Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday Thoughts # 37

Harry Dresden: "hope is a force of nature. Don't let anyone tell you different."

From "A Morning Cup of Murder" by Vanessa Gray:

**Tosh stayed for the rest of the day and helped Lacy put her house back together. When it was finally finished, they had a pizza delivered and sat on the couch, eating together in silence.
"Cleaning is exhausting," Tosh said. "I don't know how maids do it."
Lacy's eyebrows rose. "Don't you know this from cleaning your own place?"
He reached for another piece of pizza, avoiding her eyes. "Now is probably a good time to tell yu I'm filthy rich. Today marks the first time I've ever cleaned a room in my life. And, before you ask, I have a cleaning service for my home. It's not the same as a live-in maid, but they do a good job."
"You're rich?" she said. "But you're so normal."**

Today's thoughts focus on kitchens. 

We all know I like to read the real estate pages, but also, I like to read the pages that focus on house designs, those with the floorplan pictured. I love floorplans. It's a hobby of mine to play around with furniture placement, perimeter garden design, changing a near-perfect plan to suit myself. Add a window here, a door there, make this room bigger, or smaller, that sort of thing.
It's fun. 
Fun for me, I don't know about you.
Anyway, kitchens. Here's a couple of plans I saw in the paper here recently.

plan one:

ignore the rest of the house, look at the kitchen.

plan two:

again, just look at the kitchen.

Both are u-shaped, which is my preference, but the kitchen in plan one gets my vote (and my dollars if I was buying). Can you see why?
Look at the sink placement.

In plan one, the sink is under the window, leaving a long expanse of unbroken bench space adjacent to the family room. Great for prepping, serving, or entertaining purposes. Everybody can reach the buffet style platters without crowding into the actual kitchen space.

In plan two, the sink is placed into that bench space. It doesn't lessen the amount of available bench space, but it does alter it. The unbroken expanse is under the window. Still good for prepping and serving, but not for entertaining.To me that is unacceptable. 

Imagine I'm holding a Tupperware party, or any other type of afternoon gathering and the refreshments are laid out on the long bench space under the window. When the time comes for nibbles and coffee, everyone crowds into the kitchen where the hostess is possibly busy pouring cups of hot coffee, to fill their plates. 
Wouldn't it be better to have the hostess alone in that space to prevent accidental spillages? 

Another point in favour of plan one is children talking to mum (or doing homework) while she cooks or washes up (and learning by observation, until they are old enough/big enough to be helping). They are safely on the family room side of the bench, not under her feet within the kitchen space. And there's plenty of room for placing grocery bags to unpack them, although that is true of the other plan too.

I've noticed that many homes these days are designed with the sink out in the open like that and to me it's a disturbing trend.  There's talk of ' mum' not being isolated from any social action going on, with the sink in the new location, she can talk with guests while the dishes are done. 
Well, as far as I can see, with the bench being an open space instead of a wall, can't she still talk while washing up? And who washes up while guests are still there? Depends on the guests I suppose and the occasion. 

So which kitchen would you favour? Sink properly in the kitchen area? Or taking up half of your socialising bench space?


  1. Plan one for me. It makes far more sense.

  2. I prefer kitchen TWO because of its placement near the dining room. Sorry! I just can't ignore the rest of the house. I picture myself parading dirty dishes through the family room in plan one and I just can't.

  3. I see your point, but I still prefer #2. Since there is no eat-in kitchen area, I prefer the dining room location. I enjoy that floor plan stuff just like you. Years ago, when ever a new house was under construction I would sneak in a check it out .

  4. One for me.
    I do like a sink beside a window, I can look out and dream while I do the dishes.

  5. I've lost interest in entertaining...all I care about is, space for a dishwasher next to the sink, adequate counter space for cooking and lots of storage. I do NOT want my kitchen visible from the living room or the dining room.

  6. I go with #2. It connects to the dining room, and the counter place is more important to me.

  7. Hard call for me. Our bench is broken up by a sink in the middle but I can see what is happening, see people when I am talking to them and watch TV. I too like the idea of looking out the window but not at a paling fence.

