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best kitchen design

I've seen some threads on kitchen layouts but want to ask the question again. Do you have a favorite kitchen design? I've been using a galley styled kitchen for years and love having everything surrounding me. It seems the most efficient use of space. I'd like the chowhounds to weigh in on this. What are your favorite kitchen designs and why?

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  1. A U-shaped would be most efficient with the smallest work triangle.

    I think best depends on your physical space and in many cases there are limitations when remodeling

    1. I am a kitchen Designer and have to say that I have loved my last two kitchens that were U shaped with an island in the middle. Fortunetly I was able to have the space to do that type of a lay out. I like that I have a cooking zone with prep and sink area, a clean up zone adjacent to the cooking area, and another area for storage and refrigeration. It makes it easy to have 2 people working in the kitchen at the same time, and not get into each others way. See my avitar for my latest kitchen.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JEN10

        You have a gorgeous kitchen.

        1. re: dijohn

          Thank you, it is a joy to cook in, I am very grateful to have it.

      2. If you have the space, a kitchen with an island is very nice as it gives the space to spread out and less time in considering real estate when cooking. I'm in Boston and my kitchen like all kitchens in Boston is very small. I really have to be neat when it comes to creating a 3-station area when battering chicken or fish (flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs) to coordinate it well. I like my kitchen to be utiliarian, but have some style to it. I have seen too many new builds with illogical choices and spaces for the placement of the stove, sink, and the workspace in between. I'm finding I'm liking the kitchen styles from Jeff Lewis (from Flipping Out fame) as his belief is the kitchen should be pretty but utilitarian in 10 years.

        One of the most important factors to me for a kitchen is lighting. My wife always complains why I need to have all of the lights on. Ample lighting is very important when designing a kitchen and special considerations need to be given for illumination especially around the workspace between the sink and the stove. In many instances, I have seen a cook work in one small space only in a large space because that's where the illumination is the best.

        1. If you are redesigning your kitchen I'd say it's important to locate the dishwasher either to the left or right of the sink depending on how you like to load. I like plenty of workspace near the range so it's easy to take hot food out of the oven with somewhere to put it down quickly.

          The kitchen I have now has a stupid waste of space area in a triangle behind the sink which is at an angle in a corner of my kitchen. I cannot stretch over the sink easily enough to clean this area so it'[s a dumb design.
          I also like drawers for silverware, cooking utensils, cloths etc, some kitchens don't have enough. I also love those pull out and turning corner units for pots and pans. I also like my units to go to the ceiling because I dislike space above them which trap dirt and grease and don't have much use.

          1. I am a big fan of the Good Eats kitchen (from the later seasons, not the one in the first few).

            1. I have a U-shaped kitchen and absolutely love it. For me, the best feature is that the part that forms a peninsula between the kitchen and the eating area is extra wide and topped with a single piece of granite without a sink or stovetop. It gives me plenty of prep space (the frig is nearby so I can get ingredients out of it and put them right on the workspace) and since it faces the table I can talk to guests, watch the TV mounted in that area, and line up plates that can be easily filled with food and taken to the table. It's also near the back door that divides the spaces so I can gather everything I need to take outside, walk around to the other side and pick it up and head out the door. (I had a wealthy friend with a massive kitchen with an island in the center. Everything was so far apart it was difficult to make a meal.)

              1. I think the peninsula or island that includes a work area and a place to eat a quick bite are the most practical, and popular, designs. At least they are popular in newer homes and remodels. I don't have one of these, and I don't miss it in my present kitchen which is pretty large, u shaped, and has plenty of counter space. For me, the counter space to work in is what I really like. I requested, when we had the kitchen redone, the oven to be installed under counter and away from the microwave, and I also requested book shelves for cookbooks. Including these items, and arranging them in a good work triangle has made my kitchen very functional.

                Another item to consider in a kitchen layout, is having dish storage near the dishwasher, and having appliance garages for bulky appliances. I have both of these, and I really appreciate them. I have a pantry but I don't believe a pantry is a necessity. And, a good reason, for having a cooktop instead of a stove, is being able to have pan storage in drawers under the stove. This is an A+ part of a good layout for me.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  Good point on having dish storage next to the dishwasher. I'm curious, do you have one or two ovens?

                  1. re: dijohn

                    Below the counter, I have a largish convection oven which does a good job for me, but which vents into the kitchen. I would always inquire about that sort of thing now. I had no idea 11 years ago. About 2 years ago, I bought a Cuisinart countertop convection toaster oven, and I use that appliance daily.

                    In terms of need, a single oven almost always serves us well enough. But with only 2 of us, the smaller oven is more suited to our day to day needs.

                    We also have a microwave sitting on a shelf, well away from the regular oven.

