Space Planning – Dining Room & Pantry

I took three whole days off of working on my bathroom…and my house in general. It was a great, relaxing weekend, but of course that didn’t stop me from thinking about, dreaming about, and planning what I’ll be working on next once the bathroom is finished. Matt thinks I should finish the hallway, but what I really want to work on is either the living room or the dining room.

Of those two rooms, the dining room seems way more daunting to me. It needs all new drywall (not just the ceiling, but the walls), the floor needs to be leveled (it’s the only room in the house with a slab foundation), and for the life of me, I can’t figure out the space planning for that room. So this weekend, as I was working on my new House Tour page, I tweaked the floor plan for the dining room yet again. It still just doesn’t feel right. I’m beginning to think there’s no perfect solution.

For those of you who are new to my blog (or who just might need a refresher 🙂 ), the dining room is located off of the kitchen. During the kitchen remodel, I opened up the wall that separated it from the kitchen. It originally looked like this…

And now it looks like this…

That dining room is the second largest room in the whole house — second only to the cavernous sunroom at the back of the house. Of course, I don’t really think it was ever intended to be a dining room. The room I call the music room is the original dining room, but that room does not work for us as a dining room. (A table and chairs placed in the original dining room makes maneuverability through that room impossible for Matt.)

At one time, the side room was actually a covered outdoor area that connected the house to the garage, but at some point, it was enclosed. The previous owners called it a den, but with a front living room, and a family room at the back (eventually), I have no need for a den. I do, however, have need of a dining room.

Here’s how the floor plan looked when we moved in…

house floor plan - original floor plan

So with the wall removed between the kitchen and dining room, and the peninsula in place, the floor plan today looks like this…

house floor plan - april 2015 - 1

I’ve gone through sooooo many ideas for this room. One of my favorites was to put the table and chairs at the front of the room (near the wall of windows), and then put a seating area at the back with a fireplace between the two windows on the back wall. But while I loved that idea from a decorating standpoint, I just don’t think I have need for another sitting area in the house. Plus, I couldn’t figure out a way to make maneuverability from the (future) family room into the dining room easy for Matt with a seating area at that end.

What I really need is a pantry. I’m generally a form over function kind of person (unashamedly, I might add), but this is one time where I definitely prefer the function of a usable pantry over the form of a beautifully decorated sitting area with a cozy fireplace.

So after giving it much thought, I came up with this plan a few months back.

house floor plan - future plan

What I like about this plan:

  • It leaves an entrance into the dining room from the family room. I don’t want the only point of entry into the dining room to be through the kitchen.
  • It gives me a large pantry so that I can put a small chest freezer in there.
  • It doesn’t block off all of the light from the back wall, as there would still be one window on that wall.
  • It would be easy access to the pantry for Matt since the door to the pantry is straight ahead upon entering from the family room.

What I don’t like about it:

  • There’s no other option for garage door placement, which means that I’ll be stuck with a garage door in my dining room. That’s not ideal.
  • I’m afraid the placement will look (and feel) like an afterthought. Maybe it won’t, but I’m afraid it will.

So this weekend as I was tweaking the floor plan yet again, I came up with this…

house floor plan - long term goal

With that plan, I’d basically add two closet-style pantries on the back wall, and instead of two windows, I’d have one window in the middle. I could add a built-in window seat under the window to tie the two sides together and have a whole cohesive wall of built-ins.

What I like about it:

  • That would allow me to also move the garage door so that it’s more towards the back of the room and out of the sight line from the kitchen, and not such a dominant part of the dining room.
  • It does provide a good deal of storage, and doesn’t waste space like a walk-in pantry does.

What I don’t like about it:

  • It doesn’t allow room for a chest freezer. I could put it in the garage, but it just seems so convenient to have it inside since I have all of that room.
  • While I do think the window seat would be pretty, I’m back to form over function. I doubt it would ever be used. But since the ceiling slopes down on that end of the room, the wall isn’t tall enough to put an exterior door on that wall, so I really don’t know what else I’d put there. I could just get rid of all windows and have a whole wall of pantry, but I really do hate to get rid of all windows on that wall.

So I’ve reached a point of absolute frustration with this. I just can’t figure it out. I’ve gone back and forth on so many options, to the point of driving myself crazy with this. I’m just about to the point of giving up and hiring a professional to do the space planning for this area of the house, because I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. But if I decide to tackle this room next, I need to get this figured out.

So I’m putting this out there one more time. If any of you see any options that I’m just overlooking, please feel free to share! I’m really going to seriously mull over every suggestion.



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  1. How about flipping the dining room and family room? A door that opens into the family room isn’t so odd and you could do a wall of French doors from the dining room out to the yard/patio. Along with a nice sized pantry along the kitchen wall that could hold a freezer (upright, not chest). If I could live in a place where I could store stuff in the garage that is where my freezer would be.

    Other than that I really liked your plan with the butler’s pantry.

  2. I like the new set up, mainly because it pushes the garage door further away from the main dining space. Can you not place the freezer in the storage room? Would there be enough room on that short wall behind the outer door, in which the pantry is on the other side? I would definitely keep the window on that back wall. A window seat would look lovely, even if it isn’t used by humans. I believe your fur babies would love it! 😀

  3. Hi Kristi,
    Long time follower to your blog. Thought I would chime in to your latest design dilemma. I like the new design w/the wall unit of pantry cabinets and one window. This seems logical to me to drop grocery items as you come in from the garage near where you will put them away. As for the chest freezer. I’ve owned one all my life and it’s never been in the kitchen area. Again if you keep it in the storage area outside you can drop off items that need to go in there rather quickly. Also, keeping it in a cooler temp area helps your energy bill by not having it run so often to keep things cool.

    Keep up the good work, I’ve been so inspired and can’t wait to check in every morning to see what you’ve been up to.

    1. I agree with what you are saying. Unloading into the freezer in the Garage or workshop would be easier. And we do not go to our freezer everyday. I usually pull what I need up to my fridge/freezer once per week. I love the pantry at the end of the dining room. It does not look so chopped up to me.

    2. I like this design better too. The other design with the pantry “room” seems like it would just look like an add on and would chop the room up oddly. I also think it would be easier to unload groceries here. I think putting a freezer in the storage area would be ideal but I would put a frost free upright freezer versus a chest freezer. They take up a lot less room and are so much easier to keep organized inside without digging around trying to find what you’re looking for. Even if the window seat is not used to sit on, you can have the top lift up for storage underneath and it will be a nice feature in the room. As someone else said, I also think your furbabies would love it!
      I’m sure you’ll figure it out and it will end up beautiful, just like all your other rooms!

      1. I was going to say something similar about an upright freezer. The chest ones are just so darned awkward – first ya gotta lean into them to get to the stuff at the bottom – and that stuff tends to get buried by newer stuff and languish there forever.

        The other thing about the chest freezers is that the top of them tends to become a dumping ground – making it necessary to move everything you’ve piled on top before you can get into it.

        Uprights are just a so much better use of space.

        1. I love the idea of the window seat and the built ins on each side!!
          I completely agree with the upright freezer being the best option. I am short (5’2″) I used to have a chest freezer and it was so frustrating to get to the bottom where ultimately everything I needed ended up.

    3. In case no one else has pointed this out already, summer temperatures in a garage in this part of Texas are much hotter than inside the house. This makes the lifetime of a freezer or refrigerator much shorter as well as using more electricity to run them.

  4. One other possibility might be running a door from the storage through the pantry creating kind of a hall way through the pantry room. The family room door might need to moved over a tad?? Don’t know if there is actual space for all that but thought I’d throw the idea out there.
    You do marvelous work. Look forward to seeing what you do. I know it will be just right. God bless your day.

  5. I’m not really good at this kind of thing, imagining how things would look from a plan, so my thoughts are pretty limited. Just wondering why you couldn’t put a built in cabinet where you were planning a window seat, to act as a buffet type of cabinet, so you could keep the window. If it had drawers, like a kitchen, or a real buffet cabinet, inside, it would be perfect for linens, serving pieces, etc. that are used in the dining room.

      1. I window seat, but a beautiful built in to hold linens and things needed in the dining room. Otherwise, I like your new plan!

      1. Buffet cabinet with a server top was my thought too. The sound of a chest freezer running in the dining room needs to be considered. Would your laundry room accommodate an upright freeze?

  6. It’s ok to have a pretty window seat in your home that rarely is sat upon. You could even build in a reading light. Maybe you have a visiting child who would play or nap in that space, even just once or twice. It doesn’t have to be used often. If it looks nice and makes you happy and adds value, that is a function in itself.

