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please help on kitchen layout (and house layout)

10 years ago

Hi all,

I posted this also tot he remodelng forum, but I think it should go here to as the kitchen in the proposed remodel really becomes the hub of the house.

1) should I put a door from the kitchen to the back of the house where the bay window is? I want access to the back of the house where a patio is and the garbage cans are located, but I will lose counter/storage space. Also, will the "feng shui" be screwed up because this door almost lines up with the french doors?

2) is it weird to walk thru the kitchen to get to the bedrooms?


Comments (35)

  • 10 years ago

    That looks like a fascinating project. I certainly understand wanting and needing a way out from the kitchen (that's not the front door), and I guess if the only way to get it were to break the counter I'd do it. I'd also want a pretty garden/patio out there so it became a real asset to the kitchen.

    I was wondering, though, about the end of the hall. That closet with an X through it--could it shift left slightly so the hall could terminate in a French door to a garden? That would develop the hall itself as an enjoyable feature. This would also put you outside farther from the front door, which, without knowing a single thing about your property, seems nice just because it often is. :) Depending what's there, it could have a terrific payoff in creating access, and thus use, of a neglected part of a property and by bringing in sunshine and views from another direction.

    The feng shui of placement is an interesting question. As an appraiser, local real estate agents in tune with what people of their neighborhoods wanted could usually answer my questions sufficiently. I once had to hire a feng shui consultant (the real thing with a specifically good reputation and not cheap), though, to figure out a property that nobody knew what to make of. Feng shui is a quasi-religious art and science and very complex. And your climate might make a real difference; it'd be a shame to give up an opportunity for a cross breeze in hot summers if it weren't necessary. Also, even if a door in the corner were undesirable, usually a practitioner will know how to make changes inside to offset it and make all right. If you didn't feel comfortable answering your own question based on what you've read and this were important to you, I'd bypass the feng-shui-for-fun types and consult a real expert.

  • 10 years ago

    Would something like this work? This way, you don't see the fridge so much from the living room, you see the (display?) cabinetry instead. The prep sink and counter (with half wall) keep the kitchen open, but a bit more separated from the living spaces.

    The door (French?) to the outside, will not line up exactly with the other French doors, but will make a nice access. I'm sorry, I don't know much about feng shui, but I do know Japanese gardens have bridges that curve up or keep evil spirits away. I think (hope) the peninsula might help to do the same thing :) {{!gwi}}From Kitchen plans

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  • 10 years ago

    Thanks. Here is what the back patio looks like. So the next question is: is it weird to go thru the kitchen to get to the bedrooms?


  • 10 years ago

    In response to lavender_lass, I tried to adhere to the 31 kitchen rules. I think if I re-orged everything, I'd have thru-traffic thru the kitchen triangle. I do like the door where you have it and was thinking about putting it there.

  • 10 years ago

    I don't think long as you aren't interrupting key traffic patterns. In your kitchen, I don't think it would be weird...but I do think is would be nice to wake up and walk into a sunny kitchen :)

    As for the layout, I think your prep sink would take care of any 'work triangle' issues. You would have a path between fridge and range, but that's not unusual. As long as you have cooktop or range with easy access to a sink...and maybe sink close to fridge. There's no barrier island, which is usually a much bigger concern.

    This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 17:28

  • 10 years ago

    I guess I should have mentioned that I would like to put a simple table in the kitchen for informal meals. There probably isn't enough room to do that.

  • 10 years ago

    Regarding the original layout - unfortunately, you have your main traffic streaming right past the Cooking Zone - the zone that should be the most protected but, in that layout, is the least protected. Peninsulas do a great job of directing people out of work zones and, when they're part of an "L" or wide "U" or shallow "U", they do not trap people. In your case, b/c you have so much traffic going through the kitchen, you would be better served to try to create a a "haven" for the primary Prep Zone and Cooking Zone instead of having them in the middle of traffic.

    As to a kitchen table, you need about 2' more width to the kitchen.

    Which brings up measurements. Your layout does not have Kitchen measurements. I tried to guess based on several factors and I think your kitchen is approx like this:

    Are these dimensions correct?

  • 10 years ago

    Pretty close. The long dimension is 15' 3 . The short is 13' 8". There is a step up into the living room.

    How could i create a haven?

    I could expand the wall return to keep people out of the hot zone or swap with the refridge. If i swap with the fridge, i dont think i could have the a kitchen door out to the back.

  • 10 years ago

    Here are a couple of ideas. I like Layout #1 the best, though, b/c the island makes the space look a bit cramped.

    Note that the Prep and Cooking Zones are on the left - out of the path b/w the deck and the LR/DR. When going to/from the bedrooms, people will tend to cut across the diagonal and will stay out of the Prep & Cooking Zones for the most part.

