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Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Posted by elofgren (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 11:15

We're starting the planning process to remodel our small, awkward kitchen. Would you gardenweb geniuses have a look at our floor plan and give any feedback you think would help us?
Our current floor plan is here

And our best idea yet is at the bottom of this page.

The main thing we've done is remove a bunch of the upper cabinets. Also, planning a second area - sort of a coffee station - by putting cabinets in the closet at upper left.

P.S. I guess this is my first post on GW. This site has become my go to spot for great kitchen ideas and reviews. Thanks in advance!

This post was edited by elofgren on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 11:40


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Is it at all feasible to move the back door to the current location of the kitchen sink, creating a direct traffic pattern between the back door and the door at the bottom right?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

No, probably not feasable to change exterior walls. The house is brick construction, and there is a mudroom off the back, also brick.

The traffic is a problem I'm not sure we'll get solved. Mostly traffic goes from the back door to the door at top left (to our dining room), so it's pretty contained right now. Also, moving the door would serve to break up the countertop even more - something that's an annoyance currently.

I posted some pictures of our current kitchen (all from when we were shown the house before we bought it) here.

I'd take some pictures of the current kitchen, but then I'd have to clean it!


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Love your brick wall with the pretty wood trimmed door in it. Nice. Are you keeping the brick?

I think I'd find a way to get rid of that radiator if at all possible. Do you have hot water or steam heat? They make toe kick radiators that can hook into your system and then the big iron (beautiful, alas) elephant can leave and you can move the sink under the window then! Here is my quick sketch-up:


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Love deedle's solution!

What was striking me that needed fixing was the work triangle. You want to get your sink on same counter run of either the range or refrigerator so you are not traveling back and forth between the two counter areas all the time.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

The cabinets on the window wall are all shallow - 18" currently. Perhaps a sink could be found but probably not a dishwasher.

We thought about bumping out the cabinets there, like this:

I don't think we have a need for a table in the kitchen. It'd be too small for the four of us. Counter space is more valuable.

I don't know a lot about balancing radiator systems (ours is hot water, open, gravity driven) - it seems like a lot of care has to be given to putting the proper size radiator in each room, with the right elevation, the right length of piping, etc.

We thought about converting the radiator to hot-water floor heat... but this is apparently harder than it sounds. Radiators get too hot for floors, to start with.

The view out that window, by the way, is into our neighbors' dining room. I know it's a traditional place for the sink, but it seems a little bit weird all the same.

The brick all stays, except where I'm going to have to drill through for a vent hood.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Hey, great minds work alike. I was wondering if that wall was narrower... I couldn't tell. But yes, bumping out the sink would work. Having the dw between the sink and stove isn't optimal but if that's where it has to go then that's where it'll have to go.

Don't disregard the toekick heaters without at least looking into it (if you haven't already). I had one added under my kitchen sink in my last house. Sure would open up some nice storage to get rid of that. But even moving it as you've drawn is a big improvement.

If you don't want to look into your neighbors dining room, how about a beautiful stained glass window?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

It might be crazy, but we sort of like having the sink by itself. The counter to one side almost always has some dirty dishes on it, and the counter to the other side often has some clean dishes. As it is, they are contained and don't interfere with prep space.

A kitchen designer suggested something like this:

which we didn't like mostly because we thought the dishes near the sink would conflict with the prep area near the range. Better to keep those chores separate, I feel like. Also, the view as you enter the room from the top is a consideration, and the sink at the top keeps dirty things out of view.

Is your toe-kick heat hot water, or electric? Our radiators rely on natural air movement to heat the room; I'm already worried about putting a solid countertop over the radiator.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

The heater that I had was hooked up to the existing hot water system but had a small fan in it that was hard wired in. The whole thing was about 7 or 8" long and 4" tall maybe? There was a switch you could tap with your toe to turn the fan on or off, as I remember.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

You will have a heated countertop area which you may like. We heat our granite in our island. I would think that area will heat "naturally" from the radiator.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Hi, Elofgren. No positive ideas yet. The layout of the entire floor would be really helpful to rule out silly ideas and hopefully enable flashes of brilliance in someone.

Your mom suggested incorporating the bath and closet space. is that idea really on the table?

Is that a stairway to a basement on the bottom wall? If so, is that part of the basement finished? Do you use it? Do stairs drop precipitously from the door or is there a top landing?

As for the drawings so far, I wouldn't like any plan that didn't provide a genuinely good, functional place to prep and cook. And most of the drawings don't provide that, including your own current favorite and the last designer's one. That you have liked having the sink alone is worth knowing.

