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Please help--conflicting advice from designers about island in narrow kitchen
ksal2010
July 31, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I posted on here about a week and a half ago about our narrow L Shaped kitchen (18 1/2 x 11 1/2). At the time we were considering 3 different options:

1) insert small working island
2) insert island with seating 4'x7'
3) insert island with seating 4'x7' (36" between island and sink) but open diningroom wall up w archway or double doorway behind island for more space

So after talking with 2 kitchen designers who have great reputations in Boston (both came to the house to measure and look at the kitchen) and we decided to go with option 3 with a 6 foot wide opening between the dining and the kitchen. Yesterday I went to look at cabinets at place where they make their own (I have heard great things about them). I told the designer there that we wanted the L shaped kitchen with an island with seating and showed her the floorplan (with the diningroom wall with a 6 foot opening in it). She reacted very strongly the the floorplan and immediately said "you do not have room for an island with seating" and said that the best we could get would be a small working island. I asked her if that would be true even with the new 6 foot opening in between the kitchen and the diningroom and she said that we definitely don't have room for an island with seating even if that wall is opened by 6 feet. She said if we completely remove the wall (it is load bearing) we can put in an the island in with seating but it would be "very tight".

This has made me very nervous about the island with seating although after deliberating about it for 1 1/2 weeks we had really started to like the idea of it. Do you think the other designers just included one because they wanted to sell more cabinetry and granite? Or can it really be done and look and feel good in the space? One of other designers presented an option with no island, an option with a working island and an eat in table, and a 9 foot island option with no table. The other presented several variations of a 9 foot isla
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ksal2010
Sorry - got cut off. The other presented several options w 9 foot island w seating (and she also removed back door in kitchen and filled it with cabinetry. I just don't know what to do. The other thing is that I think I like the cabinets best at the place where the designer said no to the island. Do you think we are crazy to consider an island with seating in this kitchen (even with 6 foot opening in wall between dining and kitchen?) Thanks so much!
0 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 8:25AM
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laurie0714
My design that is in process for our remodel has some similarities. We found that a minimum of 41" between a working counter and island is necessary! Will you have a table & chairs in the kitchen area? Have you considered moving the exterior door in the kitchen to the other side of the room? This might give you some other alternatives for seating at an island or peninsula. Moving a doorway would probably be easier than opening up a load bearing wall! Realize that moving the doorway will require you to fix the floor there, too.
0 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Merry Powell Interiors
I just did some rough math. Looks like with a 4' wide island, you will have less than 2.5' between the island and the wall with the opening to the dining room. This means if anyone is seated along the back of the island, no one will be able to walk behind them comfortably. If you could make your island just a bit narrower, say 38" and choose barstools with no backs and that fit completely under the counter, you might be able to make this work. It will be key to keep the seating toward the right end of the island (as we look at your plan) and perhaps one seat at the end toward the family room. This way the backs of the people seated at the island will be across from your enlarged dining room opening and the doorway to the family room. An easy way to visualize this is to layout the island on your floor with masking tape. A good rule of thumb is that you need at least 30" from the edge of a table (or in this case countertop) to pull out a chair.
2 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 8:46AM
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laurie0714
Your island could be as narrow as 26" which is the depth of a typical base cabinet and countertop with small overhand on each side; however that would not accommodate chairs. You would need another 15" or so overhang for that which brings you to 41" plus you need room to pull the chairs out.
0 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 8:55AM
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lefty47
HI --- I commented before . I suggested other changes should be made for a better floor plan . I use to do kitchens and small reno's and I agree with the other designers about no room for an island - but they are looking at the space you have and trying to give you what you want .You just don't have the room to have what you want right now unless other changes are made first. I think you have to look at it from a differant direction. First - do you want or need a formal dining room ? - and did you want it opened up to get more light in there ?- or if it is fine being a private formal room. Have you given thought to adding onto the back of the house a bit ? Can the laundry be put where the bedrooms are ? Would you like to have a view of the back yard from the kitchen ? I think the kitchen should be turned around and a bit of space added onto the house to give you a kitchen that will have an island and a seating area. It would be a better visual from the front door also. What do you think ?
1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Mona Ives
Ok I'm clearly not one of the Boston designers you consulted, but I feel compelled to say this: If you hired a designer you TRUST and as you say has a good reputation, my question is: why did you not bring your concerns to him or her? Let me just say that NO designer wants to sell you more cabinets and granite at the expense of the kitchen not functioning properly. They would be crazy to do so. I would never sacrifice my client's overall happiness with the design over what, a few hundred dollars extra on counter and cabinet? There's just no way. Designers only survive on our reputations and if it were to get around that we designed a kitchen where you can't walk around your island, it would be the end of our business. All the designers I know have a lot of integrity, and although any other Boston designer would be my "competitor" in the field I really have to defend our trade here. My best advice to you would be to call up your designer who made the suggestion, ask them to meet you again on site at your house, bring up concerns you have, and ask them to work through it with you to help you decide. That is the designer's job and you are not giving them a chance to help you. Also, let your designer know what type of cabinet you prefer and I'm sure they can find the same or better resource, or they can work with that showroom to explain things and get your order done.

