help!! kitchen layout.. can i fit an island in

Greg Penn
10 November, 2015
Hi there, apologies for the drawings, but I've tried to show current plans to scale.. it's a Victorian terrace.. we're currently waiting for the wall between the rooms to come down.. I've my heart set on an island and a wall of units behind (complete with the appliances behind a cupboard on the left) with the range in the chimney breast.. fridge freezer on the left, then a long, thin island ... then beyond that, against the wall (probably with a built in bench to save space) a long thin table... the room will be completely open to the living room.. it's got very high ceilings and we're thinking an in frame shaker style with a pale granite island top, and wood tops on the cooker run where needed...
I'd love to hear your thoughts whether I can fit all that in without feeling too cramped... dining chairs would be something light like an eames design.. the room is lovely and light with huge bay windows front and back and the kitchen windows are south facing.. the attached picture is of the living room to give you an idea of the style of space... many thanks in advance!!
best wishes, Greg

Comments (49)

  • Greg Penn
    I seem to have managed to post this three times.. my apologies!! currently living without WiFi and having to use phones for everything!!! thanks
  • alannarichards
    Yes you can definitely fit an island in! Sounds like a great plan. Beautiful potential for that space!
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    Whilst I understand the constraints of budget I think you are approaching the planning wrong. I think the way to do this is to decide on the layout that works best and then work out what you can afford to do now- perhaps you can make economies on purchases such as the kitchen cabinets to get a better Gliw in your home. An architectural designer or a concept planner are worth considering to help with this- they would also help you visualise the finished space too. If this were my house I would be thinking the entrance wasn’t big enough for the size of house and I would be concerned about privacy of the bedrooms at the front, I also don’t like the current kitchen being some distance from a window and being a heavy traffic area. Although I can’t see the layout properly I think I have got the sizes about right to show how I would do it. I have moved the front door to the middle of the house, shown a vaulted hall with stairs to two big upstairs spaces, shown the living space as completely open plan but with the option of using one of the downstairs bedrooms or one of the upstairs rooms as an extra living room. In my opinion there are often houses with long narrow extensions across the back that should have been better considered as invariably people need bigger spaces rather than more small rooms and retrospectively opening up the original house into this space is more difficult that building in the steels originally. So my plan doesn’t change any of the external walls of the original property but a couple of internal brick walls have been removed. I have just shown what is commercial and probably wouldn’t cost the earth but a designer would spend time trying to better understand your needs.
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  • Victoria
    I'm not sure you have the width for a table and an island in that arrangement. You need a minimum of 1m between island and range for it to be comfortable which leaves you only 2.2m for table. People need room to pull out chairs, you may find yourself forever pulling table in and out.

    What about a shorter island, a little further away from units to give more working space, with a round or square table in the bay?

    That said, I like the overall idea very much.
  • Victoria
    Then you could put cabinets on both sides of the room with generous walkways past the island...
  • Jonathan
    What about a wider island the a working area near the lounge but a table off it at the bay end?
  • PRO
    Moorhouse Architecture Ltd

    I suspect the 'living room' is going to afford the best kitchen layout.

  • Sherbert Barnes
    NO NO NO!! Sorry but you cannot fit in both with that layout! I have an island in my open plan kitchen. I have just measured the width of the kitchen and it is not quite as wide as yours ( but almost!) and believe me, you do not want to skimp on the space around your island... The space I have left between island and work tops is fine - with your measurements, I think you will find it tight and end up wishing you could move the island. I will put pic and doodle below to show you. The other thing that I personally am not keen on is the sink on the island. Anybody sat chatting at the island may get splashed by the cook! And also it lends itself to having dirty cups, plates and glasses being placed right in the middle of the room in a focal area. I particularly like the idea of the bay window becoming a focal area as already suggested and then you can have s wider island that will allow for storage at the front and back of it. Personally, looking down from your open plan area towards the bay window, I would be inclined to make this end of the island rounded in shape so as to complement the far end. Good luck..... Very envious of your beautiful high ceilings!!
  • Sherbert Barnes
    Sorry Greg, I seem to have sent you pic far too many times but here is my doodle as well - as you can see from previous pic - you do need to allow plenty of space for traffic.
  • Jonathan
    You might prefer to get rid of the chimney breast to have more space around the range.
    You could have reduced depth cabinets on the opposite side of the room for additional storage
  • Greg Penn

