Looking for layout tweaks before ordering

ontariomomDecember 29, 2012

Hi Folks and Happy New Year,

In the past I have posted several different layouts of my kitchen in hopes to hit upon one that worked and met as many of my goals as possible. After digesting many of the helpful comments and posted alternatives as possible from my most recent thread, and consulting again with my interior designer, I have arrived at a design that seems functional. I would like to hear back if this layout now works in your eyes. I am hoping we are at the tweak stage now and the layout is not in need of major overhauling.

At the bottom is a link to my previous thread for reference:

Here is the newest version that I would like feedback on.

Thanks ever so much in advance!


Here is a link that might be useful: previous thread

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Sorry that I haven't been keeping up w/ your other thread - quick skim.
W/ this current layout, I just don't like cooking/frying while people walking past me.
Not sure if this was tossed out:
- put in a L at the Nub wall,
- put prep sink at the short L
- move cooktop to where pantry/fridge is
(can vent outside, cheaper than island venting)
- move fridge next to freezer

Why did you choose to put the 2 DWs next to each other?
where do you unload the dishes into? Will they all fit in the dish hutch?
I like dishes in base cabinets, so that kids can access the dishes themselves, so I don't have to keep getting stuff for my kids, or have them climb my counters all the time.

With such wide layout, I would make all the base cabinets 30" deep.

I currently have counterdepth 32" all fridge and all freezer. For the reno, I designed my fridge space to fit a 36+" standard depth fridge, for when my all fridge dies. I don't want to be locked into getting another CDepth 32" fridge.

Note: kids do not stay young for long; you'll have your livingroom back soon and you won't need to have open access to the kids all the time.
I choose to keep my wall (instead of doing an open floor plan) because my 2 kids are SO loud that I am EXCITED to be able to close them off in the familyroom.

just my thoughts,
good luck,

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:15AM
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The refrigerator is in a dangerous spot right in the middle of your prep zone. Great for prep. Horrible for when people walk through the zone where you have a sharp knife and a boiling pot of water ready to hurt them. It would be much better where you show the freezer. And since the frozen stuff has ore in common with the amount of access as a pantry, it would be a better fit to have the freezer next to the pantry.

I still find the secondary island useless with the table seating right there. But it does fill up a blank floor space. I'd much prefer a peninsula there though, with seating on the other side if you really want seating. That would also help with traffic through the danger zone. It would keep the traffic channeled to the main aisle, away from the hot and sharp zone.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:37AM
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I would put the dishwashers on either side of the sink and not right next to each other.

Then I'd personally do almost anything to move the fridge away from being right behind the prep zone. I had that in my old kitchen and it was brutal with dh getting cream for his coffee, someone grabbing a snack, etc., whenever I was prepping and rushing a dinner. Drove me batty! I much prefer my current layout which moved the fridge to the periphery so that family and guests stay out of my cooking aisle.

Plus visually that counter run will look kind of chopped up with the oven stack, a short counter, the fridge, a short counter, and then the sink. Not sure there is a great fix with where you're starting from though.

Personally I would prefer the fridge at the eating end of that run, and I'd prefer one larger island centered in the space vs. the small island and pensinsula, so that traffic from the playroom/living room wasn't forced through the prep zone as well. And that would put the fridge closer to prep if the fridge was moved to the exterior.

How committed are you to the peninsula+island? I think you could have a more functional working kitchen if you had a single larger island with room to pass around the outsides instead of through the middle.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:48AM
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I have to agree with most of the comments and I have some others:

  1. "H" says it's "Baking Prep"...but it's on the opposite side of the island from the ovens. The island is a major barrier. Even if you only occasionally bake, it would be a major pain. (E.g., Christmas cookies...it would drive me nuts having to run around that island while baking cookies!)

And speaking of ovens, they have no real landing space. The only place that could act as landing space is taken up by the cooktop and while you could use that space if you're not using the cooktop for cooking, I don't think it's a feasible arrangement. Remember, you don't use ovens just for baking, so even if you don't bake much, think about roasting, steaming, etc. About the refrigerator - I agree it's not in a very desirable location. However, moving it to where the freezer is is not necessarily a good idea either...the island becomes a "barrier island" b/w the Prep & Cooking Zones and the refrigerator. Also, keep in mind that the majority of "counter-depth" refrigerators are 29" to 30" deep. "Counter-depth" refers to the refrigerator carcass/box, not the doors + handles. The doors of non-built-in refrigerators must extend out past the surrounding counters/cabinets/walls to open fully. Why is there a corner cut out on the left side of the cooktop? It reduces the functionality of that space and makes the narrow space there worse.

