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Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new design

Posted by AlexHouse (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 8, 12 at 22:04

Hi to old friends. I posted on this forum a few months back. I went through a number of iterations of a design and everyone's suggestions were very helpful. I learned a lot from the back and forth.

I had to shift gears for a while because I felt my design "imagination" was in a rut, meaning that I was producing variations on the same theme and this wasn't working for me, so I stopped all design work and went to my property and began working on clearing some of the land, laying down some hydroelectric infrastructure, etc. Mechanical and engineering stuff rather than design and aesthetics.

I recently fired up the design software and purposely didn't look at my previous design efforts - I felt that with the time away I could begin with fresh eyes. Of course I still had design constraints that I had to contend with but I was hoping that I could come up with a new way to invent the wheel, so to speak.

What I wanted to avoid in this iteration were the following:

- barrier island
- dead runs of cabinetry which had little usefulness
- zones too close together
- bird on a wire seating
- entry doors in the kitchen

What I'm looking for is feedback on this design and how to improve it, or if need be, to scrap it if the criticisms point out enough flaws which I haven't identified.

Here are two renders:

Don't worry about upper cabinet heights, window styles, etc because everything in the plans is at a "placeholder" stage until I can nail down the workflow, layout, traffic patterns, etc.

I have a HUGE basement food storage zone, so I don't need a pantry within, or near, the kitchen, but I also don't want to be running downstairs for a box of pasta or a can of soup, so my compromise is to use the cabinetry for intermediate storage of frequently used goods and then restock from the pantry rather than using a "Just In Time" type of inventory system within the kitchen and then continually replenishing from a nearby pantry.

I tried to incorporate a landing zone near all appliances, so the fridge has the peninsula right in front of it and the prep zone counter right next to it. The range and sinks have good expanses of countertop on either side.

The baking zone has the oven on one side and the wood fired oven (off picture) on the other side of the peninsula in the DR/LR. Also I have a nice 4' x 7' expanse of counter to work on.

For the prep and butcher zone, I'm leaning towards 3" thick maple butcher block countertop and I'm toying with the idea of the top 1" being detachable and flippable to allow a cutting surface just for meat and to allow for easy washing but I'm not sure if that's really workable - more investigation (and feedback from you guys) is needed.

The upper cabinet that's situated over the middle of the peninsula is going to be an awkward reach, so I'm thinking it best to put infrequently used items in that cabinet.

I'm concerned about the upper cab in the corner next to the main sink - should I think about a corner cab there due to the reach needed to open the door closest to the exterior wall?

I can't think of anything else to spell out at this point, so I open the floor to feedback. Believe it or not, a lot of what you're seeing is the result of the knowledge you have shared with me earlier in the year, but I take all responsibility for misapplying that knowledge, so don't feel bad if I'm the dunce student who bollixed up what was perfectly sensible commentary from earlier conversations.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

I like this! THe only issue I can see, and it looks like you are also thinking about this, is that the "butcher station" is a ways from the sink. I would tend to do meat stuff by the sink, personally, but I like the idea of butcher block for that area anyway.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

I find it befuddling. You need a car to reach the stove from where you propose to prep. Also, who wants to sit and eat watching a "butcher station?"


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

A few quick observations:

Re curved apron in front of a sink: one of the reasons for the popularlity of apron front sinks is that they reduce the distance you must reach over to access the bowls of the sink. The curved sink from makes that even worse ergonomically than a standard-type placement. Suggest strongly that you dummy up a similar arch in front of your current sink and work with it for a few months before commiting to this design. That kind of unneeeded reach makes my back ache just looking at it. With a sink that large it looks as though you plan on using it a lot rather just stashing everything in the DW. If that's the case comfortable working almost requires a very narrow lip (if any) in front of your sink. Arch may also interfere with your base corner cab thingy, which often pull out for full access.

You say you have ample additional food storage in the basement: where is the basement access relative to the kitchen? Can you organize a dumbwaiter for hauling stuff up during re-stocks?

Re butchering area: from my own experience it's a messy, wet job and I wouldn't plan on storing tablecloths in the drawers below! Four feet is OK, but not great, counterspace for butchering. It depends on what and how big the carcase is.

Re aisle width in front of fridge and between rounded counter end. I'd get rid of the arc and make a wider aisle. Forty-three inches is an acceptable working distance in front of a counter, but it strikes me as too narrow for a main corrider. Not only functionally (especially with fridge door interference) but also visually as it seems a main corridor and should feel, as well as be, ample, not stingy for the size of the space.

Re "L 'Orangerie" vaguely hinted at outside the stove. Beware of bulking up your building's thickness, even with semi-outdoor spaces. Anything where you have a roof, even pergola with a dense vine, will significantly affect the amount of light the interior rooms receive. In general longer, thinner buildings feel better to live in, though of course, they are more expensive to build. Unless you have plans for natural light coming in through the ceiling or through clerestory windows don't have any significant room without a lot of clear exterior walls, preferably on two sides.

