Plan to make your kitchen space work
If you’ve spent any time looking into kitchen design you’ll know about triangulation – the movement between fridge, sink and cooker, your three main work stations. The bin (or the recycling centre as it has now become) may add a fourth. But give some thought early on to the way you store everything else, from that dusty ice cream maker you got as a wedding present, to the tea and coffee space which you’ll be at several times a day. Getting this right will be critical to making your, probably expensive, new kitchen work best for you.
Our kitchen designers tell us about many of the storage challenges they face, and they have passed on a few tips.
Look at everything you have in your cupboards and drawers and find a ‘home’ for it in your redesigned model. It may be that your design can accommodate everything, but if necessary, you can create bespoke places in your design. This may just be thoughtfully sized and located drawers and cupboards. Or it may include one of the more ingenious mechanisms that are now available, and which can come into their own, especially in a small kitchen.
Storage in a small kitchen
In a small kitchen, where everything is in easy reach, the challenge is more about making the most out of the limited space you have available. There are lots of ideas on the web, and our designers will have a good idea of how to help. But examples of things to consider are using hanging racks inside cupboards or beneath shelves to store glasses or jars; hanging baskets for overhead storage; two-tier drawers for cutlery or spices; and boxes in deep cupboards to allow better access (and liberate that tin of tomato soup from 2006). There are all kinds of clever racks and shelves that allow you make the most of every bit of space. Our carpenters can create bespoke floor shelves on casters to fill the spaces beneath your units.
There are so many appliances and gadgets to tempt the enthusiastic chef. But these can take up a lot of space, and if they are infrequently used (just where did I leave my pasta maker?) you will not want them cluttering valuable surface space. Plan to store them either in a dedicated unit or in a cupboard with heavier items to be placed at counter height level to avoid lifting from a top shelf. In addition, clever kitchen lifts can be used for heavy items or hidden counter storage for discrete counter storage.
Lots of food items come in tall packages, like spaghetti packs, cereal boxes or olive oil bottles. Unless you want to store these things on their side (which will probably not end well) you will need to have shelves that can be adjusted to fit in all your food items. If you are using a pantry style storage make sure that the shelves are deep enough to fit the bulky stuff as well as the tall stuff. Find other items to make use of the smaller spaces that might be left over, such as herb and spice jars.
The increased sophistication of the British kitchen is typified by the coffee maker. No more the jars of Nescafé and Coffeemate for us; we want cafetières or hob espresso makers as a minimum; or perhaps frothing, steaming, pressurized contraptions that need a degree in chemical engineering to operate. Coffee and tea areas need a bit of thought. They can be messy so a position near the sink is sensible. But generally, think about all your beverage needs to avoid wandering around the kitchen with vessels of boiling water.
A chef’s best friend, you need to think about whether you want your knifes on display or hidden away. Good knifes are expensive so you must store them properly and safely. Deciding whether to store your knives in a horizontal knife block inside a cutlery drawer, in top counter knife block or hanging on magnetic blocks on the wall will depend on the space at your disposal. But don’t leave them lying around in drawers; they’ll blunt quickly and can be a health risk if you’re rummaging from something else.
Cutting boards and trays
These everyday items need a home otherwise they take up a lot of work surface space. They are a designers’ dream because they make fantastic use of any slender gaps. Plan for the space to hold all your cutting boards and trays.
Rubbish is ugly and it often takes up valuable space in the kitchen, but it’s unavoidable. Of course there’s lots of different units available on the market, all catering for the demands of waste segregation. Things to think about include integrated units to avoid unsightly bins; and better still, a top-opening cupboard (that tilts outwards) as an alternative to the pull-out drawer unit, which can take up less space. Waste disposal units that grind up food waste, allowing it to be washed down the drain, are becoming increasingly popular. They are environmentally friendly, and avoid the need for unsightly compost bins. Wherever it goes, always position the waste area near your preparation area and/or sink.
If like me you love cook books you’ll need to plan a place to keep them. Don’t just plan a space with enough room for the books you already have, make sure that it can accommodate a growing collection. But keep them away from areas where billowing steam or sputtering fats might ruin them.
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