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Ideas on reworking this area of house design?

M R
July 11, 2019
last modified: July 11, 2019

Hello! Long time lurker. Working with an architect on designing our new home. Very happy with his work! I am having an issue with this area of the house design and I’m having a hard time articulating what it is I don’t like about it and I’m stumped as to how to make this area function better. I think part of it is that I dislike the oven being recessed like that, but I also think the bathroom could maybe be reworked. I’m going to continue working with the architect on this area, of course, but I thought I would check for any suggestions on how to possibly improve this one area. Thank you!


Comments (27)

  • cpartist

    We can't unless we also see how the kitchen relates to the other rooms surrounding it. The kitchen and that area don't work in a vacuum. Changing one thing, will affect the surrounding areas.

    Additionally I think the whole layout of the kitchen could be better.

    Right now I see a raised deck. How will you access that and do you intend to barbecue on that deck?

    Plus by pushing the ovens into the closet like that, it will make that corner of the closet almost useless. because there's no way you can fit a shelf and walk into that corner.

    Looks like the linen closet in the bathroom is also a bit tight as you only have a walk space of 2'5". And in the shower, I don't understand the reason for the angled area.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    "Very happy with his work! I am having an issue with this area . . . " is an oxymoron. Get a kitchen designer. The oven should never be located where there is not a place to set a hot dish in the immediate proximity, and have a sink facing an exterior without a window directly above it.

    The layout looks contrived and the problem may extend outside of the red rectangle.

  • M R


    I do plan to bring in a kitchen designer after I know the dimensions of the space. I didn’t notice the lack of a window over sink- that needs changed right away! Attached is lower level.

  • A Fox

    The oven should not be where the open doors would be a hazard to the entrance of a room, and where someone has to walk a long distance through a circulation path to put down a hot pan. Move the oven into the L shaped work areas and you solve a lot of problems there.


    The bathroom layout and all of the walls between the kitchen, bath, and closet are needlessly complicated, and you aren't getting more utility because of it. There are numerous ways to rearrange this in a way that will be more functional and look and feel better. You could get rid of the toilet alcove and put it next to vanity facing the shower. You could do a larger less cave like shower down the left side of the room, put the vanity straight ahead and the toilet facing down over in the upper right corner with a tall linen cabinet in the lower right instead of a closet. Unless you are suing it for cleaning supplies as well, I can't imagine that you will need a ton of linen or toiletries in a bathroom accompanying a study.

    M R thanked A Fox
  • M R

    Yes, I have the same thoughts on the ovens. I am thinking of switching locations of oven and refrigerator, plan on seeking assistance from a kitchen designer after dimensions are set. I definitely want to simplify the bathroom.

  • cpartist

    Why do you want your laundry on a wall out to the backyard?

    Why do you want to walk a long distance to get from the kitchen to the grilling deck? And it's such a convoluted path?

    If that's the mudroom off the garage entry, it won't get used if you have kids. Kids do not go out of their way to put stuff away. Ask me how I know. They'll drop stuff in the kitchen instead.

    Why do you want to walk into your living room without some sort of foyer or entry?

    Why is there so much wasted space behind the work island? You have almost 7' of space behind the seats.

    Why do you want to see a door to the basement stairs in your living/dining room?

    Why do you want to hear a toilet flush when you're in the dining room/kitchen/living room?

    What do you like about this plan that you think it's so good?

    What direction does the rear of the house face and how deep is that covered porch?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    You may be better off having a kitchen designer design you a kitchen, then have your "architect" design a house around it. In fact you may be better off having the kitchen designer design you a house.

    Verify you are working with an architect by using a site for your State similar to this one for North Carolina.

    http://www.membersbase.com/ncbarch/public/lic/searchdb.asp

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    It looks like the study will also be a guest room, based on the murphy bed. So, could its bathroom double as the powder room? You could move it into the pantry space, change to a reach-in closet instead of walk-in, and have plenty of room in the right places to lay out a better kitchen.

  • M R

    Yes, it will double as a guest room and that’s an interesting idea. Thanks for your suggestions. I may ask the architect about that. And yes, I am certain he is an architect and comes recommended from this website. I don’t know how to reply to comments, so to address a couple other questions, the laundry is there because I requested access from backdoor. We live on a farm and bring in a lot of dirt. Main laundry is upstairs. I dont view the space behind seats in kitchen as wasted because that’s the main walkway into the home, but I’m not sure what the architect’s thinking on that matter is. I’d like the be able to move the basement access and hope to be able to, but this was the initial suggestion. This plan is still very much in progress and there are some things I believe need changed (mainly the area I posted about), but overall the architect is meeting my list of needs that I gave him when we started working.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I notice that the dining room is in the space occupied by the stairs. You might draw your furniture to-scale there, and in the living room, to see how it will all fit and if you’ll have room to go upstairs/downstairs without moving chairs,

  • M R

    Thank you! And yes, I did exactly this. I’m going to ask him to rework the portion of the stairs that juts out into the room by shortening that part and lengthening the main rise of the staircase. It does actually fit, but even moving one stair tread would give us more room around the table.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    It’s also that, the dining table is in the middle of every pathway in the house. From left to right, front to back, diagonal, up and down. The only clear path is front door to kitchen, and I’ll bet that is the least-traveled path.

