galateaspig

Help Deciding Kitchen Layout

galateaspig
4 days ago
last modified: 4 days ago

Hoping everyone is well and in a safe space during this social distancing. It feels unfair and insensitive to think about house plans when so many are dealing with dire circumstances. But we have a deadline to make some decisions and are stumped. If it gives you some distraction from the news, thank you for offering your insights on these plans!

This is a whole-house renovation of a neglected 1920s Italian Renaissance Revival home, including the addition of a large kitchen/family room on the main floor (with finished basement below and new bedroom and bathrooms above). We are working with an architect but are having a difficult time deciding between three different kitchen layouts.

It's a giant, long kitchen, we know, but the dimensions are determined by several exterior details and the layout upstairs. Option 1 has a very long 14' island (it would be a large ~10' slab in the center with lower cabinets on both ends to break up the size a bit and avoid granite seams) and we would put a hutch in the empty space along the short wall that abuts the dining room). Option 2 has a still-large 10' island and puts a banquette and small table on the short wall abutting the dining room, but has a large space from the island to the clean-up sink. Option 3 loses a door to the mudroom and some symmetry to the layout, and shifts the island closer to the wall with the cleanup sink.

Any preferences or thoughts we should consider? Do you prefer layout 1, 2, or 3 for the kitchen? Thank you so much --







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Comments (27)

  • One Devoted Dame

    I like the 3rd one. :-)

    It has more seating, arranged in a more pleasing manner (which my family would use; we have a boatload of kiddos, lol), and it moves Mudroom traffic outside the workspace of the Kitchen.

    galateaspig thanked One Devoted Dame
  • jhwebster

    I vote 3rd as well. One entry, one exit from the mudroom rather than 3 doors which will reduce storage space and only encourge kids running in and out of the mudroom in circles while you cook.

    galateaspig thanked jhwebster
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  • Kristin S

    I prefer a mix of 1 and 3. I'm not a fan of the banquette, as you have abundant island seating right there, and I would want the aisle between sink and island to be wider than 3'11, given the abundant space available. I would prefer the single door from the mudroom (which helps keep traffic out of the center of the kitchen), as well as the continuous counter it allows.

    I would stick with the overall layout of 3 but remove the banquette and shift the island to allow a 5' walkway between sink and island and a 4-5' walkway between the range and island. I would keep seating on two sides. Depending on your family, I might consider putting in a snack/breakfast/coffee area where the banquette is shown instead of a hutch.

    galateaspig thanked Kristin S
  • sheepla

    agree, number 3!

    galateaspig thanked sheepla
  • B Carey

    #3, but I would make the island a little larger (add more to the left)

    galateaspig thanked B Carey
  • keith Dcil

    I like 1 the most for its symmetry & huge island (swoon). Do not like banquettes. You have plenty of space for an informal table in the huge family room

    galateaspig thanked keith Dcil
  • keith Dcil

    I agree with Kristin S: swap a beverage/snack/ coffee station for planned hutch on number 1.

    galateaspig thanked keith Dcil
  • emilyam819

    I like 3 the best because it eliminates traffic from mudroom, but appliances are not laid out correctly in any of the options. Your fridge, prep sink, and stove should form a triangle. Secondly, The fridge should be accessible from both dining and living... unless drinks for the masses will be in a separate beverage fridge. Thirdly, cleanup sink should be near dining room for dishes. Some compromises will need to be made since you have so much space. But I think I would have a drink bar where you have the banquette and fridge closest to mudroom entry; the compromise is cleanup sink far from dining.

    galateaspig thanked emilyam819
  • galateaspig

    Thank you all for these thoughts! Can I ask some follow up questions? I also like the symmetry of version 1, and worry about the long wall of upper cabinets in version 3. Would it look strange to have a run of almost 7' of cabinets on either side of the range (as in version 3)?


    We hadn't thought about a beverage/snack/coffee station at the wall between the dining room/kitchen, that's a great idea. Do people find banquette tables annoying?


    Thanks so much --

  • hemina

    Agree with @Kristin S...good points. I like the idea of a banquette table, but I think you’d end up just sitting at the island. Are you keeping the island all counter height?

    galateaspig thanked hemina
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO you need a kitchen designer not your architect. Bigger is not always better for kitchen design. I really dislike banquette seating and I really see no purpose for it in that kitchen. Is that a 48” range? Where are you venting the range? BTW the venting for it will cost a fortune and the noise will be horrible. Unless you cook for 20 on a regular basis no home needs a 48” range. I run a catering biz with a 36” 6 burner range. Please no raised bar at the island.

    galateaspig thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • Kristin S

    Do people find banquette tables annoying?

