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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

NEED HELP!!! Kitchen Layout Malfunction...

pk_hinesFebruary 5, 2013
My house designer did an excellent job on my entire house plan, except the kitchen. It does not function. It is 14' x 14' with a 4' x 8' walk-in pantry. It is an open floor plan with one dining and one living. I was concerned about the sink on the island. I wanted to put the sink directly across from the stovetop. Is three feet between the island sink and stove top enough walking/moving space?
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I thought it would be cool to make just one large island approx 5' x 8' to sit a few people on one end. Then I was concerned about the sink being on the island and away from an easy place to store clean dishes. Maybe have the sink and stovetop both against the wall? I'm not sure. I've always had storage above my sink, so this is different.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:13AM
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I would do one wider island with a sink 3'6" away from your back cooktop counter. Stool seating would then be shifted more into the kitchen, so you won't see the barstools standing in your foyer. Eliminate one of the dishwashers and prep sink.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
house designers are not always the best kitchen planners. Take this to a reputable kitchen studio and have them take a look. there are strategies.

As an example your bar sink & dishwasher could go on the wall adjacent to the fridge. This makes this a clean/up dish storage area. as well, a number of drawers can be in the middle island & store stacks of plates, bowls etc in the soft close drawers. Many contemporary kitchens with few uppers do this.

Some families find it handy to have the serving dishes near the stove top for plating up at the stove. Or if you do serving bowls then plate at table, the serving ware would be nearby.

What I'd be more concerned with is the disconnect between the front island & the middle one. Kitchen planning is all about flow. Generally if we really cook, then we gather the ingredients from our pantry (dry goods) & fridge (fresh). They are collected at a central prep area, usually near a sink. Once prep is complete they either go direct to the table (ie salad or sandwich) or to the range or ovens, then flow to the table. Once finished at the table they go to the cleanup station & then dishware & pots back to storage. Bottom line we want smooth transitions to each area.

Take a close look at this floor plan & imagine you are prepping one of your favorite dishes... can you do it smoothly. Will you feel like you are chasing yourself around & around & run into multiple barriers? If so this isn't the plan for you.

Inventory the items you generally use in your kitchen & how often & try and designate a place for each near the station in which you most frequently use them. Think about cutlery, utensils, small appliances, pots, salad spinners, colanders, recycling, clean up tools & soaps, etc... where do you like them & where are they most logically located. ... then consult with a kitchen planner that really cares about the function first!

Senior Designer~Urbana Kitchens
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Is it too late to reconfigure the whole thing? I would create a galley kitchen which will mean one long island opposite the cook top with your eating area floating in front of that ..picture shows concept.. Island needs to be around 5 feet deep...I would switch the location of the oven and refer...etc...
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Looks like you are trying to put too many things in this kitchen. I would reverse the pantry location so the office area is more open when you enter. Have only one island and rotate it 90 degree.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:45PM
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Aggie Purvinska
A single Island would be certainly a lot more functional, Also I think I would move the fridge and Ovens.

Something like the attached image..
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Thank y'all so much for all the time spent towards your feedback. I have a better idea of how I can have my house designer rearrange. Ellen, awesome tips. I am going to get started on an inventory tonight and taking my list to a kitchen specialist!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Risner Cabinetry

The current design: the refrigerator, the sink, and two dishwashers are not close enough to the work area. The island with the sink causes the seating to be in the view point of the entry way. I can see a little wasted space above the breakfast area and not enough storage space.

Refer to my new layout drawing
1. This can be an opportunity to have a wet bar, serving table, antique, or matching cabinets.
2. I agree with moving the pantry. The doorway has to be easy access from the work area.
3. Move the door to allow a larger back drop of cabinets.
4. Move the double wall oven to a left side of the cook top or stove.
5. Move the refrigerator to the opposite side.

Instead of having a breakfast area, I suggest having two islands. You can leave the two dishwashers and can have the sink on either one. I like it on the right side so the seating area is not blocked by the faucet. By having flat islands, you give more view space for the backdrop. Also, you can add the microwave and extra ovens in the inside parts of the island.

By losing the nook or small bookcases, you gain extra cabinet space along with more work space. I attached a photo of our showroom cabinets (I reversed it) but it is almost exactly what the design I could see in your house.

Good luck with your project!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:58PM
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I think Ellen is absolutely correct. I agree with dytecture the pantry location needs to be changed. The office looks like a skinny bowling alley and will barely fit a proper size office chair between the desk and bookcases. It is a wonderful room and the pantry location spoils it. Once you relocate the pantry then inside your pantry install electrical plugs. One on each wall with the shelving and keep another on the blank wall. These will come in handy if you decide not to lug your mixer or other stored appliances into the kitchen. Keep the fridge on the wall where it currently is. This makes it readily accessible for both cooking and clean up functions. Ideal would be to have it panelled the same as your cabinets.

