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downsizer_2014

Need layout help: small kitchen with multiple doorways

Downsizer_2014
9 years ago

In June, 2014, we downsized to a 100 year old house with no kitchen, and for the past four months we have been struggling with a design for our awkward kitchen space.

I apologize for a very long post. I tried to answer all the questions in Beginning a Kitchen Plan by Celticmoon, while giving you wise designers on GardenWeb an idea of our needs and wants.
I cook all the time, and, although I do not need restaurant-quality appliances, I am all about function first so I want to make the space as efficient as it could be.

We have recently become empty nesters. DH helps with meal prep and cleanup so there will be two of us in the space.
The house needs a lot of other work so I am trying to keep the kitchen costs down. Therefore I am investigating RTA cabinets and, because the space is small, scaling back on the size of appliances:

24" induction cooktop;
30" Kraus single bowl sink;
24" LG counter-depth fridge;
ExtremeAir 30" chimney hood;
24" Gaggenau speed/convection oven. (It is my one splurge.)
It would be great to add a built-in GE microwave if I can find a place to stash it.
We can get along without a regular oven.

The kitchen-related things that are important to me include:

1. I would love to have a prep sink on the same wall as the cooktop. In a perfect world I would have a 36+" space between the two with adequate (24") space at either end, but there are not enough inches on my longest wall for such an arrangement. I have seen the minimum dimensions for these spaces, but I don't know if they would really work for people who do a lot of cooking. We had an island in our last house and there was a great deal of dripping that went on between the sink on one counter and the cooktop on the island so I would very much like to avoid that if at all possible.

2. I hope to make only minimal structural changes to the interior, and none at all to the exterior which is brick. One kitchen wall is also brick.

3. I do not want to interfere with the flow of the house. I think the Living and Dining Rooms are just beautiful.Their light-filled, gracious spaces describe the reason I fell in love with the house in the first place. Therefore, closing off the opening between the kitchen and LR may not only make the trek from the back door to the bathroom too long, but the absence of that doorway may just feel wrong. On the other hand, if we did close off that entryway, I could have a U-shaped kitchen and site the sink on the short leg of the U.

4 The Butler's Pantry has to stay as it serves as a 30" wide pass-through from the kitchen to the Dining Room and we have recently outfitted it with a 30" sink and an 18" dishwasher.

5. The Gaggenau oven needs to be installed 36" above the floor so I was thinking of sticking it on the Cellar Headroom wall since I want to have as much free counter space as possible on the other two counters.

Our problems include, but are not limited to, the following list:

1. There is a permanent cellar door headroom box under the kitchen window. It measures 17 1/2" deep by 37 1/2" wide by 30" tall.

2. We have too many doorways! We plan to widen the back doorway -- which is on a brick wall -- by 4" - 6" by removing its trim, so that should help a bit. We are struggling with the removal of other doors.

3. The cellar door is blocked by anyone standing in the pantry.

4. There is no passing room in the pantry for a second cook.

5. The open dishwasher makes it impossible to exit or enter the pantry

6. My proposed oven location is in the line of traffic from the pantry and the back door.

7. Because the space is limited, clear sight lines may be needed beside both the pantry and back entries into the kitchen because a tall fridge or oven cabinet on either side of those doorways could make them feel claustrophobic.

In addition, both those kitchen entries need flat surfaces beside them: at the back entry for putting down groceries, and from the kitchen to the pantry for putting down trays of food to be taken to the dining room.

Therefore, the fridge may need to be stuck in the middle of a counter run rather than at one of the ends. (Unless we don't block off the kitchen/LR doorway but do close off the kitchen/2nd fl stairway ... then the fridge could be sited in what used to be the stairway opening.)

8. Sinks in two different locations (A prep sink in the kitchen; a cleanup sink in the pantry) means we will have to duplicate some things like glasses.The upside, however, is that the Butler's Pantry provides a good area for cleanup from the dining room, and fortunately there is lots of dish and flatware storage in the DR and pantry.

Here are some options we are considering. Perhaps there are others we have not thought of:

1. Close off the LR-> Kitchen opening.

2. Close off the kitchen -> second floor stairway to allow cabinets to run along that whole wall.

3. Keep the kitchen -> stairway entrance open, but install a lift-up counter across that opening to allow passage between the back door and the LR when the kitchen is not in use.

I attached a plan of the first floor to this post. I haven't figured out yet how to add multiple images to a single post, so I will post again with a couple possible layouts including dimensions.

Thank you for any suggestions or ideas.

Comments (43)

  • debrak2008
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    To post multiple photos in one post upload your photos to a host site like photobucket. There you pick up the link and just paste it in the post. Pasting in as many as you want.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Debra, Thank you for providing the information about how to post multiple photos. I already have an account on Flickr so I could easily link to photos on that site.

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  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here is a layout for a U-Shaped kitchen that covers both the stairway and the LR/Kitchen doorways. I think it is the only way I can do it.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Very interesting problem. I agree, a house with no kitchen :) My initial suggestion would be to consider moving the kitchen into the bedroom space and moving the bath into the kitchen space. If you have basement underneath, it would not be prohibitively expensive but would go way beyond a simple kitchen remodel, so it would be understandable if you could not do that.

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love a challenge! :)

    1) Can you post a picture of the cellar door headroom? I can't think what that looks like.

    2) Also, maybe photographs of the stairs? I see that you're considering closing off the entrance to the stairs from the kitchen, but if you do that, how would you ever get upstairs? I think I am definitely missing something there.

    3) It would be helpful if you'd note the measurements of the space on the floor plan of the whole floor.

    4) Where does the back door come from? I assume there is a garage or a parking area, since you mention coming in with groceries? By any chance, would that same parking area where you'd be coming from with groceries also be right next to any windows?

    This post was edited by Jillius on Tue, Oct 14, 14 at 2:07

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It took me awhile to figure out how your proposed plan fit in your home but I think I got it. You've closed off the LR entry and blocked the stairway. Is that correct?

    I don't think that's the best use of your modest space and I particularly don't like the proposed flip-up counter in front of the 2nd floor stairs.

    I think a galley lay-out suits your space best.

    I moved the Gagganau oven out of the doorway; I agree, not the best place for it. I replaced its proposed location with cabs and counter to serve as oven landing zone en route to the DR.

    I added a 30" h counter over the cellar door header for groceries. You'd also have the counter next to it to use as well. That counter will also serve as MW landing. You didn't say what size GE MW you wanted so I went with a GE Spacemaker II. It's the only one small enough to fit in an upper cab.

