Layout Help for my kitchen remodel, please

tamarahlOctober 6, 2012

The current kitchen including the breakfast area is 26'6" X 14' and faces the garage, rather than the solarium (which is not optional but was built in 2000 when the house was built) unless you are at the sink. The kitchen is very dark due to the brown wood cabinetry and not too many windows in the working part of the kitchen. It also cannot be used comfortably by two chefs. I want to open up the kitchen to the solarium, and take out the wall between the two rooms, so you can see the backyard while you are making meals. I also want the kitchen to have two sinks, a bar area with two refrigerator drawers, good flow for entertaining, a desk, and a couch for people to sit and relax. We are a family of four with two boys, ages 5 and 10. We both love to cook and have 20 people over for dinner about 6 times a year. I want an elegant, calm space with plenty of counters, especially for buffets. I have already purchased some appliances, including a 42" Sub-Zero BI Refrigerator, a 27" Sub-Zero Integrated Wine Cooler, a 30" Wolf E Series Single Oven and 30" Wolf Warming Drawer (I lucked out with showroom display models that were sold at a huge discount this week). I plan to put in a 36" induction and Speed Oven, either Miele or GE Advantium or Elux. I am planning to take out the wall between the kitchen and solarium and put in LVL. I am very optimistic that this space can be transformed into something sensational, but I need you TKO gurus to step in, as I am too deep in the weeds to see clearly. I also plan to put in a mudroom, which will most likely be to the left of the breakfast area, where there is a 3rd garage (not in the attached drawing) that can be used for a 8' x 11' mudroom and will enter into the kitchen at the base of the back stairs. The current closet and door to the kitchen from the first garage, etc. will be closed off. I welcome your advice, input, questions, etc. Thank you.

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Is it helpful for me to post photos of the current kitchen and solarium or does that just confuse people?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 11:02PM
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I updated the floor plan to show the deck, proposed mudroom site (top part of Storage Garage), larger opening between solarium and family room, etc. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:12AM
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One step at a time.

All of your previous drawings display some ambivalence towards using the whole kitchen-breakfast space for kitchen.

I'm not trying to be mean with the following but I am trying to put stuff in proportion. There are 359 days of the year without entertaining and 6 that have special needs for entertaining crowds. Be sure that you're siting things to be convenient for the larger volume of days and how the kitchen is used everyday without doing stuff that prevents good party circulation.

There is a BIG change coming with opening up the wall so the second entrance to the family room is available. Generally, people will take the shortest route between two points. Any plan with an aisle on the family room wall will promote circulation through the kitchen. That in and of itself isn't a big deal, but you're not going to be able to locate prep or cooking on the family room side without thinking of how both the chefs and others move through the space.

How do you feel about ALSO opening in some manner to the family room? Could the sunroom become the hang out space and the breakfast area become more kitchen?

Are a few stools enough for casual dining in kitchen? Do you have stools today? Are they used? Do you use the dining room other than when you're entertaining? (And I'm dying to know how you fit 20 people in there!)

What are your issues with your current kitchen that you are trying to solve with a new kitchen? I hear you on two cooks, but usually that is related to access to water and not space per se.

If you take the storage garage for interior space, where will the stuff go that is currently in the storage garage?

A few stray things you should know. When we talk about aisle width, we talk about counter edge to counter edge. When most architect talk about aisles, they are thinking cabinet to cabinet. Generally, the difference is that counter to counter measurements are generally 1.5" smaller for each counter edge in the aisle. The 1.5" is because counters generally overhang the door fronts by 3/4" and the doors and drawer fronts aren't counted in the cabinet depth either so that's another 3/4".

When decorative panels are used, those have depth that also needs to be counted. So an architect may draw a 36" wide island as a normal base (~24 inches deep) plus a shallow base facing in the other direction (~12 inches deep) or a seating overhang of 12". We would see (24+12+3=39") 39" wide for the first case with two counter overhangs and (24+.75+15+1.5"=41.25") for the second case - correcting for the seating overhang that is supposed to be 15", adding a decorative panel to the back of the island and one counter overhang.

