Small kitchen needs your help.

KYrenovationOctober 24, 2012

Hi everyone. I'm back for layout help.

This is a small kitchen (11'8 by 11'8). Currently the kitchen is just a L shaped with a dining table. It was functional until some major water damage... Now it's time to renovate and I think I want to move the refrigerator to a different wall. Is this a good idea? I am a little worried about losing dining space; however we eat dinners in our dining room or on the screened porch. Plus we still have the peninsula. Currently the peninsula is a raised bar. I don't know whether to keep this or lower it. I love having the raised peninsula for Sunday football get togethers and march madness... It also comes in handy when we host family dinners. But, would a countertop that extends be more fitting for quick lunches?

The doorway by the sink run/ peninsula area leads to the family room (straight ahead) and the whited out doorway leads to the stair landing and formal dining room/living room (to the right) The other doorway leads to the foyer and formal living room and hall leading to brs and baths. Groceries come in through the garage and family room... I am thinking of some kind of work table or rolling island against the empty wall that could act as grocery landing space?

i would rather not relocate gas. Unless you can tell me why it would greatly improve my life. There really is no place to expand into. The kitchen seems to be sized properly as our home is only 1800 on main floor and 1800 on lower level walk out. There is a kitchen in the lower level as we do not need wall ovens etc. The few times a year we do, we just make use of the lower kitchen. And we tend to use the lower level kitchen in the summer as it is near grill and pool... Since we have no windows in this kitchen, our renovation will likely include solar tubes or sky lights, but I haven't even begun to research those yet.

The other thing you must work around is the 12" soffit on the range run. This lowers the ceiling from 8' to 7' there. So 30" uppers.

I have also been debating on downsizing the monster refrigerator as there are only 2 of us and we go to the farmers market twice a week. Yet my mother in law pointed out, that if a baby comes along or we sell that a bigger refrigerator may be better than 24" or 21" pantry cabinets. Is she right? Fixed shelves or sliding shelves? Or a mixture? Am I better off ordering these after or directly from manufacture?

Finally, the KD said she preferred cabinets with ROT for pots and pans, but I was thinking drawers? What are the pros/cons of each?

Thank you in advance for any and all help!!

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I'd be inclined to get a 27 in sink base cabinet with a large single sink-21 to 24 inches wide,and deeper.I would prefer a one tier peninsula.The fridge size is personal preference-a standard 30-33 in opeining should allow a good fridge with the new configurations with french doors and freezer drawers and the space is organized better-it should be big enough. I would want to do something with the empty wall. To the right of fridge run a shallower depth counter along to family room area.....cabinets below, or just counter with stools below....or create a ledge that does not intersect with the corner by the fridge-and have open shelves above for looks and display.I would allow 39 in max[probably even less,really] between range and front hall formal's enough, and then expand the distance to the left of range-the corner between sink and range will be better with slightly decreased sink size and shifting the range over a bit.Tweaks make huge differences. I just read about "dining rooms"-you sure you want a dining room for allocated seating,yet not opening up to it? Have you thoroughly looked at potential layouts/changes with regards to adjacent areas to your kitchen?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:59AM
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There have been many threads discussing the advantages of drawers, but I can save you the time of reading through them. My old kitchen had cabs with pull out shelves and now I have drawers for pots and pans. Drawers are much better because they are easier to use. It takes fewer movements to use a drawer than to use a pullout behind doors. Make sure you get full extension drawers so you can easily access the entire drawer.

That is not to say that every lower must be drawers, but most people find mostly drawers to be optimal. Think about what you will put in each cab and structure it accordingly. I have a thin vertical pan cupboard, for instance, and a pullout shelf in a cab for my small appliances.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Herb- thank you. I think you're right about the sink. I've also thought about doing a breakfast bar with stools or ledge on the empty wall. I'll have to explore that more. I never thought about sliding the range down, but your reasoning has me thinking! Unfortunately, there is no way to expand the kitchen the stair landing is only 5'w by 7'd then you are in the formal dining room. My family room is only 19'7 by 13'7. Behind the kitchen wall is the second bathroom. So I will have to make do with the space. Honestly, I think it is sized appropriately to the house and does have good flow to the dining room or screened porch. But that said, I love your advice and will start tweaking. What would you do with that 9" of space gained by moving to a smaller sink base?

Ginny- thanks for the summary.

I love the commentary, I hope others will respond with their own ideas and opinions. Thank you in advance!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:07PM
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the first spot I would figure out is the right of range-39 in base can be one large drawer stack for pots and pans-really useful for that space and avoid 2 base cabs[saves money] On the uppers to the right of range some glass doors
would be nice. Once you figure exactly how many inches to the left of range you are working with,assess the lazy susan options[I think they come in many different configurations].... between lazsusan and range would obviously be a stack of drawers. The 9 inches around sink could be a roll out pantry.....they hold your oils/bottles/upright storage bottles/etc. a lot depends on if you wish to add some drawers under a counter on bare wall-or just void underneath/maybe have a 9 in deep upper cabinet mounted high for for some glass ware/nicer looking things/also with glass doors??....that way the stools and people can move freely below at counter. did you have specefics for the family room side of peninsuala? corbels?finished back panels or open shelves with extended counter?? Lots of ways to use the budget allocations. Have you mocked up the fridge and cabs on the blank wall as opposed to the liv room wall??

