Having established the "bones" of our PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN home we move into the kitchen. It is such a busy integral part of our lives. A survey of our movements around the home would be a mass of scribbles blocking out the kitchen plan and showing hours collectively spent there.
No matter what level of cooking is undertaken, the day to day breakfast, morning tea, meals and snacks, is incidental to the social hub that kitchens have become. As such the "command post kitchen" needs to over view the garden where children play, be close by the outdoor rooms or alfresco, is handiest when close to the direct entry from garage for the bringing in of shopping and for the rubbish disposal, and it needs to have sufficient storage for your particular style and quantity of cooking. Some folks will have on hand ingredients for any variety of international cuisine and be capable of producing plenty for the entire ADF where others may rely on the fresh veggies in the fridge alone and a little inspiration from the freezer.
As the center of home life, the kitchen requires a place for everything and most importantly a place where items are used. The suggestion of keeping beater, flour, sugar, cake tins, spatulas, measure cups, etc. collected together is excellent as then the task of whipping up a chocolate cake is so much easier. Cake ready for the oven before others have finished rummaging through numerous drawers and shelves for ingredients and implements, in everybody's way.
And there is the next point: several people can be engaged in different aspects of preparation in the kitchen without interference. Kids can access the fridge for drinks (fridge a first point of kitchen nearest entry), granny can pop the kettle on with cups, teapot, leaves, coffee machine handy, dad's measuring for the chocolate cake and undisturbed, mum has the vegetables ready for dinner. Meantime the neighbour has popped in for a quick chat and is happily watching all the action from the far side of the island bench.
Passive Solar Design uses cross ventilation for cooling and for removal of cooking smells. The opening of a few windows, even in cold, wet, windy winter, will ensure the open plan living areas remain fresh and pleasantly aromatic. This costs nothing to achieve or to power.
Orient the kitchen within the open plan living area but not on the north side being greedy with the sunshine. Ensure the lines of sight, outlooks, access and proximity to herb garden. Out to the blind side of the home is ideal for native planting that encourages birds and butterflies the close perusal of which is a joy.
With forethought these suggestions will enhance the home's livability and comfort but not increase costs to maintain. That is a win, win situation
Margot Kirke is a qualified architectural drafts person with a passion for practical living, making the best use of space and use of natural light and warmth.