Many of our clients are accomplished cooks, bakers or just love entertaining. While its not news to anyone that open floor plans and larger kitchens are now very popular, we still do get questions about the infamous 'work triangle.' First developed in the 1940's and with it's roots in manufacturing efficiency, it was actually formalized by The University of Illinois to reduce costs and standardize kitchen layouts. Anyone who has lived with a 1940's home can tell you it's time to revise our outdated thinking on kitchens.
We are often asked what is 'standard' for kitchens and design in general. In my career I have designed both restaurant and residential kitchens and can say that each has been different, from cabinetry layout and size, to appliance locations, to overall work flow. This personal experience leads me to say that there is nothing standard about kitchens anymore, and each of our clients has very specific desires, personal experiences and unique ideas about what they want their dream kitchen to be.
What we seek to do with kitchens is approach their design the same way we approach architecture, by listening to our clients' ideas, adding in our experience and creating a kitchen that is truly unique for the way they want to live.
The end result is that all of our designs are different, but reflective of the client, the architecture and what they want to accomplish in a kitchen. Many of our kitchens start to create multiple work triangles and utilize many rooms, including separate food storage pantries, butler's pantries; a whole kitchen wing!. We often find we are creating a kitchen that can accommodate more than one cook, and also be an entertainment space as well. Want to add a fireplace to the kitchen- go right ahead, you'll be on the cutting edge, just like kitchens back in colonial times! We often specify custom cabinetry which allows us to break away from solutions purveyed by lumber yards and box stores- a kitchen that is designed and crafted, not bought.
What we can definitively say is don't worry about the old outdated work triangle, trust your judgement and let your kitchen be uniquely yours.
Edit: The image below is of an article that ran in the April 1946 issue of Fortune Magazine, titled: Service in a Package which featured all-in-one kitchen designs that were prefabricated in a factory and shipped in a single unit. They left little choice for consumers with an independent streak, or architects for that matter. The fridge drawers were a good idea though.