I recommend some major reworking to make it all work.

Taggie...I think that's a "wall of tall" next to the sink, no short counter run in between. I think the pantry is a full-height cabinet (no upper cab is shown there and it says it's a Pantry). So, the arrangement is, I think: tall oven stack + tall pantry + refrigerator.

I like the idea of an "L"...maybe something like this:

Zone "map":

It does mean closing up part of the "bottom" wall of the kitchen - but not completely and not the line-of-sight to the LR/Playroom. BTW...that room will probably be a playroom for only another 2 or 3 years, so don't plan your kitchen/house around it as a playroom. We did something similar in our DR. By the time our children hit their pre-teens (Tweens), it no longer was used much as a playroom and we reclaimed it as DR. (We eat all our meals there now.)

Seating on the cleanup side of the kitchen isn't necessarily ideal, but with a 5-foot aisle, I think it will work fine. The only time I foresee issues is if the DWs are open, people are sitting at the island on that side, and someone wants to walk by. If only one or two of these conditions are met, there won't be any problems; it's just when all three occur that you may have an issue.

Regarding the island counters...if you are dead set against a seam in the island, consider putting a butcher block counter on part of the island. It gives you two different surfaces to use as-needed and allows you to have a stone counter without a seam. If a seam isn't an issue, then the entire island could be stone (what I prefer, but others here really like their combination of part-stone/part-butcher block counters.)

I know you were hoping for no major re-works, but I honestly think you will be unhappy over time when working in the kitchen as currently designed. However, it's your kitchen, so if you decide you don't care about the functional issues pointed out, then that's fine. We're just pointing out the issues we see - it's up to you to decide if you can live with those issues over the long-term.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 7:28AM
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I think you need to be honest with yourself and admit that no cold prep/lunchmaking/snack making will happen at the small island. It is much too far away from the fridge to make lunches. I have 4 littles and I make school lunches daily so it would drive me batty to walk that far to prep them. The natural thing to do would turn around from the fridge and pantry to do prep. Of course this means you are prepping right next to the cooktop.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Thanks for your helpful thoughts! My DH (and to a lesser extent I) seem to want to keep both arteries open (the one into the living room, and the one from the 3 foot 1 inch hallway and foyer). BTW, I believe the one past the dumbwaiter from the small hallway and foyer will be the most traveled artery. This is why we have not gone for an L shape to block off the living room (playroom) or the other opening near foyer. I get your point about someone crossing behind me as I use the cook top though. However, of the two positions, outer wall and peninsula, I do prefer the peninsula as I avoid looking at a wall, and yes I do realize that the venting will be more costly over a peninsula than at an outside wall.

As per the dishwashers, the comments in the past were that I should keep the clean up zone well away from the prep zone. If the dishwashers were on either side of the cleanup sink, that puts one dishwasher rather close to the proposed prep space.

Very good thoughts about allowing for future growth of the fridge, and thinking about dish drawers in lower cabinets. We had planned to put some dishes in the upper cupboards in our proposed plan in addition to the dish hutch.

As per your clever idea for 30" base cabinets, does that include the sink cabinet? Does that alter the depth of the proposed upper cabinets?

Thanks again for your help. I will continue to digest your ideas. If often takes me a while to weigh pros and cons.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Thanks for your comments! That darn fridge. It has moved to so many different spots as I have repeatedly reworked this design over the past 2 years! I moved it near to the prep in light of comments received in my previous post. Before I had it very close to the dining room table. Having it near the dumb waiter as suggested at times, puts it far from the prep space and far from the dining room table. A compromise might be to put beverages, and a few snacks in a bar fridge closer to the dining room table (perhaps in the dining room closet)so family members have less of a need to come use the main kitchen fridge. If you had had a way to keep other family members out of your main prep fridge most of the time, would you have liked having the fridge close to your prep space in your old kitchen design?

BTW the run along the sink wall is from the right of the sink a lower and upper cabinet, and then three tall elements (fridge, pantry and ovens).

As per one big island, we would prefer to keep one island no larger than 10 feet, as I would feel rather trapped around an island any bigger (lots of walking to get to other side). We do have the length to have two islands or one peninsula and one island.

