Where would YOU prep in this kitchen?

new_2_njDecember 3, 2012

Below is our layout and it's definitely a work in progress. In order to determine if we have the right space in the right place, I'm trying to figure out where we would store things in relation to where we would work. Actual "prepping" is a somewhat foreign concept to me, (our current kitchen has very little counter space and prior to this house we lived in an NYC apartment that barely had a kitchen), so please forgive my ignorance on this topic!

I think that conceptually I should be prepping on long end of the island, but I'm worried that would cause issues with the sink and DW. If I prep on the range side of the island, I have more space behind me, but I wouldn't have any tools close at hand. Someone on my layout thread suggested putting a prep sink in the lower left hand corner of the island and moving the third seat on the upper right (short-side). I really like this concept because I could prep on the range side to the left of the prep sink with a drawer full of tools right in front of me. But, it's a no go because the seat on the short-side would jut way too far into the LR. I'm afraid that with this set-up, I'll end up prepping in the corner. This seems like it wouldn't be good, but frankly, I don't know if it's good, bad, or neutral. Thoughts?

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Did you decide against the wall oven?

It was me who wanted the corner prep sink... especially if the fridge was moved to the bottom wall. Even if not, I think it would help. If you shorten the island cabinets a bit and lengthen the island a smidge to equal the window wall, I don't think the end seat would be a problem... Partly depends on how long and often someone would sit there while others needed to get past.

I wouldn't prep on the long side of this island. It would mean dripping across the aisle from the sink and then back over to the stove.... and mostly, standing in front of the dishwasher, which is a conflict and not really handy to the stove area. I would end up prepping in the corner, which seems a waste of the more expansive and open island space.

I forgot that I was going to try a different island shape for you. I'll try to remember that this afternoon.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:36PM
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In this layout I would definitely end up prepping in the corner at the upper left. I might use the island for baking-type stuff, but I think I would be spending most of my time in the corner between the sink and range. I wouldn't necessarily see this as a problem.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Is that the range on the left side, in the middle?

If so, I would want to prep on the island across from it. I like the idea about moving that stool. This way, the spectators would be able to access the fridge and go "that" way, and you could access the fridge and go the "prep" way. If you put a sink in the island, it is close for filling and emptying pots of water. I have my prep sink in the island and I can access it from either the long side or the short side. This is nice because it just gives me more options.

If you did move that seat, could you somehow make the island top be similar shape to a Grand Piano (where the keys would be across from the range--to make it clearer), so that there is even more counter space to prep on?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:42PM
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I still like the idea of turning the island 90 degrees and prepping across from the range. A prep sink (opposite the fridge) would be great, too.

Weren't you going to put more windows, over the sink area? Maybe move the sink/dishwasher to the right a bit and make the pantry area narrower? Are you still planning to have a sofa, or the dining table? Maybe you could combine the two, with a nice comfy banquette (really well upholstered with back pillows, too) and a table and chairs...maybe something upholstered or slip covered? I'd want to lounge in this room :)

Also, did you see Aloha's post on too much light in the kitchen? Sometimes it's better to have the light coming in from the side of the stools, rather than directly across.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I would definitely turn the island 90 degrees, make it as long as possible, put in a prep sink across from the fridge, and then I would prep on the island.

I really dislike prepping with my nose against cabinets and a wall. And in a corner! NO THANKS. Much nicer to prep where I can look out.

Way the best arrangement for me, at least.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:24PM
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I had exact same thought as lavender--turn the island 90 degrees so your long side is toward your fridge/range. Much better for prep work. Keeps any people sitting at island out of the way.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Without a sink, though, would you do everything on the island?

I had a client, we never Did do his kitchen, and he prepped on a strip of counterspace about six inches wide with a cutting board balanced on it because of its proximity to sink and stove.

He had lots of counterspace elsewhere but he wouldnt use it.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:40PM
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rhome - I actually never wanted wall ovens (we can't spare the counter space). What I was trying to ask was would it be weird to have a cooktop and then a separate oven (undercounter) between the fridge and the cooktop? Primarily this would be for aesthetics (I like the look better), but also seems like it's easier to keep clean (no crevasses for crumbs and spills). Thoughts? Also, the sink wall is going to be shortened to be flush with the end of the island. I've blocked out the island on the floor and it comes way into the lounge area. I don't think we can give up more space without creating flow issues.

beekeeperswife - Yes, that's the range. I'm having trouble envisioning the island that you are describing. Would there be three seats essentially across the diagonal?

LL - yes, we're not doing pullouts on the backwall and we'll add a window there. We're planning on a couch or more likely a couple oversized chairs and coffee tables (our architect refers to this as the "Starbucks" room to give you an idea). We need to make sure there's enough of a path through for people to easily traverse through to the deck. Probably not an issue on a daily basis, but could get sticky when entertaining.

