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Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Posted by rmiriam (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 12:11

I’m sure both of these need modification, but I’m having a difficult time deciding between a u-shaped layout and an L with island. Here are the two with pros and cons. All feedback is most welcome!

U Shape
I like the extra storage I get with this plan (mostly in the DR), and the bar area that I could create in the DR because of the longer counter. Not sure if it is a pro or con that it is more separate from the living areas…I kind of like it, though.

From Cullen floorplans

L Shape with Island
I like the traffic pattern better with this layout, but miss the storage/bar area.
From Cullen floorplans

Both of these options are completely open to suggestion - we’ll be moving all the appliances and the opening into the family room and taking down walls, so I’m almost working with an empty box here. And extra thanks to mamadadapaige for even getting me to this point…last time I posted, I was really stuck in the rut of the current layout.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Sorry...here are some larger images. U shape:


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

And L with island


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Why do you have your kitchen in the front of the house? Wouldn't it make more sense to put the kitchen at the back and have guests walk into your living space?

Is that a piano in your kitchen?


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

The island plan offers no prep space. The counter space is where you will never use it.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Marcolo, part of the island plan I don't like is the lack of prep space - sounds like you agree. I was thinking of using the 45" to the right of the stove as a baking center area, but sounds like that won't work?

Karen, the kitchen is in the location it is currently in. The area with the table is the dining room (we don't have multiple eating areas). Guests walk into the small living room area, but I guess without walls they will also see the kitchen. It is a piano - just playing with where I might put it :)


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

If it is really an open box like you said in your original post, what would you think about moving the kitchen to the back of the house? You already have plumbing back there for the laundry and bath.

Do you use that family room space as a guest room and like the full bath where it is?


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I 100% prefer the island. Much better traffic flow. Also, from someone who knows: it's an absolute nightmare to have the fridge opening into the sink. Don't do it!

Alternatively, this is kind of a crazy idea but.. You seem to have two living spaces. I wonder if you might consider using the whole kitchen/dining area for the kitchen, then use the leftover spaces for living and dining as you see fit. I'm seeing your fridge and range on the left wall, with island with seating in front of that. Sink & DW go on island or right wall as you prefer. Perhaps widen that opening into the current FR. I'm not sure of the size of your house, but perhaps this is a bit too "kitchen that ate the house" for you.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Karen-belle, that's a good idea, but you hit the nail on the head - the full bath will actually be new, and we plan to use the space as a guest suite when parents and in-laws come. And when we don't have overnight guests, a good place to toss the kids so the grownups can have our own space for socializing.

Can I ask why you would prefer a kitchen in the back of the house? I never thought anything of having it in the center until you mentioned it!


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Reading other comments.. On the island plan, I'd be tempted to put the range on the fridge wall, put the sink on the right wall, level out the island and leave it blank for prep. You would have to lose the pantry though.. is there anywhere else you would be willing to put that? Perhaps you can have a long, shallow (8 to 12") pantry cabinet between those two windows on the bottom wall of the dining area.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I waffled between island and U and stuck to U. In a small kitchen I like the extra counter space.

You will definitely find many island lovers who really appreciate the better traffic pattern an island offers over a peninsula. We would have gone with an island had we more room, but personal opinion only, I think the U is more functional below about 170 square feet. Kitchen isn't built yet though so I can't comment on how I like it!

You may or may not wish to put the dishwasher on the other side of your sink cabinet. In my last small u-shaped kitchen I loved having the dishwasher away from the stove so I could clean and put away dishes while DH cooked. There was only JUST enough room to squeeze both of us in there so every inch of separation counted!

Are you set on having your DR there? Is it a must to have the couch and chairs also in this space?

This post was edited by robotropolis on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 14:21


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I think having a kitchen in the front of the house makes your family life very public. The window in the front will either keep your cooking and dinner time open for a street view, or it will be closed so you can have some privacy. People will walk into your house and see your mess, or you will feel pressured to keep it clean and straight more than you might like.

I understand the need for having a guest room with a full bath.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Robotropolis, thanks for the real-life feedback. I am set on having at least a small living area there for when we have overnight guests and close off the family room. It's a not so big house, for sure!

Tracie erin, that was actually my original plan!