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the replies so far - bit of a mix but consensus so far appears to think not... My worry with a squarer, Shorter island, with a table at one end (either in the bay
    or towards the living room) is that it then feels a bit linear and the spaces
    don’t feel connected to one another – also that it then feels just like you’re
    eating in the kitchen rather than separate ‘zones’…

    Sherbert – your kitchen is lovely! I appreciate your point
    and will study the plan more closely – thanks for your help! If we did go down
    this route, we’d be looking at a much, much narrower island than yours – almost
    like a galley kitchen just without the 2nd wall! I take your point
    on the sink too – originally I was thinking of the hob on the island but
    thought it easier in the chimney for ventilation etc…. but I need space for the
    fridge and freezer… and I’m pretty set on an appliance garage on the top too as
    I don’t want to be able to see any kettles/toasters and what not – which does
    really mean that the sink would need to be on the island…

    Moorhouse – I’m afraid the living room isn’t an option – the
    kitchen room looks over the back garden and is south facing so gets the sun –
    the living room looks over the front and gets no light as is north facing.

    Thanks so far – great to hear your thoughts – it
    definitely helps! As soon as the wall has been taken down we’re going to mock
    it up with cardboard boxes etc!!

  • jessica615

    Sherbet, I LOOOOVE your kitchen. What colour are the walls? Sorry to jump on your thread, Greg. I am not sure about an island. We wanted one too and decided against on the basis of wanting cupboard space on both sides of the kitchen and not having too much space to go round the island.

  • PRO
    As this is a party house ( info from previous threads ) then I figure if you buy a Bavarian beer table ( which are narrow but long and usually sold with pair of push under benches) this could just work - but Victoria and others are correct to point out you need 1m between cooker and island ... To this affect I've sketched an idea on your plan ... Going down to 600mm in the central section. Still gives the impression of a wider island from end ! Added DW at end and Sink cabinet next to it. suggest open shelving at rear of this . Then either two sets of double wall cabinets at base height as pantry cupboards or double side opening cabinets . Then double drawer or cupboard units at the other end with matching open shelving at rear - this gives you better worktop /plonking space in front of fridge for when you come back with bags full of food to be put away ! Also gives you better prep space near to cooker ... The appliance garage looks self sufficient and won't require extra worktop space so that suits having the sink and DW opposite - also means when DW open forms a small barrier to keep lurkers out of kitchen - and for safety allows easy access to sink from cooker. ( draining pasta etc - you don't want to be falling over the DW )
    What do you think ?!
  • chookchook2

    Did you say party house Bavarian beer table, One Plan? Cheers!

    Click on them

  • PRO
    Cheers !!
  • Jonathan
    Different idea
  • Victoria
    Yes, I think units both sides, a shorter island and a table in the bay is the best option.
    I have an island sink and have no problem with it.
    I also have an island hob with a downdraft extractor, if you really don't want range in chimney, that is an option.
  • Greg Penn

    Hi One Plan - yes, something like a Bravarian table is pretty well what I had in mind - narrow to the point where you can get two large dinner plates on but not with much space in the middle - but lots of place side by side to put dishes etc! Interesting idea narrowing the island in the middle to account for the range - though I was hoping the range wouldn't really be too much deeper than the units (it's not an aga etc).

    jonathandb1972 Jonathandb1972 & Victoria - lots of people seem to be suggesting that..... I'm just keen for the whole room not to feel/look like a kitchen - more a lovely victorian room with a bit of kitchen in it if that makes sense!

    Many thanks all. as soon as the room is cleared I'll mock it up with cardboard boxes and see how it feels!

  • PRO
    Simon Fink Kitchens

    Hi Greg,

    One other thing you might want to consider is in relation to the worktop on your island. If the island is going to be longer than 4 metres you won't be able to 'do it' in one laminate piece. If it's longer than 3 metres, you'd almost certainly have to have a joint in a granite or quartz top.

