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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with kitchen layout/redesign

jmorgretFebruary 10, 2013
We are starting to plan our kitchen redo and need some help on the layout. The main thing we need is more seating. The little nook area really can only accommodate two or three. We are planning on taking out the current built in fridge and putting a doorway there to a large pantry/utility room. We thought of installing a column fridge in the area on the left side of the sink. We thought of installing a column freezer on the right side of the dishwasher. Or maybe just a fridge/freezer combo on the left of the sink. We have also thought of moving the cooktop to the island so we could create more seating at the island but we have reservations about that because we would have to go to electric and there would be no vent.

I have also included a picture of the entry way of our kitchen because we would like to incorporate this area in the redesign as well . The opening for the kitchen used to be the outside wall of the house and we don't know how much of the stuff going on in the corner has to be kept for structural purposes. Does anyone think we may be able to extend a bar\island out into this entry area? The smaller half wall has our family room on the other side.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Your structural questions would need to be answered before the kitchen design questions. I'm going to comment to bump this up. Perhaps Ironwood will see this and comment.

It looks as though there may be some structural component--chimney? ductwork? in the corner to the left of the dishwasher.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Thanks eagledzines. No chimney or duct work. That last picture where the plates are hanging is the back side of where the tv is hanging in the third picture. In the last picture you can see a little bit of a built in hutch that is on this wall. Maybe I can post a floor plan. Anyway, any ideas on the layout without involving any major changes to that corner?

Any ideas on the layout of the fridge,stove, island?
thanks again
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:18PM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
Can you provide a floor plan with dimensions?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:21PM
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It is preferable not to have to walk around anything or through a traffic area to get to the sink, refrigerator, oven and pantry. I'm wondering if the bottom of the windows is the same height of the countertops. If so, the sink might go into this area near the pantry, with some depth to the countertop behind the sink, and then cabinets wrap around the wall on the left. If the island could be pulled back as you are talking about, 42" from the sink, then the seating could be at the opposite end of the kitchen, keeping the traffic away from the work area. If that is a possibility, there may be a heating issue involved. If you have forced hot water, there should be radiators against the window wall. If the sink were at that end of the kitchen, then theoretically the pantry on the right would be great. If there was room, it might even work out to put a column freezer in the pantry--it depends on the final design.

Suggestions from this board might be incorporated into a professional design, but I would suggest not trying to plan this kitchen yourself but hire a professional kitchen designer as it has a lot of possibilities and could be exceptional with the right design. I don't mean a big box designer or necessarily an architect but certainly someone that has had a lot of experience and good references on high end jobs.

What I saw in the third picture that made me wonder if it was structural was what the cabinets abut to.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:52PM
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What is the type of flooring that you have in your kitchen? Love the color and have been looking for awhile.
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:54AM
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The Virtual Designer- Kitchens & Bathrooms
Hello- I would also ask for a floorplan but just off the top of my head, I would suggest the benchtop to the island be made longer (and perhaps wider??) and angles similar to the bay window where say 5 bar stools can be placed around that end of the island.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:08AM
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Ironwood Builders
Thanks for the vote of confidence eagldzines! At first blush, the entry to the kitchen has very thick wall. Reasons for this range from masonry structure supporting a full masonry wall above to a double wall to hide flues or plumbing...or just a desire from the previous owner for that thick wall (opened up one once expecting the worst...it was all for show). Some judicious sleuthing would give some concrete answers. A few questions. The existing kitchen is an addition? What is the exterior veneer of the house above the roof of the addition? Is it a full second story? If not and you can see the roof, are there pipes or sheet metal vents in the area above the thick wall? If so, how thick is the second floor wall and ditto on the roof of the second floor? When you tap on the short section of the opening does it sound hollow in the center? If it is a double stud wall and larger than 8" thick there will be space between the two walls. If so rent a Milwaukee wall camera, a fiber optic lens with a light and video screen on a 12" wand. Make some holes in both sides of the opening and look inside. Are there pipes, ducts, lots of solid wood? This sleuthing gives the information that can generate the cost of opening the kitchen up...its probability, not its possibility. We can do anything you want...you need the pocketbook to pay for it. Once the probability of opening the space is determined, the kitchen designers can reorganize your layout to encompass your goals. All of the comments above are correct... You would be best served with a professional planner. Your spec is ample, but chopped up by the island. The island impinges on the bay signing area and work triangles are non-existant. Not sure you need to bring the cabinetry out into the current kitchen foyer(?) but opening it up and refining the space gives you more options.
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:32AM
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Ironwood Builders
Oh, about that hood...or lack thereof....you may not have a choice about venting the cooktop. Most code bodies enforce a vent to the exterior on any cooking surface, from wood to those crazy halogen lights. Yes, they want the CO from a gas range to vent out, but they are just as concerned with moisture removal. Don't know where you live, but building departments everywhere have some oversight into what you do to your home.
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:37AM
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A Kitchen That Works LLC
Have you considered putting the sink in the breakfast nook area and wrapping the cabinets around the wall where the fridge is as well as the current cabinet run where the sink is? This would require putting in smaller windows and patching the siding on the outside of the house but would be nice for the person washing dishes or fruits/vegetables.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:54AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We have two different approaches here. One is to basically just update the kitchen and leave the layout pretty much the same except for moving the fridge to accommodate the pantry door. I was also hoping that if we went that route we could change the island some to add more seating. The other approach would be to dramatically change the layout to maximize workflow efficiency and seating space. That would include doing something with that odd corner and of course would mean more $$.

