Kitchen layout check for our new (to us) home, please.

laughablemomentsNovember 14, 2013

Hello all,
We are excited to be moving on to a different home. It needs a new kitchen, and I could use some extra eyes to check out the proposed layout.

-Family of 9. Oldest DD 13, down to age 2.
-Multiple cooks, but kitchen also needs to work well for when one person is working solo.
-Often have 30-50 people over for informal meals.
-Scratch cooking, including canning, breadmaking, etc.
-Buy grains in bulk, 50 lb bags at a time.
-We homeschool, so we use the kitchen all day every day.

Kitchen needs to have double everything: 2 sinks, 2 stoves (think economical to replace) 2 fridge-freezer units, and a big pantry.

Currently you can walk straight from front door into the kitchen. Does the floorplan I've come up with justify closing that doorway off?

The kitchen is not open to the family room at present, but I think I'd like to open at least a portion of the wall up. I've considered turning the peninsula into a 2nd island to make it easier to get to the slider that goes to the patio, but I don't know if that would be a good idea. Too much cross traffic in the cooking zone??

The chimney with the X on it must stay. The window in the kitchen is moveable. The best view from the kitchen is to the left side of the page.

Fire away! : ) Feel free to ask any questions.


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Stopping to mark the box for having replies emailed to me. : )

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Why do you need two of everything? Is it b/c of the need for a Kosher kitchen? If so, would it be better if you created a "second" kitchen - i.e., have two separate working areas so there's less chance of contamination (meat/dairy)?

Perhaps setup your kitchen with meat appliances & dish/utensil storage on one side and dairy on the other side?

Do you need a second DW? (I think I see two refrigerators on the back wall.)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Where do you plan to eat. That breakfast area won't do it, that's for sure. Even if you designate half of the family room space to dining, that's only 12x15 for family room and dining. Not nearly big enough for what your'e asking about.

I don't think this home lives like you want it to live. You need something bigger. Or scale back what' you want it to do.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Laughable- Weren't you remodeling your farmhouse? Are you moving to a new area or just nearby?

You need two of everything because of the large family, correct? I really like the big dining/family room! How do you plan to use the breakfast nook? Maybe a banquette...for the kids?

What if you add a peninsula by the fridge, with the prep sink...maybe with a few stools? Then have a mobile prep/island with a butcher block top? Something like this...

From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Laughable- I can imagine the dining/family room being perfect, for your large get-togethers! A big table (with lots of leaves) could stretch out to use almost the entire space, but shrink down to 1/2, when just the family.

My husband is 1 of 9 kids...and they had a TINY house. This would be huge, compared to their home, where their mom still lives. They would have loved such a big space for family/dining and a large, separate living room.

Where do you plan to home school the kids? The family/dining room? Very excited to see your progress, on the new home :)

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 13:45

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Hi Beuhl, no, we're not Jewish. But we do have a big family and have outgrown standard sized appliances. : ) We often have large groups through as well.

We have 2 DWs, 2 sinks, and 2 fridge/freezers now, and it works very well for us. I'm finding that as the kids get older and are eating more, that we're also on the verge of outgrowing our burner space on our single stove.

Thanks for looking at this Live Wire. I'm thinking along the lines of what Lavender posted with a table in the breakfast room for quick, simple meals, schoolwork, crafts, snacks, etc.

Then the "family" room could be where the big table could go for the supper meals and for hosting guests. I'd like to snuggle in a couple of comfy chairs by the wood stove, and have the window seat at the other end of the room. Bookcases around the perimeter. So, it would be more of a dining room than a family room.

Yes, Lavender, we'll be selling our farmhouse that we've renovated. It's time to simplify our outdoor commitments. We don't need the added responsibilities that the farm requires. We bought the farm, we tried it, and we're ready to move on. ; ) We found out that we're not farmers, and that's ok.

Putting a peninsula below the fridges is an interesting concept that I hadn't considered, Lavender. I'd love to have some seating at the perimeter for my little helpers. Do you think this peninsula would make it more difficult to get in and out of the fridge?

I'm thinking we could use a prep sink closer to the stoves for filling and emptying pots of water, too.

I should mention that I'm ok with pushing the stoves closer together if that helps any.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 4:22PM
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" A big table (with lots of leaves) could stretch out to use almost the entire space, but shrink down to 1/2, when just the family."

Exactly! I've got my eyes peeled for a "reunion table", now that I know what they are called. They shrink and expand to gargantuan proportions with ease.

