Small Kitchen Layout Advice

jirpelDecember 21, 2012

Hi - I am looking for some assistance on the layout for our Kitchen remodel project. The kitchen is a small (10x10) that is commonly found in your typical post-war cop cod house style house. Our plan is to open up the space between the Kitchen and Dinning room to create a more open feel that would be more conducive to entertaining and a family of four. To do this we a planning on removing the wall separating the two rooms, close up the doorway that exits to the rear deck and convert the double window in the dining room to a sliding door.
We don't do a lot of fancy cooking so usually one person is preparing the meals, with generally two people for the cleanup crew. I was hoping to maximize counter space and possibly incorporate some sort of pantry (something the current house layout does not have).

I have attached the current kitchen layout and a layout that we have been working on. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you & Happy Holidays.

This post was edited by jirpel on Fri, Dec 21, 12 at 16:44

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No real expertise coming from me, but here are my thoughts...

The traffic flow feels congestive to me.

What if you had nothing on the wall that backs up to the stairs and used that for traffic flow that just passes through. You could also devise a drop down 3-4' counter for extra projects that may come along at times.

Referring to your layout proposal, I would then place the frig where you have the range was and move it to the edge of the door way. I would then place the range on the exterior wall for better venting. You could then flank the sides with windows. The sink could go on the peninsula countertop. I would make that countertop 36" instead of the 24" you have.

You didn't indicate what your budget is.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:27PM
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I should have added, I would have extended the pennisula another 2', leaving a 3' "doorway" between the staircase wall and the peninsula countertop.

Increasing the peninsula countertop to 36" deep and moving the countertop that you have next to the frig in your plan to the peninsula gives you slightly more countertop. That wouldn't include a possible drop down countertop too.

Hopefully this all makes sense.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:50PM
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I like aloha2009 idea. Be carefull with the distance from the counter to the table.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Interesting Idea, I will take a look at that. That will definitely provide better flow through the kitchen. I have not set a firm budget yet but thinking in the range of 20-25K. However, I plan to tackle as much as I can by myself. Thanks.

Humm, Not sure what happen to my original photos I will correct that and provide an updated layout.

This post was edited by jirpel on Fri, Dec 21, 12 at 15:58

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 3:57PM
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The dishwasher in a corner will be a headache. Yeah, I see that you don't have a whole lot of options, but I think I'd take the dishwasher on the penninsula instead of this.

Do you have any space under those stairs? Could you either recess the fridge under the stairs, or could you use that space as a pantry?

Your dining room appears to be more spacious than your kitchen. Could you do a built in bench against the dining room wall, allowing you to scoot the table farther away from the kitchen . . . And that would let you move the peninsula a bit farther into the dining room. 1-2 feet would be a big difference.

You need that bathroom? Could it go elsewhere in the house?

You need that door to the hall? Could you do with only the dining room entrance to the kitchen?

The worst thing about your plan: corners are cumbersome and expensive, and you have two of them.

Could you do a small, shallow pantry in the corner of the dining room? I'm thinking of the area across from the peninsula. Not as convenient as having it right in the kitchen, but better than not having a pantry. Or, it could be storage for seldom used large stockpots, slow cookers, large platters.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Not sure that peninsula is going to work out too well for you. Looks like there may be a closet under those stairs. If that isn't basement access you might consider making that into the pantry, foregoing the peninsula moving the fridge to that space and putting a flip up table/counter area on the stair wall.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:02PM
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If you'd want additional visual space, you could remove the staircase wall and place a open spindled rail area for the steps. This would give you an additional 3 feet of visual space for what is likely minimal cost.

The DW could go on the end of the peninsula, where I'd think you're less likely to be prepping. You could then put a trash pullout to the right of the sink.

To increase the depth of the peninsula, I think I'd go into the kitchen opposed to going into the dining room. It would depend on how much you use the dining room though. I'd have to see what your measurements come out to be.

Have you checked on if the wall between the kitchen and dining room is load bearing?

Not sure if this would be the style your going after but here's a pic from houzz with the range wall structure I was proposing. You'd have a smaller range (per your diagram) so you could easily increase the window sizes.

Traditional Kitchen design by Portland Interior Designer Jenny Baines, Jennifer Baines Interiors

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Unfortunately there is no space beneath the stairs. The stairs to the second level and basement are on top of one another. The bathroom is a full bath and used as a first floor power room. It has just been redone so I hate to get into touching it. I agree the doorway to the hallway is a problem and the thought had crossed my mind to close it off, but having it does provide great flow through the house and I think it would be a mistake to take it away.

The wall to be removed is not load bearing but does have some utilities and duct work that has to be relocated. Yet another problem. Sigh..

