Dear layout gurus, I need your help!

mltomsOctober 21, 2012

Longtime lurker, first-time poster on this forum.

We've known for a while that we need a new kitchen, and we're getting closer to biting the bullet. I'm really concerned about our potential layout, and would love some feedback from you all.

Here is the basics of our kitchen/breakfast room. Part of my problem is that we don't have a single wall that doesn't have a window, door, or hallway through it.

Another "feature" is that there is a HVAC duct return underneath some of our current cabinets (the purple blog). I'll be posting the current layout and some potential layouts I've tried in a sec.

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Here is our current layout. (I wasn't too careful about the measurements because we hate it).

I call it "battleship stove" because the island with it's black granite really does look like the helm of a space ship.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Here is a squared off version of the current layout

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:33AM
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And trying an L-shape layout.

Any feedback is appreciated!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:34AM
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Your best bet for getting feedback would be to post some more detailed information.

First, add very specific measurements to the room diagram, including the length of each wall, the height of windows, etc., including any features that must be worked around such as your HVAC return, trim around doors and windows, etc. Include the size of your appliances if you're keeping them, or the size you'd like if you're replacing them. If there are any other limitations or odd issues that may not show up (e.g., a soffit that can't be moved), be sure to note those things.

Next, make the labels in your diagram larger. I can kind of make out the words "dining room" and "pantry," but beyond that, I have no idea what the other things in your diagram are. I'm especially curious about the black, angled block at the bottom of your diagram. It's a lot easier to begin playing with a layout if it's clear what's there and where.

Finally, share more about what you're looking for in your new kitchen and what your limitations are. You clearly don't like the current stove placement, but what else would you like to change, delete, add, etc.? How many cooks? How do you use your kitchen? How would you like to use your kitchen that you can't now? Is keeping the eat-in area important? What about the possibility of moving some of those troublesome windows and doors? Is using the pantry space a possibility? Are you ready for a complete gut, or would you prefer to do a simpler remodel?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Thanks, Holligator. I've reposted the pictures on google and hope these links will work. (And I think you can click through to get bigger versions)

To answer some of the questions:
* The big black trapezoid is a walled in area with HVAC returns,and who knows what else behind it.
* We're a household of 2 40 somethings. We're looking for a very functional kitchen. I cook, bake, decorate cakes, can, etc... Hubby helps with prep and clean up. We entertain some, but it's the casual type.
* I've thought about moving into the breakfast area, but all the windows there are floor to ceiling, so that would change the exterior, which I really don't want to do.
* Moving into the pantry is an option, but the water main runs there, and not on the exterior wall, for some reason.
* We're doing a complete gut because everything is practically original to the 1980s kitchen (including the pickled cabinets which are falling off their hinges). So, now is the time to do some more structural work.
* I do hate the stove placement now, especially because we're stuck with a Jenn-Air downdraft.

Walls only:
From October 21, 2012

Current Layout:
From October 21, 2012

Squared off version of current layout
From October 21, 2012

L-shaped Layout
From October 21, 2012

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 3:30PM
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In addition to the overall measurements, we also need the specifics...the length/width of each window/wall/door/opening and the distances b/w each window/wall/door/opening. In your case, also add the dimensions of the HVAC make that the length/width of each window/wall/door/opening/HVAC block and the distances b/w each window/wall/door/opening/HVAC block. These measurements are crucial!

How far off the floor are the windows in the Kitchen? How far off the floor is the window on the "top" wall of the Breakfast Nook - to the left of the Pantry? (Or, is that an exterior door?)

I recommend you read the "Layout Help" topic of the "Read Me" thread (the "Read Me" thread is linked below).

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Thanks, Buehl, Here's more info: From October 21, 2012

I've tried to include everything I can think of, but let me know if you need more

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 5:24PM
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It looks pretty complete - I will work on it tonight.

Should I assume: 30" cooktop? OR range? (Which - range or cooktop)
Wall ovens? If so, 30"?
36" sink base?
36" wide counter-depth refrigerator? Or standard-depth?
24" DW
MW - are you open to options such as MW drawer or MW mounted on a shelf below cabinets or MW undercounter in an alcove (I don't recommend if you're average height or taller)

Anything else we should know?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:33PM
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We're pretty open on appliances (it's a complete redo; and we're lucky that if an upgrade makes sense, we can afford it).