When you have multiple cooks, think about using aisles that are 4-5 feet wide in most of the space. 48" is the minimum size aisle recommended for two cooks.

This is a highly idealized, not to scale, thinking out loud drawing. It is prep-cook space for two having individual ovens (lost the thread of how many, but think you might have 4 altogether), shared cooktop, individual prep sinks and prep spaces. To me, it "works" for two people cooking but it doesn't yet have cleanup sited and I'm completely out of room. So its more or less asking - when you talk about two people cooking, does your head see this? Or do you guys work together as in one is ovens and one is cooktop or what?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Thank you, bmorepanic, I appreciate your response. I will try to answer your questions first. The family room is pretty formal and traditional with dark wood antiques and I am hoping to make my kitchen more transitional and lighter in feel, with slab cabinetry, so I think it important to keep the wall up between the two spaces. I also use that wall to hang art on the family room side, and cannot figure out where those paintings will hang if the wall is not there. The sunroom is currently where we eat almost all our meals, on a Moroccan tiled table that is 39" x 78.5" and I hope to incorporate that table into the new kitchen/sunroom area as it's a very functional piece. I am ok with the sunroom becoming more of the hang out place, but am not sure where the table will go if that happens, as it seems too large for the breakfast area. We currently have three stools at the island but the overhang is only 7 inches so knee bumping is a regular occurrence, and the gas cooktop is there, so there is not much room for plates, etc. I only use the dining room when I am entertaining, and when I have the extended family over we split up and sit down to our meals in three different rooms (the dining room table, the sunroom table, and the living room sofa and coffee table.) It isn't ideal, but it works. Problems with current kitchen are too little usable counter space (microwave, toaster oven, juicer, coffee maker, drying rack, etc. occupy too much space), and lack of storage. I also have all of my 12 year old builder-grade appliances breaking this year. We seem to be in each other's way as a result of the layout, getting stuff out of the fridge, using the sink, getting to the pantry. My garage has a ton of stuff I never use that belonged to my husband, old gallons of paint, old chandeliers, etc. I think I can clear out the back part, and still have enough room in the front half for the stuff I do need, ie. trash cans, recycling bins, bikes, scooters, etc. We are able to split up responsibilities with one person needing prep and oven and the other person using cooktop. By my count there will be one regular electric oven (30" Wolf) and one microwave/speed oven (Miele or Adv) and one warming drawer (also 30" Wolf). Finally, the load-bearing wall that separates the kitchen from the solarium holds the HVAC return and I don't think I want to deal with the expense of re-routing that, so it will probably remain as is (behind and to the right of the current ovens). I was thinking the bottom half of some of the load bearing wall could remain, at least for additional counter space and now that you mention it, to stop people from coming into the kitchen prep/cook area from the family room, what do you think of that idea? I like your sketch but don't know what P1 and P2 refers to, please forgive my ignorance. Thanks for clearing up the dimensions and aisle widths, good to know that 48" is the minimum for two cooks. Currently, I have a couch and table in the breakfast area, and my boys sit there all the time and use the table for coloring, legos, etc. I am having a tough time imagining that area gone, especially if it means I have to replace the windows in that area with ones that start 42" from the floor (which one designer tells me is necessary if I am to put the clean up area there) and deal with the exterior siding of the house being matched to the 12 year old pre-existing shingles. If I can keep my existing windows, then I would be more amenable to the idea. I look forward to your response. And thank you again for taking the time to come up with a plan.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:31PM
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Hi. When you say the closet and garage door will be closed off, where will they go? Far left? Does this mean the kitchen area will be roughly 17 feet from garage wall to sunroom wall? Are you imagining a bar area on that garage wall?

I agree you should be able to make an absolutely wonderful kitchen and entertaining space out of this. Love the sunroom and the circular flow around your living areas. Because of the special characters of the sunroom and family room, I would suggest retaining a strong definition of both by widening the doorway only enough for two people to walk by comfortably, maybe 5 feet, a standard width so you could put a pair of French doors there if you wished. The ways we use our homes do change.

The boys' Leggos with Mom area sounds really worth keeping, but I suspect the "with Mom" part is the most important, and you will be open to that.

