New build kitchen decision time, layout please help

Am E
March 15, 2016

I tried valiantly to get ahead of my new build kitchen
decision making, starting months ahead. But now, the foundation of our new house
is in (yay!), and I need to stop going round and round and actually make

I’m having trouble placing all of the appliances I want. (First
world problems are the best, btw)

Cooktop and ovens – I’ve gone round and round. I really wanted a 36” induction cooktop, and
two wall ovens. I was going to put the
wall ovens under the cooktop. They are a bit low if you do that, not ideal, but
maybe acceptable.

Recently, I’ve compromised to a single oven induction range,
and a convection microwave. I picked the freestanding range because the oven is
higher, and I like the knob controls for the cooktop, and their location at the
back. I also want my existing regular countertop
microwave, and my counter top toaster oven. This gets me two microwaves. I know everyone
hates microwaves now, but I love them. We re-heat homemade leftovers all the
time (often using both and oven (toaster or regular) and microwave), and having
that second micro is going to be great. Supposedly the convection micro can
also work as a small second oven (better than the toaster oven).

Appliances to place: induction range, convection micro,
counter top micro, countertop toaster oven

I can be talked back into a separate induction cooktop, wall
oven, and convection micro. (As opposed to the induction range).

So: New build. Timber frame house (have to work around the
posts). Most recent layout I asked to be quoted looks like this:

Here is the 3d rendering I got today:

I don’t like that convection micro location at all. It eats up that counter and landing space next to the fridge, which I really like…

Help? Where can I put that convection micro that’s not too high or two low?

I mostly lurk here and learn, but pop in every now and then. I’ve posted asking for help on my kitchen before, and I’m trying again. I have tried SO HARD to find and pay a professional kitchen designer (I’ve been to….seven? so far.) They are all cabinet sales people, not designers. I’m not getting layout help. So I’m back in here, where there seems to be better information.

Comments (22)

  • Am E

    More useful info: the counter top on the fridge wall is 30" deep. The lower cabinets are spaced out so we don't have to build around the timber posts (in lower right corner, and next to fridge, posts are the box with an X in it). My fridge will be standard depth, but will look like counter depth from the front, since I have an extra 6" of depth. The other three walls are standard.

  • funkycamper

    I'm mainly bumping this for you hoping you'll get more input.

    I don't have a lot to offer but to say that the micro-convection should be at regular upper-counter height, imho. It would be at a height easy to access, unless you're really super short, and give you the landing space you want for items from the fridge.

    Watch the fridge placement. Unless you are getting a true built-in fridge, fridge's need to be set out proud of the cabinetry in order for the doors to swing open all the way. You will need to check the door swing requirements for whatever fridge you will have and pull it out, as needed, to ensure you can access things like any interior drawers and pull them out to get items and for cleaning. It's doubtful your fridge will look as flush as your drawing.

    I'm glad you aren't doing uppers on the window wall. I love the big window. Is this a current window or a new one? If you're installing a new one, consider bringing it down to counter height. This is a fantastic look. If you could do a bit deeper cabinet there, maybe even just 28" deep, it will give your sink some clearance from the window so splashing on it is less likely and that will really increase your prep counter space.

    In fact, if it was me, I would have the sink and range wall deeper at 28-30" deep and keep the fridge wall at closer to normal at 24-25" deep. It will be easier to find items in a less deep pantry and I really think your fridge will end up pulled out from the wall anyway.

    I would eliminate some of the uppers on the range wall. It looks too cabinet heavy to me. And you really want your hood to be 6" wider than your range to have a bigger capture area for grease, odors, steam and smoke to be routed outside. And I know many of us believe that a hood looks better if there is breathing room between it and the cabinets.

    And use more drawers on the bottoms. You get a lot better storage, which holds more, and is more accessible. More drawers will help make up for any storage lost with less uppers on the range wall.

