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Thoughts on a square 4'x4' kitchen island?

C R
12 days ago
last modified: 12 days ago

We are relocating our kitchen to a different part of the house as part of a remodel. The kitchen is u-shaped and measures 11" long on one side (where the fridge is), 14' on the opposite side (where the stove is) and 15.5' on the side where the window is, incl. the corner pantry.


In working with our designer, we decided to go with an island that is square shaped and measure 4'x4'. This gives us exactly 42" clearance around the island and allows us to easily move around without tripping over each other.


Questions:

1) Most kitchen islands we see are rectangular. Do square shaped ones feel weird?

2) Would it have been possible to fit a bigger island there? I don't see how without reducing clearance in the ailes.








Comments (50)

  • Joseph Babcock
    12 days ago

    A scale drawing with measurements will help, based on the information provided I wonder if you have considered a g shaped kitchen with a peninsula that may make better use of your space

  • C R
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    Sure. Attaching the G-shaped kitchen layout we first considered. But wife strongly prefered the kitchen island and corner pantry design, so we went with it. The first drawing has the bigger island we originally considered, before reducing its size to a 4'x4' square to get better aisle clearance.

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  • Kendrah
    12 days ago

    This small square looks too tiny to function as a comfortable eating space for two people. Try taping off 4' on your current table, push up to chairs and try to eat together.


    I can see a 4x4 with no over hang that his just a workspace and not an eating space.


    Sorry your wife doesn't like the G. It seems more attractive and more functional. Diagonal pantries seem like a dated inefficient use of space.

  • C R
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    I'm not going to argue with her. This is her space and she gets what she wants. The island does have an over hang though for knees/legs. See pics in my original post. I thought 24" per person is the minimum seating width that was acceptable and that's what we have.

  • Joseph Babcock
    12 days ago

    What is in the space to the left? If you elongated the island and put the seating on the fridge side you might get more people seated though it then becomes a barrier to get to the fridge. You might think of swapping the corner pantry with tall cabinets to the left of the cooktop. It’s hard to tell what exact space constraints you have in the rest of the house (what is connecting to the inside/outside, what is adjacent to your kitchen).

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Can only advise, but I see high end appliances, with the corner pantry from the nineties?

    I wouldn't want it - most times, it is eliminated: ) and it's one of the first things to go in a remodel.



    You can get a ton of storage in five feet of reach in pantry. All the tall cabinetry on one side, and the cook on the shorter wall..ice, water. FIRE.

    Is there a reason both DW need to be 24 inches? An 18" as a second works great.

    Again....."she want's what she wants....but. : ) that does scream 1995 in the corner with 12" deep shelving at best, versus five feet with a depth of 24.

    C R thanked JAN MOYER
  • just_janni
    12 days ago

    I have a 4' square island in my current home. It's fine for 2 folks side by side.


    And yes - please get rid of the pantry of despair in the island design. I would rip mine out in a HEARTBEAT.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    12 days ago

    You are doing a brad new kitchen IMO forget the corner pantry and use true pullout ones much better storage , 42" does not allow 2 preople to work back to back and a good KD would know that. IMO 48" is the MIN walkway and in front of the fridge even more if you want stools then 60" from edge of counter to wall or even only open space but in the kitcehn footprint. To be honest you come here for help but your wife is driving the bus so what do you want from us?

  • la_la Girl
    12 days ago

    at some point someone on here described the corner pantry as a ”kitchen carbuncle” 😅 and that’s what I always think when I see one - there are much better, more elegant pantry configurations for sure

  • chispa
    12 days ago

    Two dishwashers? I would rather have the drawer space in a kitchen this size.

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    12 days ago

    Can you keep the one side of the island and 4'-0" and extend the other side further into the adjacent space?

  • husterd
    12 days ago

    Don’t argue with wife. Show her the comments. Ask her to think about all the experienced voices here and what they are saying. Current design pantry so dated the day it is done never mind ugly and poor design. It cheapens what I assume is an expensive long awaited new kitchen. The G shape allows 5 people to sit and enjoy/talk/eat with the cook while keeping them out of the cooks way. No 4ft dinky island blocking steps between fridge and stove etc. . Much more counter space. The peninsula is an “island” of much bigger area and usefulness. The resulting kitchen much more grand.