Neat idea with opening the stairs. Have to give that some thought. I like the Houz image provided. Funny - I think I stumbled on that very picture before which caught my eye. I was planning to go with a more traditional look - really like that.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Okay - I revised the layout to reflect moving the refrigerator, range to the outside wall and sink the peninsula (now 36" wide).

Not sure I like this so much as it does limit counter space and room for wall cabinets. As much a I do like the look of the flanking windows on either side of the range.

Another thought was to not put a sliding door but a standard doorway to the back deck with no peninsula. One things we do like about our dinning area is that there is a lot of natural light so I would like to still incorporate some windows in the dinning area to view the rear yard. Maybe the wall against the stairs could have a shallow pantry that would not be to distributive to the traffic flow.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Like your last plan the best. What about using a slider instead of a door on the porch side? I think you could do some neat stuff with the pantry wall.

Traditional Kitchen design by Burlington Design-build Kenzer Furniture

Contemporary Kitchen design by Seattle Architect microhouse

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:58AM
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if it could be done, I'd place the dining zone on the left,with sliding patio door where current kitchen window is. Use the longer walls on the right side for the kitchen.The dining would be more of a "place" on the left....isn't it the only dining spot? Using that lower right corner and longer walls for the kitchen would be good use of sq footage if you can flip the arrangement....not always possible,but I'd assess it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Your last layout would work well only if you want a very casual KITCHEN eating area. With it that open to the kitchen, with a regular size doorway to the outside seems to indicate it's very informal. Unless you're planning a 12" countertop by the "pantry" storage, you will have significantly less countertop space then most of the layouts. It looks like it may be barely more then you have now. If the dining is informal, perhaps pulling the kitchen completely into the dining room and make it a huge kitchen, with eating space may be an option???

I think as the ideas flow, you might want to count the square feet of countertop space you'll have, since you indicated that was a concern. The idea I proposed should give you about 38 sq feet (estimating from your diagram). The last you you proposed would only give you 22 square feet - significantly less! Even if you place a countertop on the pantry side, you'd have less countertop. In addition being it's disconnected from the main area (sink, stove, and frig) you're very likely only to use it in a pinch. I moved into a kitchen like that, and it was used infrequently.

I can understand your need for storage, since space is a premium. If you kept your slider which with the wall down, would flood the kitchen with light, you could forgo flanking the range with windows and put upper cabinets to the ceiling.

Perhaps someone else can find the thread, where someone used the sides of their stairway for their pantry. You could also create extra storage under the peninsula.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 10:22AM
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oops, I forgot to deduct the sink from my countertop measurement. It should be about 32 square feet instead of 38....still more countertop space.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I spent a little time this afternoon trying out different layouts for your kitchen on my old 3D Home Architect, which looks like what you may be using. I should have been cleaning the house, but instead . . . :o). I was about to give up, when I came up with a plan that seems quite doable and solves some of the problems that I saw in the other plans. We once lived in a house with almost the same layout and size as your kitchen and DR.

First, I would want to keep the dining room intact, and not have the kitchen encroach into it, because the DR size is perfect the way it is. However, you could still put a 60" wide doorwall centered on the end of the DR and have an 18" wide by 15" to 18" deep more decorative cabinet or hutch or upper & lower cabinet on each side of the doorwall for your dishes and other storage. That way your table could still be extended almost the full length of the room with 3 table leaves. If these 2 cabinets were a different color or height from the kitchen cabinets, it might look better to keep the wall between the 2 rooms (or maybe not), but you could put an approximately 5' wide opening between the DR & K if you kept the wall. If you used a more decorative version of the K cabinets it should look fine with no wall between them, and you could have the left one butt up to the dishwasher framing.

To the left of the old wall (including the 4-1/2" where the wall was) put the DW (line up the right end with the end of the stair wall), then the sink, then a trash cabinet, then a narrow cabinet (spices? trays?), then a Super Susan in the corner, then the range, then a 12" wide cabinet. I'm not sure what the exact sizes of the cabinets between the sink and SSusan would be, since I'm not sure how a DW needs to be framed in when it's on the end.

Upper cabinets (coming around from the range back to the DW): put a 12" wide one on each side of the range & possibly a 30" cabinet above the range hood depending on how fancy it will be and if you'll have space, then a 21" wide cabinet, turn the corner and put in a blind corner cabinet. Some people don't like these, but I've found mine to be very useful. It's better than losing all of that corner space and having a blank cabinet side right there. I don't put anything way back in it, but the first few inches are a good place to put things I seldom use, or extras of the spices, vinegars, boxed products, etc. that I use this cabinet for. Be sure to leave 3" to 6" on each side of the finished window over the sink without upper cabinets so that it will look nice. You'll probably have an 18" or 21" upper over the DW.

