Help with Kitchen layout please!

August 8, 2019
last modified: August 8, 2019

We’re building a new home and I’m so excited!

Our goal for the kitchen is for it to be super light and sunny, to have loads of storage space (we’re building on a 60acre lot and will be growing and preserving lots of our own food). The kitchen is also to be the only dining space in the house.

Currently it’s just my husband and I, but we will be joined eventually by a child or two. We entertain very occasionally and in a very casual manner.

Here are our plans as they exist so far, the top of the image is north (yes, there are west facing windows. There will be exterior shade elements).

Would love to know:

  • Is there enough walking space around the table?
  • How can we improve the appliance arrangement.
  • Where do I store the dishes so they are near the sink/dishwasher and table, but someone setting the table or unloading the dishes won’t be in the way of the cook?

I'm also including some inspiration pictures.

Thank you all so much for your help!

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Comments (171)

  • di0spyr0s


    (Comments in red from the architect.)

    These changes:

    - Flip the house to put the kitchen in the SE corner.

    - Increase the width of the hallway to 4'6"

    - Increase the width (E/W) of the kitchen and living room to 15'

    - Increase the length of the kitchen (N/S) and living room to 17'7" and 16'7" respectively.

    - Rework the master bath and closet.Not quite there yet, but a substantial improvement! (Mark, I am waiting on your comments about gas chambers, but at least I have bypassed the "closets where clothes turn corners" comment!)

    - Increase the size of the linen closet (and change it's location)

    - Increase the size of the laundry room.

    - Increase the size of the bedrooms. Though right now, bedroom 2 is seeing all of the increase in the N/S dimension, which is something we'll work on.

  • cpartist

    You are definitely moving in a positive direction. Now let's try to play with the kitchen too.

    In the master I'd put the bed on the west wall which will mean one of you won't have to walk clear around the bed to get to the bathroom.

  • shead

    I love the increased space in the bedrooms and hallways!

    I am still going to nag you about a basement egress ;-)

    I don’t love the kitchen layout :(

  • cpartist

    Agree with shead.

    Make a list of your ideal kitchen wants and let's see what I can play with tomorrow.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Where’d the double front door come from? Go back to the single door.

    What is the little closet just outside the powder room for?

    In the study, do you want pocket doors or swing doors? And are you taking into account how you like to work? For example, I work best at a table, lots of open space. Even if I’m only using a computer, I like visual openness. DH, OTOH, likes to work in a corner or a carrel. And lighting matters, including natural light. Window behind computer?

  • di0spyr0s

    Kitchen Needs:

    • a functional space to cook meals for my family.
    • enough counter space to pause in processing large quantities of garden veg and still have space to cook dinner.
    • a table to seat 4 people regularly, 6 comfortably and and maybe 8 very occasionally (I’m thinking an extendible table.)
    • lots and lots of natural light.
    • A sink, stove, oven, fridge, freezer, and dishwasher.
    • A massive pantry for putting up all the stuff from the garden. (This should be almost entirely 12” shelving. It may also have a small counter for all my ferments)
    • A really good hood. (Hubby is trying to work out how to incorporate a jet engine. I think he’s joking.)
    • Space for family to share cooking or just hang out and chat. (Probably sitting at the table)

    Kitchen Wants:

    • A window to walk towards as you’re coming down the hallway.
    • All lowers are drawers (minus a trash pullout)
    • A tall cabinet with dishes, tea, coffee, toaster, kettle. Maybe cereal or bread goes here too. (We don’t like things that live on counters)
    • wall oven(s)
    • extra sink.
    • No uppers (aesthetic reasons)
    • no open shelves (they will inevitably get covered in cat hair and greasy kitchen fudge.)
    • One wall of tall things (fridge, tea/coffee cabinet, wall ovens) incorporating one of those sneaky hidden pantry doors that looks like just another cabinet.
    • dishwasher drawers in addition to a regular dishwasher.
    • One small glass fronted cabinet to display a small collection of fancy mismatched teacups. (This is totally contrary to the rest of my aesthetic and I’m still on the fence about whether I actually want it or not. Currently my collection is one fancy teacup that I use every day and love.)

