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Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Posted by cluch (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 14:31

After months of reading all the wonderful, helpful posts in this forum, I am calling out to all of you kitchen layout experts for some much needed help.
We do not yet live in this home, but are renovating it to be our forever home. We are a family of four with two young children. We want to open up the space by removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and also the wall between the kitchen and sunroom. We are after a large family, eat-in kitchen, great room sort of feel. However this will be our only dining space as well, so we need to be able to squeeze in up to 8 people at the table on rare occasions. We are seeking a very functional, open layout where we can all be together, and sometimes two people cooking/prepping/cleaning up at one time. This is a modest renovation - no gourmet appliances or high-end features. Just your basic, functional, pretty little kitchen. I have two other pictures to post of the floor plan.
This first one is the current layout as it is right now.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

This would be the floorplan with the walls removed. There would be approx. 6" posts in place where the walls were removed and beams overhead.

This post was edited by cluch on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 14:39


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

This is the graph paper I have prepared with the measurements of the space. This is where I am having trouble with creating a functional layout.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

I think that the second plan, with the addition of a french door where the window is leaves you with almost no unobstructed wall space for kitchen cabinets and lots of potential crossing traffic patterns between kitchen work stations (range, fridge, sink).

Could you Close Off the door in the lower left hand corner and open the sunroom in the area of the 9' arrow and keep some of the rest of it closed off to give at least some runs of uninterrupted counter space?


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Is the basement finished? Could you move the kitchen to where the dining room is?

I'd put the sink under the window, the range on the right (outside) wall, fridge to the right of the range. I don't think there's room for an island, but perhaps a peninsula on the left, and a whole wall of pantry cabinets on the fireplace wall. With a dining table right there, I wouldn't put seating on the peninsula.


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We thought of putting the kitchen where the dining room is, but we prefer the kitchen to be connected the sunroom. Also, we are hoping to change the window in the dining room to french doors and build a deck off the back, as that is the only place where we can put a deck.
I see what you are saying for wall space, though, as there just isn't a lot. Hence the dilemma.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

I can see why you want to open up the space...so much light!

First though...how do you plan to use the sunroom? Is there going to be a TV in the living room or do you plan to make it a sitting room, only. Do the kids have a separate playroom (extra bedroom, basement, etc?) and if not, do they need one?

What is to the left of the sunroom? Are those steps down to parking...or a patio area? How much room do you want for the deck? Do you plan to use it for BBQ, eating area, seating?

The reason I ask is that how you plan to use the other areas of your home will/should impact the kitchen design. Is the sunroom necessary? Could the kitchen be expanded in that direction? Should the deck access be from there and not the dining room?

If you plan to have seating in the sunroom, do you want the dining area off that....with the kitchen in the L and easier access to the deck? Do you plan to BBQ out there? Do you want to have french doors from the dining room to the sunroom (safer) and a more secure door to the deck?

Do you need to use the sunroom as the kids' play area, while they're young? Is that why you want the kitchen open to the sunroom? Or do you plan to have a breakfast area out there? Would a banquette work for everyday dining?

See what I mean? We can help you more, if we know how you plan to use the spaces and how they interact with each other :)


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Thank you, lavender_lass. All great questions.
Yes, we are desperate for more light in the kitchen, as it is very dark with no direct windows currently.
I wish we knew exactly how we will use the space, and we also know how we use it now will change as the kids get older.
We would like for the sunroom to be like a comfy family room area with a small play area/craft art area for the kids. Maybe homework will be done here, or maybe in the kitchen/ dining area. The TV will be in the living room area with the fireplace.
The sunroom will have a sitting area for visitors, mostly family and close friends.
We do not foresee putting french doors to a deck from the sunroom, as it would change the space too much and all the windows would have to be reconfigured and changed.
I don't know how we would expand the kitchen into the sunroom and the expense to change that space would be too costly.
I want to be working in the kitchen and be able to see what is going in in the sunroom and see the ding table at the same time.
We do not need an eating area in the sunroom, and a banquette in the dining area could work. Prefer one long bench, as opposed to a corner banquette. We do like to have family and friends (2-4 people at a time) over for meals 1-2 times per month.
The deck would be used for BBQ and sitting area. It would be the only place for southwest exposure -we love the evening sun!
The stairs leading outside from the sunroom go down to the patio/backyard.
I don't think we are willing to make any other structural changes inside in terms of doorways and openings. Everything that is in place is key for the flow to the rest of the house.
Thanks so much for giving this so much thought and consideration. I hope this info helps you get to know what is important to us and how we hope to live in the space.


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Use of space

Above message posted twice by accident.

This post was edited by cluch on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 20:11


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Our kitchen/sunroom configuration is very close to what you've drawn. We have a half-wall between the two, which allows us to have all the sunlight, but still lets us have cabinets against that wall. The wall is about 5 inches taller than the cabinets, which helps hide any cabinet mess from the sunroom.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

If you would be willing to put the doors to the deck in the sunroom and move the kitchen to the current dining room, you'd have an almost identical project to the one we completed just under a year ago. I'll post my finished kitchen reveal to see if it sparks any ideas for your space. I hope you can see the plans linked in my reveal. If not, or if you have questions feel free to email me or just ask here (though I don't check the forum as much as I used to.)