    I would think about the length of the island too. I've installed maybe 500 kitchens in the last 15 years and I've never installed an island 4 metres long (nor one over 3.2m)! Ergonomically it doesn't work. It may seem petty but you'll find yourself walking too far each time you want to use the sink or get to the centre of the island. I'd seriously consider reducing the length of the island!

    As far the design goes, I'm with the people suggesting there isn't enough room for an island and a table in your design. You do need space around the island and if you intend to put a table where it is on your plan, the kitchen will feel cramped. Don't do it!

    Sorry to sound bossy or proscriptive!

    All the best.

  • PRO
    Composite worktop like Silestone or Corian etc wouldn't be a problem though Greg, if you want a longer island .
    Adding a pic of a Bavarian beer table - just to reassure people that it's not a standard size table - it's much narrower - so would be more usable in the space that's left ...
  • kazza_hayward

    what a beautiful room with lovely original features!

  • PRO
    Only this morning I was working on a kitchen design where the island is 4.1m long - but in that instance and this one - the island becomes the other half of a galley type layout - Yes I agree I could be a little un ergonomic if the island that large and was a central part of a kitchen where both outer walls were being used as part of the whole kitchen too - but this isn't like that - so in my professional opinion I think this would be fine.
  • PRO
    Simon Fink Kitchens

    Hi OnePlan,

    Silestone is a brand of quartz and the maximum size of any slab is 3,250mm (and that's just the colours they do in jumbo slabs). Of course Greg could make the island 10 metres long and have three joints in it but I just wanted to make him aware that the quartz in a four metre island will have a joint in it!

    You're right about Corian. You could have any length of island in Corian and no visible joints.


  • PRO
    Simon Fink Kitchens

    If the island is to be 800mm wide, he'd have room for storage on the 'back' of it. Amongst other things, I was thinking of the journey from that storage to say, the dishwasher! I suppose he could get some roller-skates to make the trip less arduous, mind...


  • Greg Penn
    haha I'm not sure a pair of skates would be a good idea...

    I think a long island would be OK in terms of layout in that it would just work like a long, thin galley kitchen. there won't be any storage really on the opposite side of the island so its all going on in the long thin space and I thought it would actually be quite efficient... literally work top 100cm behind all the tall cupboards and range the full length almost... the only time going the other side of the island is to take things to the table and the narrowness of the island would allow me to reach everything on the top!

    interesting about only having 3meter lengths... would like to avoid joins if possible but don't love corian so needs some thought!!

    oneplan.. do you think a thin table like that, with a fixed, built in bench on one side. with slim chairs the other would work? I plan to make the table myself so can make it to any dimensions I want! cheers
  • PRO
    If you had a bench that was fixable - but also could be unfixed, if you wanted to shift it might useful too - could work with chairs on one side - but that will limit you on the people you can squeeze in remember !
  • PRO
    Simon Fink Kitchens

    ... and remember, if the table is less than 700mm deep, you won't really have room to sit people opposite each other ( to eat comfortably). Be ok for coffee or beers though!

  • PRO
    Simon Fink Kitchens

    Greg, do you really want to sit 10 people at the table - as your diagram shows? If not, consider making the island deeper and shorter 3,000mm x 1,200mm and adding a table at the bay window end of the plan. The table would effectively drop down from the island and could be 1200 x 1200 (seating 6 people).

    Joint problem solved. Extra storage (on the back of the island). No long walks in the working part of the kitchen. No squeezing past chairs to get to the bay window. No table to construct. Lots more space and empty space is a great feature in a room!

