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peace_rose_gw

How do you get that unique custom look?

peace_rose
14 years ago

I posted an earlier version of this layout a few weeks back, and have been tweaking it ever since. Thanks for all the feedback! We are building a living/dining room addition on our house, and the inside dimensions of the room will be 23Âx14Â6". IÂm pretty happy with the overall scheme, but would love to hear about any quirks you might see. Please note that I couldnÂt get the IKEA software to do everything I wanted  IÂm just using it because I canÂt figure out Sketchup! Also note that the island is a total blank slate, too  I just dropped some 36"x72" cabinets there but am still unsure how to configure it.

There are 2 things IÂm focusing on now: 1) Windows and 2) How to incorporate small details into the plan so we donÂt end up with a cookie cutter kitchen. So here we go...

1)

a. Since everythingÂs a blank slate, we can put the windows wherever we want. The window above the sink faces East. I put a 24"x36" tall shelf on the north wall that is flush with the wall, for cookbooks and display up top. This enables us to have a wider window. But the cabinet guy I talked to recommended a corner wall cabinet, saying that I would regret not having the extra storage space up there. (With his plan the window would need to be narrower. But to me, upper corner storage is almost useless anyway). But there IS room for a corner cabinet AND a tall narrow cabinet to the right of that, too. With all this in mind, how big should the window above the sink be? (In the current scheme thereÂs two 27"x42" mulled windows).

b. Is it ok that the sink is not centered under the window?

c. WeÂll be using double hung windows with a grid pattern (another shortcoming the software doesnÂt show).

d. The Dining Room: Faces South, with awesome Colorado sunshine, but the view is nothing great. The smaller window on the West mimics one on the front of the house. I also have a corner hutch, pictured below (current dining room), that I would like to paint white and "build in" to the new addition. Does it make sense to accommodate a piece of furniture into a new addition?

2) Now for a little about style. Our house is a 1945 Cottage. So it really does make sense to do white shaker cabinets  weÂve seen the look here many times on GW! But how do you take it to the next level, especially when it looks so sterile on paper? One thing I know is that I want my kitchen to say, "Welcome! This is a place where people live and are nourished in body and soul." Our familyÂs motto has always been "Make too much, invite too many." I love my pot rack  I wash them by hand and like having them in an easy to access place  so IÂm thinking of a pot rack or open shelving on the island. ThereÂs something comforting to me about looking at cookbooks, so IÂd like to have them on display. ...

Comments (79)

  • Buehl
    14 years ago

    Oh! I thought that table was a kitchen table, not the DR.

    OK...got it!

    My comments still stand...

    That little bitty piece of wall, b/w the refrigerator & pantry is the wall that cannot come down...correct? (It would gain you anywhere from 4.5" to 6" or more if it could, depending on the type of wall it is...interior or exterior.)

  • Buehl
    14 years ago

    Just wanted to let you know that I don't have a problem w/going through the kitchen to get to the DR. We have to b/c the only other access is blocked by our dogs' "kennel". As a matter of fact, to get to the LR, DR, and Library/Computer Room we have to go through the Kitchen. To get the FR it's either through the Kitchen or from the Garage or Deck in the back. Our kitchen is the true heart of our home!

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  • biochem101
    14 years ago

    I really could see Holligator's design working in your space. I mean putting the cooking/kitchen part over (on the right) where you have the DR table and wrapping all the way around that space. I don't know if I'm being clear? Switching the kitchen section with the table/chairs section?

    The DR table (and presumably a nice chandelier) would then be the thing viewed from the living room archway. Guests wouldn't see, or walk through, the kitchen, until they got to the table. The stove and a cool hood could be centered on the far end wall (on the far side of the island from the table). The sink on the back wall.

  • biochem101
    14 years ago

    Here is a picture of a vintage kitchen I rather like. It has more open space (less uppers), and windows on either side of the range. Sort of how I am picturing your space with everything moved over to the other side.

    Of course maybe this isn't you, if not just ignore it! :)

  • rosie
    14 years ago

    One advantage of moving the kitchen to the right could be an improved relationship with the patio.

    Just guessing, but it seems that your addition will make it a much more accessible and usable living area than now and result in it inviting you out frequently. It would be nice if whatever you have on that side encouraged its role as outdoor living space. However, if you keep the kitchen over there, even a single French door close to the stair side will be very inviting if the glimpse through is enticing.