Regarding any notion of replicating the shallow storage and counter on the window wall, my one suggestion is to take that right off the list of possibilities to begin with. To concentrate on others and avoid confusing the issues. A shallow counter wouldn't be additional work space (could display a houseplant jungle there, though), and It couldn't hold good drawer storage. Now that I have full extension drawers replacing undercounter shelves, I'd never suggest anything but. They are so GREAT! Well, maybe for someone who has a drawer phobia and can't be in a room with one, but that's all. (Now, even shallower storage could potentially be added back in on that wall if it were left over after all the important things were placed.)


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

rosie,
The entire floor is, basically, an American Four-square. To the left of the kitchen is the dining room, at the bottom is a study, and in the fourth box is the living room.

The formal dining room used to be at the bottom of the kitchen, we moved it almost immediately to its current location. Had a beautiful table custom made for that room, so it's staying there for now.

There is no way we're removing the only bathroom on the main level, even though it's tiny and right off the dining room. There's nowhere else to put it, and it would increase the price of this project beyond what would be reasonable for our house and neighborhood.

That is a stairway, it is a finished and fairly often used basement. The basement has a second kitchen in it that serves as extra storage, fridge space, etc.

I know the window wall is problematic, but we're just so short on counter space, that spot in front of the window can't go unused. It's a place to put a cooling rack for cookies, or to work on something while someone else is cooking. Our favorite plan involves losing one of the pantry (full height) cupboards right of the window to extend that countertop another couple feet. This was mainly an aesthetic decision as having cabinets right up to one side of the window but not the other looked odd. Also, it saved us a bunch of money not to lose one 9ft floor-to-ceiling cabinet.

The best way to get more prep space is to remove the fridge to the closet at top left. We just can't imagine living with that, though. That's the busiest corridor in the house as dinner comes together, and having fridge doors open would make it a tight squeeze.

As far as storage near the radiator, we think it's best to do everything we want to do all at once, at least as far as cabinetmaking is concerned, and it will also be necessary to have some support on either side if we want a heavy countertop over the radiator. I'm willing to give up a tall (shallow) pantry if I can keep the bottom 30" of storage, but not the whole thing.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Sounds like you decided what fits your space best for the way you want to use it. Guess my only suggestion then is to check out the toe kick heaters so you could maybe add a little more storage. Good luck with your redo!


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I'm not "decided" but I am picky! A lot of times it's picking which option is least bad, it seems. Getting rid of upper cabinets make things look better but loses storage space. Well, we have storage space elsewhere. Moving the fridge out of the room makes better prep space but a tight hallway. Well, we have even less prep space now (and getting rid of the coffee pot will help too).

Moving the radiator would be expensive. Replacing it with a toe kick unit (Turbonics?) would be less expensive, but it seems that HVAC guys hate them. At the least they seem to require a completely separate feed line so we'd have to replumb all the way back to the boiler, plus retrofit plumbing to whichever radiator is next in the line. The "Toester" line would just fit (depth-wise) in the cabinets along the window wall.

We could put the fridge by the door, and do a corner sink. But then you'd enter the room with this great big new wall... the room seems small enough!

As I look at the plans we seem to like best, they tend to be the ones that are most similar to what we have now. Is this just because we're used to it? Should our sink be near our stove? Could our fridge be in the closet? Is habit holding us back?

It's a frustrating room, and not the only one like that in our house. We're on our second try for living room furniture - that room has four sets of French doors, a staircase, a radiator and a fireplace!

This post was edited by elofgren on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 17:16


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Okay. You're working within the existing footprint. I did wonder how many bathrooms you had to spare. :) I'm also smiling as I imagine a family trying to have a refrigerator in that small passage. Definitely not a consideration.

As for the outside wall, I didn't mean not to use all the space you have, but not to allow the possibility of shallow storage there to complicate more important issues during the design process. That counter is dysfunctional for primary work space and inadequate for primary storage--but good secondary, ancillary counter and storage.

So my notion is to put ancillary issues aside while you ponder the primary, critical placements. Space for a good work counter. Stove. Refrigerator. Sink/cleanup.

Once decisions are made about where the important things should be, then the voids left can be filled with storage. Still on paper.

BTW, a really good place to work doesn't have to be very wide. I do almost all my work in 39" or less. But it's a deep 39" because it's on an island. You have plenty of central space. Have you considered making at least your main work counter deeper than the standard 25" or so? Instead of shoving the bowls of vegetables, shrimp to be shelled, and pan of seasoned flour to the side as you prep, they move to the back, leaving a standard counter's depth of open work space in front of them. People also build storage along the wall back there for small appliances, spices, and so on. Open shelves or behind sliding doors.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I did think about the deeper countertops. It seems especially to make sense next to the fridge which is deeper anyway. The problem with this is that every run of countertops is L-shaped (at least at the moment). So, if you make a counter deeper, it shortens the run of countertop on the other part of the L. In our existing kitchen, making the counter next to the fridge deeper would mean less counter right and left of the stove.

