Kitchen Planning

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The shape and size of a kitchen largely govern he siting of worktops and units, and the amount of space that can be devoted to them. But vhatever the shape or size, major appliances such as the oven, hob and refrigerator need to be installed within easy reach of each other and of the sink.

The sink itself is best placed near a window, which gives a view and a good light for washing up. Avoid having it jamned into a corner, which reduces access and makes it difficult for anyone to help with the washing up.

It possible, have a work surface on each side of the cooker and the sink, giving an uninterrupted sequence of worktop, sink, worktop, cooker, worktop.

Deciding on a place for the cooker

Ideally the cooker or hob should be against an outside wail so that it can be vented by a cooker hood or extractor fan.

Avoid placing a hob beneath a window as there is a risk of curtains catching tire. And accidents can be caused by people leaning across the hob to open or clean the window.

For the same reason, do not place the cooker near a door as there is an extra risk of pan handles being knocked by people going in and out of the room.

If a corner is the only place for the cooker, fit it across the angle. Otherwise only one side is left free for a worktop, and access is difficult.

The placing of the refrigerator is less critical, but ideally it should not be next to the cooker or in a position where it will be exposed to the heat of the sun for long periods.

Cooking ingredients that are used frequently, such as salt, flour, stock cubes and herbs, should be kept on a shelf or in a cupboard near the cooker. Keep tea, coffee and sugar near the kettle.

Use the wall space between worktop and wall cupboards for hanging utensils or to fit narrow shelves for herb jars.

These pages illustrate how other people have coped with a variety of problems in their kitchen planning and should help you to make the best of the space you have.

Using the existing space

Most proprietary ranges of kitchen furniture are manufactured in standard sizes, usually in metric measurements. Rarely will a run of these standard base units fit exactly between the walls of a kitchen.

The problem can be dealt with by cutting the worktop to the exact length and leaving a gap between two ofthe units.The gap can be used to store trays or a waste bin, or for fitting a towel rail. Some manufacturers sell narrow units for dealing with these gaps. Or you could cut down a full size unit to fit.

Another point to remember is that the positioning of some appliances will be governed by the location of the services. For example, washing machines and dishwashers need to be near the water supply and dranage system. While the relocation of these services is within the scope of the handyman, any changes should be planned and carried out before worktops and base cupboards are fitted. Relocation of gas points, however, must be carried out by the gas board, or by an approved gas fitter.

Also at an early stage decide where the electricity socket outlets should be, and how many you will need. In a kitchen many of the sockets should be fitted on the wall above the worktop for appliances such as kettle, toaster and food mixer. Bear in mind that you will probably be adding other appliances in the future. If extra sockets on a spur are to be added, the wiring should be recessed into the wall, and this must be done before fitting wall coverings. Similarly a ventilation fan or cooker hood, unless it is the recirculating type, will require a hole made in an outside wall or window.

Altering the space

Often more space can be gained, and a different shape acquired, bystructural alterations such as removing a wall to make one room out of two. In old houses the removal of a chimney breast will give extra space, and if there is an adjoining brick-built coal shed, scullery or outside wc, this can be converted to extend the kitchen. Such alterations, however, should be carried out by a qualified builder.