Kitchens have become the central gathering place in most homes today. So how do we design a kitchen that allows the cook to cook and the guests to congregate? The kitchen’s circulation pattern becomes the key. Good kitchens typically have a work triangle that is the main circulation pattern of the cook. The most effective triangles are between 13’ and 26’. Providing an area outside of this triangle for guests is critical to a well functioning kitchen. Many modern homes have islands or peninsula that separates these two functions. However, you don’t need a counter to separate the areas if space is not available.
Not only is the kitchen triangle critical to designing the cook’s area, the distance between countertops and appliances are also critical. It seems many people think making a bigger kitchen will make it function better. But, that is not always the case. If you have to walk around a large island to get your refrigerated food to the sink, you may be spending more time walking than cooking. You also have to consider how open appliance doors effect your circulation triangle. Can the cook get around the open refrigerator with a child standing in front of it? The optimal distance from an island to an adjacent countertop is 4 – 5 feet. This allows a cook to pass another person or an open appliance door without hassle. Any closer you create traffic jams and any further you are burning extra calories. These are only some of the circulations issues we evaluate when designing a new kitchen.