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:52PM
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Herb- you're incredibly helpful. I was just thinking of corbels and then some decorative moldings applied rather than the finished back panels.

The empty wall is hard to explain. I wish I wasn't out of town o I could take pictures. There is 30" of full wall (adjacent to the refrigerator wall) then the 1/2 wall begins. It is cut away with support spindles. The spindles will be replaced by two larger chunkier more modern columns at each end of half wall. Visually i think it helps make the kitchen seem more airy or open.. . And you see a large piece of art (I adore) hanging on the stairwell wall. I don't know if I'm explaining very well. Sorry, all that is a long way of saying the refrigerator could not fit.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:24PM
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between the 2 support columns will people walk through to dining area? if not,why not? the integration of the spaces[opening up] would trump any benefit from the half wall between 2 support're almost there anyway.Ditch the fridge wall run-put fridge and range on top wall, create the L... and now make an island in the central floor area with sink-walking around all sides of it. Can possibly be 32 by 54 inches running top to bottom in your pict. Need more assessment of that lower wall between dining room-how much can you blow out[do you need the 30 inches to the right of support column??]

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:43PM
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No the support columns are just there to hold up the ceiling I guess. Behind that half wall is the stairs. People acces the dining room by waking trounf a 5 ft long landing (7 feet deep). Like if you look at the layout there is a whited out doorway of 28" then there would be the landing and down stairs...or you walk straight into the formal dining room. There is no way to open up the kitchen to that area.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:04PM
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hmmmm....can't really picture it,but assume you've exhausted options. So it's a half wall between columns-no upper cabs...but reduced depth bases could run along to support a counter....I think the counter with stools and no cabs would be my preference....but that means no effective storage on the wall....which in turn means make every avail cabinet designed to maximize storage....spend some time and get all your cabinets figured out.Challenging, yet with a dining room don't you have "special" storage options:you could work up later...china/serving dishes/etc......the columns will indeed set a bit of a design statement-you can really do something with that. It's a long wall though without storage options,so just be sure.[2 important things in small kitchens-counters and maximizing storage]

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Thanks for the feedback. No one else is weighing in?

Hmm.. Would I get more opinions if I had titled this "layout gurus-wwyd?"

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Show more wall views and pictures of the space and perhaps a mood board with materials-people will chime in. The overhead dimension of runs isn't enough to provoke comment.Come back with more finalized selections.I would really try to 3-d that area with fridge and blank wall with columns,and passages around there,once you decide on something.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:15PM
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I'll try later....

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:00AM
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This is one other option I was playing around with. On the wall cabinets- from left to right- they are 30" tall under the soffit, and 39" tall by the fridge- 36", 33", 30 x 15", 39", then moving over by the fridge- 15" cabinet, 24" corner cabinet that also has 2 drawers in it, and then another 15" cabinet.
Base cabinets: from left to right- DW/12" drawers/27" Sink/33" base corner/18" cab/18" drawers/30" range/18" drawers/21" Cab
Then starting with fridge: Ref end panel/30" Fridge/Ref end Panel/ 36" base corner/18" trash/ 12" wide/ deep transition cabinet/24" wide-12" deep cabinet w/ open area for dog bowls.

Concerns: think sink may be too small for me...and corner by fridge may be too fussy? But I love trash pull out here. It also means I'd gain storage in what was the recycling center. I think the landing space for farmer market bags etc may be a nice bonus.

Other views:

Maybe the first layout with just taller pantry cabinets flanking refrigerator is better? But what to do with blank wall?

Buehl- thank you!

Herb- hope this helps show you what I mean by half wall...

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 4:11PM
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For something a little different...utilizing more space...

Quickly... Separation of Prep & Cooking Zones from the Cleanup Zone
Prep & Cooking Zones protected from traffic b/c the traffic will angle away from the "L"
30" dish hutch with, possibly, upper down to counter
Sink run is a bit deeper. If the half-wall (the lighter gray) is not at least 42" tall (from the kitchen floor), make it taller (at least 42"). The slightly deeper counters will give you a bit more room behind the cleanup sink for the faucet.
The rangehood could be 30" wide, but I like the look (and functionality) of hood that's 6" wider than the cooking surface.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Buehl, thank you. I had played around with a dish hutch and cabinets wrapping around that corner, but never considered relocating the sink and DW. I like how the prep area now looks out to the family room/fireplace/ guests at stools rather than at the backsplash!

I hope you don't mind, but I had a few questions.

Did you shorten the peninsula wall to 78" from 96"? If I did that, is it very expensive it to tear down a portion of the pony wall? How useful is a 6" pull out?