We currently do most of our prep in the corner between the fridge and the stove. One of the things I did in the "favorite" plan" is to move the range six inches to the right. Currently there are 12" to the left and 24" to the right. Centering the stove not only looks nicer, but lengthens the continuous run of counter on the left. Moving it farther seems like it would reduce the utility of the countertop and drawer space to the right substantially (I would think an 18" cabinet would be way better than a 12" cabinet.)

However, I think I'll lose that space again, as most counter-depth refrigerators are 36" (ours is 33 now), and we'd like panels on either side of the fridge as well.

Right now, the coffee maker, grinder, carafe are all on the counter next to the fridge. If they're all gone (on a new counter in the closet) that adds depth to our main prep space.

I don't think it's possible to overthink this, given how much money it's going to cost!


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I believe you can still bump out cabinets over the radiator In your preferred plan.

I'm not sure how this will work, but you can partially tear down the closet wall at the back of the cabinet on the right of the stove and have a base and upper cabinet there. That will give you some more counter, and storage space. You probably won't be able to use that counter for prep not to block traffic, but your serving plates, clean plates etc. can be placed there while you are cooking.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Assuming you need to keep the existing radiator, does it need to be placed in the center of the kitchen? Could you possibly place it in the lower right hand corner? That nook behind the door doesn't looks very useful for counter space given the door placements. If the door swing doesn't work you could change it or convert to a pocket door.

I understand your concern about the sightlines, but if you can't switch it out, I'd strongly consider the plan your KD drew up for you. If you do a single deep bowl it would hide a lot of the dirty dishes and you could put a pretty glass fronted cabinet above and/or decorative backsplash. Make it into a focal point. If you ever go to sell, many would find the kitchen sink all on it's own wall very inconvenient.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Here's (1) with the wall as it is:

(2) With the doorway opened, but leaving a wall for the upper cabinets to abut:

And finally, (3) with the wall removed altogether, and the lower cabinets wrapping around.

(3) looks awesome because of the huge countertop, but standing in the hallway to work isn't a great option as sena01 and others pointed out, and rounding or angling the corner cabinet actually loses you counter frontage next to the range. Also, and I haven't mentioned this before (I guess), the ceiling in the hallway room is 1 foot lower than the kitchen (dropped for some duct work). So there'd be a soffit type thing exposed on the side. Also, I had to shift the stove to the left to clear the wall, so the countertop on the left side of the stove is reduced.

(2) is what sena01 drew. It could be done, I think, pretty easily, but I'm not sure what the benefit is over (1), or if the benefit justifies the added cost of removing walls.

I really appreciate these ideas! Thanks so much.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Sena, we're all looking for just a bit more work space. :)

Elofgren, I was afraid the cost of deepening might turn out to be unacceptable. In a better world, there wouldn't always be a tradeoff. :)

That so far all your preferences pull you toward a "nicening" of what you already have seems to be saying something important. You've also been living and working with it for some time now, so you have the advantage of great familiarity.

Does your cabinet line offer a 15"? That's the narrowest in my line, Ikea, that drawers come in. However, Ikea's 12" pullout that I was afraid I wasn't going to like turned out to be very functional and holds all my oils, vinegars, condiments, etc., etc., right there. Its narrowness is a positive when the items on the shelf are mostly about 3" wide themselves.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

As far as bumping out the counter over the radiator:
Here's what it's like now:

And what it would look like bumped out:

What I lose: Under-sink space, a gigantic sink. Maybe an easily-reachable corner. Some heating capacity from the radiator? Might be worth putting a pretty screen across it at this point. Harder to reach my (planned) window-box herb garden.
What I gain: Deeper cabinets, huge amount of usable countertop workspace.
Here's a picture with an angled-front cabinet to make the transition:

Seems like a big payoff with few downsides.

This post was edited by elofgren on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 11:51


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Answering some other points:
We need some tall pantry-type cabinets, including a spot for brooms, mops, and canister vac (currently in upper-left "closet"). Behind the door at bottom right seems smart; it's an out-of-the-way corridor. If our dining room was still through that door, it might be a good place for a butler's pantry type setup. It's a swinging door which "clicks" open; it's normally opened into the other room.

We're planning custom cabinets as our criteria add so much cost to semi-custom it's not too much different to go full-custom. So, 15" or 12" doesn't matter. Can make a 13.625" cabinet if needed.

I hate hate hate having dirty dishes in a sink, and going to a single bowl will make that even worse. How can you use a sink if there are dirty dishes in it? I have two toddlers running around. If I did dishes... and I don't... I still wouldn't do them after every meal.

