Home Design & Renovation with Cooking in Mind
Your home can be designed to facilitate whatever type of lifestyle you prefer. Within this website, we will discuss the various different scenarios that your house design can be focused on, and some interesting and creative ways to customize your home accordingly.
This webpage is devoted to designing your home with Cooking as the primary focus.
I am no cook, so my comments and suggestions will have nothing to do with the finer points that are required to properly cook a meal, or customize dishes for family and friends. These comments and ideas are purely on a design and construction basis and observations of countless kitchen installations and layouts. I have experienced several restaurant projects, school and retirement home cafeterias as well as countless high end residential projects, in which each kitchen was designed differently, and each layout customized for product delivery and refrigeration.
The comments in this webpage are based upon common sense and experience, not on any ability to cook your favorite meal.
- Kitchen layout / The primary element in a home that is primarily designed for cooking is obviously the kitchen. Depending upon the type of cook you are, as well as the other inhabitants of the home, the layout of the kitchen will vary. The individual cook that focuses on their ability to cook and the convenience offered by their kitchen, would totally customized their kitchen space. Watch the various cooking shows on the food network and you will be able to identify the types of kitchens that best suit your needs. Some thoughts regarding these professionally designed kitchens are;
- Sink and cleanup locations. Is there a need for the sink or sinks and dishwasher to be located close to the working surface? If you cook independently and prefer to clean up as you progress through the meal, then the location of the sink and cleaning areas should be relatively close to the actual preparation areas. If you happen to cook with a partner, that is a type of sous-chef, that prepares the ingredients as well as cleans up, then the sink and cleanup area could be located further from the preparation area.
- Cooktop / The position of the cooktop is dependent upon your personal taste and comfort. If you are the type of individual that prefers to face the room, then the cooktop should probably be positioned within an island that is located in the middle of the kitchen. If you are the type of cook that prefers to have the sink and dishwasher located in the island area, and have no difficulty, or are not uncomfortable facing the rear wall of the kitchen when cooking, the placement of the cooktop can be located accordingly.
- Refrigeration / The location of the refrigerator is once again dependent upon the customization of the individuals that will be using the kitchen. If the primary cook is a solitary individual, the placement of the refrigerator in a relatively convenient location will be conducive to using refrigerated ingredients for your recipes. If there is a tandem effort in the kitchen, then the more remote location for the refrigeration can be tolerated. Once again, the actual placement of the refrigerator is totally dependent upon the individual cook and how the kitchen is used.
- Freezer and pantry location. The primary storage of the raw ingredients is vitally important to the operation of any kitchen. However, not to constantly repeat myself, but the type of cooking being performed in the kitchen will have an important relation to the location of these elements. If the cooking is a family affair and there is help, then the proximity of the storage and freezer areas is not as critical. However, if the primary use of the kitchen is by one individual, then the accuracy and proximity of the location becomes important.
- Ovens / The placement of the ovens are probably the same, whether the kitchen is used by an individual or several cooks or family members. Once the recipe is prepared and placed in the oven, the location of these ovens is not critical. Of course, they must be located within the kitchen itself, however the distance and convenience is not an important factor.
- Coffee bar / To me, this is a location that is extremely important, because my coffee making is outstanding. Although I am being very facetious with these comments, there should be room within the kitchen for a coffee bar. As with other aspects of the layout of the kitchen, this location and the size of the coffee bar is totally a custom requirement, dictated by the coffee interests of the inhabitants of the home. However, it is an important element that should be considered.
- Desktop and workstation / The inclusion within the kitchen of a workstation is a consideration. If there are orders to be made or other office requirements, the inclusion of a workstation within the kitchen itself is important.
- Kitchen entry and garage access
The entry into the kitchen as well as the garage access is an important element and consideration for a home that is designed with cooking as its primary design focus. The pantry and storage areas should be easily accessible to the kitchen as well as easily accessed from the exterior driveway. Depending upon the amount of cooking that will occur, the size of the entry for deliveries must be determined.
Obviously if the amount of cooking is substantial then a loading dock of some sort should be considered and designed. The primary consideration is the access for product in and out of the kitchen as well as the storage areas.
