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Friday, January 13, 2012

NKBA Guidelines #1 & #2 - Entryways

This is my CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer) stamp.  It may not be as prestigious as an engineer's or architect's stamp, but I worked hard to ear it and work hard to maintain it.  Why am I a CKD?  I may be a bit biased, but I feel the best way to tackle a new kitchen project is to hire professional, and in this industry, a CKD is that professional.

As a CKD I can look at a room, the appliances and material wishes and desires and somehow turn them into a functioning kitchen.  Part of the CKD training is based on a series of guidelines set out by the NKBA.  Over the next few months I'm going to have a closer look at these guidelines; find out what they're really trying to get at and how to best implement them in your design.

Today we'll start at the beginning ... or rather NKBA Kitchen Guideline #1.

For a minimum standard, the clear opening of a doorway into the kitchen should be at least 32’’ wide. This would require a minimum 2’-10’’ door.

That's just fine if you're looking for the minimum standard.  But if at all possible, what we really want is a clear opening of at least 34’’. This would require a minimum 3’-0’’ door since we're measuring the actual opening with door open to 90 degrees (door to frame).

If the passage into the kitchen is deeper than 24" (for example, you have cabinetry on either side of the opening) that doorway increases to 36".

Now that we have all the doorways handled, we still have one more thing to consider;  interference (which turns out to be NKBA Guideline #2).  Nothing is quite as annoying as having a kitchen door open, only to have it block access to the wall oven, or if the dishwasher is open and you cannot open the oven door.  In addition, we should also consider what's going around an open door.  If the dishwaser is open for example, it's important to allow space to stand, move and put away the dishes!

The important thing to remember with any of the guidelines is that they have been designed for optimal situations.  Proper access into the kitchen just makes life better, preventing doorway collisions with others and helping you enjoy your new space.  However, in some kitchens it's just not possible to achieve a 36" opening.  Don't panic.  Your design professional will help you decide what's best for your particular project. 

Illustrations (C) NKBA.org

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