marcolo_gw

Tiny '20s kitchen, big problem: Marcolo needs layout HELP!

marcolo
10 years ago

So, Ive been piping in on your kitchen questions. Oh, and reading johnliu and wondering if I was sleepwalking and posting under another identity.

Well, now itÂs my turn.

I finally did it. I bought a house yesterday. With a kitchen that needs helpÂfast. Oh, and it has a layout problem that is going to stump even the best on this board. Are you up for it?

The rules:

- No moving walls

- No addition or expansion

- I really, really donÂt want to open the wall to the dining room for an island, but would consider it only if it solved all my problems, lowered the earthÂs temperature and provided an additional $750 billion in stimulus before Great Depression II sets in

- It must be eat-in, even if just a little. Aaaa! Nooo! Yeah, I donÂt really care about eat-in myself. There are just two of us. But in this rat-infested, um, I mean, family neighborhood, there is no way I am ever selling this house if the buyers canÂt see themselves with spit and sippy cups and spilt cereal all over the table/island/pig trough or whatever you guys come up with. Good news: It doesnÂt really need to be that practical. I donÂt care if some poor sucker comes in fantasizing she can put in a bigger table only to find that the corner of the fridge goes all up in her Spanx whenever she stands up. For us, I just want a place to chomp breakfast and also keep drunken dinner guests from falling over while they annoy me while I cook. Café table, fine.

- I want cabs to the ceiling (93", except for a beam at the end)

- I like the basic layout of the cab runs, which is landing->DW->sink->prep>range, EXCEPT the range area itself (youÂll see why in a second)

- The kitchen gets great light from the back. I like having two windows, and IÂd even consider keeping one over the range somewhere, but not an operable double sash window with inflammable window shades on it.

- Budget DNE infinity, but this WILL be a gut

So, hereÂs the layout:

Here are some photos:

OK, hereÂs the problem thatÂs the killer. SO IÂm walking through the house with the real estate agent, and open the oven. ItÂs 24". Basically, an Easy Bake. Well, we say, no problem, just take out that cooktop and slide in a range, then IÂve got two ovens. Right? Um, look under the cooktop:

THATÂS THE WALK-UP EXIT FROM THE BASEMENT. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!??!

Yes, it may be possible to get rid of it. We havenÂt gotten firm quotes yet; for various reasons, itÂs not an easy job.

Even so, though, what do I do with this kitchen? Can I lay it out to avoid moving the basement walkout? Should the fridge and wall oven go where the "peninsula" is nowÂand will I have room for a cute café table or something near the door? A banquette, maybe? Or should I keep seating and (counter-height) workspace near where the peninsula is now, blocking the flow out the back with another big, ugly fridge?

HELP!

Comments (102)

  • bmorepanic
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Do you have code requiring at least 36" wide egress? I'm thinking that's nation wide, but could certainly be wrong. It would just kill the 12" deep cabinet.

    The only other thing you might try to get away with in retaining that particular cooktop location is pulling the cooktop forward. You had said that you were interested in deeper counters.

    Other than that, see if there were ways not to have 12" wide cabinets. I don't know your tastes, but even with frameless, its pretty small.

  • palimpsest
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What if you made the tall next to the door 6" deep for shallow pantry storage. Do you really have 39.5" there...if so even 6" would be a bit much.

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  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Lookie! johnliu has rendered my harebrained scheme in 3D.

    As I mentioned to johnliu, I am reminded of Han Solo in the garbage compressor.

    Can anything be done to make my harebrained scheme work?

    Will the peninsula work better if it's shorter, or rounder, or perhaps spherical, or on pulleys?

    If the peninsula were dispensed with, along with my liquor cabinet--er, shallow pantry--would a teeny petite-y cafe table fit?

    Or should I totally give up on the fridge and oven side by side on that wall?

  • sochi
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    marcolo - I'm no layout expert I'm afraid, but in the latest plan I'm concerned about the narrow (35.5") passage between the edge of the peninsula and the fridge. I know that you and johnliu generally like to keep pesky pedestrians out of the kitchen entirely, but will there ever be more than one person in the kitchen? It looks like a real bottleneck to me - or brilliant design if the intent is in fact to keep everyone out. (but still, might they not get thirsty from time to time?)

    I would eliminate the peninsula if you can and go for the teeny, tiny café table idea, or just a round stump peninsula. Round would protect that occasional passer-by from nasty bruises. I like the fridge and oven side by side combo and location, and the rest of this layout looks great to me!

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OK, more efforts by the super-generous johnliu:

    Same plan above, slightly different measurements:




    Here's a rendering of sarah_ch's plan #1, from way up in the thread:









    Some questions:

    1) Which works better? johnliu has pointed out that the first plan, which he labels "Death Star" (?), does cause me to cross the kitchen less--it's mostly a matter of sliding down the counter. Plus, there's a pantry. But sarah's plan is more open-feeling and offers tons of counter space.

    2) Can that L be made to work? Note that the cab itself will have to be shallow. Where do I put my flatware when I unload from the DW?

    3) What if I learn that a little cafe table works by the door somewhere? Do either of these plans work OK without the L? I'll lose the liquor cabinet (but that has to be partly recessed into the wall anyway to provide aisle space).

