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Talk me into a peninsula instead of an island (or vice versa)! Ahhhh

April 8, 2018

I've given this waaaaay too much thought and drawn this layout way too many times. We are at the point where I'm kinda holding things up. We are already on course toward an island (with no overhang for seating, just to be clear.) This layout gives unimpeded access between sink, stove, and fridge. And I'm happy with the clearances of 42" on DW side and 39" on outer walkway, so please don't tell me it needs to be 48" or greater. It is duly noted ;)

Nonetheless, I do see the appeal of the workspace being totally open, as in the peninsula design. The peninsula downsides would be it gives me less overall lower cabinet storage space, and I did have plans for what to store there (though I can rethink and reorganize.) And it makes the upper cabinet to the left of dishwasher much harder for a petite person like me to reach. That's where I was intending to store water glasses. We also have a bay window nook right there, which means seating at the peninsula wouldn't work. And no, we can't remove the nook lol.

We're a family of 5 and I cook a lot. My kids help me with baking at times, but no one else really does any cooking.

So here's the proposed island layout.

And a rendering from the cabinet people. Note: there will be NO overhang. I've decided against that. So it will end even with the countertop on the dishwasher wall.

This is a pic of the nook, since you can't see it on the drawings.

This is kind of what I'm envisioning the space will look like, very very similar to this layout anyway.

Country Kitchen · More Info

And here's the peninsula option

which I'm envisioning would be similar to this in terms of layout

House on Pine Ridge · More Info

So, this is my last hurrah of trying to decide! Any feedback?

Comments (42)

  • erinsean

    I think I would go for the island...But my question would be do you have to walk around your island if you go from the sink to the fridge? Think of your traffic work steps. If you go with the peninsula, you will have more open concept but your kitchen will be divided from your nook..... Not much help, am I?

  • iheartsix
    Hmmm - this is tough. I would say considering the fact your island will not be used for any seating that you do the design that gives you more bang for storage as well as visual beauty.
  • mshutterbug
    Thanks erinsean! I can get to the fridge without going around island. I could push/shrink island a bit to widen the clearance between cooktop and island even more, but I think getting to mid-fridge where the doors open is most important, and I have that. Yes, you make a really good point about the peninsula blocking nook from kitchen. On the other hand, the kids could get to the area to grab a snack easily. I know once it’s done I won’t look back. It will just become our usual. It’s just so hard to decide though lol
  • mshutterbug
    ...but they’d have the same access with the island design too.
    iheartsix - So maybe I really should stick with island. It gives me the most storage, and I think it looks nice :)
  • palimpsest

    What function does the island have in addition to additional storage.

  • mshutterbug
    palimpsest - I like to do prep at the island. Something about having nothing above my head or in front of me :) And we like to set out food kinda buffet style.
  • athomeeileen
    I have back to back 24” drawer bases and 12” cupboards on my peninsula. So it’s nice and deep like an island with a ton of storage. I have a short 9” overhang with small bar stools. Not sure if that would work for you but I’m happy with it.
  • Louise Martin

    I tossed between both myself. I decided on the peninsula. The island doesn't usually allow enough room for someone to pass behind you when you are there. Also, the peninsula gives you more of a "this is my space" feeling. When I'm in the kitchen, I don't want others in my space. I want to move freely from one area to another. I believe both the island and peninsula five the same storage space. Good luck!

  • mshutterbug

    That sounds great athomeeileen! That sounds like a great setup! Unfortunately I only have 30" between the dishwasher and the edge of the wall there. We can't move the sink any further if we want it centered under the window (which I do.)

    Louise Martin - it really is a tough call, isn't it?! The peninsula elminates a couple of useful cabinets because the space in the corner isn't accessible, and the space just to the left can only be used for stuff that doesn't need to go in the dishwasher (or it would be a hassle to try to put it away since the door will open right in front of that space.) It is tough!

  • Abby Morgan
    I had a 3x7' peninsula with seating and we used it for EVERYTHING. I highly recommend putting seating on it. I loved my u-shaped kitchen as well. It was highly efficient.
  • mshutterbug

    Thanks Abby Morgan! Unfortunately the deepest I can make the peninsula is 30" as the dishwasher and sink are along that wall. And I can't bring it out any further the other way because of the nook. It's a tricky one!

