Kitchen design (North-East vs North-West)

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Grahame, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I've noticed that most building designs have the kitchen situated on the North-East (southern hemisphere) corner of the house. Can anyone shed some light on the reasons for this. I ask this because we are looking to retro-fit our place and it may turn out to be easier and cheaper to locate the kitchen and glasshouse in the North-western corner. Apart from the obvious afternoon sun issue in the summer I am wondering if there are other significant reasons to avoid the kitchen/glasshouse in the North-west?
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: Kitchen design (North-East vs North-West)

    G'day Grahame :)

    Welcome.

    As a general rule of thumb, here in the southern hemisphere we place our 'living' rooms (those rooms that we spend the majority of our waking hours in - including the kitchen) to the north of our building designs in order to take full advantage of solar access. However this, I'm sure you already know. Why we usually put the kitchen at the eastern end of the design, and not the west, is because of why you think - to reduce exposure to the hot summer sun. By having the kitchen at the eastern side of the design we can also take better advantage of the morning (cooler in summer) sun, and thus have ready access to our kitchen (eastern-orientated) gardens - handy for sneaking out the door and picking fresh, leafy greens. Further, we can incorporate the (easily accessible) outdoor breakfast area adjacent to the kitchen on the eastern end of the dwelling, too. One other advantage is that we can have the other 'wet' areas of the dwelling (laundry, bathroom and toilet - and in that order to limit any risk of cross-contamination) immediately to the south of the kitchen, and thus save on the cost of plumbing infrastructure by having all the wet connections on the one (eastern) external wall. Of course the above is only a guide, and you may find in your situation that the north-west is still the best location for the kitchen. If the hot summer sun is your only constraint, then you may be able to overcome this with shading, etc. In sum, the basic ESD rule for any dwelling is: living rooms orientated to the north (and of course, the reverse is the rule for our northern hemisphere friends). Oh, one more thing, if you plan on having a thermal convection-style food store in your kitchen, then it is an advantage to have the cool air intake close to the east (optimum: south) side of the dwelling.

    A few links that may provide you with further inspiration:

    ESD (Housing) in sub-tropical Australia (particularly good design for heat stacks):
    https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/U ... on_ANZ.pdf

    Climate Responsive Building Design:
    https://www.architect-vzy.au.com/Free/climate.htm

    (Kitchen) Window Placement and Sizing (plus heaps on solar orientation in general):
    https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/re ... cement.pdf

    Cheerio, Mark.
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: Kitchen design (North-East vs North-West)

    Thanks ecod..., yeah that is pretty much what I thought, not sure if I could have put it so eloquently though. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that the western end is not really practical. Luckily our house is oriented East-West, unfortunately the kitchen is on the south (of the eastern end) and the other wet areas are on the north (as you see so often when the cook wants to see the front gate!).

    I'm now contemplating whether it makes sense to move the kitchen to the north and swap the laundry and bathroom to the south. The kitchen will probably need an upgrade anyway in the not-too-distant future (it's starting to fall apart) and as you hint we are keen to have cool cupboards. This is probably my preferred option with a glasshouse attached to the kitchen. The other option is to attach a glasshouse anyway, off the bathroom and laundry as is, and put a door out through the laundry to the glasshouse and off into the herb garden etc. and just accept that the design is the way it is and adjust to it accordingly. I could complement this with a southerly shade house.

    I guess the question then becomes are the benefits of a northern kitchen worth the costs of structural changes? It's a weatherboard house on stumps so bigger changes are a little bit more palatable than if we were on a slab

    Also it's one of those things where I would like to design the garden system with future changes in mind (i.e. when I have the money and materials to do major retro-fitting works), but the different options really require slightly different designs. And that also means that the kitchen garden is not really ideal until we do make the changes

    I love to hear peoples thoughts on these things.

