Advice Needed for Large Kitchen

teamjSeptember 7, 2013

I am looking for some advice on my kitchen layout. My goals are for this kitchen to be absolutely stunning visually, and be the best use of the space, so cost and complexity of install are not of primary concern.

Ceilings are 12' tall and I plan to install soffits where needed to come down and meet the cabinets.
Cabinets will be off-white, glazed, shaker door, transitional styling. Countertops will be gray or off white.
A few concerns and my thoughts:
1. I did want to do some stainless open shelving somewhere originally, but I don�t think we have the room and the plan might be better as is.

2. I am concerned by the lack of counter space, but I don't want to make the islands any longer, since I am afraid if we go too long, they will be too close to the table that will go in the breakfast nook. One possible idea is to use a base cabinet / wall cabinet to the right of the fridge instead of a tall pantry.

3. I am also concerned about having the sinks directly across from the fridge, right in the drop zone.

I am open for any and ALL suggestions! Thank you.

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Elevation view of the range wall.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Elevation view of the refer wall.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:32PM
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I would prefer to have the range across the long side of the island. So would move the fridge/MW to the left of the top wall and range to where the fridge is now. Clean-up sink/trash with DWs on both sides in the middle of the top wall, with SS shelves, and pantry at the right end. Prep sink + trash near the top part of island, maybe DW drawers following.

.I can't read the measurements so I'm not sure your aisles are wide enough

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:45AM
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It has the usual problem of a too large kitchen. The work zones are inefficient because they are too spread out, and the scale of everything is off. This is a cathedral, not a kitchen. Where's the permanently installed rolling ladder in order to access the uppers? The two islands aid nothing. It's an affectation, not a functional division. It doesn't create a social zone with the seating, and the back to back sinks (with the DW's on the wrong sides of those sinks) make the one island virtually useless. It's also very ill proportioned to have the world's biggest U unless you have a basket of roller skates at the entrance to issue to everyone.

I'm not against large kitchen,or a visually pleasing kitchen, but I'm against ones that wouldn't work for a couple of cooks for a meal for two, and still won't work for a team of caterers either. You want to preach a Sunday sermon from the pulpit of the range? Or do you want to prepare a meal? Do you actually cook? What kind of cooking do you do? Are the parameters of the space set? Creating a "open galley" by having a single island parallel with the range wall would work so much better. And then you could lose about a third of the depth of the kitchen with zero loss of function or visual appeal. In fact, the functionality factor would rise!

BTW, expense may not be an issue during the paper planning stage, but are you really willing and able to spend 250K on a kitchen in a 10M house? If you are, then why DIY it? Seek out one of the top designers in the field to assist you here. Susan Serra. Mick DeGuillio. Johnny Grey. You need a pro who knows what they're doing to do this for you.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 8:29AM
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so what you have thus far is perimeter with double island....get the zones better and the overall can be a good kitchen.This,so far needs a lot of wire oak is spot on, but do look at under "double island kitchen" and get an inspiration to work from initially. What strikes me is you have competing dominance between the activity at the islands vs. the hulking design mass and focus at your perimeter walls. Design wise, it's a bit of a mess,let alone the actual flow. Big dreams are okay, but you really don't want a kitchen full of miscalculations on this scale.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 8:55AM
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For a large kitchen you have very limited prep space. Also...think about how you see the function of the u/c frig. Snacks for kids...veggies fruits for cooking? Either way it does not seem optimally placed. Where do you plan dish storage cause I don't see any convenient to the diswashers. If I were to have two sinks I would want a water source closer to my main work area without having to traverse aisles. Think about how you cook and how your family works/plays in the kitchen. You are fortunate to have a great space and I do love double islands...however this space definitely lacks function. It would also help to see the surrounding space to get an idea of how your home will flow. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Live Wire Oak,

Yes, I know the top cabinets will not be accessible. We will use for long term storage.

Yes, we do cook. Usually just the 2 of us, simple meals, a few hours at a time.

