Emily Henderson

Progress in the Kitchen...

Our House: Kitchen Cabinet and Appliance Layout

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Our kitchen renovation is getting there, folks. We are currently in the ‘wait for the custom cabinet phase to finish up’ so meanwhile I wanted to bring you up to speed on the layout/cabinet/appliance plan (today) and the design plan (tomorrow). There were some serious challenges to making our kitchen both functional and to bring it up to our 2016 family standards and we have worked super hard to address them, but in case you aren’t already following along, we are documenting it all in this video series HERE, be sure to tune in. Now – as a reminder, here is the original kitchen layout:

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The footprint of the kitchen is small and awkward (which you can see below in the plan). The dining room was beautiful and light-filled so the obvious choice (which we discussed last week) was to break the kitchen wall down and open it up into the dining room.

Look at the size of the living room compared to the dining room!! It makes the living room look HUGE but it’s not! It’s a lovely size, but not HUGE. The wall between the kitchen and dining room has to be open in order for my life to be complete.

Like so:

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Facing towards the kitchen – it’s going to become so open, airy and light filled.

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But, you can’t just knock out a wall (or four) without a plan from an architect/engineer and without permits. So before we could even demo (and get the permits) we had to layout what we were going to do:

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We are removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen and then shortening the wall by the stairs to open up that area. You’ll also see (and you probably know) that we are opening up the entire first floor near the entry (but that’s another story, check this post, and we are sticking to the kitchen here in this post).

Here is the proposed plan:

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Once it was demo’d it was easier to see how it was all going to work, but it still wasn’t obvious if it was going to really look good.

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We attempted to locate the island (see below)

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Obviously the best way to locate and design your VERY PERMANENT island is to find random scraps of wood and lay them out in the rough shape that you had planned – like so (and that’s without the counter overhang).

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More renderings were being done, meanwhile the work continued on the walls/plumbing/electrical, etc.

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Our cabinet makers got in immediately to take accurate measurements (something they really can’t do until all demo is complete and often not until drywall is up). This is the most crucial thing because the lead time on cabinets is typically 6-8 weeks. Our company is shooting for 3-4 weeks but that is 3-4 from drywall, not from the day we demo. And you can’t do countertops or tile until cabinets are in, so this is really our biggest challenge and what is going to set us back the fastest.

They sent us back both elevations and 3-D renderings – both so exciting and daunting. 

Here was the first version (with the island being more of a rectangle). It seems like a good idea, I know.

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We liked the rest of the layout, but once we got into the space we realized that the island was going to jut into the dining room in a super weird angle, and if we made it smaller it was going to be super small and not terribly functional.  The beam between the kitchen/dining room runs along this line (seen below) – anything on the left of the line is the dining room or family room but it’s not big enough to have a big island in the middle of it.

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Doing the island that way made it so it would render that other room almost useless. You can’t put a sofa against the wall for a TV room nor can you put a dining table in there (the dining/family room isn’t to scale and it’s not that big). It’s easier to see in this overhead plan:

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So after 6 attempts to fix it, we came to this layout…

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It’s kinda a triangle, kinda a trapezoid, kinda weird, but I think once that hunk is a beautiful old marble with beveled edging it might look ok/good. I’m nervous, for sure.

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This shape allows for us to use the dining/family room however we want as it keeps the kitchen in the kitchen and allows for that other room to still be a rectangle.

Let’s take a look at the elevations which give you a better idea of how it feels when you are in the room:

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Here you can see the appliances that were provided by Frigidaire Professional in the renderings (because they just put basic boxes for appliances in the rendering which is very boring to stare at.)

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Then the return wall looks like this:

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Lastly the island – with the latest, most controversial island plan:

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The dining side of the island (with stools) will be a larger scale bead board (v-groove that doesn’t have the bead necessarily, but gives you a more modern look).

Now back to the 3-D drawings:

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Of course that was extremely hard to look at what with the brown and black and all. My EYES!!!!

So we photoshopped it a better color-way:

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And while we loved that, we wanted to really apply it into the new space to give us an idea of how it was going to potentially look:

Here you can see it coming to life:

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It was starting to work (come back tomorrow for the whole plan).

A few weeks later, as the plumbing and electrical were being updated and the new windows made, I checked on the cabinets at the workshop.

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It was pretty awesome. They have it FULLY built and laid out just like it would be in the kitchen. We went through and signed off on all the details – the feet, the function of each drawer, which cabinets had grills versus glass versus solid, etc. We confirmed the finish and dropped off paint. And then we begged so hard for them to push us to the front of the line. As soon as we are done with our kitchen I’ll give you guys the name of the company because they are AMAZING (I need them to finish ours before taking on more work, obviously)

We headed to our stone yard and made sure that the island fit on the big slab:

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That was our rough estimate of the stone and technically it fit but yes it was going to be close. Back at the house the flooring is in and the drywall is up. We are just waiting for the cabinets to be painted and dried (which is something you can’t rush).

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Come back tomorrow for the full, almost 100% sure, design plan of the kitchen. Since I wrote this post the cabinets have been installed and the stone is being templated so we are getting VERY close. Be sure to follow along on Insta-story for the real time documentation of our dream house.

I welcome any island support or criticism. I’m terrified knowing that one of you will have a genius idea that the 12 of us working on the project didn’t think of, but know that it took an architect, engineer, 3 designers, a cabinet designer, contractor, endless friends and a husband to say that this is the best shot at the kitchen and other room to look good, function and flow. A quick update since I wrote this, we decided to mimic the ceiling arches on the island (a squared off arch) hoping that this will make it feel more original. We all agree this is the best idea and hopefully we are all correct. The only other thing I could think of would be using some gorgeous found piece of furniture – like a counter height store display. I think that even if it wasn’t the perfect shape for the room you would forgive it because it would be stunning. I haven’t found that piece so this plan is the one we are going with.

But yes, we are all a bit worried…. thoughts? Come back tomorrow for the design plan and more details of our appliances. Wish us luck!!! In the meantime head on over HERE to check out the video series.

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  1. I remember someone mentioning a round island? Doubt the solves any problems, but I thought it was an interesting suggestion in a sort of dining table in kitchen sort of way. Anyhoo, function of this island will be great and if you find that once in a life time piece to replace it at least you will have something functional in the meantime. Cant wait to see it. The house and details are amazing and the island will be too…dont worry!

    1. ps… some cool angular light fixture above the island can make it all better too! you won’t even notice the shape with a showstopper light!

  2. Emily – the kitchen looks fantastic and I’m sure will be even better when completed. I think you’ve done an amazing job in transforming an ugly duckling into a swan that will work for your whole family.

    I’m sure you’re aware of this but … you’ll have to be extra vigilant with the stone countertops e.g. no lemon juice or vinegar / red wine on it. Also – from experience – the white porcelain farm sink is going to show up every cup of tea or coffee you pour down it, so have your cleaner handy! And my last tip is, invest in a mat for the bottom of the sink if you value your glasses /china. Any small slip and they break.

