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This Kitchen Must Be Big Enough


Gayle28607
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Hi Gayle,

Welcome to eGullet!

Kitchen design is not for the faint of heart. I finished my kitchen renovation a year ago last week, after several years of indecision and planning. But it is so worth it, so hang in there and don't start until you're ready and have a good contractor.

My general advice:

- get good advice, from a professional if possible. I don't know what I would have done without the advice of some architect friends, especially re: options on structural changes such as moving walls. stairs, windows.

- the abovementioned structural changes are really expensive. They absolutely can be worth it, but unless money is no object, think hard about what really matters and spend your money there first.

- Efficiency is more important than total square feet. My condo is also on the small side, around 1300 sf, so I appreciate the space issue. It looks like you have plenty of space.

- someone else metioned the Ikea software as a planning tool. Also worth knowing that there is a web site devoted to Ikea, Ikea Fans, with a forum devoted to kitchen design with professional kitchen designers who will critique your kitchen plan.

A couple of comments on your plan:

- The stove location does not look practical at all, both for venting and for work flow reasons. My inclination would be to take advantage of the "L" wall you have against the back wall/bathroom wall and work with that.

- You want good venting, so when siting your stove take advantage of having exterior wall access. Two locations look good to me, either the wall space between your windows (if it's wide enough for your stove) or placing the stove on the wall against your bathroom. Both would let you vent to the outside, which I doubt you could do against the stairs.

- And for me, having the stove in that "L" feels more efficient and safer. You don't want any traffic flow to interfere with the work area, if you can help it.

- the other rooms aren't labeled, so I can't tell if you have a dining room or not. If yes, you probably don't need a lot of eat-in space in the kitchen. Enough for you and your son, as well as for guests to hang out while you cook.

- moving the stove would relocate the eating area to the right (against the stairs). That opens up possibilies of using that wall for storage, bookshelves, a desk area, etc.

- If you have a DR, do you want an island eating area instead? Not clear w/out measurements whether you have room for both. An island in an "L" configuration is my idea of perfection, if there is space. Someday...

Some initial thoughts but it is your kitchen, make it what you want! Keep us posted.


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Hi. Forgive a couple of quick thoughts expressed a bit briefly. I need to get to bed soon so I can't be as diplomatic as I'd like.

The "in your imagination" kitchen plan seems chopped up; a door and a stairway cutting into one corner, a big gap in an undefined space leading to a bathroom severing the overall space in half ... I'd be thinking about slightly more radical surgery - something like cutting off the connection to the bathroom and wrapping the kitchen completely into a corner so it could have three and a half walls with contiguous countertop. If you back the kitchen against the bathroom wall, and retain the opened up space you created by removing that closet, you might have a workable kitchen.

So, something like the image I've made up quickly here - bright red are two new walls defining the new end to the kitchne and providing for two new closets in logical locations. Blue for new cabs. ??? is a question, what is that, a fireplace? Can it be gotten rid of? Lousy location. Far better that place be countertop.

Pink is for space inside new closets. I moved a door for the bathroom to give a more spacious feel. All with not too brutal a set of new construction. Good luck!

kitchV2.jpg

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One small point on the last plans posted: would anyone ever consider placing a stove directly beneath double windows? Completely impractical, imho. Unless I'm misreading the plan's notation on windows.

In that plan the stove is under a low window--though the "U" is nice. The only dining space I have is next to the bathroom right now. The only living space is at the top of the existing floor plan.

People have mentioned venting the stove several times. Can't a stove be vented pretty easily through an attic? It sounds like peple are ruling that out in favor of venting through a wall, unless I'm misunderstanding.

The current floor plan is for the entire house minus the basement. There is also attic space with very little height. The roof is a fairly low slope typical ranch style roof. Hope this provides some clarification.

gayle28607

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Yes, a vent can go strait up, in fact, that allows for a system that has the fan(s) on the roof. These systems can be much quieter.

In cbreads plan, I'd put the stove where the fireplace will used to be. (pun intended) I like the idea of location that cbread came up with. I wish I knew how to us CS4 as a cad system.

