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Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Posted by OntarioMom (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 4, 12 at 21:56

Hi all,

We are building a house addition and our family of 6 has been living in the home throughout the addition -- the decisions as you can imagine have been overwhelming. We have had our kitchen semi planned for a while, but need to move on to an exact plan so we can begin the plumbing rough in and order cabinets. I have posted versions of my planned kitchen before, and have made some changes as a result. However, I am worried it is still not good enough -- perhaps I am worrying needlessly. It is tough to design a large kitchen that is also efficient. Here is a bit of background:

1)We have four children ranging in age from 7 -18. They are always eating.

2)We want a kitchen that works well for two cooks. I don't bake that often but like to make home cooked meals for the family and entertain once in a while (always a big crowd when we entertan).

3)We don't want one big island (too much to walk around) so have elected for two islands.

4)I would really like the cooktop (induction) to be at one of the islands and am well aware that we will need island venting and the associated costs (and also that this is not a popular location for many GW members). I do not want seating at the island where the cooktop is located.

5)The window as shown on the plan is now in place and bricked in -- so it can't move now. The window location was chosen to avoid looking at the side of my neighbour's house (we now look at his backyard).

6)Our house is very open concept with kitchen in the centre and visable from the greatroom, dining room and living room (used as a playroom).

7)We plan to have dark wood cabinetry for the islands and off white for the perimeter cabinets. The floors will be a mid toned stained maple hardwood as will the surrounding rooms.

8)I had hoped to incorporate a hutch into the kitchen for dish storage, in close proximity to the two dishwashers. However, I was not sure where to place it. Perhaps it is not necessary.

9)We eat all our meals at the dining room. We will likely use the seating at the island for snacks.

10)We definitely want to keep the two dishwashers -- lots of dishes get used around here.

Can you kindly look through the plan and check for efficiency. I am open to reversing the islands (i.e. placing cooktop island on top of screen and seating one on lower part of screen) if that makes for a better flow.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions or even reassurance that I am on the right track.

Carol

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Wow, your inter-zone distances are huge!

I'm thinking of the distances needed to make my family-fave sphagetti dinner.

Wash hands at sink.

Walk to fridge for: ground beef, pepper, return to cook prep/w stop at prep sink to wash peper. 17 feet

Walk to pantry for onion, oil and dry pasta: r/t =26 feet

Assume spices, knives, cutting board,collander and pots are in cabs near or under cooktop or prep sink.

Walk to sink to rinse hands after chopping onion: = r/t 16 feet

Walk to sink to wash hands after unpackaging and handling raw meat = r/t 16 feet

Carry pasta pot to sink to fill: r/t =16 feet

Carry finished pasta to sink to drain: r/t = 16 feet

Fetch serving dishes or plates from upper cab r/t = 7 feet

That's more than 100 feet of walking to and fro for a simple 5 or 6 ingredient meal. And it leaves out trips to fridge to get salad makings, or rustle up some dessert or set the table in the DR or to bring every thing back and put stuff away again.

Exercise is excellent but doing it while cooking seems to add an unnecessary burden.

I see two problems with the current layout:

1) You have your food storage places spread throughout the kitchen instead of having them more centralized and convenient to the working prep and cooking areas. (including the cereal and snack cupboard that isn't accessible from the kitchen at all.)

2) You have the prep sink on a different counter from the stove. And it's practically in the same space as the clean-up sink, negating some of the two main reasons for having two water taps: dividing up the water sources to avoid conflicts when two people are using the kitchen and moving one tap closer to the cooktop for those instances when water and heat are the name of the game.

On the positive side your wall ovens and cooktop are relatively close to each other (about 8 or 9 feet), and I like the dumbwaiter (presumably to handle food coming up from a basement garage or root cellar?)

One common thing missing is a coffee/tea station but maybe you, like I, don't use them?

Do you have some flexibility in the overall shape of the addition or is it set in stone at this point?

Also I think many people may feel the small sink is too small (the 13.5" dimension) for using for anything other washing hands. I'm not sure as I don't, yet, have a prep sink.

You have a great deal of circulation space in the room because of the two islands. I wonder if there was a way to combine them and create more of a cockpit arrangement with better concentrated food storage and prep sink arrayed to the side or behind the cook's back.

Hope some of my ideas will help your planning. I strongly recommend you draw the pathways you'd need to take to prepare several of your current family fave meals in your proposed kitchen. I found this terrifically useful because it highlighted where I was backtracking and where inefficiencies had crept into my layout.
L>


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

WAY to spread out and you'll walk yourself to death. You'd be better off consolidating the islands and making the whole thing smaller, with the cleanup sink outside the prep zone and the refrigerator and pantry on the edge of the prep zone. Right now, you've got "circulation" on the brain and it's overriding the actual functionality of the kitchen as a kitchen. Think about preparing meals FIRST, and design the space for that. Then, tweak some of the choices for sociability and secondary food prep zones. You've designed this with the secondary needs foremost, and cooking takes a back seat. You need to reverse your thinking.

First of all, where do you expect the family to spend most of their time? You've got a great room, dining room, and living room. If you eat all of your meals at the dining table, why do you need so much seating in the kitchen?

One idea is that a long skinny space like this can benefit from having a peninsula that will direct traffic around the hot zone. Is there a lot of traffic up and down the stairs and through the area behind the island? If so, then a peninsula as a leg here can benefit from keeping that traffic away from the food prep zone. Maybe even a double peninsula. But that would mean that the fridge would need to move across the aisle. And I do think that would work best for your seating as well. Make it be on the peninsula leg, and you've still got room for an island. The actual prep will occur beside water, so it will depend on where you want to face whether you would put a prep sink or the cooktop on the peninsula.

