u shaped layout. can this be made better?

whisper2345October 6, 2013

I am SO grateful for the warm welcome I've received here over the past couple of days. Hope to finalize cabinets this week. I'm going to have to post pics one post at a time, excuse me. working from iphone at 3:45 am!

Am I missing anything? Have I committed any major (or minor) errors in planning? Plans have been modified since these were made, I will point out the bigger changes.

Thank you for your wisdom and guidance!

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Range will now be 36" (splurge!) and hood 42". Those pull outs will not be pull outs due to hood obstruction. One will have spice rack in door.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:52AM
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ok so the fridge wall is the one I don't feel great about. DH is obsessed with having some type of pull-out for the "cool" factor. From what I've seen here people either love them or hate them. I just think it looks weird where it is? If it is not clear from the picture- the pantry, fridge, pull-out, and lowers are all the same depth and the uppers to the right of the pull-out sit back.

I'd really like to add a shallow "command center" cabinet on left side of pantry with hooks for keys, charging shelves, etc.

What can I do to make this wall look better? Split the big pantry? add another tall narrow pull-out somewhere? help!

hoping that sleep will help me think more clearly...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 4:03AM
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I love my pantry pull-out, but I would eliminate the 10" one you show. It's not wide enough to store much, and it contributes to the visual clutter. You have so many small doors on that wall (think ahead to how busy it will look once pulls are added) and quite a few on the range wall too. I wouldn't let your love of the small stacked cabinets drive the design and limit the usefulness of the bottom cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:26AM
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yes! visual clutter! that's exactly what i see when I look at that wall. I'm not attached to the small cabinets necessarily but do like the floor-to-ceiling look. I like what you're saying about not letting those small ones drive everything.

so maybe... eliminate pull-out and combine some of the smaller cabinets to make larger ones? like above the microwave, combining those 4 doors into 2? and eliminating 2 on top of pantry and just making the top pantry doors taller?

This post was edited by whisper2345 on Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 9:28

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 9:22AM
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robo (z6a)

What if you made the pantry and pullout pantry equal sizes? With pull out on the left and pantry on the right of the fridge? Each being one 'door' wide? I do love the look of a fridge built in to pantries.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 9:35AM
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One suggestion would be to figure out the horizontal lines for your upper cabinets. If you don't have the pantry go floor to ceiling, you could have it run up to the top line just above the refrigerator. Then you could have upper cabinets above both the pantry and refrigerator in one line, and you could pick that horizontal line back up above your microwave shelf. The uppers as they are now are too high for you to reach.

You mentioned symmetry in your other post, think about trying to get symmetry in your design. In the picture I posted on your other thread, the cabinets are designed symmetrically around the microwave shelf -- even the cabinet handles to the right and left are turned in against the microwave at the center of the counter space. The cabinets dimensions on each side are also symmetrical.

This post was edited by calumin on Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 11:27

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I've made some totally unprofessional, not to scale drawings just to get an idea of the different options. do you like a or b or something else? i left the little cabinet on the far right because it opens to the corner space (along eith corresponding cabinets on range wall).

also our ceilings are 9 ft so some cab space will be out of reach no matter what. in option a, above the fridge, i've drawn the kind of doors that open by lifting up. i'd line the bottom of the top one up with small corner cabinet.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:07PM
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here's b, with pantries on either side of fridge.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:09PM
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i know this may seem harsh and I don't mean to be unkind, but really, why are you worried about what this plan looks like? You should be more worried about how it functions.

If that's your fridge on the wall behind the island seats you have put it in the most inconvenient place possible. If you need to fetch something from it that requires a visit to the sink en route to the stove for cooking you've got the barrier island smack in the middle of your path. You'll be playing run-around-the-island for every meal prep.

Add in the fact that you've got seating postions at the island - and an undersized- for- seating, narrow aisle - and unless people are sitting well tucked-up to the edge you will have to negotiate with them over space every time you want to stand in front of the open doors of your fridge. That issue alone would drive me insane, if I had people sitting there while I was trying to get a meal ready.

U-shaped kitchens only work well when there is no obstruction in the middle of them blocking the direct lines from fridge>sink>cooker travel. They work wonderfully in smaller-sized rooms. Blow the rooms up into a larger space to try and plunk an island in there - with seating, too! - and the functionality falls apart.

Unless you can figure out a way to get the fridge in an L-shaped, not a U-shaped, configuration with the sink and range you've got the definition of a barrier island defect in your design.

If you can work out a way to put the fridge on the sink wall (towards the bottom of the drawing), or get it into, or even just closer to (so it's not behind the island at all) the corner where the cooker wall turns to meet the current fridge wall then you can make a U-shaped design work and still keep the island.