What are the compass directions of this portion of your house? That's an important thing to think about when siting a new building.

Assume picture of window on wall to outdoor kitchen is incorrect and it's a door?

Have you considered making your counters 30" deep, rather than 24"? This makes them much useful (and you have the room to spare with such a wided-open middle.) You can make the cabs deeper, or not. It's more expensive but adds significant additional storage if you do. Making the counters deeper has the effect of shrinking the open space in the middle making work points closer to each other, which is a good thing in many circs without an island.

Also if you are designing this building from scratch you should read the book, "A Pettern for Living" by Alexander et al. It speaks directly to what makes a house (also community, garden, workspace) feel really livable; gives specific principles to incorporate in your design. Your library probably has it aor you can order it. It is the one best resource, IMO for those who are designing a space for themselves de novo. No glossy pictures, just short chapter after short chapter elucidating what works for buildings, and why. Whenever I lend it to someone they are usually loathe to return it. It's that good.

HTH

Liriodendron


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

claybabe,

There is a 24" single sink right by the exterior wall on the prep/butcher station.

Marcolo,

You need a car to reach the stove from where you propose to prep.

I'm not planning on prepping there - when I'm cooking alone I'll prep near the main sink, right next to the range. However, when I have an additional person helping out and we're BOTH doing prep, then I thought it important that our activities not result in us jogging elbows and bumping into each other, so I wanted a secondary prep zone which had access to sink, counter and fridge such that the bumping into each other effect was minimized. If you still have a concern about the placement of this secondary prep zone, do you have a suggestion on how to improve the layout?

Also, who wants to sit and eat watching a "butcher station?"

I can't imagine any circumstance where I'd have guests over, they'd be sitting at the banquette and they'd be watching me butcher a chicken.

The banquette is wrapped by plenty of windows, primarily for my benefit because in the mornings I get to watch the sun come up right out the main window - I have mountain and valley views and the wilderness and the vista is really a quite spectacular way to begin the day.
As I was batting around the "Island Seating" versus "Banquette Seating" question the issue that settled the debate was the prospect of sitting at a table and being immediately wrapped by windows which put me, or all of us, as near to the outdoors as possible and exposed us to some pretty inspiring scenery. Once that vision opened itself up to me I couldn't entertain putting the banquette deeper into the kitchen - it had to be on that East wall somewhere or I'd lose a major aesthetic effect.

So what the diner sees when the sit there is a toss-up - one can focus their attention to the outside (I've tried to make that easy with the window placement) or they can focus on a 3" butcher block countertop. What they won't have to face is me cutting up a chicken.

Liriodendron,

If those were quick observations I'd love to have you make some detailed observations. Thanks for the thought you put into your "quick" response.

I think that your observation on the sink is very good. What you saw was my momentary desire to create a bit of flair in the cabinetry, but on further reflection I believe that the everyday enjoyment of greater ease of use is going to outweigh the visual enjoyment of a bit of flair, so out goes the curve and in comes a farm sink.

The stairs to the basement are just to the bottom left of the floorplan and the dumbwaiter is just 4' away from the entrance to the kitchen. Secondly, the entrance to the garage is just to the left of the floorplan, so any restocking that is needed right after a visit to the grocery store can happen immediately before the goods go down to the basement for longer term storage. This is one of the reasons that I like the placement of the peninsula - it gives me a drop zone right at the front of the kitchen when I arrive with kitchen stores and from that drop zone I can then place things immediately into the fridge or the dumbwaiter and I have room to sort the remainder on the peninsula before I start restocking the rest of the kitchen.

Good point about the tableclothes, etc. I'm not going to be butchering a large carcass on that counter - mostly birds and smaller cuts. Perhaps "Meat Cutting Table" is a better description.

Rounded Peninsula - Here again you caught me giving into to "pretty design." At one point I had a 5' entrance but that was gradually narrowed down as I extended the length of the peninsula, narrowed the kitchen, and added some flair with the rounded countertop. On the flip side though I did want to bring the countertop closer to the fridge so that I had a place to drop the goods I was hauling out of the fridge. There is, of course, the adjacent prep/butcher counter, but as I imagined myself using the space the activity of extending my arm backwards and placing on the peninsula seemed more natural that stepping sideways, extending around the open door of the fridge and placing on the edge of the prep counter. Your point on the aesthetics of the entry is sound but here it seems that we are reversing the design/functionality debate from above - my concern here is the drop zone for items being removed from the fridge and I'm tending to favor the ease of use over the design, besides, the peninsula isn't a wall, so the openness of the G-kitchen should lessen the impact of a restricted entry, wouldn't it?

