Emergency: Need help with layout

jasperdogDecember 21, 2012

We bought a house that we were planning on remodeling. Once we got into demolition for the remodel, we realized the house had structural issues and would need to be torn down. After a year and a half of working with an architect, waiting for bank loan approval, and doing demolition by hand to save money and try to recycle materials, we are finally moving forward with actual construction.

I have fought with the kitchen layout and am having difficulty because of limitations secondary to window, door and short cabinet run on one wall.

The kitchen has an L-shaped layout to work with - 9'10" on the window/door wall and 18'18" on the other. In addition, there will be an 8' x 4.5' island. The island will have seating on two sides - opposite the window and opposite the range.

The contractor says the window must be atleast 1 ft from the door and 0.5 feet from the wall cabinets. Size is otherwise negotiable. It must have atleast one casement for venting as this is the only window area in the kitchen.

Applianaces are to include a 36" gas range and 30" wall oven. Regrigerator will either be a 42" SxS or 36" over/under. In addition a dishwasher and a microwave will have to go somewhere.

I would prefer to put a single basin main sink in front of the window with the range on the adjacent wall. All other things are negotiable and I am trying to come up with the most functional, yet asthetically appealing layout.

I have tried using available kitchen design software and end up being totally frustrated and then confused about where to squeeze some items in such as: where to put the dishwasher since the upper cabinets are only on the long wall, what type of window and size of window (can be anywere from 6' to 7 ') to put in so that the window design/arrangement will work with sink layout, and where to put a trash can pullout so that it's near the sink.

Any assitance would be appreciated as I have to decide about the window for the framers.

I will add the current architect drawing on a separate post after I figure out how to do it.

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Here is the architect's design.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Is there a second sink in the island that you are not showing? I would not have the DW in the island with the sink on the L. You'll be dripping dishes and twisting around. I'm a little concerned about the frig placement but can't be sure until it is known where your eating and family room areas are in relation to the kitchen layout. could you post a whole house drawing?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:25AM
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When you say window for venting, do you mean there will be not hood vent? No windows on the side?

I do see the sink in the island. Is that you clean up sink or a prep sink?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:47AM
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There isn't room for seating in this kitchen as pictured. The people will be block your traffic through the space.

Also that pantry broom and powder room complex swallows up much more space than it needs to. I think the broom and the pantry spaces could be combined and reduced to be more efficient. And perhaps the powder room could open from the other side away from the food prep space. Is the rough plumbing already in place for any of this?

Is the long wall an exterior wall? If so, then it needs windows. If not, then what's on the other side, and does there need to be a connection between the two spaces? The kitchen as pictured is pretty isolated an not at all a social space. Which is fine for some people. But it would be a major failing for the goals of most people these days. They envision the larger connected space in which meal preparation is part of the social family live and extends into a family room area.

Where is the family/everyday entrance into the space and how does that relate to the food storage zone?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:04AM
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The area to the left of the island is open to the living room. The dining room is to the left of the pantry and is open to the living room. The main eating area will be on the island itself. The seating will be on the left side and also the end nearest the pantry. I have hopefully attached a copy of the main floor so you can get a better idea of the layout and flow.

The idea is to have a prep sink in the island with the main sink in front of the window. The window above the main sink will either have two casements with a fixed window in the center or one small casement and one larger picture window. That is one of my main dilemmas at the moment - how to arrange the sink wall and get the window and sink setup to look good.

Trying to figure out where to put the dishwasher is another problem. The best location plumbing wise would be to the left of the main sink, but that puts it far away from the cabinets where everything will be stored. I might be able to fit it in to right of the main sink if I were to forego putting a lazy susan in the corner, but then I have to figure out what else to put in the corner.

I am open to ideas for the powder room and pantry. I have tried rearranging it, but due to the size it is awkward to rearrange. The rough plumbing is not in place yet, but the subfloor plumbing will be soon for the drain down in the basement.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 11:56PM
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why are you putting the PR off of the kitchen? most people don't like one close to the kitchen.

