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Help with tricky kitchen layout
Cat S.February 6, 2013
We are moving into a 1904 Victorian in need of a kitchen update. The current layout doesn't make great use of the space. However, because of a limited budget, we can't move around the sink (currently in the island) or the gas stove.

As you can see there are a lot of doorways to work around. Also, while I'd love a U shaped kitchen around the island, there is little space between our kitchen window and the island, and that window is only 23.25" from the floor, meaning that any cabinetry that went on the window wall would have to be exceedingly narrow and would also cover up the window to counter height (we can't change window as we're in a historic district with strict rules about exterior of house).

We're planning on using IKEA cabinetry in ADEL with butcher block countertops, and granite or quartz on the island. That's a start, but I'm having trouble working on layout with the above stated design limitations. I know that the community will have some great ideas about layout possibilities....
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The IKEA kitchenplanner really helped me out, have you tried it yet?
Is it possible to move the diner-door to the corner where the hallway-door is? It would make it possible to put two small L-shapes in the corners (is it?)(with full height cabinets on the 'column-wall'?), but than the island has to go..
Or see if the entire wall to the diner can go, so you have an open plan. In this case you will only need one door to the hallway. And you can add cabinets to your island on the diner-side for storage.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:30AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I think are going to have to just make the best of it. You really can't move anything.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:35AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Cat.... it's really not all that bad...... I think with your new cabinets and adding a few additional units you can make it work for now...........I understand the budget issues believe me. We started our full house renovation 5 years ago. and was going at it lock, stock and barrel.... I mean no dry wall on the interior save the bathroom walls for privacy.......of course the walls weren't insulated to begin with and planned on replacing all the hard wood floors that were in pretty bad condition. The plan was to redo the complete wiring system, mechanical and plumbing in one fell swoop..........then the design firm I was working with was hit pretty hard by the economy..... I volunteered for a layoff to save two young interns just getting their careers started with young families. I figured I could and did make up my salary by doing odd contract work around our neighborhood, but then my health took a turn for the worse and everything came to a halt..............so I fully understand the budget issues.

Here's a suggestion. Start with the plan you would want if budget wasn't a problem. I would open the kitchen space by removing the walls between the kitchen and the dining room and the hall. I would also remove the wall between the dining room and the hall, incorporating that hall space into the combination kitchen / dining room space. I suspect that hall wall is load bearing, but that can be easily be taken care of with beams and columns incorporated into the chase element and the remaining walls.................once you have the plan that you would prefer to have, work in incremental phases to that end as the budget allows.

Yes it may take some time, but with small steps you can get the design and space you want..........good luck.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:59AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
I actually like the space and the possibilities. Since you live in an "historical" district, I could easily see a design that would reflect that history with the modern conveniences that we all want..........it could turn out to be a "craftsman type" gem I think.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:06AM
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Cat S.
Lots of good advice thus far. We would love to consider knocking out the hall door and opening up the space into the dining room, but the issues there are that: 1) it is a load bearing wall and we can't take on the expense of those types of renos right now and 2) once we start having a family, we might decide to turn the dining room into a bedroom and the sunroom into a dining room so that we can stay in the house longer before selling it.

In the meantime, I guess we'll have to think about just using the layout as is and perhaps adding upper cabinets with crown molding to create more storage space and to make the space more attractive. Perhaps the empty narrow space beside the dining room door and the hallway door can become a desk top made out of butcher block or a bench space--we'll have to see. And rinqreation--I have played around with the IKEA kitchen planner and might have a designer play out some possibilities using it as well. You're right that it's a great tool for imagining possibilities! Fortunately there's a pantry as well, so that takes care of a lot of the food storage space.

