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rahime_gw

kitchen design advice needed

rahime
14 years ago

Hi! I'm new around here...I've been lurking on the site and have spent many hours combing the archives, learning a lot. My husband and I are planning to move our kitchen to a different room in our house. The new kitchen will be small, but not significantly smaller than the current one. I have learned so much from the members of this forum, I thought I'd share our project and see if anyone has advice. We're planning an almost complete DIY (with the exception of plumbing, hubby has already doubled the size of our original 900 sf. house, so weve got lots of DIY experience) and we're hoping to keep the budget around $20,000 for everything by finding a lot of our appliances, etc. on craigslist, because thatÂs about what weÂve saved for the kitchen so far. If it costs more, itÂll just take longer as weÂll do things as we have $$.

My biggest goal for this kitchen has been to have more counter space, more efficiency and more storage than my current kitchen. ItÂs not hard to get more counters since my old kitchen has three 14" sections (one of which holds the microwave) and only one "long one" thatÂs 39", but the storage and efficiency seem to be quite a challenge as IÂm trying to balance those needs with the desire for the kitchen to not feel like a cave.

WeÂve added the maximum square footage for our lot to the house, and canÂt really change the footprint of this room, but there are a few other options for gaining space. We plan to put a beverage center in our living room, with a sink, tea and coffee station, wine fridge and possibly a mini-fridge. There is also a closet in that room, which could be used as a pantry for dry goods/less-frequently used small appliances. There is a closest in the hallway adjacent to the new kitchen in which we are considering putting a wall oven and/or cabinets. Right now itÂs just my husband and I who live in the house and use the kitchen. However, we do have fairly large gatherings and every months or so end up cooking for 20-50 people. WeÂre also thinking about having children and the kitchen would see a lot more use if we do.

We have a large dining room, so we donÂt need eating space in the kitchen. The room currently has oak flooring which we are hoping to refinish and keep. I want a double sinkÂhavenÂt decided what material, but probably stainless or enameled cast iron. I donÂt like granite, though I know itÂs extremely popular, durable, and easy to maintain, but itÂs not me. WeÂre considering doing concrete counters, but IÂd love to do stainless or copper or even butcher block. I think weÂll probably go with a basic shaker style cabinet in a light-colored woodÂbirch or maple. IÂd love to have most of the lowers be drawers, but with 2 corners, I think those will have to have doorsÂmaybe a lazy susan. IÂd like a pop-up appliance shelf for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. IÂm not sure if that will fit, and if there would be space for drawers. IÂd prefer to have fewer uppers because I feel like it makes the kitchen look more open, but the plan now is to have a combination of upper cabinets (probably with glass doors) and shelves.

The window along the wall with cabinets looks out to our driveway and our neighborÂs houseÂnot a pretty view, but I feel like we need the light. ThatÂs been one of our big debates. The window could probably move; weÂre going to have to switch it out anyways because the one thatÂs in would be lower than counter-height. We could take it out all together if we can come up with sufficient light. Both doorways are 36" wide, and we are planning to remove the door from the one near the fridge, but not the one by the sink. It swings toward wall where the stove is.

I currently have a 30" Frigidaire Gallery "Professional series" gas stove. IÂd love to get a convection oven after all IÂve read about them, but for now weÂll work with what weÂve got. I also have an LG side-by-side fridge which, I think, is around 36" wide. My preference for the look of the appliances is to have white with stainless accents (the all-stainless or black look isnÂt really my thing). However, on that IÂm fairly flexible because my priority for appliances is function. My MIL has requested a powerful vent hood as she often cooks stir-fry and other Chinese food for us. WeÂll probably replace our dishwasher (leaning towards Bosch or Miele) and microwave (which IÂd love to get off the counter).

Ok sorry for the information overload. I've been thinking about this remodel since we started the addition on our house 5 yrs. ago. The pictures show the layout of our first floor (ignore the original labels, it's an old blueprint) and I've done a rough model in sketch-up (which I don't really know how to use yet, so bear with me) of what I'm thinking of for the kitchen now, but I'd welcome any and all suggestions!