    I bumped the wall behind the cook top out so that you don't have any weird jogs in the counter. You can accomplish this either by pulling standard depth cabs away from the wall or you can order and install deeper cabs; you certainly could use the additional storage deeper cabs would provide.

    I opted for a slightly smaller sink than you listed to give you more counter. I also opted for a 30" cook top instead of a 24" cook top. If you do the latter, you gain more counter. That's reflected in the numbers between the (). You could also give the space to a larger prep sink.

    I suggest you add open shelving in front of the window to increase storage. Like this:

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/main-cabin-traditional-kitchen-seattle-phvw-vp~25111)

    [Traditional Kitchen[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-kitchen-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_709~s_2107) by Seattle Architects & Building Designers Bosworth Hoedemaker

    btw, the above kitchen's counter sits higher than the window. You can do the same in your kitchen.

    Oops, I forgot to add the aisle dimension. It's 41" between oven cab (assumed at 24" depth) and the counter.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dear debrak2008, rmtdoug, Jillius, and lisa_a,

    Oh my goodness. I am honored that you took the time to read through my novel-length post and then weighed in with such wise and interesting ideas. Thank you. Thank you.

    rmtdoug, Your idea about switching the bedroom and bath with the kitchen: Yes. There is a full cellar under the br/bath. In fact, we bought the house intending to site the kitchen in the bedroom space because it seemed that space would allow the location of a grand kitchen. However, because of window location and sizes, it requires an island which I did not want. and the more we sat in that room, (We used it as a TV room for a while; it's now an office.) the more the distance from that space to the DR seemed difficult. So after living in the house for a summer and part of a fall, we have decided to build the kitchen in the part of the house where it was first located 100 years ago.

    The original kitchen space is small, and, in spite of the window, dark, BUT it is closer to the dining room and, although the butler's pantry is awkward, it naturally adds a bit of space to the kitchen, which it didn't do so much when we considered putting the kitchen in the bedroom space. But the biggest reason for using the kitchen's original location is that it allows us to age in place by changing the current office to a bedroom.

    We don't want to change the bath in any way because it is the one room in the house that was already remodeled (beautifully). The wall with the cooktop on it is brick.

    Jillius, 1) Yes. I will post photos of the crazy headroom in the basement.

    2) Yes. I will photograph the stairs. When it was first built, the house's stairway ended at both the kitchen and the LR so we are planning to open the stairway again to the LR because it would improve the stairway and would allow us to fill the kitchen stairway entrance with countertop or cabinets. The PO blocked off the LR entrance which leaves a very twisty stairway from the kitchen. We had to remove a second story window so we could hire a moving company to bring bedroom bureaus and box springs to the second floor. Having a straighter stairway would make moving furniture up or down much easier.

    3) After reading about the software the designers on GardenWeb like, I ordered Chief Architect which I hope comes today. When I receive it, I will post several possible layouts with better dimensions. I had been using a free online program, Homestyler, which has only very limited appliance and cabinet sizes, and, as lisa_a mentioned, cabinets can't be made more shallow.

    4) The back door comes in from our small urban backyard/parking area. I will post pix of that too if it helps. There are no windows near it.There is a tiny mudroom between the back door and the kitchen which I will show in later layouts.

    lisa_a, The picture you included is just beautiful. I like your idea about running shelving across the window for more storage. I fear you are right about the only possible arrangement for our kitchen space if we don't block off the stairway or the LR/Kitchen opening. The PO had run a 40" high countertop on the window wall above the radiator across to the Cellar Headroom box, and, like your idea, it works beautifully for piling groceries. It is shown on the architectural drawing as a wavy line. I agree that you are right that the counter should be 30" high because it would give us a bit more room than the 40" high one does when coming in the back door. I like your idea about sticking the GE Spacesaver microwave in the location where I had put the Gaggenau. I hadn't considered a 21" sink, but since I have what seems to me is a ginormous one (30" single bowl) in the Butler's Pantry, perhaps it would be fine. It would be primarily a prep sink, but since I do tend to wash cooking pans as I go along I thought I needed another 30" one. Maybe, as I cooked, I could get in the habit of taking cooking pots from the stove to the other sink.

    Again, thank you all for your thoughtful work.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    lisa_a,

    I just re-read your post and realized I didn't answer all your questions when I submitted that last note.

    The assumptions you made are all correct. I did close off both the kitchen/LR as well as the kitchen/stairway entrances in the layout I did. And I realized I never explained about our plan to open the stairway to the LR. I had included the explanation in my original posting, but then I had forgotten I had taken it out when that posting had expanded to multiple pages that I figured most people would never have time to read. So opening that stairway to the LR is what would allow passage up the stairs.

    I know you didn't care for the idea about the lift-up countertop, but the reason I suggested it is because it would allow someone coming from the back door to access the LR or the 2nd floor if there was no cooking going on. Does it seem less crazy now, or just as awkward as it did when you first envisioned it?

    Again, many thanks for your help.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If that is the case, then I would agree that a galley layout is your best first option.

    I would have no problem with the the stair access being closed off in the kitchen. The reasoning is that you don't normally go directly upstairs when you first enter a house, and I assume there is a bathroom upstairs. I just don't think going around to the living room would be that big a deal. You could put a little passthrough to the stairway or living room from the kitchen. That would be convenient, but I would not have a doorway to the stairs from that end of the kitchen. I think you lose too much function.

    Can you eliminate the outside cellar door? I have a full basement with no outside access and it has never bothered me. I've gotten washers and furnaces and water heaters down my inside stairs without any problem. If you can eliminate the header bumpout on that wall, you could slide the back door entry down enough to fit storage and counter all they way across to the DR doorway.

    Also, you have two closets right off the DR. I would steal some space from the larger closet in the DR and use it in the smaller closet at the top for extra storage.

  • debrak2008
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What becomes of the butlers pantry? I would incorporate it into the kitchen. If you need the basement entrance there could you put a barn (sliding) door to eliminate any opening door conflicts?

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I had the same thought about the cellar door as rmtdoug. You could either eliminate the inside access or the outside access.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi rmtdoug and debrak2008,

    hmmm good ideas.

    rmtdoug, I agree that a galley may be our best bet. I'm glad you don't think blocking off the stairway from the kitchen would be foolish. It would allow us to extend the cabinet run further along that wall. So, like lisa_a, you think we should maintain an open entry from the LR/Kitchen as shown on the architectural drawing?