That's all I have this a.m before I dash off to work. I might have time for some Paint playing later. We'll see.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Have to agree with everyone else. Your workpaths are long, because your zones aren't efficient. Add a busy and hungry family, and you'll have lots of traffic problems. I'm not even sure how your meal prep would look in terms of path and workspace... Fridge to small sink, then drip across to cooking island?

I'm not at all trying to be sarcastic or mean, just trying to communicate my concerns. When I planned our current kitchen it was with family participation in mind, while trying to keep efficiency for myself in the cooking process. It's not perfect, but we love it. We have areas for different tasks and primary work paths rarely cross.

I'm dying to move your cooktop to F, fridge to where the freezer is, and put the small sink in the cooking/prep island. But your desire for the island cooktop says no to that plan, so I'm shorter on ideas after that...

Another idea would be fridge to where the oven is and the 2nd sink at F. Oven to where freezer is, freezer by dumbwaiter, with cabinet pantry in between. Where you show the fridge now would be a great place for nice dish storage.

Here is a link that might be useful: My kitchen zones and work paths


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks Lirio, Live and Rhome,

I appreciate your input and suggestions for improvements. Obviously the plan needs reworking. When I get home from work I will re-read your comments and ponder your ideas further. For now here are a few quick answers:

1)dimensions of room are quite set (certainly can't go wider)
2)Traffic will run mostly through walkway past pantry
3)Dumb waiter is due to garage in basemenet (grocery/trash). It can't move due to only spot that works with basement.
4)Family will spread out -- some in great room, some in basement, younger kids mostly in living room/playroom.
5)Cereal stored in cupboard in dining room does seem quite convenient. Kids grab family sized cereal and milk from nearby fridge and sit at dining room table. Ditto for snack cupboard -- kids grab a dry food snack or snack from fridge and don't enter my work zone at all.
6)We did previously try a pennisula near dining room table, and one island. It was seen by more than one KD as being a barrier. Could be revisited though.

I really want to play with the idea of switching the two islands. The top island could be larger with both a cooktop and prep sink, and the lower island could be for seating. It would have the seating closer to living room which keeps it further away from the dining room seating. Obviously that will change up other zones, but would lead to a much better triangle between sink, fridge and cooktop. I will try to post this change soon to see if it is any better.

Thanks for your input everyone. I want to get this right.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Here's a quick cut and paste with Paint. The biggest thing you'll notice is that I erased all that long list of "stuff" from the right hand side. You're getting bogged down in that list when the main elements aren't right yet. It's like worrying about where your pencil cup will be located when you haven't even decided on where the desk will be.

Yes, this needs refinement, but it gives you easy access to all of the main elements, fire, water, storage, that is what makes a basic kitchen. And it gives access to those elements to those from outside the cooking cockpit as well. That's the first step in creating a well designed kitchen. Concentrate on that baby step first before you get to picking out the paint and wallpaper!


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Here's another alternative that has the prep facing the family room and dining area. It's the most social layout to do it this way, and it gives you a secondary prep spot between the main cleanup sink and cooktop as well as a baking area on the island where the beverage/entertaining sink can be located. The cleanup is the most problematical zoning for this, but with lots of helping hands, it can go quickly and at least dirty plates passing through the prep zone after it's served it's function is better than the prep zone overlapping with the cleanup from prep and the snack zone at the same time.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I really like GreenDesigns second plan much better. Personally, I'd get a drawer MW for the island rather than having it on the other side of the island (but my kids seldom MW snacks). I think having both an island and penninsula is fabulous and gives you great space for prepping, homework, projects, etc. I know you said you wanted the island cooktop, but personally, I'd rather have the wide span of island countertop.

Good Luck!


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks so much GreenDesigns for generously giving me a clever alternative to work with and for your very helpful feedback. I have a question about the first one. You show the cooktop near the seating, and also a large square on the top island. Can the cooktop go on the top island and not on the island with the seating (perhaps that is what you intended with the large square on top island)? The window can't move, so if we move the clean-up sink down as per your second plan, the window can't go with it. Again a big thanks for your assistance.

Dilly, thanks for your thoughts and input, and yes I agree a microwave drawer would be nice in an island. Like your family, microwaves are not used that often around here either.

Thanks everyone, I will continue to play with this and I appreciate your willingness to look at this and comment with fresh eyes.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Rhome,

I just looked at your kitchen and boy is it wonderful and it looks so efficient! I will study it some more to see if I can get some of that zone efficiency going in my kitchen.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I'm not sold on the idea of two small islands. I'd go with one big one. The thing that's least accessible with one island is the pantry. Not a big deal: Before you begin cooking, you go to the pantry and set out what you want for the meal . . . and you don't have to go back again during the meal.

Do you have storage in the island? You seem to have planned everything so carefully, but I'm thinking you might have unplanned space here.

Before you rule out seating by the induction range, you do know that it doesn't get hot, don't you? You can literally take the pot off the burner and put your hand on it right away. I have seen -- or, rather, felt -- this personally.

I'd switch the toasting area and the hot food landing area. The toasting area doesn't matter so much, but I'd want the hot food landing to be close to the stove. Stove-food tends to come in bits (think, frying half a dozen eggs). In contrast, what comes out of the oven comes in one big casserole dish -- not such a big deal to walk a few steps with it.

A dumbwaiter? Cool. I've never seen one in person. How long 'til the kids start hauling one another up and down?

A small question, but where are your spices and oils? You strike me as a person who cooks from scratch, so I'm suspicious that you might have a cabinet (or more) full of such things. I do. I'd want them near the stove.

I'd move the refrigerator away from the wall -- yeah, I know it's in the most convenient location, but that wall will prevent you from opening the door all the way. I have this problem in my kitchen now, and I hate it.

