There has been a lot of focus on the look of kitchens in past years, but how they function is also an important aspect of the design. As a Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer (CMKBD) and a Home Economist, the organization and function of the kitchen has always been a large part of my designs.
Over the years I have found that not all cooks are the same. Because of this they require different types of kitchens and unique storage solutions. In my practice, I have witnessed the following “Kitchen Specialists”: The Baker, The Entertainer, The Healthy Environmentalist, The Food Aficionado, The Technically Advanced and The Super Organized.
In my next six blogs I will look at how the kitchen can be planned and accessorized for each of these cooks. I’ll start with “The Baker”.
The Baker can really benefit from having a designated Baking Centre in the kitchen.
A lower counter between 30” and 34” high is great for rolling out pastry or hand mixing. Placing this counter at the end of an island can work well. It can also be placed against a wall. The example above has the added bonus of wrap around windows with a great view. Having a water source close by, such as a prep sink completes the centre.
A designated bake centre can also be a continuation of the standard height countertop. In the above example two cabinet gables come down to the countertop to define the bake centre. Baking supplies are stored in the deep drawers below, the higher upper cabinets and the pantry to the right. Good task lighting illuminates the space.
The organization of ingredients is paramount in the function of the Baker’s kitchen. Baking products come in all shapes and sizes and need to be stored efficiently.
For this Baker I specified a shallow depth upper cabinet to store small condiments. The shallow depth doesn’t allow items to get lost in the back of the cabinet and the apothecary drawers all pull out and can be brought down to the work area. The base cabinets have two specialized cabinets for ingredient storage. The condiment rollout is perfect for storage of medium sized packaged goods and the full extension glides of this cabinet put everything at the baker’s fingertips. The deep drawer to the right is a custom tin lined flour drawer. The baker in this home can purchase her flour in bulk and store it here with a scoop inside ready to go.
Drawers in cabinets are perfect for accessorizing to hold baking ingredients. The deep drawer above has a custom Plexiglass drawer insert, designed to house bulk dry goods. The shallow drawers on the right have angled spice drawer inserts. This allows the user to clearly see what spices she has on hand. Having two of these spice drawers in a kitchen allows for savory spices in one drawer and sweet spices in the other.
Pantries can be great areas for bakers to store ingredients. The pullout pantry is only 15” wide and allows the Baker to store different sized ingredients. The wire shelves also keep everything visible. A traditional two-door pantry incorporates a lot of functional storage with the addition of rollout shelves. Each shelf can be dedicated to a group of items. The vertical dividers in the top section in both of these images are perfect for large baking sheets and pans.
Once the Baker has their ingredients stored, all of their utensils and equipment need organization.
European manufacturers have always been on the forefront of cabinet accessory design. I have specified the European manufacturing company, Bucher for many of my specialty cook’s organizational needs. They make some vary specific drawer inserts for bakers, including a baker’s drawer insert with utensils, a rolling pin holder with steel rolling pin and a variety of wood drawer dividers. My favorite way to use drawer accessories is to place them in a wide shallow drawer side by side so that the Baker has all of their utensils on display and within easy reach with one tug of a drawer pull.
Vertical storage is a Baker’s accessory must. Base cabinets are usually the first place designers put tray dividers. They can be customized as in the slide above allowing double the amount of storage. Cabinets above refrigerators, ovens and pantries are also a great place to install vertical dividers. (See previous slides as well)
Drawers are the best type of storage for mixing bowls. Having full extension slides on drawers allows the Baker to access items in the back of the drawer without having to move anything stored in the front. Medium sized drawers work best for most mixing bowls.
Every Baker has small appliances to deal with in the kitchen. Some Bakers want their machines on display and others want them to tuck away when not in use.
Extra deep drawers are a convenient place to stash the mixer. It keeps it off the counter, but you still need to pull it out and place it on the counter to use it. The “flip-up mix master shelf” stows the machine away, and in one easy motion brings it up to counter height. For this Baker, I specified an additional rollout shelf inside the cabinet for the attachments and even used the plinth space for some extra storage. Probably the most convenient place to store small appliances for baking is the countertop appliance garage. The tambour styled appliance garage is available in wood, laminate and metal and can add a decorative as well as a functional element to the kitchen.
Any style of kitchen can be accessorized for the Baker. Doing an inventory of the Baker’s supplies and equipment is a start for designing the perfect space. Analyzing the type of baking done in the home is also essential. The homeowner may only bake the occasional holiday cookies or may be someone who supplies every bake sale fundraiser. The ideas presented here can be expanded or contracted to meet any Baker’s needs.