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Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Posted by alexx (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 18, 12 at 15:38

Hello GWers,
I'm Alexx. This is my first post. I have a family of 4--husband, 2 boys age 9 and almost 16 (gasp.)

I have read endless threads and written down advice and so now I am (finally) close to ordering cabinets (Diamond, Sumner, Coconut (shaker, just off white). I have a countertop picked out (Silestone, Altair), but really wanted your feedback on the layout (and later the backsplash--we're thinking of glass 3x6 subway tiles).

It's a galley kitchen and we're opening up the wall with the sink (right now it is closed with a very small pass through) to be about a 9 foot pony wall so I can be part of the family activities instead of hidden in the kitchen :). We're also raising the window to be above countertop height (right now it is below and no cabs or counters there.)

The kitchen would now be open to an open dining area (large 10 person table) on the left, then stairs, and on the right, the living room (with the family room behind that.) There are saltillo tiles everywhere on the bottom floor (it's okay, but I'm moving away from the Tuscan style to a more clean, little more modern)

The short wall with all the proposed tall pantries currently has a little table and tiny, high window. I am desperate for food storage space.

I am not exactly sure what other info to give here except that:
-the tall pantries would be two door, the longer door would have four roll out trays
-I don't know whether we should do a 30" or 36" chimney range hood (in stainless steel)
-I made the sink a bit off center to the right so that there would be a longer run of countertop as you enter the kitchen (one of the main prep areas and area to serve family and guests buffet style when we entertain).
-I think the sink will be a 30.5 inch Elkay single bowl. (though I have seen lots of raves about on offset drain--the one I found is not but I could find it...
-due to budget, we're getting a 30" freestanding range (but if anyone really thinks that the slide in or 36" made a world of difference in your functionality and love of your kitchen, please share why--budget is NOT in the Viking type range (no pun intended :))
-I am thinking of wood looking ceramic tiles in the kitchen (we don't think we can or want to save the saltillos but directly outside the kitchen is an entire floor of them so it needs to compliment them.)

I appreciate all suggestions and feedback. I know there is a lot of detail. My first priority is layout so if you just answer that, I'd be happy too. Thank you in advance for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Hello GWers,
I'm Alexx. This is my first post. I have a family of 4--husband, 2 boys age 9 and almost 16 (gasp.)
I have read endless threads and written down advice and so now I am (finally) close to ordering cabinets (Diamond, Sumner, Coconut (shaker, just off white). I have a countertop picked out (Silestone, Altair), but really wanted your feedback on the layout (and later the backsplash--we're thinking of glass 3x6 subway tiles).

It's a galley kitchen and we're opening up the wall with the sink (right now it is closed with a very small pass through) to be about a 9 foot pony wall so I can be part of the family activities instead of hidden in the kitchen :). We're also raising the window to be above countertop height (right now it is below and no cabs or counters there.)

The kitchen would now be open to an open dining area (large 10 person table) on the left, then stairs, and on the right, the living room (with the family room behind that.) There are saltillo tiles everywhere on the bottom floor (it's okay, but I'm moving away from the Tuscan style to a more clean, little more modern)

The short wall with all the proposed tall pantries currently has a little table and tiny, high window. I am desperate for food storage space.

I am not exactly sure what other info to give here except that:
-the tall pantries would be two door, the longer door would have four roll out trays
-I don't know whether we should do a 30" or 36" chimney range hood (in stainless steel)
-I made the sink a bit off center to the right so that there would be a longer run of countertop as you enter the kitchen (one of the main prep areas and area to serve family and guests buffet style when we entertain).
-I think the sink will be a 30.5 inch Elkay single bowl. (though I have seen lots of raves about on offset drain--the one I found is not but I could find it...
-due to budget, we're getting a 30" freestanding range (but if anyone really thinks that the slide in or 36" made a world of difference in your functionality and love of your kitchen, please share why--budget is NOT in the Viking type range (no pun intended :))
-I am thinking of wood looking ceramic tiles in the kitchen (we don't think we can or want to save the saltillos but directly outside the kitchen is an entire floor of them so it needs to compliment them.)

