Showing posts with label Modular Kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Modular Kitchen. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What is a Modular Kitchen, what you will need to install one and how it compares to its traditional counterpart

My first article on this blog in the year 2010 was on the same subject. To make it more relevant to today's needs I spent some time updating that article and including fresh perspectives and experiences to it. Read on, and as always will welcome your questions, thoughts & comments
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Most people associate a Modular kitchen as one that looks great, is made in the factory and is installed onsite. However there is more to a Modular Kitchen than just the good looks.
In this article we will look at what really is a modular kitchen, what kind of site preparation is needed to install a modular kitchen as well as the comparative advantages and disadvantages of a Modular Kitchen against its carpenter made counterpart. So here goes

What is a Modular Kitchen - The 3 Core Elements. 


1. Modularity
As the name suggests a "Modular" Kitchen consists of modules that are assembled together. Each module consisting of the Carcass (box) and the shutter is independent and can be taken in and out of the full unit separately. This also helps in easy repair when the kitchen ages -  for example you can completely replace the wet unit (unit under the washbasin) if it spoils after some years of use without disrupting the rest of the kitchen.


2.  Installation
The Carcass or the box of a Modular kitchen rests on 3-4 inch adjustable legs, typically 4 legs under each module. It does not rest on a wooden plank. The legs are hidden behind a PVC (not wood) skirting. The legs & the PVC skirting help because 
(a) As mentioned in point 1 earlier the unit/ module can be independently moved in & out and
(b) the wood does not touch the ground, hence no chances of any damage caused by water, mop etc. and
(c) since the legs are adjustable they help on levelling the kitchen carcass irrespective of a minor slope or an undulation in the floor. This helps ensure that the countertop can be laid properly.

3. Accessories
Top quality Modular kitchens do NOT have wire steel baskets and accessories in the drawer chambers. Having wire baskets is a local Indian concept and has been continuing since the days when manufacturers did not have better options available. However nowadays soft closing drawers along with matching drawer storage accessories are available in India. Steel wire baskets also come with their own set of problems such as the cutlery & plates peeping out of the wire frame and interfering with the drawer movement, robustness of the joint between the shutter and the wire basket etc.
  

Site Preparation for installation of a Modular Kitchen


Bare is better:
Space for a modular kitchen needs to be 100% bare - that is - NO Pre-Installed Countertop, NO raised platform on the floor, NO pre-built shelves. While most big builders in Bangalore have started offering a bare kitchen space with the assumption that the customer would go in for a Modular Kitchen, smaller builders still include the Countertop and / or a Floor Platform pre-fixed at the time of possession. Hence if your builder gives you a choice and you are looking to install a modular kitchen then do ask your builder to deliver a bare kitchen to you, else you will need to spend extra time, money and effort to demolish the platform & remove the countertop.
The reason why a modular kitchen cannot be installed under an existing counter top is that despite best efforts there is likelihood of a space between the existing countertop and the carcass installed below it. This space not only leads to pest management issues but also affects the overall finish as an uneven gap may show from the front. Also, the brackets on which the countertop is installed come in the way of the carcass limiting the design and space options of the cabinets. In a modular kitchen, the countertop is laid on top after the carcass is installed hence the finish is clean and slick PLUS the design is limited only by creativity.
A platform on the floor also incurs similar issues as above. Due to the presence of a concrete platform on the floor it is not possible to install the “legs” that we spoke about earlier. Since now the carcass sits directly on and touching the top of the platform any water accumulation between the two leads to early wear of the carcass. Also in absence of the “legs, it becomes difficult to level the carcass. Carpenters try to level the carcass by providing packing between the floor counter and the carcass but it is really not a long-lasting way of doing this nor does it lead to a clean external finish.