    Thank you all again for your help with this! I really appreciate it!

  • di0spyr0s

    Bpath - good question about the door, I have no idea.

    Tiny closet outside the powder room is primarily to make the powder room feel more separate from the kitchen and will probably house mop, broom etc.

    My husband and I are both software engineers and prefer to work in a quiet room, facing a blank wall or a window without too much going on outside. Greenery would be nice. (The office I used to work at was opposite a photography studio that occasionally had nude photo shoots on their roof. that was a bit distracting.)

  • cpartist

    ^^^LMAO. I can see how it'd be distracting.

    Ok here is a version that is basically the same as before except I gave you the hidden pantry and put extra cabinets by the dining area. Those can be used for serving, storing stuff and when needed spreading out.

    Additionally I did add glass uppers along the fridge wall thinking it would be a good place for display stuff.

    When the table is extended to 8, yes it might get a bit tighter but it's still doable.

    I also have another idea and will try and get to it later. If not today, then tomorrow.

  • di0spyr0s
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><md>I have been AWOL on this thread. Last week got a bit busy and then the architect told us that in his opinion this house will cost $1.2million to build.
  • D E

    is 1.2 cheap or expensive?

  • di0spyr0s

    We’d like to spend half that.

  • ritasj

    Eeeek....Was wondering when that load of bricks was going to fall...

  • ritasj

    Your list of kitchens needs alone would take at least three times as much space...

  • di0spyr0s

    CPArtist, thank you for the sketch! Really appreciate all the effort everyone here puts in helping people get functional houses :)

    I think I would prefer to keep the dishes and a... snack cabinet? You know - tea and coffee and cereal and the toaster closer to the pantry. At the moment it looks like the path to get a cup of coffee/bowl of cereal/sandwich looks like this. (Pic below, why does the mobile app not allow me to type after the pictures?) If like it to be possible to grab a snack or a pot of tea or to set the table without having to pass through the main cooking zone if that makes sense?

    I like where you have the entry to the pantry, and where you’ve shifted the table and I think the main cooking area flows really nicely for the cook

  • ritasj

    That is about $266 per square foot...very expensive ...

  • di0spyr0s

    His numbers range from $175/sqft (unfinished basement space) to $400/sqft in kitchens and bathrooms.

    I need a bit of a sanity check here. The internet tells me the average cost to build a home is $250-400k in the USA. I have to assume that number includes bump outs and enormous roofs and all the other things this website tells me will make a house expensive. I feel like we’ve avoided those two things, but I’m not sure where else all this cost is coming from. $700k+ for just the empty shell with plumbing and electrical roughed in seems really really high. It can’t all be in windows can it?

    I’ve never built a home before so I’m not sure if my expectations were really really wrong or what.

  • shead

    First of all, consider where your architect is located and consider where you're going to build - rural midwest, right (Indiana or Illinois?). Your buck will likely go somewhat farther there than say, New York, Connecticut, etc.

    Have you spoken with any builders in the area you're wishing to build? They would have a lot better info on what the going costs are for the geographical area. However, be forewarned that rural builds are often more difficult to do if you're in an area with skilled labor shortage. BTDT.

  • ritasj

    First you have to acknowledge you are creating lots of small spaces in this home for activities way beyond what is needed for a happy comfy home on farmland...in my opinion...fewer ...bigger rooms that will be used everyday...will create a lifestyle that is much nicer ...the deck inset cut out is using up all your prime interior space ...the basement will be dreary to be in...and would be best limited to a small basement space for storage and place to go to survive catastrophic storms...added decks and pergolas can give you all the architectural interest for probably $20-$30 per square foot..in my mind your master ...living room...and kitchen should be where you invest your square footage ...the rest can be smaller as they are supporting functions that require less space...

  • ritasj

    Never mind the wasted 500 square feet allotted to hallways

  • shead

    ritasj makes wonderfully valid points. Let this be a first lesson to living on a farm: function over form all day every day.

