Kitchen Help!

So, I know I’ve been MIA for awhile – I’ve missed you guys!

I’m popping in today because I have a semi-urgent question to ask you.  Would you mind giving me your two cents and weighing in on a kitchen design?

What I need help with is the kitchen in our 10th flip (I know, I still owe you final pics of the 8th and I haven’t shown you any of the 9th, much less our two rental properties . . . ugh!).  Forgive me while I jump ahead a bit.  :)

We’re moving a ton of things around (deleting a powder room and adding a full bath, adding a laundry room, etc.) and the space we’re left with is a little bit of a head-scratcher.

Here’s a mock-up of the raw space (update – see the end of the post for a whole-home floor plan):

kitchen

It’s 21 1/2 feet long by 9 feet wide with a door and windows in some awkward places.  For now we’re ignoring the windows and we’ll re-frame as necessary, but I’d rather not move the door.

And here’s my best shot so far at laying out the kitchen:

kitchen floor plan

Do you think this is the best we can do, or do you have some suggestions?  I’d love to hear what you think?

P.S.  There isn’t room for an island.  :(

UPDATE: Here’s a really terrible, not-drawn-to-scale rendering of the home’s “new” floor plan, which I thought might be helpful.  I didn’t put in doorways, etc. because of the time crunch, but if you have a question about them just let me know!

floor plan after with labels

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Comments

  1. sarah says:

    What is the current layout? Where are the windows? I know you said you can frame later, but the cost/benefit might not be there if the existing plumbing can work.

    Can you punch a door to the laundry from the family room so you can free up a kitchen wall for more of a galley lay out?

    Personally, I don’t mind family rooms that are open to kitchens, but being able to see the sink and stove from the living room would be a turn off for me.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi! So many good ideas! Unfortunately the existing plumbing won’t work because of how drastically we’re changing the layout (a necessary evil to be able to convert the existing space to make a true 4th bedroom & bath). We could definitely make the access to the laundry room from the family room – my only hesitation with doing that is that it would make the entrance to the laundry room really really far from all of the bedrooms – not that having the entrance in the kitchen is THAT much closer, but it’s closer nonetheless. But maybe that’s the way to go?

      It’s funny how personal preferences come into play – I actually set up the kitchen with the stove centered on the opening to the living room on purpose, ha!

      • sarah says:

        Well, you know what sells a house and I bet most buyers wouldn’t be phased by seeing a beautiful kitchen sink and range from the living room.

        Could you swap the guest bath with the laundry and pantry area? My friend’s guest powder room is off their family room and it’s not a bother. I think I’d rather have a toilet off a family room than a living/dining room.

        21 feet is really long for a 9 ft wide kitchen, isn’t it? Rather than a peninsula, you could do, like, an 8’x5′ L shaped banquette at the end of that run of cabinets rather than just a peninsula. A banquette would offer a more substantial, casual dining area and **bonus** if the TV is positioned on the family room wall facing the exterior wall, you would be you could sit at the banquette and watch TV!

        I don’t know if the banquette suggestion makes total sense. I’m thinking the long leg of the “L” would be against the exterior wall and the short leg would back up to the base cabinet return, where the peninsula is in your drawing.

        I LOVE tweaking floorplans. Thanks for allowing us to chime in!!

  2. sarah says:

    one more thought… in our old house, the fridge was at the far end away from the family room. Our kitchen was narrow like this and it drove me bonkers to have so much traffic through my workspace. Can the fridge be recessed into the pantry area? If the laundry door can be changed, you could put an upper and lower cabinet there where the laundry door is for a beverage station.

  3. Collette says:

    Can’t wait to read all about the other projects! My two cents: make sure the sink is under a window…so prefer to have a view while washing dishes. Seems the fridge is far away…and like the peninsula blocks traffic flow…but i like the pantry. Maybe pocket door the laundry entry?

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      I completely agree that the sink MUST be under a window! :) I’m not in love with the location of the peninsula, but it seems like the best place for it, and I feel like we need to have a place to eat in the kitchen (otherwise the formal dining room would be the only place). You’re totally right that a pocket door would be great for the laundry room, but I’m reluctant to do that because I like the existing door (it’s so cute!) and I’d like to avoid re-framing the doorway, tearing out sheetrock, etc. (although it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we had to do all of that).

  4. GG says:

    I agree with sarah! Could you tuck the stove next to the fridge so it’s hidden from the living room? The fridge really does seem to cry out built in closer to the family room. Instead of building a pantry, build in the fridge and then have a tall pantry cabinet where the fridge currently is (that would still hide the stove if it were next to it instead of perpendicular).

  5. Sarah S says:

    I think having the oven visible from the living room is fine, I love the look of a big statement hood. But the biggest reason I think you should leave the stove there is the long prep space to either side of it. I have my stove right next to my fridge and it makes me crazy when actually cooking. You want to be able to chop veggies and meat right next to where you’re cooking it.
    I agree with the others about bringing the fridge closer to the family room. Maybe switching the pantry and fridge locations.

