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[All photos by BUILD LLC]

While we don’t do kitchen remodels, we do design a lot of kitchens as part of new houses and full house remodels. At this point, we’ve got enough kitchen designs in our portfolio that they’ve become a valuable resource and we refer to them often. Reviewing past kitchen designs with current clients is one of our most important architectural tools. Another important design tool around the BUILD world headquarters is sharing information, so for today’s post we’re bringing the two together. We’ve taken our 5 most recent kitchen designs and boiled the plans down to simple diagrams that illustrate the cabinet layout, appliance locations and work triangle ergonomics. The diagrams indicate key dimensions and link to photos of the finished kitchens. But before we get to that, it’s important to discuss the primary drivers of kitchen design.

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Over the years we’ve found a number of important design principles that produce functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchens:

  1. The “Work Triangle” (the triangle made by the range, the sink and the refrigerator) should be compact enough that it allows convenient and effective circulation for the chef, but generous enough that 2 people working in the kitchen aren’t bumping into one another. It also shouldn’t intersect with the kitchen island or other projecting cabinets/countertops. As a general rule of thumb, the sum of the three sides of the work triangle should be no less than 15’ and no greater than 25’.
  1. Gathering/entertaining areas in the kitchen should be independent of the Work Triangle so that guests can nibble on appetizers, enjoy a drink, and watch the chef without getting in the way of the cooking. At the same time, it’s useful for the gathering/entertaining area to have a direct view of the kitchen’s Work Triangle.
  1. Architectural drawings should include the geometry of appliance doors. This typically includes the swing of the refrigerator door(s), the oven and dishwasher in their open positions and any other key operations like pull-out trash bins (dashed on the plans below). While these operations will most likely overlap in some areas, it’s important to control which ones overlap. For instance, the oven door and dishwasher door can have overlapping operations as the two are typically in use at different times.
  1. The sink, trash and dishwasher have an important linear relationship. The design of a kitchen should take the sequence of meal cleanup into consideration. Most households clear, rinse and place dishes into the dishwasher in that order. Subsequently, the kitchen design should locate the trash, sink and dishwasher in a linear order with the trash being closest to the dining room table (or breakfast nook).
  1. Kitchen ergonomics should address more than just cooking. How the home owners enter the home and unload their groceries is an important, and often overlooked, design consideration. Locating the refrigerator and pantry near the entry of the kitchen (and preferably near some countertop) makes a kitchen work much more smoothly in general.

Kitchens are complicated design puzzles and while we don’t always hit all 5 of these principles with each kitchen, all 5 play an important role in the design process. The kitchen designs below show a range of possibilities all using these 5 principles as a departure point.

Magnolia Kitchen
Work Triangle: 25’
Materials: Quarter-sawn walnut veneer cabinets with Blum hardware and Dekkor 18000 Wide Pedestal D series pulls. Kashmir White granite countertops w/ non-directional stainless steel backsplash and Kohler Riverby sink. Solid oak floors w/ light gray stain.
Appliances: Sub-Zero built-in refrigerator, Wolf 6-burner cooktop, Vent-a-hood, KitchenAid wall ovens, Bosch dishwasher w/ integral cabinet face, Sharp drawer-style microwave.
Notes: This design keeps the appliances at the perimeter of the kitchen, reserving the generous kitchen island for entertaining and prep-work.

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Queen Anne Kitchen
Work Triangle: 26’
Materials: Non-figured quarter-sawn anigre veneer cabinets with Blum hardware and Dekkor 18000 Wide Pedestal D series pulls. Pentalquartz Mesa Polished countertops w/ non directional stainless steel backsplash and custom stainless steel sink. Solid oak floors w/ ebonized stain.
Appliances: Jenn-Air refrigerator, cooktop, hood, wall oven + microwave, and dishwasher.
Notes: This kitchen fits snugly within the existing footprint of an existing (and significantly remodeled) mid-century modern home. The two banks of cabinets within the kitchen are more effective than a ‘U’ shaped kitchen as the design eliminates the blind corners that would be difficult to access.

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Beaux Arts Village Kitchen
Work Triangle = 23’
Materials: Non-figured quarter-sawn anigre veneer cabinets with Blum hardware and Sugatsune 1600 series pulls. Pentalquartz Mesa Polished countertops w/ non directional stainless steel backsplash and custom stainless steel sink. Brazilian cherry hardwood floors.
Appliances: Jenn-Air refrigerator and wine cooler, Miele cooktop & wok burner, Vent-a-hood, Miele wall oven, speed oven, espresso machine and dishwasher w/ integral face panel.
Notes: The north wall of this kitchen extends to the ceiling, creating a pantry wall and additional space to accommodate the espresso machine and wine cooler. Cabinet cubbies on top of the pantry allow for storage of seasonal items.

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Case Study House Kitchen
Work Triangle = 18’
Materials: Aluminum cladding on voidless Russian birch cabinet uppers, Figured (at back of island) and non-figured quarter-sawn anigre veneer cabinet lowers with Blum hardware and custom stainless steel pulls. Pentalquartz Mesa Polished countertops w/ non directional stainless steel backsplash and custom stainless steel sink. Tile floors.
Appliances: Jenn-Air refrigerator, range, hood and dishwasher w/ integral face.
Notes: This kitchen is a straight-forward layout comprised of a single cabinet wall and an island which keeps the circulation simple. Because this kitchen was a case study we worked with Blum hardware to integrate fluid ergonomics with Blum’s line of servo drive system which opens and closes doors and drawers with a light touch to the cabinet face, more about that here.

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West Seattle Kitchen
Work Triangle = 19’
Materials: Quarter-sawn walnut veneer cabinets with Blum hardware and Dekkor 18000 Wide Pedestal D series pulls. Pentalquartz Cascade White countertops w/ non directional stainless steel backsplash and custom stainless steel sink which sits adjacent to a custom wall mural. Tile floors.
Appliances: Sub-Zero refrigerator, Capitol range, Miele wall oven, Sharp microwave, Asko dishwasher w/ integral face and existing hood.
Notes: Like many of our kitchens, we like to designate one wall as the full-height cabinets wall for the pantry and all the appliances that require elevated placement. The tricky corner becomes and appliance garage to store (or hide) countertop appliances like the mixer or coffee maker.

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There’s our 5 strategies along with 5 designed, built and currently being cooked-in applications.

Cheers from Team BUILD