Back to the drawing board - kitchen-family room layout

kbb100December 16, 2012

Hello kitchen lovers,

A few weeks ago (months??) I posted regarding my challenging modest space. The input was very helpful and so I return asking for more.

The issue with the last series of plans was that it involved moving a load bearing wall.

The verdict from the structural engineer is that it cannot be done without a post and said post makes the move pointless since I can't run the post through the sofa.

So the next idea is to bump out the family room wall 3.5 ft which can be done without a foundation. The contractor, who knows my budgetary restrictions thinks it's doable (as does the structural engineer), although I have not seen the numbers.

My goals are:
1. kitchen table for projects and meals when it's just my son and I.
2. kitchen stool or two since every single person who walks in this house for any reason plants themselves in the kitchen and I currently have nowhere for them to perch.
3. roomier family room for sprawling
4. functional kitchen

BTW the fireplace room is where we read and play music

Here are the plans:
First is the current layout.

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Here is the plan with the bump out. I drew it with 3.5 ft bumped out. I can go to 4.5 feet but the price increases after 3.5 ft.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:47PM
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And here is the same floor plan with the sectional rotated 90 degrees counter clock wise for gatherings (as opposed to tv viewings). (Gathering and tv viewing might be a little tight.)



Many thanks,

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:49PM
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So my questions for you all are:

1. What do you think of the design?
2. Is there a better use of space?
3. Anyone with foundationless bump out experience? (Is it worth it??)

Perhaps I should add that I've been working on this for 2 years . . . arg . . . . At last count there were 6 (!) holes in the walls where contractors have "had a looksie".

Many thanks,

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Not sure if perhaps I should have made this two separate threads.

Part of my question is asking if anyone has experience with foundationless bumpouts. Some sort of cantilevered brackets. I already have the drawing from the structural engineer, so I know it's technically possible. I am wondering if others have done this and what their experience was like.

Should I repost to remodeling?

As always,
Many thanks,

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Kbb100, I've seen plenty of cantilevers, and my impression was that about 3.5 was doable; certainly 3' is in California where lateral forces are also such a concern.

Looking at your plan, I don't think the "family" area would feel that good with the sitting area normally turning its back on the dining nook. All 3 spaces, those 2 and the kitchen, are pretty small and end up sort of crammed in.

You have a dining room. Do you also need 2 separate dining spots in the back room?

How about making the entire far end where it's widest the family/TV area? You could make a lovely deep window seat that could be snuggled on together for reading and watching TV in the sunshine, laid on near mom when sick, used for a guest bed, etc.

Then the kitchen and either a table and small island or kitchen with large island in the rest of the space. If your budget and structure would allow you to cantilever the kitchen work counter out, too, that would do some amazing things for the space you have to work with at that end of the room. Otherwise, instead of a small table and small island, I'd probably consider a large island so I could have one really good surface for kitchen work, casual eating, and projects.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Hi Rosie,

I agree that the 3 spaces are tight.

I long for a kitchen table - a comfortable place for homework, a place where models and puzzles can be left out, and a place to eat and watch a movie.

I don't want to repurpose the current dining room because it's a lovely room with floor to ceiling windows and we often have dinner guests.

I think you are right that the family room should feel like one space.

Also, I can see how bumping out the kitchen is ideal. It's not feasible in conversations with the engineer and contractor because (1) there is a bulk head with sewer lines running across the back and (2) even if we moved the sewer lines (which I can't afford at this point), there would be an awkward bulkhead along the ceiling line. (The awkward bulkhead with bumping out the other side of the room will be contiguous with a lower ceiling in the nook area.)

I would love for a kitchen table to do double time as counter space right in the kitchen. It just doesn't fit, as far as I can tell.

Here is a new drawing incorporating your ideas. The island is a little bigger. The family room table is smaller. I don't need it to look like a dining space, so the table can be small (and removed when need be).

The sofa, by the way, is Ikea's Karlstad which is very minimalist and hence good for the space in terms of not being too bulky



    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:27PM
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I think you might get more bang for your buck if you cantilevered on the kitchen side rather than the family room side.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:59PM
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I too debated a long time and consulted with many people about my similiar project, so I feel your frustration. I lived with a bad layout, etc. for a long time (15+ years) because I was not willing to do the renovation until I could get the layout I wanted. If I extended the space (as opposed to just renavating my existing kitchen), then it had to function as a great room with a table and seating area. I looked at home plans for new builds with great rooms.

I must have drawn a million different sketches on graph paper over the years. Everyone said I could put my coats somewhere else, but try living without a coat closet. Like you, I had so many "musts" and many doorways to consider. And I wanted a side door to make it easy to let out my dog. It wasn't a must, but it was pretty importnat to me. Even after hiring an architect and having plans drawn, it wasn't quite right. Its big bucks to extend / cantilever, etc., so it had to be worth doing. The best thing I did was hire an interior designer for a few hours. Not to help me with colors and fabrics, but instead to help me with the design of the space. This was money well spent. I gave up my dreams of having a pantry (and now keep most extra food in basement) and I got my great room, complete with island, table, coat closet, powder room, 5 doorways and circular flow for my house.

