The ideal kitchen, what you can’t miss

The kitchen is a space or place specially equipped and prepared for the preparation of food. A modern kitchen includes at least a stove (with burners), a sink and the refrigerator and storage furniture, the three corners of the working triangle that must be respected to be able to work comfortably in the kitchen. The worktop is the work surface in the kitchen is usually made of noble materials such as marble, wood or slate, today are also fashionable synthetic materials of great strength and that facilitate maintenance and cleaning in the kitchen. In addition, there is often a refrigerator, a microwave oven, an extractor hood and other appliances such as a blender and a mixer that make work in the kitchen easier. The size of kitchens varies and depends on the size of the house. In small houses you can find the kitchen-dining room to save space and in big houses you can put the washing machine inside

Origin of the kitchen

Since the fire was available, the meeting around the common home, for heating in cold weather and for the consumption of cooked food, was born. With the complexity of food preparation and the improvements in home heating systems, in the mansions of wealthier people, the need to have a different space for the work of cooking appears. But the kitchen does not occupy only a private area, in certain tribal societies, this space is available to everyone, because of the notion of distribution that prevails in them.

With the division of human groups into smaller units (family cell), the function of the kitchen remains but is individualized (the kitchen is part of the house). However, there are cases where, although the accommodation is individual, the function of food preparation is communal. We find for example communal kitchens in Ancient Rome.

History of the kitchen

The kitchen, as a differentiated space, appeared in the 5th century B.C., conserving a marked religious character: the very home where all the food was cooked was also used as a place of worship to the lunar gods. Already in the Roman period we find kitchens that were very well equipped, with a laundry room, bread oven, cistern, bronze tripods, cavities to chop the spices, etc.

Already in the Middle Ages, the kitchens of the castles became an important place, the daily activity was constant. They were huge rooms with gigantic chimneys, in each kitchen you could find one or more of them. They were divided into numerous annexes (bakery, fruit shop, etc.). In the cities, in the bourgeois houses and in the most humble farms the kitchen used to be a room that was used both for the reception of people, and for the realization of the food and its later consumption.

In the Renaissance, both the equipment and the decoration were perfected. The European noble kitchens begin to be very luxurious, the culinary revolution takes place, the refinement and the taste for the exquisite also arrives to the kitchen.

In the 19th century technical progress, such as the cookware and above all the oven, transformed the kitchens into what the great chefs called a “laboratory”. In the bourgeois houses it was a space totally separated from the rest of the house and even had a service door. It was even located in the basement or at the end of long corridors. Used utensils began to be very abundant: scales, drains, cutlery sets, batteries, pans, spice jars, etc. With the division of labor, the kitchen is considered the terrain of the housewife, which in Germany is known with the stereotype of the “three K’s” (Kinder: children, Kirche: church, and Küche: kitchen).

Already in the 20th century, thanks to the technical progress, the concepts of decoration and the appearance of the apparatuses of refrigeration, the kitchen has been integrated in the rest of the house. It was in the middle of the century when, due to space limitations, more functional equipment began to appear and the commercialization of standard kitchen furniture began, allowing for the enjoyment of perfectly equipped kitchens.

Types

home-shopping-kitchen-types

The domestic kitchen

In a house, the kitchen is the place where various foods are prepared. Depending on the time and culture, its size and relevance are variable, ranging from a small room separated from the rest of the house that is only used for cooking to, conversely, a large space that also serves as a meeting place and family interaction and is the main room of the house.

The industrial kitchen

Restaurant Kitchen

An “industrial kitchen” is understood as any establishment in which it is permitted to prepare food in sufficient quantity for many people: restaurants, school or business canteens, for distribution in large quantities. Set of premises and delimited areas that are necessary to transform a dish.

They are kitchens with larger areas and very easy to connect to other industrial equipment. They are mostly made of stainless steel

The obligations of hygiene and food safety that weigh on industrialists have contributed to control and study, so that there are no crossings, entries and exits. Thus they avoid possible contamination between incoming raw materials, outgoing waste, food being prepared and finished food.

The material and the premises are specially designed to simplify cleaning and maintenance. Stainless steel is the reference material for the appliances as are the tiles or unalterable floor and wall coverings that allow a direct water jet.

Other types of kitchens

Industrial kitchens were often the places where new technology was first used. For example, Benjamin Thompson’s “energy-saving stove,” a totally enclosed 19th-century iron stove that used a fire to heat several pots, was designed for large kitchens; another thirty years passed before it was adapted for home use.

