As part of our series on kitchen design tips, here is an article outlining the increase in kitchens designed and planned with entertaining guests in mind.
Let Us Entertain You
Entertaining never really went out of style, but it has taken a different form. People are more eager than ever to create their kitchen space with entertaining in mind." We're seeing a lot of multiple islands," says designer Jeff Gilman. "Multiple islands allow for more work and entertaining areas. Maybe one island will be used for preparing food and another as a bar." The butler's pantry has returned as an aid in formal dining.
In casual settings, home theaters and countertop monitors promise to keep kitchen helpers entertained. Audio systems, which send music throughout the house, are more popular than ever. Appliances that were unheard of in all but the most upscale kitchens have found their way into more conventional homes. Warming drawers and built-in cabinets to house wine fridges are becoming mainstream.
Other appliances take some of the work out of entertaining, such as Dacor's new 30-inch dishwasher, which debuted last spring. The company designed it to handle a minimum of 20 place settings. Entertaining has also moved outside. The desire to cook and entertain alfresco, a trend that began some years ago on the West Coast, has expanded into less clement regions. You'll find plenty of new products to keep guests comfortably fed and watered while out of doors.
Everything in its Place
Designing a log home kitchen is not all about beauty for its own sake. Home owners, busier than ever, seek the sense of calm and control that comes with being well-organized. Designer Patricia Dunlop says people want three things in a new kitchen: more counter space, more light and more storage space. Practicality is in, wasted space is out, she says. Having things close at hand is a definite priority.
Multi-function appliances, which came into being just a few years ago, fit the bill in kitchens, especially smaller ones. If one appliance can toast, microwave and bake, so much the better. "My clients want to fit as many functions as possible in their space," says Patricia. "Most would rather have a microwave-convection oven than a double wall oven." As demands for use of kitchen spaces change, so do floor plans and cabinet configuration and size. The deep boxes that became the standard in the 1960s are getting a makeover. "We're doing more roll-out shelves for accessibility, and creating specific space for items such as trays and recycling containers," Patricia adds.
People designing their cooking area often recall kitchens from their past that weren't laid out properly, says designer Frank Barnes, who took a tip from European designers and began building shallow storage rather than deep units that allow items to recede into dark oblivion. "A practical, efficient kitchen is something people want," he says. He's learned that when his clients have a kitchen that is well-designed, well-lighted and well-organized, they sometimes begin to enjoy cooking as they never did before. "They discover that you can have a kitchen that works for you."