plan critique

tj527November 12, 2012

I would love feedback on the attached kitchen plan. Thanks so much!

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Can you post it with bigger text? Even increasing the "zoom" in my browser doesn't make all the measurements legible...and they're impossible to read at "standard" view.

In particular, the ones on the left (I can read the top ones once I increase the "zoom" high enough).

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Is that a doorway on the right? If so, how far is the doorway from the "top" wall? The bottom" wall? How wide is the doorway?

What are the dimensions of the bottom alcove?

If you decide to post a layout with the measurements, it would be better to get room dimensions, not cabinet spacing...cabinet spacing can be imprecise when trying to determine the dimensions of a room.

Could you also please let us know more about yourself, your family, and how you plan to use the kitchen? Oh, and a layout of the entire first floor showing us the flow in/around/through the kitchen and how the kitchen relates to the rest of the floor would be very helpful.

Have you had a chance to read the "Layout Help" topic in the "Read Me" thread? It describes what information we need to effectively help you find the best layout for you and your family...


Island seating - you only have room for two seats, not three. The end seat cannot share the same knee/leg space as the seats on the side.

Each seat needs at least 24" of linear space and 15" of "clear knee space" (i.e., overhang) w/o sharing it with another seat.

Here is a link that might be useful: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Here are some zoomed in pictures. Thank you for your advice. We have considered changing the island seat configuration and I attached that picture now.

o The goal for this kitchen remodel was to remove the wall between the kitchen and the den, in the current plan it is the short wall parallel to the one with the large window. That wall currently has an oven which we have to move, which is why it is now in the island. We also wanted to add an island and a double oven. The location of the appliances and windows cannot move.
o My husband and I have a 15 month old and we have a cavalier king Charles spaniel. We plan on having at least one more child.
o Although I cannot get a plan of the areas surrounding the rooms�The door near the short wall with the large window is opens into a laundry/mud/garage. The door on the long wall leads into the formal dining room.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Here are a portion of the ones on the left. I guess I only have the measurements of the cabinets

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Here are a portion of the ones on the left. I guess I only have the measurements of the cabinets

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Here is the island reconfiguration. We do not have access to the program that created the plan. Thank you for your input.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Sorry...I think I may have figured out how to get the dimensions in one file.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:46PM
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I'm still not clear on a few things...

There appear to be three doorways: Top wall - there's an opening b/w the cabinets/counters on the left and the tall cabinets on the right - is that a doorway? If so, where does it lead? The doorway on the right above what I think is the pantry (with the bi-fold doors) - is that the one that leads to the formal DR? The doorway on the bottom left corner - where the table is - is that the one that leads to the laundry room/mudroom/garage?

Regarding not having access to the program...all you need is a tape measure and either:

(1) A piece of paper to draw a rough floor plan, write the measurements on it, and camera to take a picture & upload the picture so you can post it here


(2) A computer to draw up a diagram and add the measurements to it (just text) and then upload the picture so you can post it here

Either one, you can also add notes (e.g., where a doorway leads)

You can also draw up a rough picture of the first floor...

Once we have a clear set of measurements, I think you will get more responses...

[You might even get more now that we have a little more information....]

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Oh...also, include all the walls, windows, and doorways in the drawing & measurements. For example, there are no measurements for the right walls & doorway & windows as well as the bottom wall & window...what are they??

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:14PM
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I can't figure out where the fridge is?

Is there a need for the stools on the island; you have table seating scarcely 5 feet away. Islands with cooktops and stools always generate safety issues unless they are huge, which yours is not.

Your aisles are pretty skimpy, especially the one between the sink and cooktop (33" if I am reading correctly). Adding a stool to that walkway will make you nuts I think.

