birder3

design help please - the 90’s want my kitchen back!

birder
August 12, 2019

Hi all, thank you for stopping by!


A brief background:

Our house was built in 1992, and the kitchen has definitely seen better days- the appliances are original and pretty awful, the mdf cabinets are peeling, and the laminate countertops are crumbling. The 90s are calling and they definitely want my kitchen back!


I’m a single mom of young adults who live nearby and visit frequently/holiday here. I moved in this past year and we love the house and its location, so I plan on staying for the long run. My budget goal is mid-range but it’s not tight.


I do plan on taking everyone’s advice and hiring a kitchen designer when the time comes. In the meantime I’m looking for layout ideas and any design inspiration to mull over!


Now that I’ve lived here a while…

I like:

Island seating.

View out the window.

Current footprint, for practical reasons.


I don’t like:

Cooking on the island. Moving that is a priority.

Coil cooktop. I’m planning on induction, flexible on range vs separate cooktop & oven.

Bulky fridge. I can’t wait for a counter depth, 36” wide.

Soffit. It can go, says my contractor. Ceiling height cabinets here I come.


I can’t wait to hear your ideas for our little 90s diamond in the rough!


Thank you ! : )





Comments (47)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I think this is the perfect time to hire the KD all the ideas you get here will IMO just confuse the issue BTW the scale is an awkward one to work with 1 sq = 6” is the norm . I find the walkways too narrow especially the one in front of the ovens. I think a range where the wall ovens are with a proper venting to the outside would be a good choice and a cabinet on the side of the range where the bookshelf is now would give you good drop space on either side of the range.The cabinets to the ceiling should take care of the need for some storage for sure maybe make the island a bit narrower and a bit longer that would help the walkway spaces and allow for 3 stools since you have a nice big space in front of the fridge to allow a bit longer island say 36” x 72”

    birder thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • birder

    Thank you Patricia! That was so helpful. The ideas for the island are terrific. I'll redraw the graph to the correct scale, thanks for pointing that out! If I put a range where the wall ovens are now, where's a good place you'd suggest to put a microwave (besides a counter)?

  • celerygirl

    Lowes can give you nice advice and drawing.

    birder thanked celerygirl
  • birder

    I will definitely go there as well! I chose some bathroom tile from my local Lowes recently and was so surprised at how knowledgeable and helpful the associate was. She had worked there a long time and it showed.

  • birder

    Here's an updated layout with 6x6 scale:


  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    Like Patricia said, if you want the cooktop off the island, putting a range where the ovens are now is really your only option. You could put an under-counter microwave in the island, or an under-cabinet microwave next to the fridge. I had a counter-depth fridge in my last kitchen with a single 15" deep upper cabinet next to it that accommodated the undermounted microwave perfectly. I loved the set up and that one extra-deep upper cabinet came in very handy for storing a handful of oversized serving dishes that were just a little too deep for a standard upper. Since yours is close to the corner it could make that corner cabinet a little funky, but you could probably work out a solution with a blind corner or even a dead corner.

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    I like the ideas for the microwave, thanks! Would it be a possible option to put a range on the same wall as my fridge? I found this kitchen layout below here on houzz.


  • birder

    there's currently 40 1/2" of counter space next to the fridge.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Nothing wrong with MDF cabinets. You have Thermofoil cabinets and though they save money, they can be subject to abuse. I would not ever take them off the list of options for kitchen looking to keep costs low. As with almost everything there are pros and cons to each selection.



    birder thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • birder

    You're absolutely right, I should have been more specific, they're thermafoil. And they've definitely seen better days, almost every single one has bubbled or peeled. I've read here that wood cabinet doors with mdf centers are a good choice, too, for painted cabinets. Wouldn't rule it out! thanks!

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    I would not try to squeeze your range in on the fridge wall for two reasons. There is not enough room to give you adequate landing space on both sides, not to mention the fact that having the range close to a corner is less than ideal (mine is currently 12" from a corner and even that feels tight - yours would be closer). Furthermore, ideal workflow is ice-water-stone-fire (fridge-sink-counter-range) and moving the range to the fridge would ruin that. It may not seem like a big deal now, but it really gets annoying when you have to cross through work zones out of order (again, I speak from experience).

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    thanks! this is exactly why I wanted to start my thinking process with you all on here! your advice makes so much sense, but I saw so few L-shaped kitchens with my layout that I thought it must be wrong!

  • birder

    what does anyone think of putting a microwave drawer on the end of the island facing the fridge?

  • damiarain

    What about swapping the fridge & cooktop/range?