BTW, it was Lavender Lass that suggested we switch the former kitchen and great room spaces. I never considered it before and we were also struggling with limited wall space. It has worked out even better than we imagined and was worth every penny (we have full basement, slab foundation would make this more difficult, but not impossible.) It is so incredibly functional that we comment on how much we love it nearly every day.

Here is a link that might be useful: controlfreakecs finished kitchen


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Control- Always so nice to see you...and your kitchen :)

Cluch- I tried a few things and this is the best I could come up with...not that someone else won't come up with exactly what you're looking for! LOL

So, would this be a possibility? I changed the dining room window into a big window over the sink. The sink and range are on the L (easy to use) with a small pantry. The fridge, microwave and bookcase (for cookbooks and display) are on the back wall...along with a banquette. This could be a play space for the kids or extra seating for the table.

The dining room has the banquette, a china cabinet and a round table for 4. With leaves, it could expand to the banquette. The french doors to the sunroom are probably in the way...but they do give you the ability to close off the space. It may work better to have them open into the sunroom, depending on how you use the space.

If you want the deck, you could add a door from the sunroom...or enjoy your sunsets, while sitting in the sunroom. I know this isn't what you asked for, but it's the best I could do with the space. Hope it gives you some ideas :)

From Kitchen plans


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Have you considered moving the dining room into the living room? It would give you some flexibility in placing the kitchen. See some of Lavender_Lass' charming inspiration pictures of dining rooms with fireplaces and sitting areas :)


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That sunroom sure would make a fabulous dining room with banquette against the back and right walls.

This was one idea I had but there's only 2 feet of prep space, which is even worse than you have now.


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Something else to consider, hopefully something will spark and things will fall into place.


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I think it makes more sense to connect the eating area to the sunroom instead of the working area of the kitchen. Something like LL's plan.


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With that general thought in mind, since it's a compact home, I'd be interested in leaving the kitchen right where it is and improving mainly just by moving the door to the sunroom right to that little corner where the sunroom intersects the dining room. And, of course, opening up the two walls somewhat.

The new DRM-sunroom door wouldn't be wide, but it would allow the home to keep those nice rooms that area already there, including the gracious, nice sized dining room. Something of a conservation approach, retaining what's nice while still opening the spaces up to each other.

This includes the kitchen, which could remain mostly as it is, just much improved. The sink counter could be opened up to the sunroom but would now extend all the way across the top wall. It could also be open on the dining room end, which, with the doorway, would feel far more open than now.

Conceivably a few inches of storage on the right side of the doorway could be given up to open it farther if desired. The refrigerator and other food storage would remain on the right wall. This way, traffic could move through the kitchen diagonally without intersecting the cooks' busy stove-prep-sink path on the left.

Inexpensive, very functional, nicely open, but retaining much of the individual moods and characters of the existing spaces.


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Rosie- I think that's a great idea! We need the OP to measure and see if there's room for a doorway in that location.

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 17:53


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Oh, wow! Thank you everyone. I am so excited with all of your responses and advice. I can't keep up my replies. I have a 7 month old baby, so computer time is limited!

Cindy103d, love your name! ;)
Do you have pictures or a layout of your kitchen? Is it a small space as well? How do you use your sunroom?

Controlfreakecs,
I love your kitchen and the space. Thank you for the inspiration. I feel like the difference is that there would be no connection from my dining room-turned kitchen to the sunroom. How do you feel about your clean up sink facing the wall? Do you do many dishes by hand?

lavender_lass, I really appreciate your ideas and drawings. We have considered putting the kitchen in the dining room, but I keep feeling as though I would be left out in the kitchen while all the fun and visiting goes on in the sunroom. And your drawings of the kitchen in the sunroom look awesome, but I feel sad to lose that space as a family area. I guess I have some tough choices to make, but to me it feels less important to have a great kitchen and more important to have a great space for everyone to be together.

Robotropolis, that is a pretty picture. The flip with the living room sounds wonderful and grand, but this house is too small to allow for that type of change. As it is the living room will actually be our tv room.

Williamsem, YES! That is more of what I am envisioning. I have actually been playing with a similar floorplan for about a week. It is good, but the aisles will be narrow. That is something I am considering and trying to find the best way to make that work.

DebraK2008, I know the flow just isn't great in this space. Can you tell me why you would want the dining space to be connected to the sunroom and not the kitchen? I need to hear some people's ideas of using the space and what would be important. I am sure there are many points I have not considered. Where would your guests be when they are visiting?
Rosie, thank you for your ideas. Unfortunately, the space between the post and the dining room is not large enough for a door from the sunroom. I will measure again, but I believe it is only 25". (we aren't living at the house yet, so I can't do a quick check right now).
I am really not after a large, grand dining room, because it will be our everyday eating area, and only twice per month will we need to accommodate a few extra people. I currently have an eat-in kitchen, and with kids I love it!
Thanks again! The wheels are turning, and together I am sure the solution will arise!


