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Smarter Kitchens Case Study – Looks Can Be Deceiving

It has often been said that kitchens are the heart of the home, and everyone uses them differently. No two people have the same kitchen requirements and needs. This is exactly what my client experienced when she and her husband and young family moved into their new home.

When you think about it, it’s very true. This is the area of our home where we spend most of our time. But how we spend it however differs from household to household and person to person. In my clients experience the previous owners of the house clearly had different expectations of the space.

It’s important to answer these questions; what are your buying habits? What type of cook are you? How big is your household and could it change soon? Do you have any pets? What space do you need for what? Considering all these things and how we interact with one another makes us more aware, when designing a new kitchen space, of how important it is to GET IT RIGHT to meet the needs of the user.


When I first met my client in her newly acquired home, she led me straight into the open plan kitchen. The size of the kitchen space was quite substantial and leads into a dining and living area.

At first glance, the existing kitchen looked modern and in fitting with the rest of the house. The previous owners had chosen high-end fixtures and fittings, 2 pak doors and stone tops… I couldn’t help but think why my client wanted to change the kitchen that was in great condition. This is when she started raising several concerns she had with the functionality and practicality of her kitchen. She began to open doors and drawers and demonstrates the impracticalities she encounters on a daily basis when in this space. This was not the right kitchen for her!


Considering the vast area in the kitchen, the space was not utilised to the maximum capacity. The current layout was a galley style with the cooktop along the main wall and island bench with sink in it adjacent. There was a Fridge nook centred in the wall to the left of the island. Between the fridge wall and the cooktop run was an opening that leads into the butler’s pantry. This may all sound perfectly fine to most; in fact it is a kitchen designer’s nightmare. I found that from a “workflow” point of view, taking in account the classic “work triangle” method absolutely didn’t work in this kitchen. Even adopting the modern “zoning” method, where each type of task revolves around a specific area and set of equipment – cooking around the range in a cooking zone, for example, barely worked.

After a long chat with my client and establishing her “wish” list. I ventured back to the office and put pen to paper and came up with a kitchen layout that ticked all her boxes. The new layout meant eliminating some walls and extending others. I blocked off the fridge nook completely and moved the fridge into the butler’s pantry. This now meant I can utilize this wall by moving the sink run here. By eliminating the sink and dishwasher from the island run creates an undisturbed run of benchtop area. The new layout means that we can adopt the modern “zoning” method of designing a kitchen.

Proposed New Kitchen Layout

Zoning pulls everything – equipment, appliances, and materials – needed to do a certain type of task into the same area. The zones are as below:

Cooking Zone

This is certainly the heart of every kitchen. It contains items such as the hob, oven and extractor. The items required for cooking and baking are stored here – items such as pots, pans and cooking utensils.

Preparation Zone

This zone stores those kitchen utensils required for food preparation. It also contains some open foodstuffs as well as those that are often used when preparing food.

Cleaning Zone

The dishwasher and the sink with the sink bottom cabinet are located in the centre of the “wet zone.” This cabinet is the proper location for waste storage/separation as well as household cleaners and cleaning utensils.

Non-consumables Zone

Is used to store non-foodstuffs. It is mainly used for kitchen utensils, cutlery, dishes and glasses. For ergonomic reasons, it may even make sense to store often-used dishes in the pull-outs of the lower cabinets instead of the top cabinet

Consumables Zone

Is used to store consumer goods. These are items that are used for cooking and baking which then must be replenished. They include both chilled and unchilled foodstuffs. That’s why both the refrigerator and freezer cabinets are a fixed part of this zone. Open packages usually belong in the “Preparation” zone.

The best kitchen layouts grow out of your home, your life, your family, and the way you use your kitchen. Once you get the zoning right in a kitchen layout. You will find that the whole kitchen will function perfectly for your requirements.

Are you planning to renovate your kitchen? We invite you to visit out showroom at 77 Salmon Street, Port Melbourne or call us today on 1300 662 838 to arrange an appointment. You can also arrange free in-home consultation with us to explore your renovation options.

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