  • H202
    12 days ago

    Another vote for extending the island to the left, so you have a horizontal rectangle.


    And you are moving the kitchen to a new part of the house.... so that means the corner pantry is.... new? Like, purposefully being incorporated into the design, rather than just a holdover from your 1995 builder grade kitchen? Kind of weird anyone would even come up with that idea....

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Really, It's a blend of the two you posted. It needn't be G, but....I don't think anything is in an optimal place and yes, whether or not the Mrs gives up the corner pantry and that is certainly up to her as your desire is to keep the peace?. .......it is very much inhibiting. Sorry : ) if I am being redundant.

    Without seeing at least in pictures what surrounds this kitchen? Hard to say or even guess the reason to retain it in an otherwise higher end kitchen.



    We don't know your family, how you entertain, how many or the reason for two D.W which doesn't SEEM to be Kosher as there is one sink. Basically, if you're just hanging the kitchen out for the "go, it's great!"? I'd ask what's the point if it could be better.

    Often, a KD might be afraid to tell you what they really think, so I'd ask that KD how many of her current kitchens have the corner pantry......?

  • HU-910663146
    12 days ago

    Go and visit some kitchen showrooms or tour some model homes to get a better feel for kitchens.

  • Boxerpal
    12 days ago

    Could you change the direction of the island?

    Maybe like this.



    This would still give you the much wanted island.


    Houzz Post from 2017 Is a corner Pantry outdated?


    2023 Pantries Are Making a Comeback


    Years ago we reno'd our kitchen and I wanted an island. I dreamed, wishes and wanted an island. But.. the reality was it could not fit so we went with the peninsula. And it was wonderful. This vast space was the place of homework, art projects, cocktails with friends, a buffet line for Thanksgiving, deep conversations over quick dinners and a place full of memories. Sometimes when we get past the want and focus on the need we see that it can be quite wonderful.


    Wishing you success on your new kitchen which will be the backdrop for wonderful memories.



  • HU-121436380
    12 days ago

    The 4’ x 4’ island shown in the inspo pics looks like a desire to have an island for the sake of having an island, at the expense of a truly functional kitchen. And the angled corner pantry- thats from another era.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    12 days ago

    It is MATH:

    185" WALL

    48" TOTAL TWO PERIMETER WALLS

    96" TOTAL TWO CLEARANCE AISLES

    EQUALS.......41 INCHES

    DEDUCT 3"/2 PERIMETER COUNTER OVERHANG OF 1.5"

    DEDUCT 3 " ISLAND OVER HANGS OF 1.5"

    WILL GIVE YOU A 35 INCH BASE FOR THE ISLAND, 12 " FOR KNEES AND A PERCH.

    /W TWO STOOLS.

    ( Adjust my noted inches in 4:00 am mea culpa)

    but it is a far nicer proportion than a 48inch square. Note that you won't die with 42 inch or 45" clearance on the fridge/pantry side. )

    lordy lordy lordy .....: )




  • D Bee
    12 days ago

    Ever considered a heavy reclaimed table or work bench of some sort. Make the top food safe or replace it with quartz/marble and then you can move the whole thing if needed. Extend an edge for seating etc. This might be a much needed contrast to yet more cupboards all in the same look/build as the main part of the kitchen. Just a thought.


  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    11 days ago

    Just to reiterate what others have said about corner pantries, they’re something we only ever remove at this point never add. Jan’s plan above objectively looks like a much better kitchen plan than the one you first showed us. Obviously none of us know you or your family But if you’ve come here asking for advice, you must know that there’s something wrong with the first plan.

  • qam999
    11 days ago

    Of course you don’t want to argue with your wife about what is likely her work space, but you can share some ideas for her consideration.

    1. Corner pantries are really impractical. People who have them are pulling them out as someone else noted, because they don’t eat their keep. A full size pantry pull out is a much better solution. Better yet, work with a kitchen designer to customize storage…..pet food…..large counter appliances like food processor and bread machine……sodas and bottled drinks…..plan it all.