In general longer, thinner buildings feel better to live in

This design is actually longer and thinner than previous designs. The kitchen sinks faces due East, meaning that the wall on which the range is situated is facing due South. The remainder of the home has very generous placement of windows on the south wall, but for the kitchen, the dilemma I faced was to achieve a balance of light coming into the kitchen versus light, and heat, into the greenhouse attached to the exterior South wall (very high on thermal mass) adjacent to the kitchen. Obviously I went with light into the greenhouse and compromised by bracketing the South wall with two windows, one above the counter on the East and a floor-ceiling window next to the peninsula resulting in an 11' section of that wall with no windows.

Window on North wall is indeed a window rather than a door. This allows for passing of items onto the deck, it avoids creating a traffic pattern through the kitchen to enter the deck, and allows me to maintain the design principle of each entry door entering into a vestibule rather than directly into the home.

All of the counters, except for the secondary prep zone are shown as 30" already. I did some more tinkering with the design last night and reduced the size of the fridge, expanded the size of the closet right at the entry of the kitchen and increased the size of the prep counters to 30", so now all cabinets are 30" deep. The exception being the peninsula where the cabinets facing into the kitchen are 24" deep and the cabinets facing away are 18" deep. The principle design criterion here was not having a peninsula that was too wide and presented a dead zone of unusable space in the middle.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

A classic way to put 2 prep zones in a U/peninsula kitchen is a small prep sink on the peninsula. This way you have two smooth flows from fridge or pantry to sink to range. The extra benefit is that it also works well as part of a baking station, since water is needed so often during baking to rinse hands, add water to an ingredient or whatnot.

If you did this, you could put taller, shallower storage over by the banquette rather than a full-depth countertop. It looks cramped, especially if someone wants to sit in a chair facing the table and the view. A hutch-like setup could even accommodate a shallower bit of counter for serving.

I'm surprised you didn't include a wall oven, unless I'm missing it. Opposite the peninsula would be a good location.

I agree with losing the curved counter facing the fridge and pantry. There isn't enough room there.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

I suggest you stand in front of your fridge and have a counter-height card table behind you in the same position as you are proposing to have the peninsula. Move the table/"peninsula" back and forth as you take stuff out and put things away. After a week or so of doing this you will know exactly what feels best for the aisle dimension. Even so, because that is a main (only one as far as I can see) corridor into your kitchen opt for a slightly larger rather smaller aisle width distance and remember you're not usually plastered up against the fridge front but standing 15-21 inches away from it when it's open in order to scan its whole contents easily.

I found live-testing spatial relationships to be one of the most effective - and satisfactory - elements of my design process. I have set up all kinds of weird dimensional simulations and invariably each one has lead me to high-confidence level decisions. There is much in kitchen or building design that is hard to conceptualize behforhand, so that where I can anchor a choice on real, scaled for me and my household, data is a blessed relief.

Since you mentioned the design concept of vestibule-connected entrances, I re-double my rec for the Pattern Language book. If you haven't already read it I think your thoughtful approach to design will be enriched by the principles it lays out.

Finally, I don't know where you are but I don't have much enthusiasm for house-connected greenhouses. I think they are much less satisfactory to live with than most people imagine. I am a professional grower so I have many years of experience in greenhouses, both house-attached and freestanding ones and I vastly prefer detached, or even semi-detached ones. It's better for the plants and for life in the house. Fully attached ones add so little to the house, and take so much away, while not being very good plant-growing spaces in the bargain.

Araguato


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

I like how it looks, but the space in front of the sink, bowed out, would kill my back. Im short and my arms are short.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

If the L'Orangerie is on the other side of the range wall...I would want a window on each side of the range, to really see that space.

If you are doing a separate cooktop and ovens, maybe put in two ovens, under the cooktop and wok? That might be helpful, if you do a lot of baking and cooking at the same time.

I like the sink and prep area, by the nook. When you're not using it for butchering/prep, it would make a great drinks/entertaining space, with that small sink. Close to the fridge, too :)


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

marcolo,

A classic way to put 2 prep zones in a U/peninsula kitchen is a small prep sink on the peninsula.

I agree. What I really need is 3 sinks (butcher, bake, general) but I'm not going to do that. So I took your advice and moved the sink to the peninsula and dealt with the butcher issue separately (see below.)

Now the question I have about the baker sink is whether people here think that it is placed too far and too deep away from the counter/corner edge? Here's my thinking - I don't want to interrupt unbroken peninsula counterspace by putting a sink smack dab into useful space and thereby INCREASING the non useful space that gets stranded behind the sink. I can put the faucet controls on the sink edge closest to the counter edge, the faucet would be on the edge nearest the wall and this allows unimpeded use of the sink from the peninsula side. However, this sink placement is not ideal in terms of complete ease of use. What would people here rather have in their kitchens - more unbroken counter space for big baking projects or even prep projects with the sink placed as it is or would they be willing to sacrifice counter space and increase the dead space behind the sink in order to create greater ease of use for the sink?

