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Kitchen / Dining Area Remodel - Ideas & Questions

Noor
18 days ago
last modified: 13 days ago

Hey all, I have an upcoming kitchen remodel and I'd love your help to answer some questions as well as any thoughts or opinions you have. I will upload pictures of the kitchen are and anticipated floor plans shortly!

Walking into kitchen from the living area you are facing (north) the dining area. Turning to your left you are facing the actual kitchen and peninsula seating. This wall at the front will be referred to as the west wall from here on out and other walls respectively. The total space of the kitchen and dining area is 13'x19'. 13 (north to south) and 19 (east to west)

Here's the plan. I intent to rip up all cabinetry and items from the south wall and creating a huge interior window / opening. This will look down into the living / fireplace area. (It's a split level home design). Starting at the intersection of the west and south walls and running along the west wall you'll have 2' pantry, 3' fridge opening, 2' counter space, 3' stove / oven, and 3' to the north wall.

From the north / west wall corner and running along the north wall you'll have 5' counter space, 3' for sink, and 5' for counter space. Dishwasher will likely go very close to the sink here in the last 5' run. I then plan on a built in bench under the window for a 5' run and a 1' wine rack or other nifty idea here.

As you probably guessed, smack in the middle you'll have an island and seating area. So 5.5' from the north and west and 4' from the south wall be the edge starts of the island. The island will measure 78" x 42" directly attached to the island's east end is a table / seating area that will measure 48" by 42". In total, the entire island / seating area will measure 10.5' x 3.5'. I'm hoping this seats 8, 4 on the island 78" length and 2 on the table 48" length (6 in total along south wall) and 2 seating on the north side. The end of the seating area will have 3' until the east wall. There is a potential for a tv mounted high on that wall but nothing else along that wall so that traffic isn't hindered. Open to thoughts and suggestions and hope that anyone that chooses to engage will be respectful and kind.

Questions:

  • Do I have enough space to make this all work?
  • What do you think of the bench idea? Would you put something else in there?
  • Do you think a window along the south wall is fine?
  • Is 3' between the east wall and dining edge enough space?
  • Do you think there's an issue with the space between the fridge and the island (overlaps 1' of the island)



























Comments (43)

  • Connecticut Yankeeeee
    18 days ago

    Not a pro. But to help the pros who will hopefully chime in, I’m thinking you need to post floor plans of your existing space and new space.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    You don't seem to be accounting for countertop overhangs, fillers, or a fridge surround. The fridge and range doors and handle will protrude into the aisle, so 42" might be more like 37-40" in some spots. Check the specs for your fridge model to find out how much ventilation space is needed behind it, and on the sides.

    I'd suggest making the island 40" deep (24" deep cabinets, 1" front overhang, 15" back overhang, with a cabinet skin cover panel). Even at 78" you don't have space for 4 seats at the island, as each seat needs 24" elbow space, so I'd go for 72" for 3 seats and add the 6" to the fridge/range aisle. 24" drawer MW can go in the island, across from the fridge.

    On the sink run, I'd use a 30" single bowl sink with an 18" trash pull-out to the left and a 30" drawer base to the right of the DW. That will give you a wider prep area between the range and sink. If you need a 36" drawer base for pots and pans, it can go on the island. A slot for sheet pans and cutting boards can complete the island cabinetry.


    The aisles will be tight (even with my suggestions) to reach any appliance from the entry. I like the window to the LR, to connect the spaces and open up the kitchen.

    NKBA guidelines

    New to Kitchens? Read me first.

    Discussions--all drawer bases

    Discussions--dishes in drawers

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  • mcarroll16
    17 days ago

    I wouldn't love a bench in that location. You can spare the space, it just seems like an odd and uncomfortable place to sit, right next to prep or dishware. I'm guessing you're putting it there because the window extends below countertop height. What about putting a lower counter/cart/shelf there. A "breakfast" counter that hosts the toaster and coffee maker. Or your wine and cheese in the evening.

  • Noor
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    hey @mama goose_gw zn6OH thanks so much for taking the time to express your thoughts and redraw! I really appreciate it. I like your thoughts on the island resize, 72 by 40 were the original dimensions but I was being greedy. I was originally thinking microwave above the range but now that you mention in the island, I'm wondering if that's a nicer alternative allowing for a good looking hood. Also, I like where you have the trash, I originally had that in the island but it would be so much nicer to have next to the sink for a scrape to the left, rinse in the middle and place in the dw on the right. Did you have any thoughts about the bench area along the north wall? My only other question was this comment "The aisles will be tight (even with my suggestions) to reach any appliance from the entry" - I'm not sure I follow, can you explain a bit?

