Business tools custom-built for our industry

Say 'so long' to generic business software. Houzz Pro is designed for industry professionals like you.


Holy 70s, Batman! Help with condo kitchen layout please!

February 27, 2014

Layout gurus, I need some help! My mom bought a one-bedroom condo a few months ago that came with an amazingly hideous, retro 70s mess of a kitchen. The cabinets are falling apart, the backsplash is beyond filthy, and the layout is atrocious. She's ready to gut it, and I am helping her with the layout and planning. So here's the deal:

- Kitchen is for a single woman in a one bedroom condo, so will be a one chef kitchen.

- Reno is being done on a budget, and will use IKEA cabinets. Other materials to be determined.

- Soffits have to stay, as they contain air ducts. The condo is concrete construction, so there's no way to relocate them, either.

- Water has to stay where it is, but the other appliances are electric, so can move as layout permits.

- Appliances have been purchased: a 30" slide-in electric range, a 24" dishwasher, and a 24" wide, counter-depth LG fridge (apartment-sized, and adorable!). Hood will have to be recirculating, as there is no way to vent to the outside.

Here are the hideous before shots:

The kitchen and eat-in area is 17' x 9' wide. This pic is taken standing in the eat-in area looking towards the kitchen.

Olive green formica! Fake and filthy brick! Rotting cabinets!

Standing in the doorway from the entry to the kitchen, looking towards the eat-in area. Note the dishwasher at right angle to the sink, making it impossible to stand at the sink while the dishwasher is open:

the wall opposite the stove/sink. A nook for the fridge, plus shallow shelves:

What she's looking for as far as design:

- A clean, modern design. She loves the look of kitchens with no upper cabinets, though understands that a few may be necessary here. Simple, clean lines, neat.

What we're thinking about the layout:

- Nix the dishwasher peninsula, and demo the little wall adjacent to it that, allowing for a straight run of cabinets all the way down through the eat-in area. This would allow a long stretch of counter. She'd like the cabinets in the eat-in area to be for storage, and wants to keep the cooking/food prep/clean up functions in the kitchen area of the room.

- The wall directly to the left of the fridge can come down, allowing for cabinets adjacent to the new fridge (which is narrower than the existing one). The shelves would be replaced with normal lower cabinets and upper cabs. Without the dishwasher peninsula, this wouldn't feel as tight as it does now. There is another partial wall to the left of the shelves that is the same depth as the one to the left of the fridge. We are undecided on whether it should stay or go.

- The eat-in area should include room for at least a 2-seater table. If one that seats 4 can fit, that would be better, but is not necessary.

Here is the floorplan for the condo, so you can get an idea of the space as a whole (sorry so small - hope you have your readers handy!):

Dimensions and details:

- Height from floor to soffit is 82".

- The kitchen + eat-in area as a whole is 17'x9'.

- The water hookups and drain are 52" from the wall to the left of the stove (i.e. from the bottom of the kitchen), and occupy a 10" span. Therefore, the sink base cab will have to hit that wall so that those are included in the sink base.

I have a couple different floorplan ideas, but can't post them until I get access to my other computer that has the Ikea kitchen planner on it (this is from a mac, and I can't for the life of me get the planner working on here!) We're open to any and all ideas, keeping in mind the above limitations.

Thank you so much! I'm really looking forward to a good discussion here.

Comments (46)

  • canuckplayer

    Yillimuh: I hope your mom got a good price on that condo. That faux brick is absolutely hideous.
    I'm afraid you have more than soffits and plumbing which must remain in the same location. That range is 240v elec., not 120. Unless you have some way to rewire to a higher voltage in another location, that range must remain where it is.

    Can the wall be removed between the living room and the eating area? This would open up the space a lot. That living room is quite long, so if the wall could be removed, the eating area could be set up at the balcony end of the living room and the kitchen could be extended into the eating area.
    If it can't be completely removed, can it be shortened at least.

    This post was edited by canuckplayer on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 22:15

  • juliekcmo

    Let me be the first to say that this is indeed a kitchen that warrants a full tearout.

    I would consider these ideas when evaluating layout.

    Safety. Try to arrange so that your mom doesn't have to use a ladder/stepstool to reach high items, or have to reach and bend to pick up heavy items.

    Lighting is more important for eyes as we age.

    Contrast = safety. As we age, having higher contrast helps see edges and transitions. Select a counter in a different color than the flooring so that the edge of the counter is easy to perceive.

    Storage needs. Would a pantry with pullouts be a good addition? Armoire style full length cabinets may be a good use of space to again avoid lifting and bending. This might work well next to the fridge.

    Table. I think a table that 4 could squeeze around would be a really functional size for both dining, puzzles, sewing and crafts, gift wrapping, and other activities. Try to find one that you could maybe have with 2 chairs only for day to day, and bring out 2 additional chairs if needed. And I like square because you can put it against the wall if you like that look.

    What are you doing for the microwave? I recommend on the counter, or in a niche below the counter, unless a micro drawer is in the budget. I again think that over the range is too high and can lead to spilling hot food easily.

    Also consider adding electrical outlets or plug mold. I would guess that there are fewer outlets there now than might be ideal.

  • Related Discussions

    need help with woman cave


    Comments (73)
    Just saw pics of housewarming better. Don't like bench. Add big chair instead, but arrangement works. I would still center desk and fix hanging light. Removes beams too. Put slate on FP. It's getting there I would still do windows I suggested before.
    ...See More

    Backsplash help, please!


