Houzz Logo Print

Critique my Layout Kitchen/Hearth Room

13 years ago

(Reposting since the original is now under a completely different subject/title and Im getting no more responses, and of course, GW hasnt responded or been able to fix it.)

My turn to seek layout help - again! This will be the 3rd kitchen Ive done with the help of my GW friends. :-) Even though my current kitchen isnt finished, it appears were finally getting close to going forward with the plans for our tear-down/new build. Were meeting on Friday to start modifications on the stock plan we chose. The original kitchen plan, while adequate, does not seem at all large enough for our needs, based on my past and current TKO experience. But maybe I'm just biased or spoiled. If you can help me get everything I want to fit in the original 20x20 space without feeling cramped, Im all ears.

Im sure there are flaws with the plan Ive drawn. Hoping to get lots of creative and constructive input here! If this build gets approved, it will be our "forever" home or at least until we retire in ~15-20 yrs.

This is a first draft, so right now Im looking for general impressions of the overall space and how it can best be arranged to fit our priorities. I have lots of details to share, but dont want to bog you down just yet. Questions, please ask.

Relevant facts: 3 person household -- two adults, one pre-teen + many pets (dog, cats, birds, fish, etc). Two- or three-butt kitchen. Almost everything (FP, windows, most doors, appliances, cabs, seating, etc) in this 27 x 25 "hearth room" can be moved around anywhere, anyhow, creatively, as long as we dont block southern light/views and maintain a light spacious feel. Cannot move the butlers pantry/DR/LR. Stairs could potentially move from one side of hall to the other, prn.


- Maximize natural light/views*

- Fluid work-flow, motion-conserved food prep/cooking/serving

- Functional storage that makes sense I have lots of gadgets, dishes, etc that Id use if they werent stored in basement

- Entertaining (both formal and informal)

- Aesthetically-pleasing clutter-free space

* This is the only place I have specific requirements and reservations. See details below.

For now, on to the plans:

Original plan:

Full 1st floor plan for reference (I eliminated back porch to extend the HR to 27 feet wide and added a mudroom):

With site location notes:

Kitchen/Hearth Room:

Method to the madness (or... why I drew it that way):

1) Maximize natural light / views

- This end of the house (northwest) is already inherently dark when compared to the other end (where kitchen currently is) but the site and other factors dictate that the kitchen be NW instead in the new build

- Mudroom is located behind FP in order to not block light/views

- Keep most large dense objects (fridge, oven, etc) on interior wall

- Want an unobstructed long view from front door to back door/window (i.e., dont want to see kitchen stuff or FR furniture (couches, etc) or mudroom junk from front door entry

- Want breakfast table to have at least 2 window views

- DH doesnt want table in NW corner d/t privacy issues (road is there & we dont like curtains)

Looking forward to any feedback you can give! Thanks!

Also, if you need better pics, let me know. (Don't know why they look so small here.) I have some elevation shots too if thats helpful.

Comments (19)

  • jenswrens
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    And here are the follow-up postings so far. Thanks again everyone for replying. I'm just going to consider that other thread (now called something about a period ceiling fan) dead. Let's keep all the rest of the follow-ups here on this thread, if possible. Sorry for any confusion.

    Posted by buehl (My Page) on Thu, Jul 8, 10 at 13:26

    Just time for a quick look...but one thing that jumps out at me is the refrigerator (or what I think is the's hard to read b/c the print is so small).

    Is the refrigerator that double rectangle on the right end of the bottom wall? If so, I'd switch it to the other end. In its current location, you'll be prepping right in front of the refrigerator. Yes, you have almost a 5' aisle, but it will still be an issue, I think, if you're trying to work there while others are trying to get into it. If it's on the other end of that run, then people can access it w/o getting in your way yet it's still close to you for prepping. It also puts it in a more direct line from the table in the upper left corner.
    Posted by rhome410 (My Page) on Thu, Jul 8, 10 at 13:51

    I was surprised to see your name attached to a layout post! Another kitchen to plan...Fun!

    Even for my family, this plan is BIG. Lots of walking. It's really nice, but I'm not sure I'd want it this spread out. But I love it, too. As you can tell, I'm waffling. ;-)

    I'm not comfortable with the stove location, as it seems to be somewhat of a walk-through area and the island isn't oriented well to be prep space. If the stove were on the back wall behind the island, it would be great in relation to the island and prep work area. Your aisles are too wide for me! With the stove behind the island, I'd snug them closer together, for easy prep-and-turn. The widest aisles in my kitchen are 4 ft, and I wouldn't want them wider, especially where I work on both surfaces to each side at once. Maybe this is all too specific for where you are in the process right now.

    Will your local building code/regulations allow this many windows? Ours wouldn't. Have you thought about things like where groceries will come in, etc?
    Posted by lavender_lass (My Page) on Thu, Jul 8, 10 at 14:19

    It's a large, lovely space, but while your kitchen area is very generous, it seems like your seating area is a little tight. If there are three of you in the house, and you hope to entertain, you might want to add some extra seating. Since you have a very nice dining room, have you thought of a corner banquette with a couple of chairs, for the kitchen table? This would give you more room in front of the fireplace for comfy, upholstered seating :)
    Posted by plllog (My Page) on Thu, Jul 8, 10 at 19:39

    I agree with Rhome.

    What I'm seeing, though I might be wrong, is that you've set up rules about your house first (walls and windows) and are fitting to that. I think you'll be happiest with the kitchen if you design a command center first, where the chief cook does the most work, and add in layers around that. It might mean a few compromises or creativities with fenestration, but it might be worth trying, even if you decide you'd rather have this kind of a plan.