I put the fridge on the right end of the stair wall, since I didn't like the way it looked in 3D from the LR and hall (entry?) in other locations. Also, there's plenty of space for it here, whereas it seemed to be crowding things elsewhere. (If you keep the DR/K wall, watch the size of it, because the fridge door has to swing most of the way back to access the meat & veggie/fruit drawers and to remove them for cleaning.) I'm not sure if you'd be framing in the fridge, so don't know how many inches that takes. I like having the MW next to the fridge (to the left under a 27" or 24" wide upper cabinet--this can be 12" or 15" deep) over a similar width base cabinet. If someone wants a snack, they can use the fridge and/or MW without getting in the food prep and cooking area. Having the upper cabinet less deep with the counter space underneath to put food on from the MW or the fridge, also makes this visually more open, instead of an in-your-face 24" deep tall cabinet as you come in from the hall.

I'm assuming that the stair wall is not load bearing. If this is the case, you could build a very shallow floor to ceiling 24" to 30" wide (depends on where the studs are, and how much space you'd have between this and the cabinet next to the range) by approximately 6" deep mini-pantry to the left of the MW setup. You take off the front sheet of drywall, take out a 2x4, and using that cavity build the other 3" out into the room. I've seen the end result of this with a 9" deep pantry built into a wall, but you'd have to check to see how it's actually done. I know that you can buy face frames with doors, and other parts from Kraftmaid. That may not sound like much space, but you can get a lot of cans, boxed dinners, pasta, etc. in when the shelves are put in at different heights according to the height of the most common cans and boxed food you buy. If you use 1x strips of wood to support the back of the shelves, be sure to account for that when measuring the heights of the cans, boxes, etc., as well as the thickness of each shelf. You have to be careful when trying to cram a lot of shelves in! It's not as easy as putting them all 12" apart.

I think this layout would open up the area, give you some nice counter space, good kitchen flow, and about as much storage as you can fit and still have things look right in both rooms. Hope some of it works for you.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 10:39PM
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. . . my 3DHA is on the computer downstairs, and I was trying to do the above from memory.

The fridge and MW setup should be switched, with the MW to the right. Also, I'd measured wrong, so I think that the into-the-wall shallow pantry can be a total of 9" deep, not 6". Also, there is no room for a 21" upper cabinet to the left of the 12" cabinet to the left of the range hood. (I was thinking of mine!) So, there would probably be a corner cabinet, not the blind corner cabinet.

Also, I sacrificed counter space to get storage, flow, space for multiple people in the kitchen, and no awkwardness around any appliances. You'd have more counter space with a U-shape or a peninsula, but I've had both and much prefer an L-shape or galley setup, even in a larger kitchen. I can feel trapped when there are 2 or 3 people in a U and we keep almost bumping into each other and saying "Excuse me", especially a small U. YMMV.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Wow - Thanks Anne. I appreciate your advice and some great ideas. Hope I didn't set you too far back with that cleaning. I think I followed you with your layout, very cool idea with the pantry. My grandmother had a big old house that had a pantry similar to what you described, forgot about that. To make sure I understand correctly the back wall at the stairs (left to right) would be pantry / ref / MW and you would place the range on the left bathroom wall. I will defiantly look at that out and a few of the other ideas suggested over the holiday break. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Yes, the layout you restated is correct. Glad you like it--hope it works for you! And with the fridge in the middle, you won't have the extra cost of framing it in or have it taking up extra space, unless you want to. I'd put a 12" deep upper cabinet over it to match the MW upper cab if the fridge is not framed.

One more thing--I put an 18" wide base cab for the trash, but there are other sizes. I'd move the narrow 12" base cabinet (or whatever size it turns out to be) over to the right of the DW. That would save some money and space that framing in the DW would otherwise need, and it also gives you more space to put dirty dishes that will go into the DW. And you would have a nice prep area on each side of the sink.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I liked the first plan the best with a few changes. I agree that the dishwasher cannot go in the corner. The easiest thing is to lose the peninsula. When we did our kitchen a few years ago, the kitchen designer warned me that I would regret putting one in. I do. Main reason is it becomes a dumping ground. I guess it depends where you entry is, but everything ends up on that peninsula. The corner cabinets are useless. I also like the refrigerator on the opposite wall. That is where the traffic is, and away from the sink and stove makes a big difference.

Also, I'm not sure what your budget is, but keeping your sink close to where it is now, will save you a lot of money. Moving plumbing is a bigger deal than you may think.

My dining table and peninsula, are situated just like your first plan. I have about 4 1/2 ft between the two. That is not enough room. Trust me, it was the biggest mistake in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 7:03AM
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