The fact that you don't use your dining room and your sunroom has been taken over for that... When you tear out the closet and close up the garage door, etc., would making a nice wide doorway (garage to butler's pantry sink), and removing the wing wall enclosing the end of the kitchen counter, thus establishing communication between kitchen and dining room change the feeling of that room? Maybe even enough to bring it into the active living areas circulation?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Tl- What if you flipped Bmore's layout? Created a smaller entrace from family room to sunroom and have the stove/oven wall (maybe one oven) against the family room wall? Then the island with one sink and dishwasher facing the current breakfast nook. Maybe have the desk there, or a small sectional for the boys' hang out area.

The wall to the garage could still be for fridge, prep sink, extra oven and maybe a small pantry. Perhaps larger pantry could be in the mudroom? Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:09PM
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Yes, Rosie, the closet and doors from the garage take up 36 inches, so that should be added to the overall dimensions of usable space. 17 feet from garage wall to sunroom. Excellent point. I had hoped to have a bar area along that wall to encourage people to grab a cocktail.

I am open to everything, and I suspect the boys will be able to hang with me regardless of whether the sofa and table remains. But even my Dad likes to have a seat on the sofa ;-)

A 5 foot opening between family room and sunroom seems sufficient, thank you for that.

I would love to open up the dining room to the kitchen area, and I hope the bar area may do that. Presently, it feels tight and cramped when you step into the dining room because that butlers pantry is too cramped.

Lavender - great to hear from you! I too thought about reversing Bmore's layout., and put it along the family room wall.... I need to have an appliance garage and am thinking the speed oven should be near that area, too..perhaps along that garage wall?

I am grateful to both of you for chiming in, it really feels good to have new perspectives on the space.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 6:55PM
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In General "P" is pantry space.

The entire area is roughly 17' x 28' (with no deductions for the stairs or the funky current entrance from the family room-dining room is that right?

The air return is above the door to the sunroom or above the ovens or above the wall cabinets to the right of the oven?

Does anybody use the stools? Do you think the table could fit on the side labeled breakfast area where the sofa is today?

We're trying to get you a bar and your additional eating area with all of these crazy questions.

Are those small corner cupboards in the dining room?
Where do you layout the food today today - you're doing buffet right?

So one washes and chops and bakes and the other watches over the cooktop. When you entertain, how many people try to help?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Yes, 17' x 28' is the full kitchen/breakfast area dimensions. The air return is 35 inches from the frame of the door, directly over/behind ovens on the solarium side of the wall. We usually have one or two extra bodies in the kitchen when we entertain, my bro-in-law who fancies himself a chef and my sis-in-law who helps cleanup as the meal progresses (love her!)

There are no corner cupboards in the dining room, the dining room just has funky angles. And antiques that are freestanding to hold crystal/china.

I measured the table and hairs and think it could fit in the breakfast area with some spillover into kitchen. With chairs I'd need 96" x125" for the table.

Buffets are currently set out on the square coffee table next to the sofa in the breakfast area and on either side of the cooktop.

Current stools are rarely used, except when we entertain, as the cooktop island is not designed as a functional seating area.

My 5 year old loves to help out in the kitchen but uses a step stool to reach the countertop.

Thanks for all these great questions! Keep me coming.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Again, I'm not having any opinions, just asking.

Except for seating space when hosting a large gathering, the dining room is storage space?

Does your pantry have a sloped ceiling?

Could you possibly measure from the left side wall to the oven and from the left side wall to the closer edge of the pantry?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:38PM
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No, I would not describe the dining room as a storage area except for big time parties. We eat in the dining room on Friday nights sometimes, and when we have our two best couple friends over every few weeks.

My pantry does have a sloped ceiling.

The left wall to the edge of the oven is 151 inches.
It is 126 inches from left wall to edge of closer pantry door.
Inside pantry wall (closer to stairwell) to pantry door frame is 34 inches and there is an immovable 20.5 inch by 19 inch high square structure in the pantry corner, which seems like it has to stay.

Let me know if this isn't making sense.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:18PM
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