How do I ask for Layout Help and what information should I include?
Preface/A Piece of Advice: When you post a layout for comments, please do not take the comments you receive personally. Everyone here is trying to help, not criticize maliciously. We want you to have a kitchen that, in the end, functions wonderfully well and looks nice overall. This may mean that some of us may tear apart your layout and rebuild it to what we think will work better, but it is done with good intentions. We are not the best at just "validating" someones layout, we are best at critiquing!
I will warn you that most of us here are "function over form" (or "function first")...meaning we strive first for a functional layout and then fit the form or look around it. It is far easier to make a functional kitchen look nice than it is to make a nice looking but dysfunctional kitchen functional. So, if you are a form/looks over function person, be sure to state that when you post.
Some people here think "function over form" means we want all kitchens to look the same....not true! What we do want is all kitchens to function well...which means that in 99% of the cases, the workflow is the same...and that will mean some similarities due to workflow. However, as each kitchen is unique, each will have its own unique quirks, etc.
In the end, remember this is your kitchen. You do not have to make any of the recommended changes if you do not want to!
[Note: If you are just posting for validation of your layout (i.e., you do NOT want comments that suggest changes), explicitly state that as well. If you do not, people will comment on it!
Warning: People may comment anyway, it is tough to let a kitchen go that you think is dysfunctional and will cause angst later...especially if it is not yet installed and we think we can help. Bear with us, we are just trying to help!]
We often get requests to help with layouts. Many of us enjoy doing this but it would help if you can post a copy of your floorplan or layout, preferably to-scale.
- The best place to start is to draw up your kitchen (to scale, if possible) either without cabinets & appliances if you do not know where to start or with your proposed new layout if you have something to start with. Regardless, measure and label everything...walls, ceiling height, widths of doors/doorways & windows, distances between windows, walls, doors/doorways, etc.
If you cannot move plumbing or gas, mark them on your drawing as well.
Mark all doors/doorways & windows (with dimensions) and label them as to where they lead. If they are actual doors, mark how they swing.
It also would be helpful to see the connecting rooms, even entire first floor layouts (or whatever floor your kitchen is on), so we see how they interact with the kitchen and/or extend the kitchen feel and flow.
Make note of traffic flows in and out of the kitchen
Make a list of things like:
- What are your goals? E.g., more counter space, more storage, seating in the kitchen (island? peninsula? table?), etc.
What is your family composition? Adults? Children? Age ranges of children? Current? Future?
How many kitchen workers are there? Cook(s)? Cleanup? Helpers? Now? Future? (E.g., if you have young children, plan for them as teens for both "sizing" of seating as well as helping in the kitchen in general)
Do you or anyone in your home cook? (No, this is not a facetious question. Some people do not cook and their kitchen is a show place only. If that is what works for you & your family, that's fine! We just need to know that.)
How do you see your kitchen used? Just for cooking/cleaning up? Children doing homework while you cook? Party place?
Do you entertain a lot? If so, formal? Informal?
Do you want your kitchen to be a "hang out" place? Parties only? Everyday?
Do you have a separate DR? Do you use it frequently? Infrequently? If infrequently, do you want to begin using it more frequently (e.g., for daily/nightly family meals)?
Would you like to open up the kitchen to adjacent areas? Close it up?
Do you plan to merge two rooms/areas (e.g., Nook and Kitchen into a Kitchen only)
Where are you flexible?
Can windows or doorways change size?
Can they be moved or eliminated?
Can windows be raised/lowered?
Can any walls come down?
Does the sink have to be centered under a window?
Does it have to be under a window at all?
Note: The more constraints you put on a space (e.g., sink centered under a window, not willing to move plumbing, electric, or gas lines), the fewer options there are. So, be sure any limitations/constraints you mention are true constraints. You could say you would like something to not be moved/changed or placed in a certain location, but if it is not a must or truly impossible, then mention it is a preference but that you would consider something different.
BTW...do not assume something is "too expensive" to do...check around b/f assuming, you may be pleasantly surprised at how little it costs! (E.g., if you have a basement, moving water, etc. is generally relatively inexpensive.) If one can be fit...
Do you bake a lot and do you want a Baking Center?
Do you want a coffee/tea/beverage center?
Do you want a snack center?
What appliances do you plan on having (helps to figure out work flow, work zones, and types of cabinets...upper/lower vs full height, etc.)
Range or Cooktop or Rangetop?
Single or Double or no Wall Oven?
MW? (Advantium, MW Drawer, OTR MW/Hood, countertop, built-in, shelf?)
DW? Standard or drawers? If drawers, 1 or 2?
Refrigerator (Top/bottom freezer, SxS, or all-fridge/freezer? Counter-depth (CD), standard-depth, or built-in?)
Sizes of desired appliances (e.g., 30" or 36" or 48" cooktop; 36" or 42" or 48" wide or other Refrigerator? etc.)
Pantry: Walk-in or cabinets? In the Kitchen or outside the Kitchen (e.g., Mudroom or hall)?
***** Very Important *****
Is there anything you:
Cannot live without?
Definitely do not want?
Would like if you can find a way?
This information will be valuable to not only you, but also any Kitchen Designers you may hire or talk to. Additionally, if you have been haunting the site, you will have noticed that we also help with almost all aspects of a remodel.
If you do ask for help, then all of the above information will help us help you. Sometimes we stray from what you think you want to give you some ideas that you might not have thought of, but this is your kitchen and you can veto anything...we may argue for something (we are very good at that!), but in the end it is what you want. And remember, we are just giving you ideas and layout options, in the end when you finalize your design it is whatever you want and decide on! After all, this is your kitchen!
[Keep this advice in mind if/when you use a Kitchen Designer or when dealing with a contractor--again, this is your kitchen, not his or hers...do not let them talk you into anything unless you are sure it is what you want!]