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Please critique my kitchen layout

January 12, 2019

About to undertake a major renovation, part of which includes a relocation and redesign of the kitchen. Seeking thoughts regarding the overall functionality of my proposed layout. Any ideas for improvement (cost efficiency, larger/smaller walkways, different appliance position, etc.)? I'd like to maintain the southern wall (bottom of figure) since it is existing, but am open to shifting the wall if it would improve the design. The northern peninsula wall is not currently existing (proposed half wall except for 24" where the upper corner cabinet is located).

Thinking out loud as I write this ... I will be adding plenty of artificial lighting, but currently the window at the sink is the only natural light within the space. Proposed french doors at the bottom lead to a small office space (7x14) where a sliding door aligns and exits to the rear of the house. Thoughts on whether the interior french doors will help provide sufficient natural light so that an interior window above the fridge could be replaced with a high wall cabinet?

Also, the dining area is open to the living room and chairs are shown as though someone is sitting in them. Gap between dining table edge and peninsula countertop is 38" (24" clearance behind chair). Is that sufficient? Can't really shift the table north without impeding more than I'd like into the living room area.

Other items I didn't point out on the figure:

- Ceilings are 8'

- 9 inches of space between the sink window and upper cabinets

- 39" uppers (if semi-custom)

Thanks, in advance, for your suggestions.

Comments (11)

  • miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)

    I think you will have just as much success with an L shaped kitchen, eliminating the peninsula. Put the fridge on the right hand wall near the dining area, leave the d/w and sink where you show them, and put the stove on the bottom wall.

    If the stove must go on the exterior wall then I would still eliminate the peninsula. I think if you focus on maximizing your pantry storage and base cabs you won't miss the three cabinets you will lose.

    Even with the peninsula your clearances look pretty good to me, but I know I like a tight kitchen. If you don't know that about yourself or resale is a consideration widen the aisles to 48"

  • laralynnie
    Thank you for the suggestions. Placing the stove on the south wall would result in the cook's back facing the living/dining area, so will keep against the east wall. Our thought for the half wall is to provide additional definition between kitchen and dining without sacrificing sight lines.

    Any opinion regarding cabinet over fridge vs open shelf with interior window for natural light?
  • Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally

    Welcome to the Kitchens Forum Laralynnie!

    I'll be honest, it needs improvement. First, though, I'm going to suggest you read through the following links -- they're also found in the "New to Kitchens? Read Me First!" thread.

    For layout help, see the following FAQ thread:

    FAQ: How Do I Ask For Layout Help & What Information Should I Include?

    To understand comments you will receive, please see the Kitchen Design Best Practices FAQ threads:

    FAQ: Kitchen Work Zones, What Are They?

    FAQ: Aisle Widths, Walkways, Seating Overhangs, Work/Landing Space etc

    FAQ: How Do I Plan For Storage?

    Humorous discussion of workflow and other layout topics:

    Looking for layout help? Memorize this first.

  • Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally

    Regarding cooking with your back to others...in reality, the Cooking Zone is the work zone you spend the least amount of time in -- it's the least "used" zone (time & work-wise). The Prep Zone is the work zone that you spend the most time working in and the zone I would want it in the most pleasant place to work.

    • 70% or more of your work and time is spent preparing a meal -- collecting ingredients, washing/rinsing veggies/fruit, combining ingredients, getting everything together b/f putting the food in the oven or on the cooktop/range. This is the "Prep Zone".
    • 10% is spent cooking -- adding ingredients to a pot already on the cooktop/range, stirring, watching food cook). This is the "Cooking Zone".
    • 20% or less is spent cleaning up -- and that includes chores not at the sink like clearing the table and counters, wiping down the table and counters, sweeping, unloading the DW, etc. So, far less than 20% of your time is spent actually standing at the sink while cleaning up. This is the "Cleanup Zone".
  • Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally

    Prep Zone...This is the zone where food preparation takes place. Food prep can be anything from making a sandwich to preparing a multi-course meal. It includes cleaning/rinsing food, cutting, mixing, processing, etc.

    For many people, especially those with small kitchens, their Prep Zone is also their Baking Center for rolling out dough, etc.

    70% or more of the work and time spent in the kitchen is spent prepping. It's the most often used and longest used zone in your kitchen! So, this zone should be placed in the most desirable place – where you will want to work and will enjoy working.


    Cooking Zone...This is the zone where you take the food you've already prepped and apply heat...cooktop, oven, microwave (MW).

    Only 10% of the work and time spent in the kitchen is spent actually cooking. This is the least used Zone, relatively speaking. Think about it, you usually don't spend the entire time standing in front of your oven or cooktop watching your food cook. Sure, there are some things that do have to be stirred constantly, but most things do not. And even then, you usually still spend more time prepping before you begin cooking.

    This is the zone that should be the most protected from traffic, especially traffic that's "just passing through".


