Key Measurements to Help You Design Your Kitchen

Get the ideal kitchen setup by understanding spatial relationships, building dimensions, and work zones

Whether you are moving into an existing kitchen, remodeling the one you have, or building a new one, understanding a few key building measurements and organizational guidelines can help your culinary life run more smoothly.

Kitchens provide storage for your food and cookware, give you room for prep and cleanup, and of course, also provide a place where you can cook and bake. When it’s thoughtfully arranged, these functions operate logically, making working in your kitchen a better experience. Here’s how to get the ideal kitchen setup.

Designing the Three Main Areas of a Kitchen

Ideally, refrigeration and dry goods storage should be located nearest to the kitchen’s entry point. The cooking area should be located toward the dining spaces, and the sink is best positioned between those two functions. This creates what’s called a work triangle. The best work triangle is less than 21 linear feet (6.4 meters). Work triangles that exceed 26 feet (7.9 meters) make moving from one function to another inefficient in most cases.

Everyone has personal preferences for what works best, so consider this a guide and not a rulebook.

ideal kitchen setup

Blu and White

  1. Storage. Designers recommend putting refrigeration and dry-goods storage at the kitchen entry point. Putting your pantry on one side and a countertop that’s 15 to 24 inches (38 to 61 centimeters) on the other is a good idea. This will allow you to easily set down items that have been taken out of the freezer and refrigerator. The pantry can hold dry goods plus brooms and supplies like paper towels. Use drawers in this area to hold plastic bags, foil, and anything that can contain food to be stored. For the cabinets in this area, you will want to have mixing bowls, cake pans, measuring utensils, and any other items that aid in assembling meals.

ideal kitchen setup

Wheelhouse Design

  1. Preparation. Ideally, prep and cleaning space is best located around the sink. Within these areas will be everyday glasses and dishes, along with trash receptacles and the dishwasher. Allow 18 to 36 inches (45 to 92 centimeters) of countertop space on one or both sides of your sink. Preparation areas are best kept clear of other items since you will always be taking out bowls, plates, and utensils there. Allow at least 36 inches (92 centimeters) of uncluttered countertop space for preparation in a small kitchen. Larger kitchens will have much more. This is one reason that islands are so popular. They provide broad and well-lit surfaces on which to perform the majority of kitchen tasks.No room for a built-in island? Add a cart instead

ideal kitchen setup

Diane Waingrow Architect AIA

  1. Cooking. The cooking centers should be arranged around the range, cooktop, and wall ovens. Place pots, frying pans, and baking sheets in the vicinity of your burners and ovens. It is a good idea to place small appliances such as toasters and coffeemakers in this area also, as it will leave your preparation areas unobstructed. Allow 21 to 36 inches (53 to 92 centimeters) of countertop on either side of your cooktop. If possible, place wall ovens with a free countertop immediately next to them so that you can set down hot food immediately. Place seasonings, breadboards, and potholders in nearby drawers and cupboards. Keep serveware toward the dining area.

ideal kitchen setup

Cindy Aplanalp & Chairma Design Group

Other Kitchen Measurement Considerations

The dimensions of all the pieces in your kitchen are important to get right to make the best use of your space.

Refrigerator depth. A common refrigerator width is slightly less than 36 inches (92 centimeters). The problem is often the depth. In recent years some manufacturers have designed them to be much deeper than a 24-inch (61-centimeter) base cabinet. You can still buy shallower freestanding refrigerators, but you have to pay close attention to the dimensions listed in its specifications to be certain. The other option is built-in configurations, but they are significantly more expensive.

Look for a depth of 30 inches (76 centimeters) or less, excluding handles, unless you can design your kitchen space to accept a deeper unit. Another thing to consider is the swing of the refrigerator door. Always examine the swing direction to see if it will meet an obstruction.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Cabinet height. Here you can see how the height of the cabinets plays an important part in the configuration. Upper cabinets are normally positioned at 18 inches (46 centimeters) above the countertop and are 30 to 42 inches (76 to 107 centimeters) in height.

Consider that your average maximum reach over and into an upper cabinet is 70 to 80 inches (178 to 203 centimeters) above the floor. Cabinets set at above 7 feet will likely need to be accessed with a step ladder. Cabinets above 8 feet are not practical for the majority of people; however, they may serve as storage for seasonal or decorative items, to be reached with step stools and ladders.

The standard dimensions for base cabinets are 24 inches (61 centimeters) deep and 36 inches (92 centimeters) high. In general, people are getting taller, so some homeowners are bumping up the counter height to 38 inches (97 centimeters).

Visual Jill Inc.

Distance between cabinets. Another important dimension to consider is the distance between cabinets. Entry points can be as little as 36 inches (92 centimeters) when there is a cabinet on only one side. Stay at least 42 inches (107 centimeters) from the face of a cabinet to the one on the other side; 48 inches (122 centimeters) is even better, but going beyond 60 inches (152 centimeters) is too wide in most cases. However, if it is a U-shaped kitchen, you could get away with up to 96 inches (244 centimeters).

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Kitchen Layout Ideas

This cutaway plan illustrates arrangements and dimensions for a modest-size kitchen. Note that the preparation area is split between the island with the sink and the corner of the kitchen. The work triangle is compact. There will always be a few tradeoffs in any space.

This blog found on Houzz by Steven Randel, Houzz Contributor

Visit our site on HOUZZ here to learn more about what we offer and all the information you can find on their site

Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Homework Remodels will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or email steve@trilitebuilders.com to discuss your remodeling project.  We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsman are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

Insulation Basics: What to Know About Spray Foam

Learn what exactly spray foam insulation is, the pros and cons of using it, and why you shouldn’t mess around with installation.

