Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kitchen Design and Flow

I'm putting together the cabinet and floor plan for the kitchen remodel. The only real constraint I have is the window on the north wall. The sink will remain in that location.

Obviously the dishwasher should be near the sink, and I want counter tops available on either side of the stove.

Currently, the cabinets on the sink-side of the kitchen are in this arrangement, although there is no dishwasher. On the stove-side of the kitchen everything is currently reversed (the fridge is closest to the living room, which blocks some of the flow visually into the kitchen).

The table is not drawn to scale, so I'm not worried about the flow around it.

The green outline represents the counter top - solid surface or granite. Red outlines are lower cabinets, and blue outlines are upper cabinets.

I have considered having the dishwasher to the left of the sink, but I think it'll work better here, even though it means longer supply & discharge line runs.

Depending on how tired I am as this project progresses, I'll probably open up the wall leading into the family room by about 12". This will mean moving the electrical switches too, which I really don't want to do, but it'll really open up the room a lot.

There are currently soffets above the upper cabinets. I'd love to remove them and installer taller upper cabinets, but this could create a whole mess of extra work that I really don't want/need right now.

To all you professional designers and those who have been there before, am I missing anything which would improve the flow of the kitchen?


Smudgemo said...

Make sure the door or drawers and the door to the dishwasher don't interfere with each other. Seems like a good chunk of storage in that corner won't be used or accessible unless you make that a cabinet with a door or have access from the back-side.

Muskego Jeff said...

I'm figuring on using a 1" to 2" spacer to block the cabinets out a little so I don't run into any clearance issues.

On the opposite side of the dishwasher, up against the wall will be a cabinet which you access from the side of the cabinets facing the kitchen table. That seems to be a good place for phone books, cook books, etc.

Berkhills Blogger said...

Hey Jeff two things to consider; I would move the dishwasher to the left of the sink for ergonomics and to keep from opening the door into your knees. Also have you considered opening up the wall on the family room side? This would allow you to move the peninsula to that side of the room and free up some space around the table. The other corner is a pretty heavy traffic corridor with the stairs, the 1/2 bath and the back door. It would be better not to interrupt it further with the peninsula. Also, kitchens/family room combinations are huge selling features in most markets. It is my experience that opening walls is one of the best places to gain equity. It usually doesn't cost much in materials and it would certainly help modernize a "craptastic ranch."

EGE said...

I've been trying to come up with some helpful advice to offer from our own kitchen remodelling experience, but so far the best I've managed to come up with is: Don't run out of money in the middle and leave it half-finished for going on two years. Because that would just be STUPID. And you're not. Right?

Muskego Jeff said...

I originally wanted the dishwasher to the left of the sink, but I run into a few problems. First, it would leave only 12" for a base cabinet between the sink cabinet and the dishwasher. I can get (or make) a cabinet that size, but it's sooo small it's almost useless.

That problem is probably mostly in my head, but I'm a little too detail oriented for my own good.

I also prefer not to have the dishwasher right up against the wall. Why? I have no idea, other than that's how it was at the condo I renovated a few years ago and that place made me sick to my stomach, so the fewer reminders of it the better.

Having it to the right of the sink should give me enough room to open the door, but I can still push the "L" out a little farther if I need a few more inches of room. This may work out best if I skip adding the "breakfast bar" on the counter top.

I have looked at the flow into and through the kitchen and figure that at least 80% of the traffic goes from the living room to the family room. The basement and 1/2 bath get limited travel, so having to swing around the dishwasher won't cause too much distraction to flow. Plus it gives us extra countertop space close to the table, which I like.

I've been looking more and more at opening up the wall a bit between the kitchen and family room. The opening really needs to be opened at least 12". I can't go much more than that, because I plan to build a closet on the other side of that wall. Currently there isn't a closet anywhere near the garage door entrance, and I figure that'll be the best place for it.

I've plotted out a few different layouts on CAD and on paper and am getting more and more convinced that the layout I've come up with will work out well. I'm sure the design will get tweaked a lot during the actual construction though, and I'm not ordering any countertop material until the bases are all done, just to be safe.

