Please critique this kitchen plan

prescotthouseNovember 11, 2012

My husband and I are in our early sixties and building this house as a vacation home now and later as our main home. The lot is a half-acre, steeply sloping lot with vast veiws to the north/northeast which the deck side of the house faces. There will be an unfinished, for now, walkout basement of about 850 sf which eventually will have a bedroom, family room and office. The main floor is almost 1800 square feet. The kitchen window above the sink faces southwest. There are two high windows on the east side above the cabinets (no view on that side, just another house). We have no children living at home but have two grown kids, each married with two kids, who visit a few weekends a year. We are still at the stage where we can make changes but are getting close to choosing a builder and getting permits. In our area building costs are around $120/sf and we are trying to stick to a budget of $250k, excluding lot and finished basement. We would welcome your comments and suggetions.

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Here are a few things to consider (which you may have already...)

As you age you will probably prefer to not reach high overhead to reach for anything, and will certainly not want to have to use a steps tool to get at anything, as balance and overall safety factor in.

With that being the case, I think that the functional storage is the most essential thing to consider in your design.

Quite literally, have you done a physical list of each and every thing that will be in the space ,and determined where it will be stored? If you have not, then I would highly recommend doing this now.

Your island is ripe for added storage functionality. And the desk area is possibly better configured to incorporate document storage as well as computer usage. The pantry is the true golden nugget in your layout.

Where will you keep the printer? With wireless printers they can be in the pantry. So electric outlets are needed for this.
Where will phone chargers, and other such items go?

There is some room for improvement in the "dumping area" that is needed in vacation homes. As your entry does not feed directly into your kitchen, how do you envision the influx of coolers, bags of groceries, and multiple purses, sets of keys and such your currently layout I dare say they will be covering the island, and you will be tripping over a cooler all weekend.

You may want to move the fridge to where the desk is now, and then have the solid run of counter and storage for the dumping area at the kitchen entry point. This will avoid having the island covered during busy weekends, and also be the most visually hidden space for clutter when you have overflow.

And on a purely personal level, I would prefer a rectangular island to the present shape.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Here are some ideas to play with:
1. Move the pantry to the opposite corner. That area between sink and stove is important work space. The corner where I put the pantry is relatively far from work areas.
2. Switch the fridge and desk to get the fridge into the prep/cooking areas. I know you will lose a small window, but I would do that in a minute.
3. Remove the wall to the right of where the fridge was if possible.
4. Enlarge and square off the island. You have more space than you need in the center of the kitchen, and the storage and work surface will be wonderful.
5. The aisle above the island looks wider than necessary. 42'' is probably plenty. The aisle between the island and the sink look could be a bit wider to accommodate passage by the corner that protrudes from where I put the fridge.
6. A prep sink won't cost you that much to include and you will use it often, especially when family visits and there are multiple cooks in the kitchen.
7. I would think very hard before settling for a 24'' range, which is what appeared to be in the original plan.

Here's a quick sketch. Hope some of these ideas are useful to you:

A fridge against a wall can present problems with opening the door. You may need a spacer or perhaps a narrow storage space to the right of the fridge.

Finally, I don't really like the configuration of the island as I drew it. I am sure you will have many more suggestions over the next few days.
How many do you need to seat at the island?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:17PM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

I do like the pantry moved to the other corner. I am ambivalent about moving the refrig though. It is hidden in the original location and perhaps a little more convenient for coming for a drink or snack.

I don't like the wall removed though because you then lose the coat closet . My suggestion would be to continue the closet the length of the kitchen wall. Bookcases or a decorative cabinet for cookbooks, etc could be put at the end. I would like the added storage for coats and gear unless there was an abundance elsewhere.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:45PM
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That looks better, Bellsmom. I was thinking of moving the fridge over there but the window stopped my suggesting it.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:48PM
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I am bumping this up in the hope you will get more feedback.
Also, I did not mean remove the entire wall around the upper cabinet run, but just the wall across the right end of the cabinets. It was necessary if the fridge went there, not at all so if it doesn't.
Do let us know what if any of our suggestions seem useful.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. I especially like moving the pantry to the other side of the kitchen and to make sure the range is at least 30". And I think the desk will need to be at least 36" wide to accomodate a filing cabinet at one side.

I'm not too worried about having a dumping station on the island. We currrently have an older second home in the same area that we are building in and I am very disciplined about unloading the cooler bag and basket that we take up and putting them immediately in the laundry room. I do agree that the island is probably not the best shape. I'd like to have the sides that face the dining/living room be higher to hide the mess in the kitchen when using the dining room table. What are your thoughts on that? I will probably use the lower part as the primary preparation area - I just read an article the other day saying that most people like to work in an area that does not have upper cabinets and I find that is very true. In both our houses I do that.

And thanks for the reminder to put outlets in the pantry, not only for the printer if it ends up there, but also for the cordless Shark which I use a lot.

I find myself looking at my current kitchen and thinking "the wall in the new house will be that long, the island is about that size, etc., etc.! It can be so hard to picture it from the blueprints.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:43AM
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I am pleased there have been ideas you can use. I hope more people will come in with their ideas.

There are several threads on GW about islands with a high level over seating. Most people, I think, find the one-level design preferable. I know I do. And if you add a prep sink on the island, the other sink will be your cleanup area. Pots and pans and other prep and cooking mess can go in that sink or beside it where it is really not going to be very visible from the DR table.

When the perimeter of your kitchen is more or less settled, or maybe even before, you might want to start a new thread asking for help with designing the island. There are all sorts of ideas here.

I looked again at your design. Maybe you have enough work and storage space on the rest of the perimeter and on the island (especially if you expand it) that you could dedicate that whole wall section at the top to a mini-office area. Desk, filing cabinet, printer, computer, charging station. I would love that. Maybe a bookcase for cookbooks?

I hope you have a lot of fun designing your new home. I know I have fun playing with other people's plans.

Thank you for letting me play! When I have time I'll post another idea on the island.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:48PM
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