Is this a weird seating area?

Kathy RiveraOctober 18, 2012

I posted a while ago with 2 layout options - a U with peninsula seating and an island. Both had less than ideal clearances, but were doable and I got good feedback on the U being a good option. I had even started to put a budget together and get some cabinet pricing when...

the main sewer drain broke just outside the foundation and squarely under our front stoop. We had to rip out the stoop, fix the pipe and rebuild the stoop - a 5 figure project...sigh...

But it got me thinking again! :) Our kitchen is smallish (15x11). Per realtor recommendation, we will not be taking down the wall to join it with the DR and we need to maintain some sort of eat-in space - the morning coffee/afternoon kid space. So I came up with this "Open U" I'm calling it. The space on the far right would just be counter with some stools tucked under. It's not ideal, but I think it will make the space appear much bigger and give some good prep spaces both near the stove and away from it. But is it too odd? I've also attached the U w peninsula that I thought I had decided on.

Thanks as always for your opinions!

Open U

U w/penninsula

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It kind of reminds me of this:

from the beautiful Centsational Girl kitchen:

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I like it the way it is in that picture. However, if you want 4 chairs, I'd go with the 2nd drawing and have all the bar stools on the side that isn't in the kitchen. I think they would get in the way if they were in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 4:24PM
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I actually prefer the open U

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Kathy Rivera

Hmm, except the kitchen with that picture has way more awesomeness than mine will have! And while the shape is similar, I think of that picture as more of a high table - 'legitmate' eat in space. I'm afraid the open U plan might read as 'grasping at straws' eat in space. :)

marti8a - I wouldn't do 4 chairs. Only 2. We eat all our meals in the dining room so it really would just be a perching spot.

I guess I'm looking at it as the peninsula looks more normal - but it seems to waste some space to me. I feel like the open U makes use of all the available wall space - which is limited with all the doors in the room. And i think about walking into the kitchen from the front door - with the peninsula, that is what you will first see/walk into. The open U will allow you to walk into the full space and the eye will be taken right out the big windows...

But, again, I love other opinions b/c I think we all get a little enamored with our own - even if they aren't the best.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:23PM
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I have a friend with a little perch just like the one you've got in the top plan here. Whenever I go over to visit, I sit on It while she's cooking dinner so we can chat. It's where she sits when she's talking on the phone too. It's a great solution for her kitchen, and doesn't look stupid at all.

I haven't studied your plans from any other perspective -- functionality, aesthetics, etc. For that you'll have to get help from the GW heavy hitters :-)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Not weird...but not the best. I know as I lived with it for 28 years. I had EXACTLY the same arrangement as you have...the basement, foyer, dining room and path to the living room and location of the family room and bath. There were minor differences...I had a sliding glass door where you have your long window and my sink was under the other window. My kitchen was 16 by 12. It was easy to work in the kitchen. The work triangle was good. Folks tended to drop things on the chairs and countertop and it was always cluttered and looked awful when you walked in from the hall. The wall behing the chairs was total wasted space. It would have been great to have had the foresight to have put a 12 inch pantry set into the length of the wall.

You might want to consider removing you cabinets/pantry and fridge on the short wall. Go back to your original plan. Put the fridge where your cooktop is. Put in a long island. Go to a microwave drawer and put a cooktop on the island with seating on the long island.

We recently just added 4 feet to the kitchen. We tore down the room between the family room and the kitchen and have a peninsula that seats 4, a pantry and your expansive work area that you have in your top photo. I posted pictures of it under the kitchen image. I also have the before pics there. I also have it ...listed under transitional shaker kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Any chance you could move the door to the basement steps around that corner so that it swings into the foyer hall? That would give you another nice corner for a command center, beverage/snack station, or pantry storage.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Kathy Rivera

sedonamazer - interesting thoughts. The problem with my room being just 1 foot shy of yours, it screws everything up!! :) I tried the fridge where the stove is and it rendered that whole corner useless. You couldn't stand there to prep b/c the fridge would hit you if anyone else needed access. And it makes island clearances only 36-42". I am ok with that when the cooktop is on the perimeter, but not on the island. Also, I don't want an island cooktop in my small kitchen as I would want the vent hood and it would overwhelm the space hanging from the ceiling. I would also love to recess a small pantry on the wall behind the chairs, but it contains the plumbing for the bath on the other side - not gonna happen. :( I told ya that 1 foot messes me up! Thanks for the thoughts, though.

