A window between the kitchen platform and the overhead cabinets to bring in natural light and breeze, minimal wall tiling, and provoking interior design — you can cook in style and comfort, says SATHYA PRAKASH VARANASHI

As kids, we all have grown up with a sense of smell from the kitchen, ours or neighbours, then yearning for delicacies. More often than not, the coffee smell from the roadside café attracts customers, leading to brisk business. Master Chefs study every dish first by the smell, before tasting it. So, can we say that it is important to spread the smell of food? Unfortunately not in the case of a typical house where every effort goes to keep it free of smell and odours. And it is here that most kitchens fail in effective ventilation.

Electric chimneys do a great job, but only if they are on. However, most households do not keep it on during small tasks like making coffee, heating food, non-oily cooking or when there are no guests. Imagine if only we could provide a small opening at the roof level or combine this vent concept with a window and take them up to the roof, how fresh the kitchen air could be, always. Irrespective of the electric gadget being on, natural displacement ventilation is on, where the warm, smelly, light weight air moves up to the highest point and gets out, round the clock. The roof-level natural vent as explained above may not bring in much light and having more windows means less storage cabinets. No family can live with less of overhead cabinets, so the windows get compromised with. After all, we have a good solution in switching on the electric bulb even during mid day.

Alternatively, can the window be made narrower, placed in between the kitchen platform and the overhead cabinets? It will retain cabinets above, throw natural light on the working platform, let in body level breeze, enable looking out into the house garden or utility yard as the case may be and make the kitchen look sleek. The classic debate between cabinet or window gets solved with multiple benefits. Most of us seek a big kitchen, not realising that what matters most is not the size of the kitchen, but the length of the working platform available, accessed with least walking. Large kitchens are often a waste of money and space, with the additional burden of maintaining them. Electric points far too many also add to the cost, while it is easily possible to share them since all electric gadgets will not be used at the same time. In a well planned kitchen, an additional store room can be avoided, saving on money.

Sathya Prakash Varanashi

The writer is an architect working for eco-friendly designs and can be contacted at varanashi@gmail.com