Thanks again for your help.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Thanks for your additional comments on my kitchen. I have struggled with the fridge location for sure. Where it is now, it is convenient to prep, but less convenient to dining room table. Putting it near the dumb waiter (where I show freezer) puts it 23 feet from the dining room table (seat nearest china cabinet) and a hike from the prep space too. At least with the prep sink and cooktop together at the proposed peninsula I can't imagine hot water and knives crossing from fridge side to peninsula. However, I can see the problem with a hot turkey needing to cross from fridge side to peninsula.



    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:30AM
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Thank you for taking so much of your time to design an alternative for us to consider!! Your kindness on this forum is very evident. Your designs always look so attractive.

I can see your designed space working, save for the fact that the aisle past my originally proposed freezer and dumb waiter is a very major artery through the house. This aisle joins a bedroom hall with bath, the foyer, to the great room and dining room. Yes, people could use the passage from the living room, but it would be less direct. However, I need to study your version more closely to see what ideas I can incorporate.

You do make many good points that I need to solve. The oven landing space is not that convenient (i.e. across an aisle). Yes, the space I show for baking, was more for storage of less used baking cookware. I would imagine using the space between the sink and cook top for baking of most things. Perhaps we need to rethink the baking zone.

As per the corner rounded out on the proposed peninsula that was done in order to avoid closing in the nub wall more. My DH really wants to have the opening to the living room from the kitchen frame the picture window in the living room (this window offers a nice view too). I am unsure if we can increase the depth of the peninsula so it is wider than the nub wall. What do you think about this? I also like your idea, if we need an island or peninsula to be longer than 10 feet, to have a portion as butcher block.

Again, I really appreciate your assistance. I will be looking over your design for ideas I can take.


P.S. Below is a plan of the main level which shows the surrounding rooms. Please ignore the shading -- it related to an unused HVAC plan. It is not up to date as the two front rooms have been joined into one, and the foyer is larger now. Of course, the kitchen design is a work in progress.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Thanks for your input. Perhaps you are correct, that I will make the sandwiches on the peninsula not the seating island. I do think the seating island will serve as a spot for a second cook to prepare a salad, side dish etc out of the way of the other cook. It is hard to get a fridge close to everything in a large kitchen.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Putting cleanup on the island, and keeping traffic out of the prep zone. The addition of an undercounter refrigerator with MW above that is convenient to the dining table and the great room will help to keep snackers out of your hot zone as well. Yet the main fridge is accessible to those who need it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:27AM
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What about keeping the kids at the playroom end of things? It would be pretty easy, and they wouldn't have to walk through your cooking zone to get to the designated seating area from the playroom if they want a snack, or just want to keep mommy from being lonely.

Move the oven stack to the other side of the fridge, slide the fridge and pantry down to the wall. Flip the two islands. The seating area can be a peninsula the width of the small wall, and will be right across from the fridge and pantry to serve as the snack and lunch prep space you envisioned. Might want to consider getting the MW closer, either next to the sink, or in the peninsula, or in the island at the close end. The aisle will be a little wide, but there is likely little prep in this area aside from snacks so it will probably be fine.

Then side the large island up. You can move it closer to the wall run to make the aisle workable. Might want to flip the functions so the cooktop is closer to the dining room, but it's hard for me to tell as we are testing the limits of my visualization skills! I would still separate the DWs as suggested above, unless you think you will spend a lot of time prepping in front of that location. Then it might make sense to leave it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:41AM
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I'm liking buehl's plan the best as it seems a good compromise between function and still giving you the cooktop on the island that you want. And it solves all the problems of crossing prep zones and makes it a great space to work in and to entertain in, with the seating around the island on two sides.

I would close up the pass thru, maybe putting the dumb waiter there if practical. Then you can put something prettier (glass cab?) behind the cooking area for the people who are seated at the island to look at.

I think this layout really does solve a lot of your concerns. You say you don't want to cook facing a wall. But in your prior plan you'd be cooking facing an audio/visual cabinet, whereas in this plan you face people seated at the island and have a view out the window too.

You also say you don't want an island over 10 feet because it's too far to walk around. But this island really has you cooking and prepping to the one side of it, and the walking to the fridge and freezer at periphery is actually less walking to freezer and baking area than in your original plan. And it doesn't have the congestion of snackers and fridge-goers being in your way

Re the artery through the house, it's the artery because it's currently convenient for it to be so. I buehl's plan the artery will be the one between island and main sink ... so it moves about 5 feet away, and into a better spot if you ask me (not the straight shot up the entry stairs were people are suddenly 'arriving' into your kitchen).