To all - I think from a functionality perspective (and that's what this is all about, right??!?!?!), you guys are 100% right about turning the island. The reason that we put it the way we have it is two-fold - 1) you get the nicer view out the windows to the back-yard and pool when you're eating, surfing GW, etc, and 2) when we're entertaining the seats can be used without the sitters feeling like they are missing out on the action in the other half of the room. But we can to go back to form follows function, right? Those are not compelling enough reasons to leave it as is, are they?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:57PM
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palimpsest - I WANT to use the island. Our setup is not much better than what you've described. I often "prep" into the bowl or the pan because we have NO counter space. I do not want to pigeonhole myself into a little strip of counter because I didn't set it up right. I think I could move washed veggies from the sink to the island, but I could probably never move a chicken. I skeeve touching chickens as it is, so flinging them around the kitchen would be a deal breaker. That said, I actually usually prep chicken in the sink anyway (don't ask - it's awful) because I find them so gross.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:02PM
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I do really like the thought of turning the island 90 degrees and putting in a prep sink. To be honest I do my prep in two places now, and I can imagine myself doing it in two places in yours. If I had lots of stuff I'd probably do it on the island (especially with the turned island and prep sink). If I had a little bit to prep then I'd probably do it in the corner between the range and sink. Don't ask me why it's just how I cook.

If you turned the island 90 degrees I would if you could make it a little deeper and then you could put in peninsula cabinets (that opened in the back too) for a little extra storage?

Another good thing about turning the island 90 degrees-you may have a closer landing for your fridge (if you have a french door fridge that is) or at least another landing space for lots of groceries.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:14PM
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I think the only thing that would guarantee that I prepped on the island would be a sink on the island. The house I grew up in had an early island (1968)--although I consider it a U shaped peninsula kitchen with the peninsula broken off in the form of an island.

Everybody preps over by the sink. Oddly sometimes people will make sandwiches that they are not cooking, on the island near the stove, but this is because they don't really need the sink to make a sandwich.

As an adult I have never lived in house with a kitchen large enough to have an island, so maybe I lack the experience of prepping remote to the sink, but the people I design kitchens for pretty much all tell me that they prep between the sink and stove no matter if there is tons of counterspace adjacent to the stove but away from a sink. To me this would include an island without sink...but this is based on clients' experiences, not mine.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 7:37PM
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All I can add is that in my new kitchen I'm prepping all over the place and loving it! Messiness tonight so I choose a little on the left side of the sink, then moved to the right side closer to the range. The other day making a bunch of chicken roll ups the island seemed the best place. You may end up having or wanting a few choices and to me it looks like your layout gives you that.

I had to laugh about "prepping" being a foreign concept. When I first came to GW I thought what is prepping? With a bad layout I avoided anything that needed prepping.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:36PM
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My former kitchen was a much smaller version of your layout. I ended up gutting everything and moving the kitchen to a new location. What I didn't like about the island being my primary prep space was that only a tiny corner of the island was directly across from the range and I felt like I was constantly dripping and dropping between sink and island then again between island and range. It drove me crazy. In your layout, this would be helped by adding a sink to the island, but would also be helped even more by turning the island 90* even without the sink. I didn't have room for that, so I changed to a peninsula with a prep sink.

My vote is to turn the island no matter what, and add the sink if you can do the plumbing and budget.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Turn the island and add a prep sink to it if you want to be social while you prep and do it on the island. Otherwise you'll be in timeout in the corner, focusing only on the task rather than being social. Either choice would be perfect for someone depending on their cooking style.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:24PM
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You may want to prep on the island, but as is, you're going to do the majority of your prep in the upper left corner between the sink and range. The reality is that we just gravitate towards the water supply and do our prep there.

I really like the idea of turning the island 90 degrees and adding a prep sink. You'd mentioned you had placed the island this way because the nicest view was out the window over the sink. With this configuration, you'll have your back to the nicest view whenever you're at the island. With the island rotated 90 degrees, everyone will have be able to enjoy the view.

I also prefer how the dining table and seating at the island interact with the island rotated. People can rotate their stools and easily interact with those at the table while still interacting with those in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:07PM
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My kitchen's size looks similar.....the layout is a bit different, but the sink/ range set- up is about the same, and I have a work table in the middle, with the dining table in the same room.

Soooo... I prep onions, etc., that need chopping(I do a LOT of chopping) on the table, because that is where they are stored. Then if something comes from the sink, it goes to the counter left of the sink, and I use this area to assemble casseroles, etc. I have been using my table for meesy meat, though, because I did not trust the cleanability of the plywood counters .

HTH a little bit!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:32AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

If you rotated the island, and switched the sink/DW, your layout would be almost the same as mine, on the working side of my kitchen. I've always done most of my prep-work in that corner between the sink and stove, even when the stove was on the opposite wall--maybe because the knives and cutting boards were stored in that corner, and the fridge was nearby. The kitchen proper is about 13.5 x 13.5.

When others offer to help, I put them on the island, because the prime real estate (IMO) belongs to me ;), and I'd rather concentrate on chopping vegetables (not fingers) than socialize. It's never bothered me to prep over the DW, although the DW is usually not turned on until after prep/cooking/eating is complete.

