Wednesday, January 27, 2016

KITCHENS – NEW LOOK WITH MODERN DESIGNS

KITCHENS – NEW LOOK WITH MODERN DESIGNS

As the income level of the middle and high income group is increasing with better education and global employment market, the desire to own more spacious and elegant looking houses/ flat is increasing. The first thing a middle class person thinks of is to own a house when all other priorities like health, children's education and insurance have been taken care of. Owning a house gives a place in the society. During the last two decades, lavish design has moved, initially from drawing room to bath cum lavatories and now to kitchen. No longer are the kitchens soot covered black dingy places. Neither are they forbidden to everyone except the lady of the house (LOH) or to the “maharaj – the cook-adgeya brahmana”.
First let us take up what the Vastu has to say. Many of us even though in public say we do not believe in Vastu heart in heart we are superstitious and would like to follow it lest something bad happens. Exceptions are there.
1.The best location for the kitchen is South East Corner.
2.The entry to kitchen should be in North, East or North east but never in the corner.
3.All electrical gadgets should be at South East and South.
4.Kitchen should not face bath or toilet.
5.Exhaust fan should be in the east or North side.
6.Windows should be provided in East, North or West walls.
7.Storage shelves and loft should be on South and west wall/ below the ceiling.
8.All cooking items such as rice, pulses and spices should be south side.
9.While there is no bar in the use of any durable wood for interiors, wood derived from trees like rubber wood which gives out milk like fluid are not recommended.
  1. Water should be available on North or North east but not at corner.
These are important points which if someone wants to incorporate in the design can consider.
Criteria
The criteria for a good kitchen is that it should be comfortable, accessible, safe, hygienic, convenient, elegant yet functional which require great skill and imagination to arrive at praise worthy layout.
The minimum size of the kitchen in our opinion is 8 by 8. But research has found a house hold kitchen should have a L shaped arrangement in terms of reach and ease of movement and hence a 8 by 10 size seems to be more appropriate. This size is when the cooking is done by a single person, usually the LOH. If the kitchen work is done by more than one person then the width should be increased. If the number of gadgets are more than 3 in a row it may have to be extended length wise also. Some people like to have small dining place also where husband and wife can have an informal meal. A good kitchen should accommodate users of varying heights, age, mobility, dexterity and to a certain extent changes which inevitably comes with time and age. In this fast changing age it is difficult to design a kitchen interior with a life more than 10 years. In a L shaped working area activities which take most of time, must be clustered together at one end. Cooking in standing posture has become practice. It may lead to varicose veins problem in some. It is better to have a chair with castors so that one can rest once in a while.
The ruling deity of kitchen is fire. Fire can be useful and dangerous. It is always better to use materials which are fire resistant. Gas leakage can be dangerous. The recommendation for use of LPG is that the cylinders should kept outside and only pipe leading from it to stove should be in working area. But, that is not possible in a flat or even in a standalone house. A feasible solution is that gas should be in an enclosure with RCC curtain walls towards the working and other two sides of the gas cylinder and a weak and blow away section on the fourth (a part of cooking which is mostly for baking and boiling has not been very much utilitarian with us. Our cooking has a large content of frying and seasoning. Also with the unreliable public utility supplying the energy, one may have to go hungry many a times. A handy fire extinguisher which can take on electrical fire is a must.
What  about  Interiors
Before we embark on interiors it is better to decide a colour scheme for the kitchen. Vastu recommends Orange as the colour for kitchen.  Orange is associated with Agni the ruling deity. It is also associated with good appetite, liking for food and also a colour of hope. Yellow is the next colour of choice which is supposed to help our stomach problems, digestive disorders. It is soothing and relieves stress. From hygiene considerations, one would prefer white or any light colour in shades of red and yellow. How light or dark these colours is one's personal choice of materials and shades available in that colour.