* I'd love a 30" cooktop and separate wall ovens (30" too), but it seems like a 30" range would be more space economical.
* 36" sink base
* Fridge: 36" wide. We'll go with whichever depth is more functional
* 24" DW
* Yes, a MW is needed. I'm a shorty (5' 0") and husband is average (5' 10")

Other things I've been thinking:
* Even if we leave the range in roughly the same space, we will be installing a vented hood. I can't stand the downdraft.
* With the exception of a place to store cookie sheets, I'll be opting for drawers whenever possible.

I'm honored to have your opinion!!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Pallet & Palette

You need not feel limited by the placement of the HVAC register. Cabinets are often installed over these registers, and the toe kick gets a rectangle cut into it and a register cover is inserted into the toe kick. This brings the air out from under the cabinet into the kitchen.

Some people allow the space under the cabinet to fill up with the warm or cold air, and then naturally flow through the register cover in the toe kick into the kitchen. Others use ducting and affix the ducting to the cut out in the register. Either works fine and the first option is easy.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Thanks Trentsteff. That is actually not a register, but an intake. (I think I'm using these terms correctly. The intake faces the dining room).

I do think it's possible to work around the HVAC, though!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:07PM
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We rented for a week with a Dacor gas range + downdraft and totally agree with you! It was useless - and the Dacor downdraft is supposed to be the best on the market!

Is it just the register that you're worried about at the purple box?

If so, Trentsteff is right - it's easy to use ducting to direct the heat/air out a toekick from under the cabinets - in fact, we did just that! We did option 2 Trentsteff mentioned and it was very easy and very inexpensive. Ours ended up under our sink. But - one thing, if a trashpullout ends up over the register hole, direct it over a cabinet so it doesn't heat up the underside of the trash. Our contractor tried to put it there for us, but all I could think of was "cooking trash" in the winter! I made him move it! (I had already showed him where in the design it was supposed to go, but he thought "he knew best" and put it where it was easiest for him - no re-routing. Needless to say, I nixed it and had the "talk" with him about who's kitchen this was and about following the approved design.)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Oh! an intake! If it faces the DR, isn't it in the wall b/w the two rooms? Does it stick out into the kitchen??? If so, that's strange! (At least to me...)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Oh it seems strange to me too! There are quite a few places in this house, that you just go, "Huh. I wonder why they did that?" I guess there weren't lots of modern architects in North Carolina in the 80s :)

And yes, it is an intake (I'm pretty sure). I'm loading pictures for you. I figure part of it must go into the kitchen too. The walls are 4.75" thick (hard to measure exact with molding). The intake is facing into the dining room, and from an interior measure, is at least 12" deep. So that means that at least 7.5 inches is in the kitchen's space. Right now it's covered up by a weird conglomeration of an 12" base cabinet set at an angle.

Dining Room into kitchen (showing intake)
From October 21, 2012

Kitchen facing dining room:
From October 21, 2012

Sorry for the dirty kitchen :)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:25PM
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How wide & tall is the cold air return on the DR side?

(I think the ones close to the floor are called "cold air returns" and the ones close to the ceiling are called "warm air returns" - they pull in the air for heating/cooling, circulating through the furnace/AC, and then back into the living spaces via the registers.)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:22AM
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Here's something to get the ball rolling. It's similar to your "L-shaped" version but with a few changes.

It provides...

  • Plenty of prep space b/w the sink and range

  • Plenty of landing and work space around the range

  • A large single-level island (over 6' wide) for entertaining and cake decorating (and any other large project)

  • A fairly well-protected Cooking Zone

  • A refrigerator and MW that can be easily accessed by those working in the kitchen as well as a "snacker" looking for a snack or drink - without getting in each others way

  • The MW is near both the refrigerator and a water source - most MW'd food originates from the refrigerator or freezer and most need water added to them b/f MWing

  • The ovens are a straight shot from the range and have 27+ inches of landing space immediately adjacent to them. But, this location would require the pass-through to the LR be closed up. There's a lot of wall space lost b/c of the cold air return and the HVAC, so some compromises may be needed.

This is not my only idea, but it's the one I worked up first - it's late now (2am - yikes! - time flies when I'm on the Forum or working on a kitchen layout!) so I'm off to bed. I don't know when I'll get back to it, but at least it's something to start with...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 2:00AM
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This is great, Buehl. I really appreciate your thoughts. My husband couldn't see how an L-shape would still give working space.

I hope you got some sleep!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:43AM
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