    Can’t wait to see it all finished – good luck with the rest of the renovation. You deserve a spa break afterwards!

    1. Oh – and sorry to be pedantic (and I know from watching US TV shows that marble countertops are loved by nearly everyone in the States) – but in my opinion the English cottage look isn’t large slabs of stone. (Perhaps a small area to roll out the pie crust on – as it prefers a cold surface – but not in vast quantities.)

      You’ve probably paid for the marble already anyway so ignore what I’m saying – but traditionally the work surfaces would have been oak. Marble was for churches and palaces …

      1. Ugh – sorry – I wish there was an edit function (I keep having to add to my post this way) but I’ve had another look at your kitchen inspiration post and the DeVol images

        https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/house-inspiration-devol-kitchen

        I can see that although marble is used on some of the work surfaces, the large islands / centre pieces are in the main wooden. Do you think you were drawn to these picture because of the wood ? Also many of the “islands” in these images are on legs and not solid. Perhaps opting for no island and just have a very large wooden dining / kitchen table (and the microwave on a counter top) will give you more flexibility and a feeling of spaciousness? You could also put a lovey freestanding pantry in the dining area for more storage.

        1. Hi!
          So many good suggestions. We had a big talk about the marble and decided to go for it and be ok with it aging fast. The first year of aging is the ugliest, but then I think it will look like an old bar, and if that and the brass fixtures patina then hopefully it will look just old and pretty. At first we we were going to have a butcher block but because of the small kitchen i decided that a lighter stone would make it feel better. PLUS when I found our stone I fell in love so hard that I wanted it everywhere (we had extra for 2 of the three bathroom vanities, too, which I was worried would be overkill but I love it very much). xx

  3. What about a really pretty antique table there with chairs? It would be an eat in kitchen (still have the full dining room).
    Everything looks great! I can’t wait to see it!

    1. I was thinking that too, but maybe a round table. Love the vintage eat-in kitchen look.

      But, I think she needs the island for storage/appliances (microwave).

      1. We thought about that a lot, too. But yes, we need the storage and also we don’t need that big of a dining room – it would feel off balance. but we’ll see :)

  4. My thinking is you won’t even notice the weird shape once it’s all installed and you have furnished he space. I think the shape almost makes it disappear into the kitchen depending because it fits all the angles… like a little puzzle. In the end it could be a trick of the eye, or whatever the phrase is that means your eyes and brain work around the shape so that something weird looks normal.

    1. I totally agree with Zoe… once it’s in, it will totally fit the space. 2-D drawings and mock ups can be so deceiving bc you are only looking at stark dimensions. As a family, you will spend the majority of your home life in/near your kitchen. Function is key! You’re gonna love having the flexibility, extra counter space, and utility of this bigger island. Stay the course! Your finishes are gonna make it amazing! I’m loving your renovation!

      1. THANK YOU. I agree. I think that since the house is quirky it only makes sense that the island is quirky. SPOILER – we saw the stone being installed a couple days ago (sorry this post went to print 10 days ago, ha) and we did a ogee bull beveling on the edge and it is STUNNING and makes the kitchen look like its old and original. IT’s giving me hope that even as an awkward shape the island, once covered with a beautiful stone, will feel original. xx

  5. I don’t know where my comment went so this may be a duplicate. What about an antique (or other really pretty) kitchen table for an eat in kitchen. No island.
    It wouldn’t affect the dining room.
    I really do love the house. I can’t wait to see it all!

  6. Your house has so many unusual angles. I think you have to embrace the angles, as you have done, and make them part of the flow. Anything else would look forced. It’s going to look fantastic!

  7. House plans are so fun! We built a custom house from the ground up, and I learned A LOT!
    It may be too late for this suggestion, but in my own house, we have found that 36 inches is not enough clearance in front of the oven. I realize that that 36 inches is standard, and it certainly looks good when you are standing there in the planning phases and nothing is actually in use yet. However, once you live in that kitchen daily, it’s a different story. I cook a lot – every day! In my kitchen, it’s all dandy when the oven is not in use, but when the door is open and you are trying to reach in and get something, it’s a tight fit. I have 41 inches from the counter of the island to the counter of the oven wall, but our big range protrudes a few inches and the clearance is 36 inches there. When we have parties, everyone stands around the island and it’s snug, and I’m forever asking people to scoot over. Please consider giving yourself a few extra inches on the oven side of your island. I would love to have even 3 or 4 inches more. We have a similar issue on the other side of the island with the refrigerator. French doors help that tremendously, but still.
    As a separate issue, I big, giant, puffy heart LOVE having the microwave under the counter in the island! I believe it is so much safer to lift a dish out and set it right on the counter than the over-the-oven style in which you must lift hot dishes from above your head. Plus your kids can use the microwave easily when they are older if the microwave is under the counter.
    It’s so fun to follow your house remodel!

    1. OOh, this is compelling, re the 36″. I might be too late but i’m going to ask. We are so tight in there that it might be ok, also that range isn’t HUGE, its a lovely size that might be good with 36″ (as we were told by our cabinet makers). But thank you very much for the suggestion. xx

  8. I think the island will feel perfect for the layout of the kitchen/dining room… looks odd on a plan, but in real life it will fit the space so much better than a rectangle.

    On another note, WHY OH WHY not install an integrated dishwasher so that the line of cabinets isn’t interrupted by a big flat ugly piece of stainless steel? In my opinion unintegrated appliances seriously spoil the aesthetics of a kitchen.

    I’m from UK and hidden appliances are commonplace, I wouldn’t even consider having a stainless fronted dishwasher or fridge freezer in my kitchen, and I’m really curious why this isn’t common in the US too? Do you guys really like the look of large pieces of stainless steel instead of cabinet doors?! I see some GORGEOUS kitchens coming out of this blog (and other US blogs I follow) but none of them seem to have integrated appliances and it really jars.

    Anyway, maybe it’s just my pet peeve, but interested if anyone can shed any light on this :)

    1. Jeanz, maybe this is just about what we’re used to- I think Americans are used to seeing the appliances. The first time I walked into a kitchen with integrated appliances, I was like, wait . . . am I in an office with a sink? Also, maybe having them exposed provides a better opportunity to show off the money we spent on high end appliances, in typically gaudy American fashion! (I’m like, half joking about that.)

    2. Agreed Jeanz, Im in Ireland and it’s the same here. Only people who can’t afford integrated appliances (like myself) have to go the exposed route!

    3. I agree regarding integrated appliances. I live in a London flat where my kitchen is part of the living room and dining room. I specifically chose slim line minimalist cabinets so that they would blend into the environment and not shout here I am (although the building is Victorian). All my appliances are integrated and largely hidden.