  7. Kristi,

    Love, Love everything you do. Have you thought about using the dining room as a mud room/laundry room and using the family room as a combination family room and dining room? I am not very visual so your plans may show that this doesn’t work and I just don’t get it.

    1. This is exactly the first thing I thought about myself. If it were mine I would make it a large laundry room with more extra storage.

  8. I like the comment made about putting the freezer in the storage area…you just have to remind yourself that is is not an extra “drop shelf” and deposit plastic bags etc. on top of it. Like the last plan you have come up with..It seems most reasonable. I do NOT like flipping the family room and dining room. I like the fact that the family room has an outside entrance to the yard which makes it available to picnics etc. Whatever you decide I know it will be wonderful…just mull over it for a bit while you finish up the bathroom so you are ready for company. They also might come up with ideas since they will actually be there to see the flow.

    Blessings this day.

  9. I like the newest design layout. I’m not sure how wide the closet-style pantries will be or how large of a chest freezer you want, but maybe you can get one of those short and narrow freezers. I work in a lab and we have a few -20C freezers that have a small foot. They’d fit in a closet. Good luck with the design.

  10. How about in the one window and pantry the garage door is a door that blends in with the wall ,panelling.

  11. I think I might be repeating what Marci above said. I might not completely understand the situation either. What if you kept the pantry and the door to the garage was in the pantry. Like a walk thru pantry. Yes you would have to walk thru the storage and the pantry when carrying groceries in. But if the freezer was in the storage you could drop off and then also drop off in the pantry. I am not very clear about which wall is too short for a door.

  12. What if you put the pantry in the storage area, and had it be a walk through pantry from the garage to the dining room. Then that takes care of the entry door straight into the dining room and you can still keep the windows in the dining room.

  13. Hi Kristi: why can’t you extend the pantry out to the edge of the family room wall,and make the door to the storage open to the left instead of the right. There doesn’t seem to be any door showing on the family room , so the doors to the pantry would not impede that and it would allow you the depth for a stand up freezer. I think, as I don’t know the scale of your drawing. Or have that storage room door open into the storage area and not the diningroom. Hope this helps. Have a great day.

  14. I agree with Lisa E. I’m sure your furry friend will thank you for a seat just for her/him. I have always loved the sight of a snoozing cat curled in the sun. I can see you sitting there taking shoes off, setting things down, etc. Might even sit and peruse house plans! And I also think the idea of employing an interior space planner is a good idea. I did that with my landscaping and got wonderful ideas. I didn’t use all of them, tweaked the ones on paper and it’s all good. Best of luck.

  15. Everyone likes the window seat but I’m thinking I would rather have the big pantry. You could put access to the family room and garage there, keep both windows and add double frosted pantry doors as access. There are some gorgeous pantries out there and I would love to have the space for one. Whatever you choose to do I know it will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it!

    1. This is what I was going to suggest, walling off a larger area for the pantry that includes access to the garage and family room and has ample room for a chest freezer. Using the most recent plan for the pantry but adding a wall in the middle of the dining/pantry areas would allow you to still have a window placed in the center of the wall with shelving on either side, and allow you add in a set of glass doors to let light filter into the dining room without putting your groceries on display for everyone to see, you can then place the chest freezer on the side closest to the garage door so it wouldn’t make it hard for Matt to navigate the room. I hope this makes sense!

  16. There are small chest freezers, and one might fit between the two pantry closets. You’d need to raise the window, and figure out some kid of enclosure to hide it which would still allow for air flow, but it might be able to go there instead of a seat.

    Marie Claire

    1. This is what I was thinking. Either box in the freezer between the two closets or use a upright freezer which is what I have (love it because I’m not bending over trying to dig for stuff) and disguise it to look like the pantry closet on the other side. Then instead of a window seat use a cupboard between the closet & freezer that doubles as a sideboard for your dining room.

      1. Exactly! Thin plywood on the front with a pre-made trim to resemble wainscoting. I would look in to a way of attaching(swinging hinge on one side?)so it can come out easily if you need to defrost it. Lightweight lid with piano hinge. Chalkboard paint on inside of lid to keep track of what you have in each row of food. Maybe a pretty table runner on top and one pretty vase, easy to move but should help discourage it from becoming a dropping ground while coming in from the garage.

    2. I was thinking along these lines too, are there any freezers proper dimensions to fit between the closet pantries, that you could work your magic on and frame out with molding to look like a built in buffet of sorts. Maybe a wood clad top, I dont know if you would need the window moved up or maybe even a shorter window installed to make it work, but I can totally picture you doing something like that and having a hidden freezer!

  17. I know this post is about your dining room, but I happened upon your hallway plans for storage from last August. Then I started wondering if your plans for the hallway storage had changed. It looks like you would have space to the right of the front door (when you’re looking at it from the music room) if you had some kind of a lovely built-in shelf or a narrow storage area. Maybe a fast easy project would help you figure out the ‘best for you’ dining room layout? Your house is really starting to come together with all the unique touches you’ve added.

  18. Instead of a window bench bring that up to counter height with a pretty counter top and storage underneath. This way you keep the window tho shorter and you gain more usable storage between the 2 closets on either side.

    1. This is the way I would go, with the extra storage under the window. There are so many place a freezer could go, like the garage, and laundry, ect.

  19. Would a chest freezer fit between the pantries in place of the window seat? Camouflaged of course.

    1. I like this idea or to continue the shelves to the height of a counter to store linens under neath and buffet food on top

    2. I second the camouflaged freezer in between the pantries. Can look nice, closer access, and functional.

  20. Can you keep the first floor plan with the large pantry, but add the door to the storage room to it? So that you have 2 doors in the large pantry basically, and you could even expand the pantry down a bit to add a mudroom side (or whatever) as well if you wanted.

    Then you could eliminate the garage entrance door in the dining room.

  21. I have a funny feeling you will end up working on some random project that you haven’t even thought about yet. Lol That will take your mind off your frustration for the time being! Oh and you will be finishing the condo so maybe the right plan will come to you when you least expect it ! I love,love, love reading your blog!

  22. What if you flipped the pantry and eating area? If you made the pantry across the bottom half of the room instead of the top? Then you could move the door from the garage to enter through the pantry. It looks like there are windows across the front of the room, but if you used a glass panel door you wouldn’t lose all of the light coming in. Then you could make your dining area at the back of the room. I’m not sure if there would be enough clearance for Matt? And I can’t remember about the ceiling height situation.

  23. I love these changes..I think it utilizes the back portion of that room really well and creates a nice divide between that space and the dining area. Could you tweak the built ins on each side to make them jut out closer to the door openings so that you could fit a small chest freezer on one side and still have shelving above that? It might make them a bit more of a small walk-in pantry but it would be very little wasted space. Then you could still keep your window/window seat and have the chest freezer inside. In the window seat, you could build it to have storage for small kitchen appliances you rarely use, etc. You may need to change the door to open INTO the storage area for clearance, which I know most doors open into a room, but I have have seen many doors open the opposite way…like your new bathroom doors come to think of it! 🙂

  24. I love the idea of the built ins with window seat in between and second the opinion that it would add value and looks even if you don’t use it that often. If you add storage under the window seat it will get used in that way anyway.

    That said, I think the better bet would be to incorporate the entry and pantry, as others have suggested with the freezer in the storage area, which, pretty much by default, has now also become a mud room as you’ll be entering through there. Are you committed to a chest freezer? You could also do an upright, which might take up less space.

  25. How about enclosing the back completely with the pantry area but leave room at the top for transom windows or some sort of narrow windows across the top? This would give you plenty of storage and still let some light come in from the back wall. You could still use the top area to display pretty glass items or things that wouldn’t block the light.

    1. this is the same basic suggestion I have. you can have your freezer in there, you can close it off when you want to. and the room will have natural light from the window in the back which means you have a lot of options for storage, since you’ll be able to see a lot. you can still move the garage access door to the rear so its out of your dining room. it might have quite a few doors, but at least its an area you can use as a walk-thru pantry.

      the windows in the front seem to offer enough light to the dining area if you did wall off the back, even without transom windows on the dividing wall (although I love transom windows!). I love Mel’s idea!

    2. That came to my mind as well, even though I voted for the window seat, but it’s because I’m in love with window seats. 🙂 I do love that idea, however. A lot of great ideas here. Even the one about using the space in the middle as a sideboard. I can’t wait to see what you decide Kristi!