I looked at your plan and you have more length than I did but less width. I was wondering, does the door at the end of the powder room hallway led to the garage? Is that laundry next to the powder room? Also, your stairs are open to the kitchen? When you enter the kitchen from the foyer, what is immediately to your right? Fridge? basement stairs? Where is the load bearing wall that can't be moved?

This post was edited by dilly_ny on Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 22:56

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Do you have an outside porch or deck that the sliding glass doors lead to?

How about you eliminate the sliding doors and put a banquette nook there. Then cantilever out the kitchen side, as palipest suggests, to get the space in the kitchen you want. Then I would move the DR doorway to the right and arrange the family room furniture as you show in your above post on Dec. 16th at 21:49.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:11PM
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What if you keep one entrance into the dining room and give yourself a little more family room wall space? Would this work?

From [Cottage house plans](
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Well, this is my second time coming to you all with my floor plans and I think I am finally hearing the wisdom of the group.

The only way (I think) to get my goals met is to bump out the kitchen. The reason I have been reluctant to do so is because its much more expensive (sewer lines from second floor toilets have to be rerouted, pipes have to be heated, and there is no option of lowering the ceiling so the construction costs are significantly higher to embed the beam).

I have been avoiding this because it's a lot of money for 16 sq ft of space.

But, it gives me enough room to put a kitchen table in the kitchen (for prep, scrabble games, cozy dinners and homework). That's a counter height table, btw, not an island. As such, I can pull it into the space and put more stools around it when needed.

And with the activity table taken care of, I can better arrange the family room and tv.

Anyone think I'm nuts to do this for 16 sq ft?

Lavendar lass - I don't like the idea of serving the meal via the foyer.

Dill ny - I am very glad to hear I am not alone! A friend of mine said the other day "well, if you haven't gotten anything done in all this time maybe it's ok the way it is." I was offended! It is definitely not ok the way it is, and the lack of action is not for lack of trying! Your outcome sounds divine!!!

I have had an army of contractors, architects, and interior designers. My grandmother, who is no longer with us, was an interior designer and she would have sized up this space immediately. I have not had such luck so far with the people I've had.

There are stairs in the foyer that go to the second floor. Directly below, are stairs from the kitchen to the basement. Beyond the powder room and laundry room (if you can call it that) is the garage.

Immediately to the right when you enter the kitchen in the current layout is a fridge. In the new layout, it is fridge and 24" pantry cabinet.

The load bearing wall I was going to move was between the family room and the dining room. I was going to move it one foot towards the front of the house.

The sliders lead to the deck. I did draw plans with the sliders moved to the family room side and a nice banquet with a table where the sliders are currently. The problem was that the newly located slider would limit space in the family room in terms of sofa placement.

Very grateful for the input! Let me know what you think of the kitchen bumpout and if it's worth it. I don't know the dollar figure yet, but much more than bumping out family room. I just couldn't get a floor plan I was happy with with the family room bump out.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:34PM
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can't the wall between dining room and foyer be removed? shift passage to kitchen closer to stair wall....the dining table can go over to fireplace room with piano. then you get living space across front which is much bigger so you don't have to worry so much about furniture placement that seems to be the issue across the'll have bonus space in the back without any bumpout and the expense.....put your "game table" in with a couple comfy chairs,easily...or whatever you want to do with extra space,after kitchen is figured out.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Hi Herbflavor,

I did consider moving dining room to fireplace room. We play music in there currently and I don't want to give up doing music by the fire. Plus it's not big enough for the oversized dining table inherited from my grandmother.

I did think about moving the kitchen to the family room, and the dining table to the kitchen.

I should probably contemplate that again.

But I'm fairly traditional and I like the idea of entering the house and seeing dining room to the left and library/sitting room to right.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:50AM
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Love it! From your drawings, I'd say the returns on that small amount of extra square footage placed just where it's needed are fantastic. What a wonderful illustration of the value of quality over quantity.

Before, all the rooms were nicely sized for their functions (and there was good circulation among them)--except for the cramped actual kitchen work area. Making such a critically important and busy space in the middle of the house as spacious and functional as the rest would impact the feeling of all rooms. I suspect the whole house would feel serenely spacious as a result. And, of course, not least, the kitchen is now a great place for all the functions you imagine for it.

Except for considering the sort of more wide-ranging changes touched on, I definitely think you're on the right track here, even if budget required sacrifice elsewhere.

Have to say, though, I already really like your fireplace room as it is, with the change of mood it offers, and the dining room for the same reason. All of these spaces look like very nice places to be for different moods, functions, sunshine at various times of day, views, etc. So many tract homes only have bedrooms and the big open room with windows on one wall to allow A view out and sunshine in part of the day (when a porch or something doesn't preclude even that).