I'm surprised you didn't include a wall oven, unless I'm missing it. Opposite the peninsula would be a good location.

Opposite in which direction? Right at the entrance to the kitchen or the opposite wall, next to the sink? If the latter, then where should the dishwasher go?

Here was my solution - next to the fridge.

That's a single oven with a microwave on top - the dimensions are pulled from a spec sheet but the oven/microwave are using a double oven as a placeholder for rendering.

I've done away with the whole prep counter and placed a wall cabinet in its place for storing tableware, glasses, cutlery, recycling (what height are recycling drawers usually?) and the topmost cabinets can be used for items that I don't use frequently.

The baking zone can double as the secondary prep zone because I can't imagine that I'll have a baking project in the works at the very same time that a 2nd cook is helping me prep.

lirodendron,

. . . , because that is a main (only one as far as I can see) corridor into your kitchen opt for a slightly larger rather smaller aisle width distance

I've increased the width to 4'1" and the countertop that had to give way wasn't much of a sacrifice and I've managed to preserve some of the curvature at the entry focal point, while also repurposing those curved cabinets to store snacks thus saving me a trip deeper into the kitchen in order to find something to snack on.

As to the greenhouse issue, I too have worked with greenhouses. There is a standalone greenhouse elsewhere on the property but this one is designated only for growing a few fruit trees that can't survive in the outdoors. Secondly, due to the purpose of the greenhouse I want to have it attached so that I can piggyback heating, if needed, off the infrastructure in the house rather than setting up another dedicated greenhouse just for this purpose. If you still have concerns I'd certainly welcome your thoughts.

Please see this thread for my solution to the relocation of the butcher block countertop. There is also a view of the prep sink in the peninsula.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

Here is more of a "first impression" response. My gut reaction, without deeper analysis of the why. Just the "is".

Walkway by curved peninsula is too narrow. Lose the curve.

Table area looks like it's trying too hard to cram as much as possible into the space. It needs more room to breath. Consider built in bench only on 1 or 2 walls with a table and chairs up to it.

Butcher station. Ick.

I want a TV and a bar here.

Consider a range instead of cooktop.
Lose the double ovens in the second iteration Do a below cab microwave in the lower area of the baking center, and then have a counter space next to the fridge to make your PB&J


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

Alex: Nice to see you back.

Couple of thoughts on this and your proposal on the other thread for a motorized pull-out butcher table. But first, let me confirm what I THINK I recall about your situation:
You're usually the only cook, but occassionally have someone who helps. You live alone, I seem to recollect, or at least there are no kids to accomodate at a family dining area, right? And as I recollect you do some heavy duty cooking and prep, thus the desire for butchering and baking areas and for storage of canning supplies, etc. Right?

Assuming that's correct, some observations/ideas to think about:

1) Folks are going to squawk about the inconvenience of a deep U shaped banquette. But that would only really apply if a family regularly eats there and people have to routinely get up to let someone (usually a kid) in the middle out. If the dining space is mainly used for you and say one other person, that's not an issue. When it is used for dinner parties, I see no reason to think it would be any more inconvenient than a similar booth at a restaurant, and they are usually the most desired spots, because they facilitate converation and coziness, and most adults use the facilities if they need to before they sit down!

2) I keep thinking there should be a way to either overlap the butchering and baking areas (since they are unlikely to be in use at the same time) or find a way to incorporate your butcher block into your prep counter. On the former, the issue is that stone is a preferable surface for rolling out dough and wood, is of course, what you want for hacking a big hunk of meat up. The peninsula looks to be about 4 foot wide, right, with cabinets accessed on both sides? What about imbedding a large butcher block into it, but still leaving you a large enough space for rolling out dough? Any other baking tasks are as easily done on wood.

The alternative would be to replace part of the counter between sink and range with butcher block. I know you said you couldn't picture this and I'm prejudiced...it's exactly what I have. DSC01872 Excuse please the as-yet unpainted door on the trash cabinet. At least it now HAS a door.

3) The placement of the prep sink seems awkward to me, in that corner. What about moving it to the other end of the peninsula? There are lots of islands with them at one end.

4) I would consider rejiggering the oven/refrigerator/storage areas to make the storage facing the banquette less deep and widen your aisle there. Also, as someone who has a "pinch point" with fridge doors opening across from the end of the peninsula, I can tell you it's not good. Can you switch the fridge and oven placement (you'll be opening them much less often than the fridge) and move them a foot or so to the left, losing the small closet?

fWiw.....


