3 tips for space planning your kitchen

The first place I start when designing a home is the kitchen. It’s the most important room of the house and completely captivates me. I’m enamored with the idea of home and am deeply interested in how the home experience shapes us.

I’ve lived in 25 different homes in 31 years and I’m surprised by how little things actually change. Brett and I talk about this constantly, there’s nothing new under the sun.  Efficiency has certainly changed the home, but the needs are still the same. This is no more present than in the kitchen, where thoughtful design gives way to purposeful living.

Here are 3 tips when space planning your kitchen

1. Flow – Where are the traffic patterns in your kitchen? Are they going through the kitchen, around the kitchen, smack dab into the kitchen with nowhere to go? It’s important to be mindful of the traffic patterns and when possible, give yourself some extra room. If access to the backyard is through the kitchen, make sure to provide enough space to move throughout easily without disrupting the cook. Same thing goes for access to the fridge, always the culprit of a traffic jam, choosing a location with freedom to move will make a difference in everyday life. 

At the Fairmount Foursquare, we added a door in the kitchen for access to the backyard. I made sure to allow an extra foot of space on that side of the kitchen island so people could move around easily. Placing the sink, cooktop and oven on the other side allowed me to cook, without dodging small children running to the backyard.


2. Work triangle – This consists of the cooktop, sink and refrigerator. The goal here being to make a work triangle, where all three are close but not side-by-side.  I’ve noticed kitchen islands often disrupt one of the triangle sides, so think of this more of a guide than an absolute.  If it’s possible to keep the fridge close to the pantry, that’s most helpful when unloading groceries.

3. Counter space – This one, I always challenge clients to think through. How much counter space do you need to work vs how much will become display for your kitchen gadgets and cookbooks? Trading counter space for cupboard space is an easy way to make the kitchen feel more thoughtful while creating interest. 

Because of the opening to the hallway on the left side of the kitchen at the collected country house, I felt the right side could benefit from something heartier and a long row of upper cabinets would just create more space for me to stick things. I like the cupboard look for two reasons: it's pretty and functional!