Is the oven under counter or wall?

how about moving the sink to the left - it can still be under the window? then you'll have room for the dw on the right.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 12:56AM
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why are you putting the PR off of the kitchen? most people don't like one close to the kitchen.

Is the oven under counter or wall?

how about moving the sink to the left - it can still be under the window? then you'll have room for the dw on the right.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 2:12AM
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why are you putting the PR off of the kitchen? most people don't like one close to the kitchen.

- Because that is where there is room for it.

Is the oven under counter or wall?

- Wall oven

how about moving the sink to the left - it can still be under the window? then you'll have room for the dw on the right.

- I've thought about that, but I don't like having a dishwasher up against the corner. That's what we have now and it is too difficult to have to reach into or over it to unload. I'm pondering getting dishdrawers for this very reason. It also limits the type of corner cabinet as the dishwasher would have to be as far to the right as possible.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 6:46PM
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You're right, the best location for the DW is to the left of the DW out of the way of the Prep and Cooking Zones. It's not too far away from storage...you can easily store dishes to the right of the cleanup sink. In fact, it's a good place for dish storage b/c it puts dishes in a location that's convenient to the cleanup sink & DW as well as out of the main Prep & Cooking Zones so someone setting the table or emptying the DW will not get in the way of someone else prepping and/or cooking.

The added advantage of putting the DW on the left is that if you have someone prepping b/w the range and sink (the most natural place to prep, btw), the DW will not be in the way - so if someone wants to put something in/take something out of the DW, that person will not get in the way of the person prepping.

A couple of more comments about the architect's plan (the first plan you posted)...

  • The refrigerator, as it's drawn in the architect's plan will not work well...

    • First, the door next to the wall will not open fully. You need space b/w the wall and refrigerator so the door & handle will fit next to the wall and not be restricted b/c the wall is in the way.

    • Second, the refrigerator is too far from the island to use as landing space - which is the ideal location b/c you want to prep there. Open the refrigerator, place the food on the island, close the refrigerator walk to the island and begin prepping. The counter in the architect's plan adds a step....place the food on the counter next to the refrigerator and then pick it all up and move it to the island...do you really want to do that if it can be avoided?

The DW in the island places it in the middle of your preferred Prep Zone. As stated above, placing the DW in the Prep Zone means if someone wants to put something in/take something out of the DW, that person will get in the way of the person prepping - and the person prepping will have to move aside to allow access to the DW by someone else. Also, have you ever prepped over a running DW? There's quite a bit of heat and if your DW vents steam, it will be vented onto the person standing there prepping.

So, what do I recommend?

  • Pantry & PR locations...

    • I think you're right about the location of the PR. Without a major reworking of the rest of the house, I think the best location is off the kitchen. About people not liking it there...I think there are two reasons some do not like the arrangement:

      • People definitely do not like the PR opening into the kitchen; but yours does not, it opens into a hallway off the kitchen.

      • Putting the PR off the kitchen draws traffic into the kitchen; but your PR is off to the side, traffic is not drawn into the main working part of the kitchen.

  • I would switch the Pantry & PR. Having a pantry on an outside wall is not ideal. Heat during the summer will warm it up and require you to either devise some venting of the pantry or leave the door...
    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:15AM
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Thank you so much for the helpful posting. This is the kind of feedback I needed.

Where would you move the frig or are your suggesting going with the 36" over/under? I realize we may need a spacer so that the frig is not flush against the wall. The benefit of having the current hallway into the half bath/pantry is that the handle on the frig door will stick out into the hallway instead of hitting the wall.

If anyone else has additional ideas, they are welcome!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Where is the garage/parking? What door do you anticipate bringing groceries in through? I don't see any mud area or family entrance dump zone, and this can be critical to keeping out flotsam. That is where I'd want the powder room and pantry located as well.

Buell's layout is great, as far as the kitchen area goes, but the rest of the home needs to flow better. And to do that, you need to analyze the traffic flow through the spaces.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 1:51PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by an "over/under" refrigerator...do you mean a bottom freezer refrigerator (or top freezer) as opposed to a side-by-side?

