Posted in Faucets, Kitchen Sociology, Kitchen Storage, Kitchen Trends, Kitchen Zones, Noteworthy Links, The Education of a Kitchen Designer

Commercial Kitchen Zone Arrives Homes

I was raised around a commercial kitchen and so I have a fondness for cooking and planning for cooking. My favorite place, as a kid, was the cold zone where the tubs of ice cream were kept, and the fountain/beverage service area, where I was so thrilled at “organizing” the mise en place objects . I loved the elegant dishes reserved for serving ice cream, the tall and amusing shape of the ice tea spoons, the white coffee cups with the apple red rims laid out with matching saucers stacked next to them, the glasses in pull out plastic trays below the counter for ease of serving glasses of water and iced tea. (I probably drove the servers crazy when I “re-organized” things for them before service). At the tender age of eight I knew the difference between a steam table and a deep fryer, was enthralled with the glow from the salamander, watching cheese bubble on the hot plates, I loved stirring the sauces in the steam table when the cooks would permit me in the kitchen during prep hours. Kitchens are in my blood. I was a kitchen designer in the making before I even knew it!

As I witness a trend developing into an accepted theory in residential kitchen design, I am delighted to show clients how to embrace zoning in their kitchen too. There is a growing acceptance by kitchen designers and homeowners alike to move away from the notion of a kitchen triangle. There was a time when that worked perfectly when the homemaker was the chief cook and bottle washer.
However, as the kitchen has evolved as a gathering space with more than one cook, so to has the options in appliances we want for our home and how we organize them in our kitchens. As walls come down between kitchen and adjoining family room, and as the kitchen melds into the family room, the opportunity to co-op a commercial kitchen’s work zone is coming into play more often.
Thus a kitchen triangle is out of sync in a larger kitchen and “zoning” is the new key feature to a residential gourmet kitchen. Searching the topic, I typed “commercial kitchen” in Google, and was not surprised to see how kitchen design has evolved with terms reserved for commercial design.

For example, Dornbracht shows off zoning for the kitchen sink: two bowls, each with its own faucet.

Dornbracht Kitchen Zones – new concept of space from Dornbracht

Two sinks, two faucets are desired in the zoned kitchen. It is an idea from commercial design that makes logical sense. A clean up zone and a preparation zone perform better when they do not share a single source of water. A residential kitchen may not have the space a commercial kitchen does for a seperate clean up zone but even a small kitchen can benefit from two faucets to keep wash up chores separate from salad and vegetable prep work. Dornbracht sees the value and is offering it to consumers now.


Kraftmaid
, one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the United States has introduced Harmony Kitchen Zones. Kraftmaid breaks it down to great visual marketing material with interactive point and click photos and PDF printable handouts for homeowners to see the benefit with cabinets designed with zoning in mind. Kraftmaid states in their ads, “The best kitchen designs are laid out with work zones Harmony┬« Storage Solutions for your kitchen are organized by zones as well.”

Viking Range Corporation has published an article in their newsletter, The Edge, “Breaking out of the Work Triangle”. The basis for zoning your kitchen is replacing the triangle with a series of zones: The Preparation Zone, The Baking and Cooking Zone, The Beverage Center, and the Clean Up Zone.
No longer relegated to the back of the house, residential kitchens are now taking their cue from commercial kitchen design, using the theory of zoning to provide a well organized cooking and gathering space for all to come into the kitchen. True, residential kitchen, (with the exception of a kosher kitchen), will never need to have the commercial requirements for a separate fish, vegetable, meat and sauce sections. Although it would be great to have your own personal soux chef once in a while, residential kitchen design can benefit when planned with prep centers, baking & cooking zones, beverage centers and clean up zones. Zoning, a must for restaurants and hotel kitchens that require organization and order to perform with speed and efficiency, with a chef, soux chefs, line cooks and pastry chefs, servers and cleanup crew all working simultaneously to prepare, serve and clean up for hundreds of guests a day. No doubt a residential kitchen can benefit from similar types of zoning, regardless of large or small kitchens. Although a homeowner may not be preparing food at the same capacity as a commercial kitchen, the residential kitchen needs to serve the demands of the household. The kitchen, a daily family gathering space, when well planned with zones, will allow for multiple family cooks to lend a hand or just simply hang out in the kitchen in a inviting, welcoming way.

Suffice it to say, the kitchen has evolved. There are architectural books that detail the entire history of homes throughout the ages, so I will not comment on the social history here. It really is fascinating to read and discover how the home has evolved. If interested in further reading, I highly recommend Witold Rybczynski book, Home: A Short History of an Idea for further reading.

