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Question about kitchen and pantry

December 22, 2015

Just a fast question about kitchens and pantries.

We are in the process of designing a house and have a 14'2" wide x 16' long kitchen space that the architect (with the help of a kitchen designer) had as a double island, with a small pantry at one end. We are not huge fans of the double island design, we never sit at a kitchen island so they just become obstacles to our primary work space. So on a whim we killed the back row of cabinets made it a somewhat open galley style kitchen with a 6' x 16' pantry. We are thinking that the pantry entrance will be hidden by tall cabinet doors and we absolutely love it on paper. However, the kitchen designer is saying that it will really detract from the house and any resale. Because of my job, I have to keep resale in mind, but not exactly in the front of my mind.

I am starting to think the kitchen designer is nothing more than a glorified cabinet and granite salesman. I am just looking for opinions on the idea. I am not really designing the kitchen yet, just kicking around ideas for the space.

Comments (39)

  • cpartist

    Why not post what you have so far? Words without the context of the visual mean nothing. I do agree about double islands though.

    bry911 thanked cpartist
  • bry911

    Deleted picture too much focus on the wrong idea

  • cpartist

    Do me a favor and roughly put placement of your appliances where you're thinking of having them. Also do you need such a long pantry? What are you planning on putting in there?

    You have true gurus on this forum. What I would do is post your full floor plan WITH dimensions showing the kitchen in relation to the rest of the spaces: dining, living, garage, mudroom, etc. Let the gurus on here help design you a fabulous kitchen.

    Start by reading these. It's a wealth of information on the best way to get help on this forum and also how best to design a kitchen: New to Kitchens? Read me first.

    bry911 thanked cpartist
  • bry911

    Thanks, cpartist - I have read the post several times but I am not looking for layout help at this point. I am simply wondering about the impact on resale of a spectacular looking double island kitchen with a crappy pantry wedged in it, compared to a spectacularly functional galley or open galley style kitchen with a large pantry. I personally prefer galley style kitchens for cooking with both one and two people, we have had many of them, so for myself this is a no-brainer. But I don't want to do anything that I am going to have to undo to get the house sold.

    Edit: I didn't put the appliances or other cabinets in it because there is no use in designing a kitchen that I am not going to be using because of a resale handicap. But galley style kitchens are comparatively easy - Refrigerator to sink to counter to cooking...You really only have four quarters in a galley kitchen and four "areas" you need to put in, since the order is defined you decide where to start and whether to walk left or right and how far, then put your appliances in and fix any door interference, and then you are done.

  • benjesbride_misses_sophie

    I'd check with a local realtor about resale questions. I personally wouldn't want a double island kitchen.

    bry911 thanked benjesbride_misses_sophie
  • beachem

    That space looks way too small for a double island. I have 20' long wall and one island pretty much fill it already. The islands would need to be squares. Those ultra long islands are major barriers.

    The pantry looks too large for me. It depends on the area you are in. Midwest that would work. California people would stare as our pantries are 30-36" cabinets due to space limitations and island/open plan is popular.

    bry911 thanked beachem
  • bry911

    Actually, I realized that I was able to reduce the size of the house in my plan, in the original plan the kitchen is 1'4" wider. So it is 15'6" by 18'10"

    Land and houses are both cheap here, but it is a very large pantry even for here. Would it cause you not to buy the house though?

  • kalapointer

    I have a pantry 8' X 20'. There are 26" deep countertops along both the longer walls similar to your design. I would not want the room to be any narrower. If you make your pantry 8' wide that leaves your kitchen only 7' wide. I would ditch the ideas of a walk in pantry and maybe do a wall of pull out pantries instead. You could also include one island.

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  • llucy

    Both options would dissuade *me* from buying the house. Both seem like a major waste of space that could be designed much better.

    There are some very talented people on this forum. If you posted your entire first floor layout with dimensions, I'm sure they could come up with a design that would be good for you AND good for resale. :-)

    bry911 thanked llucy
  • cpartist

    I was trying to allude to what Lucy said

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  • bry911

    Let me clarify, there is not a kitchen design yet. There is a minimum length of 18'10" and a Minimum width of 14'2". The maximum dimensions of the entire kitchen is probably around 28' x 80'. Obviously I am not going to build a 28 by 80 foot kitchen. At some point in the future I will look for help designing a kitchen, at this point I was simply wondering is a double island design significantly more sought after than a large pantry in a galley kitchen. I will not have any counters in the pantry and will use the recomended 16" shelves.

