kim_kern54

Help with Kitchen design!!

Kim k
September 8, 2019

I’m not sold on our new kitchen design! I am so indecisive but I keep second guessing if I have enough counter or lower cabinet space. Is there anything you would change or add to this current design?? Thanks!!!



Comments (73)

  • emilyam819

    The microwave near the frige is wonderful. Don’t eliminate it. Also, dishwashers are not dependent upon a dominant hand. I have a DW on the left and I am right- handed. I hold the dish with my right hand, open the DW with my left, no problem. What you don’t want is the dishwasher between sink and stove, because anyone accessing the DW gets in the way of the cook.

    Whoever designed your layout knows what s/he is doing.

  • Kim k

    Thanks @emilyam819 !! I am a lefty actually so the dishwasher works for me on leg left.

  • Buehl

    OK, a few comments.

    Wall ovens mounted under the counter are much closer to the floor than ovens in a range. See one installed and try to use it b/f you commit. We toyed with the idea, but when our KD showed us one installed, we were shocked at how low it was -- the oven handle just barely missed hitting the floor! Needless to say, we nixed the idea immediately! If you're very short, you may be OK with it, but if you're average height or taller, I strongly recommend re-thinking it.

    .

    Standard/counter-type microwave ovens mounted under the counter are difficult to use b/c you have to bend over just to read/use the controls. In addition, you have to reach blindly inside to take hot/steaming things out for stirring and when done. You have to do the same when putting food in, but at least it's not yet hot and won't burn you if it sloshes outside the dish while trying to maneuver the dish into the MW.

    However, MW drawers are designed to be under the counter. They have controls that angle upward so all you have do is look down to see/use. (Today's are even better than the original ones were.) To put food in, simply open, place the dish inside (while in plain view, no blindly reaching in), close. To stir, open, reach down to stir without having to take the dish out, close. To remove, open lift dish up, close. We're a tall family and have a MW drawer -- we love it. My 6'5" DH and 6'7" DS have no problems using it. My DH says he never wants a "standard" MW again, even if it's on the counter.

    .

    Pantry cabinets are not very efficient storage, especially wide ones. They're much too deep and when add that to the width, things will get lost in them since you have to move things around to see what's on the shelves, especially the ones above the counter. In addition, you have to open/close doors/drawers repeatedly when looking for stuff. You may say, "I always put everything away in the same spot and always remember where I put things". Can you say the same for the rest of your family? Wait until the young children start putting things away! (Or your DH/SO! BTW...I'm speaking from experience.)

    Pullout pantries (shelves attached to door) are much better since when you open a door all the shelves pullout with the door and you can scan all the shelves at one time...but only if they are no more than 18" wide. If they're wider, you will still have to move things around. At 18", you can see everything without having to rummage around -- just look at both sides and you'll see everything. You KD has done you a big favor with the pullout pantries flanking the refrigerator!

    In addition to better, more accessible storage, they pullout pantries make the refrigerator look built-in without having to either purchase a built-in refrigerator or take up extra space making it look built-in.

    .

    Dishwasher and handedness...it doesn't matter what side of the sink a DW is and whether you're left or right handed. If it's opposite to what you have now, you will adapt within a day or two to the new position. We've had our DW on both sides over the years and there was never an issue on either side. Location should be based on function, not handedness. E.g., keeping it out of the Prep Zone, keeping it from interfering with an oven, etc.

  • Christine Callahan

    If you do full-height cabinets on the fridge wall, I'd be concerned about a lack of "landing space" for items from the fridge. Or will the table be very close by?

  • Buehl

    "Years ago someone told me their stuff kept falling off their corner Lazy Susan so I've never wanted one -- yet I see you actually have tall thin bottles of stuff. Any problems in that regard or do you recommend them? "

    That's b/c years ago they just plopped a lazy susan in a cabinet with straight sides. Today, most corner susan cabinets are designed to follow the contour of the shelves. No more falling off the shelves b/c there's no room to fall.