I know it's radically different from where you started, but it has so many nicer layout features re. being able to interact with family and guests while you cook and prep, while keeping the zones separated and traffic patterns conducive to a multi-user large family kitchen, that I really think you should consider it strongly.

Good luck with your reno whatever you decide!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:43PM
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One last thing:
- you need to go with what works best for your family.

You can only do so much with everyone's inputs, but in the end, you know what works best for your family.
I got a TON of feedback for my layout. If it weren't for GW, I would have never had gotten to my final layout (after about 70+ tweaks).
But in the end, my fridge is WAY WAY far from my cooktop (about 22feet away). My all freezer - HA! is in the familyroom (until it dies, that's why I made the fridge space in the kitchen to hold a standard 36" fridge).
Others suggested I remove my center-colonial brick fireplace so I can get a more decent island. But I do live in New England and a brick fireplace is just perfect for my colonial home, so I rather have my small peninsula.

But I LOVE my layout. It works for my husband, 2 growing kids, and I.
So good luck.
But don't jump the gun. When I didn't think I could tweak my layout anymore, GW came through with more suggestions and my layout got better and better (for my family).


example: my layout:

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:50PM
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A compromise might be to put beverages, and a few snacks in a bar fridge closer to the dining room table (perhaps in the dining room closet)so family members have less of a need to come use the main kitchen fridge. If you had had a way to keep other family members out of your main prep fridge most of the time, would you have liked having the fridge close to your prep space in your old kitchen design?

Sorry Ontario Mom, I forgot to answer this question earlier. In my current kitchen, fridge is pretty closes to prep (about the same layout as is buehl's drawing) and I like that. In a previous home fridge was further from prep, and on the other side of the range. I didnt mind that.

But what I hated was in my last kitchen where fridge was right behind prep ... that was horrible with all the extra traffic that was always in my way when I was trying to rush a busy dinner. I would do anything to do avoid that, including a longer walk to refrigeration which I didn't personally find to be an overly big deal.

So I would much rather have a walk to the fridge if that were my only choice. I didn't mind gathering a bunch of things for prep at once, and I much preferred choosing my time to go to the fridge, than not being able to choose when others came into my space.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:05PM
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I know a lot of these ideas were hashed out in the previous thread, so I'm only going to address the current plan you've shown. The AV storage wasn't in the last discussion, that I remember, and I know that can be important, but I'd put the fridge and pantry there. The thought of it all behind you as you cook makes me claustrophobic.

If you have counter and storage there, I think you could get away with the dishwashers flanking the sink.

You might also, then, be able to widen the island toward that back counter to make a more efficient workspace, and discourage traffic through that spot. Honestly, leaving that opening, inviting traffic past the stove, is asking for trouble. I would certainly NOT angle the corner of the counter to the left of the stove, because not only does it welcome flow (maybe of kids side-by-side), but hurried flow right at the corner of the hot stove. My aim, if I had to have traffic there, would be to make it slightly difficult, and a place where they'd have to slow down and be careful.

Under the assumption of moving the pantry and fridge to the left aisle, putting the fridge nearest the dumb waiter keeps it as close as possible to your prep area, and would also make it more likely the small island will be used for secondary and snack prep. From top to bottom, I'd do fridge, pantry, freezer.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I very much appreciate all of the comments (and a shout out to the recent posts that I have not specifically replied to). It constantly amazes me how generous GW posters are with their time. Obviously, I am not as close to finishing as I had thought. I still like my latest version despite the comments voiced, and I went to bed last night thinking after two years of fiddling with this design we had finally arrived at a good solution. However, given no one who has posted thus far thinks the most recent layout I posted is worth pursuing, I will rethink the design again, and open the idea up again with my husband of some sort of L shape blocking either the living room or the dining room. I just can't get my head around blocking what was designed to be the main artery through the home (i.e. the aisle that passes the dumb waiter). However, I will float that idea off my interior designer just in case I am missing an ideal solution.