  • beachem

    I don't like either of the setup right now and yes I would not buy either scenarios because it would involve the cost of ripping out everything. The replumbing and electrical would then be a huge cost factor on top of the remodel.

    bry911 thanked beachem
  • llucy

    The giant pantry makes me think of the show "Doomsday Preppers". The long double islands make me think of someone running a catering business out of her home. Since neither apply to most buyers, it is in your interest to consider designs beyond these two.

    bry911 thanked llucy
  • somersetlass

    It's never too early to start bashing ideas around though. Maybe before you go and see a real life kitchen designer, the people on here who give their time and expertise freely and willingly may be able to come up with something spectacular but not wrong. Something you really know straight away is the ' 'one' kind of situation. Then you can enjoy it fully now and if you do sell, it will be a major selling point. We have a large kitchen too. 50' by 22' at narrowest. 24' at widest. Sometimes it isn't easier working with a big space and making best use of it than it is working within the confines of a small space. It's a hard balance getting all the elements in to the small kitchen. A hard balance getting it not to look too empty in a large kitchen or getting it to flow within the bigger space glad mine is nearly all done now. Good luck!

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  • atmoscat

    I think the reason you're not really getting a yes or no answer to your question is because there are too many variables that are unknown. Its possible you could design a really functional kitchen with 2 islands, or a disaster with a big pantry, or the other way around. Hard to say without knowing more about how the whole space fits together.

    That said, I agree with others that with the long, narrow islands and pantry, neither design looks optimal right now. Personally, I would probably prefer a pantry and single island over two islands, but again, it would depend on the whole design.

    bry911 thanked atmoscat
  • bry911

    OK let me ask a different question then, do high end homes require expanses of marble and wood? The kitchen and bath designer I am working with, whose services are included in the architect fee, is pushing me to a more striking kitchen. She said something along the lines of - buyers in this area are going to want a more spectacular kitchen.

    Edit: A little back story - when we bought the lot it was everything we wanted. More than an acre on a lake with water, cable and gas with large but not unreasonable size requirements (2,400 sqft - 1 story, 3,200 - 1.5 and 4k - 2 story). Since we bought the lot the neighborhood exploded, the smallest house is 5k square feet and many are at 8k. My neighbor is one of the best pro football players ever. While we shouldn't care, we do. We don't want to build a tear down. So we are constantly battling this idea of things that work for us but fit into the neighborhood. There are no other lots that approach these.

  • rebunky

    Can you ask any of the neighbors to let you take a peak at their kitchens to give you some ideas of what others have done?

    bry911 thanked rebunky
  • Karenseb

    Are there any houses for sale that you can check online for photos. You can also check some that might have sold in the last year. The photos and prices will give you a good indication of what the homeowners are doing. I know you want to fit in, but I would do what you are comfortable with. Large is not always better.

    bry911 thanked Karenseb
  • allison0704

    I also don't care for either of the two original kitchen ideas, but prefer pantry over two islands. I live in a gated community, estate lots (all 3 acres or more) and have a current pro football player living across the cul-de-sac. Houses for the most part are large. It is a very desirable area, the last house that went on the market (just a week ago) sold in 5 days. Before the housing crises, we had half a dozen builders living here, in their Parade of Homes houses. iow, a bit ornate for my taste. I've been in about half of the houses, and most have islands and walk-in pantries. One of my favorites (besides mine, of course ;) ) has an island, cooking/range wall (door/hallway on either side) and two walls of cabinets, like this - wall on the left:

    Another - you can have a coffee station inside, toaster, small appliances, etc. Concealed fridge/freezer can also go on the wall.

    Some buyers will not buy a house because the kitchen has a double island or island seating (we did not do/want either), but if you have a special kitchen it will appeal to certain buyers. The kitchen designer wants to sell cabinets. It's her job, but it doesn't mean you have to buy into her (somewhat limited) design ideas. For example, our kitchen is an unfitted style English kitchen. Visitors gravitate to the island and run their hand over the antique pine counter. Is my kitchen for everyone? No, but we always get compliments and friends say it is in no way dated at 9yo. Considering our home is an English cottage design, the kitchen is perfect for the house. So as long as your kitchen and house relate to each other, and it is a bit out of the ordinary, you should be fine for resale. My advice is to search Pinterest for kitchens and narrow the search based on your house style.

