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Layout Advice Sought - Major Reno Floor Plan

12 years ago


Hello everyone. Thanks for taking sometime to review my post. My wife and I are in the planning process for a major revision to the first floor of our house. By way of introduction, our family has five members - my wife and I plus a three year old and eight month old twins. We live in a ~19 year old colonial in the southwest suburbs of Boston. Normally, I do the majority of week night cooking and on weekends and holidays, both my wife and I are cooking. Our three year old son has expressed a strong interest in cooking and we have every intent of including our children in meal preps as they age.


I reviewed the "New to Forum" suggestions and will provide some answers here.

Measurements: I've tried to label most things on the drawing below, window dimensions are TBD. Ceiling height is 8'.

Plumbing/gas restrictions: we'll move most anything if it helps. Currently have Natural gas. The only thing that we don't want to move is the stairs to the basement - it's a finished room. Ideally, we'd like to avoid to many impacts on the family room and dining room as they are in the condition we'd like them to stay. As I discuss below, we're fine with modifications to the living room on the front of the house.

Windows/Doors: on the diagrams below, you will see where there are doors to the garage. The bottom wall is the back of the house which looks out onto our yard. The back of the house faces southeast.

Current Floor Plan: current house is a typical four room colonial plan on the first floor. The back of the house has the family room and kitchen, which are divided by a small half bath. The kitchen is divided from the front dining room by a narrow halway entrance from our garage that has a coat closet.

Renovation Goals: Primary goals is to create a more open floor plan that connects the kitchen and family room. Specific goals include:

(1) More open family space, less walls

(2) Include an island (none currently) that can be used for preps, dining and entertaining

(3) get more light and visibility into our backyard

(4) create some sort of mudroom / entrance with storage for the kids

(5) update the style and appliances to suit or tastes

Use for Kitchen: cooking/cleaning/homework/dining for family.

Entertaining: we host most family events and holidays. We also enjoy having dinner parties (although not as many lately with twin infants!) We would like a kitchen that would be well suited for entertaining - including hanging out and connecting to the backyard.

Seperate DR: we do have a formal dining room - used for special family meals and entertaining. Not used for nightly meals. We're ok with this and would prefer casual family dining was in the kitchen.

Flexibility: in most everything. We want mostly windows across the back of the house and are hoping to avoid many upper cabinets in order to get more light and an open space. Current plans entail removing two doors in the back of the house and multiple walls - feel free to suggest anything!

Current Potential Layout:

This is a scale diagram of the lasest floorplan:

Here is a bird's eye rendering of this plan:

Since this floorplan was created we've leaning towards the following changes:

(1) Move ovens over into the area containing the fridge in order to get a more open view from the family room

(2) Change fridge/freezer into a single 27" integrated Fridge column

(3) Put 27" freezer column in pantry (entails changing pantry layout from U to L shape)

(4) The island will have a straight side where the seating is located, not the curve shown in renderings.

However, as my wife and I review this layout we do ahve a few concerns:

(1) Our current kitchen has windows along the garage side wall, losing these windows would eliminate the view of the sideyard and it's light (south-western windows)

(2) We wouldn't have a coat closet anywhere on the first floor (none currently by the front door)

Alternative Plan

In order to propose an alternative plan that addresses some of these concerns, I made the following "Frankenstien" floor plan illustration from my architect's nice drawings (via photoshop):

Please note, I didn't play much with the new kitchen floor plan and appliance layout. I know there are problems and am not sure what should be done to fix it. I'd love to hear any thoughts. This alternate version certainly doesn't represent the same quality as what my architect drew up, but I figured it might be helpful for discussions with him.


Our current appliance list works for either floor plan. It includes:

-Oak flooring to match rest of house

-White cabinets to match family room built-ins (BM White Dove)

-Jet Mist / Soapstone countertops on perimeter

-Quartzite / Marble island countertop

-48" Wolf Rangetop with Grill+Griddle+4 Burners

-48" Hood liner with 1200 cfm remote blower

-27" SZ Integrated Fridge Column

-30" Wolf E Series Double Wall Ovens (Electrolux ICON is alternate)

-27" SZ Integrated Freezer Column

-30" SZ Wine Cooler

-Miele Optima II DW

-ISE 1hp Continuous Feed Disposal

-Porcelain Cast Iron Sink - single large bowl

-Undecided upon faucets - something traditional

Key Questions:

-What do you think of the current plan? What about the alternative plan?