- Dining facilities
If the primary focus of the home and the floorplan is cooking, then in most instances the need for a dining space would follow this focus. However, this may not be the case, each particular situation must be identified. However, if a dining area is required, then the dining area should be easily accessible from the kitchen area.
The design of the floorplan for this type of home can be typical to a home designed for a functioning family. The openness from the kitchen areas to the family room or in this case the dining areas are similar. The combination of uses that this layout can provide will also allow the home to be sellable if the time comes that cooking is not the entire focus of the home.
- Trash removal
If the home is designed for cooking, then the removal of garbage and trash must be considered. The establishment of a separate area for a small dumpster could be provided to manage the amount of additional debris and garbage caused by the amount of cooking that is taking place. There are compactors that could be considered as well as a formal means of composting the vegetative material generated by the kitchen.
- Mechanical provisions
If the home is designed for cooking, then the ventilation of the kitchen and the cooking equipment is important. Commercial kitchens establish special provisions that position stainless steel hood systems over the open grills of the kitchen, as well as the standard cooktops. The ventilation of smoke and cooking odors must be considered to properly design a home focused on cooking. In addition to the ventilation requirements, the ability to control any open fires generated, due to the accumulation of grease or cooking oil is important. Again, depending upon the degree of cooking, and the use of open grills within the kitchen, the installation of special fire control or halon systems should be considered.
Most popular cooking equipment is gas operated. Therefore provisions for the supply of gas to the appliances must be considered. Gas, if available as a primary utility, would need to be designed and installed into the kitchen areas. If gas is not available in the area, then provisions must be made to install special propane or natural gas tanks to supply gas to the appliances. Most cooks would prefer to cook with gas than electric; therefore the installation of a gas line must be designed into the layout for the kitchen.
- Electrical provisions
A separate electrical panel designated for the kitchen only, should be considered. This panel should be located in an area easily accessible to the kitchen and the cooking area. There are several appliances that are electrically operated such as toasters, special mixers, etc. and the separate circuits required to properly operate these appliances should be located in a separate electrical subpanel.
Emergency electrical service should be considered due to the amount of refrigeration required for a home that is designed for cooking. There will be at least one refrigerator and one freezer, if not more that will require electrical power to function. The loss of refrigeration could be a major insurance claim and the installation of an emergency generator system is recommended to ensure that these appliances remain functional in the event of a power loss.
A home designed for cooking is considered a very special home with provisions that may not be beneficial, if the home is presented for resale. It is recommended that if the home is designed specifically for cooking, then there should be a consideration for resale. I have some thoughts regarding the combination of both a design, primarily focused on cooking with the ability to sell the home at a later date.
- The dining area specifically located off the kitchen can be designed to accommodate a family room or a common room, if dining is not the principal focus.
- The kitchen area will always be required to accommodate the home; however any special provisions, such as specialty appliances, additional refrigeration, if located properly, could be eliminated in the future to allow the areas to be used for more common benefits, such as a mud room, an office, etc.
- If the driveway and garage access is designed to allow easy access by delivery trucks and garbage and composting accommodations, these areas could be reverted back to additional garage space or outside recreational usage.
- Specialties such as the halon fire suppression system can be deactivated to revert back to standard kitchen accommodations and the vent hoods could be eliminated without a negative impact on the home.
- Mechanical and electrical provisions, such as the ventilation, and the separate electrical panel for the kitchen can be used as special accommodations for the home. This type of specialized situations should not be eliminated or revised. With a clever real estate agent, this type of exceptional customization could be used as a selling point for the home.
The creation of a home specifically designed to accommodate cooking is a total and completely specialized home. If the budget is unlimited and the interest is cooking, go for it. If the ultimate goal is to create a home that accommodates cooking as a central theme, but the resale of the home is in the back of your mind, then the moderation of accommodations for cooking is recommended.
The bottom line is that, if you are in a position to design and construct a home, specifically designed for cooking, please contact me! I would love to design and construct this home! If you love to cook, would like to accommodate the space to more efficiently pursue this interest, then a moderation of the design and construction of your home is recommended.
Good luck! Please invite me to your first dinner party! Enjoy!