I like Green Designs' second drawing best. It removes the odd-shaped island (which was going to be expensive, and I didn't care for personally). I was finding two islands of similar size a bit odd; this changes one altogether, yet still gives you a function similar to your original concept.

One negative to Green Designs' plan: I wouldn't put the refrigerator on the other side of the island. Ovens perhaps. In reality, I'd make the entire "far side" into pantry and work odds-and-ends into it: The microwave, etc.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks MrsPete for your ideas. LOL about the kids wanting to travel on the dumb waiter. It is a manual dumb waiter so hopefully they will stick to stuffies for dumb waiter travel.

My spices and oils will go in pull-outs near the cooktop. I agree that I don't want too many things on the side where I show the pantry and dumb waiter as this aisle is a main entrance into the house. However, certainly some things can go here.

I know I still have a lot of work to do on this plan, and will keep rereading and pondering your posts above for your good ideas. I tried flipping the islands, and from my tired brain it seems to work much better than my original plan. The top island is much bigger to allow for both a cooktop and sink. Here it is below for you guys to examine and hopefully let me know if your think it avoids some of the long walking. I see that it now has a much tighter work triangle. Can you guys give me your thoughts on this version please?

Thanks for your help and keep your input coming.

Carol

Photobucket


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I tend to agree with the one island recommendations in order to create a tighter, more efficient space. Your kitchen is so huge, you would still have lots of room to move your pantry over to the window wall so that the island does not become a barrier.

But for the two island plan, I don't think you need the prep sink on the cooktop island, given that the main sink is almost directly across from the cooktop. I don't like having to shift the cooktop towards the edge to make way for the prep sink. I don't mind the cooktop on the island if you have no seating there and have plenty of space around it to ensure that splashed grease or boiling water doesn't hurt anyone.

I like the work space you have with the fridge and main sink nearby, and lots of prep space flanking the hob and the sink. The pantry is a bit of a distance, but you can keep some of your frequently used pantry items an island drawer.

Consider a small fridge with snack like foods in the second island, or next to your upright freezer, or next to the wall oven. I would want to make the area near the playroom a self sufficient kid friendly snack or quick meal area, keeping them out of the cooks way. In this scenario you might want a bar sink and a drawer micro on the second island.

The nearly 55" aisle you have between the cooktop and sink seems a bit much, would 48" work? If that is the main work area you don't want to take more than a step to get from cooktop to sink, etc. I know you often have two cooks, but 48" should still be fine I think.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

OK, I had a some time this morning with a coffee in my hand to work on it. The biggest problem in this kitchen is that it is so long and spread out. The work zones HAVE to be condensed. That means a single island.

If you don't want to do a peninsula, and you do want to have an island cooking zone (which you already know is an expensive and logistically difficult choice) then everything has to condense down. When you basically have a galley kitchen like this, the best location for the cleanups sink isn't right behind all of the prepping unless you have a really wide aisle for people to be active in both zones simultaneously. Since the aisle across from the island is a main traffic thruway, and really can't be condensed down, then you can't decrease it. So, put the cleanup sink at that location. With two DW's, cleanup becomes a really quick chore anyway.

But that means that all of the storage has to move across the aisle, as does the snack zone. So, we need a third sink in order to keep the snackers out of the prep zone better. Let's put it under the sink, so at least you have a window under the sink. And let's put a MW next to it, so now you have a dedicated snack zone.

For the main prep area, between the prep sink and the cooktop, you need at least 38", and 48" would be better. That's continuous counter surface, not distance between two points dripping wet hands over an aisle. So combine the islands, and also give a bit more landing space next to the cooktop, for safety. That will also give the cook a perch to sit and read or whatever while those longer sessions of stirring jam or jelly take place.

You need some dish storage fairly close to the cleanup zone, so let's put a tall hutch on that back wall. You've got free movement at the end of the aisle with good traffic patterns, and good movement in the work aisle with very little interference between zones. The refrigerator is the sticking point, and it could be solved with a fridge drawer on the island for often used ingredients.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi,

I have a two island kitchen and I really like it. OUr kitchen is somewhat different but I will post it.

Photobucket

Moving left to right, the first are is where we eat, then the next area is for cooking, and the last area is for storing everything. In that last area we also set up buffets, and on the counter in front of the windows is where my girls bake, and or do things like make salads, fruit plates. etc. We only have uppers where you see yellow. Out of range to the far right is a pantry and our freezer drawers.

I love my unusual set up, but then we have an unusual kitchen.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Mtnrdredux- I wish you'd post pictures! If you already have, please post the link :)

OntarioMom- I like the second plan you posted. You have a small work triangle with the fridge, main sink and cooktop.

The smaller island is close to the ovens...is this your baking area? My only concern is four kids and three stools. What about making this second island a peninsula...having it extend to the wall with the decorative plate rack and make the entrance into the kitchen a bit narrower? This would give you more seating and still allow easy access to the pantry and freezer, between the island and peninsula.

If you slide that over, you might also have room for a stool on the end (opposite island) and still plenty of room for a walkway. Maybe three stools on the long side and one on the short side?

From Cottage house plans


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

To all you kind GWs who have been so generous with your time to post comments, pictures and even make the big effort to re-work my plan to show me how you think it should change -- a huge thank you.

Sochi, you are totally correct we could tighten up the aisle between cooktop and clean-up sink. I worried if one person was cleaning and another prepping the two would be working back to back. I think we could make the top island bigger than how I show it (more like what you show), and still have a small seating island down at the end. The kitchen is almost 20' long so perhaps too long for only one island (granite is only available in 10' foot lengths too). Perhaps we don't need the prep sink on the same island as the cooktop, but sometimes we do have lots of pots sitting in our cleanup sink, so the prep sink could be more easily used in these instances. The idea of a prep sink on the lower island is also a good thought.