While we all wish there were a single answer for any given problem, oftentimes that’s just not the case. This is true for material options for home spray foam insulation. Despite what the market says is the most popular insulation material or method at any given moment, the truth is that each individual project has its own set of circumstances that call for a recommended set of options. And within those options, the specifications and installation can have a massive impact on the result.

It’s important to understand each material and how it works within your home’s construction and the environment in which you live. In this blog, we’ll take a look at various thermal insulation types and materials to help you figure out which is the best one for your project. We’ll begin with spray polyurethane foam (SPF), which, at least in North America, is fast becoming one of the most popular options.

spray foam insulation

EcoTech Spray Foam

What is SPF? Spray polyurethane foam is a heat-activated polymer that is just what it sounds like, foam insulation that is sprayed into place. It is made by mixing two ingredients on-site using special equipment. The mixture is then sprayed through a heated hose onto the surface that needs to be insulated. As the chemical reaction between the two ingredients takes place and the substance heats up in the hose, the liquid turns foamy, expands, and then eventually hardens in place.

Closed-cell and open-cell spray foam. These are the two kinds of spray-foam insulation. Open-cell SPF is the lighter, less dense option; it is the cheaper of the two but has less insulating power (or a lower R-value). Closed-cell SPF is denser and more expensive, can provide a bit more rigid support to certain structures, and can act as a water vapor barrier, because it is less permeable.

spray foam insulation

WJM Architect

 

Why is SPF so popular in the United States? Spray foam has the potential to tackle air leakages better than many other insulation options. Because it is sprayed into place, the foam can fill up cavities and block any small holes that could compromise your building envelope. It can be applied to vertical or horizontal surfaces to act not only as thermal insulation but also as an air barrier. It’s synthetic and does not attract rodents or insects. When applied properly, spray foam can contribute to a successful energy-efficiency strategy.

As with many aspects of the building market, there are variations in what is considered common around the world. Here in Italy, for example, spray-foam insulation has not taken hold of the market as it has in the U.S., for a variety of reasons outside the scope of this idea book. As a result, it is more difficult to find installers here, although there are versions of SPF available on the European market.

spray foam insulation

Before Photo

GreenEdge Spray Foam Insulation

The relative ease of installation. This makes it a popular choice for contractors (although see my notes on installation difficulties below). Plus, even though it can be expensive, its relatively high R-value per inch makes it a competitive option. It’s particularly interesting for renovation projects where traditional batt or board insulation may be difficult to insert. With spray foam (as with blown-in insulation), it’s possible to inject the insulation into a wall cavity, for example, or apply it to a sloped surface.

spray foam insulation

Apex Building Company

spray foam insulation

Spray Foam Systems LLC

Challenges of installation. As with many building technology solutions, the increasing popularity of a product or method means an increase in misuse and misunderstandings. Unfortunately, nowadays it is quite common to find examples of spray-foam insulation that have been specified or installed incorrectly.

The most common problems with spray-foam applications are:

  • The chemicals were not mixed correctly, and the foam starts to pull away from the neighboring surface
  • The chemicals were not mixed correctly, causing lingering odors and health problems for the occupants
  • The installers rush through the installation, leaving gaps and holes that reduce the efficiency of the product
  • A sufficient thickness either was not specified or was not executed as specified during installation
  • The local climate was not taken into consideration, and the temperatures or humidity levels were outside of the manufacturer’s specifications
  • In cold climates, a vapor barrier was not installed over the spray foam, sometimes causing roof rot

Remember, installation is a key factor with any kind of insulation you chose and can be the difference between insulation that works or causes problems.

spray foam insulation

Wedge Roofing

Be aware of greenwash! Closed-cell spray foam in particular, which uses HFCs with high carbon dioxide content, has a very negative impact on global warming. Some manufacturers are claiming that their spray foam is ecologically friendly because it is based on soy or castor. Don’t be fooled by this marketing gimmick. The percentage of soy legally required for them to be able to make this claim is very low. SPF is still very much a fossil-fuel-based material (as are many other insulation options).

 

spray foam insulation

MJW DryWall & foam Insulation LLC

Consider your climate. There are too many climate-specific considerations for insulation to include in this idea book. With SPF, for example, a vapor retarder layer over drywall may be required when using open-cell spray foam (seen here) in cold climates.

spray foam insulation

Before Photo

Cutting Edge Spray Foam Services, Inc

Potential health risks. Some people have reported health reactions to the lingering odor that can occur with certain mixes of chemicals, and the Environmental Protection Agency has issued information to make consumers aware of potential health risks, particularly during installation. There is still very little known about the off-gassing potential of this relatively new product, but a standard has been developed to start monitoring it.

It is absolutely essential that anyone working on the construction or renovation of a home using SPF follow the recommended health guidelines. Please don’t think that you can install this in your shorts and T-shirt on the weekend. Consult a professional or do your research.

 

spray foam insulation

EcoTech Spray Foam

The good news. Learning the pitfalls is just part of being more aware of the consequences of a certain decision. Each and every insulation material has advantages and disadvantages. SPF is a viable solution for certain homes and can offer substantial energy savings if installed correctly. You just need to be aware that, relative to other materials, the installation can be easier to execute but also easier to rush through. Knowing what questions to ask your installer can go a long way toward obtaining optimal results.

Tips for working with an installer:

  • Hire someone reputable with verified recommendations.
  • Make sure the work is monitored by someone other than the installer.
  • Do a quality control check before issuing the final payment.

Article found on Houzz and written by Mariana Pickering, Houzz Contributor

Visit our site on HOUZZ here to learn more about what we offer and all the information you can find on their site

Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Homework Remodels will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or email steve@trilitebuilders.com to discuss your remodeling project.  We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsman are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

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