    Cleanup Zone...This is the zone where the dirty dishes are handled! Tasks include clearing the table and counters, loading the dishwasher (DW), wiping down the table and counters, sweeping the floor, etc. Since the DW is in this zone, it also includes unloading the DW, so Dish Storage should be nearby – more on this later.

    20% or less of the work and time spent in the kitchen is spent cleaning up – most of which is not spent at the sink (see above).

    [In the past -- pre automatic DWs -- far more time was spent cleaning up because all dishes were done by hand. Today, the majority of dishes are washed in the DW and, with today's DWs & DW detergents, dishes don't even need to be rinsed! So, the amount of time spent in this zone is far less today! BTW, this is where the paradigm of "the sink must be in front of a window" came from – back when so much time was spent hand washing & drying dishes). Today, it makes more sense to have the Prep Zone in front of window or in the most preferred view/location.]



    OK, now we know what the primary zones are. So, how do we design a kitchen keeping them in mind?


    Prep Zone...works best when it contains a water source (sink) and is next to or across an aisle no more than 48" wide or so from the Cooking Zone.

    • Trash & recycle bins should also be in the Prep Zone. More trash and recyclables are generated during prepping and cooking and for much longer work time than cleaning up, so place the trash/recycling in the Prep Zone and near the Cooking Zone.
    • It should have a minimum of 36" of counter space (with at least 42" much, much better) that is next to a sink that is uninterrupted by the Cleanup Zone (dirty dish "storage").
    • If you have only one sink, then the Prep Zone is on the side of the sink opposite from the DW. (The DW side of the sink is the Cleanup Zone in this scenario.)


    Cooking Zone...works best when next to/across from the Prep Zone (see Prep Zone). It's also nice to have a water source as well as trash & recycling nearby. Note that a pot-filler does not count as a water source since pot-fillers do not have a drain, a sink bowl, or access to both hot and cold water.


    Cleanup Zone...works best when separated from the Prep & Cooking Zones. This can be on the opposite side of a one-sink kitchen from the Prep Zone or it could be in a completely separate location (the latter usually only works well if you have two sinks). Obviously, it also needs a water source and the DW.

  • Mid America Mom

    Hi! Love that size space. First thoughts are 3-7 too narrow and the DW should switch with the trash.

  • functionthenlook

    I like the L layout of the kitchen. You have nice counter space on each side of the stove and sink. My island is 42 inches from the fridge and works out just fine. The only thing I would change is to put a bottom dept cabinet above the fridge. It is great for storing sheet pans and platters. My last house had one and I loved it. You will constantly need a ladder to clean the floating shelves above the fridge. I am tall and I even have trouble cleaning the inside of my wall dept cabinet above the fridge with a two step ladder. I like the peninsula, but would eliminate the half wall. The peninsula would make a nice place to lay out a buffet close to the kitchen table. You can never have enough counter or cabinet space as far as I am concerned. Personally I like 4 ft between the table and a structure. Can you turn the table the other way?

  • artistsharonva

    Looks good so far. Here's some more info to help.

    Looks correct on plan, but make sure wall adjacent to fridge is less deep than fridge when fridge is against wall or wide enough fillers for fridge door swing. Give fridge manual to designer, installer, & builder of walls.

    Also, you may want to do diagonal cabinets in corner for easier access compared to blind corners.

  • laralynnie
    Thank you everyone for all the comments, it's been really an eye opening experience. We would really want to make it a 4 foot aisle in the work space area and expand the island for the extra overhang but pushing the island would impede of the main walkway and pantry access ( pantry is only 9'3"x2'8") and would also restrict the light that is coming from the french door on the south side ( any idea to make this work?). We have an office behind that door and major source of light(sunrise to about 4pm) comes through from patio door in the office and through the future indoor french door .We have a different kitchen configuration right now and it seems pretty dark most of the time without any artificial light.
    We heed the motto ice,water,stone ,fire when we planned this and that would explain why things where they are. The dishwasher is placed where it is because I thought it would easier for unloading instead having it all the way across the island. I usually have a small plastic bag that I use the discard any trash when I'm preparing a meal, for ease of use and also for smell control since I tie those of before putting them in the trash. I would look into moving the trash and dw if that configuration is better. It's mostly a 1 cook kitchen right now with occasionally two once in a while (maybe once or twice a month).Its just me, my husband and my almost 2 year old. We have a small extended family (6 ) and when we do gather in the future and don't expect the kitchen to be crowded.
    I know the guides states 1.5 inches to 2 for counter overhang sides ,we have 3 right now, is that going to be a problem?. Thank you again for your insights.
  • laralynnie
    Thank you Buehl for the welcome. You mention that the kitchen needs more work, could you point out what we should work on specifically besides what I've already touch on earlier? Thanks again.
  • laralynnie
    Would look into changing the position of the dining table, husband pretty adamant about wanting a view of the outside that's why its positioned the way it is. The open space above the fridge is to let in more light. I would do away with it if there's a way to make the kitchen brighter.

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