Neither layout of PR/Pantry allows the refrigerator doors to open into a doorway. To allow that, the wall must be no deeper than the depth of the refrigerator carcass/box + space behind the refrigerator for air flow, plugs, water line, base molding, and anti-tilt mechanism. The entire door must open into the doorway. In addition, if you have trim around our doorways (some people have trim around doorways that have no actual doors - just openings), then you will need filler to clear the trim plus a bit to allow free movement of the refrigerator in/out.

Counter-depth refrigerator carcasses/boxes are approx 24" to 25" + another inch or so for the "extras" previously listed (plug, etc.).

Live_Wire_Oak has good points about the Mudroom, etc. One of my regrets when we built many years ago is that we did not put in a Mudroom...but we were new to building and didn't really know any better (and I don't think there were sites like this...it was early 1991.)

What would be helpful is if you could provide us with more information about you and your family and how you plan to use your kitchen. The "Read Me" thread has a "Layout Help" topic that describes what information we need. You've already provided some of it, but there is also a list of questions that help us help you find the best design for you and your family.

Read Me thread: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

Here are a couple of counter-height window threads that I meant to post last night:

counter height window pictures please
In particular, scroll down to MamaDadaPaige's and ErikaNH's windows
This thread also contains information about designing a counter-height window (measuring, etc.). Scroll down to the message I posted "Tue, Feb 10, 09 at 15:23".

pros and cons of windows that go all the way down to the counters

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Jasperdog, Buehl's first drawing bears a very striking resemblance to the kitchen I designed for myself. So does your initial drawing, for that matter, down to the French door to the left of the short side of the L counter and sites of sinks and stove.

We differ in that mine is shorter, the long counter ending with the island, which is a bit shorter than yours. I don't have seating on the island and my fridge and pantry cabinets are set into a wall opposite the island, which has a door to a sitting room near the door to the garden but is otherwise solid. Also, I have no uppers over my L counter, just windows on both walls interrupted only by the stove hood.

Buehl's ideas basically sound great to me. They should--I'm living with a lot of them.

Moving clockwise from the French door in my kitchen: I put the DW to the left of the sink, which is about 42" from the island, allowing us to pass with the door open. I don't prep on the short arm of the L-counter to the right of the sink, but I like that most cleanup tends to arrive to its left, on top of the DW, ready to set in. Scrubbing from the stove tends to arrive to the right of the sink, or likely in it.

Glasses and cups, which are small, hard to carry items, are stored on the outside of that end of the island (sink and coffee/toaster niche both a step away). In your case, I'd at least consider having island drawers opening toward the DW, even if it would require some adjustments. Full depth'd be nice, but even 12" or 15" deep shelves or drawers would put very good storage right there. I put a row of 12" deep full-extension drawers on the top of the outside of my island, over shelves behind doors, but I may just someday install some where the bottom shelves are too to access that storage more easily.

Still unloading, silverware, other small items, storage containers, are in drawers directly to the right of the sink, very close and easy.

Dishes, cooking utensils and pots and pans are stored at point-of-use in drawers under/alongside the stove area. Most are larger items, and since they go farthest, they're stacked on the island, shoved over, and set in the drawers.

Without storage in close-by uppers, unloading is not optimal, but it's still quick and easy. I had good reasons for doing it this way, but it was an experiment that fortunately has worked out. I'd definitely do it again.

Directly to the right of the sink is my trash pullout. The rest of the short L/corner on that side is mainly used for putting food in containers, so containers, baggies, plastic wrap, etc., are stored in that area.

The reason my trash is by the main sink is that we're on a septic tank, so dishes are scraped into the garbage, not the sink. If we were on a sewer, I'd have a trash pullout on the island where I prep because that's where most of the disposables originate.

My one oven is under the counter to the left of the stove, where I don't have to stand in front of it as...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:16PM
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I just realized while re-reading the post that my first kitchen picture is an old drawing with the half bath and the pantry switched. The second one showing the whole house is the most recent layout with the rational that the pantry will buffer anyone in the dining room from hearing what is happening in the half bath.

