Please beat up my kitchen layout

January 4, 2009

Hi, I've been lurking for a while while thinking about my kitchen remodel. I have learned so much from reading threads on this forum, and I love the warm, positive, and frankly brilliant culture of this site. We have been kicking layouts around for a while now, and I think I'm finally ready for some critique. Since we are moving exterior walls, this design is such a big commitment; I know that with gw input and changes, I'll feel more confident in finalizing these plans.


++ good workflow and support of simultaneous cooking, snack prep, baking, cleanup, and hanging out. This is a homeschooler's kitchen, and most of the time, five people will be preparing 3 meals a day plus snacks in the kitchen, with lots of non-kitchen activity (homework, laptop, even science labs) on the peninsula.

++ good natural light and ventilation: one of the main reasons we are undertaking such a drastic remodel is that the kitchen is in the cold, dark, northwest corner of the house. By opening it up to the south side of the house via the peninsula and converting the dark back hallway there into a many-windowed conservatory, we will flood the area with light. Also, the back hallway connects to an exit that goes nowhere; the driveway, and arriving groceries, are on the north side of the house. In the new layout, the door by the laundry area goes directly to the driveway, greatly reducing the steps when unloading the car.

++ adequate storage, recycling

++ pretty and simply elegant but function first, and not overwhelming. My favorite kitchen is my grandma's 1920 bungalow with white painted cabinetry, glass knobs, glass paned uppers, and wooden countertops.

Dining usage: breakfast=kitchen, lunch=50/50, dinner=dining room.

Ceilings are 9'. House is 1880's Queen Anne victorian.

Plans are flexible because the top right corner of the kitchen can be bumped out a bit more, and some interior walls may be moved. Walls that cannot be moved are shown in solid black; walls that can move or bump out are diagonally shaded.

Our budget has a lot of flexibility in that we are spending the big bucks on the structural changes, plumber, and electrician, then all the cabinetry install, finish carpentry, flooring and backsplash will be done ourselves. We have a large budget contingency set aside, but we'd rather use it to pay down our mortgage. We come from a frugal background, and to us, Ikea lidingo cabinets and corian countertops (some parts will also be stained and sealed Ikea numerar wood counters) feel like a big splurge. If we need to dig into our contingency, we will, and we are splurging anyway on some things like the induction cooktop, the many windows, and the corian. I really like the soft warm feel of corian when I lean on it.

We plan to get Sherrs to clone lidingo in custom sizes if Ikea stock sizes won't work for us. The wall oven stack (bottom up: drawer, oven, microwave, toaster oven, open shelf for cookbooks, and cabinet) will definitely need to be custom, although that may get built by dh with just some lidingo doors added for versimilitude. So, flexibility with cabinet dimensions too.

The kids and I do the most cooking, and often work together or in parallel. Dh does most of the clean-up. Sometimes (blush), he is cleaning up my lunch mess while I'm getting dinner going. I could improve, or just design the kitchen for simultaneous cooking and cleaning. I prefer the latter...

I do bake. I envision keeping most of the baking items in the cabinets on the window seat side of the kitchen, then pulling them down to the small counters on either side of the window for prep, as the appliance garage with the mixer is to the right of the cooktop. Perhaps I should move it to the baking wall, but it's just around the corner, and I love the idea of the extra deep bases with the appliance garages parked on top.

I don't know much about beverage centers; the coffee maker will live on the 12" deep countertop that is perpendicular to and backs the fridge. Tea will come from a kettle on the stove and boxes/canisters of tea will live in 6" rev-a-shelf pullouts to either side of the base cabinet under the cooktop.

Pantry: no pantry but hopefully I have enough cabinets around the fridge and in baking area. Our storage needs are average to below-average. I do have a 4 x 8 mudroom closet (former butler's pantry, long story) near the door to the driveway, and bulky stuff like jumbo packs of paper towels can live there (our garage is detached).

Appliances: 36" induction cooktop, vent hood with custom carpentry surround, 36" wide standard depth refrigerator, one standard 24" dishwasher, one 30" wall oven, free-standing microwave on a shelf, free-standing toaster oven on a shelf, two sink areas, two trash areas, recycling.

No warming drawer.

Fridge will be standard depth, and I like the idea of trading off depth with the washer and dryer to accomodate this yet keep surrounding cabinetry flush to the fronts of the appliances.


Bathroom door must be 36" wide. No one is handicapped now, but you never know. I want one of the cabinets under the peninsula to accommodate our sizeable printer. I wish I could have a pot rack, but not sure where one fits in here. Could go over island, but might block sight lines from people seated at peninsula to windows behind the island.

Below are two potential layouts; the first has an island, the second doesn't.

I would love to get people's votes on island vs. no island. Rhome410, I believe your island has the sink faucet on the diagonal; dh suggested it, and I was so proud of him when I saw that a master had already done it :-)

Sorry this is so long; I tried to follow all the suggestions on the readme, but I'm sure someone else could have been briefer. Just my quirk!