This post was edited by rmiriam on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 14:55


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

It all seems a little cramped, especially the dining table and small seating area.

What if you moved the kitchen to the back (as suggested earlier) and have an L-shaped kitchen with island..and stools for seating. Then the dining room/family room could be in front and guests would still have easy access to the bathroom.

It would also put the kitchen work area closer to the laundry and back door, which I think might give you a better overall flow to your plan. Hope that helps :)


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I think I'd try to work an island layout but reverse the dining table with the "livingroom" setup. get a smaller table that expands when needed. The two "living spaces" the way you show it are on "top" of each other....delineate a little more with the reversal.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like that layout. And the switch of lr and dr.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Thanks, everyone. I'll work on putting together a flat island/sink on wall layout to post for feedback. As for switching DR and LR...that will be an ongoing discussion between DH and I. I think it might work really well, but he's resistant to change (although we've only lived here for two months, so it's not like he's gotten used to this layout for years). Fortunately, that's something we can fight about after the kitchen is done!

If anyone has any other input on the flat island layout, I'd love to hear it. I designed another kitchen purely through GW lurking, but it was a 6' wide galley - much easier, because I didn't have many choices.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the U shape best for a kitchen of your size, but I prefer to see the U rotated 90 degrees so the opening is into the dining room as that will address your main traffic flow issues which are to/from the dining table. There is good traffic flow and then there is blocking off traffic which routes through the cooking/cleanup zones.

I'd also open up the wall space even more between kitchen and family room and doing a 3' deep peninsula: 24" cabinets facing kitchen side 12" deep cabinets facing family room side. You could even do 4' deep peninsula and add an undercounter beverage/wine refrigerator facing the family room side. It will also give you more open feeling into the family room where I imagine kids hang out on daily basis. Add small upper cabinet on the 2'6" wall to hold wine glasses etc. I have a friend with that setup and works great all the time for parties.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Valinsv, that is an interesting idea. I don't want to open up the kitchen to the family room too much more, because i need it to be a self-contained area when we have overnight guests. Flipping the U could work, but may leave me with lots of 15" lowers and more floorspace than I need. What do you think of this?


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the look of that layour but IMO it seems pretty tight to have that chair backing into the main entry into your kitchen. You've got 45" (and that's with buffet seating) and I'd be looking at least 60".

I don't want to drive you too nuts here but are you replacing the windows? You could have a pretty freakin nice kitchen at the front of the house with dining room and living room in the middle. It seems a shame to have all the windows in the dining room when that's probably the area that will get the least amount of use. I'd prefer the kitchen or living room to get the benefit there.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the look of that layout but IMO it seems pretty tight to have that chair backing into the main entry into your kitchen. You've got 45" (and that's with buffet seating) and I'd be looking for maybe 60"?

I don't want to drive you too nuts here but are you replacing the windows? You could have a pretty freakin nice kitchen at the front of the house with dining room and living room in the middle. It seems a shame to have all the windows in the dining room when that's probably the area that will get the least amount of use. I'd prefer the kitchen or living room to get the benefit there.

That change would also work with the wall cutting off that area from the entryway - that way you see the dining living areas first when you come in the house and the kitchen after you turn the corner.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 10:56


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like that orientation the best in terms of traffic flow and function, but agree you need to tweak it slightly to get larger base cabinets. Having the raised bar will give you some privacy and hide kitchen clutter from the entryway. Will you do seating there or tall 12" storage facing outwards? For your space I'd loose the 6" broom closet and change the 24" pantry to a 12" deep one that is rotated 90 degrees and faces out to the dining room. Put a panel on the 12" side adjacent to the refrigerator to give it a finished look. Though smaller, they hold tons of strorage because it is not deep, things don't get lost in the back like with a 24" cabinet and cabinet space is not unnecessarily wasted with pullouts. Additionally if you look into frameless cabinetry you will gain much needed inches per cabinet. I would skip centering the range on that wall, but shift it to allow for the type of lowers you need. A 9-12" lower pullout spice/oil cabinet is wonderful next to your range. If you can put in supersusans in those corners it will be very useful. Is there really a jog in the right corner? I do like those angled cabinets in the lowers. It makes the corners so much more useful. I'd do an angled upper as well. Not sure what you have on that wall by the entry space, but you could put a closet there facing into the dining room for added storage or even two small closets, face one out the entry and the other to the dining room. One would function as a coat closet, the other more of a broom closet, overflow pantry. Or, alternatively you could do additional cabinetry there for a message center and/or bar area.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I think robopropolis has a point about the chairs backing into the kitchen. I'd rotate the table/chairs too.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the last layout best so far, but really would switch it so that the kitchen is in the front of the house. You could take advantage of the smaller window and that closet wall to expand your kitchen. I would prefer one of my first sight lines to not be of the kitchen.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Wow - every time I come on here, I end up with a totally different plan! Robotopolis, you're not driving me crazy, although there was a conversation a bit upthread about how the kitchen should be in the back of the house :) And I do want a frickin nice kitchen!

