Single Wall Kitchen Layout – do they work?

Just read an interesting post on Houzz this week about single walled kitchens. Link to full article here.

I think that its a brilliant (and possibly necessary) solution where space is an issue. But the one concern I have with this design is how practical it is in reality for a fully functioning kitchen?

A single wall kitchen layout is perfect if only one person is involved in food preparation at any time. You can also incorporate an island to get more flexibility and space in your kitchen layout (islands now come under many ‘guises’ including large tables having dual function as an island / eating area is just one example – and an island has added advantage of extra storage).

But where there is more than one person working in a kitchen then I think that the layout of a kitchen with the 3 triangular elements: fridge, cooker/hob and sink being along  one single wall (same) wall would be a challenge.

Even in our last kitchen, which did not have the single wall kitchen layout (it was based on the recommended ‘triangle’ idea) was still a challenge at those ‘pressurised’ times e.g. breakfast! where my husband and I seemed to be constantly bumping into each other whilst we both reached for kettle, bread board, toaster, sink etc at the same time (not conducive to putting a smile on your face when faced with preparing breakfast before a school run!).

We nearly made the same mistake in our new kitchen – where despite a much larger space and an island – we were still looking at a small working triangle which would have been a disaster as the new kitchen had come about specifically to improve on the last one !

The design of our new kitchen literally came down to the wire with very last minute changes to the extent that more (different) windows had to be ordered and a sink re-located (more plumbing and different worktop) and the entire kitchen had to be redesigned  (documented in my blog here about the kitchen layout mistakes we ‘almost’ made) . It still amazes me that it took for the kitchen to be at the block work stage for the flaws in the design to be so apparent.  We were very lucky in that we had a great relationship with our kitchen manufacturer, a very patient builder and with the help of an amazing kitchen designer (who instantly got what we wanted to achieve) we got the layout of the kitchen and living space back on track. 

I would always recommend that before you design your kitchen, really, really, really (and I can’t emphasis this enough) work out in advance the small details e.g where exactly you are going to place that kettle or that toaster.  Have you enough room to fill the kettle at the sink  in the morning whilst maybe someone else is putting toast in the toaster or getting out the cereal bowls?  Where is your microwave going to go? Try and visualise yourself and who ever else will be there too, trying to use the space in everyday situations.

I mention the toaster because at one point my (running out of patience at this stage !)  builder was strongly quesioning my request for ‘more’ sockets along the main wall of our kitchen… yes, He thought 2 was enough! now I look at the sockets used on an ongoing basis for ipod speakers, phone chargers, kettles, toaster, hand held food mixer and am SO glad that that was one battle that I won!

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