In terms of your layout, the designers above gave you good advice. Tape it out on the floor and invite the designer to talk it through with you. In a small kitchen, my advice is that you should have 36" minimum between island and counter. 41" is nice, but isn't possible in every kitchen. I would narrow the island to 36" and open the doorway for sure. I'd open the doorway anyways unless it's cost prohibitive to you. It will cost something substantial to have the LVLs for structural support.
12 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 9:08AM
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mollythecollie
Don't forget your traffic flow from the kitchen to the family room and from outside to the bathroom. I agree with Merry Powell interiors lay everything out on the floor with masking tape add room for people to easily manuver their chair or barstool. Then check out your traffic flow. After you have everything laid out on the floor, then try opening the dishwasher and oven. Is there still room to easily manuver between them and your island?
1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 9:10AM
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feeny
I completely agree you should consult with the designers who have already been in the space and have them explain to you and lay out exactly why and how they think an island with seating would fit in your kitchen. I've included a link below to a Houzz discussion with a homeowner who discovered too late that she didn't have room for the island she had built with seating, just as a cautionary tale. So please measure this all out and be absolutely positive you have the room before you commit: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/60641
1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 11:01AM
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PRO
William Hill Cawood, Architect
Mockup the island-you can also use small tables or endtables to get a sense of space. Also realize that space is subjective-what is tight to you is fine for others. for example, for one client, no hallway to the bedrooms could be under 6 foot wide, and they were even complaining about that dimension as too tight. On the other hand, a 3 or 4 foot bedroom hallway is generally enough for the majority of owners.
1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Dytecture
If having kitchen island seating is a must on your list, I agree you will have to do with a narrow 26" wide island.


1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 1:14PM
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alextronicek
Are you keeping the appliances in the same place or moving them around? My vote would be for a peninsula. Either at the end of the kitchen by the family room, or a bit more towards the centre of the long wall with the window.
1 Like   July 31, 2012 at 1:38PM
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ksal2010
Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate all of your comments. We will definitely tape it out and talk to the designers about it. We'd love to be able to extend the kitchen out in the back of the house but unfortunately we don't have the budget for it. Why can't budgets be unlimited :) Thanks again!
0 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 6:55PM
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thebighouse169
Not sure this will work, but move the stove to the corner to the right of the refrigerator, then make a penninsula that comes out from where the stove was. Make it wide enough to accommodate sink dw and seating. That way you will be facing the family room while you prep, family and guests can chat with you while you work. That penninsula will make a great drop off spot for groceries which I assume come in through the back door. Corner oven should work since corner cabinets generally have quite a bit of dead space. Cabinet over the oven will be deep enough for large roasting pans or platters. If this appeals to you, discuss with your designer.
0 Likes   July 31, 2012 at 7:53PM
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Tarey Cullen
Couple of good suggestions above -Some people are challenged with understanding three dimensions in their mind. If the tape on the floor is insufficient in getting a real good feel for the space - consider building your pretend island out of cardboard boxes and a table cloth to get the spacial feeling of the counter and its height. Most designers can "mentally" visualize the space and from experience (as you can tell from the comments) have a good sense of the space. Suggest you build it and do a "butt" test. That means setting it up then opening the dishwasher and oven doors, and cabinets to actually get a feel for how much or little room you will have. . Take a few items (pretend) out of the dishwasher and put them away-- to determine if you have to move from one side of the dishwasher ( that DW door when opened uses 27" of your 39" distance) to the other in order to reach a drawer or cabinet. Then, Do the "cereal test" imagine where you would set a bowel, get the spoon, take the milk out of the ref., etc. If the oven is in line - do the same test as if you were preparing Thanksgiving dinner...make notes of the counter space you use or need. .
Also I noticed the line of the family room gives me a thought that it was a remodel or addition.I had previously suggested placing seating at one end of the narrow island. if you have a step down into that room ? It's important to share with your designer, as a leg of a counter stool could easily slip off the edge if the island is positioned too close to the step.
5 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 8:21AM
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laurie0714
Just another thought from a wider perspective. I imagine your bedrooms are upstairs so it would be nice to have a chute to the laundry area. The laundry is quite small so what if you made it larger, moving the wall into the current kitchen space? This would accommodate a folding table, hamper, and maybe another sink.
0 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 8:23AM
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ksal2010
tareyc - love the cardboard idea. I hadn't thought of it but it will be a great way to visualize how the island would be. I am also now curious about the peninsula that someone mentioned too. We can try that with cardboard. As for the family room there is no step down. I wondered if it might have been an addition too but the realtor doesn't think so because the garage is on the other side of it.