    Thanks again

    Grahame
     
  4. MonteGoulding

    MonteGoulding Junior Member

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    Re: Kitchen design (North-East vs North-West)

    Hi

    We have designed our kitchen in the centre on the southern wall. Our house is only 9 metres wide (8 internally due to straw bales) though so from the kitchen we have easy access to both the north and south. Our reasons were to keep plumbing on the south wall, to have a southern wall for our convection cool room, to have a common wall between our internal winter kitchen and our external summer kitchen which we wanted on the south side. The use of waist height raised beds will ensure our kitchen garden is unshaded.

    Cheers

    Monte
     
  5. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Although not directly related to the original question, I thought it would be OK to add it here.

    Does anyone have any images, reference material, designs or experience with the older homestead type kitchen that they care to share? I always think it is worth looking at the way it used to be done (before IKEA and Bunning$ flat-packs and all that jazz) because we can learn so much from old designs. I find that modern kitchens really aren't set up for the homesteader or permaculturist who does far more than basic food preparation. We make bread, cheese, preserves and so on.

    So far our plan is for a wood oven, cool cupboards, pantry (possibly a walk in) and 'waste' management drawers (compost bins, worm bins etc.).

    I will appreciate any thoughts or discussion on the topic of permaculture kitchen design.
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    That's a great question Grahame....
     
  7. dannyboy

    dannyboy Junior Member

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    Hi Grahame, my wife and I are busy designing our strawbale home at the moment so this is a timely discussion.

    My current design has the kitchen to the west side looking north over the dining table to the greenhouse but with the pantry and mudroom on the actual west wall. The design may change again, it's constantly evolving.

    David Holmgren and his partner Su Dennet's house is worth a visit if you get the chance, some great ideas there. They have a plate/glass drying rack over the sink so there's no need to put things away after they dry as they are already stored. There are large drawers with grain bins that seal as you close the drawer. The cool cupboard of course. A 2 burner gas cooker as a back-up/alternative to their Bosky wood stove. The wood stove also providing their hot water in storage/gravity feed style. There were probably other things there too.

    You could also have the flu from your wood stove pass through your kitchen wall and out through the greenhouse or a drying cupboard. A nice big table or bench smack bang in the middle of the kitchen can be good for lots of food prep and getting a few bodies involved or where the kids can be busy drawing, etc but still be in the heart of the house.

    Looking forward to other peoples thoughts...
     
  8. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day grahame,

    orientation realy does not appear in lots of home designs nowadays the rooms are placed by computer diagraming to fit as many rooms into a particular design the designs are governed by the computer assembling of modular components ie.,. roof trusses come in at least 2 standard sizes and walls the same with a bit more variety it all fits the mass production idea. builders today realy don't build they assemble.

    that any orientate the living kitchen area correctly is accidental, in our mcmansion the main bathroom, toilet and laundry are all the north eastern aspect where the kitchen should be then living which now encompasses some north east, with a bedroom between that dinning and the laundry area, what a wasted orientation, the kitchen is then at a north western aspect worst for the cook house. the lounge is central with some south east aspect but poor orientation once again. all family areas should have been down that eastern to northern side of the house.

    len
     
  9. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Yeah Dannyboy, I've been to see the Holmgrens' kitchen. I also have a copy of his book Melliodora. It's a great starting point for planning a kitchen and we have already pencilled in a drying rack and some of the lined drawers for bulk storage. Also we have planned to do away with the island bench in favour of a big wooded table. I'm planning to do as much of it in wood as I can, homemade of course.

    Come on folks, tell us about your wonderful permie kitchens. Or are then none out there?
     