    With an island like in Layout #2, traffic will probably take the "short-cut" b/w the range and island when going b/w the bedrooms and LR/DR - another reason I'm not in love with the island concept for this kitchen.

    Layout #1

    Layout #1 Zone Map

    Layout #2

  • 10 years ago

    It looks to me like your dining room ought to be where your kitchen is, and your kitchen where your dining room is. And that both spaces should utilize the empty exterior corner as a wonderful courtyard extension that adjoins the rooms. As for feng shui, design the house that works for you, not some ancient Chinese system of warding off evil spirits.

  • 10 years ago

    Regarding "is it weird" to access bedrooms through a kitchen, I agree not necessarily, just different -- and less functional. If you are making a change to this situation from a standard access, note that it does create functional deficiency that would probably lessen the house's appeal (sale price) should you sell, how much depending how how well it functioned and charmed if course.

    On the plus side, without a table in the kitchen and a safe layout, there would be a nice, wide passage through -- sans island or table. I agree with Buehl that there's really not room for a table given its passage function; just FWIW you could technically create more room if you only had standard 25" depth counters on one side, leaving the other side either open (that additional 2' for table and passage, but work functions suffer) or shallow storage (1' plus more).

    (BTW, if you didn't really need that fourth bedroom to the left of the kitchen, expanding the left side that direction somewhat would give you the room, remainder of ex-bedroom becoming...?)

    Zagyzebra's suggestions for placement seem obvious, but you haven't gone that way. What is your thinking here? What are you trying to create? The kitchen as heart of home thing? Would your kitchen be that for you that if you couldn't have a table in there and it functioned as a central hallway?

    BTW, where is the front of the house? Your sun? That looks like an entry on the right, but you mentioned garbage cans out that side too. Could you be converting a garage into living area where the kitchen would be going? The reason for the stepdown?

    It would be very interesting to see the current layout.

  • 10 years ago

    Here is the current layout. My goal is to improve the layout of the entire house. Right now, the bedroom off the original layout is so useless. I almost think that any layout is better than the current layout. Increasing resale value is a nice to have. This is my home for at least the next 10 years (unless I win powerball).

    No reason for the step down, just how I bought the house. The step down is pretty annoying.

    The front of the house is the Living Room / Dining Room. That is also the side that gets afternoon sun. Driveway is on the right. I have a detached garage.

    Putting the kitchen in the center was just where the design development was going. I'm not opposed to swapping the locations as zagyzebra has suggested.

    I was planning on using standard depth cabinets.

  • 10 years ago

    To rosie:

    Would you mind revisiting the following link. I took your advice and had a "pro" evaluate. Would a year's time change your opinion? We had an addition to the family which is the reason we are now thinking about getting that 4th bedroom.

    Here is a link that might be useful: prior discussion

    This post was edited by tobes36 on Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 12:35

  • 10 years ago

    Yes. Hi, Tobes. I remember your house now, or at least the end we were discussing. I liked the possibilities (on screen of course) that minor changes could bring. A year later you have a new member of your family (congratulations) and want to make major changes, not minor. So, I'm guessing you've had plenty of time to think it all over. :)

    What did the pro say back then?

    That late info of the step down into the "kitchen" area belatedly came to awareness. That does sound irritating. Are there two steps--one down and one up on the other side of the room? I.e., is raising the floor an option? If not, which rooms are lower?

  • 10 years ago

    Thank you. I've had plenty of time to think it over. We can live with the local in-laws during construction.

    The layout of the first post is what we (the "pro" and I came up with).

    Just one step down. Its probably not worth it to raise the floor. That about 1000 sf to raise. The Master Bedroom and LR are the step up. Everything else is step down.

    Now that I've posted the original layout, I hope that it is readily apparent that the new layout is better? That's been the #1 goal the entire time.

    Another designer has used the words difficult, challenging, head scratching, tough and interesting re: the layout. Its has not been readily apparent to improve the layout.

    Re: the proposed scheme, do you think there is enough separation between public/private spaces?

  • 10 years ago

    How much would it cost to raise the floors? How close would the ceiling be if you raised them? I'm a little more aware of these things, since my husband ended up in a wheelchair, temporarily. Also, much less of a trip-hazard.

    Another idea for the kitchen...would this work? A banquette gives you a comfy place to sit and visit or have a snack. Also, this way the doors don't line up with the living room. And you could have a larger porch/deck up to the front and kitchen doors. {{!gwi}}From Kitchen plans

    This post was edited by lavender_lass on Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 18:08

  • 10 years ago

    What a terrific project. Your whole property looks very appealing in the picture. IMO, you've managed as good a separation between public and private spaces as one could expect in a house this size. Even the bedroom that you couldn't separate with closets does not back to busy work counter; and if you could build the storage you show there (not accidentally, I'm sure), that would be another layer.

