Kitchen Remodel - Layout Help Needed

bics56October 2, 2012

We are currently remodeling the kitchen of our house we just bought. Below is a picture of how the kitchen looked before the renovation started and how it looks now. We are debating on a layout similar to how it is now and one where we would move the fridge and put an island in. Some things to note...wall where the fridge used to be is 69", from the corner to the second set of windows is about 134", and the other wall is 97".

The idea of the island is to open that walkway where the fridge used to be, the issue we are having is moving the fridge other to another wall without making that area looking too crammed with appliances. Any insight will be appreciated.

Before Demo

After Demo

Here is our first idea without a island - notice the walkway created by the pantry/fridge

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It would help to know what rooms border the kitchen. I am a little concerned about the refrigerator blocking a key traffic flow area.

Is the area on the right for a table and chairs? Can't tell what that box is - a stray cabinet?

Also, I don't like the sink so close to the corner. My old layout was just like that and I felt confined to that little corner. Also, I was always blocking access to the cabinets there, which is where we had our dishes and silverware.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:39PM
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It looks like your proposed new layout is the same as your old layout. What did you like/dislike about your old kitchen?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Sorry about that. Next to where the fridge (towards the open area) is there is a doorway to the dining room. On the other side of the pantry is a door to the basement. Also note after the open area there is a family room. Currently there is a normal size doorway to the family room where I plan opening it up to about 5 feet and cut a rectangle out of the rest of that wall so you can look into the family room. Picture where that random box is that is where I will have a 4 seat table for the eat in kitchen.

Please disregard the small box in the design pic, that is a vanity they just added there I was going to order for my powder room, not sure why they put it there.

The sink close to the corner isnt too bad. There is 33" from the corner to the window where the sink is.

What we dont like is the walkway where the pantry is. I would love to see this opened up.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:02PM
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It is hard to tell by the pics I posted but the wall in the old layout made that walkway a lot worse and the actual kitchen tiny. With the wall removed it did open it up a lot, but a walkway still exist where the pantry/fridge is.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Place a 33 in wide fridge where green stepladder is sitting. continue along the wall-fit in sink and along window wall place range with vent between 2 windows. Extend to lowered height base cabs under larger window with counter-maybe 18 in deep by that point. This removes all from small walkway wall. then you can do an island in the floorspace available. What is the objection to cabinets on the walkway wall ?-you could do fridge with about 15 or 18 inches of counter and cabs on each side rather than pantry-use for coffee pot/toaster,etc......but the island option is neglible unless you clear the wall-is the island and open feel with family room perhaps your desire?-just have to work that window wall differently.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Herbflavor - We had similar thoughts for that layout with cabinets below that window. My wife wanted to do that where I thought that would make the eat-in kitchen crammed. I would like to keep that open. I have a hang up with having too many applainces next to eachother. If I put the range on the other wall where the window is then it will be next to the dishwasher. Thats a lot of stainless steel in a line. If we keep the fridge where it is now I really want to keep a pantry there, I would get more use out of it.

I thought of puting the fridge next to the window and keeping the similar layout for everything else. But #1 I am not sure how a big fridge would look next to windows (windows are 62" wide I think) and #2 everything may looked crammed?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Here is a layout with the fridge moved where the green stepladder is and the range on the end. I do not like the range on the end. One option would be to put the dishwasher in the island, but am not sure how work would be needed to make that happen. (again please disregard the vanity they keep randomly putting into the design)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:03PM
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shift the range to the left a little-place a 12 in cab to the right and then a diag cut back cabinet if you don't want anything under the window....under the window run could be 15 in deep and still useful. Another thing you can do is break the rules a bit and shove the sink closer to fridge-say 9 inches between fridge and sink. What makes this a gain is the sink is hidden a bit more and when you take items from the fridge with the extra step/pivot you have available the island and the substantial run between other side of sink,into corner and over to range. Ive worked in a kitchen like that-not a corner sink,but the sink is adjacent to a corner...with wall or[side of fridge pretty close on one side] was fine. Panelled dishwashers are still going strong. good luck with your choices.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Okay I guess I am over having the fridge next to the window. Take a look at the layout below. The only thing I may change is make the 15" base cabinet smaller so the fridge isn't pretty much touching the window. Maybe a 10" cabinet so there is some space before the window. This may be the final design or close to it. I don't think I want all those cabinets over in the eat in kitchen area either. Not sure if I want to get rid of everything over there or maybe keep a corner pantry? Thoughts?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:09PM
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This is just me, but I would never put a ref in that position - between me and a big window if it was at all avoidable. Been there, done that and undone that.

