GW Newbie: Kitchen Layout Question

December 1, 2010


I've been a GW lurker for a while. This group has given me some excellent information as we're preparing for a fairly major renovation, so before I even post my first question, I owe many people here a 'thank you!'

We're taking a pretty standard center hall colonial and attempting to expand the kitchen without increasing the overall footprint of the house. The trick is that we're eliminating the hall :). We will have some questions in the remodeling forums as our conversations with architects and contractors progress, but for now, I want to focus on the kitchen. After all, the whole point is to make the kitchen bigger.

We are a family of 5. We like to cook and entertain but haven't done much of the latter (outside of holidays) because the current kitchen is horrible. And when we do cook, these days we emphasize the outdoor cooking appliances (i.e. grill and smoker) because, again, the current kitchen is horrible. We don't do much baking from scratch, but we [used to] do lots of stir fry, deep fry, and blackening. We used to make pizza from scratch (including sauce). We eat lots of chicken and fish -- we also use the crockpot (stews, etc). For holidays (Rosh Hashana and Passover), we typically have ~20 people over, and we make turkey, brisket, and more sides than we have burner space for (and we do bake for holidays). Everyone loves to gather in the kitchen where there is no room to work. Part of the idea of this renovation is to create a space where we can do more of what we love, with more people hanging around us comfortably -- either helping or not.


* Room for 2 or more people to work comfortably... eg working on different dishes, or one cleaning dishes while one preps/serves the next course.

* Room to seat 5 or 6 for dinner in the kitchen. 7 would be fantastic (our 5 plus in-laws).

* OPEN OPEN OPEN -- The family room/kitchen area is where we spend a ton of time.

* Stay within reason -- this is part of a bigger remodeling project so we can't go crazy on everything... but we will splurge where it matters.

So... with that background: Here's my rendering of what we came up with (with a jump-start from a KD) on the new floor plan:

First question is ... what do you think of this basic layout? We haven't even begun to think about details like where the garbage is, where the knives go, which direction the prep sink faces, where the GD goes, etc. We thought it gave a good work area on the 'open' side of the island as well as around the cooktop and the cleanup areas. Any thoughts?

Second question... cabinets. Current thinking: StarMark Cabinets, from a supplier in NJ (DirectDepot, for those in the area). It was their KD that we spent 2+ hrs with the other day. The quoted price for aproximately this layout was $20k (delivered, not installed). I don't even know how that compares to anything else, but we did like the quality and look of the StarMark. And he did some clever customizations around the oven/fridge/MW to give it a 'built-in' appearance. And note that the funky shaped piece between the sliding doors and the bay window is actually made of cabinetry, but made to look like furniture - we think of it as almost a visual 'tie-in' between the family room and the kitchen as well as great storage. Again -- the general question is: what do you think? And more specifically, how does the pricing that we've been quoted seem?

Current thinking on the rest:

Really Good Rangetop -- possibly the Capital Cullinarian 36' 6-burner. This is the place I'm happy to splurge. 42' wall hood, vented through the garage.

Very Good Double Wall Oven -- KA Architect, GE Profile, and Kenmore Elite top the list.

Acceptable MW -- Countertop style on an eye-level shelf above a counter.

Very Quiet and Roomy Dishwasher -- Bosch, perhaps. Very little research here.

Refrigerator: GE Profile French Door Stainless, already purchased when the old one died.

Any tips or suggestions on what else we should be thinking would be greatly appreciated. (I did read the 'first timer' posting and found it quite useful, which is why this post is so long!)

Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Floor Plan

Comments (117)

  • marcydc

    I have a 1/2 circle on my island with a 72" diam. It easily seats 4. If you rounded your eating space to 3/4 a 72" diam circle, you'll get 5 but more likely 6 chairs. i wish i could draw,, but if you keep the island that width where the sink is and then overlay a cirle of diam 72 on top, it would be a lot more conducive to both being include in the island and be included in the conversation with the folks around the table. We all love circular dinner tables ala. our fav' chinese restaurants.

  • NYSteve

    FYI: fridge recess not going to happen. Ah well...

