Is The Kitchen Work Triangle Effective?

Granite island and perimeter surfaces

Create a snack zone prep area between major appliances. This usually involves a micro & refrigerator nearby. http://studio76kitchens.com

Since most homeowners now admit there is more than one person working in the kitchen, the inefficiency of a basic “work triangle” (sink, fridge, stove) is rather obvious. Where do you put an army of small appliances and still keep adequate counter space? Balancing the choices of large appliances is also a challenge since the goal is to accomplish a floor plan that doesn’t seem “forced”. Here is a small quick list of pet peeves (more politely called design challenges) that I see out there in all different kinds of kitchen spaces. Try to avoid these.

1- A giant microwave over the range or on the counter

2- A dishwasher trapped in the corner/fridge up against wall

3- A refrigerator that is too deep and sticks out into the room

Another negative that you may want to avoid …… anything that cannot be wiped down with a sponge doesn’t belong in a kitchen.

The best kitchen is an uncluttered kitchen, no matter what your style choice is, and creating “work zones” rather than a strict triangle. Here are a few that I like:

A) Snack zone or nook

B) Mail drop

C) Electronic device charging station

D) Two prep zones

E) Medicinal/vitamin separate storage

D) Cooking zone properly scaled for the space

E) Smaller appliances zone created with cabinetry http://customcupboards.com/meaningfulchoices/productlines/heartland/

Before and After Kitchen

Before and After

The Before and After of this kitchen near Cleveland, Ohio, would make any homeowner proud. The value of their home just went up. The clutter is gone. The cabinets are new. The countertops are granite. The appliances are new. The island adds tremendous flexibility. It’s easy to prep and clean-up. The family entertains with ease. Nice seating. Storage galore!

I love “Wow” before-and-after photos!

Can you achieve a renovation of this caliber on a budget? I think so. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when considering a total “gut” kitchen remodel.

1) Where your house is located will have an impact on which projects to tackle. However, an updated kitchen always adds an immediate value, especially after a depressed housing market.

2) Depending on the values of other houses in your neighborhood, a total kitchen remodel (rather than a partial) will most likely set your home apart from them. I just talked to a couple who purchased a house based solely on the fact that the kitchen was totally renovated and updated to an “open floor” plan (walls had been taken out) and they could simply move-in and know that the value already exists.

3) Staying on a budget is important. The material and product choices today afford great flexibility in kitchen remodels. For example, the recent kitchen remodel I’ve posted in this blog had moderate selections in their new appliances, keeping several thousand dollars available for granite counters. That’s just one area where a budget can be maintained. Another is new cabinets. I’m not a big fan of refacing existing cabinets … there’s just too many manufactured cabinet lines out there with all the upgraded and latest hardware and drawer and door construction features at modest prices.

Stay tuned in to my blog as I review current kitchen designs and products.

Deb

My view of smaller kitchens…..

Single bowl for Small Kitchens!

Single bowl for Small Kitchens!


Since I get a lot of feedback on posts about small, even tiny kitchens, here are 5 more tips:

1- ADD A COUNTER You’d be surprised how useful 18-24 inches can be in countertop space. Either have a kitchen dealer design and order a 2 X 2 or 3 X 2 island in a painted or stained furniture finish (which, of course if your kitchen is tiny, you will put up against a wall or against the side of one of your existing cabinets, even if it “floats” into an adjoining room)

2- COOK IN STAGES Think about it this way …. all the cooking shows you love to watch show the chef standing in one place, facing the camera, with all the measured ingredients already measured out, ready to put it all together for the viewer. Most restaurant people will want their cooks to stay confined to a prep area that’s basically a “station” with an appliance and very little counterspace. I have a small kitchen myself, and like to prepare the ingredients perhaps the nite before, clean up…and then before dinner the next day, only use a bowl or pan and few utensils to finish preparing the meal. It helps!

3- BUY THE CABINET ADD-ONS Here are just a few….foil and towel roll accessories you can attach to the insides of cabinet doors; wire inserts to make one of your cabinets store things vertically; a pot/pan hanging wall rack (get those everyday pans out of the cabinets) Make a trip to a local Bed Bath&Beyond and you’ll be surprised at the organizers available (even if you only have 6 cabinets!!!)

4- DON’T STORE ANYTHING ON TOP OF YOUR COUNTERS Or keep it to a minimum. Case in point: I used to think I HAD to have a full blender, but realized those little handheld blenders work great and is much easier to store in a drawer.

5- KEEP EVERYTHING WHITE & STAINLESS This, my friends, will make it look larger. Trust me.

More to come on small kitchens.

Luv ya
Deb

Organized Kitchen Culture

A place for everything. What a concept!

Spices in a pantry cabinet....labeled on the tops.

Studebaker AFTER 190

But organizing each shelf and drawer will be trial and error for awhile! I usually like to suggest working in your kitchen paying attention to the items that you use at each specific appliance.

For example, your cooktop. Are you grabbing your spices during the stirring, or do you find the spices you need before you even begin to cook? What about your smaller appliances, like the Cuisinart or blender? Are they pretty enough (like a KitchenAid cobalt blue?) to keep out on the counter all the time? Why not add an electrical outlet and pocket doors on a wall cabinet as shown in the photo?

Baking up a storm? Again, try to organize your kitchen stuff into activity “zones”. Keep the baking items like mixing bowls, baking sprays and utensils, etc. close to the oven.

Vertical storage for trays, sheets, boards. Nice!

Vertical storage for trays, sheets, boards. Nice!

I really liked one homeowner’s idea to install wood dividers in a cabinet above her oven for sheets, cutting boards, over-sized platters and trays. Real Simple also has super ideas for clutter-free living in the kitchen.

I enjoy helping homeowners who want to remodel with the accessories available with cabinet lines! Both Mouser Custom Cabinets and Medallion Cabinets have super organizational options.