THE WORK TRIANGLE
The fundamental design will revolve around what we call the Work Triangle, which is created by connecting the three major work areas of a kitchen: the cleaning area (sink), the cooking area (range or
cooktop) and the cold storage area (refrigerator). More trips are made within this triangle than to any other areas in the kitchen.
For the most efficient layout, we recommend that the appliances be placed so that the distance between any two
of them is no less than three feet, and no more than seven feet, with the total of the triangle sides measuring no less than twelve feet. A greater distance means extra steps. A shorter distance means a cramped work space.
Although kitchen designers try to keep traffic from crossing through the work triangle,
that's impossible to do with a corridor, or galley kitchen. Closing off one doorway can help solve this kitchens built-in disadvantage, but doing so causes difficulty with traffic flowing throughout the rest of the house. The best work arrangement for a galley kitchen places the
refrigerator and sink on one wall and the range on the opposite wall. The aisle between counters should measure not less than 4 feet and not more than 6 feet.
The two adjacent walls in an L-shape kitchen form a natural triangle that protects the cook from interference. If the activity center is kept close to the corner of the L, household traffic can flow by without crossing the work triangle.
This plan offers flexibility in the arrangement of appliances, storage, and counter space. The work itself should flow from
refrigerator to sink to cooking and serving areas.
If you are remodeling, keep in mind that the L-shape kitchen requires less space than the U-shaped layout and can be almost as efficient. The L-shape kitchen is often the easiest layout to work with, of you are re-doing a kitchen without adding square footage. L-shape kitchens also work great when an island is added.
The most efficient floor plans prevent household traffic from cutting through the work triangle. The U-shape kitchen is ideal in this respect. Its dead-end design prevents the kitchen from becoming a household artery. This practical kitchen also provides three walls of storage and counter space. You'll need a kitchen that is at least 8 feet square to provide the minimum 4 feet of working room needed in the center of the kitchen. Keep in mind, however, that the perimeter of the triangle should be no greater than 22 feet or you'll add needless mileage to kitchen chores. If you have a large U-shape kitchen you may want to consider re-arranging the components or adding an island.
Adding an Island or Peninsula
An island works well in U-shape kitchens with more than 10 feet between the legs of the U, and also in L-shape kitchens. An island is especially useful in minimizing the work triangle in a large kitchen. It can also define traffic patterns and act as a room divider.
To create an efficient work triangle in a kitchen with an island, consider placing either the clean-up center (sink and dishwasher) or the cooktop in the side of the island closest to the work core. Designing the opposite side of the island as a counter dining spot can alleviate the need for a separate kitchen eating area, and keep guests and children close to the action and still out of the cook's way.
Don't place an island in a kitchen that is less than 10 feet square. You won't have enough room to work around it. You need a minimum of 3 feet of aisle space between each side of the island; 4 feet is ideal. If you don't have this much room, consider using a small, rolling cart or installing a peninsula instead.
Peninsula kitchens don't require as much room as island kitchens. They are the perfect solution for small L-shape kitchens that have floor space available, but have run out of wall space.
If the peninsula provides a space for an appliance, it can also reduce the size of a too-large work triangle. Like islands, peninsulas divert household traffic around the activity center. Although a peninsula can be scaled to fit many kitchen floor plans, it probably won't work in a very small kitchen. Don't install a peninsula without reviewing the traffic pattern. Remember, household traffic should be diverted around the work triangle, rather than through it.
THE COOKING CENTER
The cooking center consist of a range, or cooktop, oven(s), microwave oven, plus the equipment needed to cook and serve food: large ladles, carving knives, serving platters, pots and pans, and spices. For example: a minimum of 12 inches of counter space on each side of the range or surface unit is necessary, though more space is desirable. In some instances, the oven or microwave may be located outside the work triangle because of its usage.
Wherever the separate oven is located, a 15 inch landing counter should be placed to either side for a working space.
The clean-up center is the area around the sink and the dishwasher. A trash compactor and disposal also would be located here. Dishes, flatware and glasses are usually stored nearby, so they can go directly from sink or dishwasher to storage. Since food and utensils are cleaned here, many cooks opt for one deep sink bowl for cleaning pots and pans too large to fit in the dishwasher and a second smaller vegetable bowl. Ideally, the clean-up center should be located between the food storage center and the cooking center. Provide at least 18" of counter space on one side of the sink, and 24" of space on the opposite side for this function.
REFRIGERATION AND STORAGE CENTER
The refrigeration and storage center ideally should be located adjacent to the sink, with at least 36" of counter space between. This center consists of the
refrigerator, freezer and cabinets for canned bulk and packaged foods. Utensils and dishes used in preparing meals should be kept in this area.
While the cooking, clean-up and refrigeration/storage centers are basic to every kitchen, many kitchens also include a dining area, planning center and entertainment bar.
When you think of an overall decorating style don't worry if you seem to like many. While some people have a definite motif in mind, such as "Country French" or "Contemporary", a beautiful room can combine many styles.
The Kitchen of today can be gleaming and high-tech, cluttered and homey, cozy and warm, or cool and open. It can reflect styles of the past or
forecast the future....but it should always reflect you.
There is no fixed formula for creating a Kitchen Decor; elements cannot be spelled out to get an instant theme. Rather, it is up to the individual and the designer to combine what they think necessary and appropriate to come up with the desired effect.
Below are listed some generalized ideas to achieve some desired effects.
The traditional kitchen might have fine wood flooring and cabinetry, embellished with handsome detailing and ornate hardware. Antique English, European, or Early American measures, mugs, utensils, and other accessories - made of wood, copper, pewter or iron.
Countertops made of granite or other natural (or natural appearing) materials. Colours and textures that look as if they've aged over time - grayish whites and grayish greens, are examples. Faux granite or marbleized finishes on baseboards and
moldings can also provide an instant pedigree. Curtains and other fabrics in solid colours or traditional patterns, such as damasks, toiles and tapestries.
In a country kitchen style the cabinets would most likely be wood, more specifically maple or pine, left natural or perhaps distressed, crackled, or whitewashed to denote age. The chairs would be cane backed or cane in the seats. The ceilings could have beams or perhaps the pressed time tiles. Pottery, country collectables and antiques would decorate the open shelving areas left for this reason. Vibrant colours can be shown in fabrics and/or accessories. Other surfaces would be covered in period materials such as tile, brick or wood.
THE KITCHEN EMPORIUM INC.