Which thing is allowed to be on it's own wall? Is the fridge preferred by most? The sink is the "biggest" thing when it drags the dishwasher along with it.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Why not just immediately put dirty dishes in the dw? Once you get in the habit of it, its easy.

I have a single bowl and do get annoyed when someone leaves something in the sink. In the process of re-training my family who got out of the habit during the reno.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

"Why not just immediately put dirty dishes in the dw? Once you get in the habit of it, its easy. "

Well..... because I'm busy (looking at posts on GardenWeb). Or more likely lazy. (Could be I'd care more if my kitchen wasn't pretty ugly already.) Or because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I haven't emptied it yet. Or because it's dishes that don't go in the dishwasher. Or the dishwasher is running, which seems to take approximately eight hours.

Looking over now, there's no dirty dishes sitting out, but there are a couple clean pans and baking dishes that need to be put away.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

OK, how about this. Sink and Fridge in one counter, stove in the other.

What I like: Huge, 24" deep prep area adjacent to range. Good storage for pots and pans, cooking utensils, spices and oils, etc. Window is a nice place to stand for prep work, I'd imagine. Dish storage is still near dining room, as is drop-off for dirty dishes. Someone can get drinks, tableware, etc. without interfering with cooking (currently the cook is partly blocking the fridge, usually).

What I don't like: Lots of smaller "filler" type cabinets (stove can't go right in the corner like the sink did, and the sink isn't in the corner to make the upper cabinets look right). No place for trash can near clean-up area (could be next to fridge, maybe?). Had to add a whole additional wall of upper cabinets just to get it to look right, including an upper corner. Had to lose the standalone chimney-type range hood. Contractor says venting from that wall is most difficult, also. Dirty dishes are most prominant to doorway.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Just wanted to clarify, I wasn't trying to be a jerk by telling you to put dirty dishes in the dw.

Seeing a pile of dirty dishes and not being able to use the sink is a common concern of those thinking of switching from a double bowl to a single. So if you get in the habit loading as you go there is less of an issue.

As for the layout. The only thing I can say is that I move alot from the range to the sink, and back. I like being able to move thinks over the counter. My old kitchen I had to cross the center of the room, which I didn't like, felt wasn't safe. Thinking of pots of boiling water, etc.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Gotcha, debrak. I'm used to seeing a pile of dirty dishes. We don't put dishes in the sink now, and we certainly won't if we go to a single. Right now, half our double sink has a wire dish drainer and (95% of the time) is filled with clean dishes. The other basin is always empty, ready for use. So, we are really wasting half of the sink anyhow. A big single-basin could be used just like we use ours now, with a dish rack on one side.

What I'm thinking more about is from where those dirty dishes are most visible. Though, obviously, if I'm trying to impress someone, there won't be any dirty dishes sitting around!

There doesn't seem to be a way to put the sink and range in the same run of counter in our kitchen, without it seeming very cramped.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

In the latest plan, above, I just realized I could get rid of that little filler next to the sink just by making the adjacent counter 6" deeper. Side effect: could potentially make a full-size fridge look built in with the extra depth.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I'm sorry if this has been mentioned before but can you have the back door open outwards? If that's a possibility you may think of something in the passage to your DR (As you can see I'm obsessed with that passage:-))

Also I found the below picture on the net. Maybe you can use such a mechanism to have more work space.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I suppose that door could be changed. What then?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

How about in your last setup add a small prep sink on the other side. Then you can use that to prep and cook and the clean-up can occur on the other side. Since a prep sink can be smaller you won't need the full depth depending on what you get. Yes a bit more plumbing, but it would solve the having to walk across a traffic path with a hot pot or to fill one.

Also would allow you more than one person to do prep. One by the kitchen sink and one by the stove/prep sink.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I suppose that door could be changed. What then?
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Then you may consider if it would be beneficial to get rid of the upper closet to widen the passage and move the fridge to the other closet.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Not sure I follow. On the left side of my plan, there is a corridor with a closet below it (I'm considering adding a countertop and cabinets to this closet). Below that is a bathroom that opens to the left. Sorry I didn't notate that more clearly.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Quick regarding a sink, mine is 29" wide inside, 91/2" deep from counter level, and an entire meal's mess, including baking sheets and pots, can disappear into it in half a minute. That doesn't sound that big or deep (9-1/2"?), but it lives really large because everything can sit flat. It could be less wide and still great (my large baking sheets are 21"). I routinely set things in mine when I'm too hurried to put them in the DW because it's off off the main sight line out the back door from the living room.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Here is what I mean. Fridge( or countertop+cabinets) can be in that closet area next to bath, and if the upper closet (your coffee station) is eliminated, entry to DR can be moved a little bit to outer wall side to ease traffic.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

sena01,
While that certainly could be done, it is not necessary. That closet is 27" deep so a normal-depth counter can fit without even messing up the door trim. However, moving the door would let someone slip by while someone else is standing, working, at that counter. Remember, the ceiling is lower in that spot, so leaving the doorway as a trimmed doorway is probably best (even if it is enlarged).