    What I see as written is a kitchen I wouldn't like to cook in. It's not horrible, just not wonderful.
    Maybe it's bad feng shui. I don't know...
    Posted by shelayne (My Page) on Fri, Jul 9, 10 at 1:10

    Hi Jen!

    I don't have anything relevant to add to this discussion, I just wanted to let you know that I saw your sneak peek on the IKEA Kitchens thread, and it is beautiful! Now we want some details!
    See you over there? (Hint, hint)

    Posted by tracie.erin (My Page) on Fri, Jul 9, 10 at 14:16

    A few things jumped out at me.

    Your cleanup is so far from your dining room. I might consider putting it on the range wall. Still out of the way, just on the other side. This is also helpful if you plan to keep glassware in your pantry. There is a con in that it moves it farther from the breakfast.
    Like Rhome said, your range is right in the traffic path and putting it on the wall behind the island protects it better.

    I agree with Buehl about the fridge & freezer's location.
    Scooting it down would be helpful. If you did move the range behind the island and the sink to the north wall, you might even put all of it plus the ovens on that wall across the entry doorway. This would eliminate the run of counter on the south wall which would leave more room for longer breakfast seating, if you like, or whatever else.

  • jenswrens
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks again, everyone, for the ideas. Some of this I did based on my current kitchen layout which works okay for me but not perfectly. The isle between my current island and refrigerator is 48" and its tight with those full-size doors opening and closing and yes, thats right where I stand to prep! Now I see your point.

    The large size of the area concerned me as well. Too much walking? I think moving the cooktop closer to center (and closer to cleanup zone) helps with this too. Other ideas?

    Groceries would come in either through porch/mudroom or through front door.

    Yes, lavender, seating area IS tight. One of the reasons I expanded the space from 20x20. I really didnt see how it could all fit! And I hate squeezing myself around furniture and clutter. We will have a formal LR with additional seating, which is more than we have now. And if I make that isle a little narrower, I can gain at least 1 foot that way. Unless you have a completely better, more creative arrangement in mind?

    And plllog, youre right. I have "set up rules about the house first (walls and windows)" and am trying to fit into that. This was driven purely by my own fears first and foremost is my fear that I will end up with a dark dreary kitchen due to the location of this Hearth Room. The current LR is in that location with no windows on the west wall and a wall/hallway on the south end, and it is sooo DARK and dungeon-like in there, even on a bright sunny day. In stark contrast is my current kitchen at the southeast corner of house that is sometimes so bright I need sunglasses in the morning. (I posted about this a while back and got some great responses, but unfortunately the thread has been lost by GW and I cant find it on google either. It was called "If you have only one wall for windows, how dark is your kitchen?" If anyone has it or can find it, Id be grateful!)

    My second fear is a too-small space with lack of storage space. We are overrun with clutter right now very limited storage. Ugh. So, plllog, if we forgot all about my windows/walls requirements, how would you envision this space?

    Anyway, for now, per all your great ideas Ive switched the location of the F/F and cooktop. I like it a lot better this way!

    Here is an updated floorplan. And some updated perspective shots. Im making a list of everything we have to store/use. I really want this kitchen to function well. Ive never had a butlers pantry so dont really know how that space should be used. Ideas?

    Is this all too boring?

  • Related Discussions

    Critique my Layout please Kitchen/Hearth Room


    Comments (8)
    I was surprised to see your name attached to a layout post! Another kitchen to plan...Fun! Even for my family, this plan is BIG. Lots of walking. It's really nice, but I'm not sure I'd want it this spread out. But I love it, too. As you can tell, I'm waffling. ;-) I'm not comfortable with the stove location, as it seems to be somewhat of a walk-through area and the island isn't oriented well to be prep space. If the stove were on the back wall behind the island, it would be great in relation to the island and prep work area. Your aisles are too wide for me! With the stove behind the island, I'd snug them closer together, for easy prep-and-turn. The widest aisles in my kitchen are 4 ft, and I wouldn't want them wider, especially where I work on both surfaces to each side at once. Maybe this is all too specific for where you are in the process right now. Will your local building code/regulations allow this many windows? Ours wouldn't. Have you thought about things like where groceries will come in, etc?
    ...See More