As far as the space parameters, the walls are in place and can not be moved. Plumbing and electric is piped in under both islands, although plumbing is not used in the second island. A single island could be used we just loved the aesthetics of dual islands. We also dislike the seams in the countertop seen in very large islands

As of now it’s actually closer to 150K.

Thank you for the designer recommendations and advice (and humor).


See the attached inspiration.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Some more inspiration.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:34AM
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The electric and gas for the range is already on that wall, which is an exterior wall, with a 12" x 78" transom window looking out, centered to the range.

Drain plumbing is also piped in under the islands and cannot be easily moved.

Aisles are all +/- 42"

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Still doesn't address the fact that you have to traipse around island to access water or the frig. And 21" of prep space with a 60" range would make me nuts. Would you consider orienting the island the other way therefore still utilizing the piping already plumbed?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Susan Serra

Hello! This is me, Susan Serra, dropping in. I received an email from the OP asking for my thoughts with no other information provided.

That's part of the problem. There was no information provided and no information provided in the original post. And, since text is funny, this is meant to be plain spoken but with a positive slant :)

Who are you? How many in the family? Who cooks? What other uses is the kitchen for? Do you entertain? Formally or informally? Do different groups of people, e.g. friends, multi generations, others, occasionally cook? Is cooking a chore, a passion, or something in between? What are your shopping habits? Do you clean in between or spread out when you cook, e.g. I'm one who creates and then confronts the gigantic mess at the end of my creating process ;) And, this isn't the end of the questions - there are many more lifestyle questions to look at, including general design, texture, color, proportion, social issues, what's happening in surrounding rooms, architectural elements, what the flow should be, storage needs vs. storage wants, appliances, etc.

So, not having this information makes it impossible for me to recommend what should go where. Also, I do MANY plans to suit a space, because there are always a wide assortment of viable design solutions. I would never do just one and then tweak it. It's too expensive a project, too permanent and too critical to one's lifestyle to just look at one plan. I have nothing to start from, no information. It's a huge project and any size kitchen, small to large, deserves extreme attention to detail, beginning with a comprehensive lifestyle analysis. Consult your heart, too - how do you want to feel in different lifestyle scenarios in the kitchen, including one overall feeling. Don't just think about boxes. Sometimes, function can follow form. It's a balance.

So, that leaves me with just one minor comment that I want to make, and again, it is not the top issue here - it's just how I start to think about kitchen design, which is, not about cabinetry but about traffic flow, the negative space, the flow. And, having 44" clear on one side of this double island (I'd seriously reconsider doing a double island) and what looks like either 33 or 39" (I can't read it) on the other side, is asking for big problems when multiple people are working in the kitchen and moving around. In a kitchen this size, I will shoot for 52", maybe push it to 54" if I can, and reluctantly settle for 48" if I have to, thus, "backing in" the size of the island. Again, depends on the lifestyle. If you're working alone in this kitchen, and no one will ever work in here, that's a different story.

Best idea is to NOT TAPE the floor but to put up life size cardboard barriers 36" tall and THEN experience those aisles. You'll be very surprised at how it feels, is my guess. I'm not sure if this has helped!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Things are a heck of a lot easier moved around at this stage than after living with it for a couple of years and tearing your hair out over the dysfunction. Stop everything until you get a layout that works.

If you will notice the BIG difference in your inspiration pics, the long sides of the island are oriented to the range. That means that you have a nice sized prep zone to work in. AND the kitchen is about half the size of your space as well. Those sitting at the island will have to raise their voice to communicate with the cook, but they won't have to YELL.

Do you have a better quality more readable plan with the adjacent spaces indicated, as well as any views and windows that may be important to the kitchen or other areas? It's almost looking like swapping the fridge and range would be the better choice here, and then placing the cleanup sink on that run as well. Move to a smaller sized prep sink, and keep the fridge to the top left of the current range run where it's accessible from the prep zone, and you may just squeak by with turning this around.

