Solve a traffic jam in the kitchen of an old house?

Christina Lutters
last month
last modified: last month

I'm working on some structural repairs to my 1900 mountain house and have the unexpected opportunity to change up the layout of the back of the house (left side in this diagram). The walls dividing the study, hallway and kitchen need to be replaced and I can alter them somewhat.

The diagram shows the existing walkways through the house; there’s traffic jam in the kitchen and utility room.

The “hallway” is not used as a hallway because the door is difficult to open, the washing machine partially blocks the way, and there’s just too much stuff stored in there. But it could be a hallway again. The kitchen and utility room are constantly walked through for no reason but its the path out the back. Groceries are carried in from the bottom of the diagram. Traffic from upstairs then out the back door is frequent.

Problems I'm trying to solve:

  • better traffic flow
  • place for 2-3 seats in the kitchen
  • more sensible place for the w/d

I don't want to change the doors connecting the right side of the house to the study, hallway, or kitchen -- but everything to the left of that wall to the deck area (in grey) can change. Also, open floorplans feel off for this house.

A blank floor plan:

The demolition plan: Red is being torn out; yellow remains in place; striped means the ceiling will be replaced; blue means the floor is being replaced.

Kitchen. Looking towards the utility room (chimney is being removed).

Kitchen. Looking towards the utility room.

Utility room. Hallway and kitchen door are on the left:

Floor plan with dimensions:

I would love any thoughts or ideas you brilliant people have!

Answers to Questions (9/22)

  • 10' ceilings
  • The utility room was originally a cooking porch, and was enclosed in the 50s with the addition of the water tanks; it has no good views and it should either be removed, or remain a utility room.
  • Windows in the kitchen and utility room can be relocated/removed/replaced
  • One water tank is for hot water (the one closer to the kitchen) and I'll replace it eventually with a on-demand heater.
  • The electrical panel in the hallway is being combined with the one in the utility room.
  • There's a guest bathroom to the right of the kitchen.
  • I'm not working with an architect because we didn't expect the damage to be so extensive, and to be presented with this opportunity. As a conservationist, I'd prefer to keep as much of the layout the same, but if there is something that could make it exceptionally better, I'd try it!

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