Help me design peninsula seating

karenschaeweDecember 22, 2012

My idea #1...

Or #2...

Or door number 3...

The major differences:
3 has one more 24" drawer base (would not have the prep sink there) and space for 3-4 chairs
1 and 2 have the same cabinet space and space for 4-5 chairs

My inspiration pictures:

But I couldn't make those shapes work in my space. The rounded end peninsula was the best I could maneuver.

Contractor coming back after the holiday to finish up, I want to try and figure this out so he can get this done too. We miss our breakfasts in the kitchen!

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Counter height or table height? (Please say counter height.)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 1:21AM
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Sorry to disappoint. Table height, for many reasons.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 4:06AM
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How many seats are needed/wanted? 4 or 5?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:10AM
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If you are going to do table height, then I'd do table height for the whole peninsula, not just the seating area. Make it your "baking center" if you need a reason for that. Then just keep a large butcher block on top of that if you need to chop something comfortably. I've been in kitchens that had the eating area at table height like you propose and it's always really awkward trying to peer up at someone prepping. And everything that someone tries to prep rolls down onto the eating surface. It adds more problems to the seating than you may anticipate.

So, I'd say none of the above. If you really want comfortable and useful table height seating here, you're going to have to shorten up the peninsula first of all. Chairs on the end interfere with the tight passageway between a seated person and the fridge area. Then take the whole peninsula down to table height for the reasons mentioned above. Then eliminate at least one cabinet in the peninsula in favor of a simple post, as in your inspiration. If you want to fit more chairs, you have to actually have room for them. In every scenario you've pictured, they are all to crowded for real life use.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Debra - my teen son (seizure disorder, intense special needs) will sit there a lot. we want table height for his comfort and safety. our twins (6yo) will be regular users too. Occasionally me or dh will sit there too.

Green - I'm 6'1", the only thing I can do comfortably at table height is sit so making the whole peninsula table height renders it useless for me.

Prep will happen between the sink and range so no worries about stuff rolling off the peninsula.

In all the plans above there is 4 feet between the edge of the counter (or table) and the fridge. Is that not enough for a walkway? in plan 1 the chairs do pull out towards the traffic flow so maybe that's not a good idea. In plans 2 and 3 the chairs pull out parallel to the traffic flow so it should be nice and roomy to walk through there. It's certainly roomier than when some folks were suggesting I place an island with seating in my space... And it's better than the Before which was 3 feet:

What about plan 2 with 4 total chairs (3 on the far side, 1 on the kitchen side. Each person would get 32". In a pinch we could pull up another chair for a 5th person if the need arose, which would be rare. Thoughts on that plan?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Ok so rarely you need five so design for 4 and have a chair to pull up when 5 are needed. 32" per person is generous.

Would curving the end as in #1 be helpful with the walkway into the kitchen?

Greendesigns designed my island with a radius on one end which turned out great. It really helps with the walkway in my kitchen. We only have 24" per person but still plan to buy an extra stool for when we need to fit in an extra person.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 6:16PM
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We just finished our peninsula, and one of the best decisions I made was to find stools (or chairs in your case) of such a width that they all fit next to each other on one side of the island, then when someone is using it, we can swing out one chair to sit perpendicular on the edge of the island. Not sure that works in your layout/use but the takeaway is that you should be thoughtful of chair width in case you want to do this. Also, you want to be careful of blocking the walkway and so you should measure the amount of space when people are sitting (with could subtract another two feet), not just counter to fridge.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 8:30AM
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People take up cubic space. 30" square is about average for both the bulk and the personal space so that they don't feel crowded. Or 24" square if they and their chairs are small scale and they are friendly with one another and don't mind elbow to elbow contact. A lot of kids DO mind that. Especially siblings.

If you subtract 30" for an actual person sitting at the end of the peninsula, a 48" aisle is down to only 18", which isn't enough room for someone to comfortably pass by without squeezing through. No way can someone get by with a tray of goodies in their hands or a sack of groceries. For that, you want 60" from the obstacle to the obstacle. That gives enough room for people's cubic space and passing by them while they are seated.

A lot will depend on if you anticipate that end stool being used fairly often. If it were my kitchen, it, or one facing the birds on a wire, would probably be the most often used chair for the cook to do seated prep while helping out with homework or visiting with others.

And that's why I suggested removing one of the cabinets underneath to make a more open rounded seating area like your inspiration. As well as making it all table height. If the whole peninsula is table height, it will be a better look, although I understand your point about prepping on a lower surface. But, you've indicated that the corner will be the primary prep space, and the peninsula a secondary one. That is why I suggested the large thick butcher block to rest on top of the table height peninsula to bring a larger section back to counter height.

Try an experiment. Take a couple of books and place them on your current dining table and put a cutting board on top. Add and subtract until you get to 36" high. Try chopping an onion there. Now, take away the books and try sitting in a regular kitchen chair and doing some prep. See if either of those scenarios can work for you as a secondary prep method.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 9:55AM
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