  • Mary Ellen
    I have an island ( no seating ) that is 36" on one side and even less on the other. Fridge is on opposite side to sink. I have no trouble walking from fridge to sink, and love the extra prep area. I bought this house before my introduction to Houzz so measuring the space never occurred to me.
  • palimpsest

    We had an island with no seating that was 27" deep. It was plenty deep for function. If you prep there what about a sink?

  • mshutterbug
    Sink is right across the aisle. If I’m washing and chopping I suppose I’d do it over at the counter to the left of sink. But any baking types things I’d likely do at the island...
  • lisa_a

    And because you need more options to consider.... =)

    I'm not saying it's a better scenario for you. It's just different than what you've posted above so this possibility may not have occurred to you. I'm suggesting it not because it gives you wider aisles (if narrower works for you, go for it) but because it gives you more room around your nook table. That's why I'm throwing the idea out there (and hoping you don't throw it back at me, lol).

    Anyhoo, I found it very helpful to look at all options, no matter how crazy, because then I knew that I had left no stone unturned in the process. Or pot covered since this is a kitchen remodel.

  • mshutterbug
    lisa_a - I’ve had so many layouts suggested, but I don’t think anyone has suggested that! This is such a departure from what I’ve been thinking, and I’m trying to wrap my brain around how it would work/look. My husband and our contractor might lose it if I show them this lol! (Not really, but you know haha)
    I’m not a big fan of main sink being in island and I prefer being able to look out the window when I am at the sink. But this is highly creative!!
  • mshutterbug
    I’m completely fascinated by this idea! But I still can’t quite wrap my head around how it would look. I don’t think there’d be room though for nook table... it kind of goes out where the current cabinets are, if that makes sense. Trying to find pic but this is best one I can find. Hopefully this makes sense. So in this layout it would be in that walkway. Of course if we did opt for seating at that Long Island a nook table might be less useful...except this puts everyone in a long row instead of interacting around the table. I do like how the oven and cooktop aren’t in any traffic paths in this layout though. So intriguing!
  • mshutterbug
    Oops forgot pic.
  • lisa_a

    You're welcome!

    As I wrote, it may not be better, it's just different. Mull it over and toss it out if it doesn't work. Won't hurt my feelings. =)

    Two more ideas.

    One adds the peninsula to the fridge side. You get a larger U area but the stretch of counter isn't exactly convenient to the cook top.

    Here's the other.

    The plus with this one is that you get to prep facing the window instead of the wall. Plus it's easier to set and clear the DR table. I wouldn't add counter seating to this one.

    I wasn't sure if the snack area was a must have or because you were adding cabinets to the right of the ovens/fridge and needed to give them a purpose.

    If any more crazy ideas come to me (hahahohohehe), I'll post them for you.

  • mshutterbug
    You are evil lisa_a. lol!! JK Now I’m obsessing about this layout. I still can’t quiiiite wrap my brain around it, and that means I’ll probably have to fight with the IKEA software to try to come up with a rendering because I haven’t figured out any other layout software. I’m a photographer, not a software engineer rofl.

    I’m trying to figure out where would my microwave drawer go in your layout. Where would I put my command center (aka keys, charging station for our gazillion devices, and a little area for papers to be stored out of sight....papers needing to be dealt with I mean, not stored long term.) Where do I put our toasters? (Yes, we have more than one because 2 of my kids are gluten intolerant so one toaster is strictly gluten free.) My thought was as you walk in from the garage or foyer that first cabinet would be perfect spot to hide keys etc. Then that counter could be a “make a snack or lunch” spot. I know everyone will say “but there’s no prep sink!” But I’d actually rather they have to take dishes to one sink rather than pile them in a second sink. And that area would be more assembling a lunch or prepping an easy grab and go snack vs heavy duty wash and chop and cook kinda prep. So yeah, I’m trying to visualize where all that stuff would go and how it would all flow. (My 4 year old would compliment my rhyming at this point :D
  • mshutterbug
    Ok so the reverse L was suggested and I decided I didn’t like how it kinda blocks off the entry and the family room. Like this...
    The other one, I don’t know if it works. One thing that may not be clear is the space where the oven etc is can’t be pushed back because the stairs are there. The fridge can only go in what was formerly the walk in pantry. In the intriguing layout where you eliminated the sink wall cabinets it would work because there’s still enough clearance. But if I tried to put it on that wall and keep the sink wall cabinets it makes the aisles too narrow. Hopefully you’re following me lol!
  • Jessica
    The island has the best flow, just easier access Toto get to everything in your kitchen. We have a peninsula in our kitchen due to space restrictions, but you have adequate space. On both sides of your island. I would chose the island 100%.
  • lisa_a

