SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
helaurin93

kitchen island and clearances question

helaurin93
26 days ago

Planning a kitchen renovation, with an island. Trying to make sure I am giving enough clearance space, but also want to ensure I'm getting as much storage/seating as possible.


So in the area where the island will go, I have 156.5" of space between the two walls that will define the width of the kitchen.


Depending on how much clearance is required, and also depending on whether I'm measuring from countertop-to-countertop edge (or wall) vs. cabinet front-to-cabinet front, will make a difference on how I plan the island. I'm not constrained by the typical 3" width increments for cabinets at this point.


This sketch *may* help make sense. The future kitchen is roughly 13'x20'. The island will have cabinets and seating. How that cabinet/seating is actually configured will depend on how I figure the clearances around the island, and that's what I need some "sanity help" with here.


Looking at the sketch, towards the top is a typical 24"-deep base cabinet area, which includes a dishwasher to the left of the sink (yes, I know, I didn't mark the dishwasher). Dropping downwards, I marked out 48" clearance. Notice that I did NOT mark out the width of the island, because that's what we are trying to determine. Now, working from the bottom of the sketch and going up towards the island, I marked 36" clearance. That's the penciled-in space between the wall and the island, with allowance for three seats at counter-height.


Question #1: Possible barn doors vs. pocket doors. Note, on the "bottom" of the sketch, you see two openings. Those are actual openings without doors. We are considering the possibility of putting a double-width barn-door-style pair of doors on the wall that parallels the island, so that when we want to close off the kitchen, that we can do so. The openings would probably be open about 85% of the time to allow traffic in/out of the kitchen. But there are times when we'd like to keep the five cats and four dogs OUT of the kitchen, and having a way to close that off for such times as that would be helpful. I did talk to the contractor about the possibility of using pocket doors, but the wall paralleling the island is a load-bearing wall. He expressed concern that to do a pair of pocket doors, we'd have to retrofit a structural header beam to go across at least 14' of open space while removing the wall, then rebuild the wall parallel to the island specifically to put in the pocket doors - which he said any pocket doors he has ever put in for clients, they ALWAYS have problems with them and he absolutely detests them. I do like pocket doors, but budget is also an issue. Anyhow, the point is that I'd like to leave 3"-4" of "extra" space beyond the bare-minimum recommended clearance between the wall and the island, in the event that we do end up installing barn doors.


Question #2: Distance from wall to island countertop - I am NOT envisioning that aisle between the island and the wall to become a major thoroughfare (and especially not when people are actually sitting there). I think most kitchen guidelines recommend a minimum of 32" if traffic isn't going to go by a seated diner. So I was thinking to allow for 36" from the wall to the countertop edge, which gives me the extra 4" if someday needed if we do put barn-type doors there, so that we'd still have at least that 32' of clearance. If I only allow 36" from the wall to the base cabinets instead of the countertop edge, then the clearance from the countertop to the wall would be 34.5", and then if we do put in barn doors, that 34.5" could quickly become 30.5" - 32.5" (depending on the door/hardware selection). Thoughts on this? Should I hold fast to 36" from wall to countertop edge instead of 36" from wall to cabinet-front?


Question #3: Work aisle clearance (48") towards top - Is that 48" necessary from the countertop edge to the countertop edge, or from the cabinet front to the cabinet front? I'm assuming the possibility of two people cooking/working in the kitchen at the same time (although my boyfriend's idea of cooking involves only a microwave and/or toaster - if he was designing the kitchen, he wouldn't even include a range or oven at all). However, my teen does sometimes cook. So, would leaving 48" from cabinet front to cabinet front be enough? With an 1.5" standard countertop overhang on both the island cabinets as well as the base cabinets on the top wall, that's a 3" difference - and that obviously affects the possible width of the island.


Question #5: Which works "better" while maximizing cabinet space? For both, assume I keep 36" on the bottom of the sketch from the wall to the island countertop edge.


Option "A" - Keep 48" of space in the top work aisle from countertop edge to countertop edge. That would mean the width of the island from countertop edge to countertop edge would be 47", and the cabinetry beneath it would be 44" wide.


Option "B" - Keep 45" of space in the top work aisle from countertop edge to countertop edge (48" from cabinet front to cabinet front). That would mean the width of the island from countertop edge to countertop edge would be 51", and the cabinetry beneath it would be 47" wide.