    The U shaped adds extra costs in foundation and exterior wall work and the inset patio space could be indoor living space for a net zero extra cost (or at least near net zero).

  • ritasj

    6 sliders accessing those recessed outdoor areas alone ....could be $12k to $15k savings also a projected mud room would make the house front more appealing while easing up some valuable interior space...

  • D E

    did the architect know your budget before designing this house?

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I imagine all the one-off sizes are driving the price up, too. Can’t wait till you hear the cost of landscaping, all those ponds.

  • ritasj

    The suggested changes will give you room for a bigger pantry and a whole wall of floor to ceiling cabinetry for daily kitchen supplies...and some of the other things on your list

  • D E

    this is a serious idea. how soon do you need to be in the house?

    if you wait till the recession you'll have more saved and labor and materials will become very cheap and you may be able to build it for 600k if the bank is still loaning money.

  • di0spyr0s

    I’m aware we are building a less than perfectly efficient house. I generally agree with Ritasj that hallways are to be minimized, but in this case I think they will be a pleasant space in their own right, and I like them :)

    This is a layout that works for me and which I hope will result in beautiful spaces.

    I’m also aware we have a lot of earthworks and planting planned, and that we’re building a couple hundred feet from the nearest road and so will spend more on a driveway. These are all choices we made knowing they would cost us, and we’re OK with that.

    We are however really confused.

    From all the research I’ve been doing I can’t understand how building just the shell of the house - no finishes, fixtures or equipment - can come out to north of $700k. I’m looking up the cost of earthworks and concrete and windows and labor and it’s not adding up.

    The architect is in Indiana, where we’ll be building, so I’m assuming he has a good idea of local costs.

  • D N

    Did the architect say anything to explain why? I’m sure that he must have seen the shock on your face.

  • ritasj

    Seriously... you do realize your “pleasant hallways” are costing you $133,000...and your preferred budget is $500,000 less than the estimate...this isn’t a hint to you that something needs to change?..don’t know what you are paying the architect .. but it may be wise to ask him what you can get for what you can spend

  • ritasj

    As to driveways we just got quoted $3500.. to just deliver and spread a thin layer of road base on a our already established 60 foot driveway..

  • ritasj

    I wouldn’t guess-tomato the costs of work needed on the land... get a quote before you put that into the “do that after”column

  • ritasj

    Hate that sneaky spell check.. guess -timate !

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I’m going to use guess-tomato from now on. Let’s all do it.

    They have a price, but sometimes hallways are a feature.

  • PRO
    Rachel Zylstra, Realtor

    Just started reading and what a lovely design, so disappointing about the $ news. I would bet there is a ton of cost in just windows. Windows cost more than framing and siding and you have a lot of them. Ask your Arch for a basic breakdown.

    One suggestion I had is using basement storage for freezers AND canned goods. If you decide to store your canned goods in your pantry make sure you have cabinets and not shelves as they should be stored in a dark place. Ideally it should be cool and dark place so the basement is perfect.

    I have a few.kore thoughts, but first find out how the budget is going to effect the design.

  • shead

    I’ll probably get flogged for this but I’m not sure you can trust your architect‘s opinion on this. You need to talk to a builder. Today.

    And you really should have discussed budget with your architect before he delivered you a plan that is supposedly twice your budget. What kind of architect does that?

  • wilson853

    Have you thought about how the layout will work when you have children? When my kids were little I wanted them in my line of sight. I don’t see a play room space adjacent to the kitchen. I would probably make your pantry the keeping room so you have a spot that your kids can be nearby and put the pantry elsewhere.

  • cpartist

    I do think a big part of the cost is all the windows and doors more than the other issues stated. Windows are expensive. Especially quality windows.

  • di0spyr0s

    Had another chat with the architect. Price is coming down a bit via reducing window area on the North side of the house, which I wanted to do anyway, excluding the garage, drive and landscaping from the calculation (we hadn’t realized these were included) and reducing the fixtures/finishes budget.

    he’s running some numbers on what it will cost us to get to a “white box” (plumbing and electrical roughed in, drywall up) which is what we really wanted. So long as we have enough cash on hand to get to a point where we can pause the work without damaging the building we’re happy to take a while doing the rest of the work. We’d like to do this without taking on any debt.

