Whatever you attempt to do in life, proper tools play a crucial role. When cooking, a suitable kitchen can make your life so much easier. For years I had to make do with a small cubicle which housed just the bare necessities. Probably I don’t have to point out that I did not feel very inspired by these cramped conditions. Then we built a house and I was in the lucky position to design my own kitchen.
Whatever your situation may be, to know some basic principles about kitchen design can be useful. Sometimes it already helps just to switch the placement of appliances. If you are renovating your kitchen or are planning a new one, I only can advise you not to rely on architects or professional kitchen planners. They will never be able to know you sufficiently or the habits and requirements of your family. Only you can understand what you really need and what fits you – and your budget of course – best.
Nowadays it is widely accepted that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. Unfortunately in India the kitchen is traditionally considered to be a place for servants and accordingly little thinking used to go into kitchen design. I have seen houses of wealthy people here who had a fancy tiny modern kitchen, where they did some cooking themselves once in a while. The main job was done in the servants’ kitchen though, a dark space where a coconut scraper, a kerosene cooker and a machete were the most sophisticated equipment.
Times are changing everywhere and nowadays it is a lot harder to find domestic help here in India. Even rich people understand that they might have to do without round-the-clock service one day. Being European I grew up without servants or cooks and – honestly – we value our privacy very much. We don’t want a live-in maid to cater to our needs. My cleaning ladies, who take care of the house, give me enough trouble. I don’t want to have to deal with a cook as well, as I have mentioned before. I am happy to do my own cooking and my husband has no problem to make coffee first thing in the morning.
Our new kitchen has vastly improved our life although we had to go through quite a lot of trouble with our contractor and architect to get what we really wanted. When we decided to build a house first of all we bought a lot of literature about architecture and planning. I purchased a couple of books about kitchen design as well which were a great help. Writing this book I checked out information on the internet about kitchen design. Unfortunately most of the websites are heavily influenced by advertisements and I cannot recommend any of them.
If you plan to build or renovate a kitchen, I can only advise you to go to a first-class bookstore and buy some books, or get them to order them. There is plenty of literature available. I don’t want to suggest any specific books as it is difficult in this country to order foreign literature.
When planning your kitchen you first have to ask yourself what you really need. Do you like to bake and roast or do you prefer fried and boiled food? Do you need a microwave for heating food and popping corn or can you do without? How much fridge space do you require? How many sinks do you need? Is there one cook only in your kitchen or do you want enough space for 2 or more cooks? Do you want to have breakfast and simple meals in your kitchen or do you want to use it for cooking only? One of the most important questions is: Do you want to place your washing machine in the kitchen? If yes, you need some more space, not only for the machine but also for related appliances like dryer, iron, ironing board and storage space for dirty laundry.
Once again I can only recommend that you start by analyzing your needs and wishes.