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    Thanks -- all that helps clarify. Here is my first pass (I am no expert, but I've been through it recently and my layout is somewhat similar, but slightly wider than yours and no laundry door). I wrote much of this yesterday then held back to see what you said; if I forget to change something that conflicts, feel free to point it out. First, in response to your post today: As I'm sure you know, clearances are just guidelines, but since you know how you will use the space, you can tell whether you need all that space or not. You probably already know what is recommended -- 65" behind counter seating if it is also a traffic area, 15" overhang for seating at 36" high counter (12" could be enough unless your family is long-legged). (FYI, I am a poster child for breaking rules -- I was determined to have several things a certain way and had to shrink or buck clearances to get them, some with great results. For instance, my island is one level, with seating on one side but with only 6" overhang -- it works OK for the way we use it. I have a second island behind the seating but could allow only 32" between the two island counters. This also works because we have an easy alternate path on the other side of the second island. Looks like you might as well, but more on that later.) I'm glad the bookshelf is going away and that all 4 seats are in a line. Those were both in what I wrote yesterday. This is assuming nothing is set in stone yet, though it sounds like some things are best left where they are, like the W wall door, for optimal traffic flow. - Most importantly, I think you would regret placing the DW across the aisle from the sink. Picture having to load dirty dishes from the sink to the DW; inevitably there will at least be water dripping onto the floor, if not worse. I think your first priority is to find a way to put the two together. Given that, I see at least two options for it: 1. DW, sink, and maybe trash on N wall together. Switch the place of the range and sink (looks like you'd have to move windows though so that may rule out this option). MW drawer can stay in island. 2. DW, sink and maybe trash on island together. Looks like you could add a few inches to the E side of the island. Put sink and DW in the middle of the island (you'll have to think thru whether sink is better on W or E side), whatever amount of drawer storage will fit around it on ends. - Is there potential for built ins in the SW corner? - MW drawer -- are you set on having one? I assume you have researched and feel it is the best option? Or just the one that fits best in the plan you have? What about a floor to ceiling next to the back door with a built in MW (I can get you a pic of this tomorrow)? With this setup it helps to have a pullout surface right under the MW as a landing spot. Or an above counter MW in that same spot? That's all I can do tonight -- my brain is fried! I hope others will chime in because I am very limited in my vision. Happy to share any of our experience with you, pictures of anything that might help, but that's all I have to offer.
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    C X, It is hard to get in everything, seems like it is all about compromise. Looks like your basement steps will come up into your new DR area and that the door from the garage means you will be walking through your new DR area to your kitchen. That's what I am facing if I put my kitchen in my DR (which will result in a much nicer kitchen area). Are you planning on a 'built-in' in your bump out? I know you mentioned that someone in your neighborhood did what you are planning on doing and it looks great and they are happy with it. With the more open DR area, is their DR more casual? Again, just trying to visualize it all. I have moved my breakfast room table to try and get the feel of the DR in that area. Do you have a final 'sketch' of what you are planning on doing? The GC has been out to measure and the layout will soon be in the hands of the kitchen 'designer'. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, but between reading this thread and watching your design evolve, I am thinking he is going to end up with something similar to what I already have. Good luck with it all!
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    Ok, here are two more options taking into account much of what was recommended by several of you, especially Buehl and mama goose. OPTION 5: This option moves the sink and fridge under a bumped out large window and retains the current 36" window. The dishwasher is at the end of the cabinet run to keep the clean up area away from everything else. I did not move the fridge in this option because having the fridge on the exterior wall cuts down on the work space or island depth. Also, our fridge is the same distance away now and it doesn't bother me at all. I prefer not cutting down the walking space behind the seating area of the island. I would still need to find a location for the microwave drawer. Option 6: This option places the fridge nearest the family room. I could use a CD fridge or twins. I am not sold on the idea of having the fridge directly in front of the foyer but am not totally against it. It does, however, force the island closer to the basement/dining room wall and cut down on the walkway behind the seating. This concerns me a bit. I think the window bump out is a great idea (I love windows down to the counter--thanks Buehl.). So what do you think of these versions?
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    Considering the cost for rerouting all of the plumbing, would you consider moving the the hood exhaust to the left of the drain pipe? This would involve moving the bay replacement windows to the left and additional framing for those windows but you would not have to reroute the 3" line. Have you considered locating trash and recycle under a 36" sink? This saves using a cabinet for trash. Do you still want your appliance garage in the corner? You can place the MW in the base cab at the end of the island. There is 48" clearance on the appliance aisles and about 43" at your walkway. How are you routing your exhaust vent? Out the side rather than roof? If you do not want to move the windows to the left, can you move the exhaust to either of the yellow locations, moving everything left of the cooktop toward the right?Unless your budget has changed, I'd try to work with the layout to make the plumbing changes affordable. Do you have estimates yet? You want nice cabinetry, so your $50K budget will go fast with framing, windows, flooring and the cabinets.
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  • NYSteve

    Marcy -- I've tried getting a big circle in there, but the best I can do is 3/4 of a 66" circle. Believe it or not, my earliest scribbles had a rounded/oval shape on the bottom of the island, but that was before we decided to widen the kitchen. I haven't tried that shape again until now. How's this?

    I had to make the cabs shorter at the top of the island -- so I'm not sure if this is serving the purpose of an island or not at this point, but it would surely seat everyone. We're no longer getting as much storage out of the island as we'd have hoped, but maybe that's just the right tradeoff here.

  • red_eared_slider86

    Steve, the clearances I stated to you earlier are NKBA recommendations. The table seating is from a restaurant recommendation. I don't remember the website name.

    As to your last drawing...

    The best way I know to illustrate the pros and cons of your first design vs. this latest design is to demonstrate the flow of one cooked meal: Zatarain's jambalaya with sausage (Kosher, of course) and crawfish (are crawfish Kosher???), Jiffy cornbread, can of red beans, and iced tea. (Yeah, we eat this stuff down here in the Bayou City...)

    First kitchen:

    Assuming I am an efficient and organized cook, I go to Panama once and get the jambalaya mix, the cornbread mix, the red beans, a couple of tea bags, and the Splenda. I deliver everything to the prep sink (~15 ft). Then I go to the RF for the sausage, crawfish, milk and eggs, and return to the prep sink (~6 1/2 ft x 2). Disregard the steps required to retrieve the skillets, mixing bowls, spoon, knives, etc. I start the jambalaya on the cooktop and return to the prep sink (~3 1/2 ft x 2). I prepare the cornbread and take it to the oven and return to the prep sink (~6 1/2 ft x 2). I put the beans in a microwaveable bowl, take them to the MW, and return to the prep sink (~9 ft x 2). I return my eggs and milk to the RF (6 1/2 ft x 2). I take all my dirty mixing bowls, etc. from the prep sink to the main sink for cleanup (3 1/2 ft). After everything is ready, I will have dirty dishes that need to be carried from the oven and the MW to the main sink (~10 1/2 ft x 2) and from the cooktop to the main sink (~4 ft x 2). I will have travelled a minimum of 115 ft, or about 38 steps.

    Last kitchen:

    Same tasks, but plugging in estimates for the distances in the new kitchen, I estimate I will have travelled a minimum of 148.5 ft, or about 50 steps.

    All of this assumes that I remember everything the first time I go to the pantry and to the RF, and that I don't go to the oven to take a peak at the cornbread...