    I’m feeling much more positive about the whole thing today :) and still super stoked with the design. Had another walk around it in VR today to remind myself why it’s all about.

  • di0spyr0s

    Rachel - thanks for the thoughts :) I suspect we will definitely use the basement storage space for some of the canned goods and freezers. We must have at least one freezer upstairs for the stuff we access daily (Ice and cat food generally)

    Agreed on the cost of windows. Thankfully I was already looking to have the architect reduce the size of the north facing windows, so I don’t feel as though I’m compromising on anything there :)

  • di0spyr0s

    Shead - this is partly our fault. We were pretty vague on budget going in - we’d like to pay for the whole thing in cash, but we’re really flexible on how long it takes to build it. So there’s been a bit of back and forth over how much we need to have on hand to get to a structure that could wait to be finished if we need to pause construction.

  • di0spyr0s

    Wilson853 - great point! Having not had children yet these are exactly the bits of feedback I need!

    We are in the fortunate position of both working from home full time, and we’ll have family right next door. I think child watching should be doable? How long is the period between “too big for a bouncy chair/play pen in the kitchen” and “can be trusted outside/in another room alone for half an hour”?

    I do have to ask though - what is a “keeping room”?

  • di0spyr0s

    CPArtist - definitely. Windows are a big part of this. Also having a bunch of stuff included in the total figure that we had not realized would be in there (landscaping, driveway, garage)

  • wilson853

    A keeping room doesn't have to be as big as a family room, but can just be a nook with a couple of comfy chairs near the kitchen. From babies to toddlers even to young school age when they have friends over, you will want a soft spot nearby while you are making dinner where you can see and hear them while they are playing, watching TV, or doing homework.


  • Gcubed

    It will be YEARS of wanting the kids in eye/earshot. First to make sure there is no physical harm done, but also keeping an eye out when they are school-age/tweens and on devices. If you will be in the kitchen A LOT or in your offices, you need to have a place where they can be with you too. Realistically, unless a teen, you really don't want them in their rooms and far away all the time. Seems like your set-up is fine if you are in your office (though, if you are working, you will need true child-care for little kids, even if it's family). And kids like to be near their parents when they are younger, so if you don't want them underfoot while you are in the kitchen... Just some thoughts if this build is your FOREVER space. Good luck!

  • wiscokid

    Sure, it is YEARS as in more than one, but they go by in the blink of an eye and hardly worth designing your entire house around. You’ll go back to wanting walls between you and them soon enough. Kids are all in double digits but I swear they were just in preschool twenty minutes ago and we still haven’t found time to do half of the projects we planned when they were little - oh well. There’s truth to that saying about days being long but the years being short...

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Our kids’ favorite place to play was in the hall. Lots of floor space, not a lot of furniture, and yours has great light so that'll be fun! You won’t live in the kitchen, they can be in there when you are, they will play in the living room while you work in the office. When I was freelancing from home, my son preferred playing in the 7’-wide upstairs hall right outside my office, though his room was right there, too. And no, there weren’t toys cluttering the halls, they are easy to clean up!

    This could easily derail into parenting styles, and you aren’t there yet, so we won’t get into that. I love your approach to your home.

  • Lori Wagerman_Walker

    Some of my favorite memories from my mamaw's house was sliding down the hall on the rug runner. :) YMMV

    I hope you get to do what you can within your budget! I'm actually going to be driving through your area on Monday. Headed to pick up pork at Myers. :)

  • di0spyr0s

    I think it was in The Not So Big House I read that kids like to run around things. I’m hoping they can make use of the same loops my husband will use for pacing:

  • di0spyr0s

    The green loop is problematic when cooking, but I could see it being used when it’s too cold to leave the doors open.

  • shead

    The whole leaving doors open in the country without screens is a big fat lie...

    One word: flies!

    Buy stock in fly swatters and fly strips!

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