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Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Posted by JillianL (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 22:44

I posted earlier asking for help with designing an island for our kitchen in our new home. It has occurred to me that maybe I should have asked for more general layout advice. We really struggled with placement of our fridge as it is regular depth and sticks out so far! We ended up putting it in the only location that didn't interfere with an island (which I really want) but this may not be the ideal location both aesthetically and functionally speaking. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it!

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

It doesn't look awkward to me. I'm wondering what the measurements are between island and counter at top, between island and fridge, and between island and oven/desk? And is the fridge double or single door. The measurements make a difference. If your drawing is to scale, it looks like you could have a larger island. Where is the wall on the left of drawing, behind island? Does wall extend past the desk? Overall, I like the layout, doesn't seem off to me at all. I think most people are used to U shaped kitchens, and one that is a basic L seems odd. I have an L with an island, and I love how it looks.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Sorry, I should have included those measurements! There is 5 feet between the island and fridge (French door style) and 3 feet between the island and desk/wall oven as well as the top side. I was worried if I extended it farther that it could make it a tight squeeze when the dishwasher door is open. I've attached the floor plan so you can see what is beyond the island on the left side. I think I'm getting caught up in all the "rules" about clearances, counter space and work triangles. We live in a tiny house right now so I don't really have a good reference for what functions well in a kitchen :) in my previous post someone mentioned that they have a similar amount of counter space by their range and find it much too small which I can understand. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Do you plan to have a table in the Breakfast Nook? If so, do you really need seating at the island? You also have a Dining Room close by - that's 3 types of seating in close proximity.
Answer: Yes, JuillianL plans to put a small table in the (small) Breakfast Nook
But - there isn't must room for a table & chairs, especially with those doorways there!

Is the chimney also a fireplace? If so, what side is the fire?

It looks like there are openings to another room (or rooms) on either side of the chimney - do they lead to the same room or different rooms?

Do you have a layout of the entire first floor so we can see the flow of traffic, etc.?

Is this a new build or are you remodeling an existing (but new to you) home?
Answer: New build

Seating: You need a minimum of 24" of linear space per seat and minimum of 15" of clear leg/knee space for the seating overhang.


"... I think I'm getting caught up in all the "rules" about clearances, counter space and work triangles..."

If you want a functional space, then you do need to pay attention to the "rules". While you won't be arrested for breaking the rules, you may regret it when you try to work in the kitchen - especially if anyone tries to help you (and I assume your son will eventually be helping cook and cleanup in preparation for adult life...) The "rules" as you call them, are guidelines that were developed over time for providing a functional design. (While you can always make a functional kitchen look nice, you cannot make a nice-looking but dysfunctional kitchen functional without redoing the kitchen again!)


I did a search for your user name on this Forum & the Entire Site and there were no hits - when did you post your previous request (I thought there might be more information on an earlier thread). ==> Never mind, I found it. It's the perfect example of how threads younger than 24 hours old are not yet in the index for searching via GardenWeb!

And...some of my questions were answered on that other thread. I'm linking to that thread below, but it might be helpful if the information was in this thread since you're asking for more extensive help. Have you had a chance to check the Kitchens FAQ Page? In particular, the "How do I ask for Layout Help and what information should I include?" FAQ.


Let me see what I can do...

Here is a link that might be useful: JillianL's Kitchen Island Design Thread


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

From your previous thread:

"... please note the entrance to the dining room has been moved to where the pantry door is and the hallway closed off to provide more wall space on this side..."

Assuming the above is still true, since you have moved the doorway to the DR and closed off the "Hall", could you take a foot or, preferably, two from the DR - i.e., recover some of that 4'10" of depth for the kitchen that was going to be "wasted" in the layout posted in the original post b/c of the "Hall" & Pantry?


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Since this is a new build, can you move and/or resize the kitchen window? If possible, I would try to get at least a 4' wide window - you will not regret it!

How high off the floor is the window in the Breakfast Nook? Would you consider making it a "window seat" with a table in front of the "seat" and then two additional chairs?