We have considered moving the sink as has been suggested. The bottom of the window case is at 36" but the frame extends lower. As for moving the stove vent, that is really out because there was a new tile roof put on the house right before we bought it last year and we really don't want to mess with that.

Yes, we do need some expert help on this, I agree. Here is a rough floor plan if any one has any more suggestions
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:31PM
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Am I seeing it correctly? Do you have 3 ovens?
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:36PM
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1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:52PM
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@makeoverkitchen - It is tile but I don't know anything about it. I assume it was put in when the kitchen was added in the early 80's.
@omaopa - Yes. Apparently the previous owners did a lot of cooking! We will just be putting back a double wall oven when we remodel.
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Considerations for you to decide what to take to your designer:
It doesn't matter if frame (apron) of the window extends lower. The countertop can run into where sill is, forming the sill itself. The measurement from furthest inside circumference of window to edge of countertop will be taken into consideration to determine feasibility of sink placement. Whether preexisting outside walls at entrance to kitchen can be changed will make a difference on plan. Also, where pantry can be located and how big it can be will make a difference. Also what you would like to locate in the pantry will make a difference. Whether you would like a bar sink in the island. How much seating you would like in the island, If there is heat in the bay and it works out to put sink there, toe kick heating could replace what is there. Freezer could go in pantry if there is room. Depending on where seating is and width of island, more cabinetry may fit on the right wall. It wouldn't have to be 24" deep if custom made. Sliding full length frosted doors might work out well here. If you use propane or natural gas I would not recommend putting microwave over range. Island may be better placement for microwave to be accessible by those using the island as well as cook. Width of island may depend also on how many cooks will be using the kitchen. The more cooks, the more space is needed between island and counter. If you didn't round the edge of the island where the sink is, you might want the dishwasher to go there and a bar/utility sink, or you may prefer it to the side of the sink. (If you're right handed put it on the right). Depending on length of island, you may decide it would be preferable to have two islands for easier traffic flow from one side of the room to the other. After seeing your space and becoming acquainted with your style, your kitchen designer may have an altogether different set of suggestions. Best wishes on your project! I'd love to see the finished product.
    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:24PM
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Mary Hawkins
I am trying to find the correct coloing for my kitchen- I've order wine color blinds- my kitchen is off white but I want to add another color to offset the dark blinds- and I am looking to paint the kitchen in an Historic Color - more of an light wine w/satin white decor.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:33AM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I would recommend shutters in the windows . They would look great .
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Twisted Minds Custom Designs
As mentioned depending on locale and permiting laws regarding drafting, you can have downdraft venting installed on cooktops that will vent outdoors the same as overhead, a professional on site would be able to answer that question more readily for you, as well as your questions regarding loadbearing walls or dividing walls, stuctural supports, etc. Pictures of a cooktoop with downdraft venting in a kitchen remodel I did, the "guts" of the unit are in cabinetry under cooktop, venting runs through ducting installed in basement ceiling to exterior wall as per code here in WI. Not a great pic, but best I have.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:09AM
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Eline S Ransom design LC
Maybe you should loose the island, and replace the flooring and continue that flooring into the room/foyer that has the large opening into the kitchen. That way there is more continuity and cohesiveness on the ground floor. It also leaves a view through the kitchen and out the bay windows that will then also connect the outside to the inside of the house. Maybe adding a set of patio doors in the bay, and then a long thin island 42" away from the cabinets to the left (so as not to obstruct the clear view) will give you the workspace but keeps the view open.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:04AM
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If you should decide to do with two islands with walkway between, and depending on available space in ceiling, it might look grand to match the symmetry in the bay and opposite sitting area with a tray ceiling.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Although I am not a designer, I am in the kitchen a lot and am a stickler for what makes "sense" in the flow of a kitchen.

