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Help for kitchen layout

Daniel
11 months ago

We are in the beginning stages of designing our kitchen and dining room remodel. We are working with a building designer to make a design to raise the roof over the kitchen and dining room and add large windows (completely replacing the back wall), plus completely remodel the kitchen and dining room. Our goal is to get large views of our backyard and the very large oak tree that provides shade to our house, plus modernize the kitchen. We use the kitchen to cook and bake a lot, but mainly for the two of use. Our kids are now grown but visit regularly, and we often cook together. We don't plan to use the stools to sit at the counter except occasionally to chat with the cook. I would love to get your input and suggestions on our rough plan so far. The attached shows a top down view and external view (in that picture, only the left side of the house is being remodeled), plus a few slightly out of date interior views. (I made some changes to the top down view that are not yet reflected in the interior views, so wherever they disagree, refer to the top down view.) We are planning all Wolf/Sub-zero/Cove appliances, but they are not drawn correctly in the pictures. The fridge/freezer will be the designer series with cabinet panels. Thank you in advance for any help!






Comments (64)

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Thank you for all of the insightful advice! I really appreciate it. Lots to think about :-)


  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    OK-- here is my latest revision, based on all the comments received so far. Please let me know what you think. I have a question in to my building designer to see if the sliding glass door can be 7' wide, and have a smaller section of wall between the sliding glass door and leftmost large window-- he thinks it is likely possible (but it is not shown here). The only thing I don't like about this design is that I don't have a full height pantry right next to the fridge, to make it easy to unload groceries -- I don't see how to achieve this. I tried to fix this by providing generous pantry space in the island, perhaps with pull-out pantry units (not shown). Anyone have experience with those?


    Comments please -- thanks in advance!


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  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago

    I personally prefer a modified version of the layout I posted. I’m not a big fan of this one, fridge and pantry are going to create hard lighting your range for hours of the day.

    Daniel thanked Rabbitt Design
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Thanks Rabbitt-- I love your design, especially the visualization with the materials! It also has the benefit of a pantry immediately to the right of the fridge. But any idea on how to include an oven stack somewhere in the kitchen, or do you think it is not as important? And I thought it would be better to have the fridge closer to the sink to shorten the distance for food prep, and that is more important than the lighting issue (I would have thought there is a lot of light everywhere during the day)-- what do you think?

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    And here is another idea, trying to get the oven stack and full height pantry close to the fridge by giving up some window area. Thoughts?


  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago

    @Daniel Worledge

    I've been pretty active on these boards for a few weeks and I find that a lot of people take hard stances on preferences. I like to do what the space tells me to do, and I have never met a kitchen that I can't cook in. To me, sometimes, the benefit of a well balanced looking and feeling kitchen outweighs some of the inconveniences ...take a measure/census of your own happiness. I also don't design around the thing that I do the least of in terms of time commitment. It would not bother me to go to a fridge even one room away if the trade-offs were in place. The oven stack for me would be a huge challenge to incorporate into your kitchen with those windows, and no matter how you swing it, that compromises the area around the range. Id rather have abundant space around my range. How much time is spent putting things in or taking things out of a oven compared to how much time is spent around your range...that's an equation that favors a range with abundant space and compromises oven location. So be it!

    Not everyone cooks the same. I spend very little time at a sink washing because of the style of cooking I do. I also put my prep into bowls and work on a single 24" chopping block...I am not bothered by taking my block to the sink and grabbing a new one, I like the dance of cooking, I am never in a rush, so for me, this kitchen..is wonderful.

    Maybe take the time to write down how you cook..it will help, details matter.

    Daniel thanked Rabbitt Design
  • Otter Play
    11 months ago

    The dog door. Great idea, but probably not just below the speed/steam oven stack. I won’t want my best friend innocently and unexpectedly trotting in just as I’m taking something hot out of one of those ovens. I liked the dog door better at the other end of the window wall. Could you put a tall pantry in that space instead? I don’t have an alternative place for them. (Leaving that to others.) Good luck with your intriguing project.

    Daniel thanked Otter Play
  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    To me, sometimes, the benefit of a well balanced looking and feeling kitchen outweighs some of the inconveniences ...

    Design a kitchen that functions well and it's easy to make it well balanced too. I for one do not think how a kitchen looks outweighs how it functions. I've cooked in way too many poorly or barely functioning kitchens to agree with your statement. When a kitchen functions well, it's a true joy to cook in.