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

  • Posted by buehl 7a, AHS 5/6 (MD) (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 4:23

OK - here is an example of something you could do, depending on the flexibility you have with your plan/builder:

(Select/click on a picture to see a larger version.)


You could even move the DR wall "down" 3 to 6 inches more to gain that much more aisle space b/w the island Refrigerator.

JillianL's Kitchen #1 photo JillianL1a_zps0d3a438e.jpg


...


JillianL's Kitchen #1 - Zones photo JillianL1a-Zones_zps218b5e9d.jpg

This post was edited by buehl on Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 4:31


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Thank you for all of your ideas! I can't tell you how much I wish I posted on this forum earlier. I think we may be a bit too far in the construction process to implement some of your suggested changes. The window is a wonderful idea but the window is already installed. I will look into it though. I've attached the entire first floor plan. The wall between the kitchen and dining room is load bearing and already contains a lot of our ventilation and heating tubes. I really wish we could move it. The fireplace is double sided. I really like the window seat idea! I will check on the height. I apologize for the lack of information in my post! To summarize, I mainly want the island to serve as a prep space with a small amount of seating to allow my son (and possibly a future child :)) to sit and help cook, do homework, etc. I would also like to have a desk or message centre somewhere in the kitchen if possible. Somewhere to sit and pay bills, look up recipes, charge cell phones, etc.
Thank you again for all of your help!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

the reason for asking for measurments between counters, fridge, etc. is for clearances. Our kitchen was remodeled by a previous owner. He did not allow for proper clearances, and had to remove a small counter to get the fridge out. At least 38 inches is recommended between this and that because of removing the appliances. They may need to be replaced one day and you need room to get them in and out with out tearing up anything. He had placed the island too close to the small cab on front wall, and not being able to move dishwasher/sink counter, had to remove counter on one cab. Don't want to get into a mess like that down the road. I think your layout looks great. You must be thrilled. Good luck!


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

The problem I see with your placement of the island is the location makes it inconvenient to use, but makes it reallly the only good spot to do thing, but it is far away from things. You might check out posts by greenhaven as they are changing a layout similar to what you have drawn.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Yes I agree lyfia, that is why I thought it was awkward. I spoke with my husband (also the builder, lucky for me!) and he think see could possibly recess the fridge but not the pantry due to the ventilation and heating pipes. We could make the pantry door off the hallway or dining room, not ideal but better than nothing. As it is now, the pantry door is off the small hallway into the DR to allow more wall space in the kitchen. I would really like to have a desk or message centre so this would probably still stick out too far to allow for a 48" island.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

What are you using the notch for in the dining? Where are the pipes and stuff you can't move?

I would think you should be able to do a load bearing header and recess the fridge either into the pantry area and move the pantry to the notched area, or fridge into notched area OD dining. Just recess it a bit so it doesn't stick all the way out.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Here's a picture of the wall to show the pipes, not an issue to move the heating tubes but apparently the ventilation has to be there. We could get a header and recess the fridge though right by the DR door. It should fit. The notch in the DR is a large pantry (not sure if you can see that in the photo. I don't mind losing some of it to recess the fridge though. But would doing that help with the island placement? It would still only give 36" clearance and that's with a 40" island (too tight for two stools?)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

I'm a bit confused. What is the configuration of the DR & DR/Kitchen wall? You said:

"... please note the entrance to the dining room has been moved to where the pantry door is and the hallway closed off to provide more wall space on this side..."

Is the Pantry still there, just moved to the far left? Could you please draw up what you have now? I did a second layout, but it may not be right either b/c I took the above statement to mean you eliminated the pantry altogether, closed up that entire wall (eliminating the "Hall" to the DR), moved the DR doorway to the far right and now have a closed/straight wall b/w the Hall/Stairwell and the DR doorway - which is supported by your hand-drawn layout in the original post. It sounds like this is not what you have done?


Sometimes when we want it have it all, we have to make some compromises. In your case, you may have to forgo an island for a peninsula and eliminate the table in the Breakfast Nook.

One issue I see with the double-sided fireplace is that even without the island (or peninsula), I don't think you have space for both a table and the necessary safety zone b/w the fireplace and the table.