    Hit me again Critique my Layout Round 2


    Comments (9)
    Jenswrens, I hope you know that the meanness heaped on your previous plan was from us wanting you to have a really really great kitchen, not just a pretty one!! First impression, this is a much, much better plan, and should fine as is, though, as with most plans, some tweaking can probably improve it. I have been noodling around with your design and came up with nothing that worked. You've done a great job, and it's worth all your iterations and efforts. I love the way you've conserved your windows and gotten the wall space you needed for your tall units by reorienting. And I love your complex island. It's a little quirky, which makes the elegance of your design interesting. If you don't think you need two dishwashers, I don't think you do. The aisle size is fine for baby goats. I once did an analysis and decided that 40" bare minimum to not feel cramped and claustorphobic, and 54" the maximum not to be too wide. You're a couple of inches past that, but you have the "goats". It won't be bad. The biggest issue in that is landing space for the fridge, but that's something that can be worked with. Maybe a folding tea cart for the odd thing that's just too heavy to carry to the counter. Maybe just group effort. I think the hearth seating is going to be cozier than it looks in the drawing. Over and over I am reminded how seating doesn't look on paper like it takes up the amount of real room that it does in life. Plus, when you were drawing you left a nice, open passage between the hall and the porch. IRL, there will be a dog lying across that, at the very least. I really think by the time you're done decorating there will be plenty of cozy in the room, and you need the space that's currently empty. (Says the one with the big rooms--maybe it's just the big roomness that's making it feel uncozy. You want a big room. The agoraphobia will pass.) Why is mudroom junk visible? Can't you put in a door? Doors are really useful barriers to unwanted sights. The other thing you could do is just put a small partition wall inside of the doorway to block the sight through. Or if you're trying to let in light, make a textured glass partition there. That is, something sticking out of the South wall, about 3-4' wide, that people have to go around to get to the mudroom proper and blocks people seeing in. A partial vestibule, if you will. Or even a decorative, freestanding screen. I see the value of making the porch bigger though. Do you need a powder room there? Do you want people not crossing the hearthroom to to other powder room? Or do you want to move that (I forget). But, if you make the porch bigger, how do you enter the mudroom? I think you could design something like a potting bench on top and a pet station under counter height that would serve both purposes and make maximum use of your extra mudroom space. I don't imagine that one would usually want to be doing gardening tasks and feeding both at the same time, so sharing the space seems natural. Okay, my big question is about the wine room. A window? Really? The North wall helps, but I wouldn't even want the wine on an outside wall. You're going to need plenty of extra insulation there. AHA!!! If the powder room is in the mudroom, would that be okay for company to use? If so, you could remove the powder room as shown, move the wine room to the interior, and make part of the current wine room into your pantry. Pantries aren't fond on windows either, but most pantry foods don't mind small changes in temperature, whereas you should keep wines at even, nonfluctuating, temperatures. Light isn't great for either, but you can do a temporary solution for that, like blackout film, if you don't want to take out or board over the window altogether. The dishes don't go in those pretty glass fronts? and the drawers below them? The problem with dishes on the island shelves is enthusiastic tails and cat hair. You could add doors. As to the rest of the kitchen proper? Is that the two microwaves between the glass fronts? They're pretty there, but I usually use the microwave on stuff right out of the fridge or freezer. If you do too, that distance could be a bother. I don't think there's room for them on the other side though, and splitting up the MWs and the coolers, and putting one of each on each wall breaks up the pretty. When I first looked at the plan, I thought the appliances between the glass fronts were double ovens. If so, those are okay there. Most things that go in ovens start out as pots or trays on counters, and you have the single near the stove for moving between those. If the double are really the microwaves, I might trade the single oven with one of the microwaves. But that depends on how you cook and live. What's more important? An oven by the stove, or a microwave by the fridge? Maybe a little MW near the fridge for defrosting a bagel and melting butter, with a big one on the other side? I stand by the first thing I said, though. No matter what might not be perfect in this plan, I could live with it as is. Everything but the window in the wine room.
    ...See More

    Critique my kitchen layout?


    Comments (25)
    Question - if I use the layout proposed by mama goose above, do I still have the issue of routing traffic from the dining area through the "cooking space"? Traffic from the dining area will still have to pass the cooktop to access the fridge, but with no seating at the island, you can have a wider aisle. It looks as if traffic from upstairs, and from the area to the right of the LR, will also be coming from the entry nearer the foyer, but traffic from LR seating will be coming to the back entry, so all those traffic patterns are a consideration. Are you cooking breakfast as everyone comes downstairs in the morning, and do they sit down at the table, or head straight for the fridge? Do they wander in when you are prepping dinner, for a cold drink or quick snack? Can they be trained to go around, when you are in the work aisle? Maybe investing in a new CD fridge would be better than setting up a traffic jam or less functional layout. But it's good to explore all options before starting the remodel. Have you considered opening the small dining (????) area to the hallway, to provide a more circular traffic pattern? ETA, is there a possibility the fridge could be recessed on the other side of the stairs? Also, at 15.5' wide, and no island seating, your kitchen should have space for a wall of shallow pantries:
    ...See More

    Critique my kitchen layout


    Comments (3)
    It's not easy to critique a layout with so little information. What we need is 2D/flat view of the space with all measurements clearly labeled. Design isn't just about shoving all you can into a space -- it's about the functionality of the layout, the aisles, etc. To get any real help, we need more information. The info below is taken from the "New to Kitchens? Read Me First!" thread: Please post a fully-measured layout of the space under consideration and a sketch of the entire floor. Both can be either hand-drawn, computer generated, or drawn up with computer/app tools. By "fully-measured", we mean a layout with the widths of each wall/window/door/doorway and the distances between each wall/window/door/doorway labeled. See a sample below. If something cannot be moved or changed, label it precisely on your layout (see post in sample) and tell us why it cannot be moved/changed -- we may have some ideas for you. The sketch of the entire floor lets us see how the Kitchen relates to the rest of the home. It doesn't have to be to-scale, but it should accurately show how the rooms relate to each other and should include all interior & exterior doors. In addition, it will help us see how traffic flows in, around, and through the Kitchen. Label the front entry and family entry. The family entry is usually a garage or side entry, but it might not be. It's helpful to know which door you use to bring in groceries. Regardless of how you draw it up (by hand, computer, etc.), please be sure all measurements are labeled. (Note: Computer generated layouts often lack key measurements and, sometimes, measure to/from things like the middle of a wall or the middle of a window. Neither are useful. Measure each item and the distances between each item.) Other questions... Tell us about you and your family and how you plan to use your Kitchen. All-adults? Empty Nesters? Children (now or in the future)? What appliances (& their sizes) do you plan to have? Where are you flexible? Can walls/windows/doors/doorways change (move, change size, add, delete)? Do you have a basement under the Kitchen or are you on a slab? And the ever-popular Ice.Water.Stone.Fire thread (also in the Read Me thread):
    ...See More
  • rhome410
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    It's gorgeous, but I have a few worries.