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Posted in Faucets, Kitchen Sociology, Kitchen Storage, Kitchen Trends, Kitchen Zones, Noteworthy Links, The Education of a Kitchen Designer

Commercial Kitchen Zone Arrives Homes

I was raised around a commercial kitchen and so I have a fondness for cooking and planning for cooking. My favorite place, as a kid, was the cold zone where the tubs of ice cream were kept, and the fountain/beverage service area, where I was so thrilled at “organizing” the mise en place objects . I loved the elegant dishes reserved for serving ice cream, the tall and amusing shape of the ice tea spoons, the white coffee cups with the apple red rims laid out with matching saucers stacked next to them, the glasses in pull out plastic trays below the counter for ease of serving glasses of water and iced tea. (I probably drove the servers crazy when I “re-organized” things for them before service). At the tender age of eight I knew the difference between a steam table and a deep fryer, was enthralled with the glow from the salamander, watching cheese bubble on the hot plates, I loved stirring the sauces in the steam table when the cooks would permit me in the kitchen during prep hours. Kitchens are in my blood. I was a kitchen designer in the making before I even knew it!

As I witness a trend developing into an accepted theory in residential kitchen design, I am delighted to show clients how to embrace zoning in their kitchen too. There is a growing acceptance by kitchen designers and homeowners alike to move away from the notion of a kitchen triangle. There was a time when that worked perfectly when the homemaker was the chief cook and bottle washer.
However, as the kitchen has evolved as a gathering space with more than one cook, so to has the options in appliances we want for our home and how we organize them in our kitchens. As walls come down between kitchen and adjoining family room, and as the kitchen melds into the family room, the opportunity to co-op a commercial kitchen’s work zone is coming into play more often.
Thus a kitchen triangle is out of sync in a larger kitchen and “zoning” is the new key feature to a residential gourmet kitchen. Searching the topic, I typed “commercial kitchen” in Google, and was not surprised to see how kitchen design has evolved with terms reserved for commercial design.

For example, Dornbracht shows off zoning for the kitchen sink: two bowls, each with its own faucet.

Dornbracht Kitchen Zones – new concept of space from Dornbracht

Two sinks, two faucets are desired in the zoned kitchen. It is an idea from commercial design that makes logical sense. A clean up zone and a preparation zone perform better when they do not share a single source of water. A residential kitchen may not have the space a commercial kitchen does for a seperate clean up zone but even a small kitchen can benefit from two faucets to keep wash up chores separate from salad and vegetable prep work. Dornbracht sees the value and is offering it to consumers now.


Kraftmaid
, one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the United States has introduced Harmony Kitchen Zones. Kraftmaid breaks it down to great visual marketing material with interactive point and click photos and PDF printable handouts for homeowners to see the benefit with cabinets designed with zoning in mind. Kraftmaid states in their ads, “The best kitchen designs are laid out with work zones Harmony┬« Storage Solutions for your kitchen are organized by zones as well.”

Viking Range Corporation has published an article in their newsletter, The Edge, “Breaking out of the Work Triangle”. The basis for zoning your kitchen is replacing the triangle with a series of zones: The Preparation Zone, The Baking and Cooking Zone, The Beverage Center, and the Clean Up Zone.
No longer relegated to the back of the house, residential kitchens are now taking their cue from commercial kitchen design, using the theory of zoning to provide a well organized cooking and gathering space for all to come into the kitchen. True, residential kitchen, (with the exception of a kosher kitchen), will never need to have the commercial requirements for a separate fish, vegetable, meat and sauce sections. Although it would be great to have your own personal soux chef once in a while, residential kitchen design can benefit when planned with prep centers, baking & cooking zones, beverage centers and clean up zones. Zoning, a must for restaurants and hotel kitchens that require organization and order to perform with speed and efficiency, with a chef, soux chefs, line cooks and pastry chefs, servers and cleanup crew all working simultaneously to prepare, serve and clean up for hundreds of guests a day. No doubt a residential kitchen can benefit from similar types of zoning, regardless of large or small kitchens. Although a homeowner may not be preparing food at the same capacity as a commercial kitchen, the residential kitchen needs to serve the demands of the household. The kitchen, a daily family gathering space, when well planned with zones, will allow for multiple family cooks to lend a hand or just simply hang out in the kitchen in a inviting, welcoming way.

Suffice it to say, the kitchen has evolved. There are architectural books that detail the entire history of homes throughout the ages, so I will not comment on the social history here. It really is fascinating to read and discover how the home has evolved. If interested in further reading, I highly recommend Witold Rybczynski book, Home: A Short History of an Idea for further reading.

Posted in Architects, Builders, Kitchen Zones, Kitchens Don'ts, Noteworthy Links, Planning, Windows

Learning From Others Mistakes

I must give a nod to The Kitchen Designer, Susan Serra, for her masterful opinion in her blog dated 04/06/08, Lessons Learned from New York Times “Dream House Diaries”. Susan Serra’s 14 points are a primer for anyone planning a home renovation project.

A builder who assumes the cabinets are to be built around a predetermined plumbing and mechanical plan means someone put some thought in planning the kitchen, you would think so. But to read in the “Dream House Diaries” that the builder suggested to leave the kitchen planning till the point where the floors are down is nothing but a** backwards. It indicates the builder is interested in a cabinet order taker to come in later to get it in and get it done. This causes a huge disservice to the homeowner who is intent on a “Dream Kitchen for their Dream Home”.

