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What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Posted by jill314 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 20:09

Edited to add: Revised floor plan a few posts down. I'm deleting the original since it has issues!

Below is a diagram (more or less to scale) of my kitchen. The door to the hall cannot be moved (it could be closed off, but I would rather not do that) and I would rather not get rid of the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. I am thinking that what makes the most sense is to basically leave the refrigerator, sink, and range where they are, put a shallow (12") pantry cabinet in the narrow space next to the doorway, and base & wall cabinets along the rest of that long wall. The part that is giving me trouble is the wall with the window on it.

Just for context, we are a family of 6 and we often have other people over for meals. We also host big extended family dinners quite often, so we do want a very functional kitchen despite the small size. We plan to have some cabinets installed in the dining room to help mitigate the fact that there is just not room for a lot of cabinet space in the kitchen.

Any layout suggestions or ideas are most welcome. :)

This post was edited by jill314 on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 10:03

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Welcome, Jill314!

I was reviewing your space and noticed that the measurements do not add up...

The top wall = 160.75"
The bottom wall = 48" + 44.75" + 48" = 140.75"

I can understand a difference of an inch or two (like the side walls), but 20" seems a bit excessive! I'm assuming one or more of the bottom numbers are off or there's a jog in the bottom wall somewhere that makes that wall shorter...

Left wall = 14.75" + 40" + 43" = 97.75"
Right wall = 30.25" + 37" + 29.5" = 96.75"

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Ah, thanks. The archway in the bottom wall is actually 64.75, not 44.75. Whoops.

I think the left/right wall differences are probably due to the difficulties in getting a completely accurate measurement by myself.

Thanks for catching that!

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Okay, never mind, I just looked at my drawing again and the left/right wall difference is because the top measurement is supposed to be 13.75, not 14.75.

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Okay, I think I fixed the issues. Let's try again:

 photo kitchenfloorplan.jpg

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Well, a seemingly simple thing would be to narrow the hall doorway to 28", which is a standard width, so you could run a standard counter all the way down the stove wall. Is there a reason why that shouldn't be done?

Depending, you could conceivably even deepen that counter to 26, 28, or 30" to give you significantly more work space. 30" is very nice. I had it once and can't believe I didn't do it here, even though I have more space than I need anyway. :)

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

The doorway width includes the door frame. I believe the doorway opening is already 28" or 30". However I can't really use the space past the door frame, so it's only 13.75" of usable space between the wall and the door.

Right now, the counters are all shallower than the standard depth, so I think that even standard depth will seem big to us. :)

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Can you move the dining room arch to the left? If so, then you can create a very nice U-shaped kitchen.

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Lisa, thanks so much for weighing in. :) It is not out of the question to move the arch. However there are a couple of issues with doing that. One is that the opposite side of the dining room has a similar arch that is centered in the room, so if the arch to the kitchen is off-center it will look odd. Another issue (perhaps more important as far as the kitchen is concerned) is that if there are counters along both "long" ends of the kitchen (top and bottom in the above floorplan), then in order to have a dishwasher next to the sink, we'd have to move the sink, which adds expense. Another issue is that the kitchen is so narrow that if the counters are standard depth, then there is less than 4' in between, which is pretty tight if more than one person is going to be in there at a time (which will often be the case).

If someone has a specific plan where moving the arch would make everything wonderful, I'd definitely consider it!

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

I think you're right about your layout. With the Hall doorway in it's present location, it really limits what can be done on that top wall. In addition, with such a large opening to the DR, the bottom wall is also limited...and an island will not fit b/c of the bottom wall(s).

So, here's something I came up with on my lunch hour (and then I had a meeting and couldn't back to it until the end of the day):

 photo Jill3141a.jpg


  • Refrigerator...

    • To open fully, the refrigerator must not be against a wall (or other obstruction) that's deeper than the refrigerator's carcass/box. The doors must stick out past any adjacent obstructions. To accommodate this, there's a 9" Pantry pullout b/w the refrigerator and the wall. I'd prefer a 12' pullout for added space b/w the refrigerator and wall, but you only have 48" to work with on the bottom wall segment. (The left wall has even less room - 43", so I do not recommend turning the refrigerator.) [The Pantry Pullout could also be a Utility Pullout for a broom, swifter, etc. It depends on what you have a greater need for inside the kitchen itself.]

