katiekitchen_gw

Layout Experts Needed

katiekitchen
October 13, 2008

Hi -

We have this small kitchen and I think moving walls or expanding the footprint is out. So, please help me get creative in this space with lots of doors. Please take a look and let me know any thoughts. We are doing custom cabinets (white) and hardwood floor. I'd love an island, peninsula or banquette.

Here is a link that might be useful:

Comments (110)

  • katiekitchen

    So, now we're thinking a built-in bench along the left wall (left as you look at the layouts above) with a 36" wide rectangular table centered along the window and two chairs on the other side. Then a cabinet next to the door that would have a message center area in it. The table would be 36" x 60"

    I'm also really thinking of keeping the fridge along the wall next to the door, but with a narrow cabinet between the wall and the refrigerator. Moving the fridge allows us to have a nice set of upper cabinets with glass to the right of the sink that will pick up the glass in the french door right next to it. I think I would rather move the fridge to a less desirable spot to gain a nice focal point in the kitchen. Otherwise, I'll have no true display cabinets in the fridge.

  • katiekitchen

    Woops! That was supposed to say, "Otherwise, I'll have no true display cabinets in the kitchen."

    I also realized that I didn't really ask a question in that last post. I meant to ask what people think of the layout with the built-in bench on one side and chairs on the other. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I'm driving my husband crazy with this!!

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  • katiekitchen

    More questions -
    What color should the banquette, table and chairs be?

    We are doing white cabinets, black granite countertops, stainless appliances and wood floors. I was thinking the built-in banquette should match the cabinets (white), but I thought the table-top should be different. I want it to be an easy to care for material. How about the chairs?

    Ok, enough questions for now. Thanks so much for all of the input!!

  • rhome410

    I'd like the table top in a wood...What will your floors be? The chairs could match the tabletop, the white, or be colorful. I think I'd go for wood or a color.

    I am all for you making the decision regarding fridge placement, based on your priorities. We are here to point out possible down-sides, then you weigh them and do what's best for you. It sounds like great reasoning to me. I really like the idea of the nice dish storage. Will you have room for a microwave without doing an OTR?

  • katiekitchen

    Thanks for the ideas on the table. I hadn't even thought of colorful chairs. Our floors will be red oak?? (I think - it will match the original hardwoods in the rest of the house that we just had refinished when we moved in a couple of years ago. I have to double-check the name of the wood with my husband.)

    I'm not sure about the microwave. I have read the downsides to the OTR (particularly power of the fan). If we went with the OTR, we would definitely vent it to the outside. We have to talk to the cabinet guy and see what he thinks we have room for at this point.

  • rhome410

    I'm not sure, if you center the table under the window, that you will have room for a cabinet between the table and door? It seems the chairs would interfere. Maybe if it's very shallow it'll work?

    Just so you know...To put the fridge there, you lost not only the pantry cabinet, but greatly reduced the cabinet (and counter) to the left of the range, and lost a cabinet between the range and the corner cabinet...But you gained dish storage, which is important, too. Did you say if you had any more pantry type storage elsewhere, like in a laundry room or something?

  • katiekitchen

    We do have a pantry closet down the hall, just about 2 feet from the banquette area and right through the other door to the laundry room area is a large cabinet where we also store more seldomly used dishes.

    The table won't really be centered on the window when in use. It will probably be closer to the built-in bench, which will be about 20" deep. The cabinet near the door would be 14-15" deep. I think that will give us the room for two chairs on that side. I could do the bench along the wall under the window and orientate the chairs in the other direction (like one of Rhome's previous layouts), but I feel like when in use the chairs interfere with traffic flow to the rest of the house in that scenario and that is one of my big pet peeves about my current kitchen.

  • acc0406

    As someone else mentioned, what about a round table? If this isn't the main eating area in the house, a smaller round table might be less overwhelming/obtrusive and will still serve the purpose.

  • katiekitchen

    We have a round table in the spot now and the problem is that I want to get all of the chairs out of the pathway to the hall. I could still do an L banquette with the shallow cabinet at the end of the bench under the window and one chair. Rhome - what do you think? The table would have to be smaller to make room for the bench.

  • rhome410

    My thoughts: It's harder to sit up to a round table from a bench...Pretty much only one person per bench will be able to. Then I don't know how you'd seat 4 without a chair in the aisle where you don't want one.

    Here is a 42" round table:

  • katiekitchen

    Actually, I meant doing an L bench with a rectangular table and no chair on that hallway side. Thinking 3 could sit on the benches and one on a chair. But, maybe that doesn't work so well. My current experience with a round table makes me feel like I don't want one at all!! Sorry if my previous post was confusing. What would you think of a square or rectangular table with the l shaped bench and one chair? Comfortable seating for 4?