I was thinking of putting a bar sink in that nook - plumbing is nearby for the bathroom already. I wonder if it would be useful to a cook as well if that countertop were connected instead of in a separate-seeming room.

None of the plans posted have resonated as much, aesthetically, as our "favorite" plan did in the first post. It has some symmetry and balance that is lacking in the others even though the others are probably more functional.

I'll post some pictures soon so I can try to explain why we like it.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Can't you heat the floor and ditch the rad?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

All my research indicates that that doesn't work. The 180 degree water for radiator heat is too hot for floor heat.

We actually have electric heat in the kitchen now, I suspect one of those kits you lay before the tile goes down. It's nice, if you remember to switch it on. Probably we won't have tiles in the new kitchen though, so it'll be less necessary.

This post was edited by elofgren on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 21:54


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I was thinking of putting a bar sink in that nook - plumbing is nearby for the bathroom already. I wonder if it would be useful to a cook as well if that countertop were connected instead of in a separate-seeming room.
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For me it would be very functional to have a sink on the same counter with the stove.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I meant to cap off the radiator and just put in an electric heated floor. It's not expensive in the grand scheme; the only issue is what to do if/when it stops working.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

OK, have a look at this. It's pictures of the plan from the very first post, 17 miles up the page.

We really like the simplicity and spaceousness it seems to have.

Since making those pictures, I've experimented with sliding the doorways 6-or-so inches up, and making the counter left of the range a full 24" wide. Also, then, the coffee area gets a 30" deep counter.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

You like it. (!) IF it were mine, I'd move the stove to the right as much as comfortable to add space to the left.

24" will allow you to stand and work alongside the stove too, so to me the only question since you really like this is--while working in the corner, will you have adequate elbow-swing room on the stove side?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Right now, there's 32" next to the fridge, then 12" around the corner, then the stove. And that's where we do our cooking, predominately. Right of the stove is 24".

In this plan, there's 27ish" next to the fridge (wider fridge, plus side panels), then either 24" (if we move the door), or 18" (if we don't) around the corner, then the stove. Right of the stove is 18".

I'm thinking, what is the smallest buffer I'd be comfortable with on the other side of the stove. Would you go smaller? 15" or even 12"? I worry a little cabinet, not attached to anything, might start to look funny.

Picture is 24" left, 18" right, with the doorway scooched over a bit.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

30 on the left, 12 on the right. Doorway still scooched.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

There is no perfect solution for this kitchen, just the lesser of the evils. I would never buy this home if you keep the layout as shown above, for one important reason, The fridge is too far from the diningroom. Why don't you try some practice runs from that location and see what you think.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

If you were buying my house, you would probably consider moving the dining room back to it's original location, nearer the fridge. We moved it to its current location so we could use the other room (which is larger) as an office/study/library/music room.

The fridge in the plan above is where it is now. And yeah, it's kind of annoying. But, it's a small house; I couldn't get it more than 3 or 4 steps closer unless I put it in that closet. And then, you'd be really annoyed if you wanted to switch the dining room back.

What we keep coming back to is weighing form against function. For example, my wife didn't like the look of that angled cabinet (which made the counter over the radiator deeper). And of the two pictures directly above, she preferred the first, with the wider cabinet to the right of the range, because it improves the symmetry of that wall. (She also pointed out that when we both cook, one person sometimes works there and shares the stovetop.)


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

the powder room and closet, situated internally are the obstacles. A long term plan would allow for closet space"re-allocation" and a better spot for a powder room, thereby giving proper due to any kitchen plan you would pursue....with expansion of sq footage.The general layout of the home is not shown. Laundry/other baths/water sources are not discussed here so there are limits to what can be offered for long range options to improve the home more than just "getting the sink or range or fridge in the right spot". At this point, do proceed with plan 2 on the 24th you show with cutback of wall and a wrap into what you call "hall". Align the lowers facing out all the same way and order them reduced depth and extend counter beyond a bit. There are many shorter episodic activities this can be used for that don't constitute "standing"in the hall.....pouring cereal/setting something down/ uncorking wine and laying out snacks/appetizers/charging phones/laying out plates for family members to take to their dinner table spot/etc.the sink and range on the internal L vs another way is not that critical. Do you not feel that breezeway with the door is one day going to be knocked through and repurposed perhaps not by you but a future owner? It seems logical.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Here's the whole house