    4) Let's fantasize for one second that I'm able to make the walkout problem go away (still have to get quote, etc.) Which is the better plan then? Would it be remotely possible to eliminate the wall oven and put a tiny banquette (1 person) in its place, with a small table and stool in front of it? I spent about two hours yesterday trying to work a banquette into this kitchen and just ended up with something less functional than what they have there now.

    Help!

  • willis13
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well, I like Jane's. I think it makes far more sense to have a counter under your window than a range.
    Your flatware - what about a bank of drawers on the peninsula. the top drawer could be flatware, that you could open at the same time as the dishwasher. the other drawers could be things you'd never access when the dishwasher was open, avoiding conflict.

    What about making your liquor cabinet shallower, and longer? I just find that piece of cabinet a bit bulky in that space. Do you need a physical door there, or is a doorway enough?

    Here's another tweak idea for the latter plan... instead of a peninsula with a cabinet under it, what about a counter that pulls out, aka a breadboard, with a foldable leg under it? I saw an island somewhere that expanded to twice it's size by a counter that tucked under it when not in use - very slick. This would take some thinking, but if you're not sure you want/need sitting space on a regular basis it could be away to make it available when needed.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I was trying to keep the liquor, um, pantry cabinet from hitting the door. Wider might work, though, with a good door stop.

    Loving the idea of a pull-out. That would only give me seating on the outside part of the L, the rest could be dish/flatware storage. But it's very interesting.

  • John Liu
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    (1) I think you can do Einsteinian ''thought experiments'' with these layouts. Imagine different challenging situations. Cooking many dishes amidst a large dinner party is the main one that comes to mind for me, but there could be others. Where will you stand, reach, move, carry hot things, retrieve needed things. Where will others stand, obstruct, help, not help. Where do you have enough/too little room, clear/obstructed paths, find your needed things close/remote, and so on. Which kitchen will be your Waterloo?

    (2) Flatware doesn't need a big/deep drawer, I think it could fit in the peninsula.

    (3) I think of a cafe table as a circle at least 24'' in diameter, with people sprouting off opposite sides. If you remove the peninsula and the liquor cabinet, drop such a circle there, seems hard to fit it in, without or without the peninsula. But anyway, I don't think the peninsula adds much to either plan, other than the ''eat-in'' aspect.

    (4) That seems essentially like what is currently there, if the refrigerator were where that floor-to-ceiling cabinet is now.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The range on the interior wall plan would work (assuming it's ventable) without the peninsula, but there's nowhere to put your cafe table either. The fridge/oven structure on the interior wall is better, but the peninsula is still wrong.

    The interior wall range plus magic disappearing island in the access space, if that can be an table structure is a possible.

    I still think John's Great Table design is the best use of the space. The main strike against it is the range in the corner. Is that why you decided against it? I'm not a believer in the cooking happening in an island or peninsula, but in this case, I can see a range or cooktop in the Great Table with the prep sink in the corner instead, or the cooktop under the window as it currently is (or even offset to be away from the fridge side, though that wouldn't necessarily be a pleasing assymetry), with an under counter oven, maybe in the front of the Great Table, across from the clean-up area.

    If you chose the materials and finishes carefully, they could be done so that it would go well with the more traditional aspects of the house, though it would be in apposition, in more of a European look.

  • bmorepanic
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    With you two, I hesitate to say this, but you should invade the stud space of the powder room instead of having the 12" deep cabinet. Stick out 5", in by 3-5" depending on drywall v. plaster.

    I'm not a big fan of that peninsula. I can't imagine a 31" aisle to a doorway with a stool in it. I can't imagine a 31" aisle being attractive to a buyer.

    Have you thought about one of those crazy tables inna drawer contraptions? It might be worth it to buy the contraption, but not install it until you're ready to move.

  • donaldsg
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I like Sarah's plan 1 the best because it has a more open look. Put your liquor cabinet in the DR or LR (does it really need a sink?)

    Also - incredible news! - Ikea has just made their kitchen planning software available for the Mac!!! I KNOW!!!! Just go to their website, download a plug-in and you are all set (it needs Leopard and the newest versions of Safari or Firefox)

    I spent the entire day yesterday playing with it and telling my kids 'yes' to every question. No idea what they asked me, but I think they watched a lot of telly. And I got three different kitchen layouts planned and printed to show DH when he comes back from a work trip tonight.

    The software even lets you select different views from the windows, flooring, backsplash tile etc. and you can put in tables and chairs (ooh.. they have fold down tables). No, gladiators, though :-(

  • artemis78
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What about making the peninsula out of a freestanding square table, so that you could get the seating but get it out of there if there will be a lot of people in the kitchen for something special, or when it comes time to sell the house? Not as nice as a full wraparound counter, undoubtedly, but could give you some flexibility. I agree that the aisle/stool combo would make me feel squished.

    I like the table in a drawer idea, too, or even just a flip-up table that could hang flat against the counter when not in use, if the storage there isn't critical. Not sure where the stool would go then, though...

