How an awkward kitchen layout can be improved with a few simple tweaks or transformed with a modest renovation budget
Considering the overall size of this living space is over 500 square feet (more than 50m2) it is crazy to think they have such a small working kitchen area.
If this were a one person kitchen it would actually be a very efficient space. Imagine it with a family of 4 living in it though? When two people are in the kitchen it becomes really difficult to work in there. A family home with a one person kitchen….not ideal.
The previous owners attempted to address the lack of social space in the kitchen by adding a breakfast counter. This made a connection to the greater living space but it was quite awkward to use. Intended to be where a friend could enjoy a glass of wine while dinner was prepped, but it rarely got used. Mostly it was the storage space where dinner plates and tableware get placed to save carrying them around the long way to the dining table.
The main problems to address with this awkward kitchen layout are:
- Create a better connection to the living space from the working kitchen.
- To have a better circulation space in the working kitchen so that it could accommodate more than one person at a time.
- Improve the overall ‘flow’ of the space so it feels more open and inviting to use.
The House Layout ‘Test Drive’
First up we go through the house on our modelrooms home kit.
You look at everything from arriving home in the evening to eating dinner. Pretend you are walking through the space doing everything that has to happen from putting the key in the front door after work till your evening is done.
The double doors make you feel like it will be a big open plan space within. The entranceway to the house is generous. So it is actually a bit disappointing to then walk into the ‘corridor’ between the wc and the laundry space. You go from thinking you will be waltzing around a generous floor plan to feeling constricted and awkward.
The Solution with a small budget for renovation work – U Shaped Kitchen
We looked at how to improve the floorplan without moving any plumbing, walls or structural work … or at least minimal disruption. That meant keeping the laundry room and somehow remodelling the kitchen around it. The aim is to get a better flow into the kitchen plan and get the kitchen to connect better with the dining room and living space in general.
Removing the counter and opening up the kitchen to the dining area changes the layout into a U shaped kitchen. There was enough circulation space to make that work alongside the laundry space.
How to Check what works and does not work in your kitchen
Before creating a U Shaped kitchen we checked the kitchen was wide enough to have good circulation. Ideally you want to have 1.2m or 4 feet between two working counters in the kitchen. The family needs to comfortably use the kitchen, and more than two people at a time should easily be able to work or hang out there. No more shuffling out of the way when they need to get by each other. Our Modelrooms scale people (included in all our magnetic planning kits) represent approx 2 feet each or 600mm so when you place them on the board they quickly show you if your layout will work or not.
There is still enough room to add a small counter space tucked into the end of the counter. That space is more or less dead space from the hall side. So now you have that additional spot to have a quick coffee before you rush out the door in the morning.
Obviously the units need to be re-plumbed in the new location, but since they are only moving a few feet, the cost is minimal. The real beauty of this layout is the connection between the kitchen and dining space. When you are seated at the dining table you can see and chat to the ‘chef’ or you can pop up and grab something from the fridge.
Several people can now be in the kitchen without anyone getting in the way of each other. Unlike the original layout where you were walking around the laundry room every time.
The traffic flow from the kitchen around to the living space is no longer a pain point.
The ultimate solution with a budget for renovation work & a new Kitchen Island
There is really no way a utility room can be fitted into the house plan without really compromising the space. Putting the laundry room into the central area was an attempt to address this. It does reduce the noise and even clutter associated with laundry from the main living space. On balance though it really takes a big toll on the overall room plan. The fact that it is full height floor to ceiling means the first thing you see when entering the house is a wall. There is no connection to the room or garden beyond which are way more inviting than a wall.
If the budget can be found, then the biggest transformation will be from removing the laundry room. Although it involves renovation and plumbing costs it would certainly be a better investment than anything else in the kitchen.
Why we added an Kitchen Island
We suggested replacing it with an island unit. You walk into the house now and your first sight will be across the island unit to the dining area and garden beyond. Depending on how the island unit is designed and how it is orientated it could be a showstopper. Think how you would feel with a big vase of flowers to greet you when you arrive home instead of the door to the laundry room.
Reducing the size of the downstairs toilet to give a bit more space to the area leading into the living space was another suggestion. It helps to make the stairs feel less ‘boxed in’. Obviously you need to check your local planning laws to make sure you are conforming to regulations when renovating.
A coat storage could be built into the hall just outside the toilet so there is somewhere to offload coats and boots.
The living space is pretty much unchanged but we did update it with a big L shaped sofa that opens up the space more and feels generous. Adding a window also brightens up the living space. Any time you can get more light into a room you will feel like you have added floorspace.
Ready to try your own kitchen plan?
Our Home Design Kit is our bestselling kit.
It has everything we used in the planning of this awkward kitchen and a whole lot more besides … so you can plan your own space and ‘test drive’ your layout will work perfectly for you dream home.
Good plans make great houses.
Still not sure if it is right for you?
Feel free to reach out to Katie@modelrooms.com and I would be happy to guide you to the right kit for your house project.