Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TKO Tuesday: Zones and Workpaths

I think work zones and the paths within and between them can be the most important consideration in a well-functioning kitchen.  This means aisles must be wide enough for the person or people working, and not too wide to be efficient.  This means people and their tasks have adequate work surfaces and storage.

A picture is worth a thousand (or two) words, so I'll start with the layout of my kitchen with the work zones labeled.

And here are examples of the paths a worker would most-often cover in performing a task in each of those areas.   It's not always this simple, of course, as someone clearing the dishwasher might cross through the cooking path to put away tools that are stored in the baking center, and people from any of the zones create dirty dishes that eventually get to the main sink.    That's where aisle size and gracious teamwork come into play.

With a family the size of ours, whose members often like to be working in the kitchen 2 to 8 at a time, good separation of task areas was a priority.  Our last kitchen was much smaller, and there was one particular counter area we all liked to use best.  When one was cooking, one was baking, and one was preparing the dinner salad, it got crowded, and 2 people had to move to less desirable locations that were further from the things they needed and/or uncomfortable.  I wanted to avoid those problems when designing our house, so pretty much started with the kitchen, making it as large as it needed to be to fit us comfortably for the way we operate.

That's not always possible in an existing house, and with families for whom a giant kitchen isn't or can't be the top priority.  But using my kitchen as a guideline, I'll discuss the zones in more detail next week, and, hopefully, how they can still be accomplished in a smaller space.
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