-Any glaring mistakes or problems with either? Any preference?

-What alternatives or modifications would you propose?

-Anything wrong with the materials / appliances?

I have a detailed spreadsheet of current cabinet space and contents that I'm going to use to plan cabinets one I settle upon a floorplan - let me know if anymore details on this front would help with advice.

I'm appreciative of any and all opinions. Thanks for reading through my lengthy post - apologies for the length!



Comments (19)

  • sue36
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My kitchen is basically a reverse of your plan one. I don't like plan 2 at all.

    Re: Plan 1

    1) I don't think you will have enough room behind the island to have the fridge there. Plus, I think that is too far and inconveniently placed from the sink. I would put the fride where you have the ovens, and the ovens on the left side of the cabinet stack where you have the fridge.

    2) I don't think the locations of the wine/bev fridge makes sense. I would put it either on the right side of the island facing the wall or in the cabinet stack where I recommended you put the ovens (so, ovens to the left, bev fridge to the right), I think the latter is the best location.

    3) If the pantry will not be nice cabinets, like the walk through pantry and kitchen, I would put a door on it. You will save a lot of money (and can store much more) by doing open shelving and using a door there.

    4) I wouldn't do marble on an island if you have kids. I would do wood or stick with soapstone like the remainder of the counters.

    5) I think you should give yourself a little more room in the aisle where the range is. I would go to at least 46", I have 48" (it makes a big different when you are cooking and people walk behind you, you don't need to scootch in to let them by).

    6) I think the 42" aisle at the sink is fine, but that will be tight behind the island with seating and appliances there (I think I have close to 60", and it is comfortable).

  • eastbaymom
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree with Sue about moving the fridge. It may not open up the kitchen to the family room, but it's actually quite convenient to have the fridge at the family room "edge" of the kitchen, when just getting a drink.

    Are you sure you want to put the microwave in the pantry? My daughter is 9, and I am fine with her using the microwave on our countertop... but I can see her from the family room, and I do like to keep an eye on her. If you keep the MW in the pantry, make sure you get a smoke detector in there.

    I like the idea of putting the half bath off the center hall -- much better access for guests, friends, etc. And I understand your desire to keep that window on the corner of the kitchen open, with fewer uppers close to it.

    Think carefully about what you want to have storage for in the mudroom, though. Is that just for the kids' backpacks and sports items, or will there also be a "landing pad" for your cellphones, your wife's purse, etc?

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  • palimpsest
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    In plan one, you could make one run of shelves very narrow in the pantry (5" for single layer can storage), or eliminate one run and push the refrigerator elevation back into that space a corresponding amount to allow for a better traffic pattern behind the seating area. The island is in the path between the sink and fridge but a prep sink in the island would solve that.

    What is the appliance handle underneath the island facing the ovens? You may want to make the storage under the island slightly shallower to get more legroom at the island if you are going to eat at it often. (21" + 15" overhang =36" or 18" + 15" overhang =33").

    I think that out of the two options the first one is cleaner and more straightforward. You could probably put the microwave in the "bar" area if you don't want the drawer in the island (I am thinking thats what it is)...I think the wine bar area is a bit style over substance right now and you could get more function out of the same real estate. It it is a warming drawer in the island you would probably want to keep it there near the oven.

  • kaismom
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am a firm believer in making the house floor plan work first, then kitchen second. Your first and second floor plans are hugely different in how you connect to your back yard. If you currently come into the house from your backyard through mudroom because you are an avid gardner, kids running around, pool in the back yard and needs bathroom etc, for examples, then the second floor plan would not work for you. However, if you come into the garage from the backyard, ie there is a door there, then the door to the mudroom may be redundant. I may just add a door to the garage from the backyard.... I have no idea what will work what will not. You have to decide on this first.

    Second problem I see with your house is that the bathroom, if that is the only one on that floor, is through the pantry on the first plan, ie guests eating at the table go there through the pantry. I like the bathroom location of the second plan better, however. Living room becomes the library? huh?

  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks to each of you for providing input - I'm learning a great deal and you've made some excellent points. I'll try to address each point, as I do have some clarifiying questions. I will also try to provide some more details that may help.