Live_Wire_Oak, I am totally grateful for the time you have put into thinking through my kitchen!! It has given me a brand new way of thinking of the space. I totally understand the benefit of moving the clean-up sink to a separate area from the prep space to separate the zones and reduce congestion. However, I am one of those people who feels uncomfortable washing pots, pans, etc looking at a wall. I can wash dishes looking through a window, facing people or facing into a room, etc. I know I will have two DWs for the bulk of the washing, but I rarely put pots, casseroles, etc in the dishwasher. If we do move the sink where you have proposed, then as the guests entered our home they would pass by the clean-up sink on their way in. They won't see it from the foyer which is good though. I can tell from the many helpful comments you make to everyone's kitchen you have strong design skills. I do like the rest of your design ideas though and will see what I can incorporate from them. What would you consider a good amount of space between a cooktop and a prep sink? Would you be so kind as to tell me the drawbacks of the second design I have posted? It would help me. I now understand the problems with the first design that was posted thanks to GW.

Mtnr, I would love to see photos of your kitchen too, if you have any to share. Cool to know there are others who are enjoying their two island kitchens. I have read of others who were considering them, but have not seen more than one or two finished kitchen pics showing 2 islands (due to how rare they are).

Lavender_lass, I was glad to see you posted on my kitchen - I enjoy your comments, and you have helped me before. I do like what you show with the lower peninsula (a bit like Green's idea too). The only drawback with the peninsula as shown would be the tightness passing by a seated person as people cross the main artery of our house (this being the aisle in front of the original spot for the pantry and dumb waiter). I am less worried about having enough seats for all four kids at once, as the oldest is now away at University. If we need to all sit at the same time, grown-ups and kids alike can use the dining room. I see you have removed the prep sink from the cooktop island. Do you see that as redundant given the close location of the clean-up sink? Lavender can you also let me know any other drawbacks you see with my second posting aside from the lower island only having three seats? I would appreciate hearing of any other short comings you see.

Any other comments are certainly welcome, and I would certainly welcome constructive feedback on the second plan I posted. I am grateful for the kindness shown by GW posters.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi again Live_Wire_Oak,

I just reread your comments and can really see your proposed kitchen working, save for the clean-up sink and my hang-ups with that location. I see that you already answered my question of how much counter to place between the cooktop and prep sink on the big island (min 38", 48" better), so ignore that question in my long post above. Is there anyway to rework your proposed design, but have the clean-up sink else where (hopefully either under the one window or looking out into the room)? Thanks ever so much for your time.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

HI Ontario and Lav,

My interior photos never come out that well, so I've been waiting for a prof
l to shoot my interiors. But until things are resolved with our GC, I don't want them getting press for my house, so we have put off the shoot. I will give in and take my own photos soon and then post.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

OntarioMom, you can wash up the occasional pot and pan in the prep sink - just make sure its got some length - like 21" to 24".

This is just to give another idea of arranging stuff.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

OntarioMom

I have two Island in my kitchen, I am not sure the layout is what you are looking for, but thought some pictures might help.

I can tell you, we spend all our time at the table island. I am not sure why we even have a diningroom now!


Kitchen view from living room

The picture doesnt show it but there are spice pulls on either side of the cooktop

Island with Induction cooktop

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Eat-in Kitchen Island


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Bmorepanic, you are a gem to spend the time posting that alternative to help with our design. I'm loving the idea of the raised DWs and the dish drawers! It is wonderful to have fresh eyes on this design as we have been reworking it for over a year! I really appreciate your help.

Mel, what a beautiful kitchen! Thanks for sharing your inspiration pics. How did you light the cooktop island? Did you end up venting the cooktop island? How do you like the two levels around the cooktop? It looks like it might provide a safety barrier when cooking?


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Bmore, I am really liking that design. Easy to clearly see ... Cooking zone, cleanup zone, keeps wayward traffic directed around the end. Nice !!


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi, I definitely like what BMorepanic did too, but I worry the seating in the kitchen is too close to the dining room seating. The question was posed earlier why do I need all that seating in the kitchen given the close proximity to the dining room? After that comment, I began to like the idea of having the kitchen seating near the living room and not near the dining room. I have posted below an approximate layout picture of the main floor space (it is out of date) but shows how the kitchen's location is related to the rest of the rooms. Please ignore the shading completely -- it represents an old not used HVAC duct design. Anyone willing to check out any of the posted kitchen designs and see if they flow with the surrounding space?

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Also, for sake of clarity with which design I am seeking more feedback on, I am reposting my alternate design with seating near living room, in hopes that someone will help me see the drawbacks of this design. When you have invisioned a design as long as I have, it is very hard to see the flaws. So critique of the following design would be greatly appreciated so I can let it go, or even revisit it.

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I am so grateful for the advice and feedback you guys have provided, and really need a few more opinions.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Carol- I like the second version the best! These are the only changes I would make...and they may or may not work for you. Maybe move the prep sink to the other side of the ovens...where you can use it at the other island and closer to the playroom. And, I'd put a few stools at the end of the cooktop island. Far from the cooking, but close enough to visit or help chop veggies. Just a few ideas :)

From Cottage house plans


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks Lavender_lass for your help and ideas. I like the idea of a seat on the far corner of the cooktop island. Perhaps I should consider two prep sinks -- one near the seating island and one on the cooktop island. I see you have not shown a prep sink on the cooktop island. Can you tell me why?

Thanks again for your thoughts and pics.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Mel0569,

Love your kitchen...have to ask - is that honey onyx in your backsplash? That's what I'm leaning toward. If it's not - what is it? Thanks!