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

well, the most obvious question is whether the "playroom", once the children outgrow that requirement, then can be a nice quieter den/or whatever term given to adult use/secondary spaces these days. Library becomes a beautiful dining room with a widening of opening to liv room for more unification.... [and with that enhanced connection looks like an absolutely gorgeous space in the making]. then the back sweep of the home could be really special with enhanced kitchen perhaps with large banquette or island kitchen ....or get a laundry/ butler's pantry/etc. Two things about the back: again-that internal closet and powder room-and the vestibule/breezeway-potentially taking the side wall of that and extending it back to align with exterior radiator wall in kitchen-so much could be done with that single change. Of course a lot depends on your family's long term plans/budget/realistic long term value of properties in your area/etc. I would consider a more extensive plan here[even if done in phases] as the kitchen is functioning fine and if you simply "rearrange the deck chairs" I think you'll miss an opportunity.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Interesting ideas. The playroom is more of a sunporch kind of space - maybe once was a 3-season porch? It's not on a basement like the rest of the house.

I feel like "open" living spaces are faddish. Maybe I'm wrong... but I like rooms. Maybe that's part of why we were attracted to this house. Connecting the library with the living room would be an awesome, huge, room. But it'd still be really awkward with all the doors, radiators, stairs, windows, fireplace, etc. - hard to figure out how to furnish and allow traffic flow. Not impossible, though!

The back mudroom is really a windowed-in porch as well; we're hoping to winterize it a bit as part of this project. If we moved that wall out to the edge, well, first I'd cry a little bit because we put a new roof on 6 months ago. Then, I'd think about putting the half-bath there and expanding the kitchen.

Unfortunately, none of that's in the budget. Budgeting is hard because on the one hand we want what we want, and on the other hand, it's (at the end of the day), only a <$200k house in a little farm town. It almost makes more sense to do a $100k floorplan remodel (ha!) then a $50k kitchen remodel, in the same floorplan. It'd be a really really nice kitchen, but still small and awkward. More of replacing the deck chairs with some more-comfortable, sturdier ones.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

One seeing the whole layout I have to agree that the closet and powder room are really limiting your options. Opening the kitchen to the dining can be done without making it totally open as you still have distinct rooms for your living, playroom and library. Judicious use of large entryways, wide french doors, pony walls, raised bars, etc. can be utilized to define two distinct spaces yet allow for better flow between rooms as well as more of a functional space in small spaces since traffic patterns can be minimized thereby allowing more room for furniture, cabinets, appliances and radiators which are all competing for wall space.Plus there is more light as it will come from multiple directions and make rooms feeling brighter and bigger. Even if you remove some of your doors or put in pocket doors it would help. I respect you are on a budget, but remodeling can also be done in stages as long as you have a cohesive vision of your space taking into account your life for the next 10 years or so. I have to agree, I also would not purchase your house. I'd rather have a house sold for less with a kitchen that needs remodeling that one with a sub-functional kitchen, even with pretty cabinets and counters.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Did you consider swapping rooms?

Assuming that door to bath can be moved to the present kitchen, door to living resized, and fridge can be placed beside the small window, I think you may have, not probably more but better situated working space.

I don't know about the traffic from present DR to LR, plumbing problems or budget constraints, but this may be another alternative for you if you haven't already eliminated it.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I don't know if this will widen your options, but in renovating a 1923 bungalow, I left all the radiators in place except the one in the kitchen. I bought a smaller taller one and moved the connection a few feet to the left so that I could have the sink under the window. The cost was not much, and the room heats nicely.

Tall but small silver painted radiator in the corner replaced a chunkier one that was in front of the window.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I don't know how the bathroom is laid out, but can the door move to the closet wall? Just so it doesn't open right into living space. And maybe the coffee bar can go under the handsome little window across from it on shallow cabinets or a table.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Well, I'm another one who likes rooms with different moods and functions, and I really like your spaces. Takes all kinds.

If you do continue with the plan you've been liking all along, I'm thinking 15" to the right of the stove. You can sit anything down in that space, but it still frees up a bunch of room for the other side. Enough when you're busy to be working the entire span of the corner without being too cramped to actually work alongside the stove. It'd be a shame if that were only used as a holding area. I'd mock it all up and try it out, though, to allow you to develop a strong feeling for where each inch should go.

Regarding refrigerator-DRM relationship, although crossing a crowded, busy work area (such as the inside of an island or a narrow corridor) from dining to fridge would be problematic, you have a nice, open center, and 2 or 3 extra steps across it would be a price I'd pay happily to get something important to me in return. It's actually nice to think of that square footage contributing an important function, and of course your family is hypotenusing their kitchen routinely anyway.