Plumbing & Electrical:
Ideally the design of a modular kitchen needs to be thought through before the plumbing and electrical work is done. This leads to the kitchen seamlessly fitting into the space without any redo of the plumbing or electrical points saving both time & cost. In addition, it avoids the wires showing messing up with the overall look of the Kitchen. Planning for plumbing & electrical includes decision on where the wet area should be and appropriate plumbing for the same, provision of electrical points for the Hob, Chimney, Water Purifier, Oven, microwave and other appliances (especially important if one is planning a built in Oven/ Microwave). LED Lighting within the cabinets and on the backsplash is also quite popular nowadays and electrical layout planning for the same is also a key requirement while site planning.
Another thing that usually gets missed during the site preparation stage is planning for the chimney exhaust. Most builders have the Chimney exhausts opening into the utility which, if closed, leads to the smoke landing right back into the home. Not only is the exhaust piping required to be aligned such that it opens up to the outside, it also needs to be hidden with a loft or false roofing so it does not interfere with the look of the Kitchen.

Advantages and Disadvantages

While a lot has been written about the advantages of a Modular Kitchen over its traditional counterpart there are places where the old school, carpenter made kitchen fares better. Below is an exhaustive list of advantages & disadvantages of each

Where a Modular Kitchen beats a Traditional Carpenter made Kitchen
  1. Better Fit & Finish – since it is factory made
  2. No hassle on site – only site preparation is required
  3. Modularity – Wet unit can be taken out and replaced in case of wear
  4. Installed on Legs that protect the carcass from water & wear
  5. Quicker to build & install

Where a Traditional Carpenter made Kitchen beats a Modular Kitchen
  1. No choice in case of pre-existing countertop or a raised counter on the floor
  2. 100% Control on the ply that is used. Most modular vendors do not provide this choice
  3. Uses less plywood (since each unit is not separate) – hence costs less

So, if you are out in the market hunting for a kitchen for your new home the above should prepare you well to make the right decision.

Signing off
Nandita

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

www.thestudiobangalore relaunched: The new destination for Turnkey Home Interiors, Modular Kitchens & Wardrobes in Bangalore

Exited to announce that after 6 months of work we launched the new website for The Studio. For those of you who are new to this blog The Studio is my own venture offering Customised Turnkey Home Interiors, Modular Kitchens & Wardrobes across Bangalore. The new website consolidates the 3 offerings from The Studio under a single umbrella (earlier we had 2 separate websites – one each for Kitchens & Wardrobes) to make it easier for customers to get a complete picture.

We also have a refreshed new logo which is a combination of the Ganesha (auspiciousness) & the Swastika (beginning) signifying an auspicious new beginning:  a new home is really a beginning

Happy to get your feedback on the website – do check in at https://www.thestudiobangalore.com

Cheers

Nandita

Friday, January 30, 2015

Kitchen Design - Best Practices Consolidated in One Single Article

The article on the left was published in today's Deccan Herald. It encapsulates and consolidates all the Kitchen Design Best practices mentioned across different posts on this blog. Reproducing it below for my readers ... here goes...
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It’s that place in your home where you are likely to spend over 10 percent of your working life and the one that gets the most footfalls. It houses more gadgetry than you have in your car and is one of the most complex spaces to design. The smart among you may have guessed it already, for the laity - I am talking about your Kitchen.

A Kitchen needs to be ergonomic, utilitarian, maximizing storage space as well as good looking all at the same time. The fact that the kitchen has "hot spaces", "wet spaces", "work spaces", "wash spaces" …  (I guess you get the idea) complicates matters further.

If you are in the process of setting up your new home or just remodeling it, considerable attention will be demanded by your Kitchen. While Kitchen Design is too vast a topic to cover in a single article, the simple design tips below are meant to make your Kitchen design journey both enjoyable & easier.

Basics of Kitchen Design - The Zones


A Kitchen can broadly be broken down into 5 zones - Preparation, Cooking, Baking, Cleaning & Storage. The core idea behind Kitchen design based on zones is to ensure that each zone can be
independently operated without one having to criss-cross through other zones thereby optimizing efficiency. For example – the Dishwasher should be placed next to the sink and the trash cabinet to form an integrated Cleaning Zone, Utensils and Cooking instruments should be under or next to the cook top (Cooking Zone), The Preparation zone should be close to both the Cooking and Baking zone so that you don’t need to walk to the cooktop after having rolled the chapatti or - a very common mistake that folks make – that there is no counter close enough to put down the hot tray fresh out of the Oven. Additionally the space for long term storage of grain, pulses, oils, namkeens etc. (Storage zone) should be away from the Cleaning Zone, specifically the trash bin, to avoid any chance of odor contamination


What is the height of a Kitchen counter?


