Source: Pioneer Press
“Zone”-ing, Conservation & Baby Boomers Are Changing Kitchen Design
The standard for kitchen design over the last half century has been “The Triangle,” smoothly linking the three points of refrigerator, sink and cooktop in the kitchen. While still functional, the triangle has evolved and kitchen needs now commonly reflect progress in several areas: more efficient kitchen appliances and storage; increasingly sophisticated entertainment at home; energy conservation objectives; and the sensibilities of an aging Baby Boomer population.
Consequently, we hear homeowners and consumers asking for kitchens with “zones”, features that minimize energy output and provide well-designed and strategically located solutions that will age with them, limiting the need for upgrades and retrofitting as kitchen needs as well as people needs change with time and age.
Seldom are all kitchen features in use at once—we could only wish that we had enough people helping in the kitchen to man every station at one time—so it can be helpful to group functions together to the extent space and budget allow. Consider your culinary habits and style to determine the kitchen layout. Some households need a “baking zone,” others need a child-friendly “zone” or features for an aging family member, and most need areas for food preparation, cleanup and service for entertaining.
Situate food and cookware storage in one area, limiting the impact on other space and people in the kitchen. Create a zone for entertainment preparation near access to the living and dining areas. Keep heavier service pieces here and consider a lower height, single bowl sink for easier cleanup. Perhaps this would be a good place for a second dishwasher.
Consider installing stacked dishwasher “drawers” which allow you to keep frequently used kitchenware clean without having to wait for a full load to run the entire cycle. This newer take on a standard kitchen appliance gets our vote for accomplishing space and energy efficiency, easy access and versatility. Two drawers stacked fit in most standard dishwasher openings.
The drawer concept has been expanded as well for cookware, pantry storage, dish drawers and even refrigerator drawers. Drawers, shelves and bins that pull out rather than remain stationary make it much easier on the back, enabling one to lift heavier items more comfortably and safely. It is also easier to find things in a drawer that pulls out. Roll-out mechanisms work for pantry shelves, cookware drawers, trash and recycling bins, even small appliances such as food processors and coffee makers.
While “The Triangle” is still as good starting point for kitchen layout, progress in appliance technology, energy efficiency and human longevity make it possible to design truly custom kitchens suitable throughout a lifetime.