Layout Help for Bungalow Kitchen

annaship1October 12, 2012

I am updating my kitchen / dining room in my 1925 bungalow. The layout is a bit tricky as the kitchen has several openings, doorways, a sloped ceiling in one part, and a bulkhead for ductwork. Currently, the kitchen is walled off between the kitchen and dining room. I would like to knock down that wall to let more light into the kitchen. There is a built-in corner cabinet and small pantry (with plumbing inside) in the bottom left corning of the kitchen where a non-moveable wall is shown.

Here it is in 3-D:

This is the current layout. Notice the wall separating the kitchen and dining room:

And 3-D:

I would like to move the range to the exterior wall, so that I can install a decent venting hood. I cook a lot and the current recirculating fan just doesn't cut it. I can't extend a vent currently because of the sloped ceiling next to the stove (stairs to the 2nd floor).

This is a layout I came up with while playing around with the ikea planner:

3-D views:

I swapped the fridge and range and moved the sink and dishwasher to a penninsula. I added a small prep sink near the range. Thoughts? Are there any other layouts that would work here? I am a bit stumped!

Thanks to everyone who posts on this site! The advice here is so helpful!

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Where do all these openings go? Any chance you can close off one or two?

Also, what are the openings on the left wall, in the kitchen and dining room? One looks like a door, but hard to tell for sure.

Finally, is the dining room on the front of the house? Do you have to walk through it to get to the kitchen...or does one of the openings go from the front of the house to the kitchen?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Your space might be even more challenging than mine was. :) I ended up with a setup similar to the one that you are proposing: range and a sink together in a run, and fridge and another sink together in a run, with a traffic path in between. It has worked out very well in our kitchen (completely different dimensions and shape than yours but same idea). Anyway, without knowing anything more about your walls and doors, here are just a couple of suggestions: 1. Move the MW over by the fridge if there is room for it. 2. On the range run, scoot the sink over next to the wall (out from under the window) to open up prep space next to the range.

Moving the MW depends on where you need the cabinet space more. It is handy for us to have it next to the fridge because that divides the zones better (i.e. gets people out of my way when I'm cooking), but if you need to dedicate all the cabinets near the big sink to dish storage, then it might make more sense to leave it where it is.

I moved my main sink out from under the window and it has made all the difference in the way my kitchen works. I have about 5 ft of counter space between the main sink and range now, and it is just heaven having Actual Prep Space for a change -- and where I need it, too. (5 ft is actually a little too much, but I am not complaining.)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Thanks for the replies! The top left opening is actually the back door, the opening below it is a very cute arched opening to a breakfast nook -- only 6 ft wide. See below:

Dish storage is an issue in my mock-up. The way it is set up, I would have to empty the dishwasher by putting the dishes on the counter, closing the dishwasher door and THEN putting the dishes away in one of the cabinets next to the fridge. I also would likely not be able to access the fridge and dishwasher at the same time. In this respect, the original layout works better -- I can stand in front of the sink, and put dishes in the cabinet over the dishwasher. I like the idea of moving the prep sink to the end furthest from the range to give a longer run of counter.

Keep the ideas coming! Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Do you use the breakfast nook? It sounds cute, but very small. Any chance you could close that off and add another 'kitchen wall' to your plan?

Maybe open up the sunroom to the nook and make that area a little longer? Something like this?

From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:53PM
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If you were able to make these's one possible layout, with fridge and microwave on the right wall, sink under the window (with dishwasher) and vented range on the left wall, with prep sink still overlooking dining room. Would this work?

From [Cottage house plans](
    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Wow, you have a tough situation there. About all I can think of adding would be a small island that could be on wheels. I was going to say that you could park it in front of that door under the stairs, since it must be to a closet, and then I moved to another view and saw the opening into another room at a 90 degree angle to that door. An island really will have to float in the center of this kitchen, won't it? Right out in the middle, hoping not to be too much in the way.

What is in that closet under the stairs? Is that space you could use? Could you at least clean out the first three feet of it to store a floating island there when not in use? an island for this kitchen could be stainless steel, used as an additional surface for prep and clean up. It could have storage in the bottom, or could be sleek and clear for more immediate use. Anything from stainless steel to John Boos would add functionality. Please don't say there is a half bath behind that door!

It looks like you have added a cabinet above the peninsula, with its side to the dining room. Will you be putting another cabinet between it and the fridge? It looks like the perfect place for a dish cab. If there is a reason you don't want a wall cab there, will you consider stainless or wooden shelving from Ikea?

