Building a new house- kitchen Design dilemma!

Ashley Bowman
July 18, 2019

I just received a rough draft of our new house we are going to build. it will be a custom home but there are some things I want to tweak. Please take a look at my kitchen and pantry area and tell me if this could be worked better....

Comments (41)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Many things are an issue or sure in this layout. A butlers pntry is a spce between the kitche and the DR it usually has dishware , glassware used in the DR for entertaining it can have other items like a toaster, blender sink wine fridge but it needs to be connected to the DR. Walk in pantries IMO are a waste of space and when outside the kitchen area are useless. If you would have to actually go through the “BP” to get to the actual pantry is an awful lots of walking for no reason. Stoves are best put on outside walls where venting can be as short and direct as possible. Your DR is small and not in proportion to the amount of space given to pantries. I would suggest you get an actual kitchen designer not a cabinet salesperson or your architect .I am pretty sure this could be an awesome space but not this. Waht was your reasoning behind that butlers pantry maybe we need more info.

  • auntthelma

    I wonder if the door to the outside should be in the dining room instead of the kitchen. Kitchen doors are often in the way. By removing this one, you get more counter space and work area.

    Why the double pantry? It almost looks like a show kitchen and a Work kitchen. I love the amount of space.

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  • lyfia

    Think through how you work in the kitchen. Your prep sink has very little space next to it to work so in this case you have to take stuff out of the fridge then rinse and move to the island to work and then move over to the stove. Need to rinse your hands because you got messy turn around and rinse, or rinse of cutting board before next thing. Turn around. There is lots of steps to move things between spaces in this kitchen and not very efficient. It also appears the stove is in a walking path to get to other areas and the steps from the stove to drain for example a pot of pasta is pretty far. The layout could do much better, but I think you need to express what you wish to get out of the kitchen to get some help that fits with what your thinking is vs. us just giving you the best layout in general since based on how it is setup it seems like you have some specific ideas.

  • sheepla

    I happen to like your butler's pantry/pantry layout but your stove is in a very odd place. I think the suggestion above about moving the door from the kitchen to the dining room is a good one. Then you could switch the stove and fridge and have a landing spot to the left of the stove.

  • chiflipper

    Make sure you are working with an Architect (NOT a draftsman). After determining the amount of space and dimensions allocated to the dining /kitchen / pantry / butler's pantry seek out a Certified Kitchen Designer. Your current layout is very poor.

  • PRO

    More than just the kitchen needs fixing here. You might post the entire plan.

    Tell us about your building site, and about the designer.

    Consider the living room is a large hallway.

  • Shannon_WI

    I do not understand why you need a Butler's Pantry and a Pantry. Other than people (and realtors) like to say that the house has a Butler's Pantry. So, real life example, if you store e.g. canned goods in the Pantry (not the Butler's Pantry), you have to walk from the kitchen through the Butler's Pantry, to the Pantry, to retrieve a can of tomatoes or the like? I'd rather have a bigger kitchen and just incorporate storage in the kitchen itself. I'd give up one of those pantries in favor of a better kitchen.

    Imagine it's Thanksgiving, and you are eating at the dining table. Oops, you need more glasses (as often happens), or another knife, or a serving ladle. You trek to the Butler's Pantry to get them?

    Why is the sink in the Butler's Pantry so much bigger than the sink in the kitchen?

    How will you exhaust the range? Please do not say you are installing a recirculating hood.

  • cpartist

    Your butler's pantry/pantry is larger than your whole kitchen! Not good.

    Why are there no windows in the kitchen? Like PPF said, more than the kitchen needs fixing.

    One thing I like to show is how much space is wasted with pathways and just plain unusable space. Yes in this living room I cut a path right in front of the tv wall or whatever will go there. Why? Because it's the shortest path from the bedrooms to the outdoors and people are lazy and take the path of least resistance.

    also I'm guessing from just what you posted that the interior of your house will be quite dark with little natural light. And that roof looks like it might be a mess in terms of future problems.

    Is this a builder's house or one you found?

  • catlady999

    auntthelma - kitchen doorway leads to another part of the house, not outside. It's hard to see because that part is not fully shown.


  • Shannon_WI

    Cpartist - just for my education, how can you tell that "roof looks like it might be a mess in terms of future problems" from that drawing? Not challenging you, I just want to know how to spot things like that.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Have you laid out imaginary furniture in the living room? I don’t see a good way for that to work.

    The area to the left of the kitchen is the laundry, garage, and master bedroom, right? So your master bedroom is among all the hard-working, sources-of-mess, parts of the house, and you walk smack into the working area of the kitchen in the morning. Stop and consider that for a moment. That’s okay? Okay.