Cooktops in islands are always dicey in narrowish kitchens (yours in 15' 5", more or less scaled from your cab dimensions.) Figure 2 X 24 for cabs on both sides, plus 3 inches total for counter overhang. Plus two aisles (2 times 42 min., less whatever you think you can cheat out, but probably not as skinny as 33", even in a non-through traffic aisle) and you've got barely room for a non-cooking island. One of the difficulties with island cooktops is that you have to devote (as you have shown in the plan) a fair amount of deadspace on the counters around it for safety's sake. That space is much better used in more efficient, kitchen-enhancing ways. That foot of countertop behind the range isn't prep space, it can't be eat-at counter space, but it causes your circulation pattern to become really crowded.

Island cooktops are best in much bigger rooms. They also need expensive, and often visually obtrusive ventilation systems. (You don't see them on TV, but believe me they're up there!) Placing the cooktop along a wall, preferably an external one makes for easy, cheaper ventilation. You could have a range and one additional wall-oven.

Since you have a formal dining room, why not move your everyday eating into that space and enlarge the kitchen into the present eat-in area, offering a better chance for a workable kind of counter eating. So-called formal dining rooms not used for every day meals strike me as really a waste of space. It's different in tiny houses where there is no other eating space but in the kitchen. I think you should aim for not more than two kinds of eating places: one in the kitchen for very casual meals (table or counter) and one a dining room which is used daily. I figure you're probably paying mortgage and taxes on the room so get you money's worth for it on more than Thanksgiving and Easter!

Why do all appliances have to stay where they are if you plan move to a double oven, etc.?

It would be very helpful to have a measured drawing of the space. You don't need computer skills just graph paper and a dark pen, and partner to help you hold the tape while you take down the numbers. After the drawing is done take a pic and post it.

The more info about the space and your constraints, etc. the better the help you will get. Also the earlier in the process, the better. It's tough when the first chance we get at the pans is after the cab order has been placed.

My standard advice for early planners is to think about how the food moves through their kitchens from storage to prep to cooking to plating to clean-up before they start to think about how they want the kitchen to look. Few people do, (and I didn't in my first go-rounds of kitchn planning), but it saves a lot of angst. Efficient kitchens can be just as pretty; but kitchens without efficiency are unsatisfactory no matter how pretty. And all kitchen changes are pricey so why not get the best working space for your money - in my experince you'll thank yourself every day.

The door to the mud room/laundry which collides with the table is problematic - won't you be carry in heavy sacks of groceries and laundry baskets through that door? It seems like the table and chiars would alwsy be in your way!

Finally, you note you are removing a wall between the kitchen and den. That's a common thing to do these days. but do give some thought about what you are trying to accomplish because it has some downsides. Do you want some company while you cook? Maybe having a comfortable sitting area in the kitchen will do the trick just as well, and still allow you to keep the kitchen rumpus out of the room where you go to hang out after dinner is done. Maybe you need (for the next 3-5 years) a place for toddlers to play while Mom makes dinner. Then plan on that for now, with a change to something more useful later like a table surface for homework and projects while Mom cooks. Maybe later you'll need a place for Mom and Dad to hang out while their kids and friends are all in the den playing games: close but not right there - a comfy seating area in the kitchen would be espcially useful at that stage.

Don't despair about problems and planning issues raised - these are almost always resolvable, with a better plan in the end. And I always assume that's why people take the trouble to ask for help.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:32PM
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The island is way too big for this kitchen. The table and chairs you are showing wont really fit 6 seats, not enough room

You can have a great kitchen in this space, but you need to make some choices

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Thank you all for your feedback. The door near the table is actually a door to the outside, which we do not use and eventually plan on removing. The one to the right of the bi-fold door is the laundry, the one to the left of the bi-fold door is the dining room. The wall opening near the full height cabinets will be a half wall and opening into the den. I grew up with an open den/kitchen and I loved it so that is why we would like it this way. I agree about the extra table in the kitchen, we probably do not need it. We have moved the stools to all be on the opposite side of the island so they are not in the smaller walkway area (33' area) you can see this in the picture right above the final picture I posted. We have decided to do a downdraft stove, which I also grew up with so we are fine with this decision. If we got rid of the table, would you suggest adding to the island? We are adding the double oven and moving where the current stove/oven is to the island. All the quotes we got for the kitchen were at our max without moving any additional appliances or windows (we recently replaced them). Unfortunately, the windows to the left of the cabinets behind the table are pretty low so we could not extend the cabinets. I realize it is difficult without proper measurements so I thank you for whatever feedback you can give me based on the plan I did provide.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:06AM
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Well, moving all the stools to the opposite long side of the cooktop counter is actually making things worse. You really can't have people sitting and using the 12" of safety room behind the range - that's just waiting for a serious accident to happen. And even that aisle is way too narrow for inclusion of any sitting space. At best, you have one (and a half) sitting places on the short (table) end of the island.