Regarding the refrigerator and assumptions that should be viewed in personal context, IF you do make that counter nice and deep and can use a standard depth unit, do you actually need a 35-36" one? Lots of people end up storing beverages in volume in the extra space. 32" would free up a wonderful 3" and. of course, be a nod to green choices.

Aside from width, standard depth would also allow a desirable single-door unit that opened away from the prep/stove area, thus not opening in the cook's way, including when it's the cook doing the opening.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Rosie,
If I ever need to sell my house for some reason, I'll call you first!

Eric


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

OK... If you were me, would you trade a six inches of workspace by the stove for a deeper counter plus a full-size fridge? (And maybe I could get 3" back by getting a narrower fridge)

By the way, currently we have a full-size freezer plus a dorm fridge in the basement; probably we'll put our old top-freezer there and sell the all-freezer when we get a new fridge.

Edit: We're a family of four, at the moment, with a 1- and a 4-year-old. So our refrigerator needs haven't exactly peaked!

This post was edited by elofgren on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 20:44


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

How cute and how nice! The little ones are at our kids' homes these days, but I was just looking at a picture of our once-14-month-old sitting in a kitchen drawer he had climbed into. It was "his" drawer that he emptied of unbreakables to make room for him. I'm going to frame a print for our kitchen.

Any new progress in your thinking? Regarding the 6", such a good question. Honestly, I don't have an answer, but it's an important one that I imagine would vary from person to person. I would sacrifice things others might not to get the deeper counter. Just for instance, centering the stove in this situation wouldn't even be at the bottom of my list, although with small children keeping the stove at least 12" from the passage would be at the top. A sacrifice of 6" worth of precious counter edge to stand and work at would translate into 6" additional depth across the whole back of the main work area... Might well depend on whether I could get enough counter edge on the stove side of the corner to be able to move comfortably, arms especially.

I had some space limitations when I was doing mine, so I got boxes and "counter material" and set it all up, moving stuff this way and that, setting out bowls, chopping board, and pans of imaginary hot oil, etc., leaving oven and DW doors open, etc., until I had it all set down to the 1/2 inch, and even less.

I so recommend that. There were no surprises or disappointments at all, it works every bit as well as I thought it would, and also I have the comfort of believing I made it just right--sometimes more important than actually being so. :)

BTW, since you're working with inches here, don't forget you also conceivably have the wall depth at the back of the counter to work with. Barring plumbing lines, etc., it'd be a small matter to frame a niche that just happened to be the same size as the area between counter and upper cabinets there. Or shorter to create a ledge, or... You'd lose insulation between kitchen and stairwell, tho.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

It doesn't really matter.....people will have to learn navigation patterns to sequence their retieval from cabinets and use of corners/counters in two locations. Some cabinets flanking the window by the radiator would help steer people away from "jams" at sink and the critical corner between fridge and range where there is a handicap for everyone because all wall cabinets flank only one side of that L......and the same alignment of wall cabs only in one position around the sink makes that L unfriendly.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

I don't follow... what is the handicap? The corner-most cabinet being hard to reach? Seems like the countertop and lower cabinets would serve to "steer people." And the cornermost cabinet would be no worse then trying to reach the back of a "corner cabinet." Yes, we'd be giving up cabinet space. That's not very high on our list - but functional counter space certainly is!

In other news.... pulled the electric stove out yesterday, and there's a gas line behind it! Just need to wire a 110V outlet and we'll be all set when the NXR arrives in a week or so--No plumber needed.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

nkba has guidelines....1."no single leg of work triangle less than 4 ft", for example....your fridge to range is extrememly tight....3-4ft distance is creating the corner problem....[that's why there is a guideline] 2."no major traffic pattern should cross the work triangle"..3."at least 60 inches wall cabinet frontage within 72 inches of primary sink centerline"....handicap is your word.... the guidelines are designed to assist you.....they cover a lot of aspects. Awareness of the guidelines generally and taking heed of them for the most part is helpful.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Well, that last is certainly true, Herbflavor, and my own initial assumption was that something I might like better, and would end up conforming more, might be in order. (Elofgren, I just like to be able to use my long-range vision while I work).

But. hey. When someone has considered all options in great detail, likes her existing layout best, then comes here for yet more input to consider, and STILL likes her existing layout best? That's pretty good progress, right? :)

The process seems to be moving to the detail stage, where that personally satisfying basic layout hopefully gets tweaked to add what was lacking. In any case, there is more need for knowledgeable input from this forum in tight spaces than big ones, and more need for clever ideas.

Gas already in place--congrats, Elofgren.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

It's funny how my thinking about the previous owners evolved, too. From "What were they thinking" to "that's why they did it that way."