    I think you get my point. Your first design is miles -- literally -- more efficient than this last one.

    There are other things that bother me about this latest design, as well. The most glaring for me is the cleanup zone's location in a major traffic area. Other considerations are the visibility of a huge hunk of metal (the RF) from your family room.

    Okay, I won't kick this horse anymore. :-) I just strongly recommend that you reconsider it.

  • stogniew

    red_eared_slider86 wrote:

    "...First kitchen:
    I will have travelled a minimum of 115 ft, or about 38 steps.

    Last kitchen:

    Same tasks, but plugging in estimates for the distances in the new kitchen, I estimate I will have travelled a minimum of 148.5 ft, or about 50 steps. ..."

    I am not sure how you had arrived at these numbers, but the distance pantry-island and pantry-stove is the same in both: first and last kitchens, while the fridge/prep/oven distance is shorter in the last kitchen (not mentioning that it the last one it does not cross the "cleaning" traffic); so, how can you state that the last design will require more steps while prepping a meal?

  • lavender_lass

    Efs- My guess is by counting the extra steps to get to the clean up area. Not a problem, with a second diswasher, but that may not be possible.

    I like the idea (which I've seen on several kitchens in the forum) of having a dishwasher by the second sink, just for clean up of pots/pans/mixing bowls/utensils. This works out great, if you have the storage for these items nearby.

    The 'west wall' clean up area would be for dishes...coming from the dining room and family room. With kosher meals, there will be more dishes and I think it would be nice to be able to bring them in, place them right in the dishwasher, and stack the rest for the next load. Easy for people helping to clear the table...and not intruding in the main cooking area.

    Meanwhile, you have the pots and pans from dinner already getting clean in the dishwasher on the island. Much more efficient with a big family and lot of dishes...but it is a bit of a luxury to have two dishwashers.

    The only thing I don't like about this latest plan is the oven, with no landing place. It's a little too far from the island to be convenient. I'd rather see the pantry on the other side of the wall from the fridge...by the garage...and put a baking prep/landing area, between the ovens and the bay window.

    What exactly is the "breakfront" for...it might make a great desk/cookbook/storage area...maybe even have the key drop off area over there? Or more pantry storage?

  • NYSteve

    lavender -- the current pantry is at the end of that garage hall. We want to bring it into the kitchen; that was one of the objectives of the remodel.

    The breakfront is storage of cookbooks and barware up top (glass doors), with storage of deckware and grill tools on the bottom, with a liquor cabinet. We don't need a desk in the kitchen, actually. It's probably the drink counter when we entertain. (I was vetoed on a bar sink here.... probably no need for *3* sinks!)

    BTW -- on kosher meals -- it's not 2x dishes for any given meal. A meal would either include dairy or meat items, but not both ... so we need storage for 2x dishes, but wouldn't use them together.

    I am very interested in the conversation about which layout is fundamentally more efficient, however. I feel that the oven is very far away from everything in the last layout, but could believe that if something has to be far away, the oven is the best choice.

  • lavender_lass

    Steve- I can understand you wanting to bring the pantry closer, but the back side of the fridge is actually less steps, than the other side of the oven...from the cooktop and fridge.

    Thanks for explaining the kosher meal...I thought from your earlier post, they were combined.

    I agree with you, if one appliance has to be a little further away, it would be the oven(s). It's only the other side of the doorway (a little further with the key drop off) but what's that...5 feet? That's shorter than most people's arm spread (finger tip to finger tip)...just to keep things in perspective.

    Are you putting a trash area under the island, too? I might have missed that earlier, but was just curious. That's one thing that would create extra steps, if you had to walk to the main sink to throw anything away.

    Good luck with your plan! :)

  • red_eared_slider86

    Ok, Steve, I decided to give it a whack. Starting at the top and going clockwise:


    On the north wall:
    * Decreased the size of the doorway to the DR to gain cab space.
    * DW left of sink (cleanup zone)
    * Increased size of sink to 36" and put in a second faucet, so that this one sink can serve double-duty as a cleanup and prep sink. There are 42" sinks available, but that would eliminate space for another base cab b/t the sink and the corner cab.
    * 15" base cab could be a trash pull-out or a (narrow) drawer stack.
    * 36" Lazy Susan
    * Moved your MW cab to the corner. It will fit if your MW isn�t too big. Here�s a pic of a nice one, but this may be a custom job.


    On the east wall:
    * 18" drawer stack � decent size for storing cooking utensils, pot holders, mixing bowls (dependent upon depth).
    * 36" cooktop � can put deep drawers underneath for storage of pots and pans.
    * 18" drawer stack for more storage.
    * Entertainment center or hutch for dish storage. (Moved the pantry out of Panama.)

    On the west wall:
    * Lengthen the wall by a few inches (indicated in red)
    * 36" FD RF with landing space on island
    * 33" cab for 30" double wall oven with landing space on island (ideally, there would be landing space adjacent to the ovens, not across from, but not possible here).
    * 40"D x 36"W walk-in pantry w/pocketdoor (cheaper than pantry cabs, so I hear). This puts all your food storage closer to your other work zones.

    The island (i.e., continent):
    * Eliminated the prep sink altogether. Now you can put a drawer stack for your silverware and a trash pull-out, both close to your cleanup and prep zones.
    * I wasn�t sure about the dimensions of the island, especially the south end where your seating will be. I will say that I wouldn�t bother with an overhang on the kitchen side. I just tried to estimate what the max dimensions would be. I see no reason why you wouldn�t be able to manage comfortable seating for 5-6 people.

