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The Social Kitchen

Social Kitchen NJ Architect When it comes to the most used gathering spot in your home, look no farther than your kitchen.   Over the years, the kitchen has evolved from a room strictly defined by food preparation, to now the best place for guests to linger, for children to get homework help, and for you to manage bills, grocery lists, and catch up on your family news.   While a kitchen renovation must address the demands of meal prep, a successful kitchen must also be designed for the multi-tasking family it supports.

Coined in the early 1900s, the “work triangle” was conceived by Frederick Winslow Taylor, a mechanical engineer interested in improving labor productivity by analyzing workflows based on time-motion studies. The work triangle concept serves as a guideline for maximizing efficiency by arranging the three components of the kitchen – cold storage work site (refrigerator), the cleaning/preparation work site (sink), and the cooking work site (stove) – in a specific relationship to reduce the distance, and thus the time, needed to prepare a meal. Now, more than a century later (!!), many people still heavily rely on this theory to guide their kitchen renovation.

However, much has changed since the days of Taylor. For starters, kitchens are no longer tucked in the back of the floor plan, and hidden by swinging doors, or interior blinds. Instead, kitchens have grown in size and are now occupied by the entire family for a variety of tasks. And, now, we often perform these tasks working alongside each other. Advances in technology provide us with a wider selection of appliances that can be paired and installed in different ways, and most importantly, the kitchen isn’t a dedicated “chore area” but rather a casual and inviting gathering place.

So, while placing the refrigerator, sink and stove in an efficient manner should always be considered during a kitchen renovation, for the space to serve the many needs of a modern family, we must call upon other factors to help guide the design of our “social kitchen”.

We define a social kitchen as one that is comprised of different zones: the meal prep zone, the eating zone, the entertainment zone, the “everyday” zone. Understanding these will help you establish a hierarchy of zones that reflects your family’s use habits. Once you know what zones to prioritize, and how you’d like the zones to overlap, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful social kitchen.

A kitchen renovation is the perfect opportunity to evaluate what is working in your current space, and what needs improvement. Since most of a family’s time is spent in the kitchen, much energy and thought should be placed into evaluating the desired flow of your new space. A successful social kitchen will provide an identity for each zone, while blending together each activity to support your bustling household and all the tasks assigned to it.

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