PLEASE help us with our kitchen layout/design!
macandme
April 5, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Shortly after the purchase of our home late last year, my boyfriend and I dove head first into making this house our home. Though the house screamed "built in the 70's" we've managed to create the beginnings of what we hope to be a more comfortable, modern, and open design.

We’ve now encountered the “piece de resistance”: the kitchen. In its current (original) state, the kitchen is small and lacks functionality. It’s a far cry from the chef’s kitchen that we’d love. It will be completely gutted and rebuilt. The dropped ceiling will be removed and vaulted to match the rest of the house. The wall separating the kitchen from the dining area/sitting area (shown in photo) will be removed. This will leave us with approximately 15.5’x10’ to work with.

Our dilemma lies in finding a layout that has functionality as well as style. We’d like a something that will flow with the rest of our open floor plan. I’d categorize our style as somewhere between mid-century modern, polished casual, and/or transitional. I’m torn between a one wall kitchen with a large island (9-feet), an L-shaped kitchen with a smaller island, or a U-shaped kitchen (no island). We’ve gone back and forth with this decision for months now and just can’t decide on the best fit for the space. Obviously there are many factors to consider including appliances, work areas, storage (number of cabinets), natural lighting (keep window or use wall for more storage?). We are also torn between using tiles in the kitchen or continuing our Brazillian Tigerwood flooring throughout. We’d love to opinions on all of the above. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
One wall kitchen with large island? Possible layout shown.
L-shaped kitchen with smaller island? No drawing.
U-shaped kitchen, no island? No drawing.
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
I really like the sink near the window. With the idea option of the small island you could put the microwave in there. That frees up the cabinet, and you can put in a new one, possibly with glass doors, lighted up. it would bring some variety and new elements into the kitchen. That side of wall you can definately spruce up, especially top cabinets, fronts.
April 7, 2012 at 8:34am     
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Dytecture
Hi macandme, I vote for the L-shaped kitchen with a smaller island by moving the fridge beside the wall oven. This is the most economical option as you don't have to move any plumbing or the hood vent.

Even a 6 foot island would be plenty of working and storage area. I'd suggest you measure and tape the design on the floor and see if this works for you.

Good Luck.
April 7, 2012 at 10:11am     
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betsyweisberg
I agree with dytecture!
Happy decorating!
April 7, 2012 at 10:14am   
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macandme
Thanks Arlene, for the comment. I had also considered putting a long and narrow window or door in the corner instead of a wide window, to maximize wall space (for pantry and fridge?), but didn't want to create an awkward corner. What do you think? Unfortunately, in order to use the side wall effectively, I'd have to shrink my 12' slider (next to kitchen) down to 10' to get a longer space.
April 7, 2012 at 10:24am   
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macandme
Thanks Dytecture and Betsy. You're right, a 6 foot island is plenty, considering that the sink would no longer be in the island (as in the case of the one wall kitchen). Any neat ideas for fitting in a pantry?
April 7, 2012 at 10:46am   
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Monarch Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC
macandme,

If I am understanding the revised space, I have generated this suggestion. A 180" back wall landing the ref, oven, and cooktop. The sink holds position under the window and the island is all storage, except trash-can nearest the sink in base cabinet.
April 7, 2012 at 11:22am     
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Monarch Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC
rendering
April 7, 2012 at 11:30am     
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Dytecture
@ Monarch Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC ... Great rendering, this is exactly what I was talking about !

@macandme, not sure what's behind the fireplace wall, could you fit a full height pantry at that spot ?
April 7, 2012 at 11:36am     
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Bond Girl
I've redone a few kitchens and baths, and debated this kind of thing over and over. I know that feeling -- you don't want to make a mistake. I found an independent kitchen/bathroom planner, and used her for my last 2 renovations. My husband says it's the best money we've spent in our house.

If you can't find someone independent, do the leg work, and go to as many different cabinet places, and talk to as many different kitchen planners you can find. Everyone has a different perspective. A male designer thinks differently than an older woman, and that's different from someone with kids. All of those different planners helped me.

If your house is in a neighborhood where they built houses like yours, start asking around, and see if you can find some kitchens that have already been done. If there all in the 70s, I bet a bunch have already been done. Have fun!
April 7, 2012 at 2:03pm     
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macandme
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. The rendering helps a lot. Dytecture, this picture shows a view from the living room into the kitchen. The fireplace is a two-way fireplace that we recently had re-faced. The two sides are identical and there really isn't room for a pantry. Before re-doing the fireplace, I had also considered attaching a pantry to that area somehow, but prefered the clean look of the fireplace alone. We've tried checking out all the neighbors kitchens but no one has attempted an open layout and expanded kitchen without increasing square footage (not an option for us at this point). Thanks again!
April 7, 2012 at 5:32pm   
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Dytecture
Wow, your open space with high ceilings is going to be absolutely gorgeous !!!

