Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kitchens in the Modern Home

Kitchens have evolved into the heart of the 21st century American home.  Traditionally kitchens were a work area and removed from the main living area.  In larger homes such as those found in the Guilford or Roland Park areas of Baltimore the kitchen was removed from the living and dining areas, often with back stairs that connected to the maid’s room above.   Now the kitchen is one of if not the main living area.  At parties often everyone ends up in the kitchen, families spend a good amount of time together in the kitchen, and the kitchen is often the operations center of the home. 

With this in mind the “great room” has evolved.  This typically includes an open floor plan with the kitchen, daily dining area, and family room combined.  Larger homes often still have a formal dining room even if it only used on special occasions.  Removing walls and joining rooms can create this interconnection in some homes.  Other homes require an addition; the family room addition with an expanded and remodeled kitchen is one of our most popular projects.

This combination of spaces leads to some important design elements.  It is important to connect the kitchen physically and visually with the other rooms.  Floor finishes, wood trim, painting, and interior decoration all need to work together to create an integrated whole.  At the same time the kitchen work area needs some separation.  Islands or peninsulas are often a good choice to provide the cook a work area while still visually connected to the other spaces. 

Design elements can also separate the spaces even while they are physically and visually connected.  Varying ceiling heights and finishes define each area.  Floor finishes can vary.  Columns and structural beams can replace walls.

Careful planning and good design can go far in making your kitchen the ideal for the 21st century home.

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