  • Ashley Bowman

    Well we found a plan online and took it to our builder for them to tweak. I like the idea of butler pantry but I think this one is too big. The original plan had a smaller one. I mainly want the butler pantry to hold my bigger appliances (i.e. stand mixer, coffee maker, instapot...etc). In the kitchen I was thinking of puting the sink in the island and the stove where the sink is.... I do like the idea of moving the door.

  • damiarain

    For the appliances in the pantry, would you work in the pantry or would you carry them back out to the kitchen to use?

    If the first, I think I would instead incorporate the whole space in the kitchen but have smart storage (to decrease the visual clutter of the small appliances) b/c it would bum me out to be in a small, dark, cut-off space every time I want to make cookies or something.

    If the second, I would also incorporate the space into the kitchen and again do smart storage so you’re not required to haul things to and fro.

  • Ashley Bowman

    This is the original plan design. However we need the formal dining room to be an office for my husband and so we would close that opening and put cabinets on that side of the butler pantry as well.

  • cpartist

    Post your full floor plan. I have a feeling it will need more than tweaks.

    Cpartist - just for my education, how can you tell that "roof looks like it might be a mess in terms of future problems" from that drawing? Not challenging you, I just want to know how to spot things like that.

    Because it appears the house is more than 2 rooms deep both in length and width which means the OP will wind up with one of those big overblown roofs. Those roofs are harder to maintain. Plus I was looking at the dotted lines which are showing the actual roof lines.

  • cpartist

    How big is your property? Please tell me it's a small infill lot and not on acreage.

    Do you ever entertain because then a 10'8" x 11' eating area will not be big enough.

  • Ashley Bowman

    We have 5 acres and will have a full walkout basement.I have already started tweaking the master bathroom, closet and laundry room. I believe I have those figured out.

  • damiarain

    Upon entering via the garage, where will you put your coats and shoes? How will you vent the dryer? how will you vent the vent hood over the range?

  • Ashley Bowman

    This is just a rough draft.... they want us to look at it and see if they are heading in the right direction.

  • cpartist

    What direction does the front of the house face?

  • cpartist

    Have you considered working with an actual architect to design a house that will actually work for you and your family? And will work with your five acres?

  • damiarain

    Ok, and do you feel this is heading in the right direction? How is it addressing your ‘wants’ that you shared with them? Obvs an office (does it need to be at the front of the house?), other elements?

    sorry if I missed it, Which direction is north?

  • Ashley Bowman

    It will face south. I feel like it is heading in the right direction but with some obvious changes that need to be made. We don't want a huge house... around 2000-2100 sq feet (not including the basement). We only have 2 children and we only wanted a 1 story home.

  • cpartist

    So the rooms that will get the best light for passive solar heating.cooling will be the office, the garage, the pantry and the one bedroom. The rest of the house will be dark. Especially those rooms in the back. The good thing is the garage is on the west side. That actually is a positive.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Will the kids usually come and go to school through the garage or through the front door?

  • damiarain

    This post might be worth reading - get you thinking about what kinds of spaces you want, how you want those spaces to relate to one another and to the whole house and to the lot... instead of making random tweaks to an existing floor plan in isolation to how you live and where you live. Picturing how your kids will leave/enter the house before/after school, the path from car to pantry with groceries, do you want laundry by your room or the kids rooms, which windows will have views, etc etc are only things you can answer....

    A 2000-2100 sq ft house is a reasonable size and should be more than large enough for your family, but using that space thoughtfully is how you gain the best functionality from the space. Given that you have a large plot of land to build on, it makes sense to create a house that fits it (vs could fit into any of a 100 different neighborhoods of production houses)

  • catlady999

    Switch fridge and sink areas. Always more convenient to have fridge access closer to eating.

  • cpartist

    Here to show you what I mean is how the light will enter your house. The white areas are the areas where no light will penetrate and will be dark. Notice that's the majority of the house? Why is that happening?

    Because the best designed houses are only 1 -2 rooms deep and are designed so the public rooms and bedrooms can have windows on at least two walls. Notice that the only rooms you could possibly add second windows on a second wall are the two bedrooms on the right?

    Additionally the best houses have an organizing principle to them. What i like to call an organizing spine. This one doesn't.

    Here is the full house with the pathways and wasted space. The worst offender is the living room.

    I hope you realize the longest table you can fit in the dining area is one that is 6' long because you need 3' behind the table to get in and out.

    Why does the master bath get a corner but not the master bedroom?

    Why does the master closet get an outside wall but the laundry will have a long way to vent it anywhere safely, if it can even be done. (Hint: venting out the roof is not safe)

    Anyone coming in from the mudroom/garage will come right past someone cooking at the stove, Very unsafe.

