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Real Estate

In Search of the Perfect Kitchen: Layout & The "Work Triangle"


The elusive "perfect kitchen.” One has to wonder - does such a thing exist?  The design of your kitchen layout will make a difference in how you enjoy and use the space. Not only is your kitchen the heart of your home and your family, it is also the most used space in your home. If you have to retrace your steps or walk around obstacles to get to the three major components that make up the “work triangle," then your kitchen layout is inefficient or inconvenient, to say the least. Your goal should be to obtain a kitchen that works for you. If you are in the process of buying, building, moving or remodeling in Charleston SC, you'll want to consider the following tips when looking at kitchens. 

In every kitchen there are 3 main components that make up an efficient ‘work triangle' - the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove/oven.  Draw your kitchen as a floor plan and see how your three areas layout.  Ideally you would like to move from the refrigerator, to the sink, and to the stove in one easy path.

If your kitchen space is large enough, an island is a great way to gain more work space and if it has a sink, it can become part of your work triangle and help to cut down on excessive travel around the kitchen. If your kitchen tends to be on a smaller scale, consider a moveable island on wheels that can be used for convenience, but stored when more kitchen space is needed for company. In either case, an island provides both additional work space as well as storage.

There are pros and cons to every type of kitchen, and bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. If your kitchen is really large, then your triangle tends to be too big, creating extra steps and travel time from one spot to the next. While ample storage is always appreciated, being space savvy and organized is almost more important. What good is all that space if there is no rhyme or reason to the flow?

In most of the older historic homes in Charleston SC, the kitchen walls tend to be parallel thereby resulting in a "Galley" style. While this plan allows for ideal space saving, and maximum efficiency for the work triangle due to less travel area, it doesn’t allow for many people in the kitchen at the same time and generally provides only one way in and one way out. It also doesn’t always provide great space for entertainment either. Ideally, one wall would be open providing a seating bar for your guests to sit at and be able to converse with you while you are working.

Another important consideration is placement of the trash receptacle and dishwasher.  Both should always be within close proximity of the sink, for obvious reasons.  It’s always easier and less of a mess if you are containing the water from one source to another. Moving from the trash, to the sink, to the dishwasher provides the best flow allowing for trimming and washing of food product and then placing used dishes in the washer.

Additionally, if you have the space and the financial wherewithal, double ovens are not only a necessity, but a huge time saver and one that you will truly never regret!  Particularly if you have a large family or tend to entertain often. Most of the newly constructed and newly renovated kitchen spaces these days tend to be open and user friendly, providing ample space for everyone to be together and guests to gather without being in the way of the cook.  After all, it's not really a fun party for the host/hostess if they are stuck in the kitchen while their guests are somewhere else in the house!

Buy the best appliances you can afford, but if it comes down to choosing between purchasing expensive appliances or using a professional to help you create the best kitchen flow, get the professional's advice! It’s easier to replace the appliances than redo the kitchen. 

Note: You just might find that having a real estate professional who brings an insider's perspective to helping you find the kitchen you've always dreamed of, is the ideal person to help you find that home you've always dreamed of, too.

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