Not sure what to do with our kitchen... Help!

10 months ago

Hi Houzzers,

I hope you are all doing well.

I am struggling with our proposed kitchen layout and your advises and suggestions would be greatly appreciated 😊

To give you a bit of background:

Our current kitchen is great, have a good amount of storage and all the appliances we need but has some annoying issues:

  • Flow is not great (I have the feeling I go around the table all the time, fridge door just open and block the passage, only spaces for the bins is next to the door - quite far from the prep areas...)
  • We have a lovely garden but sitting at the table, the only thing we see is the garage door. In general, it doesn’t feel very connected to the garden.
  • Kitchen door is the main access to the garage and the garden for the house – meaning it is in use constantly, and the table tend to collect keys, wallet… and all the shoes underneath.

We were not originally planning to change the kitchen, but as we are doing work in another part of the house that require planning, we thought we may tackle both areas at the same time (escpailly in terms of planning).

We therefore submitted an application to add a bay window with French doors but I am not convinced it is the best solution actually…

I think we are actually losing storage space and prep space; and I can’t see where the fridge will go, nor the double oven (needed as we entertain a large family often).

Also I am not attached to having an island – it was a suggestion from the architect – and I am concerned we will have to ‘walk around it a lot’. I like islands, but I don’t know if it would work for our kitchen.

As we need to resubmit our planning application (due to changes on the other area), I am keen to rethink the kitchen.

Do you have any suggestion on how to improve the design?

This can be any suggestion – keeping current footprint or include a bay windows area or even including a small extension (we cannot extend too much in the garden due to the garage location but we would consider a small extension of a meter or so)…. Really open to new ideas!

I just don't know what to do here… so any suggestions would be gladly appreciated 😊

Many thanks!

Current plan:

I don't have the exact dimension on the kitchen - but on estate agent plan it was written 5.97x3.32 m

Proposed plan:

Photos (sorry for the mess!):

View from table - directly on the garage...

Comments (32)

  • Ellie
    10 months ago

    First you use your separate dining room every day at meal times? If no, why not take the wall down and combine them.

    C D thanked Ellie
  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Hi Ellie,
    Ah yes, i should have specified this as it was one of my initial thoughts too.
    We are entertaining a large family quite often (so a separate dining room is actually a good thing) + I use that room as my home office the rest of the time (I work from home).
    So, ideally, we would prefer to keep them separate.

    But again, I am open to suggestion that would work :)

    Even in combining them, I am struggling to see how it would work...

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  • Daisy England
    10 months ago

    Your proposed plan is better than the existing insomuch that the working area of the kitchen is to the left.

    I‘d agree with Ellie that removing the dining room wall altogether to make a huge kitchen and dining area all the way across the back of the house would be better and more sociable too. Perhaps then you could have some bifold doors in the dining area leading into the garden?

    When we moved into our house (30 years ago 😆) the first thing we did was knock out the wall between the kitchen and dining room to make a big kitchen area. Then the utility became a dumping ground with the kids bags and junk so that went too. Now we have a big open kitchen/diner on to which we have also added a garden room. It becomes so sociable.

    C D thanked Daisy England
  • jessa61
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    My concern for you with the new design is you are losing a lot of cabinet space.

    My first though was to extend the run of units from just the back wall to the adjacent wall (ie so running along the wall with the window as well) and then you have an l shape kitchen. I would then rotate the island 90 degrees and have seating there so those sitting down can both look at the window and engage with whomever is in the kitchen. The table I would leave where it is. Could I also ask the purpose of the bay? As space wise you're not really getting anything or is it more for aesthetics?

    Oh and the appliances would go in the existing area on the new plan (ie on the left where the line of cabinets are shown) you could have a few tower units, build in the fridge and then drop down to curve around the corner. The is the layout we have. I can send you a picture if you like

    C D thanked jessa61
  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Many thanks for Jessa.

    Yes, I think an L shape would be better too actually. But I don't know if we can have L shape + island... not sure if we have enough space.

    The bay was to add more floor space... But I am not sure it achieve this really indeed.

    Aesthetically, it also match the other bay windows of the house, so we thought it would not look too out of place.

  • Alyson Jones
    10 months ago

    I agree with the idea of an l shaped kitchen to add more storage. Depending on the dimensions I would look at go one step further and swap the island for a peninsula at between the windows and the door. So it would be more of a u. I find that peninsulas are less awkward/pokey when they are smaller than with an island.
    I might be a bit biased as I’m in love with our peninsula. Not sure if these are the best photos, but something like this

    C D thanked Alyson Jones
  • Richard L
    10 months ago

    Instant thought is - if the thing tht nags is walking around the table -

    Consider not putting an island in the new design?

    C D thanked Richard L
  • PRO
    Jade Jefferies
    10 months ago


    It would be useful to see a few more photos of your garden and garage, to help relate the kitchen to them in terms of getting the best views and access out to the garden from inside.

    I agree that on the proposed plan the circulation around the island looks too tight..


    C D thanked Jade Jefferies
  • Victoria
    10 months ago

    Have you thought about using @OnePlan?