Using cbreads idea and removing the F/P; I would make a U that opened to the right and put the window arm of th U abvout 48" from the window wall with the sink more or less centered on the window and an eating counter window side of this counter. DW to right of sink, stove and reefer on F/P wall.etc. I had this basic lay out once and we found the two counters at 42" between them allow both of us to work in the kitchen at once.

I can't wait to see all the other ideas you will get presented and then what you decide fits you. Great thread.

Robert

Seattle

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kitchV4.jpg I was too tired and it was too late last night to attend well to detail. Swapping around the stove, sink and frig eliminates the question of practicality... My main points anyway were to unify and simplify the kitchen layout; to define cooking and other spaces better; to eliminate the unfortunate connection to the bathroom; and to allow a better area of contiguous counter tops. The improvement to bathroom and closeting is a bonus.

I'm still wondering what the area I have marked with question marks is. More complete information for all spaces depicted by the original poster would help us be helpful. What are all the rooms? What is the space to the bottom right? Where is North? Where are the best views? What views want to be screened?

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kitchV4.jpg I was too tired and it was too late last night to attend well to detail. Swapping around the stove, sink and frig eliminates the question of practicality... My main points anyway were to unify and simplify the kitchen layout; to define cooking and other spaces better; to eliminate the unfortunate connection to the bathroom; and to allow a better area of contiguous counter tops. The improvement to bathroom and closeting is a bonus.

I'm still wondering what the area I have marked with question marks is. More complete information for all spaces depicted by the original poster would help us be helpful. What are all the rooms? What is the space to the bottom right? Where is North? Where are the best views? What views want to be screened?

I'm on the road this weekend, so haven't kept up with the ideas and questions here as well as I would like to. I never considered closing off the hallway to the bathroom and leaving an entry only from the living room but I'm finding it interesting to think about as it certainly improves the kitchen options. Here is cbread's plan with questions answered. North is in the direction of the thing with two wings on the line that was supposed to be an arrow. Hope it is clear enough.

Oops. The thing in red is fireplace number 2.

I don't seem to be able to remove the duplicate image without north on it. Apologies!

post-62392-125822865036 copy2.jpg

Edited to try to remove dupe image

post-62392-125822865036 copy.jpg

Edited by Gayle28607 (log)

gayle28607

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The idea of closing off the door to the bathroom is potentially a good one for the kitchen, if it works for you.

I'd caution against the placement of the range as shown in cbread's 2nd drawing (nice drawings, though). With only one entry point, the only way to access the sink or fridge is to cut behind the stove--not good if you are standing there trying to cook. I've had to work in such a floor plan before, people tripping over each other next to the stove while pans are hot and gas flames are burning is NOT good. If you like a peninsula style, I'd put the stove against one of the other walls.

Given the choice between a peninsula arrangement (as shown here) and an island, I prefer the island. Easier flow, more than one way in/out/around. But that's a personal preference.

What are the other rooms? Dimensions? both matter a lot.


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What are the other rooms? Dimensions? both matter a lot.

Linda,

The length of the existing kitchen from one end to the other is 19 feet 10 inches. The width measured at the stairwell wall is 7' 4". At the window (ie without the stairwell) it is 10.5 feet. The length from the back door to the bathroom wall is 25 feet. There is a large closet that I believe could be removed without running into structural issues and that doesn't show in the latest iteration, but that is the wall these kitchen measurements butt up to. That plan is on page one of the thread.

Where there has been the suggestion to put the sink, the height of the base of the window is 31 inches from the floor. (This is the large window on the current sink wall.)

Page 2 of this thread has several pictures of the house with a little more discussion of the dimensions. Total square footage of the living area is 1200 square feet. Basement, which is unfinished, is 1150, and includes the garage and shop.

I am a fan of "The Not So Big House." :unsure:

gayle28607

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I thought it might be helpful to post a floor plan that lays out dimensions of the kitchen and dining area exactly as they now exist. In thinking about people's current suggestions, I'm finding I may be more partial to having the sink face a window than I realized. Practically speaking, keeping the sink where it is or putting it on the bathroom wall makes most sense. But losing the beautiful view out to the patio and up the treed hillside may be too much of a price to pay. It is one of the reasons I probably bought the house, I realize, now that I start to think about having the sink on the bathroom wall.

