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Dining Room Design

Mel E.
3 months ago

The photo below is our current dining room layout for a new build. Do you think the dining room has sufficient access to the kitchen? Thank you for your thoughts. They’re much appreciated!

Comments (52)

  • millworkman
    3 months ago

    You need to go thru the foyer then living room to the far end of the living room to get into the kitchen or does one have to go thru the butlers pantry to get from the dining room to the kitchen? Not sure as I do not even see the entrance to the kitchen from the living room. How does one sit at the island that close to the wall? Aisle between the island and the stove looks tight. Neither butler or the regular pantry have doors, only cased openings?

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    If we add that opening, would you close up the butler’s pantry opening? We can use that space for a bathroom in the office (which we really don’t need, but it might help with resale). If we add an opening to the kitchen and leave the butler’s pantry as is, there will be 3 openings to the dining room (foyer, kitchen and butler’s pantry).

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  • dan1888
    3 months ago

    I'd also recommend 9 feet or more separation between the island and the living area seating.

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    The kitchen is approx 5’ to the left of the foyer. As the plan is now, one would access the dining room from the kitchen by going into the foyer or from the kitchen by going into the butler’s pantry.

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    That is not a wall next to the island. It’s an open space. The line is only designating where the ceiling is dropping from 12’ to 10’. My apologies for the confusion.

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We plan to use the butler’s pantry for serving (wine frig), but we thought others (resale) might like it for a bar. I know in the photo that the guest bath seems out of the way, but it’s actually near the garage exit/ breakfast nook area. We placed it on that side for easy access with outdoor entertaining (in case we or some else opts to add a pool). I will certainly take your advice and recreate steps for flow purposes. Thank you!!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I would not want to have to walk a maze to transport food from the kitchen to the dining table. Right now it looks like you would have to walk from the kitchen through the doorway into a back hall, turn left through a doorway into the butler's pantry, then turn left walking past anyone pouring a glass of wine through a doorway into the dining room.

    If you ever served buffet style from the kitchen, a guest would have to walk out of the kitchen through the living room and through the main house foyer and into the dining room; or take the butler's pantry route.

    Every time I see a plan with an entry to the dining room off the main entry to the house, I think it gives guests one last opportunity to bolt if they do not like what is on the evening's menu.

    Which dining room chair is dedicated to hold guest's coats?

    Has construction started?

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you for the advice. We’re working on creating an opening from the kitchen. If we’re able do so, we’ll eliminate the butler’s pantry. As for the foyer opening to the dining room, I’m hoping guests like the food well enough that they opt not to bolt. lol Thanks again for your help. It is much appreciated!

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We have not started construction yet.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    3 months ago

    Ideally a butlers pantry brisges the space between the kitchen and the DR so maybe think about that. The whole point of that placement is to use this to serve from the kitchen and remove through it to the kitchen. You make coffee there , server drinks from there and lots of them have all your "good" dishes and glassware stored there .Even the other pantry IMO is all wrong since you need to leave the kitchen to access it.For me it would be back to the planning board .

  • lharpie
    3 months ago

    Is there a kitchen table too? it’s definitely a little too circuitous, but how bothersome that would be would depend on if it is an everyday table or holidays only. either way butlers pantry is suboptimal.

  • bpath
    3 months ago

    What if the connection between the butler’s pantry, kitchen, and dining were more one? That is, the butler pantry opens to the kitchen? And maybe or maybe not to the hall?

  • Design Fan
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    What is the small room/area with a door that shares walls with the butlers pantry and DR? Where does that door lead to?

    Where is the breakfast nook that you mentioned on the plan?

    Is there a mudroom?

    Is there a coat closet in the main foyer?

    Do your front doors or sidelights have glass? If yes, it looks like people will be able to look straight through the front door glass into the family room’s central area. Will privacy be an issue especially at night?

  • Jennifer Hogan
    3 months ago

    Have you given deep thought into how often you will use the dining room and if this is the best use of space? Time studies have shown that formal dining spaces are mostly wasted space that is terribly underutilized. On the other hand, kitchen and eat in dining space in the kitchen are the most utilized spaces.


    I would be looking for ways to increase kitchen/pantry space and combining the two dining spaces into one space with enough room to flex from every day use to larger holiday gatherings.


  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    This is a better photo of the kitchen. We were thinking that this dinning room design could be used as a dining room for us or as a living area, piano room, etc for someone else. We have an option for adding a doorway from the dining room to the kitchen, but when we do that, we’ll lose 4ft of cabinets on that kitchen wall. Out current plan doesn’t have a great dining room design. The other plan option that we created reduces the L shape of the kitchen by 4ft. Thoughts?

  • bpath
    3 months ago

    Is this a custom plan from an architect whom you vetted and with whom you had conversations about your wants, needs, persobal aesthetics, and who walked your site with you?