  • cotehele
    14 years ago

    There are a lot of windows in the DR. Is the view better toward the patio or from the DR windows? With island seating, the likelihood that people will spend more time in the kitchen than the DR is pretty high. It takes more time to prepare a meal than to eat it. I want a really nice view from the kitchen. I think an attractive DR, especially as it is the only dining table in the house, has more appeal than a dirty kitchen when viewed from the formal area of the house. If guests drop by and you are in the middle of preparing a meal, they will never see the mess if you stay in the LR. But that's just me and my kitchen sink full of dishes and the counters piled with accouterments of cooking.

  • monicakm_gw
    14 years ago

    Wow, I'm so overwhelmed by the detailed suggestions/content here that I'm a bit intimidated to post my puny suggestion :o but here it goes. Laugh if you must (g)
    When we replaced our windows in 07, we went with double hung windows with grids EXCEPT for the window over the sink. I preferred a cleaner, unobstructed view since a lot of my time is spent at the sink and gazing out of the window. When the windows were delivered, they sent the wrong window (it had grids). I lived with it for a couple of weeks before they brought out the right window. What a difference the no grids made! I could appreciate it even more since since I had the grids for a couple of weeks. Just something to think about. My kitchen is at the back of the house. As for the window not being centered over the sink, it would bother me, but, if it doesn't bother you, it's not a problem :)
    Monica
    Monica

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Biochem, I love that vintage kitchen you posted!
    Cotehele, the view of the back yard is the most desireable; views to the north and south are of neighbor's houses.

    I think we need to keep the Kitchen on the North side of the addition and the DR on the South. Not my preference, but for the sake of keeping my marriage intact. :-)

    Does anyone have an opinion on the hand drawn sketch above? I'm really wondering how we can tie new/old kitchen space together? Any initial thoughts on the hand drawn sketch vs. the original one I posted?

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    Peace_rose, I like your reworked plan a lot.

    Is your refrigerator counter-depth, or standard-depth? If it is standard depth, I would swap the positions of the pantry and fridge, as it will help you hide the depth of the fridge better. Make sure you can cover it with a panel on the other side, though, so that it is not an eyesore from the living room. Also, be careful that the little wall will not interfere with the fridge door swing if you keep the fridge to the right of the wall.

    Also, I would make your island one level. I know you are trying to hide cooking mess from the diners, but I think the single level is preferable both functionally and aethetically. If you have large, deep sinks that will go a long way to hiding mess.

    Where will the most-used entry to the house be? Will it be the back door by the table? I would put at least a boot/shoe bench with cubbies there. Think about whether you have enough closet space for coats-- maybe you can fit one in by the stairwell. If you don't have room, maybe there is room in the stairwell for hooks for coats- that's what we do for the kids' coats.

    I do like the re-used corner cab, but am wondering what the symmetry fans out there feel. I guess I am thinking you can balance it with the boot bench. I wonder if another corner cab could be built to house the most-used coats-- kind of like a triangular locker.

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    p.s., next to the corner hutch, I would put a free-standing side board. Be careful about the length, though, so that you keep the traffic clear.

  • cawila
    14 years ago

    I like your new sketch! I think it goes a long way to tying the spaces together. And I think you've got the right idea to consider what to do with the space (old and new kitchen) as a whole, right from the start.

    Out of curiosity, do you have any flexibility as to where the addition is placed? I'm wondering if it would improve flow if the opening into the new addition were more in the center of the room, so that when you entered the space the kitchen would be to one side and dining to the other. That would require the addition to be more centered on your house and may not be an option. Just a thought.

  • biochem101
    14 years ago

    Okay, I understand the "keeping the marriage intact" part! :)

    So if you are going to see the kitchen from the living room, have you checked out soonermagic's kitchen? They also remodeled (or maybe built?) a small cottage and the kitchen/LR is ONE long room. Take a look at all her photos and you'll see how neatly she incorporated cabinetry into the dining space and made the kitchen real eye candy!

    Here's a small sample photo:

    I've also included the link to her page in the finished Kitchens Blog.

    Here is a link that might be useful: soonermagic's kitchen in the FKB

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Well, the fridge is standard depth, but I thinking a 30" deep counter would be good there and we could build it in.

    I actually prefer a 1 level island; and it wouldn't bother me much if there weren't any seating there. Islands seem to attract "stuff" so I'm fine with shooing people to the DR table instead. :)

    I park out front, thus the kids use the front, too. My husband uses the garage and parks out back. But that could change over time. I have visions of a window bench under the East dining room window. I keep telling myself that I've got to learn to use the saw because my wish list is growing longer every day.

    What's a free standing side board?

    As for the footprint of the addition, the architectural drawings are almost done, so it's not really an option to center it as PP suggested.

    oooh, ooh, biochem, keep the inspiration photos coming!!