    You haven't really said much about what you want from your kitchen, except that you would like a table in there (want), but probably don't have room (willingness to give up?). How important to you is that? Would you like that kitchen there if nobody could come sit in it? Will small children play under your feet while you work anyway? :)

    Strictly speaking, there is room to put a table and chairs in there via a couple of different layouts, with perhaps some sacrifice of extra or luxury work features. I notice you went shallow on the left in your original drawing to make this happen.

    One reason it could work pretty well, even if a bit tighter than desired, is that all the active living areas are in the front, with no need to go through the kitchen to get to them. The passage is only to the children's (all children?) bedrooms, accommodating people who want to be all over their mom and dad anyway. Later, when they won't, there will be worse things than making them walk by you on their ways in and out. :) If it's all on show for the living room, though, a way should be found to do it without looking crowded. For you use you describe, a very narrow table, bistro depth, would work very well. Check the width of this one that looks fantastic--with some lightweight chairs instead.

    A table could also go in the corner with the window and new door.

    The wide opening to the living room suggests being part of the living room scene with family is important to you. Or no? How much do you really want? Would an open counter be good? If counter, would you prefer wall backing it?

    Did you put the kitchen in the middle for a reason, to be the heart of the home, or did it sort of land there in the process of getting the bedrooms you need? You did indicate a willingness to move it to the bottom wall instead. A dramatic change for all spaces, with lots of tradeoffs that probably matter a lot to you.

    What do you imagine for your dining area? Will it multitask or show off the wonderful dining set your great grandmother left you?

    It's terribly important that you communicate what you really want, what things give you the warm fuzzies even if you think you can't have them, so people will be offering suggestions about how to make it happen.

  • 10 years ago

    I would love the picture that you posted. I think that room is bigger than my proposed kitchen.

    I actually don't imagine using the dining room for all that much, just for formal meals. 360 days out of the year, I'd like to eat in kitchen. I think the of the LV/DR (proposed) as a great room of sorts.

    It is important to us to have the kitchen connected to the living room so we can watch the kids play while preparing dinner.

    The kitchen ended up in the middle because it would go anywhere else. Its too dark to move it to the bedroom on the left side of the house.

    I'd prefer not to have a traffic pattern through any of the working parts of the kitchen. I think that only leaves me the L-shaped kitchen (but no access door to the outside) or to breakup the counter. With my wants, are these the only two possibilities?

    I haven't explored moving the kitchen into the LV/DR.

  • 10 years ago

    How about this kitchen layout? The small rectangle would be refridge/pantry. The large would be sink, DW, range (probably over the range microwave) if I wanted outdoor access.

  • 10 years ago

    Would you consider moving all bedrooms to the back like this?
    It could be kitchen-dining-living (or any other order) at the front and maybe a 1/2 bath.

  • 10 years ago

    sena01, Thats probably more ambitious than I have the budget for. That would require moving more walls and creating two additional bathrooms. There is no doubt that proceeding would improve the overall layout, I'm just not sold that the extra costs to do that would be worth it. Thanks though.

  • 10 years ago

    lavender_lass, the ceiling right now is 7'9". No chance to raise the floor. The Master BR and LV is a shed roof ceiling starting at about 7-8' going up about 14' at the highest point away from the kitchen. I don't the door you had in your drawing would work for me. Part of the issue I have is front door confusion. it would be really too close to the front door. BTW, the front door faces the driveway and not the street.

  • 10 years ago

    What we'd do with just another $20K, $30K.... :)

    I was actually just admiring what you guys have done with the bedroom layout within the exiting footprint. Dedicated hall for the children's rooms, nice degrees of separation for the master suite from them and living areas, yet a really great flexibility due to the secondary connection of the master through the adjoining bedroom. Nice.

    Before you develop the middle position for the kitchen further, why not consider putting it in the right extension of the living room, making it as large as you need for the major functions you imagine? I like that in the middle it's close to the children's rooms, but that space is tight for what you want, and you need to compare it to what you could have by putting it elsewhere.

    My own big dining table is in a central hall; we don't use it much, and the space multifunctions as crossroads, library and dining room. Your dining would fit nicely in the middle position, and it could look very nice. I'm imagining framing the middle space, as seen from the living room, with little wing walls, just long enough to define the spaces to each other. The dining area would be an extension of the living room similar to its position now, just the other direction, and living could spill over into the dining room for school projects, games, etc, as needed--a multifunctioning space.

    A kitchen in the end extension could have all the room it needed for a lively family, plus windows on 3 sides. Lots of sunlight in itself would make it a special place.