Laurie--We might actually move the laundry area upstairs. There is a closet that backs up against the bathroom so if it isn't a huge expense we would like it on the 2nd floor near the bedrooms.

One thing the realtor mentioned that we hadn't thought through is furniture placement in the family room. We told her we want to open up the family room wall to kitchen and she said that it will make furniture placement in that space almost impossible. Yet another dilemma to consider...
0 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Tarey Cullen
Don't forget to first : do the tape on the floor as Mona Ives suggests ---so you will have precise measurements for The (boxes)
The peninsula as suggested by alextronicek and thebighouse169 is a good solution.
The stove really, really needs to move.
Closing up the door can be expensive and if you have a brick exterior $$$ ( a lot more than a simple laminated beam to open up the Dining area....and steal a few feet.
I'll take another look at that plan with an island. later- gotta go see Rod Stewart!
0 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 2:00PM
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miahenning
There is room for an 8 feet long x 36" deep island centered on the space left between the sink countertop edge and the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen. This leaves aisles that provide about 36.5" clear space between countertop edges. Setting the short end of the island so that there is 72" clear from countertop edge to the wall behind the refrigerator will avoid any conflict you may have between existing or new refrigerator door swing clearance now or in the future. If you like a broader connection between kitchen and dining room, do it, and make it about nine feet wide (this leaves 24" long flanking walls from the dining room side which, in a traditionally arranged house, is nice to do). This will allow for the island chair or stool back-out space that others refer to. Many kitchens with islands function beautifully with the dimensions outlined here. More is always better, but you don't have the space, and contrary to some advice, you don't need to add to the house. The splurge cost is making the dining room doorway wider. This may improve both rooms in the process. The short ends of the islands can be outfitted with 36" wide by 12" deep cabinets that face the family room and the refrigerator respectively. The side that faces the family room could have glass doors, the side that faces the refrigerator could be open shelves for cookbooks or large serving bowls. This leaves a 72" long by 12" deep kneespace at the island that is perfect for three chairs with arms or possibly even 4 stools. If you want more island seating eschew one or more of the island end facing cabinets. If you prefer symmetry stick with symmetry. It is also possible to wrap under island seating on the end adjacent to the family room so that kneespace is "el" shaped and the seating orients towards the interior end of the kitchen. This would make more artistic sense if the range were placed on the run of counter immediately next to the refrigerator - and if the refrigerator could be placed in a cabinet and relocated elsewhere - such as the space where the current range is and to its right (next to the back door). The problem with this alternative refrigerator location is only visual: you can see it from the dining room (and it would project into the aisle). The solution is another cost splurge: a refrigerator with a cabinet front trim kit or a cabinet depth refrigerator. The virtue of this arrangement is a dramatic and immediate improvement in the separation of cooking and preparation area from cleaning and drying and dish area. If you splurge in the two suggested areas, you will have the best kitchen possible for the arrangement of space you have. All other schemes pale.
2 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Kraig Kalashian
Just to give you a frame of reference, I completed a kitchen that was just as narrow as yours (11'). Working left to right we had a 3' walkway, a 12" counter that was connected to a 24" base cabinet (3') with stools underneath the counter, another 3' walkway and another 2' of cabinet. The result was more than fine and not having to expand the footprint allowed the client to upgrade to nicer countertops. I agree with Mona- I don't think any good designer would strictly be interested in selling you more stuff. That being said, I always think it's better to work with independent designers and architects rather than ones who work at showrooms and earn their salary on comissions. I have attached a photo of the kitchen in question. The wall to the left is cutoff unfortunately but you can see the rest.
5 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 2:49PM
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miahenning
See photos of a similar kitchen that measured 11'-9" finish to finish in the short direction.