Also, I don't imagine you want cabinets hanging down under the bulkhead, even the little Ikea horizontal cabs. I wonder, though, if you could put Ikea horizontal wall cabs in front of the bulkhead, in the kitchen side. Doesn't Ikea have an insert that brings down the contents of the cupboard? Depending on how high the bulkhead is, you might be able to put one of these cabs above the sink. If it does not look too funny, maybe one above the opening to the dining room. Seasonal dishes like pickle dishes, or alcohol that you would not like little ones to have access to could go up in these cabs.

I am a fiend for storage. I have wall cabs on the floor on toe-kick boxes to make use of a little space I had at the end of the room. You may not be as obsessive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Or John Boos stainless and maple

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:42PM
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We currently use the nook as a playroom for the kids. The plan was to turn it into a small office/study when they outgrew the toy phase. We did actually use it as a breakfast nook before we had the kids. I'll have to consider connecting the sun room and nook. I would need to measure to see if stove placement could work there -- the plumbing stack for the upstairs bathroom runs through that area down to the basement. I'm not sure about extending the wall on that side, though. It seems like it would more or less visually cut the space in half, which is what I already have.

Does anyone know how far an exhaust vent can extend? Would it be possible to run one clear across a room through a ceiling or soffit? I REALLY would like to externally vent the stove. These are great ideas! Keep them coming!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I posted and found that five other posts had arrived while I pondered your issues.

You mention the trouble unloading the dishwasher and putting away dishes. In that case, why not move the sink to the center of the peninsula and have the dishwasher be on the end? Then you can stand in front of the sink to unload, twirl around, and there is the cupboard.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Nancy, behind that door is... the stair down to the basement! I like that stainless cart you linked to. We actually currently do have a small wooden Ikea island floating in the middle of the kitchen and use it quite a bit for unloading groceries and such.

Good call on switching the sink and DW in the peninsula. I will sketch some of these out and post.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Have you thought about changing the back door so that you enter into the breakfast nook/toy space? I worry about you getting hit in the back with the door while you are working at the stove. You could change the door swing, I suppose. I might still worry about a child running in and landing on an open oven door.
Also, it sounds like as your family ages and grows the nook morphs with it. I can see it being the place where your children come in, unload backpacks, drop baseball mitts, do homework, etc... Keeping that out of your cooking space could be beneficial.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:51AM
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or leave door where it is and close up little kitchen window and center the range on that wall-if you are cooking a fair amt it might be better. In fact,maybe an island in the central floorspace containing sink and dishwasher, then range behind on that back wall...omit the peninsula and have a reduced depth run to the right of fridge-all the way to living room entry opening.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:46AM
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I loved Localeater's idea of making the back door be in the breakfast nook. She is right. In the long run, you might want that space to be their "unload" space after school, their place for wet outerwear, their locker room and main entrance if that can work for your home layout. Even if it is not the best layout for their school bags, it can be a good entrance for muddy shoes, backyard toys, and pool towels.

But look what making that nook be your back door does for your kitchen! You now have a "Cooking" area with fridge, stove, and sink, and "cleaning" area with sink, dishwasher, and cupboards right next to the dining table. And there is lots of room for family members to travel through the middle of the kitchen between the entry area and the fridge or back door without getting in your way. Kids can come in the new back door and get a drink and not be in your way. Some family members can be cleaning up after a meal while you are putting finishing touches on a hot or cold desert and you are not in each other's way. This is a very functional layout for a small kitchen. You are not moving any windows, just getting rid of one door.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:28AM
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Moving the door! What genius idea. And cheap, too (relatively)! This is why I love this forum. So many great ideas.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:20PM
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So I measured last night and it looks like there is not quite enough space in the back corner for a stove and counter corner. The door is 32" wide, and currently comes up almost all the way to the fridge. There is only 12 inches of space between the exterior door and the frame opening to the nook space.

One of the thoughts I had was to change the door swing to swing OUT. The back entrance is actually covered and screened, so I wouldn't have to worry about water on the door. Swinging the door out would avoid the problem of getting hit in the behind while cooking. Of course I would still need to be cautious about opening the oven door when the back door is open, but I can live with that.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Here is my latest layout attempt: change exterior door swing, island with sink and dishwasher. The clearances are a little tight, but I think I could live with it and not go crazy.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Here is an article about door swing direction that you might want to read.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fine Homebuilder inswing or outswing

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I like this layout except for the fact that your backdoor lets people enter and exit right in the middle of your work triangle. And in/out the breakfast nook means people will have to walk around the island to get to the fridge. Have you thought about your meal prep? How you will work from fridge to sink to range? The island seems like an obstruction in this plan.