  26. I think the original pantry idea wouldn’t look like an afterthought, since the one wall is in the same line with the wall going from the music room to the kitchen, so it’s consistent. (I think that’s the original external wall?)

    But I would plan the dining room more around how you want the room to function: smaller round table, or larger rectangular table, since that will determine how big the room needs to be for people to easily move around the furniture.

    Can’t wait to see this room start to take shape!

  27. could you have the pantry cover the whole wall (similar to what you started planning) and have a sliding glass door in front of the window?

  28. I’d leave the window, you can never have enough natural light!! I would make the area between the pantries a bar/serving area. You could do a built in cabinet below for storage, even add a mini fridge. Our bar area took over an entire cabinet in the kitchen, it’d be so nice to have space in the dining room to house those things.

  29. I really like the two pantry option. Instead of the window seat, why not put a counter the depth of the pantries with cabinet space underneath? Then you would have a nice display space for photos, etc. And you can still have the window.

  30. What about move storage room door all the way to back. Then build a high pony wall (leaving a large opening on the one end) even with front storage room wall. So making a wide hallway behind the new wall, and then putting a deep freeze either in corner of storage room or along wall in hallway. This will allow light to still come into dining area from the two windows. Then build pantry cabinets to match on the dining room side of the wall.

  31. I was thinking along the same line as Bonnie. Some type of cabinet with either drawers or shelves or possibly open shelving. A great place to drop groceries or use as a buffet. LOVE everything you have done and I’m always amazed that you do this with so very little help. You rock!!!

  32. I don’t see a problem with the door in the dining room. How big is the table you plan on putting in there? It looks like you have plenty of space to room around the table and chairs around the table. You also want the table near the kitchen for serving purposes. Why don’t you get an upright freezer and build it in and put cabinet type doors on it to make it look like built in storage/pantry and actual pantry beside it on the back wall. Remove the window altogether even though you would sacrifice natural light. You can lighten up the back with light colored cabinetry and lighting. You an lighten this room up with decorating instead of using the black predominate scheme you were thinking about which would just swallow all light no matter where it was coming from.

  33. I really don’t like the dining room off the garage, I would switch the music room with dining room or make it a music room/ sitting room, what I would really like off the garage is a mud room / laundry room then you could do what ever you want with the pantry and freezer

    1. The music room was the dining room. It is not good use of space for Matt to be able to maneuver around a table and chairs, that’s why it was changed around.

  34. The storage could be the pantry, plenty of space for a full freezer there.The garage door could be moved to the left side. That door in the middle is a space mistake. It leaves you a full back wall in the garage for storage. That way you can either put a buffet in the dining room wall and keep the windows. Or a double buffet with the seat in the middle. I love the seat idea. The door in the dining room would have to open towards the pantry. Or if the pantry is beautiful enough you could just remove it. The pantry could be similar to your kitchen and have green cabinets in there.

    1. I like this latest plan but was going to say the same thing about the garage door. You would need to change the swing of the door. I also like the 2 pantries for ease of storage. I think you would use the window seat more than you think. Your cats will for sure.

      1. The swing of the door can use the hinges used in Florida. The door would open towards the garage.They are security hurricane hinges. I forgot to post on that. 😉

  35. I like your new plan. I have a pantry shaped similar to what you’ve drawn…with fixed shelves on top and pull out shelves on the bottom. I LOVE IT!!! Instead of a window seat, how about a buffet-like counter…with concrete counter top to bring that in from your kitchen. Door from the about a pocket door? Or make it open into the storage door rather than the dining room. I’d put the freezer in the storage room.
    LOVE YOUR WORK! You’ll find the solution and it will be beautiful and functional!

  36. I like the new idea of two pantries – and I guess you do, too, because I noticed that you like symmetrical solutions, too 🙂 How about that idea of adding a chest of drawers in the middle underneath the window instead of the seat? Even though the window seat to me would be the granting of a long standing wish – I always wanted one myself and cannot find a place to fit it in our house 🙂
    If you want to keep the bigger pantry, I think the idea of adding a second door to the storage room is the best I’ve read – and it’s true that the freezer might as well live in the storage room, as you won’t necessarily need it nearer the kitchen. Mine’s located in the basement and it’s ok to have to go there when I need something from it. I concur with some other comment that it would be perhaps wiser not to go on working on this room, but to wait till the solution is clearer to you. Go on and do the hallway net so that your beautiful additions to the music room will be more appreciated!!

  37. Do you really need a living room and family room? How about narrowing the entry, and putting a door on the right and making the living room into a laundry/pantry, and have a bigger family room with a fireplace on the back of the master BR wall with all the nice windows along the back. You could raise the windows in the front of the existing LR and put a washer/dryer or chest freezer below. You would have a wall on the right side of the entry for an entry piece of furniture, two long walls in the pantry for shelves or built-ins, nice windows, and you could even take out one of the side windows and replace with a side entrance to bring in groceries fron the garage. I like the idea of built-ins in the dining room, but envision them more as built-in china cabinets with three solid doors across the bottom and two glass fronts on uppers on each side of the window, under window could be a countertop for serving.

  38. With a future laundry room as large as your plan shows why not put a freezer in there? It seems plenty big enough. I like the pantry storage along the wall with the single window as opposed to the pantry in the corner which to me chops up the room too much.

    1. I agree….your laundry room looks large enough for a freezer. I do like the idea of the pantry storage along the wall.

  39. What about leaving the back partial wall in the dining room as planned and relocating the entry door from the garage to the planned pantry area? That solves the issue of an entry from the garage, and the traffic it creates, coming through the dining room and preserves original plan design. After moving the garage door to the planned pantry area, it would just need a slight mudroom/pantry redesign or purpose/use planning tweak, or two, and you will have form and function desired and a thorn in your side removed.

  40. This might be way out there, but could you build in a chest freezer under the window seat? Just an idea and if anyone could make it work you could! If anything, you could use under the seat to store bulkier items, so it would be form and function. I like the latest plan. Looks natural and like it could have always been there. Not an add on.

  41. Why don’t you make a wall in the room right above the word “dining” on the final diagram? Don’t make it a full wall though; leave an opening on the left side that is just a walk through space, not a door. Then you would walk through the new, larger pantry/coat closet/mudroom. Is there enough space for that? It does block the window light to the dining area but a ton of recessed lights could fix that lighting problem. 🙂 I love natural light as much as the next gal, but I also think formal dining areas are okay if they are blocked off and separate. Having the flow of traffic go through it defeats the formalness of it, in my opinion.

  42. Hi Kristi! Part of why I love your blog so much is seeing your design process unfold in real time. And you’re always so good at honing in on what you want and what will work in your home. This is no different. I think you’re getting there with this plan. Don’t give up!! You’re almost there, I think! 🙂

    I was going to suggest (as someone else did above) that instead of a window seat that won’t be used, focus on making the entire wall a butler’s pantry or buffet set up with cabinetry to the ceiling to each side and the window in the center with cabinets below, creating a counter-top serving area for parties, etc. Also can serve as a “drop zone” when you come in from the garage with groceries, etc.

    Here’s an example of what I was imagining, except with the buffet wall in your kitchen, you probably don’t have a need for anymore “pretty” storage, so I’d nix the glass fronts. And, of course, you would have a window instead of the brick wall.

  43. Kristi, you put so much thought into the look of the room, but you need to stop and think about how you will be using your rooms. You most likely will not be going into your dedicated freezer so often that it needs to be inside the house. Also, I agree with the other comments, a stand up freezer is much more functional than a chest freezer. it would fit in the storage room and still be close enough to access it when you need it. Your newest floor plan is good.

  44. Crazy ideas- a door directly into the pantry from the garage/storage area. So that groceries don’t have to be drug through the house to get to the pantry. I imagine you don’t plan to store every single bit of food in the pantry- we have a lovely walk in pantry and I still have a cabinet in the kitchen for bread, canned soup, tea, etc. and just put longer term storage things in the pantry. Plus if you have that big old pantry and a freezer inside it will be so much easier to put away frozen foods. Maybe even a second smaller refrigerator in there. I have a small fridge where I keep my medications and over flow- like the big pot of soup that would take up the whole fridge in the kitchen, etc. Comes in very handy for the holidays!

    Crazy idea number two- move the garage door up by the big garage door so that it opens outside. Wrap the front porch around the side, in front of the dining room and all the way to the garage wall. Put the garage door there and change out the dining room windows to French doors. Then you have access to the garage from the front without opening the big door- if you were doing something in the front yard for instance. You still have all the light from those windows since they’d now be lovely French doors.

