Kitchen Design Elements – Then & Now

Kitchen Design Elements – Then & Now

If you were one of those kids who always got in trouble for being in the way…constantly underfoot while your Mom was busy in the kitchen, don’t feel badly about it-it wasn’t entirely your fault.

Actually, most of the blame should go to the person who built your parent’s house. More specifically, that classic ‘work triangle’ concept most kitchens were designed around years ago (and continue to be). It just didn’t leave any extra space for…well for anything.

Back then, the work triangle served its purpose however. By basically positioning the three major kitchen components (refrigerator, stove and sink) in a triangular pattern, it did make Mom’s cooking chores somewhat easier. Way back in the ’50’s the work triangle was determined to be the most efficient layout for the average kitchen. Of course, back then most women stayed at home, worked in the kitchen by themselves, cooked most meals from scratch and needed storage space for an estimated 400 items. A compact work triangle limited the distance between the key kitchen components while helping speed up preparation time.

Today however, many women work outside the home, share the cooking responsibilities, prepare very few meals from scratch and have about 800 items to find someplace to put. Times have definitely changed. And although basic kitchen designs are still conceived around the work triangle concept, layouts are becoming more flexible as kitchen design guidelines continue to evolve.Kitchen designers today think more in terms of more space and multiple work stations. Multiple stations make it more convenient for a number of people to work efficiently while staying out of each other’s way. A work station can be created anywhere a reasonable amount of counter space is available near a major appliance or a sink.

When space allows, adding an island is one of the most common means for designing multiple work stations into a kitchen. By simply adding a second sink or a cooktop into the island, you can double your kitchen’s available work space.

Flexible kitchen plans must now consider activities that don’t involve the preparation of meals. Non-cooking activities such as homework, bill-paying, laundry and casual entertaining now find their way into the kitchen. The kitchen is has become the central location of many modern home plans. Our busy schedules and hectic lifestyles have made it almost imperative to incorporate entertainment and information systems into modern kitchen designs. The kitchen has become the gathering point in most homes and having a computer station, TV and other media close at hand is a convenience rather than a luxury, and the importance of such conveniences can’t be discounted.

In yesterday’s kitchens, a major improvement involved upgrading to a frost-free refrigerator, a self-cleaning oven, finally getting an automatic dishwasher or fixing that dripping faucet. That was then. Kitchen upgrades today usually require considerably more than new appliances. Professional, competent kitchen planners and designers are a must. There are countless ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ that arise during a kitchen upgrade or remodel. Costs can get out of hand and mount more quickly than most homeowners can imagine. A knowledgeable kitchen designer is able to think and plan ahead and be creative problem solvers.

With careful planning and professional assistance, you can be certain your new kitchen has the space and conveniences you desire, and plenty of room to keep those kids out from under your feet.

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