitely would not want the range on the end.
Perhaps if you add another recessed light by that side panel, it will brighten up the area. You could also use add some art work on that cabinet panel. If you do that be sure to use something like 3m command picture hanging strips so you don't have to put any nail holes in the wood.
Your cabinets are beautiful. Love the range hood.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:53PM
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I think that the way the kitchen is designed gives the maixmum functionality. Having the fridge close to the kitchen table streamlines traffic after a meal. And it keeps people out of the kitchen proper when they want stuff out of the fridge while you are cooking.

However, I like option #3 the best, it will allow you to stand at the range and communicate with people at the table and give a more open view into the kitchen.

I hope you find a solution that brings you peace without too much damage to your pocketbook.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 11:04PM
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I'm wondering if foregoing the cabinetry for the refrigerator (the side panels and over the fridge cabinet) and replacing that fridge space with a new CD refrigerator might be a possibility.

The cons are the refrigerator is not enclosed, replicating your pantry on the same run and you loose cabinet space (but could do open shelves or something.

Some advantages are that CD FD refrigerators at 72" would not "close in" that end run as the panel does. This too would allow you to keep your layout as you have it, as well as a refrigerator close to the table space/foyer for drinks/snacks etc.

I fully understand your point. I was unhappy for years with a double oven cabinet that dominated the kitchen high wise.

Anyway, maybe this will give you and your KD some food for thought.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 11:11PM
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I think you just need to improve your light. It feels closed off because it is dark there, imo.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:57AM
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It's a wall; hang picture(s) on it and an art light or light from above.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:09AM
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I agree with your feeling that it's a big mistake -- because you feel that way and because I faced the same issue with the same feeling. In my case I ended up placing the refrigerator on the opposite side of the kitchen because, no matter how efficient it would have been, its mass between my work place and the dining area felt all wrong. I don't remember even piling up cardboard boxes to try it out. It was just plain unacceptable. , Since you feel this way too, I'm guessing you'd always be dissatisfied with it.

Option 1: The only reason, but a real one, to go this way would be budget. Is it the left door that doesn't open wide? If so, I think it could be aggravating, but you could always put the stuff you tend to grab for the stove on the right side. Not opening wide could even be seen as a bit of an advantage for the stuff family tends to come in for, keeping them that much more out of your run area to the sink. This might be stretching it, but still...? :)

Options 2 and 3. I actually don't see the refrigerator looking particularly more awkward than the pantry in that position. To me they're both big and blocky, a zero sum, and the kitchen's mostly seen end-on by others. ?? And you'd probably end up appreciating the wonderful efficiency of having the refrigerator right there.

Might having the left refrigerator door swing toward the work/stove area be a bother, though? (Again, you could put most used "family" items on the other side so that you were the main user of the left.) I presume the pantry is a pull-out, though, and wouldn't open against your counter.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:19AM
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This post was edited by rosie on Tue, Oct 1, 13 at 3:26

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:20AM
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I hesitate to suggest this but it's an idea. A large, custom mirror on the side might help, if you like what will be reflected in it. You could temporarily affix a cheap one with double sided sticky tape to get a feel for what it would do.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 5:48AM
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paint the adjacent wall which contains a window apparently. Leave the whitish window sill and paint the wall a rich color that ties in with the side panels.Then place some plants on stands or similar around those few feet between window and side of fridge. Why don't you show the rest of that wall and window?It just looks incomplete rather than out of place-tie in the wall.Carry the bottom piece at floor of fridge panel to wall section as base moulding-or get something that blends[carpentry-easy].

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:43AM
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Yes, badgergal, you are right. It is hugely different to what I was used to. I actually have been living with/looking at it for a couple of weeks to see if I can get used to it and start to like it. So far, I can't. Actually, the lighting is pretty good. So much better than it was before we did any work. I guess I just didn't have enough light behind me turned on when I took the picture. Also, the light fixture for over the table is not installed yet.

cupofkindness, you make a good point. It is designed for maximum functionality right now. But having the range on the end (that's where it was before) does allow much better communication/openness to the eating area and family room, which is basically behind the frig.

Sparklingwater, yes, I thought about removing the cabinetry as well, wondering if that would just help reduce the bulkiness/domination of the "wall" look due to the panel. Actually, the frig would be recessed about 4" in there, effectively making it a counter depth situation already.

kirkhall, I think I just didn't have enough lights turned on.It was rainy and cloudy outside also when I took the pics.