Please vote: with island:


or without island:


Comments (43)

  • davidro1

    with island.

    of the two shown above, the one with an island is ok.

    in the upper left corner of the kitchen there is a sharp corner where the exterior wall (windows) pushes in -- it seems not to be in the same place in the two alternatives. (?)

    the upper left corner of the island is too close to this inner corner. Easy solution is to cut off the tip of the island, losing one small bit of shelf space underneath. Maybe more elegant is to give the island a stubby kidney shaped top which encroaches a bit more on the window seating area and avoids encroaching on the upper windowed corner. No sharp corners anywhere, this is very doable with a Corian top. In this layout, sharp island corners make every change of direction a bit difficult, but with smoothed out corners or no corners at all (wide radius turns), one can hug the edge of the island as one walks quickly in and out from the entrance to the far corner and back.

    however i also see other problems, in both alternatives.
    -- E.g. Where the fridge is you haven't much landing space for stuff removed or going into the fridge. lose the upper portion of the pantry and you can push the oven over enough to free up more counter space.

    These are some of my first glance impressions. When I click on the images, Photobucket doesn't connect me, it says the URL isn't working now, the diagram is hard to read, and so I am unable to expand it to read more ...


  • homepro01

    The image is hard to read. Can you post the dimensions also?

  • Related Discussions

    Please help with my kitchen layout


    Comments (3)
    Hi jen_from_nj, a more logical way of organizing this space would be to have the kitchen at one end, eating area in the middle and family room at the other end. But given the existing conditions you have, by removing the soffits and perhaps the upper cabinets that surround the kitchen, you will be loosing a lot of storage space, this is something you'll have to weigh against the beneift of making the ktichen feel more open. At the same time, I would recommend doing a simple galley style ktichen instead of a peninsula to give you more efficient working counter space instead of having 'dead' corners, you could use a rolling kitchen cart for additional storage / working area.
    ...See More

    Please give me ideas for the layout of my kitchen and also where to make my dining area.


    Comments (19)
    I agree with all of KBD's suggestions except for putting a cooktop in the island. Instead I would move your sink to the island and move your stove where your sink is. Just my personal preference. I use my island (7'x5') as a work /prep space so having my sink there is important to me. The depth allows seating on the opposite side for breakfast or casual meals. Cooking is the last step before you serve your meal. If your cooktop is on the island were you will be eating, unless you stop to clean it up before serving your food, you will be looking at a messy cooktop and dirty pots and pans while you eat. Personally that would drive me crazy. Using it as work/prep allows me time to clean up as things are cooking. I realize by doing this you will loose the window that look out to the small front porch. I'm assuming that since your closet windows are also facing front, the ocean view is off the back of your house, so you would not be losing view by eliminating this window. That would not bother me, but since this is your house my best advice would be "move into this kitchen" and figure out how you work in the kitchen and what placement of things would make you happy and what placements might drive you crazy.
    ...See More

    Please help with my kitchen layout


    Comments (5)
    It depends on what you want to achieve by renovating your kitchen. Your plan gains you an open concept, but it does not give you more kitchen space. Do you use the whole formal living space? If not, you can make it into a formal living & dining combo and have more options for the kitchen. I can sketch some ideas if you are open to this. How much of that wall can be removed? Can you put a header that is concealed in the ceiling or does it have to be below the ceiling?
    ...See More

    Kitchen layout please help me make up my mind


    Comments (16)
    Make sure you plan a location for trash and recycling if that's not in there somewhere. I'm chuckling at the skylights. Our kitchen is in the center of the house, so no windows in the room itself, though you can look out the dining room window. There are skylights above the sink. The wife of the couple from whom we bought the house told us her husband forbid them, she called a contractor and had them installed while he was on an extended trip for work! :-O
    ...See More
  • remodelfla

    Wow... you really have been studying and it shows in your inital post. That puts you light years ahead of where I and others were to start off.

    I"m a little concerned about the end of the peninsula in both layouts. It looks as if you have about 4' from the corner of the counter to the wall. That could be OK but you plan on having seating there it could create a bottleneck.

    Are you planning on making your cooking run 36" deep? Perhaps I'm seeing it wrong since it's light on my monitor. It looks like the island has only 30" clearance to the cooktop and if that's so... it's inadequate. You need at least 36".

    Where do you plan storage for homeschooling? Will you be using the sunroom or just the kitchen?

    Some of the writing is a little hard for me to see. I'll wait for our resident experts to chime in.

  • slateberry

    David, thanks for your input. You're right, I can't get the photobucket link to work either. Here are larger images, hope this helps:



    the upper left corner you refer to (to the left of cooktop, in dark black) is a structural corner that we can't change under our current budget objectives. It does appear to move, but what happened (I knew somebody would catch this, just not so soon!) is that I shifted the wall containing the fridge and washer/dryer, as well as the bathroom wall, in order to make room for the island. I know, I said the bathroom wall couldn't move. I should have re-drawn it shaded diagonally instead of black. But, in the with-island version, it has moved as much as it can, so it truly should be black.

    The exterior walls that can be played with are on a back corner of the house that only goes up two stories to a flat roof, which needs replacing anyway. The walls that we can't move go up three stories to a gabled, original slate roof, which we are trying to leave alone. If you look closely in the with-island diagram, you can see a faint line running between the island and the window seat, then across the island to the dark corner. That is the existing exterior house wall. We tried to get a workable plan within it, but ultimately decided to bite the bullet and do a major remodel instead. In for a penny...

    How much landing space next to a fridge do you recommend? I thought the 9" in the no-island kitchen was lame, so I did away with the 15" full height pantry, bringing the landing space to 24". If it needs to be more I could go from a 30" wall oven to a narrower one.