    You have more space devoted to storage of food stuff than you do to actual cooking or living in the kitchen/dining area.

    The master bedroom shares a wall with the dining room. I hope as the kids grow up they don't decide to have late night snacks when you're trying to sleep.

    The best part of the house is the kids wing. Smart to have a single bath with using the closets to block noise from the bathroom! But let them have windows on 2 walls.

    You are on 5 acres. You could have a much better house where every single public room has windows on two walls and where your laundry is on an outside wall.

    You could have your garage not the first thing you see as you drive up but still have it attached to the house for those snowy or rainy days.

    You could have a better sized dining area.

    You could have a better laid out kitchen/pantry.

    You could have a living room where so much of the space isn't taken up with pathways to other rooms.

    You could design a house that still faces to the south but where the main rooms get light from the south.

    However you will not find that by looking at internet plans and then having a draftsman tweak a plan. It will require you finding a person of design talent to work with you and your property to get you the best possible house. That can be done by finding someone in your area or by working remotely with an architect here.

  • cpartist

    This house that you are tweaking is one you'll have to adapt yourselves to. Instead create a house that adapts to how you and your family live.

  • chispa

    I think the "fat" house has become so ubiquitous all over the US, that people don't realize they were designed for small lots in urban developments, were you gave up having outside walls and windows in some rooms to squeeze the most square footage out of that small lot.

    Designing a "fat" house on 5 acres is just sad ...

  • persnicketydesign

    Completely OT, but what program are you using to show the infiltration of sunlight in to the house, CP? Your mock-ups are great for helping people visualize the way a house will "live" rather than just looking at a flat floorplan.

  • Naf_Naf


    Looks like the kitchen is important to you but I have to say, this will not be a joyful home.

    If you have so much area, why are you burying the kitchen and butler's pantry in the middle?

  • cpartist

    Completely OT, but what program are you using to show the infiltration of sunlight in to the house, CP? Your mock-ups are great for helping people visualize the way a house will "live" rather than just looking at a flat floorplan.


  • Ashley Bowman

    This is a very similar looking house but with a different set up. Do you think this is a better flow?

  • PRO

    This is a concept I did for another houzzer. It's not intended as a solution, just something to ponder.

    What others have said is the houses you are looking at are compressed to fit on a smaller lot and not on acreage. The house does not need to be bigger, just arranged differently.

  • jmm1837

    I'd eliminate the "butlers pantry" entirely - I can't see any reason at all to separate that much useful counter and cabinet space from the kitchen. Just open it up and make it part of the kitchen. Personally, I quite like my walk in pantry so I don't entirely agree with Patricia - but not at the expense of a decent working kitchen.

  • cpartist

    No the other plan is no better. It's still fat with more than 2 rooms deep and with no way to have windows in the main rooms on 2 walls. The outside corner in the master is taken up not with the bedroom but the closet and bathroom. The kitchen has NO natural light and the main room has windows only on one wall. In fact the pantry which shouldn't have a window, is at the front with a window while the kitchen is in a dark hole.

    The flow sucks. Look at the path from the front door to the master bedroom for example.

    A walk in pantry can be a good thing but it has to fit within the house.

    If you want to see some well designed houses take a look at what architectrunnerguy does. And not a single fat house.

  • NYCish

    Those types of butlers pantries aren’t really butlers pantries. They are more for people who entertain a lot and have caterers in and out cooking for them. IE a show kitchen and a work kitchen. The homeowner just looks at the show kitchen and someone else actually cooks in the work kitchen. This won’t work for you. I think you can do much better!!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    A butler's pantry is a small service and storage room between a kitchen and a dining room. What you have is an awkward space between a kitchen and a pantry.

    This is a good example of what happens when a one takes preconceived plan and tries to fix it; there is residue that lingers and clogs the creative process of coming up with a clean solution that is a home. Throw it all away and start from scratch with someone that has licensed competency.

  • Akila McConnell

    We are building a home right now and I can already tell you that the single best decision we made was hiring an awesome architect. In another 10 years, you can easily change the tile in your house but it’s super hard to change the flow. The builder finished the framing last week and there is almost no wasted space and sunlight everywhere. Our architect started with a blank sheet of paper and asked us how we live and what we value in a home before putting his pencil to the paper. He cost $7500 which I think is a steal for what we got. I would at least suggest meeting with a few architects to get a price quote.

  • Kathi Steele

    Ashley, every single exterior corner you plan is $$$$$ very expensive. Every little jut in and jut out costs huge bucks for no return. Your stove needs to be on an exterior wall. You need a room that is not a huge hallway for family living. You have so much wasted space on each of the plans you are looking at.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider spending the money initially for an architect. It will save you ten times the amount in a much better house design and will save you ten times in building costs.

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