Thanks, rosie, I can see that you totally get what I'm saying. :) The decorator and KD seem to think that the pantry is good where it is, b/c you see it from the front door, and it is prettier than a frig. Also it is less deep. If I put my frig there it would stick out 4 or 5 more inches (I realize you can't really tell that from these pics). If I used a CD frig, it would be just a little deeper than the pantry. It would be the right door (as you face the frig), the one against the wall, that would not open completely. Also, I hadn't totally thought through the logistics of having the doors of frig opening and closing if the it were in the middle space (option 3). Good food for thought.

Oldbat2be, I don't think what is reflected in the mirror would be nice/pretty. :(

herbflavor, I will try to post more pics of the entire space at some point. Need to get to work now.

I appreciate the input so far.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:18AM
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I like it, but I made a similar change in my recent kitchen remodel. I am much more about function than looks, and your new kitchen has a great layout. Having the fridge near the dining room (and out of the work area) makes so much sense.

I didn't move my fridge from one end to the other, like you did, but I went from a more open entrance to the kitchen (from the left; I'm standing in the dining room), to a more closed-in wall.


The built-in wall might seem really "in your face" to some, and it's similar to the look you have coming into the kitchen from the dining room (though mine is even bigger!). But I'm so happy with the storage space I gained with the built-ins, and the fridge surround (and accessible storage above it) - I wouldn't change a thing.

But that's me. You said you've been living with it this way for a while, and it just isn't working for you. I'm not sure what the right solution is for you, but I DO know that you should be happy with the final result, and not feel like you're settling for something.

Didn't your KD give you perspective drawings at the beginning? My cabinet maker gave me this (along with dimensioned 2D drawings) with his bid package. As you can see, it looks pretty darn close to the finished kitchen - no surprises!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Is there a way to use the side for something, e.g. notice board or shelves?

or idea below, or narrow plate shelves

Here is a link that might be useful: shelves on fridge side panel

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 11:12AM
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annkh, thanks for the pics of your space. Its very nice and I think it works well b/c your kitchen is overall larger than mine. Had I been given a perspective drawing like that, I don't think I would be in this situation now! What a great tool that is and would have been for me.

I am working hard at trying to figure out how to get more photos on here. (Had no problem the first time, harder now for some reason)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Ok, here are a few more pics if anyone is still interested.

Here is a view when I am standing in the family room, looking at the eating area.

This is my view when I walk in from the mud room/garage

This view shows how a reg depth refrig will kind of crowd the doorway on that end. It will be a few inches deeper than the pantry, but it will fit and there would be room for the trim around the doorway.

This is what the person sitting at the end of the table would see immediately to their left. That's usually where my husband sits and often does work while I am cooking.

And here's what it used to look like, with the range on the end.

Any further opinions would be so appreciated!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Agree with nosoccermom. Turn the area into a focal point somehow.

Then, you have the advantage of optimum fridge location + a new focal point.

I'd do something that makes that cabinet side of the fridge facing the main eating area beautiful, then put a soft spotlight on it from the ceiling to emphasize it is intentional.

What to do that accomplishes that? That's the $64,000 question...

Pretend you could do anything you want with that vertical surface...

It could be
- something beautiful with art
- something with several sentimental family photos or a lot of family photos

Because it's so visible when you are likely eating with family, I would use it for family photos beautifully displayed if I were in your shoes. I have so many sentimental family photos but not enough vertical wall space to display them.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 5:17AM
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If it's a few inches deeper than the pantry ... where will the light switches be if you move it next to the doorway?

The convenience of the traffic flow should make up for the cosmetics: do you really want people who are setting the table walking all the way across the kitchen while you are cooking to get to the refrigerator to get the butter?

http://rhome410.blogspot.com/2011/10/tko-tuesday-zones-and-workpaths.html explains how to evaluate the work paths in your kitchen.

If you think the cabinet will be upsetting to the person sitting facing it, hang some artwork, put up a whiteboard, corkboard or other communication center stuff.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 6:41AM
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The side would be a nice place for a piece of art. Unfortunately, I don't see a solution to the fact that the mass isolates someone cooking and people at the table from each other except rearranging that wall. Many people remodel specifically to change that.

Marrilyn, I was fortunate in my situation that, in new, empty construction, windows on both sides of where the refrigerator would have been, and nothing else at that height in sight, made the effect it would have quite obvious. It is a shame that you didn't have perspective drawings available. These days all professional drawing programs allow one to "walk around" a room to get a feel for it, too.