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A friend of mine has a layout with the sunroom behind the dining area as LL drew up. It is just natural when she entertains that we eat at the table and then move to the sunroom to relax and talk.

Maybe I missed this but what are your views?


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If you had a few more feet, each direction...I think we could come up with some alternatives. Given the 11' depth and open access to the sunroom, I'm just not seeing a lot of options. Maybe Buehl, Rhome or Bmore will stop by...they might have some ideas :)


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I'm sorry to hear that wall isn't wide enough for a doorway. I like my idea so much, though, that I'd see about framing it to widen it into the kitchen the necessary inches. :)

That's a very nice kitchen, Lavender, but I was thinking of the top/left L counter being just as you show it. The right wall would remain in its current footprint, not move an inch. Just extend the sink counter all the way to the right corner, and, of course, open the counter up to the sunroom since that's important to Kluch. It'd be very nice, and comfortably spacious, place to work.

Eight people can dine in that nice dining room now, a round table especially nice for people to move past. If it were opened to the sunroom via a doorway, and the view across the open counter in the kitchen, another good table could be opened up there so that even larger groups could dine within view and earshot of each other.

Without having to detour inappropriately through the kitchen. The entire right side of the house could function as one, large open and connected space for active living, but still also be able to retain the feeling of separate spaces with their own moods and functions -- which should paradoxically make the house live even larger. At the same time, that nice circular traffic flow would remain through the kitchen.


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I like Robotrops idea of stealing space from your living room (if you can and don't mind). This gives you room in your kitchen for everything plus an island. Also, you could put a large round table in the dining room. It feels very open.
Install your TV on the wall next to the fireplace.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

What Karen is showing is similar to what I kept trying to make work before Lavender's recommendation. But, we have another door where she shows the fridge and I just couldn't get it to manage.

No, I do not mind the location of the sink at all. Notice, however, that I have a prep sink in an area that allows me to look out over the dining and sunroom area. To me, this makes all the difference. I do the vast majority of my kitchen work in that spot.

I think that I do an average amount of hand washing. I don't put any wooden or wooden handled items in the DW, or non-stick (I only have about 3 things that are non-stick) or kitchen knives, plus a few cast iron pans. And I do use at least one item that fits into those categories every time I cook. So, there is always something that needs to be hand washed.

I actually like that the working part of the kitchen is off to the side. As debrak mentioned, it actually creates a really nice flow for guests. They stay out of my way, but I can interact and converse and I honestly don't feel like I am sent off to a corner. But, I am naturally an introvert. If I am busy, or concentrating on something, stay out of my way. So, that may not be the way you work.

My kitchen was also designed to allow for multiple cooks. I often work between the prep sink and range. Another person can work between the clean-up sink and range. If necessary, a third person can work at the peninsula and still access the water at the prep sink.

But the most useful spot is the snack area, which also contains our beverage fridge, microwave and all our dish and glassware storage. My kids go there to get items to set the table without getting in my way while finishing up dinner, or DH can be pouring drinks in that spot without being in my way. Most breakfast or snack items are prepared in that spot. It is really great.


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Cluch,
We are the world's slowest DIYers, so our place is still a work in progress. Hope to get the drawer fronts and doors installed this weekend.

We use the sunroom for meals and for relaxing. We have a river view, which we never tire of and can open the windows to listen to nature - bugs, frogs, etc. I'm attempting to attach a picture taken from the kitchen through the opening to the sunroon, so you can get the general sense of space. Our kitchen is narrow - 9'8", so it's really hard to take a picture that shows that side.

 photo image_zpsc83d0f67.jpg


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Hi Cindy103D, I really like the look of your kitchen. It is going to be very lovely. Looks similar to my style, and the opening to the sunroom could work the same way. Could you do a rough drawing of your layout? It's interesting that you also have a narrow kitchen, so I am curious where things are.
Thanks, Controlfreakecs. Your kitchen is very well planned.
Karenseb, the plan is a great idea, but we are not wanting to make any changes to the living room walls.

The house is full of plastered textured walls and cove ceilings that can not be repaired and replicated in our area. In order to renovate the kitchen and dining area we will be removing the ceiling and coves, putting up a new ceiling and new drywall throughout. Touching any of the areas in the living room would result in the same process, which we do not want to do.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Where is the entrance into the home? What do you want the focal point to be for visitors? What is on the rest of the first floor? Just asking to get an idea of the overall flow of the space.

Looking through all the plans offered up so far, Lavender's suggestion just seems the most functional, but I'd keep the sunroom completely open. I can see the appeal of Williamsem's as well. It would function nicely and the "open galley" is very popular right now, but not a design that appeals to me, personally. I am far to messy for such an open plan. And your home is small, so the kitchen seems to essentially take over the entire first floor.


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Cluch,
Here is a drawing of our layout. I did receive a lot of negative comments about the 48" stove at the end of the U, but my DH cooks and it was the only think he asked for in the design process. He stands at the stove and looks out at the view while I use the sink/prep area. It really works for us in that location.