I read through all those NKBA guidelines just now. Some of them were just laughable (no traffic through work triangle? ha!). Many of them we actually will get in the above design, though. Work triangle for example. Current Fridge->Stove is about 4.5' and we'll increase that slightly in the renovation. We're adding counter space (they recommend 11' I think, and we have about 9' now.) And I keep forgetting about that coffee station when I do the math. That's three feet of counter, and base, and wall cabinets.

The guidelines do sound like they were written by cabinet salesmen, though! Must have five storage/organizing items, eh? I'll just run right out and buy those, then.

Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone. It may not seem like it but we argued and discussed and drew and rendered every suggestion someone made above. We'll keep tweaking but I think we're on the right track for our family and this house now.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

elofgren, I have some thoughts to run past you regarding your coffee bar. Do you know if the wall on the right side of your closet can be removed (next to the diningroom)? If so, you have the room to do the following:
1. Place a regular depth and ht. 24" w. fridge in the closet on the wall next to the kitchen. This would be a secondary fridge, mainly for all beverages (water, milk, juice, soda) and condiments (catsup, mayo, etc.). GE makes a fridge this size (see AJMadison). It has a freezer across the top. An ice maker can be purchased for it; cost is about $600. Specs say it requires 1" space on each side. Inset the fridge with a panel on the right. I wouldn't want my only fridge in that area but for this purpose, it could be a lifesaver, esp. with little ones.
2. With the wall removed on the right closet side, this allows room for 27" wide cabinets. I would build-in a Miele coffeemaker and have a small microwave built in above.
The drawers below could be for cutlery and dish drawers. My guess is that the posts opposite the closet are for support and cannot be removed to give you more room in the pass through.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

We forced some decisions last night when confronted with a too-good-to-pass-up deal at Lowes - bought a 36" wide counter-depth fridge. Saved almost $1000 we can use on something else.

Texasgal, That closet is 36" wide; removing one wall would make it maybe 42." Couldn't remove all the way up to the ceiling as there are differing ceiling heights between closet and dining room.

We do not need a third fridge, I don't think. I agree that the location would be very convenient, but it's probably not worth the loss of counter space and storage space in that area. If anything I would consider a under-cabinet sized fridge.

I hope you're wrong about those posts. Moving that doorway closer to the top wall would give us some better counter area on the kitchen. We will have to have a pro consider that, though.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Elofgren, wow, congrats on the new fridge and the great price. I'm excited for you. Hopefully, I'm wrong about those posts, too. I'm talking about the two small ones that are in the pass through from kitchen to DR, on the exterior wall. As far as the fridge is concerned, you must be far more energetic than I am. I've always had a kitchen where the fridge was only a few steps from the breakfast table; consider me spoiled. By the way, that was a great strategy when you moved the diningroom to the back of the house.
It bloggles my mind to think of you going through a remodel with two little ones when one considers the stress of making all those expensive decisions, the time involved, plus the mess and chaos. Keep those posts coming. We GWebbers love sharing the excitement.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Just a first-floor half-bath comment -

I'd take it out of the DR. Who wants to be eating a meal next to a bathroom?

Tuck it under the stairs. I've seen it done in many older small homes and while it's not a fantastic half-bath, it's functional and out of your eating space.

If you do this you'll capture an additional 24 sq. ft. or so for your kitchen remodel.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Got stairs under those stairs, I'm afraid.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Is it original to the house? I understand how a first floor half bath is such a good thing, but maybe it's worth considering losing it for the greater good.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

It's not original to the house. Moving it could be a consideration. But I don't know to where. Removing it can't be a consideration. With kids at the ages they are, a toilet needs to be convenient.

It's awkward having it off of the dining room, though. We should add a fan when we're doing ductwork, for white noise if nothing else.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Another thought - switch the function of the Library and DR. Does that reframe your thinking abou the kitchen layout?


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

If you don't have a lot of furniture in the DR, maybe you can enlarge the bath to that side and have the door on the LR side.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

Or remove the closet and open the bath into that space, and put the coffee bar on the opposite wall under the window.


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RE: Help me? Floorplan in small kitchen

bpathome - good idea, but that bathroom is so small - I don't think it could have a door on an end (instead of the long side) and still house a sink and toilet.

sena01 - I'm not sure we could find another furniture layout for that living room if we put another door in it! And it wouldn't help too much anyhow. Kitchen wouldn't be larger, and the bathroom would still be adjacent to--if not open to--the dining room.

karen_belle - we actually made the switch to the current layout. The current "library" is the larger room; it houses four big bookshelves, two desks, and a piano. However, we are trying to keep in mind (in kitchen layout) the possibility of us or some future owner switching it back. This is one of the reasons, for example, that we don't want to put the fridge in the closet at top center. A coffee/refreshment station doesn't seem out of place in case it was next to a study instead of a dining room. But that would be a long long way way to the fridge if the dining room was lower right.


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