  8. River! You and I are similar in this regards. I LOVE floorplans.
    We don’t get the weekend papers anymore, but when we did, I would pour over the various “new homes” sections for ages, rearranging in my head my ideal placement – and even mark changes on paper with my pencil.
    It’s all about the flow of a layout. And I like to “walk” through houses on paper with my eyes.
    I used to create maps in a previous job, so I’m familiar with plans etc.
    If I could study again, among a few other vocations, I would have loved to have been an architect.

    Now, to the kitchens… and ignoring where they are placed in regards to the other rooms…
    I much prefer kitchen #1.
    I agree about the free bench space for; putting food out to go, having it stacked there after meals before washing, for family/friends to sit at etc.
    And, I am a BIG fan of looking out the window when I prep, cook, wash, dry etc. I like to have a garden and/or bird bath in sight of the window to watch the myriad birds that come and go. That to me is entertainment.
    I like the bay window of #1, with room either side of the sink. If it were a sunny situation, I can imagine me having a couple of potted herbs there for convenience.
    And, I drool at all the bench space to the right of the sink! And the generously sized pantry.
    And, with such open plans, one is always still engaged in talking etc to people, no need to be facing them straight on.

    I like how the plans above do not place the fridge next to the oven. It is a hotplate and under bench oven all in one – like they used to be.
    In this kitchen of mine, a wall oven is placed right next to the fridge!!! Poor planning by the previous residents. When I bake, I can feel the door seals on the fridge are warm. Not good.
    And, I have very little bench space to work with.
    Can’t do anything about it, because the kitchen is too small and tight to change, but, we’re moving anyway, so I won’t put up with it forever, thankfully.

    I would love to plan and build our own tiny cottage one day. Just simple and how I like it.

    Thank you for this, I really enjoyed looking at house plans again - something I haven’t done for ages.

  9. I'm always looking at real estate both in papers and on line...just because I enjoy doing so. I haven't money to buy my own place. Also why I enjoy looking at houses is that years ago my ex and I were in the real estate business for a while; and I also worked for a real estate agency at the northern beaches area of Cairns at one stage, too.

    Kitchens, to me, are always the most important part of a house; the integral part. I'm always drawn to them first. If I don't like the kitchen...the house has lost me. I like kitchen sinks to be "beneath" a window...the longer and more open-styled the window the better, for my liking. I like the idea of having that open space to look through; and even better, if out from that particular window is a shelf/bench on the outer side leading to an al fresco are...for easy serving etc. Sinks against a blank wall are not what I like at all.

    So Plan One for me, too.

  10. I'm with Dolores and my first check of any house is whether the kitchen can be seen from the front door.
    I hate family rooms because it means small children are near dangerous kitchens. I would prefer large bedrooms where they can build their own kingdoms and clean them.
    That first plan is a bit weird with the bedroom near the kitchen instead of the laundry and bathroom.
    I've lived in this house for 40 years and it's small but the lay-out is great and I loved it the moment I walked in the front door.
    All I need is a cleaning service and life would be perfect.

  11. Joanne; it makes sense to me too.

    Happy Christine;I agree a dining room handy to the kitchen is a great idea and most are, which is why I suggested ignoring the rest of the house there, but in plan one I would have a casual meals area right near the bench, as many people do out here. If plan two was my only option, I would ask that the sink be placed under the window. In plan one I assumed the dining room was a formal dining room, so I ignored that because I have no need of one.

    joeh; right, no eat in kitchen area, but if you can read the small print, that long bench space is a breakfast bar, so there is your casual eating area. Also in cases like this one, the family room is often big enough for a dining table and chairs to be placed near that bench.

    Elephant's Child; looking out at a garden or any other view, (beach, mountains) seems like a better idea to me to.

    Delores; you prefer a kitchen as completely separate room? You don't mind carrying dishes and food from one room to another? Or are you saying the (separate) kitchen should have an eating area?

    fishducky; ditto my comment to Delores. I'm not up for any entertaining either.

    Susan Kane; I'm thinking now I should have put up images of just the kitchen without showing the relation to any other room. Both plans have merit but I'm focused here on the position of the sink.

    Andrew; so you wash dishes or salad vegetables while you are talking to people? TV I don't care about. And if there is a dishwasher, why have the sink in the middle of that bench space? Maybe I'm old fashioned. Let's talk about plan two for a second. You have an unbroken expanse of space under the window, so if you're using that as prep or serving space, then you are facing away from any company in the family/dining areas. In that case, wouldn't a sink be better off there?