    As far as the stupid Cellar Headroom box and the exterior cellar door it accommodates, yes, they are awful. I mean how many unfortunate houses are designed with Cellar Headroom Boxes right inside their back doors? And I have not ridden my bicycle once since we moved here because I cannot get the thing out of or back into the basement by myself. But I digress...

    It was good we had an exterior cellar door last month when the old boiler and oil tank were removed through that doorway and they brought in our new boiler & water heater. We considered changing it to a bulkhead, but the cost to do that is high and the historic commission would not allow us to make a change on that side of the house. Our last house had no basement egress either, and we lived without it for 20 years, but we did not have such a tight top-of-the-stairway situation as we have currently. If our current boiler were to break down, there is no way it could be brought up the stairs into the Butler's Pantry to be taken out the back door. I appreciate your thinking about it, though. The access to our basement from both doors can only be described as crazy.

    Thank you also for thinking about the closet space, but I didn't understand what you meant when you said, "I would steal some space from the larger closet in the DR and use it in the smaller closet at the top for extra storage." What you can't see in the drawings is that the "closet" across from the counter in the pantry is actually four drawers with a counter above and a shelf (holding cereal at the moment) 18" above that. When my design software arrives I will draw it all in so the actual space is clearer.

    debrak2008, The idea about a sliding door at the top of the cellar stairs is very smart. And we hadn't considered making the pantry wall be a continuous expanse with the Cellar Headroom wall, something rmtdoug alluded to as well. The Pantry has a 5.5" wall beside the DW along with 1.5" trim around the doorway which all take up unnecessary space. And if it were all removed, we would gain additional counter space; a wider, more comfortable entry to the pantry; and the pantry would be better integrated with the kitchen, multiple improvements from a small, inexpensive change.

    Thank you both! Your observations about changes we could make to our awkward space are very helpful.

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think re-orientating the stairs to the LR and giving them a straight shot is a great idea. Not only will it be easier to move furniture but it will give you more kitchen space. I would leave the upstairs access in the LR only and not worry about adding stairway access to the kitchen. As mtdoug pointed out, you would lose valuable kitchen function.

    So here's a revision of my Plan A with the stairway position corrected.

    I moved the fridge all the way down so that you have a long stretch of counter between fridge and oven. You can use this as your baking center as well as landing zones for oven and fridge items.

    I widened the doorway to the LR by 2" so that the wall ends at the fridge face. However, if the fridge will be able to open fully without widening the doorway, then no changes are needed.

    I also suggest eliminating the wall between kitchen and butler's pantry. This will give you a longer stretch of continuous counter between the two spaces, plus more room for upper cabs. I think it would make that space seem roomier and it would connect the 2 rooms better.

    I like debrak2008's suggestion of swapping out the basement stairs' swing door for a sliding barn door. That would eliminate the conflict between basement door and DW door. It would mean that when open, the barn door would block the closet. Would that be an issue? It looks like there's no door on the closet, that it's open storage, so there shouldn't be door conflicts there.

    With the additional counter between fridge and oven, you could go with a slightly larger sink and sink cab. Have you considered an apron front sink? There are some that are only 24" wide. That would give you a wider sink without requiring a wider cab. It would mean that you would be right up against a wall, though. You could add a narrow pull-out cab between sink and wall to ease that. You still lose some counter between sink and cook top but you gain more storage without losing sink space.

    Or you could just do all the washing up in the clean-up sink in the butler's pantry and preserve the counter between sink and cook top for prep work. I think that's what I'd choose to do.

    Did you see the New Reveal (long) - Garage into Kitchen! thread? Her kitchen has counters that sit higher than the window sills.

    You should also check out Finished Kitchen - 20 pounds of sand in a 10 pound bucket. Her kitchen has similar space constraints plus she used a sliding barn door for her basement door.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Jillius and controlfreakecs,

    You have both weighed in with more votes on the locations of Ridiculous Cellar door/Stupid Cellar Headroom Access.

    These ideas, which I can see all of you feel strongly about, are not something we had considered at all. We figured we were just stuck with the silly disfunctional locations of our cellar doors.

    And... the idea you had, controlfreakecs, about relocating the cellar stairs so they come up into the DR closet is just wonderful. When we first moved in I had asked the carpenter to please rebuild the cellar stairs because they are very short, and I always fear I will fall down them because they are not the standard size. He said he had investigated this change with the PO and discovered they could not be changed because of the headroom on the way up the stairs into the pantry.... something I don't really understand. But if they were totally relocated so they came up in a DR closet.... that would allow an easy exit through the front door while dragging a boiler -- if you can follow that -- AND maybe they could be resized so they were not so dangerous.

    The exterior door: Along with getting rid of the ridiculous Headroom Access Box, the other problem its elimination resolves is that the cellar door itself needs replacement and no carpenter (I have asked four so far.) wants to rebuild it, although they have been happy to do lots of other things for me. I am not sure why. One man said, "you are going to have a hard time finding someone to do that job..." Of course, there is so much work for good carpenters that they do not have to do work they don't enjoy, but I really can't tell you why I haven't found someone to rebuild it. It is falling apart, and is now in multiple pieces, so it is difficult to open and close which is why I don't ride my bike... If we eliminated it altogether, as rmtdoug suggested, and Jillius seconded, I could stop worrying about its cracks and holes. (We are planning to build a shed in the back for my bike.)

    And I am glad to hear another wise person say I do not really need a second 30" sink because then I can use lisa_a's sink-on-same-wall-as-cooktop layout. (At the same time, as she pointed out, I can have a 30" cooktop as well!)

    Off to take pictures....

    Many thanks to all. We are very grateful.

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I actually had several ideas for the kitchen layout that involved moving the stairs, but I wasn't sure if that fell under the heading of "too much structural work" for you. Since you're so open to that, I will post my ideas when I get home from work. To me, the location of the stairs is the main problem with your space.

    What is the ceiling height of the first floor? I.e., how long do the stairs (10" treads is standard) have to be to reach the second floor?

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Downsizer - Thanks for clarifying about the closets. In any case, you would have to rip everything out to move the wall between the two closets. If you do move the stairs around, that would be the perfect time to tweak that space for your pantry.