The island top sat on a standard depth base cabinet; the overhang was 10"; the resulting countertop 37". If the owner had not also wanted 12" deep tall wall cabinets on the wall behind the island seating, the island could have been wider front to back, with a deeper underhang or kneespace at the seating side.

Your kitchen is only 11'-5" wide but could accommodate a 12" to 13.5" deep kneespace.

See attached plan for how dimensions would apply to your kitchen
2 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 5:18PM
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miahenning
A few other images from the completed kitchen
3 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 5:19PM
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miahenning
And one showing the reverse angle
2 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Cynthia B
I like the third choice, good luck!!

3) insert island with seating 4'x7' (36" between island and sink) but open diningroom wall up w archway or double doorway behind island for more space
0 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 5:22PM
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ksal2010
Mia--This is super helpful. Thanks! Any way you can email the sketch to keriajones@hotmail.com (it is hard to read on here). One question I have it do you think it would still look ok with a normal depth fridge. We have kids and our fridge is always packed so we don't want to lose any space in it. Or do you think it would stick out too much? Thanks!

Kraig- Thanks for the photo. It's also really helpful and good to see another island that looks good in a narrow kitchen!
0 Likes   August 1, 2012 at 7:13PM
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miahenning
In the "new" position, a standard depth refrigerator will stick out a lot, and if it is a single door type, the door would strike the island. To have the refrigerator in the new location, there are only two solutions: a deep fridge that is double door style, so door swings don't conflict with the island, or a countertop depth fridge ($$). Newer and therefore, more expensive, technology often allows design problems to be solved in ways they couldn't otherwise. Hence, the splurge cost.

In the old position, a bulkier fridge isn't as much of a problem and if you make sure that the island COUNTERTOP edge is not set closer than 72" from the wall behind the fridge, you should avoid the door swing conflict.

Unfortunately, what that means is, you aren't improving the RANGE/SINK proximity problem and the congestion that undoubtedly occurs in a kitchen of such design. Only you can let yourself spend the extra to get the layout you want to live with for the next however many years.

We always try to fix what we/our clients agree are kitchen design defects. Some defects are minor nuisances, some are deal breakers.

Everyone working in a kitchen that is laid out less than optimally feels it every day, but we have all lived in kitchens designed by others long before us that simply didn't or couldn't do the things we wanted it to without expense.

If you spend the money on a new shallow depth refrigerator, as much as one of those models cost, years from now you will look back and find it hard to remember how the kitchen was before and you couldn't imagine it any other way. A good plan is that good.
0 Likes   August 2, 2012 at 1:35PM
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ksal2010
Thanks Mia. I'll have to look into the counter depth fridges to see if any are wider and might hold more. I guess we could also look into keeping an extra fridge in the garage for backup space. Also, do you think you could email me that sketch you did? I am having a hard time reading it on here. My email is keriajones@hotmail.com Thank you so much for all of your help. I really appreciate it!!
0 Likes   August 2, 2012 at 1:47PM
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feeny
Just want to put in a pitch for counter-depth fridges. They definitely look sleeker and are better for island clearance (especially with french doors). But I also want to note that when we redid our kitchen I was worried about moving from a regular-sized fridge to counter depth. I thought I'd be frustrated by the reduced cubic footage. As it turns out, I'm not. In fact, most of the time I'm just impressed by how much more cleverly and intuitively the storage space is laid out compared to my old fridge. OTOH, we are a family of three.
2 Likes   August 2, 2012 at 2:03PM
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ABC Home Furnishings & Carpet One
You have 132" to work with width wise. Take out 25 inches for your cabinets. Then allowing 42 inches between the cabinets and 42 between the wall is only going to leave you with room for a 24" bar. You could tighten it up to 36 inches between each but that is going to leave you tight for space. I try to always use 42" or 48". So it really boils down to which is more important to you. You CAN have an island with seating but you might wind up like me, hating your kitchen. We bought our home from my husbands grandpa so I inherited a kitchen with very similar layout and size to yours and there is an island but it makes me crazy because I don't have enough room for more than me in the kitchen space and if the kids are sitting at the bar you can't get around them easily. And if the dishwasher is open I can't get out of the kitchen space...
0 Likes   August 2, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Tarey Cullen
I still think you are overlooking gaining space from the Dining Rm. The D.R. is not used as much and could easily accommodate Holidays with reduced size. Reinforcing the load beariing wall with a header and making room for the REF eliminates the need for the more expensive counter depth REF, adds a pantry or counter and a planning center
4 Likes   August 3, 2012 at 7:40AM
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ksal2010
Thanks Tareyc. Definitely an interesting possibility. I don't know much about kitchen design but how does this impact the work triangle that people refer to? Would it still be maximizing the kitchen layout from a cooking perspective? Definitely is interesting from a layout perspective and you are right about the dining space. I think losing the 2 feet there would not be bad at all and we'd gain some wall space for furniture in there. Thanks so much!
0 Likes   August 4, 2012 at 6:53AM
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lgrachen
I am in the same boat as you are. Our kitchen is the exact same size. I am doing the L and removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room-same as you. I hired a designer and she put in a 36 inch by 115 wide island with 5 bar stools. I came home and measured her plan and there is no way. If people are sitting at the bar, then you will not really be able to get through. It is just too tight in my opinion but she begs to differ. It is driving me nuts- not sure what I am going to do at this point. I think it will be just too cramped and not enough room to move around comfortably.
0 Likes   August 8, 2012 at 9:50PM
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yogagirl1117
I am in the midst of building a house. We have spent hours in cad working on a kitchen layout. I completely understand your concerns. Are you able to move the stove to the back wall where the fridge is currently located? Move the fridge to where the oven is currently located. Then you could remove the side door and put a countertop on/breakfast bar on the end? You would have to move the side door about a foot. ???