We access the sunroom off the LR, so don't have direct access from the kitchen. It would have been nice to have an entrance from the kitchen too, but we just couldn't figure out how to do that and still keep our work areas all facing the sunroom.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Thank you, Cindy103D. You have a great layout for your kitchen. Narrow, but nice and long and a functional u-shape. Well done! It will look beautiful.
Controlfreakecs, I have attached the floorplan of the whole house. It is small. I think that I desire a "great room" feel for our family and for visitors. I see the sunroom being a big part of that. I love the idea of working in the kitchen and interacting with people in the sunroom at the same time as people at the dining table. e.g. kids in the sunroom, adults at the dining area, or one child playing in the sunroom and one child at the dining table doing homework.
At this time, the basement is unfinished and will probably remain that way for the next 8-10 years. The entrance/front of the house is the north side, to the left of the living room.


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I like Lavender Lass's plan the best. Cluch, I understand why you feel you want the kitchen near the sunroom - my guess is that with the way your house is currently laid out, that is where people hang out, because it IS closer to you in the kitchen - the dining room is more closed off. When they are open to each other, and you have a table near the kitchen, I think people will gravitate toward you in that space.

Moving the kitchen to the dining room space gives you a MUCH more functional kitchen space, centrally locates the kitchen between the dining room and living room, and pulls the living spaces together - even the sun room. You still have traffic through the kitchen, but it doesn't look nearly as crowded as any of the plans.

I know you want to put a door out to a deck at some point. Since you already have a door off the left side of the sun room, could you build a deck there?


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Hi Cluch,

I set this up in the IKEA 3-D planner (guessing at many measurements) before I read your response to Rosie. Maybe a way into the sunroom to the left of your proposed French doors could become a possibility.
 photo GWCluch4_zps11b0561f.jpg
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The passages are tight. From Sarah Richardson:

"Minimize allowances
The rules say you need 42 to 48 inches to open the refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, or to get around a counter, but I tend to push the limits by reducing the clearance (usually not more than 36 inches) in favour of achieving more counter and storage space. Lets face it, preparing meals is not a group effort in most homes, and there doesn't need to be enough space to choreograph a dance routine. In all my years of pushing the limits, no one has ever complained after their kitchen went in (it only seemed to be a problem on paper)."

 photo GWCluch2_zps21dc3f3a.jpg
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Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3-D Planner File (good for 5 days.)


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Thanks, Ann :)

I know for us, we end up watching TV more in the evening, so having a sight line into that area is great. I also cook in the evenings, but I do like to bake during the day, especially on the weekends. What I would probably do most in the kitchen, is sit at the table, with a cup of tea, be on the laptop, or just visiting with someone.

Everyone uses their kitchens differently and I can see wanting to keep an eye on small children, no matter what you're doing.

That being said, I don't think a bit island really fits in the space, so something like Karen drew would look good, especially if it was a moveable work table, so you could shift it around a bit, if you needed more space or had more 'help' in the kitchen.

Cindy's plan looks wonderful, but to fit in the space, I think it will end up looking more on the scale Karen drew. Either way, the kitchen will be about the same size it is now. A slider, in place of the big window in the dining room should fit, but French doors might take up too much space.

Another question might be storage...is there a pantry or storage space in another area? With the DR/kitchen flip, there is more storage space, with more upper and lower cabinets and the small pantry. If storage is available in other areas, that might not be important enough to change the room locations. Hope this helps :)

Just saw Tbb's design...very intriguing! I like the overall idea, but are you sure it will fit in the space? How much room do you have in the aisle between the sink and range? How much space behind the stools? Great out-of-the-box thinking, though!

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 14:06


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Wow! Tbb123 you are very talented with the IKEA planner. I've tried a couple of times to get things started on there but It takes me forever! Thanks for the link, too. Now I am really wishing there was space for that opening/doorway from the sunroom to the dining room. Unfortunately when I measured it today it was a tight 27" and would be less with structure supports and framing.
Lavender_lass, I appreciate all your ideas. I know that the kitchen space alone would work best in the dining area. If there was no sunroom, we would flip it for sure. The sunroom is so great to have, but also a bit of a pain where it is awkwardly located.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Cluch- Just a quick idea. Range and prep sink, overlooking sunroom. There's your main cooking area. Fridge and sink/dishwasher on other wall, close to dining. I added the 'peninsula' so you'd have some pantry storage. 12" deep cabinets on cook's side, with table height counter for kids. This would give you space for kids to 'help' and you can move chairs to dining room table, when you need more seating.

I'm sure there are a lot more possibilities...hopefully more people will stop by, over the weekend :)

From Kitchen plans


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Cluch, if you wished to do something like Tbb123 shows, you could reframe the passage where it was needed. The support issues would mean paying the carpenter more for a more complex job, maybe an engineer to draw up the schematic. You'd only be shifting support inches. Not an insurmountable problem.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Here's another idea using a corner sink, but you would be boxed in with the stove and DW. Putting shallow cabs on either side of the fridge would keep your aisles more open.