    My mom has one of those older models and you're right, things do fall off. In our old Kitchen we had the newer design and nothing ever fell off. We stored all our pots & pans, colanders, and larger serving pieces in that lazy susan (center pole) -- it held a lot of stuff! I wanted one for small appliances in my new Kitchen, but the corner was re-purposed as a Pet Center with a 27"W cabinet turned 90 degrees so it faces outside the Kitchen. No wasted space at all. (Our other corner is a corner sink base for our corner prep sink. It combined the two least efficient base cabinets into one -- corner cabinets & sink bases.)

    A great advantage with a corner susan is that everything is always in front and easily removed/put away. Simply spin it until whatever you need is in front.

  • Buehl

    In your layout, one of the under counter ovens is in the middle of the Prep Zone -- please move it! You don't want to be trying to prep on the counter with an oven blasting heat out at you. (Oven fans are in the front in today's ovens.)

    Do you have at least 36" between the sink and range/cooktop? That's the bare minimum recommended (36" of straight counterspace.) 42" or more is much better. I would recommend 48" if you can fit it in. But there should be at least 18" on the other side of the range/cooktop, with 24" better. You really don't need any more than 24" on that side b/c that counterspace isn't useful for tasks other than landing space for the range/cooktop.

  • Buehl

    Range hood...ideally it should be 6" wider than the cooking surface and 24" deep. So, 30" range/cooktop would need a 36" wide hood. A 36" range/cooktop would need a 42" wide hood.

    The extra width helps capture the fumes, odors, grease, smoke, and steam (FOGSS) as they rise. While rising, the FOGSS expands outward, so having it wider gives your hood a better chance of capturing the FOGSS and exhausting them to the outside.

  • Newideas

    I like the counter by the refrigerator. It is a great place to set up your coffee maker and toaster. Keeps them out of your main workspace. It also gives you a staging area for pulling things out of the fridge and for putting groceries away.
    We opted to buy a small microwave and out inside an upper cabinet so it’s out of sight when not in use. But we don’t use our microwave much. Depends on how much you use it.

  • Buehl

    Are you saying you plan a table in the 94.25" area? If so, it won't fit unless it's very, very skinny. You have to account for table width + aisles all around. The minimum is 33" and that's just to squeeze by and no counters/appliances on the aisle and no through-traffic. With your setup, you need more like 44" to 48" (closer to 48") -- which you do not have. Doing the math:

    Space you need:

    44" aisle

    + 42" deep table

    + 44" aisle

    ===========

    130" (10'10")

    You only have 94.25", so you're 35.75" short. Even if you got a 6" shallower table (36" instead of 42"), you're still 29.75" short of the space you need.

    Kim k thanked Buehl
  • Mari Mine

    Following, very helpful

  • PRO
  • Newideas

    If there is not enough space for a table as drawn, you could eliminate the center cabinets on the dining room wall and install a banquet. Would allow for a table in the space you have. You can keep the flanking cabinetry for storage.

  • Kim k

    PLEASE excuse the giant mess but this is where our table is currently and it has to stay here.

  • donnatrus

    Hi Kim, Just a quick note to say that I love my microwave drawer and our pantry with pull out shelves works great with labeled baskets/bins in upper part of pantry. Here are some photos. Good luck!!

    Kim k thanked donnatrus
  • Kim k

    Thank you @donnatrus! You kitchen looks great and I love the label idea!! I def love organization!!

  • Newideas

    Sorry autocorrect. “Banquette”

  • mtemm41

    I love the idea of a microwave drawer. We currently have a counter microwave slid into a spot in our island. It works fine, was great for the kids when they were younger. But I think I would have def gone for a drawer if I was designing my kitchen now!

    I like the counter next to the fridge. We have one and yes it can be a bit of a catch-all but I try to keep it organized.

    Kim k thanked mtemm41
  • isabel98

    Just a note about the under counter oven, I have one, i am 5'8" and I have no problem whatsoever with it being under the counter. I guess it just depends on the person who is using the kitchen.