Like this: But, with shorter cabinets and a bigger soffit to make it more proportionate.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:44AM
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Here is the rest of the room per your request. The second door into the dining is not shown as we are putting that in to avoid a corner in the kitchen. Also, the current kitchen extends to 14'6", and we are going out to 16'6" and moving the small window on the range wall a few feet to make room.

My thoughts on the undercounter refer was as a holding fridge for the prep cook side.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Fori is not pleased

The original plan seems a little more practical. Can't you make it dramatic and awesomely functional based on that? The double island just looks weird, or like a department store display for discontinued Martha Stewart bakeware, and I'm concerned it might detract from the overall effect.

As far as seams in really big islands (continents?), if you use a fabulous stone that can be bookmatched down the middle, a seam can look better than no seam.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Live Wire Oak, That inspiration photo is almost exactly the same size as our kitchen. And moving the sink to the wall in place of the range would be difficult.

However, based on all the suggestions, we are willing to drop the dual islands (but still keep the tall height on the walls).

Here is what the plan would look like with a 10' x 5' island.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:34PM
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You have inadequate prep space near the prep sink in your latest plan. Prep area and clean-up area overlap too much, IMO, especially given the size of your kitchen.

You wrote: "My goals are for this kitchen to ... be the best use of the space, so cost and complexity of install are not of primary concern." However, when experts here have pointed out functional issues and suggested switching placement of range, sinks, etc, to improve function you seem unwilling to make changes because, as you stated, the plumbing and electrical work is already done.

Given that, what advice are you hoping to gain from the forum? It sounds as if you want us to work within very specific parameters. If that's the case, please tell us what are fixed elements beyond the walls, and what can be moved.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Moving plumbing in slabs isn't that hard or expensive as most people think it is. Really. You might be looking at 1K tops, but I'd doubt it would be that expensive in new construction, maybe $500. I've done it in enough designs that people thought it "couldn't" be done, and the most expensive that adding a prep sink was was $1500. That's chump change in a kitchen this size, with the expensive inhabitants that you plan to decorate it with.

Your revised large island with 2 sinks still doesn't work. The prep sink is in the wrong stop to provide any utility. All it does is block the landing zone to the fridge. If you end up with something like that, drop the second sink. I'd recommend moving one of the water sources though, and moving it to the long wall would be the best choice out of what's there.

When you have a kitchen with an unequal L, the best location for a range is on the short part of the L, with the fridge and sink sharing the longer L. If the kitchen is large enough to have an island, then adding a prep sink to the island lets you separate cleanup and prep functions---if the prep sink is placed correctly. It's not placed correctly in the original plan, or in the revised larger island. You need at least 36": of prep space next to the prep sink, and 48" is better. And it needs to be adjacent to or across from the fridge and cooking zone. The orientation of the island lengthwise to the cooking zone IS an improvement, but it still leaves you with not a lot of actual prep space because the cleanup sink occupies space on the island. And the location of the fridge means that everyone who wants a cold drink will traipse their way through your prep zone.

You need to put moving the plumbing on the table as a choice.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Do you have any windows in the kitchen? Why not put the sink on the outside wall? (Sorry if that was already answered...not seeing it).

Why not have a corner? Maybe fridge and range on wall to dining room, with window over sink. Then island with prep sink across from fridge? The beverage fridge could be on the other side of the main sink (by family room). Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 6:38PM
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"Moving plumbing in slabs isn't that hard or expensive as most people think it is"

Hollysprings, I wish I'd heard that a decade ago. I put off remodeling a kitchen I hated for lots of reasons, but one is that I knew I needed an island prep sink and thought it was a budget buster. I wonder if cabinet sellers (who shouldn't be called KDs) find it very easy and convenient to simply replace what is, and keep the budget focused on areas for which they get a commission?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:06PM
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The only window in the kitchen is a 12" tall transom window centered and just above the range.

Yes, I know plumbing can be moved, but the builder is not going to do it, so I would have to jackhammer the floor after which I don't want to do.

Even if I did want to move the sink to the exterior wall, the window isn't really appropriate for a sink.