      I guess one of the reasons American appliances aren’t hidden is because of size. Compare an American fridge freezer with a European one and it’s massive. In Europe we tend to have smaller homes with less storage and therefore make more frequent trips to the shops for food. In the States, if there is more space and its more common to do bulk shopping I guess it’s easy to go for the massive fridge.

    4. I think another reason may be that in Canada anyway, the most cost effective integrated fridge is $9,000 CAD, and most cost effective integrated dishwasher is $1,500. Even in a custom kitchen, that’s a big chunk of the budget.

      1. I’ve just done a quick price check on johnlewis.com and the cheapest (two door) integrated fridge freezer is £413 (or US$515 ) and the cheapest free standing fridge freezer is £229 (or US$285). So integrated is double the price but no where near the CAD9,000 / USD6,716 price tag across the pond.

        1. Integrated is expensive in the states. It just is. It’s also a specific look. I can see the benefits of both ways for sure. i’m finding the info about it being ‘dated’ very interesting. Thanks for your comments, guys!

    5. I find this thread so interesting. Having just remodeled our kitchen (in the States), I can’t imagine hiding the beautiful appliances. I love seeing the shiny, new stainless steel pops throughout the kitchen. This could just be my opinion, but I *think* (here at least) hidden/integrated appliances are a bit dated looking. Very 90’s-vibe. But very interesting to hear that that’s not the case outside of the US.

        1. I don’t think she’d do that just for sponsorship. I can’t speak for Emily, but a lot of people (myself included) really like the look of stainless steel over integrated appliance. I don’t see the point of hiding the functional items in my kitchen, though I know some people really like the uniformity that creates. Plus, I don’t see why it’s hard to believe someone might actually remodel their home kitchen to their liking. Emily has enough design projects and blog space to tout her sponsors without compromising her vision for her own home.

      1. American here. I second the feeling that integrated appliances here seem dated or cheesy. they are never actually truly hidden, so it looks to me like a wooden cabinet door was glued to a refrigerator and you can still tell its a refrigerator.

        I think large metal appliances are really beautiful, hiding them with a faux cabinet doesn’t really fool anyone here. We must not really be doing it right. Because I’ve seen lovely Euro houses where they are actually hidden.

          1. I think in your kitchen design the appliances will look just right as designed.

            The older integrated Sub-Zero fridges with the visible vent at the top and metal trim around the door panels look sort of dated now, but the new sleek versions look beautiful in the right application.

            But it really depends on the kitchen. I did an integrated fridge in my recent kitchen remodel because it looks more streamlined, and the fridge is placed inside an original custom cabinet that called for a custom solution.

            I sometimes think in a smaller home where the living room and the kitchen are sharing space, it can feel like you are living in your kitchen if you have a clear view of the fridge doors, and I tend to like the fridge integrated or placed out of direct sight lines. In those situations, integrated appliances can make the space feel more relaxed and luxe, but it depends on how the family lives and what they like.

    6. Interesting! I never knew that integrated appliances were popular in the UK. I rarely see them here, and when I do it tends to be a in a tacky/dated/90’s McMansion style kitchen. It feels like weird fakery to me.

      1. I’m from the UK as well and I think that integrated is dated. All my friends’ parents had them when they redecorated in the 90s and my generation (currently buying houses) are going for freestanding stainless steel. It must be different in different parts of the UK!

        1. “Integrated is dated” made me smile. I guess it depends on the kind of look you want to achieve. There was a time when a free standing vintage coloured Smeg fridge was all the rage. But if you look at the DeVol pictures Emily posted as her inspiration there weren’t any images of massive stainless steel fridge freezers. To my eye at least, they scream American kitchen (not that there is anything wrong with that!). I guess it’s just a different look.

    7. I’m an American but I agree with the international folks that integrated appliances would look better in what is shaping up to be a gorgeous kitchen, at least for the refrigerator and dishwasher. I wouldn’t do the oven because the window into the oven is so crucial.

    8. I live in France and choose an integrated appliances because the fridge is the first “thing” you see when enter in the appartement. I have a long hallway to the kitchen, the fridge is just in front of the door. The walls in the hallway are grey and the fridge cabinet is grey too. So it is nicely surrounded thru the door. It’s number one choice that I don’t regret when renovating our place.

  9. Ugh, that island. Not that I don’t applaud the creativity. But I just think it’s going to be too big in terms of having enough space for people to walk around it.

    Also, I noticed that the microwave is going into the island – if it’s a drawer-style microwave, beware. My MIL had one and we hated it. I’d always be trying to microwave a cup of water to make tea, and the thing would always slosh the water out when it’d close or open. Very jerky. And I was not even allowed to think about manually opening it or closing it – no, that would through off the suspension, or something. So I’d reluctantly hit the button to open/close the drawer, and then wait the 5 seconds which seemed like 30 seconds for it to slowly yet unsteadily open/close.

    Personally, if it were my kitchen, I’d have just bought an off-the-shelf island that I could scoot around as needed. That way, if I decided later that I needed something smaller, or larger, or more round, or whatever, I could just replace it without having to worry about the floors being gouged by an actual built-in. Also, I think a black island would look better than a white one, because contrast and visual interest.

  10. I think the strangely shaped island is absolutely the right choice, especially given that you don’t know exactly what you’re doing with the family/dining room yet. I think once it’s in the room it’ll feel right, since it mimics the shape of the room in general. But I am a little confused about the shape on the marble – in the drawings it looks like a 5-sided shape, but on the slab you’ve marked out 6 sides?

  11. Hi! First, your floors are SOOO gorgeous! I can’t wait to see them when finished. FWIW, I think the island will not seem nearly as risky once installed and the stone you selected has amazing veining! My question has to do with the range hood… Did you consider something besides the cabinetry/stainless hood combo? I see an amazing plaster hood (or maybe wood) that mimics some of the cool lines of your home. Just a thought!

  12. I think it looks amazing, and I think the unusual shape is perfect for the space and also looks very custom. I love it.

    I do just have two small points:

    (1) Would it be possible to have seating on two sides of the island, or at least one-and-a-half sides? Currently all four of you will have to sit in a row at the island, which makes it difficult for the two people at the ends to talk to each other. If you sit on two adjacent sides you will be two-and-two, making conversation among all four of you much easier.

    (2) I see you have mostly door lower cabinets rather than deep drawers. Deep drawer lower cabinets really are sooooo much more functional, and can be visually disguised as door cabinets if you so desire. (This is something that could almost certainly be retrofitted)

    Oh and I also agree with another poster about integrated appliances, it does seem a shame to have stainless steel in your English country cottage kitchen. But perhaps American eyes will find it normal,

    On a slightly tangential note, I am completely addicted to posts about your house, to the extent that I actually get disappointed when the post is about something else, even if it’s a post I really like. You’re doing such a wonderful job on every aspect, it’s astonishing to believe you are achieving such a massive undertaking in such a short time, and that’s before I remember you are also raising two children and running a business. Genuinely mind-boggling, complete respect to you. The floorplan changes upstairs and downstairs alone are just genius, it’s already hard to see how it could have been any other way. Can’t wait to see more and more!