    • I don't know what size your refrigerator is or will be, but I recommend a refrigerator "alcove" with a minimum width of 36" and a height of 72" - even if you have to install filler in the short term (if your refrigerator is smaller than 36x72). Manufacturers seem to have landed on a "standard" size of 36"W x 72"H refrigerators. Refrigerators narrower than 36" are getting more and more difficult to find and we periodically get a request from a member frantically trying to find a refrigerator narrower than 36".

    • The refrigerator has a finished end panel on the exposed side with a full-depth cabinet above to give it a more "built-in" look w/o the cost of a built-in refrigerator.

    • Note: If you get a standard depth refrigerator, then I recommend you also get a pantry pullout deeper to match (no deeper than the refrigerator's carcass, though).

  • Zone Arrangements...

    • The three primary cooking zones are separated to allow multiple people to work in the kitchen at one time.

    • The Prep and Cleanup Zones are separated by the sink. Someone can be prepping while another person is cleaning up (loading/unloading the DW).

    • The Prep and Cooking Zones are adjacent to each other for an efficient workflow but there's enough room for someone to be cooking while someone else is prepping.

    • With the refrigerator in the bottom left corner, there will be very little, if any, zone-crossing in this kitchen! A good thing... :-)
      It's a direct line from the refrigerator to each zone w/o crossing into one of the other zones.

  • Cleanup Zone (right wall)...The Cleanup Zone comprises the sink + DW on the right wall.

    • There's a 24" upper cabinet for dish storage above the DW.

    • The sink is a single-bowl sink set in a 30" sink base. I recommend getting the biggest sink that will fit in the cabinet.

    • Why a single-bowl? In small kitchens where every inch counts (or where doorways constrain a larger kitchen), the smaller sink base you can use, the better. However, in a sink base smaller than 33", I recommend going with a single-bowl b/c the bowls in a double-bowl sink in a narrow sink base will be too small - even with 60/40 or 70/30 bowls. (Normally, I'm a proponent of double-bowl sinks in one sink kitchens, but not in a sink base smaller than 36" or 33".)

    • By placing the DW to the right of the sink, it keeps it out of the Prep Zone and (1) gives you "dedicated" space for dirty dishes that doesn't infringe on the work space in the Prep Zone, (2) allows you to have the sink under the window (important to some people), and (3) with the dirty dishes on the right, hides the dirty dishes from both the Hall and the DR view.

  • Prep Zone...The Prep Zone spans the space b/w the range on the left and the sink on the right and it's on both the top wall and the right wall.

    • The Prep Zone includes the sink since water is usually needed when prepping - cleaning/rinsing/peeling veggies/fruits as well as adding water to recipes.

    • I included a trash pullout b/c:
      1. There really isn't a good place for a standalone trash can,
      2. A 30" sink base isn't that wide and trying to cram a small trashcan in it doesn't really work (at least in my experience)
      3. An 18" trash pullout can fit two bins - one for recycling and one for trash - all in an 18" space - which you really can't do under the sink and standalone, and
      4. My personal opinion is that trash under the sink is, well, not very "nice" (trying to be diplomatic here....). I've lived with it in the past and I really didn't like it...they're usually quite small and when they start overflowing....well, you know. (If it has a lid, it's a little bit better, but still...)

    • There are 39 inches of workspace b/w the range and the corner edge - then add in the corner itself + the 18" b/w the sink and corner and you have a respectable amount of workspace. The minimum recommended is 36", but I have found 42" to be ideal. Between the top wall's 39" and the corner + 18", you have plenty! For a small kitchen, that's usually hard to come by!

    • To the left of the sink, there's either a 6" filler pullout (if you plan to store bottles, spices, etc.) or a 6" cabinet with no shelves that you can use to store your cutting boards and, perhaps, a few trays.

    • The corner susan is a 33"x36" susan; a bit smaller than the standard, but it still has very accessible storage (everything is right in front - simply turn until what you want is in front of you and it's easy to remove (or replace)). It's far more functional, IMHO, than a blind corner cabinet. Blind corners aren't very accessible w/o a pullout of sorts, but those pullouts are generally not very sturdy (there are some out there...but most are not) and with even the sturdy ones, if something falls off inside the cabinet as you're swinging it in/out, you can't close the cabinet until someone crawls inside to retrieve the fallen item. [Yes, my bias is MIL has two blind corner cabs w/no pullout and they are horrendous! I considered one w/a Rev-A-Shelf or Häfele pullout until my KD showed me one the showroom had insalled and explained that she always discourages customers from them b/c of the issues with them. She told us that every customer that insisted later told her they regretted it - at least those that said anything]

    • Instead of the "traditional" upper diagonal corner cabinet, I've put in an "easy-reach". They don't have as much storage, but they are far more accessible/usable. In addition, the easy reach doesn't close up the kitchen as much.

