Help with butcher block size

ILoveCookieDecember 24, 2013

I am finally ready to purchase a new, free-standing butcher block. I just need to decide on the size before ordering. DH is not of much help on this; he thinks it will look huge and ugly no matter what size I get, but he is fine with it since I am going to place it in a somewhat hidden nook.

Below is the layout of my kitchen/dining area. The nook (top left in my layout) is next to the round dining table. The size options for the butcher block are (in inches): 24 x 36, 30 x 30, 30 x 36, 30 x 40, 30 x 60. There are smaller sizes available, but I want it to be large enough so I can make large batches of dumplings on it with DH. The thickness is 16" and the overall height is 34" for all of these; the manufacturer (Michigan Maple Block) only makes thinner ones for size 30 x 30 and under.

I want to get the biggest butcher block that can fit into the nook, so I am leaning towards 30 x 40, but DH thinks 24 x 36 is already plenty big. What size do you think would be the best for our situation? I attached a few pictures of the nook with my mock-up for a 24 x 36 butcher block (I didn't elevate it to 34"H; it shall be just as tall as the bottom trim of the windows). The manufacturer's picture is also attached.

Thank you very much!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 10:38

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Sophie Wheeler

I don't see this plan functioning well at all. The butcher block isn't anywhere close to somewhere that it will actually get used. Not to mention the island cooking zone is completely unsafe without enough clearance around it. Can that wall come down? Or, that would be the perfect location for a small office desk, rather than actually in the kitchen. Or butler's pantry type servery with a passthrough to the kitchen. Then a butcher block could be incorporated into a better functioning island rather than an oddity in a room completely away from the kitchen.

There's a much better layout to be had here with some work.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 2:24PM
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I totally agree with Hollysprings that the area is not functional due to its location away from the kitchen and supplies.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 2:32PM
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I regretfully agree with Hollysprings. Butcherblocks need to be in the food prep zone, near a sink (i.e. near where you wash the vegetables that you then cut on the butcher block). If you put it in the nook, it will just sit there unused... and thus, as your husband fears, it will look stupid.

In a kitchen with your layout, if you don't want to knock out any walls or change the layout much at all, the most efficient design would probably be this:

- Replace the separate cooktop and oven with a single range, put the range on the left-hand wall, and move the microwave over to the left of the fridge (MW's work very well next to fridges, because almost all the stuff you put into a microwave just came out of the fridge or freezer). To make your range space as functional as possible, you might want to scoot the pantry down so you have at least 12" of countertop between the range and the pantry.

- Put your butcherblock on the left side (left when you're looking down at the layout) of that counter that currently has the cooktop in it. You could do this either with a freestanding butcher block like the one you're posting, or by replacing part of that countertop with butcherblock. To get everything working as well as you want, with the right distances between everything, you might want to shrink that counter (e.g. if it's 2 feet shorter you would then have room for 2 feet of butcher block).

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Hollysprings, enduring, ideagirl2, thank you very much for the advice!

We are not quite ready for a kitchen remodel. We just bought the house and have to remodel the master bathroom first. But I am taking notes of what you said because a kitchen remodel is on our list.

RE: "Can that wall come down?" -- hollysprings, do you mean the oven/ pantry wall? I believe it's a structural wall as the current dining room and the nook used to be an outdoor deck. I like the idea of taking that wall down to open up the space.

As for the butcher block, I do want to get a size that can be easily incorporated into the kitchen island later, when we can afford a kitchen remodel.

I also thought about the possibility of temporarily placing the butcher block in the open space between the desk and the 28"H island table. I am just afraid of it becoming a dump ground for random things, as it's near the entry to the kitchen.

Btw, the previous (original) owner said this is the most functional kitchen she has ever had, but I find the kitchen somewhat awkward to use; not exactly sure why though!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Tue, Dec 24, 13 at 14:55

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 2:48PM
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Hate to say this, but looks to me like it'd end up the dump zone for every time you need to take something off your dining room table.

For dumplings...have you thought about how much standing space you will & won't have around that? 16" doesn't strike me as enough, but, then, I don't make dumplings. You'll have to bring all the pieces over there & then you're so far from water...I know from other things, I keep needing to wash my hands & stuff. Have you thought out all the things you'd need to bring back & forth to make it useful?

Any views out those windows? Maybe a nice lounging chair & a lamp--cozy spot to read/use a laptop?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Sophie Wheeler

What exists currently, and what are you trying to change? (Appliances, cabinets, etc.) Is the pantry cabinet shown separate? Do you have some pics of the kitchen space? Where's the main entrance to the home? The family entrance? How do you see the space being arranged in the future? I can see eventually moving the kitchen to the dining area possibly if you are on crawl space. It would be a much more pleasant place to work.

How long until the remodel? I this is a just for now type of change to get you by, then I suspect we can tweak it to work much better than it does now. If you have kids, that island cooking zone is downright dangerous to have.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 6:26PM
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The nook has a somewhat good view. The best view is in the den and in the sunroom (on the right side of my drawing) -- they both face south and look down the hill with no obstruction.

I attached a few pictures of the kitchen below. Please excuse the mess; we haven't fully unpacked and put away things.

The existing kitchen has a sloped tall ceiling with skylight above the island. The current dining space and the desk area has a flat 8' ceiling. The doorway next to the desk & computer monitor is the main entrance to the kitchen and other rooms on that same level. The back door next to the round kitchen table & server leads to the patio and the backyard.

The kitchen is above the garage -- I will explain why -- the house was built around a hill and has 6 staggered half levels. The garage + kitchen + master suite consists of one side (half) of the house. The other half (from bottom to top) has foyer on slab + family room on slab + living room + kids' rooms. The staircase is in the middle of the house, going from the garage all the way up to the kids' rooms.

It's going to be a few years before we do the kitchen remodel. I am hoping for 5 years at most; DH is thinking 5~10 years. We plan to have kids soon, and I agree with DH that we should try to save for the kids, rather than spend it on a kitchen remodel now.

So right now, I am trying not to change the kitchen layout or cabinets or appliances (although I really want to!). I do want to get the butcher block that I've wanted...but it seems difficult to work it nicely into the existing layout. I don't mind putting it somewhere temporary and moving it to a better location in a few years.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 10:39

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 9:09PM
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