    bwahahaha. =)

    You could tuck a command center in the end pantry, similar to this:

    Chilliwack Central · More Info

    or this:

    Mixed Materials Make New Traditional Impact · More Info

    That would mean making up the lost pantry storage elsewhere but there is a long stretch of counter between wall ovens and corner.

    I'd put toasters in the same area as bread and butter so that would mean that stretch of counter between wall ovens and corner. That said, you could also put them near the clean-up sink. (btw, I'm also gluten intolerant but so far, I haven't resorted to a separate toaster because I don't have room for another one. Plus I rarely eat toast.)

    MW drawer could go in the island across from the fridge.

    I don't think you need a prep sink in your island plan but in this one, absolutely. Otherwise, you'd be circling the island to go from fridge to sink to cook top. You'd get your steps in .... =)

    Not sure that solves all your "what abouts" but hopefully it helps you answer a few of them as you puzzle over it some more.

    Thought I had another idea but it fizzled out.

  • lisa_a

    Oops, didn't know you were eliminating the walk-in pantry and using that space for a standard sized fridge.

    One of the KDs I interviewed tried to talk me into giving up my walk-in pantry. Over my dead body, lol! It stores so much that I'd never be able to make it up in cabinetry. My kitchen isn't as large as yours.

  • mshutterbug
    I should have been more clear, but I thought I was past the major layout changes phase :D I’ve been reading these boards long enough I should know better! I swear it always reminds me of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book lol!

    I agree about walk-in pantry, but it was between a walk-in and a full-depth fridge. Fridge won. Counter depth just wasn’t big enough for us.

    Ok so the new and fascinating layout you came up with will only provide more pathway with a 42” wide island if I put the fridge on the short wall. I actually think the fridge makes more sense on the long wall. Coming in with groceries it’s easier to get to. Getting ice water from family room, it’s closer. Now it could still work, but the aisles would be reduced to a houzz-cringeworthy 41”. Shrinking the island width could increase that obviously. Dropping it down to 36” for example puts us at almost 4 feet on one side. I really don’t like more than 42” between sink and cooktop so I’d make that side the smaller side.

    Anyway here’s what I came up with and I’m basically no closer to a decision lol!! Helllllp me! Send reinforcements!
  • lisa_a

    Here you go, sustenance to get you through this. (It will be worth all the angst in the end.)

  • athomeeileen

    It's probably been mentioned but will you have enough space to stand in front of the open ovens with the island in that spot? Especially if you're bending over to get something heavy from the bottom oven? Just a thought.

  • mshutterbug
    Thanks lisa_a! That could get me through a couple of remodels lol!!

    That’s a very good question athomeeileen! I think it will be. In my last kitchen I had 41 or 42” on the dishwasher side (picture attached for clarity - I really miss my old kitchen lol!!), which was also near the ovens. I never had a problem with getting things out of ovens. But this is slightly tighter so.... let’s hope!