  • 10 years ago

    That's a neat idea to swap the dining and kitchen. Truly great room / modern living. I could also get that door out to the back of the house that I want and it would provide morning sun in the dining room. I will explore that idea with the designer.

    The only con is that there wouldn't be an outside door to the kitchen and I would have to go thru the front door to empty kitchen trash.

    Now if I could only get morning sun in the kid's hallway.

  • 10 years ago

    What's more versatile? Functional? in terms of living/dining/cooking... the kitchen in the original layout or swapping the kitchen and dining?

    If the kitchen moves to the lower right corner, I won't have a ~15' x 30' "great room"

  • 10 years ago

    I'm offering the following as a devil's advocate. Both positions for your kitchen are viable choices with nice reasons to go each way. That's why you need to draw up all possibilities to consider. If the middle is right for you guys, this will end up reinforcing that decision.

    Versatility and size? That 15x30 room is looking very, very nice as it is, but the far end is prize square footage with all those exterior walls (light/views in up to 3 directions), and right now you plan to actually dine there very little--pretty but underused.

    If you put the kitchen down there, that addition would be used as intensively as it deserves to be. The living area for furniture placement would be the same, but it would be more strongly defined. Nevertheless the whole should still appear very spacious because it would still be part of a 15x30 room with kitchen on end and still be open to the north, which would extend additional living activities that direction, instead of east. The dining room might well end up used more for various activities in the middle of the house.

    In considering this alternative layout, how about a pretty door to the outside from a middle/dining room, French perhaps? And for that matter, are you sure you wouldn't have a door directly out from the kitchen? You have an entry in that end that looks as if it would need some reconfiguring too. Would it enter the middle/dining room?

    Last night I also thought of one other -- possible -- advantage to switching the kitchen and dining room: the step down. This could be a design asset for a dining room, setting it off as special as viewed from the living room. Since you don't plan to eat there a lot, even with young children you could have a nice rug under the table if you wanted it. You'd take that step mostly on the way back to the children's rooms--longer journeys.

    For the kitchen, you guys'd be making all the many, many little daily journeys between the living room and kitchen on a level floor.

    Morning sun in kids' hallway? Have sunshine everywhere and you eliminate the pleasure of entering a sunny room. A dim hallway is often a design asset because it makes the rooms opening off it all the more inviting. I can't see what that cabinet in the hall is, but with a little attention to attractiveness and interest, the hall looks pretty good to me. The only way I could imagine to improve it would be to extend it to come back around on itself -- children love to run in circles. :) As it is now, though, the hall enters a sunny middle room in the mornings, setting that room off really nicely, however it's used.

  • 10 years ago

    Skylights in the hallway would address the lighting problem. A "great room" is now often combined with the kitchen, particularly in more contemporary or mid-century homes. The kitchen activities become part of the same room. It's the definition of an open floor plan. I can't say I am a huge fan of the living room/kitchen combo, but many people seem to love having the two rooms combined and design their houses as such.

  • 10 years ago

    I think Rosie and others have made some very good points, as far as swapping the kitchen and dining room.

    If you decide to do that, then you could have the kitchen work area in the U-shape, on the end of the space...and the table (your everyday dining area) between the kitchen and great room.

    Using the front door wouldn't be a problem (IMHO) for taking out the garbage...I do it all the time. Another advantage is you would have that little deck(?) off the current dining room in a more usable spot.

    If this is an option that might work for you, I would encourage you to sketch it out and consider it.

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks all. I am meeting with the designer at 2 pm today. i'm liking the idea of switching the dining/kitchen as suggested.

    I'll be back!

  • 10 years ago

    Reworked floor plan. As you can see the kitchen moved to the new construction part. I like this better. I think the kitchen layout can be improved but not sure how. The way that it is drawn - I don't have many upper cabinets. Is this a big deal? My goals are to have a simple, functional kitchen with enough storage. I don't need double ovens or appliance hutches. Just a range, sink, DW, MW, refrigerator and storage. Let me know thoughts on the layout. Sorry for no dimensions. Between the ceiling beams are 6'. The kitchen is 15' wide (right to left).

  • 10 years ago

    I guess you can move the island to the left wall and have some uppers there and also can add more base cabs. With 15' width I think it would be better to have a peninsula.

    Or it can be a G.

    Make sure that you can open the fridge door freely with the pantry wall next to it.

  • 10 years ago

    Thanks. Since the kitchen (12 x 15') will be entirely new construction and the windows aren't set, does that change your thoughts?

    seems that the range will be the focal point.

  • 10 years ago

    elevation drawing.

  • 10 years ago

    elevation drawing.


  • 10 years ago