As of 2017, Western restaurant kitchens typically have tiled walls and floors and use stainless steel for other surfaces (workbenches, door fronts and drawers) because these materials are durable and easy to clean. Professional kitchens are often equipped with gas stoves because they allow cooks to regulate the heat more quickly and finely than electric stoves. Some special appliances are typical of professional kitchens, such as large fryers, steamers, or a bain-marie.

Railroad car kitchens present special challenges: space is limited, yet staff must be able to serve a large number of meals quickly. Especially in the early history of the railroads this required perfect organization of processes; in modern times, the microwave oven and ready meals have made this task much easier. Kitchens on board ships, planes and sometimes railroad carriages are often referred to as galleys. On yachts, galleys are often narrow, with one or two burners fed by an LP gas bottle, but galleys on cruise ships or large warships are comparable in every respect to restaurants or canteen kitchens.

On passenger planes, the kitchen is reduced to a simple pantry, the only function reminiscent of a kitchen is the heating of in-flight meals delivered by a catering company. An extreme form of the kitchen occurs in space, for example, on board a space shuttle or the International Space Station. The astronauts’ food is usually fully prepared, dehydrated and sealed in plastic bags, and the kitchen is reduced to a rehydration and heating module.

Outdoor areas where food is prepared are generally not considered kitchens, although an outdoor area conditioned for regular food preparation, for example when camping, might be called an “outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen at a campsite might be near a well, water pump, or water faucet, and might provide tables for food preparation and cooking. Some campground kitchen areas have a large propane tank connected to the burners, so that campers can cook their meals. Military camps and similar temporary nomadic settlements may have dedicated cooking tents, which have a vent to allow cooking smoke to escape.

HOW TO PROPERLY DESIGN AND BUILD A KITCHEN?

home-shopping-kitchen-design-1

Before starting to design, the most important thing is to understand how a kitchen will be used. This is the basic approach that any architect has to take. Because the kitchen can’t be the leftover space, or simply a space that will be defined at the end of the project; you have to understand that it has flows, different work areas and that has to be done within the general project.

Beyond the style or design required by the client, it is important to define a certain modulation that allows optimizing its performance and thus minimizing the manufacturing costs of its different elements. In this way, the measurements of all the components of a kitchen have to be understood and interiorized before defining the space that will house them.

Work Areas and Flows

There are a number of studies that have defined 5 general zones for the kitchen:

home-shopping-kitchen-design-2

The pantry, sink, preparation and cooking areas are permanently combined, and are related to the process of preparing a meal in the most efficient way. The sink, preparation and cooking areas generate an even narrower working triangle, from which different typologies are born.

Types of Kitchen

These are related to the space that is destined to design. The most used typologies include:
home-shopping-kitchen-design-3

In relation to these configurations, it is important to understand how the different circulations work. The working triangle must be maintained in a fluid relationship and cross circulations should be avoided when there is more than one person working. At this point it is always good to ask the question: how would you like to use your kitchen? or what aspects of my current kitchen are the ones that bother me the most or that I like the most? In this way we can design our spaces in a meaningful way.

Modulation

When starting to design and develop the planimetries, one must keep in mind that the kitchen is not simply the random union of a series of furniture and appliances, but is formed from modules that must follow a manufacturing logic. If the design is not clear or does not follow certain reasonable parameters to be built, it can generate conflicts between the architect and the furniture maker.

Thus, what is drawn in plan has to be in direct relation to what is drawn in elevation, and the artifacts that are incorporated into the project must coincide with the modulation.

A module consists of the following elements:
home-shopping-kitchen-design-4

To avoid problems, modulation must be a design condition and no device can be misapplied. The devices must be adjusted within a single module, thus avoiding their location between two modules. As an example, a dishwasher, an oven or a countertop cannot be placed right in the middle of two modules. If this happens, they will have nowhere to be fixed (as there would be no support), and the installation of taps or other ducts is made difficult.

One of the biggest mistakes when designing appears in the search for symmetry. When designing a base piece of furniture, for example, architects tend to draw vertical lines to separate the modules and their doors, and when looking for the symmetry between them, there are pieces of different dimensions.

It is fundamental to understand that the more the exact measurement of the module is repeated, the easier the construction and installation of the furniture will be. The standardization of measurements is 100% related to the cost that the final project will have and makes the difference between a feasible project and one that is not.

Standard dimensions

The measurements are always related to the appliances and, in some cases, to the hardware available on the market; measurements that were already (well) designed to fit the kitchen furniture.