    How much time is spent putting things in or taking things out of a oven compared to how much time is spent around your range...that's an equation that favors a range with abundant space and compromises oven location

    Actually here I do agree with you as long as it's not in a major pathway.

    Daniel thanked cpartist
  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago


    Design a kitchen that functions well and it's easy to make it well balanced too. I for one do not think how a kitchen looks outweighs how it functions. I've cooked in way too many poorly or barely functioning kitchens to agree with your statement. When a kitchen functions well, it's a true joy to cook in.

    I really do hope during my stay here on the Houzz boards I figure out a way of saying things without having them clipped from their context and I'll try and give more info to limit interpretations so that we all benefit. What I was driving at specifically, is that on a 14' wall with a 2' return at one end(effectively 12') I would not favor the function of a double oven over the look "AND" feel of an undercounter oven and more counter space. I actually made this statement in jest as I find that more counterspace is equally as functional as having a double oven in this case.

    12'-42 range-30 double oven-42 refer-12 pantry leaves 2 foot of counter space before the corner, not to mention looks and feels terrible. I would rather have the less(joking) functional under counter oven.

    For instance....noooooooo:



    Daniel thanked Rabbitt Design
  • cheri127
    11 months ago

    @Rabbitt Design I agree; as much as I like wall ovens, I wouldn't sacrifice space around the cooktop for them. I think this kitchen would do better with a range rather than three under counter ovens.


    @Daniel I have an undercounter speed oven and hate using it as a microwave. I know it sounds petty but I find it uncomfortable and incovenient. We have a large kitchen at the beach and we did 42" aisles around a 6' x 4' island and I think it looks squeezed in (and there's no seating) If I could do it over, I'd make the island 42" wide instead. Your island is much larger so I think you really need 48" aisles around it.

    Daniel thanked cheri127
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Thanks again everyone for all the comments! I really appreiciate it.


    Rabbitt— what if in my first design from today I reverse the order of the oven stack, fridge, and cooktop? Would that adress the lighting issue? And what exactly did you mean by “create hard lighting your range”? Thanks!


    Also note that my primary food prep area (based on my existing kitchen) will be at the end of the island near the cooktop. I’ll chop food there on a large chopping board and prepare stuff, and then move the chopping board next to the range to cook. (I prefer not to chop stuff with wall cabinets near my head.)

  • lharpie
    11 months ago

    Since you have all of those wonderful windows by the sink, I'm not sure why you would move food across the aisle to island, then across the aisle again? I prep in front of a window and it's wonderful - open space plus lovely natural lighting. I would not give up continuous counter between sink and stove for wall ovens myself. I also just think is doesn't look as nice. But I have an under counter wall oven and no issues with using it (late 70s parents haven't complained either for what it is worth, but no one is used to wall ovens either). I often have 3 trays to move around and like how easy it is to pop 2 trays up on the counter above it to move things around.

    Daniel thanked lharpie
  • rebunky
    11 months ago

    @Rabbitt Design

    Why did you tag me above? I never commented on this thread

  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago

    @rebunky NO idea! I removed it, ha, but please come chime in, this is right up your alley, maybe youve got some new bright ideas :)

  • DeWayne
    11 months ago

    The original brief is contributing to the dysfunction and poor design. You need to realize that you can not easily make this home into a modern loft without a huge expense, and a huge sacrifice to the rest of the house looking like it belongs together.

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    How about this one? The 30" oven is rarely used. Is the placement of the cooktop close to the corner OK?


  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Bumping this back up with a few minor changes. Any thoughts on this layout, in particular the walls and windows? I removed the interior wall between kitchen and living room (at bottom left) to align the center of that opening with the island and windows. This layout gives up a little symmetry around the cooktop, but gains an oven stack and a pantry (of sorts) near the fridge for easy grocery unloading. I'm thinking 36" cabinets with pull-out shelves for the pantry. This layout has wider aisles than my initial layout, and I think it should also address the lighting issue Rabbitt mentioned. Thanks in advance for any advice!



  • cpartist
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    First your drawers need to be wider. Wider drawers will give you more storage. You can always divide them inside if necessary. Additionally wider drawers will help give you the sleeker look you're after.

    Neither of your last two versions are good. Why? You take hot food out of the ovens. Then what? You're going to pivot to put it on the island?

    Question? Are those windows already in the house or is this what you want to do?