The right-hand side of the island will be facing towards the wall where the range and refrigerator will be. I'd like to be able to put a two-drawer base cabinet for pots/pans and a pull-out trash can.


Using option "A", with 44" of cabinetry, I can either do a 15" side single trash or an 18" wide double trash can pullout, which leaves me either 29" or 26" for the pots/pans base cabinet.


Using option "B", with 47" of cabinetry, I can either do the 15" single or 18" wide double trash pullout, which leaves me with either 32" or 29" for the pots/pans base cabinet. It also lets me have the option (if needed) to squeeze an extra stool in on the other end (you know how teens are - they say they're inviting one friend over, and then sometimes it's 2-3 friends).


I'd really like to have the 18" wide double trash so that I can separate trash vs, recycling in a single spot. But I also want to fit as many of my pots/pans as possible in the drawer - and 29" wide would be better than 26" wide, obviously.


Would option "B" work though? Thoughts?





Comments (15)

  • PRO
    Designer Kitchen and Bath
    26 days ago

    Your intertwined and situational questions can best be answered by a competent Kitchen Designer whom you engage to work with you on your project.

    helaurin93 thanked Designer Kitchen and Bath
  • helaurin93
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @Designer Kitchen and Bath Been there, done that. Spent a few hundred with a designer, which was only enough to be shown (not given) a rough plan.


    I'm looking to get a variety of opinions/experiences from this great community and what people have found from experience living with various kitchen plans, rather than an opinion from a single individual.


    From my own experience with previous renovation projects, I've found that getting a range of viewpoints tends to serve me better, as opposed to getting a single opinion.

  • Related Discussions

    Only 36" ( 39 ) clearance between fridge and island? CD fridge - french door will save space?

    Q

    Comments (10)
    Thank you for the tip! What I meant is that I am open for a 33" CD also - I'll have a second fridge in the garage so I don't need a 36" however for resale value I probably should go with 36". My question is - would the french doors save more space as far as swing compare to one door?
    ...See More

    Kitchen Island Clearance Question

    Q

    Comments (4)
    36" is recommended. We just did a remodel and the area between the counters on the prep side is 34". It works for us. However, the other side, where the stools are is approximately 45". We did that so we could maintain a traffic aisle even with someone sitting at the island. Take a piece of cardboard and tape it to the top of the island and play with overhangs until you find one that works for you.
    ...See More

    Kitchen Island Clearance

    Q

    Comments (2)
    Ours serves as a prep area and a seating area. Between the counters on the prep side we actually went with 34", which works for us, even though it is less than recommended. We both prep food there and on Christmas Eve we had 12 people around it and it didn't seem crowded. On the seating side we went with approximately 45" because we wanted to maintain a traffic aisle even when someone was seated at the island. Take some cardboard and tape it to the existing island and work with the clearance until you find one that works for you.
    ...See More

    Would like some advice on clearance between island and dining table

    Q

    Comments (1)
    I would recommend a corner banquette in that area to give you the most seating in that area with max room between the table and island seating.
    ...See More
  • Memphis Forrest
    26 days ago

    You should also check the code for your area. I had a stupid pony wall on one side which had at minimum 36 inches. But The main thoroughfare going by oven an refrigerator I wanted 44 at least. So I went with a furniture island so I could have the benefit of an island for baking and seating. But not violate code which would make resale impossible

    helaurin93 thanked Memphis Forrest
  • jennsbabysky
    26 days ago

    You have a lot of seating around your island, but it looks like the spaces on the corner overlap. However, when planning the number of seats, you need to make sure you account for everyone to have enough leg space. Assuming you have about 48" in width for the two chairs on the end, you'll need a minimum of 39" for the single seat on the inside and a minimum of 87" for the 3 seats on the outside. That way everyone has their own leg space. I added a photo to illustrate this point visually.


    Definitely make all measurements from countertop edge to countertop edge, not cabinet to cabinet - all recommendations for aisle width are based on countertop edge, not cabinet box.


    For the 36" aisle, you mentioned you don't envision it being a major walkway. At 36", it won't be a walkway at all. You can only squeeze past sideways. That's going to make it tough to get into the inside seat.



  • emilyam819
    26 days ago

    The 36” measurement seems really tight, and I’m not loving the pocket door idea. What if you rotated the island and made it connected to the “south” wall?