    How many inches from fridge wall to the end of the peninsula? Don't create a bottleneck here by making your entrance too tight. I think mine is 44-45" wide. I'm not home to measure it. I wouldn't want it any less. This allows two people to walk past each other, carrying things in/out at the same time, without having to turn and squeeze past each other, or for someone to have to stop and wait. This is nice when entertaining. I actually wouldn't mind a few more inches.

    Hope some of this helps and that you get more input from some of the real gurus. :)

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  • huango

    My layout is like a short/wider version of yours.


    1. Ditto pulling the DW/Sink/trash cabinets out so countertop = deeper.

    I did that w/ my DW/sink/DW: love all that extra countertop and less splashing on the window.

    2. Pull your upper cabinet out/deeper in the corner/fridge wall: easier to reach for stuff.

    I put my double decker appliance garage there and it houses many small appliances/stuff.

    3. Don't want to have congestion at the end of the peninsula and fridge wall (before my reno, my passageway was only 28"!!!).

    I didn't put an overhang there: don't want anyone sitting there.

    I put a 24" 3-drawer base cabinet facing my fridge wall and that's where my spices, "tupperware" goes.

    4. instead of a blind corner pull-out under the peninsula, I put a 30" cabinet facing out of the kitchen, for not-frequently used items like large platters/crockpot.

    This way, you can center the range on that wall, and be flanked by 2 3-drawer base cabinets, which are much easier to use than blind corner pull-outs.

    You will love those big windows/no uppers on sink wall!

    Good luck.


    Amanda's appliance garage and no seating/overhang at end of peninsula

  • Stan B

    I think you have the basics down so its customizing the details to your preferences. Are there kids in the house and do you want seating at the peninsula? If you do want seating the design is fine. If you are indifferent about seating I'd consider omitting the peninsula and it looks like the cabinets could even extend along the wall further towards the dining room. You won't get that much extra storage with the peninsula and it creates a potential choke point for traffic in and out of the kitchen. If you want a one person kitchen I think you have it; if you want a two person kitchen or want kids in the kitchen with you I'd omit the peninsula.

  • Am E

    Wow, I thought this thread was dead. Some of these layout threads really take off, some don't. (no big deal either way, I just like whatever fresh ideas I can get). Thanks for the input. Let's see...

    Interesting I have two votes for making the window wall deeper. The windows and SIPS exterior are already ordered, so I can't easily make the windows come down to counter height at this point. I did consider it earlier, but did not act in time to change the window and SIPS order, so I think I'll leave it. I'll consider making that wall 30" deep for sure.

    The windows shown in the 3d view the cabinet maker provided aren’t correct. It’s a three section window, all my operable windows are casement. He didn't give me dimensions, so I'm not sure if that window is the correct size. Its about that width,maybe a bit wider. This is his “rough draft” so we could get started, so there are a number of incorrect things,. I will get them all corrected and post a better view, but wanted to make a decision on convection micro placement before asking to make changes.

    Funkycamper – yeah, he shows the fridge totally flush, which since its not a built in type but a std, 33” free standing fridge, it will stick out enough for the doors to clear.

    I’m thinking about putting the convection micro under counter in the peninsula. Under counter is less than ideal, but I don’t like any of the above counter positions. I don’t want it as a wall oven to the left of the fridge either, I’d rather have the pantry space

  • Am E

    Pantry is 30” deep, but I doubt I’ll have shelves that deep. I’ll never find stuff in the back. Its will probably have some sort of u-shape shelving arrangement in there, with maybe 15” deep shelves. I haven't thought through this part yet, it needs to be designed.

    Funkycamper, I hear you about removing uppers on the range wall. I’m just not sure where I would re-locate the stuff. I like having my spices next to the cooktop, that upper on the right is where I think they’ll go. I’m also planning a sort of baking center left of the range. I’m hoping I can design the drawer stack next to the range to hold the pots and pans, and a super susan in the corner to hold my small breadmaker, waffle iron, small appliances, big stockpot, etc.

    I’m putting as many drawer stacks in the bottom as will fit. The sink wall has the sink, dishwasher, and trash pull out, so there isn’t room for a drawer stack.

