09 August 2011
Get Busy Getting Organized
The kitchen is typically the most used room in the house, a favorite spot for doing homework, holding family meetings, leaving messages, entertaining, as well as for preparing meals. This important room can be designed with both efficiency and attractiveness.
The key ergonomic principle in kitchen design is the "kitchen triangle," the lines connecting the center points of the three primary work areas -- sink, stove, and refrigerator. As you decide where to place appliances and counters, imagine a triangle laid over these three points and envision the family's cooks moving from one to the other. A good triangle will save steps and enhance safety as hot dishes are moved around.
Route major traffic outside the triangle; islands should cut into the triangle by no more than 12 inches. Allow adequate countertop space beside the cooking and cleanup areas.
Each triangle leg usually measures between 4 and 9 feet, and they aren't equal in length. In larger, busier kitchens, designers often establish more than one triangle. Think about a second triangle for quick meals, connecting microwave, island counter, and fridge.
Is there ever enough counter space? Plan for plenty when you remodel.
The ideal counter arrangement provides easy access to the most used countertop appliances – microwave, toaster, blender, coffee maker, can opener – while minimizing clutter. Placing them under cabinets or in a "kitchen garage" with a door can keep counter space open.
Under-cabinet space can also be used for slide-out shelves for much used pots and pans or dishes.
Place utensil drawers or a crock or pitcher holding key utensils near food preparation areas.
A remodeling project offers a great opportunity to purge your kitchen of unnecessary junk – never used recipes on backs of envelopes or torn from the newspaper; excess empty margarine tubs and jam jars; old cookware that's been replaced by newer models; and of course expired food. If you haven't used it in over a year, you can probably recycle, donate, or toss it without missing a thing.
Plan for storage as you plan your remodel by making full use of all cabinets, drawers, doors, walls, under-counter and under-cabinet space, and islands. These ideas will double your efficiency.
• A drawer below the counter for storing dishes (helpful for kids or anyone with disability) with racks or pegboards to separate dishes vertically
• A pop-up mixer stand, with receptacle strip under the countertop or cabinet
• A shallow drawer for glass and enamel dishes and a deeper one for nesting lighter metal dishes
• A lazy Susan disk mounted in a lower cabinet without the spindle – it holds tons of items
• Cabinet doors that go up instead of out to avoid head bumps
• Cutting boards mounted inside a cabinet door
• Rollout trays or cutting boards that are stored in recessed cabinet areas
• Stepped shelving to use the back space in a deep cabinet
• Lid racks for tops to various pots and pans
• Sliding shelf organizers, drawer organizers, and dividers
• Lowered stovetop and countertop for cooks working from a stool or wheelchair
• Glass-front cabinets to showcase china, antique bowls, or other attractive items
• A microwave installed under the counter
• A rolling cart to transfer food, utensils, etc., to the table; it can also serve as extra counter space
• Trash and recycling bins inside a lower cabinet
• A set of sealed, stacking containers for foods purchased in bulk. Rectangular containers take up less space than round ones.
• Open shelves or hooks on an empty wall space or easy-to-reach backsplash
• Pegs for hanging aprons, pot holders, and dish towels (at least two feet from the stove)
• Calendar, phone, to-do lists mounted on the wall
• Cookbooks on an open shelf that's protected from grease and humidity
• Recipes organized in an index card box, small photo album, or three-ring binder
• A retractable book stand to keep a recipe at eye level, then fold back under a cabinet
• Stemware glasses placed with every other glass upside down
• Everyday dishes on lower shelves and occasional pieces above
• Utensils, dishes, or pots grouped together by purpose
• Plastic bags and wrapping in a drawer near the refrigerator for storing leftovers
• An inexpensive bag holder for all those plastic grocery or shopping bags
• Attractive rattan, mesh, or wire baskets to stash small items such as gelatin, gravy, or soup mix kept in one basket
• Food items grouped by category or meal in the pantry