nicole_a13

Which kitchen design would you choose?

Nicole A
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Hi Houzzers,

Our renovation/extension plans are finalised at last, and work should start in about 6 weeks. Some of you may remember I posted a kitchen design dilemma in February. With everyone's input (especially from the fabulous oklouise and Siriuskey), I got a much clearer idea of what I wanted, and ended up adding almost a metre to the extension to make the kitchen more functional.

I thought it might be wise to seek one more round of input, as now the dimensions are finalised I have fiddled a bit with the kitchen design (that tape measure of mine has not been put out of commission yet!).

Here are 2 options:
Option 1: This option takes advantage of the full width of the kitchen (at 5.7m) and has an island of over 3m. All the tall units (pantry, fridge, wall oven) are grouped together, then the cooktop benchtop continues around the corner (so plenty of room for appliances), with a view out the window to the front of the house. It will have a very open, spacious feel, and is sure to have a bit of wow factor.

Here is a kitchen that is very similar in design and dimensions (except our sink will be in the island, as our side bench isn't long enough).


Mona Vale Kitchen. Design and installation. · More Info



Mona Vale Kitchen. Design and installation. · More Info


Option 2: Has the benefit of a walk-in pantry, but the kitchen width is reduced to 4.3m (compared to 5.7m) and the island bench is 2.3m (compared to 3m). The walk-in pantry does not have a door, and I haven't added a wall between the fridge and the pantry benchtop to define the pantry space, so it is more like a continuation of the kitchen on that side. The real 'pantry action' is on the front walls of the pantry which will have open shelving, as it won't be visible from outside the pantry. There will be benchtop all the way around for appliances.

Here is a kitchen layout similar to option 2, but it is probably about a metre wider than we have - you'll need to use your imaginations to close in that left wall until adjacent to the wall oven pictured, and shorten the island by about 700mm (I've added some dotted lines to help). Also, in this picture there is a wall between the fridge and pantry benchtop, which ours won't have:


So which one would you choose?

Check out the designs drawn in the context of the floorplan to see the impact on the dining/living areas (and how it affects furniture placement and circulation in the living room).

I guess it comes down to spaciousness vs walk-in pantry ...

kitchen design 1.jpg
kitchen design 2.jpg

Comments (62)

  • PRO
    The Wild Heart Collective Australia
    2 years ago

    haha - if I'm not walking the space in my mind, I too have an addiction to playing with the tape measure and putting it my handbag everywhere we go lol. I've tried to avoid measuring the dog ;) I think your design is terrific - and those beautiful large doors that open out onto your deck from your kitchen and dining areas will certainly make your space feel open and luxurious :)

    Nicole A thanked The Wild Heart Collective Australia
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Go on, measure the dog. Then we could design a dog house that would be the epitome of good design - perhaps Hampton's inspired, or more contemporary, depending on your doggie's preferences.

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    The Wild Heart Collective Australia
    2 years ago

    haha!!!! She has a great dog house already... but I really should decorate it and put a photo of her as a puppy with her (dog) Mum in a photo frame inside her dog house ;) Along with a little curtain on the window and update her bedding. Although she might enjoy some cladding and lighting too ;)

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Tiny house living at its best.

  • oklouise
    2 years ago

    without the pantry there's space for a 3m island but can't help adding the wo to the other side and a fire in the grate and a few books on the shelves would help.



    Nicole A thanked oklouise
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Thanks ok, your visuals show that locating the wall oven at the end of that benchtop doesn't seem to close in the space at all - in fact, having that 600mm length of wall between the living room and kitchen maybe defines the space a little better than just open benchtop. And it also means extra benchtop where it is more useful, along the back wall (or room for a wider cupboard pantry). Nice touch with cabinetry for books - very cosy!

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful input Paul (CTI Kitchens) - so many useful bits of information. And a very unbiased vote to go for option 2 when the picture I used for option 1 is one of your designs - you know I love that kitchen!

    I wanted to clarify what you meant by "measuring fridge doors in open position to see what width you need to leave when fridge doors are open. Generally 50mm each side from my experience," Did you mean that you like to leave about 50mm gap each side of the fridge, or that the fridge sticks out about 50mm past benchtop to allow doors to open?

    Also, just out of interest, how much overhang do you usually allow for stone benchtops (not waterfall sides)?

  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Hi Nicole A. You would need to leave 50mm each side of the fridge but this is different for different fridge models. Some fridge doors are thicker than others so this changes gaps.

    I generally measure each fridge in the appliance showroom with doors open far enough to side drawers out and measure point to point of doors to see what will work. I believe you could achieve the same design as the one you like of mine with a smaller depth island if thats your choose.

