How far is too far? Dining room and kitchen

jenswrensOctober 11, 2012

How far away from the kitchen can the dining room be located? Most DRs are located adjacent to the kitchen, usually through either a single door or a butler's pantry. But does it have to be?

Would it be okay if you had to walk further to get to the DR, say, across the foyer, or down a hallway? Through another room? How far is too far before it seems ridiculous?

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jerzeegirl

We often eat out on our screened porch which is as far as you can get from our kitchen. It's always a clown show with us juggling plates and beverages and then forgetting something and having to go back to get it while the food gets cold!

So it definitely can be done but it would not be desirable for everyday dining in my opinion. It's just not convenient and it could be downright dangerous if, for example, you had to carry a hot casserole across a white-carpeted living room and the dog suddenly decides to run in front of you.

The closer the better imo and adjacent is best.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Cavimum

For resale (and it will have to go on the market someday), the closer to the kitchen, the better. Nobody wants to juggle serving dishes, much less the eating dishes, etc., down a hall or too far in any direction.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:06PM
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carterkitchen

We have a smaller house and the kitchen and dining room were not adjacent before the reno. We ended up rarely ever using the dining room - just not convenient. I would not recommend it.
caspian

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:18PM
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pricklypearcactus

Keep in mind it's not just serving dishes. Setting the table, or carrying dishes filled in the kitchen (if you prefer to dish out in the kitchen), getting more water (or other beverage) and cleaning up after the meal.

Since it's just the two of us, we often eat in our family room. It is adjacent to our kitchen, but we sit on the far side of the family room, which means walking down three steps and across a fairly long room. If we are eating something which requires multiple dishes (like a plate and a salad or soup bowl) and then also want a beverage, it's often two trips. And when we've finished eating, it means carrying dirty dishes back as well. It's certainly feasible, but I imagine having young children or entertaining a group, farther than maybe 10' might get tedious.

Is there any way for you to mock it up and try it for a week or even a month? Make a room approximately the distance away you're considering into a temporary dining room and try eating in there for every meal you would eat in the dining room.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:38PM
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lavender_lass

I wouldn't want to walk though another room, but I think the dining room could be across the foyer or down the hall...if you didn't use it very often. If you plan to use the formal dining room maybe 6 times a year, then that space may be better utilized as a library or craft room the rest of the time.

However, I believe you plan to use your dining room on most evenings, so I'd want it much closer to the kitchen. It all depends on how you plan to use your space and how much walking back and forth you want to do, between the kitchen and dining room.

Have you thought about combining the living room (for the piano) and formal dining room into one large, airy space? Lots of windows and lovely view that you could maybe use twice as much? Maybe even a fireplace at one end? Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:39PM
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jenswrens

I have thought of that, Lav. The problem is the placement of the kitchen. In order to get it OUT of the center of the house so it's no longer a kitchen-as-hallway, it's then far far removed from the dining room. If I make the dining room center, then the kitchen and FR are no longer connected. I was thinking of swapping the LR and DR - which puts the DR across the foyer from the kitchen. Argh!!! I hate this! And I think our architect now hates us.

Great idea, pricklypear, of mocking it up and actually trying it out. Problem is, my current house is such a disaster, I can't figure out where or how we'd do that. Mostly, I'm worried about what guests or potential future buyers would think about the arrangement. Also, I am worried that it will prove so inconvenient that we wouldn't use it as much as I plan to. And then I'm back to square one. And I've wasted precious square footage on a room I desperately wanted but don't use.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:14PM
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lavender_lass

Why not have a kitchen-as-hallway? As long as you aren't walking through your work space, I don't see a problem. Maybe have the 'hallway' run between the work space and the informal dining? Aren't you going to have stools at the island? Maybe have the traffic flow between the stools and the informal dining table.

Don't worry about the layout. You WILL find the right one and your house is going to be beautiful and functional :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:43PM
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grlwprls

Well, we're using our dining room as a living room and the living room as the dining room (where we eat all our meals). Our first floor is basically two rectangles: kitchen/living (actually dining) room and foyer/dining (actually living) room. So you have to wander out of the kitchen, through the living room and into the dining room. Honestly, it's not that big a deal and like I said, we do it *every night*.

