Like tailoring for a fitted jacket, a fitted kitchen is planned, built, and/or fixed to properly fill or cover a specific space and shape. To achieve a pleasing, functional, and affordable design it is important to find the appropriate measure of planning, creative foresight, and implementation techniques to ensure success with your project.
Creative foresight means selecting countertops, wood finishes, cabinets, flooring and even door handles in the right colors and textures to pull off that picture-perfect new kitchen.
The first critical step to building your kitchen design plan is having precise dimensions and understanding the layout of the space you are ultimately looking to build or to fit.
Like our human body, we can’t change the shape without major reconstruction, so if knocking and rebuilding walls is not in the cards for your new kitchen, expect to work with the existing shape. The most common spaces are classified as L-Shape, Galley, U-Shape, and G-Shape.
• L-Shape: As the name suggests, your kitchen layout is in the shape of an L with cupboards and worktops on two sides and a corner. Use of a carousel in the corner is important to minimize loss of functional space.
• Galley: A galley kitchen layout means two parallel counter surfaces usually running the length of the kitchen.
• U-Shape: Again, as the name suggest, this layout is in the shape of a U and typically combines the L-Shape and Galley. The U Shape has cupboards and workspace on three adjoining sides.
• G-Shape: With space usually at a premium, a G Shape layout has work surfaces on two walls and a third coming off at an angle.
In addition to the shape or layout, it’s important to understand the special relationship between the three classic kitchen workflows. Sometimes referred to as the kitchen triangle, the three points of the workflow or action are 1) sink, 2) stove/oven, and 3) refrigerator. A well designed kitchen will permit the cook to move unimpeded between these three points within a short distance.
Shape and layout needs to be accompanied with precision dimensions. Knowing the size of appliances is only a small portion of completing your kitchen’s blueprint. Measuring a room incorrectly is the most common cause for fitting problems. Quality fitted kitchens will utilize every inch within the kitchen and like a good recipe, plans for the right ingredients.
• Measure twice, cut once – When in doubt, leave it to the experts to get the final measurements but start with an outline and know the boundaries of your kitchen space. Remember to include height along with length and depth. Just as your walls are most likely not straight, plumb, or square, neither is your ceiling likely to be level.
• Windows – If you are lucky to have one or many, do they open in or out, slide up or down? Make sure the window is not obstructed by a faucet or competes with the height of an appliance.
• Furniture and Free-Standing Islands – Like the built-in portion of your kitchen, if you have space to include movable items like table and chairs, or free-standing work islands, know these dimensions so they can also be incorporated into your kitchen blueprint.
• Taps & Outlets – It’s so much easier to plan this right the first time, rather than to refit a mistake. Like planning the placement of your appliances, account for the measurements and spacing of water taps, waste disposal, electrical sockets, ventilation, fuse boxes, and gas inlet valves, just to name a few.
Like so many things in life, there may not be a right way or wrong way to implement your complete fitted kitchen. Know your strengths and be conscious of your limits. Let the costly mistakes be minimized, hire professionals to help you execute your dream space, rather than find yourself ‘fit to be tied!’