First of all, the kitchen needed to be large! Our current kitchen is about 11'x9' from wall to wall but with it being an almost closed circle-shaped kitchen (one little aisle to enter/exit), the open space in the middle is only about 7' x 5 1/2' (into which the dishwasher door, oven door and fridge door all open so if any of those are open, it gets real small, real quick!). The new kitchen is about 18' x 11' with lots of space to move around! It is a U-shaped kitchen with a fairly good sized island.
Our current kitchen has very chopped up counter space so a long uninterrupted counter was vital. The longest straight piece of counter in our kitchen now is 41" - suitable for only 2 people to work side by side, and that is very cozy side-by-side! The longest uninterrupted counter in our new kitchen will be about 7' long! Many hands can help with counter space like that!
We have a bar counter in our kitchen now and we love it. It is a raised counter and the kids eat most of their breakfasts and their lunches there (when it is cleaned off - it does become the dumping ground for things but that is another story!). However, our bar counter only seats 4 people. We have 5 kids. It has become a source of arguments and contention to figure out who gets to sit at the bar counter and who has to sit at the table. The next kitchen has a peninsula that is 11' long. We should easily be able to get all 5 kids at that counter - hey, maybe there will even be a spot for me, too! Plus, with the space at the island, we should easily get 9 or 10 people just at the peninsula and island, never mind at the dining room table! Lots of seating was imperative. Unlike our current kitchen, however, the peninsula will not have a raised bar counter. It will be all one level, just like the island. Though it will require me to keep the kitchen a bit tidier since I cannot hide the dirty dishes behind the raised counter, it will give another large workable counter area!