Ege: As far as I know I'm not stupid, but then again I'd be the last to know! I hope I don't run out of cash. In fact, right after the holidays we are going to go out and order all the material needed for the kitchen and bathroom so we have it when we're ready. The only thing I can't order ahead of time will be the counter top, unless we go with granite tile.

Berkhills Blogger said...

We actually designed our kitchen to have a 9" pull out pantry style cabinet right next to the dishwasher. We use it just for dishwasher soap and cleaning supplies, and other stuff that otherwise gets buried in the no-mans-land under the sink. This frees the sink cabinet for garbage.

CraftsmanTouch said...

You might be sorry if you have the dishwasher the way it's shown. You will be twisting backwards to fill it, and if it was me, probably tripping on the lowered door. I too would put it to the left of the sink. It makes a nice flow from clearing the table to rinsing, to loading. Love the idea of a pullout for supplies in the extra space. Also remember, a door with a pullout is really just drawer. All of my lower cabinets in my new kitchen are drawers, and it's the smartest thing I did. Use the space where the dishwasher is shown now for 2 or 3 drawers. It's so easy to find your pots and pans...

Nick said...

How about an island in the center of the kitchen?

Muskego Jeff said...

It's too narrow for an island, although I'd love to have one.

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

Soo Tired! said...

My girlfriend is in the middle of a kitchen remodel that is very close to yours. So I gots some experience in this... Definitly trash the soffits and go with pantry style cabinets (full length). Make the cabinet over the frig full depth and add racks for oversize baking pans, cookie sheets,cutting boards, etc. If you have a standard window (top is about 6'8") add a matching cabinet - like 15 inches tall over the sink for cookbooks and stuff. I would follow the suggestions from the others and go with the d/w on the left of the sink. Put pullouts/drawers on all the lower cabinets. If you can swing it, the drawer type dishwashers are very cool - but pricey. Add a shelf above the sink on the window sill for herbs, starter plants dish soap, scrubby's and that little colored water glass bird thingy that dips when it warms up. I prefer the farm style, single sink. Forget about the garbage disposal and get a dog. Don't forget to run wiring for under cabinets for lo-voltage task lighting. If your going to do this yourself I would add a power strip just underneath the upper cabinets to the left of the sink for the big items like toasters and mixers. Raise it and the outlets (on either side of the stove) so they are out of your sight line. I don't know what is on the wall on the sink side of kitchen at your place but a glass block pass through to allow light to filter in over the counters is way cool. If your into Modern style cabinets you can make the upper cabinet doors a flip-up style door. Sky's the limit if you are building your own doors so have at it.
What are you doing for lighting in the center of the kitchen?
Have you thought about a nook for seating and a table instead of floating a table in the middle of the walkway floor leading to the living room?
The one thing I would do is move the breakfast bar and lengthen the kitchen on the sink side and this may seem radical but moving the frig to the right of the sink and adding a counter would be better. When you carry in groceries through the backdoor the counter and the nook would act as a landing pad for the incoming goods. Miss the breakfast bar? Move it to the family room side. That way you can watch the tube and eat at the bar at the same time. Don't forget the Beer signs over the breakfast bar. And yes I am bachelor so I know how nice it is to eat at the bar and watch the tube while eating. Now if I could just train my dog to fetch me a cold one from the frig.

Bangor Bungalow said...

We just finished our kitchen about when you posted this. What a process! The thing that really made it for us was building the fridge in (we basically built a closet & shoved it in.) The fridge had been blocking flow into the mudroom. It's AMAZING how much smaller it looks in its own little nook. I'm sure you've looked at the NKBA site/guidelines (like specs on have at least 18" countertop 'landing space' on the side of the fridge that opens) or other guidelines - I also find the very rationale advice of Sarah Susanka in "the not so big house" books very helpful. For example, she recommends cabinet depths and how to make things more efficient. And, we were just commenting tonight on how well everything fits because it was all custom - like our baking drawers that we measured & purchased containers that fit perfectly in them to store all our flour, sugar, flavorings, etc.