Design Guideline #2: “Obey the Rule of the Triangle”
Ok so that title might be a little over the top…and no the Triangle I’m referring to here is not found on a dollar bill or a basketball play drawn up for Michael Jordan. For generations in the kitchen design industry the Work Triangle has been the imaginary shape created by 3 well laid-out work centers (refrigerator, sink/ dishwasher, & cooktop). In the diagrams to the right, you’ll see some “rules of thumb” of the Work Triangle.
Although the Work Triangle has long been thought of as an absolute, today’s kitchen is not necessarily bound to every one of it’s laws. For one, today’s kitchen is typically larger than the kitchen found in a post WWII home. A modern kitchen often times has more than 3 major work areas to consider including perhaps an additional prep sink, double stacked oven, warming drawer, and most definitely a microwave. 60 years ago the kitchen usually only needed to accommodate 1 chef. In today’s household you will often see 2 people working side by side, thus more distance is introduced to the equation to avoid stepping all over one another. You may ultimately end up with two Work Triangles within the kitchen (2 examples are illustrated below).
The way people think about the kitchen and food prep has certainly evolved. The Work Triangle however should not be thrown out altogether. It is still a great place to start when laying out your kitchen design. You might not have to look any further than your existing kitchen to identify a design flaw that could have been avoided if the Work Triangle had been considered. Is your existing fridge practically sitting in the living room? Is your stove shoved in the corner like a naughty child, away from the action? If so, now is your chance to make some layout changes that will bring some continuity to your dream kitchen.
Ultimately your kitchen has to function to meet your lifestyle not the other way around. Your vision of the complete kitchen may very well include every item in the 2014 Sub Zero/Wolf catalog. That’s great, but don’t waste the time & resources to fill every last corner with an appliance if using it is not going to prove convenient. After all these years experts agree that the most efficient action in the kitchen is still done within a well designed Work Triangle.
The images and diagrams are courtesy of National Kitchen & Bath Association
Look for our next post when we’ll introduce Design Guideline #3 “It’s the Space Between the Counter that Counts”
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