carazy

Please help us with our kitchen layout/ reconfiguration, very stuck!

Caz
11 November, 2019
last modified: 11 November, 2019

Hello everyone, I would be extremely grateful for any help, suggestions on how to improve the layout/ configuration of our kitchen. We inherited our very dated kitchen when we moved into this house 6 years ago. We painted the units and tiles and covered the worktops in DC fix in order to make it more bearable whilst we tried to decide what to do with it... 6 years later, and we still can't decide and I am slowly losing the will to live!

What I hate most about the current layout is the lack of a full height fridge, the ugly dated small cooker, the corridor effect as you enter the kitchen (the unit there becomes a bit of dumping ground) and the narrowness of the gap between some of the worktop and the kitchen table.

One of the challenges in coming up with a better layout is that the kitchen has 3 doors ( actually four if you count the pantry door) as well as a large kitchen window. There is the door leading into the kitchen from the hall. The back door which leads to driveway and garage (and our wheelie bins). Then another door on the opposite side of the kitchen which is very handy in the summer as it leads directly on to our patio, and our garden table and chairs. This is where we get the last bit of sunlight in the evening and we eat outside as often as we can. Our kitchen faces WSW by the way.

We are probably going to take out the pantry to improve the layout. This will be a wrench as I find it so convenient. An added problem is that we currently have our washing machine and tumble dryer in our pantry (as well ironing board, mop bucket etc etc) My concern is that taking it out mainly frees up space in the middle of the kitchen and we still have to find places to put all those things.

We are wondering whether it is worth getting the chimney breast removed (the chimney is not used). Apparently this is not an easy job - a neighbour friend of ours (with the same style house) got quotes for this and decided the mess and the cost couldn't be justified. We currently have our kitchen table pushed up against the wall between the chimney breast and 'cheek' (for want of a better word). We do have a separate dining room directly behind this wall ( it is a supporting wall) and we do use it quite a lot but mainly because we have the piano in there and the kids use the table to work on - we only really eat in the dining room on special occasions. I am toying with the idea of creating a sort of serving hatch to improve the connection between the two rooms, but I don't want it to look naff! I would't want to have it completely open plan but I'm open to putting in French doors or pocket doors...but wouldn't putting in another door just complicate the layout further?

We did think about getting an extension, but as our kids are now in their twenties (two are away at uni) we don't think we could justify it - house prices in our area are generally lower than average and we are unlikely to get the equity back if (or more likely, when) we decide to downsize.

So as you can see we are a bit stuck. I will post some photos so hopefully the above will make more sense. Any advice or suggestions on how we should move forward will be gratefully received

Thanks ever so much.



Comments (28)

  • Caz

    Floor plan


  • Caz

    Side door to patio


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  • Caz

    Space around the kitchen table and fridge is tight!


  • Caz

    View to hall, narrow walkway into kitchen (unit by the door is the dumping ground)


  • Caz

    View to pantry and back door. you can't see it in the photo but this is where we have our boiler also,


  • Caz

    Our very useful pantry. As well as the washing machine and tumble dryer (husband has now fitted a vent to outside) we have a small spare fridge in here,


  • Caz

    Kitchen table next to chimney. Wondering if a peninusla with storage would work better here?


  • J

    Hi! I think I'd take out your handy pantry. It's just I don't think you have the space and it means you have a lot of wasted space with the back door corridor. I think you could have a really useful cupboard that could hold all the pantry currently does.
    It's a tricky space. I was also wondering if you could close off the door from the hallway and open a door through from the dining room (where your table sits now). Then you could use that little spot as a new pantry area. I'm not a huge fan of rooms acting as corridors but maybe that's a option. Of course you could just put tall cabinets in that little spot next to the hall door and place the laundry into there. Might not be deep enough though, those cupboards tend to need to be a little deeper than usual for the plumbing.
    I think I'd look into removing the existing pantry. Building a bank of full height cupboards along the fireplace wall. Maybe even moving the backdoor so the cupboards can go the full length of the wall (?). This bank would hold the new laundry cupboards, pantry and full sized fridge.
    Pop a nice looking freestanding kitchen dresser type furniture near the hall door. That can hold crockery etc. and have a handy junk drawer for bits and bobs. Redo the kitchen around the perimeter, with built in seating around a table tucked into a corner near the back door.
    :)

    Caz thanked J
  • Jonathan

    Alternative to extending

    Caz thanked Jonathan
  • PRO
    OnePlan

    Nice work Jonathan ! If you look at possibly utilising some space under your stairs for WM and TD - this might be an option - but do use a fire poof membrane too - to keep stairs as safe as you can.