  • btydrvn
    3 months ago

    These days people find a more open floor-plan more versatile..a formal dining space is not usually used enough to warrant that much space allotted for formal dining only…never mind getting the food there easily…also…I would encourage a much bigger ..more accessible pantry..with all open shelving for easy access and visibility of everything stored there..allowing a more spacious feel in the kitchen with fewer upper cabinets needed

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    3 months ago

    I've looked at your plans twice now and am still very confused. Whoever drew them did not clearly mark doorways, so I find it difficult to figure out the traffic patterns.

    Also, having a separate room for sitting down and eating with family/guests does not necessarily make it a "formal" dining room. You can eat any meal at any time in a tuxedo or in your pajamas in a separate room. A separate dining room can also be a multi-purpose room as well. Rigid labeling of rooms and their functions inhibits creativity in design.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    3 months ago

    I agree about the actual doorways but I aslo use my DR every day since we do not have the breakfast space that for us would be useless . We all eat at different times in the morning so stools at the counter make more sense.I really discourage anyone from tryinng to second guess what the niext owner will want You buld a home for how you live now so unless you are building to flip design a home you need. I grew up where we ate every meal in the DR so my parents needed one.

  • ptreckel
    3 months ago

    The most obvious place for a door between the kitchen and the dining room is next to your refrigerator, near the butler pantry. Which means moving what ever is there either into the butler pantry OR placing it into the pantry which actually appears to be a back kitchen of some sort, not simply a pantry.

  • ptreckel
    3 months ago

    One other problem that I see is that anyone using the office must go through the kitchen to use the powder room. The laundry room at least requires a second door so that it provides a passage from one side of the house to the other. I think the traffic patterns in this side of the home need to be rethought.

  • Design Fan
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Did an architect create this house plan?

    It is difficult imo to create a better internal flow and layout due to all the jogs in the outside walls and the way the rooms are staggered in relation to one another.

    Have you considered a different home design?

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We opened up the dining room in this option and added a bathroom in the office. Do you feel the kitchen refrigerator/cabinet wall is long enough to still have a nice “balance” in the kitchen (as far as the L shape goes)?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I do not know all the facts, but I too am curious to who designed this? Architect? Draftsman? Builder? Cousin-in-law's friend's nephew's neighbor's son's babysitter?

    It looks kind of cobbled together, like a bunch of rectangles squished together with little rhyme or reason. Grouping functions together as they relate to each other to form a harmonious form does not seem to be done here. It is difficult to know without drawings of the entire design. I know this discussion about the dining room, but the toe bone's connected to the foot bone, the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone's connected to the leg bone . . .

  • btydrvn
    3 months ago

    I agree…it is hard to find anything in the plan that is optimal for convenience or flow..

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    Did you eliminate the jack and jill bathroom at the other end of the house yet?

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We sure did! Each bedroom has a bath now.

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    Why do you have a hallway going through the work zone of your kitchen?

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    Bad design with the kitchen having absolutely no natural light and being a hallway from other rooms.

    And why all the expensive jigs and jogs on the exterior and interior of the house? Im sorry but what I see will not live well. How much land are you on?

    I wish i could post my list but I cant post to the site from my computer. Only my IPad

  • elcieg
    3 months ago

    Living room goes where dining room is.

    Do you have room for kitchen/dining table/t v viewing in the great room?



  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    3 months ago

    I'm late to this, but I agree with most of the criticisms here. The design is poorly thought out and even more poorly drawn. Elcieg (above) has maybe the most useful idea to salvage this layout, but if it were me, I would start from scratch with a different designer.


  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    I think RappArchitecture is looking after your best interest, which is a good thing.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    but if it were me, I would start from scratch with a different designer.


    I'm guessing the OP is the designer.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    "We have found the enemy . . . "

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    What does OP mean? We are working with reputable builders and a reputable draftsperson. The exterior I selected may be making it difficult to design the interior, but we are working to create a better flow. I may need to select a different exterior design. I’m not sure. I realize the plan needs work and appreciate those who have genuinely tried to help.

  • btydrvn
    3 months ago

    OP means you.. the Original Poster..it would be helpful to you to also include a designer in addition to builder and draft person…they will consider and address your particular needs .. in view of your particular property..location and how you want to live

  • Emily
    3 months ago

    OP means Original Poster, which is you. I like your plan - both options. In the one with the butler's pantry it only takes a few more steps to the kitchen, which isn't a big deal, and it is a flexible space like you said for future owners. The hallway doesn't bother me since they wouldn't be high traffic hallways. I'd only change it if your unhappy with it.



  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughts, Emily.

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    A draftsman is not a person of design talent. And neither are most builders.

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We have hired a reputable design person, draftsperson, and builders to guide us through this process. I know they are doing their best. I think the exterior design I chose (box with wings) may be creating a lot of the challenges. I don’t know for sure though.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    3 months ago

    If this is their best, then you really have to question their talent.

  • Kendrah
    3 months ago

    It is such a bummer to post a question and have people tear apart your whole design and the team you have hired. I have been there myself. Still, it is really done from a place of concern. The commentors here have loads of expertise.


