Single-Line Kitchens, Part 1

Compact and easy to run but often tight on space, single-line kitchens need to be planned with ingenuity if they are to offer a workable layout. In a narrow or small kitchen, a single-line layout, with units along just one wall, is often the only possible design option. Although this may seem restrictive, it is possible to make the most of available space with careful planning. This sort of arrangement works equally well in a multi-purpose kitchen/dining/living room, as units and appliances can be neatly contained in one area, leaving the majority of the floor space free. The key to success in a single-line arrangement lies in keeping as much counter space free as possible, and in having a flexible approach to storage, using wall and base units, and the midway space between the two. Space saving ideas worth considering include bi-fold, sliding, or roll-up doors. With ingenuity, you may be able to make use of the facing wall in a single-line kitchen, with narrow shelves, a fold-down table, or a grid system for wall storage. Planning You need at least 4ft 6in (140cm) of free floor space in front of a single-line of standard-size kitchen units, to leave enough room to move around comfortably and open doors. Start your plan with the sink. This is best positioned in the middle of the row, leaving space on either side for the range and the refrigerator. It is a sensible idea to situate the sink as close to the original drains and supply pipes as possible to avoid extensive re-plumbing. Ideally, there should be space for a counter between the sink and the range. If this proves impossible, make sure the drain side of the sink is next to the cooking area so that there is somewhere nearby to put down hot dishes. Range and Fridge To keep as much counter space free as possible, choose either a slip-in range – a freestanding unit that slides in between the cabinets – or a built-in under counter oven that has a cooktop above. If you have a very narrow kitchen, make sure you allow enough room for an oven’s flap-down door to open. Even in a tight space, under-counter refrigerators are too small to suit most cooks. A standard refrigerator, with separate fridge and freezer compartments in a single tall unit is much easier to use. Position it at the end of a row of units. This will probably be next to either a door or a window. In both cases, the appliance door should open fully to give you enough space to transfer items to and from the fridge to the work surface with ease. Washing Appliances Finding space for a washing machine is difficult when there is just one wall along which to arrange all the units. You may have to think of an alternate place to install it, perhaps in the garage, if this is attached to your house, or under the stairs. A dishwasher is useful in any kitchen, but is again hard to accommodate when space is tight. An under sink model, which washes fewer place settings than a regular unit, is ideal in this situation because it uses the space under the sink so efficiently. With a dishwasher, you may be able to do without a draining board and fit a single sink – or a pair of sinks, if space permits – with a wall-mounted draining rack. Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, May not be reprinted.

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