Would a trash pullout by the range get stinky from the heat? Would it be better if a slim trash can was placed to the right of DW and a drawer stack between range and ref?

The 27" in the corner opens on the family room side, is that correct? Seems this would be ok for rarely used items.

If I went for a smaller refrigerator (33") would increasing the pantry be the best option?

Excluding flooring & appliances, I wanted to keep the kitchen budget to 14,500 (cabinets, lighting, backsplash, sink, faucet, countertop). I am willing to do a Formica countertop or butcher block countertop for now to make budget, then switch it out in a few years. But, I'm still afraid with my tiny budget that your changes may be too much? Any thoughts?

Again thank you for the thoughtful lay out. I really appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 4:58AM
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I've been going round and round with my layout and about to finialize it, so I can answer a few of those questions from experience and reading a ton here.

The 36 inch fridge space would be for a 33 inch fridge. You need a little room to be able to get the fridge in and out of there, and for many models for circulation.

A 6 inch pull out will probably provide about 4 inches of shelf space if I remember correctly. If you don't think you have a use for it, maybe increasing the sink base to 24 inches would allow a single trash pullout if the plumbing is done carefully. There are some great pics on here of trash pull outs in smallish sink bases that I think you should look for, google is probably the easiest way to find them. Most of your normal so sinky things would probably live under the clean up sink, so you don't need to store much under there. If you can keep the trash near the prep area that would be best.

If your budget also does not include labor that might work. It completely depends on what you want. I would try to price out the sinks, faucets, countertop, and lighting (at least rough numbers) and see how that goes. Also what kind of cabinets are you looking at? If I had to guess, I would assume $6-10 k for cabinets (looks close enough to the size of my kitchen for guesswork) but that varies widely based on a ton if things. Could be less for off the shelf cabinets, but there's a trade off there. Ikea might also be less, not sure, but there are beautiful Ikea kitchens here and online. If you want solar tubes, that will also be a significant cost, though I have no idea how much. Might put your budget out of reach if the tubes are included.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Williamsem- thank you so much! No my budget was not including the solar tubes. I'm pricing that separately. My kitchen budget of 14,500 is just for cabinets, sink, faucet, backsplash and lighting.

I will be stopping by a cabinet showroom this week to look at the 6" pull out. Also thanks for clarity on the refrigerator space.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Actually, with today's refrigerators, you can fit a 36" wide counter-depth refrigerator in a 36.5" or less space. I strongly advise against sizing for a refrigerator less than 36" wide. Refrigerators today are starting to standardize at 36" width x 72" tall. While narrower/shorter refrigerators are still out there, they are starting to become less common.

Every once in a while we get a panicked request for help finding a decent refrigerator that fits in a smaller than 36"x72" space.

6" pullouts vary in usable space. With framed cabinets you lose the wall frame width, with frameless you only lose the cabinet wall thickness. In some framed lines, the 6" cabinets are frameless.

Sink bases are one of the least useful cabinets for storage, so getting one no bigger than necessary is recommended

The reason I put a 6" pullout to the right of the sink (as you look at the layout), is so you have a bit of space to help avoid knocking things off the edge of the counter. I didn't want to make it too wide, though, b/c it takes away from the prime prep space b/w the range & prep sink. If you think you would be OK with only about 2 or 3 inches b/w the edge of the sink and the edge of the counter, you could make the 27" cab on the other side 33".

No, a range will not heat up your trash pullout. Ovens in ranges are very well insulated (that's also why it's OK to put a refrigerator next to a wall oven - the insulation is that good.) As to the right of the DW, there isn't room. IIRC, you need a 15" cabinet for a single-bin and 18" for a double-bin (I have an 18" double-bin that's a perfect size - trash in front bin, recycling in the back bin).

The problem with a trash pullout by the cleanup sink is that far more trash (& recyclables) are generated while prepping and cooking than while cleaning up - and for a much longer period of time. I made the mistake of putting my trash pullout in the Cleanup Zone - across a 6' aisle from my Prep & Cooking Zones - and it's my biggest regret! If I had it to do over again, it would be in the Prep Zone - no questions or doubts about it! BTW...I really, really dislike trash cans/pullouts under the sink - they're much smaller than regular bins, if they overflow the trash gets all over other items under the sink, you have to stoep aside to use them while prepping at the sink, they seem to be much more "stinky" than a separate trash pullout, and you usually do not have room for both a trash and recycle bin - very important today.

Yes, I did reduce the peninsula width. There would not be a wide enough aisle b/w the DW and the peninsula if it stayed the same length.

Hmmm....There's a pony wall there as well? That means that you cannot have that 27" cabinet facing the Family Room b/c the pony wall is in the way. In addition, the peninsula will need to be deeper to allow for the pony wall + sufficient counter overhang (15"). Can you get rid of the pony wall altogether?

I recommend the counter be all one height - it's so much more useful at one to spread out for large projects (craft, cooking, etc.), for staging food, etc.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:07AM
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Buehl, thank you so much. Everything you said makes so much sense. I think we will tear out the pony wall.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:50AM
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