  • Greg Penn
    thanks Simon... I'm definitely going to draw up plans like that too and see how it feels in the room... thanks for all the help so far... feels like a HUGE decision and just about the only really tricky one in the whole renovation really.. the rest should fall into place I'm hoping.. I just really want to get this right and make it our dream space.. we've been living with compromised designs in rented houses for years so having the ability to create something from scratch in a house we love is super exciting!!! but nerve wracking too!!
  • Sherbert Barnes
    Laugh out loud Greg!
    I am even stressing about your new design now!! I have photographed another (bad) sketch below. Island down middle and attached to the island is a table that is dropped down in height from the island made possibly from a different material to the island. One thing I think is important and helpful for us to know is the style of kitchen you want to go for i.e. traditional, modern, ultra sterile etc.... This will also help to decide how far you can push the boundaries with shaping of island top etc... For example, do you want all clean lines or quirky etc.... Another thing to throw a spanner into the works is lighting! But really first of all, I think we need to know the style.... Another tip that I can share with you!! Is that I went and bought a roll of wallpaper out of a DIY stores oddments bin and mocked up a true to size exact model of the island before it was made, and taped this to the floor. Thus I lived with it for a few days before going back to Landford Stone ( the granite co I used) and saying, 'yes, that's definitely the size and shape I would like.' If you find yourself constantly 'walking on your wallpaper island ' you will know it is not the right size for the space. My paper island then remained in place until the real one was built and this was a priceless tool for my electrician..... as it meant he was never guessing where pendant lights should be positioned and we totally avoided unnecessary holes in the ceiling.
  • Sherbert Barnes
    Also Greg, lighting will pay a huge part in the design and this will be able to link areas together. My open plan kitchen, dinning room is 80sq metres - so it was always important to me that I did not have black spots or dark areas - I wanted a feeling that everywhere flowed... So I really thought about how I use the kitchen..... One small example of this is I thought about what I normally do...... Ie Walk in, dump bags down on island, and proceed to unpack and put groceries away. So one of my light switches ensures that all the 'zones' that will be in use when I am doing that task, are lit up. It also avoids the need for a bank of 16 light switches!!
  • Greg Penn

    Haha – Sherbert – don’t stress!! I love your idea about
    using wallpaper as templates! And will definitely be putting lots of thought
    into the lighting. I plan to use smart lights/switches so I can dim/control
    them all via my mobile phone… we’ve almost finished the bathroom (pics of ‘in
    progress below so you can maybe get a feel for our style’ below – it’s the
    first bit of DIY/plumbing etc we’ve ever done so are pretty happy with how it
    worked out – nearly there now – and a before picture too! Still needs finishing
    touches (skirting boards painting – window – radiator etc…. and the roll top bath that's going below the wondow.. then art and what
    not!) and have used them in there so we can dim everything and have a switch on
    the wall – it’s amazing!!

    The style we’re after in the kitchen will be an in frame
    shaker style… but pared down – nothing too frilly or fancy – slightly utilitarian…
    probably a dark paint on the island (F&B hague blue or similar) with paler
    cupboards on the wall with the chimney breast…. Possibly a bit ‘on trend’ but
    we’re hoping that, with a traditionally crafted kitchen, painted, that we can
    then refresh it with different paint etc if we ever tire of it. I’m not sure we
    can easily describe our style as such – but we want to embrace the space – so bold
    but classic with a few quirky/interesting touches thrown in for good measure as
    we’re a young ish couple with no kids so want to be at least a little bit ‘out
    there’ against what we hope will be a very classic back drop! I've also included a few smaps of the sort of kitchens I like.... and finally, there's an art and crafts one, the style of which isn't for us - but has the long thin island and thintable near it, albeit without the bench so it takes up more space - to help illustrate what I mean! Thanks!!!

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    Soho Factory · More Info

    Industrial Kitchen · More Info

    New Arts and Crafts: maple kitchen and eclectic living room, Oxford · More Info

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  • Victoria
    Grand London Residence · More Info

    I know this is a bit traditional for you but if you take cabinets up to ceiling you get more storage and can make it look more like a room with cabinetry than a kitchen.
  • PRO
    Amber Jeavons Ltd

    Hello Greg,

    Haven't read all the thread but consider the island being both functional with sink/cabinets and dining as well in a way that is seamless from island to dining in an interesting configuration. That way you get both with possibly more room either side.... Also the look you're going for is deVOL or Plain English! Lovely! The room pic you posted too is equally lovely.. A good eye!

    : ))

  • Greg Penn

    Hi victoria - I really like that - though can't really ever imagine clambering up to get anything out of them? We're fortunate (thanks to very good property prices 'oop North') that we've got a house bigger than we really need so have plenty of storage! Love the colour and overall feel of it though and not far off if the 'traditional' elements are toned down slightly!