    Here�s some pics of island seating for inspiration:



  • red_eared_slider86

    Steve, I�ve been looking at the island prep sink idea again after looking Rhome�s kitchen. She points out that she likes being able to face others when she�s prepping a meal, which you obviously can�t do with my last layout. I�m wondering if a prep sink wouldn�t still work, only not on the end, in the corner, the way that you had it. I like having room on both sides of my sink. Anyway, taking out the prep sink gives you more storage under the island, so you have to decide which is more important to you.

    I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the corner MW and moving the pantry to the NW corner.

  • NYSteve

    Red -- thanks so much for taking the time to do another version of this. I especially appreciate that you pointed out all of the relevant NKBA specs on that diagram. On the clearances -- 48" between the island and the fridge is what we're aiming for; I'd go to 42-45 on the other side of the island if it helped with (eg) spacing around the seating. Re: the 31" Panama Canal, it's one of the few walls we're not taking down, so it will have to stay. (It's *almost* 31.5, actually, and we've been using that doorway for years :). Even if NKBA says that 44" to the wall is all you need from a table in a traffic aisle, I want more (based one experience... we currently have about 44" from table-to-peninsula edge along the length of the peninsula, and it's just a bit too close for comfort. Hence my desire to keep 48" there.

    Re: the Kitchen/DR doorway -- you haven't seen the whole plan, but the thinking was to keep that doorway very wide open (without a passthru, though). In widening the kitchen, we're actually eliminating the center hallway in our colonial. Therefore, the only way into the kitchen (from the front door) is either via the DR, or via the LR-FR route. The LR-FR wall is (mostly) going away, and the Kitchen-DR door was getting wider, to keep the house feeling open. I have to check the visibility -- from the front door, we'd like you to be able to see the kitchen doorway; else we think may feel closed in. A pass-thru might help here; am reconsidering it (but that would involve putting a major opening in *another* bearing wall.)

    A corner MW is an interesting choice, because corner counter space is usually dead. I'm guessing that corner probably would have ended up for the coffee maker and toaster oven (with 3 kids, that toaster oven gets daily usage). If that's an MW corner, I have to find another spot for those.

    The thought of a small walk-in pantry had never occurred to me. And noticing that we might pull off a pocket door was very clever on your part! I have to talk with my GC about this. That is a bearing wall -- in fact, it's picking up the load that used to be carried by the old kitchen/FR wall. The pocket door might add another few feet to the header carrying the load, and increase the demo/construction work. With all of that, this particular walkin might not be less expensive than a pantry cabinet. Which would give us more storage in that same square footage?

    On the prep sink: I think that subconsciously, one of the things I liked about the prep sink in the island is that you can more easily engage with others while prepping... so I think we'd stick with a smaller cleanup sink and going with prep in the island.

    DW and I really liked the idea of putting cleanup along the West wall as I mentioned. However, after thinking on this, we didn't like where that seemed to force the other appliances (esp fridge and oven). So we're back to variants of the original two options, with fridge west and cleanup either north or east, and cooktop either east or north, accordingly. You seem to favor cleanup north... Anyone else? (FWIW, that requires a plumbing and gas relo; keeping it East requires nothing. IOW, current range is north and sink is east.)

    BTW -- what do you think of my oval design on the island? I have another one where the oval is at an angle to everything else, which is kind of funky, but has beter clearances for the layouts we're discussing here.

    Are you as exhausted as I am?

  • red_eared_slider86

    Hahaha! My kitchen's done, so I am well rested. Your fun is only beginning!

    Speaking of done kitchens, mine, btw, is rife with NKBA irregularities. They don't issue tickets or anything. LOL.

    You know what works for you. 44" is a recommended minimum only. If you prefer 48", then you should have it.

    As for the MW corner, like I said, that looks like a custom job. A cabinet guy could build it however you want it, with space underneath for small appliances, if you prefer. But having the MW there sure does open up nice possibilities for a pantry on the mainland.

    I thought of a pocket door because that would be the least obtrusive, and I saw a wall there where it could go. Only your GC can tell you whether or not it's feasible and cost effective. There are other possibilites, like a folding, sliding door. A 24" door would suffice. And a walk-in pantry give you much more useable space than a pantry cab. Note: I've seen people put MW's inside their walk-in pantries.

    I think with a prep sink on the island, it doesn't really matter where you place your cooktop and main sink. It is just better flow to have *a* sink between your RF and your cooktop. With a sink on the island, you can accomplish that without changing plumbing and gas lines. (I am all for cost savings wherever possible.)

    As for the island shape, if you're talking about this one

    I like it!

    I think you're getting closer.....

  • lavender_lass

    Red- I know you were concerned about efficiency and steps taken during meal prep. While the pantry is a great feature, aren't you adding a lot of steps, between the cooktop and the fridge? Unless two cooks are working together, there will be a lot of time traveling around the island, to get between the two areas.

    Also, aren't the oven and fridge opening into your main traffic pattern, between the dining room and the family room? The dish storage is also a long way from the dining room and the sink. It would look pretty from the family room, but a lot more steps.

  • red_eared_slider86

    Lavender, if you read Steve's last post, then you'll see that he actually prefers to keep his cooktop and main sink in their current locations, which are switched from how I have them drawn. (I didn't know their current location.) That addresses the concern about distance around the island between the RF and the cooktop.

    Yes, the oven and RF do open into a main traffic lane. Since one does not typically stand in front of the RF or the oven for an extended period time like one does the main sink, I find this preferable to having the sink there (where the DW would open into the main traffic lane). We're trying to keep good clearance there to allow for traffic.

    When I put "dish storage" in the SE corner, I wasn't thinking everyday dishes, btw. I was assuming everyday dishes would be stored in uppers around the sink.