  10. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Often thought of moving our kitchen to nth east corner , at the present it is middle of southern wall hmmmmm only good point is the veiw is over the veg garden . Why is it when you try to search for ideas on "efficient" houses all you can find is ratback designs that look like a bunch of building blocks thrown together by a 2 yr old toddler that are all two story (marvelous if your 20yrs old) have 17 horrid roof panels that face every direction possible and make it impossible to harvest a decent quantity of rain water and start at $700000 . sorry for the vent
    Rob
     
  11. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day terra,

    before we moved to rural the last time about 11 years agao we sat down and working on the sun path for winter and taking into account the summer solstice path we designed a simple home that at the time cost around 1/2 the so called yuppy style warm/cool house/eco' house designes that were very expensive to build and from where we sat and would deliver little. sadly for many who lack basic aspect knowledge this house need the right aspect, the right orientation on the block, and the righ interior orientation. to many go for the view generally mountaisn which means they are most likely facing west, not good aspect.

    for those who can even afford to mention "renewable energy" that home needed only 1 light to illuminate it, even if partition walls were added in to define rooms, many ways to define rooms space.

    carefull use of windows on the eastern wall, we oped for small hoppers along the back/southern wall, no need torealy have them, los of open casement windows and glass along the font to trap s/e breezes and catch teh winte sun, scillion roof we reckon they arecheaper and stronger no ceilingspace, we did use spinners,should have opened for steel bladed louvres across the top of the front northern wall. the correct aspect is "true north" which i believe is about 11 degrees west of magnetic north? we couldn't quiet get it so we ended up with some late summer solstice sun on the back wall.

    we are moving back to rural smaller block but finances mean we have to buy whatever is available on a block of ground, we costed out one exactly like before but not as big, almost affordable until the new stupid toilet system laws hit us, starts with a $900+ soil tests and could end up with $8000+ home sewerage system, the can have it getting to old to knock head on little dictator regulations.

    https://www.lensgarden.com.au/eco'_home_pictures.htm

    len
     
  12. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Don't only think about the orientation, also consider the elevation if you are on a flat site and need to discharge into a wormfarm septic tank system. If you want to get away without pumps (to discharge the wormwastewater and prevent floation) then the tank would need to sit on the ground outside the kitchen on a flat site and fixtures positioned higher in the building to gain sufficient fall on the pipes. It also provides important direct access for disposal of food scraps. The kitchen sink would have to be positioned a bit over a metre higher but the toilet and shower would almost have to be at second storey level. The kitchen is important from a social and command centre point of view and it needs a good outlook. Often the kitchen is part of the dining area but what if the dining room was passive solar designed and moved out to find the appropriate microclimate in the garden? (see my other threads). The kitchen would then become smaller and just a food assembly space. I think we also need to consider the orientation of the fridge - sometimes the heat pump radiator would benefit from external exposure. Summary - don't just think about the horizontal, also consider the energy, plumbing and cost issues.
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day My Friend

    I have had the absolute pleasure of cooking, dining, laughing and crying in some absolute beautiful ones - I've even helped design quite a few, and build about three (that I can recall).

    The best kitchens, in my humble opinion, have a good balance of the following elements: light - both natural (right throughout the day, and the seasons) and artificial (12 volt LEDs are good for close work, and beeswax candles for wining and dining); space - to both do the usual food prep, preserve, cook and clean, and enough for the kids/neighbours/friends/associated drop-ins to hang out, and; fresh air circulation - adjustable to suit the season.

    Grab Alexander et al's A Pattern Langauge (Shepparton Library have a copy, if you do not) and check-out the following patterns: 142, 159, 179, 182, 184, 191, 199, 200, 201 ...for a start.

    Then grab the kids, your other half, some butcher's paper and some coloured pens/pencils ...and go for it!

    Hope that helps?

    Cheerio, Markos.

    PS: The City of Port Phillip do it again! Check out this page for some great ideas.
     
  14. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Which municipality are you dealing with Len and what type of wastewater system are you proposing to use?
    There has to be a better way of managing the design of wastewater systems.
    That composting toilet setup you had last time looked great.
     