    Thank you for pointing out the pinch point by the sharp corner. What about this: We've been talking about pushing out the window seat wall another foot. This would bring it in line with the existing bump-out (4') for what is referred to as the small mudroom in the island diagram. If we do this, we could have a continuous 1 story roof over the small mudroom closet, the entry steps and landing from the driveway, and the bump-out with the window seat. If we do this, and maybe bump the cooktop wall out another 6", we can slide the island toward the window seat wall, eliminating the pinch point. The only thing is, I'd have to decide whether to center the cooktop on the wall or wrt the island; currently they all line up. What do you think would be better?

    I will try to post a modified sketch tomorrow night; the chickens are getting restless right now.

  • slateberry

    1 square equals 1 foot.

  • remodelfla

    I think if you can bump the laundry room wall flush with what shows as the window seat now; it'll be whole different ball game. It'll give you options you can't yet see.

  • slateberry

    Thanks, remodelfla. The peninsula is definitely a bottleneck. We have gone around and around with that one, and no solutions yet. It is constrained by the dining room wall, its own thickness, the minimum opening width for the path into the kitchen, the 13" floor to ceiling cabinets that back into the side of the fridge, and lastly, the width of the fridge, the washer, and the dryer. Those floor to ceiling cabinets (actually there's a counter too) are just so darn useful, I hate to give them up. What would you budge/sacrifice to make it work? Should we make the peninsula narrower? I guess we could get it down to 3' but would it look too long and skinny?

    Homeschooling materials live in another room but good point.

    The space from the cooktop to the island is about 36-39". We want it tight, as we like the idea of just turning around from the cooktop to the island when transferring items. Also, we looked at the workflows, and most trips seem to flow in and out of that area, but not across it. Unless someone is going from the clean up sink to the window seat, and that can be accommodated by going around the fridge side. We just wanted to discourage cross traffic around the cook by making the space obviously narrow, but perhaps this is a mistake.

  • slateberry

    "I think if you can bump the laundry room wall flush with what shows as the window seat now; it'll be whole different ball game. It'll give you options you can't yet see."

    Whoa I think I just felt the world moving under my feet! That is a bearing wall, but if we could hide it in the cabinetry, and maybe a stud between the washer and just might be onto something! I gotta run this by dh (and the structural engineer). WOW! thanks.

  • rhome410

    I feel that I know your lifestyle, so would really like to see you get this 'right.' --So here are some observations:

    I would like to know your thinking on the placement of the prep sink, because I'm not sure of it being in the most useful spot. (I do have a sink placed on the corner with the faucet on the diagonal so it is useful from 2 sides, and it works great)

    I'd also like to know how strongly you feel about the window seat, because it's taking up very valuable kitchen real estate for all of your helpful workers. I wanted a cozy seating spot in my kitchen, too, so can understand the desire, but in the end I gave that up for the best work layout. You have the peninsula, so would probably keep sitters over there.

    With the fridge on the other side of the kitchen from the stove, your zones are overlapping, which is a problem when everyone's working in the kitchen at once.

    Your dishwasher will block the entrance to the room when open, and people seated at the right end of the peninsula will block the entrance to the conservatory.

    In the no-island plan, you'll gum up a great baking spot, if you center a sink there. In addition, you have cabinets down to the counter, so where do you use your mixer and where do big projects get kneaded or rolled out? As far as working with the kids, the island would be much better, including for science projects, etc. That way everyone can gather around from all sides.

    I'll be looking forward to hearing what you can do with your walls and what else you might have in mind after the other great advice you've gotten here.

  • jejvtr

    Interesting thread -

    I don't like to "beat up" anyone's hard work, but do like to point out things that I think may help them better evaluate their space/s, decisions etc...

    I would agree about the window seat taking up valuable space - so hopefully you get greenlighted there on bump out.
    And although I'm not a big island fan Rhomes pt is well taken & she is a highly regarded space configuring guru here!
    The place I keep going back to is the bath - it's in the kitchen & if I'm following this right the whole pic is renovation? If so, I would make allowance for a hallway to make the bathroom separate - I understand homeschooling & handicapped issues have dealt with both - but bathroom in the kitchen just is not a good idea for many reasons.

    I went to a Christmas party at a neighbors house & they had just done a large renovation - Lovely reno, lovely materials, layout etc... Until.... found the bathroom "hiding" in the kitchen -
    Can you incorporate laundry/powder room?

    Also, I would rec looking into other options than Corian for counter - while I understand your liking the feel of it is plastic & does not do well with heat, or science experiments - that's why science labs were equipped with soapstone - There may be other options that would be better suited for your needs.

  • laxsupermom

    (laxsupermom waves enthusiastically to slateberry)

    Glad you made it over to kitchens. Congrats on getting to the layout stage. You've already gotten some great advice, so I'm not going to chime in on either until you get back to us with possible wall movement. I just wanted to say Hi.

    OK maybe one comment. I love that you jogged the wall to accomodate the frig/washer/dryer and regular depth cabs. Great call.

  • rhome410

    I didn't see the bath as in the kitchen, but in the hallway in from the driveway?

    And I forgot to say that if you're having a side-by-side or, especially, a French door fridge, landing space to the side is often blocked by the open doors, so a counter across from it, in this case, the island, is most likely the best/most convenient landing spot.