As per the fridge, putting it beside the dumb waiter would be a long way off the dining room table (23 feet from the chair near the china cabinet) and far from prep as well (assuming prep stays on the half of the kitchen near the kitchen window). I thought one of the guidelines for the work triangle was no leg of the triangle should be longer than 9 feet and no leg under 4 feet. To this untrained person, it looks like my posted design has a nice work triangle. I would bet I have posted at least 10 versions of my kitchen on GardenWeb over the years of planning with several different fridge locations. In all versions, the fridge location was seen as flawed as it was either too far from prep or too close. I am guessing fridge location is the hardest part of kitchen layout design.

I definitely agree with all who commented on the curved corner of the lower peninsula. I will try to play with this shape, assuming we stick with a lower peninsula as posted.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:27PM
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I wouldn't block the main path past the dumb waiter, but instead, the one past the stove, since it seems central to the house, and passing the dumbwaiter is not as problematic as kids streaming through the cooking area, where there are sharp knives, hot appliances, boiling water, etc... and a busy cook!

The fridge by the dumb waiter would be directly across the aisle from your prep sink, so not far from your work area... You just turn and plop things right by the prep sink, wash them, and then prep next to the stove. All in a flowing line, made fairly simple because of the path between the islands. It's sure not perfect, because of being around the island from the stove, so if you need to grab a splash of sauce or milk, it's not that quick. But part of the difficulty with fridge location is making it accessible to others in a place they won't get in your way. Keeping people out of the cook's primary work area is a big deal to me.

It doesn't seem that the dumbwaiter location makes it that much it further to the dining table than the fridge is in your plan. The angle is longer, but the position is closer to the dining room.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Hi Rhome,

Thanks for your ideas. We will play with the idea of closing up the living room (but not block the view there). I am not sure how much traffic will flow from living room to kitchen, as I expect my three older sons will mostly be in the rec room downstairs, their bedrooms, or in front of the TV in the greatroom. The youngest (7 year old girl) is the one I thought would use the living room as a playroom for a while as she wants to be very near us still. I know that won't last long and we will then use the room more as a sitting room. There will not be a TV in the living room.

As per the fridge location here are the numbers:

If we place the fridge beside the dumb waiter, from dining room chair closest to china cabinet to fridge the distance is 26 feet and 4 inches. From main prep space between proposed cooktop and prep sink the distance will be 16 feet. It is worth noting, the fridge near the dumb waiter will place the fridge a bit closer to the seating island than having the fridge in the proposed location near clean-up sink.

If we have the fridge where I show it on the proposed plan, the distance will be 17 feet 9 inches to the same dining room chair closest to china cabinet. The distance from fridge to main prep space (between prep sink and cooktop) will be four and and a half feet.

I know in my thread before this one, there was a lot of concern that my distances (i.e. work triangle) and distance from prep to pantry were very large. I thought this newest plan addressed those concerns -- perhaps now the triangle is too small?


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 7:16PM
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It's not that the triangle is 'too small,' it's that others will want to access the pantry and fridge and open them into your back and work path, and otherwise be underfoot.

The reference to the living room as play room had me envisioning a family of small children...and/or families of guests with small children. But with the fridge as you show it in your plan, you invite traffic, whatever use of the room, past the stove to reach the fridge and other locations. It seems like one entrance through the kitchen, as a path to the other rooms, would be enough, especially if it makes a more efficient kitchen and safer pathway...especially with that other doorway only about 4 ft away, so it doesn't really add inconvenience. As I said, since the other entrance is from the entry, and is more central, I'd keep it open past the dumb waiter, and form your kitchen over the living room doorway instead, leaving that main path as clear as possible.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:09AM
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Rhome and others,

Thanks for your updates. I am going to work on a plan that involves wrapping the kitchen around the opening to the small living room. We will keep the view open (so no tall features along this opening). I am not worried about the pantry being diagonally behind me, as I will keep all snack foods, cereals, crackers, etc in the closet in the every day dining room. The kids will rarely need something from the kitchen pantry unless they are cooking themselves some food (in which case they will need to be very much in the kitchen). We also plan a beverage bar fridge in the dining room closet and perhaps we could route a few cold snacks there as well, so the activity at the main fridge is reduced.

I do worry if we block off the entrance to the living room it will be a less used room. Just those few extra steps through the other doorway and around the corner could make a difference. My plan had been to have a desk top computer, phone, message centre etc in this living room. Also, I was hoping the youngest would have her toys stored here and would stay in the living room to play with them. I had also planned that this would be a spot for her to do some crafts.

Anyway back to the drawing board for me. Thanks for all your help.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:34AM
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