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Here's my 2 cents
ontariomom's kitchen


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

If you like the prep sink on the island, then I would definitely include it. As long as it leaves you plenty of room for prep, then it's very handy.

I didn't know if you wanted two prep sinks, so I moved it to the other end of the kitchen. I love to bake, so I'd want a prep sink near the ovens and what I would use for my baking area/your second island :)


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I like cam349's version, but I'd reverse the two functions of the island if you want to be facing the family area and dining room for the majority of the time. Cooking is only 10% of your time spent in the kitchen, while prep is 70%. Doing your prep with water nearby and facing and socializing with the family and then a quick turn to stir a pot or to drop ingredients into a wok would be a very doable setup. And the traffic passes by through the main aisles leaving the aisle between the islands as a more protected zone.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Cam's design is really good. The only thing I wouldn't like is that the cooktop is on the short side of the island. I'd rather have more prep space by the cooktop.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks Cam for your input and kind assistance. I have played with a version very similar to what you posted in the past, and it was my preferred design for quite some time so I definitely see the benefits. Green's alteration to your design would also offer lots of function, so thanks to you both for your input. Nevertheless, I am afraid that I would like more counter right beside the cooktop as Lavender pointed out. Therefore, I think I should stick to either a larger island (or cooktop on longer side of an island). However, I do intend to meet again with my designer and we will pour over all proposed designs.

I dearly hope to hear from others regarding what flaws exist on the alternate design I posted 8 entries above this one with or without the tweaks posted by Lavender_lass. I am unable to see the flaws in that design, but expect more talented designers will be able to. Please set me straight on why I should not (or should) use that alternate design I posted (one with seating island near bottom of screen and long cooktop island near top of screen).

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I'm not trying to be mean or nothing, you did ask!

Basically, you need room to work for two and its much better if stuff needed is together - but in such a way that it doesn't cause contention for the same space. I have a pretty good idea of my own clumbsies, so I know I'd trip over the open dw doors inna week, never learn that lesson and keep doing it forever. I'd get ticked at every person standing in front of the open ref who was blocking me from using the little sink, at having all kinds of counter space, but none of it where I needed it and people who didn't push their stools back in as they would constantly be in the aisles.

To say everything that I thought after seeing the entire floor plan, I kinda don't like people having to use the kitchen as a main hallway. I realize you might have to, but I'd consider moving the kitchen if I was doing this for myself.

Below doesn't solve everything either (still kinda dark). I think it might be easier to work in...


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thank you Bmorepanic for your clarity and honesty. I am going to pour over your suggestions later today. However, quickly I have a question about where in the house you would have put the kitchen? I expect it is too late to move the kitchen given the careful window placements (that have been bricked around or in one case have siding around) but I am curious -- just in case there is something we can do for a price. We certainly talked about having the dining room where the kitchen is shown and the kitchen where the dining room is shown, but it was felt that there would not be room to pass by the dining room table and chairs. Is this the location your were thinking about?

Thank you so much for your help!

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Its what I would do. If I'm reading the measurements correctly (always an issue!), you have 15 feet and some change beyond the 30" indentation beside the dumbwaiter?

Use the indentation for hutch or sideboard or bar (I love bars!). I'd use the narrowest table I could get away with - like a 36" one. It could be way long or done as two individual tables. If individual tables, I fiddle around the arrangement as I wished.

An fast way to guestimate floor space is table width + 5 feet for chairs - it's within 4 inches of the recommended minimums. So, that would take up 9 feet of width - leaving about 6 feet of width left. That means I could try building in a shallow library or since you have a lot of dishes - a massive china display that wasn't very deep to make up for the relatively empty long exterior wall. Or blend the china with a big mirror or use a mirrored back? Or use a combination of mirror and art work or family photos?

That would leave an aisle that was 4.5 to 5 feet wide when people were seated. More like 6 to 6.5 wide the rest of the time.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi Bmorepanic and other helpful GWers

Here are a few more points of clarification especially relevant if the whole location of the kitchen is to be moved. Bmorepanic mentioned that the plan might be dark. I think this might be less of a problem in real life. I have clarified below some info about the windows.

1)Where Bmorepanic shows an armoire, there is a nice low window which will let light into the space (window 2 feet off ground)

2)The foyer staircase going up has been increased to four feet and the whole foyer has grown by two feet. Therefore the path for people and light from foyer to kitchen is now straight ahead.

3)There is a double 8 foot door in foyer with 3/4 decorative glass not too opaque. There is also a mostly clear glass transom over the front door, so I think natural light may be better than imagined even in the kitchen.

4)All the windows shown in the dining room and great room are low so not counter height (i.e. two feet off ground).

I will stay tuned to your input. I am open to doing what it takes to make this space work even if it means relocating the kitchen (although that may really be challenging at this stage due to window heights and locations).

Thank you everybody for your willingness to give your time to help with my project.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi again Bmorepanic and others,

Thanks for the clarification. Okay, so you are suggesting putting the dining room where we show the kitchen? I do like your idea of mirrors. You are accurate with the measurements. Would you then have the kitchen where we show the dining room? We already own a nice dining room table (41" wide) and wood china cabinet (63" wide X 17" deep and full height) -- which may not work and would need replacing in this scenario. How would you work around the low windows in the spot originally proposed for the dining room, and counter height window in the original spot for the kitchen. Maybe it is just too late to make this switch. Looks like I will need to get some serious design help again (already had plans designed by both an architect and interior designer), to sort all of this out. In the meantime, I will continue to play with the various layouts that have been proposed for the kitchen in the original spot.

Anyone else think we should move the kitchen entirely to another spot despite the window height issues?

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I meant it looks like it will be darkish in the kitchen.