Another option, of course, is to eliminate both the island and peninsula and put in a table only - like the traditional "table in the middle of the kitchen".


Here is what I did based on what it sounded like you did. If the only difference is the pantry in the DR with a doorway in the "Hall/Stairwell", then this is still possible.

This one has the desk in front of the bay window. You an fit two seats at the peninsula and, if no one is at the desk, you can fit a third at the peninsula as well.

Note, however, that most people are eliminating "desks" from their kitchens, not adding them.

If the pantry still exists, then the 21" tall pantry cabinet can be converted to base + upper cab + counter for some landing space b/w the refrigerator and MW & oven (which would be desirable).

Because (1) the "U" Is not that deep, (2) the base of the "U" is 8' wide, and (3) all doorways are "below" the peninsula, this layout will not result in you being "trapped" in the "U". There's plenty of space to go to/from the inside of the "U" and you have the added benefit that the peninsula protects the primary work zones from casual traffic through the kitchen. You also will not be running around the peninsula to get to the various appliances. The refrigerator and MW are accessible from outside the main working area of the kitchen but not so far away that they cannot be accessed from the kitchen.

JillianL's Kitchen #2 photo JillianL2_zpsb3eb7f69.jpg


Zones


JillianL's Kitchen #2 - Zones photo JillianL2-Zones_zps1c063f06.jpg


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Yes the pantry is still there, just moved to the far left and the doorway is off the hall into the dining room. I understand your concern about the fireplace but the zero clearance insert is actually quite narrow (probably 5 feet from the wall) and will be set back at least 18" from the edge of the kitchen so I think a small table will be fine. I am ok with eliminating a table altogether but my husband is not. I did like your suggestion of a window seat with a table in front of it though. Thank you for the second layout, I really appreciate you taking the time to draw it out! I did consider a peninsula but I have to be honest, I just don't like them. It's a personal preference. I am considering recessing the fridge as you originally mentioned although I'm still not certain this will give me enough clearance. I think it may be ok if I don't extend the island so far into the kitchen that it obstructs the appliances. Though as lyfia pointed out, this may make it less useful as a prep area, therefore defeating the purpose of an island lol. I could go with a narrower island and eliminate the seating altogether but then I have nowhere for my son to sit and help me. Decisions, decisions!


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Can you please update your layout with the aisle spacing? I just want to make sure I have it to right.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

okay, found this new thread! As I said in the other one, I am dealing with a very similar layout. I tihnk buehls suggestions are pretty great noes, with one exception: having to currently work with only a corner base to the left of my stove, I know it is a pain in the rear. For this reason I recommend doing a stove/oven combo and opt to slide the range down and get more cabinet and counter space on either side, much like it is in her "layout two." Even with more adequate space to the left of the stove, working in that right-hand corner is not fun.

However, buehl's first layout suggestion is giving me a "hmmmm" moment regarding my own kitchen.....


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

My pantry is on the end of the wall, before remodeling, it was the fridge. I have an outlet in the pantry now. I need a place for a home office on a small scale, so I used one pantry shelf. Corkboard on inside door, pens, paper clips, stamps, envelopes, paper pads, all on shelf, and I used the rear for jars of noodles and boxes stood on sides. Worked real well for me, kept the mess of phones our of sight. I sat at the island for writing, so not inconvient at all. Yet another thing to think about! I have 24 in. cab on left of stove, not big enough. Island is 37 in. from stove handle, plenty of room. I see in one drawing 15 in. for over hang for seating at island. I have 10 in. and it's plenty. I guess that overhang would depend on depth of seats you select for use at the island. I'm like you, I would not like a penninsula, our home had one and previous owner took it out, thanks be to God. They look horrible and so confining.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

You may not like a peninsula, but the architecture is really against having the island that you want. You would need a different home plan entirely, with a different kitchen space. You've got to make the best of the architecture that you're dealing with, and it's not friendly to your wants.

