Help with deciding a small kitchen layout

vdinliSeptember 6, 2013

After many yrs of lurking and lusting after the gorgeous kitchens here, I am finally getting started with the process of designing the kitchen layout! I have read many threads asking for layout help and so many of you are so generous with your time and suggestions. So let me thank you all in advance for going through this and thinking about my problem.
I went through the questionnaire on the layout thread(Thanks Buehl-it's an invaluable resource!) and am posting some info that should address the questions raised during layout design.

Background : Family of 4 with two kids 7 and 1.5 in a modest house in an labor expensive area of Long Island, NY. I am the major cook, DH helps ocassionally. DH and DS make salad/sides. Cook dinner almost every day-mostly fresh food. Lunch is usually leftovers or frozen TJ's wraps. Bake ocassionally-mostly on special ocassions. Use the oven for dinner maybe once a week. Casual parties once a month or so-mostly buffet style.

Goals : Open the layout to LR and Dining area. Increase counterspace from the current 2ft on top of DW. Increase storage and accessibility for pantry items and small appliances (currently on or under the kitchen table) . Replace OTR microwave with a powerful range hood to vent out smells from indian cooking. Increase size of DW from current 18 to 24". Have a pleasing view from the front door(not the sink!)

Structural Considerations : Wall between current kitchen and LR/DR likely to be load-bearing. We want to keep costs downs-so not feasible to replace the columns with steel beam. Garden Window in Kitchen too low for counters-open to replacing it with a smaller window. Not feasible to move the outside side door. We do have a finished basement downstairs. There are three openings into/from the kitchen. I am not sure any of them can be eliminated.

Appliances : We love our relatively new Samsung standard depth FD refridgerator-so we will keep that. All other appliances have to be replaced-most likely to be a gas range, vent hood, 24' DW and a drawer MW. Maybe interested in an advantium or a oven/microwave combo depending on budget and space.

This is the current layout.

Layout 1: Note the black box on island is supposed to depict a drawer microwave. The program I am using has limited functionality! Both the new layouts have the fridge set into the wall behind to make it look counter depth.

Pros: Lots of counterspace, plumbing will not have to move too far. Open island(?) for spreading out hw and parties etc. Prep next to range.

Cons: No pantry cabinet-will the island cabinets be enough? Additional cost to move up Window. How useful will the Corner cabinets be? Cleanup zone far from Dining area.

Layout 2:

Pros: Well separated zones, clean up/snack zone away from range. Full size cabinets for pantry. No corner cabinets.
Cons: Not that much counter space. Sink highly visible. Will have to move plumbing across the floor. Will have to pivot
across aisle between sink and range.

Thanks for reading this long message. Let me know if there are more questions. I would love any feedback you have on both the layouts or any alternative arrangements I should consider.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

any chance of reversing kitchen with dining zone? Also, reversing linen closet with doorway next to'd get a better L kitchen out of traffic path from front entrance of home......remove garden window and do more windows, enhancing your dining zone placed there. Anyway, so far I'd pick plan 1, but not too excited about kitchen as traffic lane.....but it might be okay.....put a small sink on island so people grabbing from fridge can stay at island to do things and main cook has the L wall for her activities.....shrink the main sink a bit, and move it up for increase in corner section of counter area.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is that a doorway to access linen closet? Are you making that a pantry? If not a pantry, Couldn't you close up that wall since you already have 2 entrances to that closet.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beachlily z9a

In plan 1, what about putting a tall pantry in the dining area in place of the buffet? You could leave a center section open for a small counter so dishes could be set there at meal time. I really, really like this plan!

My kitchen is 9x11 and only works because I have a big pantry in the laundry room. I don't have an island--just a peninsula.

Best of luck with your decisions.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

plan 1: regular uppers running perpendicular to the sink wall instead of corners should help it feel more open. You could stretch the window out then, too.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you shorten you island by 3' 3" on the right and move entry from LR/foyer there, you can extend the 3' 2" wall another 3' 3" and have your DW and sink (plus a small cab) on this 6' 5" wall. On the other side of the extended wall you can have a mirror or some art, etc.

With this arrangement, though you'll have a shorter island (can be nearly 5'), your cleanup area will be well hidden with some counter space around your sink. No corners and no need to change your window.

Another alternative, a bit cramped, with a corner sink. Though has an uninterrupted and longer prep space, has 2 corners and you need to change the window.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

removed duplicate post

This post was edited by sena01 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 15:03

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I will get back with a detailed reply in a couple of hrs.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hank you all for the responses.
Herbflavor, we did consider switching the dining area and kitchen briefly but it is going to be very cost prohibitive as the current dining area doesn't have any water/drain near it. I agree that a small sink in the island will be useful but will have to consider the costs of additional water/drain..wish we didn't have to!
Dilly, I am not sure I understood. Are you talking about the doorway next to the new fridge location? That hallway is the only way to access the rest of the house and cannot be closed off.
Beachlily, I am trying to squeeze in a full size pantry somewhere. We do have overflow pantry in the basement but it will be good to store my casseroles and big cookware in the kitchen.
Deedles, thanks for the suggestion. A bigger window would be nice! Do you think the upper cabinets will be easily reachable?
Sena, thanks for the intriguing idea and lovely mockup. The extra counter space in both your options will be useful. But I am not sure how I feel about the view from the front door being of wall art. But it is something to consider.
Please keep the suggestions coming..thank you once again

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the cabinet access would be fine, esp. if you make them deeper, say at least 15" deep. Keep larger items way down toward the window end so you just have to reach into the edge of the shelf.