    Bench top overhangs depends on style of kitchen.

    Shaker profile 20mm to allow for handles and ultra modern 5-10mm if it was a shadow line detailed kitchen being zero handles.

    The difference from option 1 you have to my design is the length of return bench top on right but you have extended that in option 2 for pantry to around 2700mm from memory so my original design would go close to working with your specifications. mIne was 3000mm to yours being 2700mm.

    All this means is your island would be 900mm wide instead of 1200mm wide in my design. Thats it.

    You could even have the sink under the window in the same position as my design. Your wall length is actually bigger on the back wall then mine at about 5300mm.

    This means a bigger pantry for you and bigger drawers near cook top area.

    This would also make it more open planned and a 3000mm island with no sink on it!

    Paul Snelling

    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery.

    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Probably suggest to shift window to the right if possible to allow for wall cabinets to run directly into Wall instead of stopping short. This would also help with sink position.

    If its a new window its should be a problem its not being made bigger or smaller. DA and basix certificate shouldn't be affected but you would need to check.

    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • oklouise
    2 years ago

    CTI Paul Snelling, thanks once again for thoughtful informative advice that we can all use, very much appreciated

    Nicole A thanked oklouise
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Thanks again Paul and ok - after absorbing all this info and observing the voting trend, I have a best-of-both-worlds design in mind (just a simple modification of option 2 to allow for a bigger island) - off to buy some graph paper so I can post it!

  • siriuskey
    2 years ago

    Paul I love the kitchen you designed with the small pantry/Fridge/Wall ovens banked together, better than having the wall ovens opposite the end of the Island, this is an access point into the kitchen and should be clear.

    I would just add a Nib wall at the end of the bench top replacing the ovens to make it look more finished and privacy from the living.

    As far as the Island size I have 2700 x 1200 and find that 2700 is more than long enough to walk around, having the extra depth 1200 instead of 900 is great and works better as a work/sit up to space, I think Nicole has enough room for a deeper island as against a longer one cheers

  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    Hi Nicole.

    Had some spare time today so here is a draft similar to what you liked as per my original design above

    This is with window moved slightly to the right if possible.

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  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    Sink moved right

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  • PRO
    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    window measurement in width is guessed

  • PRO
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  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    You could even do a drop down servery top after sink to keep room move open as per option 1. Best of both worlds!!!

    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Wow Paul, that is incredibly generous of you to do that! Thankyou so, so much! I am about to pore over your layouts now.

    In the meantime, I'm uploading my (far less pretty) modification for option 2.

    Instead of an L-shaped pantry, I've gone with cabinetry at each end only. Overall there is a little less bench space, but what there is is more usable because there is no corner. Plus the overall width of the pantry is reduced to just 960 (allowing for a 900 bank of drawers), which means a bigger island.

    The advantage of this design for the little pantry is the window doesn't interfere with layout of the uppers (I've simply narrowed it from 1200 wide to 850 to allow for the uppers on the back wall). Also, the front side of the pantry isn't visible from the living areas, so it can have open shelves above and below the benchtop for easy access to everything without looking messy. (I didn't have room to draw the cross-section of the front wall of pantry, but hopefully you get the idea).

    And now to check out Paul's variations for option 1...

  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    Identical to my original design

    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    BTW I should say that I think the 300 cabinet to left of oven in my drawing will look a little skinny (esp in shaker style), so I could make the cooktop benchtop 2550 (with 3x 850 sets of drawers), allowing that cabinet to be 450. Otherwise could get rid of it altogether and just spread the extra mm around (leaving 200mm as a nib wall to left of oven for elbow room).

    I'm keen on the Sirius SL906 EM-L 850 rangehood. The overall width is 850 but the cutout is 830, so I'm hoping that means it fits in an 850 wide unit?

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    And another BTW, that window which is proving a little obstinate can only be made narrower, it can't be actually moved to the right, as there is an external wall running at right angles. The current width of the window is 1200, but I've made it 850 in the renovation plans to allow for uppers to run to the right-hand back wall.

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    The votes are showing a preference for the design with the WIP - it seems the majority of people would choose a kitchen that is a little smaller in order to get a WIP.

    What do you all think of my modification to option #2, which keeps the WIP but makes it a little smaller in order to widen the island?

    It changes the WIP from an L-shape to benches on either end. It is a little narrower, which increases the width of the kitchen to allow for a bigger island (up to 2.65m). It is also shorter, so won't encroach as much on walkway circulation to living room. But It is still really functional, and has nearly twice as much benchtop and cupboard/shelves (1.9m) compared with the 1m wide cupboard-style pantry in the more open layout (option #1).

