Two kitchen layouts -- which one to choose?

mrspeteNovember 7, 2012

My kitchen /dining area is a modest 20 x 14.5 -- enough space, given that I have a 12 x 8 pantry /mudroom attached. I prefer to have a small, highly efficient kitchen . . . and all my storage nearby.

The dining area is small, but if we can seat 6-8, we'll be fine. We will have a large outdoor seating area (by the pool) for larger gatherings; since we're in the South, this is fine for all but dead of winter.

My husband and I both cook, but we don't tend to cook together. Our youngest is 16, so we'll be empty nesters soon.

I'm attaching the first layout, the one I think I prefer, to this post. I'll attach the second to the second post.

Pros /Cons of this layout:

This layout allows more direct access from the back yard to the kitchen area.

Less counterspace, and the counterspace is more "viewable" from the table area.

Provides a place for someone to sit while I'm cooking.

Stove has enough room, but it isn't spacious.

The long 12" deep dish storage (doors on bottom, glass on top) will provide space for my seven sets of dishes and assorted serving items. Everyday dishes will go in upper cabinets above dishwasher. Yes, this is too many dishes, but I don't care to de-clutter in this area!

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mrspete

Second layout -- all the surrounding rooms remain the same, but this is a U-shaped kitchen.

Same needs: Plenty of storage in the pantry, one-cook kitchen, want a small but highly efficent workspace.

Pros /Cons:

I think a U-shaped kitchen is really cute.

It provides more counterspace than the other plan,

though with only 6 feet of space in the middle, the sink must move to the penninsula side. If this doesn't happen, then the dishwasher either ends up in a corner (so that I can't reach upper cabinets while it's open, meaning I can't put away dishes) or the dishwasher has to go into a different "arm", which seems odd.

I'm not sure I like the idea of the prep space being under the window, though it does allow for the possibility of an outside bar /pass-through window, which would be very nice by the pool.

More spacious area by the stove. Nice, but not necessary.

In this layout, I moved the refrigerator to the back wall, which gives more counterspace. But if I do this, I don't think the shallow 12" dish storage works -- not next to a full-sized refrigerator. So I made the dish storage deeper.

So, which of these plans do you like . . . or would you do a mix-and-match?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:08AM
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mrspete

I should've mentioned that in both cases, the "main cooking area" is 10x10. That doesn't include the walk-through aisle.

Also, I intend to have a straight banquette built onto the long dining room wall so that a table can cozy up close to that wall -- then I'll have four chairs around it. This'll provide comfortable seating for six. I'm thinking this'll allow for a reasonable walkway to the sliding glass door and outside.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:14AM
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chicagoans

Do you need both entrances into the living room? If you closed off the one to the right, it might give you more flexibility (you could move your table / banquet to that lower right corner.) I don't know if that will make a huge difference but thought I'd ask.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:23AM
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cathy725

Is there a window above the sink in the island layout? Is that where you picture the pass through window? I have the u-shape now and am looking at similar options for remodel. One thing I'm tossing around is a sink in the corner (facing the sliding door). it would allow you to have a pass-thru at old sink area (if that is what you meant). I don't know if it's an ideal set-up, but I know that you don't want that dishwasher in the corner--I have mine there and it is very ackward. I have to unload some dishes onto counter, shut dishwasher then put them away in the cabinets above.

I look forward to seeing what you decide to do!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:48AM
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rhome410

I'm a fan of #1. In the U, the work area is quite spread out, so I feel like you lose efficiency, and will have lots of walking and dripping across the floor. If more than 1 of you is in the kitchen at once, you'll also have traffic crossing. Lastly, the sink, and anything that collects in or around it, has 2 problems for me...
1) it's on front and center display and 2) there is no splash protection for the dining room floor. I also feel like the peninsula may make the dining area feel tighter.

It'd be best, though, to draw these out on graph paper, using a certain number of squares per foot, so the layouts are to scale. There might be something missing or hiding in a vague sketch that will show up when accurate dimensions and proportions are used.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:22AM
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blfenton

Can you post scale drawings? Right now, in your first drawing the DW looks bigger than the stove and so it's hard to get a feel for the spatial relationships in the room.

