The Ideal Kitchen for Happy Cooking

The ideal kitchen for happy cookingWhatever you attempt to do, proper tools play a crucial role. A well designed kitchen can transform cooking from duty into pleasure. For years I had to make do with a small cubicle. Then we built a house and I was able to design my own kitchen. Now I love to cook for my family and friends.Knowing basic principles about kitchen design can be useful at any time. Sometimes changing the place of appliances can make a big difference. Whether renovating a kitchen or planning a new one: Do not to rely on architects or professional kitchen planners. They cannot know the habits and requirements of your family as you do. Only you can understand what you really need and what fits you and your budget.A functional kitchen improves your lifeWhen we decided to build a house I purchased a lot of books about kitchen design. It is advisable to rely on literature as most of the websites about kitchen design are heavily influenced by advertisement. I cannot recommend any of them.When planning your kitchen first ask yourself what you really need. Do you like to bake and roast or do you prefer fried and boiled food? How much fridge space do you require? How many sinks do you need? Is there 1 cook in your kitchen or do you want enough space for 2 or more cooks? Do you want to have breakfast and simple meals in your kitchen or do you want to use it for cooking only?The washing machine in the kitchen?One of the most important questions is: Do you want to place your washing machine in the kitchen? If yes, you need some more space, not only for the machine but also for related appliances like dryer, iron, ironing board and storage space for dirty laundry.Traffic report:Before going into planning details, analyze the traffic your kitchen will have to support. People will go into your kitchen and move from the fridge to the sink, the cabinets and the cooking range. Do children need easy access to drinks and snacks? Will there be traffic through your kitchen to other destinations? Is there a back door, a pantry or a basement door?Mark the main traffic routes on a plan and start from there. If you have a small kitchen with a lot of doors, it might be helpful to consider closing one of them to reduce traffic and gain more space. It is also important that the kitchen has an easy connection to the dining and living space. Most of our free time is spent in these areas and a good design can improve your family life a lot.The work triangle:The work triangle used to be the base of kitchen planning. This triangle is formed by the refrigerator, the cooking range and the sink. According to conventional rules, the triangle is the shortest distance between the fronts of each appliance. The triangle should not be longer than 8 meters (26 feet). A single leg should be at least 1.23 meters (4 feet) and not more than 2.74 meters (9 feet). The cook should be able to walk without hindrance from appliance to appliance. I followed this rule in my kitchen and I am really happy with it. Friends of ours have built a huge house with an equally huge kitchen. They did not deem it necessary to consider something as prosaic as the work triangle. The result is a beautiful kitchen where you have to walk seven meters from the fridge to the sink – cooking in this kitchen requires a lot of exercise.Although the work triangle has been a useful guideline for generations, nowadays it tends to be too simplified. Today we use more than 3 appliances in the kitchen; the microwave and dishwasher have to fit into the concept as well as the blender and other gadgets. Still – the triangle remains a good starting point.Choosing the right equipment:After having placed the triangle on the layout of your kitchen, decide how to place the other appliances. The dishwasher should always be situated directly next to the sink. There are plenty of options for cooking ranges, wall mounted ovens and integrated cook tops. The main question is: Do you want to cook with gas or electricity? Once you have chosen, get information about available appliances. The vent hood should always be located on an outside wall so the fumes are blown directly outside. If the way is too long or twisted, a hood will never work properly.Having enough fridge space is essential. As a rule of thumb you need half a cubic meter (500 liters) for the first two family members and another 0.04 cubic meters (40 liters) for every additional family member.Kitchen cabinets: The cabinets influence the look of your kitchen. What you choose depends on your budget and your taste. Keep in mind that cabinet surfaces should be easy to clean and resistant to water. If you choose wood for the customized cabinet doors, be careful to purchase seasoned wood. If wood is too fresh it will change shape while drying. Avoid open shelving as much as possible: Dust will settle everywhere.Counter tops:You can never have too much working surface in your kitchen. There are many options for counter tops, from polished cement to marble, depending largely on your budget. Although marble is beautiful, I would not use it for counter tops in the kitchen. Marble stains easily, can crack when exposed to heat and is difficult to clean. The height of the counter top should be chosen according to your body height. The standard is 72 centimeters. For me this is much too low. My counter tops are 92 centimeters high as I like cutting vegetables and cooking while standing.Kitchen sink:The choice is endless and depends on your taste and budget. I believe in big size sinks as they make life easy. I have 2 jumbo sized stainless steel sinks with anti-scratch surface and I am really happy with them. The anti-scratch surface is a lot more resistant and a lot easier to clean than the common smooth stainless steel surface.Kitchen Island:If you have a big kitchen, you might want to fit it with a kitchen island. An island can be everything from a simple dining table to an extra cook station fitted with a sink and a hood. Remember the following guidelines: The work aisle between an island and the opposing counter should be at least 1.06 meters (42 inches) wide. If there are 2 cooks, the distance should be at least 1.22 meters (48 inches). If you want to use your island for eating meals as well, plan a seating area which has 61 centimeters (24 inches) for each person.If your present kitchen leaves much to be desired, don’t despair: Great food can be prepared in the humblest of conditions. You are the cook; you infuse your dishes with your energy, your spirit and your personality. Whatever the surroundings, if you cook with love, it makes a great difference.

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