    Comments (11)
    Paint the wall where you want the backsplash the same color as the rest of your kitchen. Some kitchens look fabulous with a backsplash because their layout is such that a BS fits and looks right. Others have no stopping point or too many corners. Look at your window/cabinet and the space around the hood. No good stopping point. The backsplash chops up your wall. A BS should enhance the look of the kitchen not make it into lots of box shapes. Maybe the reason none of your choices have worked is that you'd be better off without any backsplash.
    ...See More

    What's your biggest kitchen gripe?


    Comments (94)
    @Dianne Baldwin you sound like me! I'm constantly going on about male engineers designing products that are primarily used/cleaned by women. For example, the oven glass. Why is there no easy access to clean between those panes. I know how to do it, but it should not require a hack-job tool and 45 minutes of laying on my floor to manage it. On that note, why not make it hermetically sealed to begin with?!
    ...See More

    help redesign our small shared girls' room, please!


    Comments (45)
    Okay. I hope this will make sense. This is what I'm thinking now, based on suggestions from here and thinking about what is actually doable. You can probably tell I don't have tons of knowledge in the room-planning-website area :). DId my best though. So, on either side of the heater/air conditioner/window are two tall Stuva wardrobes. It fits by literally one inch on the right side, but it does fit. They are 23.5" x 19". And then I could hang curtains to hide them, or not. I really love that idea though. Under the window is a slim workspace. I used the dimensions of the malm desk , which is 47"x 18", but I may look around to see if I can find one with a little more style. The nice part about this is that even though the desk is very slim, the window just happens to be standard desk height so it will basically create a larger work area, using the window sill, which is (i believe) around 12" in depth. Then, the bunk bed. If I were to take the doors off the closet and hang a curtain across it instead, the bed would fit length-wise along that wall, which I'd prefer. So something to think about. On the right wall, I have two stuva benches and two stuva wall cabinets. I took a photo yesterday at Ikea of an example. It would look similar, only with different colors, and minus the tall wardrobe next to it. This feels good. I'm missing nightstands, but there are a lot of options for floating shelves that could stand in for those. I also don't have a designated spot for books, but with some strategically placed wall shelves, I might be able to come up with something. Still playing around with things, but def open to suggestions!
    ...See More
  • emilymch

    Canuck, you're probably right about the stove. The current one is hard-wired into the wall (I didn't even know that was a thing!), but she will have an outlet added for the new one. I'll have to investigate whether it can be shifted on that wall at all. There are a few inches of space between the drywall upon which the kitchen backsplash is mounted and the concrete wall (cinderblock?) that is the exterior of her unit.

    As for opening up the wall between the LR and kitchen - we talked about that when she was in the process of buying the condo. I think it certainly is possible, although I'm not sure if she'd want to do it. She put up a gorgeous teak wall unit on that wall in the living room (sofa on the outer wall) and I don't recall offhand how much room it leaves to widen that opening. As it stands, the opening between the LR and kitchen near the balcony is 36" wide.

    Thanks for the aging in place ideas and considerations, Julie! All very good ideas, and thing we'll take into consideration. I was hoping to be able to include a tall pantry cabinet with pull out drawers, and we will use drawers for all the lower cabinets.

    For the microwave: she has a small countertop model that I was planning to put in an upper cabinet that idea makes for microwaves: it has an open shelf at the bottom, then doors above. I was planning for that to be on the fridge side.

    You guys, I didn't even have the heart to post the close up photo she took of the backsplash. I was worried if I did, I'd scare everyone out of the thread for good, and then we wouldn't get any help at all! I couldn't do that to you all!

  • canuckplayer

    Sorry, another question- why a slide-in range rather than a free standing? A slide-in requires cabinetry around and under it. This would need more space than 30". I am assuming the current range is 30" wide and there doesn't seem to be any "wiggle" room on either side.

    If the locations of the range and sink must stay, I think your layout is pretty much decided for you. What it really needs is a beautification.

    Gut the cabinets, countertops, peninsula and tear out the wall at the peninsula. (The soffit will have to be repaired when this wall is removed and the flooring may also if the wall was constructed before the floor was laid in the kitchen and the eating area). IMHO I don't think it is absolutely necessary to tear out the 2 walls on the fridge side.

    Because the space is small, I would recommend white cabinetry with a darker countertop and a light-medium floor.

    To the right of the range, can the plumbing be extended another 12-15" if redone? It seems there's only 12-15" now (the width of the current drawers). If you can extend, it would give 24-27" between the range and the sink. Since your mom doesn't want a lot of uppers, a 5-drawer base (2 small split uppers, 3 larger below) could be installed here, with soft closures to house cutlery, utensils, dishes, pots and pans.(It's easier to lift things up than to lift them down). One upper above with glass door to house spices and cooking supplies on roll out shelves (ROS). Outlet on the b/s.

    Then, a single sink, 24-27" w, then the 24" dishwasher. Above the dishwasher, another upper to house glasses and cups with a glass door. Outlet on the b/s.

    I would then install floor to soffit cabinets across the whole eating area. These can be done with 2 heights, so the door isn't so tall. Don't know any sizes, as don't know measurement of eating area. Even if your mom doesn't use all the top shelves, she can still store the things on the lower shelves that she doesn't use every day -crock pot, stock pots, extra linens, and whatever else she fancies. I would use ROS her also,for ease.