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm getting the sinking feeling that I'm going to end up with the same layout the kitchen has now, with only minor tweaks. Maybe a CD fridge partly recessed into the powder room wall, maybe a range with a pantry where the oven is now, and nicer/bigger cabs. What did I do? I love my apartment kitchen, and now I'm stepping down?

    I do think johnliu's plan is really ingenious. I'm not sure whether the drawers would work, if there's enough storage, or whether something so different would really fly for resale in this neighborhood. I guess I can't picture the vintage "signals" and details that would make it seem almost original, especially with no uppers.

    I wish I could at least think of a nicer seating solution for that trip hazard peninsula. People keep telling me to knock down the wall and put an island there. One contractor suggested putting the cooktop on the island. But I'm not trying to make this look like a flip. I bought a '20s house because that's what I wanted.

    Oh, and just so you guys don't think I'm not pulling my weight--I keep trying to do paper and pencil layouts, but I end up erasing them, because they just don't work! I'll keep at it.

    That's in between reno'ing a bathroom I did not expect to have to fix, calling contractors who don't reply, packing, nursing a fractured knee, and, oh yeah, wondering where all my money has gone already.

    Does anybody know the right dimensions for a corner sink or corner range? I'm not a genius at this stuff like buehl.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OUCH!!! Be careful with that fractured knee!!

    My last argument for the Great Table plan: Yes, the drawers will work, if it's custom made. If you'd be making it out of Ikea, they'd work, but you'd lose a little space in the middle by the wall. I haven't had enough sleep, so I may be adding wrong, but I think the Great Table has as much storage as the line of cabinetry that it replaces. What I would want to do, however, is make the overhang retractable (to slide under the surface material) so that it would be easy to access the stool side storage. That way you could get more knee room too.

    As for selling it, I wouldn't do the "vintage signals". Anything house structural, like the door and window casings, and the doors themselves, and even the floors, should match the rest of the house. Since there's no way to make this plan historical, don't. Instead, use materials that aren't inconsistent with period, but in a modern style. Or go flat out Euro modern, but that would be if you wanted a glossy red kitchen, not to suit the house. (You could do it, but it would be very pyramid at the Louvre.)

    Rather, I'd use Machine Age elements, which are very au courant as well as period, and sleek enough for the design. Soapstone counters, or wood or pewter, are both now and period. If you really want periody you can do slab door/drawer fronts on framed cabinets, or just go slab full overlay on this one for the extra inch of storage. Slab is very very traditional, while being ultra modern.

    I think it can be done and look fabulous! And also be a really nice kitchen to cook in.

    Restoration Hardware (as well as many other places) has a bunch of this kind of thing:

    {{gwi:1926859}}

    {{gwi:1926860}}

    {{gwi:1926861}}

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OK, I will have to look again at johnliu's plan while pretending FDR is president. Love that period, you said the right words.

    As I think about some of the great ideas I've gotten so far, I will continue to churn out abortive botched plans like this one:

    Thoughts? Not sure if the banquette really needs a full L-shaped, but if it's not there the top gets smaller.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I like this plan better than the peninsula ones, but I'm not sure about the island height. Counter seating height banquettes would be something of a climb. Would you be putting in a raise floor under the feet like they do in funky raised restaurant booths? That would help. Also, what are the dimensions? There should be plenty of room for two people, but, because of feet and knees and all, there are only so many people who can sit in an L. Rounding the seat will make the corner more useful.

    No to the DW in the island, though. The drawers are clever, but putting the plumbing in there would be awkward. Much better next to the sink. Instead, I think that island would be better on locking castors, so that it can be pulled out for ease of cleaning, as well as accommodating bum knees and stuff like that.

    Doesn't this plan have a lot less storage? Though maybe if the banquette is raised you can get double morgue drawers? If they'll suit that much of your stuff well?

    This is certainly a way to get it to be an eat in kitchen.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    For me, the counter height is important, so that I can use it for cooking and such. Not sure whether it really needs to wrap around or not.

    I believe this actually has a little more storage than some of the L-peninsula ones if I put 3 drawers for dishes in the island. A full 12-inch "liquor cab" could also be used for dishes and glassware, even if it's partly recessed. Plus there's that pantry by the DR.

    I should play with this more--it might work better if I use one of the perimeter layouts from the other plans. For instance, if I kill the basement walkout somehow, maybe I do the CD fridge by the DR, followed by the sink, then workspace, then the range under the back window. That window is already high off the counter, so it would work better for a range location anyway. Gotta think more.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    How 'bout this? Range and sink switched.

    Note that this works better window-wise, if the range is going under a window, since this window starts higher up the wall (probably a wall-mounted faucet there originally).

    - Still not sure about the comfort of counter-height banquette seating, but it has to be that height for this to work.

    - Don't know correct dimensions for drawing a banquette, with overhangs and such. Took my best guess.

    - Yes, the DW across from the sink opening into the aisle is a pain. But there's no other place to put it. I've read such awful things about drawers, but those would fit better.

    - Note I put in 30" counters. Always wanted these, but they do trim linear counter space a couple of inches in the corner. On the layout it makes things look tighter than they really are.

    Thoughts on this? I think it has possibilities. Which arrangement of sink and range (even assuming I can afford to take out the walkout) is better?

