When the photo of Julia Child's iconic kitchen popped up in my Facebook newsfeed I saw something that made me grin from ear to ear. While the Internet was buzzing about Julia's pegboard where all her gadgets hung in neat rows my eyes went to one special area of her kitchen: the sink.
When I designed my kitchen the designer at the cabinet showroom reminded me to pay attention to the kitchen work triangle which is a small work area that included the refrigerator, sink and cooking surface.
I did follow that advice but I have an obtuse triangle because on one very important reason - the sink and the cooking surface are on the same side of the triangle.
At first I was sure I failed at my kitchen's design. After all, wasn't I supposed to have three elements in a perfect isosceles triangle? Well, it turns out it was more of a blessing than a mistake.
Look at Julia's kitchen and notice that her sink flows onto a metal draining board to a wooden cutting block and then to her cooktop. Genius! Why? Because this is actually how work flows in a kitchen. We retrieve items from the refrigerator or pantry, we wash them, we chop them and we cook them.
Wash. Chop. Cook.
This set up is the fastest way to get work done in the kitchen because we are taking no unnecessary steps. There is flow to Julia's setup and I assume hers was designed with intention where mine was not.
When I look at a kitchen - either in person, in a magazine or online - I am searching for this wash/chop/cook flow. If something like excessive floor space, an island or an appliance interrupts it I look for ways I could redesign it.
Kitchen are the social heart of the home but they are also places of work. The kitchens that are the most frustrating to look at are the new kitchens where I assume that the designer had choices. The worst are island sinks if it is the only sink. Can you imagine carrying a load of wet vegetables or raw meats to a chopping surface and dripping all over the floors? Not smart.
For me, being fast in the kitchen equates happiness. I love to cook but I am busy. I want to minimize my time in the kitchen and to do this I need maximum work flow. Wash. Chop. Cook.
Just like Julia.