Comments (38)

  • Jon1270
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'd set aside the colors and finishes for the moment and concentrate on the floor plan. Having the range sitting where it is, without any countertop on either side and as an obstacle to traffic going through the room strikes me as completely unworkable.

  • ci_lantro
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think that I would center a window on the exterior wall, put the sink there and the DW to the left of the sink. Move the range & hood to the sink location and build a niche into the wall where you have the range (borrowing space from the control? room) and put the frig in the niche. You could possibly make the niche large enough to include an undercounter wall oven which would provide some landing space next to the frig plus some upper cabs above the counter?

    Reconfigure the entrance into the kitchen from the front room, having the entrance at a 45 degree angle...which would probably require either eliminating or reconfiguring the closet area where you have proposed possibly putting a wall oven.

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  • rosie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi, Rahime! Not completely unworkable, depending on where one is coming from--literally as well as figuratively!-- but the stove would be much safer and whole a lot more convenient set right into the counters of the main work U. I understand why you wouldn't want the mass of the refrigerator in the stove place, but if you're thinking of putting something there in the current layout to keep the counters open, that strikes me as the appliance.

    Is bringing traffic through what's currently labeled the recording studio a possibility that could be considered? It sounds like producing a lot of good cooking is a priority in your home. There seems to be an opening in the wall behind the stove to this room--??

    Regarding windows, how about a window in the short wall facing the street? That would allow privacy, sunshine, and a view of what's going on out front. The pictures don't show the neighboring house, but an option for the wall facing that house, if it would work, would be windows set higher than usual. Our daughter-in-law's lovely old house has the windows over her sink set with the bottoms about shoulder height so that they let in plenty of sunshine and views of sky and trees but allow her to come make coffee in her nightgown or heat a baby bottle in the middle of the night without worrying about the neighbors across the driveway.

  • sweeby
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sorry - I've got to agree with the other posters about your range placement. It's dangerous and obstructive.

    I'd move the range to the exterior wall for good venting, and second the idea of small, high windows to let in light but keep out the view and maintain privacy.

    Then build tall but shallow storage into the wall where the range is shown currently.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you all for some quick feedback. I really appreciate it.

    jon1270: Yep, we could put short counters on either side, but I don't know that that'd help matters much.

    ci_lantro: Being right handed, I really don't like having the dw to the left of the sink, but we could move the sink to the exterior wall. We can't change the footprint of the room and borrow any space from the control room. My husband has a home recording studio, and that room is already tight on space with all of the recording equiptment. We're really pretty much locked into this footprint.

    I'm not sure I understand how reconfiguring the entrance would work? Could you explain?

    rosie: Thanks rosie! We don't really want the fridge there because it blocks the line of sight through the house....which makes that room feel a bit bigger...but it is a possibility. We have considered putting the sink there. I'm not sure if it'd be any better than the range though.

    There's a door to the recording studio in what looks like an opening in the wall. I don't think hubby would go for having kitchen traffic passing through the studio (I'm envisioning people with dirty dishes or glasses of juice having an accident on his sound equipment). The short wall isn't an exterior wall. The only wall that faces the outside is the one that faces the driveway and the neighbors. (in the first picture...of the exterior of the house, about where the covered car is would be the view from that room...you can see the edge of the neighbor's house on the far left side of the picture...not a very pretty view, but at least a window lets in light). I have thought about possibly putting in higher windows. Unfortunately, that wouldn't help the privacy issue (we actually have more privacy with low windows) as our neighbors have a garage on their first floor, so their house sits higher than ours and looks down into it. I'll see if I can do a drawing with high windows, I love that idea.

    sweeby: I like the idea of building shallow storage into that wall. I'll see what that looks like.

    Thanks!! any more advice/opinions would be appreciated. I'm also thinking about moving the fridge out of the kitchen all together (into that hall closet that I was hoping to put a wall oven in).