    1) I assume the columns will actually be under the wall/doorway, so will be out a bit from where shown on the plan. If that's so, and if you move the island back toward the stove for a tighter (more efficient) work aisle, you could probably get a reasonable space between the island and columns to walk and access the island cabinets. (I completely agree with your reasoning about having a wider aisle where the fridge/freezer doors open.)

    2) You've been around the forum long enough to know most of us aren't going to like those towers down to the counter, hemming in the stove. ;-D You can get a similar look while still leaving yourself counter space on each side of the rangetop...for landing space, for pots and pans handles, for setting things off to the side, for spices and condiments you might want handy while you cook, prepped foods, etc. You don't want to have to take everything a-r-o-u-n-d those towers.

    3a) The oven seems out of place. Out of the cooking area, hard for the cook to keep an eye on, and not handy to the island, which would be a great place to work on bigger baking projects. I could see creating a baking area along that back wall, but combined with the cleanup area seems odd.

    3b) Your dishes and glasses are miles from the fridge. Think about getting milk for cereal or coffee, or getting a beverage and a glass. I have 2 fridges in my kitchen...1 near the baking/cooking area and 1 near the eating area and breakfast counter to solve these types of problem in a largish kitchen.

    So...I'd consider putting the oven on the stove run or on the end where the fridge and freezer are. If you can't manage 2 fridges and a freezer, maybe switch to 2 refrigerator-freezers, one on the end and one near the cleanup area (where the oven is now), so you can create a coffee and/or breakfast zone.

    4) Since your cleanup area is so far from the cooking area, and you have a nice, big island, I'd get a 24" or 30" sink for the island, so you can handwash things like cast iron pots and pans without hauling them to the big/cleanup sink. Malhgold has equally sized prep and cleanup sinks in her kitchen and I think it's a GREAT idea.

    I think that's all I had, but my computer won't let me scroll up and down easily to check the plan, so I'm giving up on that for now...

  • plllog
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I'm sorry, Jen, I'm too not-all-there to think it through well, or even to visualize what Rhome said to see if I have a disagreement. (And brevity is hard for me, and harder when I'm tired, so this is long.)

    What I'd like you to do, since this is new construction, is put aside your actual space's plan for awhile, and start a new sketch with the cook only in mind, not thinking of where the walls are, and assuming that all kinds of beautiful sunlight will greet you every morning. I want you to think about nothing but COOKING. Once you've been through a round of How Would I Like To Cook, add a layer of How Would I Like My Family To Cook. Then a layer of How Would I Like Us To Live. Get a real handle on what your ideal kitchen flow would be, for single cook, multiple cooks, and for cook helping with homework, cook helping with wedding plans, no one willing to cook so everyone making their own sandwiches, etc. What does it look like? How does it function? How many steps between major stations feel like too many? How close can major functions be before they feel too crowded? How wide can aisles be before they feel too far apart? How narrow can they be before you feel like you're on top of each other in a frustrating, rather than family closeness, way?

    Classic GW advice that you've heard before: Build it out of cartons and play Let's Pretend. Be really serious about laying it out to scale and using real recipes, even if you have to take your cartons to a public park to have enough space.

    In my opinion, a good kitchen should have a fairly compact main works--that would be the much discussed work triangle (or trapezium, with two sinks). These are the functions that you'll most likely want to be fairly close together. Fridge, stove, sink(s). This area includes your prep, cooking, clean-up (or access to) and perishable storage/cooking use items (e.g., saute oil). Adjacent to that shape, go all the ancillary zones: baking, snack, etc. Sometimes some of those go within the triangle/rhomboid, but preferably not in such a way as to interrupt the flow between the main works items, or to make the distances bigger. Outside of the working zones go the extra storage, pantry, brooms, etc., and, for many people, bar, coffee or other beverage service.

    I've only recently been able to formulate that as a specific plan, but it seems to be what works, and it's the best I can figure out why some of the "it just turned out that way" things in my new kitchen work as well as they do.

    As a for instance, in your plans above, the clean-up sink is way away from the kitchen work areas. It might as well be on mars. That means that either you're cleaning up constantly in your prep sink because it's just too danged far to carry your cooking things to the clean-up area, or you're hiking across no-man's-land with dirty, possibly hot, possibly sharp things. It's not like there's anywhere to put things down between the work area and the sink!

    My clean-up sink is two steps from both the prep area and the stove. They're all offset. That's too close for a lot of people, though there's never any problem with having someone doing dishes and someone prepping at the same time, and I positively love having it so near the stove. People also thought the DW shouldn't be in the middle between the sink and stove. I just didn't have another good place for it. It's great! The dishes unload to the dish storage side, and the utensils and baking things unload to the pot side. So don't worry about conventional thinking and just plan out what works for you.

    Once you've figured out what really really works, including where you need to store what to make it easy to live and work in your new kitchen, start fitting that into your plan, making as few compromises as you can. Everyone convinced me I needed to move and enlarge my windows. I did listen, and it was worth it. I got less upper cabinet space that way, and I lost the pretty morning sun coming through the dining room door. It was still worth it. Sometimes to get things to come out right you have to make little compromises. I wouldn't want you to have a dim kitchen, but perhaps some clerestory windows might make it work a lot better for you, for instance.