  • Noor
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    hey @mcarroll16 thanks for your thoughts here. Can you explain why you think it would be uncomfortable to have a bench at the end? My thoughts originally are that with a 5' run before the bench, there wouldn't be many dishes there, mostly smaller countertop appliances. The window is countertop height, do you think this helps or hurts. Also, do you happen to have a pic of the breakfast counter you recommend? I've attached a photo of what I was thinking about the bench.



    Greenwich, Ct Townhouse · More Info


  • Jessica
    17 days ago

    So it looks like this is replacing your current kitchen AND dining area, right?

    I like the idea of having an open window area to your living room. It’s great for having a line of sight and for continuity.

    I would suggest having another 6” between the table and the east wall for clearance.

    And I personally wouldn’t do the bench, but it’s not my house. I have a lot of cooking/baking supplies, so I would rather use the space for more storage and counter space. But if you think about it and can really imagine a bench being used often, go for it. Also, I’d recommend buikding storage in if you do go for the bench!

  • mcarroll16
    17 days ago

    That picture is gorgeous! But for me, it works because the bench is completely separate from the counter. In your layout, the bench sits right next to the counter. Someone sitting there has their head near the countertop. Hair is going to shed onto the worktop. Someone on the bench is going to make a careless movement and knock a dish of the countertop. Etc. Maybe that's just my messy family.


    I don't have a good picture for you right now, but I'll search Houzz and update when I find one.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Thank you for adding more pictures to clarify the structure.

    "The aisles will be tight (even with my suggestions) to reach any appliance from the entry" - I'm not sure I follow, can you explain a bit?

    The NKBA (first link I posted) recommends 48" work aisles, 42" minimum, and that would be counter-to-counter. Appliances will have doors and handles that protrude into the aisles, and you need to account for space to step back to open the doors. With the fridge on the far wall, anyone accessing it would need to walk behind people seated at the island, although I think that aisle width is OK.

    I, too, was assuming the bench was included because of a low window, so I'd continue the counter there and use a beverage fridge, which would make it easier for someone entering the kitchen to grab a drink without walking behind the island seats. Salad dressings and condiments could also be kept there, convenient to the table seating. If you include the beverage fridge, traffic to the main fridge will be reduced; you might be able to get away with the minimum recommended 44" in the aisle behind the island seating, and add those inches to the clean-up aisle. A tall cabinet on the end could hold snacks and breakfast foods, coffee station, toaster, etc.


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  • mcarroll16
    16 days ago

    A picture related to my "breakfast bar" suggestion. Pretty similar to mamagoose's snack/beverage counter idea. Could be a breakfast station, snack station, wine bar, whatever fits your needs best. Love mamagoose's beverage fridge suggestion.

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  • Noor
    Original Author
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    @Jessica yep, this will replace the entire kitchen and dining area. I'm honestly surprised that not a whole lot of people are liking the bench idea. I just thought that since most people like to gather in kitchens then the bench would be good with the limited 7 seating in there. Maybe I don't have enough kitchen supplies which is why I don't think I need that much cabinetry. Storage under the bench is definitely a go. I'm not sure I can spare the extra 6" for the east walkway without taking it from the island / table or the walkway between fridge and island which is already too small. How critical is that in your eyes?

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH I was reading over some of the guidelines that were talking about combined space between appliances like I have between kitchen and fridge. To accommodate I was thinking about making the southwest pantry the new wine rack from 24" down to 12" and moving the fridge south to create the needed space between the fridge and range. this would also reduce the direct overlap from the fridge on the island across the way and give some leniency for an open door fridge and passerby.

    After making those changes and taking into consideration what @mcarroll16 was saying about hair and dishes, I was going to move the pantry to the end of the sink run thereby closing in the seating / bench area to create that nook effect. I like having the light from the window in the kitchen but am not a fan of lower cabinets without uppers, hence the bench. I'm weird, I know.

    Thoughts, everyone? You all are a tremendous help, thanks for letting me bounce ideas!

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    16 days ago

    Where exactly are the windows on the sink wall? I'm not clear how the bench will be positioned relative to the windows. Can you mark them on your original drawing?

  • btydrvn
    16 days ago

    Depending on the height of the opening…a very shallow cabinet under that..for canned goods?… glassware?…spices?…could be very convenient

  • Noor
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    @btydrvn thanks for sharing. Speaking of higher seating.. I was actually planning on keeping the island at the 36" height and not raising it so it doesn't feel out of place since the space isn't huge. thoughts on that? Also, when you talk about the opening, are you talking about the south all behind the stools? You don't think that would interfere with traffic? I assume there will be a lot to the fridge and in that area in general (crowding).

  • Noor
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH I'll get a new drawing with the other mentioned items uploaded soon and I'll include my proposed windows. I say proposed because although there are two windows there, I'm actually going to reduce the size of the one on the sink and reduce and move the one for the bench area. Thank you so much for the continued back and forth!

