Design Dilemma: Functional Kitchen Design
Older homes with old-fashioned kitchens can be quaint to look at, but oh what a pain they can be when it comes time to cook! Our pet peeves include extra deep cabinets without sliding racks and ridiculous layouts that preclude more than one person from working in the kitchen at the same time. UGH!
Needless to say, we’ve lived through such defects and learned a few things over time:
1.) When re-designing a kitchen, focus first on layout. Do you have one of those kitchens that doesn’t allow for more than one cook? You can change the situation by changing the layout. Kitchen designers focus on one of two strategies — either they go for what is called “the triangle layout” or they design separate “work stations” in different parts of the kitchen that allow several cooks to add to the stew.
In the triangle layout, the stove, sink and refrigerator are placed at points of a triangle for more efficient movement while cooking and cleaning up. This design style has always been popular but has become a little less relevant as kitchens have filled with an increasing number of appliances. In general, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that the sink be located adjacent to or across from the cooking surface and refrigerator. The sink should preferably be surrounded by a 24-inch-wide landing area to one side and at least an 18-inch-wide landing area on the other side. Dishwashers should be located within 36 inches of the nearest edge of a clean-up/prep sink for maximum convenience.
In the workstation layout, each standard task station (prep, cooking, storage and cleanup areas), as well as the more specialized ones (baking and canning), is centered around a major appliance and a landing area of at least 15 inches of adjacent countertop.
2) Add an island. Some of the most functional kitchens we’ve worked in have included an island which allowed for convenient prepping and cooking. Many of these islands have included a seating area and a storage area for cookbooks and wine. The beauty of an island is that it can work well in both the triangle and workstation layouts we’ve talked about. One of its best features is that it allows for a traffic flow in the kitchen, making it easier for more than one person to do the cooking. Be sure to allow for 42 inches of space around your island.
3) Add kitchen cabinet organizers. Even if you are the proud owner of an old-fashioned kitchen with old-fashioned kitchen cabinets, you can update those cabinets by adding modern day organizers. Pull-out racks and sliding shelves in cabinets can make pots, pans and dishes easier to reach. Rotating organizers that fit in corner cabinets can make use of what might otherwise be wasted space. There are cabinet organizers out there for almost every need, from holding the lids on pans to holding tin foil and plastic wrap. Make use of these handy organizers and you’ll be surprised at how much more functional your kitchen will become!
Images: www.homeinteriorzone.com; kitchen-cabinets-designs.blogspot.com; www.armstrong.com.