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OK, just back from the house, after an abortive attempt to strip wallpaper in which we discovered we didn't have anything there to cut open the plastic lock on the stripper bottle.

    We also realized that none of the 16 paint colors we picked out look good anywhere. Square, meet one. Clock, meet tick.

    ANYWAY, I went over the kitchen with plans and a tape measure. Sadly, it doesn't look like any of the L-peninsula ideas will work.

    However, I do think the banquette plans may be winners, with some modifications (johnliu's alternative is still in the running). Oddly, it even looked as if I might be able to fit a dishwasher next to the CD fridge, in the plan where the sink stays where it is. I know the scale of my drawing is off, but I didn't think to remeasure that same stretch.

    Anybody know any skinny dishwashers that don't cost a trillion bucks?

    Ditto with skinny fridges?

    In the alternative plan, are DW drawers really that horrible?

  • Gena Hooper
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Congratulations on your new house!

    Our kitchens have similar dimensions (though you're fortunate to have much more height). Mine is 120"x210". One of the first things we did was tear out the peninsula. It was too much of a pinch point (though we have three rugrats so our flow needs are different).

    As for wallpaper removal, try a Wagner power steamer. I bought mine from Costco for $55ish (I think). It has been an absolute workhorse in getting off wallpaper, and you don't have to deal with the chemical sludge.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    -Still think the counter-height banquette only works with a step up raised floor for feet resting. Gives you extra drawer space too.

    -Measure both of your laps, and those of the tallest other person most likely to want to sit in your kitchen, or if you're all short, the first tallish person to cooperate. That is, seated in a level chair, feet flat on the floor, measure from front of knee to the back of the chair. Add the length of the feet from ankle to toe. Add a few inches for wiggle room. That's the amount of room you should have for comfort between the back of the banquette (front of the backrest cushion) and the wall back wall of the island cabinet. At least 3'.

    -Still hating the island dishwasher location. Much better to step across for drawers than DW. You want to be able to sell this kitchen, right? The counter height banquette is weird enough. You've got to keep the rest of it "normal" for that to fly. I think the Great Table, if done right, is a much easier sell.

    -How are you solving the walkout in this plan?

    -Remember, counter widths don't have to be in multiples of 6. If 28" counters make things work out better, you're still gaining some depth. Reality--nominally 24" cabinets are often 24" boxes, with the doors adding another 3/4" door, with another half to whole inch of counter edge, so that they're really 26" or more. Cheaper ones, and ones that are metric are shallower.

    I think you're trying to get the bulk of the fridge away from the stove, right? I get that, but there are tradeoffs. Do you really need a 36" fridge? You said something about overflow in the basement, right? (Presumably lowered through your stove.)

    Re news from visit to house: Sometimes wrong colors can be rescued with color added. Wrong paint can also be donated.

    Great news on thought that you could squeeze in the DW. DW drawers aren't horrible at all! Lots of people love them. You have to make sure they're installed correctly, you have to learn how to load them efficiently, and you have to be okay with convection drying (use rinse aid).

    Skinny appliances aren't cheap. The Liebherr 24" fridge/freezer is very well regarded and well designed, however, and isn't as expensive as the top tier models. (Amazon isn't the best price, just an easy link. You can also get it built in.) GE makes an 18" DW that's about $500 less than the Miele one, though more people like the Miele. The drawers are 24" wide, however, they just don't need the clearance to drop down the door. Palimpsest knows the most about skinny, I think.

    I like the sink where it currently is better, but I don't know why.

    For wallpaper removal, try liquid fabric softener as a stripper. It's easy to open and pretty non-toxic. And it works.

  • John Liu
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    18" dishwashers run the gamut in pricing, there are some reasonably priced ones. I've never used one, will they be big enough for you?

    My good friend, who uses her kitchen harder than anyone (two sinks, two ranges, a third range outside, dinner parties all the time) swears by her FP dish drawer. I was so impressed by it that I want one.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    - OK on a raised platform, or even table-height, as long as my "stuff" fits underneath

    - I have been googling and forum-searching my brains out, and I don't seem to find any of the standards for banquette seating sizes. I think 3' is too generous for a tiny Mass. house--I'm short, but I have flipper feet and I don't measure that far out. But I'll have to check. My family is shorter than I am, and even shorter are the local rugrats whose shrieks, I discovered tonight, sound like cats being molested.

    - No problem with DW drawers. I've been reading the Appliance forum, and their reviews are no worse than any other higher-end kitchen moneysucker.

    - Walkout remains unknown. The two banquette plans assume either the walkout gets rebuilt, or I move the stove to the back and disconnect the plumbing when a water heater needs replacing, which is fine if it works; or an undercounter oven goes to the right of the walkout/cooktop.

    Thanks for the tips on skinny DWs and fridges; more reading.

    Can't wait to start, after they redo the bath, the floors, the electrical, and rip out the entire heating system. Plus painting and I forgot what else. Did I tell you I was affluent four weeks ago?

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well, that's what houses are for! To pump your extra affluence back into the economy! It's not like you have your own molested catlike rats to do it for you. :)

    The problem with your banquette is that you have a solid wall on the other side of the foot space. That is, the back of the drawers. That's why you need three feet of tush, thigh and foot space.