I don't suppose moving the table down, changing its shape, moving your husband's seat would fix it? :) You don't show the whole breakfast area, but seemingly something there affects your options. By any long chance is there an improvement that could be made to that area to make it more functional--now turning out to be the perfect time? A doorway moved?

Regarding the issue of a moved refrigerator crowding the doorway at the other end, could you use the depth of the wall behind to recess it 3+ inches? It would depend, of course, on what might be in the wall; but if nothing, a simple framing job would gain those inches, perhaps remounting the box for the electricity line to the refrigerator to a different 2x4. That would be less expensive than shifting the kitchen doorway, yet another option. The white color of the end wall currently highlights any difference in width on each side of the doorway, so painting the exposed scraps of that one wall to instead blend with the cabinets would make even further discrepancy far less noticeable, very likely practically go away. People have to look for stuff like that to see it if it isn't highlighted. That's why people can live with a sink for years without realizing it's 2" off center. They're too busy taking in other, more interesting stuff.

Your new kitchen is so handsome. It's just not quite finished yet is all. Once you make your decision, the changes will go fast.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:10AM
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I have a very similar kitchen configuration, and so I totally understand where you're coming from. My kitchen is still pre-renovation thanks to a crazy contractor, but my plan includes widening the openings at either end partially for flow into what passes for a breakfast room -- but equally importantly so that there are direct sight lines between rooms, esp for whomever's cooking. Right now my range is on one end, and it's just annoying to have to take a step away from whatever I'm cooking or cleaning to talk to someone sitting 5 feet away in the breakfast room or see what my kids are doing.

So while I think your kitchen is gorgeous, and there really isn't anything wrong with having a view of the fridge surround from the adjacent room, I think you're absolutely right to want to do something to avoid that, mostly for the sake of the cook. When I posted some of my draft layouts earlier (under a different user name, I changed after my contractor nonsense) a couple of the smart people here advised me that the aesthetics of a galley are different than a more open kitchen - some of the questions of symmetry and balance matter less since you are never quite viewing the whole thing head on. Anyway, I can't offer any brilliant ideas, but I would map out what works best functionally for your home and what is viable in your budget. Whatever happens, please post the end result - you already have such a beautiful near-final product, there are a lot of lurkers here with galleys but the reveals tend to be few and far between. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:51AM
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robo (z6a)

I'm all about openness. If it is still bothering you, I would move the range, keep the pantry where is and move the fridge next to it. very common to have a pantry to one side of a fridge for all the reasons you're running into (fridge door opening, clearances, wall space). Or, depending on how much $$ you want to sink into this project, you could flank the fridge with narrower pantries.

If you have the $$ and the will and you hate it the way it is now, I say change it. I still regret things I caved on in my bathroom remodel.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Option 3 I have honestly not noticed a loss of space in the way the new counter depth FD's are set up. Maybe the freezer but I have a very small second fridge when I need it for drinks and freezer. I love the fridge in KevinMP's kitchen (shown in his post Wed. Sept. 18) the tall, narrow SubZero with the two large drawers for freezer. I know they are expensive and wish I had the cash for one but some friends of ours were redoing their kitchen and were practically giving away one just like this. I should have bought it but I have a predetermined space for a 36". Just saying maybe there is a good deal on one like that if it would help with space.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:40AM
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what is the purpose/function of the arched opening on that drywall area..it looks out of synch with what you could do for a focus wall incorporating the side panels of fridge. It peers into a desk area and wall beyond with outlets.I would close it up and work with the side of fridge and wall as a design/focus section. Lots of creative things can be done.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Wow, you guys have some creative ideas to make that panel more attractive, but honestly, I don't think that will fix what is really bothering me about the kitchen--how closed off it seems at that end.

lazygardens, yes, I'd have to do something with those light switches. Not sure the traffic issue of the frig at the very end would be a dealbreaker for me. Its a small kitchen anyway, and that's where the frig had been for 18 years. Its not huge haul from the table to the that end of the kitchen. :)

rosie, thanks for understanding. I kind of think if someone hadn't pointed out to me that that side would be more crowded now, I might not have noticed it looking bad! But maybe like you said, when its all done, it wouldn't be too noticeable. REALLY wish I'd have had a set of those type of drawings. Oh, and there is no room behind that space to recess it further. And actually, that is pretty much the whole breakfast area. I guess you can't see from the picture, but there is a wall on the right just outside the picture border.

smalloldhouse, yes, I think you totally get it! It's so nice to have you (and others) understand what I am saying. I would always have to be stepping out from the range and looking around the frig to speak to people at the table or in the family room.