    Crazy idea number 3- when is a door not a door? (the joke answer is when it is “ajar”) but in this case when it is a hidden/concealed door! I saw some really cool examples on Houzz when I typed in concealed doors. If you some kind of cool recessed panel thing like on the lower part of you pony wall- but did it over that whole wall you could leave the door where it is and it would just blend in.

    I’ll keep it stirring in the back of my head and see if I can think of anything else!


  45. I actually kind of like the pantry closets on either side of the windows. I don’t know the height of the window, but if it is high enough off the floor, a beautiful sort of buffet with drawers, would be great. Perhaps even build it similar to your bathroom vanity. I also like the idea of a window seat, even if it won’t be used a lot. I wouldn’t worry at all about a freezer not fitting there. Most people put those in a basement of garage any way.

  46. This may be totally crazy, but I’ll throw the idea out there. I prefer the last plan with the storage cabinets and window at the far end of the room. Is there space between the two units to build a cabinet front to enclose/conceal a chest freezer? This way, you have access from inside the house, but it doesn’t look like a freezer, it blends in with the cabinets on either side of it. Depending on the height of the freezer, the window could still be placed above it.

  47. What about switching the LIVING ROOM and dining room? Many houses in my area have a dining room right off the front entry and this would allow you to have the “sitting” area you were wanting to incorporate into the existing dining room space…and a door from the garage wouldn’t look as odd. If you had guests who wanted to be near the kitchen, but not necessarily in the kitchen they could comfortably sit in that area as opposed to the dining room table.

  48. What if you eliminated the windows at that end and put a whole wall of pantry cabinets (like you want to do) and then to bring the light back in you could put a could skylights at that end.

  49. Your family room looks huge. Why not put your piano in there and eliminate the need for a music room? Then you could make the music room space your dining room instead. How often does anybody nowadays use a dining room anyway, really? Then, in the space you currently have designated as the future dining room, you could make it into an awesome mud room/walk in pantry with your freezer in there. if you ever get to the point where you can get your car in your garage, you’d be unloading groceries/supplies and bringing them straight into your AWESOME pantry.

  50. I vote for the freezer in the storage area…as mine has been in my basement over twenty years. No big deal.
    I also like the idea of a window seat with storage on both sides. What I would give to have a place to put my shoes and jackets though!(we live in Minnesota and do not have space for a mudroom). Do you have a space for shoes by the door Kristi?

  51. I think the problem that keeps you from finding your ideal solution is that window. I know you don’t want to lose it but maybe it’s for the best. Then you have so many more options and the size of the room would be more “dining room” like. I don’t think it will feel too closed off. You still have a large window across the front. Add a sky light if you think it needs more light than that.

  52. I like the new design for several reasons. First, it would let light flow all across the dining room. Secondly, I think the room flows better. Evaluate how much pantry space you really need. I have a slim two door closet that holds all my groceries. My kitchen cabinets only hold dishes and food prep things.i like the idea of the cabinet under the window instead of the window seat.i love the table near the triple window! What furniture do you want to put in there beside the table and chairs? I was looking at the long garage wall for perhaps a hutch . It looks like all your meals will be in here so you have to make it fit the way you both live.

  53. I can’t recall if you have really done any space planning for the family room…so forgive me if my ideas mess with that. I would plan on a larger dining table (6-8?) for the right side of the family room, and a smaller, more intimate spot in the dining room. A keeping room, if you will. Two wing back chairs and a smaller, round table with a bench (built in?) in front of the window. The back of the room could become more of a butlers pantry. Move the garage door, like you have in your final plan, but take the wall all the way across with double doors (maybe a second pair like your music room?) for access and light. I think cabinets between those windows and shelving or cabinets on the other available walls would be stunning. Obviously, keep the path wide enough for easy access for Matt. Then create a spot in the storage area, near the house entrance, for your freezer and maybe bulk pantry/toiletry items, paper towels, toilet paper, etc that you don’t have the perfect storage space for, or need to keep close at hand, in the house. Imagine pulling into the garage after a Costco and grocery store trip. Paper goods and its fellows are stored on the shelves, never entering the house. Freezer items go straight in the freezer, again never entering the house. Maybe add a garbage can and mail sorting spot right there too, like a mudroom, so junk mail never clutters your desk again too. Next, you grab the canned goods and other pantry items, they go directly to the new butler’s pantry and finally, the last few refrigerated items and produce get taken to the kitchen. Easy in and little chance for clutter to accumulate because everything has a logical home. Best of all, it all looks gorgeous, including the transition from garage to house!

  54. I’d swap the laundry room and dining room.
    Then you could have all your “chore” spots together ( kitchen, laundry, pantry,) and enter from the garage into the pantry/laundry area.

    I LOVE a formal dining room and even if it gets used a few times a year I’m good with that- I use mine for sewing as well so it’s a room that does get use.

  55. I say wall of pantry with no window seat. I know you don’t want to get rid of the window on that side of the room, BUT, you’re going to have a ton of windows in the family room where light will stream into that side of the space via the doorway AND you have the big picture windows on the front of the house by the table, so it’s not like you won’t have any light at all in there…you’ll have a lot…and you can have more pantry space. Doesn’t change the fact that you’ll still have to put your trunk freezer in the garage/storage room, but oh well.

    I do like moving the garage door…just so long as it’s not going to bother you to come through the storage room…but it definitely gets the door out of the dining room and just makes more sense.

    good luck with whatever you choose!!!

  56. The plan just before the last one is the one I would do. It’s a large pantry that would easily accommodate a small stand up freezer. It would also cut out that long expanse from the dining area, and you could put furniture on the pantry wall (facing the dining room) where you can drop your groceries, and you could keep the window where it is. Make the little window seat and you have an instant place to drop your purse, shoes and coat. Plus it would look sweet from the DR. Switch the door from the garage to open out into the garage instead of into the house (probably against code, but whatever!). Going through the storage room seems like a pain to open that many doors, especially for Matt. I believe that the door isn’t going to make that big of a problem once everything else is set up.

  57. Not a prayer I’m reading all these comments, so forgive me if this is repetitive.

    I LOVE the new plan. It solves a lot of the “walkways scattered everywhere” issues that bugged me about this room. Reach in pantries (especially wide shallow ones!) beat walk-ins all over in my opinion and, honestly, I don’t think having the freezer in the garage storage area right outside the door would be inconvenient. What if you did a wider window that isn’t so low (Maybe even a transom?!) on the back, and rather than a window seat did a taller, wider area for additional serving space (coffee/tea/beverage bar even?) – ooh, with drawers under for linen storage or additional pantry? And if you did, with your increased wall space, banquette seating around the long wall and under the front window. Having the table tighter to that corner would give more floor space as well as having a large part of the table wide open for your husband to wheel up to the table…

    You are the most thoughtful space planner I see online; don’t give up!

  58. What about an upright freezer in the storage room or pantry? I find that the foot print is easier, as is the finding things. Personally I didnt like essentially having to unload my entire chest freezer to get to that bag of rhubarb I knew was in there or rebuying the “insert item” because I didnt see it at a glance. Opening a big foor with a light and seeing things vertically is nice. Perhaps even putting a freezer in the garage?

  59. Rather than a window seat that would likely not be used I would put a bank of cabinets or drawers under the window with a counter, the counter would keep bags of groceries, purses etc off the dining room table when you come in from the garage and would make a good drinks bar or serving counter for the dining room. I don’t know what depth your pantry cupboards will be but when I had limited space for a server in the dining room I used a row of upper kitchen cabinets that would be only 12 inches deep. It is a great place for table linens etc also.

  60. On second thought…although I love the window seat option, I believe it will leave an awkward amount of space in that huge long dining room. My vote now goes for the enclosed pantry with a storage room/garage access:) What s great problem to have Kristi— so much space!!

  61. What about going back to the butler’s pantry idea?
    Make the butler’s pantry wall across the back of the current dining room.
    You could leave the door from the garage coming through the storage area and into the butler’s pantry, so no unsightly door from the garage.
    You could leave the windows in the pantry and put countertop under the window on that side with shelving/closed storage in between the windows.
    Use a door with glass between the dining room and pantry which would allow in light, even with some sort of rice paper cover. Something similar to your music room sliding doors.
    Put the chest freezer inside the pantry along the wall that would separate the pantry and dining room. And in the opposite corner, maybe some sort of shelving (open or closed) for cookbooks, not frequently used items, maybe a beverage bar….