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Or maybe you could move your sink over to the right and push your table into the corner with corner seating, Of course there would be a post there, unless you left that piece of wall there and forgo the bar.


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The thing I don't like about having your kitchen there is that in nearly all the scenarios, people have to walk through the kitchen to get to the sunroom. I personally would hate that. I have a small kitchen and it's difficult enough just having more than one person trying to use the kitchen itself that I can't imagine having to deal with people and/or kids walking through the space.

I have a similar floor plan to what lavender recommends where the kitchen is flipped to the dining room. My kitchen is to one side, then I have my dining table on the other, open to our family room. I have a little bit more space than you and have a u shaped kitchen, with a peninsula between the kitchen and the table. Then I have a large opening into the family room, rather than doors like you have. Our family room was originally a screened in porch, with french doors from the dining area into the space. When we converted it to a family room, we removed the french doors and just have a large opening that frames the space, so it kind of offsets the room from our dining area. I like having it right off the dining space for several reasons...when we have company, people often congregate in the dining area as well as the family room, so it makes socializing more fluid than if the kitchen was in b/w the two spaces. Two, when we have another family over for dinner, we can put some of the kids at the coffee table in the family room yet it is only about 10 feet from the kitchen table so they still feel like they are part of the group. Three, having my kitchen off to the side keeps people from getting in my cooking space if they are traveling one from part of the area to the other. By having the kitchen off in the dining area, you can also bring guests through your hallway from the front door to the new dining area/sunroom, rather than through your living room, then through your dining area, then to the sunroom (and going through your kitchen space in the process). I don't know if you would be willing, but if you did choose to move the kitchen to the dining room, maybe you could close the door there on the right into your living room and instead have the door on the other side of the fireplace so your guests can move from the living room easily into the new dining space and sunroom w/o going through the working kitchen (this is pretty much how my floor plan is).

I have had this set up for 10 years and though it's not my dream space, it has worked quite well while raising four kids. They could easily play in the family room and still be within earshot (and eyesight from the peninsula). I wouldn't want them underfeet while I was preparing hot meals so would worry if they were trying to walk through the kitchen from your sunroom area to the eating area while you are trying to prepare dinner.

I also noticed the lack of counter space you would have in nearly all the suggested plans except lavender's. Even with lavender's there isn't that much, but hers seems to have a better layout than the others.


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Are the stairs in the lower left corner ones that start at the door, or is there a small landing at the top? If they could be accessed from the side, allowing that corner to be closed in, that could help immensely.

I love how all the different designs spark ideas!


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Got your email, but I've been really busy all week (deployment of brand new system at work this week.)

So, I read through most of the posts, but I admit I did not study them. Here are four ideas, the first two are similar to each other and the last two are similar to each other.

As I was working on them, I came to like #3 or #4 the best b/c they keep the kitchen open in the middle for traffic, there are not as may "pinch" points, and they give you more storage. However, #1 & #2 do give you a bit more contiguous workspace.

In all layouts...

  • The Dining Room has not moved. To provide more space for the Kitchen, there is a bench along the far right wall. You said you did not want a corner - and I agree b/c there really isn't enough room for a corner that allows someone to sit on both sides of the corner. If you try to cram a corner in, you will not have much room on the short end unless you shortened the doors to the deck to 32" or so. To have a corner and have room for people to sit on both sides, the short end would need to be at least 54" long:

    18" shared with the other side + 24" for the person sitting on the short end + 12" (18" would be better) for the leg room for the person sitting around the corner


  • The table is shown as 72"x39" for everyday use (6 people). If someone is sitting at the "bottom" end, it might be a bit tight going through the door to the LR, but hopefully it won't be that often that you will have traffic going through while someone is sitting there. (I have a similar "pinch point" - for me, though, it's the two seats on the side, not the end - so it's a bigger area. Ours is back-to-back seats at the peninsula and table with only about 48" b/w them. Luckily, it's not a common occurrence to have people sitting at both places at the same time.)

    When needed, the table can be expanded to 96" to accommodate 8 people - but it will be a very tight fit. I didn't get the impression you would need it that often, so I do not recommend allocating the space to provide a spacious area for it for those few times - especially since this is a relatively small house.

  • The refrigerator is a standard depth refrigerator (36" deep, including doors & handles) and is recessed into the wall behind it. In the case of the left wall, you may have to fiddle with the exact location b/c of the water/pipes in the wall for the bathroom on the other side of the wall. When you recess it, be sure the doors stick out past the surrounding counters and cabinets so they will open fully.


To see much bigger versions of the layouts below, click on/select the pictures.


.

In layouts 1 & 2...
I opened up the wall completely b/w the post and the right wall b/c the post takes quite a bit of space out of the aisle. With the wall opened up, it gives people another option for going around the island - not ideal and I wouldn't want it to be the only doorway b/w the two rooms, but I think it helps.


Layout #1:
cluch's Kitchen #1 photo cluch1_zps68127d78.jpg


Layout #2:
cluch's Kitchen #2 photo cluch2_zps7b1a7a09.jpg


.