    Vicki; I mark changes with red pen! Floorplans are like chocolate for me. The flow of the layout is so important, I walk through them on paper and if I can't get to the kitchen, bathroom or laundry without going around too many corners that plan is trashed. I saw a plan recently where bedroom two was right behind bedroom one but with no access to bedroom one's ensuite and the main bathroom necessitated going through several other rooms. (from bed 2) So silly.
    I'm glad you were able to focus on just the kitchens here and I love kitchen one too. In your current home it sounds very much as if the wall oven space isn't properly insulated, poor planning indeed with the fridge right there.

    Lee; I can't afford my own place either. Buying or building, both are out of reach for me. but I still look every week and online too at homes that are for sale, there are some great decorating ideas to be got from some of those and on the other side of the coin, I can see what NOT to do. I'm always drawn to the kitchens first and bathrooms second. Any other room is more easily changed/renovated, but rooms with plumbing need to be right.
    In plan two, the sink isn't up against a blank wall, thank goodness, but I have seen a few plans and homes where it is and that would have me walking right out the door without even viewing the rest of the house.

    JahTeh; I like family rooms, I've got used to them since every home I've lived in since 1973 has had one. I don't mind my kitchen being visible from the entrance, but I wouldn't want my bathroom seen, nor the toilet. That's been the case in several older homes I've seen, open the front door and there is a toilet looking at you! No No No!
    I prefer larger bedrooms too. In house plans these days, they look big enough because all they have drawn in is a bed. Add a wardrobe, dressing table or tallboy, bedside table or chest, a bookshelf a toybox, maybe a homework desk and there goes all that space! no room left for the child. Which is why family rooms are so popular I suppose. The children do all their playing and homework out there.

  12. As I no longer entertain in the true sense of the word I no longer look at plans as I once did but I would always place a sink under a window as, like EC, I can dream while doing the dishes while looking out on pleasant greenery and/or flowers.
    As far as family rooms go I've never had one and our house is only a cottage by today's standards. My eldest granddaughter's home was very open plan and they had a wall put in so now it is kitchen, eating area and part family room which I quite like. My son's home has a kitchen opening onto a large eating area and family room/living room. I always worry about cooling and heating very large open areas.
    I rather like the Japanese idea of having moveable walls so you can make various rooms the size you want them to be for your convenience.
    I still prefer the older style home with a passageway right through the middle or across the house without all the nooks and crannies of modern design. I once counted the outside corner on a house plan and there were 15 corners and why on earth anyone would design a home like that makes me wonder.
    I did enjoy your thinking on the subject and perhaps I'll ask Phil not to throw away the Real Estate part of the Sunday Times in future before I check out modern trends. Last time I looked I felt there were lots of two storey homes and having lived in one for 10 years I don't find them at all appealing, not even the modern ones unless they have a lift of some kind.

  13. I just want people out of my way if I'm wrestling with food. And of course, like the rest of the world, everyone wants to gather in the kitchen. This would be dandy if my kitchen were a bit larger or better laid out.
    I'm afraid looking at house plans for too long just gives me a bad case of house envy!

  14. People are passionate about kitchens mine is so tiny but I like great places to sit and eat, kitchens are work places, so long as it's functional I don't mind so much.

  15. Mimsie; I don't entertain now and in the past I rarely did, I think a Tupperware party was the most I ever did. I don't mind the kitchen being open to the family room, that long breakfast bar/bench is the dividing 'wall' between the two, so spaces are clearly identified, yet the kitchen is not completely closed off as a separate room. As long as the space isn't too large, which creates its own problems with heating/cooling as you've said. I think today's modern overly large windows contribute enough to that problem, we need to see out of course, but do we really need a window the size of a wall?
    Two storey homes are becoming more popular as people want the same amount of living space, particularly if they have children, yet blocks of land have shrunk almost to handkerchief size.

    Marty Damon; I prefer people out of the way unless they are actually helping. If they are going to stand in the way gossiping while I do everything from peeling veg to serving gravy, they can get out. this is where the long uncluttered bench comes in handy, they can sit there and chat without being in the way of gravy stirring elbows etc.

    Merle; kitchens do need to be functional, more than meeting places, if they are big enough and well laid out you get the best of both worlds.