  • bmorepanic

    This pulls the range wall a bit more, shows deeper counters on the range and sink walls. Id you could stand it, I think pulling BOTH out another foot or so would get you a prep sink in the island.

  • rhome410

    Possible compromise...Pseudo island?

    2 possible prep sink locations. The black one is easily accessible, but takes up some of the large workspace. The red one is more into the kitchen, but is handy to stove (Baking corner?) and peninsula's work side, and leaves peninsula counter free for large projects.

    I know I have more seating than recommended for that length of bar, but I always fit more than recommended.

  • slateberry

    Oh wow. So many cool suggestions--my head is buzzing. How come nobody ever mentions the kitchen forum design review effect?

    remodelfla--dh nixed fiddling with the structural laundry room wall, sigh, but, bmorepanic, I am less panicked because you stacked the washer and dryer--that buys us 2 1/2 precious feet! I have to get sketching, but it'll probably be tonight.

    rhome--it seems we are really zeroing in on the larger kitchen with island or peninsula per your drawing. I am drawn that way too. But, before we abandon the smaller kitchen, I just want to point out that in that layout, when I'm standing at the cooktop, I can see/chat with everyone at the island, and see all of the conservatory (ahhhh, lemons, bouganvillas, and jasmine, and...). In the island kitchen, the person at the cooktop is getting increasingly disconnected as that wall bumps out more. What do you think? Should I go for smaller and more intimate, or take the leap to one of the larger layouts, gain all that functionality, but lose some of the intimacy. (disclaimer: I am a fan of the Not So Big House book/movement, but willing to stretch!)

  • remodelfla

    slateberry... somehow I missed that it was a structural wall... I"m sorry about that. My DH feels strongly about not messing with too many structural changes too. I tend to just see the design possiblities. I have to compare some of the plans our gurus have done but I like bmore's plan too.

  • claybabe

    I don't know how to take your plan and play with it, a la Bmorepanic, so I'll try not to make this more confusing than it has to be, but no guarantees. (It will be so cool to see the before and after, I'm excited for you!) These are things I would want in my kitchen, and not necessarily ANY of the things you want, so take them for what they are worth.

    First, can you put the bathroom door along the back hallway? Without knowing the layout of the bath, not sure if this is doable.

    My issues with your kitchen are threefold (there might be more, but counting isn't my forte):

    1. I feel like the fridge is too far from the stove.
    2. I'd rather have a direct line from the driveway door to the kitchen
    3. I'd rather not have to walk around the peninsula to get outside to the bbq (a pass through in the plan would nod to this issue) having lived with that for 17 years. There are always folks seated at the peninsula and gathered around the end of it when I have the most stuff to take outside, and I just loved it once this was changed ( in our case we removed the peninsula and got an island, so the quick sneak outside became much easier)
    4. I'd rather have a prep sink closer to my stove (and it sounds like you want this so the clean up and cooking can procede without getting in each other's way), so if you go with your current island plan I'd flip it around so the sink is on one of the corners closer to your stove.
    5. I think the line of sight to the conservatory from the stove is important, but maybe less important than the los from the island. The actual bump out north could just be the amount of the depth of the cabs (love the extra deep idea) or a little deeper and you probably won't miss much in the way of a view. I agree you don't want to go too far or you can't chat with the seated folks at the peninsula.
    6. The north east corner could be more useful to you if it were "filled in": Is this a design issue or something else?
    7. I like having a large flat space for projects, and would rather have the sink(s) closer to a corner so it doesn't hog space for projects.
    8. The peninsula with island plan has some pinch points, and the no-island plan seems to make too much walking around room from one side of the kitchen to the other: Smaller would definitely be better in this one, imho.
    9. I think the window seat wall takes up too much valuable kitchen real estate, as mentioned above.

    OK, not even close to three things. Sorry.

    So what if you extend the right side wall of the stairs (to the basement) north a few feet and put your laundry in there (you could even leave the wall the same length and put the stacked laundry in a closet with nearby flip up folding table, if you were able to move the door to the bathroom), put the fridge along the east wall, and move the ovens somewhere (! really helpful, I know) and get rid of the wall between the driveway door and the kitchen. Then put an island (or two) in the space to suit you (prep island, home school island, sink island, etc.): Like Bmore's above, but without the limits of the fridge wall, so you could get a larger workspace/island. This is not to make your kitchen larger, just easier maybe.

  • rhome410

    You could go back to something like this, but I only see room for three people. You are asking the wrong person about the need for all the views from the stove ;-). When I'm working at the stove, I don't really care or have the opportunity to look at all those things. When prepping, baking, or cleaning up, yes, but not under a powerful hood and dealing with the cooking task. I see my kids school work area through 2 doorways that are at the opposite end of the kitchen from the stove, so behind me if I was at the rangetop.

    I think Claybabe's observation about the garage to kitchen path is a very good one. I've always wished a better location for the fridge in relation to the stove. I'm not a big fan of the closed in, dead-end with a peninsula, but the island was shrinking so much and requiring the angled off corners, which I personally don't like. (But it's not my kitchen!)

