The Worst Kitchen Layout Ever

When Dennis and I started looking for a house, one of our "must-have's" was a good kitchen.  Not necessarily a great kitchen, but a good kitchen.  We didn't need stainless appliances or granite countertops, but we did want a decent sized kitchen with a good layout.  Perhaps with at peninsula to eat breakfast at, or a pantry.  Maybe (hopefully) a dishwasher, and definitely lots of cabinets.  Instead, we got the worst kitchen layout ever. Okay, maybe not the worst layout ever (we did actually look at some properties with worse kitchens), but pretty close.  Oh, the bitter irony.

Obviously, the kitchen in our new place wasn't a deal breaker because we did end up buying the property, but the only thing we were able to cross off on our must-have list was the dishwasher (thankfully).  The new kitchen is small, and the layout is horrible.  It has no features such as a peninsula, an island, or even a pass-through.  Not to mention no pantry and hardly any cabinets, plus a horrible use of space.  Irony abounds.  That's not to say we can't use the kitchen as-is.  We can certainly prepare food the way things are, but not very easily, efficiently, or aesthetically pleasingly.



For starters, the stove has no attached countertop, which would make preparing and cooking food a royal pain.  We'd have to take several steps to get to and from what little counter space we do have, and I know with my clumsiness, I'd be dropping food all over the place in transit between counter and stove.  There's also a weird alcove with an exposed water heater with a lot of wasted space right next to the stove.  I suppose some counter space could be added to the right of the stove, but it would still  be very awkward and not very pretty.  Another weird thing about this kitchen is if you were standing at the stove, your back would just about be touching the fridge.  No room to maneuver at all.  I didn't test it, but I'm not even sure if the oven door would be able to open fully.


And the fridge...the fridge is just sticking out in to the middle of the room like a big hulking behemoth.  It just feels so big and imposing where it's sitting right now.  But at least there's nothing blocking the doors from opening all the way.  That's something, right?


On the other side of the room we have the only counters in the whole kitchen; just a smidgen of space to the left and right of the sink.  Above the sink are the cabinets that sit off-center of the window, and drive me a little crazy when I look at them.  And did I mention that the washer and dryer are in the kitchen?  No?  Well, the kitchen also has to double as the laundry room.  I don't have any good pictures of the wall behind the washer and dryer, but the spigots stick so far out from the wall that the washer and dryer don't fit well into the space.  Not to mention the dryer plug is set way too high on the wall and is just an eye sore.  But at least there's a dishwasher!!!


the way the washer and dryer sit, the back door just opens

Dennis and I have been wracking our brains to come up with a better way to use this space.  As part of our mortgage, there are several things we have to do to fix up the new place.  One of them is replacing the hot water heater, and we plan on going with a tankless version that we will place in the wall in order to be able to use that alcove a little more efficiently.  Some of our ideas include getting a front load washer and dryer and stacking them where the water heater currently is, moving the fridge to where the washer and dryer currently live, and moving the stove to where the fridge is.  We would build out a small pantry with pull out shelves next to the stacked washer and dryer, and would be able to add one more bottom cabinet and a little more counter space next to where we move the fridge.  But that may require some plumbing and electrical work that we're not exactly prepared for at the moment.

First things first, we have to replace the cracked and damaged ceramic tiles in the kitchen with wood laminate (as part of our 203K bid), so the appliances will have to be moved out for the demolition of the tile.  Once that happens we may come up with some other/better ideas of how to use the space.  Only time will tell.

15 comments

  1. What is the space behind the fridge? Is it a closet in another room? -Maggie.

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  2. The space behind the fridge is the master bedroom closet. We're trying to configure the space as it is to save money by not having to knock out any walls or do any major re-plumbing or electrical work. In the next 2 to 3 years we plan to move upstairs and use the downstairs as my massage spa, so right now we just want to make this kitchen as functional as possible for as little money as we can manage. We'll get into a major kitchen overhaul when we move upstairs!

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  3. I've gotten a lot of comments about this post over on my personal FB page, so I'm going to transfer them here just in case anyone else is reading all this home remodeling goodness.

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  4. What is in the space behind the refrigerator (yellow on your picture)?

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  5. What is the space behind the fridge? Is it a closet, can you year down that wall and inset the fridge? I have a tankless and I love it, plus they may be able to move it out of the kitchen when they in stall it!

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  6. For starters, since you are replacing the water heater with tankless the heater could go under the house or in the attic. Then put the stove or the fridge into the alcove, which I assume is your bedroom closet. If that is your closet it would be better to move it down and eliminate the alcove. Maybe continue the cabinets down the wall over the w/d. To get counter space move the d/w to the left of the sink and put in an l-shaped counter, would also make that corner a huge cabinet.

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    1. I love the idea of putting the tankless under the house. We were thinking of taking up a little room in the master closet for the water heater, but I like the idea of it under the house even better. We're not planning on moving any walls downstairs, but it's definitely a possibility once we finally move upstairs.

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  7. One of the only things I remember form the 1 architecture class I took is that the kitchen should be designed in a triangle between the fridge, stove and sink. You should never have to take more than 3 steps to get from one to the other.

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    1. We're definitely trying to keep that in mind!

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  8. If you need an inexpensive counter that requires no installation, i recommend Ikeasks solid wood options. We had an awkwardly ending counter which we fixed with a solid maple sideboard thingy that matches the little drop leaf table we have. It works very well. I would recommend putting your water heater lower in the house than higher as a friend of mine had a horrible catastropy with an attic water heater.

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  9. The first thing that comes to mind is.....How hard is it to switch the stove & Washer/Dryer locations? Seems like that swap leads to a more natural layout.

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  10. You might want to rethink a wood laminate if it is something like Pergo. Kitchens are wet areas and those types of products don't do well with moisture. We're talking about using a laminate everywhere else in the house but there. Just a suggestion.

    I would definitely buy a stacking washer/dryer unit and put it in place of the water heater when you get the tankless. If you are looking at an electric tankless (can't tell if you have gas), then be forewarned that they need a lot of juice and you will probably have to install additional breakers. That's why we ended up taking ours back.

    I think the stove would be great where the washer and dryer are currently installed. With every one of these appliance moves, don't forget to consider venting and power needs.

    Good luck! Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do!

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    1. Luckily, we're inheriting a set of front loaders that can be stacked from my sister-in-law! Unfortunately the whole place is electric, but once we move upstairs we plan on adding gas back to the place. I think we have enough breaker space for the tankless, but that's for our contractor to tackle!!

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  11. Jess, T and I were talking and I have to second DPH's opinion on the Pergo in your kitchen, unless it's more like vinyl that wood. I have engineered flooring in my house and have discovered that if a small amount of liquid sits on it for a while (on the joints), it swells up. I have several places now where a certain little dog wee'd and are now needing to be mended. If you want the look of wood without any of the headaches, I recommend the new ceramic tiles made to look like wood. The new ones actually can fool you. They're not like the old style ones where every other tile looks like another not far from it. Check it out. T and I would love to see your house one day. It sounds like you guys are really making it lovely.

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    1. Unfortunately, we've already bought and installed the laminate floors (I'm about 2 weeks behind a project and actually posting about it here). It was cheap, easy to install, and looks good. We're planning on waxing the kitchen for some added protection against moisture. At least the floors only have to last us a few years before we move upstairs.

      We're definitely going to have a house warming party as soon as the place is ready, and you'll definitely be invited!!

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