Redesigning kitchen: has anyone regretted losing worktop space ?

(35 Posts)
Aethelfleda Mon 05-Aug-13 20:23:12

This is fantasy la-la kitchen designing for the future...

We have three DC, a ten foot square kitchen, and currently have lots of worktop space down both sides.
There is a small fridge/freezer, a standard built in oven, and a dishwasher. We have a small table for breakfast against the front wall and a back door at the back.

It would cost ££ to extend so I'm thinking about redesigning it down the line, we're here for ages (hopefully!). In order to keep all the appliences but allow a seperate fridge and freezer, I'm considering losing one bank of worktop entirely, and putting in a Floor to ceiling pantry next to the fridge/freezer. This would leave about 50cm of worktop for a tea/coffee station on one side, and two lengths about 80cm either side of the new cooker. I'm the only one who does cooking, but three areas with distinct space for drinks vs cooking feels like what we actually use (the rest is taken up with things that could be stored, like chopping boards, spices, etc... IF the storage were better organised)

Does this sound like waaay too little worktop to cope with? Has anyone swapped out to a kitchen with little worktop space and regretted it? Please share!

LookWhoTalking Mon 05-Aug-13 20:27:04

You need enough worktop to dish up tea onto plates for everyone over on a Sunday!!!!!! That's my rule of thumb.

Pannacotta Mon 05-Aug-13 20:27:30

It doesn't sound like much worktop space for a large family.
DO you cook big meals from scratch/entertain etc? Would there be room to plate up food for example?
Could you have a portable butchers block which you just used when cooking or serving a big meal?

Alwayscheerful Mon 05-Aug-13 20:32:14

I swopped from a kitchen with very little worktop and lots of wall units, I redesigned it so there were no wall units and worktops all around on all four walls, it was a cooks dream, best thing i ever did... we have moved now and I need to start agan.

ILikeBirds Mon 05-Aug-13 20:43:14

That would be way too little worktop space for me.

We went the other way and cut out some things I would have liked, e.g. eye level oven, to maximise worktop space and I'm glad we did.

Aethelfleda Mon 05-Aug-13 21:36:13

I cook from scratch whenever I can, often batch cook and freeze (hence the desire for a bigger freezer space!) I also grow a few veg and it becomes easier to deal with seasonal gluts efficiently if there's a good amount of fridge/freezer capacity. There's not really room to extend as we are garage-linked and we'd lose rear access/compromise our garden. The idea of a block of space that goes freezer-fridge-pantry is just SO appealing, all the food would be on one side of the kitchen (with the tea/coffee area) and then all the cooking utensils/trays would be on the cooker side: tall cupboard- drawers and bin with worktop-cooker- cupboard with more worktop, then the sink and dishwasher on the third side under the window. I seem to use one small area of worktop for nearly all the kitchen prep at the mo (between the cooker and sink) and that bit would be kept.... It would be possible in theory to have a butchers block but it wouldn't fit as... What this really comes down to is that I want to retain space for a small table in the kitchen, but to shoehorn in more freezer and fridge! Does anyone have a TARDIS going spare?

I'm a bit worried that no-one seems to be happy with limited worktop space!....

WetAugust Tue 06-Aug-13 00:19:40

I took out a floor to ceiling pantry to give myself more work surface.

Pannacotta Tue 06-Aug-13 07:59:04

I understand your idea and it seems sensible its just your worktop is very limited esp for batch cooking.
Can you maximise your ceiling height and get a tall but thin fridge freezer and do the same with the larder, ie 500mm each? This would give a little more worktop space.
You could also get a worktop cover for your sink cut out if that would help?
I have seen pull out chopping boards in Swedish kitchens like this
www.houzz.com/pull-out-cutting-board

There is a also a pic on that link to an IKEA trolley stored under the worktop, would that fit in your new layout? You could just pull it out and use it when needed.

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 08:01:14

Thanks Wetaugust: do you miss it? Since we moved in, I've been trying to work out my ideal kitchen needs. A floor to ceiling pantry would (I reckon) fit all my foodstuffs better than the moment (I have two double cupboards and a single). At the moment everything is in standard shelves, I have to bend to get to carbs, kids can't reach the cereal without standing on chairs, it's all over the place!