    I will try to work up something to scale with the hand drawn sketch. Anyone else want to pipe in about it?

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks for sticking with me here. I'm not sure about GW etiquette, ie, if I should start a new thread or keep this one going.

    Anyhow, Here's the new layout. The shaded part is floor space. What do you think?

    And:

    My main concerns are that I tried so hard in the other layout to keep traffic out of my prep/cooking zones, and now it's inevitable that people will be passing through!

    Sorry the dimensions are crude -- the software I'm using has its limitations.

    Thanks to everyone who has followed this very long thread!

  • rosie
    14 years ago

    I actually like the first design better, for a few reasons, but especially because it, and this one, place the table in that nice south sunshine through the day and year round. To my mind making that central gathering area as pleasant to be in as possible far outweighs keeping guests from glancing through to your work area (always my preference, but).

    Regarding the passage in front of the stairs, I'd suggest keeping the kitchen in the kitchen. It's easy to get carried away with possibilities on this forum, and kitchen creep is a very common problem that develops. In your case, you're fortunate already. A charming passage between busy main living areas is very desirable. These label-less places make a home feel large, instead of having the main activities practically on top of each other. Your passage also separates that kitchen work area from guests emotionally, as well as with distance. Although visually open in a friendly way, they will need an invitation to go through this passage from the public front to somewhat more private back family area.

    And happily your passage is wide enough for actual use (my daughter-in-law's has a little settee and comfy side chair creating an adult spot for her and her girfriends (or MIL) to relax with a glass of wine). You could build in a desk/message center there or set a very attractive desk (comfortably facing out, instead of the wall?) there to keep use flexible. I've been a big fan of built-ins for decades, long before they became so fashionable, but I think some of the advantages of being able to use a nice old antique, say, or just of keeping uses flexible are not getting their due consideration these days. And it's less expensive.

    Whichever way you go, how about moving the patio door back on the stair side? I'm not quite seeing an advantage to placing it on the far side that outweighs the negatives of bringing traffic through the kitchen and of "hiding" the patio. An intriguing view through outside a French door would be a plus even when just seen on passing. Until that point, the outside's only on the right and ahead. Surprise!

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    Hi peace-rose,
    I like this plan! While I see your point about traffic through the prep/cooking zone, I think the main traffic will be from the back door to the stairwell, so that people go around the back of the island.

    I am wondering if you can add a trash pullout to the left of the clean-up sink base. I use a 12" pullout for this purpose, and can fit a big "slim jim" type can in there-- 13 gallons, I think, but no recycling. Maybe you could fit a recycling bin under your prep sink. You would have even more space for a trash/recycling pullout if you reduce your sink base to 30". I was able to fit a sink with interior dimensions of 28" x 16" inches without really cutting the cab-- we routered down the edges 1/8" so that the sink lip sat flush with the edges of the cab. It seems like you have quite a bit of space from the end of your cab run to the door.

    I like the open shelves to the left of the sink window. To the right of the sink window, I would also do open shelves, or a plate rack. Or, maybe I would do a wine rack to the left and open shelves to the right.

    I think it would look better if you could recess your refrigerator so it is flush with the cabinetry. Would a bump out into your patio area be acceptable/feasible? If you bump out, you could put a sideboard/narrow table on the patio next to the bump out to make it look better.

    I would make the cabinet under your current open shelving drawers. Also, the 24" cabs facing the range, I would make drawers.

    I see you've given up the seating at the island. How wide is the aisle between range and island? I wonder if you could narrow that up a tad and regain your seating. I can see you want to have an adequate passage to the stairwell, though. If it comes down to a choice of the shallow-depth cabs and seating, I think you have made the right choice with shallow-depth cabs.

    If you do not go the Ikea route are you at least considering frameless cabs? I think you will appreciate the added space.

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Wow, I'm speechless! Buehl and Rosie, you've both given strong arguments for each layout. That makes me feel good knowing that there is more than one good option. I cannot thank you enough for all the input!

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    OP back one more time. I had the weekend to digest the previous posts, and I just can't get the possibility of putting the kitchen on the south out of my mind. My husband still has his reservations, especially about the feasibility of whether or not we can plumb all the way over there. But if anyone is still following this thread I would so appreciate your general impression of the following layout (with the Kitchen on the South, opposite from all the previous layouts):

    That's a 5' wide pantry next to the fridge, and a microwave cabinet on the other side of it. The DW is next to the sink. It needs a lot more tweaking, especially the upper cabinets, but I just wanted to see if it gets a thumbs up or down from y'all.