Widths

The standardized widths of a module are variable and will depend on the use that each module has. In general, we tend to work in closed measurements, 30cm, 45cm, 50cm, 60cm, 75cm, 80cm, 90cm, 100cm, all measurements are considered from the exterior side to the exterior side of the module.

When thinking about the appliances, the modules are generally 60cm and 90cm in the case of ovens, microwaves, worktops and hoods. An oven, for example, measures a little less than 60cm and is designed to fit perfectly into a 60cm niche, considering the sides. In the case of dishwashers, these will depend on the hole to be made in the deck and whether they are installed on the deck or under it. There are models on the market that vary from 30cm to 90cm wide. It is important that the niche fits inside the module and is given a few cm of clearance. The section of the water drainer, being on the deck, does not affect whether it is supported on one or more modules.

The use of hardware will also have an impact on the width of a module. Hinged fittings are mainly used for modules with doors, while sliding fittings are used for modules with drawers. The hinges do not have a major impact on the width of the module. On the contrary, in the case of drawers there are fittings that define the width of the drawer. The traditional slides are applied in modules of 40cm, 50cm or 60cm, while more advanced slides allow to reach widths of 120cm. It is important to understand that the most advanced slides, such as the soft closing ones, have a higher cost so in case you want to apply them in a project it is recommended to take advantage of the maximum possible length. There are other types of accessories that allow to give more prestancia to a kitchen as it is the case of the spice rack (15cm to 20cm), vegetable rack (40cm to 60cm), plate dryer (superior module of 40cm to 85cm) and others.

Depths

The base modules have a standard depth of 60cm. This measure considers that the sides have a width of 58cm to which is added the door with a thickness of 1.8cm. The cover must always exceed the measurement of the depth of the module so that if any liquid is spilled on the cover, the liquid will not drip directly on the wood. The depth of the module can be decreased for spaces that are not considered artifacts. However, we do not recommend decreasing the depth as it generally applies to those kitchen solutions that were not intended from the start.

In the case of superior modules, we tend to work with two measures: 30cm or 35cm. Both will serve for the different purposes for which they are intended. It is important to consider, in case of using a superior module for the microwave, that the bottom of this one must be minimum 35cm so that this one has something of looseness. In the case of using a module with a depth of 30cm for the microwave, its bottom should be extended by at least 5cm.

In the case of the towers, it is recommended to work with the same depth of the bases, ideally 60cm. In the case of considering an oven in the tower, it should be exactly 60cm deep. It is important to understand that the heat from the oven must be released generating an opening of 10cm in the back up to the roof of the oven. There are currently ovens that do not require this opening so it is always important to review the specifications of each device before considering the design of the module.

Heights

For the base modules, the height is generally 90cm from the floor to the roof. The modules should always be separated from the floor by humidity issues, in a measure that moves between 10cm to 15cm. In addition, there are a series of adjustable legs on the market that allow the adjustment of floors that are not 100% level. These can finally be closed with a skirting board that tends to be a piece of agglomerate or plywood covered with formaldehyde. The skirting board must be set back at least 7.5 cm from the edge of the doors. There is the option of leaving the legs in view but we do not recommend it as it tends to be a space where dust accumulates.

In the case of the upper modules, these are anchored to the wall and should be located at a height of 1.40 – 1.50 meters from the floor. This measure is 100% related to the depth of the base module. The lower the depth of the base, the higher the height of the upper modules. In this way we allow a work space where the upper module is not an obstacle. It is important to consider the recommendations of the hood that one is going to apply in the project since each hood has specified an air extraction volume that is optimal depending on the distance it has from the worktop.

Materials

home-shopping-kitchen-design-5

Like appliances, all products and materials have a standard size, and it is critical to get the most out of them.

Structure and Doors

Vesto Melamine is the main material used for the construction of kitchen furniture, and is used to manufacture its structure and doors. It is a very efficient material, since its useful life even exceeds the life of a kitchen, which ranges from 10 to 15 years. The structure of a piece of furniture can be manufactured using 15mm thick melamine, while for the doors, 18mm thickness is always recommended, since when making the holes for the hinges, this thickness will have a better performance. If you want to extend the life of a kitchen, it is possible to generate a design that allows you to change only the doors, maintaining the structures. In this way we can refresh the image of the kitchen at a very low cost.