    You also don't show any island seating. I don't know if that's because it wasn't worth drawing, or if you specifically don't want it. Word to the wise, people are going to be leaning on your island, and hiking their butts on the corner of the counter. You might keep a couple of folding stools for them if you're not having counter seating.

    I don't know how else to say this and still convey what I need to say so I can push you into really rethinking your plan. This is a large room that looks like a guy (builder or whatever) just salted the appliances around on different walls. It's better with the stove out of the corridor, but the Ponderosa is still there. You need to tighten things up.

  • bmorepanic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Coupla things bothered me too - mostly argued above. The only things I have to add are:
    Be careful of having to much utility space and not enough room space - like I wondered if the dining room would be comfortable for even 8? Same thing for the mudroom. It's a little forced in that position and also hinky in outline. Hinky = expensive.

    I guess the last thing I would say is it rarely works to rebuild the last kitchen in a different space. Take some ideas - yes! But not the floor plan.

    So this kitchen plan is for fun - gathers the kitchen and table area on one side and the family room type space on the other. Kinda two kitchens - ref/micro/table/cleanup on the side near the dining room and working area closer to the mudroom.

    Hope it provides some ideas.

  • lascatx
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I started to post several times yesterday and just couldn't get to anything I wanted to post because I didn't like being so negative. To be frank, with that butler's pantry you've got three times the kitchen I have and I'd rather have what I've got. It has a lot of wasted space (that empty space in front of the sink is the size of many bedrooms and larger than some of the kitchens we see here) and a lot of space that I suspect would be underutilized (either side of the fridge, between the columns, the corner by the ovens). While I have some envy for the fact that you can expand or even have a chance to do more than one kitchen in your life, a blank slate and room to grow actually makes for some harder decisions and planning.

    One thing I would consider -- if a family of three really feels they need to have that much room for storage, I'd say declutter before you go further with your planning. You've got enough room to be running a commercial operation but not that much function in the design. Chances are that you have more stuff than you need. If you tend to collect stuff and gather clutter, more cabinets are a very short term solution at best. Soon they will be full and cluttered.

    I think Bmore's plan is a good step in the right direction. I think the mudroom and porch are both improved with that simple change. The hearthroom is not as cramped. The relationship of the kitchen to the dining room is improved. I'd consider fridge drawers in the butler's pantry so you can have beverage service to both areas.

    I've got to get my son packed for camp and an early morning tomorrow, but I'll see if I can get a chance to play with the space and post another idea for you to consider. In the meantime, I would suggest you consider the comments from three of the most trusted voices on this forum and the possibility that you aren't hearing more because it's very frustrating to have so much to work with and have so many issues.

    Keep in mind that TKO means making everything you have work smarter, not just having more stuff or a bigger space. I hope my comments come across better today than I saw them last night -- I really want to see you have a better design for a last kitchen.

  • lavender_lass
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Jenswrens- Thank you for posting the images, it really helped to see exactly where the appliances are in your plan :)

    I've been thinking of remodeling in the not-so-distant future and one thing I keep asking myself do I use my spaces and what do I want to change? What do I want to keep? This has helped me a lot, but I'm still not completely decided on some aspects of the remodel.

    In your home, how do you use your living room and dining room? Do you use them every day? Do you watch TV in the living room? If so, how do you want to use your kitchen? Is it just a more informal version of the living room and dining room?

    The reason I ask, is that while your plan is very pretty, I would not like having peoples' back to me while I cooked. The sofa is great for watching TV, but not so good for conversation with the cook. After much thought (and thank goodness for DVR) I have decided I don't want/need a TV in my kitchen...but this is just me. I like the TV in the living room and it's great in the evenings with the brick fireplace.

    As for the dining room, while there is one right now, I want to take the wall down and open up the space to the kitchen. I'd still like to have a big table, but I would rather get more light in the kitchen and I think I'd use the space a lot more efficiently.

    In your kitchen, is this about family watching TV while you cook (so you're included in the fun) or is it more about visiting with family/friends while you cook. If you do want to keep the TV, could you rearrange it, so that the seating is open to you and easy to see the TV? For me, I would love to have a woodstove in the kitchen (back up heat and cooking) and a cozy place to sit and visit. Also great place for a cup of tea on a winter's morning :)

    I do like your plan, but I think you have a lot of extra space between the main sink and the rest of the kitchen. Maybe put the table and chairs there, with the refrigerator/ovens on the back wall (where stove is) and put the sink under big windows (where the fridge is) and put the stove on the island? Are you putting seating at the island? If so, you could raise it up above the height of the stove area. Also big windows by the table/chairs (where the main sink is now) and much more room for your seating area around the fireplace. Normally, this might be kind of small for a kitchen work area, but with your big pantry/butler's area, I think it would work very well. It would give you tons of light (which is what you want) plenty of seating for fireplace/TV, and much less walking while cooking :)

  • lavender_lass
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    If you did move your table into the area that used to be the kitchen sink, you could even shrink the hearth area back to 20' wide...either giving you L-shaped windows in the dining area, or move your mudroom to that location and open up the back. Whichever works better. (I thought the hearth room was very cozy, in the 20' square version.)

    Granted, you may hate this whole idea, but I thought I'd mention it.

    Sorry, I can't do the 3-D computer graphics, but that's probably a good thing. I spend enough time drawing on paper...with that, I'd never get off the computer :)

  • jenswrens
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks guys. You've given me some good ideas to play around with and some points to ponder.

    a blank slate and room to grow actually makes for some harder decisions and planning ... it's very frustrating to have so much to work with and have so many issues. This is sooo true and precisely why I wanted to seek advice from the people on this forum whose advice I trust implicitly because you understand the intricacies and importance of having a well thought out plan. The architects and a lot of KDs usually don't "get it" like we do.

