1. Faucet – When choosing a faucet it is important to check the height of the faucet. You want it high enough to be able to easily fit your tall pots underneath. Some faucets give the impression of being tall when in fact the spout is actually lower down. Make sure to measure the distance between the spout and the countertop.
Please note the faucet in the left diagram is much taller than the faucet in the right diagram, but the faucet in the right diagram is actually higher up off the kitchen counter and thus more practical.
2. Electrical Outlet Under Sink – If you are planning an electrical garbage disposal or a dishwasher, then you've probably already planned for an electrical outlet in the cabinet under the sink- move on to tip #3. If you haven't planned for an electrical outlet – now is the time! Why, you ask? For starters, you may want to install a dishwasher, water purifier or garbage disposal in the future, and don’t want to limit yourself at this planning stage. Furthermore, you never know which new kitchen appliances will be invented in the near future that will require an electrical outlet under the kitchen sink (Don’t forget that until 5 years ago no one had heard of a smart phone!). If you don’t plan ahead you might kick yourself later on, since it is no small task installing an electrical outlet under the kitchen sink, once the kitchen is complete, without causing damage.
3. Cabinet Width – Having wide drawers is very convenient, however; make sure not to overdo it. If the drawers are too wide you'll probably end up with drawers that are harder to keep organized. Sometimes, you are better off making use of the given space and dividing it into additional drawers that are a little narrower, but more functional and easier to organize. I would recommend drawers that are 90 cm wide for cutlery/utensils, pots and pans. For all smaller items, try to go for drawers that are 40-60 cm wide each.
4. Drawer Height – The standard height for a set of drawers is 15 cm for the top drawer and two 30 cm drawers beneath the top drawer. Think in advance which drawer will be designated for what purpose, in order to plan them to suit your needs. If your pots are not very tall and you'd like to place platters and pans in the drawers without needing to dig through everything – here's an easy solution: Instead of the standard height division mentioned above, divide the set into four drawers, two drawers of 15 cm height each on top, and two bottom drawers between 22-23 cm high each; you will save yourself unnecessary "digging" and at the same time gain an extra drawer.
5. Actual Size of Cabinets – When deciding on the size of the cabinets notice there is a difference between inner and external cabinet sizes. For instance, the drawer heights referred to in Tip #4 were external measurements, while the inner height measurements would be 4 cms less. This discrepancy is true in the case of drawers that can be completely pulled out, while the discrepancy can be even greater in regular drawers. Therefore, if you have a pot that is 19 cm tall, it won't fit in the drawer described in the second example provided in Tip #4.
6. Flexibility – it is highly recommended to have at least one large cabinet that has adjustable shelves, as opposed to drawers, in order to fit irregular sized items such as: large serving bowls, a wok or a large pot. It will also allow flexibility for future changes in the contents of your kitchen cabinets.
7. Finding place for your Shabbos Hot Plate (plata) – The cabinet above the fridge can be the optimal place for your hot plate. However, no one enjoys having to rearrange that cabinet every Friday in order to access the hot plate (or the worse scenario: have a pile of items fall on your head). Here's my tip: ask the carpenter to install a shelf, leaving a 10 cm gap between that shelf and the bottom of the cabinet. This way you'll have a designated area just for the hot plate, which will now be easily accessible.
8. Upper Cabinets – "To Build or Not to Build, That is the Question!" First and foremost, think practically. Do you need the extra storage space? If you do, don't hesitate, I guarantee you will be able to make them look aesthetically pleasing as well. Rest assured, there is nothing worse than building a brand new kitchen and finding yourself with boxes and dishes all over the place due to lack of adequate and sufficient storage.
9. Pantry – When planning a kitchen, people dream of having a nice big pantry that can hold an endless supply of easily accessible food. Now, let’s put those dreams aside for a moment and try to think practically. The pantry is usually located in an area of the kitchen which is far from the main work area and makes cooking impractical. You don’t want to keep running back and forth every time you need a cup of oil or teaspoon of sugar. Here's my tip: instead of having one main pantry, try splitting the pantry up into different areas of the kitchen, as follows:
o Designate a drawer for oil and spices next to the burners;
o Designate a drawer next to the baking area for all your baking supplies;
o Create a space for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate next to the hot water urn/kettle;
o It is always wise to have a designated are next to the kitchen eating area for cereal boxes and breakfast bowls;
That leaves you with a main pantry area for everything else, such as, pasta, canned goods, perishable items, junk food, or anything else you might need for a rainy day.
10. I have so many more tips, but there is room for only one more – Counter Space!
The ideal amount of space to leave between the sink and the burners is anywhere between 80-140 cm. In any case, try not leaving less than 60 cm, as such a short distance can be inconvenient. More than 140 cm will guarantee you a great daily workout! On the other side of the burners, leave at least 30 cm, affording you enough room to take a pot off the burners without taking away from your work space.
Make sure to leave some space near your oven that is not more than a step away, thus enabling you to easily place a hot dish coming out of the oven.
If you planned to put in a garage door for your mixer, make sure there is enough space allowing you to pull the mixer out and work without needing to carry the heavy mixer to and from a different work area in the kitchen.
Another good idea is leaving some counter space not far from the fridge. This space allows you to comfortably place items removed from the fridge.
Finally, make sure to leave a safe space for your hot water urn. It is important that this space be clear of any upper cabinets, since the vapor can ruin those cabinets.
And until we meet again, I'm here to hear your thoughts and comments!
Creating spaces people want to live in