Sketch is just a concept of having a table smacked onto the side of the island - it provides a usable eating surface and depending on your choice of its height, extra work top. I'm not real sure you'd need any extra in this particular design but I would like the improved vistas out the windows with counter height stools.

Any plan you come up with is compromises and trade offs. This particular one provides "full size" cooking and cleanup areas with a smaller eating area. I'd try to work in a pantry cabinet beside the ref or a shallow but tall pantry on the original ref location.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:24AM
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Bics, in that last plan, it looks like counter space is minimal, certainly not enough for me. And I don't like the fridge blocking the window from the kitchen side. Bmorepanic's plan looks much better to me.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Bmorepanic I do like what you did, I appreciate it. Just some thoughts are where the stools are I have an entryway to my dining room and next to that (to the right) is a doorway to enter my garage. If I put in an island I will have roughly 4' from the end of the island and the entry ways (11.5' total width of the room). One other thing is that is A LOT of countertop space, the one wall would be 20'. I am on a budget and not sure if I can afford to do all that. I think it would look beautiful but not sure if I have the $.

I guess the question the fridge next to the windo a terrible idea? I am on the fence with it.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 12:01PM
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I have a similar sized room and we currently have a peninsula coming out of where your B33 is in your Plan A. If you ended the peninsula even with the edge of the range and got rid of the pantry (you could use drawers in the peninsula for pantry space), you'd have over 3 foot aisles to walk past the fridge on both sides. The peninsula would create a nice landing spot for the stuff coming out of the fridge. Look into recessing the fridge into the studs of that interior wall because your designer drew a 24" depth fridge but most of them are 33 inch depth. You could even have a 36 inch deep peninsula with 12 inch cabinets on the eating area side for more storage. I don't think that you'd want a counter there since probably not enough room for counter seating and table seating unless you built in a banquette in the corner.

I dislike the fridge by the window; it would cut off views and look intrusive. You can't recess it into an exterior wall and it would stick out into the aisle.

Your plan B with the island and the fridge by the entry might work if you scoot your range closer to the sink as suggested. I think your probably have room for a 36 inch deep island and you could place the range there also although you would then have venting issues for an island range.

I like bmore's plan a lot but you have to be willing to give up your table height eating area and check the aisle clearances.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 1:29PM
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If you don't draw all the walls, how am I supposed to know that? :) It does just fit but without enough walkway on the dining room wall for comfort (25" wall run, 40" aisle, 29" island top, 44" aisle).

We all have budgets of some sort to consider. My response to your reaction is for you and spouse to consider how you cook now, what size your family is and where you see yourself in a few years. Does that fit into your kitchen plan? Is your spouse going to be happy with an island when the view is a blank wall? Can you figure out what you guys want and figure out how to fulfill your goals in stages?

I'm not trying to talk you out of or into anything. I'm just saying think about how you live and what your goals are because everything is a compromise of some sort (more counter, more cost but more counter, better chance of pie or baking with your children or um, not injuring a relative at a holiday dinner, etc).

In my priorities for space, I would work on getting the opening to the dining room as large as possible and de-formalize the dining room. That way, I could stand at the island and talk to somebody in there without them blocking the aisle. I'm not an island-head - if our positions were reversed, I'd think for a long time before using one in a space without a bigger dining room doorway to take pressure off that aisle. People react differently to close tolerances.

