We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so this week I'm going to give some advice on how to make the most of it, without a remodel!
With a son who is very allergic to MANY foods, I am cooking constantly - seven days a week, several times a day. Not a lot of takeout or eating out here! Because of this, I feel like I can talk about kitchen design from a practical perspective. I've also helped several clients with their kitchens and received a great education in kitchen design as part of my Parsons Interior Design program.
In this post, I'll be talking about the bones of your kitchen and then in later weeks, I'll talk about my favorite kitchen tools and workhorses. My goal is for you to be able to DANCE in your kitchen while you cook. Everything should flow and groove easily. Throw on some good tunes and you're really in business!
Think of your kitchen in terms of zones.
We've all heard about the kitchen triangle (fridge, sink and oven), which is great in a perfect world, but what really matters is that you think about your kitchen in terms of zones. I'll go through each zone and break down how each should work. Keep in mind that you don't need to have each zone dedicated to one purpose.
Okay - critical to your prep zone are a few things. The first thing is a sink. Almost everything you prep requires the use of water. Also critical are knives, cutting boards and mixing bowls. I also like to have my trash near by for my scraps. Good sharp knives and a nicely sized cutting board are key. It's nice to have a few feet of prep counter space, but it's not necessary. You can also add a freestanding island/workstation if you're short on counter space. If it'll be in the way when you're not prepping, get one with wheels so it's easy to cart away. Another way to get prep space is to bridge a cutting board over your sink.
It's ideal to have the prep zone be right next to your cooking zone so you can go right from the cutting board into the pan!
Look at this setup to the left - I would LOVE to have this built-in cutting board in my kitchen!
Unfortunately, my prep zone is often compromised by my dog, Boomer, who positions himself directly in line of anything that might drop on the floor.
This goes without saying, but your cooking zone centers around your cooktop and oven. Your cooking zone should include your pots and pans along with your cooking utensils (spoons, spatulas, etc.). I like to keep these in a jar on my counter so that they're always within reach. Speaking of always in reach, I keep olive oil, canola oil, salt and pepper on a tray near my cooktop. I get really annoyed having to open and close cabinets, so I prefer to have more of an "open" kitchen. More on how to make it all look good in my next post.
Isn't the setup above absolutely fabulous?!?!? I love the combination of all the mixed metals - stainless, copper and brass.
Food Storage Zone(s)
This includes the fridge and any type of pantry space, including drawers and cabinets. I actually love large drawers for snacks and drinks - so easy for the kiddies to reach in and grab. The food storage zone works best when it's convenient to the prep area and also easy for family members and guests to help themselves to snacks and drinks.
Also something to think about is where to store your tinfoil, plastic wrap and baggies. I have these stored in two parts of my kitchen; one spot is a drawer between my range and fridge (so I can wrap leftovers up from the stove to the fridge) and the other is a drawer where I make lunches and pack snacks.
Like the prep zone, the cleaning zone centers around the sink. This zone should also include the dishwasher and your trash. Ideally you have your trash on one side of the sink and the dishwasher on the other side.
What makes my dishwashing so much more pleasurable is using Mrs. Meyers dish soap. I LOVE it! It smells divine and happens to work really well too.
Most of us don't have a dedicated baking zone, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't group baking items together close to where your mixer is. This includes your baking cookware, measuring cups and spoons,
It's best to keep the dishes, glasses and flatware close to the dishwasher (makes for easy unloading) and where you'll be serving food/drinks. I specifically like to store flatware near the table so it's easy to set the table.
Below is an example of something that I love in kitchens - storing dishes and bowls in large drawers. My parents have this set up in their kitchen and it makes bringing the dishes in and out such a breeze. It's great in a more open kitchen where you don't have a lot of upper cabinets.
So that wraps up my thoughts on kitchen zones. Keep in mind that each kitchen is different and no kitchen is perfect so you have to work with what you have. Think of it as a puzzle.
Remember, I'm always available to help!
Until next time!
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.