I was just wondering if you need 2 dining spaces now that you've decided to combine the rooms. Perhaps you could add on a pantry unit at the end of the kitchen (ie: next to the wall oven in Monarch's rendering ?)
April 7, 2012 at 6:02pm   
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macandme
We definitely don't need two dining spaces with the new plan. We've considered extending the kitchen as dytecture's described to include a pantry. Makes sense. Thanks!
April 8, 2012 at 10:30am   
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
Thanks, macandme.You could definately consider a shorter window if you want to plan the expense! otherwise leave it in, ti definately might plan for views the the yard, and more light!
April 11, 2012 at 12:34pm   
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
The lighting up top, above the island leaves options for pendants. I would hang three above. See them on Hubbartonforge.com. They range from 340-400.00 each. i would order a free catalogue from them. http://www.hubbardtonforge.com.
April 11, 2012 at 12:38pm   
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macandme
Yes, we need to start looking into lighting options. I will look request the catalogue. Thanks Arlene!
April 11, 2012 at 2:21pm     
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Arlene Warda, Architecture+Interior Design
I think you will like the catalogue when you order it. it will be a big change! Thanks!
April 11, 2012 at 2:36pm   
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D&O Cabinets INC
If you still need help, check our website and contact me at Docabinets.com. I will be happy to help you.
April 16, 2012 at 11:33am   
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macandme
Anyone have any suggestions for what we can do with the open ceiling space above the cabinets (longer wall side)? The dropped ceiling will be removed and we'll be left with it vaulted. Also, I'm torn between tile and hardwood floor for the kitchen. Worried that the hardwood may wear easily in the kitchen, but I think it might help the open concept flow better. We will have brazillian koa (or tigerwood) throughout the rest of the house (except bathrooms). Thanks in advance!
April 24, 2012 at 12:42pm   
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Dytecture
Hi macandme, I would recommend hardwood throughout so your eyes is connected as one space. I have hardwood in my kitchen as well but most people would put a rug in the main traffic area to minimize tear & wear.

For the cabinets, you can either do a bulkhead like this.

Seattle Kitchen Addition

Or a custome angled cabinetry which is quite unique.

A Ranch Re-dressing Hanover NH
April 24, 2012 at 1:01pm     
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macandme
Hi All,

Thanks for the input so far. We're getting closer to a decision. I'm considering the following layout where the micro-wave and wall oven combination sit next to the patio slider and the sink sits in the island. This still leaves room for a 4' window facing the backyard. The sink in the island might allow me to interact with people in the sitting area next to the slider. Does this make sense? Still unsure about whether to frame the kitchen out with a partial wall (shown in image) to separate it a little from the rest of the open living space. Also still considering different options for above the wall cabinets...soffet with down lighting maybe? Though it's not shown in the image i generated, out ceiling is actually vaulted (kinda like the kitchen in the image that Dytecture found). Also, we'd like to make the kitchen feel a little more modern than it comes across in the photo.
June 5, 2012 at 1:59pm   
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meridor
The only advantage to your new floor plan is the sink-fridge closeness -- but do you have 2 sinks or one in that new plan? If one, do you interact when you wash your dishes and veggies? Interact around cutting veggies once they're washed, yes. Monarch looks much nicer -- in your layout, the oven bunker blocks the clean lines of the kitchen as suggested by Mo and Dy. The island also looks out of reasonable proportion, massive -- someone suggested somewhere else that if you can't reach across ... Also, you have a nice big beautiful window, I would keep it. I wish I had that floor to play with. Good luck.
June 5, 2012 at 4:51pm   
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macandme
Hi Meridor,
Thanks for your input. I agree that the wall microwave-oven combo breaks up what could be a pretty clean line in the kitchen. Unfortunately, placing it there also makes it so that we can't fit the sink and dishwasher in that area....that's why the sink might end up in the island. The window shrinks, but we also have a 10' (or 12') slider to the left of that oven cabinet, so it makes it less difficult to sacrifice a little on the window. This layout also allows us to fit a pantry next to the fridge, which Monarch's design didn't. You're right...the island will be smaller probably and have seating on the backside instead of flush cabinets. Difficult decision....but I'm taking all comments into consideration. Thanks! BTW, also considering a narrow prep sink next to wall oven (plumbing is already there).
June 5, 2012 at 6:45pm   
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e2dennis
What did your final layout look like? Did you finish the kitchen yet?
September 16, 2012 at 10:04am   
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macandme
The rebuild isn't finished yet. We considered all the great comments but ended up going with the less popular option, the L-shaped kitchen (modified to have a double oven). I was nervous about the decision but it turned out to be the best use of our space (especially since we vaulted the ceiling) and everyone got what they wanted. The main sink area looks out to our yard. I ended up being able to keep my large patio door and we were able to install the wall mount steam oven we wanted. Thanks for all the feedback!
September 17, 2012 at 4:02pm   
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PoshHaus
Can't wait to see the finished project!
September 17, 2012 at 6:49pm   
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Reico Kitchen & Bath
I voted with the "popular" decision but after reading all the comments it sounds like you made the right decision. Agree with PoshHaus, can't wait to see the finished project!
September 18, 2012 at 5:59am   
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togetherbydesign
Love the direction you have gone. Most people like to interact with people while they work in the kitchen. My feeling is that if you do like to cook and entertain having your back or side to people is not ideal. Also a must in any kitchen is pantry space.
When I lived back east people had their food in upper cabinets. This is such a waste of precious storage.
The pantry in your layout is a must in my opinion!
I think you will have ample light in the kitchen.
I would only have one sink and it would have two bowls. The prep sink is nice but I would rather have the surface to have room for serving meals.
Another thing I would do is not have knee room for bar stools on the long side of the island.
I say this because of the lost storage space. You can have 12" shelves (upper cabinet standard depth) open or with doors on this long side and add lots of dish storage.
People stand and visit most times at islands...unless children use this area to eat.
For that I say use a child's table and chair set near kitchen. For the short time children use the island seating you would be giving up years of storage.
Love what you did with fire place and how open you are making your space....for that reason I would carry the wood floor into the kitchen.
March 22, 2014 at 8:14am   
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