    You asked about the doorway from the kitchen to the living room. That would depend on whether you want people walking through your narrow kitchen or not. In my house, it would never be allowed. Regarding function, if you do not have a doorway and put a counter there, you would have two inside corners in your cabinets to deal with. If you have a doorway, you have accessible space all the way to the wall on both sides but not as much storage. Kind of a wash, function-wise.

    About your outside cellar door. If you removed the door header box, would the opening still be big enough to get the existing boiler out of the basement? If so, you could remove the header box and seal the opening until you need it in the future for something major like the boiler. Another thing to consider is that technology is trending toward heat pumps. As much as I love steam heat, you might not be replacing your boiler in the future with another.

  • marcolo
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Regarding the cellar stairs header: I have one of those too, right under a window. So do many of my neighbors. I struggled with lots of clever solutions for the space. But then I realized most of my neighbors just use a brute force solution. A lot of them have simply installed a cabinet blocking the door, but with a few modifications so that the cabinet can be fairly easily moved if a boiler needs to go in or out. You might try the same.

  • doc5md
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I spent some time last night drawing this up. I had basically the same ideas that everyone else has had, thought I deleted it after a while as I was getting distracted. LOL. A few things I thought about or noted....
    Galley kitchen with blocked off kitchen stairs was the way to go.
    I couldn't find any 24" counter depth fridge on LG's website to get actual dimensions.
    That Gaggenau is cool when I looked it up!
    The big sink in the requirements is really much too big since you already have the big one in the BP. Go for a smaller prep sink.
    Oh, the other thing I don't like is the angle and walkway on entering from the back door (left side of the plan as drawn). If you could move this doorway to the kitchen by a foot or more (down the plan), it would be great!

    In the end. My plan looked almost exactly like the one Lisa_a posted most recently.
    I love the idea of moving the stairs a bit. that would REALLY open things up for you.
    Good Luck!!!

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay, this is what I would do.

    As you can see, I moved the stairs. If you are open to as many changes as you've mentioned (rebuilding the cellar stairs, redoing the bottom of the other stairs), this isn't THAT much of a stretch, and it fixes so many issues. The caveat is, of course, that I don't know what the layout is upstairs or what is structural. Hopefully it all works.

    I also didn't have real measurements, so I estimated based on proportion and the drawing you did provide that had some of the measurements.

    1. The stairs are now straight and wider, so it'll be easier and safer to move things up and down, including people. And they'll be new, so all the issues you had with the cellar stairs can be simultaneously fixed.

    2. The door to the cellar is now not blocking anything when it's open. I deliberately positioned it so the door did not stick out from beyond the brick wall. This required sticking a bit of the other side of the stairs into the hall, so I'm envisioning a bottom step like this:

    That way, the right stairway wall can still stop flush with all the hallway walls as it should, but the bottom stair will stick out a bit as is needed.

    3) In a kitchen this size, you don't really have counter space for separate clean-up and prep sinks. The clean-up sink needs to be positioned so it can act as the prep sink too. This also means you don't need duplicates of the glassware, etc. that you were mentioned.

    4) If you count the clean-up sink as your prep sink, this plan provides you this:

    I would love to have a prep sink on the same wall as the cooktop. In a perfect world I would have a 36+" space between the two with adequate (24") space at either end.

    You'll actually have more like 5' of space between the sink and cook top and 2' feet between the cook top and oven. Or you could have 4' and 3' if that would work better for you.

    5) I didn't touch any of the brick. Also, the brick wall is sort of like a feature wall now running up the side of the staircase. Sort of gives the staircase its own personality.

    6) Regarding this:

    I do not want to interfere with the flow of the house. I think the Living and Dining Rooms are just beautiful.Their light-filled, gracious spaces describe the reason I fell in love with the house in the first place.

    This kitchen plan has excellent sight lines to both spaces. The dining room has a pass bar, and the living room has a wide doorway. This will let you enjoy your favorite parts of the house while in the kitchen, it will mean more natural light in the kitchen, it will make the kitchen feel bigger, and I think it's actually a pretty basic functional thing that your kitchen should have easy access to both the living room and the dining. There is constant traffic to and from those rooms and the kitchen.

    7) Regarding this:

    The Butler's Pantry has to stay as it serves as a 30" wide pass-through from the kitchen to the Dining Room and we have recently outfitted it with a 30" sink and an 18" dishwasher.

    I kept this stuff where it was, but if I had my druthers, I'd nudge the dishwasher more to the left so you don't feel trapped in the corner when the DW door is open. Particularly with the removal of the header you now have planned, there is room for the DW to move that way. And unless the counter material you used in the butler's pantry is easy to get more of, you're either going to have a different counter material running into it at the L-shaped counter's corner, or you'll be installing a new counter top and sink, at which point you might as well move the DW to the left. But you won't have to change the plumbing location!

    In general, I'm getting a whiff of the sunk cost fallacy with regards to the desire to keep the butler's pantry as-is. In the current layout, the sink is just in the worst possible place in a VERY narrow passage with doors opening into it and two people using it. The cost benefit of keeping this thing you already paid money for is so small compared to how much better your kitchen could be if this stuff could be moved. The dishwasher can easily be uninstalled and used elsewhere, so what you're really eating is the sink. I know it can be very painful to lose money when you're remodeling and you already feel like you're bleeding money, but how many years are you planning to stay here? It sounds like all of your retirement, which is decades long. Divide the cost of buying a new sink by all of those years -- it won't seem so awful to pay $15 a year for a better sink placement. Especially for someone who cooks all the time and will really appreciate a truly functional layout.

    And in terms of proportion, a 30" sink is quite unusually large for a butler's pantry of any size, let alone a teensy one like yours. And for a kitchen that is the size of yours generally, there isn't really room for a butler's pantry.

    8) Regarding:
    The Gaggenau oven needs to be installed 36" above the floor.

    I stacked the oven with the MW you also wanted to fit like double wall ovens. Like this:

    9) I'm envisioning the stretch of counter against the stairs as a "put away groceries station." The counter is in the perfect spot to be a landing zone for bags when you come in, and then if the upper and lower cabinets are your pantry, you can put away all the items in the fridge and pantry without ever having to carry them anywhere else.

    The counter can also be an extra work space. I'd personally take everything I needed to cook whatever I'm cooking out of the fridge and pantry and leave it on that counter out-of-my-way-yet-handy till I need it while cooking. I don't like it when non-immediate ingredients are cluttering my work surface and requiring shifting around when I cook. I'd also banish anybody who showed up to make a snack in the middle of my cooking to that counter.