    • The counter in the corner (and the corner susan) are "pie cut". This type of corner provides the most floor space, the most counter frontage, and more usable counterspace. Diagonal corners may appear to provide more space, but in reality most people cannot reach the deep insides of the corner. The diagonal also robs you of 9" of floorspace/counter frontage on the top wall and 12" on the right wall.

  • Cooking Zone...The Cooking Zone contains the range and MW

    • The MW is located on the periphery and across from the refrigerator so snackers can use it without getting in the way of those prepping, cooking, or cleaning up.

    • The range has plenty of workspace and landing space.

    • While the range isn't completely protected from through traffic, if you look at the most likely traffic path b/w the hall and DR, that traffic will veer off b/f it gets to the range.

  • Storage and Miscellaneous...

    • The trash pullout is in the Prep Zone but near the Cooking and Cleanup Zones. Most people generate far more trash and recyclables while prepping and cooking than cleaning up - and for a longer period of time (it takes much longer to prep & cook a meal than to clean up) and more times during the day (full scale cleanup is usually only done once a day while prepping and cooking occur on and off all day).

    • Pantry space...two pantries - the 36"x13" straight pantry and the 9" pantry pullout

    • Quite a bit of upper cabinet storage. There's not much base cabinet storage - but the base cabinets do have quite a few uses that will help in the long run.

    • Pots & Pans...I recommend storing them in the corner susan.

    • Cutting boards, trays, etc...I labeled some possible options for this storage

    • Something to think about: If you think a smaller sink would work for you, then you might consider a 27" sink base and add those 3" to the 6" cabinet to the left of the sink. Those 3" can make a big difference in storage capacity and options.

    • Note that there is a 12"x12" base cabinet under the "corner" to the left of the range.

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Thanks so much, buehl! There are some similarities to what I had in mind as a first go at things, but the differences, along with your explanations, are very helpful to see. I'm sure I will come back and read it several times over! For right now, it's been a long day and my brain is shutting down, so I should probably head to bed. :)

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

Haha, I must be picking the right things up if I come up with almost the same plan as buehl!

Working with the much more readable plan (vs my freehand one) buehl has kindly posted above, my preference would be to put the 6 in pullout space into the sink cabinet (so 36 in sink base) with the trash under one side, then take the 18+12 to the right of the range and make a 30 in drawer stack.

I think both are good options. For me, I'd make the changes I outlined because:
-after seeing what the useable space in a 6 in pull out, I could not come up with a good way to use it in my kitchen. You, however, may decide it's just what you need. One of the questions none of us can answer.
-my 12 in tray pull out isn't as great as I hoped, though I think that's more a function of the style used. I need to play with it. But if I could get a larger drawer stack by giving it up, I would in a heartbeat! If you are using framed cabinets, the useable space will also be less. That top drawer probably would not fit oven mits if framed (my silicone mits just barely fit and my 12 in drawer is frameless).
-if you plan the sink well, you can get 18 in for the garbage in the sink cabinet. I don't mind it. And if planned from the start you can make it whatever style you like. Plus in my small kitchen I couldn't bring myself to give up the space.

I think that 9 in pull out by the fridge might work better as a utility space vs pantry, just based on useable interior space. You can probably fit much more on a pegboard type system than narrow shelves. But definitely measure what you need to store vs shelf width, it might be the perfect size for some things.

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

I suspected that was the case for your DR but I had to ask.

Buehl drew up a very nice plan, given your constraints. One thing I would add is a two-sided glass cab between kitchen and DR either full height like this:

Or with uppers and lowers with pass-through like this:

This cab would be accessible form kitchen and DR making it easy to put dishes away from the kitchen side and take them out to set the table on the DR side. The cabs would take the place of the wall and would extend into the DR, not the kitchen so it wouldn't interfere with the DW placement.

You could do a cab on the other side of the arch for additional storage if you need symmetry.

This post was edited by lisa_a on Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 2:17

RE: What layout would you suggest with this kitchen?

I have been away from the computer so I'm just now seeing the newest replies. Thanks so much!

Williamsen - thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess I'll have to think about what specifics will work best for us, but in the process it is very helpful to hear what has worked for other people!

Lisa - those photos are beautiful, and definitely something I hadn't thought of with the dining room cabinets. I'll have to think about whether something like that would work for us and be financially feasible. Thanks!

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