Thanks,gr8day, I have been worried about the lack of space in the CD frig. But I have a second frig in a nearby mudroom. I was really looking forward to using my new big frig in my new kitchen, but I may have to readjust my expectations, I guess.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:19AM
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robo (z6a)

Ok, I have no idea if this would work out for you dimsensions wise, but what if you put the pantry to the right of dishwasher, fridge where pantry is, and the cabs that are currently by dishwasher, by the range?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Marrilyn, what's going on opposite the pantry - is it an appliance garage?

Could you put the fridge on the sink wall, at the far end, across from the pantry? It looks like the drawers you have in that location now would go nicely to the left of the range. The uppers would need to be re-worked, or you'd end up with the same problem.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Marrilyn, what's going on opposite the pantry - is it an appliance garage?

Could you put the fridge on the sink wall, at the far end, across from the pantry? It looks like the drawers you have in that location now would go nicely to the left of the range. The uppers would need to be re-worked, or you'd end up with the same problem - though maybe not quite as intrusive, since that cabinet isn't as deep as the fridge.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:40AM
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I like it, but of course I don't like seeing the kitchen mess when sitting down to eat, so I think it is all about how you are used to use the space and how you want to interact. Your previous layout would have bothered me.

It just doesn't look bad to me at all. Beautiful wood to look at and nice to have the mess of the stove hidden.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:41AM
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I wonder if you could use a stained wood crown, base and trim out around the arched opening to unify that wall more, so that there isn't just the wood panel on one end but it carries across the whole wall. Kind of an art wall. It's a pretty area.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Oct 1, 13 at 17:50

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:51AM
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How far away is the mud room? Move the big new frig to the mudroom & reconfigure that area with something prettier on top and a couple of refrigerator/freezer drawers on the bottom.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:15AM
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All the options except for decorative options like mirror, art or chalkboard will cost quite a bit. So it may be time for some reality check on how you are willing to spend to fix this visual issue fixing which may possibly lead to other functional issues. Honestly I don't think it is that bad and the functional flow is so much better.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 12:20PM
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herbflavor, Yes, that area looks awkward right now, but I think it will eventually be ok. That WAS a full wall with switches and air return and was my ugly view when I walked in from the mudroom, so DH wanted to open it up, but we couldn't remove it, so that's what we have. DH likes it and I think it will be ok if I can fix the panel issue. But I think I get what you are saying, that if it were one big wall, it might look more intentional.

Robo and annkh, the pantry is 42" and those drawer bases are 36". So that would involve reworking/remaking of uppers and lowers and sounds like even more money?? And yes that's an appliance garage and supposed to be a microwave shelf--they made a mistake and will have to correct that.

lyfia and others who don't think it is awful. I appreciate those opinions in case I have to leave it like that, and just to help me keep an open mind. I had a very strong negative reaction to it and I decided to not do anything rash until I had given myself time to get adjusted. A couple weeks late and my reaction is not as strong, but I still don't like it.

snookums, good idea about trimming the arch, even if I do move things around.

romy, mudroom is not far at all, and I have been thinking that is where the new big frig may end up (seems too nice and pretty--I think its pretty anyway--for a mudroom). I have to make sure it will fit there also though.

GWlolo, yes, I know there is not a cheap fix, trust me. :) That is one of the reasons I find this SO stressful! I know the KD and the decorator (yes, I had both) thought this was a great layout for functionality and aesthetics. I trusted their expertise, but am just finding it hard to like and get accustomed to it.

I truly appreciate all the input so far!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Your new layout is better function and really quite attractive. It's just different than you've had before. People deal with physical changes differently. I wouldn't even consider switching the pantry with the refrigerator. More money and aggravation in the long run as you try to work in the space.

Once your table and pendant fixture are installed and window treatments are installed, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the final outcome.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Marrilyn, it IS a great layout, but if it makes you uncomfortable even after a couple of weeks, then it isn't the layout for you - no matter how much we like it!

How wide is the fridge surround? Is it a french door fridge?

My idea is to put the fridge where the appliance garage is - opposite the pantry. If those drawers are 36" wide, there isn't quite enough room (unless you're willing to get a different fridge). The cabinets over the fridge would have to be re-worked, and the fridge might end up sticking into the doorway (hard to tell from here).