    I know that to most of you this seems like an enormous space, and maybe it looks that way on paper, IDK, but in reality - I already have this exact footprint in my house right now (27x24 - containing LR, hall, laundry and small entry/desk area) and I walk around it every day and look and look and try to imagine new stuff in that space, and it's really not that big. Maybe b/c the space right now is divided into rooms and has walls or something, but it doesn't feel large at all.

    Lavender lass said "I would love to have a woodstove in the kitchen (back up heat and cooking) and a cozy place to sit and visit. Also great place for a cup of tea on a winter's morning." Yes, I envision the hearth room this way too. Not really as a place for daily TV. I do like the TV in the LR, away from the hubbub. (I dont really like TV anyway, but DD does.) Ive said before, Im not a "clean" cook, and I like to move away from the mess to eat in peace (like in the DR) and relax afterwards somewhere else away from the mess. I clean up hours later. A new house isnt going to change our habits. I also dont like stools at the island no one has ever used them in my previous homes and they just get in the way of food prep.

    As for storage, it's not necessarily that we have too much stuff (although decluttering is something I can't wait to do!) but rather that we have lots of activities that require stuff and space. I love to cook. I like to can. I garden and start seeds. DH likes to make beer and wine. We do holidays to the max, baking, decorating, etc. DD does arts/crafts/projects. We work on the laptops, open mail, pay bills. We grill out 2-3x/week. DH washes cars, tinkers with boats, repairs tractors, etc. We feed birds, we have animals, sometimes DD or I have the occasional "wildlife nursery" going on in the kitchen, whether it's baby turtles or rescued bunnies or orphaned kittens or sick chickens or whatever. I am a veterinarian, and we live on acreage and this is how we live every day. All of this stuff happens in my kitchen.

    My current house has NO closets downstairs and only 2 very small ones upstairs. I do not have a food pantry. We do not have a garage. My basement is a scary dirty dungeon and I do not go down there. My vacuum cleaner sits in the middle of the LR b/c theres no place to hide it. Coats, hats, dog leashes, backpacks, work gloves, shoes, keys, purses, etc hang on 2 hooks on the wall or pile on the floor by the back door in my 7x7 "study" that is home to computer desk, wine cooler and 2 bird cages. Laundry (dirty and clean) overflows into this area and the hall. And this is the only entry (front door is inaccessible to guests from outside d/t new septic mound) so anyone and everyone visiting is greeted by this disaster daily. Its embarrassing. While I am a neat person, DH and DD are not. So I apologize if Im dreaming of a bigger and better space.

    Maybe if I had said I have 5 children instead of just one, nobody would think my space is too large, IDK. I agree the plan is not laid out well right now. That's why I'm on this forum seeking advice.

    Back to the drawing board

  • lavender_lass
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Jenwrens- You're a vet! That's so cool. We have six horses and live on a farm, so I know what you mean about needing storage space. I would love to have your new pantry space :)

    Maybe you need to think about what area you would use for each of these activities. Maybe have a craft area, or a sick animal/orphan area. Why not? Everyone should design they're house for how they really live. I think that's why we all struggle a bit. It's hard to admit that we don't live like a magazine article, but real life can be messy and a bit disorganized, but also a lot of fun :)

    I'm looking forward to seeing your next design!

  • plllog
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    know that to most of you this seems like an enormous space, and maybe it looks that way on paper, IDK, but in reality - I already have this exact footprint in my house right now (27x24 - containing LR, hall, laundry and small entry/desk area) and I walk around it every day and look and look and try to imagine new stuff in that space, and it's really not that big. Maybe b/c the space right now is divided into rooms and has walls or something, but it doesn't feel large at all.

    That's not a KITCHEN. I have a slightly bigger living room than your kitchen/hearth room and it's a nice room. Getting something from the other side of the room is no big deal. It's nice and airy and open to the dining room, making for an even bigger volume. It's not a kitchen, however. In my old kitchen there was a 16' distance between the stove and the fridge, and about 8' from stove to sink. It was HORRIBLE. It required a down to the studs remodel. My new kitchen is in the same basic footprint (I moved and enlarged two windows and an interior door, but the walls are basically the same). The old kitchen was miserable to cook in and the new kitchen is a dream. Layout is everything.

    The kitchen is also the main storage area for my house, so I hear you there. I put cupboards in every conceivable space, and argued about every inch my cabinetmaker wanted for looks (won some, lost (agreed to lose) some). Not everything is back in yet, but I still have lots of space for that stuff and more. It's such luxury!!

    Because you don't have 5 kids to fetch and carry for you, please, please, believe me, and try it for yourself, really cooking with that big spread layout. Use your current kitchen and set up barrel racing with chairs. Can't put it right in the sink--must go walk around the chair before you put down the goopy whatever. Have to walk around the chair before you can get something out of the fridge. You get the idea.

    I don't blame you, if you feel a little ganged up upon. I think a lot of us are startled by how much we don't like the layout in what should be a lovely big kitchen. I'm more with it today, so I'll have a go at it when I've finished some work.

    We really will help you get a wonderful kitchen!!

  • lavender_lass
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Jenswrens- I was looking at your plan again, and I think you could tighten up your basic work triangle, but still keep all the space in your kitchen. As you said, you need space for specific, where would you want to can? Where do you want to have holiday baking? Where do you want to start seeds? Do you need a greenhouse window?