  • slateberry

    Quick but important philosophical question I'd love someone to weigh in on: a lot of people are nixing the window seat, but even with it, the kitchen has more than double the counter space of any kitchen I've ever had. A friend of mine who worked in restaurants said that each prep chef worked in one narrow, basically shoulders-width section of counter, and that was it. Even with multiple cooks, we'll have way more counter than that for each one. I know that the argument can be made in this case that more may be better, but what if I just settle for "enough", and have a pretty place to set a spell while I wait for the pot to boil? And the three foot counter sections, on either side of it, each seem like a workstation in their own right.

    Second question: several of you have expressed concern about distance from fridge to cooktop. I agree. To me, the island actually mitigated that concern a bit, because I could see a nice workflow (imagine a head of broccoli) from fridge to island (wash, chop), then to cooktop (steam, saute), then back to island or counter left of cooktop, to plating (dishes stored in left side drawers of island, across from dishwasher), and on out to dining room. I also liked the placement of the fridge close to the entrance to the kitchen, so someone could grab a snack or drink, even use the microwave, without walking through the main prep and cooking area. So, I _could_ find a way to put the fridge closer to the cooktop, but I'd be giving up these real advantages. Love to hear comments on this one.

    Thank you ALL very much and please keep it coming.

  • davidro1

    You are right. Assuming you want to hide the fridge and oven on that wall, you will need an island.

    You are the kind of people who know how to do without very easily. You are planning long term. I think you have plenty of storage for your lifestyle.
    "... door must be 36" wide. No one is handicapped now"
    "... from a frugal background, and to us, Ikea ... corian ... splurge."
    "... extra deep bases with the appliance garages parked on top.
    "... workflow, natural light and ventilation, adequate storage, recycling ... function first...."

    I'd go back to Drawing #1 and extend those Garages right across the whole wall, simplifying the wall by eliminating corners and change of field depth.


  • rhome410

    I have tried a couple things and don't really come up with a better solution for the fridge, and understand your compromises, so see your points on that issue.

    The window seat is a tough one. If you truly use those spaces next to it, things will be falling onto it. And are those uppers or cabinets down to the counter? (If they come down to the counter, it really diminishes -ruins?- the use of those 3 ft spaces.) Do you really want to sit there and look at the side of your island? (It's pretty close) And maybe at the backs of someone working there? It just doesn't seem like that cozy of a spot, ambiance-wise. If the seating could be somewhat set back from the work area, I could go for it more, but this is too close to the middle of the action, I think. In addition to the things I've already said, I see people wandering back and forth to it when others are trying to work. In my house either the seat would get cluttered or people would leave stuff on the counters beside it. Window seats are cool. Expanses of workspace in a kitchen are cooler. JMHO.

    Going back and forth and up and down, looking at all the plans, I think I'd do a combo of your island plan and Bmore's. I'd make the right window wall a great cleanup and dish storage area like she did (sink and dw in place of the seat), but I like the corner cut out like you did to really separate the cooking and cleanup spots. Then I'd put the prep sink on diagonally from where you had it first. What I'm having trouble seeing is why Bmore's island is so much smaller than yours. I'm also worried about lack of baking center...A place to use the mixer and store all the baking ingredients and tools. It sounds like that would be helpful to you. So would a counter for bfasts/snack/lunch items. I like her table, because it's more flexible to get around...but doesn't have the storage, so I think I'd shorten the peninsula, move it a little, but have it.

    Another option would be to put the oven on the cooktop wall (far left) and maybe make a seat by the fridge? Or just a nice pantry. So again, I'd vote storage over seat...

    Oops. In this last one, the island becomes a barrier between the fridge and stove, which reminds me of another question you asked. The long fridge to stove distance isn't always remedied by having a prep sink...When you're cooking and need to add a splash of milk or want to quickly grab some sauce to add, etc., it's a long way to run, especially if you have to circle the island and people working at it.

  • slateberry

    Let's many ideas, so little time. To clarify, on the diagrams, right is north, and up is west. I'm going to try to stick to right, left, top, and bottom to avoid any further confusion.

    Rhome, I really like your suggestions, but don't draw anymore, because I'm going to post a diagram with the washer and dryer stacked per bmore's suggestion, which really changes things for the better.

    Thank you for all the strong comments to nix the window seat. I'm taking a hard look at that, and seeking input from the rest of my family since it's elicited such a negative response. I will post back because if you're like me, it's fun and interesting to see what kid's opinions are.

    With regards to the placement of the sink and dishwasher, dh (remember, the saint who does most clean-up) is clamoring for them to go back in the peninsula (or island if the peninsula gets turned into an island, or some structure closer to the dining room), because he wants the clean up center to be closer to the point of use. But that could be good if it frees up the right side of the kitchen for a baking center.

    The corner cut out at the top right of the kitchen is deliberate. I am trying to have the bump out on the right side of the house line up with and share a common roof with the old butler's pantry, which also sticks out 4 feet on that side. Both sections are only one story tall. The reason for the cutout corner is to break up the mass of the bump and make it stagger out from the house as the old butler's pantry does too. So, the short answer is, from the outside, it just looks right that way.

    The other thing is I've never been wild about corner cabinets and this avoids them altogether.

    I have sketched up a diagram with a shorter fridge wall and maximally bumped out walls (these can come back in as long as the dark corners are left in place. I started to sketch another diagram showing the handicapped bathroom and incorporating many of claybabe's suggestions, but I got stuck (I couldn't figure out where to put the laundry area), so I'm scanning it incompletely, hoping others will have a fresher eye to fill in the blanks.