We just replaced the windows, and they come to 24" from the floor, so we would have to replace them twice in a year - ugh. That said, I do like the plan, and maybe it would be worth it. Here's what I've come up with in the front. The windows are a bit of an impediment, really, even if we do raise the bottoms. My only other qualm here is that it takes away my chance for a super cool backsplash, but I know that's silly.

A couple of notes - there won't be any seating on the island - that will be display storage. In this plan, I've put a big ole' storage hutch between kitchen and DR to make up for losing my pantry. Also, I think it would be pretty and nice for serving. I don't know why the island is showing up as two pieces in this one, but you get the idea :)


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

It looks nice, but would cost significantly more since you'll be moving all the plumbing, gas further plus adding more windows. Also once you clear the entryway you will have a direct side view into your sink space. Your refrigerator placement is less than ideal as you'll need some filler space to get door clearance, also in regards to the hutch.

There are 2 additional windows in this plan. Are they already there or will you be adding them? The one on the lower right doesn't seem to work that well. I'd prefer a L shape with an island in that spot.

I was concerned about the lack of windows in the previous plan. If you were to keep that, I'd definitely think about adding a skylight over the kitchen area.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

The windows are already there. I was less careful about them in previous layouts because it was "just the dining room" There is a window in the current kitchen (we didn't replace that one), and if I have to take it out, we will definitely do solar tubes. As for the refrigerator, I was thinking that a pantry on the left would work, but it could only be 6" Not sure if they even make that.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

How often do you have guests/relatives, and how long do they stay? It seems to me that you're constricting the best design of the main part of your house by putting guest ahead of the daily life of your family.

Anne


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

How often do you have guests/relatives, and how long do they stay? It seems to me that you're constricting the best design of the main part of your house by putting guest ahead of the daily life of your family.

Anne


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What do you think of this?

Here's a 3D Home Architect drawing that I just did of a different arrangement. If you like the general idea, it can certainly be tweaked. Also, the measurements may be slightly off since all of yours aren't indicated, and I know I don't have the windows and doors exactly right. But you can draw up a more correct version yourself.

I think it solves several problems. It gives you a nice living room, gets the kitchen off to the side, and you can move the table and benches over to the left (I made it 6' x 42", and don't know how much it should hang over the benches, but others will know this), if you want more kitchen cabinets along the right wall.

Also, the opening to the bathroom is more private and the laundry is larger with room for a laundry tub or sink. Moving the door between the LR & FR over makes both rooms better, IMO.

Anne

 photo 583ab921-9772-4c1c-bc7d-ca5cb357e2df.jpg


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P.S. to previous message

It's actually about 9' from the front wall to the edge of the island.

Anne


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the U rotated as you had it in the 4th one. It creates the feeling of 2 distinct areas (kitchen/living) but doesn't close off the dining area from the kitchen. And gives you more countertop.

We had to decide between a U and an L with an island and ended up with an island even though my preference had been the U (layout was similar to your original one). It just was getting too complicated with the layout and I wanted the sink under the window. Definitely go for a long stretch of countertop somewhere close to the sink.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

OMG, Anne, thank you! I've been struggling with the bathroom and laundry room, and you've made it much better. I like what you've done with the kitchen, too. I agree that the door farther over is better...maybe I got too greedy with the kitchen space.