This house feels spacious to us. : )

I do recognize that sweet fabric, but can't remember if I first posted it or not.

Where will homeschooling happen? Well, a little in the living room, a little at the breakfast table, a little at the dining table, a little under the trees outside... : )

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I see the desire for that large pantry in that location. With lots of company, and I imagine they bring food, I'm thinking that maintaining passage to the front door, and having a "loop" for traffic, will be helpful. Can some storage be shifted to under Lavender Lass's banquette, and to the basement? You could still have the pantry, just not all the way across. If it has a door, you can hang a basket unit on the door and one on a side wall, and still have shelves on the other 2 sides.

My dear spouse grew up with 6 siblings, 2 parents, and 2 grandparents, in a small house. It really helps to be able to move around in a loop! Dead-end rooms with a large crowd are, well, crowded.

BTW, on the front hall closet, if you change from bifold to "regular" doors, you can use the backs for storing gear.

I'd certainly open the wall between the kitchen counter and the family room! Someone could pull up a stool there for chatting or peeling, and the kitchen worker can pass food to and from the deck more easily, serve buffet-style, keep an eye on the wood-stove and chat with folks in the comfy chairs.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:26PM
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Thank you for your input, bpathome. Your idea of maintaining circulation makes a lot of sense. I love the idea of having the backs of the doors for extra storage, too.

I redrew the plan with some of the ideas from above. How does this look?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Retrying to include floorplan. It disappeared on me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Inspiration for pantry and hall closet? (Not So Big Remodeling, Sarah Susanka)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Should I do a windowed area into the family room like this: (also Susanka book)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:56PM
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or... have it more open, something like this? (same book) I also like the under-counter storage on the sitting room side, but was thinking of including seating in the middle.

Any thoughts?

This post was edited by laughable on Fri, Nov 15, 13 at 13:00

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Do you think a 6 burner stove would work for you instead of two separate stoves? Or what about a large cooktop with a couple wall ovens? Or one stove and an extra cooktop? (Obviously I have some problem with 2 stoves in someone elses kitchen, lol.)

Is the prep sink going to be at the end and oriented towards the stove? That way doesn't seem to give you any work space. You said for "filling pots" so maybe you just want a pot filler over your stove(s)?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Fori is not pleased

The concern I have with two stoves is a somewhat stupid one--if one dies, the new one won't match the old one! But of course if a giant one dies, it costs a heckuvalot more to replace it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 1:56PM
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I like my stove and cooktop idea!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 2:08PM
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I understand concerns about 2 stoves, really I do, Deedles and Fori. This works really well with our price point, giving us the biggest bang (hopefully not literally!) for our buck.

I'm ok with them not matching. This will let us put in 1 electric and one gas, and will give us 3 ovens (whoo-ee!), since our electric Maytag is one of those 2 oven jobbies. We've looked at the big cooktops and the wall ovens, and we're just not comfortable with the costs of them (choke, gasp, splutter), nor the hassles of replacing them if and when they go haywire. With standard 30" units, it's a simple matter to slide them out and replace them, easy-peasy.

Unless you'd like to give us "Big Girl", Deedles... No? O.K. : )

My goal with the sink in the island is for it to service all three sides. What's the best way to make that happen?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Laughable- I like the pantry concept! It's nice to keep that path to the kitchen...good idea, Bpathome.

I thought I'd try something different and put the two stoves on the peninsula and the sink under the window. I think the deeper breakfast bar/stool area will give you plenty of protection from spattering grease...but the kids can move to the tables, if it's really crazy!

The island would be opposite the stoves and give you more prep space and access to two sinks. While it does create a barrier to the fridge, with all your help, I doubt it will be a problem...and it gives you a nice landing area for fridge and pantry items.

What if you changed the slider to a single door to the outside, with cupboard/shelves behind? Then, you could have a few chairs and ottoman, by the wood stove :)

From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Is there a laundry room? With this many people, laundry must be a major endeavor. So if you don't have a laundry room, then I'd consider re-allocating the breakfast room to laundry - you have all the plumbing right there, so it would be fairly easy to build.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 2:52PM
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Thanks for your feedback, Lavender. The door by where I have the wood stove drawn is a slider, and it opens on the side closest to the kitchen. I love the idea of a couple of chairs and warming our feet by the fire on an ottoman. : ) I think one of the chairs can just go in front of the solid glass portion of the door.