  • emilyam819
    26 days ago

    That would give you the long side of the island oriented toward your kitchen work. As drawn, you’re only using the short end of the island for kitchen work, since behind the long edge is nearest the cleanup/dishes area.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    In a kitchen where every inch must count, I'd use 1" front overhangs. I think the layout would work with a 42" (counter-to-counter) work aisle, since the primary prep space would be in the corner between the sink and range, and the helper could prep to the left of the sink, or on the island. I'd make the island 48", which would leave 41" behind the seating on the longer side. Putting the layout on a grid where 1 square = 6", this is what you would have. (Perimeter is m/l guesswork.)

    Adding a sink on the island, while not necessary for function, would give you more options for prep:

    helaurin93 thanked mama goose_gw zn6OH
  • PRO
    Celadon
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    Get a Kitchen Designer. A couple of hundred is only a basic consult. Of course you don’t get a functional plan in a couple of hours of a needs assessment interview. A couple of thousand equals a buildable plan.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    26 days ago

    IMO min. where there is seating is 60” when there is a wall behind the stools . a 3x4 pantry is close to useless and any 1/2 decent KD would not be helping without a to scale plan so not much help here without one either . Unless you have a cabinet maker that actully builds the boxes and the doors from scratch you will be controlled but 3” increments usually. Post a to scale plan with all measurements clearly marked and for sure the sizes of the appliances and where the windows adoor ways are and all those measurements too. I would not give a client an actul plan to work from for $200 .

    helaurin93 thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • helaurin93
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH Thank you! As much as I'd like a second sink, it's just not feasible - it would require partially deconstructing the room below and moving a main lateral HVAC trunk.


    However, I do see in the first picture what you're talking about. You're correct, the range is between the sink and the refrigerator. The main prep area is the upside-down "L" on the right.


    This visual is very helpful. If there are going to be four seats, I think I'd rather have one on the top of the long side, one at the end, and two on the bottom long side, so that I can have the full width of the island with 24"-deep base cabinets facing the stove/refrigerator side.


    I wish I could just move the bottom wall out to give just another 6" of space, but again - budget constraints.


    As far as the space between the bottom aisle and the wall, I'm thinking that I don't need 42" there, but 39" kind of splits the difference and evens out the space a little bit. (Point of reference, in the current dining room, there's only 29" of space between the table edge and the nearest obstruction (wall or china closet) on either long side, and we've been squeaking by on that, so moving to 39" will seem like a huge improvement.


    Using a 1" overhang vs 1.5" overhang is another good idea - thanks for that! I would be more inclined to do that on the island, but keep the 1.5" on the L-shape where lots of prep goes on. My teen isn't the neatest when cooking, and since we're doing full overlay doors, that 1.5" may make the difference in protecting the base cabinets beneath.


    Forgive my rambling, but when I work through the math - here's what I'm thinking.... I don't think I'd feel comfortable with less than 45" clearance in the main working aisle with the sink/dishwasher, etc.


    What happens when I allow only 45" clearance in work aisle:

    156.5" to start

    minus 25.5" (base plus 1.5" overhang) = 131"

    minus 45" working aisle clearance = 86"

    minus 47" (45" island with 1" overhang all around) = 39"

    minus 39" clearance from island to wall = 0"


    The island cabinets would be only 45" wide, so allowing 18" for a double-trash unit leaves me with only 27" wide for the pots/pans. Ugh. Not what I'd prefer.


    So...what if I have the trash bin in the island facing the dishwasher, and instead have a 33" wide pots/pans drawer paired with a 6" vertical for baking sheets? (or a 30" wide with a 9" vertical), so that the island cabs are 39" wide, with a 1" overhang on each long side for a total island width of 41"? Either should work for me. (or eliminate the vertical tray cab entirely for a 39" wide pots/pans drawer).


    If I then swing around to the island facing the dishwasher and sink, working from the right to the left... the first 24" is the side of the cabinets facing the stove.


    So how does that work in a kitchen length of 247.75", following the top side of the island?