For layouts 3 & 4....

  • Note that the counters are deeper than normal in the Cleanup Zone to accommodate a 12" deep cabinet that faces the Sun Room and to provide extra workspace. [See the Zone Map for Layout #3 below for work zone locations.]
  • Because of the extra depth, a 9" wide cabinet will fit b/w the wall and the DW - including 1/2" to 3/4" filler or so. It opens facing to the right (toward the door(s) to the deck)
  • Note that the edge of the counter is flush w/the Sun Room wall. This is b/c your Sun Room isn't that "deep" (only 9 feet). For the same reason, I don't recommend seating at the counter. If you do want seating, then be sure to have a minimum overhang of 15" (so people's bodies aren't taking up the extra space in the Sun Room b/c the overhang is too shallow) and push those 2 extra inches needed for the overhang into the Kitchen, not the Sun Room.
  • For dish storage, I took advantage of the deeper counters and put in an 18" deep dish hutch to the counter above the DW. There is still about 17" of counter in front of the cabinet/hutch. This puts the dishes right next to the Dining Room where you will need them for setting the table as well as right over the DW where you will be unloading them from.

    Something to consider is a two-way hutch with glass doors on both sides - but you will have to fiddle with it so it will fit inside the Sun Room. Plus, unless you are very neat, you might not want your dish cabinet open to everyone's view on both sides!

  • To make it more pleasant while doing dishes, I opened the wall a bit - but not completely (b/c you need a wall for dish storage). There's also a 9"x12"D cabinet b/w the pole and wall if you'd like to have one. Maybe it could be a niche for decorative items.
  • There is a pantry in these layouts - I don't know if you have one elsewhere.
  • There is also a Snack Center next to the refrigerator
  • Two possible MW locations - a drawer next to the range (on the refrigerator side) or a MW hanging from an upper cabinet next to the refrigerator. Personally, I prefer the drawer b/c it doesn't get in the way on the counter or above the counter (reducing the amount of "breathing space"/vertical workspace) and b/c it's "user friendly" for everyone - tall people, short people, average people - and kids (or you can lock kids out if they're too young).

    I really dislike regular MWs mounted below the counter in an alcove b/c of the need to squat to see/use the controls and to access the interior of the MW (or you can reach blindly into it - but that isn't particularly safe).

    OTR MWs are too high for the majority of people (height-wise, if you're 6' or taller, it's probably OK), it's not particularly safe to be reaching over a hot cooking surface and/or cooking food to access it, and, if someone is cooking and someone else needs the MW, the person cooking has to get out of the way at least twice.


Layout #3:
cluch's Kitchen #3 photo cluch3a_zps13676f25.jpg


Layout #3 Zone Map:
cluch's Kitchen #3 - Zones photo cluch3azones_zpsfdc0f5fb.jpg


Layout #4:
cluch's Kitchen #4 photo cluch4a_zps3ee32446.jpg


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

I'm sort of wincing at all these plans that grow the kitchen at the expense of dining. You seem to be saying it's what you want, but still. A once nice dining room suitable for all styles of dining has been cannibalized into something more like a snack area in a larger home. AND the plans are all running traffic one way or the other back and forth through the kitchen, some plans even requiring you to dodge others while you carry boiling water from stove to sink. People remodel to fix those problems.

So far apparently you don't see opening up the spaces while leaving the kitchen in its current footprint. Still a conservation approach that seemingly provides everything at least expense, but if it's wrong for you, it's wrong.

IMO that makes moving the kitchen to the dining room the best option and actually quite a good one. You want the kitchen to be open to the sun room, and it still would be with those 3 spaces thrown open to each other.

So I suggest
1. Moving the living room/kitchen doorway to the left of the fireplace to open into the new dining area and create a solid wall on the right.
2. Taking the same amount of space the kitchen has now, but shifting it all the way to the right. A simple corridor closed at the living end and open to the garden at the French door end, or it could be a U. Even an island corridor if you preferred.

The kitchen would benefit by having only one doorway, and your main work area could be at the open counter looking into the dining and sun room spaces.

Not incidentally, your kitchen could look very good this way, with the solid back wall designed (and positioned) to be an important focal point, with a simple, unfussy peninsula or island providing minimal separation between spaces and the doors and view to the garden at the end. It'd almost be hard to not make that look very good.

You'd now also have a warmly intimate and decent size dining space that would contrast nicely in mood with the sunshine of the sun room and kitchen. A pool of light on the table from a chandelier would pull people there every evening. If needed, the table could extend into the sun room to seat...20.

Very importantly, traffic would now flow on a continuously attractive path from living room to sun room without ever requiring anyone to zigzag through a busy, messy and potentially dangerous kitchen. That would include traffic from the bedroom side, too, which would flow into a pleasant dining area en route to the other spaces.

Because it is a traffic corridor, wherever located, no matter which plan decided on, it is important to have the dining area as large as possible so that there'll not only be plenty of room to walk by occupied chairs but so that it looks and feels as if there is plenty of room. A cramped passage in the middle, requiring people to watch out for chair legs, would affect the feeling of the entire house.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

How about something like this? I altered Lavender's plan a little bit. This would let you both prep and clean up at the peninsula and still see into the sun-room. It directs traffic around your work zone. If you have big groups over, the seating could be expanded into the sun-room pretty easily for meals.