  • rhome410

    Oh, sorry for misunderstanding...How did we not try that already? ;-)

  • katiekitchen

    I don't know how we didn't try that yet. I think the concern may be accessing the bench near the cabinet. But, I'm trying SO hard not to give up that cabinet because I want it to be the "message center" of the kitchen.

  • rhome410

    I think the problem here is leg room. One of the ones sitting on the side will be trying to use the same leg/feet space as the one seated on the end. You'd really need a table about 5 1/2 ft long to make that work. On the floorplan, the circles represent people and the lines in front of them very roughly represent their legs under the table.

    We can't put the 2 people under the window, because of the message center cabinet. If the table was longer that way, the cabinet would keep people from being able to slide into the bench.

  • katiekitchen

    Thanks so much, Rhome. I think I am going to go with the two chairs on that side. I think that offers the flexibility I'm looking for and although the corner of the cabinet may crowd the chair a bit, I think it can be done as long as the chairs are edged away from the cabinet. The way I figure it, if the cabinet is 15" deep and the table is 60" long, it leaves 45" of the table for 2 chairs. That's a bit less than recommended, but pretty close. Right?

  • rhome410

    Yep.

    I think it will be fine. There are little compromises everywhere and I think this is one you can make work and get used to.

  • katiekitchen

    Ok, I'm back again because I've been thinking about this alot. Do you think I'd be better off to put the bench along the wall with the window and run the table the long way across that wall. Like Rhome410's drawing on October 17th at 15:50 (I'm trying to paste it here, but not sure it will work.) My concern with that one is whether the chairs will interfere with people coming into and out of the kitchen through that hallway. But, I'm wondering if that will look better than the bench on the other wall and the chairs that will interfere with the tall cabinet. Thoughts????
    http://s30.photobucket.com/albums/c329/RTable410/for%20GW/?action=view¤t=katiekitchentableandbench.jpg

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • rhome410

    I think that the one with the bench under the window looks better on paper, but am concerned about you choosing that plan when you already know you hate chairs in the way of the doorway, and it was one of the main things you wanted changed.

    Will this plan enable the chairs to be further from the doorway than you have now? If you can get the chairs enough nearer the window wall from where they are right now, it might be much more workable. I'm thinking the bench may allow you to keep the table and chairs more out of the doorway than you have them now? If so, great. If not, I'd sure hesitate to plan a new kitchen that ends up giving you that same headache. You'd be so disappointed.

  • katiekitchen

    Thanks, Rhome. I think the layout would allow me to at least store the chairs further away from the doorway. I'm not sure about how it would be when the table is in use. How much do you think I should plan for the table to overhang the bench when it's in use?
    I'm going to try a mock-up tonight to see if I can see how it would feel to me.

  • rhome410

    A mockup is definitely the best idea. I've never had a bench or banquette, but it seems like the table usually overhangs the bench by at least a few inches. You have to get that happy medium between roomy enough to get in and close enough so you're up to the plate to eat.

  • katiekitchen

    Ok. So, this kitchen seems to be all I think about these days. I'm wondering if I should think more about the peninsula option that Rhome posted above. I did a bunch of mock-ups today and feel like no matter what I do with the table in that corner, it just will feel crowded when you sit there.

    If I did the peninsual, I'd probably still put the sink under the window. I know that means no regular table in the kitchen. Do people think that's a dealbreaker? We have a large dining room steps away. I don't know.

    Is it bad that I'm so indecisive and demos is a week away?

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • rhome410

    PENINSULA:

    Pluses:
    1)large work space on clear peninsula.

    2)Kids can work from other side on baking project with you.

    Negatives:
    1)tight, enclosed workspace within the perimeter cabinets.

    2)dishwasher can't fit beside sink if the sink is under the window.

    3)eating in a row not good for looking people in the face and having a conversation while dining. I wouldn't like that if you want to eat in the kitchen for family dinners. If it's only for snacks and quick meals (kids' lunches, quickly eating cereal, etc.), it is OK. (I don't think it's very roomy either?)

    TABLE:
    Pluses:
    1)table is a nice, separated space for kids to color, play games, etc. while you work in the kitchen. It could also serve as possible additional kitchen workspace.

    2)More open kitchen work area, besides a roomier feel, offers areas for more than one worker, especially if you keep the dish cabinet as an upper, rather than a hutch, so that can be additional counterspace.