    Ooh, guess that’s all I had. 😀

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    I would agree with altering the size of the island as Jan stated ( 41-42" x 60" ) . Seating can be positioned anywhere.

    I will jump on the corner pantry removal as well. Had one - hated it. Storage was ok - wasted floor space. For me the issue was the interrupted countertop. When I used to cook a lot, I hated washing and prepping at the sink and then having to pick everything up to bring it to the stove. I prefer a continuous counter from sink to stove to spread out on.

    I would suggest showing this thread to your wife so she can see what some very talented designers ( Jan, Patricia, Norwood, Hallett ) are suggesting for her. OOPS - I can't forget to mention the folks without "PRO" under their names - they have great input as well -I have learned so much from all of these people..................

    Good luck!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    "For me the issue was the interrupted countertop.".......

    Yes, Deb, thank you! I forgot to mention , even though it's glaring: ) would make me crazy, especially if someone is in the pantry poking around for a snack and that door is hanging open! Aurrggghhhh! : )

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    11 days ago

    ^^^ Exactly!

  • Shazia
    11 days ago

    The thread here is GOLD! I hope you show your wife so you get the dream kitchen you didn’t know you could even dream of!

    After going through a Reno, I will say the things I love most in our kitchen are the clearance ways. 48” feels sooooo good. No one will notice it per se but in the day to day function, it creates an ease and flow that you can’t replicate. It’s luxury.

    Also we worked with a KD, went to multiple high end cabinet showrooms, worked with a custom cabinet company…and the design we used that was bar none, the best…@jan_moyer original design.

    If she gives you a layout, take that and run!!! You can tweak obviously but she nailed our design from day one.

    And tell your wife in the kindest way that the internet with random strangers has said no no to corner pantry 😂

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    11 days ago

    The thread seems to have deviated to the pantry, but your initial questions are only about the island. To answer, "weird" is in the eye of the beholder. A square island is uncommon but will work fine for two people seated. A bigger island will make the aisles too small to work well.

    C R thanked RappArchitecture
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    @ Rapp Architecture

    It is MATH:

    185" WALL

    minus

    48" TOTAL TWO PERIMETER WALLS

    minus

    96" TOTAL TWO CLEARANCE AISLES

    EQUALS.......41 INCHES

    Now....

    DEDUCT 3"x2 PERIMETER COUNTER OVERHANG (1.5" eachx2)

    DEDUCT 3 " ISLAND OVER HANGS 2 x 1.5"

    WILL GIVE YOU A 35 INCH BASE FOR THE ISLAND, plus 12 " FOR KNEES AND A PERCH.

    /W TWO STOOLS on a 60 to 66" length island

    Note that you won't die with 42 inch or 45" clearance on the fridge/pantry side. )

    there is no reason to settle on 48" square.and awkward in shape

    Have 47 x 60 or 66....more work surface and prettier

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    The OPs drawing shows a 60" island. If it will be 48" as stated, that means 12" more aisle space at the sides. Splitting the difference means aisles of 45" and 44", less counter overhangs. It's actually simple math, and doesn't require ALL CAPS either.

  • herbflavor
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    not even convinced the cabinet to the right of fridge is a good plan..hinged side next to ovens?????? ..and open those doors in a main walkway??? there is so much excellence in roll out configuration for vertical storage. between the corner pantry and the other one... not sure you are getting best and efficient use of space.... there isnt much landing counter by fridge and ovens...its shared w sink use. your generous counter is oddly on the other side of kitchen away from work zone. Id get another design team to be honest.


    first pic here use of corners is key in U shape kitchens... you have forfeited that part in your plan..


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  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    11 days ago

    My tall pantry cabinet is 36" wide with double doors. The pullouts hold canned goods, dry goods, paper goods, snacks, cereals, beverages, you name it. The only other places I have food storage is the refrigerator/freezer and baking and cooking needs, which are stored near the range top and ovens.