It would also let you keep a door to the deck in the kitchen. Maybe a 5' or 6' slider, or maybe a single all glass door. I think a slider would be better, since it wouldn't take up any floor space when open. This would make it really nice for meals on the deck! : ) If it didn't ruin the furniture set-up, I might include another door from the sunroom to the deck to help keep people from traipsing through the kitchen to get outside.

I know OTR micros tend to be frowned upon, but for this kitchen, it might be preferable. It might be possible to work it into the pantry area, or maybe do a drawer micro if that was desired instead.

This feels like it's going to be a beautiful doll-house of a home. I bet you can hardly wait to get in there. : )


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

If you really don't want to flip the spaces...and want to keep the charm of a separate dining room, you could just open up the wall and have a half wall, between kitchen and dining room.

Very little changes (fridge moves over a bit) and top half of wall comes down, in small section next to fridge. This would give you a little more view into the dining room, but keep the spaces separate. And, French door added to new deck.

From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 19:55


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

"...AND the plans are all running traffic one way or the other back and forth through the kitchen, some plans even requiring you to dodge others while you carry boiling water from stove to sink..."

Rosie - please take a closer look at the layouts I drew up - there are prep sinks in all of them to avoid the very thing you're saying is an issue. Is it perfect? No - but then, no one's kitchen is perfect. If the OP says s/he does not want to change/move something b/c s/he wants a certain feel and function for the space or it cannot be done for financial reasons, then I think we should respect that. We can suggest s/he consider new ideas - which s/he has done - or to check out the actual cost for some changes b/f assuming it would be too expensive, but once the OP has made a decision for his/her home, then we should let it go.

Some people may think their ideas of what the style/use of the home should be are "right" and that owners shouldn't change it b/c these same people think they shouldn't - but...this is not our kitchen, space, or home - it's Cluch's.

Every project has compromises - what is acceptable as a compromise to the OP may not be to you and compromises you might think are acceptable may not be to the OP.

To remind everyone of what has been mentioned by the OP:

"...We want to open up the space by removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and also the wall between the kitchen and sunroom. We are after a large family, eat-in kitchen, great room sort of feel. However this will be our only dining space as well, so we need to be able to squeeze in up to 8 people at the table on rare occasions...."

"...we prefer the kitchen to be connected the sunroom. Also, we are hoping to change the window in the dining room to french doors and build a deck off the back, as that is the only place where we can put a deck. ..."

"...I don't know how we would expand the kitchen into the sunroom and the expense to change that space would be too costly. ..."

"...We have considered putting the kitchen in the dining room, but I keep feeling as though I would be left out in the kitchen while all the fun and visiting goes on in the sunroom. And your drawings of the kitchen in the sunroom look awesome, but I feel sad to lose that space as a family area...."

"...I want to be working in the kitchen and be able to see what is going in in the sunroom and see the ding table at the same time...."

"...I think that I desire a "great room" feel for our family and for visitors. I see the sunroom being a big part of that. I love the idea of working in the kitchen and interacting with people in the sunroom at the same time as people at the dining table...."

"...We do not need an eating area in the sunroom, and a banquette in the dining area could work. Prefer one long bench, as opposed to a corner banquette...."

"...I don't think we are willing to make any other structural changes inside in terms of doorways and openings. Everything that is in place is key for the flow to the rest of the house...."


Regarding comments about the seating. I grew up in a home that had one table - in the kitchen - and that had benches on the two long sides for us kids...only my parents had actual chairs at the ends of the table. Guess what? It worked very well. It was very flexible in that we could always squeeze another child or two onto the benches at the last minute - something that cannot easily be done with individual chairs. [I am one of six children, btw.]

We did not miss having a separate, more formal DR at all. In fact, when we remodeled our current home, we took down the wall b/w the DR and Kitchen and made it essentially one big room with only one table for eating. No, we didn't put in benches b/c our DR/Table Area didn't have a good place for it b/c of the size of the room, the window locations, and the distance from the floor the windows are - but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for someone who has the right setup for it.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Here's a version of Rosie's suggestion to shift the opening from the living room, which makes for a really workable kitchen.
 photo GWCluch6_zps68d82c10.jpg
 photo GWCluch8_zps52136171.png
 photo GWCluch7_zps84f57659.jpg
 photo GWCluch5_zps3d8f335d.jpg

If you put a french door in that opening between the living room and the back of the house, you could achieve Sarah Susanka's "Away Room". That would really up the function of your home, imho.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3-D Planner File (good for 5 days.)


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

A version that backs the refrigerator and a pantry toward the living room, a la Robotropolis. Shifted opening into the sunroom, but keeps your plumbing and stove locations.

 photo GWCluch9_zpsf0cd1d07.jpg
 photo GWCluch11_zps3a677cbe.jpg
 photo GWCluch10_zpseb57b247.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA 3-D Planner File (good for 5 days.)