    Caz thanked OnePlan
  • Jonathan

    I imagined the washing machine would go in the little room on the right of my plan as the WC seems to be under the stairs.

    Caz thanked Jonathan
  • Caz

    Thank you so much for your your advice and suggestions J, and for taking the time to draw out your idea Jonathan. They are certainly interesting suggestions and we will take some time to mull them over. I am not sure if you can tell from the drawing/ photos but the work surface by the entrance to the kitchen has had to be angled off and it is definitely too shallow a space for us to put a 60 cm unit in there and for us still to be able to walk through it. But as you suggest, if we closed off that door it could become a usable space; it measures around 136 cm so yes we could put the washing machine and tumble dryer there side by side, or use the spot for a pantry. One thing that bothers me about the idea of turning that space into a laundry room with access off the hall is that it is almost directly opposite the front door, so I might be a bit self conscious about keeping that door closed... I wouldn’t like the laundry to be the first thing visitors see! And yes you are right (Jonathan) the WC is under the stairs, so there is no space to put the WM and TD there unfortunately.

    I like how you even drew our piano in your ‘alternative to an extension‘ suggestion! We have considered switching the dining room and kitchen round but I haven't seen it drawn out before, and it is very helpful to see. I am wondering how much storage and work surface that layout would give us and where we would put the tall fridge. I am also unsure whether I would like to have a sink in an island, I had not thought of doing that. The dining room window does look out onto a road so I would have to think about the privacy aspect... we do have a front garden so we could perhaps plant some strategic bushes to give us more privacy... definitely very interesting ideas though and thank you again... it is so refreshing to have different perspectives and ideas to think about.

  • Caz

    Oh I also notice that you have kept the chimney breast, and put french doors out onto the garden that is interesting! :)

  • Caz

    Hi again, I have been drawing out on graph paper the idea of using our dining room for a kitchen with a long bank of units and appliances down one side and the kitchen island with sink in the middle (as suggested above by Jonathan) . I am wondering whether the room is wide enough for this to work. Our dining room is 364cm wide, so with 60cm deep units along the wall side and a 90cm deep island the remaining space allows for 107cm on either side. .Would this provide adequate clearance space between the island and appliances/ doors, cupboards and walls... it was my understanding that a minimum of 120cm is required on the working side of the island...and 100cm minimum for a walk way. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.


    Being honest I am not too sold on the idea of having our kitchen at the front of the house due to the privacy issue.

    I am leaning more towards keeping the kitchen at the back and trying to rework the current layout with the pantry taken out. I liked J's suggestion of having a nice freestanding dresser type piece of furniture near the hall door. for crockery and the handy junk drawer. I am currently playing around with moving the back door (but keeping it on the garage side of the kitchen) so that we can have a tall fridge in that corner and creating a large square peninsula island (with seating) where are current kitchen table is.

    Any thoughts/ suggestions would be most welcome


  • Jonathan

    For me the dining room is better at the back do that you can better connect with the garden. As far as privacy in the front you just need the right window treatment. I think the choice depends on your kitchen style- you could consider cafe blinds, shutters, Venetian or planting outside or an awning or pergola

    Caz thanked Jonathan
  • Caz

    Can anyone help re my point above i.e do you think we have enough room to put an island in our current dining room (see current kitchen plan for dimensions) and have appliances and opening cupboards/drawers in the units facing it i.e a sink in the island and an oven/hob in the row of units as Jonathan's drawing suggests?

  • Jonathan

    Sorry I missed the question when you asked it before. 900mm is considered an absolute minimum. 1m is fine and it’s what I have at home. 1100mm is great if you can do it.

    Caz thanked Jonathan
  • Caz

    Hello, still feeling frazzled here. How wide would the island need to be to comfortably have a sink and seating in it, could we get away with 80 cm? I am coming across advice in kitchen design articles time and time again that you should allow at least 120cm between parallel runs of kitchen units so I am confused.
    I have got a kitchen designer coming out next week and I am nervous. When I spoke to him in the showroom and showed him my floorplan he was telling me that most people take the dividing wall between a dining and kitchen out completey and he also said there is a strong argument for us switching our kitchen and dining room round but obviously says he will need to see the space first. I'm still really unsure and worried that I will be wasting his time, or that I will be persuaded to switch the kitchen dining room round then will regret it, or be persuaded to have a kitchen island when there isn't enough space. I just wish I could come up with a kitchen design myself that is better than the current layout but that leaves our kitchen at the back....can anyone suggest/offer any other ideas?