    Hi AJ! Glad you like the look.... the layout you mentioned has been mentioned by lots of others as I think is probably the more obvious layout with a 15ft wide room - I just wanted to try and get a layout that created a degree of seperation between 'kitchen' and 'dining' spaces rather than mashing them all into one!

  • Victoria
    Did you not spot the ladder? ;-)
  • Sherbert Barnes
    Think the traditional crafted Shaker style kitchen will look fab against the wonderful backdrop of your high ceilings and bay window. And utilitarian look will emphasise space.... Well done, you have a great eye for detail. Love v dark colours for an island ( see Basalt from Little Greene!) would look stunning.
    What you have done with your bathroom also looks fab - Greg, you have inspired us all with this thread!!
  • PRO
    Saw this today !!! Looks good ! Sizes look similar too !
  • Greg Penn
    thanks sherbet, very kind!!!

    one plan... yes yes yes!!! exactly the sort of thing I'm after!
  • wombat child
    Sherbet - forgive the side question but... How far away from the island are your cookers? Your kitchen is fab!
  • Sherbert Barnes
    Dear Wombatchild
    The two double ovens are on that back wall. The distance from them to the end of the island is 2.6 mtrs. The bank of units is mirror imaged from the centre of the ovens and that means there are two slim pull out larder cupboards on that wall. That 2.6m means that they can be pulled out and it is still no problem for traffic to be flowing past. My hob is on the island itself and the extractor comes up through the granite when in use. That far end of the island is great for taking things out of the oven and checking on food ...... turning potatoes over etc... To the left of that bank of units is a door to my boot room so I need walk way space there. This thread is quite old now and I may be repeating something I typed earlier but I love my kitchen ( think it is about six years since I had it out in) ..... The only things I would have done differently would have been not to have stainless steel sinks as they are a devil to keep looking nice! And I would like more contemporary pendant lights over the island instead of those chrome chandeliers - can change them but still working on husband on that point!!!! X
  • wombat child
    Thank you so much for your speedy response! So 2.6m is a good distance? I was worried it would be too far to put things down from the oven. But If a good distance that may have saved me! I will also start a new post.

    I would love to know/see what the OP did in the end!
  • Rachael Nev

    I would build in seats around the window bay with round table. Also have you thought about an island bench on weels. ? You can't have a sink or appliance but for cubourd and storage or benches around, it will work well. Party time push it back or swing around . Works really well in open plan living spaces.

  • PRO

    'Buckingham' - Bespoke Kitchen Furniture Range · More Info

    We can always design an Island to fit your space. We make all our own units so can make you what ever your kitchen needs. If this sounds expensive then you will be surprised when | tell you that all our kitchens are at manufacturers prices. High quality, Low price.

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  • Greg Penn
    seen as though this has been resurrected I'll show you how it's turned out! there's still some finishing touches etc but gives you an idea! we're really thrilled with the outcome... it's really functional for cooking and entertaining... the dining table isn't maybe as big as we might have liked but we've another two reception rooms so if we decide we want a massive, formal dining table then we ca. have one. Thanks to everyone for your help and ideas! I hope you like it!
  • PRO
    Looks great Greg !!! ;-)
  • wombat child
    Love love it Greg! Please can you let me know what colours you used for the cabinets and where the fantastic light in the kitchen is from?
  • Greg Penn
    hello.. the blue is dock blue and the grey is dashing soot both from little Greene. the light is by serge mouille (a replica!).
    many thanks!
  • PRO
    VC Design Architectural Services

    looks fab- I was just about to say yes, and perhaps you had a fireplace opposite you could do something like I did- build shallow cuprds in either side

    and then I scrolled down and saw it was an old conversation and there you are!

    but youve done a fine job!

  • Sherbert Barnes
    Well, what a transformation!! Absolutely love what you have done and love the dark blue. It looks so homely - I could move in tomorrow!!! Brilliant choices and a huge thank you for putting on 'after photographs'! Hope you are loving your home!
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