    This WIP has

    - on the back wall: a 600 deep x 960 wide benchtop to allow for a 900mm bank of drawers, with a set of upper cupboards above.

    - on the front wall: a 450 deep x 960 wide benchtop with open shelving above and below (not visible from living areas so won't look messy even without a door)

    My mixer can sit on the back bench, and the toaster/kettle/coffee maker on the front bench.

  • Laura Watson
    2 years ago

    Just looking at your house plan. I've lived with sliding wardrobe doors and it's awful. May I suggest bifold doors as a great alternative.

    Nicole A thanked Laura Watson
  • Andrea
    2 years ago
    To throw a little spinner in the works, if you’ve not yet finalised the design...a double sink is really unnecessary these days. One larger and deeper would be amazing. I def. wish I’d done this when building a few years ago. I also would prefer the sink by the window with the DW over there. Keeps everything ‘over there’ out of direct sight. Having a large, deep island bench is definitely the way to go. It becomes a feature and much better used when entertaining. Would you rather gather round a messy sink together with loved ones, or gather round a fabulous food platter with a glass of wine?
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  • Andrea
    2 years ago
    Here are a couple of photos to consider. The first shows a single, larger sink, the second a nifty under sink storage idea.
    Nicole A thanked Andrea
  • siriuskey
    2 years ago

    Love the big sinks House of Carveth but where water conservation comes in it's better to have 1 1/2 deep square sinks cheers

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Great ideas House of Carveth, as a single sink would fit better on the side bench. But if you only have one sink, how does rinsing dishes work?

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I wondered the same thing Laura. We pulled off the sliders on our wardrobe because the noise and restricted access was annoying. But they were 60+ years old, so I was hoping the newer designs were much improved. Bifolds have their own issues. Best would be normal doors, but then you would need 5 or so on the 3m expanse of cupboard in Bedroom 2!

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I notice my image for option 2 has been accidently deleted from my initial post. Here's a similar image that will give you the idea, although there won't be a door on pantry for mine (but again, keep in mind this one is a little wider than mine)

    Hamptons Project · More Info

  • Andrea
    2 years ago
    I rinse all my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Those remaining are usually pots, so you can still rinse out the insides under the tap as you do them. A half sink is never big enough to rinse pots n pans anyway. Or most posts can be put in the dishwasher these days too
    Nicole A thanked Andrea
  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    Router draining board grooves in the stone top, or buy a single bowl sink with a draining board attachment that sits in the cabinet or on the sink when not being used.

    Nicole A thanked CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
  • PRO
    CTI Kitchens & Designer Joinery
    2 years ago

    Note if routered you will need an undermount sink

  • Andrea
    2 years ago
    Under mount always looks more expensive, is cleaner/sleeker looking. Router grooves look like this (much nicer than a sink with draining board:
  • Andrea
    2 years ago
    Here’s a better pic: (grooves are straight get these days;))
  • siriuskey
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I think it would be a big mistake to only have a single sink in a family kitchen, it would be OK if their was another smaller sink else where.

    When I think of how I use my kitchen have 1 1/2 deep square sinks with single drainer, double Dish Drawer F&P DW. The 1/2 sink can fit a dinner plate sitting into it and the other bigger plates if hand washing.

    You have to consider when cooking and needing to drain hot water from pots, rinse veggies and rinse/soak dishes it gets difficult with just one sink. Function first.

    Nicole A thanked siriuskey
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Agree Sirius, a single sink wouldn't work for me. I like to rinse everything after washing, and the sink would end up just about overflowing. Plus as you say, if sink is full because someone is washing up, you don't have anywhere to empty pots etc.

  • PRO
    The Wild Heart Collective Australia
    2 years ago

    It's such a personal thing isn't it? We have a double sink in our kitchen and rarely use the right bowl. And we don't have a dishwasher - well, me - I'm the dishwasher lol. It's all about how you use it and what will work best for you. How you rinse your dishes, wash up, prepare etc. It's really only a rare occasion in our house that if I'm washing up, and someone wants to use the other bowl to wash hands or grab a drink of water etc.

  • siriuskey
    2 years ago

    That made me laugh Nicole, I was going to mention rinsing glasses and not keeping the hot water running, one sink for hot water washing and another for hot water rinsing, but thought I might be bit old fashioned, can't wash your beer glasses in soapy water either

  • N H
    2 years ago

    Option 2 definitely. But if you could I would put the fridge inserted into the WIP in pantry so it opens towards the width of the island bench. I think it would be annoying trying to get in and out of pantry while someone is standing with the fridge opening. That way it frees up back wall counter space too.