    Negatives:
    1) tight seating, according to mock-ups.

    2)Less counter-height work area.

    Can you add to the lists to help you consider both sides? (My lists are probably biased by my own preferences.) Then you have to think about what kind of kitchen you really want to walk into. For me, I prefer table seating for relaxing conversations and kid height projects, and I wouldn't like how the peninsula cuts the room. I would like the more open feel of the other. But that, again, is based on my preferences and my vision of how things work in our family. I also think that with the sink under the window, it'll be pretty crowded, even for just you to work.

    Now that I've drawn it out, I think you'd have to have a pretty small sink and the seating is more crowded than I'd guessed:

  • rhome410

    You can maybe pull up a high chair easier to a table? Where will you want to sit to feed someone in a high chair?

  • katiekitchen

    Thanks again, Rhome. You and all of the others here are such a great help. I think you're right about the peninsula - tight seating, tight working and looks misplaced in this kitchen.

    I think what is bothering me about the table layout with the bench along the wall that doesn't have the window is that there will be dead space under the window to allow for the chairs not to back up into the tall cabinet. I feel like that may look silly in person. I've been looking at that design you did with the L shaped banquette and one chair (it was the drawing on 10/20/08 at 15:35) and think that one looks better. I know leg space would be tight for the bench sitter on the window wall. But, I'm thinking if the chair sitter scoots down the table and the bench sitter scoots toward the cabinet, there would be ok leg space. Or, for right now, we could put my son on the bench under the window (with a clip on high chair for a few more months). Or, with older kids, maybe we would want 2 chairs and only use the bench under the window on rare occasions when we have to squeeze in more people. But, it would look like that space was planned for and we could get some valuable storage out of it. Do you think that could work? I was thinking a table that is about 36 x 52?

    I really need to take some before pics of my kitchen this week so that all of you can see what I am getting rid of and why I can't wait!!

  • acc0406

    Food for thought. I have peninsula seating for 4 and a small table with seating for 4 in my kitchen.

    We almost always eat at the peninusla or in the dining room. My almost two-year old sits in a booster attached to a bar stool at the peninsula. As he gets older, I'm not sure whether he will sit at the small table more. My husband does not like to sit at the small table because it is too cramped.

    I like having the kids in front of me while I'm making dinner or cleaning up. In that regard the peninusla set-up works. On the other hand, because it's pretty deep, I usually have to walk around to help my youngest - it's too hard to reach across (I'm 5'8").

    My old kithen was a similar set up to the peninsula design. The dishwasher was closer to the sink, where the smaller cabinet is in Rhome's design. It was fine, not ideal but not problematic either. I will say, though, that it was definitely a kitchen for one.

    Obviously, these comments are based on my use and my family. Make sure you consider who will use and how you will use the kitchen.

  • backinthesaddle

    If I were to put a peninsula in your kitchen, I'd probably do something like this.

    I used two windows instead of a door (in preparation for my next question) and both are 48 inches to give you an idea of scale. It would be possible to make the peninsula table height in this plan, if that is a concern and removing the cabinet at the end would give you a fourth seat in a pinch.

    I know you said the window in the bottom right was movable, but is it possible to put the back door there instead? Then you could keep all traffic flow out of the kitchen. If not, there should be room for 12 inch deep cabinets on the wall behind the seating for extra storage.

    Really though, it all comes down to how you prefer to eat and what you want out of your kitchen. A table would keep the actual work area smaller, which wouldn't work for me, but it could very well be right for you, depending on your cooking/entertaining style.

  • cheri127

    Backinthesaddle's layout is similar to what I have now except it's better because I don't have seating at the penisula and the aisle space is tighter in my kichen. Still, it works quite well.

    I went through the same thing as you when we did this design 12 years ago but finally had to accept that I just couldn't fit seating for 4 and have the other things I wanted. We settled for seating for 3 (my fixed table is posted higher up in this thread) and eat family dinners in the dining room. I still really like Rhome's layout with the table connected to a cabinet between two hutches. Was the window too low for that arrangement?

  • rhome410

    Responding to the questions you asked me...I agree with you. I can see your concern and think the L banquette would be a good answer. You are right that you can leave the table pushed toward that back bench when you want to and not even use it for seating unless you need to. It really wouldn't change the function from the plan with only the 1-side bench. Does that make sense?