Having said that it seems all of you lot like worktop! I cleared all the junk off mine last night and guess it does look tidy...

I am still tempted to look into tall fridges and freezers, maybe if I use slimmer models and keep the cupboards I would then have 2m worktop on the left and 1m on the right of the cooker and 1m between cooker and sink.... Like the idea of a chopping board over the hob when not in use too.

I do love cooking, bread making, cooking with DC, this kitchen was our compromise to get the house location/size we wanted. I want my 16foot kitchen diner and range cooker back! Waah! mind you, that had four wee patches of worktop there and that was pretty measly

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 08:06:24

X-post pannacotta, thanks, you read my mind!
This is very much our stay-in home, so I'm not hugely bothered about sell-on impact (though obviously a Mr Blobby theme might be a bit too daunting for buyers) as I figure by the time we finish living here the vendors would probably declare any kitchen dated and want to replace anyway. Many of my thoughts are influenced by the recent "perfect house for teens" thread, and big fridge/freezer space were cited as absolute musts <looks at slimline fridge/freezer that nestles in the current fitted kitchen space and p gently>

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 08:12:46

Oh and we have a slimline fridge-freezer already, but it's right by the door which is another thing I want to avoid, however, that could become a pantry I suppose, or could elongate the worktop on the right instead.....

What do you ladies actually DO on your worktops other than plate up food? How does this take 3-4 metres of space (which is what some of you are advocating)? Don't large tops just become junk magnets?

LookWhoTalking Tue 06-Aug-13 09:16:34

I guess I cope with less worktop space when we are camping - so maybe could cope with less in a home situation. Not totally sure I'd want to though - brave move !

WetAugust Tue 06-Aug-13 12:13:23

I don't miss the floor to ceiling larder at all. It used to feel so claustrophobic in the kitchen so removing it has brightened the kitchen up enormously. I do have a virtually floor to ceiling fridge freezer.

You could probably 'make do' - and that's all it would be doing - with a small amount of workspace but to me it's really important for the 'projects' i.e. preparing Christmas dinner, for parties, for jam-making, etc etc.

I'm planning a kitchen revamp at the moment and am going to hae a slot in cooker with a glass lid (as I currently have), rather than a gas / electric hob, so that too will give me more work space

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 13:02:40

Thanks August, that's useful to know. Ooh, it's so complicated! I suspect the best thing now is to play with plans and slimline freezers: my current cupboards are all very plain circa 2000s single-shelf jobs, so maybe more cunning ikea type storage solutions will get me the storage I want without needing so much floor-to-ceiling, so I can retain most of the worktop....

And there's not one person so far on thread who gets on ok with smallish worktop space! Are you all lying on it to prepare your sandwiches??

ILikeBirds Tue 06-Aug-13 13:02:47

I'd go for an induction hob if you want to use the hob as work surface, wetaugust

Pannacotta Tue 06-Aug-13 14:45:19

Aethel I have very limited worktop space, around 50cm for kettle/tea making and around 80cm next to the cooker for all food prep (but the worktop is less than 60cm deep and holds a breadbin and toaster so is very tight). I find it quite hard to prep a normal family meal, let alone a roast or party meals etc.
Hence my advice to have a generous amount of worktop.
A cooker with a glass lid is another useful tip someone has mentioned.

Alwayscheerful Tue 06-Aug-13 14:48:15

can you have undercounter fridge & freezer in the kitchen and use a spare fridge/freezer for storage in the garage that way you can bulk buy your milk, butter & cheese etc and just keep essentials in the kitchen fridge.

theWookiesWife Tue 06-Aug-13 15:20:01

hi - you could always make a walk in pantry - that way you can have your tea making and extra worktop space in there - even have the FF in there too if you like ! have extra storage on the rear of the doors aswell - I have designed 'cupboard' kitchens like this for holiday lets and apartments before - I've never worked in one - but it's basically everything you want storage wise visable to you when you want it - then closed away when you don't - and if you have your cooker on the opposite side with the two landing pad worktops as you described - I can see this working well - especially if you built in an extra pull out worktop on at least one side of the cooker ( fab idea that one !!) it's Quirky - but if this is your forever home - it doesn't matter !!
nb - where's your sink ?!