I appreciate all suggestions and feedback. I know there is a lot of detail. My first priority is layout so if you just answer that, I'd be happy too. Thank you in advance for your help.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Hi, Alexx--
Might you have any pictures of your kitchen and the views in and out to the other rooms?


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Alexx, one thing that jumps off the page is the placement of the fridge. You have it so that anyone who wants to get in there (and you have two growing boys, so enough said) will have to pass through your work area on the way in and the way out. Anyone wanting to get up frothe table to retrieve something from the fridge will have to go all the way in and down. The aisle. I think you would be much better off if you can get the fridge closer to the front of the kitchen. Can you switch the storage area and fridge. Your layout is similar to mine except that I have my fridge where you have some of your pantry space.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

This is the current entry to the kitchen.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

This is the wider view to the dining area.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

This is the fridge/stove/window side.
I think it might blow the budget to move the fridge/water lines to the proposed pantry wall but I like the idea and would probably let the fridge doors open wider. I definitely have experienced people wanting to put stuff in/out of the fridge while cooking, though it is not been too bad. More frustrating has been limited prep areas which I think we'll now have with two main prep counters (to right of stove and left of sink.)


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

And this is the view to the living room--which you'll be able to see once the wall is opened. Please don't let the dark green and yellows throw you. I'm really moving away from Tuscan style, maybe rustic can be the name. Someday afte the kitchen is done, I'll lighten the colors in the living room too :)


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Do you have a cellar? If so, moving a water line and maybe new electrical service for fridge is a minimal cost. No cellar, though and it wil be a bit more complicated and expensive.

I don't think fridge water lines need drains or vent stacks, do they? Those are the expensive parts of plumbing-in a new point of water access - a single cold supply line is usually not a big deal, what with flexible piping like PEX, etc. I wouldn't write it off as totally out of the budget. Keep it as a floating possibility as you work out the work planning issues.

Right now, though, does your food come into the kitchen via car and garage door by current fridge location?

Your current drawing has your fridge and main pantry area separated by the entire distance across your kitch. I think it's easier (whenever possible) to be able to snag the ground beef and veg from the fridge at the same time you grab the pasta noodles out of the cupboard. (This is in addition to NYCblue devils very good point that having the fridge out of your main traffic area would be an improvement.) So I'd be thinking of seeing if fridge and a big share of your panrty space can get closer to each other. It also makes thinking about where the stove and prep places should be a little easier if you are thinking of only one (main) food-origin point. Also keep in mind that there are hierarchies of storage as well: there's the stuff you need most days, and the stuff you don't. There's storage of stuff that's used in a special, place or activity-directed ways: coffee stuff and a coffee machine come to mind, as do cereals and ceral bowls; or lunch bags and wax paper and snack-sized bags of chips if you use those. If you bake regularly keeping some flours and baking powder, etc. near you mixer may be a good idea. There are a whole range of ideas, but first ........

Just in case you haven't seen if before (apologies to all who have!) I'll add my customary rec. to think of your plan first as an analysis of how your food travels through the room from arrival > storage (dry and cold) > prep space (sometimes, but not always including a water tap there) > cooking > plating (directly to individual plates or to platters) > eating area > return for tableware clean-up and leftover stowage > finally to think about where the sink/DW are relative to where the kitchen stuff is stowed (best arranged either by first use and/or stowage convenience depending on criticality.

Once you think of how your food (and to some degree all of your kitchen clabber, as well) moves, you're also thinking about you travel around with it, since it doesn't get there on its own! And now we're talking efficiency, the Holy Grail of a great kitchen design.

No kitchen (even one created from scratch in a luxury new build) can get to perfection, but if you think about your work zones and how they can help or hinder you while you're in the kitchen, you'll be pointed in the right direction.

At this early stage, I'd post,pone concerns about cost or style for the moment. Don't think, "Oh but I have a budget I can't not think of that." I'm not saying that you should pretend money doesn't matter, because it does even for the most extravagant of kitchens. Just do your thinking in layers.