    I am insisting on no less than 4.5 ft between the end of the peninsula overhang and the pantry. I don’t think the 3d shows this part correctly. Its 4.75 ft clear in my sketch in the top drawing, but if I put my convection micro in the peninsula, I’ll probably increase the peninsula length a few inches.

    Huango, - yes, one of my first changes is to make the uppers on the fridge wall deeper than 12”. I’m not sure how much. Maybe 15”, maybe a little more?

    Huango – I wanted the blind corner pull out in the peninsula corner b/c I think they are neat, but it doesn’t really use that space well. (The little kid in me just thinks it would be fun to use) I agree with you, I am putting a cabinet facing out for some not frequently used items. The cabinet maker said we could dress up the back of the peninsula cabs to make a cab door on that side look nice.

    Stan Z – there are no kids, but I still think I want seating at that peninsula. My MIL has an arrangement like this, and I really like it. If I got rid of it, I could have a U shape layout instead of the G, and I would have room for a wall oven stack, which would solve a number of problems for me (I would go back to the 36” induction cooktop, and then an oven stack with 1 wall oven, and the convection micro. I gave up on this idea b/c I prefer the peninsula with the seating, and the additional counter space.

  • Am E

    Oh...range placement. In my sketch in the top drawing I show some gray dotted lines that cross the kitchen from left to right. Those are ceiling beams. Basically, I centered the exhaust hood, and therefore the range, on those beams. I'm not sure if that's a requirement to have room to run the exhaust vent, or just an aesthetic choice.

  • Am E

    Another question: framed or frameless cabs? cabinet maker says he'll charge about the same. Door style is a 5-piece, recessed panel "shaker" style door on all cabs and drawers. (Full overlay if there are face frames)

    I've read a bit about framed vs frameless. I would think I would prefer frameless, (what is the point of face frames?) but I've never had that, and don't know what I don't know.

    Counter top: I love the look of soapstone. Its either that or quartz. I think I've read every thread in here on soapstone. I'm a little worried I won't be happy "dealing" with it. The soapstone is a bit more $ than the quartz, but not so much that it matters.

    I know I'm moving into style questions (I have so many!), even though I need to get the layout right first. Sorry if I missed any questions in my long posts above. Just ask again.

  • Buehl

    OK, I worked a bit on your layout and produced one with only a few tweaks and on that eliminates the peninsula. One thing I did in both was change the wall of pantry cabinets to a reach-in/step-in pantry. Reach-in/step-in/walk-in pantries are more useful and flexible than pantry cabinets - plus they cost much less! In addition, it breaks up the large expanse of cabinet doors.

    Forgot to label the 9" - it could be either a 9" cabinet for cutting boards (then I'd make it 27" deep along with the other cabs) or a 9" filler pullout.

    Layout #1 - mostly just a few tweaks


    Zone Map (applies to both #1 & #2)


    Layout # 2 - this is the one with more changes. Note that it also has a "Tea/Coffee Center"


    Am E thanked Buehl
  • Am E

    Wow, thanks beuhl!

    What software do you use? I could eat up an entire rainy weekend if I could make layout drawings with that much detail more easily.

    Let's see, initial thoughts: that's more or less how I had imagined the pantry would be laid out. I like the cab style pantry look, but function takes priority for me more often than not (I like to think). I have a number of specific items I intend to design into it, including spots for some specific boxes, FIFO can storage, and perhaps my handheld vac/mount/charger, etc. I realize that's neither here nor there for your purposes however.

    I'm keeping the peninsula, even with the drawbacks. Its my preferred trade-off, even though it means giving up wall height ovens. I just don't have enough width for in island, and I know I will want the seating at that peninsula.

    I should have provided more detail about this convection micro I can't place. Its a beast that's 24.7" W X 19" D x 19" T, and supposedly needs 21" depth clearance for cooling. I intend to buy this Sharp R-930CS:

    I really like the note about the tea/coffee center. I'm a tea addict, coffee is only for guests, but I have been thinking about how I will make tea in my new kitchen. Its important!