Light only travels so far - generally its about 10 feet. Daylight is directional. Generally speaking the sun is higher than your house (not trying to be funny), that means sunlight is generally sloping downwards. Unfortunately, extending an opening towards the bottom of a wall won't increase the amount it travels at all - it'll just bounce off the floor a little bit - almost none if you have carpets. It might make you feel better about the space when you're in that room (I like that too) but to make light travel further the window needs to be higher - as high as possible.

Windows in the foyer won't help get light into the kitchen. Your foyer is lower than the kitchen and its windows would not be capable of reaching that far because the sunlight will slant towards the ground. The only way that windows half a flight of stairs lower would directly light the kitchen would be for about 30 minutes at either sunrise or sunset when the sun is coming up or going down - it would likely light up the floor.

I didn't know there was a window where I drew the storage piece. I'm sorry I didn't look back at some of the other drawings. It will not contribute much and perhaps none at all to the kitchen.

A window directly lights what's directly in front of it. The little wall and in a lesser way, the center wall-let will cut off most direct routes to the kitchen. The fat yellow lines are sort of showing the maximum light going towards the kitchen.

Again, generally speaking, sunlight also changes direction from east to west. So only part of the area within the fat yellow lights will be lit at certain parts of the day and may not happen at all depending on roof overhangs and trees and stuff outside your house. Other than the 3 windows shown with fat yellow lines, the others are too far away to make a contribution.

Lots of people have interior kitchens and they compensate with lots of lighting of different types. I wasn't being critical of you or your house, just noting it for you to plan lighting accordingly.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Wow, Bmorepanic, you know your stuff. Thanks for the insights on lighting. We will be sure to add lots of artificial lights.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi all,

Does anyone else think I should move the kitchen to an entirely different location such as where we show the dining room? Keep in mind the windows are set and the windows in the original dining room are only two feet off the ground (not counter height). Or is it just best to keep it where it is but fix the layout? I would love some opinions on this idea floated by Bmorepanic?

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

the switching I would do is between great room and dining room. Your home has a lot of areas/the kitchen is the conduit-I think i could like it right where it is....flowing into the great room makes that whole side of the house with playroom/kitchen/greatroom a wonderful big space for all to be. With dining room off to the other side, I might try to get a kitchen table in the kitchen,which isn't what you have going at all. It just all depends on what you want from your space....how your family interacts. there are plenty of other sectioned off areas in the home to justify the kitchen flowing into great room in my opinion. There's a great plan for this,not sure you've hit it yet-but the location "in the middle" of your home,is interesting and plenty dynamic enough to leave it there,with some more figuring and thinking about the space.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi herflavor,

Thanks for your helpful input. The idea of switching the great room with the dining room is a novel idea that does have merit for sure. My sister actually has an arrangement like that and it works well for her (but there is usually only one or two living in the home so they eat most meals at the island). The only issue I can see in our case, is we prefer to have a dining room that we use everyday and hence close to the kitchen works well. Our dining room table has a top that can take daily use. As you said if we did move the dining room, we would also need a kitchen table that sat 6 for daily use.

Thanks for the encouragement that the kitchen in the middle is still a good spot. I will keep striving to find a good layout.

Anyone else what to weigh in as to whether the kitchen in the middle will work (i.e. should we swap the kitchen location or keep it as it is and fix the layout)?

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Rhome and Live_Wire_Oak and others,

I see in both the version that Live kindly drew for me, and in Rhome's own kitchen, the clean-up zone is across the aisle from the islands well away from the cooking and prep space. I really don't think I could put my main pot washing sink against a wall (I prefer to look into a room or out a window), but there is no reason I can't put my DWs and a smaller sink for rincing when needed before loading the dishwasher (beside the spot marked for a dumb waiter as Live suggested). This could also be combined with a dish cupboard nearby. I could keep my main clean-up sink near the prep and cooking spaces for pot, pan clean-up. Can this work in practice (i.e. having DWs far from cooking and prep, but a clean-up sink close by)? So in essence a plan similar to what Live designed but have the main sink remain under the window and a small prep sized sink near the DW? BTW Live, thanks again for offering this alternative to me.

Rhome do you ever find the DWs and clean-up area far from your cooking area and feel frustration at having to walk with dirty utensils across the aisle? My DH was sure that would be a bother. I have never cooked in a large kitchen before so am used to having everything essential up close and also the congestion that comes with it.

Carol


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RE: Calling Rhome and Live_Wire_Oak

Rhome and Live_Wire_Oak,

Can you please answer the questions above? I am going to re-work my plan and re-post on a separate thread based on feedback and especially the idea of moving the DWs and a small sink beside the dumb waiter. However, I wanted your input before I do. Thanks,

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

You might try emailing either or both. If you go to their individual user pages, you'll find a way to email them if they make their address available.

I wouldn't do it - not because it doesn't fit, but because that is the main "hallway" of your house and I wouldn't want open dw doors there. Others will feel differently.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks for following Bmore's advice and emailing, because I'd lost track of this thread.

Rhome do you ever find the DWs and clean-up area far from your cooking area and feel frustration at having to walk with dirty utensils across the aisle?

My path is about 6 ft from center of stove to center of sink..kind of a diagonal shot without much in between, so approx 3 steps, which I don't consider far. Much of the time, I'd have utensils used at the stove sitting on the counter to the right of the stove, so that's even closer to the cleanup area.

As far as your other questions, I got a little confused about little/prep sink and main sink, but now understand you meant to have a 24" or so sink for the cleanup area and a larger one for prep and pot washing, which, as an idea, is fine.

