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Monday 25 April 2016

Understanding Kitchen Layouts

'The Heart of the Home is the Kitchen'
Isn't that so very true? The place of happy meets, chats and treats! Happy meals in boxes or lavish buffets, breakfasts, lunches and brunches, teas with munchies and crunchies, cocktails, mocktails and starters, soups and salads, dinners and desserts and all other meals in between or quick-fixes that you can think of! 
All these make their way from the hearth - the heart of the home, your kitchen. 
If this is a place that is the source of so many happy memories and one that will create many more memories....doesn't it make sense to plan your kitchen well? 
Being a very vast topic, I'll restrict the discussion to just Kitchen Layouts.

First and foremost let us see the main kinds of kitchens, besides small and large of course!
You have the Open, Closed and best of both - Semi-Open Kitchens.

The Open Kitchen

Open kitchens are a trend which is now increasingly seen in modern and contemporary themed homes. They give a sleek look and enlarge the entire space if styled right. Some pros of having an open kitchen include:
  • Keeps the family in touch by integrating meal prep with nearby activities, such as watching TV in the family room.
  • Invites guests into the hub of the home, and facilitates conversation between guests and home cooks.
  • Eliminates walls that reduce natural daylight.
  • Adds a sense of volume, especially in modestly sized homes.
Closed Kitchens

Closed doesn’t mean claustrophobic. It means that kitchen access is limited to doorways, and that food prep and cleanup is hidden from view. The most-popular reasons for having a closed kitchen include:
  • Messes are hidden.
  • More walls mean more cabinet storage, counter-top work space, and room for appliances.
  • Guests are limited to the living/dining areas.
  • Cooking odors are confined to the kitchen.
  • The dining experience is more formal.

Best of both Worlds - Semi-Open Kitchen

Ideally, the best kitchen is a compromise:  One that closes off the smells and mess, and yet doesn’t isolate the cook. Here’s how you can achieve that ideal mix.

  • Adding a pass-through window is a simple way to connect spaces without tearing out the walls of a closed-off kitchen.
  • Folding/sliding doors can separate the kitchen from living areas by opening up when you want continuous flow and closing when you don’t. Use a clear or translucent glass door to keep light flowing.
  • A peninsula separates your kitchen from nearby living spaces. Include upper cabinets with glass fronts that establish privacy yet let light through.
  • Add a raised bar/eating counter to your island. Face the raised part toward your living areas so it blocks views of food prep areas. Kitchen counter-tops are typically 36 inches high; raised counters are 40 to 46 inches high.
  • A half wall 40 to 50 inches tall built between the kitchen and living area establishes physical and visual boundaries for your kitchen. Top the wall with a glass partition to reduce noise, yet allow light transmission.
  • Quality, sound-dampening appliances cost more but won’t interfere with nearby conversations and an extra-large, extra-deep sink is a godsend for quickly swallowing messy dishes and pans.

Platform Layout

Once you are done deciding this, you next have to decide the platform layout plan.
The basic thumb-rule in the planning of any kitchen is the Work-Triangle wherein the primary tasks in a home kitchen are carried out between the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator. These three points and the imaginary lines between them, make up what kitchen experts call the work triangle. The idea is that when these three elements are in close (but not too close) proximity to one other, the kitchen will be easy and efficient to use, cutting down on wasted steps.

There are exceptions to this rule: in single wall kitchens, it’s geometrically impossible to achieve a true triangle—but efficiency can still be achieved through the configuration of the three items, and how far apart they are.

The different types of kitchen platform/counter lay-outs can work in conjunction with an additional kitchen island counter stationed at the center with access from all four sides or a peninsula counter as an extension of one of the kitchen walls with three sided access.

1) The L-shaped counter:
In an L-shaped kitchen layout, a natural work triangle is created from continuous counter space and work stations on two adjacent walls.

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2) The U-shaped/C-shaped counter:
The U-shaped kitchen is the most versatile layout for kitchens large and small because the layout offers continuous countertops and ample storage, which surround the cook on three sides.

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 U-shaped platform with island counter - Image source:

3) The G-shaped counter:
The G-shaped kitchen is a version of the U-shaped kitchen layout, with the same amount of counter space and storage options that surround the cook on three sides.  However, the difference with the G-shaped kitchen floor plan is the peninsula or partial fourth wall of additional cabinets.

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4) The Corridor/Parallel/Galley counter:
In this kitchen floor plan, the work stations face each other on parallel walls, creating a small work triangle. The galley kitchen is perhaps the most efficient of all kitchens when it comes to the original and primary use of the kitchen: cooking.

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5) The Single-wall or Straight counter:
The single-wall kitchen floor plan is ideal for smaller homes.
The work triangle in this kitchen layout is less like a triangle and more of a work line with all three kitchen zones along one wall.
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That dear folks, would be the basic planning for your kitchen. The next in line would be the planning for the placement of your various kitchen gadgets, electrical, plumbing, exhausting, tiling and then come the cabinetry, the hardware, accessories etc. 
Yes, kitchen planning is a tedious one and needs to be planned very minutely if you like most folks, spend a lot of time in this heart of the home!

Resource 1: Wikipedia, Resource 2: , Resource 3:, Resource 4:



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