    1. I agree Elle! I love it all and am so excited for each new post. Grouped seating is so fabulous…but i was thinking perhaps the bar seating is really for the kids (snacks, breakfast) and they’ll all sit down at a table to eat. I also love lower drawers…same idea as the under counter microwave drawer…so functional and easy to see. Why keep things stored down far away in a dark hidden cabinet? Drawers and cabinet inserts are great!

      The shape of the island is perfect for the space – interiors always need to derive from the shell space and that’s just what this island does. If the kitchen and dining room were designed as one space (if the kitchen had been expanded to encompass both rooms) then a larger or rectangular island would work. I think I would still prefer this approach because it reinforces the division of rooms and follows the beam lines.

  13. I think it’s all great, but in the renderings, my eye wants to keep snipping off the only 90 degree angled corner on the island (like snipping a corner off a sheet of paper), turning that one corner into two corners that will mimic the end that’s closest to the ground in the stone yard picture. It might be impossible because of the lines of the rooms, but in the rendering it (the one closest to the fridge if I’m seeing that right) stood out to me.

        1. Can’t wait to see the whole shebang! I agree with the others who go with it and embrace the quirky character and make it work. It’s going to be fab.

  14. I noticed that there is also an overhang for the island on the side facing the fridge so that it makes a weird point in the countertop on the left side. I think your designers are trying to follow the lines of the wall cabinets but I would just have the overhang on the seating area. How much of an overhang do you have over the seating area?

  15. Personally, I think I would have held off on the island until you had a chance to live in the space for a little while. You might have found that you didn’t even want one in the end. L shaped kitchens (even if your L-shape is a bit crooked) are pretty classic. The angular island feels weird. But I’m just a reader and you are the pro….I would trust your gut judgement over mine.

  16. I’m a kitchen designer and from my perspective you are doing exactly the right thing. You always fit the island to the space. Trust me, it will look wonderful. Your finishes will complement the house, the shape will complement the space and function! I’m sure you know the recommended isles in the working part of the kitchen should be about 42″ from counter edge to counter edge, so consider that. Sometimes I would fudge on that a bit if totally necessary, but not much.
    I once had a similar problem, though the kitchen was huge, but the client wanted cabinets on both sides including a second dishwasher facing a butler pantry. It too was an odd trapezoidal affair, so big you couldn’t reach across it, which actually gave her room for wonderful flower arrangements in the center and lovely vignettes. (Yes, she had cleaning Help in her house.) We had to have a 3-way piece of marble, gorgeous! which then the granite guys dropped and broke and damaged the new wood floor. (All that was so fun!) In the end it was stunning, the clients were great. Trust me Emily, you are doing exactly right. It will be marvelous!

  17. Emily, my parents built their house and my dad designed this crazy shaped island that worked with the angles of the room “just so”. While it looked totally bizarre on paper and on the slab, it works so well in real life functionality. Yours will be great too.

  18. Emily, I wouldn’t worry about the Island. It’s the best you could do, and to be frank, a kitchen peninsula is my nightmare (my house has one and I refuse to redo my kitchen. We hate it.). I’d gladly take a somewhat strangely shaped Island as opposed to a peninsula creating a triangle of doom someone will always get trapped in. Or tupperware. Because tupperware inevitably ends up in the dumbest spot a kitchen has to offer. (RANT: All the new builds in my area offer an Island, even if it has the tiniest, silliest footprint and can fit two pots. Thus yours makes way more sense to me).

    The house has some really unique angles. Working with them seems more intuitive than pretending straight lines are an option.

  19. I like the weirdly shaped island since it works with the odd angle the kitchen is on and where the new support beam is going. It’s way better to have something fit to the space instead of a conventional rectangular island which doesn’t fit well.

    The floors are so dreamy :) I’ve always loved seeing old European floors like these. I wish we could have done them in our house but I don’t think the style would have matched and budget was a restraint. They are going to look amazing in your space though.

  20. I’m not in love with the shape myself (could you have done maybe a half moon shape?), but if I were in your shoes I would probably go the same route. I feel like the island is very functional and will be the right fit for the space. Once the chairs / light fixtures are in, I feel like the weird shape will be a secondary focus for sure!

  21. Emily I’m just worried about kid noggins on the pointy part of the island that sticks into the dining room. (60-year old woman here, has two kids, remodeled when youngest was not quite two, opened kitchen into living room, installed a pillar in weird modern shape (for context)). Can you/would you round that sticking out part? Would be weird and modern, but, one weird and modern thing can become that which you most love. (Weird and modern pillar, also me, still in house 24 years later;))

      1. OK good. I see others have suggested a post as a visual cue, might also be a good idea. Noggins are important. You have no idea how thrilled I am you actually answered my comment:). xoxo

  22. Ooh, I really, really think you should reconsider that island shape! Not only is it odd, it’s also sort of unsafe for toddlers/little kids. If this were my house, I would not use that space adjacent to the kitchen for a dining room, but would instead use it as a family room/playroom space, and would use the “den” as the formal dining room. That way you could put a large, gorgeous island that functions as a kitchen table/informal dining space. By the time you’ve outgrown needing to keep an eye on the kids as they play, they’ll have outgrown the need for a specific “play room.” You’re probably going to find that you spend all your time in the kitchen anyway and the kids will play there.

    1. Yes, I have had the same thought about making the Den the Dining Room and the light-filled dining room a sort of “keeping room”/playroom. I remember reading that Emily and Brian were trying to decide about the TV in the living room and wanting that big room to really be used – and maybe having that “kid” room in the middle of the living/kitchen flow is just not desired. The Den space is a little more designated. Can’t wait to see where it all ends up! Love all these posts so much – the comments, too!

      We are in the midst of a kitchen refresh – definitely eyeing those Frigidaire Pro appliances. Mostly for the straight handles! (I can’t stand the curvy ones.) I am also, admittedly, not the cook in my household…

  23. I appreciate the challenges of an old house. However I think the island takes your beatiful old classic kitchen and turns it into “builder basic”. I wish you used a free standing butcher block piece and roll it around. Or an old farmhouse round table for an eat in kitchen. The odd shaped eat at island screams suburbia McMansion and your house is So authentic and amazing and not a McMansion!!!!

  24. The pointed edge on the island close to the refrigerator really worries me. Seems like it could end up being a safety hazard. Your house is so beautiful! Maybe you could consider holding off on the install of the island until the rest is completed. Give your family a chance to live in the space a little while and see what needs you have once you are in there day-to-day. Kitchens are such a long-term investment! Seems like you are on a tight schedule, it would be a shame to rush through this part. I like your idea of a vintage piece – that would add back some character. Good luck, and remember that you owe it to yourself to take a breath if you need to!

