Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kitchen makeovers

Having a keen eye for detail and visualising the usage pattern can make any kitchen very comfortable to use.

Providing ample space for kitchen appliances assumes importance while planning an uncluttered cooking space. Courtesy: Image Home Design
A large part of a housewife's time is spent in the kitchen. So shouldn't the kitchen design be ideal, making it comfortable for the lady of the house?
Having a keen eye for detail and visualising the usage pattern can make any kitchen, be it small or large, very comfortable to use. For example, planning a place for the mixie or sandwich toaster close to an electrical socket makes a very big difference as you don't have to carry them around to where the socket is. As these small appliances do not take up too much space, they can be placed on a small raised counter.
Usually, there is no special place assigned for a heavy appliance like a wet grinder. Providing lowered counter slabs and special power points may help a lot. With the increasing number of kitchen appliances being used these days such as dishwashers, water purifiers and microwave ovens, providing ample space for them assumes importance while planning the kitchen. Small details like providing space to keep the cookery books definitely add life to the kitchen space.
Usually, the person cooking stands in front of the stove staring at a blank, dull wall. Would it not be much better to rather see some open space as you cook? A large opening in front of the cooking range with a high sill would be nice. Having just as many openings as possible, would create a brighter kitchen with better ventilation, allowing the cooking odours to escape easily.
Some of us may like to have breakfast right in the kitchen, so, providing a small opening and a counter arrangement could give the kitchen space a lot more meaning. This counter could also serve as a pantry at other times when you have guests over for lunch or dinner, and helps in reducing the clutter and congestion on the dining table. Food can be served and removed in the order perceived.
Additional area like a small utility or a service balcony, do make a big difference. You could put your washing machine there or gather vessels for washing. There could also be a small foldable ironing board for some quick ironing work in an emergency. This makes the space multi utilitarian serving yet compact.
Also not many kitchens have electric chimneys or hoods, so the wall along the cooking range gets really tarred and soiled in the long run. We could look at having darker colour wall tiles and the material or finish on the walls could ideally be easily washable and smooth. Even the counters and flooring could be of a natural hard material to prevent stains from cooking. Materials like the black granite, the kotah and cuddapah might be just right for a kitchen space.
Everything apart, the television soaps and serials seem to be part of our daily life. So we could give provision for a television set or may be a small openable shutter that could be opened up to see the television in the living area. This serves to open up the kitchen space, making it larger and more flexible, enriching the life of one and all in the house.
(The author is the Chief Architect, Murali Architects, Chennai)

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