October 16, 2015:

Leigh Spicher

Cooking and baking: Most people either love it or hate it. But chances are even if you aren’t an aspiring chef, you still value a well-designed, functional kitchen. You have to eat, right? Even if it’s just a PB&J. (I could live on those by the way, and have included my favorite take on the classic below.) So outside of crafting PB&J greatness, the kitchen is a hub for life, and is hands down my favorite room in the home.

Where else can you find all of life’s essentials in one delicious place?

My kitchen is home to everything from Band-Aids to Sharpie markers (rainbow assortment, of course). You can also find candles, cleaning supplies, keys and the dog bowls (3, to be exact). All this and we still need room for cookware, dinnerware, flatware, glassware and linens. Don’t forget Tupperware, Pyrex, paper plates, crystal, and china. Oh, and if you aren’t using that gorgeous crystal on a regular basis, you should! Life is a special occasion.

But I digressed…we haven’t even talked about the food! Thanks to Costco and BOGO at the local market, kitchens now overflow with abundant “back stock”. With all these demands for space, choosing the right kitchen design becomes even more important.

Finding the Right Kitchen Fit for Your Family

Let me help you navigate three of the most popular kitchen designs for you and your family. First, consider your lifestyle. Step one: layout and shape of the space. Some of the preeminent kitchen layouts are:

One Wall: (One wall of cabinets and counters): These are generally geared toward smaller spaces and should ideally include an island for storage and efficient zones. Here is a beautiful example:

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L-Shape: (One wall and an additional smaller wall of cabinets and counters): The L-shape is best known as a space maximizer, as the corner is extended and provides more usable space. This is typically a great layout for a medium sized kitchen. There is one important feature to consider, and it’s either a major positive or a negative depending on how you like to cook. The L-Shape does not provide easy passage for extra chefs, helpers, or (at my house) ballerinas. The right angle slows down, “traffic,” making it a challenge for more than one cook person to move around. If you typically have more than one cook in your kitchen, you should likely consider other layouts.
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The U-Shape (3 walls of cabinets and counters): This kitchen offers the most storage space and provides for great flow in and out of the kitchen. If space permits, an island is often in the middle to maximize function. This is a great layout for medium and large kitchens.
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Delicious Organizational Options

In addition to shape, there are two organizational concepts that are important to the overall success of how your kitchen functions.

The Classic Work Triangle: This isn’t another layout shape. The “triangle kitchen” is a term referring to the placement of the most important kitchen work areas: the sink, stove/range and refrigerator. These areas should be arranged in your kitchen as a “triangle” of sorts. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a right triangle…it can be acute or even obtuse (that’s a less than perfect triangle for those of you that had a rough time in geometry). Most designers agree, this design concept provides your kitchen with the best sense of efficiency and function.

Here is a great visual for you:

Source: Wikipedia
The Zone: Don’t worry, this isn’t some weird diet. Think of the “zone kitchen” design as a layer to the triangle design. This concept focuses on activities that are broader than the three major areas in the triangle. These activities include cleaning, eating, cooking/ baking. Adding this layer to the basic triangle lets you organize and store everything necessary
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At Ashton Woods, we take kitchen design very seriously. Our designers and architects go to great lengths to make sure all of our kitchens are designed with the utmost culinary potential. Once you purchase your home, that’s when the fun starts! The designers at The Studio take great joy in learning how you want your kitchen to function. We have endless possibilities that will make your kitchen not only beautiful, but exceptionally functional.

For example, we have what I call “kitchen exteriors”: an amazing spectrum of cabinet styles and finishes, state-of-the-art countertops , many of which offer an antibacterial component for a cleaner kitchen, and thousands of different backsplashes…the best way to truly personalize your kitchen.

After we design the exterior, we help you organize the “kitchen interiors” or “zones” with proper cutlery drawers, pot and pan drawers, roll-out shelves, tilt-out trays and cookie cabinets (that’s right, a special place for those muffin and cookie sheets!) and even glass doors so you can display that crystal you’ll be using more often ;).

As we say at AW, love the possibilities.

Drum Roll Please…

And now for that PB&J greatness. Elvis, step aside. Here is my favorite gourmet take on the classic (Serves one passionate interior designer adult or two young ballerinas):

Designer PB&J
3 slices sprouted whole-grain bread
2 Tbsp organic smooth peanut or almond butter
½ a banana (sliced)
3 organic strawberries (sliced)
2 tsp organic honey (I like lavender or orange infused)
1 tsp favorite granola (if it has bits of chocolate you’re in for an extra treat)

  1. Layer one slice of bread with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, banana slices, 1 tsp of honey and ½ tsp granola.
  2. Add a second piece of bread and top with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, strawberry slices, 1 tsp honey and remaining granola.
  3. Top with the last piece of bread for an epic “club style” PB&J. Best when cut into quarters.

Enjoy!

 

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