Kitchen plan review please!

leightxNovember 5, 2013

Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time (for this house) poster! We are building a new home, and the building people steered me over here. The kitchen hasn't been finalized in any way yet other than the basic layout - so we can still move things around. What suggestions do you have? Someone on Building a Home suggested moving cleanup sink to perimeter - but I'm not sure I like looking at the wall.... Ideally I'd love to have just a cleanup sink on the island though! Garage is cut off at lower left...

Pantry is huge since I ship supplies from home (DH and I both work at home) and need the storage - but suggestions there for normal kitchen function are welcome too!

Thanks so much!

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Read the "new to kitchens" thread that is attached. Lots of good info.

Here is a link that might be useful: new to kitchens

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Another link with tips on how to get more responses.

Here is a link that might be useful: getting more responses

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:53AM
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Ah - thanks! Here's some info about our cooking habits:

Family of 4 with 2 large dogs (bulldog and lab). Kids are 12 and 13.

Mostly it's just me cooking - although DH and kids will occasionally help out with prep or stirring. We have a few (4?) large parties a year (30-50 people) and they all want to hang out in the kitchen area - hence the desire for the open floor plan in this area, and the separate wet bar.

Usually one person at a time is cleaning up - although for larger dinners we'll sometimes have multiple ones. Considering dish drawers flanking the sink?

I like to cook, bake, and socialize in the kitchen, for the most part. Kids will work on homework at the bar as well. I envision most of our eating at the bar (DH and I work from home) and dinners in the breakfast / dining area.

I work for a biotech company and need counter space to prep lab stuff, plus easy access to the microwave (I don't think under counter would work, although in theory it sounds great) and DW.
I think that's about it!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Maybe it's me, but I can't tell how wide that aisle is between the stove and island. At least in the drawing, the kitchen seems a little squished up against that end compared to the rest of the space. Also, I think I would want the microwave closer to the fridge. I think I'd move the fridge over to the end of that wall to have it closer to the sink/stove and have the counter in between bar area and fridge with the microwave. Then you'd also have extra set up space next to the bar for parties if you need it.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Joaniepoanie - thanks for the reply! The aisle is currently at 3'6" - but we have room to make that wider. If we do that, that would alleviate the butt-to-butt situation at sink and stove.

We can get the microwave by the fridge in the cabinets there - good plan.

I don't want the fridge swapped because people would be in my work space while I'm cooking - but maybe it would still be out of the way enough? Anyone else have an opinion on that?

I'd love thoughts on how to move the cleanup sink off the island - does anyone have a similar setup with the sink against a wall (no window)?


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Leightx, I'm not a TKO, in fact I'm pretty new around here too, so I can only state what I've noticed looking at many other reviews here by the TKO's.
The amount of time you spend prepping food is close to 80%(?) of your kitchen time, so what you will want in your island is a prep sink. Then you can move your clean up sink and DW to the wall. Given the fact that you don't want kids and friends sitting at the island looking at dirty dishes stacked in the sink, and the fact that a rather small percentage of time is actually spent in the kitchen rinsing dishes, loading them in the DW and hand washing just a few, if you have room it makes sense to put it on a wall, even without a window.
Someone remarked on my kitchen layout review that she couldn't imagine living without her prep sink separate from her cleanup sink. I'm keeping my cleanup sink in the island because I simply don't have room for 2 sinks. you do.

Conventional wisdom here would have you move the prep sink to one end of the island or another. Then you also avoid the conflict with the stove.

Conventional wisdom here also dictates at the Very minimum 42" aisle between perimeter counter and island. You have the room, I'd suggest moving it out another 6".
Then you could move your cooktop a bit to the left, and put your cleanup sink and DW at the end of your counter run.
There is probably a better way to do it.
Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Hmmm...that makes sense. I guess I've only ever had a cleanup sink with no prep, so the idea of putting the cleanup sink against a wall sounds terribly isolating to me! But if most of the prep is on the island, that would be ok. I'm just not sure there's enough room for a DW as well on the counter run against the wall.

I guess one idea would be to scrap the wall oven and do a range with a nice hood as the focal point. That would free up the counter a bit - and I have zero need for 2 ovens (well, not enough to justify the space). I could always do a speed oven instead of the microwave - or something along those lines...

