In the proximity kitchensystem philosophy, there are seven Task Centers:
2. Storage Before
3. Wet Prep
4. Hot Prep
6. Scullery (clean-up)
7. Storage After
The list shows the sequence the Task Centers that are visited while cooking the vast majority of meals in the vast majority of homes. The Task Centers are therefore ideally organized so they fall into a given layout in the same sequence as they show in the list.
I’m writing about each of the Task Centers in a separate post, the aggregate of which will become an e-book, available on the proximity kitchensystem website www.proximitykitchen.com.
First of the seven Task Centers is Supply. When we discuss supply, we talk about the various activities involved in bringing food, cleaning gear, tools, equipment, cookware and other materiel (not a spelling mistake, an intentional use of a particular word…you can GTS) into the kitchen (or other parts of the home, but for now…the kitchen).
We could talk about grocery shopping as the main activity and for the most part we’d be correct for the vast majority of the use of a given kitchen. In this case, however, we’re talking about a design process that develops the layout of a given kitchen, and dictates for the useful life of that kitchen whether it’s truly functional or not.
In the design process we have to consider the sequence of tasks as they occur in cookery, so “supply” takes on a much wider scope of influence, involving things like:
• the location of the kitchen relative to the entrance through which the groceries will be brought into the home
• the location of the pantry and fridge relative to that entry
• landing area for the supplies immediately inside or outside of the kitchen entry
• are there steps up or down anywhere in the path from the conveyance to the storage area
• access to the actual storage system
• overall distance from the “supply entry” to the kitchen…
The list is, or can become, much longer, but you get the idea.
Have a look at the diagram below, showing an ideal layout of the various functions which will be described after it.
First we want a clear and short path from our conveyance to the landing surface.
The conveyance may be a car, bicycle, motorcycle, bus, subway, whatever. In most of the kitchens I design, there’s a car involved and that car usually gets itself into a garage at some point.
So the landing surface could be in the (attached) garage if necessary, but it’s preferable that it be inside the house. Growing up in Michigan we had “mud” rooms; small anterooms where we’d remove our wet, snowy or muddy boots before moving into the house proper on pain of a stiff lecture from one or both of our parents. These rooms would often have a small half-bath opening off of them, a coat closet, broom closet in them. Sometimes, a walk-in pantry would be nearby or incorporated into the room itself. Occasionally the laundry equipment would be located here as well. Current thinking has the laundry on the second floor, but that’s another subject.
What the mudroom most often lacked, however, was a surface on which you could put anything temporarily. In a perfect world, “supply” should incorporate not only a surface on which to put something down, but also, since you’ve been away from the house for better than two hours, you might find a half-bath useful. Additionally, you want to hang up a coat (9 months of the year if you live in Michigan), or you might need a broom or other cleaning implement (the mud, and oh, yeah, the mud…). If you’re going to make more than one trip to the car, you’ll want an “airlock” to keep the weather and its by-products out of the house proper. The mudroom typically serves this purpose as well.
Once you and the unloaded groceries are inside, you’re out of your coat and boots and, as we used to say in the Navy, you’ve pumped the bilges…the the layout of your home should allow you to efficiently move from the “supply landing” to both perishable and non-perishable Storage. While Storage will be the subject of the next installment (2 of 7), we’ve not quite arrived at the pantry or fridge just yet.
As might be inferred, Supply requires a landing area. Indeed, any space which allows for movement of items from one place into another, especially if the destination is going to involve the items being kept there for a period of time, asks for a place where the person carrying the items can free their hands. This allows the person to do various things such as opening a door, shifting the contents of the destination storage location to allow better organization relative to the newly arriving material (sometimes called “rotating stock”), etc.
• clothes from the “dirty” hamper to the laundry room
• clothes from the “clean” hamper to a folding surface, from there to the user’s closet, etc
• dry-cleaning from the car to wherever the clothing is stored
• food from where you’ve put it while you're taking off your coat or addressing the condition of your bilges, or whatever to Storage
Again, the list goes on, but these are good examples.
Tune in next time, when I’ll talk about Storage Before:
• various ways to organize it
• the argument against walk-in pantries (the use of space is grossly inefficient)
• and against the fancier “larder” cabinetry, full of roll-, swing-, and flip-out (yes, that’s a joke) devices which drive costs up and efficiency down
• direction of door-swing as you access the stored material (far more important than you’d imagine)
Thanks for reading, I hope it was helpful.
I hate to pound the drum, but I’ve been saying this my whole life: DESIGN is what makes this (the kitchen) business run.
It is a service without which money, time and other resources are wasted. I don’t know how anyone can contemplate executing a kitchen without the help of a designer.