It is no secret that to design a good kitchen, one should know how to cook. The expanding cultural trend toward healthy eating, exercising and overall well-being has prompted my investigation into how it will affect our homes, kitchens and living in the next decade. After all, sometimes it’s just one product, technology or new idea that spurs us on to an innovative perspective for our designs.
The slow-food movement
The slow-food vision presents an alternative to “… counter fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and dwindling interest in the food [people] eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world,” says Tony Robbins, motivator and speaker. Yet, it is taking off and has even spurned the slow-design movement.
Clients are taking their time to make decisions around kitchen remodels. They are more curious about products and processes, more careful in assessing their routines and more discerning with their wallets for value-laden projects.
The raw-food movement is enjoying fruits and vegetables in raw form, and keeping our bodies in top shape. Shopping at a farmer’s market or organic grocery stores has created a demand for the best food preservation tools in kitchens.
Now we understand why Sub-Zero’s dual refrigeration with NASA-designed air filtration or Viking’s Plasmacluster ion air purifier filtration system or Liebherr’s bio-fresh technology are so important. As designers, remodelers, architects and builders, we can’t just place a refrigerator in a hole while focusing only on looks. Wherever you can find proof of these refrigeration systems, educate yourself quickly, knowing this is the staple of a foodie’s kitchen.
Growing our own
The role of spices seems to be peaking, hence the increasing popularity of retail stores like Penzy’s and Savory Spice Shop. Proper storage of spices, whether it be in jars supplied in a compartmentalized drawer such as Bulthaup’s cabinetry version, or strategically placed away from the cooktop to preserve shelf life, are all options.
My most recent foodie client asked me to provide an herb garden sunken into a cooking island, complete with skylight above it. I haven’t addressed the water drainage yet, but a trough sink may be the solution.
Because kitchens are so open to other living spaces, bringing the outdoors in is natural. Why not a planter along the interior window wall facing a deck that houses the tomato plants, just like in a greenhouse?
The small appliance
Thoughtful kitchen design takes into consideration where the most-used small appliances will be, whether it’s the coffee maker, blender or electric mandolin. Planning for juicers, indoor grills and fancy choppers/dicers is a common task. The building trade must know about more mechanicals, electrical outlet placements and panel requirements for these additional conveniences as well as whether appliance garages still work.
Food preservation in its simplest form requires proper containers amply supplied and easily procured. The book “Take Control of Your Kitchen,” by Mary Collette Rogers, kitchen coach, from Boulder, Colo., provides information on a well-organized, compact space to prep and cook. Check out her website at everydaygoodeating.com.
The steam oven, steamer and speed oven offer more nutritious and faster cooking. No longer do we have to settle for fast food, just food cooked fast. Careful consideration of the client’s budget and preferences dictate if these products are a candidate here. Plumbing/drainage lines or additional voltage requirements and various lengths may need to be investigated.