    10) Whether you are prepping or cleaning up, you'll be able to look out a window. The sink is below a window, and you can see the dining room windows through the pass bar.

    11) There is room for two people in the kitchen to pass each other easily now.

    12) You have room to make any of the appliances bigger if you'd like. I'd personally go for a 24" dishwasher and maybe a 30" fridge instead.

    This post was edited by Jillius on Fri, Oct 17, 14 at 3:45

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Also, a separate idea. I was thinking about how, if the study becomes your bedroom in the future, guests would be walking through your bedroom to get to the bathroom. I really gave some thought to how to create a little hallway with access to that bath from the public areas of the house without going through the study, but the brick wall is in the way of everything. And you said the bathroom was already remodeled, so that made things difficult too.

    And I had the thought that the study doesn't have a closet, which you'd want in a bedroom, while the dining room mysteriously has a very generous one.

    So this isn't a perfect idea, but what if you swapped the locations of the future bedroom and the dining room? Could a bed fit in the dining room? The kitchen's current opening to the living room is equally handy to the doors to the current study, so that works too.

    And if the current dining were your bedroom, you'd want to close the door between the current dining and kitchen anyway, which would separately help with kitchen layout.

    The downsides would be that you'd have to walk around a dining room table to get to the bathroom (although that room is large enough that maybe leaving especially wide walkways would fix that) and your bedroom would be in the front of the house. But I think I'd rather that than have people walking through my bedroom. Particularly if I'm infirm enough to need to move my bedroom downstairs. What if I'm napping when people need to use the bathroom?

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dear lisa_a,

    Wow. Your layout makes our space look like a real kitchen, and a workable one at that! Thank you for your good suggestions re: the fridge opening, the sink size. I very much like the idea about a 24" apron-fronted sink. I will investigate that.

    I also like the idea about a removable cabinet beside the sink that can be employed for greater countertop space when needed. (If I understand you correctly.) If the sink ended up near the wall, what size pull-out would be useful? And how would it work? Would it be on wheels?

    Thank you also for the links to the kitchen w/ sliding door and the kitchen w/ counters in front of window. Our window begins 40" off the floor because it sits above the cellar door.

    Hi Jillius,

    Thank you for mulling over our kitchen. The ceiling height of the first floor:
    8 ft in the kitchen area
    6.5 ft in the Butler's Pantry (because there is a landing going to the second floor)
    Do you mean the ceiling height of the cellar? If so, it is 93" (7 ft 11 inches) to the kitchen floor; 82" (6 ft 10") to the bottom of the joists.
    Our current cellar stair treads are 9" deep. You had mentioned 10" is standard. So that one missing inch of tread feels really precarious when walking downstairs with both hands full. Surprising.

    Hi rmtdoug,

    It is interesting that you noted 2 corners vs "accessible space all the way to the wall on both sides" is "kind of a wash, function-wise". I hadn't thought of it that way. I have this idea that a u-shaped kitchen would be so cozy to work in and I wouldn't have people strolling by or hanging out behind me while I was trying to cook. In my last kitchen people stood on the other side of an island to talk to me while I was cooking and, other than the frequent dripping that occurred between the sink and cooktop, that arrangement worked very well.

    The kitchen in our first house 30 years ago was a galley, and it was tough to cook there when we had company. There was no place for guests to stand and talk, people plopped the desserts they brought on top of my stove, etc. Trying to get a meal on the table with people making drinks and spreading dip on crackers where ever I turned felt really chaotic. Even when we set up a drink/appetizer station in the LR, guests still migrated to the kitchen to lean against the counter where I wanted to put the chicken from the oven. And, in spite of feeling as if my head would explode as I tried to figure out what steps I needed to complete before we could eat, I probably encouraged it because I like to talk to everyone.

    You are right about steam heat: it is one of the oldest of technologies and is inefficient and noisy. But we are tickled pink about our new boiler and the fact we did not have to spend the $ to replace radiators, piping or the chimney, all dismal possibilities.

    Hi marcolo,

    Thank you for describing a possible solution for that cellar stairs header. But I can't picture it. Would you provide more detail about the "brute force solution" your neighbors use? I think in our case it might mean chopping off the top half of the cellar door but I would like to hear how you and they addressed the problem.

    rmtdoug, were you suggesting that too when you asked, "If you removed the door header box, would the opening still be big enough to get the existing boiler out of the basement?"

    Hi doc5md,

    Thank you for thinking about our kitchen.

    Here's a link to our lovely new fridge:

    http://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/LBN10551.html

    It would not be for everyone since it lacks an icemaker; is pricey for only 10 cu ft; and doesn't hold a whole lot, but it is great for us; is perfect for a small space and we think it makes us more stylish.

    Thank you for your vote for lisa_a's design and closing up the stairs.

    Hi Jillius,

    This plan you have created is a wonder of thoughtful redesign. I can barely get my head around it.

    I can't wait to talk to the carpenter and structural engineer about moving the cellar stairs. And the lovely bottom steps are so tasteful. They would probably make me WANT to visit the basement. The sunk costs of our remodel: broken granite scraps from the re-store; the carpenter cut the pieces himself because he wanted to practice working with granite so he charged very little -- even though he did a beautiful job. We had thought the countertop material didn't matter since it was so far from where our kitchen would end up: in the now-bedroom. Unfortunately, the countertop material in that area does matter now as it will not match what we eventually choose, so we will probably rip it out. I hate waste, but before we cleaned it up and added the sink and DW, I had a hard time cooking there. It was dirty, cramped, and depressing. So I think it was worth spending the money to spiff it up because preparing meals and cleaning up now is so much easier and enjoyable.

    You will laugh when you hear the reason we got such a large sink for the BP: I cook every day, even without a kitchen, even if I have only three appliances: a toaster, a slow cooker and a George Foreman grill. So... I got tired of washing the George Foreman outside with cold water from the hose. I wanted to be able to clean it for a change. We figured this BP would be our "kitchen" for the next year while we mull over kitchen designs and wait for our favorite carpenter and plumber to be available to install our kitchen. Thus, the sink is doing dual duty as a prep/cleanup sink AND the George Foreman grill fits inside it!

    You are right about the difficulty of having people traipse through the bedroom on the way to the first floor bath. It is something we have thought about too... but that's as far as we got. I think your idea about flipping the DR with the BR when we need to do that is a good one. I like it a lot.

    Thank you to everyone. All your ideas and suggestions and creativity and generosity are much appreciated. I will soon upload photos and new layouts. ... sorry it is taking me so long.