If anyone else thinks up a possibilty for what should happen with our narrow empty space, or what combos of cabinets we should go for (e.g. open shelving somewhere? glass cabinets up top and solid beneath?), or has any inspiring photos, please do share!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:27AM
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What are the measurements of your sunroom? You could consider saving now for a long light kitchen in there, since it might be too narrow for a table and chairs. Then the kitchen can become a diner and the diner a bedroom or familyroom. Forward planning makes it easier to cope with what you've got now, too.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Something like this: (or if the budget allows it in the future, reshape the bathroom to a square)
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Hi - I have no idea how to help (sorry!) but I was wondering what software you used to create these renderings? Thanks!!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Too bad you can't switch the kitchen and dining room around. The current dining room looks like a great shape, size and location for a kitchen.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:03PM
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If you can afford building a small attachment to the kitchen and taking a few inches off the hallway, it might be possible to make an open kitchen with a table in it. Close the doorway to the diner and you have a spare room for the future (still usable as diner of course). Only downside might be having to walk through the kitchen to the bathroom (but hey, that's something possible getting used to right?).
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:17PM
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I'm curious to see what you will decide!
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:06AM
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I love the old victorian homes...we used to live in one for 30 years. Traditionally, they had, as I see you do also, a wash-up room--for sink area; a pantry--for food storage; a Kitchen--for the work area; and a butler's pantry for the dishes. The Kitchen was basically just a large work table in the center, with a stove and shelving all around the room; (although they usually had a "back kitchen" also for a stove --in the warmer weather).
Nowadays our kitchens are built in a different way--all in one room.
Anyways....wouldn't it be fun to combine some of the old ideas with the new....
Here's a couple photos of Victorian kitchens--maybe they might spark some ideas?? (Type in "old victorian kitchens" in Google Images for lots more photos!)
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:01AM
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M B Wilson Interior Design
I suggest you hire a kitchen designer. They can help you avoid mistakes, and get the most for your money with the layout. Check NKBA.org and find a local designer who can work with you. Then take the ideas to Ikea.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:47AM
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Cat S.
Thanks to all for the extra comments. Unfortunately, we don't have the money to knock out entire rooms or build additions. What we're thinking more and more is that since the plumbing would only have to be moved a foot or two, that we'll move the sink and dishwasher from the island to the window wall, and create a much tinier island just for prep and a few stools for seating. We would demo the brick "chimney" since it's nonfunctioning and doesn't go into the attic, in order to allow for more counter/appliance space and salvage the brick for our patio or another use.

We can't change the window since we're in a historic overlay, but what I'm thinking more an more is to have a much more functional "U" kitchen, we'll finish the backs of the cabinets and put them in front of the windows, as in the attached images from houzz). At first I didn't think this would look right, but the attached images convinced me. I'm still debating fridge placement--we don't want to move the stove since the gas would be much more difficult to move, but that means potentially placing the fridge next to the stove. However, I've read that if there's some clearance space between the two that's not a problem (see attached IKEA kitchen planner screenshot--we'll plan out upper cabinets later). Outside of additions/knocking out walls, we certainly appreciate any layout advice!

PS- neota02: the house plans were drawn up in Sketchup (free from Google).

1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:04AM
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I love all the ideas that people have given you, but since you don't have a budget for (huge) renovations...

I'm not a kitchen designer, but have you thought about letting the kitchen go through the corner and using lower cabinets under the window (I'm Dutch, so it's sometimes a bit hard to describe what I mean ;-)). Or maybe a simple made-to-measure open cupboard if Ikea doesn't have the right size cabinets. You could use a different colour for that section and perhaps make it into either a bench or a desk/work surface type of space.

Also, I found this photo and love the use of glass door cabinets to fill up the space to the ceiling.

I'm sure the end result (whatever kitchen you will choose) will be wonderful. Love the character of the house.

Good luck.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:45AM
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Look what I found... it's not your style of kitchen probably, but you can look past that. And obviously you need a cute puppy or a cat to accessorize the space.

