Designers report that it is becoming increasingly popular to incorporate a space to work at complete with computer, in the kitchen of the average home. Most families don't have the space for a complete office to be fitted, but many are wanting to be able to watch children do homework and surf the net, and for you to keep an eye on them, answer the telephone, pay bills and write the next day's shopping list. All in the hub of the home - the kitchen.
It has therefore become a challenge for designers to work out ways in which to accommodate an area that will perform these functions.
If you are contemplating designing a kitchen yourself, you will first need to decide what activities you want to do there, and who will be using the space allotted. Although different for every member of the family, it is necessary to establish how many people will be using the computer at once, for example, so that sitting room can be allowed. (Children often access the computer in two's or threes!)
When deciding exactly where to place the office area, try not to interfere with the traffic flow in the kitchen. Also avoid being near heat and water. Imagine where the seating will be when people at the 'desk' are using it, and make enough space around this area to move.
Start with positioning the 'desk' which should be least least 40-42 inches long in order to work at comfortably. Kids need space to spread out their homework books. The work surface may be part of the cabinetry plan you have for the rest of the kitchen and integrated fully into it, or it may be made of a contrasting material or color in order to define the area better. If space is limited, think about making it the same as the kitchen proper. Then, if and when you need space to stack the dinner plates or leave a pie to cool, you can spill over from the kitchen onto the worktops here, quite seamlessly and naturally.
Design the space under the desk so that you have at least two cabinets or cupboards that can easily store the computer 'tower', providing enough height and depth, and adequate ventilation. Make sure that the desktop / work surface has a cavity for running cables and leads down through it to the tower, and that there is a power point close by inside the cabinet. The power cables should be run through hollow plastic channels or wire trenches for aesthetics, safety and to avoid wires getting tangled up.
Above the work surface you should have at least two sets of power points to support your telephone, printer, fax machine, charger, and whatever other device you want to be able to keep here. If the work surface isn't long, have cabinets above it starting at a level at which you won't bump your head every time you lean forward to sit down, and rising to an aesthetically pleasing height. (Look at the height in line with your other wall cabinets and see how it all looks together). You can use these cabinets for paper, supplies, equipment, office filing systems and any other office related business.
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