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

liriodendron, I did not realize that apron sinks were (in part) designed to get you closer to the sink, to eliminate a few inches of space. I hadn't seen them as anything except a fashion statement . . . but you might have sold this barely five foot girl on an apron sink.

I will have to go to the store and look at sinks in person. Thanks for this small tip!


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

I adore your seating area. I wanted something similar, but my space just doesn't work.

I wonder about switching the butchering area with the baking center. I say this because meat goes with basic meal prepping, while baking has a different set of "stuff". You'd have space for baking pans, your big mixer, your canisters over in that separate area.

Pressure canning supplies -- have you allotted enough space for this? I have two canners and various accessories, and I couldn't fit it into one upper cabinet. How often do you use these things? Could they be relegated to the basement and brought up just when you need them? Speaking only for myself, I use mine intensely . . . but only for a few weeks every summer, not enough to justify giving them "prime storage space". I really want to buy electric models so I can leave them out on my covered porch instead of bringing them indoors, where they heat up the whole kitchen.

That's a huge refrigerator, yet I'm hearing that you have only two people in the house. Is that size really justified?

Now, a wild thought: Your kitchen is soooo large. You're going to wear yourself out walking back and forth on a daily basis. Yet you have two distinct kitchen tasks to which you've dedicated a large amount of space: Butchering and baking. Could you move the penninsula "up" towards the sink, making the "main kitchen" smaller and more space-efficient . . . and have sort of a "working pantry" in the are that you're now calling the baking area? It'd be just a small, not so fancy spot for these two activities. As someone else said, you're not likely to engage in these two activities simultaneously, so I don't see why they couldn't go together in a sort of sub-kitchen.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

MelissaStar,

You're usually the only cook, but occassionally have someone who helps. You live alone, I seem to recollect, or at least there are no kids to accomodate at a family dining area, right? And as I recollect you do some heavy duty cooking and prep, thus the desire for butchering and baking areas and for storage of canning supplies, etc. Right?

Your memory is fantastic!

When it is used for dinner parties, I see no reason to think it would be any more inconvenient than a similar booth at a restaurant, and they are usually the most desired spots, because they facilitate converation and coziness,

My thinking exactly. I certainly prefer a booth in a restaurant to a table - I just find it more comfortable and relaxing. I started the kitchen design process focusing on seating at a peninsula, which changed to seating at various islands, but then through all of the back and forth with everyone on this board, my thinking on my likes and desires sharpened quite a bit and the appeal of the banquette became more obvious to me. I'm designing this kitchen for my enjoyment and my ease of use, not for kids or guests. Taking my morning coffee, reclined in the banquette, feet up on the opposite side, watching the sunrise is a far more enticing prospect than sitting on a stool in front of an island either in the middle of the kitchen or buried deeper in the house. I'd rather watch what's going on outside my windows than turn my focus to what's taking place on my Big Screen TV. I don't have teenagers who need to be glued to the screen during meals, so a good line of sight from meal sitting to TV was a non-factor for me. If I ever develop the habit of desiring to watch the news while I'm having dinner I can always hang a small undercabinet TV right above where the dishwasher is situated.

As for the casual guest - they can sit at the banquette and they're completely out of my work flow in the kitchen and with more than a few casual guests, even the messes in the sink are hidden for 2/3 of the span of the banquette. For more formal occasions the dining room is available. And for the rare "house is teeming with guests" events, I can fit 5-7 kids at the banquette, with 3 more kids sitting at chairs while the adults are in the dining room/living room.

The banquette works extremely well for me and I had the most miserable time in trying to fit it in. It doesn't really work that well in the middle of the East wall and it doesn't work that well on the South end of the East wall because now it intersects traffic and work zones. Being on the North end of the East wall keeps it out of traffic.

I keep thinking there should be a way to either overlap the butchering and baking areas (since they are unlikely to be in use at the same time)

That's true. I find that I like hacking up meat close to a sink because it serves double duty - easy to throw waste into and convenient for clean up. Baking doesn't require sink proximity as much, at least the way I work, so I can make do with a smaller sink near where I bake than where I cook and cut meat. This means that if I combine baking and meat cutting, which never go on at the same time, then the big sink is really only used for pot clean-up and the secondary sink is more heavily used and it has to be larger, thus taking up more counter space. I'm just not able to fire on all cylinders here and get the "perfect combination" of all the features.

The alternative would be to replace part of the counter between sink and range with butcher block.

That would certainly make things simpler, as kateskouros so perceptively noted in the other thread. There's just something about the change of materials in the run of the countertop that unsettles me. Maybe I just need to mull over the idea a bit more - this solution after all just popped into my head last night.

A appreciate the picture of your kitchen - it now makes real what I was only imagining.