I wonder if there is a way to keep the sink close to the current location for purposes of ease of plumbing, and more importantly, on that wall to keep the view, yet still give the big table more room and the kitchen a way to flow?

Exist Plan_11.20_with dim.jpg

gayle28607

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OK, try this...

I think this has a lot of merit. Shifting the stove to the space of the existing fireplace might make sense though, because that flue could be used (maybe?) for the stove exhaust system.

I'm not sure if I'm keen to move the stairs because of the expense. Unless I'm imagining how expensive this moving-the-stairs proposition is?

In the latest cbread plan, the proposed stair location would involve digging a bigger basement, and at least right now, I'm pretty sure that is out. If I add the two story space I'm imagining in the pink rectangle, I've thought I would put it on those round piers. I like the look, and it could work, I think, so no more basement on an addition to the house, like this (not my house, by the way, just a friend's house detail I love):

PB240074.JPG

gayle28607

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I think if fireplace number two, the one in the dining area, actually were to be removed, then I think there might be a couple more feet added to the width of the dining area that seems to be turning into a kitchen. I'll have to read about the perils of fireplace removal, and see what the structural issues are, if any. What I seem to be hearing from folks here is that no one, so far, sees any reason to keep two fireplaces in this house.

Gayle

gayle28607

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Gayle,

Whether you keep 2 firelaces in the house is up to you--do you use both of them? If you like having one in the kitchen, then it probably makes sense to have the seating area adjacent to the fireplace so you can enjoy it. I wouldn't rush to get rid of it before considering alternatives. Closing it off only makes sense if you want to put something else against that wall, and I don't think that's necessary unless that's the configuration that you want. And do you really want to eliminate the connection to the bathroom?

Here's my latest suggestion: you could open things up a lot by moving the coat closet from its current location and get rid of the wall to the right of the fireplaces entirely. If the cooking zone was moved to the left or the back wall, that would give you a really good sized L-shaped room, a big kitchen as well as a large dining area to the right, much more open to the LR. No need to touch the kitchen fireplace.

You probably don't want to lose the closet entirely, though. You could relocate it to the foot of the stairs (lower right hand corner) or behind the stairs (though that would probably might lose a window.)

Endless options, don't let it paralyze you.


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Here's my latest suggestion: you could open things up a lot by moving the coat closet from its current location and get rid of the wall to the right of the fireplaces entirely. If the cooking zone was moved to the left or the back wall, that would give you a really good sized L-shaped room, a big kitchen as well as a large dining area to the right, much more open to the LR. No need to touch the kitchen fireplace.

You probably don't want to lose the closet entirely, though. You could relocate it to the foot of the stairs (lower right hand corner) or behind the stairs (though that would probably might lose a window.)

Endless options, don't let it paralyze you.

I see what you mean by moving the cooking zone to the left, but don't quite think I understand which wall is the "back wall" in this drawing.

As far as being paralyzed goes, I think the biggest thing for me right now is just to think about the possibilities, and begin to get a sense of a wonderful long term plan. Reversing the kitchen and current dining area in some way makes sense to me as I don't want a separate dining room. I know I would rather have a much more open eating and living space. When I get a little more time I need to sketch some of this out. (I'm grading papers. Very dull and time-consuming.)

I've appreciated all the thoughtful responses I've had so far - each one! They are really helping me not to be stuck thinking in just one way about the possibilities.

Gayle

gayle28607

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Wow, cbread! Great ideas there. Now I don't want to grade my papers - even more! You really opened up the living area of the house, which is something my own scribbles have never really done. (I grade on my computer, using Word and email, so my eGullet distraction is right here in front of me.) :wub:

gayle28607

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How about this variation, which opens up your living area still further (my changes not necessarily to scale)?

Kitchen for Gayle.jpg

Bearing in mind my previously-expressed aversion to corners, this is a simple rectangular island as far as the kitchen is concerned. The triangular bits on each end could be left as open shelves for special plates, glasses or whatever (the one by the ex-fireplace would of course open to the living/dining area, not the kitchen itself).