    If you're willing to accept table height, with the drawers on castors so that the whole thing can be adjusted if someone with a broken knee is having trouble getting in and out or something, it'll be much, much better. You can put a pop top, a box, or a butcher block on top so that you can temporarily raise the table height to counter height. Also, for a lot of tasks table height is useful. Anything you beat by hand, whether it's eggs or pancake batter or anything, is easier to do low. You can put more shoulder into it. It's easier to roll pastry or cookies low (I don't know if you bake). It's just as easy to lay out serving platters low. ...

    So if you're willing to have it table height and movable, it'll work a lot better. It can be pushed back against the banquette, when you need more floor space, and pulled out when you need more seated foot space. And you don't need the crazy trendy-bar platform.

    Enjoy your further reading!

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OK, here are the indefatigable johnliu's renditions of my banquette idea--the version with the sink by the DR, rather than against the back wall where it is now. Obviously it won't work precisely as rendered.







    -I wouldn't do a full wall behind the banquette, just a knee wall.
    - The banquette might work better with just one seat, probably away from the DR door, so the entire front could be DW drawers and storage drawers
    - A 30" fridge would probably be needed

    Oh, and just so you all know what I'm talking about, here's the weird basement walkout from the outside:

  • John Liu
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hmm. That is ''Silence Of The Lambs'' creepy. Is that . . . blood?

    Can't deepen the well out by 40'', have four additional stair treads going up along the side of the house where the driveway is, and have a few stairs treads in the basement? All the different kitchen plans do work a lot better if you can have something useful where the walkup is.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What you suggest is precisely what a couple of contractors have suggested. I have to figure out if it is going to cost me another million bucks (I will NOT talk about my unplanned Art Deco style bathroom renovation, and don't get me STARTED about what adding a few pot lights and plugs turned into. And NO ONE TOLD ME that replacing an about-to-break water supply would rip up my ENTIRE LAWN). Also it would be useful to know if such an arrangement would collapse the house.

    I don't know what that stain is. I think they just put up the single crappiest piece of half-used plywood possible. Where it sits, there really isn't any way it could be water damage. Unless somebody had a very big boiler damage.

    I am reviewing your revised Altar of Sacrifice plan now.

    Also, I feel like I didn't give enough time to reviewing buehl's initial efforts. Perhaps I've inadvertantly sent her off in a huff?

  • Circus Peanut
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    But I see someone wisely thought ahead with the paper towel holder placement, in order to mop up any errant entrail drips. You can't beat good planning.

    Marcolo, that banquette idea is the bomb. And you can put recessed shelving above it, in the wall, for books/glasses/stuff. All of which is very 1930's in feel. Strongly recommend. Yes. Like.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "Unless somebody had a very big boiler damage."

    Caution: Do not learn touch typing, or your typos will consist of entire inadvertent sentences.

    Meant to say: "Unless somebody had a very big boil-over," meaning, from the cooktop above.

    My actual boiler was surgically removed today. DON'T GET ME STARTED.

    You know, if the banquette works, putting something over it could be cool. Bookshelves, in particular. It's a great look.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    That banquette still looks like torture to me.

    It's less than ideal to have the stove partially protected, and to have such a narrow aisle in front of the oven door.

    This thread is getting ponderous to open. :) Maybe after the responses to the new drawings you might want to open a new thread and link back to this. There 150ish message limit, anyway.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    LOL. I guess I'm overreacting to all the posts where the commenters have to say, "Pics, please."

    I think the banquette might work better simplified. Either with seating only on one side, or with the sink and range back in their current position. I'm also starting to dread the realization that the current layout might be the best possible, with the exception of fixing the walkout. That means a fridge in the walkway to the back door, although at least a cab-depth version encased in cabinetry.

    I also realize--not to dis johnliu's brilliant Thermopylae kitchen--that buehl also had an interesting idea about moving the DR door. Which I don't want to do, but this entire kitchen is an exercise in doing what you don't want to do.

    Getting a little down about this process. It's very hard to buy a house in Boston; most in my price range (which is not low, but not millionaire-level either) are very ugly. This one is really cute. So I overlooked a key criterion that I applied to every house we visited--a kitchen that was easy to fix.

    Plus, I'm unable to find a KD to help. Most, as everybody knows, are affiliated, and I don't want a cabinet salesperson. Those I've spoken to so far are unavailable. I lost three hours of work on the buggy Ikea Mac-version kitchen planner.

    I think I'm going back to my Negroni now.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well, you get style points for your cocktail of choice. ;)

    Look for an interior designer who does kitchens, as opposed to a kitchen designer, if you want live help and can't find an independent KD. Then run the plans by us in case there are some big "if s/he knew ktichens s/he'd know that" misses.

    Moving the DR door to get a U might actually work for you, but moving a door, and the problems you find when you open the wall, can cost a lot of money to do right. And you did buy the house for cuteness. At the point that you're throwing thousands around you might find other solutions, like the expensive built-in fridge. This is no disrespect to Buehl--if anyone can make an awkward space work it's she--but I really don't like that angle by the sink.

