Layout help, please?

mafs1482November 3, 2012

Hello, everyone. I've been reading here for a long time and am dying to get your input on my kitchen layout. My feelings on what we should do to this space run the gamut from just replacing cabinet doors and countertops to a full gut reno. I'd love more workspace so that two or three people can comfortably be in the kitchen at once. We plan to be in the house forever, so I'd like it to be the best, most functional kitchen it can be. Its functionality is pretty low now, about what you'd expect from an original 1968 kitchen. Lots of blind corners, not very much cabinet space, etc.

Here's the current layout.

A picture of the kitchen now.

The best picture I had of the dining room.

Here's a picture of the main floor so you can see how the kitchen relates to everything.

Sorry about the giant pictures. Like I said, I'm not sure exactly what I want to do. As you can see, there is very little counter space other than the peninsula and that tiny area to the right of the stove. There's a bit of counter space above the dishwasher, but that's usually filled with small appliances. I feel like a lot of the dining room is wasted space; right now I'm thinking it would be nice to figure out a way to make the whole area kitchen with an eating area included instead of a separate dining area. I saw a picture of another kitchen on here where they had a peninsula with stools and I liked that, although I've never thought about getting rid of the table completely.

We have access to the basement so we can move stuff around, although my husband would prefer not to. But if it's going to make a better kitchen for us to enjoy for the next 50+ years, then it's something we need to do.

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Are you willing to move doors or windows, or take down walls?

You have enough room for an L + island layout. I would remove all cabinets from the right wall and put the Fridge on the left wall. I also would try to get more space between the sink and stove.

If you ARE open to moving doors and windows, I would close up the bottom window and put the Fridge down at that end. That would give you the most room to move the sink away from the stove, or you can leave the sink where it is and put the range between sink and fridge. If you left sink and moved the stove I would probably eliminate the run of cabinetry at the top, and just have a galley/island layout. doing that gets rid of annoying corner cabinets and allows your island to be longer.

Without taking down the wall to the dining room, your island can be about 30" deep max. That doesn't allow for seating but it does provide you a nice big deep work area. I grew up in a house where the counters were 30" deep and you won't believe the difference that extra 6" makes.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Hi, Mafs. If your mood coincides with budget, I'd think it was time for a gut redo. There's just so much that can be done.

Is your front door off the driveway onto the stair landing? Is the kitchen door out to a back garden?

Offhand, just to throw out ideas, if it were mine I'd consider exchanging the kitchen and dining areas, so the dining area had the door and view to the back yard AND the kitchen could have the whole opposite wall, without subtracting for a doorway.

That's bearing wall separating them from the living room, of course, but you could open it up nicely by having a 7-foot wall centered on the fireplace bear the weight, with 4' doorways on each side creating a circular flow and feeling of openness. All spaces would benefit by a better relationship and new feeling of spaciousness. OR, the doorway on the stair side could stay right where it is for a bit more separation of kitchen view, smells, noise from the living room.

OTOH, if the dining room stayed where it is, it could be opened up with a wide, architecturally stylish doorway to create a nice view as you come up the stairs. And to create diagonal views with the living room to make them both feel much larger. I personally would not consider living without a table and chairs, but then I've never been fond of perching at a counter with only a side view of the ear I'm talking to. So consider the source. :)

Since to me a dining/playing/projects table is very important, all kitchen layout would be confined to an area I decided was appropriate to the size and functions of the house. Probably about what it is now, or even smaller--allocating that center walk-about space to the dining area, but just working a lot, lot better. Happily, you have enough space that bigger isn't necessarily more functional.

Have you examined the way you work? A counter 3 to 3-1/2 feet wide is plenty for all my daily prep; 24" deep is fine, but 30" is lovely for shoving both waiting and prepared ingredients to the back while working away. I would need a second workplace, both for DH to throw himself together a quick breakfast and lunch before heading out to fish and for the occasional second cook or big cooking project.