Looks like you have valuable unused space beyond your kitchen entry. If the entry wall is not load bearing , then you should definitely bust it open and extend your kitchen! You and your designer could have a field day at designing the space!

If you cannot extend, then here are some of my recommendations working with the existing layout:

1. According to blueprint, you have a built in hutch in family room (or is it master), right? You should remove the hutch and extend kitchen wall flush to family room wall. This should allow an area for your fridge (where the white trash can is ) .

1. I would not put a refrigerator next to the dishwasher or sink as it cuts down on counter space for cleaning/ loading dishes--especially when entertaining (as dishes stack up) . In addition, it would be cramped if two people are in that "zone" at the same time.

2. I am not a fan of cooktop on an island as it creates visual clutter if you happen to leave pots/pans on stove. It would be the first thing you see upon entering the kitchen. Also, there would too much activity/smells/ dirty cooking utensils going on in front of guests sitting at the island. I prefer the clean, uncluttered look to an island. Create a "welcome area" on the island--bowl of fruit, candles, etc. as they sit and watch you cook on the opposite side.

3. If you dont need a dedicated nook/table area, I like the previous idea of two islands because it will create an open path between stove and sink as you will need this unobstructed flow while busy in the kitchen

4. Love the previous idea of adding french doors to bay area windows

5. As for your current "triple oven" area, I would remove oven under micro to create more counter space next to stove. Install warming drawer under the counter. The microwave could be incorporated to the upper cabs. You cant have enough open counter space--kitchens look more open and inviting!

6. Finally, I would have cabinet uppers installed all the way to ceiling. Maybe smaller row of glass-front cabs where the space is right now ( with inside lighting) . It would add more visual height to your kitchen.

You have a great existing layout and dont really need to relocate appliances (saves you ton o' $$$).
Would love to see your before, during , and after pictures! Good Luck!
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:31AM
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If the bay area is too deep for the sink, it is possible to make the cabinets to the left and to the right shallower, 12" or less which would shrink the depth of the bay countertop.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:02AM
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One idea that hasn't been mentioned is to build bench seating under the windows. This would allow for a lot of seating when necessary, with an oval pedestal table and only a couple chairs. I can imagine spending lots of time sitting there!
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Thanks so much to everyone for all the ideas. We are definitely going to take a look at putting two islands. We will see how it looks on paper. I will update as we go but please send more suggestions if you have them.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:43PM
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You need to look at flow from stove to sink to refrig... If you have to go around the center island everytime you need to grab something from the sink area, or need to drain a hot pot, you are wasting time and energy as well as it being a danger.. The usual allowance is a 12 foot triangle between your utilities of sink, refrig, stove. Think about relocating your sink and dishwasher to the island facing your stove and where your current sink is, putting floor to ceiling pantry/storage and counterspace (including appliance garage and prep space with secondary sink, etc) in area near the eating area.
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:08PM
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