Any more ideas? This is very helpful!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Take a look at the steam ovens. For my money I decided I was way better off with a 36" gas range and a steam oven. Wolf and thermador both make one that does not need to be plumbed in. Gegganau makes one that needs to be plumbed in and is more than twice the $, but those who have them love them. You could put a steam oven and micro in the stack where right now you have the dbl ovens.
Check out the appliance forum too.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Leightx....I meant sliding the fridge down to the corner by the opening to the mud room...I don't think it would interfere with your cooking space since there would be an entry separating if you look at your plan on that wall left to right it would be..fridge, counter, bar (with micro in the counter area). Now that micro is gone from the other wall, you could slide your cooktop down closer to the ovens and do your cleanup sink and DW on that wall as well with a prep sink on the island closest to the fridge. Or you could flip flop it and have the cooktop and ovens down at the far end and the sink/DW closer to the mud room side. Not sure this is an optimal layout, hopefully the true KD's here will weigh in. And yes, I would widen that aisle to at least 42." I have no window above my sink...not optimal...but it's not like Im ever there cleaning up for more than 10-15 minutes.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Why is the pantry taking up valuable space on the side of the house, giving it windows (?) when the kitchen is relegated to the interior of the house with no window anywhere close? I'd consider reworking that part of the plan to put the mudroom and pantry in the windowless area and move the kitchen down to the front of the house where you could enjoy natural light as you cook.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:49AM
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You have lots of extra fridges - in the pantry and the bar. So I don't think you need to worry too much about snack and drink getters in your work space.

I have my clean up sink against a wall with no window. Doesn't bother me at all. I like it, in fact. Functionally, it just worked better for the space I have.

If this was my kitchen, I think I'd put the fridge at the dining end and balance it with a built in oven/mw stack where you now show the ovens. I'd center a nice cook top and hood between them and put a prep sink on the island at one end or the other. The clean up area would go where the fridge is now. The only negative being it's distance from the dining table.

Also, I agree with widening the aisle. 42" is the minimum recommended, and you have plenty of space for a few more inches. I'd consider doing a 48" aisle even without the clean-up sink there.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:11PM
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I'm just curious - you're a family of four, but you're planning for 7 bar stools?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:22PM
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I haven't built a new kitchen since we built our house 14 years ago so my comments may be out of date. I've also designed a few of my lab layouts as well. Both come down to function first.

While your plans look nice, they don't look functional.

When you cook, you want everything you need handy - sink to wash produce, fridge for storage, cooking appliances, tools etc.literally within 2-3 steps of each other. I see a lot of walking back and forth to that fridge which is far away on the other wall. Secondary fridges, toaster oven - that kind of stuff that you use less often can be farther away so as to be useful for others to access. Do keep at least some small amount of counter space between stove/fridge and sink to lay things down.

It's handy to have dish storage next to both the dishwasher and large clean up sink as well as close to where you will set the table on a regular basis. Should be reasonable close to the cooking area so you can grab dishes you need for cooking. Ideally this would be also near your dining room as well as the island.

I also agree with the recommendation to move the pantry/mud room away from the window area to open up windows into the kitchen if possible. The wall you are using to run your kitchen cabinets along has no windows - perhaps you can run the mud room/pantry along that wall and move the active kitchen to the window area where the pantry is currently? I realize this is a lot of work to plan - but more work now means you'll be happier using the kitchen.

Be careful with a huge island - while it doesn't block your view into the room, it is a large land mass that you have to walk around to get anywhere. Lay out cardboard or boxes to get a feel for it.

Don't worry about breaking rules if it makes a more functional kitchen. I have a second sink in my kitchen - but it's next to a microwave/beverage area near the family room. The sink in my work triangle (I think that's dated terminology) is both for cleanup and washing produce. I also added a floor to ceiling cabinet between my kitchen table, near dishwasher to store dishes - I had enough counter space and I mostly work on my island so that space made more sense there for dish storage. I have a drawer section between this cabinet and the dishwasher to store flatware. I literally pivot slightly to the left. Without taking any steps I can pivot to empty the dishwasher putting away the clean dishes and flatware. It's two steps to get what I need to set the table. My work triangle for cooking is similar - pivot here and there or take a step or two. Very efficient and a pleasure to work in since I"m not running all over the kitchen getting what I need. Plus DH can work on the other side of the island without interfering with my activity because we can both share the fridge and he can access the second sink, second microwave, second oven etc.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Thanks all! I'd love to just bounce a few ideas and thoughts around here and get some feedback.