The placement of the prep sink seems awkward to me, in that corner. What about moving it to the other end of the peninsula? There are lots of islands with them at one end.

I agree that the sink placement is a bit awkward. I hadn't thought of putting the sink at the end of the peninsula, so I fired up the software and did just that. I looked at it, I rendered a photo and I actually find that more awkward because it cancels out the fridge drop zone, a grocery from garage drop zone, it sits smack in the middle of a walk around zone if I need to work on something from different angles - I have a 180 degree work surface there.

I think the question at the moment is whether to keep that sink where it is or move it a tad more towards the inside corner edge, with the attendant trade-off of creating dead space behind the sink. I'm wishy washy on that - I see the pros and cons of both positions. What would you do? Favor more work area or favor easier use of the sink for your baking needs?

I would consider rejiggering the oven/refrigerator/storage areas to make the storage facing the banquette less deep and widen your aisle there. Also, as someone who has a "pinch point" with fridge doors opening across from the end of the peninsula, I can tell you it's not good. Can you switch the fridge and oven placement (you'll be opening them much less often than the fridge) and move them a foot or so to the left, losing the small closet?

I'm going to play around with that tonight. I had never thought of placing the oven right at the entrance to the kitchen. I recall from past commentary that there was a consensus opinion that having the fridge placed deeper into the kitchen was less than optimal and that it would be better for the fridge to be placed nearer the entrance so that access to the fridge didn't require disrupting cooking/prepping activity. However, because it's just me that I have to worry about your suggestion might bear fruit. I won't know until I try.

MrsPete,

I adore your seating area. I wanted something similar, but my space just doesn't work.

Thank you. I'm starting with a blank slate here so I have more flexibility. I've scrapped so many plans because of kitchen design issues, and even in this latest iteration, due to trying to make that seating area work.

I wonder about switching the butchering area with the baking center. I say this because meat goes with basic meal prepping, while baking has a different set of "stuff". You'd have space for baking pans, your big mixer, your canisters over in that separate area.

One of the reasons that the baking area is where it is is because just off the bottom of the plan is a wood fired baking oven, hence pizza and bread and when everything comes out of the oven that peninsula is only 6' away to use as a drop zone. Secondly, in terms of baking I'm currently used to working on a large surface - I've never actually done a lot of baking on a 2' wide counter, so I'm going with what I know.

Pressure canning supplies -- have you allotted enough space for this? I have two canners and various accessories, and I couldn't fit it into one upper cabinet. How often do you use these things?

I currently have a greenhouse, so my growing season is extended, but it's certainly not a year round production chain for items coming from my gardens, however, I do put up non-garden derived food throughout the year and once this house is constructed I intend to focus more effort on that activity. This house is really kitchen-centric. When I embark on a kitchen project it's usually pretty involved, so the design I'm trying to achieve is catering to my extreme uses rather than to my day-to-day uses. I'm faced with two alternatives - design for everyday ordinary needs and then be cursing at the limitations of the design when I need more space or design for big projects and then don't use the kitchen to maximum potential for the following 5 days.

That's a huge refrigerator, yet I'm hearing that you have only two people in the house. Is that size really justified?

The space for the refrigerator is a placeholder. I come from a science/engineering background and I tinker and design machinery as a hobby and instead of hot-rodding my car I'll be hot-rodding the fridge, amongst other systems in the home. If the design is finalized as it stands now and I kick the bucket or decide to sell, the new owners can close up the fridge space and enlarge the hallway closet if that's to their liking. Secondly, I put a lot of stuff into my fridge. When I'm making cheese, I need ready access to a lot of milk. That has to be stored somewhere. When I'm making salami, I need to store the meat until I need it.

So I'm pleased to make your acquaintance but as you see, MelissaStar already got the lowdown on my oddball ways earlier in the year.

Your kitchen is soooo large.

Everyone keeps saaaaying that! :)

But you know what, I've spent a lot of time analyzing how I'm using my current kitchen, which I didn't design, and I'm reflecting on my youth when I worked in restaurants, and I just don't see that the kitchen is to large for how I use my kitchens. I've seen large kitchens showcased on this forum, by which I mean that they're too large for how I would use them for myself, but they're probably just right for the families that use them daily. From fridge door to wall and from sink wall to edge of peninsula counter is 11'6" x 16'9" and that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Could you move the penninsula "up" towards the sink, making the "main kitchen" smaller and more space-efficient . . . and have sort of a "working pantry" in the are that you're now calling the baking area? It'd be just a small, not so fancy spot for these two activities.

I'm going to play around with this idea because it's one that I haven't thought of. Thanks for suggesting it.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

That prep sink looks very awkward - have you considered a corner prep sink? That would allow you to have prep space on both sides, space to stage groceries when putting them away in the refrigerator, etc.

