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Work Triangle… it’s not just about the kitchen!

There is a term in interior design philosophy called the work triangle. Any good cook, or busy parent trying to hastily prepare dinner for the family, knows that the distance you have to travel between the three most important stations in the kitchen can make or break your culinary success. The three cooking stations that make up the traditional work triangle in the kitchen are the stove, the refrigerator, and the sink.

The Kitchen Work Triangle

The ultimate kitchen is not too crowded, so as to allow for more than one cook. Yet, at the same time, it doesn’t exhaust the cook with too many steps between the three workstations. According to Architectural Digest and the common elements of the “golden triangle” in the kitchen, each leg of the triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet. Anything less than 4 feet will create a bottleneck and anything longer than 9 would be too far to carry food, dishes, and pots and pans. The sum distance of the triangle should be between 13 and 26 feet.

Work Flow

It is also important that an island not block the flow to any of these elements. Now that large kitchen islands are the rage, you will normally see the sink, the stove, and/or the microwave in the island on the same side as the work triangle. This placement allows for a smaller work triangle while also offering some space for guests away from the work triangle, lest they be in the way of food preparation.

Now that we are clear on the kitchen work triangle, I am going to propose another type of work triangle… which is kind of ironic as I sit working at my kitchen counter during the pandemic. Working from home adds a whole new and hopefully temporary element to both of my work triangles. Once we are all released, post-Covid, to go back to our dedicated workspaces and offices, we will need to consider once again how our work commute affects our lifestyle.

That other work triangle is your “Outside Work Triangle” or the distance from your home to your workplace and from your home and work to the other most important place(s) that you visit. In some cases, instead of having a triangle, you may have a rectangle, trapezoid, or even a hexagon… depending on how many spots you deem as important. What matters most here is that your home is towards the center of that shape, whatever it is, on the map.

The Outside Work Triangle

Think about your daily and weekly routine… are you normally a gym dog? Does daycare play an important role in your productivity? Do you have an elderly parent that you regularly check in on? Are you running to the airport on a frequent basis? Does a walk on the Beltline or Greenway clear your head every day? Or, do you like to go to the driving range after work? Do you like to frequently shop ’til you drop? Maybe meeting your friends out on the town is essential to your happiness? Is a place of worship somewhere you’d like to have close access to?

You may enjoy several of these special places. And, if they were too far away… you might not be able to easily fit them into your schedule on a regular basis. My best advice here is to place your next home within the center of these special places. By eliminating drive time, you then have that extra time to go to the gym, drop by to see mom, eat lunch with your toddler, get a walk in after work, let your dog out during the day, or meet a friend for coffee on a whim.

Now map out where they are or if you are moving, where similar locales exist in your new town. Hint: A good local Realtor can help provide you with local options or contacts here. Once you’ve found and referenced your key destinations, you can easily print out a map from Google or use your phone GPS to drop pins as a visual reference. You can then screenshot your map and print it out.

The Triangle Analysis

Clarity is your friend here… take out your planner and a piece of paper. Start writing down where you need to be every day and every week. Then circle those activities that are necessary and that you’d like to do more of. Maybe even add in something that you aren’t currently doing but that would help make your life more enjoyable. This is your list…

In order of importance, number your places by how often you go there. Also, consider numbering by how important proximity is (like daycare or an elderly parent’s home), and what you’d like to incorporate more of into your life. Then in order, connect the dots. Does your home lie outside of this shape? Or, conversely, do the lines cross each other or form an outline close to your home? Notice… Is your home closest to the highest priority places?

Now add up all of the distances from home and work to your important places. If you will continue to work from home, congratulations, you’ve got a leg up in this scenario. Here’s the prognosis for the sum of distances for the “Outside Work Triangle” as it relates to managing your time spent driving:

0-8 miles: You’ve hit the logistical jackpot! A bike might suffice!
8-20 miles: You’ve got enough time for an extra, extracurricular activity.
20-35 miles: You might frequently think…What can I juggle or eliminate to get it all done?
35-50 miles: You might feel like you are being held captive in your car at times.
50+ miles: Something has got to give! You are thinking… I’m living in my car!

Whether you are moving to a new town or evaluating the roadmap from your current home, the total environment is a key consideration in evaluating if it fits your current lifestyle. The environment of your home is not only interior design, your yard, and your neighborhood… it is also location, location, location!

How did you score when you added up the drive time to all of your important places to be? Leave a comment below or book a call with me here to talk more about whether your house is the right fit or not. Do you need a Lifestyle Lift in this or another area? Take the test to see here.


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