    Topic: Interaction With Backyard
    Kaismom asked about how we connect with the backyard in our current floorplan. We have two entrances into the backyard, one from the corner of the kitchen, the other from the back of the family room. Both go directly into living space with no form of a mudroom. If we are doing yardwork or something else messy, we tend to go around to the front of the house and enter through the garage. We do not have (and never will have) a pool. We really like how plan #1 provides a separate entrance from the backyard into a mudroom where everyone could clean up before entering the kitchen. However, my wife and I have decided that we would be willing to sacrifice this if we could have corner windows. Our yard is fairly narrow directly behind the house with a wonderful view of a steep granite slope (a primary reason we'd like to add more windows.) The bulk of the open backyard space is in fact behind the garage, so having a view of this area where children are likely to play would be nice. I guess either plan has a drawback and it's going to be a compromise. We'll give this some more thought - thanks for framing up the issue. Any further thoughts on this would be welcome. Our current thinking is that messy foot traffic from little ones coming from the backyard would be a tolerable trade-off for the added light and view of the corner windows.

    Topic: Fridge Location
    A couple of you point out that the frdige location isn't ideal. I had wanted to avoid putting it right next to the backyard door for a couple reasons: first, it breaks up the openness from the family room looking into the kitchen. Second, it would block windows on that back wall. However, the points many of you have raised seem to suggest that function trumps form in this case. Given that NKBA suggests at least 15" of landspace on either side of a side-by-side fridge, I'm thinking that it would make sense to stick a 27" fridge only column in the location held by the oven stack in plan #1. Thanks to Sue36 and Eastbaymom for the suggestion.

    Topic: Bathroom Location
    Kaismom expressed some concern about the location of the bathroom in plan #1 because diners would have to go through the pantry. We had envisioned that space between the kitchen and dining room to either (a) have a nice bar area and formal butler's pantry or (b) have a nice bar area and a door closing off the pantry. We haven't explored the cost / asthetics of the pantry door yet. But in either case, I've seen a few houses that have this functional passageway and I actually like the way it worked. Am I an outlier here? In any case, I agree that the central hall location makes alot of sense for the bath. I need to explore the added cost and impact on the living room to see if it's feasible. The living room is currently an unfinished room with old furniture. We envision creating a room filled with built-in bookshelves and comfy seating - hence the variance in names on the plans (living room / library.) In any case, we don't have an interest in creating a formal living room space - we want something more cozy, like a library with a desk for a computer. Hopefully we can fit this in a reduced space that allows for the central bath location - the current room is ~17x18 - we would be reducing to something like ~12x18. In any case, I'd be curious to see if others find the bathroom location in plan #1(and necessary travel through the bar/pantry area) to be an issue.

    Topic: Wine Fridge
    At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, I'll say that wine plays a big part in our culinary thinking. As such, we put a priority in including a full length wine cooler in our kitchen that serves as a bit of a show piece that is also very useful. I thought that having it as part of the bar area made alot of sense. I was surprised that a few of you didn't like this location. I've seen many layouts that have a seperate area for storage of wine/cocktail glasses as well as liquor and wine - and it seemed like a good location (off the dining room.) Sue36 and Palimpsest would you mind providing some more commentary on why you don't like the proposed location of the wine fridge or the concept of a bar area?

    Topic: Space Behind Island
    Sue36 and Palimpsest both mentioned that the area behind the seating at the island is narrow. The current width of that area is 50" on the floor plans. It doesn't appear that wide in the rendering since they added a curved island and I suspect the fridge isn't set back as far as in the floor plans. In any case, it sounds like 50" is insufficient? after seeing your comments, I went and checked the NKBA gudielines and saw their 65" suggestion. That was somewhat demoralizing, since I don't see any chance of getting 65"! However, I like palimpsest's suggestion of making the pantry narrower. I need to see if that's possible if I include a freezer in there (my current thinking if we do a fridge only column as mentioned above. Sue36 you mention that you are close to 60" - hopefully I can make this happen. It's always helpful to hear from people who are happy with their current layout.

    Other Topics:
    -The appliance handle under the island was a proposed microwave drawer. We had eliminated it and were leaning towards a countertop MW in the pantry since it doesn't get that much use by us and it feels like one of those appliances that breaksdown, so building it in didn't appeal. I'd be interested to see if others think we're being crazy here and should stick with the MW drawer in the island.
    -The original plan #1 had a warming drawer in the bar area - we removed it and added frdige/freezer drawers for a couple reasons. First, it adds more cold storage space that we could use for ice/soda/beer/etc. Second, with a double oven we weren't sure we'd really use a warming drawer.
    -Mudroom storage was originally proposed to be just cubbies for coats/shoes/bags/etc. I'd love to havea small table for cell phones and other items. Also, we'd like to have a portion that is a closet to hold business coats (raincoats/overcoats, etc) as well as the hose for our central vac. Not sure if this is feasible in either plan.

