Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitchen Design Concepts and Specifics

My wife and I spent a fair amount of time  deciding the approach to the kitchen design and layout. After weeks of discussion, of which some are less than cordial... here is what we agreed on.

1. Who has the Ultimate Say? My wife, being the primary user will have the ultimate say in the choice of layout for funationality and material/colour choice for outlook. For the new couples working on the renovation for your new home, it can be a lot of tension while making decisions along the way. My personal experience is always good to give and take.

2. Do we believe in FengShui? Yes! From my limited memory, our FS master dictated the Stove direction, refrigator facing direction, and insisting on avoiding clashes between the "hot" and "wet" elements are a few key parts. "Hot" elements are like stove and oven. "Wet" elements are prepresented by toilet door, sink and washing machine. We did some research work to check back. But if you want to take into consideration your GUA number, you may consider engaging a FengShui Master to help you early in the design stage. These FS guidelines will form part of the controlling parameters to guide your decision making.

3. Do we actually cook or bake regularly? Yes and quite a fair bit! Thus, to isolate the stir-fry and deep frying fumes from spreading to the living room, we decided to keep the kitchen "closed" aka non-open concept. From the above,
a. The choice of stove and oven was clearly important.
b. To reduce cleaning, we decided to choose a high performance hood.
c. We chose to introduce a glass door to isolate the kitchen from the living room while cooking. A glass door was chosen so we could keep an eye on our children in the living room.
d. Tabletop space needed to be increase for baking and food processing. These extra tabletop doubles up as a breakfast table.

4. What kind of theme do we want? We both wanted a neutral theme, but it has to look spacious. Thus we adopted a "white kitchen" concept. There are other themes like cottage or 2-tones. Some of our research references are here. Looking at photos helped us visualize and decide what we wanted. Communication with the ID is also easier with photos.

5. What is the Storage plan? After visualising how our movement would be like while cooking or baking, the wall mounted cabinets, tabletop cabinets where added around the stove, ovens, sink and refrigators. For more details, most of our ideas care from here. My wife wanted the following:
a. Sliding shelves for stir-fry sause beside the stove
b. Commonly used staff to be at middle level for ease of access
c. Staff that is seldom used a should be a at a low level, so the user will not need to squat or bend over too often.
d. Staff that is required once in a bluemoon is stored at the highest level. A stool may be required for access.

A glimpse of the completed kitchen layout as follows:

Also see
Glass Door and kitchen-living window
Does the Refrigerator need a Plinth?
Pre-renovation Preparation

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wet Floor Toilet Design

Its been 2 years since our renovation has been completed. If you have been following on our choice of "Improved Toilet Layout", we chose to have a common standing area for the sink and bath zones. Thus our toilet does not have a Dry or Wet floor area.

The floor is always wet. Unfortunately, we have also not picked a floor tile that was sufficiently rough. As the result, the floor is slightly slippery when wet. "The solution was simple", I thought. Just get a floor mat!

My first mat choice was a perforated foam mat, supposedly made in Germany. It seemed to have a lot of friction when I tried it at the hardware shop, which obviously did not have a wet floor. But after the first trial, where I simulated a "slip" under wet conditions, it proved to be still slippery. No Go.

My second attempt was a mat made from hard plastic strips. it worked! Paid about S$40 from Homefix for a standard size.

Why it worked: I supposed the reduced contact area from the black strips allowed water to trickle through. In addition, the reduced contact area created a larger friction force against the black strips and the wet toilet floor. To verify this, a control test was done by pushing the mat on the wet floor with my hands, it slipped. I tried the "slip", that is with my body weight on the mat, which passed with flying colours. You may be interested to know that for the foam mat, the results were the exact opposite. There you go Physic fans!

After the toilet wash, we would stand it up in the corner of the toilet to allow the water to dry off completely to prevent floor staining. From the following photos, you can see the black strips that provides good friction against the wet floor.

Also see Improved Toilet Layout- Costing of Renovation
Also see Improved Toilet Layout- Feedback
Also see Improved Toilet Layout