We have four feet between our perimeter and our islands. This way there is room for someone to work and someone else to bark orders! lol or simply walk behind.
0 Likes   August 26, 2012 at 4:39PM
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Sheryl Horton
Here's the math- your space is 138" width . Subtract 24" for the cabinet plus 1 1/2" for countertop overhang. Subtract 24" plus a back panel 1/2 to 3/4" . Then subtract another 1 1/2" for both back & front counterop overhang. That leaves 84.75 inches devided by two gives you 42" clear space. That is a standard width. The second designer was correct & saved you a lot of dissatisfaction. The first designer? Better check their qualification!!!!!
0 Likes   August 27, 2012 at 3:22PM
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eileen4
We used 15 in depth base cabinets and 30 in countertops on our sit at island. Comfortable sitting 4 stools. Fits limited space and doesn't appear to skinny. You can have your base cabinets made to any depth you want.
0 Likes   August 27, 2012 at 4:38PM
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lgrachen
I agree with Sheryl. I have exactly 138 inches. I laid it out with tape. The best I can do is a 27 inch wide island which could be about 90 to 100 inches long since I am tearing down the wall between dr and kitchen. The designers measurements she came up with do accommodate an island but if people are sitting around the island? It is just too tight. I will just have to give up seating at the island and just have an island with cabinets only 27 inches max. This gives me about 41 inches on either side. Less than that is just way to cramped. Because where does everyone gather when company comes over? In the kitchen. Does anyone sit? No. Having a nice long thin island will give me space on either side for people to gather but I wil lose the seating which is OK. My dr will now be my everyday eating area which is okay because I will do it semi-formal. I can keep it casual for everyday eating or I can dress it up with pretty dishes for formal entertaining. In my old house I had a huge kitchen and beautiful formal DR. I literally only used DR twice a year at most. I am willing to give it up and use it as everyday functional space. You can have a pretty enough everyday eating area which could serve as a formal dining room if need be if you pick the right furniture and decor.
0 Likes   August 27, 2012 at 8:55PM
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lgrachen
BTW, if anyone lives in the Atlanta, Ga area and wants a beautful DR set that seats 8 very comfortably let me know. I can fax you pics. It is black distressed base with mahagony top. Hate to give it up but It is too formal for everyday eating.
0 Likes   August 27, 2012 at 8:58PM
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pcmom1
Maybe you would have the room for the island if you completely CLOSE off the opening between kitchen and dining room and OPEN up wall much more between foyer and dining.

You could still have a pass thru in wall from kitchen to dining for sitting food out on, but you wouldn't have to worry about traffic flowing that way.