Also consider the possibility of the island being different heights on the kitchen and dining room sides - rather than stools, you could have that side of the island lower to accommodate normal chairs for casual dining.

Our current (two year old) kitchen also has the pantry on the opposite side of an island to the main work area. This seemed a little impractical in theory, but in practice it's fine - we go to the pantry, find what we're going to need for whatever we're about to do and pile it on the island, then go back round to the other side to work with it. Looks like your distances are greater than ours, but it should still be workable.

I'd support the idea of putting the stove where the fireplace was, simply because you've got a readymade hole going up to the roof already. But have you considered having the stove and sink side by side on the outside wall, leaving a vast, undisturbed wilderness of bench space against the bathroom wall? Bench space is good :cool:!! Looks like you could even extend another couple of feet along the outside wall without obstructing the entrance/stairs.

You know what? I think you're getting close to a decent kitchen here!

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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How about this variation, which opens up your living area still further (my changes not necessarily to scale)?

Kitchen for Gayle.jpg

Bearing in mind my previously-expressed aversion to corners, this is a simple rectangular island as far as the kitchen is concerned. The triangular bits on each end could be left as open shelves for special plates, glasses or whatever (the one by the ex-fireplace would of course open to the living/dining area, not the kitchen itself).

Also consider the possibility of the island being different heights on the kitchen and dining room sides - rather than stools, you could have that side of the island lower to accommodate normal chairs for casual dining.

Our current (two year old) kitchen also has the pantry on the opposite side of an island to the main work area. This seemed a little impractical in theory, but in practice it's fine - we go to the pantry, find what we're going to need for whatever we're about to do and pile it on the island, then go back round to the other side to work with it. Looks like your distances are greater than ours, but it should still be workable.

I'd support the idea of putting the stove where the fireplace was, simply because you've got a readymade hole going up to the roof already. But have you considered having the stove and sink side by side on the outside wall, leaving a vast, undisturbed wilderness of bench space against the bathroom wall? Bench space is good :cool:!! Looks like you could even extend another couple of feet along the outside wall without obstructing the entrance/stairs.

You know what? I think you're getting close to a decent kitchen here!

That feedback about your pantry is really helpful. I was wondering how having it across an island/peninsula might feel in practice.

I'm going to have to figure out how much of fireplace number two is structural. I've always thought it is at least possible that the two fireplaces together are what holds up the roof, as I can't understand what else might do that job.

I do love the thought of having the living, dining and cooking space connected without having the cooking space becoming the site of traffic jams. If this was the kitchen configuration, it would definitely make sense to run the counter farther to the right to create a much longer "bench." Am I using the term correctly, or does that just refer to a countertop without interruption of sink and so on? And, the stove could go to the right of the sink in your drawing, lesliec. That is a pretty big stretch of wall.

Gayle

gayle28607

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A 'bench' on this side of the world is what you call a 'counter', if various Food Network shows are any guide.

Another linguistic quirk is that what the shows indicate you call a 'backsplash' we call a 'splashback'. It's a funny old world.

Oh yeah - we use funny things called grams, too, and scales ... :unsure:

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Ah! Now I get it. I neglected to look to see where your version of our lovely language hailed from. :smile:

I'm all for grams and kilos, and in the process of picking out a new scale, too! My daughter isn't from New Zealand, but she always says that she is putting on her "belt seat" rather than her seat belt.

gayle28607

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I see what you mean by moving the cooking zone to the left, but don't quite think I understand which wall is the "back wall" in this drawing.

I'm referring to the long wall at the bottom of the kitchen area with all the windows. Sorry, didn't know what else to call it.

I would be careful about any configuration with a tight entrance to the cooking area. The drawing with the eating bar opens the space visually towards the DR and LR but not functionally--it looks like a bottleneck moving in and out of the cooking area. The fridge seems like it would be a long walk... If you like this general layout, I'd think about having a smaller island that is open at both ends. More direct to/from the DR for you, the cook, and would let others access the fridge without the long walk and cutting behind you at the stove.

As far as an island goes, it seems a shame to have it so far away from the stove, where the cook really can't use it. While I love a nice big kitchen, they can be really inefficient. I'm a fan of relatively compact layouts for cooking spaces.


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