    The big "problem" with your kitchen is fitting all the modern appurtenances as well as a sprawly eating area. You might need to compromise.

    I was stuck for months after floating much weirder plans than any you've had so far, stuck in imperfection land. During that stuck time I was tending to family members who'd had surgery. Then I started interviewing cabinetmakers and GC's and that solidified my compromises really fast. They'd had time to gel in the back of my mind, and I had to have something to show, so then I did. I didn't want an island, but I wouldn't have any deep counter space without it because it didn't work to have a deep perimeter. I wanted a table, but then I wouldn't get the fridge drawers in the prep area that were my big but-I-want-it, and wouldn't have quite enough refrigeration for entertaining. I wanted a big sink, like my old one, or a farm sink with drainboards, and couldn't fit it. If I had an island I could do a big single bowl and a prep sink. I ended up with a small island, just big enough to fit the fridge drawers and sink, with an extra six inches off the back, and a fold down "table" projecting a little into the walkway (i.e., a comfortable place to sit, but goes away when something needs to be brought through, or for crowds). I never could have dreamed that up at the beginning.

    You'll figure it out. You're so mired in your other remodeling and fixing work that you're not at that sticking point where you have to compromise. When you are, it'll come and you'll find a good plan that works for you.

  • honorbiltkit
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Marcolo --

    As I recall, Albert Einstein intuited relativity suddenly with his right hemisphere after exhausting his left hemisphere trying to sort it out rationally. You have all the "information" about possibilities for your kitchen stored neatly in your left hemisphere, so go on about your other tasks and see whether you are not suddenly seized by a concept that makes you clap your forehead and shout "Of course!"

    My only practical advice has to do with the monstrous size of modern refrigerators in small period kitchens. I finally decided to exile mine to an adjacent pantry space, so as to avoid its looming bulk throwing the scale in my 10 x 11 Sears kit house kitchen totally off. Another possibility would be various Leibherr fridge models, if your pockets are deep enough and you are tall enough to take advantage of their relatively tall and slender profile.

    It is my experience that things go infuriatingly wrong in any renovation, and that you are more likely get through them with relative good cheer if you love an idiosyncratic house than if you have bought a house that corresponds to your check list but has no hold on your heart.

    Meanwhile, your challenges have engaged an array of resourceful minds on this forum, which keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.

    Best of luck.

  • bmorepanic
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    About the water damage...

    Bet you got no flashing under those shingles between the window and the door frame nor under the door frame trim.

    Its also possible the replacement window is incorrectly installed and the water is running down around the outside of the window unit - hitting the old sill and coming inside.

  • John Liu
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My main concern with the banquette plans is that the entire kitchen becomes a ''L'' shaped corridor, at most 40'' wide on the long side. There is no protected place to work, every zone is in a traffic aisle, and come dinner-party time the banquette basically tells guests to ''come hang out in the kitchen, here's seating for you''. I see a knot of guests sitting in the banquette and standing/walking around it, laughing and drinking wine, while you fight your way through the crowd up and down the ''L'', crying and drinking tears.

    My other issue is, what purpose does the banquette serve? How does it fit in to your priorities and goals for the kitchen? At the start of this thread, you laid those out - ''eat-in'' was a low-ish priority, you wanted a hint of it for resale but didn't value it much yourself. A banquette plan, or similar, takes over much of the square footage for eat-in seating, and forces the rest of the kitchen to fit around it. In a kitchen this size, anyway. It seems more suited to someone who actually has some little orange-juice dribbling rats and has eat-in as their top priority.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I really don't think there's any water damage at all. That board is immediately behind, as in touching, the fake cabinet doors under the cooktop. I think the plywood was damaged before it was put there.

    johnliu, you're right, but I think that's the kitchen I've got. OK, your plan does provide an alternative. But in pretty much any other plan, whether the banquette is there or not, it's going to be an L-shape. There's no other way around it, only because of its size and the jog of the wall by the hallway door, which can't go away, because it supports the arched kitchen door that is my favorite element in the house.

    I think after seeing all the efforts above, I am now doubtful that it's possible to provide only a "hint" of seating. The L-peninsula won't work, and neither will the cafe table. It's kind of all or nothing.

    And even if it's nothing, what would I put there? The range, possibly, if it's possible to vent it (I think not; there's a main beam where I drew the dotted line in my first sketch, so I think the joists run the wrong way for that). So if I don't use that wall for seating, what good does it do me anyway?

  • bmorepanic
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm with johnliu on some of his points. In terms of floor space, a couple of seats have become the dominant feature. Everything has a cost and that looks to me to be costing you the cleanup area, storage and placing the cooktop in a major walkway. When entertaining or even the average family dinner, since you're thinking resale, it looks like disaster to me.

    Are you SURE you won't consider dropping the wall to the dining room?

    4 x 6-ish island-like thing attached to the hall wall...

    Or a version of john's superisland plan that's actually an "L" plus island-like thing attached, but perpendicular to the outside door wall - galley plus seating? Close up existing door and take a chunk out of the dining room wall for a new opening closer to the hall?

  • paulines
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Marcolo,

    I responded to you on your KD in Boston thread, but after reading this thread, I feel even more strongly that an architect is the way to go. Once your bones are in order, I think it will be much, much less problematic getting a fabulous design.