    I so appreciate all the help here - it might seem that I'm being the "Queen of Possibilities," but collectively I'm taking it all in!

  • cotehele
    14 years ago

    It looks much better to me. Love the french doors to the patio. I would try to turn the work side of the island toward the patio view and DR table.

    Others are much better at analyzing layout than I am. Keep trying anything that pops into your mind. A good layout considers all the possibilities! What style do you love? Do you have any inspiration pics?

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    I can totally relate to a DH with reservations about moving the kitchen and plumbing the new location!! (My DH plumbed ours in a new place after GWers suggested I shift the kitchen into the next room.) BUT--- I have been following this thread and was disappointed when you nixed the idea of moving the kitchen to the south end, because it seems like SUCH a good idea to me.

    Personally, I want the best view/sunshine when I am cooking. Dining room occasions are more about what's going on at the table, and less about the view. But when I'm cooking I love to stare out the window. In your latest drawing you don't have seating at the island, but if you did, you'd also get to sit there with breakfast or a cup of coffee, and look out your south windows. Our family of 3 (one middle-schooler) uses the island for breakfast and most lunches, as well as to sit and visit with me when I am cooking, which I love... it's nice to have the view from there.

    In this new layout you have a much nicer sight line through the house, over the dining room table and out into the "nicer" view (right?) Is that double window a french door? If not, can it be? Either that or the biggest window you can put there that looks good scale-wise.

    Do you have enough space to turn the island 90 degrees and add a stool or two? Imagine sitting there with your cookbook looking up recipes. Or DH relaxing with a glass of wine after work and chatting with you as you prep dinner (or vice versa!) What about social occasions? In my experience, no matter how many plates if enticing hors d'oevres I put out in the LR, my guests always come gather in the kitchen at parties! In my old kitchen I had a small peninsula and one stool, and people would stand to chat rather than sit at the adjascent table (because by sitting they were on another level and too removed) so in my new kitchen it was important to me to have this social zone for both family and friends to chat while people are cooking.

    To get back to your original question, the part about acheiving a custom look and avoiding cookie cutter-ness;
    I agree that avoiding two rows of cabinets marching along the whole kitchen is one key. unfortunately my new kitchen is also rather space-challenged so I do have one wall with uppers all the way across. Wish I could have avoided that, but... Another thing I personally think is important is to hide/recess the fridge body as much as possible. can you budget for a counter-depth fridge? that makes it sooo much easier unless you have the space to recess (which it looks like you do in your old layout but not in this one.) in our last kitchen -which was incredibly low-budget, IKEA cabs, existing crappy fridge, etc- we did a custom built-in bookshelf that wrapped around the fridge. Pic below. It really made the kitchen special. In the new kitchen, we ordered a matching cover panel for the counter-depth fridge, and then also enclosed the space at the top (under an upper cab) with a trim piece, so...

  • cotehele
    14 years ago

    oops! Stacy, you said what I meant for turning the island. Turn the work side so you are facing the patio.

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    Plus, the new layout solves your traffic flow problems, doesn't it?

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    The more I consider putting the kitchen on the south, I realize it's really what my heart desires. DH had nixed the plan so early in the process that I hadn't given it much thought. But we've lived in this house for 5 years and I've often found myself daydreaming of this set up. This is going to be a tough one to negotiate! :( (Is there a "Dirty Laundry" Forum?) Hee, hee!

    I was just flipping through the latest edition of This Old House Magazine, and there is a great U shaped inspiration kitchen that I've already gleaned some ideas from. We do need to find out if it's even possible to move the plumbing over there - has to do with the rise/run/issues that are way over my head. We are also digging a basement, so we don't want the pipes below to interfere with the living space down there.

    Stacey, re figuring out where you'll put things before you install your cabinets - I have a funny story. Well not funny, ha, ha, but I was showing an earlier scheme to my in-laws and one of them said, "You actually plan out where you're going to put things?" She found it peculiar that I would actually plan that far ahead. She just bought her cabinets and then figured out where everything went after the fact. In contrast, I can't even imagine spending so much money without being 90% sure where everything will go beforehand!

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    Here's a quick first attempt. (I am not an experienced layout guru like many others on this forum, so take it for what it's worth. I just had some time to kill this morning, and this looked like fun!

    Not sure you need the prep sink? I personally like a clean island (with no fixtures on it) but a prep sink could go there if the MW moved locations. I also wasn't sure where you had thought of putting the DW. If you keep your dishes and utensils nearby it can go where I put it.

    Lots of potential here!(that should read "10-12" overhang" not "overhand"... duh.)