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  • beachem

    Allison said it well. Prices of houses mostly has to do with location. How the whole house looks make it attractive to buyers. However, if you are in an area where it's very desirable, it doesn't matter much how the house look.

    I would advise you to build what you can afford and what works for you right now. Just avoid crazy, wild designs that appeals to a limited number of buyers (i.e. one). From what you're saying, the buyers for your area will tear everything up no matter what.

    As an example, on my street, we had 3 sales in the last 12 months. In all 3 sales, the new owners tore out all the kitchens which were perfectly fine and were remodeled not too long ago. Here's what two look like and these were completely demolished last month.

    The one below is only one year old because the previous owner completely ripped the house to studs when he bought it in 2014. It has now been demoed.

    These kitchens are 12'X20' or slightly larger.

    Our neighbors are pro players like Kobe Bryant. There are much larger houses in the area but they are in the non-view section. My neighborhood doesn't allow it but in the neighborhood just below the hill, people bought perfectly good houses and tore them all down to build monstrosities that cost $30 million just for construction.

    Keeping up with the Jones is a losing proposition because there will always be someone willing to spend a lot more money than you, whether they can afford it or not.

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  • benjesbride_misses_sophie

    Again, consult a realtor. Do not take real estate advice from a designer who will financially gain if you follow his/her advice.

    There's someone on these forums--maybe on the building a home forum--who built the minimum allowable square footage with a 1.5 story house. They wanted a single level home, so just didn't finish the 2nd floor. I would assume a completely self contained main floor with a potential for a 2nd floor would appeal to many buyers. Something to consider.

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  • rebunky

    Have you considered the open galley layout with a butlers pantry behind it like Aktillery has? Hope she doesn't mind me posting this.. I think it is gorgeous, functional, and looks very high end to me.

  • Oaktown

    >>>when we bought the lot it was everything we wanted

    Is it still everything that you want? Serious question. Or would you want to just take your profit and find another lot in an area where you think your dream home would fit better? What does the rest of your household think?

    Hope you are enjoying the design process.

    bry911 thanked Oaktown
  • lharpie

    Oh weird - that never would have occurred to me but does seem like an awesome solution. That's a beautiful kitchen and keeps the pretty/cooking/entertaining side apart from the coffee/toasting/less pretty stuff. Seems like a great idea (even if the "butler's pantry" looks like a full kitchen to me...haha). a 16" long pantry would otherwise be a turn off for me - seems like there must be something more useful to do than that. I don't have much experience with huge houses though. I'd certainly rather have a large island and a large kitchen table than 2 islands. Beachem's comment aside, unless you live in a really high end area most people I know are not ripping out kitchens like that. I'm in an expensive part of California too but most people around me are stretched pretty thin just trying to afford a small 3/2. My house was cheaper since it had an original kitchen but there was definitely a price premium for ones that were redone nicely.

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  • funkycamper

    Without knowing anything about layout, how the kitchen relates to the house, what other homes are like in the neighborhood, etc., if I had to blindly choose between the two, I'd rather have the big pantry with galley kitchen. Of course, if it was like Atkiller's pantry, who wouldn't? :) Does anyone ever have too much storage? If the entire pantry wasn't needed for food, you could store extra dishes, serving pieces, glassware, seasonal decorations, craft supplies, giftwrap, etc.

    I currently have a sorta galley kitchen (L with an unattached peninsula). And I have a combo laundry/pantry room next door. I love it. This allows me to have a kitchen with no upper cabinets, just a couple open shelves. And big windows!

    Great advice here about checking with realtors and online home sale photos. In the end, I would advise building a home you love and enjoy living in. Unless you're building this for immediate resale. But I've always been a bit opposite of a keeping-up-with-the-Jones-person anyway. I'd probably build a super-humble home just to spite the McMansions around me. Yup, I can be that way.

    bry911 thanked funkycamper
  • bry911

    Is it still everything that you want? Serious question. Or would you want to just take your profit and find another lot in an area where you think your dream home would fit better? - That is a fair question and the answer is not really. My dream house looks something like this

    Maybe a slightly larger version of that plan but a simple cape cod or early colonial "five four and a door" 2 story. I like exterior dentil moulding and simple roof lines.