I've toyed around with swapping the sink and stoves too. That would be nice, since the plumbing is already at that spot for the sink. Here are my reasons flipping the sink and stove locations. Feel free to try to persuade me otherwise. ; )

1. Ease of setting and clearing the table. Keep the sinks close to where to the food is eaten.
2. Protection of cooking zone. Few people will walk by if the stoves are on the top wall (I hope, anyway!)
3. Little cross-over. Table setters will not interfere with meal-cookers.
4. Prep and cleanup areas have little crossover. With the stoves on the left, the cooker either must cross by the sink folks (who are likely trying to go set the table) to access the fridge and pantry, or she must circle round the island the other way. Having used a kitchen without a barrier now, I really don't want to go back to a barrier between the stove and fridges/pantry again!
5. Venting. From what I understand, it's easier and less expensive to do venting on an outside wall.
6. No bar seating. With the sink, we can do a flat counter all the way to the dining area. If stoves were there, we'd have to do a raised bar, high enough to cover the back of our stoves that are designed to go against a wall.

I neglected to mention that there is a step down from the kitchen into the dining area. So this would make that bar counter even higher. : (

The major pros that I can see for switching them are
1. All that glorious island space facing the right direction for working at the stove.
2. The window over the sink feels good. Either way, the sink window that's there needs to come out as it is old and rotting. Good thing I'm married to a window installer. : )

Thanks for chiming in GauchoGordo. : ) Never fear, there is a laundry area upstairs. Each pair of children has a day assigned to them to do laundry. Phew. ; )

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:24PM
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An inspiration for the cleanup zone and stoves on the outside wall? (Flatten the counter to one level behind sink.)

Transitional Kitchen by Boston Interior Designers & Decorators Su Casa Designs

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:36PM
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You need this BIG girl instead of mine...

Farmhousebound's monster stove:

How cool would THAT be in your new kitchen? These were used a lot in 'camp' kitchens back in the day, so it'd work for your bunch, too!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Whew! That is the "Big Bertha" of stoves!! Laughable, I love your inspiration picture of the stove on the outside wall, great view to the family room. I also like your Susanka pantry/closet setup and the view into the kitchen with bookshelves below. I think someone could still pull up a stool there to prep green beans or chat.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Now THAT'S a stove, Deedles! Think farmhousebound is tired of it? ; ) I did some poking around last night, but didn't find anything similar. I think we're going to continue with our (horrors, LOL) 2 stove plan.

Thanks for your encouraging words, bpathome. I can totally picture working in the kitchen and visiting with family and friends in the dining room.

When comparing the new house's plan with our current home, I get really excited. I feel cut off from my family when I'm in my kitchen now. We end up hollering to each other way too much. The new layout is much more open and will make it easier to communicate with everyone. I think it will facilitate helping my children through their little squabbles *before they become 4 alarm fires.

I'm working on a variation of the plan that would turn the island so that it faces the stove, but I have to run a few things by DH to see if the changes are doable or not before I post it.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Sorry, laughable, not tired of "Baby" :) DH and I drove from Georgia to Michigan to pick her up and still love her although I don't do near the cooking that it sounds like you do. Thanks for the compliments!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:10AM
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With future french, pocket doors for the LR, and an opening to kitchen from the front door, I think you'll be directing more traffic to the kitchen. Maybe the 2nd island idea (with stoves) would be better, though I'm not sure how you'll solve the raised bar issue.

Would the LR be a formal room? If not, maybe LR+breakfast can be your FR and FR can become the away room and school.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Farmhousebound, your stove was quite a find! Glad you are still loving your "Baby." : ) If you find her twin someday, please let me know. ; )

I'm picturing the LR as somewhat of a flex space, sena01. The piano will be in there (most of my kids are learning to play) and my ds has taken up guitar. So, it can either be the Noise Container or the Noise Keeper-Outer, depending on the needs of the moment.

Here is the revised plan I mentioned yesterday. Will the curve in the island help to gently steer people arouuund the outside edge of the kitchen?

DH and I talked about removing the door and stairs from the kitchen to the basement. To try to leave it really messes up with the north wall of the kitchen. (There is a man door to the basement just outside, so we will still be able to get in there without much trouble.) By removing that door and the stairs that go to the ground-level man door, some space opens up for a pantry. About 36" of it will have a lower/sloped ceiling, but the other 30" would be full height.

Feedback is always appreciated! : )

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:19AM
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How do you plan to use your basement? If you are storing cleaning supplies, pantry overflow, extra school supplies/curriculum materials, holiday items, costumes, you know, the stuff you want NOW and what if it's raining? It does open it up but totally changes how you use it.

