The modern study of kitchen design began with the work of Frank and Lilian Gilberth in the 1930s and culminated in the Cornell Kitchen Studies of the early 1950s. The concepts these pioneers developed still form the basis of good kitchen work-center design.
Perhaps the most fundamental idea that the Gilberths emphasized – apart from the kitchen work center concept itself – is the idea of storage at point of first use.
Usually kitchen stuff is stored by category: knives go with knives, bowls go with bowls. But different knives or bowls have different uses and often are needed at different places in your work area. I use my paring knife near the sink, so I store it here. I use my carving knife near the stove, so I store it there. It’s a simple idea, but few people apply it thoroughly.
There are two principles:
Give the best storage to the things that you use the most frequently.
Anyone would agree that knives, spices, oil, salt, utensils, and the trash can are used constantly. Give them the best storage locations.
Retrieve anything in one-motion.
One-motion storage concept was also brought to attention by the Gilberths. It is fairly easy to grasp: if my favorite knife is kept in a drawer, I need to step back, grab the drawer handle, locate the proper knife, grasp it, take it out, reposition it in my hand, and close the drawer before I can use the knife. That adds up to many separate motions for a task done often. But if a knife is kept in a slot in the counter right in front of me, I can reach out grab the knife, and start working.
Of course, not everything can be retrieved in one motion. But as you detail your kitchen, visualize the tasks you will do repeatedly , and imagine the number of motions, their difficulty, their length, and even their gracefulness or awkwardness. Without any added expense, you will be able to make major improvements in your design by locating things in an optimal way.
Good To Know:
Kitchen researchers developed elaborate techniques in their research , but they came down to one basic tool anyone can use: observation. As you use your old kitchen and plan your new one, notice what tasks go well and which ones are awkward. If your back hurts as you work at your sink, take note. If something you use frequently is hard to reach, take note of that, too. And notice how the kitchen works for others who use it. Keep a list of your observations as you design your new kitchen work centers.
Designing room idea
The practical needs of a kitchen may restrict the type of surfaces you can use to materials that are heat resistant, hygenic and easy to clean, but the range of colors available in suitable flooring, work surfaces, tiles, laminates and glass splashbacks is immense, so you shouldn’t feel constrained.
Play Up The Texture of Materials
Natural materials, such as wood and stone and the popular quasi-industrial materials such as concrete, glass and rubber can be a little dark or dull in their basic hues. But they can be enlivened by a good finish. For example, stone can be polished to a reflective, high gloss; a colorful backing or textured surface can be added to glass; and surface pattern , such as those resembling grained wooden planking or mesh, may be applied to concrete.
Find Balance Between Practicality And Great Look
White is a shade commonly used in kitchens because of its association with cleanliness. It will also reflect plenty of light, which is especially useful in areas where food preparation will take place and good visibility is paramount. On a further practical note, white walls can also be quickly and easily repainted, so if moisture, grease or cooking stains mark a surface it can be wiped clean or painted over without undue inconvenience.
Against a predominantly white background, especially if this basic pallette is used in conjunction with lots of cool, silvery stainless steel machines, sinks and surfaces, you can afford to use blocks of vivid color. The color can feature on shelves, unit fascias and floors and will be an ideal way of counteracting a clinical or austere appearance. A background of white and steel is cool and will lessen the impact of any contrasting or hot color, so you can go for full strength and saturated primary colors.
Colorful Appliances Are In
The trend for colorful appliances is also on the rise. In the past “white goods” were just that – washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators with plain white casings. But now leading manufacturers are producing them in range of colors so that they contribute to the overall appearance and style of the kitchen, or kitchen-dining room, rather than being a featureless block of hidden away behind cabinet doors or panels.
Separate Dining and Kitchen Areas With Color
In a room that contains both kitchen and dining areas you might want to create a visual separation between the work and preparation area and the relaxing and dining space. This can be done by taking the highlight color from the litchen, for example the yellow of the unit fronts, and using it as a pale wash of color on a feature wall in the dining area, or as a color within a pattern or woven fabric cushion cover or cloth. In this case you are still separate the two areas but retaining a visual link.
Where the dining room is a separate entity you are free to create a different scheme. Dining rooms are most often used for formal occasions and evening meals, so the room could be decorated with rich dark tones that will act as a complimentary background or foil to candlelight, sparkling glass, silverware, gilt or gold trim accessories and classic white India.
If your tastes lean more toward take out food than fine dining, take your formal dining room down a notch by forgoing fussiness.
How to get the desired effect of dressed down dining:
• Mix Things Up
Quit saving for that table and chairs ensemble. Your “matched set” can be a group of outdoor wicker chairs teamed with a well-worn farm table. Even one unmatched chair at the end of a table breaks up typical uniformity. Mixing stained and painted wood finishes also sets an informal tone.
• Bring in Textures
By their very nature, rough textures have a casual quality. Wicker, rattan, pine and iron, for example, are less formal than polished woods and glass. Factor in texture when choosing any design element, from furnishings to fabrics.
• Say it with Slipcovers
Slipcovers are an easy way to dramatically alter the look and feel of a room. Skip the flowing, fussy silks and brocades for more tallored slipcovers in easy-care cottons. Choose from colors, lively patterns, or interesting textures. A plain skirt or a fabric “cozy” that slips over a chair back will provide a sleeker look. For another easy option, pop colorful cushions on the seats.
• Paint it pretty
It’s ok to paint fine furniture! Paint can temper the formality of a piece and engage the eye. Add extra dimension with antiquing medium, crackle medium, or glaze. Or rub off some of the paint before it dries or sand off dried paint in areas that would naturally get the most wear, such as corners and around drawer handles.
