Extend a worktop to form a worktop-level breakfast bar and the third side of a U-shaped kitchen. Like a peninsula, a breakfast bar can extend a kitchen space out into the centre of a room, free from any walls. Integrate kitchen and living areas with the use of a single floor treatment and by introducing elements of kitchen storage outside the boundaries of the kitchen. Here open shelves store a collection of wine and water glasses. Even a long narrow space can be home to a U-shaped kitchen: just fit one or two units at right angles at each end of your main bank of storage. This forms a very shallow U shape, but a U shape nonetheless and it's a design that defines the practical kitchen area from the wider eating and entertaining area beyond. The play of hi-gloss cabinet fronts and veneer carcases helps to further define this division. In this U-shaped kitchen, a wide window is the central anchor point of the scheme, filling the space with light and showing off matt-finish units, rich wood and glazed tiles in their best light. The use of wood finishes on the floor and worktops brings a warmth and cosiness to an otherwise pale decorating scheme and adds a rustic edge.
How do I control the flow of people in a kitchen? The workspace may be crucial, but the movement of people around the kitchen space as a whole also needs careful thought. The main aims are to keep children away from danger spots and stop guests from getting in your way. Look at placing the fridge at the threshold so children can access drinks and snacks without straying into your path. In open-plan spaces, make sure the route through from the entrance to the garden is unobstructed and think about how best to direct your guests to seating areas. An island can act as a useful shield for the cook – position bar stools along the opposite side to give guests a place to perch at a safe distance. ‘in a large space, consider using two islands to create multiple-flow possibilities,' says Graham Barnard, MD of Matrix Kitchens.
Are there any alternatives to the working triangle? Like Mark Wilkinson, there are several other designers who feel that the triangle can be too rigid and who prefer to think of the kitchen in terms of zones. ‘Blum's Dynamic Space' concept is based on arranging your layout as task zones designed in a clockwise (or anti-clockwise) route. Tasks might include emptying the dishwasher (store your crockery close by), making breakfast (keep all your breakfast things together), preparing meals (utensils, chopping boards and bins in pull-outs under the worktop), cooking (store pots, pans and utensils in a drawer under the cook top with bottles of oil and spices in a pull-out close by), and cleaning (materials for cleaning close to the sink). With everything close to hand, you can then create the most convenient workflow.
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