Back on the range wall - you could put the 36" drawer stack to the left of the range - maybe with a bit of filler to bring the cabinet out to the end of the wall. Get rid of the appliance garage, so you'd regain the opening into the breakfast room. It won't be quite like it was - with the range moved over to the right in the new plan, you'd still be further away from the table than you were before (if I'm reading the photos correctly).

It's still a pain in the neck, even IF you could get the existing cabinets to somehow work in different locations, but it might solve your problem.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 3:33PM
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beverly27, thanks for your reply. I am honestly amazed that so many people think its ok. :) I assumed everyone would hate it as much as me. But I am glad b/c all the positive input is helping me to think more positively about it.

annkh, I like your suggestion and would have to see how costly that would be. The KD and designer seem to think that leaving the sink wall as it is and just instituting changes in the range wall will be the most cost effective.

For those who just think I should leave it, if you are still reading, could you weigh in on the options I listed?? I am really curious what the people on this forum think is the better option!


    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Personally, I don't see what the problem is. It looks just fine to me as is. The layout really should have been set in stone before the cabinets were installed so, it seems like a waste of money to move cabinets, electrical, ventilation, etc. around now.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Well, add me to the stack that thinks it is fine as is. But I have a galley kitchen with a doorway on the end of the run, where you have that nice wide open space, so I think your layout is open and you feel closed in by it. I used to want to open up my kitchen and have one of those great room with living, dining, family and kitchen all open to each other. Until I realized that then I would have to keep my kitchen much cleaner. Plus my kids got older so now I don't have to keep my eye on them so much. So when I do my redo the closed off kitchen will stay.

To meet your need for social, I would just shift the table down to be right on the kitchen, or at least switch your dh's chair to one that looks in on the kitchen so you can chat while you are cooking. Or put in a nice chair or chair and a half that looks into the kitchen and move the table a little more the other way.

But I totally get it if that will seem like settling and won't do for you. My first choice is the same as other posters, swap out the appliance garage section with the fridge. But, you wanted votes for your choices, so here they are:

#3- I like this option best, as long as by range moving to the end was not meant literally, but that it will be counter-range-counter-fridge-pantry.

Next I would do #1, unless moving to a CD fridge means you could open the door all the way, then I would do that.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:32PM
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I like it as is - The fridge in the new layout helps to keep the traffic out of the kitchen, which I think would bother me more. I would hang family photos like MareLuce suggested. What size table do you have? Could you move it down closer to the door opening or change the position? What about a round table or even a banquette to get you closer to the doorway - maybe as a phase 2?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Do you need that desk that is next to the arch, and behind the refrigerator? I am wondering if you could sacrifice that and recess the frig more into that space to give you the line of sight that you want into the eating area. Maybe put bookshelves with an old-fashioned drop-down desk instead of the full desk.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:11PM
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Of your 3 options, I would have to pick option 2. I like your range where it is. The pantry on one end & the frig on the other end looks balanced. How many inches smaller would the pantry depth be versus the frig depth? Would it look that much different than the frig?
I agree with most everyone else, to leave it as it is. You have beautiful cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:27PM
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I'd leave as is and have hubby sit at he other end of the table to do his work.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 12:36AM
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robo (z6a)

Great point - move the light and move the table closer to the window wall. How about a banquette on the window wall so the table can sit fairly close to the wall??

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Your kitchen is beautiful. The first shot, with the stove and fridge to the right looks dandy.

What I'd like to see is a shot of the table in place in the context of the rest of the kitchen. Could it be turned 90 degrees so that part of it isn't blocked by the fridge?

I wouldn't mind the view from the mudroom, which is just a place you pass through and not a formal entry, right? I wouldn't mind eating a meal next to the fridge because the focus of attention would be the meal and the people at the table. But if the table is the hang-out spot for your husband while you cook, the current configuration breaks the line of sight connection.

You gotta decide what's important to you (given budgetary considerations). If you think the bulk of the fridge will impinge on the social aspect of the table enough to bother you, that's a big deal. Now, while things can still be moved, is the time to make your decision. I don't know if this is a live-with-it-awhile situation.

