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Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Posted by mu3jump (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 16:26

Hi! This is my first time posting, and I am looking forward to a fresh outlook on our house plan process from everyone!

We are a family of four with two young children building on an old farmstead site in central Kansas. My husband farms full-time and I stay home with our children. Our house will face mostly east, slightly angled to the north. We are designing the house to maximize sunlight with most of our main living spaces along the south. Our view is nice to the east (cropland) and west (pasture), while the south will be our flower and herb gardens, trees, which will be pretty as well. We will use the existing gravel drive, and it will come around to the north side of our house to the garage and outbuildings, but we will have another drive branching off that will come up the front of the house.

We are working with an architect and our exterior and footprint is set - old farmhouse look. We have a plan that would work but we are still hesitating, so I tried sketching a few possibilities for various kitchen placements.

I wanted to get some feedback and ideas from everyone before we get back with the architect. I am posting 4 different possibilities with a few thoughts on each. Hope you can see them well enough! Please think big picture and not details; I have details written in just so I could see if the layouts were even possible. The stairway can't change nor the footprint and I am only wanting feedback on the main living spaces and their relation with one another.

South Kitchen photo Southkitchen_zps1a0f5c42.jpg

We like the proximity of the kitchen to the family rm in this plan and how the plan utilizes space efficiently, allowing for a nice screened porch. The kitchen is a little smaller than in the other plans and we lose a view of the south from the dining space.

West Kitchen photo Westkitchen_zpsbb85a294.jpg

This plan has a great kitchen and also utilizes space well. Husband is concerned a bit about the distance from the kitchen to the family rm. This plan also makes our daylight basement trickier since we will not have basement under the screened porch and we were trying to get south light into the basement.

Southwest Kitchen photo Southwestkitchen_zps65c515f7.jpg

We lose a screened porch in this plan but maybe we have too many porches anyway? We would use the front porch more often perhaps. The fireplace could also go on the south wall.

Last one!
West Family Rm photo Westfamilyroom_zpsc71c22c3.jpg

This one is very different, and probably not the one we will do, but just wanted to experiment with it. Somehow it feels like I will use the family room more since I will always be circulating by it. I like the more open entry, but it also wastes space. We are trying to keep the footprint relatively tight.

Thanks in advance for your help! We appreciate it! BTW, if you need the images bigger, just click on them, my photobucket account should be set for public viewing.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Sorry to say, but your southern exposure is not doing you much good. Your major elevation and the spaces with the maximum windows should be along your south wall. Instead you have these spaces oriented to the east and west. East sun can be enjoyable during much of the year, but western sun is virtually unblockable and will greatly add to the heat load during cooling periods of the year. The glare will also make looking in that direction not so enjoyable in the later Summer afternoons.

Good luck on your project.

Rather than worrying about the kitchen at this point, I'd suggest focusing on how to reorient the house to the south elevation as much as possible.


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

I really like the second to last option. I am not sure what it is, but it just seems more comfy and open. The down side is losing your screened porch, which is unfortunate but is something you will have to decide if you can do without. You mentioned you may have to many anyways. Keep in mind though, even though you are in Kansas, and assuming that your neighbors are quite a ways a way, having a back porch always feels more private. If you want to keep the screened porch in, definitely go with your first layout. That one is great too. Please post when you decide! :)


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Why is the footprint and exterior set?

Of your options, I like the third one the best, but I don't understand why you'd be married to a footprint at this point. There's more than one way to build a house that looks like an old farmhouse.


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Thanks everyone for their comments thus far! I haven't explained the project quite as well as perhaps I could have; it's hard to explain all the details in a post without making it too long.

virgilcarter, yes you are right. I shouldn't have used the word "maximize;" we just want many of our daytime living spaces to have some south light. We are building about 1/4 mile from the road so we want the house to have some mass from the road. I'm not worried about passively heating the house with the southern exposure. The west exposure is concerning, but we want to have some view in that direction, so I guess we will have to strike a balance and perhaps install some exterior solar shades for July and August. Thanks for your thoughts!

eagle_luxury, thanks for your opinion! I will try to remember to post when we figure it out.

zone4newby, you are right, we shouldn't be married to our footprint. Maybe I'm feeling rushed, but we have already been through so many footprints and designs and finally have one that we really love exterior-wise and I love how the second floor lays out. We don't dislike the main floor that the architect designed, I just wanted to explore a few other arrangements and feel more confident in moving forward. Perhaps I'm just ready to make it work. I'm tired of going back and forth from town to the farm! :) Thanks again for the comment; I will continue to think about it.