    On the other hand here is a nearby neighbor's roof -

    The problem being - they kind of quit making land and there is not another lot that even approaches this good. High speed internet is a necessity and these lots were grandfathered in, newer developments are not getting cable. Essentially, if we sell we will have to buy existing, and honestly we live in an area where buying existing is more than building. And not what we wanted.

    edit: I should add that most of my neighbors are really cool people. They will be absolutely fine with anything I build and there is no pressure coming from them at all.

    edit 2: Just to clarify my thinking - I came back to the U.S. to care for my parents, and when we bought the lot we were making plans to stay here forever. However, the seven years I have spent here are the longest time I have spent in one country and the smallest city I have lived in, since college. My parents have both passed away now and wanderlust is starting to hit me pretty hard. I have been offered some additional job responsibilities that would allow my wife and I to travel the world so we are hoping to make that work and stay here and we will definitely be here 5 more years. On the other hand, we are trying to make decisions that will allow us to pick up and head to another country.

  • bry911

    I have been in all but two houses in the neighborhood. I know what people in the neighborhood are doing the problem is not doing what they are doing in such a way that I don't get a black eye. I will be the smallest house and I will certainly be the least expensive house and I don't care about any of those things, but at the same time I don't want to get stuck with the house when I need to sell.

    The kitchen designer I am working with doesn't get a commission or sell any cabinets, she is a designer who works on the architect's team. She is also a licensed appraiser, her advice is well meaning and honest, but she can't seem to understand the difference between cheap and efficient.

    Here is a picture of the kind of idea I am kicking around. A little less modern but this type of thing.

    La Castille · More Info

    The idea of doing it this way lets me upgrade appliances and cabinets because I can make stunning pantry shelves with a few workspaces a lot cheaper and easier than I can make stunning cabinets with marble tops. I think the above design is sufficient to maintain my value assuming the rest of the kitchen is nice.

    BTW - what I am calling an open galley (open concept galley style kitchen) is one wall of cabinets and one island. So to those saying a wall of cabinets and an island that is what I am doing.

  • bry911

    Sorry for firing posts at you machine gun style but I found a much better example of what we want.


    This is very close to the general idea but without the modern touches on the island (also probably change the range and sink).

  • Texas_Gem

    I was going to suggest doing a search for hidden pantry. There are TONS of them and they all appear higher end, at least to me.

    If it were me, that is exactly what I would be doing. A luxe looking smaller kitchen with the big surprise when you open some cabinets and find a whole room behind it. Bonus points if the hidden pantry also has windows.

    It serves as a prep/staging area, plus storage for seasonal serving dishes, etc and allows the open kitchen to remain "pretty".

    I would take that over 2 islands any day of the week.

    Also, just a note, if you happen to be the type, or live in an area where it is common to have a second fridge (always in the garage in my area) make a space for it in the pantry.

    bry911 thanked Texas_Gem
  • lyfia

    If your galley is actually an island and not a galley with a wall that would be my option as shown in the last pictures, but I would completely choose to buy based on how the layout actually used so it is a bit hard to answer without an idea of how it was done. My ideal kitchen in general terms would be easy to cook in with lots of windows and hidden storage such as a pantry where I could put microwave, toaster etc. Sounds like that is where you are going, but without even seeing a sketch of the two layouts it could be completely different from what I'm picturing. I wouldn't want a fully enclosed galley kitchen, but I do like separation and it not be completely open either.

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  • alley2007

    I would chose a big pantry over two islands every day of the week. The pictures you posted to illustrate your ideas look very nice. Why does the kitchen designer think that not having two islands will detract from resale?

    I also built a small house for the area - we tore down an old house that had grown to 4,000 sq ft after several additions over the years and built a 2,800 sq ft house. Most people in the area would have tore down and built a house anywhere from 8,000 - 15,000 sq ft.

    I think Allison and Beachem are right on - a desirable location with a desirable lot will be more important to resale than one or two islands in the kitchen. Might somebody tear out your kitchen or tear down your house? Yes. But they might have done that regardless of what size house or style kitchen you chose.

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  • Meganmca

    So, I, too, would choose not to have the 2-island design--I think the island-galley with the hidden pantry is lovely. If I had all the room in the world, I'd still choose to have 1 aisle for the main cooking area--but I like the island on the 2nd wall. And then on the other wall (if there was one) away from the island, a wall of fairly shallow storage, or storage w/ display shelves or something like that...