I'd probably be happy to store my big canner in the basement, and the large crock pot I only use for an extra cooking source for holiday meals--just like I do now. (I love my basement pantry. I walled in a room down there that's only for my kitchen storage, though strictly speaking a stretch of wall storage would accomplish the same thing.)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Let us know how much you're willing to do - especially the windows. I think switching the Dining area and the Kitchen is an interesting idea, but it would only work if you are willing to replace that window with a window approx 36" off the finished floor. (It might be nice to have a bumpout as well!)

In the first-floor pic, what are all those other rooms? Without knowing that, we can't really tell how the kitchen fits in with the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Tracie, I've thought about moving the doorway into the kitchen, although there are certain problems that would have to be addressed if we did, mostly to do with where the living room furniture would go. I did have a plan before that eliminated the peninsula to put the fridge there, but DH didn't like it. We'd have to find more workspace if we did that; if the fridge were moved I might feel differently but I always kind of feel like that counter next to the fridge is not really part of the work area in the kitchen. 30" deep counters do sound lovely. I've also thought about doing one area of 42" tall cabinets since both DH and I are tall and we don't plan on moving so we don't have to worry so much about resale.

Yes, the front door is at the bottom of those stairs, so you have to walk up half a flight of stairs to get to the main area of the house. The back door opens up to a tiny little deck that we plan to eventually replace with a larger deck, then you walk down a full flight of stairs to the backyard.

I had planned to open up the door to the kitchen wider, although there's an air return right next to it that would have to be moved if we did that. I've thought a lot about switching the kitchen and dining room, and other than the windows being the wrong sizes (large in the dining room, small in the kitchen) it wouldn't be that hard. Of course DH doesn't want to, but if we're replacing cabinets it really shouldn't be that much extra work. Famous last words. Like I said above, moving the doorways would mean we'd need to figure out a new furniture arrangement and bringing groceries in would be a bit more difficult, but I don't see walking ten more feet to be that big of a deal. We usually bring everything to the top of the stairs and then put it away anyway.

As far as how I work, I do most of my prep on the peninsula, but I'd really like to have more room around the stove and more room between the stove/sink/dishwasher. It'd be nice to have someone able to do the dishes while I'm at the stove cooking, or have someone be able to unload/reload the dishwasher and whoever's cooking could still have access to the main counter space without having to go into the dining room.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:15PM
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Buehl, sorry, the room right next to the kitchen is the living room. The large room (23.5x13) is actually the garage, which is connected to the house but has no interior door. The rest of the rooms are bedrooms.

Gacek, love that picture. That's something I'd really consider, although I'm still on the fence about not having a table. That island would probably be easy enough to sub out for a table, though.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:18PM
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That is amazing, Beuhl! I love it. I bet this will go a long way toward convincing DH to switch things around. Do you think the island would work with drawers instead of standard cabinets?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:02AM
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How about something like this?

  • First, it switches the Dining area and the kitchen

  • It widens the doorway on the right leading to the hall so you don't need a 12" cabinet b/w the wall and refrigerator

It widens the window on the lower left side to 45", raises it to approx 36" off the finished floor, and includes an 8" bump-out - if you can do it. A banquette is used for the table space - it allows you to have more room in the kitchen and doesn't crowd the outside door on the top right. The refrigerator is situated so it can be easily access from the kitchen by those working in the kitchen as well as someone looking for a snack (from the LR or the Dining area) There's room b/w the range and sink for prepping (21" on the sink side and 30" on the range side of the corner) It has an island that can also be used for prepping. While water is not on the island, it's close to both the sink on the left and the range. The small pantry on the bottom is now being used to recess a standard-depth refrigerator to make it look counter-depth. A new pantry is on the top right wall - 6'6" of 12" deep shelves (in a 13" deep cabinet).

Here is a suggested work zone map:

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:48AM
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Nice job, Buehl!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Well, I guess it was an accomplishment worth double kudos. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:55PM
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