In theory, I love the idea of moving the pantry to the wall behind the stove and gaining a sink / window placement at the front of the house. The big problem I see with that is that it is an enormously long trek from the dining room (where we would eat most plated meals) to the sink / DW (and where I would want to store the dishes). I'm thinking the sink in the island gives us both a central spot to clean and store dishes, and a central place to prep.

The problem with putting the fridge closer in is that when the doors are open, I think we'd have a bottleneck between the fridge and the edge of the island (which I am having the designer move to at least a 42-48" aisle). Thoughts?

As for bar stools - family of 4, but with two teenagers and friends and lots of family nearby. So we'll have at least 6 barstools handy. Of course they won't be used every day. But we have family gatherings (around 15-20 people) every couple of months and without a separate table / dining room we need the extra seating.

Back to the oven / range situation - I really, really, had my heart set on induction - mainly because I hate cleaning gas burners. But I don't see many attractive looking induction ranges - especially larger than 36". Am I stuck with a wall oven?

Here's the entire floorplan so far - we are constrained by the width of the lot, which is another reason for the pantry placed where it is. But if you can think of other improvements - please let me know!!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Also - how wide is TOO wide for an aisle in the kitchen? I'm leaning towards a 48" aisle - but is that too far away if you want to turn and drain pasta at the sink, for example?


    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Fori is not pleased

At the very least, put your microwave IN your oven cabinet. It doesn't have to be built in (those are oddly expensive but still have cheapO microwave lifespans) but if you can get a nice shelf in there for a built in-ish look, you'll take care of the microwave issue.

Since you DO need a microwave, might as well put a wall oven under it. If you really do want a range (or range-like creature), why not do a wall oven under your choice of induction cooktop?

I think induction is great for entertaining--you can even serve off it out of something nice (but iron) like Le Creuset and pretend it's a chafing dish.

If you're storing glassware at the bar, I'd think about replacing one of the fridges with a dishwasher--maybe a drawer if you have the width or even better, an 18" wide model.

(My inlaws recently had their builtin microwave fail and stuck a large countertop model in the hole along with some cookbooks--if that cabinet inside had been finished, it would look great. As it is, it's really not bad!)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Oh yes - oven and microwave will most likely be stacked. Although I have to admit that I find it difficult to get things in and out of wall ovens. I must be in the minority though! :/

I need to microwave things with plastic (nalgene) for work - is that doable in something like a speed oven? The other option is to put the microwave in the pantry - plenty of room for it there.

I do really like the idea of a dish drawer in the wet bar. Will have to ruminate on that. Current plans include room for a coffee maker (Keurig - we aren't too fancy) and Soda Stream - possibly blender as well for mixed drinks. We were planning on wine in one fridge and soda stream (we are addicted) on the other - fizzy water and such. But maybe we can combine those and get room for a DW.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Fori is not pleased

Yes, you're in the minority, or you've never had a wall oven at a good height. If you like them low, like in a range, you can mount them low. Play around with a practice oven and find the right height for you to stick your arms out while holding a faux hot turkey. The fun part of doing a kitchen is going to an appliance store with a tape measure and acting things out. (And since you're building, I HOPE you have tried out your bathtubs and toilets! Also fun!) If there are kids, take them to a greasy restaurant before appliance shopping so you can do the stainless steel fingerprint test.

I'm pretty sure some speed ovens have a microwave only option. (They'd better--that's my plan!)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 6:59PM
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In theory, I love the idea of moving the pantry to the wall behind the stove and gaining a sink / window placement at the front of the house.

Can you move the media room to the front and have the pantry roughly where the kitchen is? Entry from mudroom can be through the pantry. Dining can go to media room and kitchen to DR where it would be close to the outside kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 4:25AM
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