Looking for helpful ideas on kitchen layout

eastcoastpeytonOctober 25, 2012

We are remodeling the back half of our first floor that would include creating a mud room/laundry, pantry and eat-in kitchen. Any thoughts on flow, materials, lighting would be great. Below is a design that has been put together so far.

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Fori is not pleased

The flow is a little awkward to me, if I'm reading it correctly. The front door opens to a wall? I don't know if you'll even be able to get the sofas in there! :P

And I'm surprised you're doing a downdraft on purpose--have you ever used one? They are better than nothing, but updrafts are quite a bit better.

DO you have a drawing with measurements?

Does the fridge or wall oven open into the narrow walkway? Are the washer/dryer/laundry sink drawn to scale? Seems like a tiny spot for a washer and dryer in a nice sized (maybe!) laundry room.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Your plan is very interesting, but doesn't seem to be to scale. If the kitchen counters are 2' deep, then the bathroom is too small for the sink/toilet in that location.

As for the kitchen layout...it seems to be a long way from the fridge to the sink. Can you switch the sink and cooktop? Or do you not want the cooktop too close to the stools? Maybe a prep sink, by the fridge?

Also, it would seem that the dining area should go where you have the family room and maybe have a couple of comfy chairs or a sofa (with ottoman) where you have the kitchen table. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I was also worried about the scale and having some accurate dimensions. Can't tell you anything without an accurate drawing and some numbers to help us out. :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:22PM
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If you are doing a big renovation, it would be ideal to open your front to back view / line of sight. Meaning, with some rearranging, you could look from your front hall straight to the back of your house to the outside. This is very welcoming and would be a big improvement considering your front door opens to what seems to be a small foyer.

Also, it seems your plan is giving priority to your pantry and mud room space and the kitchen is an after thought. I am not so sure how to suggest refinements since I don't know what is new space vs existing space and what is feasible to move vs. can't be moved.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:12PM
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You might want to look at Sara Susanka's book on Remodeling for info on front to back views.

Here is a link that might be useful: Not So Big House

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:54PM
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A down draft is a pretty bad idea to attempt to create when you're doing such an extensive makeover. It's usually the thing that provides motivation for such a remodel, not something new put in place. At least, not for people who've researched the idea first.

And there are too many sitting areas in the space. I'm counting 3. Plus two places to eat, but not any real comfortable or versatile eating space. The eating spaces are all awkward and difficult to really use. Bird on a wire seating at a bar height bar isn't comfortable or conducive to conversation, and having a banquette in an awkward location like that practically in the kitchen means that you can't ever be the host for a large gathering. The most useful form of a banquette is to provide seating on one short end of a table, and then you can add leaves to expand the table out if more seating is needed. If you tried to do that, you'd end up eating in the middle of all of your mess from cooking.

The secondary seating area in the upper left would make a much better dining space and shift the kitchen into the space that you are trying to cram the table into. Straighten that bow up where the table is and put a two windows to either side of the range, and you've got a great focal point and you can actually vent it externally.

I'm not sure what that warren of interior rooms is immediately behind the entry, but it should probably to away or be consolidated to a single space. And that is one space hogging laundry room to have so little usable space elsewhere. It is far less than ideal to place storage areas in the corner areas of the home where you have the possibility of windows from two directions. Storage and utility spaces should be reserved for interior windowless areas and those prime corners should be for higher value more used rooms.

Is a professional involved with your project? One should be.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 1:18AM
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Not sure where the bedrooms are but if you have the option I would try to have the laundry as close to the bedrooms as possible, or at least an easy route to go from laundry to bedrooms.
I would also agree with not having a wall when you enter the front. We had a similar design with a closet taking up a chunk of the entryway. We removed it and it makes such a difference having an open space to enter into.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 1:29AM
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Green Designs explained better exactly what I was thinking. In the early stages of my planning and design, I had some awkward plans, both self developed and from architect. My architect was useless in terms of interior design, kitchen design and flow. I realized after my plans were drawn that the interior wasn't going to function the way I wanted it to and I had some help from a friend who works on commercial space and she insisted that I work with an interior designer. This was money well spent. My interior designer did not pick out furniture, cabinets, or help me with countertops as I had envisioned the designer's role. Instead, she showed us how we could work in what we wanted and needed most and showed us how the house would have circular flow, easy access to the backyard, views, etc.