  • jscout
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I tend to agree with all the others about the range placement. So why not move the range to the opposite side like someone else posted? Or even moving the sink and DW to the long wall and the range to where the sink is like someone else mentioned. Then in place of where the range is now, put a movable island/cart/counter there. That way you have the extra counter/work/area you want and you can move it around if tasks require it.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rosie--I just saw the opening you were talking about. We were considering putting a window between the two rooms....to catch a little more light. Haven't settled on that yet, and there isn't one as yet.

  • rosie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Regarding more light, the short wall I was mentioning before was the little piece of exterior wall facing the front of the property. Our old bungalow had a narrow window in a similar position, and we really appreciated having it.

    Like Sweeby, I was also wondering if that inside wall might be a good place for very shallow storage, and it could also frame an opening between rooms if you wanted to keep one.

    Your household sounds fun. On a forum where people often worry, for instance, whether 48" between counters will be enough clearance for one person, it's nice to see your kitchen being created as a busy family center.

  • chunger
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello all,

    Thanks for the quick and well reasoned responses!. . . I'm the husband. One of the things we are lacking in our current kitchen is contiguous counter space, so in this 1st iteration, we were going for maximum continuous counter length given the space constraints.

    There are a couple of reasons the stove ended up where it is. . . 1. We have a pair of large speakers (roughly stove size) that has been sitting in that location for more than 2 years without any ill effects in terms of building circulation. I also liked the idea of having an unbroken sight line all the way from the front of the house (dining room) to the back (living room). . . and being able to see and talk to people in both public rooms while cooking (I do most of the cooking). The gap between the stove and hood allow for this sight line. A refrigerator would break it.

    The window (double glass) behind the stove is an adaptation of the original plan for a sliding glass door there. The reason is 2-fold: to bring in more light, and to increase the perceived size of both rooms. Rahime likes light, and if I can cross-light the room, so much the better. Going up with a skylight is on the table as well, but under a limited budget, it's probably best to get a design that works without it 1st. Then, if we determine that funds and time allow, go for the skylight.

    The wall to the left of the exterior window along the long counter is a shear wall. I know because I put that window as far to the center of the room as I could and still maintain the shear wall length specified in the structural plans for the addition. As much as I would like to move it to the center of the room, I hesitate. Folks at the city will probably not cross-reference the 2 separate remodel plans to see that I've cut into a sheer wall, but I'm not ready to compromise the building's structural integrity for any reason particularly in an earthquake zone.

    This is a 1st draft plan to realistically study the space we have. I think I'll make about 3 more layouts taking into account some of the great suggestions here before picking up the hammer. We have enough space to make a kitchen much more efficient than we currently have. . . but probably JUST enough. For the amount of people we cook for, we probably could use 2x the space, but you work with what you have.

    I hope I will be able to dictate the entire floor plan from the ground up in our next house.

  • Jon1270
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Chunger.

    I completely understand how frustrating it is to have insufficient counter space. Before I remodeled my kitchen, most of the prep work was done on a 16" space between the sink and range. That was no fun, but it doesn't mean that a counter 100 times as long would've been 100 times better. There's such a thing as too much.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rosie, thanks, I think we have a pretty fun household. A bit chaotic at times, and always wanting to squeeze more out of our little house than it was designed for, but that just adds excitement to life, right?

    I'm afraid there isn't an exterior wall facing the front of the property. I can see now how it looks like that, but I think it's because the 3D model sitting on top of the floor plan makes it look that way. Here's a pic. of just the floor plan w/o the 3D image on top. I wish we did have a little bump-out there...it'd be so nice to get a little more light. We've also considered the option of raising the ceiling and putting in skylights (as chunger mentioned above). Might be possible, but definitely wouldn't happen easily and within our current budget.

    We'd love to have this kitchen be an enjoyable place to cook (well, for him to cook, me to bake) and envision ourselves using it a lot more if it was. Right now we use our kitchen to cook for dinner parties every few weeks, but not much otherwise.

    Appreciate all the thoughts/advice.