    Steve, Lavender did make me take a second look at that west wall. Since I pushed the oven and RF down to make more room for a pantry, that will effect the clearance with the island. It would also make for more of a walk around the island to get to the RF. If you want to make the pantry happen, then I would suggest that you reconsider the positions of the oven and the RF. By switching them, you make the RF a little more convenient to the cook. You'd also have the option of recessing that oven some, which you can't do with the RF. I know you're thinking a set of flush cabinetry there, but what if you designed it to look more like a breakfront, with the RF in the middle?

    Just a thought...

  • lavender_lass

    Okay, everyone will probably hate this...but I thought I'd give it a try.

    What if you put in a second doorway, between the dining room and kitchen, both 36" wide? Would there be enough room for a cooktop wall between them? Maybe with a built-in storage buffet, on the dining room side.

    Yes, it would cut up some counter space...but you'd be able to access the sink and dishwasher (on the east wall) directly from the dining room. The cooktop would be between the two doorways, with the prep sink opposite, on the island. This would keep people from walking in front of the cooktop, to access the sink and dishwasher...making clearing dishes and setting the table MUCH easier.

    The microwave, fridge and oven (I'd switch the last two, so the fridge is by the microwave) would still be on the west wall...and the pantry could go back by the bay window.

    I know it's a little unusual (and may not even fit) but it might be something to think about...if only to make flow between the dining room and kitchen a little easier :)

  • lavender_lass

    Steve shows 148" between the dining room wall and the hallway wall. So....24" deep for the sink cabinets...and unknown amounts for the doorway openings and casements. 36" might be bigger than needed (front door size) but at least 30" plus casements...so hopefully there'd be enough room for the cooktop. Again, just an idea :)

    (If you need wider doorway access for appliances, there's still the garage entry and family room access.)

  • lavender_lass

    So, I measured my kitchen to laundry room door and it's 32" with the casements...so if I use that dimension (and this is just a hypothetical)...

    There's 148" from wall to wall, so 24" for the sink cabinets, 32" (2) for the doors...would be 88" total...leaving 60" or 5' for the cooktop wall. 36" cooktop would leave 12" on each side...it these measurements work.

    Here's a rough idea what it would look like. Sorry, it's not more to scale, but my white out is in bad shape. Hopefully, you get the idea of even sized doorways, with the cooktop in the middle.


  • NYSteve

    So i spent about 3 hrs at Home Dept with a KD that seemed very good. He pushed for the pantry to be on the NW corner, and we edned up pretty much where red was headed.... Including the RF / oven swap. He made it a 24" pantry to avoid pushing the RF and oven too far down and used that SE corner for a 12" deep storage piece with a counter and message center. He also figured out a nice island with seating, and encouraged us to pack that island with base cabs (including the MW) in a pretty cool way. I'll post pictures later after I scan them. I remain concerned about clearances around the seating area, but i think we can make it work.

    Lavender: the double door idea is very creative but would not work with some of our DR furniture. Plus, 12" on either side of a cooktop doesn't sound ideal to me. I think we're ok to bus dishes to the island where the
    cleanup person will pick them up. It doesn't seem right to optimize for cleanup from DR events given how small a percentage of time that will occupy in our lives overall.

    One interesting topic was: on which side of the sink does the DW go? I'm starting a thread on that alone...

  • NYSteve

    As promised -- pix from the HD KD.
    Top View:

    On the West wall, from South to North: Oven, RF, and pantry -- with the pantry pulled forward to be flush with the RF. On the North wall, after the door: 24" drawer base, 36" range, a 15" drawer base, and an LS corner. Turning South: DW, Sink, then and 15" trash pullout. In Panama -- 12" deep cabinets with an open counter giving us a keydrop area/message center. You can see the breakfront in the SW corner. The island is 42" wide: 24" deep base cabs face the sink, 18" base cabs face the oven/RF. He suggested that we use a round prep sink and put the controls 'kitty corner'. I don't recall the precise arrangement of cabs in the island except that the MW was in the island, facing East. At about the horizontal line in the middle of the island is a 42" wide base cabinet with full height doors -- both for island support and storage. There was still at least 12" all around leg room for island diners.

    I remain concerned about clearance around the island ... but the seating portion of this island extends 4-6" further South than we mean for it to, just because we ran out of time to adjust it when we realized.

    Here is a better view of Panama: (he did the Bay window like a big picture window to save time.)

    And finally, a view of that breakfront:


  • etayer

    Seeing that window in the drawing, it makes me sad to think that only the person on the one end of the island will have much of a view of it. Almost everyone else will have their side or back to it.

  • lavender_lass

    Steve- It's a very nice layout...but it seems a lot of the work time is spent staring at walls. The sink and cooktop both face walls and Florantha makes a good point about the view out the window being rather limited to the person at the prep sink. This all seems more obvious, with a three dimensional plan, somehow.

    You know, if you go back and look at Holligator's first plan, I think that might be more cheerful. The banquette looks out towards the window, the person at the sink has a nice view and the table looks much friendlier than that big island.

    There are better traffic patterns and less bottlenecks, and the work area is more connected to the family room. You really can't see in there, with the plan above, while you're working in the kitchen.

    Also, there is more seating, in Holligator's first plan, with the banquettte table, the chairs, and the stools at the counter...and it just seems much different than most of the other plans.

    If you love your plan, than by all means, it's 'the one' but I think I would try drawing out Holligator's to scale...and see what it looks like. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • red_eared_slider86

    I think it's getting really close, Steve. Following are my thoughts on a few things.

    First, yes, I would move the whole island as far north as you can and still maintain proper clearances.

    I think you will like having the pantry out of Panama. It's too bad you couldn't make it a walk-in, but I understand the need to narrow it. I would suggest that you start a new thread asking folks to post pics of their pantry cabinets and for their opinions about them. There are lots of fancy pantry cabinets out there, but I question whether some of them are worth the expense, as they seem to waste a lot of space. I wonder if a custom cabinetmaker couldn't make you one that would take advantage of all the space in that corner *and* make it accessible?