  • btydrvn
    16 days ago

    The luxury of the higher island is that you can work around it comfortably while standing…and seating is easier to slide in and out of..without having to get up and down…with the added pleasure of being able to see out the windows ( or even into the other room)… while seated…honestly your floor plan is a little hard to understand …so most of my suggestions are conceptual more than specific…

  • btydrvn
    16 days ago

    I am hoping you will have as many windows as possible…since natural light and outdoor views add so much to the ambiance of preparing and sharing food with family or friends as much as just having a snack on your own…

  • btydrvn
    16 days ago

    I am in general appreciative of some shallow but tall cabinetry in the kitchen some where as the deeper cabinets are really more suited for big things…and smaller things just get buried in deeper cabinets….the “opening” i refer to is the “interior window”…?

  • Noor
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    @btydrvn thanks for the comments. If you have questions about the layout, let me know. I thought the context was super descriptive but happy to answer any details I may have overlooked.


    @mama goose_gw zn6OH latest design attached for your review :) 😀


  • Noor
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Okay, I've thrown out the bench idea, cant remember why anymore but now I have 3 very close designs. Full uppers, pantry, and windows. Thoughts on which and why?

  • btydrvn
    14 days ago

    Going back a little…i would not reduce windows..as they are vital in a kitchen for natural light ..and views…i am a little confused about what stage you are at presently in the space…what is there and what is proposed?…it looks like the fridge is sticking out into the room 1’ beyond the counters ?..a general rule for a functional kitchen is a triangle arrangement of sink fridge and stove…lastly in any grid drawing it is much easier to read if the grid squares are 1’…not 6”…i am literally cross-eyed from counting all those teeny squares

  • btydrvn
    14 days ago

    One last thought …it seems a much smaller work island may leave enough room for a much more convenient and separate dining set?

  • Noor
    Original Author
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    hey @btydrvn thanks for that. As I came to upload the latest design, it seems we were thinking the same thing. I've decided to skip the headache of moving or removing the existing windows. The latest design with the small uppers takes into consideration the window arrangement as is. I'm now thinking of moving the pantry into the north-east corner, leaving the windows, and adding smaller uppers for extra storage. Also the latest design has all cabinetry going up to the ceiling.

    To answer some of your more pointed questions, the actual pictures of the yellow cabinetry with the peninsula is the present state of the kitchen. The proposed state would be the latest upload (3d mockup as described above). The fridge is protruding 1' beyond cabinets but I'm hoping for only 6", this was worst case scenario. Also, I'd rather keep the large island and have a 4 seater table. We have an 8 seater today and it's never used. Also, I think if we tried to separate dining out, we'd end up right back to where we are today.

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH thoughts?

  • mcarroll16
    14 days ago

    Trying to put all the pieces together to understand what you are describing. I think the last rendering is what you are considering if you don't change any windows? (You might have a typo, "not" instead of "now"?) I like that last rendering, except for the small uppers above the window. Those make the room heavy and a bit claustrophobic for me. You said above you don't have that much kitchen stuff to store. Would you be able to leave the walls open above the window and still store everything comfortably?

  • Noor
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    @mcarroll16 you are correct, latest design is with windows close together and pantry in corner. I did have a typo, fixed it, supposed to say now. Wrt the uppers, yes, I can get away with storing everything I need without them, I just thought it would look weird leaving it open. I also debated about tiling above the windows and maybe doing some free hanging shelving there? Do you think that would open it up and potentially still give additional storage space? I just don't want to underestimate the potential of long term habitation and growth.

  • mcarroll16
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    If your pantry and your left-hand uppers both run right up to the window, I would just do painted wall above. Possibly with sconces or Roman shades "decorating" the space. One thing that might influence the decision here though. How are you handling the ceiling change? Are you removing the "drop down" on the left side of the kitchen?

  • Noor
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Yep, I plan on getting rid of the drop-down ceiling that's currently in place.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    13 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    I'm still confused about the windows--it seems the last plan you posted has them in the locations/sizes you were considering, but now they won't change? Can you post a plan with the windows marked, in their current locations?

    If the fridge is standard depth (ap 36" deep including doors) you need to decide how many doors--unless the fridge is existing. Below are single door and French door configuration, and how they relate to the island/seating with only 36" for the aisle. I like the single door because the landing space to the right is more convenient. Since the island doesn't have much overlap with the fridge, it's not as convenient as a landing space for a French door fridge. Keep in mind that you need not only space for the door swing and landing space, but also 'step back' space if you need to bend and rummage in the back of a deep fridge. It's possible that someone will be sitting in the end seat, in the landing and step back space.

    A counter-depth fridge would help but would offer less storage space.