And if I moved the range to the short wall, there wouldn't be a great spot for the fridge,

So I would like to say the range is going to stay where it is, and the sink and/or sinks will have to go in the island, so those elements are off the table. The fridge could possibly go in the pantry at the bottom of the plan, but that would place it really far away, so most likely the fridge will need to go on the short wall.

I can reconfigure the island / islands any way, make them smaller or bigger, change the shape, etc.

So any advice to fix the problems, but leave the range where is and the sink(s) in the island?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:14PM
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I could also consider leaving the wall in the corner intact as well, but I do like the standalone range wall as a huge focal point.


In the latest plan, there is 3' of space next to the prep sink and it is adjacent to the cooking zone, as you recommended.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Sophie Wheeler

This is about as good as it can get without moving the water. And the fridge is still going to be the "attractive nuisance" magnet to having people walk through your prep space. You might consider doing a pull out cutting board on the range wall to cut off access from that aisle when you're working. And there really isn't a good spot to store your dishes. Unless you swapped the pantry cabinets on the fridge wall with the hutch cabinets on the range wall. That would give you a good location for all of the dishes, and be closer to the DR as well.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:48PM
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teamj, given the limitations of what you can do at this point, the only suggestion I can think of to make is to go with a modification of your original 2 island plan. Everything else I thought of created a continent, not an island and, unless you're very tall, it would be difficult to clean the center of it.

I moved the clean-up sink to the 2nd island, flanked by both DWs, to keep all your clean-up in one area. I raised the bar, too, for a bit of a barrier between the working and visiting areas.

I moved the wine fridge and undercounter fridge to the perimeter, still handy for entertaining but not in the direct work area. Oops, I meant to put the wine fridge on the perimeter, not next to the range. So switch those.

I reduced the depth and height of the cabinets on either side of the range (no longer to counter) to give you more counter space in this area. The counter to the left of the range will be handy landing area for items headed from range to DR.

Dishes and glasses are stored in the primary island, directly behind the clean-up sink. This also puts dishes handy for plating up at the range. I left the one trash cab where it was in your plan so that there is a trash handy for the clean-up zone.

I moved the trash on the back side of the primary island towards the range with a prep sink next to it. This preserves the landing area for items coming from fridge and pantries and allows you to prep either on the long sides (baking prep could be on dish storage side of island) or the short side of the island. It does put the water source farther from the range than I would prefer but it can't be helped at this point. I can't tell from your drawings but I'm hoping you're planning for toe kicks on the range side of the primary island. Otherwise, it won't be as comfortable prepping on that side of the island.

This plan does not require plumbing moves since you said you already had the 2nd island plumbed for water and maintains a clear division between prep area and clean-up areas, which your original plan doesn't offer.

Here are some images to help you visualize what I'm proposing with a sink in each island.

The prep sink in the following is on the perimeter but it shows two islands, the secondary one has the clean-up sink and a raised bar with seating.

Mediterranean Kitchen by Spring General Contractors John Termeer

This one has sinks in both islands, as I'm proposing, but does not have a raised bar in the secondary island.

Traditional Kitchen by Jacksonville Architects & Designers Clausen Residential

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:45PM
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I incorporated several of your suggestions. Here is the revised layout.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you will move plumbing to split it off onto the second island, then you can move plumbing to put it on the back wall instead. Or you can move it anywhere else as well. Moving the plumbing is moving the plumbing. You might as well make it worth doing by focusing on making the max functionality from the expense.