    Is there space somewhere along that west wall for a folding step stool? I predict you will need it. An inventive cabinetmaker could create a nifty little hiding spot for one.

    I like the island, but I see some minor problems. The prep sink is where the landing zone from your RF should be, and the MW would work better if it were closer to the RF. (Thinking of flow: cold food from RF to MW for heatup...) This is easily fixed by swapping the two sides -- move the prep sink and 18" cab to the east side, and move the 24" cabs with the MW to the west side.

    I am dubious of that 42" cab under the dining side. I think you'll need more knee space than it will allow. Counter-height overhang needs more like 15" of knee space, rather than the 12" your KD allowed. A 36" cab would be better here. Overhang support can be provided by hidden brackets. (I know where you can get some good ones, if you need help finding some.)

    I think your KD put your DW north of your sink to avoid blocking the aisle. It appears that it will not interfere with the area in front of the cooktop. Looks good to me.

    I like the message center, and the tall cabs next to it could be a nice utility closet, if you don't already have a place to store the broom and mop.

    The breakfront looks nice, too. Be sure and peruse magazines and the internet for all kinds of buffets, to make sure that you put in the one that is just right for you.

    While I'm having fun encouraging you to spend your money, about the bay window, I have to ask. Is there any room in the budget to expand that all the way across the wall? Is it even possible? If so, by doing so, you'd be buying yourself a little bit more clearance around the dining area, plus you'd *really* be letting in some great natural light. Right now, the way it looks, it is off-center. If you could expand it, it would be WOWSER! :-) Think about it.

  • red_eared_slider86


    Here's a question I haven't asked: When you say your house is a "center hall colonial," are you talking about something like this?

    Is this an historic home? Or a newer build designed with those elements?

  • noebee1313

    Hi Steve--
    this post is super long, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what someone else mentioned, and I just missed reading it. But with the new giant island you are REALLY blocking the path from your FR to the bathroom and garage. A giant island like that would make the room feel really closed-in instead of making the space feel light and airy. Basically a huge road block.

    Also, has anyone mentioned how granite and stone on islands is WAY more expensive due to the larger width and the fact that all sides need a finished edge. I don't know what your kitchen budget is, but that huge island could easily cost you a small fortune. Just a point to consider.

    I really like the idea that was mentioned and not brought back up again, of having a built in banquet in the lower right hand corner near the beautiful window and the bathroom wall. And a much smaller island with maybe only 2 or 3 chairs. This will also save you quite a lot in your granite budget and I think allow people not only to converse easier while eating, but also take advantage of that big window. A BIG kitchen sounds good, but I don't think that ginormous island will really serve you well in reality. If people really do love hanging out in your kitchen, make sure there is ROOM for those people to walk around, hang out with a glass of wine, mingle, and not have to say "excuse me" to everyone sitting in a stool when they need to use the bathroom. The banquet would be close enough for conversations with the cook, and it is overflow seating from the family room... best of all it will be tucked out of the way of foot traffic.
    Also, you can reach across a table to clean it... you're going to have to climb up on that giant conter to clean the middle of it!!

    The layout of the appliances looks good to me, and in reality could probably work in a lot of different configurations-- imagining yourself in the space may be the most helpful in terms of deciding what should go where. Good luck with this endeavor!!

  • lavender_lass

    Steve- I know you said you and your wife were not too excited about the idea of the table/seating area...in the same place it had been before. However, I think Noebee is right...that island has turned into a monster and is blocking too much walkway through your kitchen.

    I tried Holligator's plan and it's difficult to fit all the appliances in, so what about a merger of Rhome's and Red's...with the banquette, instead of a table.

    It still doesn't have the work area near the window, but at least the seating area gets a lot more light. The bay will bring in more light than the flat window, in your drawings.

    The banquette would be really functional with your kids...always room for a few more friends and great place to stretch out to do homework. You still have a small island, with a few extra stools, too. I also increased the size of your breakfront, since there's more room on that wall, now.

    I used Red's version, since the cooktop seems better on that east wall, with the sink closer to the dining room. I also like the prep sink facing east...leaving you room for stools on the west side.

    As for the pantry/fridge/ovens...could you fit one oven under the cooktop and have the microwave over the raised oven? This would keep the microwave next to the fridge and give you an oven in the cooking area...for broiling and cooking turkeys, etc.

    The raised oven is great for baking...and I added a small cabinet next to the oven for a landing area...so you can still have a few stools at the island.

    Anyway, here's the plan....


  • lavender_lass

    Oops, it should say 'pantry' not microwave, with the microwave over the raised oven. I like the pantry there and it's not going to block the doorway as much as the fridge or oven would...nice idea :)

  • noebee1313

    bump!! I'd like this to stay on page 1!

  • NYSteve

    RE: The bay window ... I have a conversation with one of the possible GC's tee'ed up to see about centering/enlarging it, but so far I believe it to be beyond the budget. It is centered on the *current* kitchen wall, and I'm painfully aware of the lack of balance we've created.

    We've had a couple of dead-end conversations with KDs about flipping the kitchen -- everyone wants to put the sink near the window, but you run out of wall space pretty quickly for all of the other work areas. At least I wasn't talented enough to get Holligator's plans to work when drawn to scale. Today we spoke with another KD who is going to give it another shot since when he looked at the blank floor plan that was his initial response. But as soon as I asked him where the RF would go the wheels started turning and he hit the dead end too. But he'll give it a shot when he has more time to think on it.

    Re: the 42" cab under the island... it might have only been 18" deep; can't recall. Whatever it is, it's "bonus" storage so we'll make it as big as it can be without impacting legroom.