    1. I didn’t read any of the above comments before I started…seems like someone else may have already gone here…

  62. What purpose is the storage room supposed to serve? Is it storage for your tools etc? Overflow pantry with the freezer? What? I think that really helps dicate which pantry option I like better. If its for tool storage I’m imagining it filled with sawdust and crud and walking through it to drag all that into your house might not be a good idea. If it’s more “clean” storage like for bulk packs of paper towels and off season clothes, etc then it would work ok. I like previous poster’s idea of creating built ins below the window between the two little pantries. It would look more deliberate and more as if it belongs. A window seat between two pantries seems sort of bedroom-ish to me. A window seat between two closets…

    I would really look at an upright freezer as opposed to a chest style. It’s soooo much easier to find what you need in an upright and given your habit of creating clutter when you work I could easily see a chest freezer quickly rendered useless in the middle of a project as it’s holding your table saw and half a dozen other things. 🙂

  63. You are sooooo talented, I’ll bet you could put a freezer under that window and disguise it with beautiful moulding like your tub skirt and a decorative hinged top…world’s first most beautiful freezer – another fantastic Kristi original!!!

  64. I’m certainly no built in designer, but is the planned window high/small enough that you could make a built in mock unit for the chest freezer beneath it? Would your two shelf pantries be deep enough to support flanking either side of a built in chest freezer? I’ve no idea how you could make a chest freezer beautifully hidden but it would still give that full wall of built in look you’re going for and could be a landing spot for a pretty scarcely used shelf (form).

    I think if something like that was attempted, you would be a top notch person to execute it.

    Good luck with your planning all the same! I can’t imagine the frustration, but I’m sure in the end – you’ll have a room that fits most of your needs/desires.

  65. I understand why you’d want the chest freezer in the pantry, but it seems that a freezer of that size is more for extra stock up type items. While it would be ideal to have in the pantry, it’s not something that you will be in and out of multiple times per day and therefore probably not as inconvenient to be out of the way in the garage. I like the plan with the two smaller built in pantry closets with a window in between. If you are concerned about not using the bench seat in between, how about making it a sideboard – similar to what another commenter suggested. It could have storage underneath and be a place to served food from on top.
    You’d have to do a smaller and/or higher window, but that would be a more functional use of the space in a dining room.

  66. I really do prefer the symmetry and flow of the new design. I think it works well and would look quite beautiful – the proportions are good. I can’t remember what you had in mind for your laundry room (last I recall, it was going to be built in the sun room area?), but could you not put a freezer in there? I also like that the far side of the room would have a focal point, which is missing in the other design. The window nook could have a function beyond window seat: you could have an indoor herb garden there; you could design an art glass window instead of having curtains. Lots of visual possibilities with that spot!

  67. What happen to the fireplace and cozy reading chairs at the end of the dining room with the table up closer to the kitchen. Did I miss you drop that idea our of the game plan. Keep the “storage cabinets” in the storage area not in your pretty living area.

  68. I like this layout better. I thought the other one was kind of awkward. I don’t think having the freezer in the storage area is a bad thing, I live in Canada and we put them in our basements.

  69. Where the two windows are at the other end of the room, why not add a faux fireplace with an electric insert (or a real fireplace for chilly nights since it is at the back of the house) and flank it with the two closets for regularly used items (canned goods, cereals and such) add the pantry where the storage will be since you will be moving the door anyhow, it is still in close range of the kitchen and there is plenty of room for the freezer and A LOT of storage with organization and shelving/cabinets and baskets/bins, also it is off the garage where you can pull into the garage with groceries and put them directly away, including the freezer items. Or just keep the windows with a fireplace between to add some coziness and keeping light from them. you can always add some smaller built-ins under each window. I think a fireplace in just about any room makes it so cozy and welcoming. Put the Dining Table towards the end where the large window is with a beautiful chandelier and a small buffet/server flanked with sconces and a lovely mirror to reflect light through the room since the other windows will be gone (unless you keep them,lol)…Just my 2 cents,lol. If there is room you can always add two smaller chairs and a small table to the fireplace end for after dinner tea or coffee.

  70. Is there room between the two pantry cabinets to place a freezer there? You could place it in a cabinet, but I am not sure of the air circulation requirements. We build cabinets with a window seat & love them! We used stock kitchen paint grade cabinets and you would never know it. I could send you pictures!

  71. Pantry cabinets and drawers across the back with window(s). Freezer in the garage. Will the door interfere with the dining table set up? If it doesn’t, faux window treatment on door wall to disguise door. You are braver then I am when, it comes to messing with house structure. I have had a garage door to my dining room in the past, it didn’t bother me. I am sure you will figure out the perfect solution. If you do move the garage door, possibly a hanging divider to separate the dining area from wall of pantry cabinets?

  72. I love the changes and cannot wait to see them take place. What about on the back wall in the dining room, having cabinets that only come up 3/4. Then having short windows above that. You would get the light from them, but not necessarily have them take up valuable space. Maybe even get decorative glass so you won’t need a window treatment. So they make counter depth freezers? Maybe that could go behind a door to look built in with it.

  73. As I read through the comments, I realized mine will not be unique! I see a few options. (1) Put the freezer in the storage area if at all possible and create wall of built-in pantries/window seat/sideboard. This is choice I like best! (2) If not possible, (a) put in shorter window and possibly put freezer between two wall pantries though not sure how to make it make it look like built-in furniture or (b) use one wall unit for a stand-up freezer disguised as a pantry and sideboard built-in under window for more storage.

    So no new concepts here!

  74. Oh, I have never left a comment before, this is exciting! ha ha. I am not a specialist by any means (!), but I think I would make part of the storage area the pantry, then add a door to the rest of the storage room, where maybe the freezer could go? Then that part could communicate with the garage. Of course, the window could get in the way… x

  75. I like the idea of switching the Music Room to the Dining Room. As a musician, I would love to have a piano near the wall of windows that is currently the Dining Room. I would also (if possible), then put a wall across the new “Music” room that was in line with the kitchen wall/garage wall, enclosing the “music room” (nice to have the sound contained a bit). The new, smaller area created by the inserted wall would be a great place for a mud room (or mechanicals-furance, water heater). I would also put the freezer in the storage area or garage.

  76. No suggestions, just some things to think about. If you are bringing groceries in from the garage, it seems like it would be inconvenient to have to go through the storage room, the far end of the dining room and to the kitchen. Where will your dining table be placed? Would a door toward the front of the D.R. be in the way? Would the freezer fit at the back of the garage by the storage room door? Adding another door to the storage room would use up storage space. Maybe not as convenient but would the freezer fit in the laundry room? I like the suggestion of a chest with drawers between the pantries for table linens, etc. instead of a window seat.

  77. hi kristi, I haven’t read all the comments so if this has been suggested pls ignore. First love that you are moving the door to the storage area that makes much more sense to me. Ok here’s my thoughts. Looking at your house plan your dining room is large, to large in my view. If this were my space and I wanted the pantry. I would divide the room by adding a wall along the same line as the storage wall and kitchen wall. This wall would have a opening. By placing your window in the centre of the exterior wall you’ll still get light into your dining room through your new entrance. With this new wall In place you now have four walls to work with instead of two. You could easily work having your freezer in this space. Kinda like a butlers pantry. Also by adding this wall the sloped ceiling isuue you have would disappear. Additionally you now have a new wall in the dining room that you could add built ins.

    Anyway I hope this helps. I’ve been sick lately and this believe it or not kept my mind busy for a bit.
    Lesley Ann

  78. I agree with many of other comments. I love the new design with the 2 pantry cupboards either side of a middle window and although I love the idea of a window seat, I think because it’s your dining room, the better use for the middle would be a buffet type cabinet that can be used for serving food, as a bar etc. It can also store all your dining needs, napkins, placemats etc. I also like the new plan of removing the door to the garage and going through the storage room. It makes more sense. As for the freezer, I’d put it in the storage room, it makes more sense when bringing groceries home. Also, I’ve had a chest freezer, and vowed never again…..too much bending over digging deep to access items. I now have an upright freezer and they are certainly much better for access and seeing at a glance what you have. On another issue on deciding which room to do next, your dining room needs the most work, drywalling etc, if it was me, I’d get your father in law to help you with this room while he’s visiting. Another pair of hands will make it less daunting.