    Plan#1 vs. Plan#2
    I see the big debate here being the trade-off between a direct acces to the backyard through a larger mudroom in plan#1 vs. more light and a view of the sideyard in plan#2. However, plan#2 also presents some challenges with the odd shape of the kitchen. I didn't spend anytime trying to place appliances or work zones in plan#2 and would be really interested to see if anyone has any suggestions for how to make the space work better.

    Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions! It gives me some great ideas as I continue to refine the plans. I'll keep everyone posted (assuming you are interested...) and would still love to hear any further opinions.

  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    On the topic of the trade-off between the mudroom connecting to the backyard vs. having the corner windows for light and view, I thought I'd provide one of photos we found which we really liked. It shows (sort of) what we were envisioning with the corner windows.

    Of course, we are thinking a much different color scheme, but you get the idea...

  • rhome410
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was going to suggest flipping the fridge/pantry area in Plan 1 (flipping left to right), so that the pantry is on the left and bar on the right, moving the fridge so it lines up across from the stove aisle. (The pantry would probably have to shrink a little so that the fridge doesn't block the mud room doorway into the kitchen.) Anyway, this would give it more room to open (no interference with seating) and keep the island from being as much of a barrier between sink and fridge. Have you considered a prep sink?

    I am not crazy about the oven on the sink run, because of blocking, but mostly because that doesn't seem like a convenient place to use it, but Plan 2 creates more and bigger problems. Have you considered a range instead of rangetop and ovens? I prefer them separate, but a range might work better in your plan with what you want to accomplish in openness.

    I don't have any problem with the powder room in Plan 1, and in fact, prefer it for everyday, family-life use. Kids outside often need it in a hurry and also often have dirty shoes they don't have a spare second to remove! ;-)

    It wouldn't be convenient for the cook to have a warming drawer in the bar area, anyway. If you still want a warming drawer, to the right of the range or across the aisle in the end of the island might work.

    In Plan 1, I wouldn't wrap the uppers from the stove wall around to the sink wall, and then you could expand the windows.

  • kaismom
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You are doing a major house renovation because how you "move" around the house is changing significantly. These are things that I would consider. We have done several large house remodels. You have to walk through your house and live in it in your minds eye. These are things that I see that glare as dificiencies.

    access to backyard:
    It seems to me one of the solutions that you have not explored is to add a door to garage which opens to the backyard near the kitchen. This way, even if you keep the mudroom where it is on the layout plan 2, you still come into the mudroom from the backyard, without coming through the finished part of the house, ie family or kitchen.

    Bathroom location through the pantry where it is fine for 95% of the time. You decide what has priority; family or guests.

    How do you enter/exit the house from/to your car? If you park in the garage, then perhaps, the cheapest and most efficient way is to have cubbies and hooks on the wall of the garage. If you enter the house from the front door, the mudroom location where it is more or less useless because you are still dropping all your THINGS at the front door and you have to yell at your kids to pick and put them away in the mudroom. You have to accept the natural way things happen. We designed the garage access to backdoor thinking we can force it with good design, but we have not been able to break the "natural" flow of the garage/lot/walkway to the front door of the house. Alas.

    If you come into the front door, then I would make the coat closet by the front door bigger (and put enough storage that it functions as mudroom) and skip the mudroom in the back, and make the family go in and out to the backyard through the NEW door in the garage when they are messy, and leave the shoes in the garage before coming into the kitchen. Again, you have to see how your family functions.

    Casual family dining in the kitchen: you have no place selected for this in your current kitchen. Do you plan to eat on the island nightly? This does not feel nice as a family to eat on the island. I stongly suggest that you not do this in this house. Families should eat facing each other, discussing days' events. As your kids get older, enforcing this is even more important. This is how you connect as a family. Is your family room big enough to put a small dining table? If not, if your natural inclination is to do something easy, ie eat on the island for dinners, then I suggest that you make the island smaller, and put a kitchen table in the kitchen.
    Kitchen windows: if the window you enlarge, ie the sink wall, is facing north, it will add light and you can put lots. If it is south facing, I would not completely open up the entire wall since you are in Virginia. You will be drawing the shades quite a bit and will see a jump in your cooling bill. Sunrooms are a wee bit too much in VA, IMHO.... (unless of course you are adding awning or sunshades on the outside.)