    I wonder if you’d like a second doorway from the study to the left side of the house? Depending on how you use the study, that might be convenient.

    M R thanked bpath Oh Sophie
  • A Fox

    M R, the hall going out to the garage has the same odd misalignment and complexity of the area you are currently looking at. I would recommend switching the location of the pantry and the half bath. and shifting both the front and rear walls of the garage connector 2' into the backyard to straighten out the hallway. You will get a bigger pantry and waste less space by doing this too.

    Then if you add a window to the mudroom along with the window in the half bath, you will have a more appealing front elevation as well.

    If you switch the refrigerator and the oven, the oven will be narrower, allowing you to slide the entrance to the back hall further up. Move the whole garage connector up with it, and then you have the hallway aligned with the passage through the kitchen and can get rid of all of those odd steps.

    M R thanked A Fox
  • Robbin Capers

    Where would you put a hot pan from the oven? Where are your dishes stored? It doesn't look like there's much cabinetry near the dishwasher.

  • M R

    Yes a Fox! I think these changes would go a long way in making that area more of what I was hoping. I’m going to request that change for sure!

    bpath, do you think it’s problematic to have the dining table in that area in general assuming it fits with enough walking space around it? My husband actually mentioned adding a door to the study, and possibly bringing the porch into the alcove of the offset there. Not sure if it’s visible on the plans, but there’s a porch along the front of the house that currently stops at the end of the study, but we may take it around the corner and possibly add a door as well.

    Robbin, as is, I guess the island, but I’m looking at moving the location of the ovens. Dishes will be stored in the drawers along the sink wall. I plan on all drawers in lower cabinetry, except for the corner.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    M R, I do think the dining table there is a problem because you will always be walking around it. Our kitchen table is in a nook that is, unfortunately, in the middle of the doorway into the kitchen from the front hall. There is plenty of room to walk around it, but we find ourselves wanting to move it deeper into the corner during the day just so we have a straight shot to the stairs, and pulling it out only when we are all sitting at it. Every time I think about how to remodel our kitchen and family room area, my number one desire is to remove the table from there.

  • M R

    Interesting. In our current house we have an eat in kitchen with no separate dining area so I’ve never had to deal with that. Where would you put it in these plans?

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Without doing anything to the left side of the house, what if the stairs were a switch-back?




    Make the dining room doors sliders instead of French doors. This way the dining table can move into a space of its own. You lose about 3' of width, I don't know how much space you need for diners (number of people in the house, how often you have company, etc). Anyway, this gives you a start of a good + pattern. (just work on the left side...

    Mind you, this changes the upstairs! Can't really do one floor in isolation, but it's just a thought.

  • M R

    I like that! Like you said, not sure that will work with the upstairs, but its definitely a possibility. Thank you very much for your input!

  • cpartist

    This plan is still very much in progress and there are some things I believe need changed (mainly the area I posted about), but overall the architect is meeting my list of needs that I gave him when we started working.

    I think that's the problem. He's giving you what you're asking for without thinking outside the box. The best architects not only give you what you want but give it to you in a way you didn't know would work better for you, They don't just give you what you ask, but push you to explore other ideas.

    And since it's an architect, I assume you also have plans for the basement, upstairs and have your elevations too?

  • cpartist

    You said you're living on a farm? Why are you building a house that is a boxy shape like this instead of something more rectangular and spread out? And if you're on a farm, why is the front facing east and the rear facing the worst possible direction, west?

  • Cheryl Smith

    There are so many things I don't like about this. Each area works on its own to a point but nothing flows and works together. The door to the back deck through the laundry is not right. Who wants to take their meat for grilling from the kitchen past a half bath through the mudroom and laundry? I want my deck for grilling and outdoor eating with direct access from the kitchen and dining. I also want my laundry close to the bedrooms. The space used for A walk in closet in a combination den guest room could be put to better use unless you are planning for it to be a main floor master at some point. Pocket doors and barn doors don't give the same privacy as a real door. I don't think I'd want the access right behind the entry door. You may be happy with the architect but there are too many not functional things in this design

  • PRO
    RES 3d Sketches

    Its not any one area; its the entire organization of the house. Nothing looks intentional. IMO the grilling deck pushes the plan out of whack and doesn't even have access from the kitchen. A grilling deck can be added later; Get the house organized then look for opportunities for an open deck.

    Sometimes builders use the restricted title "architect" as a generic term to refer to the guy who does their design work. I may be wrong but to me the notes and dimensions on the plan suggest that is the case here.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    The way the grilling deck is located it is better for interrogating suspects.

  • PRO
    RES 3d Sketches

    It seems like a wall behind a kitchen sink would be a good opportunity for a window. Is there something out there you don't want to see?

  • M R

    Absolutely. I’ve already requested that change being made. We are doing windows all across that space.

  • lyfia

    I would have a door from the kitchen out to the deck. This way guests doesn’t have to walk trough the laundry and you don’t have a “mile” long walk from the kitchen/dining to where part of the cooking is done. You have a shared wall from the kitchen to the deck so seems like a no brainer to me.

    I do agree with others though that it looks a bit like all the wants were taken and put into the house, but not considering the house as a whole.

    Are you constrained to the existing shape? I think what you have can be made to work better with some rearranging and shifting of some walls including the grilling deck.

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