Another option would be to re-arrange the range wall to put the fridge to the right where the hutch is indicated to go. You're NEVER going to see the lack of symmetry on that wall because part of the cabinetry on that wall is hidden from view all the time. Make that "hidden" area your pantry.Then put the cleanup sink on the back wall where the fridge was, and flank it with the china hutches. And you can have a single prep island parallel to the cooking surface. I don't have time to illustrate this this morning. Maybe later.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 7:49AM
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I haven't read all of the responses but I would strongly consider putting the cleanup sink and dish storage on the back wall where you currently have the fridge and put the fridge where the pantry is. You probably have seen this but the something's gotta give kitchen has two islands and would be very similar to that layout. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Something's Gotta Give Kitchen

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:07AM
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I would try to put the cleanup sink on the wall too. The double islands with sinks really reads "chemistry lab" to me.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:10AM
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In your latest 2 island plan, I think

-- it might be better to move the prep sink near the LR side to give you more prep area near the range side,
-- consider centering the prep island with the range as much as possible both to enhance the view from the LR side and to have more aisle b/w fridge wall and the island (that part of the kitchen would usually be quite busy I believe). That may leave you with less space for dishes etc., but the hutch on the FR side seems close enough.
-- It might be a good idea to decorate your FR in a way that would discourage traffic thru the range aisle.

BTW I loved the colors in your inspiration photos-))

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Susan Serra

I think those 43" aisles are going to prove to be too narrow. You need to consider the 1" countertop overhang and projection of hardware on both sides, which reduces the actual width. In addition, the refrigerator is 26 1/4" deep before the projection of the handles.

Regardless of how close islands look in similar configurations via images, doesn't mean it's a good idea in practice. It's critical to mock up barriers to feel the aisles and remember these other dimensional issues noted above. Also, if it is a full overlay door style, that's another 3/4-7/8" in thickness. I hope this is helpful!

This post was edited by tivoli_rose on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 17:58

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I love the SGG kitchen, but thank you to May flowers for helping me figure out why I have a poison eye for double islands with sinks. (Although come to think of it a fume hood and emergency shower might be worthwhile additions to my own kitchen, LOL.)

Best wishes for your plan Teamj!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:27PM
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We are 30 something professionals and our family is growing. We both cook. The wife likes to make healthy meals, and I like the opposite, French American style for passion, but only infrequently.

Aesthetics are the most important criteria for this kitchen; everything else comes second.

We occasionally entertain, mostly family. Relatives may lend a helping hand occasionally, but we would probably never bring in a chef.

We spread out a little and clean up a little when we while work. I love the look of large islands but they usually end up being a landing zone for mail and everything else.

I do understand the small aisle issue as my current kitchen has a large island with a 42” aisle. I do think it affects the traffic flow, although it doesn't bother me.

I have yet to build cardboard barriers yet, but have blue tape laid everywhere!

However, I have reduced the sizes of the islands and moved the prep sink as Sena01 suggested to make more prep space.

BTW, Hollysprings, I don’t have to move any plumbing to put sinks in both islands. If you look at the builder's floor plan the plumbing for the original sink and the plumbing for their island both fall under where my dual islands are. AND, I am not totally against moving anything. I just love the symmetry of the range wall, and the only way to move the cleanup sink to the refer wall is to move the refer, and I don't think I like moving the refer to the pantry (too far?), or putting the sink facing into a plain wall (but still an option)!

This post was edited by teamj on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 23:12

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Visually stunning, but from what area? The range seems like it would be a great focal point, but the fridge wall is what you'll see from the family room. Is there an entry into the kitchen from the pantry wall?

It says that cost and complexity of install are not a concern, but I guess that excludes moving the sink? If that's going to be too difficult, then maybe swap the range and fridge walls? Then the prep sink would be more convenient to the range. Or perhaps create one big island, with the sink opposite the range, as you have it in this latest plan.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Would you consider an L island?

Clean-up, in front of the fridge, trash under the sink.

Prep, parallel to range wall.

Wine fridge at the FR end of prep counter. On fridge wall, tall cab near range wall for plates/glasses + pantry), and if you don't have any special reason to have MW in your prep area, coffee maker and MW can be on the other tall cab.