  79. Man, I would be totally confused if I read all of these answers and some people are just plain stupid. Good luck.

  80. Kristi ~
    Have you considered doubling down on doors along the shared Storage/Garage wall to make it look intentional?
    Add a second door directly to/from the Garage ~ into the planned Dining Room ~ not just the one from the Storage space. This second door would be placed the same distance from the front window, as is the planned door from the back window but with a REVERSED (mirrored) swing. Wall length between the doors has limitless posibblities to make a FOCAL POINT, using free standing furniture or built-ins . . . think of the trim detail! Overtime, believe entering/exiting the Garage only through Storage ~ and two doors (both potentially with locks) ~ would wear on one.

  81. I like the idea of the pantry flanking the window. I’d not go with a window seat, but put a built-in buffet/cabinet. Regarding the freezer – I’d get an small upright to go into one of the sides that can be paneled to match the rest or get freezer drawers under the window with a countertop, again with the idea that they can be paneled to match your cabinetry. The freezer drawers would allow optimal usage for Matt, although the cost might be prohibitive.

  82. I like the second option as well! I don’t think you should do a window seat thought and just do all cabinetry for pantry/storage. I also like that the door is more towards the back of the room. I don’t think losing the windows on your pantry wall will be bad since you have the wall of windows on the other side of the room. You could use any space on the pantry side for serving-ware and other smaller appliances you don’t use all the time like the blender, etc. (Well, I don’t use the blender all the time… lol)

  83. How big of a dining room do you require? How formal will it be? Will you have other furniture in there besides a table and chairs? A buffet? What shape of table? Round? Rectangle? Square? I like the idea of the extra fridge/freezer in the laundry room (like someone else mentioned). It will be accessible and keeps all of the larger appliances together in one place (but I would move the laundry room door closer to the family room- just a personal preference to separate it from master bedroom doorway). Like someone else mentioned, I would put a pony wall in the dining room where it’s even with the kitchen wall thereby creating a walk-thru or butler’s pantry for storage. I’d put lower and upper cabinets on the outside wall with the window(s) (or only do cabinets mid-way up and put in upper or clerestory windows along the top for the full length) and for the pony wall I would make it a little higher than normal… you could even put window panes/French doors from the top of the pony wall to the ceiling if you wanted to close off the dining room even more but still allow light in from the window(s). 🙂

  84. I don’t know that I have any solutions, but I do have a few thoughts…

    1) I don’t think I’d personally like having the garage door directly into the dining room (and this comes from me having almost exactly that in my home today). Whether you use the garage for a car (and it’s your main “family” entrance) or whether it’s your workshop, you’re liable to track stuff in and I wonder, where will your coats or “outdoor clothes” go? Our main coat closet is near the front door, which we never use, so you have to traipse across the dining room to hang stuff up. Granted, you live in Texas, so you don’t have quite the need for a traditional mudroom or entry porch like we do here in New England. However, if you did, the dining room (or part of it) would have made a great mud room and/or laundry room. The trade-off, of course, is that the laundry wouldn’t be near the bedrooms.

    2) If there’s one thing I wish I could finagle into my house, it’s a walk-in pantry with a door. I’m a hobbyist cook, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to have a place to stash infrequently used appliances (mixers, food processors, etc.), large pans (think turkey roaster), large mixing bowls, etc. so they don’t have to always be in the way in the cabinets or on the counter. I’d love to just have nice open shelves in a room where I can shut the door. I also have a chest freezer that’s in the basement and I wish it were closer to the kitchen. While you may not be a budding chef, you do strike me as someone who would like the counters to appear decorative when not in use, and a place to stash stuff would be handy for that too. I’d try as hard as possible to make a walk-in pantry happen if you can.

    3) I keep looking at the plan where you moved the garage door into the storage room and thinking you’re going to lose a good deal of storage space by having to use a piece of that room as a hallway. That, and it does make it less efficient walk around and through. On the other hand, it might buffer the sawdust from your shop floating directly into the dining room.

    4) Obviously, this is not really an option at this point (unless you want to do-over part of the kitchen…again), but I think I would have carved the pantry out of the back sunroom and made the entry into it on the “wall of cabinets” wall. The closest plan I’ve seen to this was the walk-through butler’s pantry idea you had awhile back.

    5) With respect to #4, what if you moved the laundry room to the opposite end of the sun room and coupled it with the pantry. The left side (backing-up to the kitchen) could be a big pantry closet and the right side backing-up to the outside wall could be the laundry. Or vice-versa, if it makes the plumbing easier.

  85. I like your latest plan. I really like that it hides your sloped ceiling. And I’ve always liked this room.
    Of course you could have a window instead of a mirror. Could you put your green chest of drawers with the stipped drawer fronts in between the pantries? Or some other chest of drawers?
    The freezer seems like it would be convenient enough in the storage room or laundry room like others have suggested. I can’t imagine it in the garage in hot Texas summers. I can’t wait to see what you do.

  86. Instead of a window seat why don’t you make it counter height and you could use it as an extra buffet space. You could place the window higher up.

  87. Krisiti your proposed laundry room is pretty huge IMO. It’s larger than the kitchen was in my last ranch house and I felt like I was drowning in space in that room. Why not put a wall of pantry cabinets and your freezer in the laundry room???

  88. Ramblings of my thoughts on this:
    How many doors does Matt need to traverse to enter the home from the garage (assuming you park in the garage) after being out and about? How many doors do you wish to introduce to the home? I like the idea of switching the rooms around as one of the writers suggested. A middle entry door into family room from garage. That door could be oversized for Matt and the inside door could be a slider/barn door (in your style of course) as you did in the piano room. I would rather people not see my family room and it’s down home clutter as a visual when they come in but rather it be off to the side of the kitchen. Family rooms are lived in……LOL Don’t we know it! Another factor….when dinning during the holidays do you want to be located next to the kitchen where all the food is prepared and the clutter etc. or a formal sitting with conversation, calm and beauty at the forefront?
    I know, I sound crazy but holidays are for lingering over a nice meal and visting, at least in my Normal Rockwell mind. 🙂
    More food for thought, where does the most sun/heat come into the home? If it is in the back of the house I would want it used less as to battle the heat from the windows that I do know can ravage certain rooms in the home even with AC. I think the room off the kitchen is perfect for a family room and kinda cozy and inviting. Much easier for Matt to get into the house if you do use the garage a lot. Freezer in the storage area you show in the plans and pantry? Lots of options on the wall which would fit into your window bench seat plan….which would be used in a family room more especially if little ones come to play or so on. Window bench or storage, yada yada yada. When you are in the family room people usually aren’t looking at a view as they would while dining. Not sure what views you have out of the family room but I think the large back yard? Would you really be viewing the back yard scenery while working in the family room or rather enjoy the view over meals and gatherings.
    We’ve lived in the south for years, and that heat is killer, seems like the room off the kitchen would be a perfect one for a family room. Cross ventilation for windows also. 🙂

    Good luck, it will be beautiful no matter which direction you go. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You do a fantastic job on everything you do!

  89. What if you create almost butler’s pantry by extending the line of the storage area abd the kitchen wall? You could include the garage doorabsolute put a doorway into the dining room. This way you maintain the same flow without disturbing the wall lines.

  90. I like the duel pantries on either side of the window idea. If you make them deep enough to walk into that would disguise the celing discrepancy.

    It’s a tough choice between a window seat for the kitties and a counter height built-in with drawers under the window for linen storage. You already have the buffet wall of cabinets in the kitchen, do you need more china or linen storage for the dining room? Will you have a china cabinet as part of the dining room furnishings?

    My freezer has always been in the utility room because it’s, well, utilitarian!

    I’ll look forward to seeing what you decide.

  91. My freezer is in the laundry room which is near the bedrooms. A little inconvenient but much less so than if it was in the garage. And my fridge is all fridge–no freezer–which I like because I have lots more space especially when hosting big dinners.

  92. I live in a 1200 sq ft rancher built in 1974. As was the norm for this type home, my door to the garage is in the dining room. I never thought a thing of it. Its a natural progression to bring groceries in from the garage, thru the dining room and straight into the kitchen. In fact, we hardly ever use the front door. It’s no problem at all.

  93. Question is, through what door do you carry groceries and purchases into the house. That door should be nearest the kitchen and straight into the garage (if you plan to use it as a garage.) How do you carry things in right now? Surely not through the living room. I’m thinking function, too, but it’s really hard to give up on that fireplace and cozy sitting spot. LOL.