    {{gwi:2107935}}

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Wow, I am so impressed - how did you do that? Photoshop? The next thread I start will be about what software people use for kitchen planning.

    We just got a new standard depth fridge. How's that for priorities? But how about a 30" counter along that wall instead - ie, bump out the counter and make it flush with the fridge and pantry. I think you're onto something, because the fridge that sticks out makes the corner feel cramped, doesn't it?

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    Yes, recessing the fridge or bumping out the rest of the counters/cabs is my preference. I think it looks soooo much nicer, cleaner, definitely more custom! I just didn't think you had the dimensions from E to W for 24" counter, aisle, island, aisle, 30" counters... maybe you do? What are the dimensions we're working with here? Most people recommend 39" MINIMUM between cabinetry for aisles. That's what I have and while I like it, some people really prefer wider aisles. Since it's a new addition, can you widen the room a little to make this plan work best, or is the footprint already set?

    Yes, I used photoshop on your drawing. I tried and tried to learn SketchUp (my architect brother and dad love that program) but never had the patience to really figure it out. I also tried using the ikea program but found it frustratingly limiting. Since I used to do drafting back in the days before CAD, I hand-drafted all the plans for my own reno. But photoshop is great for playing around with existing drawings like this.

    Is your new fridge 36" wide ( it looked like that in your plan)?

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    I hope it doesn't complicate things too much.

    You should have seen my DH's face when I showed him the plan that GW-ers had come up with proposing we move our kitchen into the next room. We'd already spent an agonizing 8 weeks or so trying layout after layout after layout... I was just sitting at the drafting board all day long, getting advice from all the various architects in my family and friends. But the reason it was taking so long was that it was just NOT working in the space we had before, and as soon as I started looking at the new idea -moving the kitchen- it just felt RIGHT. So, poor DH, we went through another few weeks finalizing the details of the new layout. He was so over it already!

    he was worried about the plumbing, too (especially since he was going to be running the pipes himself) but it was no problem whatsoever. I think you need like 1/8" in 10 feet pitch for drainage pipes, so in our case we were moving the kitchen about 20 feet which meant only a 1/4" difference. We were also up-sizing the DWV pipe to accomodate more fixtures, so that meant a bit more vertical space needed, but even then we accomodated it easily in our existing floor joists. Unless your pitch was already maxed out where your existing kitchen was -in relation to the sewer pipe- you should be fine, plumbing-wise.

    Good luck!

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Stacey, you give me hope! And you and the rest of these GWers may become a big thorn in DH's side! I hear what you say about the other layouts just not working...I can already tell that this one is better, and all it needs are some tweaks here and there. Does anyone know the Patron Saint of Kitchens? I need to start a novena!

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    Overall, I prefer the kitchen on the south side of the addition. The cook is protected, and the addition relates better to the existing space. Also, your table will be shielded from southern and western sun glare. The main negative of the southern u-shaped kitchen is that you will have 2 corner cupboards. I find one corner cupboard to be great to hold small appliances, but cannot say that I would be excited about two. So, think about what you would like to store there. I know you are thinking about Ikea, and while their lazy susan is not terrible, it's not on a par with their drawers.

    Also, it looks like you are reducing your # of windows by 2, so the room will be a bit darker (though still plenty light, I think).

    I would keep the island as you drew it, with shallow storage, especially since you are losing uppers. The view out the windows flanking the stove is to the neighbor's house, correct? So, it might be more pleasant to sit at the table. I think you will miss the shallow storage if you do seating instead. Plus, I can see the island being used as a serving area, and seating could get in the way, depending on the stool.

    I would put the micro on a shelf in one of the 30" pantries, and trim around it to make it look built-in. Put all drawers beneath the micro, and some doors above it for tray storage. In the other pantry, put drawers low, like its twin, and doors high.

    You might want to flip the shallow and drawer storage on the south side of your island. You don't have to have all shallow storage on one side, and drawers on the other-- you can have shallow then deep on one side. If you have the drawer stack facing the DW, you could put your plates and cutlery there.

    I would like to see a trash pullout to the right of the clean-up sink, but don't know if this will work with window placement. It can be quite narrow if you use frameless cabs-- I have a 13 gallon can in a 12" pullout. My 12" pullout is trash only, I have trash and recycling under my prep sink.

    I think I might skip the french doors to the patio and put a single door in the northeast corner instead. It seems a little awkward to me to have to walk around the table to go outside. Plus, the french doors might make furniture placement more difficult on the patio.