  • katiekitchen

    Hmm...I had not even considered moving the door. That might involve outside landscaping changes. I'd have to give some thought to how that would look. As for Rhome's option with the table coming off the wall between two hutches, the problem is that the window is too low and off-center for that. I have to give some thought to backinthesaddle's peninsula idea. I'm guessing that my husband will prefer the banquette because it seems more traditional. But, we'll see. Thanks for helpin me think this out. Any other pros/cons/experiences with these?

  • rhome410

    I hate to be negative, but I don't think you can fit in seating and a door. I'm afraid the chairs/stools will always be an interference with that entry walkway. Also, you wanted seating for 4, and the nearest I can figure is that backinthesaddle's peninsula is about 5 1/2 ft long, which is, according to the 2 ft per person guideline, too little for even 3. I think you could probably fit 3, but definitely not 4.

  • backinthesaddle

    This is what we will end up with after a looooong DIY remodel, although some of the details of cabinet placement in this version are wrong.

    Currently, the new sink wall is in place and what will eventually be the range and peninsula are still in a U-shape. The distance between it and the range will roughly be 5 feet (in this plan) so we intend to put a small slider there instead of a swinging door. OR pulling the peninsula towards the range and having a full sized slider below the table with a large window where the door is shown now.

    So, it's sort of the same configuration I posted above (without the L) and it's working out very well so far. I've forgotten to mention one of my biggest likes about an island/peninsula over a table is not having my back to people when I'm prepping, which is more than 50% of what I'm doing in the kitchen.

  • cheri127

    I'm sorry Katie, but I didn't mean for you to move your door. I just wanted you to see what the peninsula looked like coming out of the wall as opposed to being in a cabinet run. I agree with you that the L banquette may be your best option.

  • backinthesaddle

    Rhome, that was a rough sketch and I forgot that I reduced the peninsula length to accommodate the fridge, which is still too tight IMO. I also didn't know if seating for 4 was an absolute must or not if the focus had changed to mostly DR eating.

    My thought on the door involved reducing the distance between the range and peninsula to hopefully get 5 feet behind the overhang but I didn't want to get into those details if it wasn't a possibility.

  • rhome410

    I guess a lot depends on how much that door is used and for what. I would not want traffic funneled through a narrowed workspace if I could at all help it. (I know that you, backinthesaddle, considered other plans and decided that was the best compromise for how your family and house works.) If the door just goes out to a deck that you only use when barbecuing or something...and there are other exits out that way, it could be OK. If it's where hubby comes in every night from work, where the kids will come in from playing and later from school, where groceries, garbage, etc. go through, I wouldn't go for it.

  • rhome410

    backinthesaddle, we crossposted. I think you could squeeze 5 ft behind the overhang, which would work for a walkway, but I'm afraid it wouldn't for an exterior door. The door couldn't be right up against the wall, which would set it at most about 18" from the overhang, less with trim. She is aggravated by chairs being in walkways now, so thought this would be at least as bad. It's a tough space.

  • katiekitchen

    Do you think that if I moved the door to where the window is, I could do an island with seating for 4? I think I could fit it, but wonder if it would feel cramped. I like the banquette, but also worry we'll outgrow the cramped nature of the benches pretty quickly and not have the extra counter space an island would provide. Plus, I see island seating as a little more flexible than a bench.

    I know, I know, you are all going to get as frustrated with me as my husband and cabinetmaker both are!!

  • rhome410

    You'll have to draw or describe what you have in mind, because I don't know how moving the door to that location would make room for an island, especially with any room for seating.

    The problems of having an island for you are:
    1) with an island you need aisle room of 3-4 ft on all four sides, and more for the seating side(s)
    2) for seating 4, you'll need 8 ft of width that doesn't overlap. (Either 8 ft all in one line or if an L shape, probably nearly 6 ft on 2 sides)

  • backinthesaddle

    It would be really hard to get 4 good seats but what about this? Just pretend all the red is overhang. :)

    That shows the door being moved but if you didn't do that, you could use the corner for more storage. It's similar to the peninsula posted above but by eliminating the corners, you can get the sink, DW and trash in a straight line.

    Am I correct that the door to the laundry room opens out? Or is that just a doorway? I have 36" for each door/doorway , five feet in back of the overhang and 3 1/2 feet between the sink and range.

  • katiekitchen

    Oh boy, I don't know. I thought that moving the door would allow for an island about 60' long with an overhang with seating along the side where the window and door is and then the end would be totally open like a table, so you could get 1 chairs on the end and one on the inside (near the cabinets)...or maybe squeeze 3 seats along the side of the window/door. It would allow for about 36' between the island and cabinets, then about 48' where people would come in from the door. I'm trying to post my drawing here...