However, if you concentrate on needs rather than wants, you can make the kitchen work better than the original plan. A peninsula is a lot more functional and leaves room for people. All of the island configurations are all about cramming in cabinets without enough room for the people that need to work in the kitchen with those island cabinets in the way.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Lyfia, I'm sorry for the delay posting the updated plans with aisle spacing. I am trying to find a simple computer program to draw it out so it is more legible! I understand what you are saying about the peninsula hollysprings, but I have to agree with carolssis, I find them confining and not nice to look at. Again, just personal preference, but I think I would eliminate the island altogether rather than put in a peninsula that I'm confident I wouldn't like. Or at least make it narrower and eliminate seating :( As for the combined oven/stove suggestion from greenhaven, we already have the appliances. I really should have posted long ago and it seems we are a bit far along in the process to make some of the major changes that are being suggested. They are all great suggestions though! I have decided to switch out the fridge and wall oven location and recess the fridge to counter depth which should help a bit. As for the island I guess I have to decide what is more important to me, seating or a larger clearance. Can't always get everything I want I guess lol. If only I had an unlimited budget!


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

See, I sort of disagree with the idea that an island doesn't work. brining it in to the minimum clearances gives plenty of room for a 48x72 island.

I was totally trying to accomplish this in my kitchen, but because of doorway and basement door placements and having to have access to the slider, it just was not going to work.

I spent two hours measuring, dragging my loose island, measuring again, walking around and into and out of the space but I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Jillian's kitchen has just enough differences in her layout to make that nice, big island workable. IMHO.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

I see we just about cross-posted, lol! If you do those switches, you will still have space on the fridge wall for your desk and a narrow pantry.

Putting the wall oven on the cooktop wall gives you another twelve inches there t the right of the stove. Too bad that is not really able to be split between both sides of the cooktop. But better to have those additional 12", I think, than the 15 you had before.

BTW, sorry for the awful typing in my last post! I swear I have not been drinking, lol. I am just a poor typist and a lazy proof-reader.

edited to add: If you bring that island location into it's minimum clearances you have plenty of room, per buehl's first layout. PLENTY of room. Bring that sucker in and have at it!

This post was edited by greenhaven on Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 22:58


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Well I gave up trying to draw the layout with a computer program! Back to the old coloured pencils lol. Based on some suggestions (thank you all!) I came up with two possibilities. In both cases I moved the fridge to where the wall oven was and recessed it into the wall to approximately counter depth. In both cases, I have a 36" clearance (countertop to countertop) from the island to the adjacent counters. In the first option, I left the entrance to the kitchen where it is which meant in order to achieve and adequate clearance between the fridge and wall oven, I had to leave a 20" space from the DR room before placing the fridge. This in turn meant that to have a island 36" x 72", the fridge would be directly across from the island and I'm not sure this would be enough space to open the doors. So in option 2 I moved the entryway down 2 feet and moved the wall oven to the opposite end of the counter. This allows more clearance in front of the fridge but I'm not sure if it is as aesthetically pleasing. As someone mentioned previously, having a full length wall oven cabinet in this position would block light from the bay windows and give a closed off feeling. I'm also not sure if the short run of cabinets where the stovetop is would look odd? And finally, do you think looking into the kitchen from the living room, would it look better if you could see straight through to the entryway (and thus into the small mudroom area) or if this entry was partially hidden by the fridge (as it is in option 1). I could also shorten the island in option 1 to 48" but this leaves a large clearance between the island and the stovetop and I'm not sure if it is too large of a clearance to function well as a prep space. Thank you all again!
Option 1:
 photo dc360041-9c5b-4200-be47-7892c2bb0eaf_zps2c252dab.png
Option 2:
 photo fc526e7a-3f20-4dec-913e-f2dfb3708ce8_zps8151c331.png


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

25 pounds of flour doesn't fit into a 5 lb sack. If you want a large kitchen with an island, then you have to build a larger kitchen able to house all of that. Easier to do during new construction than after, so stop framing and move the whole back wall of the kitchen and breakfast area out by at least 8'. You'll have enough room for what you want then.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

I don't have an island (my kitchen is a U). But I know from all I've read here that 36" is a tight squeeze for one side of an island - doing that on two sides just isn't going to work.