Whether or not you make the end of the fridge into an artistic statement (I like the unadorned look of the panels) isn't going to make it any less obstacle-ish.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Thanks, Linelle. I like that first view also. Its the view from the other end, the one I have to look at the most, that bothers me. And as soon as I can get some assistance, I will put the table in place and take more pics.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Ok, I have a few more pics with table in place if that will help anyone. I hope to get a different table, but it would be approx the same size.

href="http://s990.photobucket.com/user/marrilyn1/media/image_zps9b380117.jpg.html"; target="_blank">

View from the range (bear in mind that this is without the frig even being in there, the actual frig will stick out even further) I am used to being able to see to the mudroom, seeing who is coming and going etc. and into the family room

Area behind frig in family room

Standing at the panel looking toward the mud room (sorry for the big mess)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Thanks marrilyn, that helps a lot. I thought the white door was actually where the mudroom was, not realizing it was an unattached door leaning against the wall. Now I understand better how the fridge blocking your line of sight into the MR can be significant.

While your husband could start sitting at the opposite end of the table, it still means that while you're getting stuff in the kitchen for a meal you may be talking to someone at the other end ("hey, you want some more spaghetti?") and you won't be able to see them.

I haven't considered the logistics and functional aspects of moving things around, but I do sympathize with you feeling that the fridge presents an obstacle to social aspects of family life.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Ditto romy's idea. If you have room in the mudroom for the fridge, put an undercounter fridge or two in that spot. You could use the counter space and it would open up the kitchen so you would feel more connected to the people at the table.


would it feel more open if the refrigerator cabinet were switched with the upper and lower that are opposite it now?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:11PM
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Maybe simply replacing the table with a round one will help. That would be far easier to do than rearranging already installed cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:46PM
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I don't think the problem is severe enough to warrant changing it. Your new kitchen is beautiful, and I think you would never have even noticed this if it had been that way when you bought it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:56PM
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I vote to leave it as is IF... the refrigerator actually fits in that box. If it sticks out, you have a greater issue since it won't fit anywhere else either.

You can see the mud room from the sink and from the fridge, yes? You are over-thinking the issue. You'll spend most of your time at the sink and the dishwasher. No worries!

The kids will pop in to see if anything has magically appeared in the fridge. Put dog training bells on the mudroom door so you'll know when it's opened or closed.

Get a round table with extra leaves for entertaining and center it on the kitchen. Move the dining room light as needed. Install some 5" high baseboard and generous crown molding in the dining area. It looks unfinished.

Finally get some chairs that are in the same style as the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I don't think it's that bad to leave as it is, but I understand why it bothers you. I think it's a massing issue and the weight on that wall "feels" too heavy, and the solid block of wood feels unwelcoming.

Perhaps it's the wood. My Mom's old FL kitchen was wee little but had a similar arrangement, but instead of wood siding, it was a continuous piece of wall and she had a buffet with lamps on it in front, so it made the eat in area feel more like a separate room, and being part of the wall, it didn't feel like a separate mass in your way. And she didn't have a CD fridge.

So think about if it's possible to somehow deal with that wall and extend it so it's one piece....or...

swap the fridge and the cabinetry on the opposite wall so the fridge would end up next to the dw. That way the weight would be on the wall away from the entrance and everyone, you'd still have easy access for drinks and such from the eat-in area, and you'd still have off load space on the counter and you'd still have counter space on both sides of the cooktop. I had a stove on the end of cabinetry at the old house and I hated it. I'm a chop n drop cook so I need counter space on both sides of the range. To me, putting the range on the end is the worst solution.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Weird - I opened this thread to see what had happened since I posted yesterday, and oddly enough my post seems to have duplicated itself without my knowledge! Anyway, as someone who is going to pay too much money to widen a doorway between a galley kitchen and breakfast room (it's a load bearing wall, so just adding about 36 inches to what is currently a 33 inch opening will cost a bundle) I totally understand why you'd be willing to spend a bit to get this right. Good luck!

This post was edited by smalloldhouse on Wed, Oct 2, 13 at 20:14

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:47PM
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I think that this has already been mentioned but no kitchen looks or feels right when it is partially done. Personally I would wait until it is all done and you have used the kitchen for a while (1 month) and see if you still feel this way. Also the dining area appears very dark so I would check on the lighting situation.

Change never feels good when its happening.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:56PM
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I agree that everything looks raw and questionable before it is done.

I would not start scrambling the layout. I think what you have is better than the alternatives mentioned. Swapping the appliance garage with the fridge is not going to gain you much in terms of openness because those cabinets are deeper that regular uppers. Functionally, it's not terrible for a one person kitchen, but for a family, it could be a nightmare with cross traffic.