  25. Looks like the island shape is the best solution so you don’t lose any space in the former dining room. One thing you might consider is instead of cabinets on the island Elevation E, maybe big drawers for cookware? Since is it right across from the stove it would be a great spot. I love having my cookware in large drawers. So much easier to access everything!

  26. you nailed it with the island. I hated the first version – if nothing else, the arrow pointing into the kitchen is really bad feng shui (and the overhang under the beam is just uncomfortable.)

    keep the photos coming!
    this is a great post.

  27. I’m sure it will all look beautiful when finished, but I probably wouldn’t have had an island in that kitchen, even though I LOVE them. I don’t think there’s really enough room (it would also look more spacious without), despite the shape issue.

    I’m confused about your appliances. Are they built ins? I live in the UK so perhaps the whole kitchen design trends are different, but it would be really odd here to go to the expense of a custom built kitchen without integrated appliances. They are more expensive (double?) but most people choose them for aesthetic benefits – unless you’re my sister, she thinks it’s silly to spend £2000 on a high end fridge/freezer and then hide it! But there’s no getting away from the fact they’re ugly and visually overpowering. How many people are upset people can’t see their car engine? 😉

    1. There was a long discussion above in which everyone weighed in on integrated v. regular appliances…as for me, I take the American view: integrated appliances can look dated and tacky and pretty appliances are pretty! My grandparents just built a gorgeous custom home and my grandma chose a big red stove/oven that is the most beautiful part of the kitchen. I live that she chose her favorite color and such a gorgeous stove to cook us biscuits in. :)

  28. I also think that the island will end up looking like it fits the room perfectly once installed…can’t wait to see it!

    My question is, did you ever consider moving your kitchen to the “tbd sitting/dining” space instead of using the old kitchen area of your house? Seems like you could have utilized a much larger, more traditinally shaped area than trying to squeeze it into the triangle. Just a thought.

  29. I really like the layout you chose but I do think (if possible) the design would look better if the two windows were combined into 1arge picture window. The other thing I’d do is use a more stylish vent hood. I do love the island though, shape is different and provides good flow.

    1. I think those two windows are not on a straight wall, they are at a slight angle to each other. There also appears to be some plumbing in between them. I think the two smaller windows are just part of the quirkiness of an older home.

  30. I love everything about the kitchen, but to me the island size and shape look totally out of place. The angles, although I know make sense in layout, negate the softness that I feel is quintessential cozy, English cottage style. It may also just be the rendering/mock-up but it feels congested. I know the extra counter/cabinet space and hidden microwave are pluses, but I have to second the idea of a beautiful round antique table with a food safe finish or stone on the top, could make a great island. Plus, it could potentially be moved around if you wanted to have the room be more open for any reason. Or like another commenter suggested, just holding off on the island until you have lived in and really used the space, then making a more permanent decision.
    In the end, whatever you decide to do, I know it will look amazing!

  31. I like the island and agree that it will be better once it is actually in place and the rest of the house is finished. I always like a butcher block island, so that would be the only thing I would have changed personally.

  32. I’m sure this isn’t popular, but to me, if you don’t have a really big kitchen an island just gets in the way. I think something on wheels that you can roll around could be a good option if you really cook a lot and need the space. That said, I always love your work so I plan to be amazed and proved wrong.

  33. At first I thought the island was sort of meh. But seeing your original option, now I’m thinking it’s going to work out. You traded a weird corner for a unique island. It’s an old house with weird angles, this island is newer and different angled.

    On your cabinets, why didn’t you take them all the way to the ceiling (instead of leaving a 7 inch wasted space on top) or have pull out drawers where the toe-kicks are? It seems like you have such little storage in the kitchen that squeezing every little bit would have helped.

    1. I agree. My pet peeve is those wasted spaces on top of the upper cabinets. I have an old house and not even nice cabinets but someone geniously made them go to the ceiling and it gives me a third shelf — a HUGE help for a small kitchen!

  34. Honestly, I have never been a fan of an odd shaped island. I think a moving butcher block island or unique vintage piece on wheels would look better. Can you sqeeze in the microwave and more storage somewhere else? I’m obsessed with the floors! Gorge!

    1. I agree! The shape just looks wrong to my eye and seems like you’re trying to squeeze an island into a room that just isn’t for one. I’d definitely recommend a movable island on casters (W-S Home has some beautiful options) or possibly a peninsula off the right side of the stove.

  35. The whole time I read this post (and actually from the beginning) I have thought the island looks too big for that space…Though you are definitely the professional and make so many beautiful and happy spaces that I am sure if you think the island works then it does work!

    I feel like if I was in your shoes I would cancel the island and just move in without it…put the microwave in the bottom half of one of the upper cabinets or something…even though you would lose storage space I absolutely would try to do no island and then play with putting a small round kitchen table in there…

    Growing up in old houses our kitchens always had a moveable butcher block type island/small round table with chairs or stools around it and the best memories were always talks with the family or friends around that piece in there…Kitchens are for talking to the chef while he/she cooks ;-)

    1. i second that! totally no need for an island, it takes a lot of space to walk around, cook or even children run, help …instead, move in, live it a while and then see if it is necessary…the moveable butcher block type island is a good idea!!

    2. agree on another comment above about your inspiration post. i ve seen a lot o wood countertops..and in this plan, you ve chosen marble ones..love de combination marble countertops and wood, of some of the pics you shared …maybe going for the butchertype island with wood countertops, would look really nice with the style you are going for!

  36. EEEEeeee!!!! so exciting! your modern california feel always speaks to me. Love these floors so much character. Are you planning on doing a natural finish?

    Your sneak peak on instagram has me dying to see more! keep us posted!!!

  37. Hey Emily and Team – FWIW your blog posts are crashing the webpage on my mobile devices. This used to be sporadic/occasional, but now it happens all the time to the point I can no longer read your posts on mobile (have to use a laptop/desktop). I’ve tried different browsers too and they end up saying “webpage crashed” or they endlessly try to reload the page to fix whatever problem is happening.

    I’ve got the latest OS releases on iPhone and iPad (and have rebooted my devices many time to see if the problem was on my end) and have used them to view the site for about a year now with no trouble until the last month or so. I’ve tried Chrome and Safari and both have the same problem.

    You guys seeing any issues? Hoping to can be resolved.

    Thanks.

    1. Same happened to me on this post and the previous house reno post with lots of floor plans. Love the posts- including the copious floor plans- but it took a lot of effort to read them on my iPad.

      1. Yes, it seems to be something about a few of the floor plans that makes my iPad not happy. Maybe they are a weird format instead of a jpeg? I’ve ended up getting around this by clicking on the comments link from the home page and reading the rest of the post backwards. That way I only miss the little bit that has trouble staying loaded.

    2. Same problem on my ipad; thought it was just me.

      But… love these updates on your house, all the nitty, gritty details included. Can’t wait for the final reveals.

  38. The island will be fine, but not necessarily awesome. The good thing is that you already have your floors running completely underneath. That way, years from now when the perfect antique store display cabinet comes along, it’s still doable.

