What makes a good kitchen? Space, easy reach, great accessories, etc? Ruth Dsouza Prabhu has a few tips on what to keep in mind while planning the perfect kitchen.
If there is something that binds together the typical Indian family, it is the kitchen. Irrespective of which part of the country you come from and what the reason may be, food is the one thing that can bring together a warring family, herald some good news, break the monotony of bad weather and much more. It is therefore natural that the kitchen be designed so that it takes care of every aspect of your family’s requirements.
“Preparing three fresh meals a day takes a good six hours for the Indian home maker, a full day’s job! By designing a customized and functional kitchen to meet the needs and lifestyle of that family; there is a conscious effort to reduce the time spent in the kitchen by the Indian home maker,” says Vasu, Director, V3 Engineers, a company that also specializes in kitchen design.
Naturally quizzing the home owners on their way of life is how a kitchen designer will be able to determine the kind of kitchen to put in place.
This will be based on a deeper understanding of the space that the designer has to work with, the prevailing environment in a home and the lifestyle the family has. “For example - neighbours in an apartment block, the same floor and the apartment kitchen space being identical - One home has four adults and two children and another two adults with no child.
“The kitchen design, the colour, the glamour can be the same for both kitchens but the functionality of these similar looking kitchens is specific to that family, based on their cooking frequency, cuisine, food habits, buying patterns etc.
“One feature to consider - if the family buys provisions only once a month, the storage space needs to be more and in the case of a weekly purchase lesser,” explains Vasu.
Knowing what the design process involves and understanding the different modules available for functional kitchens will help you answer the designer’s probing questions in a better way. Giving them a good basis on which to work will ensure that you will have a kitchen that suits the kind of cooking enthusiast you are. Vasu provides some general design inclusions for various scenarios typical to an Indian home.
The joint family
Big families will need to store several larger sized vessels and appliances. One would require the use of tall as well as mid-height units. In these kinds of kitchens, corner units can be integrated into the design and this can give one the kind of storage space needed.
Space will have to be created to store an oven / baking utensils/accessories like cutters, moulds etc. These kinds of kitchens would best make use of a mid-height unit along with a three-drawer module. In addition, they can also have a tall unit that houses the oven and grill making the kitchen a complete one.
Storage is primary here for a person who will have powdered / bottled / packeted spices, mixes and sauces meant for multiple cuisines and varied appliances as well. The inclusion of overhead cabinets and spice organizers or spice racks would be integral to the design of the kitchen. Bottle pull-outs along with two-or three-drawer modules would be perfect.
This is essential in every home that has children. Having integrated wall cabinets instead of base cabinets added into the kitchen design will prevent toddlers from gaining any form of access. Including sensors that trip an alarm if a ‘Hands Off’ space is accessed by children in the kitchen also makes sense. Small kitchen
These are the kinds of kitchens that will make the best use of tall units and mid-height units placed in an in-line kitchen design.
“Every design team has predetermined modules to work with – drawers, pull outs and cabinets in different shapes and sizes, that are over a good 400 in number. Whole arrays of accessories have also been identified, tried and tested and are in stock. The kitchen is designed around the accessories chosen for the family based on the inputs given by them. The kitchen designer will then place modules along with the accessories to develop a fully functional kitchen for the family and their lifestyle’, explains Vasu.
One would think that ergonomics is best suited for office spaces to ensure that one is able to make an employee work with their full potential. The same principles however can easily be applied to a kitchen space to ensure that cooking is an easy process and not one where you have frequent accidents from tripping over things, lack of work space and not having things handy.
Vasu presents the concept of the kitchen work triangle in this regard. He says that it is probably the most researched and applied ergonomic principle around. It is the focus of most kitchen layouts. The goal of a good kitchen work triangle is to place the three most common work spaces in a kitchen in the most efficient distances apart and to minimise unnecessary repetitive movement through the work zone. In any traditional kitchen the three main work spaces are: Storage space – compartments, pull outs and drawers, cleaning / preparation space – sink, cooking space – stove and chimney. These represent the three points of the kitchen work triangle.
If you place these too far away from each other you waste a lot of effort moving around in the kitchen while preparing a meal. If they are too close to each other you have a cramped kitchen without any place to work freely.
Kitchen layouts are of course plenty and that will depend on what you finally want to get out of your kitchen. However, getting in the professionals to assess and design the space for you will ensure that not only will your kitchen be the center of all yummy things in the house, but also a place where you can relax when you dish out goodies for the family.