  • rosie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, I really did have that wrong. Sorry. For what it's worth, when I was appraising in SoCal I occasionally saw old homes whose owners added space over the otherwise-allowable side setback lines by cantilevering bays out two or so feet. Don't know if it would be allowable in your case, but Chunger sounds like he can handle any challenge he cares to take on, so I thought I'd toss it in.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    jon1270--Ha ha! I honestly don't think too much (of anything) will be a problem in our kitchen :), keeping in mind that we often have 2 cooks in the kitchen cooking for 20+ people.

    Having said that, what arrangement of appliances/counters would you suggest to resolve the problems?

    Rosie, I think that's an idea worth looking into. Are you thinking of a bay window, or a full height bay? Since it's a shear wall, I'm not sure how much we'd be able to change it. I sort of doubt that our city would approve it, but it's worth a shot, thanks for the suggestion.

    We'll try to work up another version and put it up for feedback asap.

    Thanks!

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok, here are some more possibilities. Some of them are pretty rough.

    This one tries the sink on the wall between the doors.

    This one is ok, but doesn't allow for many lower cabinets or much usable counter space.

    This one's nice, feels much roomier, but you'll notice a very important appliance is missing.

    We would have to put the fridge in the hallway, and would lose the wall oven.

  • cambro5
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What an interesting thread! I'm enjoying watching the progress! Thought I'd throw my two cents in. Rahime, what if you slid the sink down to the corner next to the fridge? I'm looking at the 2nd picture in your latest post. I don't know how wide your fridge is, so you'd have to measure it out. Would there be room for a small landing zone between fridge and sink? This way you'd get your DW on the right also. Have the range on the opposite end of the U and a moveable cart or shallow storage along that awkward interior wall. This is how my MIL's kitchen is and it seems to work well. HTH!

  • jscout
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Your 2nd drawing is the one that I envisioned when I posted. I think that is your best compromise so far. By shifting the work triangle to the opposite wall I think you kitchen will function better.

    Oh and regarding your husband's comments about having speakers where he originally proposed the range to go, remember that room served a different purpose when those speakers were there. They may not have caused an issue with the flow then. But in a kitchen environment that's a different story. In your household it sounds like the kitchen will get quite a bit of traffic.

  • Jon1270
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Early in the thread ci_lantro suggested recessing the fridge into the wall shared with the recording studio. I realize you can't afford to sacrifice any of the studio's space, so what if you were to compensate for the lost space by putting recording equipment in the closet that you've been considering using for the fridge or a wall oven? I'm thinking that you'd end up with about the same amount of space for studio-related stuff, but the kitchen would be more contiguous.

  • ci_lantro
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was thinking just what Jon1270 just mentioned. Swap out the closet outside the recording studio for a frig space niche carved out of the studio.

    Also, to explain, I think that you could extend the common wall between the kitchen & bathroom a bit and put the entrance into the kitchen on a diagonal--mirroring the diagonal entry into the studio. You would gain a bit of space but that isn't the point of doing it...I think it would look 'interesting' and by easing what is now a hard corner in the kitchen, the space would 'feel' larger than the space you actually gained. If that makes any sense...

    Another thing that angling the doorway would do is direct traffic around anything that you might want to put on that long wall--narrow pantry shelves, perhaps--and help to make them fell less intrusive.

  • chunger
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks again for the quick suggestions. We are digesting the input and trying to work the ideas out. Isn't sketchup great?

    Concerning the recording studio control room. . . it has some shall I say particular geometries that need to be in place. This is an old version, but it would be quite impossible to let in a fridge into such a small control room space on the side wall. I've adjusted and compensated the plan to leave the hallway closet intact (to hold a wall oven or fridge) as the back of the control room has more flexibility than the front side.

    Option 2 on Rahime's post is a pretty good functional design, but it leaves us with just about the same amount of counter space we currently have which is not enough. I often run out of counter space in the middle of food prep, food prep actually happens on the only other flat surface available --> the ground. Which is completely functional as far as flat surfaces are concerned, but not ideal. I'd like not to cook on the ground anymore :) Another concern is the amount of useable lower cabinet units that can be put in option 2. We would also lose storage as compared with oru current kitchen.

