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Laying out the Kitchen Cabinets ...

     This article covers laying out your kitchen cabinets. The first article in this kitchen design series is Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets, which explained how to create a diagram of the space. The article will deal with typical considerations in planning a kitchen, as well as specific design ideas and techniques based on our experience with these fine Timberlake® cabinets. The real skill, or art, of a kitchen designer is to combine functionality with convenience and style to create a beautiful design that will aid you in the way you work in the space. We will walk you through the whole process.

     This is a general article, but the real value of working with us is that our free personal design service means that we will go further, designing specifically for your space and needs. In the meantime, be thinking of the following questions:
        • How often do you cook, and how many people cook at once? Do children ever help?
        • Do you eat in the kitchen? Most meals, or just breakfast?
        • Do you perform other tasks in the kitchen? Homework, paying bills, TV, computer?

     For those who are comfortable with their existing layout, and simply want to replace their original cabinets in the same configuration, we can easily fulfill this type of order. However, read on to get a new perspective on your original design; you may find that new options and convenience features open up new design possibilities in the same space.

      Traditional kitchen design begins with a concept known as the work triangle. The sides of this triangle consist of the shortest distance between the refrigerator, cooking surface and the sink. The underlying idea is that these main functional areas should be located near each other as they are used in combination for most common kitchen tasks. Typically, a distance of no less than 4' and no more than 10' is recommended along any side of the triangle. Ideally, islands and major traffic paths should not cut through the triangle.

     Once the refrigerator, sink, and cooking surface are located in the design, other appliances can be placed. Consider the following:

     1- The stove or cooktop must be ventilated with a hood above, (unless a down-draft cooktop is used). This often means that a short cabinet will be located over the hood. For safety and efficiency most hoods are designed to ventilate to the outside, which means the cooking surface is often located on an outside wall. Hoods come in many different styles, but one popular option is to utilize a combination microwave / hood. In this way, the microwave appliance can be located off of the counter, an fulfill the function of ventilation fan and light over the cooking surface. This regains counter space, but may not be ideal for children due to the height of the microwave.

     2- Dishwashers are usually located adjacent to the sink as they share plumbing and you are often loading the dishwasher from items in the sink. Since you unload clean dishes into the cabinets, it is good design to locate cabinets in which you intend to store dishes and glasses near (or above) the dishwasher. Attention should also be given to whether the primary user is right or left handed, and on which side of the dishwasher they prefer to work so that the above cabinets can be hinged correctly right or left.

     3- Garbage disposals, water filters, and water softeners are usually located within the sink base. Attention must be given to the space these units will occupy, as well as their plumbing and electrical hookups. Be sure the depth of the sink and the plumbing to the dishwasher allow for these if used..

     4- Trash compactors usually require just an electrical hookup. These will eliminate the need for a garbage pail, but will take up space otherwise available for a 15" or 18" base cabinet. Of course, if you prefer, a sliding garbage pail on rails is available as an accessory to mount in a base cabinet.

     5- A wine refrigerator, or cooler, will require an electrical hookup and will be mounted under the countertop. You will give up some cabinet space, but for wine lovers who like their various wines at the proper temperature this is a must. It will save some space in your refrigerator, and if cabinet space is a priority, you can create a wet or dry bar with a wine refrigerator in another area or even a den or living room.

     Now that all of the appliances are located in the design, add those cabinets that are necessary to work with the selected appliances. For example, a sink base for the sink, an open base for a cooktop, (or peninsula bases for an island), a base cabinet for a sliding waste basket or recycling unit, tall oven cabinets for built-in ovens, heat shields if necessary, short wide cabinets for over the microwave or refrigerator if it isn't built-in, or panels and spacers if it is built-in. In this way you are meeting the functional requirements of your design by providing for the tools you need to work in your kitchen.

     The next step is to identify special areas. To create drama and add interest, a focal point such as an island, a window seat, a pantry area, a breakfast nook, a desk, or other special function area can be used.

     The last major step in the cabinet layout process is to take the remaining runs of cabinet space and to determine how best to divide it among the different types of cabinets. For example, 36" of base cabinet space could be occupied by:
        • One base cabinet with full width slide out shelves, batten doors, and two drawers.
        • One base cabinet with stationary shelves, a center stile, and two drawers.
        • One base cabinet with 4 drawers and no doors.
        • Two 18" cabinets with a sliding garbage pail in one and sliding recycling bins on the other.
        • One corner base cabinet with lazy susan rotating shelves.
        • Three cabinets; one 15" base cabinet with shelf and drawer, one 12" base of drawers only, and one 9" narrow cabinet for storing pans, cookie sheets, trays, chopping blocks, and other thin items.
        • Three cabinets; one 24" base, one 6" base of spice drawers, one 6" base wine rack.

      There are more combinations, but this just illustrates the point that we offer options suitable for anyone and any functionality. The slide out drawers are good for heavy items like pots and pans; big items are more accessible through doors with battens and no center stile; wide top drawers are useful for silverware and utensils; a cabinet of deep drawers will hold dish towels, pot holders, or foils; the 9" wide tall cabinet is perfect for someone who bakes; a slide out garbage pail is useful when there isn't enough floor space for a separate pail; spice drawers are useful for small items; and so on. Think of what combinations are best in your kitchen. As you can see, there are many ways to configure cabinets in any given space.

     Specifications guides are available to see what kinds of base, wall, and pantry cabinets are available. Panels, fillers, and moldings, as well as special application cabinets are all pictured and all available measurements are given. Simply view your options and choose what is best for you. Of course, our free personal design service is available to help. Simply fax your measurements and call - we'll be happy to help design the perfect combination for you.


‹ First Article: Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets                     Next Article: Installing Kitchen Cabinets ›   
You are in Step 2- Measuring for Cabinets

A. Choose Type of Cabinet
B. Make Measurements
C. Add Extras
(as desired)

Design is a 3 stage process:
A.  Type of cabinets  (Cabinets by Wood Type) (Cabinets by Series)
B.  Make Measurements  (How to Measure for Cabinets)
C.  Add Extras  (Cabinet Accessories) (Cabinet Upgrades)

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