We do have guests quite often - both of our families live out of town, and friends come, too. We recently moved very far away from our parents, and I want them to feel comfortable enough to come for longer visits.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I really like Jimandanne_mi best. The other plans seem awkward to me.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I'm glad you like it! Here are a few changes, along with some possible furniture arrangements. I made the kitchen a little larger, and moved the dining table and benches to the other side, because that seems less crowded and easier to access, and it seems like it would be a great gathering place for conversation or kids' projects. I'd put drawers under the entire bench for storage--costs more, but so much better than raising the lid of the bench and having everything in a mess below.

If you can get a rectangular trestle table with 3 leaves, it can be extended to the right a couple more feet, but the computer desk would have to be a little smaller, or in the corner or be switched to being under the window to the right of the fridge for people to slide onto the bench from that side to use the table. The MW might be able to sit on the counter to the right of the fridge. What is the measurement from the bottom of the window sill to the floor on the front windows?

The island is now 5' long and 36" deep, with storage from both sides.

BTW, which way is south on the drawing?

Anne

 photo P1030368-1.jpg


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

do you need a tub in the bath..seems a shower would suffice . the guest would feel more than adequately cared for. I'd eliminate then the "jut out" part of the bath into family room. Make One entry into the back bath/laundry.. Say,the exisiting laundry door is used,then do an internal pocket door for bath side...put the utility sink out of the straight on position and use a stacking wash/dryer..... with space savings,the wall for the pantry can be pushed over to allow deeper storage and get a closet for clothes storage or some shelves for the "guest". With one less swinging door and stacking units and a shower stall you can probably have some back pantry..shelves or cubbies, actually in the laundry room. This is still the back entry for your home: another option is make a straight line from back door to passage to front living area..you'd have to reposition the range but you'd gain some wall space and enlarge the living room. Right now, the pic shows a really oversized kitchen /island and dwarfed "livingroom". Are you really thinking the family room is the "livingroom" except when guests are there?


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I love jimandanne's plan! And take it back about the u.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I'm enjoying working on your plan, and have another version that I don't have time to upload right now. I'd forgotten about the piano. So if you put it on the left side of the dining room, you could have the bench just along the front wall (not along the right wall), and an 8' table (that's with the leaves) would spread out nicely with room for chairs on 3 sides. But I had to reduce the cabinet between the fridge & DW to 12", no computer desk, and the island becomes 4' x 4'.

I meant to ask before--what climate are you in? I'm used to visiting friends in Georgia, who have no coat closets, but up here in the north, we obviously need them. So as herbflavor indicated, there are lots of ways to do that back entry combination. With young kids, I'd want a larger laundry, but YMMV. I just put a tub in the bathroom because it was easier. :o)

So once you decide what your priorities are, you have some flexibility here to come up with a nice plan.

Anne


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Anne, you're wonderful. Actually, you all are! We don't actually have a piano - that's just aspirational for my toddler :) And we're in Texas, so don't need coat closets, but do need a landing strip. I plan for a bench with coat hooks next to the front door, and maybe some more hooks in the laundry room. I'm from Michigan, too, though, so am very familiar with coat closets.

I'm head over heels with the laundry room. I can envision my someday-teenage son coming in the back door and stripping off whatever sweaty clothes he's wearing and throwing them in the wash. That's realistic, right? :) In any case, I think the pocket door will usually be open, except when I pull it shut to hide the mess from company.

I don't need a tub in the bathroom, but would like a good-sized shower, since it will only be our second bath and will be used daily by at least one of us.

I made a slightly more detailed plan that includes some more information about what is already there (e.g. built-in in the family room, pull-out sofa) and using furniture I already have. I also ended up with a 4'x4' island, and there are pillars on one side of it that might be necessary to hold up the roof once we take out those walls! If I don't need them, I would love to do an overhang with two stools.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I love the way this plan has evolved.

Just wanted to add rmiriam that I live in Texas and I have two coat closets - one by the front door (used to store winter coats, rain coats, other random things I'll never look at) and one by the back door (currently functioning only as a place to stash shopping bags, tool boxes and coolers, LOL). Even though we live in the subtropics it does get cool in the winter and it rains. One needs a place for umbrellas, hats and coats.

I think you should plan for a closet in the front, maybe instead of the bench (although I do love the bench).