Individuals have different requirements for cooking space. I don't know how exactly to explain this, but families are blends of cooking without extensive prep work, various levels of using precooked foods (ordering pizza for delivery), and making everything they eat from raw ingredients. Cooks on one end of the spectrum have very different space needs from cooks on the other end.

I cook a lot, normally for two people but often enough for 20ish. I am pretty efficient but nothing like a person who has professional training. I can cook a wide variety of stuff and I like doing it.

In our household, having a nice section of counter devoted to prep increased dh's chances of ending up with pie or homemade bread or lemon buckwheat pancakes quite a bit. If I don't have enough clear counter space, I won't stop cooking or anything, but the frequency and complexity will decline because making anything is twice the work.

Your family will be someplace on the physical needs for cooking scale. Make sure you have those covered. Because when you ask us, we each respond according to our own priorities unless we have a better idea of what you want.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:03PM
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I was considering putting my fridge somewhere similar to that--and then I mocked it up--I simply taped some fairly opaque sheets to the ceiling like it'd be the fridge cabinet & then looked at what would happen to the light coming in those windows. For me, it was horrible--the working space of the kitchen would have been so much darker. So, if you can, do something similar, you've got empty space from your pictures, mock some stuff in & walk around it, check the natural light, etc. Lots of people here seem to do mockups with big cardboard boxes, too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:13PM
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All points were taken and I am on the same page. We work in the kitchen a lot and cook a lot of meals from scratch. That is a big reason why we want an island, it seems like a great work area. Below is another design layout that would solve my "issue" with the fridge next to the window. The thing we don't like is the d/w would be next to the range with only a 3" spacer between them. I question how this would look and how the kitchen will function. Take a look and let me know your thoughts. I guess I could get a panel made for the d/w to make it look better.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:50AM
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This is better to me, but coupla thoughts. These don't necessarily have solutions. They are things that might be issues.

Biggest problem is space for storing pots. Second is only one person can use sink at a time (its not far enough away from the corner).

With two door refrigerators - sxs or french door - the most efficient landing space is behind you when you stand in front of it.

Most people like to work between a sink and range (I'm a little wacked about that because I don't like cutting in a wet area). The most efficient place to work is the two feet between sink and range. Adding the island means lots of spinning around from island to water to island to ref to island to water to range, etc. While not spectacularly efficient, it doesn't get ugly until you add the second person.

A sample of cooking path, chicken for dinner comes out of ref, lands on island, doors closed, check for sink access, pick up chicken, rinse off in sink, and put down... in a pile of dirty dishes or turn back around to island?

I like to do stuff to raw chicken on a board so the can be well washed afterward. If I didn't get the board out first, I'm kinda stuck with two fouled hands carrying chicken, so I have to ask dh for one. Then turn back to the island and put chicken down.

Do stuff to chicken while spouse is doing dishes - watching that I don't trip over open dw door. If I need water, ask spouse to move outta the way. Flip the chicken into a pan, turn around and move me and chicken beyond range so I can open door while dw door is open.

If I do stuff to chicken while spouse is doing stuff to veg because spouse is sharing island, we're both walking back and forth to ref, water, range, pots storage,and asking each other to get outta the way. Again - tolerances for stuff like this are very personal with reactions running the gambit between its just fine to "get out of my kitchen".

Its kinda hard to fit any form of a table and chairs in a space 7 feet wide. I always plan on a table with empty chairs on each side as being about 5 feet wide. That covers a 30" - 36" wide table. But, there has to be space behind the chairs in order for a person to become seated, they need about 30" beyond the table edge - another 5 feet in total, about 3 feet more than you have. THEN to be able to USE the cabinets needs at least 2 feet to open doors and drawers - so the table and empty chairs would need to be offset from the cabinets on the pony wall and they'd actually touch the cabinet by the side of the range. If you move the table beyond those cabinets, you'd have only about 7 feet until you hit the dining room wall to fit the table(30-36"), one side of chair (call it 24" for an occupied chair) and a walkway (24" to 30" wide). The chair on the the other side can stick into the aisle between the range and cabinets on the pony wall.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:38AM
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