    Reputation really doesn’t mean much, unfortunately. The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding sadly isn’t coming out right. Please take to heart the comments you are receiving. You are already considering resale. I can tell you that if this many people are confused by your layout, future buyers will be as well.


    I’d answer these questions- Do you want a butler’s pantry and why? Do you want a full bath and powder room on this floor? It isn’t wrong to have that, but usually a full bath would be attached to a much larger room that could also be used as a real bedroom, even a primary bedroom for aging in place. Your architect should be guiding you through these conversations and choices, thinking about cabinet space and door openings, consideringtraffic flow in and out of rooms where food is served.


    Are you sure the architect you hired is actually doing this design and not farming it out to a junior associate? There is so much money riding on the professional you have hired. Did you shop around for an architect or just go with one that others have said is good?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    She hired a "reputable design person", not an architect. There is a big difference, and if one is not licensed by the state they should not be referred to as an "architect".

  • Jennifer Hogan
    3 months ago

    @Melinda Ellis


    "We are working with reputable builders and a reputable draftsperson. The exterior I selected may be making it difficult to design the interior, but we are working to create a better flow. I may need to select a different exterior design. I’m not sure. I realize the plan needs work and appreciate those who have genuinely tried to help."


    You don't seem to have a lot of experience, and I fear you started at the wrong end. You live in the inside of a home - the outside is for the neighbors to look at.


    Your home needs to function for the way you live in the home. Not some illusion of how you may someday live, but realistically, how you use your home over a typical week and realistically how your life may change over the next 10-20 years (young- just married, may plan on having 2 kids or older have 2 kids, one in college and will be empty nesters).


    Start with inventorying your current home. How does it work for you? Go into every room and measure the size and the current storage. Then think about how it works and what would make it better. How many linear feet of hanging space do you need? How much drawer space do you need? Do you want all the clothing (hanging and folded in a large walk in closet or do you like having dressers in the bedroom and could be perfectly content with a reach in closet. What size bed do you want (Queen or King). Do you want a seat at the end of the bed or somewhere in the bedroom or do you sit on the bed to put on your shoes and socks.


    Do the same thing in every room. Is there adequate storage and adequate space? Are there rooms you never use or are just landing spaces for stuff? Kitchens are often over built. For decades women prepared meals for their families in 10x10 kitchens. Suddenly this is considered tiny. Why? Because everyone wants double ovens and a 6 burner stove and column refrigerator/freezer and every gadget known to mankind. But honestly, fewer and fewer people make food from scratch or spend their day in the kitchen preparing meals for their family. Women work and have to be able to get dinner on the table in a half hour. You don't need nearly as much space to warm food that you picked up on the way home from work as our mothers needed when they baked bread for the family, cooked casseroles from scratch, made deserts from scratch and spent 4 or more hours a day in their kitchens.


    Formal living rooms and dining rooms were never used as much as the rest of the home. Now, most people only ever use these rooms if they have a holiday meal or a large gathering a couple of times a year. Make your family room bigger and the seating area in the kitchen bigger and you can have more space in the rooms that you actually use every day and still have enough room for those 2-3 times a year when you have more than one or two guests.


    Don't think that when you move into your new home you are suddenly going to change the way you live. If you don't have a bunch of parties and get togethers now, why would you suddenly have a huge network of friends and become the social butterfly.


    Once you have documented all of your actual needs, go look at homes that are in new developments. Compare what they have to your list of needs. Walk through them and using the information you have gathered, assess what works and doesn't work. Most development builders won't allow many or any changes because they know that the homes they have built for the past 10 years work. They are cookie cutter and may not work perfectly for you. But they are a good starting point for knowing what you like, don't like and what feels good to you. Look at the homes you visit (friends homes, family members homes). Talk to them about what works and doesn't work for them in their home. See how it stacks up to what you need/want for your home.


    At this point you are ready to either engage an architect who can create a design that fits all of your needs or work with a builder/draftsman to find a plan that closely fits your needs and tweak it to better fit your needs.


    Picking the exterior first and making the insides fit your needs is like setting your wedding date before you found a person to marry.



  • Emily
    3 months ago

    Don't get too discouraged. I think a lot of your responses have been because some have misread your floorplan, so take that into consideration before changing your plans. There are good and bad architects/designers. Just because you're using builders/draftsperson doesn't mean that they don't know what they're doing. Think through these comments and if you agree make changes, and if not, stick to what you want. Like I said before it's a nice plan, and many would love to have a home that nice.

  • Hemlock
    3 months ago

    Despite the ne'ersayers, I think it would make a nice home too.

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    3 months ago

    The best house designs are developed with the floor plans and exterior elevations developed concurrently. I would argue that the layouts should take precedence based on your wants and needs, but the exteriors still need to be considered in the design. Starting with the exterior and forcing the floor plan to fit is a sure way to unhappiness and a house that doesn't function for the way you live.


    Jennifer is giving you good advice. I would follow it and reconsider where you are in the process.

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    Also understand there are a few on these forums who will always tell you how great your design is.

  • Mel E.
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you! I I know those commenting have good intentions, and I appreciate their taking time to help.