Covers

There are several types of roofing products. The most used are:

Postforming: consists of a bare chipboard covered with a sheet of formalite or HPL.
Stone: the most used types are Quartz, Granite and Marble.
Others: products generally derived from some compound as it is the case of Staron.
The current tendencies aim to use the thinnest possible coverings so the stones and products like Staron have had enough force of entrance to the market managing to present a thickness that goes from 0,8cm to 1,5cm.

Plinths

In this part of the furniture we recommend a product that has a greater resistance to humidity, such as a plywood lined with formaldehyde. Another option is to add metallic or plastic complements, currently developed by hardware companies.

Cutting Optimizer

A very useful tool when making furniture is the Arauco Cutting Optimizer. This tool allows you to enter the designed pieces, giving as a result the number of boards to be used and a cutting sheet, which will be used by the sizer to cut the board.

If the measurements of our modules are standardized, the cutting optimization will be much more effective and we will be able to take advantage of the board in a percentage higher than 90%.

In this image there is a good use of the board, but having so many cuts of different formats, the dimensioning of these will be slower. In large scale projects this can mean being less profitable. In this image there is a good use of the board, but having so many cuts of different formats, the sizing of these will be slower. In large scale projects this may mean being less profitable

This image shows a good utilization of the board and cutting of modulated pieces which will allow minimizing the labor costs. This image shows a good utilization of the board and cutting of modulated pieces which will allow minimizing the labor costs.

Modules or Adjustment Parts

When you have a kitchen unit that has to be fitted between two walls, you necessarily have to leave a gap. This is because the construction never reflects the same values as a floor plan. These gaps must be solved by adjusting pieces that vary between 5cm to 10cm.

The application of this type of “supplement” can be avoided depending on how the design of the kitchen has been approached from the beginning. For example, when we design a kitchen, the location of the refrigerator or a dining room can help us to avoid these adjustment pieces, being the space destined for the refrigerator or table the one that assumes those 5cm or 10cm of difference. In this sense, instead of using 70cm closed for a refrigerator, we leave 75cm.

There are other cases where one is obliged to use an adjustment piece as is the case of an L-shaped kitchen. To avoid these pieces it is possible to develop an adjustment module right in its central corner. The module is left separated from the side wall by about 20cm and in this way if the space, once built, is less than projected, it will be those 20cm of clearance that assume the difference. It is important to understand that these “dead” spaces will be hidden by the roof.

Trends

In the market there is an infinity of options of finishes for the kitchen. The combination of colors and shapes is given in all the materials that one specifies (melamine, ceramics, handles, appliances, etc). In front of this there is not the concept of unattractive kitchen but there is only the poorly planned or manufactured kitchen (reference full text). Therefore, in terms of tastes, it is important to listen and understand the client in order to identify which style and image is the one that best reflects your kitchen.

Anyway, there are small details that can make the difference between a modern and a traditional kitchen:

Recommendations

home-shopping-kitchen-design-6

Use mineral caps. These can be hidden with the use of wooden dowels. The process is slower and more expensive but leaves a better visual appearance of the furniture.

Distancing the furniture from the top of the cover is a trend. However, when doing this, a wide space should be considered (ideally 30cm upwards) so that it is easy to clean. Tighter spaces will imply a wear of the furniture when passing a rag or broom.

Plinths should be made of more resistant materials. It is recommended not to use the same melamine applied to the furniture since this, being applied at floor level, will not have a proper life span.

The quality of the ironwork is fundamental when delivering quality to the furniture. Its useful life is measured in cycles and there are substantial variations between low and high quality fittings. A good hinge will make the difference between the door falling or not.

When designing furniture without handles, a logical order of door opening should be considered. The ideal is to use modules with double doors and if there is space for a module with only one door, leave it in the corner.

In those solutions where doors are considered on appliances (oven, microwave), enough space should be left to introduce your hand.

25 ESSENTIAL UTENSILS IN YOUR KITCHEN

home-shopping-kitchen-design-UTENSILS

You don’t have to be a great chef or have your kitchen assimilated to that of a Michelin-starred restaurant to surround yourself with certain basic utensils that will help you cook better and also facilitate cleanliness and order. Take note

1. KNIVES

Cutting food with the right knife is essential. There is a specific one for each food but you don’t have to become a master cutter. The one for meat, fish, vegetables and the one you need to cut bread is enough.

2. CUTTING BOARD

If you don’t want to scratch the worktop when you cut the food, a cutting board is a must. If it is made of wood, clean it frequently so that it is not a nest of bacteria. So synthetic ones (much less beautiful) are safer to avoid any kind of cross contamination. You should have at least 2: one for vegetables and one for meat and fish. And 3 is ideal: Each type of food, a table.