  39. I realize that the kitchen probably needs to stay where it’s at because of plumbing, but I think from a function and space perspective it would have been really cool to swap the kitchen and the dining room.

    1. Will you be covering the appliances with door fronts? It makes such a difference (especially a fridge), but certainly raises the price.

  40. The space is looking beautiful! The floors are amazing :)
    I have to agree … the island shape is really weird … my eyes like symmetry.
    I understand the idea/need of an island, but I feel like it really makes the space feel so enclosed and crowded. Maybe since it is such a large mass. I understand you are under the gun to get this kitchen done, but feel it could be designed so much better if you had some extra time. It is a custom piece … and I feel it could be something amazing/unique that could even look like a reclaimed piece of furniture.

  41. I have just gone through two kitchen designs in just over a year, and obsessed over every detail, and I think that your plan is thoughtful , efficient, and beautiful! Don’t second guess yourself, you will love it!

  42. What if you just wait on the island and/or get a temporary one to make sure it works for the space? I know that won’t be awesome for pictures/design, but it could end up saving $$$. We recently bought the ikea STENSTORP island and are loving it! However, I can see how the wood top would take away from your amazing wood floors. Best of luck, I’m sure it’ll look great with your current plans!

  43. Now I’ve never designed a kitchen and this may be crazy but what about a round island? You might be able to sit/lean around it, could probably still have storage and it might improve the sight line from the entry and the flow around the awkward shape in the kitchen while minimizing the intrusion into the dining room or den?

    1. Also those floors are stunning!! I am in love with them, I’ve always wanted to do herringbone in a home and this just solidified it, Gah! I’m so surprised more people are talking about the lovely floors!

      1. I kind of hope that you do a hood cover to match the cabinets like the blue kitchen you recently posted on your Instagram. Might keep the upper kitchen area from feeling too broken up. Also I read a few comments that mention chopping that fridge corner on the island and I went back and looked and I kind of want that now too although I think this is one of those instances where you really need to be in the space to decide. I’m sure you, Brian and your team have looked at every possibility and know what will work best. You guys always produce beautiful work and I can’t wait to see it!!

  44. Woah! Like how you describe it with so much details, I’m learning a lot. Can’t wait for the end result! I’m thinking about remodeling and recently found a great free tool where you can estimate the cost of your remodeling project: https://app.mykukun.com/Home-Renovation-Costs you can even calculate how much equity your renovation will build onto your house.

  45. It is such an unusual space with weird angles, I don’t think you could have nailed it more. I really enjoy it from the top view and I imagine when you’re in the kitchen and it flows with the walkway it will totally blend in. A cool piece of furniture would have been better but if you’re using it for a microwave you pretty much have to go the custom route. This would have really stumped me because the angles are killing my OCD – but job well done. I’m hoping the cabinets have an authentic look to make it feel even more original to the home. I’m honestly more turned off by the range hood/cabinet combo. That space needs a plaster hood in my opinion – but I’m sure there was a good reason! :)

  46. I have marble countertops and love them, but WOW do they etch. Look at them wrong, etch. I am not precious about my house and I doubt you are either, but be prepared. (All of my cutting boards have a juice groove for this reason.) Something awful will happen to your counters and you will stress about it. I have stopped stressing, but a tile guy I had in my house the day after my counters were installed spilled a coke across my counters and left a GIANT etch. It happens immediately. You just have to be okay with it, especially with kids. Okay, that’s all.

    1. My beautiful calacatta marble countertops etch from drops of water. I hear you. As long as you ‘accept’ the patina. I like how you said it, “if you look at the countertop wrong, it etches.” This is certainly my experience. But–if you get honed marble countertops, I have been able to use a (gasp) green scotch pad and (gasp) comet or Ajax–the $1 one with bleach and rub out the stains. I can get my countertops perfect again. It is a lot of work. Then, I re-seal it with sealer made for marble from the home depot. Then–I can’t use it for 24 hours. I have a 3 year old and 5 year old and I don’t like eating out with them so I haven’t fixed my counters in awhile.

      This may seem crazy–but think of little old Italian ladies. They have marble everywhere. They use bleach on everything. I know–I had a little old Italian grandmother and I inherited all of her Italian marble furniture. Comet…

      I wouldn’t try my trick on polished though. Yet even when it’s etched, knowing I can make it right again with a little elbow grease makes me happy.

  47. Are your 36″ aisles measured from cabinet door face to cabinet door or edge of counter to edge of counter? It looks to me like it’s cabinet to cabinet and that will only leave you with a 32-34″ aisle–and this will be even more narrow where there are handles projecting from appliances.

    I realize with old houses you have to compromise on such things, but my kitchen has 35″ edge to edge and its TIGHT especially now that I have a 4 and 7 year old that are in on the kitchen action. I have a counter depth fridge but the handles projecting into the narrow aisle are frustrating.

    I thought the NKBA recommendation for aisle widths is 42″ edge-to-edge for one person kitchens and 48″ edge-to-edge for multiple cooks. Also, the NKBA recommendation for counter height overhangs is 15″ for adults.

  48. I have to agree with others questioning the need for a big fixed island in this kitchen. We are a family of four with a small galley kitchen, and we cook a LOT, and it looks like even without the island this kitchen has a liveable amount of counter space. I’d like more counter space myself, but a far bigger issue is the narrow aisle in my kitchen, and you have created two narrow aisles for kids to run through while you cook, yikes!

  49. Love this. But for the love of all thing good, DO NOT do an over the stove vent hood. Get an actual hood. The item in your renderings just makes a fine mist of all oil/grease and sprays it everywhere. You will scrub the finish off the cabinets.l trying to keep it clean. Plus it looks dated/builder grade

  50. I realize it’s too late, the train is in motion. But as I was first looking at the floor plan, the first thing that came to mind was a movable piece of furniture. Or even a round table.
    Sometimes you just don’t have room for an island. It’s a hard pillow to swallow, I know! Oh well. I hope your island works out.

  51. Love the layout, but I worry you will feel the island is too big when you are working in the kitchen with two kids and a husband passing through. 36in clearance will drive you batty at the fridge, sink, and range. Probably too late to change!

    Another much smaller issue is the sharp corner of island across from fridge…that looks seriously dangerous for your babies heads! Maybe have that rounded out nice and smooth. Looks amazing though!!

  52. My only suggestion – and I’m sure you thought of it already – is something a friend did. Instead of building and installing an island, she went with a stainless steel restaraunt (like they use to prep in the kitchen) style table and lived with this for several months. It served as an island and had some storage on the lower shelf, but allowed them to try out the size before comitting to having something permanent built. And I agree that waiting for a found piece may be the best solution. Would it really be a problem to do without the island initially? I think the openness could be nice.

    1. P.S. Just skimmed through many of the comments. I totally agree abt cutting off that point if the island by the fridge. I think it makes way more sense without it.