    Some do, yes. Think about when you're in a booth at a restaurant and someone needs to get up for some reason - everyone has to slide out to let them out, then again to let them back in. Do you really want to be doing that at home?

    That said, personally I find the chairs back to back with the bar stools more annoying, especially with a walkway in between. In my experience people often don't push chairs back in (I'm sitting at my dining room table right now, and as I look around half the chairs aren't pushed in), which means they end up in the walkway, and with chairs back to back with them it just looks like a mess.

    I'm also just not a fan of redundant eating spaces, especially when there are better uses for the space. You have a dining room and an island - do you need and will you use a third seating area so close? Or will it just collect clutter? For my family it would absolutely be the later.


    Would it look strange to have a run of almost 7' of cabinets on either side of the range (as in version 3)?

    Keep in mind that with a 48" range, you'll need at least a 52" vent hood, so there won't be quite as much room for uppers as you think. If you're worried about how it will look, though, why not add a second full height pantry cabinet at the far left end of that range run, and then center the range in the remaining space? You have a lot of counter space but not a lot of food storage space, so I think that would be a very worthwhile trade-off. Alternately you could consider putting the refrigerator in that spot. If you're worried about uppers, you could also consider eliminating uppers on one of the two walls. I don't think you're going to be lacking for storage in this kitchen, particularly with another full height cabinet and a coffee/snack bar in the corner, so why not open things up a bit by skipping uppers?

    galateaspig thanked Kristin S
  • lafdr

    I agree a mix of 1 and 3. I do not like the little corner desk/table as drawn in the kitchen. Maybe one small area for your desk/bills/ ? But do you want in such a public area? But I do like island seating on 3 sides. Our island has stools on 2 sides, but we end up pulling stools to the 3rd side so we can sit more like at a table with the 4 of us. There is overhang on 3 sides for us. Our dining room table is often covered with my son's homework in progress. If you know you or your kiddos would use that little table area, do what works for you.

    galateaspig thanked lafdr
  • galateaspig

    Thanks, all! @hemina, yes, the island will be all counter height (except for the giant version, which might have slightly lower ends to break up the size/allow for single granite slab). @Kristin S, great idea to break up the cabinets with another full height cabinet. @Patricia Colwell Consulting, do you recommend we talk to a kitchen designer now, before the architect draws up the technical plans for builders (to get estimates)? And, kitchen designers often work for cabinet companies, no?

  • One Devoted Dame

    Would it look strange to have a run of almost 7' of cabinets on either side of the range (as in version 3)?

    Do you need upper cabinets? :-D

  • galateaspig

    It seems like the majority of folks think #3 would be more functional, but I can't stop thinking about the potential beautiful symmetry of #1. I mocked up a 3D version (using software with limited free elements, so the range hood is represented by an arched window!), and it really does look nice, @keith Dcil and @Kristin S




  • galateaspig

    @emilyam819, @lafdr, @One Devoted Dame, it's hard to strike that balance of enough work surfaces for kids, and not so many that their clutter overwhelms -- in thinking about the banquette table. But the idea of chairs floating around in walking space does annoy me, just thinking about it.


    In terms of the 2 doors into the mudroom, in addition to it producing that nice balance aesthetically, I thought it might be helpful in lugging groceries to the fridge.

  • One Devoted Dame

    There isn't true symmetry in Kitchen #1 -- just from doorway-to-doorway on that wall. There's a tall pantry cabinet on the far right (visually heavy), and broken cabs (lowers-counter-uppers; visually lighter) on the left. So, symmetry isn't accomplished, anyway. ;-)

    That said, if it would absolutely make you happier going with Kitchen #1, you could always keep the Kitchen/Mud doors perpetually locked to keep traffic out of the kitchen. :-D

    Edited to add:

    As already mentioned by other posters, I think rearranging your major players is a really good idea. Moving the fridge, so that it is near the Pantry and Dining areas, would create awesome flow. If it's right on the other side of that Mud door (Kit #3), you will have the shortest possible distance for unloading groceries, both into the Pantry and the fridge.

    galateaspig thanked One Devoted Dame
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    What you want is an independent KD not affliated with any particular cabinet company. Then what you get is someone who thinks outside the box when needed. Yes this is a good time to line up a KD and since you have a good idea of the space they can get to work coming up with plans.

    galateaspig thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    I try to avoid base cabinets turning corners when designing kitchens. Here is some conceptual food for thought thinking outside the . . . kitchen.

    galateaspig thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • Buehl

    How about something like this?