    The handicapped bathroom takes up a lot of space because of the 36" aisles, generous shower, and my attempt to get the recommended 5' radius turning circle in there. I'm willing to squeeze that a bit, based on talks with friends who use chairs, but not much.

    I don't have a scanner at home, so it will probably be another day before I can get the latest diagrams scanned and uploaded.

    Thanks again, and David, your insightful comments give me a lot of confidence to follow my instincts, which really helps.

  • rhome410

    I only worry about the peninsula cleanup zone, because of not seeing where the dishes will be stored nearby? I actually like it better on that side of the kitchen except for that. The window side (right side) would make such a fantastic baking space, I think.

    It will be fun to hear what your kids have to say. My kids helped a lot in our design process. Except when they eventually got tired of being asked! Even after that, I could always count on a couple of them to indulge me with another look at the kitchen plans. :-)

  • slateberry

    If the sink and dw are in the peninsula, then the main plate and bowl storage would be in the island in drawers that would almost kiss the diswasher when open. So, you'd open the dw, open the drawer, and move things about 2' laterally and be done. Pots and pans would be two more steps away under the cooktop (if not hanging from a rack over the island). Flatware would be in a drawer to the left of the sink. Mugs would probably be on open shelves on the end wall of the peninsula (forgot to draw that in, can't you read my mind :-). Some drinking glasses there too because they'd be so easy for guests to spot, but addl drinking glasses in uppers backing the fridge, because that's where so many beverages live. The only thing that would be many steps to unload would be mixing bowls.

    That said, as much as I've envisioned this, I'm still trying to go back to square 1 and look hard at everyone's suggestions. I am still open to a totally new concept, which the blank diagrams that dh should be uploading any minute now will hopefully promote.

    One thing I've learned from this process is that while I've browsed extensively on this forum, I ain't no expert! This design clearly has a long way to go, but already I see a lot of good suggestions and revealed preferences.

    What do you think of my zippy shelf brackets? I might do painted cast iron (they have those too) if these are too strong. But my hardware will likely be patinated brass, so these could work.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Shelf brackets for peninsula end wall

  • claybabe

    Slateberry, I have those exact brackets (well, actually in black) for my cookbook shelves! I love them. VERY sturdy.

  • slateberry

    Claybabe, what are the odds? Now I'm heading over to finished kitchens for a peek at your shelves!

    Ok, so here are the scans of two diagrams to play with. Plan 3 keeps the fridge and washer/dryer dovetailed (thanks for cheering this idea, lax!), but per bmore's suggestion, the w/d is stacked, gaining 27 precious inches. I think this opens up all kinds of possibilities for fewer pinch points and compromises.


    Plan 4 is my attempt to try claybabe and other's suggestions to have the driveway door open directly into the kitchen, to change the location of the bathroom door, and to see what bubbles up when those variables are changed. I got as far as the door and the bathroom, then got stumped. Like, where to put the washer and dryer? Tho they could hide in kitchen cabs. Also, I don't have a pipe chase drawn in yet; I need to try to get one at the level of, or upwards from, the dark square by the right bumpout corner, somewhere in the right half of the diagram.


    In either diagram, the exterior walls in the top right area between the two dark squares can be moved around, although they are currently pushed out to the max allowed by the site, so they can only come in. The notch at the top right needs to stay in some form, with the right wall of that notch lining up with the exterior wall adjacent to the steps to the driveway.

  • davidro1

    The bathroom is 100% better with its door sideways. The views are better from inside and out (no looking at the white bowl when walking past) and privacy is improved (no walking out into sudden view in front of a crowd). You can now expand the lav counter (floating, not cabinetry underneath) and use the cubbyhole end of the counter for storage (garage or shelves).

    The driveway door is better too now.

    I get the impression that many things are fluid in this projected plan. Can you move the driveway door entrance all the way past that post? Into the kitchen? Can you swap the spaces where you drew the window seating and the cooktop? Can you put windows where you want? Where are the views?

    The main goal in this thinking is to reduce the size of the kitchen triangle (or quadrangle with the second sink).


  • laxsupermom

    This plan gives a large baking center. The prep sink would service both cook side and bake side. The frig is still kindof far from the cooktop, but with helper aged kids underfoot it's usually easy to say 'sweetie, can you toss me the butter, or whatever.'

    If you flipped the frig and the ovens, you could pop a beverage frig in the hutch area to keep kids on the perimeter. Then the frig could service both cook and baker.

  • slateberry

    Hey David, thanks for the bathroom comments. To answer your questions, the driveway door can't move that much; it has to be somewhere between the two bumpouts, as the bumpouts are virtually zero clearance to the driveway, so the only place to fit stairs and landing is between the bumpouts. Unless we enter from the backyard, but that is more steps. I'd like to try to get a door to the driveway into this design.

    Yes things are very fluid. Cooktop could move to right wall. Windows can move and change in size/number. Views are good on all three sides (top, left, and right). Even the driveway side has a lovely view across the driveway to a neighbors' well-landscaped backyard and our popular and fun-to-watch bird feeder on the border of our properties. The house is about 4.5 feet above grade, so you don't notice much of the driveway or vehicles unless you're standing right at the window.

