With any room it is advisable to draw a scale plan showing the location of the fixed and heavy items before you set about the task of ordering and remodelling. With the kitchen it is more than advisable—it is essential. There are so many things to be fitted into the room and there are so many ways you can do the wrong thing. You can shift settees, tables and lamps in the living room, but you cannot just move a sink, cooker, and washing machine from one spot to another if you have made a mistake. The first job is to write down all the factors which must be considered before drawing up the plan:
• Is the kitchen large enough? If not, can a wall be knocked down or an extension built? Take care — you should always consult a builder or an architect before moving kitchen walls.
•Who will use the kitchen? If children will be around, you must think of the safety. If the family is large you will need a lot of storage space.
•Are the services suitable? Remodelling is an opportunity to replace old pipes, have stopcocks fitted etc.
• Is cooking important? If meals are simple and entertaining is an uncommon event, it is not worth wasting money on a large and complex oven. If frozen food is frequently used you will certainly need a microwave oven.
• How often do you shop? Obviously you will need much more storage, refrigerator and freezer space if you shop weekly or fortnightly rather than daily.
• Do you plan to eat in the kitchen? Space may be a problem, but family meals in the kitchen make life much easier for the housewife, and even a small room can usually accommodate a breakfast bar.
• What fixtures do you plan to keep and what do you intend to replace? • How much money can you afford? Left off some checklists in the textbooks, but a vital consideration for all of us! There may be other points you wish to consider before getting down to the detail of planning. Once the plan is complete you should collect catalogues for the items of major equipment you propose to buy. Try to see the goods before you order. Shop around — check whether installation is included in the price.
Beginning the plan
Mark out the floor plan on graph paper—it is also useful to draw wall plans. Although the measurements on this page are given in inches, it will probably be better to work in metric units these days. The usual scale is 1/20. Draw in doors, windows and the location of pipes, drains, electric points etc. Then mark the position of all appliances and units which are going to remain. The next step is to cut out pieces of card to represent the equipment and units you plan to install. Before coming to a decision, carefully study the concept of the Work Triangle and the 5 basic kitchen styles.
Triangle The heart of the kitchen is the triangle formed by the refrigerator, sink and cooker — in a very small room this may be condensed to a line rather than a triangle. For the sake of safety avoid having the sink and cooker on either side of the line of traffic, especially if children and dogs are present. A door when opened should not enter this triangle. For the sake of efficiency keep the total length of the sides of the triangle to less than 20 ft.
Completing the plan
Having chosen one of the 5 basic arrangements it is necessary to site the main equipment and units.
Following these needs as far as possible, move the cardboard shapes around to give you the ideal arrangement. If there is a piece of equipment which you want but cannot yet afford, leave a space and fill with a temporary unit. Check the completed plan. Have you arranged for sufficient 13 A plugs (minimum 5) above the work surfaces? Have you positioned the tallest units (eg a broom closet) in a corner or at the end of a run of units? Have you put the sink, washing machine and dishwasher close together to make plumbing easy?
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