Request for opinion on kitchen layout

sarah_chNovember 18, 2012


We are in the process of developing floor plans for our new build. We plan to have human kids in a few years, but in the meantime we are very happy with our dogs. We entertain occasionally, and cook meals 3-4 days a week.

Criteria for the kitchen layout:

- Must accomodate 2 cooks occasionally;

- Sit-down kitchen table must be integrated in the design (although it may be relocated within the family room area).

- Seating at the island could be eliminated;

- Door to patio and opening from the entry hall cannot be moved;

- The placement of door to the mud/dog room could be changed, but we want kitchen > mud room > outside & garage;

- The garage wing can be moved, but must remain somewhat set back compared to the main building when viewed from the street;

- The kitchen window faces south;

- Range could be 36'' or 48''. We like the functionality and look of the 48'' range, but understand that a 36'' would fulfill our needs 95% of the time; and

- We are big, big fans of symmetry and nice sightlines.

Thank you in advance. All comments are appreciated.

Here is the kitchen layout:

The entire layout can be found in the following thread:

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Your fridge is really squishing your range. I would swap the fridge and MW. I'm guessing that your MW is in an upper cabinet with a lower and counter underneath, and the corner you have it will be an unpleasant, dark and cramped little cave. If your MW is in a tall cabinet (ie, no counter), you have no landing space for the hot things coming out of it, which makes the issue worse. However, doing this will upset the symmetry of the range wall.

Alternatively, you can go with a MW drawer and put it in the island, which leaves you more space to move the fridge down and still center the range nicely.

I would consider going to the 36" range in order to give the range wall more breathing room. With the 48" I feel like the wall will be very cramped looking - tall fridge looming over huge range and hood, etc..

Finally, even though your sink window faces south it still won't be sunny there because of your covered porch. Just making sure you're aware..

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:12AM
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Like tracie.erin, I would consider a 36" range. I just bought a house with a 48" range top with 18" of counter on each side and I don't think it's enough. I like the fridge and MW where they are in your layout - the location of each makes sense to me from a functional standpoint, and I think Tracie.erin's concern would about the fridge squishing the range would be reduced if you go with a smaller range and hood.

I like to have dishes close to my fridge, MW, and primary eating area. Your sink and DW/dish location would work well enough for me b/c we eat at our island. But if your primary eating area is at the table, that distance would concern me a bit - especially for things like coffee in the morning. But perhaps you could do a coffee station under the microwave?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:13AM
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This drawing is just for alternatives.

Think about how you both work in the kitchen, how guests would interact combined with what you both like. Then have children run through it.

Initial drawings are generally reflective of the suggesters preferences and that's partly true here. The "partly" is that I wouldn't have any island seating - I never sit down in the kitchen.

You have a lot of small cabinets and few large ones - it would be nice if the proportions of small to large cabinets reversed but I'm not sure that is possible.

In the original design, I'm not sure about having cleanup on the top aisle - that's for two reasons. It gives visual preference to something I don't want to have any. It's in an aisle that seems like would be the daily family route in and out of the house. I'm just not sure how much traffic it would get - if it's a fair amount, I wouldn't want dishwashers opening into it. I guess there's a third reason - it's embarrassingly selfish, but if I built a banquette + table, I'd want the daylight and even more light.

In this, butler's pantry is made over into cleanup/dish storage. The sink/glass storage/access to ref makes the butlers pantry a great double as an entertainment bar. This is a compromise location in between the two eating areas, but very accessible to "Snack Alley". Again, it's a trade of how much time do I spend in performing cleanup (less than 15 mins usually and for us - usually when its dark) vs. its sink gets a window.

The Snack Alley aisle with the ref, micro, food storage and a sink would make the other 3 days a week or anytime where you "don't cook" an easy breeze to do a fast lunch or warmed up supper. It's also a good corridor for little chefs to get their own breakfast etc.

I would likely do ref in the alternate position with a food pantry beside it. That would give more room to position the big range on the back wall or possibly a wall micro. The ref is kinda close-enough in either position but people would tend more to use the outer walkways than the one in front of the range.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:11AM
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This might help:

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:04PM
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"...We plan to have human kids in a few years..."