    I wonder if you have enough space in the northwest corner of the room to put in a built-in hutch. If you do not have room to do this with 24" deep cabs, you might still be able to do it with shallow cabs. This could house table linens and less-used serving pieces and glassware. The horizontal surface would come in handy when you need to quickly clear the table in order to set it. You are still going to have that little bit of wall there, right?

    I'd love to see a 3D pick of the range wall to help decide whether to go with open shelving or glass-fronted cabs.

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Morton5, Stacey, Cotehele, thanks for the tips today! And for those who piped in early on, your advice will be so helpful in the fine tuning later on.

    It's looking like the plumbing is a non-issue. DH is digesting the news, but not yet entirely convinced. In the meantime I'm fine tuning this new u-shaped layout. I took a 2nd look at Holligator's kitchen, and may glean from her's too.

    Morton5 I agree about 2 lazy Susans - I'm not crazy about them either; or for upper diagonal cabinets for that matter. Maybe 1 in the SW corner for food processor, blender, etc. For the SE corner, I wouldn't mind just forfeiting that space, or having a blind cabinet instead.

    I'm leaning toward removing those southern facing windows altogether and putting 2 skylights in above instead. Then we can use that entire Southern wall for cabinets and shelving, and install an attractive window over the sink, which is where we want to focus the view anyhow.

    Thanks for sticking with this. I really do appreciate all the feedback, from each and every one of you!

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    Peace_rose, if your view out the south wall is unattractive, it might be nice to do high transom-type windows. I think windows on that wall would have more design impact than skylights, because it would feel more open. Skylights are nice, though.

    I do agree with others that a solid bank of uppers can close in a space, and tends to look dated.

  • rosie
    14 years ago

    Peace Rose, that layout does look fantastic, and learning you really want the kitchen there is an enormous step forward. Regarding your wincing husband, how about looking for negotiable points to offset this very necessary added cost? Like doing without some things that could be added later, or upgraded (appliances great for this since ones bought now will be dated soon enough anyway), if still wanted?

    A 30" counter on the side would be very desirable for a number of reasons if dimensions allow, and I'd try not to cut there.

    One thing about use, if you put a prep sink in that corner, whatever the depth of the one counter, it makes the corner into an excellent, very efficient prep/cook space; however, if you don't want to do be drawn to do most of your work there (i.e., are thinking of the island for that), you might need to pull function to the island by putting a sink in it, making the corner more of a secondary work space. I have a lovely windowed corner by the stove I wanted to be a secondary work counter only (too close to hubby's cleanup area/not convenient enough to fridge/back to guests), so I put a sink in my prep island AND a TV on the wall beyond it so I can watch the news or whatever as I chop, and that was enough to make the island my main workplace, as planned.

    Regarding the windows, that's a place to get creative. It would be a real shame to give up south windows; skylights add light but can't open up the whole feel of a room like windows, or allow early and late sunlight to stream across the room.

    Could you improve the aspect from outside? Right now I'm looking at a picture in a book of a gorgeous kitchen with a privacy problem, but in spite of it the kitchen's all about a whole wall of windows on the problem side. In their case, the stove isn't on that wall, and the center section is wall cabinets with multipane glass doors, with three multipane square windows filling the space under them, then two tall multipane doublehungs on each side, flanked by slender hangers in the corners. Great composition, but what makes it gorgeous is that they planted a line of loose-growing, willowy shrubs directly outside all these windows (obviously didn't have the space to move them back 10 feet and obviously keep them nicely groomed free of dead twigs, etc.). I wish you could see the picture. It's a lovely room with a lovely view that apparently stops directly outside the windows yet suggests much more beyond, and lots of pretty dappled sunlight still comes in.

    This isn't your wall, of course, and you have your own realities to work with, but I just wanted to maybe spark some other answer than having no windows at all to the south. As suggested, even a line of clerestories over a row of uppers would flood the room with light and keep your eye from stopping dead at that wall. If there's not a two-story looming over your kitchen over there, you'd have a view of the sky. In any case your composition is very good, and the...

  • morton5
    14 years ago

    I agree with Rosie. Another issue you might have with skylights in Colorado is having them covered with snow.

  • segbrown
    14 years ago

    With our sun, the snow will melt quickly, especially on the south side, so I wouldn't worry about skylights staying covered.

    This is part of a new section, right? so you could raise or vault your ceiling for windows above the cabinets. We are adding two fixed windows above our range wall for this purpose. I don't know if this would work for you, but it's another idea.

    From the inside, they look like this:
    {{!gwi}}

    Here is one from the outside, so far:

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    ooo, ooo, I'm loving this idea of windows above the cabinets. I never would have thought of that! I think the high transom windows would be really easy to incorporate. I would agree that the outside of the house would look better with high windows on that side, too.

