The Work Triangle

Chief among the biblically-long list of things that I despise about newly-constructed homes in the Houston area (such as: STUCCO! STUCCO! SERIOUSLY! DEAR GOD, WHY ARE YOU BUILDING THINGS WITH STUCCO ON THEM? AND WHY ARE YOU RICH ASSHOLES BUYING THEM? THEY WILL BECOME MOLDY AND ROTTED WITHIN FIVE YEARS IN OUR CLIMATE DOWN HERE! THIS ISN’T CALIFORNIA! WHY ARE YOU SO EPICALLY STUPID???), is the fact that no one seems to know how to build a proper kitchen these days.

Generally, if I’m going to lay down $500,000 to $750,000 on a house here in Houston, I expect that the house will be well-planned and have good flow. More than that, I expect that the kitchens and baths will be close to top of the line. The kitchens, in particular, should be large and well-functioning.

I’m not talking about having fancy, shiny stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. I’m talking about having a good-sized pantry, plenty of counter space, an abundance of cabinet space and a pass-through to either the breakfast room, dining room or family room — preferably all three.

I’m talking about having the kitchen itself laid out in a proper work triangle, so that you don’t have to fill a pot with water and haul it eleven feet to your stove and then take a casserole dish out of your refrigerator and haul it another nine feet to your wall oven, while dodging an ill-placed island or having to walk around a bar area to get there.

So what is this fresh hell?


Let’s count the things wrong with this picture:

  1. This is the kitchen of a house that’s being built just down the street from me in Memorial which is listed as being 4,095 square feet and which is selling for $749,000.
  2. For $749,000, you’re telling me that I’ll have exactly three regular-sized wall cabinets in my kitchen, one of which I won’t be able to reach without a stepladder?
  3. And two dinky, also-unreachable-by-normal-people wall cabinets over the wall ovens and fridge?
  4. Because I have more cabinets than that in my 1,500 square foot townhome that was built in 1968.
  5. I have more under-counter cabinets, too.
  6. And I have a full double sink.
  7. I also have significantly more counterspace.
  8. Seriously, what is that? Like, three useable feet of counter space not including the tiny sink and cooktop? There’s not even anywhere for someone to put a working island or anything else!
  9. And my townhome didn’t cost $749,000.
  10. And you’d better not expect me to furnish it with my own appliances after I just paid $749,000. Where is the refrigerator? The wall ovens?
  11. In case you can’t tell from this picture, the dining room is yards away from the actual kitchen; you have to traipse through the “family room” and entrance hall to get there, lugging your turkey and potatoes and whatever else you’re trying to serve all the way there.

For a house that someone will likely shell out three-quarters of a million dollars to buy — and which will probably house a family with kids and will host lots of parties — it contains the tiniest, paltriest, most unspectacular and most unfriendly kitchen I’ve ever seen.

Can you imagine trying to cook for a group of people in that kitchen? Or have more than one person in the cramped main workspace at a time? Did anyone even stop to contemplate the logistics of where this family will put all of their dishes and glasses and cookware and appliances? Because I’ll tell you that we’re pushing maximum cabinet capacity in my townhome, and there’s only two of us in there right now. I just hope their pantry is enormous.

I’m not trying to say that my townhome is all that and a bag of Kettle chips; that’s not the point here. The point is that while I don’t know who these companies are that are building all of these new houses, I know one thing: their kitchen-planning skills are crap.