  94. I didn’t read all the comments, so forgive me if I’m repeating something someone else said. Instead of a window seat, why not make it storage underneath the window, with a glass fronted cabinet on top? You would probably need to custom build the glass cabinet. You could store vases, glasses, etc in that part, which wouldn’t block the natural light, and could be really pretty, while still giving you even more storage space. You should have enough room in the laundry or storage room for a freezer, or worst case scenario, put it in the garage. It’s not like you’ll be using it several times a day, I’m thinking. I’d also look into disguising the garage door vs moving it, just because of the amount of work that would entail.

  95. I do like your latest layout idea the best. Soo, what if you put a chest freezer between the two pantry closets, under the window? You could disguise it by building an attractive front for it, sort of like what you did with the bathtub, even attach a wood or countertop type surface to the door on top of the freezer, and it would look like part of the built ins! It would be super convenient to access it, for both of you, and you wouldn’t lose your window!

  96. You just had two dislikes about the second plan–the chest freezer and the window seat wouldn’t be used (and ceiling didn’t allow a door). Plan one allowed the freezer but I think it did look like an after thought (much like the closet did in the hall). So if you take away plan one, the freezer must be elsewhere. The storage room or garage would work for that. The area between the built-ins is the only dislike left. If you don’t want a window seat, how about a small table coming out into the room from between the built-ins? (do you have nieces and nephews that will be over for meals?) Also could act as a landing place for groceries. I craft and would sure make use of it along with the dining table and bar when I’m really getting after it! It would be 4’1″ in from the family room entrance though so not sure if that’s enough room for Matt.

  97. Why not combine both ideas… Move the garage door so that you walk into the house through the pantry? The majority of the time you’re groceries will end up in there and it’ll be more convenient this way. Plus you could move the door from the garage into the storage room a little closer to the dining wall giving easier access to both rooms. You could make a mini space between the 2 rooms for a small mud room with closets/cubicles?

  98. Lots of suggestions above! My two cents – don’t put a freezer in a living space. They can get really noisy when the compressor goes on, and they need good air circulation. Upright might be easier for Matt to access? I like the last plan better than the first, but with buffet storage in the middle rather than window seat. In any case, I know you will come up with a wonderful plan; I can hear those wheels turning from here!

  99. I haven’t read the other comments as of yet so if this has been mentioned, forgive me. If you keep the pantry at the back of the room you’ll be able to construct a wall that straightens out the slope of the ceiling, at least in the dining room area. However, to solve the garage door issue, why not convert the pantry into a butler’s pantry. This allows a pass through from the garage and gives you ample pantry storage. The room is long enough to create an over sized butlers pantry so that you have room to bring projects in from the garage. You could also keep your one window in the back of the room. And it allows easy access for Matt since he can go straight through the pantry to the garage and not have to maneuver around the dining room table.

  100. I like this last plan, just a small suggestion though. Since you can access the storage room from the garage, why not eliminate the door on the back of the storage room, and put the freezer in the corner near the door to the future pantry area? I know it’s nice to have access from the back yard to the garage, but we don’t, and it’s not a big deal to go thru the garage for things. Put a cabinet between the two pantries for extra storage.

  101. For my mind, you’re putting too much emphasise on your concern of having the garage door off the dining area. Is Matt going to be using the door to the garage? If he is then where it is now is better as you have plenty of space to make the door as big as you want. While I understand this is the sort of thing you either like or hate, if it was me I would go with the pantry/door off the dining room plan and make the door a large barn style door and make it a large piece of art. It’s far enough away from your glass doors through to the family room not to compete, so you make something really striking. Just a thought.

  102. Could you make a hallway at the back of the dining room leading in from the garage? The new hallway could do double duty as a pantry and mud room by adding storage to both sides of the hallway. You could play around with the hallway entry point into the dining room….in the middle to allow the natural light in from the back window, or on the side to give the natural light to your new hallway.

  103. This is probably way out in left field but the first thing I thought when I looked at all your layouts was to get rid of the living room and make it a dining room. That would free up the proposed dining room for all sorts of options, a really large pantry, perhaps a little table at the window, maybe move your office there. If you were able to reconfigure and move Matt’s game room somewhere else, you’d have the option to create a great master suite..

  104. Kristi, I just can’t see you putting a chest freezer out in the open in one of your beautifully finished rooms. People would be wondering whatever possessed you to ruin the decor with a freezer! I would do whatever I could to stick it in either the storage room or the laundry room.

    And yes, an upright freezer is soooooo much better than having to deal with a chest freezer but as we all know, they cost a whole lot more to purchase. You mentioned putting it in the garage but that is counterproductive to keeping energy costs under control. My house here in Canada has central air but not my garage. We get hot, humid summers in my area (in your Fahrenheit degrees ranges of mid 70s to 100). Add the humidity factor and a freezer has to work very hard out in a garage. I had to put mine there for a summer and I think the poor freezer nearly died. Your temps are even worse in summer (I’m married to a former McKinney, TX resident).

    When I down-sized, I got rid of my big freezer and got a small one to put in my basement. My kids are gone so a tiny chest freezer is perfect. (I don’t buy/fill it up with things and then forget what is way down on the bottom.)

    I can’t wait to see what you work on next!

  105. I like the butlers pantry idea along the back wall with a wine fridge / bar / sideboard set up between the two large cabinets.I also like the transom window idea above the cabinets / bar area, but can’t visualize how it will look with the lower ceilings so that may not work. I’d put an upright freezer in the storage room. I don’t like the square pantry idea. It seems as an after thought and a weird layout. I also don’t like the idea of a walk thru pantry some have mentioned, from the storage area / garage. That seems like it would be a hallway of clutter. I hate entering my house into a cluttered area. It makes me grumpy and ill at ease. I’m sure whatever you decide will be beautiful!

  106. Why not reverse the dining room and the music room…the pony wall is screaming for a beautiful table and chairs and at the end are the beautiful doors you created! The doors would be for Matt to go through and then the music room would have a bit more privacy! Please consider this and then your dining room could be a combination of colors from the kitchen and the living room! Always interested in what you are doing! Keep up the good work!

    1. Kristi said that the room is not wide enough for Matt to get around the table (if the dining room was in the music room.)

  107. i like the new design with the double pantries flanking the window. Consider…what if you made the window shorter/higher and put a counter under it instead of a window seat? You could gain another cabinet (under the window), plus, the counter height surface could double as a serving/staging area. It could be a drink station, to keep guests out of the main work area during parties. A good place to drop grocery bags… Well, you know.

  108. if you move the door to go into the storage area you will loose that 1/2 of the storage area having 3 doors. You will loose that corner area. It may also be difficult manuvering throug the storage into the garage. Is the floor level with the garage floor? Even if you aren’t planing on parking in there you may like coming in & out with bad weather. I like pulling or backing up to the garage door, using the garage door opener and unloading groceries into my kitchen & dropping the things for my upright freezer which is in my garage. I would move the door so it swings against the pantry wall. That way it wouldn’t be right beside the table. That looks like it may be a foot or so further down. Maybe figure a way that it blends in with the wall and not stand out. Do you think you may take Matt out that way? If you think you may going through the storage may be difficult. You may not now but years down the road you may want to. I rule for practical over door in dining area.

  109. This idea may have already been suggested but there’s too many comments to read so I apologize in advance if so. I was thinking, what if you used your idea of two pantry cabinets but in stead of a window seat you built a “faux” built-in buffet that actually housed a chest type freezer. The buffet top could be hinged to lift up to access the freezer. The only problem I see with this idea is making the front removable in case the freezer needed a repair or replacement, but I’m positive, with your awesome skills, you could figure out a solution….and it would be beautiful!

  110. Hi Kristi,
    I like both ideas but I think maybe the new one would be good since you can move the door.
    Why not instead of a window seat you can do a dry bar with a window on top but the same storage on the bottom all across then just bring the storage up on the sides like you would with the window seat. I love every builtin that you have ever done so I know that would be beautiful, you could even paint them black with brass, swoon!!!
    I think also that if you can get the chest freezer in the storage area or garage that would be better as it could be noisy.

  111. How about you build in the freezer between the two windows. I am assuming this is a freezer you access from the top. Have a little higher window if needed. Tweak the size of the pantries. Whatever to size the space to fit in that freezer, and then like your bathtub front conceal it.
    I Like your new layout with the door coming from the storage room and then into the garage. Much better.
    Can’t wait to see the finished room.