    I think if you list the functions that you want to have take place in your kitchen...and the space they require, you'll truly have the kitchen of your dreams! Moving some appliances around, designating work areas, maybe a baking surface on a small island on the other side of the work area, could all be ways to personalize your kitchen, but save you steps in your daily cooking.

    For me, I've always dreamed of an area, just for baking. I love to bake and I would want the oven, a small sink, maybe a refrigerator drawer and lots of countertops...oh, and those built-in flour drawers, they're so great! That could be an area that might also do double duty for canning or crafts, depending on your storage and counter space.

    One other thing, if you're not sure about the TV, what about a floor to ceiling stone (or faux stone) fireplace? Maybe the kind that narrows slightly above the mantle? That would be so cozy in the winter...and a great focal point :)

  • rhome410
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I have 8 kids...and I commented in my first response in your first post that even for my family, I think this plan is seems too spread out. My 19 x 16 kitchen took some getting used to because of so much more running around and loss of some efficiency with the size. It still takes some careful planning just to put things away out of the dishwasher without too much running back and forth and around the island. When you're in one corner and need a spoon from 25 ft away, it will be a pain. Especially when you get over there and realize you forgot something from where you started... ;-)

    It's just not possible in a large kitchen to arrange things so that you have what you need close at hand in every instance, and the bigger it gets, the more complicated this gets. The other way to address it is to have 2 or 3 of things, or 2nd sets of dishes and silverware to serve the different areas, but that's not realistic either.

    Really, truly, we are only interested in helping you have the best possible kitchen...not trying to be discouraging.

  • lavender_lass
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Rhome- I thought that was what the second work triangle was least in theory. Can't a large kitchen function very well, if the main triangle is in one area, with a secondary work triangle for less used areas?

    It seems that baking centers, or beer making, even canning are just the types of things that would work well in a secondary area. You might need a second sink, or a refrigerator drawer, even a second oven, but what a great way to have room to bake apple pie and get the Thanksgiving turky in the oven!

    I would love to have a big kitchen like Jenswrens is planning. To have one area for baking, maybe another for vases and a place to arrange! My little kitchen is always so limiting. Yes, it's nice to have an easy to reach main work triangle, but the luxury of extra space! I used to work in a bed and breakfast in college and I miss that big kitchen. We regularly made breakfast for eight people, but it was well laid out and easy to use :)

  • plllog
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Jenswrens, I'm still thinking. Getting it right with the doorways takes some thought.

    Lavender, that's why I talked about having a compact triangle/rhomboid, with ancillary zones coming off of them, and excess storage surrounding that. It can be done. You just have to get it right. Two triangles aren't necessarily the answer, though they can be, especially if they have a leg in common (which makes them a rhomboid). There are other plans for large kitchens that work well too. For instance, a wide corridor kitchen might have all the cooking on one wall, the prep on island(s) and the storage, clean-up, and windows on the other wall. With that kind of kitchen, the prep sink is big enough to give cookware a rinse or quick wash (as Rhome suggested), and there's room on the far side of the island to stack things that need washing. When one is ready to move the pots, prep bowls, boards, etc., to the clean-up region, they're just across the aisle from the clean-up sink.

    Other large kitchens have two complete prep and cooking triangles, perhaps one a range area and the other a baking area, with cold storage and clean-up zones between, and easily accessed from both zones. That's a bowtie shape rather than a rhomboid, but it does work for most things. But what do you do about a quiche? The tart pan, rolling pin, and flour are in the baking area. The saute pans, stove and vegetable prep are in the cooking area. Do you make the crust in the baking area and bring it to the cooking area for the filling, and in the range oven to cook? If there is a range oven. Do you cook the vegetables and bring them to the baking area to mix with the custard batter and bake it in the wall oven? In a "normal kitchen" it's not an issue because it's just not that far between areas. That's a lot bigger than Jenswrens's kitchen too. More like if the kitchen were the size of the whole room.

  • lascatx
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I didn't have time to play with this before I left and drove a 10 hour round trip today. I'm glad I didn't, because I have a different image of what I would want to try. I am headed to be, but will try to see if I can play with a sketch tomorrow.

    Is the size or shape of the space still flexible or are the boudaries set?

  • bmorepanic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Having grown up in a farm house, with acreage and animals and poor, I wanted to point out that generations of farm women have faced the bigger challenges you have in a lot less space and with a lot less money. I admit to being slightly put off by your reasoning.

    I kinda understand that this may be the first time you get to specify exactly what you want. I think I'd be doing the same thing if I had unlimited funds - having huge spaces and tons of closet area until I thought about running the vacuum cleaner or stopped long enough to consider that I'd be spending real money. I'm trying to get you to slow down and spend some time identifying what you need and place that list beside that one that contains what you want.

    This is why!

    Since you use the dining room, do you really want to carry the dishes an extra 20 feet each way with the cleanup area on the far side of the room? Do you want the people setting/clearing the table to cross through your work area?

    Thinking about the space you drew, what do you envision happening when the kiddo gets juice? How many feet of walking are involved in a bowl of cereal? In a pie? In a barbecue?

    Where will the turtles live? The stray cats, the occasional chicken and puppies? Where is their chow, litter box, crate space, etc.?

    My house isn't half the size of yours, but my dining room is bigger and I wish it was larger still. Go ahead and have a really nice dining room that doesn't require small scale furniture!

    For 3 people, do you can enough stuff to need an 8.5 x 10 room to contain it? If you do, that prep sink just ain't big enough to deal with lots of veg with the dirt still attached. I think dumping a canning pot would overflow the sink plus you'll need a pullout faucet to be able to fill one.