Or, could island incorporate part of load bearing diningroom wall: wall load held up by pillars in the island? Formal dining room smaller then, but table could run in front of windows. You could have a huge island!
0 Likes   September 2, 2012 at 2:20PM
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adruaba
I totally agree with lefty. That's exactly what I did with my kitchen. Now, I have a beautiful view, seating area and I can work at the island as well. You need to talk to someone, else. Agree?. These people-designers, contractors --at least to me, appear to not think out of the box. Please keep us posted. FYI I had to move out of my house for about five months, and with the contractor's help I work on this project almost entirely on my own. You make the decisions, is your money, and definitely is your house!!! Do whatever will make you comfortable, happy and something you can make money out of it in the future, if you are thinking about selling. Good luck.
0 Likes   September 2, 2012 at 3:41PM
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adruaba
One comment, are you keeping the triangle work space in mind? Is it my imagination ...the pic shows the fridge across the room? Where is the dishwasher. Someone mentioned four feet of space
between the dishwasher and the oven door, it does not work. Try it with cardboards and "pretend" , let's say the oven door is open, the dishwasher door is open as well, someone is cooking, and somebody else is walking thru--you think four feet is enough room? It sounds complicated, I know but I just had my family over--a sister, husband and 3 children. We had to deal with this scenario. It does happen when you have people over and everyone is trying to help in the kitchen.
0 Likes   September 2, 2012 at 3:53PM
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poeticmoma
standard recommended space between the island and cabinets is 48. It will feel tight and difficult to maneuver if you go less that 45, especially if you have guests helping out.
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 1:40PM
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papatragg
All you really need is a 3' wide is amble space for seating - I a m a designer I to would not recommend a 4'x7' island - I do alot of tight space you really don't any less then 39" from Counter top to Counter Top.
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 3:07PM
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adruaba
I like mia's comments? M, is this your kitchen? I like the computer desk you were able to place near the kitchen. I wish I had this space available to me in my kitchen, instead I have to use one of the guest's bedrooms, but is still works for guests staying over. Good job!!
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Sheryl Horton
There are other issues with your plan that haven't been addressed. First, consider moving your dishwasher to the left of the sink. That's very efficient if you are right handed. Hold the dish in your left hand, scrape with your right & load. Relocating the dishwasher would free up the cabinet space for better storage near the range. Consolidate the small cabinets to a larger, more useful cabinet to store frequently used cookware.The diagonal base cabinet on your plan would make it very hard to reach the upper cabinet unless you intended to use it for display or you are very tall.
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Donna Lucas
The reasoning for the current arrangement is the view from the entry door. You do not want a stove sink, or prep area directly visible, from the front entry. Ideal would be the door to exit to the back visible from the front door.This would eliminate the awkward corner Cabinet always an issue for several reasons. The wall with the refrigerator could be cabinets /pantry it's plus counter spaces some with appliance garages. I always like a counter to floor unit of drawers. Assuming the formal dining room is used . Sink and dishwasher counter on the dining room wall, stove on opposite wall with prep and windows either side. This should effectively shorten the kitchen to the vitals in the triangle arragmentment, the wall opened for a bar open to the family room with seating both sides including a prep or small sink at the island bar. This arrangement will enlarge the feel of the kitchen and family room and acess to the dining room from the from the front hall is perfectly separate for formal ocasions. Moving one door should not be that expensive and is right next to a slider exit from the family room so having it opposite the front door is sensible for many not to mention ventilation for a warm kitchen., and there is easy accesses for the family room, via the slider. The island or bar area adjacent the family room with nothing above will at bar height not have prep so visible and everyone always surrounds an island and be close to the kitchen.
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Donna Lucas
At the very least add a window opposite the front door , stairway minus the counter and minus the corner. The refrig wall still countered but straight to the corner. Dining room opening closed for sink and dishwasher cupboards above dishwasher, then if not changing the door the island can start on the balance of the dining room wall, seating & storage both sides no cabinets above interesting lighting.
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 5:53PM
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lizpittman
would love to see the final decisions & pictures ! We have a similar project in our future.
0 Likes   November 2, 2012 at 1:07PM
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lgrachen
Put in the island. We have the same dimension kitchen. We did the L-shape with the 32 inch by 82 inch island and it turned out PERFECT. I was so worried it would be tight but we have PLENTY of room. We have on one end of the island our garbage drawer and then a microwave drawer but the rest of the island is open and we have three barstools. One on either side and one on the end and have plenty of room. It is amazing until you get it installed how much it opens up the space and actually makes it appear larger. Everyone that has seen our kitchen is amazed at how it turned out and the way it acutally makes it looks so much bigger. trust me, I was really nervous about it. But I did have a professional interior designer who actually told me to put in a bigger island but it made me too nervous. it turns out I could have done the wider and longer island but opted to go a little smaller. Don't be afraid of putting ina 32 inch wide island. Thats granite edge to edge. Total width. The cabinets are actually only 28 wide but we did the 2 inch odge edge granite on either side. If you give me your email address I will send you pics. I Love the space and have no regrets.
I will give you final dimensions of everything. Kitchen is 17 .9 by 11.9 wide. Opened up wall going into dining room. Island is 82 by 32 wide.
0 Likes   November 2, 2012 at 8:40PM
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lizpittman
our kitchen space is 18 x 13 so very close to yours. Hard to visualize it all. My email pittmanlc@gmail.com curious if u thought it helped to open up the formal dining room entrance into kitchen,

thanks so much !
0 Likes   November 2, 2012 at 9:40PM
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ksal2010
Hi Liz (and others),