BTW, I notice that, although your main floor isn't large, you have relatively spacious open areas to move through and toward, particularly the entry hall and space ahead between the kitchen and FRM areas. Since a few extra square feet invested in open areas pay off so well (more high-quality small-space investment), you might want to guard that idea and make sure the main views as you move from area to area aren't inadvertently cluttered or crammed up with something. An example you see a lot is table and chairs not only crammed into too little space for physical and emotional comfort but also placed in the middle of the house where you're frequently walking toward, and even through, it as you move around.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:26AM
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This is what Sarah Richardson has to say about clearances:
"Minimize allowances:
The rules say you need 42 to 48 inches to open the refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, or to get around a counter, but I tend to push the limits by reducing the clearance (usually not more than 36 inches) in favour of achieving more counter and storage space. Lets face it, preparing meals is not a group effort in most homes, and there doesn't need to be enough space to choreograph a dance routine. In all my years of pushing the limits, no one has ever complained after their kitchen went in (it only seemed to be a problem on paper)."

I set your space up in the IKEA 3-D planner. The leap from seeing things on a floorplan to seeing them in 3-D, for me, is quantum. And I went with 36" passageways. I took the basement door off, and used a kneewall for the top couple steps.

I set up the family-room-bump-out option, because it will be so much cheaper for you. I wanted to see if it would work. A few renderings:

What Rosie has to say about guarding your open areas is so true. Some folks would look at both your bump-out plans, see the stool legs as the view that greets you, and yell "No!"

Lets say you've decided against the stool view. If you can afford both bumpouts - a bigger kitchen and table space in the family room - that would be wonderful.If only one is affordable, if you chose the FR, you'd have your table and your kitchen would still be small but workable.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3D Planner - link good for 7 days

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:13PM
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How difficult would it be to swap the kitchen and family room? Then you could add on a few feet to the new kitchen area and have easier access to the current doorway to the dining room...since you don't want to serve via the foyer.

Would swapping the plumbing be cheaper than all the changes to bump out the current kitchen? What about the range...if it's electric that shouldn't be too difficult to move. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Genius, Lavendar! Hope it works.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3D Planner - link good for 7 days

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 3:13PM
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You know, I completely missed that the bumpout in the middle is a glass door to the outdoors. Really nice, whichever side the kitchen might end up on. And, yes, I'm very prone to yelling about designs that make a major feature of chair and stool legs. :) At least you wouldn't end up with the virtual forest many who juxtapose stools and dining table do.

I agree about the clearances too, unless you already know you have a personal preference for more. We did 35" on the inside of the island for cooks' convenience and 52" (all the room I had) from island to fridge because traffic and view line ran between. No stools, though. Both work well.

Your bumpout to the left wraps window around the corner, which I really like, and it provides the only window to the side. Putting seating there would maximize the effect of the corner windows, both for those sitting there and for the way the eye just keeps going when you look that direction. If there was a less than optimal exposure that direction, privacy issue or something, a higher kitchen counter would help...counter that.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Rosie, Lavendar-lass, and tbb123 -

What fruitful input! Tbb, thank you for the 2 links to your work on the ikea sight. I am very grateful. You are right, it is totally different in the 3d view. I also like your knee wall idea for the basement steps.

Rosie - you crack me up! And I appreciate your encouragement. I hope that when a person walks in the front door, and looks diagonally to the back of the house, they will see the sliders to the deck and not the stools. But I never would have thought of that and I will try to keep the stools out of that line of vision.

Lavendar - I tried and failed with the kitchen on the left idea. Mostly because the tv/seating area moved to the right didn't seem to have enough room. But I'm going to use tbb's link and try it again, since it is much more inexpensive.

I can't thank you guys enough.

More tomorrow . . . zzzz . . .


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:20PM
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If you can access utilities on that side of the room, you may find that you don't need to bump out or do much rearranging.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3D Planner - link good for 7 days

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Your renderings are excellent!

The problem with moving the kitchen to the left, with or without a bumpout on the left, is that the family room on the right is too small.

I would like to get the karlstad sectional sofa from ikea. Two adults can stretch out on it and yet it looks small because it's low, has thin arms, and you can see under it. Not to mention the price is right.

The karlstad would not fit in a family room on the right. A similar but smaller sectional, by Gus also does not fit. A Rowe sectional fits, but it's not the loungy seating I wanted.

I put the Rowe sectional in the plan I'm attaching. Unless I'm missing something, there just isn't room for the family room I want on the right side.

I am planning to wait til after Christmas to upset my contractor with the news that I need the plumber and engineer to come back out so we can price the bump out on the left for the kitchen.

I guess I may feel differently about swapping the rooms once I get the actual numbers.

And your idea of kitchen/card table near dining room is still an option.

On a different note, a very happy holidays to you, and other GW members. Glad I found you! Hopefully I'll have pictures to post by next year . . .


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 8:57PM
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I'm wondering if you could do a single door access to the outside from the current family room area and then replace the slider with windows and a banquet with a table in front?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:43PM
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