A number of deemed architects have missed admission to top architecture schools just due to a “wrong answer” to that question. Basic as it may sound, the height of the Kitchen counter can range anywhere from 32 to 36 inches. A high counter allows more storage space underneath; it also ensures that any appliance such as a dishwasher fits properly under the counter. However if you are 5’2’ or shorter a high counter will get uncomfortable to work on and you may be better off with a 32 – 33 incher. In summary (1) Optimize the counter height based on your own height (2) If you are planning any under - counter appliances then read the appliance manual and keep the counter height accordingly and (3) Don’t go under 32” and over 36”.


Planning for the Appliances


The exact dimensions of the appliances – those you plan to keep and the ones you will buy, should be factored in during the Design phase itself lest you end up stuck with an appliance AND an un-matching hollow
The fixed appliances like the Hob, Chimney, Dishwasher, Microwave etc. need a dedicated electrical connection to be housed in a way that the wires are not visible. Modern Hobs have an electrically operated ignition system and most folks miss out on planning an under the counter electrical point for the same. Also, if you cook Non Vegetarian at home then ensure that the Chimney has a suction capacity of 1000 Cum/ Hr or higher
For the movable appliances like the Grinder, Hand mixer, beater etc. you should ideally keep 2 sockets spaced out above each counter. Ensure also that you have a socket close to the hob so that the hand blender can be used with dishes “on the flame” as well.


Long term storage and that Clumsy Cylinder


Whatever be the size of your Kitchen, somehow there is never enough space to keep the grill that you take out once in 3 months or the table mats meant strictly for special occasions and all the things that
you will end up accumulating over the years. It is therefore prudent to plan bulk storage spaces from
the start. Tall units and corners are ideal for bulk storage. For accessibility in the corners, solutions such as magic corner units are popular and readily available however if you do not want to invest in one then just a regular shelf in the corner will do. A Tall unit is specially recommended - plan one with regular shelves instead of a pantry unit to maximize storage space 
LPG Cylinders take up primary real estate within the Kitchen and while it is the easiest to put them under the cooktop, the decision is definitely not the wisest or the safest. If you are blessed with a utility then house the cylinders in there and connect them to the cooktop with a copper pipe – this will save you prime space under the cooktop. The cylinders now in the open will also ensure that your family is safe in case of that rare gas leak. However if you do not have a prized utility, keep the operational cylinder in that corner space that we just talked about and the secondary cylinder somewhere far & away. Remember - keeping both the operational and the secondary LPG cylinder together inside the Kitchen is a potential recipe for disaster.

Material to use for the cabinets and shutters?


From MDF to Water proof ply to Polywood, Steel & beyond. With the huge material choice available in the market today this is perhaps the most difficult as well as the most important decisions you will need to make.

Cabinets:
If you want your Kitchen to last beyond its 3rd birthday then the only real choice for the Kitchen cabinet material is between Water Proof Ply (Technically called BWR 303 Grade Ply....ISI Marked preferred) and Steel.
When choosing between the two remember that while Ply cabinets can be modeled at home Steel cabinets will need to be procured ready-made. If you plan to use steel cabinets then ensure that the steel is 304 grade and comes from a known manufacturer.
Cabinets in MDF & HDF – widely used in the west, are available in the market today, however these do not measure up to the rigors of Indian cooking and use – especially if your kitchen is fully or partially maid managed.

Shutters:
Any of MDF, Hardwood, Marine Ply or Polywood work well for the shutters. However if you have a high traffic or maid managed kitchen then it is wise to go for Hardwood or Ply. However shutters in Particle board are a definite no-no.


Countertop – Beyond just Granite


The market has moved far beyond a time when the countertop meant Granite. Nowadays Kitchen counters are available both in Natural Stone (Marble & Granite) & Artificial Stone (Quartz & Acrylic Solid Surfaces). Granite & Quartz fit best against the needs of a typical Indian Kitchen as they are both stain resistant & hard (but not brittle) however the colour options in Granite & Quartz are fairly limited. If you are high on the maintenance side of things then Marble & Solid Surfaces (sometimes referred to as Corian) are great options as they offer exquisite finishes and a splash of colours to choose from.