    On the fridge wall, I would leave the fridge and the wall. If the new fridge is narrower, it will leave a space for the broom and/or a small lightweight step.

    Can you split the pantry space in half? Put in a microwave shelf with upper above, lower 4-drawer bank and countertop. The dishtowels, clothes, mixing bowls, baking dishes and baking pans with dividers in the drawers can go here. I don't think the upper needs to be glass, but if you want to, why not? Outlet on the b/s.

    Then, the pantry. This too, could be done in 2 cabinets so the door isn't so tall. Adjustable (if possible) ROS to at least 4'.

    I think all this would give your mom all the storage she needs.

    This post was edited by canuckplayer on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 0:40

  • feisty68

    Make the brick a feature!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Canadian House and Home kitchen :)

  • canuckplayer

    I'm confused. I didn't mean the wall between the LR and kitchen, just the wall between the LR and current eating area. The one that extends almost to the balcony doors. Doesn't her wall unit back up to the kitchen wall? Or could it? lol.
    If her unit is on the eating area part, her table would have to be pushed again the wall if any cabinets were in there.

    Also, I know KDs recommend uppers be 18-20" above countertop, but I have a kitchenette in my basement where the upper is only has 15" above (low ceiling in that part). I can actually reach everything on the second shelf and the front of the 3rd without a step (I'm 5'2"). The shelves are adjustable and are spaced only 9" h for the 2 lower. Maybe this might be tight for your mom if she has high appliances (mixer, coffee maker etc.), but perhaps the height could be around 16-17".

    This post was edited by canuckplayer on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 1:15

  • fishymom

    All great suggestions so far! I also looked closely at aging in place in my kitchen remodel and one of the things we did was use a microwave drawer. Yes, they are expensive, but it is much safer and easier on an aging person to use than one above the countertop.

  • a2gemini

    Wow! This is definitely a project!
    Great ideas for aging in place as well.
    Fishy- help me understand why it microvoid drawer would be better for aging in place. Unless you're using a wheelchair, you have to bend or squat down to see the controls. Do the microwave drawers have a remote control? Otherwise I would put it at an easy reach for mom.
    Is there an elevator in the condo? If so it's very likely the power is 208 not 220 for the stove. Elevators are based on 208 a lot of condos use that for the entire building. My DD and DM is to fight about this all the time and how it took longer to heat the oven. DM was right.
    I will look for other ideas as well

  • emilymch

    Canuckplayer, she bought the slide-in because she wanted a sleeker look, without the back part of a freestanding range sticking up into the backsplash area.

    I have to admit, I have the same questions as you, a2gemini, about the ergonomics of microwave drawers. When I've looked at them in stores, I found that I had to bend over awkwardly to see the controls. I don't understand the appeal at all.

    No elevator in the condo, so it's probably 220.

    Canuckplayer, when you say floor to ceiling cabinets in the eat-in area - do you mean 24"deep lowers, 12" deep uppers? 12" deep tall cabinets?

    I will be at work today with no access to GW (the horrors!), so please don't mistake my radio silence for disinterest! I'll be back this evening!

    Thank you all!

  • fishymom

    The controls on the microwave drawer are large and easy to see, with basic instructions on the top edge of the drawer. You don't really have to bend over to use it. As far as aging in place, it is safer to lift hot or heavy things from hip level than from overhead. I am only in my mid-fifties and already appreciate not having to lift things from over my head. Also, I don't have to take things out of the microwave to stir or add ingredients and it is much easier to clean than an overhead microwave. Also, with people living longer, there is a greater possibility of one being wheelchair bound.

    We also chose ADA compliant slide in range, dishwasher and refrigerator. The appliances have advantages for young families also, lock out for the oven, stove top, water and ice dispensers and a snack drawer on the fridge. Although we will not retire in this home, I decided that since I was buying new appliances, I might s well buy ADA compliant ones, as long as they were functional for us now.

  • maggieq

    I know you already have the 24 in dishwasher, but may want to consider an 18 in or even a dish drawer. Take up less space. Doesn't take as long for a single person to fill and run.

  • badgergal

    We previously owned a condo that was in a 100 year old building. The kitchen was a disaster with a wall hung sink and only electric 2 outlets. When we remodeled the kitchen it had to be brought up to code. Our electric box was in a hall closet about 30 ft away from the kitchen. The electricians were excited to be able get the wires from the box through the hallway and dining room ceilings to the kitchen. But then they were quite surprised to find that one wall in the kitchen was concrete block under the plaster. They had to channel through the concrete block to add the required number/placement of outlets. It made quite a dusty mess and cost an extra $450 dollars.

    I am just telling you all this to let you know that even though you have concrete construction you should be able to move the wiring for your stove if you want to put that stove in a different location. You also might need to add additional outlets to bring the space up to current codes. It would probably be a good idea to consult an electrician before you decide on your layout.

    Oh, and the cabinet installer was also quite surprised when he couldn't easily drill into the wall to hang the cabinets. Oops, we forgot to let him know that the wall concrete block. He had to go buy different drill bits to do the job.

    Good luck on your remodel.

  • CEFreeman

    I kinda like the lights...