  6. kristin says:

    WOW! That is a lot of stuff in one floor! OK. Definitely do the counter with stools open to the family room!!! I don’t see the shelves on the end of the counter that important as they will not really be a focal point to the room. It’s not like you can enter the room and say “oh, what a cute bookshelf” as it is on the end and facing a wall. Can you do a pocket door for the big “odd” door to the left? Or room for a farmhouse sliding door? I think what you have is good but the door thing swinging out may get to me. And how tight is the space? If I were at home doing laundry and baking cookies (as I am now) not sure I would want to have to close the door every time in and out for a load. Yet, I would have to because the door seems to hang out too far and be in my walkway. Or in the way to your child playing in the family room. Oh, and if you were questioning the under counter micro–TDC just did a post on her island and want for a low micro. Comments weighed in on that idea. FYI http://www.thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2014/08/island-dreaming.html

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      I think that’s an excellent point about the bookshelf – I think it’s out now (not worth the expense if no one’s going to appreciate it, right?) As for the door, I’ve been thinking about moving it to where the pantry is in my drawing (in the original house layout there’s a large window there, so there’s already a header) which would mean that I could flip the door around so that it swings into the laundry room – it would kill off that corner of the laundry room for storage, etc. but it might be more functional? I agree that it’s current location and swing kind of stinks. :( And yay for all the positive comments about the under counter microwave!! We’ve done them a bunch and it’s good to hear that people like them. :)

      • kristin says:

        I am glad to see my comment came up. I didn’t see it for a bit–anyway…when you mentioned moving the door to the pantry I misunderstood at first. I thought you meant to put the cool laundry room door on the pantry opening (of course having to make it wider). Then I thought “oh, that could be cool–a cute pantry with nice shelves leading into your laundry room.” I think I didn’t get what you were saying but thought that could be interesting–then you only have one door there. I am not sure you would want to get rid of storage in the laundry room. If there is not a basement then you are going to want it. Take it from the lady who has one closet for storage–about 6’x4′–in my tri level!

  7. Stacy T says:

    Could you move the pantry next to the guest bath to widen and shorten the kitchen? The door might be awkward next to the bathroom but it would give you a full wall where the pantry is now and a wider kitchen.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      That is a very interesting thought that hadn’t occurred to me! I’m not sure if we could do it because the laundry room is actually going to be an addition to the house . . . hmm. I love the idea of a wider kitchen!

      • sarah says:

        It would be great to have a wider kitchen, but it looks like you might have a fireplace centered on your living room wall? changing where the LR ends and the kitchen begins might kill your LR.

  8. LeeAnn says:

    I like your current layout. Keep the space on either side of the sink and range. I don’t mind looking at appliances. It’s part of the kitchen territory. Where you put windows will make the room. And if you have a large window eliminating upper cabinets then having a large pantry is a must.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      We’re eliminating a few windows in this whole rearranging experiment, which does totally freak me out. It helps that we’re opening up a bunch of walls so we’ll be getting light from elsewhere, but we will also be expanding/reconfiguring the two windows that will be left – but then you’re right, we need more storage!!

  9. Is this a must figure out ASAP thing? Can the doors to the pantry and laundry open into those rooms? If you have a second to add where the windows are it would help. I would just be tempted to pull the pantry and laundry deeper (which I guess would be an add on) and then make the kitchen have an island. The main crossroad through my house is through my kitchen and I hate it. I’m sure the way you have it could work out great, I’m just influenced by my kitchen!

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Unfortunately it IS an ASAP thing – eek!! Our framer is there right now, and luckily he has lots to keep him busy but my time is running out. :) All of the comments you guys are leaving are bringing up all kinds of possibilities that I hadn’t considered! Which is totally awesome. My original plan for the kitchen included an island (before we started moving bathrooms, adding laundry rooms, etc.) and I’m still mourning that plan – I loved it! Hmm, if we could bring an island back in that would be great….

  10. Felicity says:

    I think it’s all quite logical, but I don’t like the stove so close to the sink. There doesn’t seem to be enough space on either side of it for spreading out while cooking. I like all the space to the left of the sink for non-cooking space: coffee maker, fruit bowl, general life stuff.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      I’m hoping that the area around the stove might appear more cramped in the drawing than it really is – that box to the right of the word “sink” is the dishwasher, and the sink will go where the word “sink” is, if that makes sense. Sometimes my drawings only make sense to me, ha!

  11. Berry says:

    Actually, do you need the wall and a separate room for the laundry/pantry? Is it load bearing? How deep is your pantry/laundry area?

    If it is not load bearing, what I would do is tear out the wall and use that space to deepen the kitchen, then build the laundry/pantry along the wall of the guest bathroom.

    If it is load bearing, then I would replace the pantry there with a fridge, and a small shelving space behind it off the laundry. (Can’t tell if that is a closet laundry or a laundry room laundry.) That places the fridge still within a good work triangle, but more accessible to both family and living rooms. Pantries are very nice, and I would then create a small one on the wall against the guest bathroom.

    How wide is the opening into the family room? You could potentially put in a small cabinet with overhang counter there, small island style. A place for spreading out food for parties, breakfast, or homework.