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • rhome410

    Sorry, this is tight everywhere. Not really room enough for 4 seated, and narrow aisles. I'd hate to try to get through that door with an armload of anything. If you think you are frustrated by chairs in your aisle now, I'm afraid this would be worse. Sorry to be a downer.

  • autumngal

    My current kitchen, which I love the layout of, is almost identical to yours in size and door issues (although we do have one less door, that's tough!). I'm sorry that I haven't read all of the wondeful advice (hopefully I'll be so lucky, we are moving soon and will be trying to figure out layout for a 9 by 19 kitchen with quite a few doors), but I just wanted to let you know the layout that is almost identical to mine is rhome's Island/table layout way up above. Ours is actually a peninsula coming from cabinets (similar to the built-in one). It's fantasic, although small, it's the heart of the house and great to cook in. My kids hang out at the table while I make dinner and do homework, play with playdough (depending on age). I actually use the lower table for baking and it's great. Good luck!

  • katiekitchen

    Thanks everyone for the good advice and the encouragement. My cabinet guy/general contractor came over the other day and thinks we can move the door even closer to the corner than I have it in the drawing above. (We are replacing the door and window anyway and going down to the studs to address inadequate insulation issues, so this change isn't huge.) He thinks an island will work (not with seating for 4 adults, but maybe for 2 kids and 2 adults, which is about what we would get out of the banquette). If we did that, I would forego the hutch in my last hand-drawing.

    He suggested that we wait until he tears out everything and opens up the ceiling, which he is doing and then we see how it feels before making the decision of whether to go with the island or banquette. I just want to find a way to make this kitchen useful and able to grow with our family. I'm sure I will post more as the process begins tomorrow. I have to take pics tonight so that you can see what I'm so eager to get rid of!!

    Thanks again for all of your help and stay tuned!!

  • rhome410

    Sounds exciting. But opening the ceiling won't give you more floor space, so be sure you're considering things you've already seen here in regard to space limitations and not get distracted by a space that 'feels' bigger when torn apart. The construction process can be deceiving in terms of the size of a space, sometimes it looks so huge and other times, so small, because there's nothing in it to give you the sense of scale. Check and re-check so you don't end up with a crowded space that disappoints you. Some cabinet guys and GC's have a very good eye, and some think anything can work because they don't use a kitchen.

    Best wishes!

  • cheri127

    Katie, design rules can be broken, but as Rhome says, be sure to check and re-check your final layout, even do a mock up, to be sure you can live with the tight space that you'll get with an island in your small kitchen. My kitchen is similar to yours (11 x 16 ft) and I've never found a way to fit one. On the other hand, I have a friend who squeezed on into her kitchen, against her designers advice and she's very happy with it.

  • katiekitchen

    Hi everyone - So, the kitchen is down to the studs (almost - the dishwasher and sink are still in because our water shut-off didn't really shut the water completely off and needs to be repaired before the dishwasher can come out). We found an unexpected pipe running across the ceiling, which presents a bit of an issue for the cathedral ceiling. It might not be an active pipe, but if it is, it will have to be re-routed along the edge.

    So, my husband and I are really torn about how to do the eating space in the kitchen still. We love the idea of switching the door to the other side of the room, especially because it would make fridge access a little easier. But, that would take away our banquette space. Backinthesaddle gave a good idea for a peninsula, but since we'll be using the laundry room as sort of a mudroom, the peninsula suggested would be in a high traffic spot. Any other ideas? We might make the door swing out for a little more flexibility. Thanks again for being so helpful and supportive!!

  • mom2lilenj

    How about a sliding door?

    For kitchen eating space, I think the banquet gave you the most comfortable place for the most people. The island and peninsula both looked too tight. And the peninsula looked too tight for the cook too; definately a one cook kitchen.

  • rhome410

    Besides what Mom2lilenj said, it seems you'll end up with chairs in a path again...a problem you were wanting to eliminate.

  • marybeth1

    I vote for the banquette also. I think some of the designs with it really looked nice and seemed to fit the character of your kitchen.

  • cheri127

    I still love Rhome's design from Oct. 17, 21:02 that has the table coming out from the cabinets under the window. It has great seating, plenty of pretty and useful storage, and gets the fridge away from the door. Why not just move the window (up, over, whatever it needs) to make it work. If it's counter height space you're after, you could make the window even higher and do a counter height table with stools.

  • lightlystarched

    We have a very very similar layout to you. In order to have a small eating area, we got a portable island with some stools. The movable islands are generally smaller than fixed islands, and you can move it out of the way for large parties. Just a thought.

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