    Kim k thanked isabel98
  • sofikbr

    I think you are getting a lot of great information here. I would like to add few items. 1) Use counter depth refrigerator. This is one mistake I did in our kitchen. it stick out too much. 2) Use range and wall unit with microwave/oven. I would add it on the side of refrigerator. 3) Use 12" base cabinets by your dining table. I would do pantry style cabinets on both side, then 2 regular top with glass doors and lower cabinets (all 12" deep) I will try to find some photos as examples. this way you will instantly gain foot of space and not much less storage. Ideally, and i don't have your overall floor plan, wall with refrigerator should be removed, large island installed with seating and storage. it would make kitchen more useful and workable for large parties.

  • Kim k

    @sofikbr i love your idea about the 12” cabinets in dining built in. We do have a beverage cooler in the design right now so you think that would work with the 12” lower cabinets? Also I wish sooooo much we could do an island but my kitchen is about 8” to narrow for one!


    I absolutely love this thread keep the ideas coming!!! I’m taking them all in!!

  • sofikbr

    some examples, last 2 from one of our past homes. I don't have better pictures but you can see we needed space for barstools and having just 12" base cabinets was perfect.

  • mtemm41

    I love the idea of 12”, but make sure you take some of your larger serving pieces to a showroom and make sure they fit!

    I agree about fridge that lines up with cabinet. Sticking out becomes so awkward

  • RedRyder

    I haven’t seen any comments about your lower cabinets being all drawers. You should definitely consider that. The access is so much better when everything below your waist is a deep, narrow or medium sized drawer. I have baking dishes and mixing bowls all in lower drawers and it’s so much easier to access them.
    Great discussion here! You are getting excellent advice. Don’t rush it. Lots to think about.

  • sofikbr

    I afraid you will need to move beverage cooler by the dishwasher. It will be as close to table as in other location. For sure do all drawers, you can store twice as much in them. I wouldn't worry about large plates in 12" base cabinets, you have lots of other places for them.

  • Kim k

    I’m a definite counter depth fridge person!! We have 3 growing boys and I hate that I can’t find a large one!! I’m pretty sure the “professional” refrigerators are out bc they are far to wide!


    I’ll take any suggestions on appliances as Well!! Lol

  • Val B

    I would move the beverage fridge to the other side by the opening that goes to the other room instead of by the window. This way people don’t need to go behind the entire length of the table to get a drink. If you end up using 12” base cabinets for that run, I’d move it to the right of the fridge. Agree about using drawers for based cabinets. I love mine.

  • Val B

    I also agree that cabinets to the ceiling look better and give you extra storage for infrequently used items.

  • Kim k

    Here is my latest kitchen design. I must say I'm way happier with this latest version. The only thing I'm questioning now is the "built in" microwave on the fridge wall. It looks like there is a lot of wasted space there.

  • donnatrus

    I would flip the glass cabinets so they are your ‘inner’ cabinets next to your shelves.

    And I highly recommend a microwave drawer. That way it’s under the counter and you have 2ft additional counter space ! I was noticing you don’t have much prep/counter space so I would make that a priority.

    Also, just wondering... how big are those openings on either side of the fridge wall? Could you extend the wall a bit on either side? Just thinking that if they are wider openings than needed, even adding a few inches can help with counter space! Maximize counter space wherever you can.

  • mtemm41

    Yes I agree about flipping the glass cabinets!

  • mtemm41

    I’m not a fan of the built in microwave and agree it seems to have a lot of wasted space. I love the drawer idea.

  • Kathi Steele

    It does not have to be built in. Just continues the countertop and set it on the countertop.

  • dsgts

    I don't understand the wasted space issue with microwave next to refrigerator, perhaps because I am relatively inexperienced or just dense. Seems to me that the microwave will take the same amount of space regardless of where it is located and the placement decision would be based on convenience and aesthetics (if visual symmetry/balance is a concern).

    You also mentioned wanting a larger, counter-depth refrigerator but worry about it being too wide for available space. Can you gain more inches for a larger one by reducing the width of cabinets on the right side of fridge?

    What would happen to your overall design (looking at latest version) if the floor-to-ceiling cabinet next to refrigerator moved to the left and lower/upper cabinets with landing space was adjacent to the refrigerator?