And, I'm so ignorant, what's a "man door"? Can the girls use it, too?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I would not take out the interior door to the basement. Assuming your electrical panel, gas and water shutoffs and furnace are down there. In the case of an emergency or a furnace issue you would have to go outside, get that door open and get in the basement to turn off the electric, gas, or water. If the emergency is weather related that may be dangerous or very difficult.

As for the two ranges, if in the future one of ranges would come to the end of its life I would replace both of them at the same time.

Is this what your man doors look like?

Traditional Spaces by Baltimore Kitchen & Bath Fixtures Thomson Remodeling Company, Inc.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 11:05AM
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How about going back to your first layout and move the prep sink to the exterior wall, somewhere you have the shelves, and have both stoves next to each other near the corner? I'm not sure how you planned to use the cabs b/w the stoves but having the stoves together would give you more unintrupted prep space imo.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 3:40PM
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I like this plan! The island is so much better, since you have a landing space by the sink. The only thing I'm not sure about is the basement access. Could you do something like this...with slightly smaller walkways around the island?

From [Kitchen plans](
    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Here is the man-door to our basement. The kind of door that was pictured above is what our family calls a Bilco door. This house has a full-size "normal" (man-sized, woman-sized) door to the basement. Now, put your imagination glasses on, b/c this place is a fixer upper and the owner didn't give two hoots how it looked for the showing.

My mental processor is slow tonight, so I'll have to respond to the other posts after I'm well-rested.

Thank you for your comments. : )

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Oh, a fixer upper! That will be fun...and you'll end up with such great before-and-after pictures :)

So the window above that door is on the stairway? That will be pretty, going up to the bedrooms. Do you plan to have 'girls' and 'boys' rooms? Those are so nice...especially with fun little nooks and play areas. Maybe a window seat with bookcases on one or both sides...or little reading nook by the stairs. Have fun with the make-over!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 8:40PM
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Funny how seeing the outside gives more perspective to the inside. For example, I never noticed that you'll have a nice window in your entry way!

Back to the issue, even with that great light in the top corner (is it a vapor light?), I don't think you want to be running outside when you need something from the basement. Will you use that as a side door, because it opens into the basement stair? I can imagine jackets marching up the stairwell wall :) If you ever replace it with a door with a window, you'll have some nice light in the stairs.

I like the curved island, very "friendly-like". I suppose I might be dealing with a bearing wall here, but could you rotate the coat closet to face the door, allowing you to lengthen the pantry, and maybe it creates a piano nook on the living room side? Something like this?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 9:24PM
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How do you plan to use your basement? If you are storing cleaning supplies, pantry overflow, extra school supplies/curriculum materials, holiday items, costumes, you know, the stuff you want NOW and what if it's raining? It does open it up but totally changes how you use it.

The basement will house the mechanicals, some seasonal storage, and dh's wood shop. Our big freezers will be down there too.

We're planning to put a wood furnace in the basement, which will require loading about 2x per day during the heating season.

We will still have a few animals at this place, which will require us to be outside a couple times per day, regardless the weather.

I don't want the stoves too close to the corner, nor do I want the aisles to be narrow, both b/c of the amt. of bodies that can be in our place at any one time. I think 45-48" would be my personal minimum aisle width, especially when there are things like dishwashers and ovens and fridges opening into the aisles.

I'm revisiting an idea I had earlier of adding on a small mudroom space along a portion of the north wall that would envelop the basement door. The roof of this room would be below the stained glass window. (I do not want to lose that!) This would get our family stuff out of the main living space...and then maybe I could use some of the entry closet for even more pantry space. Heeeehheee. ; )

I will have to wait til DH gets home to double check our stairwell-landing-basement door measurements to see if there is any way to work that door back into the kitchen if we don't do the add-on.

There are three bedrooms upstairs, and there are stairs to the attic. We plan to turn the entire attic into the girls' domain, including a bathroom, since we have 6 girls and only one boy. That gives us a room for ds, and then we can use the "extra" bedroom for more flex space- sewing, library, office, nursery... we have all kinds of ideas of how to use that extra room, LOL. The 4th bedroom was turned into a laundry/full bath, but we've figured out how to work that space a little bit harder to make it into a master bath in one part, and the laundry-1/2 bath in the other part. This place is full of potential.

Your comments and drawings are helping me to think this through, thank you. : )

This post was edited by laughable on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 8:38

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:36AM
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