    Option 3 (with fridge moved) makes it possible for 3 people to work simultaneously in a small kitchen and gives us some breathing room which is appealing. . . even though the corner stove eats a fair amount of cabinet space. . . it's space in a spot we can "afford" to lose.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    cambro5
    I had thought about this, and I think I'll try it. With the range in that corner the fridge just wouldn't fit, but a corner sink would be shorter on that side, so there might be a little space for a landing area to set groceries while loading the fridge or lay dirty dishes. I really like keeping the DW on the right...not essential, but nice.

    jscout
    I think the flow of traffic through the room will stay about he same since we have to pass through there 100x a day to get to the kitchen, but certainly the idea of having shallow storage there is preferable to something like a range or sink which someone will probably be standing in front of.

    jon1270
    I already had to fight just to keep that closet. Unfortunately those areas aren't apples to apples where the studio's space is concerned. I've also thought about recessing something into the wall a teensy bit while not going into that room, but then the soundproofing might be compromised. We'll still look at those options if we can maintain the integrity of the studio (which as a source of income is more important than having a great kitchen).

    ci_lantro
    I think I see what you're envisioning for the entrance.
    Something like this?

    It'd be nice, I like it. I'll have to ask the builder if it can be done. ;) We have a wall heater just outside the bathroom door, but we have talked about other options for heat in the house as it tends to heat only the hallway.

    chunger
    Don't worry dear, we're not going to encroach on your precious space. :)

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here's some quick mock-ups of the sink in the corner near the fridge. I didn't have time to touch them up much.

    This one's a bit cramped.

    If we make the counter by the fridge deeper and move the sink forward it's a little less cramped, but we might still have fridge/DW doors getting in the way.

  • ekatiel
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok, so I'm new here, so feel free to totallly ignore my post, but I noticed you had an island with the cooktop on it in the older drawing you posted. Why did you guys choose to scrap this idea? It seems like it would give you the counter space you are wanting, and would keep appliances off the wall that backs the recording studio! Like I said, I know next to nothing about remodeling, but the island seems like a neat idea.

  • cambro5
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rahime, if you do ci_lantro's suggestion with the doorway, maybe you can slide the fridge down a little away from the corner. This might make the sink corner feel less cramped?

  • chunger
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ekatiel,

    Yeah, I'm a bit of an optimist when it comes to making drawings and I did this kind of "scale cheating" which works quite nicely in undergraduate architecture project, but with real-world appliances, it gets pretty tight trying to fit an island into such a small kitchen.

    I was mostly just mocking up in the plan picture to see if a kitchen could possibly fit in the space, and drew enough to determine that it is feasible. . . knowing that the kitchen move was going to be a completely different phase of the project, I left its details until now.

  • ci_lantro
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, Rahime--angling the doorway like that was exactly what I was thinking.

    I hesitate to mention this because it goes against the Rules of good kitchen design but...you'd almost be better off if you moved the door on the back side of the kitchen to exit thru what is now the pantry. The upside is that you get more counterspace (two L's) and two distinct zones. The downside is the Interstate cutting diagonally across your kitchen.

  • kailuamom
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How do you cook? When I am cooking, I chop stuff on the counter, scrape the scraps into the sink &/or garbage then put it into the pan on the stove. I like to have counterspace between the stove and sink that is fairly close, so I am not running back and forth. When I saw your lone range(r)haha - I just thought about having to pick up all of the bits I had just chopped and carry them to the stove top. That wouldn't work for me. I would still be prepping on the floor, picking stuff up off the floor that is.

    The way I cook, your picture #2 (your 4:28 post)would work best for me - except the DW and oven door conflict. Often people are putting a cup or plate in the DW while I'm cooking, so that would make me crazy. However, havint the DW on the left might make you more crazy. FYI - in my last two houses it was on the left, and you get used to it. They say ergonomically, that is where it should be for righties! (whoever "they" are anyway).

    Good luck!