  • btydrvn
    13 days ago

    The most debatable subject is the whole seating issue..if you never use your big table why have 7 seats at an island?….it is not the right setup for thanksgiving dinner?…since this is a pretty big kitchen how about a nice desk area where the bench is by the window?great place to look for recipes…use your laptop/computer?…another thought ….i always like to see the pantry next to the refrigerator as that lines up with the awkward projection of the fridge…another problem zone to me is the lost corner space under the base cabinets to the left of the windows…usually in corners like this there is a cabinet that has circular rotating round shelves in the corner…a layout more like you have drawn out for the uppers…lastly it does look like you are eliminating a window?..can i assume all windows are being replaced?…and of course back to my mantra “the more windows the better for the enjoyment of your kitchen”

  • btydrvn
    13 days ago

    I always forget about the wine rack location….that spot looks perfect for a broom closet…and i have seen great wine racks positioned beneath the island for easy access…bringing to mind the microwave is always easier to watch at eye level…that upper corner shelf would be a very handy location and convenient to sink as well…

  • Noor
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    @btydrvn - you bring up some good points that are currently in flux. I'm not 100% sold on the drawer microwave, my better half wants a hood vent, I could go hood vent or MW. If we go MW over the range, I could move the wine rack to the island and leave the corner storage for broom and mop (more economical). The latest design keeps the windows and the nature lighting today. As far as seating, we don't sit at the 8 person table, mostly we sit at the island. However, we need some sort of seating since we have people over for dinner hence the 7 seater all together.


    @mama goose_gw zn6OH - I'm not sure what I'd do without you 😊 I was ordinally going to modify the window layout but to make my life easier, avoid exterior work and keep from potentially darkening the kitchen, I'll keep them as is. I've posted a plan with windows marked in their current location as you've asked. Currently I have a side by side fridge, we may down the road elect for cabinet depth if we find spacing to be an issue. I don't expect it to be considering today we have 4" clearance between open fridge peninsula (different kitchen).

  • mcarroll16
    13 days ago

    So many reasons not to put your microwave over your range:

    1. They aren't good at venting. Not much power, don't cover the front burners. If you have a gas range, you really need better venting than a OTR microwave can give you.

    2. They sit low, making it difficult to use tall pots on the back burner.

    3. But they sit too high for shorter people to safely use the microwave. Grade-school age kids is when this is the biggest problem. You would love older children to be able to heat their own food, instead of hassling you.

    4. Someone who wants to warm up leftovers or a cup of coffee has to interrupt the cook at the range.

    5. Microwaves don't have a long shelf life. OTR microwaves aren't terribly expensive, but they are still at least $200 more than a countertop model. Money you lose every few years when the stupid thing fails.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    13 days ago

    Thank you for the plan of the existing window locations--it matches the pics! I think that looks good, and provides extra storage (always a bonus).

  • btydrvn
    13 days ago

    You can have a hood and a microwave ….over the stove ….if they are located so that venting is possible…another observation …for comfortable island seating,especially for groups..you need at least 28” wide per chair…people need elbow room and room to get in and out of their chairs comfortably…and an overhang of 12” to sit comfortably while dining… plus room in the center if you are hosting a meal that requires serving dishes in the middle…to be honest all that seating is superfluous for everyday living…all those chairs!..which will in any case get in the way if you want to use the top for projects

  • btydrvn
    13 days ago

    A smaller working island …and separate dining makes much more sense decor wise as well …a nice rug in the dining area and a table that takes extensions for larger events…is roomier and cozier at the same time

  • Noor
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    @mcarroll16 convincing about the microwave! My hesitation with the drawer was the height and the fact that they're $$$. I think what I'll do is keep the vent over the range and shorten the cabinet height between the fridge and range and add a cabinet microwave there. This way I keep the counterspace next to the cook top. Free up some space in the island and can potentiall utilize the corner storage for cleaning supplies as suggested. Rough image attached.


  • Noor
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    @mama goose_gw zn6OH dare I ask your thoughts on lighting? I'm thinking recessed in general (6 to 8) and 1 above the sink, 1-3 pendants at the island and maybe a chandelier above the dining table. 😅😁

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    10 days ago

    I'm sorry but I'm a one-trick pony ;). Layouts are my thing.

  • Noor
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    No problem at all @mama goose_gw zn6OH if you do bathroom layouts, feel free to check out what I got going on with my master bath too!!

  • Noor
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    If anyone has any thoughts on lighting placement or design, I'd love to hear them.

  • mcarroll16
    10 days ago

    Someone did a post recently and posted a great article. I'll look through my history and post it here if I find it. Short version though is recessed cans placed above the countertop edge. I think roughly every 2 feet, except where another fixture (sink pendant, hood integrated lights) interrupt. "Countertop" includes working-side edge of your island. Then under-cabinet lighting, pendants over the center of the island, and a downlight over your kitchen table.

  • Noor
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Thanks @mcarrol16!!