    (1) With a range (microwave in island





    (2) Probably too squishy to have cooktop + wall oven (only 12" on either side)



    birder thanked damiarain
  • birder

    thanks! that's a cool drawing tool you have there! I like thinking outside the current layout, I like drawing #1. If we add those 5" to the fridge walkway (to get your 42"), is 39" now too tight of a walkway behind the island stools? Or is that typical? They already kind of awkwardly jut out when someone's sitting there, as they're along the walkway to the garage door, and in front of the dining room entry.

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    The only issue with swapping the fridge and range is that your range would no longer vent on an outside wall. If you can vent straight up or another way that's fine, but venting straight out is ideal.

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    Oh, thanks, that could be a problem. The current fridge wall backs up to the garage. Above the kitchen is a bathroom.

  • damiarain

    A 90º turn is possible for a hood vent - especially since the exterior wall is only about 6' away


    You're right about the seating - if it's already snug, it'll be worse with a larger aisle between the island and sink. One thought is to extend the length of the island and only have a couple of seats on the right side end

    birder thanked damiarain
  • birder

    Thanks, good to know about the turn for a hood vent! Yeah, snug is a good word for it - the whole footprint is kind of snug. Seating at the end of the island is a good thought except, you can't tell from my graph, there's a dining area right next to the end of the island. That area wold be even more snug!

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    If there's already a dining area next to the end of the island AND you have an actual dining room, do you need seating at the island? I agree that your aisles are a bit tight, although I am not as opposed to smaller aisles as some on this board (my old kitchen was a galley with a very tight aisle and I LOVED it - super efficient for me as a single cook). Can you post a drawing that shows the size/layout of the dining area as well?

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    haha, I had to laugh, it does sound like we have an abundance of seating! Of course, I've lived here 9 months and we have never once sat in the dining room (my 20-somethings come over & sit in the famliy room to eat while we watch something funny on Hulu) ; and we've sat at the dining area table a few times, but it's awkwardly placed smack dab in the middle of the walkway to the foyer hall (so you can see the front door from the table), and the entrance to the screened porch (if you can picture all that). I'll get you a drawing.

  • birder

    I should probably also mention that I sit at the island a lot (it gives me a full view of the interior space, and the backyard trees). I guess I've always had kitchens with island stools and tend to gravitate there. I like the height I think. Drawing coming...

  • birder

    Here's the drawing with the seating area. The table lives there because there was an hanging light already there, so we centered a small table under it. The seating area is directly in line with the front door and porch door.


  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    Since you like island seating, I would be tempted to remove that hanging light fixture and your table and extend the island down into that area - you could have seating on two or even all three sides that way. How far away is the wall on the other side of the table?

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    Huh, I hadn't thought of extending the island that direction. But by doing that, the island will poke out of the kitchen area, and into what would then be just a hallway between the porch and front door. So, if you were to walk into the house from the front door, you'd look down the hall and see an island but no kitchen! On the other side of the current table the wall is a good 18' away. It has a few chairs and a fireplace. Do people tend to prefer eat-in kitchens with a table? I guess we did always have one.

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    Hm, interesting. I assumed there was a wall on the other side of your doors to the porch defining that room. Can you move the table farther down into the room with the fireplace, so that you can at least extend the island down to the end of the wall where the hall to the foyer begins? Or remove that table entirely if it's awkwardly located anyway?

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    Yeah, it is an interesting layout - the whole back half of the first floor is just an open room with the kitchen, that dining area space, and a sitting area at the end, which opens to our family room (the ex "living room" from the 90s). I could definitely do both of those: extend the island down to the end of the wall where the hall to the foyer begins; and move the table farther down into the sitting area. Thanks for a great idea. : )

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    Extending the island down to that wall (or almost, depending on how clear you want the path from the foyer to the porch doors to be) would give you a lot more uninterrupted counter space to work with and allow for seating on the end as well as the side. If you find the aisles too tight you could make the seating overhang on the side a bit smaller, although if you sit there for long stretches a larger overhang will be more comfortable.

    birder thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • birder

    All great ideas, thanks! And I do miss uninterrupted counter space.

  • felizlady

    You really need more space between your counter and any appliance with a door. A full 42” or more will allow you to stand in front of the oven to put something in or take something out. And 42” will allow you to walk in front of the dishwasher with the door down while emptying it or loading it. If you are standing in front of the range, someone will be able to walk behind you easily. If you can make those aisles 48” it’s even better!

    birder thanked felizlady
  • birder

    Thanks for the thoughts - it sounds like the island might be too wide? What is an appropriate/proportional size island for this space?