Is the 12" dish storage deep enough? If you have aisle room I would consider going a little deeper so that you have room for platters etc. as well. I have a set of cabinets that are 15" deep for my good glasses and it's nice to have a little extra room so that there is breathing space around them and they don't have to touch one another.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:58AM
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athomeinvagw

I would need to see the dimensions more clearly labeled but from what I see the U would be the best but move the sink to the back wall with the dishwasher to the right in the peninsula. I had this layout in my last kitchen of about the same size and it was very nice to work in, plenty of room for more than 1 person to operate. The dishwasher did not look odd and I kept all the everyday dishes in the cabinets to the sink so it was easy to unload.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:03PM
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mrspete

Long story short, yes, I really do need both entrances to the living room. If you saw the whole floorplan, I think you'd agree: Without the two doors, the living room would become a hallway. The TV will be on the backside (actually front side) of the wall that holds the 12" dish storage.

Yes, there'll be a window -- a nice big window; I'm thinking four foot, perhaps with an arch across the top -- in either option. I do want plenty of natural light, and I'm so short that upper cabinets are of little use to me, so I'm minimizing them.

Yes, if we do a pass-through window, it'd be in the spot where the sink appears in the first layout. That's the only possible spot. I am not dead-set on having a pass-through window. It's just an idea. If we keep the sink there, it doesn't look do-able; I can't see reaching across the sink. Again, this is a maybe.

I've thought about a corner sink. If I had an island overlooking a great room, I'm sure that'd be a choice I'd like. But in my kitchen, I'm not sure. It seems kind of "wrong" in this arrangement. It'd put the cook's back to the main room, and I think it'd feel -- for lack of a better word -- cornered.

Both layouts are 10x10, so I don't really think either one is more walking. With only six feet in the middle of the U, it's probably less walking than the other.

You are right that water could splash over onto the dining room floor. IF I go with that option, I'd have a bit of a raised "lip" or a pony wall to form a bit of a separation.

I did draw them on graph paper, but then I traced them over to plain paper, thinking they'd scan better without the distraction of the lines. I added the dishwashers at the last minute, and they aren't proportional.

Good point about platters and the 12" cabinet depth. I'm planning on platters "living" in the pantry, where I'll have storage for large items. So the shallow cabinet will really be just for tableware. My aunt has a similar cabinet, which I like; though hers is glass top and bottom, whereas I want some hidden storage below.

This aisle will be a major thoroughfare. The garage entrance through the pantry/mudroom will be used more frequently than the front door, so I don't want it to feel tight. I think I've allowed a four foot aisle -- adequate, or overkill?

Other thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:32PM
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peridot44

I like option #1.

I'm currently in the process of converting my U to an L + island in order to improve traffic flow. It's very difficult for people to step out of each other's way in a dead-end U.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:59PM
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rhome410

Both layouts are 10x10, so I don't really think either one is more walking.

I'm talking about your work path... Get food from the fridge, take it to the sink, prep on a counter, and put in the pan on the stove. Your total walking distance will be much smaller in the island plan, because your crucial elements are closer together. You are not traversing the whole 10 by 10 area in that one to make a dish.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:29PM
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dilly_ny

I would go with the first plan and move your mudroom door to the left so that its as far as possible into the corner. This will give you a little more space by the range.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:23PM
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taggie

Option 1 would be my preference.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:59PM
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bmorepanic

what rhome said.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:24PM
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autumn.4

Hi MrsPete-
Not highjacking but I posted an elevation pic on your older post in the smaller homes forum. Reminded me of your plan so I thought I'd share it.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:35PM
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huango

I choose layout1.

funny: my gf went from layout#2 to layout#1 and the transformation was amazing!

In layout#2, people didn't know where to stand/hangout.
So we often stood near/at the end of the peninsula/in front of the fridge. But then we'd get in the way of the cook(s).

W/ Layout#1, we now stand around the SouthEast side/by island, allowing cook(s) to continue prep/etc.

Her new layout is SO much better!!!