  • nosoccermom

    I'd reconsider ripping out the backsplash but highlight it whether it's real or fake by painting it. See link below. Then I'd get the IKEA Abstrakt white glossy cabinets to provide contrast with the more rustic painted brick (maybe even in a color).

    Here is a link that might be useful: how to paint faux brick

  • canuckplayer

    Since you are using IKEA cabinets, why not use their bookcases for the eating area. They come in 15" deep. Some shelves can be left open for display and others covered with doors for hidden storage. If your mom doesn't need a ton of storage, shorter units are available too. They don't have to be white, they have other furniture finishes.

  • emilymch

    Ok, y'all are going to make me post a close-up of the brick, aren't you?! Don't say I didn't warn you....! :)
    I don't see anything salvageable here:

    After looking again, I think we'll be able to move the electrical for the stove - at least on the wall it is on. I don't know about moving it to the other side if it is in fact 220 volts, but since we have to change the wiring for it anyway (from hardwire to outlet), it shouldn't be difficult to shift the location. Does that change anyone's suggestions for layout?

    CEFreeman, I actually love the lights! I have three similar ones (same look, just larger) hanging in my house that I found on craigslist for a great price. If my mom doesn't keep these, I'm totally claiming them!

    Canuckplayer, sorry, I missed the question from this morning about the teak wall unit. It's really quite large, and right now is centered on the entire LR wall. There isn't much room to open that eat-in area up at all. I talked to my mom about it - she'd rather have a smaller seating area in the eat-in area than open the wall.

    I think our next step is to sit down and do a good inventory of her kitchen contents so that we can figure out how many upper cabinets she'll need, and how much full-wall storage. Plus I need to hijack my husband's computer (the only PC in the house) so I can get to work in the Ikea kitchen planner!

  • spanky_md

    Hi, everyone--i'm the owner of the condo! I really appreciate all your input. I am mostly just reading and taking it all in at this point but would like to comment on a few points that others brought up.

    Re: painted brick---I actually love painted brick but this is brick veneer and the stuff on the big was was cracked and loose. My son-in-law knocked a whole lot of it off after i moved in (with my blessing). I believe the kitchen backsplash area had the same problem which someone "solved" by slathering a lot more grout on it. Because, you know---a rough, porous surface makes an ideal backsplash. SO easy to clean.

    I love kitchens with no upper cabinets. I LOVE them. It's worth it to me to have that look and suffer minor inconveniences because of it, and i'm sure they'll be minor.

    The only thing i'm a little concerned about is whether the dining table area will be too cramped with 24" deep base cabinets along that wall that has the brick veneer in the photos above. It will leave about 7'. I haven't been using that part of the room since I moved in so maybe it'll be ok if it's filled with a table and chairs. I mean, I don't pass through it to get from the kitchen to the LR. I go the other way all the time.

    I like the lights, too! Not sure if I'll reuse them, but I like them.

    The appliances are all purchased, paid for, delivered and awaiting installation. I was gonna just have them installed and redo the rest of the kitchen in 18 months when the new IKEA cabs come out but turns out there are some things that need to be modified before they can be installed so I'm just plunging ahead now. I'm happy with the appliance choices I made so no changes there.

  • spanky_md

    Hi, everyone--i'm the owner of the condo! I really appreciate all your input. I am mostly just reading and taking it all in at this point but would like to comment on a few points that others brought up.

    Re: painted brick---I actually love painted brick but this is brick veneer and the stuff on the big was was cracked and loose. My son-in-law knocked a whole lot of it off after i moved in (with my blessing). I believe the kitchen backsplash area had the same problem which someone "solved" by slathering a lot more grout on it. Because, you know---a rough, porous surface makes an ideal backsplash. SO easy to clean.

    I love kitchens with no upper cabinets. I LOVE them. It's worth it to me to have that look and suffer minor inconveniences because of it, and i'm sure they'll be minor.

    The only thing i'm a little concerned about is whether the dining table area will be too cramped with 24" deep base cabinets along that wall that has the brick veneer in the photos above. It will leave about 7'. I haven't been using that part of the room since I moved in so maybe it'll be ok if it's filled with a table and chairs. I mean, I don't pass through it to get from the kitchen to the LR. I go the other way all the time.

    I like the lights, too! Not sure if I'll reuse them, but I like them.

    The appliances are all purchased, paid for, delivered and awaiting installation. I was gonna just have them installed and redo the rest of the kitchen in 18 months when the new IKEA cabs come out but turns out there are some things that need to be modified before they can be installed so I'm just plunging ahead now. I'm happy with the appliance choices I made so no changes there.

  • canuckplayer

    OMG!!!! My DH has an expression he always uses when he hasn't done something to the level I think it should be: "a blind man would be happy to see it".
    I think in this case, the blind man was the one who installed this.

    This post was edited by canuckplayer on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 2:02

  • Current Resident

    Editted - just read your above post about the brick being veneer and falling off - NEVER MIND, pls disregard!

    This post was edited by kashka_kat on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 19:53

  • canuckplayer

    Spanky, congrats on your purchase!
    Now that you've stated emphatically that you don't want uppers, totally disregard my previous post about them in your kitchen area by the sink. But, what about just one upper between the fridge and pantry?
    Would it work for you to have everything in lowers, all drawers? Sometimes they can hold more than uppers.

