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Kitchen Notes #1 - kitchens over 600 square feet

These areas have common design challenges:

  • Heavy ceiling – with ceiling heights under 10’ a flat ceiling creates a heavy feeling. The larger the floor area the more the impact is felt. Whether we are aware of it consciously, the effect can be oppressive; much as though there was a large flat object hovering above us.

  • Strong natural light gradients – natural light simply will not penetrate fully into the room interior and this creates an uncomfortable light gradient in the areas furthest from exterior windows.

  • Proportionality – the larger the room, the greater the scale required to achieve a sense of balance. If cabinetry, furniture, fireplaces, or other elements are too small in scale they may seem to be adrift in their surroundings.

  • Human scale – the challenge here is that the larger the room the more difficult it can become to find ways to support a feeling of intimacy that can encourage social togetherness. The distances and angles that will define the interaction between speaker and listener can easily be compromised. It is also harder to create the sense of place that supports personal space.

  • Cabinet Mass – the larger rooms inevitable have larger numbers of cabinets. Because the cabinet area will occupy 50-65% of the visible wall area (the variance is largely a function of the amount of window area), the impact is significant. Without great care, the sheer amount of cabinetry is likely to drown out other areas; thus hijacking any chance for an emotional connection with the room. This is another way of saying that what you see will always get in the way of how you might otherwise feel.

  • Circulation – longer distance pose challenges not only for seating arrangements but also for the placement of work areas and appliances. If the informal eating area is over 20 feet from the refrigerator location, you can wear yourself out just getting up to get a beverage.

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