Don't fuss about the cost estimates before you work out the efficiency and work flow plans. Once you have the work flow worked out to the best it can within your space, then figure out how to get there.

You've progressed to step two or three before completing step one.

I'm not trying bust on you; it's very common when you think you'll do a reno to go ahead and get some drawings made, and based on them get the cost estimates (which are often daunting) which in turn start to control your design choicess even before you have worked out a well-designed plan.

Take a minute, and start at the beginning. Take the measurements, put them on a plan. The total cost of this will be less than $10, even if you have to buy a measuring tape, a pad of graph paper and a Sharpie. Isn't it worth that much to develop a really well-functioning plan that then you can eventually get estimates on? Cabinet designers don't make money on moving appliances; they make their money on selling you cabinets so their advice tends to go there.

Posters offering suggestions here make no money on anything; we're just interested in great functioning (and looking) kitchens. And there are fabulous (meaning well-planned ones) kitchens at every price point.

What have you got to lose? What I'm trying to get at is don't forclose the possibility of better layout options, with different appliance configurations, just because the cabinet vendor has sucked up all your potential budget. Nice cabs do not make a fantastic kitchen - good, efficient, work flow does.

It starts with thinking, hard, about how you want the kitchen to work. Then thinking about how to get your space to do that. Then thinking about how things must be laid out to get the space to do that. Then thinking about how to get the cost of arranging things to get the space to work well in the way you want to be within in your overall budget. And, finally making the choices among cabs, appliances, finishes, etc., to get the look you want. This is really the fun part if you've done the preceding homework because then there's much less agonizing of where and what to spend the money on. You're not grieving stuff that wouldn't have fit in either your space or your budget.

The thing is unless you've tons of money to spend on paying someone else to do the hard thinking and analyzing (i.e. using high-end, fee-paid designer) you'll rarely find anybody selling cabs who can economically fit that thoughtful attention into their business model. But you can do it for yourself, for nearly free. (With a little help from the forum, natch.)

Looking forward to seeing drawing of your space.

Here's a budget (and design) thought: island cooktops with downdraft vents are one of the more expensive options (and less effective at venting). Island cooktops with overhead ventilation are also expensive. For what you might spend on either of these, you might be able to choose a higher-end range or cooktop and ovens combo. But before you start thinking about either alternative - think more about how you use the range: what kind of cooking do you do; what kind of cooking do you want to do?

And make that measured plan! If you haven't already please read the Read Me threads which have tons of very useful advice about designing kitchens around work zones, etc. Plenty of eye candy to keep you interested, as well.



    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Liriodendron speaks the truth about going back to square one.

Do start with an empty space on paper. I was way ahead of myself when I started my planning and finally allowed myself to listen to what GW was telling me. It is so helpful to graph out layout after layout within the measurements of the empty (on paper) room.

I don't know if this was just me, but I had a hard time seeing things differently than what was already in the kitchen. Hard to see 'out of the existing box' so to speak.
I posted a thread asking 'what do you all see that I don't?' and out of that thread was the beginnings of my finalized layout...COMPLETELY different than what I started with in my head but SO much more functional.

The other thing that has been helping me is that I GW'd my existing kitchen as much as I could...moved things into more clearly defined zones, instead of having cr*p all over the place and running all over my kitchen to grab this and that. Just doing that reorganizing has helped me to pay attention to how I work and cook and move and what I want my remodeled kitchen to be in function.

just my 2 cents


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:30PM
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