If I did the math correctly, when clean-up is 76-78" from fridge wall, you have a 50-52 aisle in front of the fridge. 198" range wall minus 76-78 will leave you with 122-120" for the long part of the L (prep+wine fridge+ 15 overhang).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:17AM
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the range wall is definitely your more "focus" wall....when you look at all the pics provided on this thread of real life double island kitchens, the straight on visual from the position of the islands is a major focus wall-cooking hearths/mantles/decorative hoods/decorative backsplash tile above cooktop area....all straight on in the view...the fridge walls are off to the side. To get your aesthetics here means turning your islands to face range wall if you can't flip range and fridge on your walls. If that doesn't work,then this last L island is a worthy option.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:08AM
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I just wanted to point out that moving the cleanup sink to the other island DOES involve moving the plumbing at least 6-8 feet. If you are on an already poured slab, you will have to jackhammer the slab to move a drain over there, as well as a supply. If you're OK with moving the plumbing 8' in one direction, then you should be OK with moving it 8' in a different direction, to a wall. Since you only spend around 20% of the time in your kitchen doing cleanup, most people are OK with facing a wall to load the DW as long as they face the family during the prep (which is why the location of the prep sink is critical). BUT----you have a large expanse of wall that is an exterior wall and has the opportunity for a window! (AND already has a header planned to support a window!) I would never pass up the opportunity for a window to bring in light into a rather dark room.

There is also the issue of the focal point from the family room that others have brought up. A large refrigerator isn't the most attractive thing to have on view from the room that you will spend your most time. The range would be a much more attractive view! And a pretty window with a sink under it would be a great view from those entering from the hallway. It's actually one of the key design principles in home design to have the view "through" a space into the exterior. It makes a home seem larger than it would otherwise be, and it connects interior and exterior space.

And that's why I still stand by my first suggested layout as the best solution for the space. :) Even if it involves moving some plumbing and electrical. The extra 2-3K to do that now are a minor transitory expense compared to the permanent gain in visual appeal and functionality that it would create. It utilizes the large room to the best aesthetic advantage from multiple viewpoints, while still keeping the walking for working in it to a minimum, but with enough prep space that you could have 5 people helping you to prepare meals.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 11:30AM
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I presented the idea for your latest plan but I gotta say, I think your kitchen would function and look much better if you followed the advice of LWO and others who have repeatedly suggested that you make more major changes than just moving a sink to the secondary island. After all, you said in your initial post that you wanted to get the best result for the space and the cost to do so was not a "primary concern."

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 12:44PM
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I hope you understand that we're trying to help you get the best layout available...and still be stunning :)

If you just want a 'yes person' then you've probably come to the wrong forum. I know, it can be frustrating, when you have a vision and others aren't 'seeing' it. And, if you walk around the space (in your mind) and it still works for you, then best of luck on your project!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 3:38PM
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I think that a range focal wall would be even more stunning when viewed every day from the family room! That's beauty for YOU to enjoy, not just impress the visitors to the home that walk down the hall. If that view is also important, then create a stunning window wall with a sink! I find it perplexing that you'd plan a kitchen with an outside wall without a window on it! A transom window doesn't really count. It lets in some muted light, but does nothing to draw you down the hall towards the glimpse of the exterior. Even if you have a near neighbor, you can do a small pocket garden outside that space, with a gorgeous fountain, or statue, or other focal point surrounded by greenery. Bringing in living things into the space, even with just a view to them, helps to give the whole home life.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:02PM
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I concur that you're laying out this space poorly as far as the big bones go, but I can't help but be practical. The only storage you have for prep tools (knives, peelers, whisks, cutting boards, microplane, citrus juicers, cheese graters, mandoline, measuring cups, measuring spoons, measuring bowls, large prep bowls, small prep bowls, mixing bowls, scale, can opener, colanders, etc.) in the actual prep zone is the 15" drawer base and the drawer under the MW. If you are a serious cook (I am too), that's not nearly enough space. I see a lack of appropriately zoned storage everywhere.

