Home kitchens have been undergoing quite the transformation. Long has this space been the heart of many homes, but in recent times it has supplanted other areas of the house as the main living space, with occupants working, learning, relaxing and socializing in it throughout the day. For many, it’s gotten a little hectic. Without proper organization, a multifunctional kitchen can just become muddled, which is why Design-Milk says important to properly zone a kitchen, both for efficiency and occupant wellbeing.
Setting Up the Proper Work Triangle
Created back in the 1940s when homes were typically 900 to 1200-square-feet overall (a single kitchen nowadays can be that large), the Work Triangle was concept design to make movement between storage, cooking and cleanup spaces easy and convenient.
Aside from growing larger, however, a lot has been done to the kitchen that has ultimately affected the way the Work Triangle gets viewed. The infusion of technology into the space with appliances, dishwashers, etc., (a trend that shows no sign of slowing down thanks to smart homes) and the addition of the lovely kitchen island.
While not the destroyer of the triangle, these additions certainly modified it, the island most of all. Second sinks and refrigerator drawers have become additional features that expand space planning opportunities. The fact is islands live up to their name, being able to create an isolated work triangle in their own space.
And it’s here that lies an opportunity to create personalized zones, not just for cooking, but for health and hobbies as well, according to Jamie Gold, a Mayo Clinic-certified Wellness Coach,.
Ways to Better Zone the Kitchen
The main refrigerator is the rock of the preservation zone, but dry preservation is just as important. While having easy access to fresh and frozen food, oftentimes pantries or other dry food storage areas are located far away from the refrigerator hubs. Not only does this add extra work into kitchen, but it also adds a little extra chaos when multiple people are in the area. So wherever possible, ensure that all elements of food storage are in proximity of one another.
Prep and Cleanup
Cleanup areas have become substantially more robust over the years, featuring the dishwasher, sink(s) and drying area, but it’s not enough just keeping those three areas close. Storage also needs to be close by for quicker cleanup and unloading. Additionally, keeping serving utensils and plates close to the table for setting is a smart move as well.
Larger kitchens have the luxury of more space for more, specialized zones. For instance a breakfast gathering nook could come with a built-in coffee maker, grinder, and storage rack for specialty mugs alongside a toaster oven for convenient breakfasts.
The bar has also gradually been growing in popularity (wine or otherwise). In the case of wine, a separate refrigerator for wine may step into its own space accompanied by storage for glasses, openers and stoppers. The same can go for cocktails, with a specialized ice box, cocktail mixer and close proximity to the sink to be able to wash utensils between mixings.
For people who love juicing, a specialized set-up with a juicer on a pull-out shelf, cutting boards and a prep could do wonders. A similar set-up would even work for smoothies and salads.
In the end, its important that the design functionality of a space be dialed in to the needs and passions of the homeowner (as well as general cooking movements). The addition of task lights above work surfaces, a smart fume hood, even speakers embedded into the walls for music while cooking all add greater functionality and comfort to the space that is being used more and more throughout the day.