It's a complicated situation!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Is there any sense in switching the back door and the window? That would get foot traffic out of your work triangle.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:53PM
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hmmmm....the door under the sloped ceiling which involves a stairwell behind it....couldn't a step down and bump out be built which could then have an exterior entry,thereby eliminating the door at the back. Seems instinctively like there would have been that type of setup there originally.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:14PM
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This house hasn't been messed with too much since it was built in 1925. It's one of the reasons we like it so much. I am even wary of knocking down the wall between kitchen and dining because it seems so out of character for a house of this vintage. But times change and the way we live now is different, so I am willing to make concessions to improve functionality. We wouldn't be able to bump out of the side of the house, as the house is only 5 ft from the property line. Code now requires 8ft setback.

I don't think that the traffic issue will bother me too much. My work triangle is currently intersected by a pass-through, and I have never been annoyed by it. The more I look at the island layout the less I like it. I think that my thoughts are gelling on the peninsula arrangement:

This seems to be visually the most "calm" arrangement. I would get proper venting, some prep space next to the sink, some next to the stove, and more light. The stove seems a bit far from a water source, but I suppose I could solve that with a small prep sink at the end of the cooking run, or maybe a pot filler.

I have been thinking hard about where I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen, and most of it is either chopping or washing. We reheat leftovers. Kids are thirsty and need water (NOW!). I bake on occasion. Husband and I used to cook together, and will resume this once the kids are a bit older (he is usually the main kid wrangler when I need to get food ready). We host holidays and birthday parties. It's where we head when we first get home and the last place we visit when heading out the door.

Looking at this rough draft makes me happy, so I guess that means that I am heading in the right direction!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:55PM
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CSTR, glad you're getting happier with your design.

The opening btwn the dining room and kitchen with this island plan seems too small to me. And another minor comment: you probably don't want to have the kitchen sink visible from the dining room, so you might want to raise that wall a bit. Maybe even make it a serving bar.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Sorry, I said island when I meant peninsula!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Cstr, that does look like a good workable layout for your situation. I also really like having a door to the outside in the kitchen--nice touch. :)

Just to toss it out there and off my mind, cute as the breakfast nook is (since I haven't fallen in love with something I haven't seen), I suggest removing it in favor of creating a direct connection between the kitchen and sunroom and, thus, also a circular flow between the three rooms. I don't see this changing the kitchen layout, but I suspect it might develop a synergy that would enhance all the rooms and also make the entire main floor feel more spacious. (Instead of 3 dead-end rooms out of 4, it'd be 1 out of 4--a nice calm living room.)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Yes, the peninsula plan feels more calm. It is simpler, too. I think you are going to want a sink over by that stove, though. It is so far from the clean-up area, what if you have a little burn that needs cold water, or if you need to add a bit of water to a dish but can't leave another one for that long to hike across the room? Or if you need to dump something hot in a sink (so a small kitchen sink is my vote, not a prep sink). I hate to make you lose the nice big pot drawers, though. Just remember that even though symmetry is nice, it is not necessary. If you need to move the big drawers to the left and lose the little matching cab on the right side of the stove, no one will care. You don't have to center a sink under a window, either. It is nice if you can do it, but sometimes you cannot. You have your priorities. Not moving windows has value, too!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:47AM
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Here is another idea that goes back to losing that back door and putting it in the breakfast nook. It has a few advantages. 1. All of the mechanicals are on one wall. Range, plumbing, and DW are all on the back wall. You have one sink, a big one. The loss of counter space is made up for by having an island directly across from the back wall. 2. That island can be constructed of any drawers or cabs you like, no appliances to interrupt. Lots of storage right in the cooking/prep/clean-up area. 3. Notice that there now IS a defined area for working in the kitchen and all traffic can bypass it. All fridge business can be done without interrupting the cook. 4. If you have extra room before the breakfast room door, you can add an overhang and make it an island that the kids can sit at as they get older, too. Or you can sit there and watch dinner with a nice cool drink and a magazine, coupons, or shopping list. When you get older, sitting counts for more!

