kitchen choreography, or "which conflicts can you live with?"
We had houseguests this past week and one morning I watched them do that "dance" that involves sort of tripping over one another. One was trying to make coffee as the other tried to put something in the dishwasher (yes, they were great guests, and working to be low-impact.) But what I was thinking was "why are they doing that?" because I know those two activities are not compatible in our kitchen. We've lived here for 25 years, and updated some finishes, but never remodeled or rearranged the kitchen. It works fine for the 2 of us, and even a helper or two if we tell them where to sit and what to do! But coffee making gets priority with us--it needs to be done when it needs to be done, and opening the dishwasher can wait!
I'm thinking of this because we are down to the kitchen details in our new house plan and so I follow a lot of threads on the topic. People will get "finished" with a design and then post it here and all sorts of opinions will emerge, including "that just won't work because your dishwasher is too far from your dining room" or "you don't want your refrigerator in that location because people seeking snacks would walk through the cooking zone," or whatever.
I see a distinction between conflicts such as "you can't open the dishwasher without hitting the oven door" and "your microwave needs to be closer to your sink." One is factual and the other really depends on your family, your habits, how you use your MW. We are planning to downsize and our kitchen will only be 10 x 14, with a peninsula, no island, and two corners. So it seems to me that we sort of have to choose among potential conflicts. The one I see in our current plan is that if you have the dishwasher door open, you can't easily get to the fridge, which is at the end of the 'U.' This doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but that could only be because I'm used to the DW getting in the way of some activities. (Plus it doesn't freak me out to have a dirty dish sitting on the counter or sink awaiting its turn to be loaded.)
At any rate, it seems to me that in any kitchen with more than one person potentially doing things, there have to be some potential conflicts, unless you have the whole thing on one long wall with access anywhere? So are we just choosing between conflicts that drive us nuts and those we don't even notice? My DH and I just manage to work around each other well, but we've had a lot of practice. The other day I walked in to the kitchen and he was standing with the fridge door open (kind of rare event as he usually knows why he's there), and I could not walk past to get to the other side of the peninsula. I thought "that's inconvenient--if that happened a lot it would be annoying." And our layout might look unworkable on a floor plan, and BE unworkable if you had a bunch of kids at home who tend to stand in front of the fridge with the door open! But in all these years, it's one of the few times I've even noticed it!
So I would like to know which conflicts among appliances or activities you have lived with, which ones drive you crazy, and which ones you think are no big deal.
Here are a couple of mine: I do not like to have to "bump" the sink person to drop something in the trash, so we will have a pullout next time. On the other hand, with a family of two, the dishwasher only gets run every other day so loading and unloading it is not a high priority task--it can be done whenever convenient, so I would put conflicts with that door opening at a lower level importance. (I'm not talking about it physically bumping something, just that you can't have two people standing in the same space at the same time.)