Also, with the kitchen in isolation, LWO's plan does well in separating zones and creating some good flow. But with your house layout, I share concerns with Bmore. Since the kitchen doubles at the only access to the main living areas from everywhere else in the house, it pretty much destroys the function of that wall with the dumbwaiter as usable kitchen work area. You really don't want your guests at Thanksgiving hurdling open dishwashers, or even family trying to get through where you're trying to get gooey utensils to the sink during cooking time.

Based on my experience with a big family, with kids always around and always eating ;-), and hopefully, pitching in to help clean up, set table, etc while you cook and bake, that cleanup area will be a stopping point in the traffic pattern through the house.

I am not an open kitchen type of person, which I want you to understand in how I view your layout. Kitchen as main path would drive me crazy and frankly, be a deal breaker in a plan that I see has some other great features. I don't mind at all if guests come into the kitchen to visit as I work, knowing they're coming into the work space. But I am not one who wants everything on display to everyone, whether they've chosen to enter my work zone or not. And I like my kitchen respected as work zone, and not just be a thoroughfare. As I said, just my opinions.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Yeah, thanks for the email heads up. With me trying to finalize the designs for the new shoroom and get the construction happening, it's been nutz.

I did have some more thoughts about your space. Mostly about how to minimize and channel the traffic through a space that still needs to safely function as food prep space. So, with that in mind, I closed up the opening to the living room, because you can step a few steps away into the hall and still get there from the hall. Since you indicate that you will be using it as a playroom for young kids, I did give you and option of putting in a window/passthrough so you can monitor them.

What that does is force the traffic through the main aisle only. And for that reason, I put all of the key appliances on the right hand side of the kitchen, leaving only dish storage and the freezer on the left hand side. By using a U shape with an island, you still have access at the top and bottom of the island for helpers, but the through traffic is non existant.

Putting the cooktop on the wall will make venting it much cheaper and more effective, and will leave the island as one big surface to work on pastries to go into the oven, or to spread out a pizza prep party. The prep sink will faciliate that as well. The cleanup zone moves to the peninsula, with no through traffic behind it. The dish storage is a short step or two across the aisle.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I forgot to mention that the seating could go across from the cleanup zone, back to back with the dining room.

Another option would be if you preferred a more open type arrangement with the dining area, and just have a longer island with the cooktop on it. I again put the prep sink at the corner of the island close to the fridge so it can also serve that area if needed for snacks. And it gives you a nice long run between your water source and heat source, which is ideal for prepping. I don't really think you have room for but about a couple of stools at the end with this, but since your table is right there, and it's well used, that's all you really need. Just some space to keep the cook company.

The biggest reason that I personally prefer the first is that I really don't care for the "butt to butt" arrangement of having the cleanup zone be right behind the cooking and prep zones. You need a pretty wide aisle to keep from bumping into each other while trying to perform both tasks. But the bonus to that is that it's just a step and a twirl to throw a dirty pan into the cleanup sink.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Thanks Rhome and live_wire_oak for your updates, new plans and ideas. I have lots to ponder and consider and am greatful for your kind advice.

The only problem is I have trouble switching gears. For example, I just get to really like a plan such as live_wire_oak's original idea (with my tweaks on the sinks)and then a new problem is discoved (i.e. DW open into important path through home, or perhaps kitchen should be moved to another location entirely). Having the passage between the living room and kitchen blocked off with cabinets/counters is certainly a new idea that has not come up before, but also an idea far from how I imagined using the space. Not to say it is not a good idea, it may very well be.

Well, I will keep plugging away at the plan and will reread and re-evaluate all the ideas presented. Eventually, I assume I will find a plan that balances the pros and cons for how our family will use the space. No matter what, the new kitchen, even with no doubt some design flaws, will be better than the half demolished, unheated kitchen we are using now that is in an unheated, uninsulated shelled in home in Canada LOL.

Thanks again everyone for your ideas. I do appreciate the help I have received from kind posters to GW.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Have you said why you might not like Bmore's plan (less the armoire) from Nov 11, at 7:17? I'm not a huge fan of the side-by-side dishwashers, and it doesn't negate the possibility of kids running from the playroom through the main aisle of the kitchen, but it does keep major traffic from entry and bedrooms, etc, along the other side outside the main work area. Compromises. :-)


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi rhome and thanks for sticking with me,

I think that plan that Bmore drew on Nov 11 is not too far off what we had been thinking or have tried along the long design process (think we started designing this kitchen with various designers over 2 years ago). However, I really did want the cooktop on one of the islands -- I would rather not have to look at a wall when cooking and will take on the extra expense of an island vent. I also like having the fridge as close to the daily used dining room table as possible (but still not too far from where I prep) so I would not want it all the way near the living room. Yes, I do see that Bmore has a ref drawer near the dining room. I had planned on a counter depth all fridge (Frigidaire not a super high end one) and separate upright freezer. I also, have begun to think seating near living room makes more sense than seating near dining room as the seating is more spead out and not redundant -- although this is not a big need and only a recent idea.

Anyway, as you said there are always compromises. I have not ruled out any of the plans that have been posted, so will certainly study Bmore's plans some more. I still need to move on from live_wire_oak's original plan with sink switch as I am not that bothered by DWs in the aisle near dumb waiter -- they have to go somewhere. Also, I don't see that aisle in front of the dumb waiter as needing complete open access at all times. It is true that aisle will be needed when people come and go from the house front (not backyard), and as an entry point from my oldest's son's bedroom (although he could go through the laundry room too). However, in the back of the house is the staircase for the other four bedrooms, the staircase for rec room, laundry room access, dining room and great room as well as a bathroom. To go in and out of these rooms one would not need to go past the aisle in front of the dumb waiter at all. Once family was home (except say the oldest son), that aisle would not necessarily be traveled that much.

