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Multi-Zoned Kitchens to Fit Your Life


Article by Courtney Stewart

Photography by Traton Homes

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s no wonder new home purchasers often focus most on this area when touring a model. They wander through, gliding their hands on the countertops, imagining how they will live there, pack school lunches there, and have family meals there.

Can the kids easily grab their afternoon snacks? Where will everyone sit as they catch a quick breakfast? Will this work with extra people when it’s time to prepare a holiday meal?

When purchasing a new home or even if you want to freshen up your existing home, envisioning your kitchen in work zones can help you select or design a kitchen that will work best for you.

Dating back to 1929, kitchens have traditionally been designed with the idea of a work triangle, formed by the stove, sink and refrigerator. The idea is that nothing should block access between those three points to facilitate efficient movement in the area.

The designers at Atlanta new home builder Traton Homes have focused on updating the triangle into the multi-zone kitchens that better serve 21st century families’ needs. Zones typically include areas for food storage (pantry and refrigerator), food preparation (prep sink, ample counterspace, storage for needed utensils), cooking (microwave, stovetop and pots and pans), baking (ovens, counter space), and cleaning (sink, dishwasher).

Zones also typically include an area for snacking and eating informal meals, which often overlaps with space for doing homework or plugging in/charging up digital media.

Of course, some zones may double up in other areas, too. Counterspace for baking may be shared with counter space for food preparation, for example. Kitchen islands can also serve as multiple zones.

How do multi-zoned kitchens help you live better? Traton designers say that as they work with homebuyers, getting to know their lifestyles helps them to design kitchens that contain the zones that will make their lives easier. For example, in many of their single-family home communities that are likely to attract larger families, they design kitchens with the microwave set into lower cabinets and near the refrigerator. The arrangement makes it easy for children to help themselves to an afternoon snack.

Kitchens in large single-family home communities are likely to include large islands with seating for several people. The island provides a food preparation area, breakfast seating, a snacking station, homework space, and even a place for a family dinner as the day progresses. At the same time, there is enough room between the island and the other kitchen zones to allow kitchen activities to occur simultaneously. One family member can continue cooking and cleaning while others are eating breakfast or doing homework.

In large single-family home kitchens, ample space between the zones allows for several people to work in the kitchen at once. The refrigerator and food storage may be set farther than typical from other areas to allow more people to access it without interrupting the flow of the space. Similarly, the ovens may be set farther apart from the more active stovetop and food prep areas, since items that are baking can be left unattended for longer periods of time.

In townhome communities, Traton designers are likely to make the kitchen area slightly more compact, since households are likely to be smaller. A snack preparation zone may turn into a hot beverage zone, where homeowners can set up a station for morning coffee or tea—or perhaps an entertaining area for barware and mixers. The options are limitless when you select a kitchen for your needs.

If you’re looking for a home thoughtfully designed for your lifestyle, Traton Homes is building in communities throughout the Northwest Atlanta area. To learn more, visit