Dual Designs Create True 'Living' Kitchens

Dual Designs Create True 'Living' Kitchens

By Anita Shaw

Just as consumers' lifestyles have changed over the past few decades, so, too, have their homes, in order to accommodate evolving lifestyles and attitudes. Longer work hours, the rise of two-career households and an increasingly busy schedule have left today's consumers with less time to spend with families and socialize with friends trends which have had a significant impact on kitchen design. 

To keep in step with these trends, the kitchen has gone from being simply a room to prepare and serve food to being a multi-purpose room that includes not only these elements, but also serves as a meeting place for the family and acts as the setting for social events, both formal and informal. In fact, according to Renovation Style magazine, today's consumers "want to live, work, entertain and be entertained in their kitchen."

Going in search of the "living kitchen," Renovation Style magazine sponsored two different design approaches, using as a base a typical 29-year-old kitchen that measured 20'x20'. Project editor Robert Young helped to supervise the operations, including the removal of walls to open up the room's original chopped-up layout.

Consumers' passion for multi-tasking was taken into consideration during the creative process. "Our research shows that kitchens today must support several activities at once," offers Renovation Style editor Ann Maine."We also want more storage in the kitchen, and multiples of appliances two ranges, two dishwashers, two microwaves."

Both kitchen designs which were showcased at this year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago include multiple appliances with ease-of-use features, as well as walk-in pantries for significant storage, reflecting another hot new trend: buying in bulk.

The cooks' room
When Janice Pattee, CKD, of KraftMaid Cabinetry, in Middlefield, OH, mapped out the first design, she kept the ideas of entertaining and serious cooking in mind. Accordingly, the room features six separate food preparation and entertaining areas.

The food prep areas are designed to allow for several cooks at once, according to Pattee. An island with a vegetable sink, Sub-Zero undercounter refrigerator drawers and ASKO dishwasher creates a high function area, while a FiveStar dual-fuel 48" stainless steel professional range offers food storage on each side. A clean-up area includes a second dishwasher, plate rack and Kohler Alcott apron-front sink. A Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer drawers are featured on one wall, along with a KitchenAid stainless steel microwave oven.

The built-to-order, semi-custom cabinetry from KraftMaid Cabinetry includes Huntington Maple recessed door panel styling, Knollwood Cherry with a raised door panel and Marquette Maple with raised paneling. Solid surface countertops in Natural Firma from the Surell Terrastone Collection are featured throughout the room, complementing the Italian marble floor. Yorkshire leaded-glass inserts show off the cabinet interiors and add warmth and style.

The elegant wet bar features a Kohler Porto Fino Entertainment Sink in Sunlight, wine chiller from Sub-Zero and base cabinet wine racks. The bar area is grouped with the dining space, which is placed adjacent to a raised-hearth, Heat-N-Glo Crescent Arched-front Gas Kitchen Fireplace with glass shelf bun warmer.

The room also gains function-ality through the design of a planning area and message center, Pattee adds.

A gathering space
Creating a place that facilitates family gatherings was the goal of the kitchen designed by Doug Austin and Faith Allen of Amera Fine Cabinetry by Merillat, in Adrian, MI. Created to accommodate several activities at once, the space combines an entertainment center, a library with fireplace and game table, and an office nook. Niches, glass-front cabinets and bookshelves were added to allow the family to personalize the space with mementos.

To create separate activity areas, Austin and Allen created alcoves at either side of the room, set off by dramatic arches. One alcove fits a Heat-N-Glo Gas Fireplace with arched opening and built-in bookshelves, making it a warm, cozy spot for gathering. The other space includes a 30" gas cooktop, Architect Series 30" Stainless Steel built-in electric oven and 36" stainless steel Wall-Mount Canopy Range Hood, all from KitchenAid.

KitchenAid appliances are also featured throughout the room, including a Classic Collection 36" refrigerator and an Architect Series stainless steel dishwasher.

One narrow corner niche features an office area, while another holds a walk-in pantry. All furniture in the room, which includes a game table as well as arm and side chairs, are finished in tweed for continuity.

An island is also included in the design, and encompasses a television and video storage area on one side and a Kohler Clay Tones undercounter sink and food prep area on the other.

Amera Fine Cabinetry from Merillat Industries in Cranston Fare Maple and Leland Park Maple features Oatmeal with Chocolate Glaze, Sherwood Green with Chocolate Glaze and Cider Finish, with Manor Cherry Door Style. The cabinetry has an unfitted, furniture-like feel, giving the room a den-like quality, according to Austin and Allen. Lexalt solid surface countertops in Parma and Coconut from Nahshon Industries complete the look.