This post was edited by tbb123 on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 4:44


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Buehl, sorry to inadvertently offend you by not examining details of your own plans. You (of course) produced the well thought out kitchen layouts you always do. I was too busy being dismayed at the direction most plans were going in not only gobbling up critically needed dining space for kitchen, but in the process doubling down on the problem of the one critical pathway through the kitchen by creating two pathways through the kitchen. And if that's not enough, in the process breaking work counters up into additional disconnected chunks, a current trend we wondered about on a thread not too long ago.

The one, compelling reason I can see to add enough space to a small kitchen to allow people to do x-paths and h-paths through, maybe throwing in an occasional circle around an island en passant, would be if an owner specifically loved the idea of working in an intersection everyone had to traverse, and that, even better, allowed them to come back and do it all over again from another direction.

I've often suspected many more want just that than come out say so. For those who see it as a happy place to be, it would be good. The best kitchens are those people love to work in, whatever it takes to make that happen.

If enough extra space were found for it without leaving too little space for dining and walking through.

BTW, I didn't suggest a table in the middle of the kitchen here, as I have on another thread, because only in the smallest or most deliberately country-cottagey homes would I suggest the ONLY dining space be right in the middle of the cooking in progress. Pleasant as that might be most of the time, its inability to change mood for special dinners, and get people out of the way when activity was in overdrive, would be a serious functional lack. Having no choice but to serve guests in the kitchen might seem charming at first but would for most of us become a cause for dissatisfaction pretty quickly.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

There have been so many great contributions and discussions taking place, I am overwhelmed.
Thank you very much, buehl, for stopping by with your amazingly detailed layouts. I feel very lucky that you were able to take the time to give me some very good options to consider, with variations and details right down to the best table size, which is so very helpful for me. Your layouts use the current kitchen space the best way possible without making any further structural changes.

tbb123, those IKEA floorplans are always lovely to look at. The second one with using some space from the living room, will not work, though. For some reason I am really drawn to the look and the flow of your IKEA floorplan with the kitchen in the dining room area, but closing in the one living room wall and opening it up on the other side. It looks great, but know that it is not quite accurate for my space, as there would be support posts and beams that would need to be in place. While I am drawn to the look of this one, I know it is not really what I am wanting for this space. If you have a chance to throw one of buehl's designs into the IKEA planner, I would love to see that!


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

One more idea. I think this is a wonderful kitchen for all of us, because it's a real challenge. There's not quite enough room for an island and there's almost too much room without one. So many homes have these sorts of dimensions and can't add 5' here and 10' there.

So, all that being said...what if you could move the support posts (as Rosie suggested)? I've seen it done on TV remodeling shows, so if you could...maybe this would work.

I know this is a very basic layout, but I really think some kind of division between kitchen and dining room 'goes' with the style of your house. I'm thinking a butcherblock work table (on locking wheels) that can be in this location most of the time, but can move when you need more dining space.

What I like about this idea, is you have flexibility. Not only can you move the work surface, but you can change the height. Table height, while the kids are young...and then counter height as they get older. You can even put beadboard on the dining side, if you want it to look a little more finished.

From Kitchen plans


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Before you do anything, you'll need to determine which walls are load-bearing. You'll need competent advice before you take those down. Most likely you will replace them with a beam supported at each end. The wall between the kitchen and the sunroom probably is load-bearing, especially if it was once an outside wall. The wall between the kitchen and dining room may or may not be load-bearing, depending on how your rafters are supported. If it's not load-bearing, the whole thing probably can just come down (after wires, plumbing, and/or HVAC are rerouted.) Until you determine those questions, you need to put your planning on hold.

You also need to explore whether adding plumbing in new locations is within your budget.

As has been pointed out, a plan that routes major traffic between the only sink and the stove is just not safe.

A kitchen renovation can add value and enjoyment to your home. Or not. Its an expensive and disruptive undertaking. If the addition of a small amount (percentage-wise) makes the difference between adding value and not (or worse - losing value), it's worth serious consideration. Or postponing the project. Or upgrading your finishes at a later date. It's the bones you need to get right.

I like your plan, Lavender!

This post was edited by tbb123 on Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 18:32


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Thanks, Tbb...I like ALL of your plans :)

I wish I was that talented with software. I just finally (sorta) figured out the Paint program! LOL


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

Yes, we have already determined that both walls that we will be removing are load bearing (unfortunately), which is why I included the posts and beams in my future floor plan. This will be our forever home, so we are planning to make the space exactly how we want it, value or not, as long as it is functional. Luckily we have many talented friends and family, electricians, carpenters, and plumbers who will help us with this renovation.


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RE: Small, Awkward Kitchen Layout

I'm no expert but, though it may look strange, when you need 8 seats at the table, a rectangle table placed diagonally in the DR may be more comfortable.

Here's the layout I came up with.

 photo aq1.jpg

 photo aq2.jpg

 photo aq5.jpg
 photo aq4.jpg

 photo aq3.jpg
 photo aq7.jpg


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