Interior Design for Living: redesigning a kitchen


Q: Enclosed is a sketch of my Kitchen. As you can see, it's a difficult room with all the windows and doors.

I currently have a counter across the one wall with a sink un­der the large window. My stove is between the side window and the door to the laundry room. The re­frigerator is on the adjacent wall between the door to the stairway and the door to the hallway, with a small cabinet sitting on the floor next to it.

I have a 6-foot table with chairs that I want to keep. Currently, it's placed diagonally across the center of the room.

I would like to improve on this layout, but don't have any idea of what could be done differently. I will be getting all new appliances. Therefore, I am not restricted to the size of my current ones. I any thoughts you might have would really be appreciated.  It's obvious that I need help.

A: In working with the plan, I could readily understand why you had such difficulty trying to design an alternate layout. All the doors and windows make it very hard, and it doesn't appear as though any of the doors can be eliminated — that was my first thought.

However, as much as I am fanat­ical about natural light, I do think I would recommend removing the side window. This will enable you to create an efficient "U" shaped working triangle between the re­frigerator, sink and the range, with plenty of counter space adjacent to each appliance.

I placed the refrigerator at the end by the living room entrance, left the sink under the large win­dow, and put the range on the wall where the small window was re­moved. A dishwasher could be placed either to the right or the left of the sink, depending upon your preference.

Currently, it must be difficult cooking with no workplace next to the stove. Also, frequently when food is removed from the refrigerator, it's taken to the sink to be prepared for cooking. Or, if you want something to eat or drink, you'll need a dish or a glass to put it in. You must be constantly walk­ing back and forth — around the table. It must take you forever to
prepare a meal!

By removing the window and creating this "U" space, you'll have a lot more accessible counter space, and you'll never have to take more than a few steps in one direction or another.

With the new plan, there are a lot more cabinets for storage. You have almost doubled your upper cabinets and, in addition, I've graphed in four lineal feet of tall cabinets which are 12 inches deep. These extend in height from the top of the upper cabinets to the bottom of the lower in one piece.

They provide storage -for many things. A lot of people prefer to use them as a pantry. Because they are not very deep, they make an ideal spot for canned or boxed goods. The items don't get buried as they w between the table and the coun­ter top easier than if it were squared off.

I placed the 6-foot table parallel to the sink, but left enough space all around it for the flow of traffic. Now people walking through the kitchen will not have to enter the workspace.

The scale of a 5-foot table in the room would be preferable to the 6-loot table, but you mentioned that you wanted to keep the existing one. If you eventually replace it, I would suggest either a smaller rec­tangular table or a round one, which I think would be ideal. It would be much easier to walk around.

I think this plan would definitely be an improvement over your ex­isting layout. It's unfortunate that the small window has to be re­moved, but I think you gain a lot more than you lose.

The visual appearance of the outside of the house should not be dramatically changed. Because the laundry room juts out, I doubt if this is the front of the house, and you should have no problem from an aesthetic point of view in re­moving the window.  Even though you still have a large 6-foot window, be certain to incorporate an adequate lighting design in your plan to counteract the loss of the smaller one.

This new layout should save you a lot of time and energy.