I would stroingly urge you to consider moving the fridge, and seriously shortening the island (maybe wrapping one seating postion around onto the short end) so you have a straight, unimpeded line from fridge to sink to stove., aka the old fashioned work triangle.

you can't this make work well with an island plunked right in the middle of the room that makes you walk around two corners of it every time you need to go to the fridge from the sink.

You have spent a lot of time thinking about style, and not so much about basic functionality. Step back and do the functional analysis, first, then dress it up afterward.

You can still have a kitchen, in almost any style you want, with most any feature you want, including an eat-at island if that's what you've got your heart set on. But get the work zones squared away first. Your kitchen will give you much more satisfaction, in the long run.

The problem is that U-shaped kitchens were orginally a smaller-sized room design. Now that everyone wants a big island, which requires a much bigger space, you can wind up with a design collision. With functionality as the main casualty.



    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I would agree with liriodendron. I was focusing on the elevation diagram with the refrigerator because of the other thread. I've never had a U kitchen but it seems like with this layout something as basic as taking out food from the refrigerator to wash at the sink would be harder than it should be. You should spend some time thinking through the different use cases in the kitchen and making sure you can do those as efficiently as possible.

As for your mockups, I like your second one better, but I personally would rather have a single large pantry rather than splitting it into two smaller ones.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:34PM
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It's not harsh- that's the kind of feedback I need. So, in a work triangle, all of the "lines" should be unobstructed? The layout is actually almost the same as it is now, and we've been living it for 7 years. So my drawing a, without the pull-out, is the same as my current fridge location, up against where the counter stops. i'll take a picture! ok so the picture is the view from my sink. When I turn around after grabbing something i can turn around and walk to sink without any trouble. moving it any farther to the left would put the island right in the way.

fridge can't move to sink wall because the window is huge. It's not shown that way in the drawing but it takes up almost the whole wall. just to the right of the sink run is a breakfast nook area.

I know what you're saying about the island seating. I wanted to do no seating at all or cram two little stools on the short end. i agree with you that it doesn't make sense. dh is insisting on island seating. our kids actually sit on that side now but they're little. It would be awkward with an adult sitting there. we use the island for all of our prep so i don't want to take it out altogether.

it was something we really wanted (i like to be near the kids and talking to them while they're eating and I'm cleaning/prepping/cooking). But I guess our space just doesn't work with island seating. so we could remove all overhang and move it farther from the range to allow a clearer pathway between fridge and sink. Can change dimensions also if necessary.

do you see ofher problems in functionality? you're right, those should be addressed first. I'm flying solo here with no kd or contractor so i need all the help i can get!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:33PM
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also i worry about moving island too much because we cook a lot, with tons of prep, and it sometimes feels far as it is now to go from island to range with chopped veggies etc.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Why don't you use the counter between the sink and the stove for prepping meats and vegetables? That seems more natural to me then twisting back and forth from island to stove. Is there a microwave or something there now that stops you from using it? I think you could save the island for baking, rolling out pizza dough, plating, etc.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Sometimes an island is just too much of a barrier to work...and it makes seating too tight to use.

How about making it a peninsula, instead? That would make your work triangle much more efficient (saving you steps) and you still have seating with the peninsula. And an excellent space to prep, too :)

From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:47PM
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May flowers, since there is so much prep involved in our cooking we use the island because of the space available, and also to not be facing the wall when our two young children are hanging out nearby. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. More time than I would like to! I think we also use it because it is tbe most convenient landing space from fridge.

lavender lass, I have considered that before, thank you. i don't have the house plans for context but where you have the peninsula is very close to our kitchen table/breakfast nook. also i think we'd miss the island! i dont think we're willing to give it up altogether, but will start looking at changes in size and placement.

other than the island and aisle issues, are there any other glaring mistakes?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 5:12PM
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This kitchen needs to be a peninsula, or else have a prep sink added on the island or in the corner between the fridge and the range. Running around an island to wash your hands or rinse your veggies gets really old. Although, you can get used to just about anything, the whole point of a redo is to make things BETTER.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 5:20PM
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You could have the MW in a tall cab and move it b/w the pantry and fridge, so fridge and sink would be from across each other. If you want more seating or prep space you can have a counter extension (maybe on the pantry side).

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 10:02PM
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robo (z6a)

Instead of getting rid of the island...getting rid of the U?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 10:50PM
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What are your aisle dimensions with your proposed layout?

We have a similar layout, although our frig is to the left of the range (in the corner) and then the opening to the dining room is right in front of the frig -- so we don't have to worry about opening frig doors behind seating. However, our microwave and one oven is sort of where your frig is. We have a 38" aisle behind the sink, 45" aisle behind range, and 42" aisle behind seating. We have had absolutely no issue at all, and the kids and my husband are loving the seating - they sit there all the time. The aisle sizes have been just fine (I even questioned whether I should have went with a wider island (it's 37").

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 8:23AM
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