P.S. it looks to me like your MW is 30" wide. Assuming you're planning a MW drawer, I suggest downsizing to the 24" unit. I'm more than pleased with mine.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:28PM
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I do appreciate all the advice and critiques, and I am open and receptive to changes, however a lot of the styles and changes all seem to have their own positive and negatives, So of course I want to make sure the upsides outweigh the downsides.
Here are my thoughts
1. Yes I can move the range to the left wall. However, the exhaust vent tubing, whether I run it in the attic, or behind a soffit, will need to drop down the exterior wall to exit below the concrete tie beam on the exterior wall. Not a major problem, but it will force the creation of an additional soffit on that wall.
2. The clean-up sink will then likely move to the top wall, flanked by the dishwashers, making a nice cleanup area and lots of counter space.
3. But, if I place the fridge on the top wall, everyone will still need to trek through the work area to grab a drink, and if I place in the pantry area at the bottom of the plan, then the entire kitchen will be really spread out. And I don’t really like the idea of the fridge at the top wall; I don’t think there is any great location on that wall.
4. Then I would still have to choose between a massive single island, or dual islands with narrow aisles, and not a great social area with in-line seating and separation from that second island.
1. Fridge will still need to move to the pantry, spreading it out really far, and not giving me any landing zone close to the fridge.
1. This does look like it solves a few of the problems, but is not my favorite looking.

I will upload some potential layouts of each of these designs shortly.
BTW, a window on the exterior wall is out. The builder will not make that change, and will not allow the exterior of the home to be modified in the neighborhood, so it’s a moot point.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Tall cabinets flanking range pulled back to give 27" each side of counter.

Aisles increased to 45"

24" Microwave instead of 30 to allow more storage in prep island.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:25PM
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L Shaped Island

Fixes some of my functional issues, but I'm not crazy about the look and shape of the island.

Also provides more seating and L seating instead of inline.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Okay, here's what I don't like about this plan. The range is not easily accessing either sink...and there is a walkway between the range and everything else.

I do like the changes that you've made, but those two things are still a least they would be for me. Also, what is the view from the dining room? I can't see what is off to that side of the family room, but it looks like access to another space. Is that a view you want from the dining room? Maybe so, but I can't tell from the plan.

If you want to keep the walk way, I would definitely move the range to the current fridge wall...and the fridge to the pantry wall. Keep the island with prep sink, as it now works very well with the new range location.

Keep the set back cabinets on either side of the current range wall and make those the pantry. Place the clean up sink between them (without the window) and tile the wall, as you have it in your inspiration pictures. You can add some storage above the sink or just have the tile. I think it would be very striking and your fridge would still be close to the range, prep sink and microwave.

Would this be an option that would work for you? Just a quick sketch... From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Monster 10' x 7' Island

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:50PM
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Clean up sink on left wall.

I think fridge may be too far.

But the base / cab wall cabinet by clean up sink will give more countertop,


I would lose the pantry closet and all the pantry cabinets that the other options have on the left wall, drastically lowering grocery storage. (there are no other pantry closets located nearby)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Clean up sink on left wall, but with single island

Same issues as Option 4, lack of pantry storage, but a monster island

This post was edited by teamj on Tue, Sep 10, 13 at 21:29

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Okay, so looks are #1. I don't think you're alone in that among the general public, but I think you'll find that the feeling on this board is going to be that looks and function should operate together, and neither one should be sacrificed for the other.

Lots of people say they want a large kitchen . . . but when you start discussing details, what they really want is a well-designed kitchen that functions well and makes cooking a joy. It's a mistake to think that miles of counter space and two sinks automatically = better. You could have "all the right stuff", but if it's poorly arranged, it won't function well . . . and if it doesn't function well, all the good looks will be for naught.

I agree that this proposed kitchen is too chopped-up and everything's too far apart, but everything has to start somewhere.

Having said that, I've gotta say, the thing I like BEST on this whole thread is the original, existing floor plan. Yes, seriously. Though it has its flaws (starting with the too-small island), it suits the available size; the two-island plans do not, and I totally agree that they harken back to high school chemistry class. If you add in a trendy high-arch industrial-look faucet, I'll think I'm back in high school.

I think the difficulty here is that the space is basically a square, whereas rectangles are almost always best suited for kitchens.