Good luck,
Amanda

Here is a link that might be useful: Kristin's change from peninsula to island

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:35PM
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camphappy

I just went from a U shape kitchen to a kitchen very similar to your #1. I definitely prefer the new layout better. Your #1 layout looks like it would be easier to prepare meals than your #2. Also, the idea you have for your dish cabinet will look much nicer set apart than next to a big fridge.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:38AM
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mrspete

I'm not surprised to see that most people like #1 best. I really thought I did too. I've drawn it nicer, and it's on graph paper so it's somewhat to scale. Lots of notes.

What do you think of the details?
What problems do you see?

Again, here are my specifics:

- This kitchen is being planned for our retirement home.
- We both like to cook, but we tend to cook individually.
- Large group gatherings will tend to be outside in covered outdoor area by the pool.
- Yes, I do need the long, narrow dish storage -- I have seven sets of dishes (and accompanying glassware) and will probably add to this.
- Pretend you can see the garage attached to the pantry.
- Pots, pans, mixing bowls will store in the island.
- I have a great spice storage system that'll go in the upper cabinet left of the stove.
- Yes, this corner cabinet will be expensive to build and will waste some space, but I'm not crazy about Lazy Susans, and I think I like this better. Also, I'm short, and I can't really utilize that deep corner countertop anyway.

Questions:
- Is my trash pull-out well placed? It could go to the island.
- Stove and drawers: I'm thinking I'd rather have one set of 24" drawers on the left rather than two sets of 12" drawers, one on each side of the stove. But I'm not sure I'm right on this one. I am right-handed, so the right side would be slightly better (emphasis on slightly), but I wouldn't want the stove literally up against the refrigerator.
- I'm looking at the island drawers extra-deep for the extra storage. These will be BIG drawers. Are they going to be sturdy, or should I go smaller? I want the larger drawers, but I'd forego them if they were likely to fall apart.

Thanks for reading over my plans!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:49PM
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mrspete

Autumn 4, I looked that at that thread - the house you posted is very like the one we're planning. A few differences: Location of the front door, different details on the breezeway area, but overall very like. I like that it looks cottage-y and home-y.

Huango, Love the pictures you sent. The size and layout looks very much like mine.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:52PM
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rosie

I like your plan. If you have a garbage disposal, it would be nice to have the garbage pullout where you open and empty cans and pull the wrappers off meat. BTW, do you know for sure that where you want that to be and where it will be are the same place?

Regarding that (prep location) and stove placement, I'd definitely mock it up with boxes and cardboard, remembering counter overhangs, and do some "prepping and cooking" with each option until I had my answers. That's what I did, and there were no unpleasant surprises and no disappointments.

BTW, unless the head of a bed is behind the refrigerator and unless that's a bearing wall there, with fussy issues, it's be nice to set it back into the wall depth. 3'1/2" can be a nice little asset to put to use.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 4:02PM
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bmorepanic

The corner cabinet - the picture shows like a 4-5 foot corner, not a 3 foot corner. The little breather cabinet beside the range is really important - particularly for a right hander. Otherwise your elbows are constantly bumping up against the side of the cabinet.

Adding that some ranges forbid full height cabinetry in that particular position due to fire hazard over time.

I'd consider putting the trash pullout in the island across from the sink. Easily accessible from both places and doesn't share space with an open oven door.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:23AM
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taggie

I would put trash in the island. It's not accessible enough tucked into that corner, people will always be driving you nuts getting past you to put something in the trash ... or worse, they'll just leave their trash on the island for you to clean up afterwards. :)

I also agree with bmorepanic to square off your corner cabinet beside the range. Will give you a little extra maneuvering space that I think you'll appreciate.

I really like your plan overall, it looks like a nicely functional kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:31PM
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mrspete

Rosie, I like the idea of mocking up with boxes. Very do-able and a worthwhile exercise.