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ekatiel, I liked the idea of an island too...afterall, how much space do you really need between counters. Maybe making them close together would be nice because you'd be able to just turn around and be at the other counter...no steps needed. I think Chunger's right though...he was being a little overly optimistic about the space we have. We're still considering having a small movable island, but don't think we really have space for one that could house a sink or cooktop.

    cambro5
    I thought about that when I did the sketch of the moved doorway. We'll have to see if it would work.

    ci_lantro, oooh, I like that...I'm not one to always stick to the "rules". I don't think it'd work though because that wall is actually the old exterior wall from the house pre-addition and the new wall for the addition...for some reason we had to keep both and so I doubt they'd let us tear into it. You're coming up with some great ideas...I hope we'll get to implement some of them.

    kailuamom, hmmm, yeah, we tend to chop everything on cutting boards and carry them to the stove scrap the good stuff and then carry the scraps to the compost bag...but we haven't had a kitchen where there's any prep space near the stove or garbage, so I can see how that'd be really nice to have. I suspect we'll still use cutting boards..since we're leaning toward a concrete counter, but I'm still a little worried about having 2 of us in kitchen #2, though maybe one by the fridge and one by the range would work.
    I hadn't even noticed the DW oven conflic, and if we switched it it'd probably be a DW fridge conflict, so same difference. Our DW's on the left now, and it bugs me, but you're right, you do get used to it....sort of. Right now my biggest problem ergonomically is that it's not just to the left, but at a corner, so I have to pivot halfway to put anything in. Most likely it wouldn't make much difference if it were on the left or right as long as it was on the same wall as the sink, not 90 degrees.

  • ci_lantro
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rahime--Big reason that you needed both walls was because both are load bearing perimeter walls. (The weight of hip roofs like on the original house is distributed to all four walls vs the weight of gable roofs being carried by two walls. No problem to kick out the gable end walls of a gable roofed house; no can do with a hip roof.) And, being two stories, the 'addition' is really a separate building requiring beefed up footings & foundation to carry the weight of two levels.

    That said, I don't think there would be a problem with relocating a doorway unless it has something to do w/ earthquake construction protocol.

  • kas81057
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i think the rolling island is a worthwhile idea with some of your layouts

    challenging space, but TKOers love a challange so you will find the answer

    i just wanted to mention that given your poor view out the window but love of light if you don't need the air you could consider infilling that opening with glass block which will continue to give you light but obscure the "non" view.
    just an idea

  • abbycat9990
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've got the second kitchen on your 4:28 post!


    I thought I wanted the DW on the right too, but for this configuration it had to go on the left & I love it! I use the counter between the range & sink for prep. It's not quite large enough even for my simple efforts (the window wall is 15'), so I would recommend having the sink off center to maximize that space. We have 3 drawer bases: one at each end of the window wall cabinet run and one in the island. We have a lazy susan in the corner by the range. Don't like it, didn't want it but what else could we do with the space?

    I have to say that your original drawing does give you a lot of prep space; moving the fridge to the hall closet opens up the kitchen nicely too.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    abbycat9990 Love the look of your kitchen, make me wish ours was more open to the living spaces. I would think that'd be the most-used counter also (as kailuamom pointed out too).

    ci_lantro Got it. I 'll try to see what that'd look like.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok, I haven't had much time to play around with new options, but I think at this point I like either the one with the corner stove and the fridge in the hallway or the one with sink in the middle of the U along the exterior wall. That one's still probably coming in second because of the short counters (though I'd love to keep the fridge in the kitchen...I wonder if we could find a way to squeeze a narrower...24" or 30" wide...counter depth fridge that would work into the budget). That would be frustrating as we recently bought a great fridge on craigslist, but it'd probably be better than having to move walls or doors. And we'd still have the problem of conflicting door swing.

    Part of the reason I'm trying to keep structural changes to a minimum is that we're just coming out of year 6 of this remodel, and it feels great that we haven't accumulated any debt, but we still have a fair amount to do (trim in the addition, rip out old kitchen after putting in new and turn that room into a bedroom, finish recording studio, plus little stuff like painting and trimming the old bathroom and dining room). I'd really love it if the kitchen didn't take another 4 yrs.