Sorry for my delay in response. We recently moved and don't have internet access at home yet. We decided to go with the plan to open the diningroom wall, close up the back door and open wall to familyroom slightly, make the 2 casement window in kitchen a 3 casement one and put in the large island with seating for 4. We are SO happy that we did this now. We have been living in the house for a few weeks now and feel that we made all of the right decisions. It doesn't feel cramped at all and really opens up the layout of the house. We are in the process of painting, organizing etc now so I will post more photos after we are done. In any case I am attaching the final layout now and the 1 photo I have. I will try to take more of different views this coming weekend. But we are really really happy we chose the design that we did.
5 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 9:02AM
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ksal2010
PDF of topview didn't load so here it is again...
3 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 9:48AM
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PRO
Mona Ives
Looks beautiful. Congrats :)
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 10:10AM
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mathomson5
Just picked up on this discussion -- we had a similar issue in 2005. Our kitchen was 9x13 which we extended to 15x13 --to the right in the above photo by taking some room from the family eating area. We could not extend the window wall or to the left because it was a fire wall. I wanted to take room from the dining area but was discouraged by the 3K estimate to move the bearing wall. My neighbors did do this, and have a slightly larger layout that works well, too. We have 42" and 36" walkways around the island without the chairs and can seat five at the island which is nine feet long and 14" wide. On the wall opposite the window, we have a 42" refrigerator, and a wine refrigerator, recessed into two former pantrys, as well as a double door to the dininr room. The small bar sink on the lower left run of the cabinets, the ice maker in the refrigerator, and the wine referigerator make the bar area feel -- well like a separate area for serving drinks. One issue is to consider is your granite -- we had to piece the island to get 9 feet, so I would have made it 8 feet not 9, especially after I increased the size of the family dining room table from 48" to 60" to seat 6 instead of 4. And although I selected the bar chairs in advance, my husband chose a larger and more comfortable chair that I also love, but which interferes slightly with the supports for the slab. We deal with this because the chairs are swivel and the tall backs fit under neath the island when not in use -- creating nice places for backpacks, purses, groceries. When we entertain more than four others, some of these chairs are moved away from the bar and it is used as a serving island for drinks, and sometimes the whole meal for a crowd. When we serve in the dining room, the 42" height hides the sink and stove prep, and also screens from the front door, although not as well as one would like. All in all we are very satisfied, although to place the stove in the island, we had to pay double for our hood -- a piece of sculpture from Zephyr's Cheng design series that is 54" wide. I really like the two heights of chairs -- makes for stadium seating when we have a crowd for a game.
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 10:44AM
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lizpittman
Thanks for sharing pics & layout. All this really helps. Bring on any tips ! I just want to make sure our island isn't cramped.
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 2:17PM
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ksal2010
Hi Liz,