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

The front of our house faces SE, and we are in Michigan with somewhat cooler summers and warmer winters than you have in Kansas, so that's what's behind my comments here. We have many large oak trees that shade the E, S, & W sides of the house during the summer on our 1+ acre lot.

I would never have a kitchen on the S or W side of the house if I could avoid it, since I get warm when preparing meals. I love having the kitchen window facing the SE, because it's cooler when preparing the evening meal, and I like seeing the sunrise when fixing the less labor intensive breakfast. My first house had it facing S (HOT), and in my previous house the K faced N (wonderful). I also liked the 2 kitchens that faced the front of the house, because I liked being able to see who was coming up the drive, but if kids will play outside in the back for a few years I can see why it might be better to have the kitchen facing that direction.

I like having our family/living room on the SW corner of the house, because that's where we are later in the day when the sun is setting, and we get the full benefit of the light as the days get longer in the summer. (Our TV is elsewhere.) However, without the trees to shade it, I wouldn't like the glare and heat from the sun that would be there. My previous place had the DR, LR, & MBR with a full southern exposure and a 4" roof overhang, and no nearby trees. There was both glare & heat in the winter.

Just some things to think about, but YMMV.

Of your plans, #1 & 2 make the best use of the square footage, although there are things that I like about all 4 plans. Don't stop trying for a more perfect plan, even though it's understandable that you're tired of the process!

Anne


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

The front of our house faces SE, and we are in Michigan with somewhat cooler summers and warmer winters than you have in Kansas, so that's what's behind my comments here. We have many large oak trees that shade the E, S, & W sides of the house during the summer on our 1+ acre lot.

I would never have a kitchen on the S or W side of the house if I could avoid it, since I get warm when preparing meals. I love having the kitchen window facing the SE, because it's cooler when preparing the evening meal, and I like seeing the sunrise when fixing the less labor intensive breakfast. My first house had it facing S (HOT), and in my previous house the K faced N (wonderful). I also liked the 2 kitchens that faced the front of the house, because I liked being able to see who was coming up the drive, but if kids will play outside in the back for a few years I can see why it might be better to have the kitchen facing that direction.

I like having our family/living room on the SW corner of the house, because that's where we are later in the day when the sun is setting, and we get the full benefit of the light as the days get longer in the summer. (Our TV is elsewhere.) However, without the trees to shade it, I wouldn't like the glare and heat from the sun that would be there. My previous place had the DR, LR, & MBR with a full southern exposure and a 4" roof overhang, and no nearby trees. There was both glare & heat in the winter.

Just some things to think about, but YMMV.

Of your plans, #1 & 2 make the best use of the square footage, although there are things that I like about all 4 plans. Don't stop trying for a more perfect plan, even though it's understandable that you're tired of the process!

Anne


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Thank you so much Anne for sharing your experience! Very good thoughts about the heat factor from the various directions. We definitely don't have any trees; we will be planting some bigger ones on the south and west sides, but it will still be a while before they make a significant difference. Maybe having the screened porch on that southwest corner would help with the heat, as I won't be sitting on it anyway if it's 100+ degrees. Do you think it would help to angle the house a bit more to the north, so the front was more northeast and the windows on the main living space side would be facing southeast? Maybe then we would still have some nice natural light but not as much heat buildup, especially in summer?

Thanks again!


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Can you draw a sketch of the general building area--the road, driveway, garage, outbuildings, and how you would orient your present house plan?

I spent a little time this afternoon looking at your plans and trying to think of how to improve them, but I keep getting stopped at the thought of all of that hot sun in the summer. The screened porch just seems to be on the wrong side to be useful. We had a deck on our previous unshaded south side, and from about 10 a.m. to dusk it was too hot to be out there in the summer due to the heat radiating off the floor boards. We now have a patio facing NW, but we took down 4 trees to open up the back yard some more and the SW sun on the pavers makes it impossible to use the patio from about noon to 4 p.m. Now that the lower branches on the adjacent trees have space to grow, we will have shade on the patio again in the not too distant future.

I think that you will use the front porch the most. Ours faces SE so it is cool at all times of the day. Also, the prevailing summer breeze is usually from the SW, so it blows across the porch. Have you had a screened porch before? We thought about whether to include one, but decided that the summer would be too short and too hot to get much use out of it, and the spring and fall would be too cool most of the time, and therefore we put our money into other parts of the house instead. Seems like a year round sunroom would be more useful. But maybe since you're home all day, things would be different for you.

I know you specifically haven't asked for comments on the other half of the house, but I hope that you won't mind if I make a few. When I think of a farm, I think of dirty work boots coming in. Is the office for your husband to use to keep track of the farm, or is that elsewhere? Will he be coming in with his dirty clothes directly to the laundry, or will he be using the powder room? If any of these are true, I would not want the dirt in the hall to the MBR or main living area. I'd want the laundry, powder room and office with doors opening into the mudroom. When we were building our house (we were owner-builders), we were a mess at the end of each day. We were renting a house that had a huge mudroom/laundry with a bathroom with shower right next to it. It opened off the garage and the driveway and we were able to keep the mess there and not transfer the dirt, sawdust, etc. into the rest of the house.

For layout purposes and traffic flow, I think I prefer the first plan. Since you're home with 2 children, you must be in the kitchen a lot. Do you can things in the summer/fall? Do you store a lot of things from shopping or gardening? Do you have other family members visit a lot? Could you put some measurements on the screened porch, kitchen, and dining area in the first plan? There should be enough space to improve the kitchen here.

Anne


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Anne, I so appreciate the time you are taking to think about this! I tried to make a layout off of the google map picture of the site. The red rectangles are the new house and garage. The barn that is circled is staying and will be restored at some point. The old house has already been torn down. The area to the north of the barn and old house will the farmyard. There is another small building that is staying as well on the north side of the drive. My husband will also build a morton bldg at some point over in that area. We want to keep a large area for my husband to turn around a semi and another large machinery. We will build a drive that will come up to the front of the house and circle around for guests (hopefully they come that way...we will try to make it very inviting!). To access the garage, we will go around toward the farmyard. It looks like a forest around the house from the google map shot, but many of the trees are cedars or old elms that need to be taken out. We are keeping the north shelter belt along the drive.

Farm Layout photo 8ac25eab-225a-488c-9cc0-f3f53d836ed1_zps61fea67b.jpg

Here is the first layout with more dimensions. The green square is showing one idea I had of moving the screen porch there (we would have to change the roof on the back, but I think it would work). I have been thinking about your comments. My husband is so, so busy during the spring, fall, and summer that maybe we wouldn't use the screen porch very much right now. The kids and I would use it some, but perhaps a sunroom type space would be better that we could use in the winter. If we have a screened porch on the southwest corner, I know we would not use it in the summer. However, fall and spring are mild here and we have quite a few 50 degree days in the winter. It was just 60 degrees last week, now we are getting a foot of snow. The front porch would be the best in the summer, plus it would be protected from our fierce south wind that blows very, very often in the summer (unfortunately not a welcoming breeze!)

 photo Southkitchenwithdimensions_zps14988505.jpg

As far as your other questions, I spend lots of time in the kitchen! I love to make things from scratch and I intend on canning when I have a bigger garden out there. We will have a basement that I can also store some overflow items.

Thanks for your comments on the mud room, I think I should try adding a clean up sink in the mud room and then adding a pocket door into the laundry from the mud space. I don't know about the 1/2 bath. I would like guests to be able to go there without going through the mud room. I'll keep thinking.

BTW, you'll have to click on the layout to see the dimensions; it turned out pretty small. Thanks again!


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

This one is a little bigger...
 photo a28dec14-08aa-40fe-82b5-8c066b3c7eaa_zps0de08e91.jpg


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

This one is a little bigger...
 photo a28dec14-08aa-40fe-82b5-8c066b3c7eaa_zps0de08e91.jpg


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

I hesitate to say this, but since you seem not to be completely happy with any of your plans, I will. I think the reason the kitchen doesn't seem right in any of the locations is because it is on the wrong side of the house from the garage. The closest you've had it, is when you put it on the back wall, but having a kitchen on the west wall when you have such hot summers seems like the wrong thing to do.

I thought before, but now after seeing your layout I'm even more convinced, that the kitchen should be somewhere on the NE part of the house. I totally agree with virgilcarter above that you need to rethink this entire plan. I can understand that you don't want to pay the architect for a completely different plan, but maybe the reason you're hesitating and tired of redoing plans is because these don't really feel right. I designed our house, and every time something didn't seem right, it wasn't--I ultimately came up with a better idea for the part of the plan in question. I spent a LOT of time on our layout. Do you HAVE to start building soon, or do you just WANT to?

To get more of the desirable E and S orientation, and less of the W, I'd wrap the house around the E & S walls of the garage. That also will give you a more energy efficient home since it will have fewer exposed walls to heat/cool. Also, in your present plan, your master bath and closet are taking up prime real estate on the E side and near the front door. If you're willing to rework the plan, I think you'll get more responses and help from the several people on this forum who have a great deal of expertise in home design. The first floor layout is far more important than the 2nd, and elevations can be modified.

If you absolutely don't want to budge from your present layout, I'll try to spend a little time on your kitchen area. But the whole house just feels wrong to me. Not terrible, just not right.

Anne


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Welcome! We're also in the design phase and are building on rural property and have little ones. So I am really excited to see how your build comes along!

How old are your kids? Do you want to be able to keep them in sight, or just have them nearby? (For us, it was important for us to be able to see them, and we liked having a kitchen near the family room anyway, because the kitchen always seems to be where everyone ends up at a party anyway.)


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Hi, Mu3jump. What a great project. I like the plan you've been mulling over the most so far and can see living there happily myself.

In designing my next house, I intend to think in terms of a large, multifunctioning living room that has a view and sunshine but can focus inward very happily and be a perfect place to snuggle up at night (when you don't see out anyway) and in bad weather (when you maybe don't want to). Also easy to heat and cool in case energy gets very expensive before it gets cheap again. How about a sheltering core to retreat to, closing off extra rooms, when the electrical grid goes down?

I do want a sunroom again, not just screened so it can be used a lot; we throw the windows open as much as possible anyway. Deep roof overhangs are a must so windows can stay open as much as possible when it rains. Like yours, it'll have a different orientation from the living room. This next time, though, I've learned something important from experience--that for me being large is actually a negative for our current sunroom. When the outdoors is supposed to be a very strong influence, allowing all seating to be close to windows and those outdoors influences is a good thing. I figured that out too late for this house, and that's why my favorite sunroom is still an old enclosed 7' deep porch we used to have. I may not go that quite that narrow, but 12-13' depth absolute max, and almost certainly narrower than would be desirable for a regular living room. Big for inward focusing room, smaller for outward, with the outdoors making up for it.

Having the dining space very introverted in the middle of the house would help focus family discussion inward too. One of my favorite dining rooms ever was like that. It was a neighbor's, but when we sat down it was beautifully cozy and seemed to be all about the people around the table. It would make a nice counterpoint to the perimeter, windowed rooms, too, accenting the virtues of both.

BTW, to me, the kitchen being on the far side from the garage means it gets to have views and sunshine. Never understood why so many are glad to sacrifice both to cut a few feet from walking, but to each their own. My own kitchen is NE, BTW, sunny all year in the morning, and I have come to appreciate the afternoon shade and coolness in summer. I'd love a southern exposure, but I'd avoid west for sure in a room I have to be in every afternoon.

Hope these personal musings spark a useful thought. :)


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RE: Where should I put the kitchen? Help please!

Thank you rosie, sanveann, and Anne for your thoughts! I have been mulling them over amongst a conference and then sick kids.

I experimented with some of the things you were discussing Anne. Even though the west is hot, it is a very desirable view. That is where we will see most of the wildlife coming up out of the pasture, and I can keep an eye on the deer feasting on my vegetable gardens in the back. I am assuming there are ways to mitigate the west sun. I'm not sure what to do. I tried putting the kitchen on the east side and in a more interior and central location, but haven't found an arrangement I like quite as well. I will keep thinking. We have decided that we want to do a sunroom versus a screened porch. My husband is so busy in the spring and fall that we don't have time to sit around much, but winter is when we do have time, so a sunroom is the best option for us I think. Plus, it is so windy here, keeping a screened porch clean would be a challenge. I will sit on the front porch in the summer and that's where lots of more fragile potted plants will be located, out of the wind. Most of the mosquitoes are gone in the summer b/c it gets so dry.

As far as a building timeframe, we don't have to start building, but our oldest starts kindergarten next year, so it would be nice to get out to the farm and be closer to her school. Also, the builder we will likely use is ready for us after his next project, so it just seems like the right timing to begin. And honestly, I feel like I'm wasting precious time with my kids, focusing so much energy on this house, when it truly is "just a house." I can't get that time back. And I think about the number of people in the world that don't even have shelter or food, and I'm sitting here worrying about where to put my kitchen. Sorry for the rant, just being real.

sanveann, our kids are 4 and 2. We like to keep them in sight when they are playing if possible. I will try to keep you posted on our project.

rosie, thank you for the encouraging words. I loved your thoughts about the dining space. I will definitely consider your perspectives. I really appreciate you thinking about my project!


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