Kitchens…They’re Not Just for Cooking Anymore

(But you knew that, didn’t you?)

People remodel their kitchens for many reasons. Often the goal of kitchen design is a style upgrade, with fresh, new countertops, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. Sometimes they want a gourmet kitchen, with professional-style appliances and cooking capabilities.

Many homeowners remodel a kitchen because they need a well-designed place for more than just cooking. Families gather in the kitchen in the morning, getting ready for the day or having a cup of coffee. Kids do their homework there, so that they can be near parents who are preparing dinner. Plus many people now prefer a more casual style of entertaining guests, with friends chatting and sipping wine in the kitchen, while the meal is prepared.

kitchen design photo

Photo courtesy Jenn-Air

For this multi-purpose kitchen, conventional kitchen design is often inadequate. Luckily, with a little bit of inspiration, kitchens can be redesigned and remodeled to better fit these myriad uses. To start, let’s look at what you need to make the kitchen a more welcoming spot to entertain friends and family…

Laying It All Out

The basis for many kitchen designs is consideration of the ‘work triangle’ which is the area between the range, refrigerator, and sink. Most of the work happens at these three places. It is important for them not to be crowded too close together or spaced too far apart. Another option that’s also becoming popular is using the concept of stations, much like restaurant kitchens. You may like having a prep station, hot food station, beverage station, clean-up station, and even a computer station.

In a kitchen that’s used for both cooking and entertaining, the layout should also create smooth traffic patterns and make it possible for more than one person to cook at a time. In addition, family or friends who are not cooking will feel more comfortable gathering in a kitchen if there is sufficient room outside of the work area for them to relax without being in the way. A casual floor plan that is open to the family room, breakfast nook or dining room will allow kitchen traffic to flow easily in, out and around the spaces.

Kitchen design photo courtesy Jenn-Air

Photo courtesy Jenn-Air

A Natural Gathering Spot

An important design element is an island, which can play a big part in creating comfortable places for non-cooks to socialize in the kitchen. Island options can include bar-height seating at stools, a nook with a bench and upholstered chairs, or a convenient spot to serve food buffet-style. And, if you want the island to house a cooktop or a sink, it is possible to have a dual-height island with a lower level for food prep and a higher level for seating or serving.

The Butler’s Pantry

A valuable addition when you’re entertaining is a butler’s pantry. With extra cabinets, counters, sink and perhaps an extra dishwasher or refrigerator, a butler’s pantry provides a perfect area for you to stage foods for serving. Everything from hors d’oeuvres platters to coffee cups can be set up there. The extra counter space also helps when clearing dirty dishes. It’s often possible to carve out room for a butler’s pantry in your existing space. Even a small one can make a big difference in the feel and function of your new kitchen.

Kitchen design photo courtesy Jenn-Air

Photo courtesy Jenn-Air

Products That Make Entertaining Easier

In addition to an efficient layout, kitchen design for entertaining can include products to make life even easier. Consider incorporating a warming drawer or steam oven for keeping one dish warm while you prepare another, or a wine refrigerator built into an island or outside counter for easy service. If you’re always running out of ice, you may want a stand-alone ice maker as well.

We’re Up to the Kitchen Design Challenge

Kitchen remodels, while rewarding, can be challenging to plan. Kitchen technology is always changing. That’s why we’re here! With our creativity, experience and kitchen design know-how, we can explain your options and make recommendations you may not have even considered to ensure you’re getting everything you want and need from your beautiful new kitchen.

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