Whether building from the ground up or renovating an existing home, the mechanical locations for plumbing & gas lines, go hand in hand with planning the kitchen. Also, the placement or relocation of windows and doors is a critical stage in planning the kitchen. The design of the cabinetry, the doors and windows and the appliances must all be factored in at the beginning of the project, not the middle and not after drywall is up. For the do-it yourself crowd, I admire your fortitude to handle the project yourself, but it would not hurt to get a second opinion from a kitchen designer before ordering your cabinets. See the article link by one homeowner, “Did I get it right”.

You can’t leave planning the kitchen foot print to chance, thinking or hoping that the architect or builder is intent on the specifics, making sure the appliances and cabinets will fit. As much as we hope to see standards in the appliance industry, there are no “standards” when it comes to appliances. See an analytical point by point appliance comparison at the Kitchen-Exchange by Peggy Deras, Comment on Arrol Gellner’s Appliance Advice. A builder that allows a variance of (+ or -) 6″ can cheat the space with over sized cabinets and therefore cheat you by not allowing for the trash base or a proper bank of drawers or a lazy susan or a larger refrigerator. Kitchen Designers are not order takers. Planning the flow of space around appliances, cooking and clean up zones requires specialized training. A kitchen or bath designer will factor the dimensions of a space down the to the 1/8″ inch and provide the builder a detailed plan ready for installation.

As Susan Serra stated in her article, the other problem by not planning the kitchen in the beginning creates a problem of cabinet size continuity. Wall cabinets with different door widths creates disharmony. Anybody with a tape measure can fill a wall with stock cabinets and fillers. To me, this is a waste of space and a waste of money when the design is washed down to nothing more than a bunch of boxes on the wall when the home owner’s intent was a dream kitchen. Please refer to Peggy Deras excellent commentary Choosing a Residential Remodeling Architect.

The next factor the client has to be ready for is patience in planning. Don’t rush into signing a contract until you have thoroughly interviewed the candidates. Take time to interview the architect, the builder, and the designer. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Signing a contract with a professional who starts promising he or she will throw in free enticements or prices “good today only” are red flags. See NKBA for more advice on hiring a Kitchen and Bath designer. Go to NARI and AIA to find professional Contractors and Architects in your area. Check the BBB Reports to see if the business is in good standing. As a professional, I am so frustrated when I see a client taken in by the lowest bid, and outright lies about materials. To have a client compare my all plywood cabinet construction backed by a lifetime warranty against a 45# particle board box with a 5 year warranty and be taken in by lies by the “cabinet order taker” who says they are the same quality really frustrates me. My recommendation for homeowners is to be patient in the process of finding selections. As one homeowner said, she hoped she could just breeze right through this. This is not the same as ordering take out food. Patience is required.

No one can discount the value of the Builder, an Architect and Designer; each professional has the task at hand to provide the client a beautiful project. While a builders’ interest is to get the project built on time and on budget, there is no fault in that. But, a quality builder will recommend you start working with a Kitchen and Bath specialist from the beginning so that the client can achieve their Dream Home.

Posted in Kitchen Zones, Peninsula Kitchens, Small Kitchens

Peninsula Swap

published in Domino, February 2008

This Kitchen designed by Linda Woodrum, for a home in the Florida Keys caught my eye. This is what I call a creative swap. I love this! The sink and dishwasher were placed in the peninsula. In the short part of the “U” where the sink typically resides, an under cabinet convection/microwave oven makes good use of the space. Inventive and practical for a narrow kitchen.

What law says the sink has to be in front of the window? Designer Linda Woodrum has resolved a peninsula conundrum by giving the dishwasher a proper home next to the sink. The problem for older kitchens with the sink typically in front of the window, the narrow “U” prevents the dishwasher from being placed next to the sink. The dishwasher would end up perpendicular to the sink and logistically behind the sink. The narrower the space, the more awkward it becomes. Nothing is more awkward than having to back up from the sink and turn about. Or if you are not inclined to move your feet, it becomes a twist around, sort of a “bunny bend”. An awkward sway back motion with your arm and twisting at the waist to load the dishwasher. Or you could turn the tunes up, dance the Texas Two Step as you back up and load your dishwasher and make the best of it.

But for heavens sake, a sink and dishwasher go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is no law that says the sink must be in front of a window. So, if you don’t have the space to increase the footprint, consider swapping the sink to the peninsula.

Another excellent example of turning the peninsula on its ear, comes from Kitchen Designer Moorea Hoffman.

Notice the range placed in front of the huge bay window. This Peninsula kitchen is a “two sink kitchen” dream! The clean up zone has the main sink and dishwasher out of the way of the cooking zone. Notice the prep sink is in the peninsula opposite the refrigerator and close to the range. This is ideal for a kitchen to have two sinks. One for prep and the other for clean up. Function first, great layout.
These are two designers who think out side the box. Now that is a good peninsula swap!