    C D thanked Victoria
  • PRO
    10 months ago

    Did someone mention me ? Hi ! Thanks for the shout Victoria !

    Oooh lots less storage drawn into the second option - think you need either to have a cull of stuff - or - have a design done that suits your needs and the space you have...

    C D thanked OnePlan
  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Thanks all for all the comments and suggestions - it actually helped me a lot think about this differently!!! It sparks some ideas and creativity :)

    A peninsula may actually be a good idea - less "walking around" it and could provide an area for the bins :)

    The thing that nag is not the table / island in itself - more than the circulation around it is tight and the fridge door open in the way :) (I have stop counting how many time I had to wait for someone to close the fridge to be able to get by)

    I had a bit of a play (with Paint - so measurements may be a bit off, even if I tried as much as possible to keep the dimensions from the architect plan)

    Option 1 - L shape:

    Option 2 - L shape with peninsula:

    Option 3 - Extension with island:

    And then I went a bit crazy with option 4 and 5 :) - realistically, not very viable options: a lot of structural work (the wall between kitchen and dinning room is load bearing) - and money that we don't have for this project + I am not sure i will suit our family as with family entertainment, having the kitchen separate is better (I don't have to do the washing up as I go...) and I am not keen to "work from the kitchen" during the day; but I thought, why not try those on paper anyway :)

    I think at the moment, option 2 with the peninsula is the best/most realistic and practical - but I also like option 4.

    But keen to get your views and ideas - and if anyone has any other options, please let me know :)

    Oh and here the relation of the house with the garage (roughly to scale):

  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    I think @OnePlan is indeed the person I need :)

    Too much parameters for me to actually "wing" it on this one!

  • PRO
    10 months ago

    Do drop me a message and we can chat about next steps !

  • Jonathan
    10 months ago

    I like option 4 where you keep the existing footprint but incorporate the dining room. I think this gives you the space to have a bigger kitchen than you currently have.

    I agree with Daisy that it is better to move the kitchen to the left where it is not in a high traffic area but given its a lot of money it is important to get the design right and a kitchen specialist is imperative. Do consider OnePlan.

    C D thanked Jonathan
  • Claire Rousseau
    10 months ago

    If what bothers you about current layout is walking round things I wouldn’t go for option 2, as you will walk round the peninsular all the time. On this note I like Richards suggestion - take out your current table and see how you use the space and how it feels.
    If you go for option 1 this gives you more floor space and you can rotate your dining room table if you ever need to. Actually option 1 and 3 are very similar apart from the island, and you could try it out with a moveable island as long as you didn’t put fixed items like oven/ sink there. You can do proper kitchen planning at diy-kitchens - look for their planner.
    Another idea.. keep your dining room separate but open up the width by getting rid of the WC (could you relocate to under the stairs?) and utility room. Actually what you are struggling with is width in my view... and this opens up the whole space, makes it dual aspect etc.

    C D thanked Claire Rousseau
  • tezz4
    10 months ago

    I do like OnePlan’s option 3.

    Seems to sort it all out!

    C D thanked tezz4
  • PRO
    10 months ago

    @tezz4 .... thanks - but that was all C D - not me !! ;-)

  • tezz4
    10 months ago

    Ooops!!! 😁

  • Alix W
    10 months ago

    Hi, you’ve said you want to keep the dining room separate so I don’t think you should knock that wall down. Generally I like options 2 and 3, but in 3, I think the fridge door will still get in the way when it’s open.
    So, couple
    Of thoughts that might give you a bit more space. Could you either

    1. move the door into the utility along a bit so
      You can put an extra run of units in the utility room. Some kitchen stuff could live in there?
    2. move the wall between the kitchen and utility back, giving you additional space in the kitchen?
    C D thanked Alix W
  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Many thanks for all your comments! :)

    We cannot take from the toilet (as there are two cupboards - one with all my coats and shoes and the other hoover, bucket...) as there are not store age in the hall

    I do need a spectate utility room for the washing, hanging it, as well as for plenty of random items (a tall freezer, wrapping paper, shopping bags, kids sport bags, the cat litter box and cat flap...)

    I am getting more and more convinced by option 3 as it would give me my “dream kitchen” with a better view of the garden - but this is with an extension (more cost) so I am not sure I will convince my partner...

    I think we do need to keep the dinning room separate - it is one of his requirements.

    Overall, still quite ensure of what I should do next...
    Especially as I don’t want to delay our planning permission (for the other area of the house) too much... 😕

  • Resistance
    10 months ago

    I like option 2 with the peninsula the most. I stongly agree with keeping the dining room and kitchen separate. But my question is: do you really need the table in the kitchen as it seems to me you could get rid of the table and have stools at the island or peninsula?

    C D thanked Resistance
  • jeltridge
    10 months ago

    Hello, you have some really good options now. Personally what struck me was how many doors there are in this area/area's. It seems to inhibit flow. As you said you seems to always be going "around" items. In the new proposed design I was wondering why you need a table next to a bench with there also being a table in the dining room? As someone else mentioned the powder and utility room seem overly large in comparison to the kitchen and what you want to achieve.