  • birder

    Patricia suggested a 36x72 island to make the walkway wider. If I did that, could I put a microwave drawer in the island or does that just add to the tightness of the aisle?

  • Buehl

    A 36" deep island does not allow seating...it needs to be at least 41.5" deep to provide the minimum recommended seating overhang of 15".

    If seating is on the short end, it's only wide enough for 1 seat (24" per seat of linear space).

    25.5" Perimeter depth (including counter overhang)

    + 42" work aisle (1-person work aisle)

    + 41.5" deep island

    ==========

    109"

    Your Kitchen is 146" deep

    146" - 109" = 37" left for an aisle behind the island. I suspect that's a busy aisle when you have your kids over, so 37" is too narrow.

    There are creative ways to add seating, but it may require some compromises. E.g., shallower cabinets in the island so you can have what the minimum overhang. (Yes, some people will tell you 12" is fine, but my experience and the experience of others when they're honest (my short SIL, e.g.) is that it's too shallow for comfortable seating for more than a few minutes. KDs in particular will often neglect to tell you things like this if they're afraid of losing you as a client -- again, experience.)

    birder thanked Buehl
  • birder

    Ok, thank you. I'm learning so much. This gives me a lot to consider. Sounds like I may have to forgo the island stools.

  • Buehl

    Let me see what I can do with it tonight.

    BTW...I like Damiarain's first layout. Don't try to cram a range or cooktop on the sink wall, there's not enough space!

    birder thanked Buehl
  • birder

    Thank you Buehl, this is so helpful and why I know all of your names after reading houzz like a romance novel.

  • birder

    I took biondanonima's advice and mocked up a countertop that extends to the foyer hall entrance. I measured for aesthetics walking in from the foyer and that gives me 88" for an island. If I need to reduce the width of the island to 36" to make the oven aisle wider, could I do something like this to retain some storage but also accommodate a proper overhang for 2 stools?



  • Buehl

    The aisle behind the seats is a bit narrow, it should be 44" to 48". You might be able to live with 42"...it's up to you. Try mocking it up with boxes to see if it's an issue.

    The aisle in front of the refrigerator is also a bit narrow, but can usually be lived with. The issue with the narrow aisles is b/c you insist on having island seating in a Kitchen that, if we're honest with you, is really too narrow. To keep the seating, you will need to compromise...I put in what I thought would be acceptable compromises. It's up to you, though.

    Keeping the island within the current bounds of the Kitchen:


    Work Zones:



    .

    Extending the island. Don't make it too long or the unbalanced scale will make it look long and skinny:



    birder thanked Buehl
  • birder

    Buehl, thank you so much for being so generous with your time and thoughts. I've been poring over these drawings this am with my coffee and trying not to cry in front of the dog. As you might guess, I'm sitting at the island (sorry, I'm such a creature of habit!) and looking around and envisioning it all, every single detail, and I love it. : ) I especially love Option 2: This week I moved the dining table beyond the hallway, and taped some styrofoam to the island it to extend it (so fancy), to see how I'd like the new layout - and I love it. Makes a world of difference. But I'm too much of a fan to ignore your advice: If I forgo the island seating, would you mind terribly showing me how you would redesign the island on Option 2? Thanks again. : )

  • Buehl

    How about one seat on the end of the island on the table end?



    .

    Work Zones:



    birder thanked Buehl
  • birder

    hi again! oh, that's clever. I just tried it - at first blush it's a little awkward because as you sit in the stool casually (as opposed to being up flush with the island end) you're kind of smack dab in that hallway between the front door and the porch door. Kinda like a crossing guard haha. But I am going to test it out more!! Thanks for keeping the ideas rolling, this is so much fun for me : )

  • birder

    What a difference in hall spacing and storage, though. My wheels are turning.

  • birder

    Well, it didn't take too much sitting to realize that if someone rang the doorbell all I'd have to do is turn and wave at them in the front door sidelights. At my age it's not really the privacy filter I'm going for. I did some amateurish figuring and if the island were shortened to about 99" or less that one seat at the end might work. shoot.

  • birder thanked Buehl
  • birder

    wow. thank you. I go outside to bring in the bird feeders (pesky raccoons) and you're busy designing my perfect kitchen. Proper aisle depth, plenty of storage, and island seating all tied up in a bow. Thank you so much for your time, patience, and for listening -you made it all work. I can't thank you enough!

  • Buehl

    You're welcome!

    birder thanked Buehl

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