Beuhl: Now that I'm home from work I've had more opportunity to review the drawings you did. Thank you so much! I especially like the idea of bumping out the window and lowering it so the countertop flows into it.
With the base cabinets, are they actually 30" deep or just bumped out to 30"?

Yes, an over/under frig has a bottom freezer and single door frig on top.

Additional information: Family of two middle-aged adults who both like to cook. The house is being planned partly with us in mind and partly for resale down the road. We are looking forward to being able to cook with friends as all of our stuff has been in storage for quite some time and the occupancy clearance is a ways off as our construction is being somewhat slowed down by snow, snow, and more snow.

The one appliance we currently have in storage is a 36" BS range. Other appliances have yet to be explicitly decided.

One of the things I would like to incorporate is a narrow base cabinet pullout next to the range for things like cooking oil. What other corner cabinets are functional? While a Susan can certainly be useful, they take up a huge amount of cabinet real estate.

Live_wire_oak: The garage is in the basement and will be the main entry point, so all groceries, etc. will have to be carried upstairs. Not the most convenient, but it is what it is. We are working with a pre-existing foundation somewhat limiting the layout. Other positive factors include taking advantage of the views. We have a lovely mountain view outside the kitchen and living room windows. So, the mudroom is in the basement. The French door off the kitchen and sliding doors off the living room go out to a deck (kitchen) with an adjoining patio (living room).

Rosie: Thank you for describing your kitchen. It will give me some more ideas to work with. I am pondering making the storage area on the end of the island the width of the countertop and decreasing the seating a bit. That way I can add additional storage close by and possibly a wine rack facing out towards the living room.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you're bringing in groceries into the basement from the garage, then you've GOT to put in a dumbwaiter into the pantry. The chute will need to be metal lined and will also probably need a sprinkler head at the top to be tied in with the new sprinkler system if your municipality is under the newest building code. Some municipalities required the sprinklers with basement garages as a more restrictive measure even before the newest code revisions.

But, with the new information that you've provided about how you enter the home, I think I would shift the dining room to where the kitchen is located and put the kitchen where pantry is located. Then place the pantry and powder room across the hall from the entry way/stairs so that it's easier to get to. That gets the powder room away from the kitchen and closer to the stairs and the entry point where it's more useful. It also gets the pantry closer to where the food actually comes into the home. You could do a bit off a small desk area in front of the window facing the porch if you wanted a private getaway. A friend has her desk in her pantry like that, and it's her favorite spot in the whole house. Now the dining room can serve as everyday seating for just you two with the view out the windows, and you can put in as many leaves as the table has in order to expand it into the living room area and hold a dozen people. It's more versatile located like this.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Hollysprings: The dumbwater idea is very intriguing. I might have to see if that's feasible.

The layout changes are probably not practical at this stage in the game as it would also affect the exterior appearance of the front of the house.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 12:09AM
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As per the dumbwaiter, you could look into a manual one called the Silent Servant as it is so much less costly than the electric ones. I know there was a poster a while back that spoke about her Silent Servent dumbwaiter. You could do a google search using gardenweb and dumbwaiter and maybe you would come up with it. This poster loved her dumbwaiter. We are also planning to put in a Silent Servent dumbwaiter as we also enter through a basement garage.

BTW, I love the changes Beuhl made to your kitchen design. Holly looks like she has provided excellent changes as well.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:37AM
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I can empathize with your dilemma as your pantry and PR area seems to have some wasted space with the hallway between the two. I tried playing around with it in photoshop but couldn't really find a better alternative given your floorplan. I've attached what I did come up with, though.

First, I'd replace the pantry and PR doors with pocket doors for better function.

You can see the other ideas I had by looking at the photo. It may mean that you have to shorten the island a tad, but I think you'd more than make up for the lost space with the better function of the wall cabinets. Also, I'd considering centering the stove a little more. on that long wall and make it the focal point in the room.

I didn't see any windows on that long wall so you might consider adding one in front of the prep sink space on my photo.

Hope this helps!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 3:32PM
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