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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!

Aethelfleda Tue 13-Aug-13 21:23:01

Ooh, shelves might work well... Thanks primal... i can't Post on profile at the mo as away from my computer on hols, but will try later! Interestingly the place we are staying has a huuuuge work surface that's covered in stuff, and we're using a teeny bit for all the food prep!

primallass Sun 11-Aug-13 11:01:34

I wouldn't have another kitchen without a full-height larder. Mine is shallow but 80cm-wide with pull-outs.

Think about shelves above the work top to extend the flat space. I had micro, toaster and kettle on shelves in my last house.

A pullout chopping board is a great idea.

Could you put a sketch or photo on your profile?

Ogg Sat 10-Aug-13 22:55:58

I have had a new kitchen last year and ended up due to huge fridge and built in appliances with much less work surface that I had envisaged - I have now had my kitchen table ( scrubbed top pine) put on locking casters and use it as a surface for baking and batch cooking and just wheel it back in place for tea and homework - have also had extra draws added to the table and it's amazing how much stuff they take especially kids related home work /craft crap etc

OnFoot Sat 10-Aug-13 20:03:12

Re radiator and underfloor heating - how about a slim tall designer one for the kitchen to save some space there?

We have normal radiators throughout most of the house but a very tall (taller than me) very slim one in the kitchen that just slots down the side of a cupboard.

Also Bosch have a model or two (can't remember the numbers now, I found them the other night) where the standard 60cm fridge freezer is basically a tardis and holds as much as an American style ff. It was a white one, and I was gutted as I really want stainless steel but the capacity on this particular one was amazing.

theWookiesWife Wed 07-Aug-13 21:27:26


Aethelfleda Wed 07-Aug-13 21:13:38

Thanks. Well, I've got lots to think about for now.

<pulls out sketch pad and channels inner Nigella>

theWookiesWife Wed 07-Aug-13 20:18:36

hey - wasn't taken as snippy ! - I'm a UK designer, born and bred - and have had my fair share of UK kitchens - but I guess I'm spoilt now as my own kitchen is larger than 10x10 !! it wasn't my intention to offend - just offer a solution.
Personally, if I was considering such a change, I would want to explore all avenues too !!!
... FYI My charges are from £450 to £675 for a kitchen design - so only about the same sort of price as a good dishwasher ! Most people negotiate at least that, if not more, when they shop around with one set of plans - also allows you to truly compare like for like !

Aethelfleda Wed 07-Aug-13 18:11:39

(and sorry if the above post sounded snippy: it wasn't meant to be, but you're right, the perception by many UK people is that "bespoke independent design" is a thing of expense. I'm sure you will argue it's money well spent (and can see how it would be). My OP was to try to get advice from people the other end of the design process who are actually living in their rejigged kitchens, I don't want to change mine and regret it!

Aethelfleda Wed 07-Aug-13 15:06:20

Er, thank you Wookie: it sounds from your post as if you are an American kitchen designer? Just so you are aware, for many people here in the UK ten foot square is, if not huge, a pretty reasonable kitchen size: the traditional three-bed-semi design usually has a galley kitchen little more than six foot wide (which is why so many people knock through into the adjacent dining room). Lots of lucky mumsnetters have big kitchens of course (or remortgage to extend them). I don't think that will be an option for us due to our garden size. I was trying to get as many ideas as possible to help me get to a best-fit solution : in all honesty this is likely to be a self-fitted Ikea type kitchen with money spent on premium appliances rather than architects/builders/fitters IYSWIM? If we don't spend 20 grand on extending, that will basically pay for the kitchen (in theory!).....

theWookiesWife Wed 07-Aug-13 08:26:39

it's, as Miranda's mum would say ' what I call small '. !
and the smaller kitchens are the ones that require the most innovative planning to get them working to full capacity !!! But unless it has doors on each wall and a pletherer of other appliance not already mentioned - then, I'd say, it's do able !! a good designer will see this as a challenge ! (Well, I do !) I know the concept of getting your design done independently hasn't caught on here as much as in USA , but using your own, independently commissioned, drawings can put you in a really good negotiating position - and that alone will save you money - sorry - this is starting to look like a sales pitch !! I'll shut up now !! you know how to find me if you want a quote for designing it with you !! :-)

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.

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!)

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 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!

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.

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

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

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 15:20:01

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 ?!

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.

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.

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

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??

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

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 !

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?

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