    Nicole A thanked N H
  • Angela Dunlop
    2 years ago

    Fascinating reading. I'm going through similar questions atm regarding a kitchen re -build in a house we will shift into in the future. To me the pantry is everything, and I've worked out how to get a walk in pantry by taking some of the over the top laundry for the pantry. When I've finalised my drawing I'll post up to these wonderful people for comments. I voted option 2.

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  • suancol
    2 years ago

    full wall pantries, drawers not cupboards they will be appreciated as you age and knees and hips become an issue

    Nicole A thanked suancol
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    The votes are now neck-and-neck, but there was a strong preference for option 2 (with the WIP) up until the example image in my original post for option 2 disappeared. I wonder if the voting is being swayed by the fact that option 1 has a pretty picture but option 2 now doesn't. I'm bumping an image for option 2 again: (but again, keep in mind this one is a little wider than mine).

    Hamptons Project · [More Info[(https://www.houzz.com.au/photos/hamptons-project-transitional-kitchen-brisbane-phvw-vp~36408282)

  • emailmarios
    2 years ago
    I'm sure it's been said before, but having had both kitchen styles
  • emailmarios
    2 years ago
    Oops. I was saying...
    Having lived with both, both have pros/cons. You should be guided by how you use a kitchen.

    If you value more bench space in the main kitchen and more seating (wider island = more seating potentially), then option 1 may suit you better.

    Lots of people have pantries because they want to prep out of sight, but end up with small pantries with tight bench space so end up prepping in the main kitchen anyway.

    If you genuinely want to prep out of sight, then make sure you make the pantry really usable, but remember the cons for the main kitchen, which isn't a major downside if you're a small family and don't entertain around the island often. Good luck!
    Nicole A thanked emailmarios
  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Thanks marios, good advice!

    I actually went with a little galley-style pantry so I could have both! - an island that's 2.6m and a pantry about 930w (with 1000 standing room front to back):

    This is where we're up to:

    So that window on the back right gets bricked in on Monday, with the side window (out of the shot) being replaced with the window you can see there waiting to go in. There are big sliding doors all along the wall on the left.

    That right corner will be where the little pantry goes: 600d benchtop on the back with drawers below and cabinets overhead, and 450d bench on the front side with open shelving above and below.

    I'll post more photos once it looks pretty!

  • SonaandDi Taumalolo
    last year

    Hi Nicole A,

    I was wondering, now you have lived with your set up, how are you finding the fridge position? I currently have plans for the same set up but I am a little worried about two things and I’m building internationally so can’t be on the ground to check.

    1 - does the right hand fridge door open enough to slide out the vege bins/shelves for cleaning or does the pantry “wall” beside it obstruct full opening (I’m assuming fridge is French door)?

    2 - is it annoying having the door opening over the pantry entry?

    Thanks in advance x

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Hi SonaandDi,

    In case you haven't come across it, here is the link to my finished kitchen: https://www.houzz.com.au/discussions/5598603/renovation-of-our-1956-red-brick-triple-fronted-home-all-done

    This layout has the potential for issues, but I tried to factor those in by noting where the fridge doors came to when fully opened.

    I should have allowed a little more width for the fridge gap, as the theory didn't quite translate in practice: on the plans I allowed the minimum of 20mm either side of fridge, but ended up with only about 13mm (was not fun getting the fridge in!). So my suggestion is to make sure there is 50mm either side of fridge.

    eg the fridge space is 1000mm wide for french door fridge around the 900mm mark.

    Even so, my doors do open fully (vegie drawers slide out unobstructed), as the doors themselves sit forward of the nib wall on the right.


    If your fridge space is wider, you won't need to sit the fridge out the full thickness of the doors, which may look more streamlined. But make sure you allow for 50mm space at the back of fridge. This will decide the depth of your nib wall. I calculated mine as 50mm plus the depth of the fridge to the start of the doors. You might prefer to make it a bit deeper, as the doors have more room to open due to the extra width of the space.

    It isn't annoying having the door opening over the pantry entry. It isn't often that someone wants to get to the pantry at the exact moment someone else opens the fridge. Even if that happened, you could get past if you couldn't wait:


    Good luck with your renovation! Because you can't be on site, I would always factor in more wiggle room.

    Let me know if I can help with any more info - I could talk about this stuff all day long!

  • SonaandDi Taumalolo
    last year

    Thanks so much for your reply! This was the exact information I was after and the photos are super helpful too!

    Your kitchen is beautiful, you must be very proud!

  • Nicole A
    Original Author
    last year

    You're very welcome! And apologies I added an extra zero to those measurements for the space on each side of the fridge - fixed it now!