Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Working Triangle

"Starting in 1944 the University of Illinois conducted a number of studies of kitchen design and developed the fundamental design principles that are still very much in use. These days the National Kitchen & Bath Association updates and publishes these basic design standards." -Star Craft Custom Builders

In my last post "Kitchen Come-Up!", I talked about the significance of the kitchen in homes and how some folks take their kitchens for granted now a days. Pointing out some kitchen designs that stood out to me, I discussed why I liked these kitchens. I pointed out the aesthetics and functionality of these kitchens, but in this post I'd like to go more in-depth on what makes great kitchen design. Particularly, I want to talk about "The Working Triangle," a fundamental design principle, and its significance in the kitchen.

Ergonomics: The study of efficiency in working environments.

Ergonomics plays a big role in "The Working Triangle" in that it helps us maintain the functionality of our kitchens and helps run them more smoothly and efficiently. This concept revolves around the placement of the refrigerator zone (food storage), the cooking zone (range and ovens), and the sink/cleanup zone. When these areas are places in the correct locations, this "triangle" can be very effective. According to the DIY Network, more trips are made within this "triangle" than in any other area of the kitchen.

According to the authors of the book "Interiors: An Introduction," the total walking distance among the three work zones should not be fewer than 12 feet because the kitchen will feel too crowded, causing frustration. Also, it should not be more than 26 feet because the zones will be too spaced out, causing exhaustion. Some kitchens may need two work triangles depending on how many people cook in the household. Along with the three major work zones (refrigerator, cooking, and sink/cleanup), there are other zones that add convenience and are considered essential to modern kitchen designs. These zones include:

· additional food storage zones
· various specialized food preparation zones
· a second cooking zone or a quick-cooking zone
· a second cleanup/sink zone
· tableware storage zone
· serving and service storage zone
· cleaning supplies storage zones

     Examples of "The Working Triangle"
                                                         Picture from

There are many different variations to this concept, but as an Interior Designer, it's his/or her job to give the client what is suitable for their needs and wants. The main purpose of this "triangle" is to increase efficiency. There are many sources that can help someone plan out their future kitchen design. "The Thirty-One Kitchen Design Rules, Illustrated" gives an in-depth list of guidelines that can help with many home improvement projects, including how to achieve "The Working Triangle".

Work Cited:
Nielsen, Karla, and David Taylor. Interiors: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2011. 146-147. Print.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitchen Come-up!

No one can argue the fact that the kitchen has served as an important space for many Americans over time. Families and friends come together over food. There's nothing better than enjoying a home cooked meal with the ones that you love. In today's society however, more people tend to eat out or stop at fast food restaurants out of convenience. Americans strive for convenience and want to be able to multitask. Why slave over a stove after a long day at work when one can grab a pizza on their way home from work? Why sit at a table and enjoy a home cooked breakfast when one can stop at McDonald's and grab a steak, egg, and cheese bagel on their way to work?

Americans used to value their kitchens. Now they use them sporadically, and during Thanksgiving. I honestly can't even say that with a straight face though. Companies know that Americans want convenience, and that they will pay the extra money to cut down their time. Working at a grocery store, I know that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for us. Although I work there, it surprises me every year how people spend hundreds of dollars for someone else to prepare their Thanksgiving meals. Half of the experience is preparing the meal with loved ones.

Comparing today's kitchen to this kitchen from the 1950's, there's no doubt that the kitchen has gone through changes throughout the years. 

Regardless if people are remodeling their kitchens to show them off or to actually cook in them, I am fascinated with the many different kitchen designs. Here are a few designs I found on the site Adorable Home and fell in love with.

This kitchen I imagine belongs to a nature lover. The combination of the earthy shade of green, woodenaccents, brick backsplashes, and the orchid sitting on the table, provides an organic type of look. Each piece in this kitchen harmonizes with one another. The simplicity of the monochromatic color scheme balances out all the textures and visual patterns.

I can't even imagine this kitchen being cooked in. The shiny "candy apple" red cabinetry give me this "look, but don't touch" type of vibe. Although the shade of red is bold and vibrant, the kitchen is still  simplistic with its white countertops, stainless steel appliances, and matching backsplashes.

I love this kitchen because it is clean, simple, and to the point. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a kitchen that someone can actually cook in. A person wouldn't be scared to get messy in this kitchen because it's not over the top and lavished. The combination of the white cabinetry, black countertops, stainless steel appliances, and natural light creeping in through the window, makes this a traditional kitchen, and one that families would want to cook together in.
Random Fact: Believe it or not, but the kitchen and food preparation are parts of American history. There is even an exhibit in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Even the late and great Julia Child's kitchen is on display at the exhibit!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not JUST a Chair!

Chairs are used every day without a second glance. Students use them at school to sit at their desk and learn. Some people sit in an office chair from 9am to 5pm five days a week. The public uses chairs at the library, movie theaters, restaurants, and so on. The chair, an object that I'd say people take for granted, is very necessary to our everyday schedules. Personally, I find it easier to put my shoes on sitting down, or eating a meal sitting down, or even doing my homework sitting down. Sitting in this swivel desk chair writing this post, I wonder who created the first chair. According to the author of the article "Who Invented the Chair?",
 Some accounts say that the Egyptians invented the chair because archaeologists found chairs in Egytpian tombs.  Others point out that the Sumerians must have been the inventors because there is a 4,500 year old statue of the goddess Inanna showing her sitting on a throne-like chair.
With a world full of chairs, it's hard to imagine a world without them. I can only imagine the publics' reaction to the first ever chair. Luckily, Ryan Bowen's short video can show this reaction better than I can describe.


It's funny how a chair was once something so simple and was used for functional purposes. Now manufacturers are not only making chairs to be functional, but also to serve as art work. The chair below I wouldn't consider fashionable, but it looks very comfortable. Art is a form of expression and at times conveys beauty. I'm sure there are those out there who would appreciate the sight of this chair in their home, maybe a gamer perhaps?
I love animal print. Would I have a chair like this one in my home? Probably not, but this chair would fit someone's sassy personality and home. I can see this chair in a teenage girl's bedroom, or maybe a single young lady's apartment. It's a very fun and flirtatious chair, but elaborate chairs like this one do not fit in just any space.
The chair below is fairly simple compared to the one above. The designer of this chair, I think, was going more for functionality over flare. The designer wasn't trying to catch your eye with elaborate prints and bright colors, but with the fact that this chair is a 2-for-1. Not only can one sit down, but they can read, write, or do homework without being next to a side table with a lamp on it. This chair with the built in over light is a brilliant idea when it comes to functioning purposes. I wonder how it was constructed though. Did a heat resistant fabric have to be used? If the bulb went out, would it be easy to replace? I wonder how much this chair cost to produce and how much it's going for in department stores.

Here's another 2-for-1 piece. This chair serves as both a chair and a table. I think it's amazing how a chair was meant to be sat in, but over time the chair has evolved. Imaginations have gone wild. Designers are taking more risk. Notice the many variations of the chair in this blog post and in the real world (in stores, online, etc.). New and innovative creations are being made every day, and a chair is not just a chair anymore.
The chair featured in this video is a very simple chair and easy to assemble.

"Proceeds will be spent securing time on CNC machines, buying the raw materials, producing packaging and delivering your stool to you. We want to make low-volume local production runs efficient by spending time finding the closest machine to you, maximizing sustainability and getting your stool to you as quickly as possible." -Kickstarter