The most important consideration for the kitchen is the “work triangle,” or the distance between the three most-used aspects of the kitchen: the sink, the refrigerator, and the stovetop. Ideally, it’s usually recommended to keep these three things close together to reduce the number of steps between them. It’s also important that they be easy to access, not tucked away behind something else, or that there be a complicated path from one to another: for example, it’s probably a bad idea for the path from sink to fridge to go around a corner.
Maintaining a triangle and minimizing steps has led in open-floorplan homes to the kitchen island. This is a discontinuous countertop “floating” away from the walls. Usually a sink or stovetop will be installed on the island, with the other ends of the triangle against a wall nearby. The island, therefore, serves to define the boundary of the kitchen and gives people in the kitchen access to the neighboring rooms, such as a dining area or living room. Someone can stand at the sink and still converse with family members in the living room.
Because the kitchen island opens up the kitchen, another important decision is to determine what rooms should adjoin the kitchen and in what configuration. Because the kitchen can be a center of activity in a home, it’s important that it accommodate such traffic, especially during times of the day when several members of the family might want access for different purposes. For example, after school, it might be one child’s chore to wash the dishes while at the same time another child wants to fix a snack. It’s also important to be able to serve guests from the kitchen, and easy access between a hosting space and the kitchen is essential. On the other hand, it’s not always necessary for a bedroom to immediately adjoin the kitchen.
Another important consideration is countertop space. People who cook or bake will want ample space for preparation work, and it’s important to consider space for countertop-appliances such as microwaves and toaster ovens if those are not built in. Added countertop space can also allow for additional storage in cabinets above and below the counter. Some kitchen appliances (such as mixers) are oddly shaped and take up a lot of space both on the counter top and in a cabinet, so the more storage space a kitchen has, the better. Pull-out or walk-in pantries are also useful parts of kitchens, and the kitchen layout should provide quick access to this kind of storage.
Kitchens really are the heart of any home, and it’s important that your house has the right kitchen to help make it a comfortable home. When thinking about your new home, be sure to consider the kitchen. To speak with an experienced contractor who specializes in custom home construction, call Harden Custom Homes at (239) 603-6083 or stop by the Fort Myers office.