    One last thought. 21 feet is really long for a kitchen. I would designate the last 8 feet or so towards the family room as eating space rather than counter space. Tbh, I would not go with casual dining on counter stools because I hate them and my elderly mother can’t sit at them. It is fashionable right now though.

  12. Ann says:

    All of these comments have been excellent. I agree completely with the stove and sink situation. This is a very tricky layout with the pantry. I always prefer when the stove in not on the same stretch as the sink. I would actually prefer it in the corner closer to the fridge which would make it more accessible to taking things out of the fridge to the sink, but that’s if the fridge stays where it’s at. I honestly don’t know how you balance all of the things in your life but I will be taking pointers from now on:). Good luck and trust your gut.

  13. jenn says:

    My two cents:

    I think opening up the laundry and pantry into one big space could be great and then use a barn type door or pocket doors.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/108297566010402492/
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/409827634812594306/
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/193373377724186034/
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/158540849355513364/
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/283515739014613371/

    If you keep the fridge where it is I would build a shallow cabinet like this one so that you don’t see the side of the fridge from the other room.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/108297566012554851/
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/108297566009894131/

    Good luck!! I can’t wait to see more.

    Jenn

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Jenn, it’s like you’re reading my mind! The fridge will definitely have cabinetry on the side, and my original thought for the laundry/pantry was to have it as one big space – I think you’re right, that will work better.

      • Mary says:

        I was thinking the same thing as Jenn for one large area with a sliding door or French doors. If you did French doors, you could add bookcases (inside or outside) or shelving on the inside as part of the pantry (we have this on our pantry cabinets – I store spices and some canned goods there). I hope that you are happy with your solutions!

  14. sarah says:

    I can’t get this floorplan out of my head. You’ve got quite a puzzle here. Is the only access to the backyard going to be through the kitchen?

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Me neither!! No, there is also a door from the family room, thank goodness!

  15. sarah says:

    I’m curious about your real estate market. I’m in Portland, Oregon. Are 4/3s with a separate family room what’s in demand down there? We just sold a 4/2 last week and one realtor I talked to said most folks in our area were looking for 3/2 and a bonus, that our 4th room didn’t add much value. However, we accepted an offer within 15 hours and closed 24 days after listing :-)

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Ooh, congrats on your sale!! 4/3s are in high demand around here, although probably half of the people looking at it would use the 4th bedroom as an office.

  16. Sandra R says:

    I would agree that having doors open into the kitchen space would be best avoided. Barn style doors are popular now, and pocket doors are wonderful if your wall allows. This is a challenging kitchen! Can’t wait to see how you solve it, and I know you will!

  17. Ellen says:

    Sorry, I can’t get past the dining room being so far from the kitchen. I’d switch the dining room and office (library/4th bed).

  18. Brian says:

    What about moving the pantry/laundry room to the other side of the guest bath? That would give you room for an island and make the kitchen a little more compact. Plus the laundry water and drain lines could be shared with that bath to make plumbing easier. As is I think the kitchen is a bit long.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      I do think there’s a lot of merit to that idea, but I think it would make the opening between the kitchen and living room too narrow. :(

      • Brian says:

        Yea, I’d think you’d have to open that wall up to the right of the fireplace. Which may not look right depending on how the fireplace looks. A two sided fireplace could work, but may look a little dated. Every once in awhile I’ll see a two sided that I like, though.

  19. Linda Z says:

    I really love the idea that Kristin brought up about an “eat in banquet that backs up to the counter.” It would be really important to me to have a casual eating area near the family room that the whole family could eat at. I love the idea of a built in bench/eating area there. It would probably win me over on the house, whereas without it, it might be a deal breaker for me. Can’t wait to see all you guys end up doing! You always come up with such wonderful layouts! :)

  20. Brian says:

    Depending on what type of fireplace that is what about making that wall to the left of the laundry/pantry further to the left? Maybe then you could keep the laundry/pantry there, but in different spots that could give you more room for kitchen cabinets or a built in banquet like some mentioned.

    And if it’s not already try to make the 4th bed/den bathroom an en suite so there are less doors in the main areas.

  21. Aimee says:

    Wow Liz, you have a VERY helpful and opinionated audience! There are so many excellent ideas presented here. Lots of new things to consider. Can’t wait to see what you ultimately decide!

  22. Raanan says:

    Hi,
    Of course my two cents are..1. tingle every time there is a new post..2. Pocket doors or the barn style tracks should be considered as the door swings visually and physically take up more space than anticipated. Renters will not be slamming or bumping things into unclosed doors! Keep up the amazing work and smiles!
    Raanan

  23. Liz, If the neighboring homes are mostly 4 bedrooms, I can see why you might like to add the 4th. I do see where you have placed it as problematic. If I read the new plan correctly, one would have to go through the dining room to get to the new bedroom. Also, having a bathroom with walls adjacent to highly used spaces is noisy and presents an awkward position for a guest wanting to use it. Personally when I design a home I would avoid this at all costs. I think a large all purpose Butlers pantry and storage would make more sense as I don’t see any broom or coat closets in the plan. JMHO.