Kitchen Layout

Here we give a guide to the kitchen design process; how do we make a kitchen which 'works' as well as meeting our objective of creating a period-style kitchen.

No period style of kitchen can escape the 'triangle rule'; the main activities in a kitchen require the cooker or range, sink and working area to be in close proximity; for food preparation we move from sink to worktop, to cook we go from worktop to cooker, and then for washing up the 'traffic' is from cooker and worktop to sink. These movements are made many times during a day and need to be short and easy to negotiate.

In many ways the island unit or central table works best; it means that the cook can operate close to the sink when needed, and then move to the cooker side later.

Food, tool and utensil storage needs to be close by.

In most modern homes, the trend is to eat in the kitchen; for many families, the ability to supervise the children's meal while cooking for a commuting parent is essential. In the larger Victorian households, this would never have occurred; food would have been taken to the nursery for the children and to the dining room for the adults. In medium-sized houses, the children may have fed in the kitchen, watched over by the cook or maid-of-all-work. In the poorest homes, the work was done by the women of the family; so all members of the family lived and ate in the kitchen; it was the heart of the home.

For most households in the 21st century, a compromise is to have weekend meals in the dining room with all others in the kitchen. The choices we make here reflect modern customs and practice; some child behaviour specialists want more of us to eat together as a family and preserving the dining room in a period home meets these recommendations.