Minimum space if kids moving around kitchen or two people preparing a meal is 42" Between cooking top and island. however 48" is ideal. Wider, and you have to take too many steps to navigate within the triangles..yes that was triangles.. plural. I suggest one island. mine is 9' x 4'. Even now i can't reach if something is sitting on the far side. i use a backscratcher to pull it closer or have to walk around the island.. max depth should be 4'. five feet is too deep, unless you have arms which reach your knees! Put an electrical plug at both ends of the island. i am amazed how handy they have become. I have two dishdrawers . each holds a full place setting for 8 and take up half the space of regular size dishwashers. Where is your recycle, compost and trash? What about a pot filler at your cook top? I would keep the prep sink with a spray faucet, and a garbage disposal if they are permitted in your county. But instead of two double sinks consider one larger one. More functional for clean up especially with two dishwashers. I did not have room for a prep sink so I got one of the new Krohler double sinks with the middle divider being low enough to allow pot handles to straddle both sinks. Go online and research European designs, high end American. This will help you to pick fixtures (from more reasonably priced sources) that are not old but future classic kitchen cabinets, floor, counters, faucets, etc.

For china I started with dishes in drawers. It was a fair amount of bending. Your plan looks like you have enough space to put a cabinet with glass doors for glasses and china, table mats and cutlery. Where you have "storage" now. Just put one of the dishwashers at the end of the island closer to this china cupboard.

I would keep the table where it is. I always like to be near a window and natural light for breakfast and lunch. Otherwise everyone just watches the TV. The pendant lights seem to be in the wrong location. I am sure they look good, but when standing at the stove and sink you would be working in your own shadow?

The size, windows, exits, etc all look good. Just a little rearranging will make your kitchen, not only beautiful but fully functional. Good luck.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:45PM
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I like what Risner has done, but I don't think you kitchen is big enough?
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Risner Cabinetry
@mapeggy....the display in the picture is 25' wide. We did one in NJ that was 19' wide. So she can adjust within the cook top and decorative pieces. I think if she moves that door to the left she should end up somewhere between 21' to 22' wide on that back wall. I just love impressive hoods.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Risner, if you can make a 14' room into 22' then I love your plan. It would be similar to my own home but mine is on a smaller scale. I too think stove hoods should be the focal point, whether they are ornate or just 'plain' but stunning. Yours is a good plan, but where do the table and chairs go? My interpretation is pk has no other dining area. So this room must function as a 'living area' plus a dining room for all occasions?
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Risner, my apologies. It is not a 14 x 14 space. I did not examine the actual measurements. So yes, you can do your outstanding plan. But I still question the dining requirement...especially since we do not know the size of the 'living' area space.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Risner Cabinetry
@mapeggy....You are right, we don't know the dining space. The plans only listed the breakfast area in the kitchen, not list it as a dining area. The design I suggested provided 5 sitting places (actually more if you wrap the seats to the front of both islands).

Kitchens have morphed into meeting places. Kids will hang out in the kitchen; people at parties will congregate in the kitchen. Having an open layout between the kitchen and living room allows the kitchen to be more functional at the same time an opportunity to act as furniture. Besides, it is more likely people are willing to sit near the person preparing the meal than sitting further away at a table. This allows the person(s) to be a part and bring the people closer together. All of my past customers appreciate island sitting over having a breakfast table.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:42AM
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You are absolutely right. I totally agree that stools are a popular place when cooking. But I am not sure I want to have two couples.. friends, in laws, neighbours in for a special roast beef dinner with all the trimmings and we all have to sit in a row; while looking at all the kitchen chaos and dirty dishes. Stool number 1 has to shout at stool number 6 and ask stools 2 thru 5 to move forward or back so they can carry on a conversation. And if you have more than one child, how can you see what they are doing unless you are standing on the opposite side eating your own meal, while feeding the baby in the highchair. Perhaps all of your clients had other areas where they could sit on proper chairs and enjoy great conversation, sharing stories while actually looking into the other person's eyes, and participate in "family' dinners. But I think however, you are 100% accurate having bar stools...while you are cooking.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:09AM
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Here is a better photograph of the open floor plan. We only have one dining and one living. We live in the country and our main priority was a kitchen that functioned well. Convenience is more important than impressing anyone, but it is always nice to achieve both! Y'alls feedback is great. It has really made me think about other options that I didn't realize was an option.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:29AM
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The living is approx 19' x 25'. The dining is small, but the island will hopefully be able to seat 3 or 4.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
Glad my suggestions helpful... I agree about not lining up people on bar stools. It is not conversational, yet seen so often.

On my projects, I will always try to create an L for visitors/family. at least two-four people on stools on long part of island, and 1-2 on other side of L... that way we are looking at each other. Usually not necessary for more than 4, as a real dining table should be nearby.

Someday we'll all get back to "The Art of Dining"
1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:24PM
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