    Lax, I love the dish hutch concept and moving the fridge. It got me out of my rigid thinking! One thing, the fridge door can't open fully if it's in a corner like that. What if I did (from top to bottom along the right wall), Counters/prep area for baking center, fridge, then tall oven/micro cabinet? The window would be off center, but the whole kitchen is sort of leaning toward the top, so it might look really good anyway.

    Will definitely have the pass thru!

  • slateberry

    Yeah! Progress! So, the conservatory is a long, narrow room. I had envisioned the southern (left) end of it dominated by plants--but there's no reason the humans can't wade through the jungle to a sunny window seat. There will be other seating in the room; probably a game/puzzle table and a couple of easy chairs, but this would really round things out, and free up space for a better baking center.

    So, I still don't know what the kitchen will look like, but as a result of this process so far, I know it will have no window seat, but it will have a dedicated baking center, better aisle clearances, a door or pass-thru to the grill, and we're seriously considering an island instead of a peninsula to avoid the dead-end kitchen. Also the door to the bathroom will be located to be less visible from the kitchen.

    Thanks everyone for the very helpful input!

  • bmorepanic

    For fun - more walls, different places.

  • celticmoon

    Nice, Bmore. I like the simplicity. This was all getting too complicated. Could be that I'm just really tired tonight but trying to follow this was making me dizzy. I can't quite digest the verbal descriptions of what exists, what has to stay and what can change. Suspect the left side of my brain is shot...

    Slateberry, can we see a drawing of what is there now? Wondering whether bumping out further in one direction vs both directions might work better for you.

    It is good that in your last couple drawings you are focusing back on the empty space. Best to figure out the flow and appliances first, then the cabinets, then the goodies like appliance garages - or windows. Heck, in your case even the walls can be in pencil to start!!

    Couple points on layouts. In your initial drawings, you were fitting things way too tightly. A washing machine may be 27 inches wide, but it usually gets a space of at least 30. Looks like you had 4.5 feet for the W/D pair and that wouldn't work. Also that collumn of shallow wall cabinets up against the fridge side wouldn't work. They would need a wall for mounting, so that's another 5 inches or so.

    Good decision on the bathroom entry placement.

    Definite progress.

  • mom2lilenj

    How about with bmorepanic's layout (which I really like), swap the mudroom with the laundry area. Seems like where the W/D is would be a natural place for a mudroom. Another plus would be the dryer can be directly vented to the outside.

  • claybabe

    Slateberry, my kitchen isn't in the FKB yet...backsplash and baking center have held it up. BC almost done, so maybe very soon, however I'll try to remember to take a pic of the shelves.

    I like the Bmore version (even better with the little hall by the laundry for a pantry, but you could just close up the laundry part without the wall/put the fridge and ovens over on the right hand wall and keep the rest of the kitchen larger if you felt the need: I think the little wall uses your space better). I have a pantry tucked behind my stove wall and it works great for us: I was a little concerned about ease of access before we did it, but I love it, and it helped keep the cooking wall closer to the rest of the kitchen (ours is kind of stretched out length-wise). The only issue with Bmore's version and your requests is the location of the clean up sink. With some wiggling I think the main sink could be flipped with the prep.

  • slateberry

    celticmoon, I agree this thread is too wordy and hard to follow. so am i....hee hee. I'm thinking of pulling together all the input into a new, shorter thread, that has fewer variables running all over the place.

    the warning about 30" for the washer and/or dryer is well taken.

    To answer your question about the current kitchen, try looking at my second post on this thread (the one with the larger diagrams). The island one shows a faint dotted line running from one dark corner, through the island, and connecting to the other dark corner. That is the current kitchen exterior wall. It is L-shaped, about 50 years old, and smells of mouse and cigarettes when the weather gets warm. I'll miss it so...

    Hey mom2lilenj--love to read you over on the old house forum. I hear what you're saying about swapping the mudroom and laundry, but I saw so much potential in that long narrow 4x8 space for stashing picnic baskets, kites, beach bags, binoculars, and all the other stuff I'd love not to go down to the basement for--so I guess it's more of a mudroom on steriods. A more visible mudroom I'd limit to umbrellas, bookbags, boots, and hat/glove drawers. Hmmmm. Maybe I could have the laundry stacked at the end of that oblong, and still have my storage for frequently used outing items in the same space, and have a tame mudroom are where the washer/dryer is in bmore's diagram? It's a good suggestion. Thanks!


    Claybabe, and bmore, thanks for the latest! Very different from what's come before; I feel like we're stretching the possibilities and that's what I was hoping for. Question claybabe: you said "but you could just close up the laundry part without the wall"--I understand everything else you said but that; could you clarify?

  • slateberry

    Or, Why I Am Dragging All Of You Lovely People Through This.

    Current kitchen, this would be looking at the right wall in the diagrams (towards the driveway). Note the tiny shutters in the backsplash in the right corner; they are po's idea of access to the butler's pantry. Really.

    The strange corner of the kitchen that bumps in. We plan to bump it out instead--quite a bit.

    View from the driveway of the "bump-in" corner from exterior. It is on the right end of the picture. Single story butler's pantry/future mudroom/laundry area also shows (it's in the middle). The odd windows above the kitchen have been replaced with normal 2 over 2's that match the house.

    Current bathroom. It has a 30x30 shower and is located along the top wall of the diagram where the peninsula or cleanup sink and some windows will be.