    Forgive my crude alterations, I had about 5 minutes to spare, here are some other thoughts to the above, but, the best option will really depend on how you want to live in this new area and the functional flow you are after.

    You can easily keep the wall between the kitchen and dining in place. Or, you can remove all or part of it. If part is structural and small lintel can easily be added (generally). Opening it up will allow more natural light and help with overall flow, however, retaining some of the wall also maintains a degree of privacy and can allow for hanging of art or positioning of other furniture against the retained wall. You could also add a sliding door between the kitchen and dining if you wished, however, this could be a compromise if you can create a cavity slider. The central island bench has an overhang so can easily accommodate breakfast, family dinners, homework in view (put in lots of USB and power outlets in this island). You could also make the bench a bit wide and drop part of the height to a normal table height, although I believe this would compromise the flow.

    Options also exist to remove some of the dining wall to the hall. But, not knowing the house dynamics this could impact on required noise control and heat/cooling requirements. Again sliders to the dining room/hall way can increase the effective space in both areas. They could be hung externally on the hall side.. Slot windows above the main kitchen bench can also bring in light. WM and Dryer can be incorporated in the kitchen cupboards. So many options. Good luck! Julie

    An idea of how slot windows can look.

    C D thanked jeltridge
  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Many thanks all for all your great comments - a lot of ideas! Huge thanks for taking the time to help on my design dilemma :)

    After a bit more play with the design, and discussions with my partner, we decided that we won't change the dining room (as we are like having it separate and it would not work for me when I work from home to have it open). We wont change either the toilet (not indicated on the plan, but there are 2 large cupboards in the toilet that are use for coats/shoes as there are no storage in the hallway) nor the utility room (I need to have all the dirty washing/hanging clothes and the cat paraphernalia hidden - as well as the cat flap on that door that brings a lot of cold in the winter so having a separate utility on a must for us.)

    So, we decided that a small extension is probably what we need.

    attached my current idea - we cannot extend much (here I think it is about 1.5/2m, which would b the maximum due to our garage location) but I will think it would help "square up" the room.

    In terms of style, probably a orangery style extension as I think it would suit the age of the house.

    What do you think? Am I missing something fundamental? any better suggestions?

    Many thanks!!

  • Jonathan
    10 months ago

    So you are saying that you want to keep the dining room as an occasional office?

    Instead of your plan had you considered knocking the dining into the kitchen, not extending near the drive and garage, and instead finding space for a study in a garden office or a new room behind the living room?

  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Thanks Jonathan for your comment :)

    Yes, we ideally would like to keep a separate dinning room. My partner is not keen (at all) on open plan dining room - he likes having a separate formal dining room for when we have guests. That is the main reason for a separate dining space.
    It also, as a secondary reason, helps for me when I work from home, as I am based at home most of the time (well, all the time at the moment 😊)

    We did consider combining the two rooms (as per above options) but it was not delivering on our key issues (light and circulation/flow) and keeping enough storage. As mentioned by Claire above, the issue (I fell) is that the kitchen is quite narrow. So we hope that a small extension could help “squaring” it up.

    But again, I am up for new ideas! :) Especially as extension are not cheap...
    It’s just that I don’t see, even with opening the dining room to the kitchen, how this would work. We would basically loose a full wall of storage and not really add to the light nor flow.
    Or am I not understanding how you would do it? Would love to understand more :)

    Many thanks ! 😊

  • tezz4
    10 months ago

    Looks quite perfect! Work space triangulation; enough room for moving around and storage too. I do understand the separate dining area. I have a separate dining room and l love that this space is always in order and when l entertain l can lay a decent table away from the kitchen mess - also last minute cooking and preps can be sorted privately. Good luck with the project!

  • Jonathan
    10 months ago

    Like this

  • C D
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Oh whaou! Jonathan, that is amazing! Thank you so much.
    Really outside the box thinking! I would never I thought of this arrangement.
    It looks great and answers all the keys issues and things we wanted to keep.
    I will discuss this with my partner but, honestly, I am so impressed! Many thanks! :)

  • ruthfrench
    10 months ago

    This has been an interesting discussion. My question to Jonathan is “How is food for the dinner party carried from the kitchen to the dining room without either going outside or through the living room where guests are presumably being entertained?”
    Good luck CD. I think you need to talk to a kitchen designer about what you like and dislike in your present kitchen to maximise your pleasure in your new one. Keep your dining room, toilet and utility room if that is what you want. It can be very easy to get carried away with ideas that in the end are not what you actually want and can be very expensive.

    C D thanked ruthfrench
  • Jonathan
    10 months ago

    @ruthfrench If your dining room is through your living room or indeed in your living room as a lot of people have dinner parties can still happen seamlessly.

    Consider sitting your guests at the table before bringing out food or find a menu that looks appealing served on one enormous platter.

  • Laura
    10 months ago

    As you have a separate dining room have you considered reducing the seating in the kitchen? We have a separate dining room (also being used as my office) which we love, so just have a couple of seats at the breakfast bar in the kitchen. We mainly eat in the dining room or garden. Tends to only be breakfast in the kitchen

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