Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kitchens (3 of 8): Work Triangle

Everyone has heard of the “work triangle”.  This is the imaginary part of a kitchen which connects the three main elements – The range or cooktop, the refrigerator and the sink.  As with most simple concepts there are guidelines that make this triangle work most effectively.  The first is that no one leg should be more than nine feet .  Preparing meals can be a big undertaking.  There is no reason it should be a marathon as well.  That is why, ideally, the total dimension of the triangle should not exceed 18 feet.  Sometimes this is difficult to accomplish especially when remodeling existing spaces, but smart planning should reduce the amount of travel within the kitchen.  Also, each leg of the triangle should be a single straight line.  One should not have to dodge around corners or other obstacles.  Bruised hips and running shoes should not be on the menu.  Plan wisely and you will find it a joy to be in the kitchen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kitchens (2 of 8): Dual Cook VS Single Cook

As a general rule, kitchens are classified in two categories – the dual cook and the single cook kitchen.  Planning for either requires different thought and design considerations.

The single cook kitchen will be more compact to eliminate a lot of movement by the cook.  This is more of the traditional kitchen, with the work triangle (discussed in a later post) which connects all the main elements of the kitchen.  They should be planned with all necessary utensils and cookware within easy reach.  This does not mean it must be bland.  By incorporating style and character in the door and drawer panels and hardware and using decorative splashes and surrounds, the single cook kitchen can be functional and stylish.

Even with the efficiency of the single cook kitchen it tends to become cramped and inconvenient when someone else enters to lend a hand while bumping you with their elbows.  Families and couples are also becoming more involved in meal preparation, finding this a great way to socialize and spend time together.  With that in mind the concept of a dual kitchen was born.

The dual cook kitchen, as the name implies, is designed with two or more cooks in mind.  Although both cooks are sharing the kitchen, a well-planned dual cook kitchen will provide for separate preparation areas for each cook.  One cook will center around the range or cooktop and larger sink.  The other cook will have a separate counter area with a smaller sink and will prepare all the sides, etc.  This is similar when baking.  One will center around the oven(s) and the other around the prep sink.  This really helps to eliminate most of the crowding elbow battles in the kitchen.  We all know that everyone wants to help get things ready.  For this reason (and of course a few others) islands have become very popular.

Not only are islands fun, they have a function as well.  When everyone wants to help they can be seated at the island away from the center of the kitchen and yet still be close to the action.  (Incidentally this works well in a single cook kitchen as well.)  So no matter how many helpers you have – let them come and help make meal time a memorable event.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kitchen Do's and Don'ts (1 of 8)

For ages the kitchen has been solely a place to work (hard) to prepare meals for the family.  They were viewed as a necessary tool of daily living.  In many cases they were hidden from the rest of the house because of the uncomfortable amount of heat they would produce.  Thankfully, those days are past and now the kitchen has become the heart of the home.  Even when entertaining for formal parties, the kitchen often is the main gathering place.  Almost every activity in the home includes time in the kitchen.  Because of this the kitchen has been opened to the rest of the home and is frequently an extension of the family room. 

Over the next several posts we will discuss things to consider when planning this essential part of your home.  Let your kitchen shine because you probably already spend most of your day there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Basements (9 of 9): Theater Design - Comedy/Tragedy

One of the funnest parts of basement finish is designing for theater space.  The weekend warrior would simply install a large screen TV on one wall with killer surround sound.  Then, when the wife is trying to sleep while the Superbowl is playing, he realizes there is probably a better solution.  Proper planning and design will make for better domestic relations.

The first step is to try to place the theater in a remote corner of the basement, preferably without sleeping quarters above.  More detail is needed with theaters because everyone loves the explosive scenes in movies, but no one enjoys it when the volume is set at 1.  By providing insulation in all cavities in every wall and ceiling much of the sound will be muffled, and for most this is adequate.  However, if you want the belt with your suspenders, then you need vibration dampers as well as insulation.  This is most simply done by providing resilient channels secured perpendicular to the main framing.  The gypsum board is fastened to the channels strips, without letting the screws touch the framing, or all is in vain.  This allows the walls and ceiling to vibrate slightly without transferring to the solid structure.   There are more advanced methods of sound control, but for most residential applications this method is easy and the most cost effective – thereby helping to foster a harmonious relationship.

Through the past several posts you have learned that through proper planning and construction detailing you can make use of that basement, which is only used now to store your Christmas decorations.  With growing families and a shrinking economy it is necessary now, more than ever, to make every square foot of your home count.  With innovative design and planning you can come home to a daily vacation.  Contact us to find out the best ways to make use of your space.