    People think about adding more light: there is always a trade off. Cooling in the summer. Depending on where you live and which direction the windows face, it may end up being a big mistake. Sun rooms were a big thing 20-30 years ago. I think people forgot how uncomfortable they can be.

  • palimpsest
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    With regards to what I said about the wine bar, as long as it is a multifunctional transitional space between the kitchen and DR, and it sounds like it is, it should be fine. I was concerned that it was going to be a somewhat decorative area with a wine fridge.

    The room off to the right must change completely if the powder room shifts to that part of the plan. What happens over there then, with the room made ~4 feet smaller?

  • bmorepanic
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Had to laugh about sentiments of blocking the light with the ref on the outside wall is bad - but block light with ovens is ok. I think just like that sometimes.

    The only thing I gots to say is pickies.

    Those double doors to the backyard will be a pita in either plan.

    Design 1 - open oven, open door, bam.
    Design 1 & 2, door open, makes aisle smaller, clothes catcher, black and blue elbows and hips.

    Doors not centered in the "hallway" from the front door to the rear door would bother me. Would much rather have the extra backdoor in the mudroom and decorative doors in the family room.

    With an sxs, landing space on the side is fairly useless - its too far to reach around the doors. It should be behind you as you stand in front of the appliance. The other thing that sorta works is a perpendicular cabinet to your side beyond the ref. The sorta is because its only convenient for one side or the other.

    You might try the ref on the garage facing wall, then the cooktop around the corner, then the sink with windows. Make the kitchen longer in the same space? Longer island, oven and warming drawer beside cooktop. You can make the aisle wider by putting display shelves in front of the pantry instead of using the wall as workspace. Your island could be deeper and house a micro and extra oven.

    I agree with you that being able to clean up a bit in the mudroom could be an important feature. Take the half bath and make a brm closet with hand sink or mop sink if you get really grungy. Alternately, you can use it as a display feature if you add a flower sink or garden sink. Maybe, if you keep the separate mudroom, consider putting the backyard door in the side wall in exchange for one of the two windows. It's personal preference, but I have having odd corners if the door stays where it is.

    If you end up moving the ref, you can recess it a bit into the mudroom.

    Good luck with your project - be interesting to see what the floor plan becomes.

  • sundownr
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love your inspiration photo. I, too, wanted light. Light, light, light. I gave up kitchen cabinets to have the light. Totally worth it. We are in an old house and the eaves are probably 42" or 48" so the sun doesn't come in too bad.

    My kitchen is similar to yours and I had some of the same issues so I'll tell you what I did.

    Double ovens. I really wanted double ovens. A 12 x 18" cookie sheet wouldn't even fit in our old oven. But with our kitchen consisting of cabinets in an L shape, an island and a pantry I also didn't want to give up any counter space for double ovens. Or visual space. Then I decided on two full size under counter ovens. The whole kitchen would have been appliances! :) I finally ended up with a 48" gas stove with a small gas oven and a large electric oven.

    My sink and dishwasher are in my island 60 x 86". The stove is on an outside wall behind the sink.
    Distance between the sink and stove is 42". Plenty of room for two or three cooking and/or working at the sink. Our family cooks together (kids 13 & 15) so we are all in the kitchen together.
    Distance between the island and the refrigerator is 50". More than enough room.
    Distance between the island and the pantry is 46". The pantry has 24" doors and even with people at the island we get in the pantry.

    Eating space. We eat at the island. Meals, snacks, everything. When people are over, everyone congregates in the kitchen around the island. Our dining room is a few feet from the island and we don't use it. The breakfast table is a few feet from the other end and we don't use it either. My only problem is I have overhang on 2 sides of the island and I wish I also had overhang on the refrigerator end. People do sit there but it would be easier with overhang.

    Don't let your pantry get too small if you don't have enough kitchen cabinets.

    We have our microwave in the pantry. We don't use it often but it is very convenient.

    Here is our kitchen. I have added a 3rd pantry door where the quilt is hanging, painted the walls the same brown as in the dining room and removed the messy bulletin boards.

    To orient this to your first plan, your stove is where my refrigerator is, your sink is where my stove is and your refrigerator is where my pantry is.

    Here is the dining room on the other end of the kitchen where your family room is.

    Good luck with your plan!!

  • bmorepanic
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That would be "make the aisle wider behind the seating" or make the island wider.

