Help with plan for awkwardly shaped kitchen!

(20 Posts)
cunningplan101 Wed 12-Aug-20 18:14:48

We have a very awkwardly shaped kitchen in our first floor flat.

One wall has a door from the hall, the opposite wall has a door leading to the balcony & bathroom, the third wall has a large window and the fourth a sealed fireplace. So we don't have a single uninterrupted wall! Oh and we also have a sloping ceiling, so the ceiling is only 2m high at the window wall and 3m high at the fireplace wall.

It's not very big (though not small for the size of the flat) and we don't want to remove the fireplace because we have lots of neighbours including landlords and sep freeholders so the party wall agreements would be expensive and complicated. We could open it up and put a range cooker in the fireplace, but then that still leaves a problem of having a door to the left and right of the cooker and reduces space for a table and chairs (currently, we have a small table next to the sealed fireplace)

I've attached a plan which is based very closely on the current layout. I've been going back and forth with different plans for months, trying to fix these problems:
- oven at end of run and next to door, not ideal;
- not much storage
- units running in front of window

I've come back to this as probably the best use of space for this awkward, small room. But I am very open to mumsnet genius suggestions!

On the plan:
A & B = extra storage cupboards built into fireplace with shelves
C = in-bult full-height pantry cupboard with pull-out drawers
D = countertop cupboard around boiler
E = wall cupboard
F = open shelving

Also, next to the free-standing fridge I'm planning to put shelves to the right and above.

Can anyone think of a better layout?

OP’s posts: |
AltheaVestr1t Wed 12-Aug-20 18:47:49

I would definitely put a range in the fireplace in that kitchen!

bookgirl1982 Wed 12-Aug-20 18:57:52

Could you go for an eye level oven with drawers under then have a corner cupboard on the other end next to the washing machine? It would give you another bit of worktop too.

I would be tempted to go as fully fitted floor to ceiling on the fridge wall as possible to maximise the storage and maintain a sleek look. Even if some of the cupboard are very shallow due to the chimney breast you'd still get some shelves for spices and pantry storage.

SwedishEdith Wed 12-Aug-20 19:36:11

Does the fireplace stick out as far as the doorway on the right?
How many people usually eat in the kitchen?

elephantoverthehill Wed 12-Aug-20 19:43:58


Mintjulia Wed 12-Aug-20 19:48:48

Can you take out the fireplace? I had an RSJ put in to support the chimney breast at ceiling level, so I could have a straight run of worktop/ units.

It wasn’t very expensive but made all the difference. I needed building regs approval though.

Proudpeacock Wed 12-Aug-20 19:52:29

The fridge also seems out on a limb. Could you put a range cooker in the fire place, a table in the corner where the fridge is then put fridge freezer where oven is shown?


cunningplan101 Wed 12-Aug-20 20:16:50

Thank you for your replies.

The fridge is a smeg free-standing fridge - if we keep it, we're going to surround it with some built in shelving to make it less out on a limb. It does stick out a little though past the fireplace. It's second-hand; so we don't have to keep it and could go integrated. But I guess the retro look suits the flat.

For the fireplace - yes I think in an ideal world we'd take it out, but I think the party wall situation is just too complicated.

For opening the fireplace to put in a range cooker: I think actually I've overestimated the size of the opening. Here are some pictures of neighbours flats who have opened the fireplace:

So big enough to put a 60cm oven in.

@bookgirl1982 can you explain a bit more where you'd put the eye-level oven?

OP’s posts: |
cunningplan101 Wed 12-Aug-20 20:19:09

@SwedishEdith it's just the two of us who eat in the kitchen. Currently the fireplace sticks out about 5 cm further than the doorway on the right; we're planning to move that doorway 5cm right by adjusting the doorframe.

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ihoeihoeihoe Wed 12-Aug-20 20:20:29

Are you not wasting space putting the fridge there, would it not fit into the smaller corner ( C). Have washing machine/dryer in the fridge corset with a small cupboard for tea towels etc. Use washing machine space in kitchen for actual storage

cunningplan101 Wed 12-Aug-20 20:28:33

@ihoeihoeihoe if we put the fridge in C, it would block the doorway to the balcony & bathroom unfortunately.

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cunningplan101 Wed 12-Aug-20 20:37:50

@elephantoverthehill For bins - the current plan is we'll have our large nice-looking Brabantia bin next to the fridge for recycling, below the built in shelves; a small pull out bin for rubbish below the sink (we try not to have too much non-recyclable rubbish) & a compost bin on the counter (we can hide it in the countertop boiler cupboard when we have guests!)

We have a corridor through the door on the right-hand wall where we have a high-up shelf for all our cleaning supplies & laundry stuff plus a shallow cupboard for storing our ironing board and mops, brushes etc. We have a cupboard in our hall where we store the hoover. So we do have quite a lot of storage for stuff outside the kitchen too.