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

karen-belle, I was thinking the bench would have drawers underneath for umbrellas, etc. and hooks or cubbies above for coats and purses/backpacks. Do you think that would be sufficient? There's also a closet in the family room where we are currently storing winter coats that are out of season, along with tools and the vaccuum cleaner.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I suggest you measure the storage you are using for coats now. Count the hangers. Count the coats. Don't forget your son will get bigger, and maybe you'll have more children. Your guests will want a closet to hang things in when they are visiting.

We lived in a small bungalow for the first 10 years of our marriage and used an Ikea armoire in our entryway. It was about 2' wide and completely inadequate by the time we moved out (our kids were 4 and 2 at that that time). I think a bench with drawers is great. Just want you to do the hard thinking before you make final decisions about how much closet space you want/need in the public parts of the house.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

How about hooks to the left of the front door, a closet to the right, and a low bench or ottoman to the right of the door to the bedrooms that faces the front door for people to sit on and take off boots.

Can you show us a plan of the existing layout so that we can see where walls and doorways are now? That way, we can possibly make suggestions that would involve less work with the walls.

Anne


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Anne, that's not a bad idea. We currently have a tall but shallow shoe holder on the left with hooks above for keys. There are only about 11" on that side of the door, so it's a bit limited. I could definitely fit a closet to the right of the door, and maybe a bench where you suggest.

k_b, no more than one kid in the plans for us, but I do know he'll get bigger and take up more space. Although with all the big plastic toys, it's hard to imagine! The house is little, but I kind of get a high from figuring out how to make the most of a small space. We also have a big shed and a garage, so anything that can go outside does.

Here is the existing layout. As you can see, there isn't any storage planned in the main room (the family room was an addition several years after the house was built).

After the kitchen/public space, we'll be moving on to the bedrooms - we plan to put built-ins in the master, and get rid of the powder room in favor of more closet space. The closet in that hallway is currently devoted to HVAC, but we're hoping to move that up into the attic at some point. Some of that space could be used for the bathroom in there, but I've been unable to figure out how making it a foot or two deeper will help add storage, which is what we really need.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I like the last layout the best. There is nothing wrong with having the kitchen near the front of the house with less space for the living room. Living rooms for my family just aren't utilized, and everyone ends up congregating in the kitchen anyway, so having it open to the kitchen makes it easier for guests to sit and chat without getting in your way in the kitchen. Just my two cents worth. :)


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Ann's plan is nice, but Miriam's kitchen would be my first choice. I would swap the sink and dishwasher (I know, dishwasher across from range not good) but I'd be standing in front of the sink a lot more often than in front of the dishwasher :)


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

Another option would be to take out the half bath and turn that into the master closet. Then in the space where you have the living room area, turn that into a master bath. It would certainly make that bedroom more spacious. Might be easier for eventual resale.

Just have your guest use the bathroom nearest the front bedroom and make the area where you have the laundry room bigger along that side of the house behind the kitchen and include storage in the laundry room.


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RE: Waffling between two layouts. Please help!

I'm still new at posting photos, and I have some 3D photos of the plan in Photobucket, but can't get the html code to post, so I'll try to explain.

After looking at your original, it seems clear to me that, at the least, you probably will have to have a post where the corner of your existing kitchen wall is in the middle of the room. I think that's about 3' from the corner of the island in your latest plan.

My unpostable plan shows the addition of a 12" deep x <3' wide x 3' high cabinet facing the DR and attached to the island to connect it to where a post would be. Behind it, facing the kitchen is a 2' deep x < 3' wide x 30" high cabinet that could be used for the baking you had mentioned. This doesn't look great on the plan, but doesn't look too bad in the 3D photos when I put an ~36" long wall section at the end of those 2 new cabinets. I did this because it seemed to look better than a post. I also tried adding a wall at the end of the cabinet run that the range is in.

I suppose another way to deal with it would be to leave out the 2 new cabinets that I just mentioned, put the 36" wall section mentioned, and put a bookcase facing the living room side with a picture or mirror over it. That would help to define the LR, and also block a lot of the view into the kitchen as you walk into the LR from the entry or bedrooms. However, it will look like a post from the FR doorway and the DR bench opposite it.

Maybe someone can come up with a better idea!

Anne


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