    And also "I hate having odd corners" that are unusable.

    At least, if I could type, that is what it would have said.

  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    rhome410 - thanks for the suggestion around flipping the fridge / pantry area. I had considered it early in the process, but we were hoping to avoid in order to prevent changes to the dining room (wallpaper and paneled.) However, as you will see below I created an updated floorplan and included your suggestion. I think it helps with the overall functionality of the space.

    We considered the full range over the rangetop / wall ovens. We really like to idea of an oven that is up off the floor for both easy access and distance from small children. Also, the fact that the oven + rangetop combo is actually significantly cheaper is a factor. On the other hand, the full range makes the floor plan easier to arrange, provides ventilation for the ovens and also has the benefit of providing an excellent "centerpiece" to the kitchen appearance. I'd say we're undecided at this point. Do you think I have the right pro/con list?

    kaismom - thanks for the thoughtful feedback you've given on the overall flow and interaction of the spaces we're designing. I completely agree that this is one of the most important aspects of the design process and is also one of the hardest to figure out since it can be difficult to visualize. Let me give you a few more facts that I haven't already provided.

    First, we live in the Boston area (not VA). The funny thing is that we used to live in VA - up until about five years ago - so I know what you are talking about! Given the combination of relatively few truely hot days and the fact that our backyard has mostly indirect light except for in the early morning, we aren't to concerned about to much light heating up the house. The back wall of the kitchen that faces the backyard does face southwest, so I'd expect great morning light and then indirect light as the day goes on.

    Second, your suggestion about casual family dining is an excellent point. We were thinking that the island would be the center of family life in the evenings (homework, dinner prep, dining, clean-up.) You will see below that I've created a revised floorplan and added a placeholder for a table to the plan. My thinking right now is that we wouldn't add the table - but it gives us the option. You make some excellent points about how as the kids grow older, all being seated facing each other might be a valuable habit - I'll keep them in mind.

    Third, you suggested I consider how we interact with the house / yard today. I'd say 90-95% of our entrance / egress from the house happens via the garage. This is in spite of the fact that we have three other entrances (including two in the backyard.) Now that you've suggested I give this careful considering - I don't expect this to change much - so this is probably the most important entrance to get right. The second priority would be the backyard, as the kids get older I envision more time (especially on the weekends) being spent playing in the backyard. In fact, this consideration is why we are having so much consternation about giving up the side view. While not having direct access to the mudroom from the backyard isn't ideal, I'm not sure we can have both the side view and this access. Adding a door from the backyard into the garage or coming through the kitchen wall adjacent to the garage won't work because there is a bulkhead access to the basement in that corner that cannot move. That's unfortunate since this would have been an excellent solution - thanks for the suggestion!

    palimpsest - you asked about the right front room. It is currently a room that gets little use. We'd like to eventually turn this into a library / study of sorts since the idea of a formal living room doesn't appeal. Adding the powder room of the central hall would reduce the room dimensions from 17x18 to 13x18 - I was thinking this was still adequate space for the use we envision. Perhaps a little more of a rectangle than would be ideal, but still a space we could make work. What do you think?

    bmorepanic - Excellent point about the double french doors. The more my wife and I think about it, the fact that they swing creates space problems and also makes it difficult to have screens on the doors. I don't see that much opportunity to have both of these doors wide open with no screens as it's either darn cold or there are to many bugs around. Given this, we're leaning more towards a sliding door. The fact that it isn't centered on the hallway isn't all that big of a deal to me, but I'll keep an eye on it when I can get some renderings and make sure it doesn't look strange.

    I'm still thinking about the idea of moving the fridge to the wall adjacent to the garage. Biggest concern about this is that it moves it farther away from the family room and backyard entrance. Maybe this reduces the convenience factor? However, it does create some benefits around allowing open counter space across the whole backyard wall and what feels like a more convenient work layout. I'll keep this in mind. If you get a chance, take a look at the layout I'll provide below and let me know what you think.

    sundownr - it's great to hear the dimensions of your space and that you find it functions well. Very encouraging that we will eventually find a solution that will work for my family. Also great to hear you eat at the island and enjoy it - this is what we envision today. Also, the photos are helpful - thank you for providing them. As you mention, I see you went with the full range which solves the wall oven problem. We like the idea of wall ovens for their convenience and also like the ideas of deep drawers under the cooktop for pots and pans, but both the convenient floorplan as well as the asthetics of the full range certainly appeal. We're still undecided there.