I remodeled my kitchen last summer. We didn't make a lot of changes to the layout, but made some very important changes that vastly improved the function of the kitchen. Our sink/stove placement was just like yours, with only a foot in the corner (a lazy susan). We moved the range a foot to the right, and the difference is fantastic. I cringe at the thought of cramping your prep space in a new build. We got by the way it was for 24 years - now that we know better, we'd never willingly do it again.

Just because your appliances have been purchased does not mean they can't be returned (for a range instead of cooktop/wall oven). Even if you have to pay a restocking fee, the money will be well spent, if it means you get a kitchen that works.

I guess I don't see how a peninsula is more confining than an island.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

I want to ask why there has to be a 55" clearance at the stove for the island. This is not a challenge question, more of a "I wanna know why" question. For my own education.

Second, I will say that although it may be deemed inappropriate to have 36" clearances, *I* think it could be do-able. I have 32" between my fridge handles and island edge, and it is more than enough room to get in and out of it. However, I will say that when my island was still back a couple feet in front of the fridge it was a little trickier. Then again we also had even less clearance then, more like 28"

Third, I guess there is no reason for the island to be so long. If you really want one but 72" is just too overwhelming for the space, cut it down.

But move it closer to the stove, if you can. I put mine the minimum recommended clearance, 42", and it is close enough to be convenient and still a large enough space the DH and I could work on our remodel together there.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

Oh hollysprings how I wish it were that easy! Unfortunately I'm stuck working with what I have. Actually where we live this is considered a good sized kitchen believe it or not. I know I'm trying to have it all (my husband says I'm notorious for that haha!). I know I have to make some compromises but I'm just not sure what they will be yet :) annkh, that corner is bothering me too! I thought about shifting the stovetop to the right a foot actually. It's possible in the second option,though it would leave me with only 23 inches on the right side of the stovetop, enough you think? Greenhaven, I feel 36 inches is do-able as well. I know it's not ideal but as I mentioned kitchens are typically smaller around here so I've been in many with smaller clearances and have never minded. As for the 55" clearance to the stove I thought that was too big as well but thought I had to keep the island away from the fridge? I really don't feel I need a 72" long island. 36x48 would be plenty for me!


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

I think that if you want an island, you need to go with an L kitchen and island, not a modified U kitchen with island. Something like this:

 photo JillianLA.jpg

I moved the fridge next to the DW. It's in a 40" wide cab. I noticed that you marked your fridge in a 42" wide cab; that seems like overkill. You don't need that much face frame and given your small space, it's foolish to give precious inches to it.

The 42" aisle is measured from fridge handles (assumed 35" total depth with handles) to island counter edge. I wanted to be sure to give you sufficient aisle room for moving the fridge in and out of the space (hopefully it won't need service but if it does, you'll be glad you didn't scrimp here).

I bumped the whole run of counter on the sink wall out to 30" deep so that it is even with the fridge box. That will make it seem less hulking plus the extra counter behind the sink will give the illusion of a bumped-out window as Buehl suggested.

I suggest you go with a range instead of cook top and wall oven. Your kitchen is small; a space-saving range makes more sense. It's also less costly to buy a range instead of separate cook top and oven. The MW drawer purchased with the money saved by going with a range. You could also do a MW mounted on a shelf below the counter, too.

The island only has a 13.5" seating overhang, just shy of the recommended 15" but I opted for a shallower overhang to keep the aisle as the recommended 44". You could steal an inch or so from the aisle for seating overhang and be okay. That overhang does *not* include adding panels to the backside of the island. That would eat up roughly another inch of overhang.

The island is prep space, homework space, snack space with room for 3 stools.

The EIK area is the banquette that Buehl designed. There's only 8' between end of island and fireplace; that's pretty tight space for a table, chairs and aisles behind them so a banquette is the best way to go, IMO.

I have another idea or two noodling around in my head but my head cold is making it too difficult to put things together at the moment. Time to go lie down again.


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RE: Awkward Kitchen Layout?

See, Lisa's design works. 5 lbs in a 5 lb sack. It's realistic for the space you're dealing with.


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