3. SPATULAS OR TONGUES

Either wood or silicone help remove and detach food from the walls of the pots or pans. If you want to dispense with utensils such as a spoon or fork, go for the spatula. And if it is made of silicone, even better.

4. KNIFE

Just as it is possible to do without a wooden spoon or even a fork, serving a cream or soup without a spoon would be a complicated task.

5. OPENINGS

Not all cans have an easy opener so the can opener is indispensable. There are many models and there are some that have a system of sophistication that could even carry instructions but the simple ones also carry out their mission.

6. GRATER

It is not necessary to have one for each type of food you are going to grate. Whether it is hand or flat, it is best to choose it in a fine pitch. You can also have a 3D grater, like the one in the photo, which has different grating steps.

7. POTATO PEELER

When the first peelers came out it meant salvation for all those who decimated a potato at the time of peeling. But today the peeler also serves to peel more vegetables and make thin strips of zucchini, carrots…

8. SACACORCHOS

There are automatic ones, with all kinds of shapes but the best corkscrew is the two-stroke one (the one used by the waiters). Small and functional. This one is from Ikea.

9. SCISSORS

They are a basic. To cut the meat, the chicken, the fish… The best ones are the steel ones.

10. BUTTON

Even if you have a pulse that is not disturbed even by a level 3 earthquake on the Richter scale, a funnel is essential for transferring fluids. This one is from Rig Tig and you can find it at Nordic Nest.

11. WOODEN CLAMPS

Avoid unwanted splashes when turning the fried food or handling freshly baked goods with wooden tongs.

12. OLIVES AND HOUNDS

You don’t have to have a whole battery, but at least it’s best to have two of each type.

13. PANS

Just like with pots and pans you don’t have to have all kinds of pans. But you do need a pair or 3. If you want to know what type of pan to choose, don’t miss this article.

14. OILS

No longer just to serve the oil as a dressing for a dish or salad. The oil can be reused so you can store it in oilers (meat and fish). Once you have used the oil a couple of times, pour it into a glass jar and when it is full, take it to a recycling point. Never throw it down the drain: it contaminates and is a lure for cockroaches.

15. DISPOSAL

You don’t have to have different sizes. Choose the largest size to be able to drain the pasta, the vegetables…

16. STRAINER

With a small fine mesh strainer you can strain the tea or sieve the flour when making a cake or dessert.

17. A MEASURING JUG

They are not only used for baking. A pitcher is a good utensil when following a recipe. If you prefer, you can have a glass with different measures such as sugar, rice, flour and liquids.

18. ARM MIXER

No blenders, mixers or anything else. We are talking about indispensable utensils and although the purees may not have the texture of your favorite restaurant, the arm blender, the one that is perfect, is perfect.

19. TAPERS

Keep your leftovers in the fridge or if you are a forward-thinking person and know the technique of batch cooking you will know that taps are great for organizing your weekly menus.

20. GLASS JARS

A good system to store your preserves or jams or simply the foods you have already opened such as rice, flour, cereals… As it is made of glass it will allow you to know what each one contains.

21. COFFEE MAKER

An Italian coffee maker is perfect for savoring a good coffee. And if you’re not a coffee maker, your guests will surely appreciate an espresso. If you have little space, avoid a coffee machine that takes up too much space.

22. A GOOD RECYCLING SYSTEM

Sort your trash and recycle. And yes, 4 garbage cans are too many, you have to admit. That’s why you opt for systems that are already compartmentalized and, even though they are a little larger and take up more space, in the end you have small containers to be able to separate the plastic, glass, paper, organic waste and the rest in one place.

23. KITCHEN TOWELS

They are indispensable for cleaning and collecting food scraps while cooking. If they are made of cotton, better because they do not leave any lint.

24. APRON

Whenever you enter the kitchen, put on your apron. You will avoid that your clothes get stained due to food splashes when cooking or washing the utensils.

25. AND ALSO

don’t forget the appliances that of course don’t need to be mentioned anymore: refrigerator, oven and dishwasher are a MUST.

Anyone would agree with this list of essential kitchen utensils. Many of them fit in a drawer like the peeler, the scissors, spatulas, can opener…, and others in some closet or cupboard. And although the list seems long, at the time of cooking you will realize that you have everything and do not need more unnecessary gadgets.

A LITTLE BIT OF ORDER

From now on the kitchen will be easier to keep clean and tidy because you will have all the basics at your fingertips.