    Additionally, you may find that opening the kitchen to the DR is alot less costly than you think.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Again, even if I eliminated all eat-in elements to the kitchen, I don't see what that would get me. It would still be an L-shaped aisle through work zones. It is what it is.

    Same with opening up to the dining room. Only a portion of that wall can be opened up; that whole wall in the kitchen isn't all in the DR. All I would gain is a small island, and ruining the formal DR to boot.

    paulines, I did contact architects. Not interested. Told me to go find a kitchen designer. It may be a depression in the rest of the world, but in the renovation business in Boston, you have to take your number from the deli counter, take a seat, and have a long, long wait. You can use all that time to contemplate the fact that your needs, wants, and even MONEY just aren't that important to a contractor. Or designer (three have blown me off all summer). Or architect. Or structural engineer.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I hear and understand your frustration. However, either you're missing the point about the L's or just too bothered to take it in. There's quite a bit of floorspace in your kitchen. If it's taken up with a banquette and island, then everyone who wants to hang out or walk through is going to be tush to tush with the cook. Even worse if there are two cooks. And you've expressed a preference for people to stay out of your domain while you cook. That's what '"L" shaped corridor' means in Johnliu's message. The skinny, less than 40" aisle shaped like an L.

    My first reaction to your floorplan was that the cooktop over the walkout was genius. I also think your drawer idea is great, if it works. I mean, why not use the head space when it's not needed. I'd just worry about whatever you're carrying down there messing up the runners. I wonder if there's a way to slide forward a whole cabinet box, underneath the cooktop, for when you need access to the basement.

    Since you've been talking about the original layout being the best to get out of the space (and with the amendation of the window and addition of a hood so that the cooktop works where it is, I think I agree), I thought I'd offer up a quick sketch of another possibility. It might not be an ideal layout, but the kitchen isn't so large that it would be bad.

    What also doesn't show here, is a piece of counter on a folding bracket (like my table has) that lies along the sink cabinet, so that the table can be pulled out of the way and the counter pulled up for extra work space. I called the table a "pub" table, but I was thinking counter height so that it can be pushed up to the side of the sinktop as a continuation, when the adjunct counter is folded down. It could work at table or bar height. This allows you to use the area in the back doorway as floorspace for the eating area, but gives you the space by the wall near the sink for when you need that space clear to use the doors.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think that's cool. Very vintage to have stools in an old kitchen, plus a table like that on locking wheels is very adaptable to different uses. Island worktop, serving, etc.

    It does seem to give up storage and DW size.

    plllog, I was looking for a pic of your drop countertop, but couldn't find one. I assume it has a leg or something?

  • francoise47
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Marcolo, Just chiming in on your post for the first time. As you know, the problem is you have too many doors. (I have six doors leading off my 1920s kitchen -- so I know what a problem that is.)

    I have a friend with a very similar floor plan to yours and she:

    1.) got rid of the door between the kitchen and the front hall (to create many more options in the kitchen layout). She says she doesn't mind not having it at all.

    2.) put in a new door between the living room and kitchen for better flow at the back of the house. (I'd love to be able to zip from the kitchen to the livingroom along that new back "corridor". )

    3.) Put in french doors from her living room to her pack deck. (If you did this you could get rid of the door to the deck from the kitchen, creating even more counter space. But I suspect that you won't want to do this.)

    Just some ideas.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, they seemed to have confused kitchens with train stations back in the day.

    The layout has a lot of quirks that trick you when you try to change it. The door to the kitchen from the front hall is arched, and the cutest feature of the house. In addition, it's the only source of natural light for that room in the afternoon (which is why I'd love to keep the fridge out of the way). Similarly, opening up the kitchen to the LR would remove the only wall large enough to hold a couch; plus, there's already a logjam there with the powder room and basement doors, so it would be like trying to run through a car wash and dodge the brushes. We're still debating the French doors, but again, with no back door in the kitchen, you'd have to circle through the whole house to take out the garbage.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oh, sorry, Marcolo, I thought you'd seen my table before. There's no leg. Just a couple of strong folding brackets. It is supposed to be able to support more than a hundred pounds of pressure or something. I can't remember for sure, but my cabinetmaker said I could roll dough (i.e., lean hard) on it if I wanted (I'd rather not for other reasons, but I could). I don't know if this is a good application for stone, but you could easily do the counter extension from wood, metal wrapped wood, or even formica if that suits.

    This plan does give up a little storage by the sink, and keeping the sink centered on the window requires either the smaller DW or a blind corner, but you gain all the pantry space above and below the oven, as well as where the old oven was. By not remodelling the structure you also gain money to put into better slimmer appliances. I have a new full sized DW, but I swear it doesn't actually fit that many dishes because of the way it's laid out and how it works. An 18" Miele might hold just as much or more.

    I didn't want to get into details in putting this sketch in, since they can get in the way of imagination. One thing you can do to maximize storage is to have a run of short upper uppers that go round the room, with some decorative brackets or corbels to "support" the places where there aren't wall cabinets under. You could have the hood over the window go up just to the cabinet as its support as well. On the wall where the table is pictured, you could put art, beadboard, shelves/cupboard above head height, or even standard uppers if you don't want to be sitting back to the wall.