  • Gabby

    Sorry to hear you feel so stuck and frazzled!

    I think another question is are you in scotland? As I believe the rules may be different there? But you don’t have to have 120cm between runs in England. Although as Jonathan said if you can afford to have 1m or 110cm then it’s nice having the extra space.

    Most people want 30cm overhang for a breakfast bar seating. 20cm won’t give you much room to have plates/drinks etc if sat directly behind the island. Could you offset the seating and the sink?

    Caz thanked Gabby
  • Jonathan

    I think it depends on how you expect to use the island seating. If you genuinely think you will eat there then you need room for plates and drink etc etc. But given you have a dining table next door I bet it’s a perch for drinking wine while the other one cooks, or a quick bowl of cereal.
    There is enough room around a 90 or 1m deep island for everything and if you put the seating towards one end (so not right next to the door) it won’t affect people traffic.
    I don’t agree you have to take the whole wall out including chimney.... it is however likely not as much as you think and if you also take it out in the room above it might make furniture positioning easier in that room

    Caz thanked Jonathan
  • Caz

    Thanks for your advice both of you. We live in England to answer your question Gabby. Is there a rule in Scotland that the aisles have to be 120cm and if so why ? Jonathan, I was kind of thinking we would want to use the island for eating meals on like we do now with our current kitchen table, but I guess if the DR is open to the kitchen then it wouldn't be a problem to take a few steps more to the dining room table (because we use it so infrequently at the moment I am finding that hard to visualise).

    I am going to post a better plan of our current kitchen and dining room (with the pantry taken out) and I am also going to post a photo looking out from the window in our dining room. I am wondering if we did turn the DR into our kitchen could we make the window ledge higher and put the units in an L-shape so we could put the sink in the window? (and still have space for an island) I know this goes against some of my earlier points, especially about being worried people would be able to look in at us/and would create a more goldfish bowl feeling but I am just playing around with ideas.

  • Caz

    Plan of Kitchen and dining room plan assuming pantry is remove) Ignore the fact that there are two doors into dining room, we have removed a stud wall that the previous owners had added to divide the dining room into a small office and dining room - we took it out because we didn't like the smaller DR (depending on what we do with the kitchen we will return it to a single or double door )


  • Caz

    View from dining room to road ( ignore the the too short curtains, they are just a temporary measure until we decorate). As you can see, as well as the piano and dining room table (which is being used by kids for their art station currently) we have a sideboard, a computer table.... and out of shot we have a bookcase, so if we do switch things round we would also need to consider where we would put those things...


  • Gabby

    I can't remember exactly, I know someone mentioned it on here before... I think it may be more new builds or big renovation projects, and I believe that it's to help future proof in terms of giving space for people with disabilities / mobility aids etc. (tbh the number may also be slightly off.. lol.. I just remember someone on here saying you needed a bigger gap in Scotland on one of the posts!) also need to think about how often you'll have 2 people working in that gap, how easy it is for them to get past each other or if they're back to back etc.


    With so many options and considerations (and seeming quite uncertain) you may do well to consider hiring a concept planner who can help you look at the whole space and how you can fit in what you want, as opposed to just potential kitchen designs. @OnePlan comes highly recommended on here by lots of people that use the site.

    Caz thanked Gabby
  • Caz

    Thanks for the suggestion Gabby, I will look into it.

  • Emmanuelle

    Depending on budget, and if you are going to stay in your house for many years ... I would take the chimney wall down. I think it’s worth the investment. Otherwise you will always feel like there are 2 different rooms. Then, I would think of having a ‘sliding wall/ door/ removable partition’ in the middle of what is your current DR. So in front of your house, you would have the kids space.... piano, art room...
    and the dinning table area in the lower section of current DR open plan with kitchen.
    You never know; taking that chimney down might not be so expensive after all. Or might solve quite a few conundrums in just one move!

    Caz thanked Emmanuelle
  • PRO
    OnePlan

    Thanks for the mention Gabby :-)

  • PRO
    Schmidt Bristol

    Just for idea, check our curved kitchen idea book. It will suit the space https://www.houzz.co.uk/ideabooks/127749323/thumbs/curved-kitchen

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