    Thanks for the clarification on the slide-in range. I think what I was originally confusing it with was the drop-in Jenn-Air we had a few years ago. We had to have cabinets around and under it. I think having the controls at the front, with no back is great. No burned arms reaching over a cooking pot to adjust temperature. Are you going to replace the range hood?
    I agree that 24" cabinets wouldn't work in the eating area, but what about 15"? 12" may look a little "skinny", but maybe not, as the area is a little skinny. If you push the table against the LR wall, you can probably put 3 chairs there (1 chair on the non-wall side, 1 chair at each end) if the table is small. You may have to scoot the table toward the balcony to use that 3rd chair, but it's probably do-able.

  • jimandanne_mi

    I lived many years in a condo that had the same kitchen, dining, living room layout with almost the same dimensions. However, mine had the DR where your kitchen eating area is, and the kitchen eating area on the other end of the kitchen. My LR was also 13 x 21 and the combined kitchen/eating area was 8' x 17'3".

    Are you sure you will never need more than a small table for 2-4 people? Most older people that I know who live in condos have found that they still need a table that can be expanded to occasionally seat 6-10 people. My condo did not have the wall between the dining area and the LR, so most people in our complex who all had the same layout had a table with the long side parallel to the windows. That way they could add table leaves, if needed, and expand the table into the living room. Surely with all of that wall space, the teak unit could be moved elsewhere if the wall came out.

    In my 8' x 8' eating area, there was only space for a table and 4 chairs. Some people put upper cabinets along what would be your left wall, but 2' deep base cabinets would be crowded, although with 9' x 9' (that's what it looks like the space is, but these measurements are obviously just a guess) you could probably get away with 12" deep base cabinets for storage. If you get rid of the wall, you could easily have 2' deep base cabinets.

    Good luck with your new place!

  • spanky_md

    Yes to the uppers to the left of the fridge---I just would love for the opposite wall to be all lowers. Very Euro and also will make the room seem much less cramped.

    I think I'll be fine with things in big drawers below, especially with IKEA's organizers.

    The range hood will most definitely be replaced. The one that's there is brand new but very cheap, plus i will need one that doesn't have a cabinet above it.

    Anne, I live just 2 miles from the main family hangout home and I have a small (but very special!) circle of friends so I don't foresee a need for a bigger dining table and chairs. In fact, I did have one but sold it when i moved here! Maybe I'll get some folding tray tables, though! Ha. I love to eat on the sofa.

    I actually put a lot of thought into which LR wall got the sofa and which got the wall unit with the tv. The other big wall is where all my framed art will hang if I ever get around to making the handyman come and repair the drywall. This is what it looked like when I moved in--that is some kind of thin wood, very splintery and rough, not glued down very well with the edges sort of curling up. Second photo is after I ripped it all off. The construction adhesive won't come off; has to be drywalled over. Oh well.

    Oh, and YES, I did get the place for a great price! I'd much rather pay less and redo it the way I want than pay more and be stuck with someone else's kitchen done nicely the way they wanted it!

  • canuckplayer

    Spanky, I hope you will post your in progress photos and of course the finished product. I'd really like to follow along.

  • lee676

    If it hasn't been mentioned yet, building code requires 4" between the edge of the stove or cooktop and the side wall, unlike what was originally there. So grease spatters or large pans can't brush against wallpaper or papered drywall and catch fire.

  • nosoccermom

    Is this universal building code? I still see this in replaced ranges here in my area?

  • spanky_md

    I will do that, canuck.

    This is the fourth major kitchen redo for me. I swore after the last one that I was done---haha!

  • emilymch

    So I'm seeing two options regarding the area to the left of the stove:

    Option 1: a 12" cabinet, stove, 12" cabinet, then sink base. Pro of this choice - a small landing space on both sides of the stove. Con - only 12" between stove and sink is definitely not ideal.

    Option 2: a 4" filler piece to the left of the stove. It would have a strip of counter material on it, and we'd make sure it was strong enough to support the slide-in range. So, 4" filler, stove, 21" cabinet, then sink cabinet. Pro of this choice: more space between sink and range. Con - no landing space to the left of the range.

    Any thoughts on which would be better?

    The Ikea planner was acting very funky last night, so I didn't get very far with trying out different options. Here's one of the options we were thinking of, but I think you all are right that it doesn't leave enough room for a table in the eat-in area.

    (before I added the upper cabinets to the fridge side. Also, the long shelf would be wood, not the metal Ikea shelves.)

  • spanky_md

    (duplicate post deleted--sorry)

    This post was edited by spanky_md on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 13:08

  • emilymch

    Here's a version with a 4" filler piece to the left of the stove, plus 12" deep base cabinets in the eat-in area. Better?

  • Karenseb

    It's looking good to me. What if you took the shallow cabs on the sink wall and put them on the fridge wall at the end of the 24 inch deep cabs. It seems you'd have enough space for a small table against the wall opposite the LR doorway in the corner. You might even be able to move the table out from the wall. It seems like you would have better flow into the LR.

  • Valerie Noronha

    I like the second option better, but if IKEA makes an angled based cabinet it would be good to act as a transition from the 24 deep cabinets to the 12" deep ones.

  • Buehl

    I don't think you have enough space for those cabinets + a table. Here are four possible layouts I came up with.

    First - with the range on the sink wall,you will have an "upper" on that wall (the hood) - so would you consider putting the range on the opposite wall and then a 24" Dish Hutch where the range was? That's assuming, of course, that you can run the electrical to that wall for the range.