theWookiesWife Tue 06-Aug-13 15:22:49

astracast (and others ) do drinks with glass inserts / lids for want of a more appropriate word- to give extra 'worktop' space too !

theWookiesWife Tue 06-Aug-13 15:24:12

not drinks - sinks ! Sorry - iphone thinks it's knows best !! auto correct !!

leeloo1 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:01:33

I 'lost' 4m of worktop when I redesigned our kitchen last year, as it made space for us to have a table and chairs in the kitchen (we did have these already, but it blocked the cupboards/worktop) and also to gain a 60cm and 30cm larder cupboards. There was also worktop over larder fridge and freezer and into an alcove corner, we had a lot of junk piled up randomly there.

I don't miss it at all! smile

I tried to alleviate losing the space by carefully planning what we'd be left with - getting extra deep worktops, microwave on a shelf above the worktop rather than on it and a smaller sink/drainer (as we mostly use the dishwasher anyway).

I also planned where/how I'd use each piece of worktop, we'd have:
-65cm of space with the tea and toast space, with kettle/toaster - next to the new fridge-freezer and with cupboard for mugs/teabags etc above.
- then there's the small sink/drainer and then about 130cm of 'dishing up space. This is masses and especially as its all extra deep there's plenty of room for clutter/washing up on it when needed too.

-The other side of the room there's a long run, with 800 of extra-extra deep (breakfast bar) worktop (with microwave above).
- Then round a chimney breast there's 45cm of wall cupboard depth w'top, then the cooker, then 40cm of wall cupboard depth the other side. Either side of the cooker I have worktop protectors and space for oils/cooking utensils & wall hanging racks above for spices/hanging utensils.

If you plan carefully and think about how you actually use the space you have then I don't think you'd regret your choices. My mum's advice was to look at how much of the masses of worktop I had I actually used and how much was just dumping grounds/storage, which really helped.

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 21:27:56

Thanks guys, this is all really helpful!

I have cleared my worktop (you're right Leeloo, lots of it has junk on!) and think I will play with a plan and then I may use some electrical tape to mark out my proposed worktop sizes, then I can spend a week pretending that's all I have, and see if it's annoying!

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 06-Aug-13 22:20:02

I used to have that amount of worktop in my kitchen. There is nothing worse than balancing stuff everywhere and Christmas used to be a nightmare.

The first thing I did when planning my new kitchen was work out how to get the most worktop space I could.

I now have loads of worktop space and I love it and am grateful every time I go in the kitchen.

Aethelfleda Tue 06-Aug-13 23:08:28

Hmm, what a balance to make! wookie, you asked about my sink: it's on the back wall under the window, to the left of it is a built-in-dishwasher which we will SO be keeping in the design smile there's a sink-and-a-half that again we like, with a cleaning-stuff space underneath. At the moment the corner cupboard to the right of the sink is a big unorganised mass (it has a simple shelf but the corner swingy things broke years ago, so I'm not keen on having them). Currently used for pots and crocks but possible to stack and access properly. It leads to the horizontal worktop that's cut in half by the current oven. I do most of my chopping/prep to the left of the oven, it's small but servicable, we have a butterfly table and if I'm doing something like pastry that needs more space I would probably do it on the table.

Walk-in pantries wookie I think are unlikely (unless we used the whole kitchen as one and converted the lounge to a kitchen-diner!) the whole kitchen is just over ten foot square so I couldn't imagine something to walk into within that space? We have a radiator and entry door in the front wall of the kitchen (where the folding table sits) so there's not much that could be done with the front wall unless we went for scary underfloor heating to lose the radiator.. But then we'd lose access in the corner for the fridge-freezer.... Argh!!

How do people organise their food cupboards that don't have a floor-to-ceiling larder space? It feels like we are being inefficient with ours, the low cupboards are too low to see/reach into easily, and the high ones feel precarious (esp as we have a tiled floor, so anything dropped is dooomed!)

flow4 Wed 07-Aug-13 07:40:04

Me. I did it and wished I hadn't. I was thinking of preparation space when I planned, and it was tight but do-able. But I forgot about serving up space... I had to balance plates all over the hob, and serve in shifts. A real faff.

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