2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:55AM
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IKEA has some nice products but they are all standard sizes for more modern construction. I had a similar problem when renovating a kitchen and found a custom cabinetry company best. I was on a limited budget and told them upfront. They offered two designs using my wishes, current plumbing, windows, door etc. I ended up with beautiful cabinets that perfectly fit the room and will last a long long time. Cut expenses by using laminate countertops with wood edging and a painted back splash. These fit the period better but can easily be upgraded later if you want. It looks like your appliances don't match. If they are in working order consider having your stove spray painted black at a body shop. Everything will coordinate, the openings will be standard and you can easily replace the appliances later. Good luck. This will be a beautiful kitchen. Have fun with it.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:14AM
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I agree with carolin, you have wonderful high ceilings that let you have cabinet all the way to the ceiling.

If you are moving the sink and dishwasher to the window, I would suggest having a movable island of drawers for pots and pans ( I used to have one, it was great). You can push it against a corner between the two doors when not cooking and use it as a sitting bar or something.

I am jealous of your pantry space, I was trying to picture whether or not a fridge or freezer could fit in there.

Transitional West Hollywood Condo Makeover
Buena Vista Kitchen 1
Buena Vista Kitchen 2
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:44PM
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88 Atelier for Architecture
It looks to me like the most efficient scheme is for the main length of counter to be located against the exterior wall at the left, despite the location of the window there. An island that butts to the wall adjoining the pantry like a peninsula could have the cooktop. The island peninsula could be built around the brick chimney. Do not let the presence of the window dissuade you from running your main counter there- I have sometimes had this same issue and it can be handled a few ways with a good detailer. For instance, a ledge at the window sill height that creates a pocket behind the counter is one way. Depending on the window sill height the pocket may only be 6-8 inches deep, and you could place planted pots there. This idea would not require you to move door ways and your pantry would still be accessible. Please contact me if you need a sketch.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Cat S.
Thank you all for your wonderful advice--I'm sure I'm going to be back on here for many more questions as we go through renovations.

Like Gisela, I think we've come to the conclusion that having countertop across the window wall is the only way we'll have an uninterrupted expanse of countertop in the kitchen. Otherwise, the kitchen looks choppy and ill-designed. Gisela--I'd definitely love to see a sketch of what exactly your window sill "pocket" looked like. The window seat solution is a great idea, but our window takes up almost all of the width of the wall, so it would get rid of any usable counterspace we would've gained to go that route.

We also found out that the brick chimney (which was originally for a coal stove, thus the vent space chunked out of the brick) doesn't extend into the attic and doesn't connect to other chimneys, so it should be easy enough to demo to free up that space for appliances or countertop to make a U-shaped kitchen. We would salvage the brick for our patio or another house project.

Thanks to all for the pictures of nice kitchen layouts, and the nudge towards custom cabinetry--we'll definitely look into it and post pictures once our renovation is through!
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:42AM
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Looking forward to see the result, as I'm sure you are too :-D
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:46AM
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88 Atelier for Architecture
I have attached a quick sketch for your use.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Cat S.
Gisela--I'm on vacation with limited internet access, but thank you so much! It's so generous of you to pass this along, and we really appreciate it!
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:30AM
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Cat S.
Just as an update, you all have been so helpful with your comments! We've started demo work on the kitchen, and we've used IKDO IKEA kitchen designers online to help us come up with a layout. They have been tremendously helpful, and I strongly recommend them to anyone considering using IKEA cabinets. I've attached an image (from our awesome IKDO design) of what we'll probably end up doing--an L shaped kitchen that goes in front of the window. We'll use the narrow space between the hallway and dining room door for some upper cabinets as well as open bookshelves, and we'll use the space between the hallway door and the sunroom door for a desk. The only thing I'm concerned about is if the desk sticks out far enough to create too much clutter. That's the last element of the design to figure out and then we'll start installation! I'll definitely share photos when that happens. Thanks again to all for feedback!
    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Looking good! I'm incredibly curious how it will look once the kitchen is in place. Exciting. And nice of you to keep us up to date :-D
    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:50PM
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hey--that looks great! thanks for the update!
    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:13PM
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