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Kitchen Countertops / Stone

Having a well-designed and well-organized kitchen makes all the difference in the world. The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a place for cooking, entertaining, eating, socializing, relaxing, even working. No other space sees so much intense activity by the whole family and their guests.

Deciding on kitchen countertop layouts for new construction or remodeling is a big decision! There are four basic kitchen layouts which have proven effective in managing space and traffic. They all make use of the “kitchen triangle” principle, which means that a uniform triangle can be drawn between the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove.

The first layout option is the simple, or corridor, layout. One countertop stretches along one wall and usually contains the sink. A second countertop stretches along the opposite wall, which is usually interrupted by the stove and the refrigerator. If the sink and the stove are along the same wall, it is important that the refrigerator not be directly across from the stove, or traffic jams may result.

The second layout option is the L-shaped kitchen. Two countertops sit perpendicular to each other, and the sink, stove, and refrigerator form a triangle along this L. Most of the food preparation will take place in the corner, which avoids other traffic moving through the kitchen.

The third layout option is the U-shaped kitchen, which is valuable for small spaces where countertops need to be maximized. The sink, stove, and refrigerator will each sit on one leg of the U.

The island layout is perfect for spacious kitchens. Often, an L-shaped or U-shaped countertop will sit along one wall, with the island in the center for additional food preparation. Sometimes, a stovetop rests on the island. Sometimes an additional sink is placed there for vegetable preparation. The only issue with island kitchens is that they be laid out with the work triangle in mind, such that the island does not block the triangular flow of traffic.

Bi-level countertops are also popular. A second, smaller countertop runs several inches above the primary countertop, which provides extra temporary storage space, away from the dampness and mess of food preparation, for recipes, dishes, drinks, and anything else that will be needed shortly, but would be in the way now.

Countertop overhangs provide a built-in, casual eating space. But they must be adequately reinforced. Natural stone is naturally brittle, and must have adequate support to keep from breaking. Your contractor or stone dealer will advise you regarding extra support if your countertops are to overhang your cabinets by more than 6 inches.

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