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kitchen design


September 2019

By Liz Renner, Project Manager



Our tips and tricks on the designing your dream kitchen.


From new construction to remodels, good kitchen design is noticeable.  At See Arch, we believe good kitchen design incorporates both tried and true principles as well as client-based customizability to create a kitchen that is functional to everyone and especially you. Yes, we’re speaking to those who require a bar sink close to the coffee machine next to a soft-close drawer for those mornings. 

the triangle theory


or “work triangle”, developed in the 1940s, consists of the three main fixtures (points of the triangle) in a kitchen: the sink, the fridge, and the range. These points and their location would ideally create an invisible triangle that allows for efficient cooking with these following rules:

  • The sum of the three sides of the triangle should not exceed 26 feet.

  • Each leg should measure between 4 and 9 feet.

  • No side of the triangle should cut through an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.

  • No major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle.

  • A second triangle can be created by adding a second sink to an island or fourth-wall peninsula. This is also a way to create a specialty work station for baking or vegetable prep.

It’s extremely important to note that things have changed since the 40s (cue sighs of relief) and that no two kitchens are the same. 

Today’s kitchens are usually much larger and not solely used for cooking but function as work offices, hosting areas, entertainment hubs, and sometimes for eating leftovers over the kitchen sink at 2 AM.

a few See Arch guiding principles:

  • Never forget your clean up routine. Allocate space close to the sink and dishwasher for trash/recycling/compost bins. This can easily be done by a pull-out cabinet being planned for. It also ensures it will be out of sight from pets, children, or guests. It follows that the sink and dishwasher should be close in proximity for ease of cleaning. 

  • Consumables storage isn’t just the fridge. Place the pantry in close proximity to the refrigerator while placing both near the “entry” of the kitchen for easy grocery unloading and preferably accompanied by some near-by counter space. 

  • Seamless profiles are important in designing a modern kitchen. Try and spec a counter-depth fridge to align depths. 

  • Ovens or cook-tops work well when there is sufficient counter space at either side of the appliance. Drawer cabinets for pan/pot storage as well as utensil and spice drawer locations should be in reaching distance. 

  • Kitchen islands are a great place for cooking, dining, and hosting if there is enough room but can be a path of travel nuisance if squeezed in. There should be a minimum of 42” between base cabinets and islands. 48” is ideal, especially for a family kitchen. 

  • Undermount sinks are ideal for ease of cleaning while also providing an aesthetically pleasing profile. With the countertop running overtop the edge of the sink, it allows for a quick swipe of crumbs, etc into the sink. 

  • Kitchen lighting is just as important as the appliance and cabinet layout. 

    • Kitchen island lighting should be mounted with 30”-36” minimum clear space from the top of counter with a minimum of ~24” spacing between each fixture. 

    • Task lighting placement is critical to creating sufficient light around the workspace of a counter while avoiding shadowing. Recessed cans should be placed 12-18” away from cabinets depending on your ceiling height. Strip lights can be placed under upper cabinets, shelving, within cabinets themselves, or even in the toe-kicks. 

  • Your outlet minimum will be based on your state's electrical code but code is not synonymous with good design. Ensuring you’ll have the right amount of outlets (with some to spare) is an important step in the process of kitchen design. We recommend writing out a list of your daily small appliances that get constant use: coffee machines, toasters, blenders, etc.

  • Full-height pantry cabinets should have outlets within to allow of concealment of appliances. Your island will require at least one outlet but we recommend more and keeping in mind the option of USB capable outlets for devices to be charged.

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