This is what we did and I have to say it works great!

I would consider moving the cooktop to the left about 6" or so, getting rid of what appears to be a 6" overhang (useless for seating, IMHO), and putting in a 36" corner sink base.

Here are a couple of pics of how we did it:

First, here you can see the entire run of counters on that side of the kitchen.

Cooktop Side, view from FR


This is a pic of the kitchen as a whole so you can see the location of the refrigerator relative to the peninsula. One note: we only have 32"-33" b/w the refrigerator handles & peninsula edge - it's far too little. While it's fine if no one is trying to get by, it becomes a "pinch point" when people are passing through...and right now it's the only way to get to the DR, LR, and Library (the other entrance is blocked by our "doggie home".) [It was supposed to be 48", but b/w our KD's measuring errors & the need to build out our cooktop wall 6", it ended up only 32" - 33".]

Kitchen view from FR


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

Just as an FYI....I store all my cutting boards & pizza stones under the prep sink - I use the deep corners to store them horizontally back. You only need to grasp the front of them, so by storing them horizontally back I utilize the deep recesses of the corner sink.

Something I just thought of that might be an option if you go custom is to have the corner sink base with two doors - the 17" or so diagonal door in the front and a door on the back side of the peninsula. That way you could access the corner cabinet from both sides. Of course, this would only work if it did not compromise the structural integrity of the sink base...you'd have to consult a cabinetmaker to find out if it's possible (if it's something you're interested in.)


Cutting boards on the left, pizza stones & cast-iron pans on the right:

Prep Sink Cabinet Closer


Closeup of cutting board storage. They're in an inexpensive "tray divider":

Cutting Board Storage under corner Prep Sink, The cutting boards extend back into the angled corner.  Normally, items stored there are very difficult to access.  With the cutting boards in a tray divider and the long way back, I only have to access the front part of the boards while the rest of the boards occupy the unreachable back.

The cutting boards extend back into the angled corner. Normally, items stored there are very difficult to access. With the cutting boards in a tray divider and stored horizontally/the long way back, I only have to access the front part of the boards while the rest of the boards occupy the unreachable back.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

alexhouse, the layouts you posted are moving in the right direction.

my input here is:
-- the major things are all right.
-- the corner sink is good.
-- the window = makes you give yourself a tub size sink. Pretend the window isn't there and start rethinking. Then put the window back.
-- there is something you have not yet understood about base cabinets, sizing, positioning etc.

More later

disclosure: i skimmed the posts and have not read them.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

buehl,
That prep sink looks very awkward.

I agree. As I noted above, I'm playing the "on the one hand and on the other hand" game - I'm not yet sure which I value the most - more usable counter space or more ease of use for the sink.

getting rid of what appears to be a 6" overhang (useless for seating, IMHO),

Thanks for catching that feature. The overhang isn't meant to accommodate any seating. I admit that this is a whimsical call on my part and I haven't given it a whole lot of thought, but the overhang is there in order to hint at a more decorative look from the DR/LR. There's no reason stopping me from extending the cabinets out the additional 6' and making the peninsula look just like it looks from the kitchen side. This was simply a design gimmick for now and I was going to give it more thought when other aspects of the design were finalized.

In short, counter overhangs are not always in place to serve a function (leg space) and the overhang in the plan is there simply for design but I'm not yet sold on whether the look that is achieved is worth the effort.

Something I just thought of that might be an option if you go custom is to have the corner sink base with two doors - the 17" or so diagonal door in the front and a door on the back side of the peninsula. That way you could access the corner cabinet from both sides.

We're thinking along the same lines. If you look closely at the plan, the corner cabinet on the peninsula is not actually a corner cabinet, it's a straight plain Jane 24" wide cabinet with a door. The cabinet from the DR/LR side of the peninsula is labeled as "Deep Storage" meaning that the cabinet extends 42" in depth. When time comes to build I'd probably have the 42" reduced down to 36" and have the 24" cabinet expanded to 30" with the additional 6" being blind, to the right of the 24" door.

Like most everyone else, I'm not fond of corner cabinets. Deep storage from the open side solves the problem, but it makes the corner sink solution you suggest problematic.

davidro1,

the window = makes you give yourself a tub size sink.

I have a local stone artisan here who carves sinks out of the stone of your choice. Alternatively I could have a slab sink made by my countertop fabricator to integrate into my countertops. I'm not yet decided on whether I'm going to go solid or glued together, but either way frees me up from standard sink sizes.

there is something you have not yet understood about base cabinets, sizing, positioning etc.

That's a tantalizing statement. I'm working on the following assumption - when I spoke to the stone yard and this stone mason about custom sinks they said that any size was possible and they didn't hint at cabinet limitations having any influence on their work and their photo albums of installed custom sinks showed some pretty large sized sinks all placed into cabinets. So, do share, what am I missing that could put a kibosh on a custom sink?


