proximity kitchensystem task centers 1 of 7: Supply

Supply is the first of the seven “task centers” in the proximity kitchensystem philosophy.

When we discuss supply, we talk about the various activities involved in bringing food, cleaning gear, tools, equipment, cookware and so forth into the kitchen. We could talk about grocery shopping as the main activity and for the most part we’d be correct for the vast majority of the life of a given kitchen. In this case, however, we’re talking about the design process which gives life to the kitchen, and dictates for the whole of that life whether it’s truly functional or not.

In the design process we have to consider the sequence of tasks as they occur in cookery, so “supply” takes on a much wider scope of influence. Things like the location of the kitchen relative to the entrance through which the groceries will be brought into the home…the location of the pantry and fridge relative to that entry…landing area for the supplies immediately inside or outside of the kitchen entry…are there steps up or down anywhere in the path from the conveyance to the storage area…access to the actual storage system…the list goes on.

First we want a clear and short path from the conveyance to the landing surface. The conveyance may be a car, bicycle, motorcycle, bus, subway, whatever. In most of the kitchens I design, there’s a car involved and that car usually gets itself into a garage at some point. So the landing surface could be in the (attached) garage if necessary, but it’s preferable that it be inside the house. Growing up in Michigan we had “mud” rooms; small anterooms where we’d remove our wet, snowy or muddy boots before moving into the house proper on pain of a stiff lecture from one or both of our parents. These would often have a small half-bath opening off of them, a coat closet, broom closet, and sometimes a walk-in pantry. Occasionally the laundry equipment would be located here as well.

Often what they lacked, however, was a surface on which you could put anything temporarily. In a perfect world, “supply” should incorporate not only the idea that you need a surface on which to put something down, but also that you’ve been away from the house for better than two hours (you might find a half-bath useful), you want to hang up a coat (9 months of the year if you live in Michigan), you might need a broom or other cleaning implement (the mud, oh, the mud…). If you’re going to make more than one trip to the car, you’ll want a “lock” to keep the weather and its by-products out.

Once you’re into the house and out of your coat and boots, the facility has to exist to efficiently move from the “supply landing” to storage, both perishable and non-perishable. This will be the subject of the next installment (2 of 7).