    Also I'm assuming the wall to the right is an outside wall? What does it face?

    Daniel thanked cpartist
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    The windows aren't currently there-- they are what I want to do. And now is the time to adjust them :-) . They face onto a beautiful backyard with large oak trees, sloping uphill away from the house, with full shade and privacy.


    Yes, the wall to the right is an outside wall. It faces our fence and then neighbor's house -- not a great view.


    Somehow I am not too worried about pivoting with hot food from the oven to the island -- it is only a step away.

  • cheri127
    11 months ago

    You have what appears to be a wonderful space. Find a talented designer to help you make the most of it. None of your plans are as good as they can and should be.

  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    If I have time, I have another idea for your kitchen which would still give you lots of windows on that wall.

    Daniel thanked cpartist
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    @cpartist — thank you, that would be wonderful!


    @Rabbitt Design — any thoughts on this latest version? Is it an issue that there is not much countertop space to the right of the cooktop (why does this matter, since there is a huge amount of countertop soace to the left of the cooktop?) or that the cooktop is not centered in the cabinets (which could be achieved by moving it to the right a bit, at the expense of having even leas countertop space on the right)?

  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    Ok this is not exact and it doesn't allow for the extra ovens but you really don't have room for them.

    I moved the sink to the fridge wall and the cooktop to the sink wall. Yes that eliminated one window but instead, you could put a "backsplash" window over the sink or even along the whole length of that wall. Below is mine (obviously you don't have to do a stained glass window but for my house it fits) and below that is one I found on this site to give you an idea.

    My reasoning for that is you're no longer crossing the cooking zone to get to the fridge and it gives you much more space for cooking. So now you take food out of the pantry and mostly the fridge, bring it to the sink to rinse, then slide it to in front of the window to prep before sliding it over to the stove to cook.

    I made your drawers wider. It's easier to divide a wider drawer if necessary than try and cram stuff into a too small drawer.

    I made your aisles wider. Not a full 48" but close. 45"-46".

    That means your island is no longer 4' wide or as long but trust me, you'll appreciate the extra aisle space; especially when you're both cooking in the kitchen. Ask me how I know. LOL.

    The island still acts as a secondary prep are.

    This below is basically my layout, including narrower windows than you would have on either side of my cooktop and it is so functional. The only difference is being older, I have my cleanup sink on the island with my dishwasher and a prep sink near my fridge. Oh and I used drawers in the corner for storage that is easy to get to. No bending down to pull out the magic shelves.




    Sliding glass doors and clerestory windows combine to bring the outside in · More Info


    Mid-century Modern Urban infill · More Info


    Daniel thanked cpartist
  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    Hopefully what I showed above will give you some other ideas as a jumping off point.

    As for your last two versions, I would not feel comfortable cooking in the corner like that. Plus the counter in that corner would wind up being hard to reach

    Daniel thanked cpartist
  • cheri127
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    @cpartist I was going to suggest the exact same thing. I was even thinking that there could be a large window above the hood like there is above the sliders. I love looking out the window when I prep and cook. I like the narrower island too. I stll maintain that two people cannot get on and off stools comfortably in that 48" opening though.

    Daniel thanked cheri127
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Thanks @cpartist -- it is an interesting idea. I'm not sure I would be willing to give up the window over the cooktop, since getting larger views of the backyard is the goal of my project. And I don't gain an oven stack in the bargain :-).

  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago

    Just stopped by to show a quick mockup of @cpartist layout with oven in the style of the previous winterfell-esque rendering



    Daniel thanked Rabbitt Design
  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    Rabbitt, how would he have room for the oven?

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Wow Rabbitt— you have some impressive skills with that software!

  • PRO
    Rabbitt Design
    11 months ago

    @cpartist switched to a 36 fridge


    Daniel thanked Rabbitt Design
  • cheri127
    11 months ago

    @Daniel Is there a reason you don't want to do a range?

    Daniel thanked cheri127
  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    @cheri127 — Yes, we had a 36” Wolf range at my last house and did not like how long it took to heat up (30 minutes!). We currently have a 30” Dacor and a countertop Breville, and both are great to use since they heat up fast. My thinking is that we will use the 24” steam oven (perhaps in regular convection bake mode, not necessarily steam) for most of our everyday use, like roasting vegetables and baking cookies, and it should heat up very fast.

