MN Custom Cabinets
Let’s face it, the difference between a good kitchen and a great kitchen is not the chef or what they cook; it all has to do with layout and storage. Layout requires a lot of forethought prior to bringing in the cabinetry and the appliances. Once it is all in place, little, aside from a massive remodel, can be done to fix or improve it.
Make The Most Of Your Kitchen’s Work Triangle
The Cook’s Path Between the Sink, Refrigerator and Stove…
The work triangle is the walking pattern that the cook makes in the kitchen when preparing a meal. It’s the path between the three main areas of the kitchen in order to get from one major appliance to the next. With the help of a few basic principles, you can design a kitchen that meets your need precisely – saving you time and effort and contributing to a better quality of everyday life.
These stations, or zones as they’re also called, are the:
1. Food storage zone (the refrigerator)
2. Clean-up zone (the sink)
3. Cooking zone (the oven)
The placement of the sink, refrigerator, and the stove creates the points of the triangle and defines the way that the cook moves from one task to the next.
It is the centerpiece of most kitchen layouts. The goals of a good kitchen work triangle are to place the three most common work sites the most efficient distance apart and to minimize traffic through the work zone. Ideally, each area is separated by enough distance so everything that’s needed to complete a task within that zone is close at hand.
The Work Triangle – Creating The Ideal Work Flow
The “work triangle” is defined as an imaginary straight line drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator and finally back to the sink.
The main working functions in a kitchen are carried out between the cooktop, the sink and the refrigerator. These three points and the imaginary line between them, make up the “work triangle”.
The trick is to position these three points so that they are not too far from each other (this would make you walk backwards and forwards more than you need to when carrying out a task) and not too close to each other (this makes for cramped working conditions).
Ideally, the line between these three points should not exceed 6 feet in total. The ideal distance between the different working points is 35”.
If you’re thinking you don’t have room in your home for a triangular kitchen, don’t worry: the working triangle can be effectively achieved in many different layouts, according to preference and the shape of the room.
Work Zones – To Simplifying Everyday Life
When deciding where to put cabinets and appliances in relation to each other, it can be helpful to think in terms of zones, or work zones. This approach, focusing on function rather than objects to fit in, mean you’ll end up with an everyday-friendly and efficient kitchen.
The three main zones are, in relevance to the working triangle, are: storage (fridge/freezer and dry storage), washing (sink, dishwasher) and cooking (cooktop, oven, microwave). Placing them well is crucial to achieving an ergonomic work triangle, with a natural workflow and everything within reach.
Here are some basic tips to consider when planning your work zones:
For example, at the cooking station, cabinetry storage can organize all your pots and pans. Cooking utensils can be easily organized in a larger storage drawer with cutlery dividers. Avoid crossing the kitchen with hot pots and pans. Think about placing your oven and cooktop near the sink and countertops.
Your sink is an important area. Plan to have your fridge close at hand for easy food prep. And close proximity to your hob makes it easier to drain your pasta and vegetables.
For storing, make sure you have enough storage for all the food – both for dry goods and in the fridge. A worktop nearby your high cabinets and fridge makes it easier to unpack shopping bags.
In most cases, it’s the shape and size of your room that decides what kitchen layout you ultimately will choose. However, some kitchen layouts may suit your needs and living situation better than others.
Think of zone design as an expansion upon, rather than a replacement for, the classic work triangle approach to kitchen design and layout. It’s a practical (and increasingly popular) way to group kitchen activities together in appropriately organized spaces, allowing for multiple cooks and work centers.
While the work triangle focuses on the positioning of the range, refrigerator and sink, zone design addresses the full scope of appliances, plumbing fixtures and gadgets available to today’s homeowners. It also considers the many activities—entertaining, doing homework, charging cell phones and more—that occur in the kitchen, as well as the fact that kitchen size is growing and floor plans are more open to the rest of the home.
But don’t fret if you don’t have a kitchen large enough to house a distinct area for every activity: few people do. Prep, cooking and cleanup areas are the primary zones, and they’re mandatory. All other zones (baking, beverage and communication centers, for example) are not necessary and therefore called auxiliary zones. By combining some zones into one area or eliminating zones that don’t fit into your layout and lifestyle, you can make your kitchen multi-task just like you do.
Talk to a pro about getting your cabinets built and installed correctly. Describe how you and your family cook and interact in the kitchen. They will consider this information while they study the kitchen’s existing work triangle to provide you with the best cabinetry solutions for your new kitchen.
Doing so can be the difference between cabinetry that will need to be replaced after a few short years and cabinets that last you a lifetime.