I don't think it is the closed off nature of that wall as much as the contrast in a black white wall and a stained wood panel with the addition of the + trim. I think it would be less of an issue without the + (and yes I realize it was meant to match the cabinets, but sometimes there is a reason not to match). Without the center trim, the space would be more open to hanging an art piece, a communication board or other options.

Some things I have not seen mentioned:

Turn the kitchen table 90 degrees -- especially if you only use three chairs. Even if you need 4 or 5 seats, you could put a bench against the window wall. The round table idea is another approach if you are open to spending a bit more. You would gain a better view from the table and it looks like a space where you could create a little sitting area for reading the paper, a book or coffee and conversation.

Leave the cabinet above the fridge and kitchen side in wood, but change the outer wall to drywall and make the transition inside the kitchen rather than in the dining area. The you have a larger wall to treat however you want and no break.

Personally, I would probably change the panel trim or change to drywall AND move/rotate the table.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:51PM
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I have been wondering if moving/rotating the table wouldn't help tremendously, a suggestion to move the table wasn't picked up on, so maybe there's something else going on?

A round table is a potentially great idea to at least try, though. A 48-52" or so diameter table can seat 6 people.

You could even put banquette seating in that corner and move the table all the way to the left of the door.

Have no idea if you'd be interested in it, but if the refrigerator side were replaced with drywall, as some are suggesting, it would create a nice length of wall to put an attractive piece of furniture against.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:14PM
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I agree with lascatx. I mentioned earlier that possibly turning the table 90 degrees would give everyone at the table visual access to the kitchen. Not sure how large a family you have, but it looks like you have enough room, esp. if you scoot the table over closer to the window.

As lascatx also mentioned, as nice as the paneled end is on its own, there's a lot of contrast between it and the adjacent wall. It makes the fridge panel more prominent. If it were wall surface to the right, it would look more like an entire unit.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:29PM
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People are addressing your need for change from several angles:
1. It is just difference that you need to get used to
2. You don't like the large wood panel wall
3. You feel cut off from the rest of the house while cooking

Am I correct that your problem with the kitchen is #3? You used to be able to see the whole table area and down the hall to the mudroom and now you are blocked by the fridge.

I have an alternate solution for you- hang a mirror in the corner next to your window, in the table area. Below is a link to site that shows how to do it. Then, while cooking you can glance into the mirror to see people coming and going from the mudroom. I would either still move the table or put a round one more centered on the kitchen opening, or shift it towards the mudroom and put a cozy chair and little table under the window. Then hubby can sit there and keep you company or you can sit there and wait for things to come out of the oven.

Here is a link that might be useful: Device to hang things in corners

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:54PM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

Not meaning to sound like a smartie mouth, but do you spend all of your time in the kitchen at the range? If so, I'm coming to your house! I spend the majority of my time at the sink wall. Does this view let you see around to the area that you are used to seeing?

I haven't seen this mentioned, but how many in your family and what ages are kids ( How long will they be in the house? ) Is it that important to see who is coming in or is it just what you
are used to? Will they not come see you if you are in the kitchen?

Can you rotate the table 90 degrees so you can then see everyone at it?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Duplicate post, again. I'm so sorry! I don't know why my post yesterday keeps cloning itself!

This post was edited by smalloldhouse on Wed, Oct 2, 13 at 22:25

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I only read half of the thread so apologies if this was already suggested - can you recess the fridge back a bit through the family room (losing the desk). I can understand wanting to keep an open feel.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Been following since the beginning. Oddly, the first thing I thought of when I saw the table photo a few minutes ago was "get a round table." Didn;t post because I dismissed it as "not a solution."
Gratified to see people more experienced than me also propose it. What is it about changing the sq to round that makes a difference?
Apart from more sociable seating, which round tables encourage, a round table is also a visual change from all the retangular cabinentry.
The round table also more flexible seating because there are no corners or table legs that limit where you can sit (at least if you get a pedestal table)
Maybe you could find a cheapo round table or mock up one before you start moving things around. It might make just enoughof a difference to make a difference! And perhaps you'd relieve yourself from any obligation to get the "perfect" table. Buy what you could live with for a few months and a couple of pretty tablecloths.
Would you consider taking a break from all this decision making and worrying for a week or two? what you may actually be missing is the ability to be flexible and solve problems that comes when we take a break from a problem and come back to it later.

