Work Triangle Basics
As you prepare food, you naturally move between three places where you do three different tasks: cleanup, cooking, and food storage—your sink, cooktop and refrigerator, respectively. Imagine a triangle that connects them. This is your work triangle, and it’s the heart of your kitchen design. Ideally, each side should be at least 4 feet long, but less than 9 feet long. Of course, you’ll also need a place for food preparation like cutting, and the most efficient place for that is within your work triangle. It could be a countertop on an island, or between the cooking and food storage zones. Measuring a kitchen for cabinets is a critical step in determining your room layout. Here is a simple guide and free kitchen design planner outlining the tools you’ll need, step-by-step instructions, and some important tips.
Having rough dimensions and digital images available for the initial meetings are helpful in determining the overall scope of the project. Use our free kitchen planner here!
- A tape measure
- Pad of paper (grid paper is help full as it allows you draw to scale)
- Digital camera or camera phone
- Pencil or pen, and another writing instrument in another color or a highlighter
Measuring Your Space
- To begin, draw an outline of the room shape / configuration.
- Measure and note the ceiling height and any existing offsets vertically or horizontally (such as soffits and moldings).
- Measure and note all wall lengths (be accurate and make sure your tape measure is pulled tight).
- Check corner ‘squareness’ at the floor, base, and wall cabinet levels to determine if you’ll have any issues during installation. To check for corner ‘squareness’:
- Mark a point 4 feet out from the corner of one wall.
- Mark a point 3 feet out from the corner of the adjacent wall.
- When measuring a kitchen for cabinets, measure the distance between the two marked points. If the distance is 5 feet then the corner is square. If your walls are not perfectly square, don’t worry, you or and an installer will be able to work around any issues by using shims between the cabinets and the walls.
- Measure and note the location of obstacles along each wall, recording their height, width and depth from outside edge to outside edge (include doors, windows and pipes, outlets).
- Identify and note existing plumbing, electrical and lighting centerlines on all walls. You will also want to make note of changes that will be made to the plumbing and electrical or your proposed ideas so they can be taken into consideration during the design process.
- Range hook-up
- Light switches
- Electrical outlets
- Lighting fixtures
- Under counter lighting wiring
- Phone jacks
- Heating/Air vents (see sample drawing at bottom of screen to give you some ideas)
- Record the height from finished floor for items like windows, outlets, and vents.
- Record measurements of any freestanding furniture pieces or appliances that may stay in the room.
- Have an electrician check the electrical service panel conditions to ensure it can handle any change of appliances you may be making in the kitchen as well as safety features such as ground fault circuit protections. Make sure the lighting you have or will be implementing won’t be in the way of your new cabinetry or will be placed in the proper location of your new cabinet plan before installing.
- If attic or basement walls will be affected by the renovation, make sure any plumbing or venting changes are verified by a professional.
- Note window size & placement along with trim and or projected trim to be used if still in rough frame and sill dimensions, also make note of any crown molding they may intersect with cabinetry going to ceiling.
- Note the location of ventilation and ductwork on your drawing.
- Measure any items that will stay in the room and relate to your floor plan.
- Make note of any electrical details, such as switches and outlets that need to stay or possibly be moved, including under counter lighting.
- If you’ll be working around existing lighting fixtures, list their dimensions to avoid any obstruction with taller items like pantry cabinets, refrigerators or crown moldings.
- Once your designer has measured the space, double and triple check the measurements prior to placing your order. Every component order is custom, and items will be a specialty, made just for you. This can’t be emphasized enough, and it’s how we keep our low prices low. Please make sure it fits before you order it!!!
LIVING WITH RENOVATIONS
Life Without A Kitchen Can Be Challenging
I can’t emphasize this enough. In fact, I wish I had a quarter for every time someone told me they could be without a kitchen for two or three weeks (no problem, right?), and then one week later the inevitable question—Are you almost done? It’s not easy, and it doesn’t matter how prepared you are, it alters your normal day to day routine and we are creatures of habit. Take away the stove and the oven, then the kitchen sink, and suddenly cooking becomes a Herculean task!
Preparation can significantly ease the restrictions of a hectic remodel. Here are some tips on creating a makeshift kitchen, having the right tools on hand, and stocking your pantry to make your remodel run as smoothly as possible. Before walls are torn down and appliances removed, find an area of your house, such as the basement, dining room or even the garage where you can set up a temporary kitchen. A folding table suffices as a countertop, providing room for secondary appliances that make homemade meals a reality. Situate a toaster oven, coffee maker, crock-pot, microwave, or even an electric single burner and you’ll have some limited kitchen functionality
Making Life More Bearable
When working in a provisional kitchen, less is definitely more. In a plastic storage bin, set aside the cooking utensils and cookware that you’ll need – those that are compatible with the microwave, toaster oven, etc. Another small bin should keep essentials like tin foil, plastic wrap, garbage bags, and sandwich bags handy, while everything else goes into storage. Accept the fact that you will have to wash dishes at some point and determine how you will handle this. Locating the temporary kitchen near a laundry tub or bathroom sink will save valuable time.