Planning Your Kitchen Remodel: Part 3

For now, let’s try to work on a basic kitchen layout, because form follows function, and you need a functional kitchen, as it’s the heart of the home.

Three Kinds of New Kitchens:

  1. New construction:  This is, of course, building an entire home from the foundation up.  Because you’re looking at the whole house, you can decide if you don’t want to waste space on the seldom-used formal living room that was in your last abode, if you don’t want a formal dining room for the same reason, or if you want the kitchen facing the southwest so you can grow herbs year round and have more light in the evenings.  You also get to select the ideal kitchen shape for your family’s cooking, its square footage and pretty much everything else.  There are also feng shui considerations that I would share with you as my client.
  2. Remodeling: If you want to change the whole footprint of your kitchen, add space, reshape, or combine rooms (like opening the family room and kitchen wall,) then you’ll be remodeling.  Remodeling simply depends upon your budget and your needs and desires for food preparation area of your home.
  3. Renovation: This can indicate alteration, but not structural changes.  Often you are trying to preserve the best parts of your home’s style and heritage while providing yourself with a kitchen that works for you in today’s world.

Know Your Home

Become familiar with the basic structural, plumbing, electrical and mechanical layout of your home.  Whether you are moving pipes (for your sink, refrigerator or dishwasher) a few inches or across the room, often permits will be required, and building inspectors will need to visit. This costs you money and time, but it’s not something you can avoid.  The same is true for electrical if you’re moving your range, cooktop, fridge or dishwasher, or adding a wine refrigerator in your island, for instance.  If you’re changing your cooktop from electric to gas, you’ll need to know where gas lines run and the type of gas you have to access.

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The Essentials

You are better off spending your money on design services rather than on high-end materials.  Investing in a good design for your floor plan to get essential parts right means that you can change out laminate to granite countertops, back splash or high-end appliances later.  If your kitchen doesn’t function well, relocating the stove, sink or refrigerator will be more costly in the long run.  This is especially true if you don’t plan to move in five years.  We need to say that it’s important to buy the best the flooring, ventilation, and cabinets you can afford.  You can, however, replace countertops, backsplash and appliances as your budget allows.

The Work Triangle

Most designers agree that there are three main areas for an efficient kitchen: food preparation, cooking, and clean up.  They are called the “Work Triangle.”

Food preparation should be close to the refrigerator, pantry, sink, cooking utensils such as knives, cutting boards, bowls, etc. (i.e.: all those items that are used in food preparation.)

The cooking center includes the cooktop, the oven, spices, cooking utensils, oils, and cookware (pots and pans.)

The clean up area includes the sink, a place to initially stack dirty dishes, trash/recycle/compost cans, dishwasher, a rack for clean items not washed in the dishwasher, and dish soap. It also needs to be fairly close to the fridge, as you’ll be putting away left overs, condiments, etc.

Because of the overlap in these three tasks, the work triangle needs to be no more than 26’, as it takes more steps (time) to cook.  However, if they are too close, the circulation might be limited.

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Kitchen Layouts

There are a few basic arrangements of the vast majority of kitchens, because that’s what functions best for most family cooks.

  • Single Wall kitchens have all work stations on a single wall, and are generally found in smaller homes such as condos and tiny homes.
  • Galley style kitchens have two banks of cabinets with a walkway between.  Often the fridge and sink are found on one wall, with the range on the opposite. 
  • U-shaped kitchens have equal length sides, with the fridge and range opposite one another and the sink at the base of the U, all being pretty close to the same distance apart.
  • L-shaped kitchens generally have one side longer than the other, often with the range on one end and the refrigerator on the other, with the sink in between.  A variation of that is the L-shaped kitchen with an island.
  • G-shaped kitchens are generally U shaped with a peninsula partially dividing the work area from an eating area or family room.

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If your kitchen falls into one of these categories, then they are considered generally functional options, but may need some skillful design to make them the most functional they can possibly be.


On March 29, we’ll talk about actual arrangements of kitchen components, and what other elements you’ll want to consider when starting to draw out your plans.  Got questions about kitchen design?  Write back and send photos and we’ll try to help.  We always make time for our readers. 

In conclusion

Feeling overwhelmed? Contact us through this website: and we can set up a meeting.  Even if all you acquire is a floor plan and elevations of your new kitchen, it would be a wise investment so that you end up with a functional and efficient kitchen, the heart of the home.

                                Happy Kitchen Remodeling!