Do you plan to be in this house when you have your "human kids"? If so, they will probably be helping you in the kitchen - both cleaning up and cooking. So I would plan a kitchen that would work with 2 or more people working in the kitchen more than just occasionally - plan for daily.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:10PM
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The only thing that stands out to me is that the clean up area is a long way from both eating areas.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Thank you for the suggestions everyone. I very much appreciate it.

I will try to come up with an alternate layout given your suggestions this week. I will see if it is possible to move the access to the mud room, and see what alternatives this might offer.

I feel that the banquette is a little cramped where it currently is... Our personal preference is to have a sit-down kitchen table, but given the layout I wonder whether it would be better to eliminate the table entirely and have only seating at the island. The distance between the island cabinet and the couch is 54'', is that enough?

bmorepanic, I had never thought of the small-to-large cabinet ratio. I agree that larger cabinets generally look nicer, I will keep this in mind in the future. Personally, I find the most visually pleasing cabinet width is 30'' (both for upper and lower cabinets).

Buehl, we do plan to live in this house for many years. It is large enough to accomodate our future family and our dogs. The only reason we would move is if we relocated for work, but I think this is unlikely.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Will I have trouble finding a countertop for a 6 x 6 island?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:56PM
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You can always make that a little smaller - have a 15" overhang + maybe 15-18" deep center space - so a 30" cabinet + 24" on the end in place of three 24" cabinets. The seated people still have a 30" deep surface.

The short side of the island would be (54" of cabinets + 3" for overhangs) 57" wide - doable size for granite. Still could have 3 seats if the long side was a little bit longer, something around 6" I think.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:46AM
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Thank you for your comments bmorepanic.

I tried moving the mud room door. I'm not too sure about the shape of the garage now, but I think it would still be functional.





    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:28PM
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I have no clue as to the amount of room needed by cars - all I've ever known is they are a lot bigger than they look.

The original mudroom did stuff I liked - it channeled people coming from the garage and a yard into the same transition space with closet and place to sit stuff down before hitting the kitchen. This mudroom lets people give it a complete miss - quite possibly accidentally encourage stuff to be dumped onto the island and stools.

You might try the idea of the boxed-out eating area combined with the old mudroom.

The other thing I was going to say is I have a 12 x 15 dining room with a wider long wall opening to the living room and a door centered on one short end and in the corner of the other long wall with a bank of windows on the other short wall - similar, but not same. We use the dining room often - its a small house.

People need a minimum of 32" beyond the table edge to become seated. An easy way to guestimate sizes quickly is table width + 5 feet for minimum. If you want people to be able to ooch through behind other seated folks, use table width plus 6 to 7 feet. Then add on for for any other furniture - so an example would be if you have a 48" wide formal table, then the table, chairs, required spacing would be anywhere between 9 feet minimum to 11 feet (also known as almost the width of the entire room). I think 48" is popular, anyplace between 42" to 54" is widely available.

In order to comfortably have a minimal depth hutch on the long wall, we used a 38" wide table. Comfortably meaning I can open its doors when no one is seated, walk by it when no one is seated and people can become seated on that side of the table without excessive care. The hutch is slightly under 18" deep.

So! Adding 5 feet for chairs and clearance to the table width of 38" is 98 inches - 8'2". Plus ~18" for the hutch is 9'8". The remainder allows for an extra 24" for aisle on the non-hutch side of the table with a extra 4" for the space between the table edge and the hutch. We leave the table set up with 4 chairs. Having a meal for 6 works well, 8 is ok-ish, more is buffet.

Because you guys know you have a thing for symmetry, you're not going to be really happy with an offset from center table or chandelier. The room itself isn't big enough to have a 48" table, minimum chair spacing without walkways, 20" deep credenza and a 20" balancing gap. Plus when you have 8 people, you kinda need the extra space in the aisles.

So, think about using the short side up against the powder room for any additional furniture (credenza, hunt board, hutch or other china cupboard). Or do a shallow depth(12") built-in at the same location or use a smaller table.

Using a smaller table feels more convivial to us - people are closer and conversation is easier. Unexpected benefits are the best kind.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Totally agree about the mudroom being the transit to the kitchen. Bmore's suggestion is good. An alternative is #4 or the bumped out eating area with #4 mudroom entrance. That way you wouldn't need that extra little box in the garage for the mudroom entrance

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 1:45PM
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What about this layout? I think it has the ideal mud room, the nook with plenty of natural light and rather functional zones (cooking, cleaning, good clearance in front of the refrigerator).

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:33PM
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