Since colonial days, the American kitchen has been thought of as the heart of the home. It is the first room a family shares each day; it is not only the place where meals are prepared, but also where they are often eaten. The kitchen is where children and adults do their homework, and where they linger for conversation. Yet, although the role of the kitchen has not changed in three centuries, its appearance has. Once, cooking was done by the central fireplace, and the larder was stored against the cold, north-facing wall. Today, a kitchen must be carefully planned to meet the demands of a busy household,and to accommodate a battery of laborsaving devices. This chapter focuses on the work of today’s kitchen-especially its cabinetry-introduces popular designs, and outlines some basic principles that will help you create a kitchen that meets your needs.
A kitchen design often starts as a natural extension of the architectural style of a house. Just as trim, molding, and furnishings can distinguish a home as being Victorian or Colonial, cabinet doors, molding, and hardware can define the style of a kitchen. For example, Victorian is an opulent style marked by complex egg-and-dart molding, porcelain pulls, and exposed hinges, while Shaker style is a model of austerity, relying on simple, recessed frame-and-panel doors, an absence of molding,and the muted colors of milk paint.
Whether you choose a traditional architectural style for your kitchen or a blend of severalstyles, adequate room must be provided for work.The kitchen is a workshop like any other,and should be laid out with efficiency in mind.You would not think of locating the table saw and a planer at opposite ends of a workshop; the primary work centers of a kitchen–in most cases,the sink,refrigerator,and stove/cooking area–are no different.Work triangles are one way to minimize the trips between the three.
Arriving at an efficient layout for a kitchen in a confined space can be a challenge.Invariably, the size and location of your kitchen cabinets will have to be flexible enough to accommodate the location of appliances,utilities,windows,and doors. Drafting scale floor plans and elevations can help you visualize your layout; Once you have settled on the placement of your cabinets, you can divide their runs into individual cabinets and drawers. While most kitchen cabinets adhere to basic dimensional standards inheight, their width and number of doors can be fine tuned to reach a visually well-balanced kitchen design.
Accuracy is crucial when drafting floor plans and elevations.A site-referenced story pole tells you everything you need to know about a kitchen wall in precise detail, including the location and size of the cabinets. By using these small lengths of wood for each wall and cabinet, you can proceed from floor plan to cutting list with a minimum of errors. From there to your dream kitchen it is only a few more careful steps.