Smart Kitchens – the difficult corners

The arrival of modular kitchens brought with it the awkward L-shaped corner. From lazy Susans to middle-hinged doors cabinetry makers have struggled with assigning practicality to this impractical happenstance. Often-times the cook’s endless struggle to squeeze something in the corner cabinets is like squeezing Cinderella’s shoes on her sisters’ feet. But this was not always the case.
Modular built-ins are a type of furniture that is affixed to the walls or floors of a room. In an effort to maximize work surface and create a practical blend of interior architecture and the needs of a functional kitchen the L-shaped and U-shaped kitchens seemed a great idea. And they were, except that the one or two corner scenario posed big problems.
In the early days, all attention was given to appliances, gadgetry and invention of the cooking triangle that stuck around for a very long time as the epitome of a successful kitchen layout.
Nowadays storage has taken on a much more important role: separate pantries are rarely present; the need of storage has increased; be it friends or family, large crowds often come for dinner; some of us have dishes for every function and meal of the day and moreover, we do not shop daily for groceries anymore.
So it’s high time to look at how to get rid of this problem of the impractical corner and gain back every inch we can in the kitchen.
One does not realize how much space you lose with the corner until one takes the traditional corner apart and finds alternate solutions. In the three projects below you will see how this awkward spot is rethought without virtually any practical loss.
In this Summerhill neighbourhood home the kids often do their homework while the parents prepare dinner. Aside from the counter space needed, there seems to always be papers to sign, calendars to post, pens and pencils to search for. So at the expense of the unwanted corner, the tall cabinet was rotated away from view and well used for all the many bits and pieces that a busy school life comes with.
Another possibility if your layout permits is to open up the wall altogether and bring in natural light.
In this North Toronto home situated on a cul-de-sac, aside from the light, the window provided views toward the kids play area allowing for short supervising glimpses while the cookies are baking!
With larger homes, the solution is often to place the access to the dining room in the very spot where this corner cabinet would be. This way you create a transition through a Buttler’s pantry into the formal dining room beyond.
In short, there is never a reason to follow rules for the sake of rules. Some of the rules we have today may have accidental, and sometimes unfortunate, beginnings. If you have better solutions, apply them.
If you liked this you may also like Smart Kitchens Part One- the Appliance Garage

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