  112. After reading the other comments–something I should always do before commenting–there are some great ideas there. I very much liked the idea of making the storage room into your walk in pantry. This seems to be the best of all solutions, and gives you enough space for anything you may want to put in there–access for Matt in rainy weather to the garage etc. As an added bonus you could build on a storage-workshop for yourself to really meet your needs in the future.And best of all frees up that wall for you to do anything you want to do.

  113. I am not sold on your long-term goal floor plan. I get having the Laundry Room close to the Bedroom, but I wouldn’t want my washer and dryer on the other side of the wall from my bed where I am sleeping or Family Room where I am trying to watch a movie. What do you think about a combination Family and Dining Room? You could move the Laundry Room to where you have the Pantry and make the other part of the Den space a Pantry and Mudroom. That way you can have the door from the garage wherever works best. I am not a fan of walking straight from the garage into the dining area. You could still make the space a really pretty area to look at from your kitchen and you could have the freezer inside without having to worry about the noise right next to the dining area. Just a thought.

  114. While I undersand your need for a freezer, I like your second option with the wall of built ins for your pantry/dish storage. My suggestion is to put the freezer in your storage room, just inside the door and to move the outside door of the storage room over about 3 feet to make room for the freezer. It would still be pretty handy for you and near your pantry.

  115. IMHO, a deep freeze of any shape is a utility item and has no place in a home other than in laundry/utility/storage/garage areas.

    I think the term “pantry” can mean lots of different things: storage for basically all your dry goods that you are accessing daily; or for bulk food; or countertop appliances that aren’t used daily; or larger serving items, etc. There is such a wide variety of needs based on a person’s lifestyle. My good friend regularly entertains for groups of 30+ people; she has catering-style storage needs. Me? I just need a place for the turkey platter.

    I’d like to know how you envision using your kitchen cabinet space, and what additional actual storage you truly need.

    A walk-in pantry is a very appealing idea, but definitely looks like an add-on and detracts from the gracefulness of your space. I wonder if it falls in the category of something you love, but that just doesn’t work with your house.

    Your second layout is much better, but I think floor-to-ceiling cabinets on either side of the windows will overwhelm the space and look like storage stuck in a dining room because there was nowhere else for it.

    I’d suggest something built-in across the entire back wall, but at about 44″ – 48″ high, with a top surface that fits your decorating plans for dining room. Windows all the way across, too. Maximum light, with dining-room-appropriate storage (think Craftsman structure, but with your design). Integral to your dining room design, and in concert with your fabulous custom kitchen.

    Anyway, my thought process would go: 1) what do I keep in the kitchen? [e.g., do I really want to go to another room to grab the can of soup] 2) what kind of storage looks suitable in a dining room and what of my stuff would I keep there? 3) there’s a massive existing storage room adjacent…how can that fulfill what I envision when I think “pantry”.

    Perhaps I just missed it, but I guess I haven’t heard you say how you will use what you have in your kitchen (other than the paper towel drawer, of course!)

    Finally, with the access door from storage moved down, I don’t have a concern about traffic flow. This is private access for you and Matt. Nobody else comes in through your garage, right?

  116. Wow, Kristi!
    After reading through so many thought provoking suggestions you’ll need another 3-day hiatus to sort and ponder. I won’t add to the more discussed topics but I do have a question/suggestion. A plan with both a living room and family room would suggest that the living room would be most often used for social gatherings that would eventually lead folks to travel into the dining room. It’d worry the pants off me to know that path cut through my kitchen. I was wondering, if the budget, exterior design, etc. would allow for a small courtyard, glass enclosed deck, or patio in the unused outdoor area between the living room and garage, and if so, could the front facing wall of the dining room support French doors and another door (or open passage if the area were enclosed) in the living room which would give direct access to the dining room. This would address your concerns of it appearing as an afterthought and free up some space along the other walls for your other concerns regarding entry into the garage. I know you’ll get it right when time comes to make the final plans and you’ll execute them beautifully.
    Best of luck,

  117. One suggestion would be to create a wide walk-through pantry with a half wall on the side facing the dining area that would have storage cabinets on the pantry side of the wall but built-in bookshelves on the dining side for cookbooks and such. The ledge it would create would be a great place to lay your grocery bags as you come in.

    My second suggestion would be to do a full wall on the dining side with a row of transom windows along the top. You could then either have whatever kind of door opening you desire (glass french door or open arch or sliding door, etc) and do whatever with the dining side of the wall. It would be rather pretty having a row of transom windows on both sides of your galley pantry.

  118. Hi Kristi,

    I was really glad you asked for more ideas again. I actually posted an idea for you on 2/14 @ 3:12 pm on your A’s & Q’s 1/23 post. I don’t know if you saw it, so I copied it and pasted it below.

    I think it’s close to what your latest space plan is for the area, but with some twists. I hope you find it useful.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it.


    from 2/14/15; re-post:
    Hi Kristi,

    I was looking at your latest floor plan and I read some postings about how walk-in closets are floor space wasters, and then I got to looking at your pantry in the dining room area and kind of though the same thing about a walk in pantry. I know you said you don’t like the garage door coming into the middle of the dining room. So with all that in mind I thought I’d put my 2 cents in about another idea for that area.

    My comments are based on trying to figure out a way to get the garage manway door out of the middle of the dining room, and still have an entrance from the garage into the house. Also, giving you the pantry storage you need, a beverage center, freezer (upright), and still have windows on the back side of the room for sunlight, a view into the backyard, and fresh air circulation.

    Now I know you have some utilities out in the garage and they are tucked in that corner between the storage wall and the existing entry door. My thoughts are to move them to accommodate this design I thought of. I’m not sure how expensive it would be to do that, but here goes…

    Let’s take out the pantry. And lets steal 5 ft 6″ from the storage area to create your new entry way, leaving the storage room 14 ft wide instead of 19’6″ wide. So now the left wall of the storage room would be just left of the entrance to that room. Then take that 5’6″ existing garage/storage wall and put in a new entry door that is hinged on the right hand side and swings into the room. Eliminate the existing (right hand) wall between where the pantry was going to be abutted next to the old (left hand) storage wall. Eliminate the garage door that entered into the dining room and wall it up. Now the floor plan looks like a lower case letter “r”.

    Just going by the measurements on your floor plan, the wall on the right as you come in the new entrance from the garage would be 7 ft long, (extending beyond the 14 ft dining room wall). The back wall with the windows would be roughly 17 ft 9 in. The overall all length of the dining room from front to back wall is 21 ft.

    I know you have a sloped ceiling towards the back of the dining room, so maybe some of my ideas for the back wall may need to be modified because of height restrictions, unless you decide to have the slope ceiling fixed when you redo the sunroom (wishful thinkng?).

    Now for the layout—When you enter, in front of you would be a window with a bench underneath it (I’m not exactly sure how the existing back door in the storage room would be affected by this new layout, that’s why I suggested replacing the door with a window in case the floor would need to be elevated. If not you could leave it as a door to the backyard.) and on the (7ft) wall on your right you could have coat hooks or a bulletin board. Continuing the layout on the back wall, going from right to left, would be an upright freezer (maybe with a built in surround like you did to the fridge in the kitchen), then a tall, floor to ceiling, cabinet, then next to that would be a double door (glass?) wall cabinet and a window to the left of that (to be centered over the sink base). Dependng on the size of the window, if there is room to the left of the window, maybe you could put some open shelving on the wall. The lower cabinets (right to left) would consist of an ice maker or base cabinet, then a small sink base cabinet, then your beverage refrigerator. Since there is counter space you could put your coffee maker and other beveage appliances over there too (you might need to add some outlets in the backsplash). I decided on this layout with the taller cabinets to the right side because there would be more traffic flow coming from the family room into the dining room and I thought it would be more open than having the taller cabinets on the left side (by he family room wall). Plus there is still enough room to open and access the taller cabinet and freezer on the right hand side of the room by the entrance from the garage.

    I just thought this layout would give you the stoage you want, you would still have plenty of sunlight with two windows, and it would make the room appear larger and add more functionality between the family room, dining room, and entering from the garage. This entrance area gives you a place to unload your arms when you come in from the garage, whether it’s just your purse, bags, shoes, or groceries.

    So now that the gararge door that entered into the dining room has been removed, you could build a ramp for Matt in the garage for the new entrance. Even with the bench and the freezer/tall cabinet along the back wall, the entry area still allow for apprx. a 4 ft deep “hall”, so there would be plenty of room for Matt to use this entrance also. Plus now you can arrange your furniture in the dining room however you want.

    Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you. I know whatever you decide it will be perfect for you and Matt.