    New Revised Floorplan:
    I've incorporated some of the suggestions everyone has provided in this update. Still isn't perfect, but I'd be interested to see what people think. Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions!

  • kaismom
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oven versus range: my husband and I just discussed this. Our friend had to repair their rangetop. Because they are built-in cooktops, the repairs are more difficult than something you can just pull out and access the back. This is a minor point, but this must be taken into consideration. I am getting a built-in frig, which will provide its challenge if service is needed. My coworker who has a 20 year old built in paneled frig repaired theirs for nearly $2000 because the cost of replacing and repaneling was so outrageous. My husband is very handy. We tend to do minor repairs on the appliances ourselves. So we prefer to access the backs of appliances if needed, hence freestanding ranges. Also, we like venting the oven.

    If it was my kitchen, I would get a range and put the refrigerator where the oven is and open up the wall where the windows are. Not only that the guest and you don't see the refrigerator when you walk in from either doors: front door or the garage door.

    If your kitchen window looks out to the southwest, that is afternoon/evening light, not morning light, which is the hot uncomfortable light. Did you mean to say Southeast?

    I think your small room (library) can be a music room, media room (I am firm believer in shutting out the noise of media from the rest of the house. I will not accept noise polution into the rest of the house.), arts and crafts room for kids etc etc. We do not have a formal dining room or living room and our house lives large!

    You have two walls that are focal points in your new family room, ie fireplace and a wall of windows. Make sure you can float the furniture and have enough room for everything.

    I probably would not put the partial wall between the kitchen and mudroom unless you need it for structural reasons. It really is not enough to visually block your stuff and you will only bump into it. I would put the effort into making the storage look good, ie put the doors on the cubby.

    Where is your summer BBQ? Will you access it through the French doors? As you face the French doors(if you must), make sure, you open the "correct" one first, so that you have easy time bringing things in and out from the kitchen. They have some super nice looking wood sliding glass doors that will be more functional. (we were just quoted about $1000 per lineal foot).

    I think sliding or bifold doors on the mudroom closet will be much more functional (even if they are less attractive) than what you got. The way you have drawn, the coats at the two ends will be tucked in and hard to see when you are trying to find a particular coat. (these are things I have learned with my "total" house remodels over the past decade.)

    Since you are in Mass, (my bad about VA) make sure you have adequate storgage for all those winter boots, hats, gloves etc. Perhaps, you should consider adding boot storage in the garage. I like muddy shoes to not even come into the house! If you can, I would swing the door out to the garage, since garages are always more roomy (?)

    Many people here will argue for a prep sink on the island. I have a large island with L shaped kitchen like this plan. I went back and forth (10 years ago at which time the kitchen remodel did not happen, and again this time) regarding a prep sink. I chose to not have a prep sink. My kids (11 and 8) spend almost all of their after school time on the island. I really like not having water on the island to get their homework and school work wet. I stage out cookies and other stuff that requires a large expanse on the counter. I am compromising between a functional kitchen versus family friendly layout. If you will have a table, then you may be able to put a sink on the island and have the kids do homework on the table. Another option is to put a sink next to the wine frig, so the kids can get a glass of water, wash hands, coffee maker, you can mix drinks etc. I am not really sure. The kitchen seems awfully big with just one sink.

    I may swap out the DW with trash compactor. This will be better for putting dishwes away, which I envision being stored toward the refrigerator end of the island/lower leg of L.

    Do you really need a trash compactor any rate? In our municipality, they take all recycle AND compost in separate container. We actually have only a tiny amount of garbage every week. What we need are good recycling and compost centers. This was the most difficult to get right with the kitchen designer. In the end, we chose to get pull outs and put standard containers with lids to maximize space. The pull out trash system that they were using wasted too much space for us. You may need to re evaluate your kitchen outage: garage, compost, recycle. The recycle center needs to account for all household recycle; newspaper, junk mail, kids wasted paper, computer printout, cans, bottles etc. Our municipality does not reqires us to separate. Does yours?

    I personally would not do corner windows if your house is a colonial. If you do corner windows, your house will look like a mish mesh of farm house/colonial. From the outside, it would be much more pleasing if you do the window arrangement that you have in the family room. Architecturally, if you center the windows and create symmetry with the French door/sliding glass door, you would have much more pleasant look from both inside and outside of the house. I think you will achieve more finished look to the architecture. Unfortunately, this is something that glares at me when I look at houses; not paying attention to the architecture of the house. Center hall colonials are meant to have symmetry. I am a stickler for staying true to the architectural intent. This is where a mock up of the exterior and interior with your architect will be extremely important.