  • Mari Mine
    1. If space allows could consider using a regular depth refrigerator but recessing it by cutting into the back wall.
    2. I’ve seen a microwave take the place of the bottom shelf of a wall cabinet. Allows counter space below it. I’m leaning toward doing this in our kitchen.
    Kim k thanked Mari Mine
  • Kim k

    @Mari Mine that was definitely my thought but when we opened the wall we found all of our duct work in the wall so it is unfortunate not possible

    A drawer microwave below the counter was in the first design but I was afraid I didn’t gave enough lower cabinets. So at the point I need to decide which is more important to me I guess. ‍♀️

  • Kim k

    @dsgts to me it seems as though a drawer or bigger Cabinet could go below or above the microwave? But Im not a designer so I’m. Not sure if that’s even possible if just sewas like a lot of empty space below and above the built in microwave.

    also definitely cant extend either wall we just opened them all up we’re trying to make it as open as we can without taking down the baring wall.

  • donnatrus

    Kim, it definitely comes down to what you think you need more of. I figured you have all the storage on the far wall but so little counter/prep space, hence suggesting gain extra counter space where microwave is!

    Also, I would make the cabinet next to current microwave a bank of drawers. So much more functional than a cabinet!

    And i would eliminate the wine cubbies on the far wall and increase drawer sizes. Way more functional use of space and personally I don’t like how they look on that wall. Makes it choppy especially with the upper cabinet/shelving variety. Just my 2 cents. :)

  • donnatrus

    Oh, and do you really need the 2nd oven? I would make sure that’s worth the sacrifice of storage (drawers).

  • mcdb

    Hi Kim, I have the exact layout of the pantry cabinets flanking both sides of my fridge with a microwave in just about the same location. I like that layout as it hides the depth of the fridge and I have not found that 18-21 inch space of width to encumber getting stuff on the counter. I suppose you could have them both on the right side of the fridge and a panel between the fridge and the counter but aesthetically it looks good with those cabinets on both sides. The only think I feel would be nice is some sort of island. even a very narrow one. I always have people in the kitchen and they love hanging around the island while I'm cooking or cleaning. I'd see if you could have a spot in the action zone for someone to cop-a-squat

  • felizlady

    I like my microwave on the counter. It is easy to load/unload and easy to see the controls. If the microwave dies, I don’t need to consider an existing slot for the new one....whatever I select will fit on the counter.

  • Kim k

    @mcdb thank you for all of those thoughts I agree aesthetically it looks better flanking the fridge! We are h fortunately 8in to narrow for an island (so the pro’s say) but our plan is to get a longer narrow island (that isn’t permanent) and see if it works for us and if it does we plan to get a custom built island that will be more permanent! I want an island to work soooo much!! We are BIG entertainers with large family's so I would definitely love it if it works!!

  • mcdb

    Even the temporary islands are lovely now and in a pinch you could always move it somewhere if you're having a highly populated party but then again you might appreciate having that extra counter space in that case. In our first house our kitchen was like a 9' by 9' and everybody crammed in there. I did notice how your space might have enough space but it might feel tight. I guess you could pick one up from a store and return it if it doesn't work. I wouldn't order online as shipping would be crazy pricey if you decided to return it. Everything else looks pretty good :D

    Kim k thanked mcdb
  • Mari Mine

    I’m thinking about building a movable island from a couple of cabinets-on casters. I originally was going to have a peninsula but the movable Island would fit in 3 different positions depending on how many people are going to be around the kitchen...

  • RedRyder

    I had that same fridge/microwave/pantry wall in my previous house. I loved it - until the microwave died. It can be hell finding a new one that exactly fits the space. That is your first-to-die appliance, so keep that in mind. I love the idea of building a moveable small rolling island.

  • Val B

    If you plan on potentially putting in a permanent Island, make sure you plan for electical and anything that needs to be included with a permanent island. In addition to swapping the glass cabinets on that run, I would mmove the beverage fridge to the left side. Maybe instead of the built in fridge, you keep that space with counter (as originally planned) and make the top cabinet shorter with a cubby underneath for a microwave, as shown below.


  • Kathi Steele

    We had a "built" in made. It is totally portable. I love the pull out shelf for stirring food!!.

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