Floor Plan – Part 2: Kitchen Design

The kitchen design could be the most valuable space inside the house. It will also likely be the most inhabited space as well. When you have guests over, it’s almost always the kitchen that people congregate in. It only makes sense taking time to design a kitchen carefully.

When it came to figuring out what we wanted, Pinterest, as silly as it sounds, was marvelous.

I mean, for two people who have never lived in an actual ‘home’ together, it was the best way to get ideas of what we might want in our own kitchen design. We’ve lived on a sailboat, in tents, in a dorm room in McMurdo, in a travel-trailer, in vehicles, in cabins without power and running water – pretty much in everything under the sun, with the exception of a home of our own. Some may see this as adventurous, others may see this as nonsensical. The jury is out. I like to lean towards adventurous, only because it makes me feel better about it all.

When it comes to ideas for kitchen design, the options are nearly endless. We sifted through thousands of images, articles and webpages to narrow down what we thought we’d want in a kitchen design.

Primary aspects of the kitchen design were the “Golden Triangle“, multiple prep locations and plenty of food storage. But it’s the little things are so much fun to plan out.

To put this out there, for anyone who might think what they read below categorizes Dave and I into a whole world of OCD-crazy-control-freaks, you might be right. I don’t really know. Thankfully, we’re both OCD-crazy-control-freaks, so our crazy meshes well. We simply like things to be organized and I want to know where something is when I need it. If you ever want to see me go full-on Incredible Hulk in less than ten seconds flat, hide something I’m looking for. I’ll tear any room apart in no time, in a blind rage, foaming at the mouth and snarling like a wildebeest. It’s quite the vision. I suppose you could say that we are firm believers of the phrase, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’

With that said, here are some of the components we are spec’ing into the kitchen design and pantry:

  • Built in book shelf on island for cook books.
  • Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers.
  • Custom shelves and a place to plug in appliances in pantry.
  • Plumb and wire for both gas and electric appliances.
  • Pantry light on motion sensor.
  • Drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space).
  • Easy-access place to store frequently used appliances.
  • Dish drawers rather than overhead cabinets you can never find anything in.
  • Tankless water heater for all kitchen water.
  • Hidden outlets in drawers and lots of outlets.
  • An in-counter composting container
  • Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers.
  • Chest freezer in pantry.

Perhaps this gives you an idea of the level of detail you can absorb yourself into when designing a home.

It can feel overwhelming at times. But, these are mostly fine details. What about the lion’s share of the kitchen? It turns out there is geometry involved since the majority of shapes inside the kitchen are rectangular or square. A “golden triangle” or “work triangle” is defined as an imaginary line drawn from the sink, to the oven, and one from the oven to the fridge to form a triangle. These are the most common paths taken when cooking. In order to create a functional kitchen to enjoyably cook in, this is where you start.

The Golden Triangle idea is that these three areas need to be close enough to be convenient, but not so close as to impede ease of use.

A rule for the theory is that the sum of the three sides of the triangle should be between 13′ and 26′.  Because we have two sinks spec’d out we have created two triangles.  The large triangle is 23′ and the small is 17′ 2″. Also no leg of the triangle should be less than 4′.

We have designed two sinks in the kitchen. One on the countertop and the other into the island. This is so we can both cut and prep at the same time. By adding the island, we created several efficient prep locations where we can both work without stepping on each other. We’ve also added the vegetable prep sink in order to prevent kitchen run-ins with hot pots, pans and sharp knives. The oven is designed to be on the island so whoever is cooking doesn’t feel isolated from whatever might be going on in the great room.

We decided to forfeit upper cabinets. We find that kitchenware gets lost in them, items placed on the very top shelf are hard to reach, they take away counter space and they make the kitchen feel smaller.

Also, cabinets are expensive. This cuts our bill in half! The best part is that we prefer the look of a kitchen without them, as well. Gotta love that! Instead, we plan to have some open shelves for regularly used articles, like plates, bowls and mugs.

The large pantry was one of my design ideas.

I grew up in a rural area, where my father and I would drive into town once a week, every Saturday, to buy groceries and run errands – I loathed Saturdays, as you can imagine. A fully stocked kitchen is necessary when you live an hour away from a grocery store. There’s nothing worse than being midway through a recipe only to find you are missing an ingredient. Quick runs to the store aren’t an option. So you have to be good at planning your meals and food needs ahead. Finally, where we live, there could be days on end where we are snowed in. We don’t want a repeat of the Donner Party scenario.

A lot of these details will take time and care. It’s the end goal. Check back in for a post on the bathrooms – I had begged, sobbed and threatened Dave to permit me to get any bathtub I desired. I figure it’s worth a decent investment, given I’d happily spend half my life in it.