  • rebunky
    11 months ago

    I love the range on the window wall idea by Cpartist,

    Normally, I would agree that windows flanking the hood would be so much more practical since steam, grease, and splatters will dirty up the window behind the cooktop.

    But looking at that humongous wall of windows makes me say, “Oh forget it! Just hire a housekeeper who does windows!“

    Rabbitt, would you mind mocking up the layout again, but showing a spring or summer landscape out the windows? I am missing seeing some greenery outdoors.

    This has been in my saved photos for a long time just waiting for someone brave enough to use it as their inspiration. Notice they did a short backsplash behind the range.


    This is cool, but the view of the garage is not exactly the wow factor. 😬


    Daniel thanked rebunky
  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    @cpartist switched to a 36 fridge

    BINGO!

    Rebunky, your photos would work too as long at the window behind the range is a fixed window.

    Daniel, maybe it's not that it's a range that is the problem but the one you had? I've had ranges and they never took 1/2 hour to heat up.

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    Unfortunately @rebunky, I am the housekeeper who cleans the windows! :-) I love the creativity, but I don't think it is practical to have windows behind the cooktop.

    What do you all think of this idea? I moved the oven stack to the left, and rearranged the windows and wall to accommodate. Total window area is maintained, so it meets my goal of expansive views of the backyard. Will it look odd to have a relatively narrow oven stack sticking up all by itself? Or is it a nice way to mark the division between the kitchen and dining room-- kind of an end cap for the base cabinet run? I suppose the height of the oven stack does not need to be too tall-- maybe only 5 feet, perhaps with some art on the wall above. Or it could be tall with cabinets above.

    Thank you again for all of your advice!





  • RTHawk
    11 months ago

    If you have to move something hot from the stove to the oven, that would be quite a distance.

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    True, but moving something hot from cooktop to oven happens only rarely. And I could solve that by putting the 30” oven between the stove and fridge. I’m more concerned with the look of the oven stack— will it look odd?

  • Otter Play
    11 months ago

    What if you go back to your idea about the dog door by the oven stack? (Just don’t put the dog door back there. Put that near the slider — either side.) Oven stack in that corner, counter, cooktop, counter, fridge. Eliminates the blind corner, puts over near cooktop, avoids creating a barrier to the window wall counter at DR end, and prevents a scorched dog.

    Also consider a rollout raising cart for the baker. (Could live in the outside wall utility cupboard when not on duty.) Bonus point if you can add a low-level heat source to it. I saw one like this in a Sunset article many years ago.

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    @Otter Play -- Do you mean like this?



  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    And here is another version, with the fridge between the dining room and kitchen. It gives up some window area, but it might look better than having the oven stack between the dining room and kitchen?







  • rebunky
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    That is my favorite so far. But I would flip the dw and trash locations so the dw is not in your prep zone that is between the sink and the range.

    Eta: Oh and also switch the drawers with the silverware, plates… so it is next to the dw. Or store them across on the island if you think that would make the drawer too wide.

    Haha, I wrote the opposite of what I wanted to say. I do that a lot. Anyways, I meant too wide because a dish drawer may get too heavy when beyond a certain size. I am not sure.

    I did not like the doggie door in that one version because it looked a little odd how the window extended passed the end of the countertop.

    Like this?


  • cheri127
    11 months ago

    I like the most recent version with rebunky's suggestion to move the DW. However, I think your island is too wide. Trust me, it will look squeezed in. I didn't listen to folks on this forum when I did my beach house kitchen and I did 42" ailses. My island is only 6 x 4 and it looks tight. It functions ok (48" would be better) but the balance isn't there and it really bothers me. I will probably end up redoing it eventually but what a total waste of money! Keep in mind how pokey your dining table will look next to that island, as well. And the space between the island corner and the dining room wall will look and feel small.

  • rebunky
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    Yes agree with cheri127. I forgot to mention that. It does look too tight from the island corner to wall corner. At the very least, I would lose the dead space going down the middle of the island.

  • Otter Play
    11 months ago

    Otter Play -- Do you mean like this?

    Yes, that is what I was thinking. I just want you and your doggy to be safe. There are always so many shifting variables in a kitchen design.

  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    What do you all think of this idea?

    I think you're stuck on your idea even if it's not the most efficient because you'll be crossing zones and also because you have too many narrow lower cabinets.

    What you have to decide is if you're a person who favors function over design or design over function. I personally would never pick design over function but that's me. I am not a fan of cooking (although I am a good cook because I like eating good food), so want the most efficient kitchen possible. YMMV.