    Elizabeth

    This post was edited by Downsizer_2014 on Fri, Oct 17, 14 at 10:31

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I confused you about what I meant by narrow pull-out cab, sorry. The cabinet doesn't pull out, only the inner portion of it. Kinda like a drawer turned sideways.

    Here are two examples of storage that a narrow cabinet could provide.

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-cherry-traditional-kitchen-boston-phvw-vp~81395)

    [Traditional Kitchen[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-kitchen-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_709~s_2107) by Wellesley Kitchen & Bath Designers Divine Kitchens LLC

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/kitchen-laguna-niguel-traditional-orange-county-phvw-vp~1050732)

    [Traditional Spaces[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-home-design-ideas-phbr1-bp~s_2107) by Huntington Beach Kitchen & Bath Fixtures Garcia Cabinetmakers

    And I see that I got confused about the cellar door header. I thought it was 30" above the floor but now it sounds as thought it's 40" above the floor. Even so, I think you could still put a counter over it with shelves in front of the window.

    Be prepared for sticker shock for moving the stairs. It could easily be $10K, and quite possibly more, given the age of your home. How does moving the stairs affect the upstairs lay-out? Will you have to move walls or a bathroom? That will add to the cost.

    However, any modifications to your existing stairs may require you to bring them up to current code so that may be more expensive than you expect it to be. Get quotes to do both so that you can weigh which solution fits your budget and needs the best.

    It may be possible to alter the lay-out of the downstairs bathroom so that it can be accessed from the back hall as well as from the bedroom. You could do something like a Jack and Jill bath: the sink and toilet are in one room and the shower in another. That way, guests could use the "powder room" portion without having to go through your bedroom.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Downsizer - Yes, I was suggesting sort of what Marcolo was suggesting. What I inferred was to mark on your outside wall the level of the floor in the kitchen and then measure from that point down to the bottom of the cellar door to see if you still have enough height to get anything you might need into or out of your basement.

    If you do have enough clearance, you can then remove the header box and put flooring there and then seal the cellar door opening on the outside and only remove it when you need to get something in or out that you could not move via the inside stairs.

    Pictures would really help, you know :)

  • marcolo
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Actually I was suggesting something even simpler. Remove the header box. Now you have a hole in your floor. Looking towards the wall you see the top half of the cellar door; looking down you see the start of the steps. Is that right?

    If so, you just leave the hole there and plop a cabinet on top of it. I forget how my neighbor did it exactly so the weight was supported but it didn't require any advanced degrees. Obviously the ends sit on the floor. There might've been a frame around it somewhere.

    Her cellar door opens out, so you can still open it and toss stuff into the basement through the shorter opening that's left. Even if yours opens inward, so what? You won't be able to use the door day to day. But if you ever really need it, you just pull the cabinet out and Bob's your uncle.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Marcolo - Yeah, I understood what you were suggesting, and it's a good solution. My suggestion is more complicated but more permanent and perhaps more secure. It's always hard to know what exactly to tell someone on-line sometimes. Like I said, pictures would sure be helpful.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Exterior of cellar door:

    Exterior of cellar door showing window above:

    Interior view of cellar door

    Close up of cellar door taken while standing at the bottom of steps

    Picture taken while standing on cellar steps.


    In the picture above the top of the cellar door is on the left of the picture. In very top of picture is underside of the top of ceiling box that extends into kitchen. (I know all this must be hard to imagine and, because the space is so small, the picture does not show very well the inside -- or the outside, for that matter -- of the box.) Depth of box: 30". Box begins on cellar ceiling and extends into kitchen to 10" below kitchen window.

    View of "box" inside the kitchen. There is 10" of space between the top of the box and the top of the counter. We filled the space with stereo speakers.

    Looking toward back door across countertop that is 10" above "box". The photo gives you and idea of how very tight the space is when coming from outside with groceries.

    I will upload more interior photos shortly. They will be pix of stairs to second floor and the kitchen and Butler's Pantry.

  • marcolo
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yep, I've got the same thing. Just lop off the box at floor level and drop a cabinet over the hole. Of course it is reversibly attached, and some jerryrigging is required. You lose day to day cellar access but for boilers and such, it's quick work to remove. I can't send a pic, because my neighbor moved and I don't really know the interlopers.

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Depending on cost, I think I'd rather just have a bigger/straight staircase to the cellar inside the house for boiler moving and close up this exterior door altogether. The location of the header or a header-covering-cabinet is bad because both would intrude into an already narrow passageway in to the house. And I'm sure the reason the cellar exterior door is in such bad shape is because there is no overhang above it to protect it from weather, but there is a window in way of building an overhang. I think I'd just feel unsafe with a routinely crumbling door to my house right in the outside wall. Also I'm sure climate control in the cellar would be be better if that wall were just solid.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Excellent! You could do it either way. Marcolo's option would require a removable cabinet but would give you the advantage of full height access.

    My option would allow a permanent floor and permanent cabinet but would reduce the opening height by whatever the distance is from the bottom of your subfloor to the top of the door frame.

    With either option, the outside appearance would remain the same except that Marcolo's door would still have to open but the sealed door in my option would only have to be removable. You did say you have to replace the door anyway. It would be much easier and cheaper to build a fake door than to build one that opens.

    Only you can know if lowering the opening would still allow the access you need. In both cases, you don't have to change the floor joists underneath. Everything can stay as it is since the depth of your header box is only 17" and a piece of plywood will span that without any problem.

    The reason I would prefer my option is that it removes the kitchen space from any issues with outside cellar access but you could only do that if you still had the required clearance after reducing the opening height.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Downsizer - In the last photo, where you show the opening to the back door, are you willing to move that doorway to the left enough to allow wider cabinets to butt into that wall? I know it's a brick wall, so it would require some work to move it.

    If you are not willing to move it, you might as well go with Marcolo's option or Jillius' because you won't solve anything with my option if you don't move that doorway to allow more depth along that wall.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi lisa_a,

    After seeing the new photos you posted of "sideways drawers" I realize I did misunderstand at first what you had originally suggested. These pictures you have posted clarify it. Thank you for that idea. I realize the distance you are envisioning from the sink edge to the wall would be 6"- 9" or so.