OP’s posts: |
SwedishEdith Thu 13-Aug-20 00:05:58

That fitted oven in the other kitchen looks nice. But you'd need worktop space if you did the same so couldn't have your full height pantry.

I'm not sure and cooker next to a door is a good idea - think could be dangerous? Also, I think the dishwasher opening against the corner cupboard might get annoying - means has to be handless units or d/w door might not open? Could you put d/w where w/m is and shuffle w/m up to drawers? Is there anywhere else you could put w/m? Bathroom, a cupboard near plumbing? It is a difficult layout, I can see why you're struggling.

cunningplan101 Thu 13-Aug-20 10:53:04

We do have the oven by that door at the moment. It was that way when I bought the flat. It hasn't caused problems - we don't have young children - but yes it's not ideal.

I think if it does turn out to be feasible to put the oven in the fireplace, we could put some drawers to the left (an 80cm pan draws or 60cm drawers + 37cm base unit) and the pantry on the right. Then we could put the washing machine, sink & dish washer along the long wall, and a full-height boiler cupboard and fridge freezer on the opposite short wall, leaving the window wall empty.

The big benefit of that would be we wouldn't block the window and we could put the table & chairs there. The downsides would be:

- we'd have shorter runs of work surface ... 98cm to the left of the hob (slightly blocked by the fireplace) and 50-60cm either side of the sink; in the L-shaped design, the runs of work surface are longer so will feel more spacious I think.
- much harder to install an extractor fan

OP’s posts: |
burritofan Thu 13-Aug-20 11:52:40

I like a PP’s suggestion of a fully built-in fireplace wall, so you don’t even see the alcoves/fireplace, even if the central portions of cupboards are shallow. How far over can you move the doorway, just 5cm or more? If it were opposite the other doorway you’d have a clear path through and a more even space to design.

Another option:
•Slimline dishwasher and sink where your fridge currently is
•drawers and a cupboard in the right hand alcove (slightly less storage than a pantry, but you’d gain a little bit of worktop that could take cluttery things like toaster, kettle, coffee maker etc to leave your other worktop free)
•L shape on the remaining long wall and window wall as per my incredible diagram. My parents have a great corner cupboard carousel fitting that pulls right out so no wasted space

I think it’s probably going to take £££ to do a space-maximising design, whether that’s bespoke cupboards, or a brilliant designer even if using ikea units, or items like slimline appliances and fancy carousel fittings, or the knock out the fireplace option. Not all of those things of course, but a case of pick your poison.

cunningplan101 Thu 13-Aug-20 12:40:25

Thanks v much @burritofan - good to see a different take! I think the tricky thing about having the sink on that wall would be that it's an internal wall, we would need to run the pipes under the floor from the other side. So it would depend on the joists direction and I think they run the wrong way. But something to think about.

OP’s posts: |
cunningplan101 Thu 13-Aug-20 12:45:13

Also alas I don't think we'd have enough space there for a sink + dishwasher ... there's only 98cm (we may gain a cm or two when we strip back the plaster, but that'd still only leave 40cm to the right of the sink!)

It's so frustrating! Every time I think of a brilliant new plan, it turns out to have a problem. At one point we were planning a very big configuration change, moving the bathroom etc, but in the end every plan has its downsides as well as upsides and might end up costing a lot more.

I've done a quick sketch of Option B as I described above, which we could do if it turns out we can open up the fireplace enough.

OP’s posts: |
cunningplan101 Thu 13-Aug-20 12:49:49

(And yes @burritofan we can only move the balcony/bathroom door 5cm sadly ... in another plan we had put it in the middle, moving the corridor between the kitchen & balcony and dividing the bathroom in two between cloakroom & shower/bath room with the corridor down the middle ... but to make things more complicated, we live in a conservation area and would need planning permission to move the balcony door etc)

OP’s posts: |
burritofan Thu 13-Aug-20 13:10:12

I thought about you removing the plaster but thought it might be too much to suggest! grin I was picturing a slimline DW (450mm) and 500mm sink unit, which would fit. To add to the options, Ikea do a 400mm sink unit... It’s a very small sink though and would drive you demented after a bit.

The conservation area complicates things! If I were you I would throw as much budget as possible at design and installation, and go cheap on the actual carcasses and fittings (eg Ikea flat pack, keep the Smeg fridge and other appliances if you can, internet tiles not Fired Earth type ones) – anything can look expensive if it’s installed well, and I think the design is going to be the make or break with so many tricky aspects to it. DIY Kitchens has good options for different sized units – lots of 300 and 500mm ones, and shallow base units too, to make the most of awkward spaces. No online planner as I recall but you cut out little pictorials of the units and shift them around a graph paper plan.

cunningplan101 Thu 13-Aug-20 15:30:33

I think you're so right. I think the key spend for us will be plastering (we have a big crack in our ceiling from an old water leak), new wooden windows and kitchen fitting.

I've been looking at DIY kitchens ... looks like they've just shut down their beta online planner, so will have a go with their paper version.

OP’s posts: |

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