    Will it look odd to have a relatively narrow oven stack sticking up all by itself?

    Yes and it will feel like an afterthought as well as blocking some of that light between kitchen and dining area.

    I notice in your latest versions you also give up seating at the island.

    Again if you both cook together, you want 48" from what sticks out the furthest to what sticks out the furthest.

    And here is another version, with the fridge between the dining room and kitchen.

    That is better since you now have the proper work flow and additionally now the fridge is closer to the dining room. However you still seem to be favoring narrower lower cabinets versus less cabinets but wider ones. Trust me you can get a lot more in a wider cabinet and very little in narrow ones.

    Also you have the dishwasher and trash on the wrong side of the sink. Dishwasher you want out of your prep zone which is BETWEEN sink and cooktop and trash bins in the prep zone.

    A super susan is basically useless. Better to widen the drawers on either side of the corner for better storage and make the corner a dead corner.

    The other issue I see in your last version is where do you store pots and pans? Ideally they should be stored on either side of your cooktop so you're not having to turn around or walk anywhere anytime you need a pot or pan.

    And why do you want an island that is so deep?

    Anyways, I meant too wide because a dish drawer may get too heavy when beyond a certain size. I am not sure.

    It won't. You can get heavy blum runners so it's not an issue.

    Do yourself a favor and with the last version you have, first figure out how all your dishes, pots, pans, etc will fit in those drawers. Use masking tape to tape out the different size drawers (on the floor) and then try stacking your actual stuff in them.

    Then in your mind walk yourself through all the baking and cooking you do both daily and for holidays and entertaining. How many steps back and forth carrying pots, pans, etc do you have to do with your layout?

  • mad_gallica (z5 Eastern NY)
    11 months ago

    It's not the drawer glides that have the weight issue. Over time, the hardware pulls out of the cabinets, or the drawers come apart if the cabinets are of an inferior quality. I've seen both. It's possible that unless you have a lot of heavy, cast iron cookware, it isn't an issue. My mother had a couple of 36" drawers that she kept canned goods in. It took 15 years, but eventually they had issues with the weight, and the slides pulling out. I had a 36" drawer filled with silverware and serving utensils do the same thing at about the same age.

  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    Drawer glides nowadays are meant to hold up to 100 lbs

  • Daniel
    Original Author
    11 months ago

    Thank you all for your very helpful feedback! Here is a refined version. I'm beginning to settle on this layout for the windows, walls, and major appliances. I still have plenty of time to fine tune the details of which types and sizes of cabinets to use.


    Any other suggestions? Thanks again!





  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    Switch the pots and pans cabinet with the 30" oven. You'll use the pots and pans more than you'll use the oven and you'll be glad to have the pots and pans next to your cooktop versus behind you.

    Move the island to the left so you have a full 48" in front of the stove. You only need 36" between the edge of the island on the lower left and the edge of the wall there.

    Forget the magic corner pull outs. Just make that a dead corner so and make the cabinet to the left a 3 drawer cabinet. You'll get more storage in the 3 drawer cabinet than you'll ever get in the magic corner pull out.

    Put the vertical pull outs where you now have your baking storage and move your baking storage to the island where your baking center is.

    No pull out shelves. Make them all drawers. Drawers can store everything you need and are easier to use. Here are my drawers.

    This is my bottom drawer with my blender, and my Cuisenart.

    This shows my middle drawer with pots and pans.

    This shows my bottom drawer with my large pots and my wok.

    This is my bottom drawer with my ice cream maker.





  • cheri127
    11 months ago

    I had a super susan in the first kitchen I remodeled and found it very useful but when I remodeled the second time I opted for dead corners in favor of wider drawers. In our beach house we have a U shaped kitchen with dead corners but it is a large kitchen. If you think you need the storage and can't have a dead corner, I would recommend a super susan over a blind corner cabinet (they hold very little and are quite expensive). I don't think it matters if the pots and pans are under the cooktop or behind it, in fact, if there are two cooks. having them behind the island might be better. But in any case, I wouldn't do the small pullouts on either side. I have them at the beach and they're worthless! You don't need symmetry on the end of the island. I believe you'd be better off with a 36" drawer base and 12" pullout or 12" drawers. Or if you put the oven there, 30" oven and 18" four drawer base to hold a multitude of utensils and spices and small appliances.


    I'm not sure I understand the cabinet/dog door. LOL