Even though I fight evening traffic every night, I arrive home to what I call the real “rush hour.” The hustle of doorbells and dogs, children and art supplies, oven timers and afternoon sports gives way to kitchen traffic jams as I prepare dinner. These times call for efficiency, a well-designed kitchen with easily accessible supplies. I’m used to thoughtfully designing a space made for cooking and living; great kitchens should be designed to navigate with ease.

Kitchen design has evolved into a very lucrative industry. There are thousands of storage and organizational options for food preparation, and cabinet storage features can provide a convenient space for practically every need you can imagine. Remembering the three points of the “work triangle” when navigating the kitchen design process can create an efficient space: preparation, cooking and clean up.


I’ve discovered some convenient design features that ease my rush hour stress:

• Create a drop zone for brief cases, phone chargers, keys, and backpacks and sports equipment.

• Carefully position refrigeration and freezer drawers for fresh vegetables, children’s beverages or frozen foods.

• A ventilated drawer with a decorative wire front for storage of potatoes or onions is ideal.

• Dish and glassware storage in the base cabinets makes it easier for children to help with setting the table for meals.

• Accessible storage for art projects with drawers for markers, glue sticks, hole punchers, tape etc. These can be located in cabinets on the backside of an island or in banquette seating with flip-up lids. Built-in storage that doubles as seating also provides a great opportunity for fun fabrics as cushions.

• Microwave drawers are safe and convenient for children and adults to use at any time.

A successful design depends on the information you have and the relationship you build with your kitchen design professional. As a working wife and mother, nothing is more important than a good plan. Choose experienced professionals who work with quality products, who also listen to your needs and incorporate your ideas into a functional and beautiful design that’s custom-tailored to your family’s lifestyle — particularly when it counts the most.

After navigating our personal rush hour, our family gathers for the most important time of day in our home. But, before I know it, dinner is over, plates have been cleared and loaded into the dishwasher and leftovers have been put into containers leaving the counters clean again. As I dim the lights, I’m already wondering what we’ll have for dinner tomorrow night.

Having a space that makes it efficient takes all the stress out of planning ahead for the next rush hour! 

Catherine Whitney is the showroom manager and designer at South End Kitchens. She has 30 years experience in the kitchen and bath industry and works diligently with clients every step of the way. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 704-379-1770 or email Catherine at catherine@southendkitchens.com. The design studio is located in the historic Meeting Hall building at 1500 South Blvd, Suite 101-A. You can also visit South End Kitchens at www.southendkitchens.com.