May 30, 2013

What in the world is an “ergonomic” kitchen? The term “ergonomics” is simply a technically fancy way of calling attention to the efficiency and productivity of a device, room or fixture that is specifically used by humans for the purpose of completing an activity. Therefore, an ergonomic kitchen is a kitchen that is designed architecturally and stylistically to facilitate whatever a person is doing in that kitchen, whether it is cooking, creating a fabulous dish, canning vegetables or cleaning a pair of muddy boots. Today’s professional kitchen renovators are taking the science of ergonomics seriously by providing customers with completely customized kitchens that facilitate the accomplishment of all tasks performed in the kitchen.

Countertops represent one of the more significant factors that contribute to an ergonomically designed kitchen. Established NYC architect and renovator Oreste Drapaca, who wrote the popular DIY book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Designing Your Own Home (2007), asserts that implementing customized countertops at heights specific to the tallness of the individuals who most frequently use the kitchen can prevent leg and backaches potentially caused by too much bending or stooping. Drapaca further suggests considering the installation of two counters—one lower than the other—for the purpose of food preparation (cutting and slicing veggies and fruits, for example). The higher counter could then be reserved for serving items, buffet style, or setting apart bowls of food you need to come back to later in a recipe. Having two counters at different heights has proven to relieve lower back pain and neck aches in people with arthritis or bone disorders who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

An ergonomically remodeled kitchen may also have a “bouncy” floor, or a floor that incorporates softer materials such as rubber, cork or certain woods that alleviates muscle and tendon strain in legs and feet. While beautiful and durable, kitchen floors made of ceramic tile, stone or terra cotta may not be suitable for people who cannot stand for very long on hard floors.

Additional features of an ergonomic kitchen include the installation of cabinets equipped with drawers that can be pulled out for access to utensils and pushed in for convenient storage. Cabinets like these eliminate the need for homeowners to crawl halfway into large cabinets just to find a certain pot or pan or having to stoop low enough to duck under the sink where something needed is stashed. Three or four tiered storage racks permanently attached to the inside of cabinet doors are not only ergonomic but also a great way to organize smaller items that tend to get tossed in the kitchen “junk” drawer.

Ergonomic kitchen designs also integrate electrical outlet placement in the overall architecture of the kitchen. Instead of lugging heavy, awkward appliances around the kitchen just to access an outlet, cutting-edge kitchen contractors will put electrical outlets in easily accessible areas of the kitchen. Some homeowners are opting to extend upper cabinetry a few inches below the bottom frame in order to conceal a channel of electrical plug-ins running under these cabinets. If the kitchen is remodeled with an island, outlets can be installed in the island as well.

RFMC technicians offer in-depth knowledge of ergonomically designed kitchens that can accommodate your own style of cooking, address physical limitations and provide Fresno / Clovis (Central Valley) residents with the latest in renovation techniques to create a lasting, beautiful and functional kitchen.

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