  53. HiEmily!

    As a mama of two darling littles, I’m curious how you plan to put up photos of them around your home. I love the idea of minimalist but also treasure these special photos of our babies and am not sure how to mix the two hopes. If you need another blog topic, I’d devour every word :)

    Thanks!!!

  54. your house seems spanish/ tudor so perhaps a large library type table could serve as an island and a table for everyday meals,of course on brass caster wheels. a wall in your dining room could be used for storage of kitchen items. base cabinet drawers are so much nicer than regular doors.
    whatever you decide it will be gorgeous!!

  55. hmmm, I understand your plan is set, even so, offering my armchair advice: suggest cabinets going up to the ceiling (glass fronts on all?/uppers, more of an English feel), toe kick drawers to maximize storage; no disrespect intended, don’t care for the island, suburban 1990s feel, suggest table on casters, folding outer leaves for versatility, eat in kitchens are the best ;-)

  56. I thought the island looked a bit strange in the initial drawings but then in the mockups I think the island looks good! (Maybe because I generally don’t experience a kitchen from that sort of overhead view.) Like a commenter said above, the design needs to be dictated by the space. I think it is interesting how we are all so against island that are anything but rectangles. Seems kinda limiting when you think about it? Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  57. Island: My instinct would be to make it a long thin rectangle that runs right under the beam, with enough room for a microwave (love an undercounter microwave) and cabinet/wine rack on one side and a couple of stools on the other. (Although with the dining table right there, do you really need a bench with stools?) Then you’ll have more wiggle room for the dishwasher and stove, where you tend to do all your bending over and backing up :) And there’ll be more circulation room if there’s someone standing at the sink. But I don’t hate the wonky island – perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to hold off and put it in later?

    Den: Keep it as a den! I’ve never understood the obsession about seeing your kids while you cook, and I’m pretty helicoptery. Are your houses that unsafe? Are your children that clingy? And in no time at all they’ll be tweens and teens and you’ll be dying to get them out of your hair and tucked away in a den while you cook. Plus you’ll never use the dining room if it’s not immediately there by the kitchen.

    Drawers: Yes. Drawers rule. We only have one cabinet in our new kitchen. Even under our sink is a giant drawer. And a heavyweight Blum drawer that holds all your plates and bowls is magic. Get toekick drawers too.

    Integrated appliances: Yes. Dishwashers are not pretty. The rule about having the same flooring running throughout making your house seem bigger applies to having the same cabinetry running throughout the kitchen. Why break it up?

  58. We just gutted and redid our kitchen in our 1950s home. I did a non traditional island shape since it fit the space the best and maximized counter space. If I built from the ground up next time I would go with a rectangle but the functionality of the island in my kitchen far outweighs it not matching every magazine picture. I added cabinets around it and got pretty bar stools and it looks great! Remind yourself of the functionality and how it will fit your family! Maybe everyone with have trapezoid islands next year! :) I love your work and am so excited to see someone branch out from the usual kitchen layout!

  59. I am an avid reader and fan girl, but this is my first time commenting. I want to preface this by saying that you are an amazing designer and I am just a loud mouthed blog reader. However, that island is trying way too hard. I get it. You did the best with what you had to work with. But, why didn’t you switch the kitchen and the dining room? It seems a kitchen would work way better with the shape of the dining room. The odd angles of the kitchen would be so much easier to work with if you were placing a table instead of cabinets. Just my two cents…

  60. This is going to be great and I am so glad you came up with a layout. We just added an island in my kitchen and I did an island microwave cabinet.

    I HOPE YOU READ THIS IN TIME!

    You MUST get a microwave drawer. I am a frugal person. I did not want to spend big on a microwave of all things. While I was deciding, we put our countertop microwave in there and it was so AWKWARD to use a regular microwave. I seriously considered the Frigidaire built in that seemed to be showing up in your rendering. DON’T DO IT. Spend the money and get one of the sharp (or sharp under different brand) microwave drawer. I don’t have the latest model and it is so much more functional.

    WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO MODIFY THE CABINET–please do this. I hope you don’t have some deal with Frigidaire that you must take their microwave. Even if the microwave is free–get a drawer.

    If you want to go REALLY BIG you could get he GE Avantium speed oven microwave thing. I know that will seem truly excessive, but then again, you will have two ovens on a small footprint. When hosting a big party, it could come in handy.

    Just don’t put the frigidaire microwave in with the buttons on the side. I didn’t think I used my microwave that much, but then once I got my drawer I realized I do use it! When you spend the kind of money you are investing in the house, don’t scrimp at the last minute on a microwave designed to fit on the countertop with a trim kit. DON’T DO IT!

    Oh, and I am an agile Pilates instructor exactly your age. I’m not a random old person bitching about not being able to see the controls on the side or bending over. I have perfect eye sight.

    But it once, buy it right.
    :)

  61. I’m sure whatever you decide on will look amazing because you are crazy talented. Looking at these drawings though, I think the answer is to make one huge table, with a counter height rectangle at the right side that is within the kitchen, then the large dining table height side and extending into the dining area. I’m picturing it with the counter height portion aligning with the right side of the dishwasher, maybe about 3-1/2’L at counter height, with the remaining table height part top left corner aligned at the center of that window at the back wall of the dining room, and the whole thing parallel to the back kitchen wall with the sink. If you make the entire island out of one material, where the transition from the counter height to table height very sleek and seamless, I think it could balance that angled shape of the space and make it all feel more expansive as well as being very functional. I’m visualizing something like the kitchen island that Lara Deam put in her Mill Valley house https://www.dwell.com/article/designed-in-house-697ae5f3

  62. I love that in the US, you guys have the ease of changing around floor plans with dry walls (I think that’s what you call them?). On the East coast of Australia, many homes have those as internal walls too, but here on the West coast, we have ALL brick walls, external and internal, so making a change of floor plan is m a j o r.
    Emily, your new house inspired me so much, that we sought to buy a bigger and older (ours is 90 the other one is @ 125) house. We actually had an informal chat to the lady that owns it and she’d have loved us to buy her home of 50 years and made us a crazy offer…BUT…I have a serious, incurable illness and, for once; I’m not usually sensible about these things!, we decided to stay put in our little craftsman and do some updates instead. So, we’re in the middle of our kitchen changes too! Your ideas have influenced what we chose to do, although our kitchen’s main cabinets are 90 and…we’re keeping them! Crazy in some ways, irresistible in others.
    We haven’t had a stove for a month (yes, it’s taken me that long to choose one; ridiculous, I know) and it’s getting connected tomorrow. Just as well, everyone’s carrying on about getting their Christmas cakes, ha!
    So, thank you for the inspiration.
    One point about your kitchen island; that very sharp, pointy corner looks like danger * flashing signs* for little heads passing by?!? Is it actually going to be like that??

  63. Oh darn it, it seems like my comment disappeared. I think that the team has decided on the island you show, then it will look fantastic.