This post was edited by idabean on Wed, Oct 2, 13 at 22:56

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I really think it is a massing issue and that's why it's so troublesome. It's the feeling I get when I walk in the room and all the furniture is on one side...makes the room feel ready to tip. And it's why it won't go away over time...it's disturbing.

Forgive my poor attempt...I don't have photoshop, only paintbrush on my mac. But I made the wall solid so now instead of a large mass in the face when you walk in, you catch that glimpse into the new, lovely kitchen. The eat-in area feels more cohesive as a room, and you have a place to decorate be it with art, a buffet, maybe a lamp or two...if I knew how, I would've cut and paste something in to show you....maybe someone more capable than I can try that for you.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:24AM
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I can't get over how nice everyone here is to continue to help me with this and offer suggestions. Thank you!

I realize its hard to tell from the pictures how much space there actually is. But there would not be room to turn a rectangular or oval table the other way, and I think it would look awkward. The breakfast area is a rectangular area, so turning the table the other way just wouldn't work.

Also, with the table in that space there would not be room for a small piece of furniture in front of the wall/panel. It would really crowd the whole area.

The table is as close to the window as it can go and still have room for a chair there.

I could do a round table and I may do that, and DH could sit at the window end, but that still doesn't fix my other issues--the obstruction of sight lines, how closed off I feel, etc. I think it would be nice every time I enter the house (which would be from the mudroom) and every time I walk into the kitchen from the family room (which is often), to see my whole new kitchen, not just half of it. That is what I was used to before (for 18 years).

It is definitely harder than I thought to adjust to changes in the space, even the changes that I like! Must be a sign of aging...

Obviously the whole area is unfinished and will look better when painted trimmed, countertop, backsplash etc are done.

For those that have wondered. We have three kids. Two are of college age, one goes away to college, one lives at home. Weekends and summers are busy with lots of kids/friends. I usually have six chairs at the table and actually usually have a leaf in it.

And maybe it wasn't obvious to all, but when I talk about putting the range on the end, there would actually be countertop of the end. I was referring to that whole range space, which in my mind includes the countertop on either side. Like in this picture:

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Did not mean to imply you are not being flexible! You are taking a lot of suggestions with good grace!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:25AM
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If you put the range and a landing space at the end, you have a lot of cross traffic through a galley kitchen, especially for a family. That is something you want to avoid.

The drywall does look heavy at that angle (the appliance garage adds to the closed off and weighted feeling because that visually connects and prematurely ends the openness of the counter run), but it also doesn't have anything to balance or anchor it in that mock up. It needs to be furnished -- some art or a message center at the least. You have the full width of the room there, so you should easily be able to put a console table (a landing spot for mail, keys, etc) or a chair and end table for reading. If the table is round, square or turned 90 degrees, you should have room for a sitting area.

It sounds to me like you are used to a certain look not only to that wall but also to the adjoining rooms. Play with them. Think outside the box. Consider a pub table. Consider the banquette idea. What would you do if you just bought the house and this was the way it was? I think you need to play with it -- perhaps has a stylist come in and give you some advise actually standing in your rooms with you and even moving things around, before you start tearing things out and rearranging them. And definitely work with a temp counter and don't template or install counters until you are sure -- that will just add another big expense.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:53AM
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You've had the range on the end in your old kitchen so you know that works for you. It's the only real solution (of the 3) that will open up your site line. Since you can't recess your new frig, it seems you'll have to go with option 2 or 3. Can you exchange your new frig for a CD frig?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 10:49AM
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marrilyn, I think you're incredibly gracious and open to all the ideas offered. All the contributors are also looking at all the possibilities.

I kinda get the feeling that, despite all the live-with-it and/or change-other-element options, you just don't like the mass of the fridge at that end. I agree with you. Of course you could live with it and maybe learn to ignore it as you stop focusing on every little detail. I have a new standard depth fridge that sticks out into my small kitchen. I really didn't know any better when I bought it, but I won't make that mistake again.

I keep thinking, a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse. Fixes such as a new round table, and of course new chairs to match your kitchen, are going to run you $2K or higher. If you use the table for more than just meals, round isn't the best shape.

You can throw all kinds of money at fixes (distractions) for a feature you really don't like. Will you end up spending less than moving your fridge?

What do you really want? Can the enclosure for the fridge be temporarily removed so you can see what it's like? If the feel-good endorphins return, you may have your answer.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 10:59AM
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i think it looks fine the way it is. you will get used to it anyway. its good to be sure but you will come to love the new kitchen the way it is....of this im sure.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:54PM
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