    Segbrown, I love those mini-dormers and also your french doors. Are you in Colorado, too?

    Here's the kitchen I was referring to for inspiration. There are wall cabinets along the range wall, but it doesn't feel like overkill. I also like how the corner turns by the sink. Of course, their layout is a G and mine's a U, but you get the basic idea:

  • sailormann
    14 years ago

    I won't get into the layout debate because there are others who are far more knowledgeable about it. I will venture an opinion that having the kitchen in the back southeast area of the house will make it vastly more appealing at resale time and leave it at that.

    As far as the custom look goes - God is in the details. My personal approach is to buy the least expensive cabinetry that will do the job - in our case it was Ikea - and then spend the money on the countertops, the floor and the hardware. Corbels, Crown Moulding, Brackets, Lots and Lots of Dimmable Lighting, Glass Door Cabinets, and appliances that look fairly similar.

    Keep the colours consistent in tonal values and if you're not really confident about developing an electic combination, stick with fittings that look like they are all from the same period.

    Good Luck !

  • segbrown
    14 years ago

    Yes, we're in Colorado too. Lots of sun to enjoy, here! :-)

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks everybody! I'm letting it all percolate...

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Original poster here again...
    If you happen to still be following this thread, here's an update: DH and I are at a standstill - he still favors the kitchen on the north (like at the very beginning of this post), and I really want it on the south (the U-shape). We invited a friend over whose opinion we both respect a lot, and he sided with my husband!

    So if you have an opinion, let's hear it! (Even if it's not the one I want to hear) :)
    Thanks all!
    Peace_Rose

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Here's an updated layout where you can see the 2 layouts at once. Not totally to scale, but we're trying to consider how it all fits into the big picture:

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    Hmmm, well I still strongly favor the kitchen in the south end, for the reasons we talked about above. I feel like it is ever so much nicer to look though the house from the LR and entry area and see the dining room, rather than a corner of an island and the kitchen sink with it's probably usual attendant messes. And having the DR there allows a taller window on that E wall which optimizes your "good" backyard view if I recall correctly. Plus it puts the kitchen in the sunshine which I personally favor over the DR area. With the DR in the south end, winter sun slanting into the table area will mean diners on one side of the table are going to be squinting and will require drapes/shades to be lowered. If the DR is on the north side of the room, and sunlight flooding into the kitchen, no problem, happy in both respects. The room would still be very sunny but in a more pleasant way. Plus, with the kitchen south, your window placement is optimizing the better views (N, E) and your smaller above-counter kitchen windows (or transom above cabs, even) let in sun but not the view of your neighbors house. Plus, I think your layout/storage options are better with the kitchen in the south.

    I am curious why your DH and friend vote for the kitchen in the north? What is the reason???

  • cotehele
    14 years ago

    The only reason I can think of to put the kitchen on the north side is better approximation to the LR if your guests visit there while you are in the kitchen. However, the LR is far enough away that whoever is in the kitchen probably will not be part of the conversation.

    I am curious, though, what roles you and your husband fill in the care and feeding of your family, and whether or not your male friend cooks. It seems to me that their preference for the north kitchen has nothing to do with the work or joy of cooking. That being the case, decisions are being made or influenced by those who spend the least amount of time in the kitchen and know little about food planning, prep, serving and clean up. My DH can barely microwave a frozen dinner when I am away from home. He preferred to have no hand in planning the kitchen because he had no concept of kitchen tasks.

    Judy

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi Judy and Stacey, I'm Mary. It's good to finally be on a first name basis! :)

    You both guessed it - DH and friend say that the kitchen on the south seems like an appendage, that it should be in the center of the action, and that conversation with folks in the LR would be cut off. But I strongly suspect that wherever we put the kitchen, people will be drawn to that end of the house anyway. I'm betting it's where we will spend 80% of our waking hours. So the LR could become a place of solitude/refuge, which in a small house like ours could be a good thing to have, and therefore even if it is not in the sight line of the kitchen that's ok with me. I've been reading up on the "Not So Big House" and this all makes sense to me.

    I've been toying with a different North Kitchen set up, very much like mamadadapaige's. It looks good, but the layout doesn't lend itself to great function because I don't have enough room for a pantry nearby. (Our space isn't as large as her's). That's why the cook in me is so in love with the southern setup! DH doesn't cook much but he does a lot of the clean up. Judy, you are lucky that your husband gave you free reign! ;)

  • cotehele
    14 years ago

    Hi Mary!