    I am waiting for the carpenter to stop by so I can talk to him about the possibility of moving the cellar stairs. But if it is too expensive or not-doable, I love your idea about an entrance to the first floor bath from another location. I hadn't considered that. I am thinking a door could be installed in the tiny mudroom that would allow access to that bath. And having the door there eliminates the problem Jillius mentioned about people having to skirt a dining room table on their way to the bath if the bedroom and DR are flipped.

    And we could keep that door from the mudroom inaccessible with coats and boots in front of it until we really need to start using that now-study as a bedroom. At that point we may not be driving as often anyway so we won't be using that back door entrance as much. (I know I won't be driving. The reason I wanted to move to this little city is because I wanted to be able to walk everywhere so that is what I do now because I hate driving.)

    Hi rmtdoug and marcolo,

    Yesterday it was pouring when I was taking pictures, but when the rain lets up today I will open the stupid cellar door (It is a project to open that awful door.) and stand outside and take a couple shots of the headroom. And at the same time I will do what you suggested, rmtdoug: measure to see if a boiler could fit through an abbreviated cellar door.

    If I am understanding you, correctly, marcolo, what do we gain if we remove that box and install another in its place? Don't we still have the same tight entry problems? (This question has just revealed I don't understand the solution you have suggested.)

    And, rmtdoug, I will also admit I don't understand what you mean when you mention your solution involves a fake door. Although, DH, who is an engineer, will understand it. I will ask him to explain it to me when he is not sleeping or working. (the time is 4 AM here.)

    Hi Jillius,

    You are absolutely right about the cellar door. And I haven't even shown you the bottom of it. I'll take a picture of that today for entertainment purposes. It is the craziest design. It is set down in a well so rain water and snow melt can just cascade against the lower foot or so of it. What is really baffling to me is that silly door, in spite of its poor design along with multiple holes and cracks, does not admit water to the basement (yet anyway). Our basement has been perfectly dry. A powerful thunderstorm this past summer dumped enough water so that all my neighbors' basements were flooded, but ours was not. So go figure.

    Also, I want to respond to the many interesting and creative suggestions you posted earlier. I haven't done it before now because it is difficult to envision, involving as it does so many changes as well as thinking in 3D, which is not one of my skills. But I will do that within the next couple of days.

    Hi rmtdoug,

    Now I understand what you had said in an earlier post about "sliding the back door down the wall"! I can't find that post easily to quote it, but it was something like the words I stuck inside the quote marks above. I had pictured something else altogether when you first said it. To address your question: We are certainly planning to remove all the trim around that entry and re-plaster the edges. We figured removing that trim that would gain us 4" - 6".

    I just measured that wall and I can see that as much as 8 - 10" more than the trim could be lopped off from that wall without affecting greatly the usefulness of the mudroom. The mudroom is terribly tiny for New England, but moving the wall would still allow us to keep the shelves that are currently there or a line of coats and boots and skis if we junked the shelves. The tough thing about that wall is that it was originally an exterior wall so it is thick with brick. I will ask the carpenter about costs for opening that doorway. It does make sense, and is a good idea.

    Again, thank you all for helping us with our challenging space and several difficult problems. I am very grateful that you have devoted this time and brain power to our issues.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Stairs from kitchen to second floor

    butler's pantry: looking from dining room back toward kitchen

    Side opposite sink in butler's pantry. Described as "closet" on architectural drawing. I will try to take more pic of this little space, but it is difficult to get a good angle on it since the area is so small.

  • marcolo
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When you put it that way, my option gives you more storage, but doesn't relieve the pinch point. What about a bench, instead of a cabinet there? A secure but removable bench with a back would be easier to squeeze by, because the protruding part is only 18 inches off the floor. You could use it to set down groceries, take off your boots, and give guests someplace to sit in the kitchen out of your way.

    I had to replace my cellar door too. I used fiberglass: no more rotting.

  • rmtdoug
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What I meant by "fake door" is that you would be basically covering the opening with something that can be removed. It only needs to be weather-tight like any exterior part of a house. You can make it look like anything you want. It would be secured from the inside by screws or bolts or whatever is appropriate for the material and type of construction you choose.

    Yeah, moving the doorway between the mudroom and kitchen is the only way to remove that pinch point coming into the kitchen. That is, if you want to use the outside wall in the kitchen for any kind of storage or counter space.

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's a possible bathroom configuration for down the road:

    This is conceptual only since I don't know the dimensions of areas outside of the kitchen.

    I also tweaked a few other things at the same time: widening the doorway from mudroom to kitchen, swapping out 2 swing doors for sliding barn doors, etc.

    I also tweaked the stairs, thinking (hoping) that it may be possible to address the steep tread issue without moving them, which should be cheaper than moving them. It doesn't address the "how do I get a new boiler in the basement" issue but since that's likely an uncommon need, finding an alternate, less expensive solution may be sufficient.

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What is the distance from the brick wall in the kitchen to the inner DR wall (the one with the closet on it)? If you go to the expense of moving the stairs, it would be nice to also be able to lay the kitchen out in a way that routes traffic around it not through it. But whether you can will depend on how much room you have to work with.

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Marcolo

    Thank you. It did not occur to me to simply eliminate that box and replace it with storage. I just figured we were stuck with it. And you are right: it is just an empty box sitting there taking up space. And, since it is made of uninsulated 3/4" wood, it probably makes the kitchen cold. So either of your ideas -- the bench or the cabinet -- would make that space more useful, and warm it up at the same time.

    Fiberglass for the door. I will investigate that material. I had asked one carpenter if the door could be remade in Azek, but he thought it would not be rigid enough. So I started thinking about Azek with a backing of plywood, but then I imagined that double layer would again make the door very heavy and difficult for me to open and close which is why I haven't taken pictures of of the headroom yet. I need DH's help for that project, and he has been tied up with a tennis tournament this week. I think we can do it on Sunday.

    Hi rmtdoug,

    Good points, all. Although it would squeeze the sink closer to the cooktop, I will ask the carpenter when he next stops by about shortening that wall from the mudroom to the kitchen, I would very much like to do that if it is not too costly, especially after seeing lisa_a's latest design with an expanded mudroom just off that space.

    When I saw her good idea I realized we would not have to preserve much of that mudroom/kitchen wall at all to maintain the current size of the mudroom since we could just open up the other wall and, until we get a shed built, store a whole lot of necessary gear close to the back door, including a snow shovel in winter and a rake in summer.

    Hi lisa_a,

    What an incredible design idea. I absolutely love it and it solves so many of our problems simultaneously. The pocket door between the bath and the shower is a clever solution.