    The kind of table I've shown doesn't even need the castors unless you want it topped with stone to match counters. It should be light enough to just lift. Though the castors allow you to move it while lunch is already set out.

    Here is the picture of the table side of my island. The stone overhangs the table by 6". When the table is folded flat it's entirely underneath the overhang. I think it's about 3" thick folded. No more than 4". You can just see the bottom of the bracket on the right side, against the side of the island. These brackets do have a diagonal brace. I can find out more about the hardware and take a picture of the underside if you're interested.

  • plllog
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    BTW, re the train station kitchen, when I was little (and I'm not old) we had the milkman come into the kitchen to put his wares in the fridge, the water man came in and changed the water bottle, the meat man came in to put the meat in the freezer, and the only reason the bread man didn't come in is that my mother usually bought from a different bakery herself, so if she wanted anything from the bread man she had to go out and buy it from the truck. I've heard there was also a produce man but his wares weren't as good as at the store. My father remembers the ice man with his horse who knew the route. There would also have been the coal man, the chandler, and even the dust man.

    All of these service people came in and out of the houses by the kitchen door, regularly. The kitchens really were akin to train stations. :)

  • ncamy
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Marcolo, Just wanted to let you know that akchicago left you a sweet apology over on the appliances forum (on 8-1-10 @ 10:46 in that ugly "best in class".) Always nice to see ugliness being corrected so I thought I would pass it along in case you missed it.

    I'm sorry I don't have anything useful to add to your interesting kitchen predicament. I have followed along with interest. For what it's worth, out of the suggestions so far, my favorite has been to have a range along the dining room wall and counter space over the basement thing. I'd like to see more exploration of that arrangement even if it means that counter stools are not ideally completely out of the back door aisle. I would not want a big table or a big booth taking up most of the floor space.

    Fun thread though! I'm enjoying the creativity which emerges on this jovial forum.

  • lisa_a
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What if you replaced the windows in the LR with French doors to give you access to the deck, replaced the existing kitchen door to deck with a window, and added a new kitchen door to the right of the existing cooktop, up against the wall of the DR? That would give you a longer counter run on the back wall and quite possibly room for a corner banquette near the old doorway. I'd vote for putting a fridge/pantry set-up (wall of tall) on the DR wall of the kitchen. If you added a pass-through feature at one of the kitchen windows, you wouldn't have to walk through the LR with food destined for the grill although you could take the long way there via the new kitchen doorway.

    Is this a totally crazy idea?

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    lisa, it's not crazy. But the exterior isn't set up to allow it. The deck doesn't extend as far as the kitchen window, and a side door from the kitchen would project out into the driveway.

    So, I got a new perspective yesterday. I was having so much trouble picking paint colors that looked so completely different on the wall than they did even on the poster-sized SIX DOLLAR PAINT CHIPS that I bought 40 of, I went ahead and got a friend-of-a-friend designer to give me some advice. (I think my bright, sunny yellow interior is suddenly going gray and dark blue, but that's another story. If anybody knows a paint color that isn't BM Montpelier, but goes with it, and also goes with antique brass fixtures, fax me.)

    Anyway, she HATED the current peninsula seating. She said for us, we really should use that for the stove, or fridge/pantry, or something like that, and just make do with a cafe table, even if it does interfere with the back door.

    So tonight, I was thinking about a setup like that. What bothers me, aside from the lack of seating in the house's sunniest room, is the idea of the DR door coming between me and my range. Or fridge, but that's a little less of a problem. Remember, johnliu and I are very defensively-minded when we cook. What to do?

    First, I thought I could put a latch on the DR door, and simply ask people to go around when I'm cooking. Suddenly I'd have a protected U-shaped kitchen--not ideal, but better than nothing.

    Then, a little elf suggested a different idea--one that would protect my cooking space without sealing me off from guests in the DR:

  • lisa_a
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    You mean a Dutch door from DR to kitchen? Might work.

    btw, you wouldn't have to walk straight out onto the driveway from the new kitchen door. You could put a landing, same size as the walk-out from the basement and then stairs parallel to the house's side. I have a friend with this kind of set-up on her old house and it works well. It might not be as elegant as you desire and you would have to lose some of your landscaping along side the house but if you gained a more usable, less choppy kitchen (and especially gained a protected cooking space), it might be worth it.

    Or if you do go with the above suggestion from your friend of a friend, how about making the cafe table a fold-up type that hugs the wall when not in use? I'm sure you could also find a clever solution to the chairs, too, perhaps folding chairs that tuck into a slim cupboard except when needed.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A landing with steps would have to go forward, toward the front of the house, making it extra inconvenient to get to the back. It can't go backward, toward the backyard, because remember the steps up from the basement walkout are right there.

    Sadly, I think a lot of this will be driven by budget. We wanted to simply add AC, but because the boiler is old and there are many tax credits available this year for certain projects, we ended up replacing the entire heating system. For various reasons, electrical went WAY over budget. We gutted a bathroom we originally had no intention of touching. You know how it goes.