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Designing The Perfect Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home. No doubt you have heard this said a thousand times before by T.V. designers, home magazines and sales people- but not without good reason. The kitchen is the place where family memories are made. It is where you helped your children complete their first work of art, and where you later displayed it on the fridge door. It is where you sat down for coffee with your visiting sister when she announced her engagement. So it is really not surprising that a beautiful, well equipped kitchen is frequently cited as the room that sells a home. It has always been the natural meeting point for the family.

In order to cope with the demands of family life and fully accommodate the daily traffic, a good layout is essential. While you might like having company, you don’t want them underfoot. Well defined zones must be created if the kitchen is to be both functional and safe. A chef can’t be concerned that their elbow will be knocked every time somebody attempts to reach the sink, similarly, those in a seated area should be free to relax, out the way of the food preparation areas.

So before deciding on a layout, take into consideration any particular demands your family may have. Do you have young children or elderly adults living with you? Are you a budding master-chef or do you prefer not to make a fuss of mealtimes after a long day at work? Will your kitchen have a dining area? All of these factors would shape your kitchen design quite dramatically. Take your time to get it right, it is not something you will easily change should you change your mind.

There are four basic kitchen layouts:

The galley shape with two walls of appliances squaring off opposite each other. This is a popular style in smaller, narrower kitchens. It is very convenient for a single dweller as one only has to rotate on the spot for everything to be at hand. It is not a wise choice for families or large groups as it does not leave much room for traffic and it doesn’t split the kitchen into clear enough zonal areas.

The classic L-shape that locates the three main elements (sink, stove, and refrigerator) along two perpendicular walls forming a natural triangle. This is probably the most common type of kitchen. It works well due to its separating of the food preparation and cleaning areas, meaning it feels roomy. Generally, the sink will sit in front of a window, providing a nice view to those on dish duty (always use blinds rather than curtains over a sink to avoid mould through dampness. Wooden blinds can be quickly wiped down and prevent glare whilst at the sink).

3. The U-shape that puts the elements on three walls. This shape is typified by a large area of space in the middle. Though the layout does provide lots of storage and counter space and may feel spacious, it actually creates a potentially hazardous meeting point for kitchen traffic which could result in a favourite shirt being ruined or worse, a scolding. The best way to combat this is to install a central island which negates any risk of people turning into each other.

The G-shape, which is essentially a U-shape with a protruding peninsula. If you have the room this type is perfect for large families or social cooks as its peninsula effectively cuts the area in half, leaving one half for sitting a chatting and the other for cooking or household duties. Using the peninsula as a breakfast bar generally makes best use of the space.

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