Since you do not have exact measurements for us, I cannot be sure of this layout, but try it with standard 24" cabs and if the island blocks too much, get some 18" deep cabs from the bath area of the IKEA catalogue if you have to. You can always add depth to your island by adding to the countertop overhang on the back in order to get the most island and still use standard cabs. I have great ideas for hiding utensils on pegboard behind spring-loaded doors on the backsides of islands with tops that overhang a little, but not enough for sitting at.

Remember that although the official distance between the island and counter should be 48", that 42" works great and 40" can be okay. I have 37" at one side of my island at my sink. I twirl around and my island end is right there. I love it for drying dishes. Of course, your WHOLE island would be that distance from your sink, so it is way too close. But 42" might be okay. See if 24" cabs and 42" aisle would leave enough room for entering the kitchen from the breakfast nook with ease.

Over on the refrigerator wall, you also have full-height pantries. I have made them shallow in order to make room for entering from the foyer. In my last house had 1 ft deep pantry cabs that you could not lose anything in, and they were great. 18" is good, too. See how they go to the dining room? Then you have the serving-height counter that Karen Belle suggested, too, in gray zig-zags. You can have a regular counter-height counter on the kitchen side, too, or can just have more storage cabs.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1st of 4 pics showing 37

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:45AM
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re: the open upper shelf adjoining the dining room

I've seen pics here where people did not put a "side" on that shelf, so that people could see pictures or art on those shelves. (don't remember what supported them, but they were open on 2 sides)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:32AM
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Nancy, I tried laying out the counter depth island, and I think that it could work. It would give me a galley-style work area with sink, range, dishwasher, and a long length of counter within easy reach. People could mill about on the back side of the island. I may even be able to squeeze in a bit of overhang for 2 stools. The fridge run could have a nice length of counter and even maybe a tall pantry cabinet. And I wouldn't have to move any plumbing!

The symmetry won't be ideal, but it's not terrible. The space around the ends of the island is tight, but I could replace those 12-inch end shelves with 9-inch shelves, or some other slightly shorter arrangement to give a bit more breathing room on the sides. Here are some 3-D views:

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Layout is looking good, I have a few questions, though. Do people enter the kitchen from the door from the "entry and LR" area, or mostly from the LR via the dining room? If they come through the "entry" door by the basement stairs, you want that area easy to get through, so that is why I put shallow pantry shelves there. It gets rid of the hip- bumping problem of the counter. Ikea has Article Number: 898.697.42 in a storage pantry either 15 or 24 inches wide, 80 inches high and either 24 or 12 inches deep in the Akurum brand of kitchen cabinet. You just have to look in the option drop-down to find it. It is a pantry with pull-out drawers. Check other high cabs to see if they have shallower sizes, too if you consider this option.

No matter how deep the pantry is, wouldn't it be better near the island, so you can take out ingredients and set them down where you will be using them? Switching the counter to the dining room side makes sense to me so you have the counter for serving, or for clearing. Plus, it gives those people getting drinks a set-down space (and some glassware storage above it) that is far from your work area. You can use the drawers there for dishware by unloading the dishwasher onto the counter on the island, then transferring the dishes to the cabs with a second step. You don't have room for dish storage in the galley, it will all be spices and cooking oils, measuring cups and casseroles and such in the wall cabs, cookware in your island drawers. You just might need a small stainless cart. Maybe you could park it in front of the closet by the nook entrance? I know that having that dish cab by the dining room is a bear for unloading the dishwasher, but it is easy for table setting. On holidays or any busy meal, the table-setting kids will be out of your way entirely, as you cook.

Keeping that back door invites people to travel through your work area. I would move it. Then the narrow passage on that end of the island is a non-issue and you can have a cab there instead of shelves. You never can have too many cabs in a kitchen this size. I have a slanty-front cab holding my wraps and baggies for putting food away. You really can see all the little boxes well. If Ikea does not have a slanty-front cab that is closed, get a square one for the end near the ex-back door. No one is going to go over there any more. There is room to squeeze through. Corner does not matter there. Symmetry does not matter as much as functionality in a small kitchen, unless it is a special consideration for you.

This is getting FUN!

I would say that Island acreage is more valuable in kitchens as well as real estate. Lose pantry depth before you lose island top square footage.

Here is a link that might be useful: baggie and wrap cab

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:41PM
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