  • mcarroll16
    11 days ago

    Just wanted to reiterate what Debbie Washburn said about the interrupted countertop. If your wife really wants to keep the corner pantry (which is a bad idea), the best way to handle that would be to flip the two walls. Put the cooktop (and the wall ovens, if it fits) on the right wall, so you have continuous countertop between sink and cooktop. Put the fridge and pantry cupboards on the right wall. It's not a big deal to take milk or produce out of the fridge and carry it a few feet to the sink. It is a real pain to do that with a heavy pot of soup or boiling pasta.

  • k8cd
    11 days ago

    Is it that your wife wants a walk-in pantry and in the corner is the only way to get it? I prefer walk-ins over pantry cabinets so I understand that. If she is set on the corner pantry, @mcarroll16 has a great suggestion to make the kitchen easier to use! I also like the idea of changing the direction of the island.

  • kimberlake
    8 days ago

    When islands first came out, I immediately fell in love with the concept. Some years ago, during a remodel, I was determined to put an island in our new kitchen, even though we didn't have enough clearance around it. "We're small people, we'll be fine," I said. Let me tell you, I grew to hate that island and that space, but we had spent a fortune on the remodel and I was stuck with it for years. I realize that what I had done was come up with a list of all the things I wanted in my dream kitchen and then forced them to fit in the space. It became my nightmare kitchen, not my dream kitchen. I advise you to let a KD look at the space and independently come up with a plan for what they see as the most beautiful and efficient use of your space. You might hate it at first glance because it is not going to have all your preconceived wishes built in. But live with it a week or two. Keep looking over it and just gently tweak it to make it yours. I bet you'll come up with a better kitchen that you truly love. I personally think the sketches of the peninsula island are killer, but you guys are the ones paying for this, so that is up to you. P. S. My husband and I are now empty nesters. We started thinking about that kitchen (and other issues in our house). What if one of us ends up in a wheelchair down the road? Or using a walker? We could NEVER navigate around that island. We ended up building a new house next door on our farm. That old house is getting ready to be demolished. Finally, when you come to a forum like this, make sure you really do want advice, and that you're not merely seeking validation for what you already plan to do. Because these professionals are always going to shine a light on your potential mistakes and bad ideas. Here's hoping you get the kitchen of your dreams and love it for years to come!

  • terrib962
    8 days ago

    The problem is not the island, it is the color grey - paint the cabinets and get white appliances. And choose a pastel or white for the walls. At least the kitchen gives off the unappetizing vibes so that no one will gain weight eating there.

  • HU-121436380
    8 days ago

    When you come to a forum like this, make sure you really do want advice, and that you’re not merely seeking validation for what you already plan to do. Because these professionals are always going to shine a light on your potential mistakes and bad ideas.

    Truer words were never spoken!



  • husterd
    8 days ago

    I was going to raise the issue of the dated dismal gray earlier but felt would be piling on too much negativity. Now that someone has, please rethink the gray cabinets and especially the flooring. Gray flooring now negatively affects a homes selling price never mind its “happiness” vibe. It will date a house to the ‘20 teens forever. I am assuming you are in final design mode and have not ordered anything. Looking at the kitchen concept pictures it almost feels like you have been collecting pictures and design thoughts for a few years for your dream kitchen. But now that ready to build those designs are outdated and those that lived with corner pantry’s now hate them. Much of the kitchen is great, make some changes: corner pantry, island or peninsula, gray color and it will be so much better. A big triple window over a centered sink comes to mind. You both will be much happier with the end result.

  • HU-791797011
    7 days ago

    How about putting the cooktop where the sink is with a window on each side of a beautiful vent hood for natural light. You can eliminate the wall of cabinets completely on the shorter 11’ wall which gives you room for a rectangular island with the sink in it across from the cooktop. The refrigerator, double ovens and pull out pantry, as big of one as space allows, can be on the longer 14’ wall. An L shaped kitchen. No corner pantry…for sure.

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    7 days ago

    It's fine, but I would probably just use it as a work/prep space and not a seating area. Maybe even do the island top in butcher block.