smiling: Hmm, that is something I've never thought of. I'm not sure the hallway is big enough for the door swing, though. And the coat closet is right there so you couldn't open it with the basement door open...I do plan a mini command center in the micro cabinet area - using those narrow end fillers that open on the side of the cabinet. I didn't put the detail in this plan though.

justmakeit: Thanks for making me feel better! I am looking for something that 'works for the space' (without ripping down walls and re-configuring rooms) so this may have to be it.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:24AM
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This would work even better, if you could make the window on the left a bit bigger. It's probably more seating than you need...and you do lose storage/counter space, but I thought I'd suggest it, as another possibility.

From [Cottage house plans](

The banquette might look something like this...

From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Kathy Rivera

Thanks, LL. I love the look of a banquet, but that eats up pretty much all my counter space. I just don't think it's functional - it's corner prep or over DW prep.

We actually currently have the smaller U and there is a built in bench there. We 'should' put a kitchen table there (as the previous owners did), but we don't like having a DR we only use a couple times a year. I decided to live with the layout for a while to see what I thought, and it's just too small - especially as my kids get older. So at least with the peninsula plan I open up the U a bit - space enough for 2 butts! But the open U I see giving us lots of room to work - just not to sit and eat. Ugh, I wish I had the budget to blow out the wall just a few more feet!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I think that is a great solution to some of the restrictions you mentioned. You don't want to go over budget because, if you're anything like me, it will snowball. However, you also don't want to enclose your kitchen. I think you did a very nice job with the layout, making the kitchen airy. The breakfast/coffee peninsula is something I see most of my clients use. It solves the issue of seating while adding storage. I think this will make you happy for years to come!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ice White Shaker Breakfast Nook

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:19PM
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I have a sounds like if you had a kitchen table, you'd only use the dining room a few times a year. If that's true, why not open up the space, between the kitchen and dining room? Then you'd have lots of work space and could visit with people at the table.

How long do you plan to live in your home? And, if you'd rather have the kitchen open to the dining room...wouldn't most future buyers, too? Just my two cents :)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:10PM
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How about U-modified?

If you make your pantry wall only 12" deep, you can put in a nice island.
Then the fridge can go to the right of the sink.

My gf had the Upeninsula and by moving the fridge off that wall, she could put in a nice island, keeping most of the traffic flow out of her prepping/cooking zone.
See link below.

I had the Upeninsula and the space behind the peninsula/stools were such a waste of space!!!
I went from 2.5feet of usable countertop to over 25 feet of countertop by reclaiming all that wasted space!!!

Good luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: Kristin's Upeninsula became L w/ island

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Kathy Rivera

LL: I totally see your point! We will probably be selling soonish - maybe 5-7 years. I live in a center hall colonial very typical of my area. They all have a DR and EIK - though the eat-in space is very small. Also, our dining room attaches to the living room. We use it as our 'family room', but most people probably wouldn't. So if we opened up to the DR, then we've lost the official room but haven't created a 'great room'. And the clearance between any kitchen seating and the DR seating would be very tight. So based on type of house, location, and price point - people will expect a DR but not a kitchen open to a great room...does that make any sense?? LOL We did ask our realtor and she advised not removing the wall.

Amanda...hmm, I'll play with that idea. I'm afraid the 11 feet width makes an island very tight. I've playes with a few layouts, but not sure the one you suggested. Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:23PM
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