As for recessing the fridge . . . I hadn't considered that. The wall behind the stove is an exterior wall; in fact, I think that's one of the positives about this plan -- the stove can vent straight outside, the best and easiest of all possibilities. But, back to the fridge. By moving the pantry/mudroom back only slightly and by flip-flopping the pantry to the right side instead of the left side, I could recess the refrigerator those few inches. Excellent idea. Since light is the enemy of stored food, I wasn't planning windows in that pass-through area anyway.

bmorepanic, I was sure you were wrong, so I went into my kitchen and tried out that corner. I don't actually have a corner right now, but I moved my countertop microwave into what would be a corner . . . and, sure enough, my average-sized microwave sticks out 6" farther on each side than I'd anticipated. Bummer because I really like that corner plan. So, while I was at Target today, I looked at smaller microwaves. I would be perfectly happy downsizing a bit -- we use it only for melting butter, cooking the occasional potato, and popping corn. I'm wondering if it'd be possible with a smaller unit. I'm going to investigate this further, but I'll do it with real measurements so I'm not caught in assumptions again!

I also had two other thoughts on this subject: If I do build a specialized spot for a microwave and TV (in the corner or otherwhere), I'm going to buy TWO of the same model. If the first one should ever fail, I wouldn't be in the sad position of being unable to find a like-sized replacement. And I'm going to make double-sure that I have surge protectors on those outlets.

I do believe I agree with you and taggie about moving the trash to the island. It'd still be just across from the sink, so still very convenient. (Of course, my husband will never use a trash can, no matter how accessible it may be.) This'll cut down on the size of my largest 36" drawers, but I was a little concerned about the stability of a drawer that size anyway.

I think I'm ending up with LOTS of small drawers. Are small drawers useful, or should I work on trying to move things? I do have the pantry for my large stockpots, but I do need to be able to store "everyday" cookware -- you know what I mean, 2-3 quart stockpots, 8-10" frying pans, medium-sized casserole dishes -- in the kitchen.

I'm thinking that I could move the KitchenAid pop-up to the far end of the dishwasher. That is probably my least-useful set of drawers anyway, so giving them up would be painless. And then I'd have an 18" 3-drawer stack by the sink and keep the 36" drawers in the island.

Though it looks sensible, I do not want to move the dishwasher to the left of the sink. Doing so would place the dishwasher in the corner, which would forever be an incovenience.

Also, looking over my notes, I see that I forgot that I really want a bread drawer. (My husband never throws anything away AND never manages to put the bread away.) Where would you place it? I'm thinking near the refrigerator (thinking sandwiches) is best, but I don't really see an obvious choice.

Thanks for the feedback! I would welcome more!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 5:54PM
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rnmomof2

Do you have a stack of drawers planned for silverware and kitchen utensils? We use the bottom deep drawer as a bread and chip drawer.

While the corner cabinet is attractive, I would be worried that you do not have enough counter space on the perimeter cabinets. There does not appear to be much "drop" space for cooking, dirty dishes, meal prep etc.

The pantry sounds fabulous!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:20PM
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taggie

If his name wasn't Pete I would swear you were married to my husband! LOL on using the trash can and putting the bread away -- I totally hear you.

I like your idea of putting a bread drawer in the stack beside fridge. In our remodel we put bread in the middle drawer of a 24" drawer stack beside the fridge and it works perfectly. Bread actually stays in the drawer, it's magic! Here is what ours looks like (we keep butter and peanut butter in that drawer too as they're so often used together with the bread in our household):

I am in tune with bmore's and rnmomof2's comments above re. the corner cab and the lack of counter space it leaves you between range and sink. Would you consider putting the micro in the 24" upper between fridge and stove? Then you'd have a nice compact little snack area with the fridge, bread, and micro there together, and it would open up your cooking corner at the same time.

I think your idea of moving the mixer to the 18" stack beside the dw and having the 36" stack in the island is an excellent choice. And definitely do not move the dishwasher, it's in the right place now for sure.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:45PM
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mrspete

Sounds like giving up the angled corner might be the right choice. If I give up -- as in completely block off and have no access to -- the corner . . . I could have a stack of 12" drawers to the left of the stove, a stack of 18" drawers to the right of the stove, and a stack of 24" drawers to the left of the sink. That might be superior to a larger number of all 12" drawers.

Yes, silverware will have two or more drawers somewhere between the stove and sink. Just as I unrepentantly have seven sets of dishes and am not willing to give them up, I have loads of silverware too, though only one pattern.

I do kind of like the idea of the microwave, bread and refrigerator all being housed together. Logical and keeps snackers in one place.

Yes, I think Pete and his "What? We own a trash can?" ways are widely cloned.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:31PM
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