Help With Designing a Kitchen

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Posted by: from Toronto
4/18/2013 at 12:12:21 PM

We just bought our first house, which is a total gutter, so we are very excited to do the renovations and make it exactly like we want. One of the biggest problems I am having is designing the kitchen. It is 10'4" x 14'9" (W x L). The problem is that we lose about 3' of the space on one side of the kitchen because the basement stairs come up there and I think we need about 3' for the landing. I have attached the drawing of what we're working with.

My question is, does anyone have an idea how to organize cupboards and appliances (fridge, stove, sink) in a way that would be most practical? I would like a decent amount of counter space and lots of cupboards.

Also, I would love to have an island. The kitchen is narrow, but I think it would look too empty without the island, plus the extra space would be great. I'm not sure this is possible though, with the width we have :( We would be ok with having appliances and counters on one side of the kitchen and just some more shallow storage (tall pantry-like storage of maybe 12"-16" deep) on the other side. Still, I don't think an island would work.

What's the minimum space you need to leave on each side of the island? How narrow can the island be?

Thank you sooo much in advance!!!

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Clayton from Gable to Gable in Sherwood Park
Date/Time4/18/2013 at 4:19:57 PM

There are all sorts of space savers you can do in your kitchen and if there is not alot of space you could go with an island on wheels. This is the way around the code if your kitchen is too small.

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Mariana in Toronto
Date/Time4/18/2013 at 5:32:04 PM

Thanks Clayton.

I think we might have to go with a butcher's block on wheels. You mention that we might need to do that to get around the code - is there a rule of how much space you need to have for an island?

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Date/Time4/18/2013 at 6:22:08 PM

We usually try to keep a space around our cabinets and islands of about 36 inches.

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Date/Time4/18/2013 at 6:56:19 PM

Hello Marianna,

I was not able to see your drawing but I do have a suggestion for you regarding the layout. If you are going to be going to big-box stores (such as Home Depot, IKEA etc) for your cabinetry, they have in store kitchen designers that can help you with a layout. Unless your goal is to design the space yourself and order components, base cabinets etc. from a specific company, it may be worth it for you to get some ideas that way.

As was mentioned in a previous comment, there are just so many space-saving options available. As far as your island is concerned, the size of it is completely up to you! The space around it should be comfortable enough to open cabinets, dishwasher door etc. I have seen old dressers, tables and desks redesigned to act as islands with incredible results! For inspiration, I invite you to check out my Pinterest boards titled "kitchen inspiration" or "decor ideas for small spaces" (search under Jackie Nordeman).

Hope this was helpful and all the best in your design adventure!

Jackie Nordeman

Limelight Interiors

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Date/Time4/18/2013 at 8:47:39 PM

I didn't see any pictures, but I've seen your stair problem in other houses. It usually gets buried inside of a base cabinet so you don't see it. As far as an island, you don't have the space. Base cabinets ar 24" deep and you need at least 36" of walkway space between cabinets. Islands are at least 24" deep, anything smaller will not look right and be basically useless. Your best bet is to stick with a U shaped layout for the cabinets. If you bring all your measurements to home depot ,ikea, etc. they can help you with the design.

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Date/Time4/19/2013 at 1:14:24 PM


Based on my experience in GTA with stair bulk heads and in typical bunglows we have removed the wall between living and kitchen made an open concept, Island fits in very nicely depending on the location of stair bulk head we place the stove or the fridge, leaving proper space for storage, preparation space and a complete working triangle etc.

Hope this helps.

Help With Designing a Kitchen
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Mariana in Toronto
Date/Time4/19/2013 at 3:07:00 PM

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

Unfortunately, we can't move walls and can't make a U-shaped kitchen (there is a walk-out on one side of the kitchen and the dining room at the other ). Thanks for the tips to go the Ikea etc, to see what the have for small kitchens. We'll do that this weekend.

So, I gather the counters are generally 24" and you need about 36" (though I think 34" might be ok - that's what we have now in our galley kitchen). But I'm wondering if the counters on the other side of the island can be narrower than 24" (my idea was 16" or even 12").

What is the smallest depth of the pantry-like tall, floor-to-ceiling cabinets we would put on the other side that would still make them usable? The reason I said 12"-16" is that our kitchen cupboards right now are 12" deep and I find that to be ok, but I'm not sure about how this would translate to tall cabinets.

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Date/Time1/3/2014 at 7:20:11 PM

The typical depth are 12" and 24" depending from where you buy. We do any custom depth, height, width to suit the space, function for what it is used for, to fit customers requirement, aesthetics in respect to the surrounding cabinets, and the room etc.

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