  • Buehl

    Lol! It's just Microsoft's PowerPoint. I created a "template" presentation by downloading graph paper and making various sizes of each major item. If you have PPT and want it, I'll email it to you. Send me an email at EverCurious2009 at (Anyone else who wants it - email me as well!)

  • Buehl

    Oh, and I'm with you on the tea/coffee preferences - I drink tea (or hot chocolate) - I don't like coffee - that's why I always call it a "tea/coffee center" instead of "coffee center" or "coffee/tea center"! Tea first! :-)

  • Buehl

    Let me think some more.

    Does that wall go all the way up to the top post (behind/above the seats)?

  • Am E

    Ha!, trying to do dimensionally correct drawings in powerpoint is not something I had considered, but it works! Especially if you are already set up for it. Its much more useful than my sketch. I really appreciate the time you spent.

    Also, yes, tea and hot chocolate. I would drink hot chocolate on every day below 70°F if I could get away with it. Alas, its better to reserve it for an occasional treat:) Oddly I love the smell of coffee, just not the taste.

  • Am E

    There is no wall behind the seats, its open to the small dining area. That post is a free standing post (not connected to any wall), between the kitchen/dining and living rooms. (That top left most post.).

  • Am E

    more of the first floor:

    there is a screen porch, which I am really looking forward to, beyond (above) the dining area. (ignore the living/great room furniture layout, not our stuff. There is a woodstove in the lower left corner of that room)

  • Buehl

    Darn! So much for my island plan! (It needs the wall to go up to that post!)

    Would you consider extending the wall to that post? It would hide the Mudroom "mess" from the rest of the house (except the DR).

  • Am E

    No, I think extending that wall would really cramp circulation space. If I've got it measured correctly there's only 4.5 ft between the edge of the counter and that post as it is. I think it would be unacceptably awkward to make traffic go around the end of that wall if it were extended. (Also, we wanted 1 freestanding post somewhere in the design of our home, but that's just a silly personal choice, not a requirement for any real reason.) Also, I think the interior views re better to be able to come into the house and see through to the stairs.

    That range wall is an interior wall, and can move, or be mostly removed. (Obviously the post, however, can not).

    The other side of that wall is the main front entry. The closets/bench will not be built as drawn. (The upper closet will go, and probably the lower closet will be a bit larger) I want a closet in the entry, and I need at least a little of that lower closet, because I have to hide some HVAC ductwork to the upstairs in a couple of places, and that's one of them.

  • Am E

    I really considered for a long time adding 2 ft to the house to make the kitchen 16 ft wide instead of 14 ft, but ultimately we decided against that. The whole house ended up a little over 2500 sq ft, which is already larger than our original goal. I tried not to get too hung up on square footage and just focused on getting the utility we wanted, but we are on principle opposed to a house any larger than this for our purposes/needs/budget, etc.

  • benjesbride_misses_sophie

    am_e: I've been daydreaming about building a timber frame home someday and I'm really interested in how your house is coming along.

    If your build is underway, it would be great to see a few pics over on the progress thread in the Building a Home Forum HERE

    Others: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN OLD THREAD. Kitchen comments are probably not needed.

  • cpartist

    benjesbride, my favorite house style is craftsman. My second favorite is shingle style and my third favorite is a timber frame! If we ever find a summer place in the mountains, I'd want it to be a timber frame.

  • Am E

    Ha, kitchen comments are always needed! :)

    Benjesbride, our build is going well, if more slowly than I'd like (of course). The roof was completed last week, we are just about dried in. I've lurked on the home build thread sporadically in the past, but maybe I'll join in. I've really enjoyed watching the other builds, even if I mostly skim and just check out the photos:)

    I do keep a personal blog for family and friends, and the house build is on there: (click on the house 2.0 category for all the house build specific posts). Lots of pics there.

    cpartist - my idea of paradise is a timber frame house/cottage in the mountains on a lake. I don't have the lake, but I have land, I have views of some mountains (as good as its gets in my area without actually moving closer to the mountains, which is not an option), and I'm getting the timber frame. I'm calling it plenty close enough:)

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