I have no prep sink on the island, but if we need another sink, I have a small auxiliary sink that can be used--we mostly use that sink/counter for the coffee maker.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:20AM
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I had some time and played with the ideas of others and a couple of my own.
This is just to present visually some options for you to consider. I can imagine a floor plan so much better when I can see it.

I narrowed the cabs on the bottom wall
1. so I could make the island longer and leave enough space for the aisle.
2. to provide you with a spacious pantry.

Do notice that both preppers and those seated at the island can see out. You have room for a 4th chair at the island if you want/need it.
I would prefer the prep sink nearer the fridge corner of the island, but I drew it this way to consider it. So that people can get to the fridge when someone is working at the sink. There is 30'' or more of work space on each side of the sink, so plenty of room even with the sink in the center.
Hope there is something here to think about. Most of the ideas, if not all, were already presented, though.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Hi. I just wanted to agree with Palimpsest and others that, if it were mine, I'd need a sink to draw me over to that island. Otherwise, that very nice work area by the stove would rule. Like Palimpsest's friend, in one kitchen I mainly worked at about 15 inches to one side of the stove, ignoring a spacious work counter in the wrong place. This really wasn't my choice, just happened, and I blessed that kitchen for teaching me its lesson just before we built our new house. :)

Bellsmom's layout provides a nice efficient cooking triangle, with extra work space available when needed. I find I do typical meal prep in about 39" tops of counter, similar to what's there.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:43AM
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In your original layout, I don't think the island would be very useful for prep. I think I'd end up on either side of the sink to prep.

I like what Bellsmom did with the layout and agree with all that said to rotate the island. It makes it much more functional for you. (The only thing I wouldn't like is the aisle where the dishwasher is... that would be too tight for me, personally. I like being able to walk around the open DW easily to put things away. I know that doesn't bother others.)

My kitchen layout is very similar to the one Bellsmom posted (although the fridge is down next to the pantry and my double ovens are where your fridge is.

"All I can add is that in my new kitchen I'm prepping all over the place and loving it!"

I agree completely. It depends on what I'm prepping. Not everything requires water and not everything requires heat. Sandwiches are prepped on the island near the fridge. Items to cook that don't need water are prepped between the cooktop and double-ovens. Things to bake are prepped at the island to be able to spread out (and proximity to the ovens.) If water and heat are involved, I'm typically prepping between cleanup sink and cooktop or the island end near my cooktop.

Thus, I think if you turn your island, you'll have more flexibility and options for prepping... It will also help if you have more than one person prepping.

On a related note, I ideally like to prep where there aren't any upper cabinets. It makes me wonder if I'd put as many uppers in a future kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:52AM
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My Dad's kitchen is set up just like this except flipped upside down. What my Step-Mom did was sort of like what Bellsmom posted except that the seating area is slightly narrower than where she preps, sort of like a fat, rounded off T-formation. The T-top is the prep and the long part of the T is like a table with enough room for 4 to sit comfortably and be able to look left at the stove, look right into the living area (does that make sense?). Under the "table" is storage for small appliances and party trays that don't get used very often. I wish I had pictures to explain better, it was pretty clever.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Thanks for all your input! We have a meeting tomorrow and I'm going to ask about flipping the island back. We have an old plan with it rotated as everyone suggested, but it was only 5' wide, not 6' (I assume b/c of fridge clearance issues), which can only seat two. I really want to seat at least three.

If we rotate and if we decide that we don't want to put a sink on the island, am I right in thinking that we'd be better off switching the range and the sink? I don't actually want to do that for a variety of reasons, but from a functionality standpoint, that would be a better layout, right?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Just for fun, here's the layout sketched with what I think hsw meant. But she may have meant to have the countertop look more like the second diagram. either way, just options. . . .

Personally, I like the simpler rectangular island in my previous post more, but I like to see and think about options.

And please consider prep sink in island!!!!

Good luck with tomorrow's meetings!

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 17:12

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:10PM
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There are multiple things that happen in the kitchen. When the island seats face the windows, then the view and the line of sight is nice. When the island seats face the range, it has its own pleasures. I prefer the light and the window.

Bellsmom decides that the two isles are not major traffic. It is psychologically unpleasant when one feels locked in. If one is behind an island where the only way to get out is through a narrow path, it will give the sense of being trapped, IMHO. I think one of two pathways will have to be widened.

I have a set up similar to the first post. i prep on the island and I turn around to use the sink for things that do not require sink minimally. If I am doing something that requires a lot of water, I use the space between the sink and range. I find that it works fine for me.

The refrigerator as is will bump into the wall and will not open beyond 90 degrees.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:59PM
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I like Bellsmoms layout. It seems efficient, Changing the shape of the island gets hunky looking to me. If you feel you need more walk room on the main sink side, shorten the island to 6 feet. It still gives you plenty of prep space with the sink moved to the fridge end.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:27PM
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