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Kitchen Design

A well-planned kitchen design is based on proper arrangement of individual centers, passageways, and work aisles to accommodate all of the equipment, foodstuffs, and activities anticipated in each area.

Kitchens in the past were planned on the basis of three primary centers: the refrigerator/mix area; a sink/dishwasher area; and a range/cooking area. Kitchens today have more appliances and more work centers. Many kitchens have a second sink. A separate cooktop with a ventilation system, a microwave unit, and a built-in conventional or convection oven are often specified.

Kitchen Design Education

Design

A well-planned kitchen design is based on proper arrangement of individual centers, passageways, and work aisles to accommodate all of the equipment, foodstuffs, and activities anticipated in each area.

Kitchens in the past were planned on the basis of three primary centers: the refrigerator/mix area; a sink/dishwasher area; and a range/cooking area. Kitchens today have more appliances and more work centers. Many kitchens have a second sink. A separate cooktop with a ventilation system, a microwave unit, and a built-in conventional or convection oven are often specified.

Functionality

A kitchen with less than 150 square feet should have a minimum of 120” of drawer or roll-out shelf frontage. Larger kitchens should have at least 165” of drawer or roll-out shelf frontage. These drawers and roll-outs are normally a part of the base cabinets included in the base-cabinet frontage requirements.

At least five storage items should be included in the kitchen to improve the accessibility and functionality of the kitchen. These items include, but are not limited to: interior vertical dividers, specialized drawers, built-in bins or racks, swing-out pantries or drawer/roll-out shelves in excess of the amount required. For kitchens with usable corner areas in the plan, at least one functional corner storage unit must be included.

Work Center

The kitchen contains four primary work centers: the sink, the refrigerator, the cooktop/range, and the food preparation or mix center. Secondary work centers might include the microwave or the secondary sink. These centers contain the appliance and the necessary counter space to use it. For work to be accomplished efficiently, their arrangement should be such that the common food preparation and clean-up activities flow from one to another. If two such centers are located adjacent to each other, the proper counter frontage requirement is to take the longer of the two counters and add 12”.

No two primary work centers (the primary sink, refrigerator, preparation, or cooktop/range center) should be separated by a full-height, full-depth tall tower, such as an oven cabinet, pantry cabinet, or refrigerator.

Food Preparation Center

The food preparation center should be well lit and comfortable. At least 36” of continuous countertop should be provided for the food preparation center. It should be immediately adjacent to a water source. The preparation center logically can be placed between the primary sink and the cooking surface, between the refrigerator and the primary sink, or adjacent to a secondary sink on an island or other cabinet section. If more than one person works in the kitchen, each will require a 36” preparation center of his or her own. If two people will stand adjacent to each other, 72” of counter space should be allowed. Two people should never have to work at right angles to one another with their backs to each other.

Safety

In addition to space planning for appliances and activities, there are a number of considerations in the area of safety and convenience.

All major appliances used for surface cooking should have a ventilation system. NKBA recommends a minimum of 150 CFM and IRC requires a minimum of 100 CFM. However, with many of the high performance cooktops and ranges being installed today, fans rated at a minimum of 300 CFM may be required with downdraft systems requiring even larger fans. Ventless fans cannot remove heat or moisture and are to be avoided.

At least two waste receptacles should be included in the plan; one for garbage and one for recyclables, or other recycling facilities should be planned.

Ground fault circuit interrupters must be specified on all receptacles serving a counter surface. A fire extinguisher should be located across from the cooktop. Smoke alarms should be included near the kitchen.

Courtesy of NARI CKBR education program

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