  15. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    we are heading back into the fraser coast area, seems like they have typically gone mad with power in the yuppy throne of power. every body so far has said how they hate these new systems they are required to put in. when we put that composting toilet in it was a different council all amalgamated now also before we were on 70 acres of land this time just over 1 acre, reckon realy not in the mood to go logger heads with idiots so also looking to buy an existing house that has septic system, then they can suck eggs.

    if they realy wanted to go eco' then the composting toilet is probably the only way, at least it has no chance of polluting the sub aquafa like septic might.

    don' tell anybody but reackon i'll set my sawdust bucket up and use that to feed plants, also will be peeing in the bucket, back to all the good ole eco' compatable things, so the old septic should all but dry up with only the missus using it and not flushing urine. going to miss that loo with a view and that great drop toilet. and guess what will tell no one nuthing and will not take them anywhere, will apply the "what the eye don't see - the heart don't yearn for".

    even some suggestion they may not approve our colour bond cladding that looks like shamfer board as the neighbourhood might think it looks too much like a shed.

    we have very tight budget.

    len
     
  16. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Hi Len,

    Good luck with your development. Hopefully you will find they start to compromise with they find out the true costs of building unsustainable over priced boxes.
    Maybe talk to their environment departments and set some new standards of your own!
     
  17. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    might explain why there is so much land for sale not many homes but oodles and oodles of land. also got this efficiency rule the house must add up to their efficiency measure, again another no nothing building industry ploy to help teh bandaide industries the insulation makers all stacked against the sisal' paper which in the right aspeced house works just as well as dusty batts, and never compacts. for me how efficient is a house that uses one bulb to illuminate the whole interior, keeps itself warm in winter no heating, and cool in summer not even a ceiling fan, but it won't rate under their yuppy induced regulations. so you even have to use the rating batts they say to use, to get the big nod.

    all this only affects home maybe 10 years old, they can't enforce upgrading of older homes and systems. well not as yet.

    way too much feel good being applied and supported in kind by those who realy have no knowledge or common sense.

    can't see us building for all stated reasons, also you cannot get an all up figure some just gets added as it goes along.

    len
     
  18. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Somehow the backlog against common sense needs breaking. Councils have minimum building and planning regulations to deal with obvious safety and base line environmental issues but it is the developers that slap on mcmansion covenants that allow only mcmansions so your mcmansion is not devalued by a shed going up next door. The value of mcmansions goes up because they are all together and away from the sheds and older housing and then the council can also collect more in rates.

    This type of development is going to crash soon though when:-
    1. the cost of building a mcmansion becomes too great
    2. the cost of running a mcmansion becomes too great

    I know a lot of people that just want to build in an estate where there are not mcmansions to keep the building costs and running costs down.
    The only way to break the mcmansion trend is to get together with a group of like minded people and by your own land that is sub-divided without mcmansion covenants. The problem is you have to pay the same for the land pre-development as the mcmansion developers but at some point, somewhere, a new type of permaculture estate will break the idiotic cycle and people will realise what they are missing out on.

    You are right that retrofiting older housing seems to be the only way of you getting your own way but again you end up having to compromise. I have been playing around with the idea of using permaculture to devise the most efficient shelter possible with best use of land, space and money in ways that you could move into your backyard and then rent out your house. (see some of my other threads) There might be a few legal hurdles but it would soon make the point that the market and the government are not properly serving the community or the planet and they need to at least start reserving on wedge of a township for ecological and economically systainable housing and communities and once the formula is proven it will quickly become the norm because mcmansions will not be able to compete.

    Permaculture estates are not easy and we have to guard against the honey pot effect that could bring lots of disasterous issues together but somehow we have to find the right formula and grow our way out of the mess.

    Cheers
     
  19. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    these are council derived covenants, catch is they will usually only let you build a single class A1 dwelling a home in other words, also lots of care need when sharing your domain.

    len
     
  20. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Len (with apologies to Grahame for going off topic)

    I notice that you are planning to make a move, and that you are looking for land in the Sunshine Coast Area. As such, I wonder if you have ever considered joining an Intentional Community (IC)? There are currently three ICs listed on the Cohousing Australia website in the vicinity of the Sunshine Coast - two (Bellbunya and Hermitage) are 'established', and the third (Coondoo) is at 'proposal' stage.

    Cheerio, Mark.
     

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