    That's all folks! I wish you the best. I really like what you are trying to do. The house looks very livable!

  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    kaismom - Good point about easier repairs. I am also inclined to do my own repairs once appliances are out of warranty. I have found it in the past to be a relatively easy task (once you find the right part number) and a significant savings. I'll add that to the the list of "pros" on the range side.

    I did indeed mean to say southeast instead of southwest. We're definately talking morning light, but due to the nature of our yard - it doesn't last all that long.

    Interestingly, the focal point of the family room is the third wall that you didn't mention. Probably not the most visible from the kitchen, but it is lined with built-in bookshelves with a TV centered on the wall. This would be what any furniture would be facing. Outside of glare issues from the windows, it functions well and we expect will continue to do so in the new layout.

    Good points about sliding glass doors going outside and bi-fold doors for the closet. Assuming we can get attractive good quality versions for both - I'd agree that they make more functional sense. However, all I can think about are those cheap bi-fold or sliding closet doors we had in my house when I was growing up. You know the ones that always came off the track? No way I'm doing that. However, we'll be certain to consider this in future options provided they make decent quality ones.

    I agree about a second sink - the area that makes the most sense to me would be the bar area. I need to figure out how much cost will be involved in adding this feature and then make a decision.

    The area labeled trash was intended to be a trash pull-out cabinet, not a compactor. I'm hoping to make it large enough to hold two bins - one for trash, one for recycling.

    Interesting points about the exterior appearance of the windows. The house isn't currently symmetrical on the back. I must admit it's never even occured to me that it might look odd. Even stranger, I can see where this would be an issue on the front yard. I'll see what I think when we get a chance to look at some mock ups.

  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've updated the floorplan based upon input from here among other sources. I'd appreciate any feedback on this updated version.


  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Reposting as the previous image wasn't very good quality (hard to read appliance labels and dimensions.)

    Any input or suggested refinements? Thanks!

  • bmorepanic
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sketch is for illustration.

    The way the mudroom is arranged pretty much guarantees that family will bypass it because there's no place for the people to stop and take off their things - doors block using the lockers and closet door clogs exit to kitchen.

    There's two things about the kitchen proper. Food mostly stored in pantry with freezer. On the other side of the room... pretty much a long hike...

    And people use the ref and dishes and it would be nice not to have the ref and dw doors opening into the narrower aisle. And for me, anyway, not to have tall obstruction between me prepping and the family room. And also I think to have the longer side of island (or maybe the change to 4 feet would be enough) towards the range.

    There are two added ovens - micro facing cleanup and an undercounter oven. 48" ranges have two ovens, so I'm guessing you're looking for either the height or a speed oven. If neither, look at some of the newer styles of ovens that are shorter. and set at the top of a base cabinet.

    I like the eurostyle height where they set the top of the oven at 48-54". Not nearly as much of a view blocker, but a nice height for an oven with baking stuff in a matching height storage unit. Maybe pantry shelves on the doors for flours and things backed by 14-18" deep shelves for gear.


  • dboxmeyer
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    bmorepanic - thanks for the input. You raise some interesting points.

    I like what you've done with the mudroom. Do you think reversing the swing of the garage door would also help access to the storage areas? How about changing the door so it swings out into the garage? I'm not sure if that would be a good idea (thinking an armful of groceries / children and trying to open a door could be tough) - but it would improve the working space in the mudroom...

    Can you describe the rationale around shortening the island? Was it asthetics or function? We had planned on installing a drawer MW, I just forget to include - thanks for catching it. We had envisioned using the island as the primary seating area in the kitchen - you switch to a separate table for seating / dining?

    I played with switching the rangetop from the garage wall to the backyard wall and am honestly undecided. I was thinking the rangetop / hood on the wall opposite the family room made a nice focal point and provided more room for windows (we want to make sure we have plenty of light.) In your proposed layout, do you think that the fridge is stuck in the corner which would make access difficult?

    In my layout, the ovens were double wall ovens and the rangetop was improperly labeled as a full range - we were thinking just a rangetop with drawers underneath for pots / pans. I assume in your layout you are thinking a full range? This is one of the key issues we continue to flip-flop on - rangetop w/ wall ovens vs. full range. Do you have a preference for one over the other given the floorplan I have to work with?