  • kailuamom
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    OK - I hear how important the long counters are to you. To help get you what you need, can you describe what the length of the counter will be used for? I ask because sometimes we hang our hats on something we want because we think it solves a problem, and we never really address the problem. I have found this group to be excellent at solving the problems.

    So, do you need the space to lay stuff out and see it all at once? Or do you have multiple cooks performing different jobs? If so, please describe. What I found in my remodel that the long space was important to me, but I hadn't addressed what the people were doing, so we still bunched up in a small space.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm sorry, I'm having a difficult time articulating my need for a good stretch of counter. I think it's partly just because I'm not sure what I need...I just know what I have now doesn't work.

    Partly it is to lay stuff out at once. For example, during the Christmas season I spend a lot of time baking, making fudge, and putting together food gifts for the clients of my business. I like to get out all of my ingredients so that everything is at hand as I go. I'm an extremely messy cook. I'll oftentimes have more than one hot thing coming out of the oven at once and have now where to put them.

    Another common problem in the current kitchen is when we have two cooks doing different jobs...Chung's making one dish and I'm working on another. Finally, after a party I typically have a lot of glassware and china that needs to be hand washed. I typically fill up the DW with things that can be machine washed and after the dish drying rack is full the rest gets put out on the counter to dry.

    We currently have one stretch of counter space that's 39" and we a chest freezer that's about the same and use that as a counter, we also have several tiny counters (16"), but those are holding the microwave and dishrack. When I'm looking at the plan with the sink on the exterior wall the counters left are just over 3' long...same as we have now, and I know it's not enough. Right now, our little stretches of counter are pretty much all taken up with the microwave and dishrack, but the 39" spaces are free. We might be able to put the MW somewhere off the counter. I realize that we don't have a huge kitchen, but I feel like I need the sum total of our free counter space to be more than what it is now, and to have one stretch that is long enough to spread out a bit.

    Maybe we need to have more defined "zones"? Maybe I need to let go of this idea of longer counters and just figure out better ways to use the same amount of space.

  • alku05
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rahime, I think you've hit it with that last statement. Often a well placed 3.5-4' stetch of counterspace is much more useful than a not-so-well placed 5-6' counter. What good is a long stretch of counter if you still don't have any room where you need it?

    Your u-shaped layout with the sink on the exterior wall is my favourite one so far. It has two distinct work areas with a nice stretch of counter to work. Although the fridge in the hall may be tempting, having to exit the kitchen everytime you need something from the fridge will get old real fast.

    Also, when the time comes for you to sell someday, the fridge out of the kitchen will be a deal breaker for many potential buyers. I'm one to always tell people to make choices based on what they want not on resale, but doing something permanent that most people would hate isn't a good choice...

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We don't plan to ever sell this house...and if we ever did it'd be 20+ yrs...by which time it'd probably need a kitchen remodel anyways. There are times when it's appropriate to build with resale in mind, but we really don't since we'll be living here for a good, long time.

    I think I'd pick that design much more easily if I were looking at 4' counters.

    I read on another thread that judeny put a ruler across her counter in her old kitchen while she cooked to see how much space was needed. Maybe I'll try to do something like that to see what I use. I think I'll also ask my mother to measure her counter for me because I know her's are just about right for me...I cooked there often and never felt like there wasn't enough room.

  • Jon1270
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rahime, you might want to read Small Kitchens: Making Every Inch Count by Robin Murrell. It's out of print, but used copies are easy to come by. I (and I'm not the only one around here) found it very helpful.

    Besides planning around zones for specific sorts of activity, I would definitely get the MW off the counter and get rid of that extra dish rack. The MW can go in an upper or base cabinet, and you might choose a sink that's deep enough to hold a pile of dirty dishes. I used a 1 1/2 bowl model which has a high-arc faucet mounted behind the smaller bowl such that it can swing over the adjacent countertop -- even if the main sink is cluttered with unwashed dishes, the smaller "half" bowl is still available, and I can fill pots, drinking glasses, etc. with water right on the countertop.

  • rahime
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll pick it up.