That dovetails well into the last, but not the least important subject – that of colours & lighting. It is said “to each his own” but in the department of colours there is still some method to get that look and a spacious feel to the Kitchen. Follow the two simple rules below when choosing colours for your kitchen (1) darks make spaces look small while lights make them look larger and (2) A single colour may be monotonous and more than three too colourful to the eye.
Therefore if you are planning dark shutters then balance them out with a lighter shade of the backsplash and glass shutters in the wall cabinet. On the other hand if you plan to have your Kitchen in shades of white then you can select a fairly vibrant colour for the backsplash


Lighting 


Specialty lighting has a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the Kitchen. Nowadays with the advent of reasonably priced LED’s it is not even a huge burden on the pocket. Plan for an LED strip
running along the backsplash and, if you are the “new age experimental” type, next to the skirting at the bottom. Any wall cabinets with a glass shutter should also have a spotlight.

The above should give you quite a headstart in kitchen planning - good enough for you to enjoy both the journey now and the outcome for a long time to come – here’s wishing you happy homemaking.

Other posts on Kitchen design that you may also want to go through are linked below


Signing off

NM

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Photographs of my recent Home Interior project at Yelahanka, Bangalore

It is a beautiful penthouse  - top floor, some 3000 sqft with a huge kitchen, party area and the works. Below are the recent clicks.

Ganesha and Candles
Nothing starts (and ends) well without the blessings of the almighty

Decorative unit in the Living Room
This was actually a recess between two pillars in the center of the home and was converted into a divine showcase to bring a feeling of "presence" & "calmness" to the entire home.


False Roofing Design and Lighting
Looking through the living room into the Kitchen


Curtains and Lighting
Another angle of the same emphasizing the overall lighting


Living Room Seating
The Sofa Units - from Urban Ladder


Mirror Decoration
One of my favorites - got an artist to hand-paint the mirror - it shows maple leaves falling from the top


Dum Dum/ Bum Bum of "Night at the Museum" Fame


TV Unit Design
The TV Unit


TV Unit - Another shot. Wiring hidden behind the wall panel


White Crockery unit with Lighting
The Crockery Unit. Breakfast counter in the Kitchen on the right


Lighting inside the crockery unit
Crockery Unit - another Shot




Glass and Laminate Wardrobe Doors
Bedroom 1 - Sliding Wardrobe. The photograph doesn't do justice to the actual output as the lighting in the bedrooms was not enough for a good shot (same is true for all the bedroom photos below). The photographer ... who also happens to be a dear friend, was also bereft of equipment having left the same in safe custody at Kolkata during his recent shift to Bangalore :(


Wardrobe Shelving


Headrest - Haneef mian's (the headrest maker's) second iteration. The first one got rejected as the colours of the threads used for the stitching did not match the theme. He will surely give up on me some day :)


Sliding Shutters with beading
This one's a giant - 10 feet in width - and required quite a bit of engineering to make the shutters and ensure that they slide well.


Sliding Wardrobe - Shelving


Bathroom Storage


Painted & Mirrored sliding doors
I was bored with horizontal mirrors on sliding wardrobes - this was the result


Haneef Mian at work again - this one was first time right :)


Edge handles for bathroom storage - helps your kurta to not get caught in the handle when you brush your teeth. Bet you never thought of that one :)



Partial view of the shower partition


What is this - Take a guess??


Stand Alone Bar Unit
A rollaway bar :)


Kitchen with Lighting
The kitchen. It has lights UNDER the bottom cabinets ... hee


Kitchen - another angle showing the corner sink.


Partial view of the breakfast counter


Breakfast counter in solid surface
Full view of the Breakfast Counter


Bar Stools
Breakfast Counter - Another angle. The hole is just for show and for the kids to have some fun.


White and Green Book Rack and TV Unit
This was a massive TV unit cum bookshelf. Was a bit of an experiment with random open and closed shelving. However ended up pretty satisfactory.


Duco painted TV Unit
Bookshelf - Another view


Murali Manohar - Came all the way from Orissa to bless the home


As I said at the beginning ...nothing starts & ends without the blessings of the almighty.
... lights out



PS: The top floor lawn/ party area is phase 2 of the project...look forward...

Bye for now
Nandita

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/