Work flow & process first. Then determine how you can get there with whatever your budget is. It's much easier to do the inevitable cost trade-offs if you can articulate the relative importance of an improvement in work flow efficiency for the various changes you want to make.

Don't think style is left out, either; what's in your mind's eye and on your wishlist are still very important things. But, again, once you have a clear view of what it will take to arrange your kitchen effectively, the style decisions are much easier and you don't risk spending $$$ on something that doesn't work out as well as you'd hoped.

You're planning to buy new cabs anyway, so it probably won't matter from an economic point of view whether you buy the same ones currently on your plan, or a different assortment designed for optimal efficiency.

Think about how you cook and serve and eat now. While a new kitchen may make it more likely and fun to do that differently, there's no guaranntee that your kitchen is the only factor influencing currrent choices.

Don't be downcast if you thought you were ready to place the cab order tomorrow and I (and other posters) raise questions that will require some more analysis and thinking about your choices. Some of our suggestions and ideas (some of mine, at least) will be duds for you. But you would do well (as I did once I figured it out back when I was seeking suggestions for my plan) to reject nothing out of hand as impossible. You will learn useful things about your own ideas if only in clarifying in your own mind why a particular idea won't for you.

I'll get you started:

Begin with the point the food arrives. I would find it more convenient to unload the grocery bags if I have a counter and it is close to a majority of all the food storage, dry and cooled. That way a bag with lemons, ice cream, crackers, snacks and dish soap wouldn't be a marathon just to get it stowed.

OTOH, assuming your food comes in through the garage door, just plunking the pantry space close to it has some other consequences: it means that any food-seeker has to intrude in main cooking/prep work zone which is also not a good thing. Since you have a gas stove and a vent hood in place there may be some importance to keeping those items close to their positions for economy's sake. So how about getting that fridge over to the pantry wall and tentatively locating the storage zone on that end of the kitch? (Moving a water line for the fridge is far cheaper than moving a gas line and exhaust vent stack under almost all circs.)

Don't think about specific cab arrangement at this point - just circle the area and call it the storage zone.

Now there's prep. And this requires more info and thought because it begins to deal with what you cook and how.

Some simple stuff first: Do you nuke a fair amount of food dishes directly from the freezer: the MW should be closer to fridge than cooking area in that case. Do you use one of those coffee machines - I think I see one: the coffee stuff and machine should be closer to storage zone (with cups or mugs stored there, too.) I see you use bottled water. For everything, even cooking water for pasta? For coffee? At what point is it used? If just for drinking then plan on moving it to the periphery, with the glasses. If you need it for all potable uses, it has to stay near-er by. If you use it for ice, then you're filling the trays by hand and then a water hook-up for the fridge doesn't matter.

Do you bake from scratch regularly-enough to need a specific baking area, perhaps with a lower counter? If not, then pass this notion by.

(Assuming here you don't keep Kosher, or have major allergies or food issues, as you would noted those?)

Now we're getting closer to the main prep issues: what do you eat for breakfast, who preps it? Do you pack lunches? And what do you cook for dinner, and how often? (Leave special stuff like holidays, parties, canning aside for the moment.)

If your fridge has been re-homed in the storage zone, then you've got some serious counterspace to the left of the stove. If your food moves from the storage to the prep on the left side of the stove it's a longish trip, but it can make a pit stop if necessary across the aisle for any needed water or later for mid-prep hand washing.

Many people find it more useful to move the trash to the prep area.

How about at least moving the trash to the right side and moving the DW to the left side of the sink. This might further lengthen you counter space there. You could store every day dishes to the left of the DW; prep tools and pots and pans to the left of the range; baking and bowls and the stuff you use a lot of in cooking to the right of the range making the DW easy to unload. Your fancier, or less-used dishes can be out of the way along the garage wall cabs. Or you could use part of that area storage of dry food items used in prep a lot but not replenished often, or back stock: spices, oils, flour, onion and potatoes in baskets if that's how you store them.

Now, note that I've only used your existing cab foot print plan. There are probably other, most likely even better, suggestions than can be imagined by you and other posters. This is just an idea to get you thinking of food pathways before other things.