Thanks again for your thoughts. I really do like your kitchen and want an efficient kitchen like you have achieved, so I know I have to keep working away at my plan.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

As I see it, there's a couple of issues that you need to think about here. One is the long skinny nature of the kitchen that is actually too long for an efficient work space. Second is the desire for seating in the kitchen. Why, with the table right there. Third is the many access points through the kitchen.

I also noticed something on the whole house plan, which is that the great room is much smaller than the dining area. So, I propose switching those two spaces so that you have more room for the family to spread out, and so the dining space becomes a bit more formal. Then, seating in the kitchen starts to make more sense.

I'm also proposing "closing in" the entrance to the living room, (but only with a half wall) as I also see that as redundant opening that doesn't add anyting. I'd put some shutters or something above the half wall so that you really could close the space off to the kitchen when the kids grow out of the playroom stage and you want to reclaim the room for private adult space. being open to a noisy active kitchen is NOT a bonus for a "quiet escape space".

So, this leaves most of your first design intact, but takes some of the length of the kitchen and devotes that to a cozy banquette that will provide seating for family breakfasts and a homework spot. Then you can eat your dinners in the dining room.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

I'd missed that other set of stairs. Is there also another family entrance to the house, or is everyone coming through the front door?

In that plan of Bmore's I would consider swapping the ovens with the fridge as she suggested as an option, so it's more easily accessible to everyone. (I don't think it's too far to walk from the dining room or island seating) You could also still move the cooktop to the island, although, the path wouldn't be as efficient in fridge to prep to stove.

Looking at your plan of Nov 5, 23:04, which has the alternate idea of kitchen seating near the living/play room: If you keep the fridge at the dining end, but move the kitchen seating to the living room end, you separate the fridge and the casual dining, inviting all sorts of traffic in your main work aisle in front of the stove. In that case, too, I'd consider moving the fridge to the dumbwaiter aisle. --And that one has the oven in an odd spot, and any baking activity near it would be a long way from a sink. I use my island prep sink A LOT while I bake... for adding water to recipes, rinsing utensils and gooey hands, etc.


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi Hollysprings,

Thanks for your ideas and plan, and for taking the time to help. I wanted to clarify that the great room and dining room as built are the same size. Perhaps you were suggesting if we took some of the length off the kitchen we could give it to the great room (or give it to the area we show the dining room in). If so, then I understand your rationale.

The idea of closing off the living room with a half wall and and perhaps shutters for a quiet spot in the living room does have merit -- just different than I had always imagined it. We now have the two front rooms combined (formerly labeled as ex. bedroom and study in the plan I posted). This will be the room our eldest son uses. When he leaves home (he is a eighteen now) we will use that space as an away space/guest room. It even has a front deck off it so it will be a lovely retreat nice and close to the action.

I am concerned that the dining room should be as close to the kitchen as possible. At one time we were going to put it where we show living room, but there was just not enough width (living room is only 10 feet wide). For a while in our planning, we had the dining room where we show kitchen, but again it was determined there was just not quite enough width given that a passage needed to be included as well. One spot we never played with was the dining room where we show great room as you have suggested. However, I really feel I would want the dining room closer to the kitchen, so if we moved the dining room, I would want to move the kitchen as well. We have 6 at the table on a daily basis. I want the family to eat all their meals at the daily used dining room. If there was seating for 6 in the kitchen that would work, but not if the seating was only for 3-4.

Again, thanks for your help. I will need to call in a local designer for help and perhaps reassurance that a solution will be found or perhaps has already been found in one of the many posted designs.

Carol


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RE: Two island kitchen - efficiency design check

Hi Rhome,

Thanks again for your support. Our house is a split foyer style with a two storey at back. Here are a few answers:

1)Our family enters through the basement mudroom where there will be lots of space and lockers for all, sports cupboard etc. The basement is a walk in through garage.

2)After parking stuff in mudroom, the family will likely choose to go up the two half staircases and enter the kitchen when they arrive home. They could go up the back staircase if they prefer, or stop in the teen rec room that is also at the basement level (as is an office). There will also be powder room off mudroom, so really no rush for anyone to come upstairs.

3)Guests will enter via the door that is at the landing between the two half staircases. There will be no family jackets, stuff etc in this area (thank goodness for that). Guest coats can either go on hooks in this area or in the closet at the top of the half stair case.

3)Re: fridge location. Currently we are have our dining room furniture in the framed in dining room space as we are living in a shelled in house. We are using bits and pieces of our leftover kitchen from before demo. As it would be, currently our fridge is probably where Bmore shows it as the alternative location Believe me it is a long way from the table (23 feet from dining room chair nearest china cabinet to fridge). Such a pain to go and get milk, set table with items from fridge, etc. Having the fridge in a straight path from the dining room in the location Bmore shows it near the living room makes it a foot closer at 22 feet. I really like it as close to the dining room table as possible.

4)Re: my alternate plan of Nov 5 23:04. It is true that the island seating is far from the fridge in this location. We don't need to use the island seating for eating -- the dining room table can take care of that. Have seating at the island can be used for homework, using a laptop, chatting with cook, for cook to sit at after a long day to say peel some potatoes. I also see my 7 year old drawing a picture there and visiting with me while I cook. Again, I would be just fine with all eating happening at the everyday dining room table so for me it is not crucial that the seating island is near the fridge. Of course in my first plan both the island seating and dining room table were both close to the fridge but that also put the seating all together and as discussed redundant.

5)Yes, I hear you about the idea of placing a sink on or very near the lower seating island if I went with my Nov 5 plan. Lavender mentioned that idea and I believe if I went with that plan I would have to have a prep sink in this location to facilitate baking.

Hope that clarifies things a bit. Thanks for all your thoughts.

Carol


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