• Set the table
Keep the tablecloth in storage for Thanksgiving. In a casual dining room, place mats and a table runner will serve the daily fare. Choose casual, coarse weaves, easy care cottons, and wrinkle resistant fabrics. Colorful everyday dishes can take the place of india, mixing colors and patterns will relax the look even more.
We asked Alton Brown, a self-styled gadgeteer, host of the Food Network’s Good Eats, and author of Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen – to name five cooking tools he can’t live without, and he was glad to share.
“I have a small kitchen so every piece has to audition constantly”, says Brown.
Here are his choices of essential kitchen gadgets:
1) Chef’s Choice Electric Kettle
This hot pot takes any liquid to a boil and keeps it warm for a long time. It is perfect for recipes requiring hot liquid – i use it to fill a double boiler or to heat broth and wine for risotto. I even use it to to heat my shaving water, since it wastes less water. And with the heating coil on the outside, cleaning is easy. ($40 to $50; cooking.com)
2) Shun Angled Knives by Kershaw
I wanted a knife that was easy to use in the middle of a cutting board without hitting my knuckles, so I asked the folks at Kershaw to move up the handle. You can do very precise work with these knives, and I hope they will actually improve the knife skills of novice cooks. I would like these even if they didn’t have my picture on them.
3) Zyliss Pizza Wheel
This slicer is an ideal example of a kitchen tool that is perfect at what it does, gets extra points for being original, and is also good for other jobs. I use it for cutting pastries and anything else that is not easily sliced with a knife.
4) Soehnle Futura Scale, model 66522
This is the most accurate digital kitchen scale I have come across. You can reset the scale to zero with a bowl or plate on it, which makes it possible to weigh multiple ingredients as they go in.
5) Duncan’s Kitchen Grips Oven Mitts
These are hands down the best kitchen devices on planet Earth for holding on to hot things. They are made of synthetic rubber, they are water repellent, and they are textured.
Kitchen speace saver
Every refrigerator has shelves. Some, however, have removable or adjustable shelves that allow you to adjust space according to your needs. A few new fridges even have motorized shelves that go up and down with the push of a button. Others have half-width shelves, so you can adjust one side for taller items. A pullout bin is another good way to keep condiments and saucers together and accessible; you don’t have to reach over other bottles to get the one you want. An adjustable bin on the door will allow you to fit that two-liter soda bottle with ease.
Lets not forget the freezer. Often, this compartment comes without any shelving, which makes it a hassle to try to get something at the bottom of a pile. If you’re tired of frozen-food avalanches whenever you try to dislodge one package from the stack, buy an aftermarket wire or stainless steel shelf. If you are after secure storage and easy access for all those bags of frozen veggies, look for a model with tilt-out door bins. With the right mix of features, your freezer storage will be much more efficient.
If your refrigerator doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’d like it to have, invest in some inexpensive save-saving devices. A two-tier can dispenser holds a dozen 12-ounces cans, which roll forward for easy access. Don’t want that gallon of milk to take up so much room? A thin gallon jug – it’s less than 3 inches wide – nestles in along the side-wall. A wine rack hangs from the bottom of a wire shelf. And, of course, there are always the old storage standbys, including lazy Susans for small condiment bottles and clear, stackable containers for deli meats.
If your recipes aren’t in books, they are probably on note cards, newspaper clippings, computer printouts, and well-worn scraps of paper. Even more than the cookbooks, these recipes can get out of hand. Here are some ways to rein them in.
Weed Out the Desirables
The first step in organizing your recipes is to gather every one you can find and then sort the whole batch into 3 piles:
1) the recipes you have tried and liked;
2) those you have tried and found to be dogs;
3) those you have never tried.
First, get rid of the dogs. Now, with a cold eye, look through every single recipe in the “never tried” pile and banish the ones you know you will never make – the cold aspic and tripe salad, for instance. If it makes you feel better, record the titles of all those neatly in a notebook, throw the recipes out, then rest assured that you will be able to find the same (or similar) recipe online anytime you might want it.
Turn Scraps Into Books
Once you get rid of the recipes you don’t want, you have several options for organizing the rest. One is to spend an afternoon (or several afternoons) typing those recipes on the computer, printing them on 8 1/2- by 11 inch paper, then putting them in a 3 ring binder. But if you don’t want to spend all than time at the keyboard, you could simply tape or glue the scraps of recipes to 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper, slip them into plastic sleeves. and file them away in the binder.
If you want to get really fancy, take a picture of each dish when you have finished cooking it and slip it in the sleeve next to the recipe.
Use Virtual File folders
Once you have entered all the recipes into your computer, there’s still the matter of organizing them on your hard drive. One way to do that is to create folders for each kind of recipe:
Chicken and Poultry, Fish, Meat, Pasta Dishes, Desserts, etc..
Place each recipe in the appropriate folder and then move all the folders into a main folder called recipes. Or you can buy one of the many programs on the market that will organize your recipes for you. Some of the more popular programs include MasterCook, Recipe Organizer, and AccuChef.
Transfer Your Cookbooks To Computer, Too
If you are really eager about getting rid of your cookbooks but not the recipes therein, you could invest in a scanner and spend some time scanning the recipes you want and storing them on your computer. Depending on how many recipes and books you have, this could be a time-consuming endevour, but it would certainly eliminate cookbook clutter.
Go The Paperless Route
If you have an Internet connection at home, then you have a terrific recipe storage device that won’t take up any space in your kitchen. Many cooking websites offer a recipe box function. That is, the site allows you to choose recipes from their database and save them to your own file on the site. Later, when you want to make that chicken or avocado salad, all you do is return to the site and look up the recipe in your file. Then you can print the recipe out and use it while you are making the dish. When you have finished, you can recycle the paper instead of storing it, because you will know exactly where to get the recipe again.
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