At one time, an efficient kitchen was designed around a work triangle, formed by the location of the refridgerator, sink and range. Although distance between major appliances is still a valid consideration, today the focus is shifting toward work zones. These dedicated areas -- for food prep, baking, eating, entertaining, office tasks and even hobbies -- allow homeowners to create more industrious and personalized kitchens.
• DO plan to include a large sink, cutting surface, and sufficient storage for plates, bowls, utensils and hand towels. The dishwasher and main refrigerator are typically located in the preparation zone -- although these busy appliances also do duty in the cooking and baking zones.
• DON'T overlook pullout produce bins and refrigerator drawers, which keep staples close at hand.
• DO situate the oven and microwave -- as well as specialty appliances like a steam oven, pasta sink and deep fryer -- in this zone. Keep required utensils, spices, oils, roasting pans and heavy-duty cookware nearby.
• DON'T forget to choose a countertop that's stain and heat resistant, like Corian, Silestone or granite.
• DO outfit the baking zone with convenient storage for staples like flour and sugar, as well as for serving trays and baking sheets. An auxiliary sink positioned on one side of the counter is handy, as is a marble surface for rolling out dough.
• DON'T take unnecessary steps across the kitchen; for easy access to eggs, butter and milk, plan the layout so the refrigerator is within arm's reach.
• DO dedicate an area for eating. Locate tableware, cutlery and placemats nearby for convenience.
• DON'T overlook the potential of a banquette, not only as seating for family meals and after-school snacks, but also as storage for everything from toys to files.
• DO consider a beverage zone outside the main flow of traffic. If you entertain frequently, ideal inclusions are a wine refrigerator or an open wine rack, instant hot water dispenser, coffee or espresso machine, minifridge (for milk, cream), ice maker and, perhaps, small-capacity dishwasher.
• DON'T ignore the new trough sinks, which can be filled with crushed ice for chilling bottles and serving oysters.
• DO create a comfortable spot to tackle correspondence and household tasks. Include power for a desk lamp, computer and cellphone charger.
• DON'T get frustrated if space is tight; carve out room in an island or under a banquette for office supplies or filing drawers.
• DO give your kitchen new purpose by including a corner in which to read with a child or curl up and nap.
• DON'T limit yourself here. For one client, we set up an easel for painting and added a secondary sink for rinsing brushes. Another client asked for a dog centre with a play area for Fido, a sleeping pen and storage for food.