You'd have a nice amount on light with a bigger window and I think that would really open up the kitchen on that end... good to consider esp with it being open to the dining area.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, darn! I had already drawn this up b/f you posted saying you weren't willing to switch the rooms! Well, since I drew it up, here's what I was thinking would be possible...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 10:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like Buehl's plan! The banquette is a great use of space and there's access around the island, with out bumping into the basement door. If you could do this, it would be my first choice :)

If not, here's another idea. This is a galley kitchen, without the path around the island, but I think it might give you some seating, without having a pathway into the basement door. If you don't go downstairs very often, it's probably not a big deal, but if you do... From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl, The plan is lovely! Woke me right up from my semi asleep check in before bed. Now I am busy googling how much adding a new drain line is going to cost..I will have to call some plumbers to give us a rough idea.
We will also have to add a steel beam to the cieling as one of the load bearing columns will be in the middle of the island..uhh..wish we didn't live in such a high cost area of the country..
Lavender_lass, I was thinking along the lines of your plan too..the kids do use the basement a lot during weekends as the play area is downstairs but they can go around! The only question is how to move any of the big items in the rest of house, if needed. There is a sliding door to the deck at the back of the house that could work. Just thinking around here..
Thank you all for giving my problem so much time and effort.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 1:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buehl's plan looks very good.

To increase your storage space you may consider toe kick drawers.

GW examples/discussions:

If you are tall cab heights may be increased to gain a few inches of extra storage.

Also, you may have something like this above/around the island.

Another one from Houzz:

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You have a basement so moving the water lines should not be a big issue. Get more than one estimate. We are all DIY and water/drain lines are not a big deal unless you are on a slab.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Definitely get multiple estimates. We also live in a high cost area (Baltimore/DC). When we remodeled, we had to reroute the plumbing & drain pipe of an upstairs shower above our kitchen to allow venting of our hood. We got three estimates: $550, $900, $5000. Needless to say, the third estimate was thrown out!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I still like Buehl's plan...but if you can't move the plumbing that far, what about adding a bay window/banquette off the dining room? This would give you more space for the island or peninsula :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Debrak, it is good to hear that it is not too difficult to move the plumbing or drain lines. We do have a basement bath about 10ft north of the sink. I am not sure how feasible it is to tie in the drain lines. As you can tell, we are definitely not DIY! Kudos to you and other DIYers.
Sena, thanks for the heads up on the toe kick drawers and storage options. It will probably have to be toe kick heaters as there is hot water radiator running on the far wall.
Buehl, we have so much difficulty finding good contractors who aren't super expensive and atleast somewhat competent and efficient.
Lavender_lass, our neighbors are so close on both sides-we will probably reach into their yard with a bay!
A general question- do you think I should write up two spec sheets for the two plans and have different contractors gives us their best price for both plans? or should i just draw up the switch plan and figure out who we want to go with. If the no's come out too high, then we can ask them to redo the estimate. I'm sure that doing two estimates at once is too much work to expect from them and anyway we have found only about 40% of the contractors we call are willing to come back to us with even one estimate!
Thanks for all the advice.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fire codes say, in most states, the minimum on the sides of a one story home is no less than 7'6" on each house, making that a total of 15' between the homes so a fire truck can get in there if necessary. For a two story home or larger, that access increases to 9'6". So chances are a bay window is out of the question.
Did you check on the price of a laminate beam rather than a steel beam? They are cheaper and can span that 14' with no problem. Check into it if you haven't already.
You should decide on which plan you like the best. Maybe you like some of each so incorporate that into one cohesive plan. That way when you do get bids, you are comparing apples to apples.
Compare prices, but compare the quality of the materials. I designed houses. One customer was very upset as she got bids from $100,000-300,000. I had to explain that the first builder used builder grade materials and the pricier builder used upgraded everything. They went with one that was in the middle, closer to the high side, and were very happy.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the advice, RoRo67. Yes, we can't do a bay on that side becoz of setbacks. I agree that quality always costs and we are happy to pay for that within limits. But being able to spot quality or a defect in building materials/plans is a skill we have to work on.
It doesn't look like we can do the switch plan anyway for budget reasons becoz it is going to need some big ticket items. I really liked that plan and am seeing if I can incorporate the elements into a revised plan.
I will update this thread soon.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:57AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What Is The Real Question Being Asked To 'What is Timeless'
I see this question so often on this forum, and I wish...
New build Kitchen – layout for this space?
So, hi! Popping out of lurk mode because I’d really...
It starts with the sink... Kohler Stages 33 or 45?
Hi all, I'm new to the forum and just starting a kitchen...
Gap between backsplash and over-the-range microwave?
Hi, all. Does anyone have an over-the-range microwave...
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™