Small thoughts:

- I share your aversion to granite seams. If they can be avoided, so much the better. One less thing to go wrong; however, that's secondary to getting the layout I want.
- I am fine with the concept of upper-upper cabinets that cannot be reached without a ladder, but then at this moment I am storing my seldom-used cake pans (I have well over a hundred) in the attic. Your plan is better, and you don't seem to be deluded into thinking you'll use those spaces regularly.
- I really dislike that inspiration picture with the wavy blue tiles: The cabinets around the sink are traditional, whereas the stove wall /hood is modern. The two styles don't match.

Questions before I can formulate much of an opinion:

- You're keeping the breakfast nook, and you don't want a table in the kitchen, right? Why then do you also want bar seating? Why two casual dining spots adjacent to one another?
- There's a room behind the pantry, right? Seems like that would typically be the back wall of the house, and that would be window-able space . . . but I'm thinking that's not the case here?
- You don't want to disturb the dining room?
- You're happy with the size of your current pantry?
- You haven't mentioned windows or light much, yet that is absolutely key to the best rooms. Is it possible to incorporate any windows into this room?

Finally, I think you need to focus on how you want this to function first. What you need the kitchen to do. Once you have the layout, THEN you'll be ready to think about beauty. A kitchen of any size and shape can be made lovely with the right cabinets, tiles, etc. But you're not ready for those questions yet.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:01PM
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One more thought, and this is an illustration of how function trumps beauty:

OP, you mentioned that islands can become clutter-magnets. You're so right: Mail, phones, car keys. The answer to this lies in creating a spot for these things to be stored. The current buzz-word is "drop zone". By giving up a tiny bit of space to a drop zone, you relegate all clutter to that area . . . and free up your kitchen island.

Therefore, function actually leads to beauty. Or, in this case, cleanliness, which I think is an essential part of beauty.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Range on short wall (maybe not as visually stunning as it was flanked with super tall cabinets on long wall)

No landing zone from fridge

Shorten second island and put 2 additional stools on side for more social seating.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Here's what I come up with:
- fridge goes to pantry
- prep island same
- 2nd island and bar raised to 42" so overhang can be 12" (3" more for aisles) and coffee machine, wine fridge and MW or an under-counter fridge can go there
- upper doorway to DR closed
- left wall:
42" upper+base all 18" deep
15" wide 27" deep base
another 15x27 base
42" corner upper
42" base, 18" deep (18" blind 24 usable)

- exterior wall:
lower cabs:
18" deep, 48" wide drawers (so corner of DW and corner of 27" deep would be 50" apart--chack logic and math please)
DW, sink, trash, DW

Total of lowers (including 18" blind corner) 177"

upper cabs:
42" corner, 27/30/30/27 small, 21 big.

May I go to sleep now??

This post was edited by sena01 on Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 8:59

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Here are the answers to your questions:

1. Seating in the kitchen vs. the very close breakfast nook. I agree, why have 2 casual spots so close? If I had to choose, I would prefer having the seating in the kitchen, since that’s the heart, but if I only put seating in the kitchen, what do I do with the nook? And If I put no seating in the kitchen, that hurts the social element a little, even if the nook is only a few steps away, that's why I have both, but I am open for ideas here,

2. Behind the pantry is the living room.

3. No, I don't want to disturb the dining room. It is a long rectangle (12’ x 20’) with a huge picture window (9’ wide, 8’ tall) at the end.

4. No, I hate that tiny pantry, but there really isn't way to make it larger, other than to build it into the living room, but that would just cause issues in that room.

5. Windows…There are some decent windows in the family room, adjoining the kitchen, but the only window is a 12” transom window low in the countertop area along the exterior wall. The builder will not allow any additional windows. If I leave the pass thru at the top of my plan (into the dining room), there will be some additional spill of light from the huge window in that room.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:29PM
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I have done several tweaks to the original plan..

I think some of the issues have been fixed. I will post details later.

Thank you to everyone for the advice! Please keep it coming!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:39AM
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