    The house: OK, for me, the difference between the 2 pictures you show isn't just about "big"--it's about more integration with the landscape, too. The house in the overhead view seems surrounded by only grass with a couple shrubs or small trees. Is that all you have to work with? No mature trees? Honestly, at that point, I'd differentiate myself by NOT going all-grass, but putting $$ into landscaping instead of house-size. Integrate your design with the landscape--you could have, say, the front you're showing to the street & a huge deck with lake views off the back, gardens flowing down to a dock with boats (it is a real lake? Not a man-made pond?). You'd still be smaller than the neighbors, but so different (at least from that 1 pic!) that it'd be likely valuable to someone. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't want a huge-huge house--all that space to care for, to put furniture in, to keep picked up (presuming that someone else does the vacuuming & scrubbing!), to maintain (whether you are paying a contractor or DIY, it still takes time!). And if you like Cape/Colonial, then go for it! Use the saved $$ to add in all the rich details--trim, built-ins, real wood, the stuff Susan Susanka talks about in the not-so-big house books...

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  • Allison0704

    I really like your dream home. Agree with others that being on the smaller side in the neighborhood is not necessarily a bad thing. I never want to own the most expensive in any neighborhood. The house I mentioned that sold in 5 days is one of the smaller ones.

    I like the examples you've posted. I have toaster etc in our walk in and love it.

    Hope you will post often once you've started firming up plans and building.

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  • bry911

    The roofie (my terrible nickname for that house) I posted is on the adjoining street and is not a lake lot. The lake lots are smaller lots (just over 1 acre). The lake is a man made expansion of a small inlet (I don't think I am using the correct term there, but I hope you get the idea). The houses on the one acre lots are a bit smaller (still way larger than I need) and very eclectic. No modern, as the architecture board on the HOA will not allow that, but everything else is there. Everything from American Gothic, to farmhouse revival and colonials. Certainly the McMansion style homes (someone please tell me what I "should" call them) outnumber everything else but style wise I can fit in OK. I have more wooded area than other homes but it is all new growth and along the rear of the property. I am planning on removing a middle section and leaving about 50' of growth on each side.

    Having lived in many cities where space is a premium I can't fathom working in a kitchen that is incredibly large, plus I actually prefer cooking in smaller kitchens. I will try to post plans in the future, but the designer wants to clean them up before I do.

  • bry911

    I want to take a moment and thank everyone who has posted, or will post, here. I know your time is valuable and I sincerely appreciate you giving some of it to me. I know the frustration I was feeling came through in some of my posts and I hope you will forgive me, it wasn't aimed at anyone here just a peak into my frustration with the entire situation. So again thank you.

  • Oaktown

    I would think your style of house is likely to have more staying power than some of the others, and in a desirable area you probably wouldn't have resale issues -- what does your realtor say? who would be your future buyers?

    5 years is a pretty short time horizon -- realistically wouldn't it be at least a year before you are even in the house?

    Perhaps you will have so much fun with the house and process, you won't want to leave once it is done :-)

    bry911 thanked Oaktown
  • cpartist

    Bry, I like the idea of the hidden pantry a lot. I think it would work brilliantly. As for resale, being the less expensive house on the block isn't such a bad thing in that when it comes time to sell, yours will probably sell more quickly anyway. My mother always taught me to not renovate to be the most expensive on the block.

    Personally, I would make the house the size you feel comfortable with, and instead of making the biggest house with that ridiculous type of roof, I'd spend for more luxurious details inside. Moldings, better appliances, the hidden pantry, a top notch laundry area, a spa master bath, etc.

    Make the house the best layout possible, with the best details you can afford and I think you'll have no problem selling when the time comes.

    bry911 thanked cpartist
  • cpartist

    Also agree with meganmca about landscaping and hardscaping outdoors. Make the house a real paradise to come home to. And a paradise doesn't need to be huge or even big to be wonderful. Make it feel like an oasis and others will want it too.

    bry911 thanked cpartist
  • bry911

    Just as an update I redid the designer's plans and posted them in the Building a Home forum, here is the link.

    I will repost it here as many asked to see it. It is not set in stone by any means and you will notice that I shrunk the pantry and the kitchen is really a blank canvas. I am not sure that I am ready for kitchen design help but since there will be other valuable input I thought I would update it here also.

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