Another final thing to think about: I see you've got a kitchen table now; after your reno you're thinking of havng eating positions across from the sink at a counter. You have a big dining table, as well. What are your hopes for where you're going to eat? The dining table looks to be out in a kind of open foyer? Do you think it's likely that you will find that space inviting for eating every night, or are you swapping out the cozy face-to-faceness of a kitchen table for the bleakness of lunch counter seating and a hope that the four of you will carry your food to the big table with benches in the foyer? Have you tried eating out there for a month or so, now to find if you like it?

HTH

L.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

In addition to considering the fridge location, if I'm reading right, the dw and dish storage are by the garage, at the opposite end of the kitchen from the dining area. I'd strongly consider adjusting that, too. Maybe draw some paths in varying colors to show the work path of the cook, paths of table setters and other helpers, and visitors/snackers. In a busy family household, you'll want as little criss-crossing as possible.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

Thank you for the very thoughtful comments. I waited until I had some thoughts together to post here because I knew that GW folks would have great ideas so I am open to them--bring them on!

@liriodendrom, some answers to your questions.
-we live Los Angeles and don't have a basement or cellar. We don't even use our one car garage except as a laundry room.
-the groceries almost always come in through the front door and I have been dropping them on the first counter and the small table to unpack/unload.
-the water is just for drinking--even filtered, I'm not sure about LA water so I don't need it for pasta (I do use it for coffee though :). In this plan, I don't even know where the water dispenser ends up.
-I am not a "baker"
-We regularly eat at the big table (rarely at the small table since it is tight for four) so that is comfortable. The counter eating would be for breakfast, snacks, other.
-I was looking to create two ergonomical prep areas so that my sons or husband could help in the kitchen--the boys like to cook.
-As far as what we make--I am not a gourmet cook--usually chopping a salad and veggies and grilling (pan) some chicken on the stove, making soup, or baking a casserole or pot pie in the oven. I find right now that I am really cramped once I get all my ingredients out (though my husband says I am a messy cook.)
--I was thinking that the upper cab to the left of the oven/stove could be a great place for mugs, k-cups/coffee stuff with the coffee maker below (and maybe the toaster
--The fridge (the new one too) will have an ice maker. We had an extra water line installed in the fridge's current location to do this.

@liliodendron and rhome410, I have really been wrestling with where to put the dishwasher and trash for ease of unpacking the DW. The current idea for the trash on the right of the sink was to slide prep trash easier since I'd be working on the larger counter to the left of the sink. Does that counter run not seem like a good prep area (so prep area one left of sink, prep area two right of stove)???
-No allergies or kosher kitchen
-We never have enough freezer space so we have an extra freezer in the garage. (So basically I come through the front door, unpack all the dry and cool groceries and take most of the frozen through the kitchen to the garage)

Thank you all again. I'm excited to hear more.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

I'm hoping michelle16 might see this and give her comments, ideas, suggestions.

All ideas are welcome. We're getting close to decision time!


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

I too have a galley kitchen. My cabs were built to have the refrig cab at the beginning of the galley like everyone is suggesting. Well they brought the cabs in, contractor & his staff didn't like it. Contractor said "she was adamant, she won't change it". Well DH & I came in - All I kept saying was that is one big cab. I felt like I was in a shoe box. Even though it meant redoing all the plumbing for sink/DW we put the refrig on the inside end of the galley like you have it. It has worked fine. On Christmas Eve we have 3 people working in the kit and it works fine. Oh we did put in a narrow full pull out pantry first then refrig so I had full swing of the door.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

I would like to get a full depth fridge (I'm concerned there won't be enough food storage space) and the fridge I like is the Samsung french door 4 door fridge. Any ideas of where else I might place the full depth fridge? Will there be enough room to open it on the left side in its current placement.


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RE: Layout Advice Please--Transitional Shaker Family Kitchen

I would like to get a full depth fridge (I'm concerned there won't be enough food storage space) and the fridge I like is the Samsung french door 4 door fridge. Any ideas of where else I might place the full depth fridge? Will there be enough room to open it on the left side in its current placement.


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