How's your project going? Sorry I promised more photos but didn't post them right away. I am finally posting some now. We still love the kitchen. We recently had a party with about 30 adults and 15 kids and the space flowed really well. I was very nervous about the fact that the space between the sink and island is narrower than people typically recommend but it ended up working out fine with everyone there and didn't feel cramped. One thing I will say about the island--I still love the size that we went with but I find that it is hard to keep clean. People tend to come in and throw down bags, keys, mail, laptop, etc on it. I wouldnt change the island but i do wish we had the space to include a small desk in the corner somewhere to be a catch all area. Anyway, that would be the only thing I would change now. In any case, good luck with your project. Keep us posted on what you decide!
2 Likes   December 10, 2012 at 6:53PM
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cofishing
ksal - would you mind providing the final dimensions for the space(s) if you have the opportunity? We are working with 15x12 and I believer we will be very close to what you have, sans 3 ft! thanks
0 Likes   December 11, 2012 at 9:42PM
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ksal2010
Sure cofishing. I am attaching the final sketch from the kitchen designer. I hope it helps! Good luck with your project...
0 Likes   December 12, 2012 at 11:49AM
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ksal2010
Trying to attach it again (it wouldn't upload the pdf)
0 Likes   December 12, 2012 at 11:51AM
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ksal2010
Looks like it didn't upload properly but if you click on the red x it will pop up...
0 Likes   December 12, 2012 at 11:52AM
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mathomson5
When you are checking your final dimensions, ask whether you are looking at the distance between the cabinets or the countertops. Countertops extend over the cabinets about 1.5 inches. Our renovation is very similar; we used 36 and 42 between the edges of the countertops and the cabinets on the walls and are quite pleased with the result. Two of us are 6' feet and over 200 lbs -- the guys -- and the women are 5/5-to 5/8" . If the widths were three inches narrower, I am not sure we would be as comfortable. We also have our stove in the island, and I think that having the stove near the corner of the L might create some congestion leading to two 42" corridors rather than one 36". We have 42" between the stove and the parallel sink area. The bar is 42" high -- which I like a lot -- I am typing this while using it as a standup desk. The choice of chairs is critical as well. I planned my bar for two foot wide chairs and my husband decided to go with something a little heftier in wood. Both options were round seats, with a swivel top and curved back; we discovered that there is an added benefit -- the backs of the chairs can slide under the countertop when the bar chairs are not in use. This effectively creates a shelf out of the chair seats underneath the bar -- where we are known to put backpacks, large purses, etc. This makes the hallway feel a little wider when we are not using the bar to eat or entertain. The chairs were not inexpensive, but a good value. They were about $500 a piece on deep discount from Sheffields, but I have seen them on the internet for the same price. Leather seats, brass topped foot rails all around -- they are sturdy and no one is going to fall over backwards in these. And they also are suitable for my wood floors. Show very little wear after several years and I expect them to be usable for as long as any quality leather furniture. They are complicated to dust, however, as dust accumulates under the swivel leather seat, as well as on the brass rail. What I would recommend is that you find something that looks good with the whole room -- the bar chairs make great "stadium" seating for a crowd to watch a game. The other option I chose was Elite -- from California -- less expensive, and widely available - they complemented the stainless steel brackets from which my Cheng hood hangs (Zephyr makes these) as well as the SubZero/Asko/Wolfe combination in refrigerator, dishwasher and stove.

The other amenity we like is the ceiling speakers above the cook -- so the cook can hear the game without blasting those closer to the screen. Even while the fan is on above our gas stove. We also installed can lights above the stove - on either side of the cook. [My spouse is the chef and this kitchen was designed for him.] For these two speakers we also have a separate volume control in the wall cabinet where we house a small television, too. This additional sound system was feasible because we replaced ceiling drywall from a previous water problem above -- and we were also installing can lights in the ceiling throughout our 15' by 42' space for the kitchen, family dining and family room used principally for watching programming. The electrician who installed the sound system worked on commercial installations and was one step ahead of the designer (me) in thinking about where we would be and what we would be hearing when we needed to see and hear the programming.

If I had it to do over again, I would skip the hanging light over the table in the family dining area to install one more can light -- the table seems to move around a bit depending on how we are using this open space between the new kitchen and the small family room -- I should have -- and still may -- invite the electrician back for a simpler solution. A can costs $200 and this oversize 500W dimmable fixture was $300. Even though I was careful to find one that could be hung high enough to see under while watching the screen from the kitchen on the other side, and that complemented the foyer chandelier, as well as the range hood, this light interferes with watching the screen. With a can, we could just use the dimmer for low level ambient light.

In sum, lighting is very important in kitchen design, but so is the sound if you are renovating to create an open plan.
0 Likes   December 12, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Eva Fadel
ksal2010. Your remodel is lovely. We designed our own kitchen and are very happy with the outcome. Seeing things flat on paper is very difficult to envision the reality. We built a mock island in the dimensions we wanted. It's as easy as getting two saw horses cut out some stiff cardboard in the size island you would like and put it in the room so that you have to move around it. How does it feel? This might sound like a hassle but easier to re-size a piece of cardboard than to live with a counter that isn't what you wanted or is but turned out to be a mistake. Our contractor wanted us to move our 4x8 island closer than the 42" aisle I wanted from the wall counter. He thought it was too far but for the first time in 24 years of marriage we were going to have a kitchen we could work in together and a year later have not regretted the island placement. Some kitchen layouts are basic ergonomics others are convention but you want a kitchen that will work for how you live.
0 Likes   August 16, 2013 at 4:36AM
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