    The only sticking point is that the maximum opening on that wall (where you have shown the entry to the new mudroom) is only 28" because there is an old chimney on one side. The chimney is shown on the architectural drawing as a funny shaped rectangle protruding into the "shower" area on the plan. That unused chimney is actually a square that sits outside the kitchen on the mudroom-side of the wall.

    However, I so love your design that I want to use it anyway. If we ripped through some of the trim on that bathroom we could widen the opening to a suitable sized doorway.

    I realize I need to upload all the dimensions of the mudroom, the BP and the dining room. My design software has arrived and I have used it to outline the kitchen with some gross dimensions, but I need to get all the dimensions on it because you and Jillius have had to guess the measurements of areas outside the kitchen.

    I see you drew the stairs opening to the living room. Thank you. Now that you have imagined how that will look, do you think the opening to the kitchen from the living room should be closed up and the sink sited there? I ask this in case we can afford to widen the kitchen opening from the mudroom as rmtdoug suggests since doing that would cut down on the length of the sink/cooktop wall.

    The distance from the inside wall of the kitchen (the one with the mudroom on the other side) to the furthest wall of the BP (with the dining room on the other side) is 181". The distance from that same kitchen wall to the closest-to-the-BP dining room wall is 185.5". Let me know if those measurements are not what you were looking for.

  • lazy_gardens
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ah ... the trendy "we have a maid" staircase so she could go upstairs without setting foot in the LR.

    Maybe this would work ... get rid of some stub walls and kitchen access to the staircase. (new walls marked in red)

    Add cabinets, counters, range or whatever in opened out areas marked in green. All or part of the dining room closet becomes added storage in the butler's pantry. Alternate use for the closet by the back entry - leave stub wall, remove closet door and its wall, and make a "mudroom" of it.

    Even if you don't have room for a full-width counter to the left in the kitchen, shallow ones are useful for some prep and small appliances.

    The wide opening to the kitchen is unusual for that era. Were there doors at one time?

  • lisa_a
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You have more room between the brick wall and the DR wall than I guessed, which is good because if you do decide to move the stairs as Jillius suggested, then you have room to route traffic past the kitchen, not through it. Here's one way you might achieve that:

    It's a galley style kitchen with only one way in. It blocks the view into the kitchen from the LR, more in keeping with your home's age and style. It feels open because the sink run is a peninsula, open to the stairway wall. There's only one sink so that will help the budget.

    It's shy on storage compared to Jillius' suggestion but given how much room you actually have compared to her estimate, the aisle between the two runs of aisles in her kitchen plan would be 73", which is wider than desirable, IMO. That's with a 48" wide staircase. If you choose to go with a slightly narrower staircase, the aisle will be even greater.

    Unless you intend to replace your back door with one wider than 36", that will be your limiting factor in getting large things in and out of your basement, not the stairs' width. btw, our staircase is 41" wide (20 yr old house) and has been sufficient for moving furniture upstairs (we don't have a basement).

    One plus my plan has that hers lacks is a direct path from kitchen to DR. Compromises are part of the deal when remodeling old homes so that may be one you have to make.

    Bummer about that chimney wall! I wondered what I might be removing but I had hoped it wasn't a big deal. You could ask about costs to remove it but I hear it can be expensive, especially if it requires structural repair and support. But it sounds like you may have a solution that doesn't involve removing that wall. That would be great. Fingers crossed for you!

    I like lazygardens' idea of turning the two closets into a walk-in pantry! How wide is that space? I have a narrowish walk-in pantry that is 42" wide and I love it! I wouldn't want to go much narrower than that, though.

    IF you are able to remove the cellar door header permanently - if you have enough room to move large objects in and out of the basement without the tall doorway - then this lay-out may be possible.

    It keeps the stairs in their current location but with corrected tread to make them safer to climb. It turns the 2 closets next to the DR into a huge walk-in closet (great idea, lazygardens!).

    I moved the clean-up sink to under the window above the cellar access.

    I reduced the width of the cabs in the butler's pantry to give you more clearance around the basement stairs and to create a wider passage from kitchen to DR.

    I added a pocket door (or sliding barn door) between kitchen and LR so that when you want, you can close off views to the kitchen.

    Another option to explore: it may be possible to move the cellar door header lower so that you still have some head room here and have enough clearance for a sink and plumbing above it.

    Another option is to create a basement walk-out but that will depend on whether you have room to do that and neighborhood approval (thought I remembered reading that you would need this for exterior changes but now can't find it in this long thread).

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    More dimensions

  • Downsizer_2014
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    lisa_a, again, thanks for your hard work on our layout. I will take photos and get dimensions for the "closet" space in the DR.

  • Jillius
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Another idea.

    1) The stairs stay in the same place, but they are straightened so the entrance to going upstairs is in the living room rather than the kitchen. The entrance to the cellar is in the same place, but its swing door has been replaced with a pocket door.

    2) I made changes to the interior brick wall and the bathroom. I know that was undesirable, but now you have a wider entrance to the kitchen and a bathroom that is off a hallway rather than inside the dining room and/or bedroom. You also now have WAY more mudroom space and a route around the kitchen rather than through it. The mudroom I'm envisioning has a narrow bench with shoe storage (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Songmics-Natural-Bamboo-Storage-ULBS06N/dp/B00NL9I3JC/ref=pd_sim_sbs_etk_hg_fd__4?ie=UTF8&refRID=0N8DHYFWJS8VXR3C0K86) with hooks on the wall above it. Also, the shower is very roomy now (just worked out that way).

    3) I hope this does not make you too sad, but instead of the oven you wanted, I've given you a freestanding range. The idea with this is you could keep the exterior cellar door and have this range be the thing you slide out to expose the hole in the floor the rare times you need to have headroom there. Just get a range that plugs in (rather than being hardwired) so it's not too much trouble to pull in and out.

    4) I have posted two layouts -- one for now, and one showing how it'd transform when you add a bedroom later. Between the two, there is a minor structural change -- closing the wall between the kitchen and dining. You could either frame it in and and drywall it, or you could just have a door hung there that stays permanently shut.

    For both situations, I just took a stab at a furniture layout. The living room area is really tough!

    In the first one, one of the armchairs is swivel-able so it can turn and face people sitting on the settee. In the second one, while you lose the dining room, you still have a table for dining in the living room that can expand (with added leaves) to seat lots of people. Not quite as elegant as a dedicated dining room, but all the function is still there.


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