    The laundry area. These are p.o.'s appliances; mine can stack. This is the top wall of the diagram, where there should be a door to the grill and many windows.

    Dark back hall/mudroom/door to nowhere. This is what you do with the southwest corner of a house in a northern clime? No. Future conservatory, many windows.

    Why I put up with a fixer: detail of the fireplace in my dining room.

  • mom2lilenj

    I think that could work. You might want to reserve a flat space for folding clothes and maybe bins.

    That would be a cute kitchen for a 50's or 60's house, but your house is definately not that. What a great fireplace! Can I see the rest of it? I hear you on the dark southern exposure, my house originally had a porch that extended along the entire back of the house. There were several windows to let light and air in, but PO enclosed that porch blocking off the windows. I'm keeping the porch enclosed, as we need the space, but I fully intend on opening the back of the house up with lots of windows and doors!

  • laxsupermom

    I like where bmore put the laundry stack with the big folding counter and space in front of it. I may be projecting my kids' problems on you, but outdoor gear never gets hung up or put back exactly where they should. i.e. the gloves may make it into the front hall closet, but never into the clearly labeled bin, kites make it to the floor in front of the shelf where they belong, but not onto the clearly labeled shelf, etc. With the laundry stack in the mudroom as drawn, I would constantly have to step over random items on the floor to do laundry. This may be a non-issue in your house.

    I also like how she created the floating wall to tighten up the main kitchen space. I'm not sure if it will work with the pipe chase, but it's a great look.

  • slateberry

    "kites make it to the floor in front of the shelf where they belong, but not onto the clearly labeled shelf, etc"


  • celticmoon

    I think I am more stupid today than yesterday cause I still can't get it...

    The driveway then is to the right on your drawings?

    And those stairs, do they go to the basement? Are they used frequently?

    Last, are there stairs and an exit door in the existing single story bumpout but not showing in the picture? (Stairs are not good to move).

    So the new kitchen space would wrap that corner shown in the picture, kinda thrusting that dented-in corner out to be a bumped out corner? I'm assuming the new roof needs to clear those new windows, so that limits the bumpout, yes? (I have a 'thing' about addition roof angles being sympatico with existing roof angles.)

    Oops one more - your "door to nowhere", do you mean that? Cause I grew up in a Queen Anne that honestly did have a "door to nowhere", walled over from the outside to make a coat closet (hey, we were a family of 10 in New England - coats had to go somewhere!)

  • slateberry

    You, stupid? Ridiculous! I've been reading your posts too long to fall for that!

    Good questions.
    The driveway is to the right on the drawings.
    The stairs do go to the basement, and they are used frequently. Our exercise equipment is down there. VERY frequently. Ahem. cough! (OK, seriously, 4x day--the stairs, not the exercise equip.)

    There are no stairs or exit door in the existing bumpout. Currently, when we unload groceries, we use the front door of the house and walk through the house to the kitchen. Unless we cut across the yard, it's a long trip.

    The existing bumped-in corner (it jogs in about a foot on one side, and two feet on the other) has a flat roof, and the bumped out corner will have a flat roof too, so no limits except those dictated by taste and site limitations. The dark corners in our diagrams that cannot move represent the parts of the house that go up to the gabled slate roof, which we are not touching for love or money. The walls that can go out are just the ones under the flat roof section.

    The door to nowhere actually goes to the side yard and backyard, so it is useful for that. It just really irks me that there is no door on the driveway side of the house. Who would want to walk halfway around their house when unloading groceries?

    Ok i just sketched this out. Hope it helps.


    The after will have some more walls in the kitchen/bath area; I just left it kind of open since we're still pinning down those details.

    Oh, mom2lilenj, I agree it's a cute kitchen--I feel like I'm in a maine vacation home in the mountains--just need some dark plaid wallpaper. It's the functionality and layout that gets me; not the look.

  • mom2lilenj

    Boy your layout is SO much like mine! Have you considered instead of several little bump-outs, make one big bump out west (above) the dining room for the kitchen. Then put a breakfast area to the north of the kitchen with french doors to the back. The laundry, bath, mudroom can then be arranged in the former kitchen area. You could even expand the family room a bit. That would put your kitchen in the SW corner of your house with lots of light and right next to the dining room. Then all the closets/utility/bathroom stuff can have plenty of space and be close to the driveway.

  • slateberry

    Just got back from IKEA! Sat at a lot of islands in their model kitchens. Realized just how enormous a 4 x 10' island is. Don't need one that big. Dh saw softclose and other details in the flesh for the first time and liked them. Also, saw what 36, 48, and even, in one spot, a 31" clearance with an oven opening into it, looked like. 48" looked huge to me. Why am I so excited? because what I saw tonight convinced me that one way or another, this kitchen will work. whew!

    mom2lilenj, that is a cool idea. We had looked into something like that early on and then discarded it, because the section that can bump west next to the dining room is only 7' wide (sorry for my lousy diagram, it looks much bigger on there). Still, your idea is so compelling, I'm going to go back to the drawing board and play with it.

    This thread has encouraged me to go back to an earlier design stage where layout critique would be premature. I've got to play around with all the cool ideas everyone has generated and see what bubbles up. So, I'd like to close it for now (but I'll keep checking back just in case), and when I have more variables pinned down, I'll start a new thread.

    Thank you everyone! You have all saved me from some big mistakes, and inspired me to better plans.


Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268