When we design interiors; we should first start with floor. Floor is what strikes to us first when we enter the space. Floor is where hygiene and safety also have to be considered. Floor should be safe and not slippery. With the present habit of men entering the kitchen with foot wear often and children running in from school in to kitchen for food after long hours in school, any dirt on the floor should show up and should lend itself to quick cleaning. Flooring colour should match the other areas, walls, shelves etc. The ceramic tile flooring is contemporary, durable and easily maintainable. Granite is alright provided it is not polished to a high degree. Tandoor and Shahbad are the next choice. Marble is attacked by acid and does not show water spills and could become slippery. Wooden floor may wear of quickly, wrap, crack and hide dirt and moisture. Wood requires high degree of maintenance. Mosaic can also be considered. NITCO has brought out aqua collection with jagged edges. The designs are attractive. For kitchen top granite is the best. It takes rough handling very nicely. But, now modular kitchen units come with their own tops. One can try them also. Stainless stinks are very popular and they are available in several designs, one two and separate vegetable pouches, with more than enough. The sinks are available in many colours to suit your interiors. What type of taps, while many revolutionary designs have come to market for the bathrooms (cubic design is the current fashion) Kitchen taps are not in the same rant and rave. However, kitchen taps should protrude longer in to the sink and should have ease of movement. Their knobs should be non slippery.
Going  about  Appliances
When buying appliances, try to opt for those which can be stacked one above the other. If a refrigerator can find a place outside kitchen, it is so much the better. If the refrigerator has to be accommodated in the kitchen, a medium size refrigerator this could take a mixer grinder on it will do. If you tend to buy whole sale large quantities of pulses and grains may it is wise to have small store adjacent to the kitchen. A few houses of Neo rich IT executives and NRI's have dish washers also. If a dishwasher is a must, it should have both hot and cold water connections. A water purifier is a must as our municipal water supply does not guarantee same purity as in the west. There are UC and the reverse osmosis. The latter is preferred even though it is costly. Should the kitchen have the door or it should not? The trend is for an opening. Closing a kitchen with a door is a legacy of olden days when kitchens were using firewood and tended to be smoke coated, dark and dingy. Shutters eat into space whether they open outwards or inwards.
Furniture
Good choices for selecting cabinet are natural and dark cherry finishes can be easily coordinated with wall paint, title, and flooring. Kitchen storage space has gone for modular system. Imports from abroad have set the trend. Just get the walls and floor ready. Call the modular kitchen designer in. He will suggest you the appliance locations, counter tops, appliances, accessories, hardware and front finishes.
The kitchen shelves should contain only small quantities, not more than a weeks requirement. Maximize counter spaces by having pull out table. We have pullout, Double pull out, multiple purpose pull out, bottle plate pull out, Carousel unit, Dee tray, Glass/plate rack, rack and basket pull. My choice is imported if not factory made. Two problems are there if one decides to get kitchen shelves made at site. Firstly, the design and quality of accessories like hinges, magnetic, seals, etc.
The second and bigger problem is the managing of the Carpenter. Most of them are untrained and unreliable. They would not be able to give proper estimate of materials. They will hammer at the screws, try to plane the edges. In almost all shelves, I have found one door hanging out of plumb with the next one.
The shelves that are fitted below the table top should not be fixed to the wall and some clearance at the floor level if provided will help cleaning. Our floors are rarely level as no floor laying artisan uses spirit level. For shelves above window one should keep in mind the height of reach of the person who uses it. Different types of Chimney are available.
Kitchen  Lighting
Lighting should not be bright and glare free. General lighting should be soft and spread uniformly without any unlit parts. Task lighting, recessed mood lighting could be individuals choice. An emergency light connected to UPS could prove handy. Some persons who use cooks can also think of having a call bell. Self closing sockets are recommended. Modular switches are good and capable of replacement in modules. A switch on the outside will help to light the kitchen prior to entry.
In conclusion, the fashion in building design has now moved to kitchen. So are the electrical, electronic and robotic gadgets. If you have the money to splurge make yourself and your LOH happy. A recent research book published in the west has coined a word “Edifice Complex”. It says more we spend on our house and more we make it distinct, more our ego swells. Didn't we know that all the time right from the dawn of the civilization?
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