    Great point about the MW/RF flow. The MW should be on the other side.

    Love the idea about the step-stool -- funny you should mention that, our neighbor who just did a kitchen made the same point.

    Noebee: Sorry to say, but no matter how many times I bring this up, my wife is not into the idea of banquette seating. We'd need to find a great example of a bench that hits right from a style PoV. I see clearly how it could positively impact our flow, but need the slam-dunk brilliant example of a gorgeous banquette to convince us otherwise. Especially since that would force the island to be *much* smaller and less useful from a work and storage PoV. There *must* be something in-between.

    Re: the oven... We don't want an oven under the cooktop.

    I'm wondering if the NW pantry can be made still smaller -- perhaps 18" -- and contain only the most-used cooking staples. That lets the Island grow west and not go as far south... and the SE corner would get more storage then. These are tweaks, but important ones.

    Re: By "Center Hall Colonial" I mean one that is conceptually similar to what you drew (but much smaller). Ours is a mid-1960's house, not particularly historic. Layout is symmetrical and mirrored upstairs-to-downstairs. The main floor is: "formal" areas in the front -- LR on right, DR on left on either side of an entry foyer -- and 'family' areas in the back: FR on right, Kitchen on left. There is a "center hall" that connects the foyer to the FR. The stairway is next to the hallway, and upstairs is 4 bedrooms, one in each corner. We're widening our kitchen by stealing the hallway as well as dead space in the FR; we're improving traffic flow around the house by eliminating and opening walls, to create a 'racetrack' -- LR to FR to kitchen to DR and back to LR.

    Thanks as always to everyone who is chiming in with ideas and suggestions. It's all baking in, albeit slowly!


  • lavender_lass

    What style does your wife like? What style is the kitchen going to be?

    I know you said you'd discuss that later...but it would be very helpful in finding the right kind of banquette. I think she would be surprised how many choices there are...and how many styles.

    You could do booth style, with a slick seating and back surface (like a diner) super easy to clean. The other extreme is everything upholstered (like sofas) with throw pillows and valance on the window to match.

    The first would be perfect in a retro 50s kitchen and the second in a french country kitchen. So style does matter :)

  • NYSteve

    Lavender, you must really like a challenge.

    Some things we like and may choose:
    Hard wood floors (probably).
    Darkish stained cherry wood (merlot/cabernet/etc, possibly with a chocolate/mocha glaze).
    A simple raised panel door, or a slightly fancier flat panel door.
    Cool/funky hardware for the drawers/doors.
    Granite with earth-tones, with bonus streaks of rosey colors.
    Stainless appliances.

    But I"m telling you, the banquette is a stretch. It's going to be a hard sell -- we don't usually even like sitting in booths or benches in restaurants!

  • red_eared_slider86

    The reason I asked about the house is I am curious about how the large island will agree with the style of the rest of the house.

    I briefly confronted the same questions about a banquette in my own kitchen. For me, a banquette just seemed too "country" for my style, so it would have been a hard sell for me, too. I didn't consider it for long because it would have required major changes to some windows that are only about 24" above the floor; such changes were beyond my budget.

    That said, Steve, I do wonder if we couldn't attempt to explore the idea now while you're still in the planning stages. Have you nailed down what your design style is? That would go a long way toward helping to determine what elements you want to include in your design, and what you want to avoid. Here's some links that might be helpful. Could you post a pic or two of something that inspires you, so that we can get a stronger idea of what we should be looking for?





  • lavender_lass

    Steve- I like a challenge! Otherwise I wouldn't be on the kitchen forum :)

    I appreciate the details of your kitchen...but what is your wife's style? How are the other areas of the home decorated? I believe you said she has her grandmother's furniture in the living room. Is that her style, or more for sentimental value?

    What colors does she want/have in the family room? What's her favorite color? Does she like fancy, carved things...or more simple/basic?

    It sounds like the kitchen is classic/traditional, with a bit of a contemporary edge (handles) but the granite and darker colors sound more old world. Stainless steel appliances are still very popular, as are the granite and cherry wood...so is this her style, or just a popular look that she likes?

    Does she use cherry tones in the other rooms? Does she like pink and/or red? Is that why there's rosey tones in the granite, or is that just to pick up on the cherry?

    Also, what patterns does she like? Geometrics? Leaf/floral prints? Tapestry? Solid colors with more textured fabrics? Something more graphic?

    And for the bay window...does she plan to do any window treatments? Wood blinds, shutters, fabric, valance, curtain...there's a lot of choices!

    The more we know, the more we (hopefully there's a we LOL) can help find a banquette that might convince her that it would be just PERFECT, living in her space. Besides, I have more snow scheduled to come in over the weekend...so it will give me a project, if I'm snowed in again :)

  • red_eared_slider86

    Here is a link that might be useful: Better Homes & Gardens banquette gallery

  • noebee1313

    Just a few banquets to look at here:



    this one: http://www.ihavenet.com/Home-Design-Banquette-Seating-Maximizes-Efficiency-and-Comfort.html
    seems like at least the colors might match what you describe as your color and style choices so far....

    I hope lavender_lass can come up with a whole lot more as I do think it will make your kitchen function so much easier. Many banquettes utilize drawers and doors underneath, so that might expand your storage as well.

    Another thought for maybe convincing your wife, or at least get her thinking more about the benefits of the banquette, is bringing your design to a granite yard and ask them to price out just the island top for you with the type of edge you think you may want.

  • red_eared_slider86

    A lot of those are really cute. I especially liked this one

    Let's see what the boss says.

  • NYSteve

    Banquettes save room... but you save even more room if you push the table against the wall. How's this?

    It makes the table/window a second focal point (balancing the cooktop/hood on the opposite end and improves traffic flow dramatically.