    This one is obviously smaller, but it's the right idea:



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  • Lynne
    7 days ago

    Our son and daughter in law have a corner pantry, and not enough counter space, in my opinion. I don't know how they feel about it, but it isn't something I would ever consider. I don't like islands, they are an obstacle, especially when aging in place, I like the G plan, better use of space. My dream kitchen would have very few cabinets and lots of drawers and pull out pantry cupboards. My nephew and his wife have two dishwashers which I thought was silly until I stayed there a few days. It is great, both work, small children, one dishwasher is being filled with dirty dishes while the other is clean dishes and doesn't need to be emptied right away, because they are busy. They also like to entertain so two dishwashers come in handy. I agree, show your wife this thread, tour kitchens and take the advice of want over best use of space. For those commenting on the grey kitchen, the author showed plans, those pictures are definitely not their kitchen.

  • RedRyder
    7 days ago

    I have lived in 4 houses and redid each kitchen - two were full remodels and two were refaced. I inherited a “middle island” in my current house and refaced it since I wasn’t prepared to rip out, redesign and have a worse mess.

    I miss my G shaped kitchen every day. So do my black and blue hips…

  • aprilhwolf
    7 days ago

    Cant you reduce your island depth to 36 inches, rotate it 90 degrees and allow it to run the length of your cabinet run containing the stove?

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    7 days ago

    Op seems to have given up on this discussion ages ago. Hopefully he got the help he wanted.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    6 days ago

    He's afraid of the Mrs.........

  • C R
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    I'm still here. Reading new comments as they come. Shared this entire discussion with the wife. Let's see what she says.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Well gee!! wheeeeeze?? Who knew LOL

    On a more serious note? It's both your money and we will send prayer for a better kitchen minus that pantry : ) ...............you're lurking at least. Encouraging.

  • kimberlake
    6 days ago

    C R, I respect you for respecting your wife.

  • Gigiof4
    6 days ago

    I have a square island that is 5’ in a U shaped kitchen. When the plans were first drawn up the kitchen had a rectangular island. I wanted something different and have not regretted it. It seats four people with two at the end and two on one side. It provides lots of storage. I have 48” of space for the perimeter. I have a wheelchair user in family and wanted plenty of room for him to get around without hitting anything.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Surface and volume thought

    Square feet , surface area, can be any shape.

    A square at 4 x4 is 16 sq feet.

    A rectangle via a turn of direction ? Meaning 3' x 5.5 feet? equals 16. 5 sq feet.

    A 5'w x 2'd x 8'h reach in pantry is 80 cubic feet of storage......and a walk in as the op has on plan? Assuming 13" shelving depth at same height? That is 65 cubic feet, 15' less, unless you fill up the floor and are unable to walk in at all, and you can only count the corner turn on 51" x 51" once - so it is 39" x 51" ish depending what's on the shelves.

    Is the OP's question about the way the island looks , or is it about how it functions? Either will function.

    Is the question about how the KITCHEN on a whole looks? If it is that, the "elephant" in the room is not the island, nor the shape of the island - it's the broken and disrupted look of a door on a walk in pantry, that affords less storage than a nice reach in .

    The question as posed, below



    Clearances - much ado on clearances. Ideal is full 48" and yet, many manage just fine on a couple inches less. Does everyone obsess on the overhang or even take that 1.5 inches into account? Is 42 inches a total kitchen fail? I'd hope not........all over this country clearances (more or less) certainly exist and the comfort or lack thereof is personal, and dependent on need and what need is MOST important to the user.

    This is never going to be a kitchen with an island seating five kids : ) Do the kitchen for the long haul. If it means you'll "die" without a walk in pantry? You know the answer. None of us are going to be using the island, the counter tops, the kitchen, the pantry, and in no case, will you have a four or more seat island in that kitchen footprint : )

  • acm
    5 days ago

    (just for the record, the reason you don't see square islands in *large* kitchens is that it can become hard to use or clean the center space if it is, e.g., 4 feet from every edge. there can also be issues with countertop slabs. otherwise, not inherently weird or off-putting.)

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