    .

    Without a pantry:



    galateaspig thanked Buehl
  • hemina

    I like @Buehl ‘s 1st option. Was the no pantry option because you feel like it will be too many cabinets? I don’t know what you’d do without a pantry. I think you should reconsider the 48” range and do a 36” range, and go for a larger built-in fridge. The hood will sound like a plane landing in your house. And the narrower depth of a fridge actually makes them more functional since you’re not losing things behind other things. Putting two doors into the kitchen is not a good idea-you want to keep people out of your workspaces.

    galateaspig thanked hemina
  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    If you want the symmetry of #1, but the traffic flow of #3, consider using part of the MR for a reach-in pantry with a pocket door. Also, move the fridge closer to the DR and traffic from the upstairs, to make the cooking triangle separate from the clean-up zone and dish storage. Since the kitchen is interior, I increased the windows over the clean-up sink, for max natural light.



    Alternately, if the DR doorway is adjusted, the fridge could go on the short wall. Alternate mudroom/pantry:

    I realized after I posted the two plans above, that the MR doesn't need to change, except for the door swing--if you make the pantry the depth of the bench nook. Instead of a pocket door, you could use double doors:

    galateaspig thanked mama goose_gw zn6OH
  • Buehl

    Regardless of which you choose, don't center the sink on the island, instead, offset it to the left so it's not lined up with the range. They should not be directly across from each other for best functionality.

    Question for you: You seem to be focused on looks rather than function. Are looks more important to you than function? This is important as it drives the design.

    You will find that most of us here are function-first. It's easy to make a functional Kitchen look nice; it's next to impossible to make a nice-looking but dysfunctional Kitchen functional without ripping it out and starting over.

    If, however, looks are more important to you, please let us know.

    Also, be aware that symmetry looks good on paper -- in real life, not so much. Perspective will make things look different. The angle you're looking at it will determine how it looks at any given time b/c it will look different as your perspective changes -- and it's rarely the same twice!

    galateaspig thanked Buehl
  • galateaspig

    Thank you all for your thinking and work on this! I am swimming in your ideas!

    @Buehl that's the level of specificity we need to get too (what will go in each cabinet)! It turns out I am more obsessed with balance and symmetry than I expected (the classical style of the existing house is also pretty rigidly balanced), so I think it might bother me if the range wasn't at least centered on the island. Is that ridiculous?

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH you are blowing my mind with the reach in pantry instead of a doorway. That's amazing. Do you think if we worked with the door style and paint, we might be able to create some symmetry with the door on the other side? Also, I love love the no uppers, all windows on the sink wall!

    @hemina, yes to the counter-depth fridge! Do you also mean an integrated fridge, which we don't know much about (especially cost)?

    And, for others, is the 48" range a bad idea, really? Is the venting/hood really loud? My husband is the cook and baker, and a really excellent one, and he is excited about entertaining our big family with it.

  • keith Dcil

    48 " range is truly a luxury item and we would have put a Viking Pro 5 in our kitchen reno but we didn't have the room and chose not to add-on. Instead we built a second kitchen in the basement for baking & party prep. Your kitchen is big enough for the 48 " range and the hood will be far enough away from the living & dining areas that sound shouldn't be a problem.

    I also agree with mamagoose's ideas to place fridge on wall next to dining room , remove upper cabs on window wall and create a reach-in pantry to the left of range.

    galateaspig thanked keith Dcil
  • Buehl

    Ask yourself how you would feel about a chopped up Kitchen...that's what I'm seeing in the first two layouts.

    Be careful about putting the Refrigerator too far from your Prep Zone and about making the island a barrier between the refrigerator and the Prep Zone on the island.

    If you decide to use one of the first two layouts and don't want the refrigerator on the range wall, then consider putting it on the same wall as the range but on the other side of the Mudroom doorway.
    It's still near the Dining Room but it's also much closer to the Prep and Cooking Zones and the island isn't a barrier. Note that in this case you wouldn't have room for the refrigerator on the right next to the range anyway since the available wall space is significantly reduced because of (1) the oversize range and (2) the need to provide a decent doorway & aisle on the other side of the range (between the range wall and sink wall).

    I also wouldn't do the corner on the sink wall...let the counters die into the wall on the right. I.e., a straight run, no corner where it meets the Mudroom wall.

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