    One thing to note - in all the layouts, I pulled the sink wall of cabinets out from the wall 3" to give you a 3" deeper counter. Those extra 3" can be very useful when you have limited prep counter space. As far as I know, IKEA does not make 27" base deep cabinets - that's why I pulled them out 3" instead of putting in 27" deep cabinets. In Layout #4, the opposite side is also pulled out 3".

    Regardless of the layout you choose, consider getting a cutting board that either fits on top of the sink and is flush with the counters or a cutting board that sits on top above the counter. If you don't need water, it will add to your counterspace.

    Which is my favorite? Probably #2 with #1 coming in second.

    Here they are:

    Layout #1...There are absolutely no uppers on the sink wall - not even a hood!

    I put the MW to the left of the sink to get it out of the Primary Prep Zone. Counter MWs take up quite a bit of counterspace - the footprint of the MW itself plus the space needed in front of it to open the door.

    If you want a MW drawer, then make one of the 21" cabinets on either side of the range 24" wide and the other 18" wide or make the pantry cabinet 12" wide and add those extra 3" to one of the 21" cabinets around the range. The MW drawer will fit in the 24" wide cabinet. (More on MW drawers in Layout #2.) A drawer would free up all your counters and give you a lot more prep space! [If it were my kitchen, I would have the MW drawer.]

    The trash pullout is in the Primary Prep Zone (ideal) and near both the Cooking and Cleanup Zones.

    Here's the zone map...note that this zone map applies to Layouts #1, #2, and #3.


    Layout #2...This is the option with the Dish Hutch. The upper cabinet goes to the counter and is 15" deep. This option gives you much more storage and the extra 3" of depth allows you to store even 12" diameter dinner plates. You'd be surprised how much those extra 3" add to your storage space!. I don't know if IKEA has 15" deep cabinets, but you can "hack" a deeper cabinet to make a shallower one - see IKEAFans for information on "hacking" IKEA cabinets. (There are a lot of creative people at IKEAFans!) See the link at the bottom of the message.

    The upper cabinet takes up less wall space than the hood wood (24" vs 36" - see comments on Layout #4 about hood width)

    This layout also has a MW drawer. There were several people concerned about having to bend over to see/use the controls. I have a MW drawer and I can tell you it is the easiest MW I've ever had! The controls are angled upward so you do NOT have to bend over to see/use the controls! In addition, b/c it's located just below the counter, it's a perfect height for the majority of people to access. How does it work?

    Open...A gentle tug is all it takes to open it. Once you tug it, it opens slowly and smoothly by itself.
    Close...A gentle nudge closes it. Once you nudge it, it closes slowly and smoothly by itself.
    No sloshing unless you fill something to the brim - not recommended for any MW!
    If you need to stir something - simply open it, reach down and stir, close it. No taking it out or reaching blindly into a MW cavern to stir.

    I will always have a MW drawer in my kitchen from now on if I have anything to say about it (and I do)!

    Yes, it's a bit more expensive (around $800, I think), but my drawer has lasted 6 years so far with no problems.

    Compared to a counter top model...Decent countertop models cost around $200 or so (at least around here). I had a counter MW that died about a year or two b/f the remodel - it was only 3 or 4 years old. If my MW drawer lasts 12 years, it will than make up for its cost - only time will tell (but it's still worth it to me if it lasts only 8 or 10 years!)

    Compared to a built-in standard MW, including trim...the cost is comparable. (The "trim" for a MW drawer is part of the drawer itself, nothing extra to purchase or install.)

    Oh, and one more putting it under the counter like that, it frees up counterspace. In a smaller kitchen, that can be important. (The MW drawer only takes up the space of the top and middle drawer in a 3-drawer stack - the bottom drawer is still present in the cabinet.)


    Layout #3...The same as #2 but without the MW drawer. The problem with this layout is that the MW is in the Primary Prep Zone. Alternate locations for the MW: over the DW (but some here have complained about that), to the left or right of the range on the counter (but it takes away valuable work/landing space for the range), or hanging from the upper cabinet to the left of right of the range (while it doesn't take away counterspace, it is "in your face" when working in front of it - if you do that, consider deepening the counters on the range wall by 3".)


    Layout #4...This layout keeps the range in approximately the same place it was in the old, dysfunctional layout.

    Why is the hood 36" wide in this layout? Since you don't have upper cabinets on both sides of the hood, there isn't anything to assist in the "capture" of odors, steam, grease, fumes, etc. To compensate, the hood is 6" wider than the range - extending 3" further on each side.

    What's my biggest problem with it? There is really not enough space for even emergency landing space around the range, let alone "normal" landing space! There also isn't any workspace around it. The sink is so close, that you will be splashing the range all the time when using the sink. That closeness also means there's no real landing space on the left side of the sink. If you have something cooking on one of the right burners, I would be a little worried that if you're at the sink at the same time you could bump the pot on the range. Honestly? The range layout is the kind of thing people remodel to get rid of.

    What is nice about this layout is the hutch type cabinets on the wall opposite the sink. However, while it would look nice, I think the functional issues with the range outweigh the look of the cabinets.

    Here's the zone map for Layout #4. Note the overlap of the Primary Prep Zone and the Cleanup Zone - something you really should try to avoid. The opposite counter can be used for prepping, but only if you don't need water. Prep Zones really need water next to them or in them.

    Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Fans website

  • emilymch

    Buehl, wow! Thank you so much - you obviously put a lot of time into those! I'm going to study and think on those for a bit...didn't want to not acknowledge your post, but I need a minute to take in the ideas!

  • sena01

    Did you check how costly/hard it would be to move the sink? I think as people get older it's more convenient to have the sink and the range on the same counter.

    If you can move the sink, you can consider something like this.

    I have 24+1 for DW, 27" sink base, 36" cab, range and 15" cab. The table is a 31,5x54 drop leaf table (similar to Ikea PS2012 on this page.

  • emilymch

    Sena, unfortunately, I don't think we'll be able to move the sink at all. The waste pipe (drain pipe?) exits through the cinderblock wall and is cemented into place. No way to work around that - or, if we did, it would eat into every base cabinet along the run, which wouldn't really make sense.

    buehl, I've had more time to process your ideas - they're excellent! Logistics aside, I love option 1, with the only alteration being that we would put my mom's microwave ( a very petite countertop unit) into one of the 21" upper cabinets on the fridge side.

    However, I have a feeling logistics and budget are going to get in the way of things. For one: the floor is concrete, and I see no other way to run the 220 electrical over to the other wall other than routing a channel in the concrete prior to finishing the floor. I don't know what this would cost (maybe it is less than I am imagining!), or if it would be allowed by the condo board.

    I love the extra depth of the counters! It's something I hadn't thought of here. We're still finalizing budget details, but the planned countertop material is Ikea butcherblock, which only comes in one depth. If my mom is able to spring for a different counter material, I will certainly keep added depth in mind. I have a section in my kitchen that is extra deep, and those extra few inches really do make a big difference!

    The next step is to get a contractor over to look at the space and discuss the various options. We are planning to help with some of the work to save costs, and some of these things that seem out of reach might not be as expensive as I imagine. I tend to assume that things that I don't know how to do will be impossibly expensive...and often, I'm pleasantly surprised!

    If we're unable to move the stove, I think we'll go with a 4" filler piece to the left of it, and an 18" cab to the right of the stove, then a sink cabinet. It isn't ideal at all, but it'll definitely be better than what is there.

  • canuckplayer

    I think I would put in a smaller table than 42x42 (that's quite large), say 30x36 or 30x42? That would still be wide enough for someone to sit at the ends, and make for more space in that area.

  • firstmmo

    If you decide to go with Buehl's Layout #1, I would highly recommend that you go to a fabricator's slabyard and see if there are some cheap remnant pieces that could be used on either side of the range so that there will be some counter space that has something besides butcherblock. Wood can be slightly high maintenance and having a more resilient counter material may be a useful thing for your mom. Love how the kitchen is starting to take shape!!

  • Texas_Gem

    So I have an idea you may not have considered. What if you closed off the opening from the foyer to the kitchen and then perhaps widen the opening from the living room to 42-44 inches? Then you can have a U shaped kitchen with more countertop space and (possibly) run new electrical to the new wall?

    You could put the stove on that wall (essentially where the opening is now) with cabinets on either side, put the dishwasher on the left side of the sink and have the opposing wall be the refrigerator and food storage.

  • spanky_md

    Thank you so much for all the suggestions, especially you, Buehl! I really appreciate the input.

    After lots of discussion and mockups, I decided to go with the very first layout shown in this thread, from yillimuh. Ultimately I wanted the most storage possible and will just look for a small table that can be up against the wall most of the time, maybe moved into the other room if I ever want to have a sit-down non-lap-food dinner for more than a one or two people. (Yillimuh has a big house nearby and all family gatherings take place there.)

    Anyway. The slate floor is done except for final cleaning of the front entry which I will do in about an hour. The walls are all patched and drywalled and ready for me to skim coat the areas that have the hideous rough sand paint on them (someone's brilliant nod to Spanish Revival style? Or Southwest? Not sure.)

    I thought about doing granite or something next to the stove but decided not to, for visual continuity's sake. I've lived all my life with counters that aren't heatproof and have not done any damage yet so I think I'll be fine. It's a habit---plus I have some beautiful vintage Danish trivets that I love to display!

    The U-shaped kitchen would be a great solution except that the front door is where the bottom of the U would be, and it would drive me batty to have to walk through the entire living room and then back through the whole kitchen with groceries.

    The big wall in the living room that had all the construction adhesive on it is now drywalled over and painted as of last night---YAY!!

    After the skim coating is done (hoping that i don't have any trouble with it or that it's not too overwhelming a job--i've done skim coating but it's been awhile), I will assemble the cabinet boxes and then the guys will be back next week to install them and put the shelf up and do the counters and sink installation.

    Here's the floor, before grouting (it's covered with paper right now):

    I had to remove the old VCT adhesive first before it could be tiled because the thinset could react with the adhesive and cause the thinset to fail in time. I was told to grind it off with a concrete grinder but OMG NO---at least not the kind i used. It had no vacuum attachment. This was taken mere minutes after I started:

    I did about 60 square feet and then gave up. The vibrations were too much for my hands and arms and the dust was horrible even with plastic in the door openings and a fan going to the outside. I ended up using chemical stripper on the rest. I already had a respirator and lots of experience with stripper, plus the stripper was easily reusable so it cost less overall than I originally thought. I thought the grinder would be way easier than the stripper (sounds very racy, doesn't it) but the opposite turned out to be the case.