    247.75"

    minus 25.5" (depth of stove/cabinetry on right-hand wall plus 1.5" overhang) = 222.25"

    minus 48" (countertop to countertop on stove/refrigerator side) = 174.25"

    minus 1.5" overhang on side of island facing stove = 172.75"

    minus 24" (depth of the side of cabinetry facing the stove) = 148.75"

    minus 30" (width of drawer base unit for cutlery and dishes) = 118.75"

    minus 18" (width of double trash pullout) = 100.75"

    minus 27.25" (allowance for one seat facing away from the work aisle) = 73.5"

    minus 48" (aisle between island and cabs on left wall) = 25.5"

    minus 25.5" (base cab on left wall with 1.5" overhang) = 0" every inch accounted for


    Following the bottom side of the island:

    247.75"

    minus 25.5" (depth of stove/cabinetry on right-hand wall plus 1.5" overhang) = 222.25"

    minus 48" (countertop to countertop on stove/refrigerator side) = 174.25"

    minus 1.5" overhang on side of island facing stove = 172.75"

    minus 24" (depth of the side of cabinetry facing the stove) = 148.75"


    now we have 75.25" on the bottom side of the island to play with. I think it's possible to "squeeze" 3 counter-stools there (25" wide for each person), but it might be better to plan for two stools there and allow 27" - 30" seating width. If allowing 27", that leaves me with 21.25" that I could put another base cabinet in. If allowing 30" seating width, that leaves me with 15.25" for another base. Or pretty much anything in-between that 15.25" - 21.25". ....

    This could be a good spot for a planned "junk drawer", a space to charge/store tech (laptops, kindles, cell phones) and/or a small file drawer for keeping current coupons/paperwork to be handled, as I would be losing my current paperwork/file drawer space).


    Thoughts?

  • helaurin93
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @Patricia Colwell Consulting I wish there was space to have 60" when there is seating. Frankly, that's a luxury that I've never had. My current dining room space is only 10' wide. With the 44" wide table and a china buffet/hutch taking 18", we only had 29" of space from table edge to obstruction. And even that was an upgrade from my previous house's dining room which was only 8' wide, as that only allowed 26" of space for seating and clearances combined.


    The 3x4 pantry is primarily going to be storage for appliances, bulk item purchases, and bins for cat/dog food. It's an odd corner that currently has a 24" wide base cab and dishwasher. The problem with this this is currently the main place for stored food items, and when the kitchen door to the patio is open, it blocks access to both the cabinetry and the dishwasher. I can't tell you how many times I've been on my hand-and-knees digging in the base cabinet, or bent over the dishwasher and gotten whacked when someone flings the door open. My thought is that I can put small/medium appliances that aren't used on a daily basis in the planned pantry closet, as well as the larger bulk-container sized items to refill from less frequently. It's a way to get use out of that space and store bulkier items close to where it would get used. (As opposed to storing it in the garage or utility room) on an entirely different level.


    The contractor I plan to use connected me with a cabinet maker, so I'm not controlled by the typical 3" increments with the exception of 3rd-party accessories (trash pullouts, etc.).





    .




  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    26 days ago

    I think your aisles sound OK--if that better suits your needs and cooking style. Standard advice here is 60" between seating and a perimeter cabinet, but in a remodel, we can't always follow the ideal. I would want to keep the path between the prep area and the pantry clear of seating, but if the extra seat works OK for you, 45" is better than 42". Can you put the pots and pans in wide drawers facing the DW, with trash opening toward the fridge? Trash would be convenient to all zones, and you could still wipe debris from the island top directly into the open can. Have you considered blocking the corner to put trash pullout to the right of the sink?

    Red rectangle is extra cabinet, if you do only four seats.

    helaurin93 thanked mama goose_gw zn6OH
  • helaurin93
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH Thanks! Are you using a freeware or shareware program by any chance for the scaled drawings? (If so, which?) How would it look if there was only one seat on the far end, centrally placed - I think then I could still have the one on top, and two on the bottom along with possibly one narrowish cabinet. That would give me 3 seats with no one sitting directly next to each other, and then the fourth seat could be the "extra" when needed.


    I really am looking forward to having a super-susan corner cabinet again (had one in my previous house) and my thought is that it will be a good place to store a variety of mixing bowls and other items. I also would like to keep the "main trash" location out of that corner, because I don't want people (such as my boyfriend) pushing past me to get to the trash can there, and it would be right between the sink and range - like prime traffic path there.


    I do plan to have a small trash can under the sink for truly yucky wet stuff so that it doesn't need to be carried over the surface of the floor.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    26 days ago

    I downloaded a graph from the 'net, uploaded it to Paint, and then I just draw little boxes and circles. You are welcome to use it.
    One seat on the end: