Book Review: Architect's Pocket Book of Kitchen Design, Charlotte Baden-Powell

If you’ve ever dreamed about designing your own kitchen, reading this book will make your imagination run wild. Although it’s really a practical handbook for practicing architects, detailing things such as the amount of ventilation needed in a kitchen, it also discusses the work triangle and ideal kitchen layouts. For the experienced cooks, much of this will seem obvious.

Still, there were things that I hadn’t thought about, such as the ideal distance from sink to stovetop. The book also showed examples of ready-to-install appliances like sinks, dishwashers, cabinets and fridges, all in various style and set ups. Having used two kitchens my whole life, I never realized that dishwashers came in drawers or that sinks could have draining boards attached.

After reading this book, my dream kitchen got even better, and even more fun to use. I had hoped to get more out of this book, though. The short section on kitchen layout presented very little new material and showed very little thinking outside the box. I have seen other books that ventured to break the kitchen triangle, a more interesting concept to consider.

Baden-Powell also completely omits a discussion of kitchen styles, such as modern, rustic or industrial. Although many other books about kitchen design focus heavily on this distinction, I would have like to hear Baden-Powell’s clear, succinct description of the various stylistic possibilities and how they might affect things such as kitchen layout and appliance selection.

This book is probably not worth buying unless you actually plan to design your own kitchen. If your local library happens to have a copy, though, it’s a quick, fun read that will set your mind wandering amongst the possibilities.

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