My clients are usually concerned with aesthetics and convenience, but for me there's no issue more important than safety. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), a cooktop should have at least 9 inches of open countertop on one side and 15 inches on the other (see Figure 1).

Always provide at least 15 inches of counter space next to a range, flush with the cooking surface. This allows the user to slide a pot off the burner without lifting. For open-ended counters, there should be 9 inches on the other side. This prevents pot handles from hanging over the counter edge. When the cooktop abuts a wall, maintain at least...

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