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

i don't know how to say it in a single generalized sentence. The big example is this: the narrow cabinets.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

Davidro1,

i don't know how to say it in a single generalized sentence. The big example is this: the narrow cabinets.

I think I've shown myself as being open to criticism, but this is simply too cryptic for me to decipher.

I have 3 narrow cabinets. The ones for spices and for baking sheets are there purposely and the one next to the dishwasher is a make-do, in that it helps expand the width of the kitchen and it avoids having the open DW door right next to the banquette.

If you have a way to improve the cabinet layout on the sink wall I'm very open to having my viewpoint expanded. Please share.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

is this kitchen going to have an induction cooktop?

I may have missed reading details that would change my mind.... but I think your money is better spent on other details that the narrow pullouts you showed in your above post. Others have already gotten the curve in front of the sink to be nixed, so now I'll take a whack at the mix of extralarge and extrasmall base cabinets.

glad you posted the images of these narrow pullout thingies to confirm to me they are sub optimal, and very much so in your small kitchen. I have a small kitchen with a lot more cabinets and countertop (+ less aisle space because it's a galley walkthrough).

r u aware that it is possible to have a different sink and dishwasher arrangement? i get the impression your process was to put a sink under the window, a DW next to it and a filler next to that. This is sub optimal.

you have another thread running today about a pullout butcher block table. Does it have to be that size?


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

davidro1,

is this kitchen going to have an induction cooktop?

Yes, induction cooktop.

I may have missed reading details that would change my mind.... but I think your money is better spent on other details that the narrow pullouts you showed in your above post.

I see where you and I are crossing our wires. Those two pullouts serve double duty - this is made clear by the details in the other post that you notice - they serve as table legs and table legs are usually pretty narrow.

and very much so in your small kitchen.

This is chuckle-worthy. You say potato, MrsPete says potato, you say "in your small kitchen" and MrsPete says "Your kitchen is soooo large."

r u aware that it is possible to have a different sink and dishwasher arrangement? i get the impression your process was to put a sink under the window, a DW next to it and a filler next to that. This is sub optimal.

Don't tease me like this. Show me. I'm all eyes. I'm not wedded to this layout - I've discarded dozens prior to this point when a better vision comes along.

you have another thread running today about a pullout butcher block table. Does it have to be that size?

The first plan in the OP had a butcherblock surface area of 12 SF, the revised plan that you reference has a reduced version of 10 sf. I really don't want to go much smaller and this one has better work ergonomics than their one in the OP.


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RE: Cleared my head, started afresh, welcome critique on new desi

ok, "got it". For the one thing you asked me to do, I'll outline a method that works for me: in your mind's eye, make the window wall a blank wall (no window). Then put the right number of cabinets that make sense for that wall. In all the cabinets there will be drawers. Then add a sink anywhere in there, and you could even let it straddle two cabinets. Under the sink will be a 15"h drawer (more or less 15" high). If the cabinet is way larger than the sink, then the portion that slides under the sink will be less useable than the "high height" portion that slides under the countertop beside the sink. Same thing if the sink straddles two cabinets.

This works well when you don't install a GD. With a GD you have to cut some of the drawer out to make a big groove for the GD.


Here is an example of what works well in my quick thinking: a full size cabinet near the banquette (silverware, flatware and dishes there), a sink next to it, and a DW near the corner susan (good, to me, because dishwasher time is not lazy susan time). A dishwasher does not have to be within inches of the banquette (and in fact if it is a few feet away, it is more discreet, not as gross and maybe even more hygienic ). When unloading a DW, a body does not need the cutlery drawer to be an inch away; in fact a couple feet away is "idealer" because you have a few options for places to stand when loading and unloading. More comments: in my mind, a 28" sink is big enough on that counter run. Since you have another sink, a 28" sink is really big for what it will be used for. It could even be 26" without causing any "reduction" in functionality. Of course you could splurge and go all the way up to 29" or a tad more.... it's your kitchen.

You will have drawn this ideal setup for a wall that has no window. Now add the real world window back into the drawing. Some of the countertop will have daylight on it all day because it is _under_ _the_ _window_. This is ideal. It is! Some of the sink will also fall under the window -- but only because your window is so big, not because it has to be under a window. There is nothing in the house currently that dictates classical symmetry, so think not of using the window to center your sink. Btw, you must plan your multiple lighting sources and circuits now too. Getting good manmade light into the sink is more important than the daylight coming from the window. Don't squander all the daylight on a sink. Let the daylight shine on some expanse of countertop too.

fair disclosure: i did not read much of the discussion on the motorized sliding table / butcher block .


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