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THE KITCHEN “WORK TRIANGLE” IS A CONCEPT AND TERM THAT SHOULD BE ERASED FROM THE HUMAN LANGUAGE.
There. I said it out loud. Loudly out loud.
If you could see me right now, you’d see me jumping up and down in frustration.
Like the time my father jumped on a grapefruit in exasperation at something my mother said. But that’s another loooooong story….
As a designer certified by the National Council for Design Qualifications and a Certified Kitchen Designer, in my 20 years in the home design and remodeling business, I’ve
- won dozens of design awards in the kitchen and bath categories in Canada, the US and England,
- written dozens of magazine articles and had a couple of regular magazine and newspaper columns
- had my work featured in newspapers and magazines in Canada and the US
- been featured on various TV shows as an expert
- been interviewed on radio programs all over North America
- been asked to speak at trade, consumer and private events
- written the Amazon best-selling book Renovation Bootcamp®: Kitchen — Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse.
Watch the Renovation Bootcamp(R) book trailer
I tell you this not to brag, but to convince you that I’ve been around the well-designed block more than a few times and there are a few obsolete, outdated misconceptions and “rules” about kitchens that drive me crazy which REFUSE to gracefully
- KITCHEN WORK TRIANGLE,
- The sink “must” be under the window
- The Thanksgiving turkey tail has to be cut off before it goes into the roasting pan
(if you want to know about #2 & #3, leave me a comment below!)
These are all concepts that were developed back in the 1940’s and embraced as gospel in the 1950’s up to the present day.
But let me ask you this: How much of your life resembles life back then in ANY way?! A time when a woman’s primary roles were mother and housekeeper…except for the radical few who worked outside the home …and they were spoken of with a cocked eyebrow, in hushed tones….
See the video of 1950’s modern home conveniences
As any design pro or contractor worth their salt will tell you, and I’ve been
yelling yammering talking about this for years, home design and renovation are not exact sciences. There are almost as many successful ways to lay out a kitchen as there are people who inhabit them, and they all revolve around such things as
- the occupants’ food preparation habits
- how many people work in the kitchen at one time and their physical limitations
- is there outside help, like caterers or nannies, who use the kitchen regularly
- cultural and religious dictates
- appliance desires
The last point is particularly relevant since we potentially have FOUR TIMES the number of separate appliances in one kitchen today as they had in the 1940’s and 50’s, which all need to be located in a way that’s efficient for the individual habits of the occupants.
The old saying, “rules are meant to be broken” notwithstanding, there are some common-sense things to avoid if possible like the sink, cooking surface and fridge all jammed together in a row (although in some modern condos, the space allowed for the kitchen makes this arrangement almost unavoidable). But by-and-large, we still like to cling to a formula and call it gospel, no matter how archaic it might be.
We like neat, tidy, quick labels. We love sound bytes. We crave shortcuts. We read headlines and often give the story only a quick glance. And because the typical kitchen of the 1940’s was unfitted, meaning each element like appliances, storage and work surfaces weren’t physically connected, the kitchen triangle was the quick, uncomplicated way to tell a handy man how to layout the kitchen to help Mom get the family meal on the table faster: a triangle created the shortest route between the only 3 appliances that existed at the time:
Today, every kitchen designer will approach the layout of a kitchen a little differently, using concepts like work zones, point-of-use work and storage areas, hubs, and flow. And if you think I’m just a
crank snob oddball lone voice on this, I can assure you that some of my very esteemed colleagues feel the same as evidenced by a recent conversation on the subject.
Kelly Morriseau, award-winning, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer says, “The term is a time warp….Let it die. Stab it if you have to.” Read Kelly’s fun blog post on the subject HERE.
Cheryl Nagle Kees Clendenon, owner of In Detail Interiors out of Pensacola, Florida says, ” I like to think of it as a zoned approach…. it sometimes depends on particulars of a client and their specific needs. And whether they are “short order” cooks or truly gourmet cooks.” And I love the way she comes straight to the point in her blog post,” the much lauded triangle means diddly squat .”
Pete Walker, outspoken founder of The Proximity Kitchen System says, “The “work triangle” is obsolete (and) always has been. Fundamentally the layout of a kitchen should directly reflect the sequence of tasks in making a meal…”
So have I convinced you? Who’s with me? Then let’s consider the wicked witch dead, and shout it from the roof tops, or at least tweet it and call it a Renovation Bootcamp® Shareable!