                2. so much depends on the space you have. . . . but my favorite kitchens have always been the ones with multiple work zones and the fridge located where the non-cooks that come into the kitchen can access it without interfering with the "cooking" space. That is probably why I also have loved kitchens with multiple work zones (including multiple sinks). That way someone can be working at the stove while someone else is helping cut up other stuff, somewhere else, using a different sink. It is so nice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: thimes

                    Available space and configuration have a lot to do with whether you can do this well. Traffic through the kitchen is a part of the configuration issue as well.

                  2. The U-shape is ideal IF it's a cul-de-sac. What I have now is a U-shape with through traffic up and down one side. This would be okay if that side were storage/pantry and the work triangle were over in the quiet side, but that's not the case; the cooktop and wall oven are right in the pathway. At some point, when we have the time and money, that will change, but having an old house with more than a few more pressing issues means I'll be lucky if I live to see that.

                    The handiest kitchen I ever used was the one Mrs. O had before she was Mrs. O, in her condo. Very narrow galley with a nice big window at one end and the door at the other, DW and sink on one side, built-in range and fridge on the other, just enough room to stand in one place and turn around. It was a galley, and it worked better than the one I have now despite being less than half the size.

                    1. Making sure these is counter space on both sides of the stove and sink is #1 in my book. In my old kitchen, the stove was against a wall on one side. This was incredibly frustrating when trying to juggle large pots.
                      I also love the long counter in my current galley kitchen-- having a long uninterrupted workspace across from the stove is very convenient.

                      1. My favorite design is what I have in my kitchen. Totally not traditional, breaks many of the "rules" as set out by kitchen designers, functions beautifully. I couldn't get a kitchen design that would work from a professional (those pesky "rules") so I did it myself and love it. The main things for me were to create functional work zones, respect the traffic flow especially with respect to running felines and kids, to have the 36 inch cooktop and double stainless steel sink on the same run of counter with 36 inches between them, an external venting system for the cooktop, and to maximize the outdoor view. Traditional kitchen designers were of absolutely no help, they all said this couldn't be done in my space because of "work triangle" requirements blah blah blah. I found the solution while respecting the basic safety requirements of any kitchen (counterspace requirements on either side of the cooktop for example, counterspace requirements next to the oven, and so on). We went from a U-style kitchen with one tiny window over the sink to the pictures below. In short, don't be afraid to step outside of the box and bend some "kitchen designer rules". The BEST layout is one that suits your needs.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: freia

                          Like Jen10, I am also a kitchen designer, and I would say that the "best" kitchen design is one that fits your space and your lifestyle while maintaining safety.

                          Freia - sounds like you needed a different kitchen designer. The "work triangle" is only one method (though maybe the most well-known) of designing a kitchen. For many modern households with multiple cooks, frequent entertaining, and open plan kitchens, work "zones" are much more functional than being confined to the distance between the three points of a work triangle. Sorry you had a bad experience with the designers you worked with, but please don't believe that we're all like that. :)

                          1. re: kyoules

                            Sorry if it came across that way...in my town, we have kitchen designers soley affiliated with kitchen cabinet companies and the 3 different companies that sent designers out all had in mind the work triangle, primarily a U shaped kitchen, and designed for looks vs function. It was extremely disappointing. I am certain that if I had a Kitchen Designer independent of a cabinet company, the outcome would have been different. I suspect their designers were individuals with a "rule book" and a mandate to sell cabinets, which really isn't a designer IMHO. Ah the joys of a small town!
                            I wound up designing my kitchen (I actually tested out the island and cabinet location once the kitchen was stripped, I bought packing boxes from U Haul and put them in the bare kitchen to get a working feel of the layout), had to fight with Ikea to get the cabinets delivered (I had to have my plan "approved" by their kitchen designer, who rejected it because I didn't have 4 feet between the island and the coffee wall -- apparently that's one of their rules -- so I submitted a plan that showed a kitchen somewhat larger in dimension, as in "OK you want 4 feet here it is on paper" kind of "adjustment" LOL), I had to fight with the plumber to put in the plumbing for an island, I had to fight with the contractor who had never done anything other than a traditional U shaped kitchen to do the island and to ensure space for island electrical works, I had to fight with the electricians for all the lighting...seriously, it was like pushing rope uphill for MONTHS. And I love love love the result, it works perfectly and I have absolutely nothing that I'd change.
                            Anyways, you are right, a great kitchen designer is worth their weight in gold, and lucky is the person who can find and work with one of them! :)

                        2. I love my kitchen, that we designed from the studs out. We had a squar-ish shape with 4 doors and windows on two walls. for me, the most important thing was an island where I could do my prep work, with room on the other side for someone(s) to sit. our island allows multiple people to work comfortably. the stove is directly behind where I stand at the island, which works for me, plus we have long counter on two walls, from dw to sink around corner to stove. I love having lots of counter space in a heat safe material. If I could add one more thing, it would be a prep sink. the only place we jam up is the sink while I am cooking and my husband is cleaning. but I would only add a sink to my island if it was more than 4 feet long or so, for the large workspace. and lighting and lots of outlets are a must, and either deep drawers or cabinets with slide out shelves for the base cabinets.