That said, part of me wants to keep a chandelier in the "living" room so that anyone in future can go back to the traditional set up, but I also want a chandelier in the now dining room - but that's a lot of dangling lights in line with one another in one space, I'm afraid.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:25PM
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jenswrens

Why not have a kitchen-as-hallway? Now you are confusing me!! In my previous thread, you agreed with me that we wouldn't want the kitchen (messy cook!!) as the main or only thoroughfare to the only large entertaining area in the house - the family room/great room.

I ticked off the architect and changed everything around - basically started over - because I didn't want everyone walking through the kitchen to get to a gathering place. I really don't think I'll ever get a floorplan, and I'm about ready to give up.

Maybe I just don't have an understanding of how these spaces are supposed to flow.

What I'd really rather have than the piano room is a screened porch. But mostly it's the kitchen/dining/family room arrangement that I just cannot for the life of me make work.

If the kitchen table were sort of separate from the kitchen itself (half wall? i think LL you mentioned this in your recent dining room thread - see pic below), maybe I could forego the formal DR altogether. ?? But I really really want an eating area where I cannot see the kitchen at all, because I just don't clean up until after the fat lady sings. I don't see that changing just because we have a new kitchen, either. The food would be cold by the time it got served if we had to wait for me to clean up after I cook. And I hate dining in the presence of clutter/mess. Everyday, but especially on special occasions. I feel doomed. ugh.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:11PM
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lavender_lass

Jen- Having a walkway through your kitchen is fine. Having it as the ONLY access to your main family/living room, might not work. I thought you meant a 'dead end' kitchen, as opposed to a traffic pattern through the space.

Now, what about having the dining room in front of the house (either side) and the kitchen behind it? Put the great room/family room in the center/back of the house. Would that work?

Oh, and I would choose a screened porch over a piano room, too. What about a really big entry, with the piano and a few chairs? Or maybe a formal library/piano room, across from the dining room? Both could be in the front of the house, with the more informal rooms in the back.

If you want a formal dining room, then I would at least try to fit one into the plan. You can always use it for other things, down the road...but it sounds like you would use a separate dining room. (And, I'm a member of the messy cook group, too.)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 12:08PM
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lyfia

jenswren - I think I remember your old plan and the big thing there is that the living room was at a dead end so you couldn't get there without going through the kitchen.

It probably would flow better if your kitchen or dining were a dead end instead. You could have the kitchen be a hallway to the dining. Especially if you do buffet style when entertaining.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 12:58PM
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elphaba_gw

My nephew just bought a fairly new home that has the dining room "down the hall" and I don't think it is very good for resale. I think the reason they may have bought the house is because they got a VERY good deal (do you think there might have been a problem with buyers not liking the dining room arrangement?).

I know this "problem" was the second thing I noticed about their house. The first is that they have a very nice open area that includes a large living area, a small informal dining area and the open kitchen. With the formal dining room down the hall, I think the architech must of designed it so that space could alternatively be used as a "study".

Bottom line: I would only buy the house if it was a VERY good deal (translated: if it had a very low price compared to the neighborhood and appraisal value)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:01PM
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olivesmom

I despise dining rooms that are a good distance from the kitchen, they make zero sense. That said, they do seem popular so most people must not care. Many builders here seem to slap a formal dining room right off the foyer without any regard to the location of the kitchen. I also see this a lot in many stock plan sites, frank betz comes to mind. I don't mind so much if there is a butler's pantry connecting the kitchen to DR, but otherwise I'm always muttering WTF?

Like you I tend to leave the dishes until after dinner, but I dislike looking at a messy kitchen while eating. I like open floor plans though, so a truly separate dining room wouldn't work for me. I can see two solutions to this.

The first would be a taller island to block the view. If I were to go this route I would probably have two island in my kitchen. One larger one that is counter height, the main prep island. The second island would be the taller one and it would be smaller and at the perimeter of the kitchen. Not only would it serve to block the view, but it would allow guests (and family members) to congregate in the kitchen without actually getting in the way.

The other option I'm considering is to have a custom made hutch serve as a partition between the kitchen and DR.

I'm also considering placing a fireplace between the DR and LR since I dislike the tv being the main focus.


Not sure if both the hutch and fireplace dividers would work IRL, but it is something I'm mulling over.

HTH!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:26PM
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