    Haha! free reign, but he controls the budget. We finally worked through differences and came to an agreement. The interesting thing to me was his totally unrealistic expectation of what a new kitchen should cost. Because he doesn't cook, he didn't understand why any which layout wouldn't work. I got a couple of quites from Lowes (KM and Diamond) and quotes from one custom (Kenebec) and one semi-custom to custom (forgot what cabinet company) shop. It helped him to realize the balance between cheap and good quality cabinets. We are using a regional custom shop that came in $40k below Kenebec and $15K above Diamond.

    I don't know how much time you spend in the living room, but would it be at all feasible to put the sitting area on the north side, kitchen on the south and dining room at the front of the house?

    Happy 4th! I am off to help (almost) DIL move.

    Cheers,
    Judy

  • Stacey Collins
    14 years ago

    OK, I hadn't realized that you expected to be part of the LR conversation when the kitchen was on the N side. Is the house that small? I realize the kitchen is sort of in between there now, so it's a progression of thought we weren't really party to, just looking at plans here recently. But it seems like the hallway you're creating by moving the kitchen (to the proposed N location) would remove it from LR socializing anyway, doesn't it? Or are the spaces really that small that you can imagine being part of the LR conversation when cooking in that NE corner? What are the distances there?

    I definitely understand wanting the kitchen to be central- we moved ours right into the MIDDLE of our (very small) house for this reno. (I read a lot of the Not So Big series, too...) But I wonder whether you'd really achieve that even with the kitchen in that N location.

    I would think that if that's your real focus... maybe you want to get rid of the closet at the foot of the stairs, to open up the kitchen even more to the LR, and move the main sitting area over to the part of the LR next to the stairs. You could put the closet down on the W end of the LR, next to the front entry. Or, put a formal dining table there?

    I do think that if you go back to the N kitchen, though, I would think harder about the transition from LR to kitchen, and site lines. As it was, with a sort of multi-use "hall" between the LR and Kit, I don't know that you really achieve DH's goal of making the two rooms flow together....

    I also think that you're right and wherever the kitchen is, it becomes the focal point for family and friends. (One reason we made ours so central.) But even if the kitchen is removed from your LR, you can make it a great gathering zone. That was my point about trying to make your island big enough for stools.... I find it's such a great place for folks to gather. Especially when it's more table-like and less counter-like (i.e. without a main fixture or appliance). Too bad you don't have just a tad more space and could make the new addition area include the kitchen, a small breakfast area for informal meals, AND a sitting area/small family room. Then you could put a formal dining table out next to the entry door (W wall) and have it all!!

    I know- my house was too small to achieve that, too. So I compromised and made my island the informal eating area since there are only 3 of us, and put the dining table in one end of the LR. I do have a seating area in my kitchen though, with a fireplace -its in the old LR- and we have been using it so much, LOVE it. Anyway--- compromises with old houses. I guess you guys need to think about the way your family will most/best use the spaces available and decide what works best for your lifestyles...

    Here's my new layout if it helps at all. Folks on this board were amazingly invaluable in helping us come up with it. I was not even considering moving the kitchen but we just could NOT make a layout work...

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    The distance from the back wall to the middle of the current kitchen is about 20 feet. If I were standing in the proposed north kitchen and having a conversation with someone in the living room they would be about 25-30 feet away. So it's not like it would be conversational anyway; it's more of about sight lines to make sure the kids aren't eating crayons, etc. :) I think that thinking about the current kitchen as transitional space is right on.

    Removing that closet looks like the obvious thing to do on paper, but it's elevated about a foot to make way for the stairway below -- so we can't have a flat floor in that spot.

  • rosie
    14 years ago

    I think they're both good plans with two viable and worthwhile sets of tradeoffs and no serious deficits. A win-win situation. Since you want the kitchen on the north side, though, my recommendation is to bring in another friend. Better yet, two or three carefully chosen...

  • rosie
    14 years ago

    I just reread my last post, and not really. Just be sure you two make the decision together and alone.

  • peace_rose
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Thanks, Rosie. If you're still here, I wanted to thank you for mentioning this above: "Your passage also separates that kitchen work area from guests emotionally, as well as with distance." This IS emotional stuff! It's hard for me to put these things into words, and DH doesn't have the patience to sit down and read these threads. I've been pouring over kitchen design books and websites, and having digested all the info, I "know it when I see it". Rosie, I've noticed that the gift you bring to the kitchen forum is an ability to bring out the soul of the design. So thanks.

    For clarification's sake, it's my husband who wants it on the north, and I'm still lobbying for the u-shape on the south.