    And because I’m a glutton for punishment I tried drawing up the Lisa design with the fridge on the long wall and shrinking the island. Doesn’t buy me much, but it does put everything on one side, which is preferable. I just don’t know if it buys enough to make the huge change in plans. And there are still some drawbacks. If only I had unlimited space and funds :D
  • mshutterbug
    Ok I think I have to nix the move the door idea... I briefly really liked it! I like how it would widen the aisles a bit, and it put the major cooking activities out of main traffic area. And there’d be no problem getting things out of oven since the front is clear in both options. But I don’t gain much/if any aisle if the fridge is on the long wall (because it’s a full depth fridge.) And I would have to split the full height cabinets, which would be tricky on the corner. On the other one I’m not sure it’s super efficient? And there’s that weird corner to deal with, where the double oven meets the cooktop side. Somehow you’d have to make the upper cabinets on that wall meet up with the corner. I don’t even find many examples, but here are a couple. So anywho thanks for the ideas! My brain is tired now lol! Somehow I need to just decide everything so we can order the cabinets and actually move forward!
  • mshutterbug
    I’m having a sudden inspiration...stay tuned! :D
  • Kathi Steele

    If you eliminate the island, when you take something out of the refrigerator, where will you set it?

  • mshutterbug
    Kathi - yep that’s just one more reason I like the island. So my sudden inspiration may be less brilliant than I thought. Showed hubby and he just saw the dollar signs involved in moving the plumbing and the structural work of moving the door. Someone else mentioned doing a one wall kitchen and Lisa’s idea brought it back to mind... I could configure the fridge wall exactly as planned currently, except changing the layout past the ovens, by adding the cooktop. And I’d have room for a big island. Not entirely sure where I’d put my toaster garage, or my blender and kettle and mixer. The latter 3 would fit to the left of cooktop, which is where they are currently. But the toaster garage, not sure. So maybe it’s not as brilliant as I thought lol! But it was a fun exercise anyway :D Any final thoughts??
  • Kathi Steele

    I am not a fan of moving kitchen cabinets to the middle of the room and have a wall left untouched!! I like more room in the middle and the cabinets on the periphery. Personal preference.

  • lisa_a

    I think you lose too much storage and counter in your last idea. But definitely worth exploring. As I wrote above, the more you consider all ideas, the more likely it is that you'll have no regrets, wish-I-hadda moments when your remodel is complete.

    Sounds like you gave up the idea of moving DR doorway etc - perfectly understandable - but should you ever need ideas for how to use a corner next to wall ovens, here you go:

    This is GWer Huango's lovely kitchen.

    Someone (wish I could remember who so I could credit him/her) included it in a collage of wall ovens next to corners.

  • mshutterbug
    Some very interesting ideas! The ones next to a window wouldn’t apply just due to the need for uppers where the window is. But some of the others sure would!
    Yeah, I have lost count of the layout ideas I’ve explored lol!! Thanks for talking it through with me you guys! I’m leaning toward just sticking with the original island plan. But gosh there really are pros/cons to all the ideas!
  • Claire Larece

    mshutterbug, great ideas that has you going around in circles but clearly the island is best for you....why for one your nook is too small for a peninsula....there is no way you can add a dining and second with the peninsula at the other side of wall closes off your kitchen which, I'm sure you rather have it open.

  • lhutch13
    Let me throw another idea out there. Do you use your dining room. My layout is very similar to yours and we never used our dining room. It’s wasted space. So I knocked down the wall between the living and dining room, and extended the island, and made it a T shape with seating. Best decision I’ve ever made. Gave me so much additional storage room, and we utilize all rooms in the house now.
  • Claire Larece

    lhutch13 can you show us a pic of your kitchen

  • mshutterbug
    Thanks Claire! Yes I’m like a puppy chasing her tail lol! I think it’s been really helpful to consider all these ideas, but ultimately I agree with what you’re saying as to why the island makes the most sense.

    lhutch13 - thanks! someone else suggested that and I explored it, but the windows go really low to the floor so the cabinet/ countertop can’t be extended. And I actually love my dining table :)
  • lhutch13

    Give me a minute to get photos. I am getting my carpets cleaned this morning so all my stuff is in the kitchen!

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    I've never had an island kitchen but I know the obstruction in the middle would drive me crazy. I've had at least two kitchens with peninsulas and I love the freedom of movement and having lots of unobstructed and continued counter space, but there are only two of us. I'm sure you'll come up with the best plan; no one knows your situation as well as you do, and if islands don't bother you, then why not?

  • justlol

    mshutterbug- What did you finally decide on? Island or peninsula? Getting ready to renovate our kitchen and am having a hard time deciding which way to go myself. Just thought you might have some valuable insight. Thanks

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