    Before worrying about questions like what height is the table top and whether it's granite to match the coutners or a new surface or whether it's attached to the wall or just pushed against the wall... whaddaya think? It's not without problems, mind you, but it's a thought.

  • lavender_lass

    I think there was a good point made earlier...many people think banquettes are more of a country style.

    For your wife, something a little more classic and sleek, might be a good start. You could have a wooden table top...but what about matching the granite?

    As for the banquette material...have you considered leather? You could go with something more traditional...or maybe something a little more contemporary.

    Here are a few pictures, to give you some ideas. I think this one looks more Arts and Crafts...maybe it's all the windows...and the chandelier. The banquette is beautiful.


    While the corner banquette will seat the most people...you could also choose a bench/banquette for under the window...and add as many chairs as you need.


    Here's a very simple banquette...which takes advantage of the views. I like the table...it would be easy to use a granite top, with this look.


  • NYSteve

    Re: banquettes -- the real problem is that we dislike the logistics of a banquette for a family of 5. The youngest child is almost 5; the oldest is 14. A) Someone will always need to get up to let someone else out. And B) we don't find them comfortable to sit in. We even avoid booths in restaurants. It's not only about the look ...

    There *has* to be some way to get seating for 5 plus an island comfortably in this kitchen without going to a banquette.

  • lavender_lass

    What do you think of the bench (picture 2)? Either use a bench, or build in a long window seat, in front of the bay window. This would give you seating for at least two people, maybe three in a pinch.

    You could put chairs at each end of your table and two to three across from the bay. This way you could seat six to eight at the table...and the kids won't have to get up to let someone out...unless you have extra company.

    It's almost what you have in your picture...but it gives you more seating and will feel much more comfortable. Right now, you're sitting around three sides of the table, but with three on one side, it's hard to carry on a conversation. It's okay when you are squished in with extra company, but I would not like it, for every day.

  • lavender_lass

    Steve- If you add the bench, it is going to bump your seating out a little more...so you might want to shorten your island, so the overhang is a little more even with the main sink coutertop.

    In fact, I think the kitchen would flow much better, if you added an 18" to 24" cabinet to the left of the oven. The oven wouldn't feel as much like an add on, with it being not as far forward, as the fridge and pantry. It would also give you some necessary prep/landing space by the ovens.

    Right now, you have a good plan, but I think you're really close to a great plan! :)

  • NYSteve

    Thanks, but I'm really done talking about banquettes for now.

    Re: tweaks to the North half of the kitchen... it all depends on what we do with seating so in the picture that I just posted, I didn't even consider the top... just the table.

  • red_eared_slider86

    Fair enough.

    Are we back to the design from HD?

    Do you have the dimensions on the dining side of the island?

  • lavender_lass

    I wish you had told us "you were really done talking about banquettes" last night, rather than asking for our help. I don't mind a challenge, but I also don't like wasting my time.

    Good luck with your kitchen.

  • red_eared_slider86

    Lavender, Steve's never been much on board with the banquette idea, and I don't recall his "asking for help" so much as he's been tolerant of our suggestions. You really shouldn't take it personally. He knows what will work in his house with his family. GW's role is just to help him make sure he thinks of every angle.

    Steve, given the length of this thread, you might want to consider starting a new one, perhaps with a link back to this one.

  • NYSteve

    Lavender - I didn't mean to waste your time... I'm sorry that my wording was so terse here. I've been trying to steer the conversation away from banquettes to other options.
    I'd previously said:
    "banquette seating is not desirable"
    "Unless we fall in love with some kind of banquette (unlikely),"
    "Sorry to say, but no matter how many times I bring this up, my wife is not into the idea of banquette seating"
    "But I"m telling you, the banquette is a stretch. It's going to be a hard sell -- we don't usually even like sitting in booths or benches in restaurants!"

    I'm not saying we'll never come back to the idea.. but for now I want to focus on what other options might exist. In fact, this would have been nicer phrasing than "I'm done talking about banquettes" so I apologize.

    I am still interested in trying out different island shapes and/or places to stick a table, in search of ideas that allow seating for 5 and better flow -- things like the oval at the end of the island, or the table against the wall, for example. I'll post some more examples later.

    Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.

  • NYSteve

    Red -- good idea re: another thread; I'll start one focused on seating.

  • noebee1313

    Steve-- for what its worth, I like the idea of the table pushed up against the window. Before the banquette was brought up, quite a few posters mentioned how the window was being ignored by placing the island chairs with their backs to it. I think placing the table in front of that window celebrates it instead of ignoring it.

    I'll be interested to see what kind of responses your new thread gets-- just makes sure you type in all CAPS-- no banquettes, LOL!!

  • NYSteve

    Noebee -- thanks. Meanwhile, several people on this thread suggested islands with some form of a circle at the end, and I couldn't make it work well enough to be interesting until just now. See the new thread for details!

    Here is a link that might be useful: New thread on seating

  • lavender_lass

    Steve- I was referring to your post last night, where you seemed to be saying you liked the idea of a banquette, it made good sense in your space, but your wife was against it....but the right picture might make a difference.

    If you both don't like banquettes, then there's no reason to continue the discussion.

    Not your fault, but I ended up doing this on dial up this morning, so I was just looking for some kind of comment on the pictures, before you dismissed them completely.

    I do recall that your wife was not very excited about putting a table back in front of the window, which I believe is what you have now...so I hope you find an island that will work in your space :)

  • NYSteve

    Thanks, lavender. I should have added -- while your pictures did help expand my thinking on the variety of stylistic options we could have with a banquette, they also reminded me why we don't like them from a comfort/logistical point of view. So the posts were indeed helpful.

    That said, I think we're closer than ever before on an island shape -- you can see it in the new thread. It should be far less imposing than the home depot island.

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