At the last minute, I decided to add a fireplace in a space already built and getting ready for sheet rock. Trying to squeeze this in and keep the space functional was not easy, but it was so worth it. One little fireplace led to changing my powder room configuration, my kitchen island, beverage center and coat closet, plumbing - adding gas line, and electrical. I could not have made the plan work and given direction to the GC without the help of the interior designer. So I agree with Green Design again, a professional designer can only help you.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:19AM
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OP here, if it helps any to see what we are working with below is the current layout of the first floor to compare against the proposed plan.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Here it is:

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I think you are trying to fit too much into the space you have. Do you need both a den and a family room? Do you need two dining tables?

If this were my house, I would consider using some garage space for utility and laundry room.

When I was designing my kitchen / downstairs for renovation, my wish list had alot of things on it: pantry, double ovens, command center / desk, banquette dining nook, island, coat closet, broom closet, garage access, access to porch, half bath, archway to LR and DR, etc.

I reconsidered my priorities and eliminated the pantry, double ovens, and broom closet. At the last minute I added a fireplace and that cost me my command center. Nonetheless, I am very happy with the design and I really feel I squeezed the most in the space I had. My pantry is shelves in the basement, my broom is kept in the garage. I got a 36" range.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Original plan has too many eating places: DR, eat-in kitchen table plus kitchen counter seating. It's not surprising that your DR doesn't get much traffic and you might want get rid of it. But instead of doubling down on non-DR eating locations, I'd recommend choosing one in-kitchen, quick meal place and one other place out of the kitchen where all meals are eaten, both every day and for entertaining or holidays.

New plan has too many non-eating, socializing places. FR, Living room and den/office with sofa. If your den/office is actually a home-working space then you need it. But I'm not sure you need to two adjacent sitting rooms. There's no more point in having a "for show" living room that isn't used for its function on a daily basis than there is in having a "for show" DR that isn't used.

I don't buy the argument that family life demands duplicate, rarely used, formal spaces for any purpose, especially in a small house where every square foot has to work for a living.

I think you will have more satisfaction in having a well planned, and well-used space dedicated to each of the important social aspects of family life: eating and talking. You also need space to store and cook food. And it appears you have room (or a desire) for an office/den.

If you don't work at home on a daily basis, I'm not sure you need to have a separate office, however. And if you don't need the home office function, then consider having the den be the more formal, adult-oriented sitting room if that seems particularly critical. Or conversely designate it as the family "informal play room" and have it where kids can have stuff out, leaving the other sitting room as the more dressed-up, but not limited to strictly formal entertaining, sitting room where the family gathers to socialize & watch TV, etc.

You have plenty of room for a main eating area, a kitchen with one quick meal eating area, a sitting room, and a bonus room that could be: working home office, adult-oriented sitting area or a child-oriented play room.

Which of these uses meets your family's current needs most accurately?

Once you have worked out the uses, designing the space will be much easier.

I second the rec to look into the books by Susan Susanka (your library will have some, no doubt). Her thing is designing spaces which address the challenge of space planning in smaller buildings. A space/room may have more than one use, but she doesn't repeat the uses in multiple spaces (i.e. no DR + eat-in Kitchens + breakfast rooms + counter seating, etc.) Her houses are not crowded or cramped despite being aimed at smaller scale; they are streamlined and free-feeling, while being easy to care for, live in and maintain. In short her designs aim to have buildings make their owners' lives simpler and richer by eliminating redundancy of usage that results in houses becoming too big.



    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:36PM
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This isn't a home that needs thousands of dollars poured into it to create an addition or major alterations to make it work. What's there works pretty well if you just tweak things a bit and focus on eliminating duplicate functions.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:42PM
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