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Planning kitchen remodel – need design advice please!

6 years ago

Hello, kitchen lovers! After lurking on this board for many years,
I am finally remodeling my 1960’s/1990’s kitchen. I would love some layout
help, please. I’ve been working with a KD, but I’m not sure we’re making the
best progress. We’ve ended up with a layout very similar to what I have now, with
a little extra space stolen from LR & DR; with this design, I see myself
trekking farther than should be necessary. You all have fantastic ideas, so I’d
love to hear them and greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Existing kitchen layout below. Pretty much to scale, may be off by a few inches here or there.

Kitchen statement:

I want my kitchen to be easy to work
in, easy to clean and maintain, friendly, warm yet fresh, and relaxingly neutral
with a few pops of color. I want it to be efficient and comfortable for one or
two workers, with space for visitors as well.

About us:

Me and DH - early 50s.

Kids - Next year 2 in college, 1
starting HS.

Our home is a small (1700 sq ft) 1960’s
split level: kit/DR/LR on main level, family room down, bedrooms up. We cook a lot
from scratch, pack lunches daily, and I bake a lot (cookies, pizza, quick
breads/occasionally yeast bread). We sometimes cook large batches of
chili/calzones/pasties to freeze for lunches. Outdoors, we grill frequently,
and a few times a year, smoke large batches of meat (you’re all invited!). We
entertain casually and spontaneously, often outdoors if weather permits. We
have a large standing freezer in the basement. Current kitchen layout is shown

Kids are growing up, will move out
someday. We see this as our “forever” home. Budget is flexible – while we have
saved enough to do pretty much anything that might suit our simple tastes and
needs, retirement is in sight, so we don’t want to spend lavishly on the
kitchen. We are willing to pay for things we need or value. We don’t want to
add on to the house.

What’s wrong with current kitchen:

  1. No landing space to left of
    range, small space to the right. Frustration and danger!!
  2. No room for large modern-size
    fridge. Ours is 20 years old.
  3. Pinch point btwn fridge and
    peninsula – it’s about 29”. We’ve adapted, but that’s small.
  4. Finishes are all old and worn.
    No-wax floor is splitting in one spot.
  5. Pantry too deep, stuff gets lost.
  6. Work area is a little cramped
    when 2 people are working. We have adapted well, and despite the cramping,
    some parts work well and we are pretty productive/efficient. But there’s
    got to be a better way.
  7. Z-brick backsplash. ‘Nuff said.

What I love about our kitchen:

  1. My little peninsula. I know it’s
    bad design and seems like it’s in the way, but I *live* there. Standing in
    my little cockpit, I can prep food, reach the fridge or sink in a few
    steps, pop dirty prep dishes into the DW, see/talk with people upstairs,
    see/talk with people down in FR, see out the window and out the kitchen
    door. I also love prepping without an upper cab in my face, and can visit
    with whoever’s in the kitchen. Those people are usually standing. So while
    I don’t need *that* peninsula per se, I’d like the main prep area to have
    a lot of those features.
  2. I like having DW not in
    traffic, for multi-tasking purposes.

What probably won’t change:

Dishwasher is new.
Everything else will go!!

The bow window. It’s
78” wide and starts 28” from floor – so no counter-height cabs.

The kitchen door
to the driveway – this is the main family entry/exit. The path from stairs
through kitchen and out the door is heavily traveled many times a day. I’ve
often thought about moving that door to allow a longer stretch of cabinetry,
but I don’t think we will close it up (as some of our neighbors with the same
model home have done). My husband wishes to keep it as is; if there is a great
design that will relocate it on the same wall and not add a huge expense, he
might reconsider.

Ceiling height is

Kitchen level built
is above a crawl space.

can change:

Walls between
kitchen and LR/DR are not load-bearing. Can be moved or eliminated.

We can push the
sink wall into living room – up to two feet.

We could move the
entry from front hall to kitchen a bit by eliminating the current pantry.

What we’d like:

  1. Landing space on both sides of
    stove. Large space on at least one side.
  2. Big stretch of counterspace/prep
    area where two people can work together, there are no uppers, and
    hopefully it’s within view of both sets of stairs and kitchen window.
  3. Decent vent hood, prefer 600 cfm.
    Prefer 36” hood atop 30” cooking surface.
  4. Microwave in work zone – I use it
    for cooking tasks. It’s rarely used for snacks.
  5. Induction range, but maybe gas. One
    oven is fine.
  6. 33” or 36” fridge. CD is a
    possibility. Prefer 36”for resale/replacement.
  7. DW not in traffic.
  8. Shallow pantry closet – reach in.
    I’ve read the pantry threads on this board and would like a 20” deep
    closet w space on floor for large containers, one 18” deep shelf above
    that (or an 18” deep spot at the end of each shelf on one side), and 12”
    or 15” shelves of varying heights. Spot to hang broom. Main pantry does
    not have to be in main work zone.
  9. Storage in work zone for
    frequently used items: oils, vinegar, PB, cereal, grains, sugars, tea,
    baking chemicals, spices, etc.
  10. Make better use of the area by
    window – smaller table, with storage flanking seating. We eat most meals
    in dining room; kitchen table area is usually the drop zone for bags, shoes,
    clutter. Mine as much as anybody’s.
  11. Would like to open kitchen to
    LR/DR to some degree. More on that below.
  12. Need small appliance storage: 2
    crock pots, hand mixer, food processor, stick blender, Vitamix, sous vide,
    vacuum sealer. Stuff we rarely use (coffee maker, fondue pot) can live
    elsewhere in house if need be.

Don’t need:

As often as I
bake, I don’t need a lowered marble countertop for rolling out dough. I just
roll it out at one of my tables.

Appliance notes:

Twice a year I
want double wall ovens. Don’t need it, though. I assume it takes too much

Regular microwave
is fine. Doesn’t have to be built in. MW drawer ok. Had an Advantium and didn’t
love it, wouldn’t buy again.

Fridge: prefer
French door; CD may be best for design, in which case we might add a small
fridge in basement for overflow. Hate how big full-size fridges are, but many
CD fridges seem so tiny inside.

Thoughts about
opening up kitchen to LR/DR:

We don’t use our living room much, and
would like to use it more. Our neighbors have a similar home and opened up part
of their wall between kitchen sink and LR/DR. It’s nice because kitchen worker
can converse with folks in the LR & DR, and see out their large windows
into their yard. Yet they kept enough wallage that when you walk in the front
door, there’s still some structure and the kitchen is not on display. Their
kitchen still feels like its own room. I imagine we might use our LR more if it
was more great room-ish. Taking out all the walls wouldn’t work for us,
though. I like some walls.

Thanks for your thoughts/ideas! If
anyone wants to see roughly what the KD and I have come up with (similar to
existing layout), I can post that, too. I don’t have the exact layout w/ all
measurements, but can give you an idea. Just didn’t want to confuse things w/
too much info right now. Again, thank you!!

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