(Quebec) How can you make your kitchen funtional without giving up comfort? By storing things in the right place, using the right type of cabinet, and by creating zones of activity. And don’t forget to follow the golden rules of accessibility and visibility.
Why shouldn’t you store plates in upper cabinets? When you take them out at arm’s length, they can be heavy. The ideal place for your stacks of plates is in one of the new sliding storage systems with large drawers and multiple levels.
If you have an old-fashioned kitchen with deep cabinets, drawers can be integrated into the cabinets.
A little cleverness lets you modernize your space without changing it completely. Glasses can stay above in a standard cabinet. Lids can be placed near plates or the dishwasher.
Large drawers can aslo hold pots and pans, as long as they are close to the cooking zone. What’s more, you don’t need to stare into a dark cabinet to find that one plate hidden all the way in the back. Instead, everything is there in front of your eyes. If you have an independent range and stove, make sure that they are not installed too far from one another.
Cooking utensils, spices and condiments that are frequently used for cooking should be located in this zone. It can be handy to have spices up abobe in a cabinet next to the stove. But more and more often, they are stored in a lower drawer designed specifically to let you see all the jars at a glance and access them easily.
The preperation zone is the area where you mix, cut, peel, and so on. Ideally, this all takes place close to your stove so that there is only a short distance between the cutting board and the saucepan. Not far from these two zones should be the sink. The under-sink cabinet is often a place where chaos reigns, but new models offer clever storage space for sponges, soaps, and other cleaning products. It makes sense to put the trash can, recycling bin, and compost here. Sliding units offer the possibility of storing three bins in a row, making the most of your spance and ensuring practical use. And for gadget lovers, drawers can be fitted with a system that opens with pressure from the knee. The dishwasher is usually not far away.
The refrigerator should be located in the storage zone. Next to the fridge, install the pantry, which can be neatly organized with sliding storage.
The sink zone, the cooking zone, and the storage zone should form an ergonomic triangle. To move from one zone to another, you only need to turn and take two or three steps. Large kitchens are nice, but its not ideal to run a marathon everytime you want to cook an egg.
The island is very prized: it offers additional storage and one more work surface. But to be really practical, it can’t create an obsticale, such as between the stove and the frige. If an island has drawers, the drawers can cross the island so the can be open from either side.
Small appliances must also have a place. The microwave can be placed in the pantry to keep it out of sight, though it is most practical in the cooking or preparation zone. Toasters, coffeemakers, kettles, and other small appliances that you use daily can stay on the counter in places that you decided are practical (don’t plug in the toaster too far from where you make breakfast). Other appliances that are used less often should be places in a cabinet or drawer.
Major appliances such as the fridge, oven, and dishwaser should not be placed acrosss from each other, so that traffic space can be preserved when appliances are open at the same time.
The form and organization of your kitchen should suit your available space and your lifestyle. A kitchen for a single cook is not designed the same way as a kitchen where meals are a family affair.
References: Many experts were consulted for the writing of this article. The team of Griffe Cuisne and Saint Agustin de Desmaures advised us a number of times. These designers us many Richelieu products to create pleasent, functional spaces.
Manon Leblanc also contributed to this article by offering a few practical tricks.