    Anyway, I hope to have "after" pics in about 3 weeks! Thanks again for all the suggestions!

  • spanky_md

    So. The guys finished up their part yesterday and now it's up to me to do the rest. Their work looks pretty good if you don't look real hard at all the details (which I am going to stop doing in a day or two, I hope, since done is done).

    These are Applad cabinets from IKEA (semi-gloss white--love them!) and their solid beech butcherblock Numerar counters. The sink is a big honking 16-guage near-zero radius corner Vigo from the O site, faucet from IKEA.

    The shelf was ripped from one 8' Numerar counter and installed on 10" corner brackets from the hardware store which were screwed into studs every 2 feet. I'd originally gotten some of those posts where you have to drill holes into the shelf edge and slip it onto the posts but they weren't sturdy enough for an 11" deep 1.5" thick solid hardwood shelf that will have cast iron pots on it---so I switched to this method (thanks to my daughter for finding it online!). It is STRONG. The parts that show on the wall under the shelf will be patched and tiled over. The undersides of the shelf were routed out so that the bracket is recessed--will see about patching that over with thin strips cut from leftover butcherblock using a circular saw.

    They also routed out a channel for the LED tape lights (again, thanks to Yllimuh!) so you can't see the tape unless you crane your neck under there which I do not intend to do ever. LOVE the LEDs. The outlets with the transformers are inside cabinets at the ends and they fished the wire through the wall on the side with no uppers.

    Still waiting for the appliance people to come back and install the DW and slide-in range, which I hope will happen in the next few days. I paid them for installation months ago but it had to wait until now.

    I am going to get the IKEA "Bursta" table in the 32" square size (with two pullout leaves which i think make it about 60" long?) and keep it pushed up against the wall most of the time with 2-3 chairs around it. It can be moved into the living room if I ever want to have 4+ people at a sit-down meal. Or just pulled out into the kitchen a bit. It'd be cramped in there but it would only be for rare occasions so it's fine with me.

    I think I'm going to repaint the walls. They are a very pale gray but I think they'll look better the same color as the ceiling and soffits. There are too many planes in there to have different colors going on, even subtle ones.

    Oh, also, I skim coated the sand textured walls (except for the vertical parts of the soffits) by rolling on thinned joint compound with a paint roller (!) and squeegeeing it smooth with a Magic Trowel (!!!!). It worked amazingly well and was much easier than the conventional skim coating method! It took only 2 coats. I also bought a drywall sander Shop-vac attachment for $25 on Amazon--WAY worth it to not have to drape the doorways and clean up dust off everything for weeks afterward. It vacuumed literally all the dust as I sanded. I didn't even wear a mask. Amazing.

    Overhead light only

    LED lighting only

    from the other end of the room looking at the opposite side - 24"W fridge goes in the first tall empty space and the end unit is a 24" wide pullout pantry

  • pricklypearcactus

    The floor is gorgeous and the kitchen is turning out amazing! What a change from the kitchen that the 70s threw up on to a sleek, modern work of art.

  • texasgal47

    Spanky_md, that is one sweet kitchen! And it looks huge compared with the before photo. I especially like the warmth of the wood against the sleek white cabinets. You and your daughter make a great team. Are you going to paint those white walls?

  • spanky_md

    Thanks guys. It has a very Scandinavian vibe that I wasn't specifically aiming for but I think was very much in my subconscious. I'm happiest of all about having a slate floor. I love it!

    The walls are actually a very pale gray that I used in the rest of the home but I don't like it so much in the kitchen so I'm gonna go with the white that's on the ceiling. I have a lot of colorful cookware and other stuff to display so i don't really want to have a color on the walls. The pale gray has a slight lavender cast next to the Applad cabinets and also looks a little dirty. But the cabs look great where they meet the ceiling color.

    I thought about staining the Numerar beech counters a medium brown that I saw somewhere in the IKEA store or on their site an liked a lot. But now that it's in, I'm thinking I want to keep it as light as possible in the Scandinavian tradition. They do a white pigmented lye soap finish on pine floors to get a really pale look that I love but i don't think that's practical for counters in my home (i'm not good about upkeep).

    So i did a search for white stain on butcherblock with Waterlox and lo and behold, the one pertinent result was a thread in this forum! With photos of test pieces! So I am gonna test that out to see how it looks. I like the unfinished beech color but it will darken and yellow a bit with Waterlox and then it will darken even more with age. I am hoping a white pickling stain will keep it as light as possible. (I would have preferred oak butcherblock but was not about to get the IKEA oak that is simply veneer over particle board. And I was quote $100/sqft for custom oak BB--hahahaha, no. Not in my budget.)

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    "Sena, unfortunately, I don't think we'll be able to move the sink at all. The waste pipe (drain pipe?) exits through the cinderblock wall and is cemented into place. No way to work around that - or, if we did, it would eat into every base cabinet along the run, which wouldn't really make sense."

    Moving the sink isn't as difficult as you may think. I pulled a row of IKEA cabinets forward in an oceanfront remodel to do just that and accommodate a full size wash machine in the kitchen. Talk to a plumber before designing further.

  • spanky_md

    Trebuchet--thanks but the sink is already in. I'm fine with it. Or rather, I'm ecstatic about it. I can't believe I'm finally getting a kitchen I really love!

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