Can I have a lower height peninsula in a small kitchen?
“Could you say a little more about the dropped baking peninsula? I wanted something along those lines for our smallish 2 cook kitchen but our designer couldn’t see how it could work either technically or in the space. – A.”
Yes, placing a dropped baking peninsula in a small kitchen can be challenging. There are two main reasons why I wouldn’t design a peninsula, dropped or otherwise:
1) It’s adjacent to a main work area (sink, refrigerator, or range)
When you stand at a peninsula, you’re effectively blocking any access to the appliance or storage that is adjacent to the peninsula, such as a dishwasher, the main dish storage, the refrigerator or oven, or even the dog dish. In fact, any working area that requires you to move repeatedly away from the baking peninsula is not a good use of space.
2) If the peninsula isn’t long enough, it’s not doing you any favors. There’s a factor at work in spec. homes or with kitchens that aren’t, well, designed. (Or is that well-designed?) It’s called a “short return” and if it’s a working peninsula, it’s less than useful or ideal. I grew up calling it a “short return peninsula” where it’s not long enough to add adequate storage and merely compresses useful lineal storage into corner storage. The sad thing is, you’re paying extra money for a peninsula that is only 42” or less. By the time you “turn the corner”, you’re left with less than 18” – 21” wide of what I label frontal counter space — the space a person uses. Yet, ergonomically, each of us is approximately 24” wide from shoulder to shoulder. Useful counter space should be at least 24” – 36”, especially for food preparation such as rolling out dough (it’s not just the rolling, it’s the pan, pie, sheet or bowl nearby that adds to this width.)
This is also where your height plays a role. If the peninsula was dropped, you might have a tougher time reaching that corner from the inside, although if you worked on the other side of the peninsula, it’d be fine. But who wants to work on the outside when all the storage is centered inside the kitchen?
If I was looking to design a peninsula, I’d be looking for a kitchen width of 120” (10’ wide) which would give a baker 36” of frontal counter space. The kitchen could be as small as 114” wide, but that would be about it. If your kitchen is smaller than this, then this might be the technical reason your designer talked about.