    But I have a personal dislike of unusual island shapes, so if it were me, I’d do a counter-height island aligned at the right with the dishwasher, parallel to the sink wall, and extend it all the way into the dining are. If you can’t find a large vintage farm table to take on that whole space, then build something that is counter height at the right side for 3-4 ft, then drops down to table height to extend into the dining room. If the counter height portion were marble, the table height could be a wood slab that possibly widens at the dining side, so it fills in the shape of the dining room in a pleasing way, but feels organic. I would make that table portion stop at right about the center of the window on the back wall of the dining room. Fill in the corners of the dining room with furniture pieces that balance the space.

    1. Also, I would not let a short timeline rush you into making a decision you aren’t completely happy about. Wait until you know it’s just right.

  64. That floor…can I please move in??? Herringbone floors (aka Parisienne Floors!) are my ultimate dream. However, in a Seattle Craftsman built circa 2007, they just do not work (so says my husband). I will continue the fight though. Does the inside of the house really need to match the outside? Maybe I can get him to take your quiz from Styled….

  65. Emily, love your blog and all the posts on your remodel! The kitchen is lovely so far, but I had to add a note on your island to save you hip bruises. I just remodeled my kitchen too, so I am in the mode of thinking of these things, but keep in mind that we all tend to walk where our feet see clear space, and so with an overhang (especially on the sharper angled end) without a post or extended line going to the floor, you will take a sharper turn (oh and the little ones and their heads hitting – oh no!) and POW – hip bruise. Consider a post or something there to give everyone the mental signal to not put their feet too close to that space and they will not be as likely to run into it (it will also save your beautiful marble). I know that is might not be the look you are going for, but I 100% know that overhangs are a danger that you need to consider, especially with the children. Hope that helps!!

  66. I love the quirkiness of the island. It matches the shape of the kitchen and embraces it’s angular beauty.

    A nicer oven hood I think would appeal to the style you are looking for and adding a few more drawers instead of cabinet doors to the bottom would be more functional.

    I know you are deciding if you are going to keep the dining room a dining room or change it to a play room and I vote no! Let those kids have a space of their own where they aren’t directly seen ALL the time. I am somewhat of a hover mother so I realize now that my child is 7 I am so thankful I gave her more and more freedom. Her imagination is thriving because of that. You have that whole family room in the back for play which is still fairly visible. Then you can have a gorgeous dining room too!!
    Such a talented team!!

  67. The absolute best thing about that island is that exists. I have a totally open floor plan and 2 kids – I WISH we had an island! When you are cooking, the island will keep all the balls, nerf shots, etc etc etc, OUT of where you’re working. It’s scary as hell to open your oven to remove something and suddenly a kid runs by, or a ball or whatever. And all of you commenters who will tell me “tell your kids to not do that” well I guess I must be the worst mother ever because it happens anyway.
    I can’t wait to see it in the finished space!!

    1. For real. Include giant exercise balls if you have one. You can tell them no … but then they come up with something new to throw and forget!!

  68. Your floors though!!!!! OMG, they are amazing/perfect/beautiful/amazing-again. Everything looks great, including the island shape. You sure know what you’re doing. Looking forward to seeing more!

  69. Lovely floor and great to open the place up but I agree with some of the readers that the kitchen island makes it look ‘McMansion’ and cramped. Better to wait before putting in an island.

  70. I think the island shape is appropriate for the shape of these rooms/this house, which, as has been mentioned, is very angular. It seems correct to cut off the island so that the adjacent living/den remains rectangular and therefore more flexible and balanced. The room layout needs something where you put the island (as opposed to leaving that area empty), so it seems like the best choice considering it requires non-standard angles.

    To my eye, the cutout wall is the biggest tell that this space was remodeled. When keeping the original ceiling beams in the dining area, there has to be a bit of wall for those beams to end on, and there are structural needs, but it’s noticeable that there was once a wall. Are there ways to make that rectangular cutout feel more integrated/intentional/original without over-embellsihing it?

    And a final, non-kitchen note… a friend has an old Spanish Revival two story with a laundry shoot from one of the bedroom closets to the laundry room below. It’s original to the 1920s house and is pretty genius. If the alignment is already there to do something like that from anywhere upstairs to the downstairs utility room, it eliminates half of the laundry stairs trips.

  71. Love this type of LAYOUT post, my favorite. This was a tough layout….it doesn’t surprise me it took all that collaboration. The solution you guys came up with is great, that kitchen looks so functional, you have maximized it, plus I know it will be beautiful and flow.
    Very excited for you that you got it so well resolved.
    If you are up to it these posts are fascinating and so helpful when you go into depth, we could handle even more detail, and I would definitely like to put a request in for more layout posts.
    I see more and more clients wisely bringing in the interior designer earlier in the process (if they are considering renovating or building from scratch) i.e. at the construction drawings stage, as they realize the initial layout is such a large factor of a fabulous end product, that gets much better results, than the designer being brought in at the finish when time to decorate.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  72. What a great job of documenting and laying out the process (as usual!). When I first saw that new island shape I got a little nervous about it…then, when I saw the location of the beam it made perfect sense. That overhead beam announces the start of the kitchen, so it makes perfect sense to align the island below. Whew! This is why it’s SO important to be totally aware of the context and location when you are designing or looking at a design drawing. If the drawing had shown just a bit more of the existing room it would be much easier to visualize, but that’s not what most contractors and kitchen designers usually do. I think it’s fine to ask them to, however and if there is a ‘tip’ anywhere in this comment it’s to ask for a bit more on the drawing!

  73. We renovated our kitchen, and we too had sn unusual shape , after taking out walls. We used an unusual shaped Island, and we love it. I don’t have sharp points on my Island countertop,and agree that little kids are going to hit their heads, especially if there is not a leg or something under it. Before your Island gets anchored to the floor try moving it around so that you have plenty of space on your oven door and refrigerator side of things. That could very easily turn into a bottleneck during a party. Also, it’s probably too late, but DRAWERS are the best thing in the world for 90% of anything in a kitchen. Especially, wonderful for pots and pans. Your kitchen will be lovely, enjoy the process!

  74. I’m in love with the floors! So great! I love your choices to keep the beams in the dining room ceiling and mimic them on the island, and your outside the box thinking with a triangle-ish island is a great problem-solver. I am curious about your decision to trim the corner off the stove side of the island, and leave the fridge side end in a point, though. Is it to fit a certain number of stools, and walking clearance by the stove? I wonder if an island with two corners on the seating overhang or an island with all the corners trimmed off would seem more uniform? I can’t wait to see your finished product- I’m sure it’ll be beautiful; your work always is!

  75. Looks great! Not sure if it was mentioned somewhere, but was wondering who did your cabinets? I’d love to hear your thoughts on custom, vs semi custom vs off the shelf…and what to look for when you are looking for a kitchen cabinet maker!