    How will you entertain in this house? Cause I think everyone will roam into the kitchen-family room. That part could be good for a party, but I'm thinking the ref/ice/bar/coffee-dessert and buffet service stuff needs a little thought.

    Is that a good site for the powder room? Do you guys need a space to wash off before you come into the house proper?

    Should you have a floor sink for the boots and cleaning up the stray baby goats or whatevers? Should it be inside or outside of the house? Should it be at ground level?

    Do you need to pre-rinse the veg before it comes into the house? For stuff like beets, would it work out better to behead it outside?

    Do you compost? Where will that be accumulated and how will you deal with the volumes generated at canning time?

  • sandy808
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I am in the same shoes you are right now. I'm trying to plan a wonderful kitchen for a new home that functions for my homestead way of life. I cook from scratch, and will be freezing, dehydrating, and canning again. I like to stock up on bulk staples. I'd like to raise chickens and maybe a calf, and I garden too. I have pets. Basically, a very independant minded person.

    So the challange is how to come up with a compact work space with enough storage. One solution many women in Florida do is to put a summer kitchen in off their porches, and this is where they can, and keep all those supplies, as well as their extra fridge and freezer. It's not in the house and the mess and steam involved stays out there instead of heating the whole kitchen and house up. It's made with less expensive and easy to clean materials, and yet it's a hop and skip away. If it's not attatched to the house it's taxed as an outbuilding instead of square footage. (It can be "detatched" by as little as an inch). It frees up some of the needed kitchen space, and takes some load off of utility room needs. I'm seriously considering doing that. I'm having wood floors in my house but my canning kitchen can have easy to clean vinyl that I don't have to worry about trashing.

    I am also trying to place at least one, and hopefully two walk in pantries in convenient locations. My goal is to have one near my stove for pots and pans, (I use mostly cast iron and have quite a collection of it), and one near the prep area for all my kitchen staples. This is not the "norm", so there isn't much information out there on how to do this. Everyone wants to sell mounds and mounds of cabinets, which only serves to spread things out too far and costs too much. Walk in pantries fit an enormous amount of storage in a compact space. They can always have a pretty glass front french door with a curtain to dress up the kitchen. I'm determined to figure this one out.

    I'ts not easy figuring out how to achieve a kitchen that is sufficient in size and storage, while at the same time efficient. My house will be an open floor plan, so I also do not want my back to everyone while I cook, and I need lots of natural light to be happy. It sounds like your kitchen is the heart of your home, as well.

    I do know that a kitchen with appliances spread out too far, and not enough dish storage convenient to both the table and the dishwasher is awful! My last kitchen, designed by a kitchen designer, was gorgeous. But...the stove was too far from my sink on an opposite wall, and the path between them was also the path into the kitchen. I always worried while carrying a pot full of boiling pasta to be drained to the sink.

    I spent a lot of time walking and carrying between my sink and counter and the stove and counter. I spent a lot of time trekking dishes back and forth to the table. I never want that again. Ever. It was not a user friendly kitchen, and we started eating out a lot.

    There are some valid concerns being brought up here, and much of it is most likely based on some of the awful stuff others have delt with, and want to help you avoid all that. There's a great deal of walking while carrying things to and from your dining table, in this plan. That may not bother you, but give it some very careful thought, and reherse the differing scenarios out to be sure that's what you want. I know you come home tired. Very tired. One of my friends is a vet and also runs a no-kill shelter that she started. Twenty feet is a long way in a kitchen.

    Perhaps what will work for you is to still have the open large space you crave, but with alcoves and centers for each activity that are subtley defined, but still open to one another. If you frequently have baby animals in your kitchen, perhaps have a nook for that in your plan that can also double for another use.

    I'm with you on the island seating. My husband and I would never eat at an island. I always felt if people are putting seating around their islands, it means they actually want to eat in their kitchen, and why not just put the kitchen table back in there, where they "used" to be. (I'm ducking). I never had an island, but am thinking I'd like one. I always cut cookies out, fill muffin tins, and make homemade pasta at my kitchen table. I'm almost afraid to put an island in, and then find I end up back over at my table anyway. The other thing is, I'm sure my husband will just have one more spot to put all his guy stuff. Still debating. Maybe I'll buy one of those nice Boos maple farm syle islands. Then I can move it if I want.

    Keep at it. It looks like you have a lovely space to work with. Unfortunately, I haven't found this a fun process. We have acreage, and I have a clean slate. My brains are scrambled from trying to design. Too many options! Please post your ideas as you progress.


  • rhome410
    13 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    My kitchen paths and zones:

    You can see that it's much more complex than 2 triangles. Each zone works pretty well and independently, as far as workers not having to overlap or run into each other, but you can also see that every zone needs to access the dirty dish and clean dish area, and shares something in common with other task areas. And as Plllog said, there are many parts to most dishes/cooking and baking projects, so you don't want things to separated you have to move 1 project 3 times to reach all the tools and ingredients you need.

    The simplest things can be the most frustrating, because you only need one or two things from each spot, so the running around seems more ridiculous. When, for instance, I make my soy-coffee drink, I have to go to the dining area fridge for soy milk (SE corner), get a glass Pyrex pitcher for warming it in the microwave (SW corner), go to the coffee area for a mug and coffee (NW corner), grab a spoon from the dish storage area to stir (NE corner), then put the Pyrex pitcher and spoon in the dishwasher or sink (North). At least I'm running off some of the calories from the treat...It's just one goofy and frivolous example, but the further apart these things get, the more ridiculous the path.