We spend a lot of time in our kitchens. We cook, clean, socialize, console, surf the web, along with a buffet of other activities. In other words, the kitchen is where we multitask. As a result of this trend, builders are designing kitchens to be more comfortable and stylish. In a 2010 survey, the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence discovered that 30 percent of adults considered the kitchen to be the center of activity in their home. So if we are spending so much time in our kitchen, perhaps we ought to focus a little more on making them livable and beautiful. In her article, “The Kitchen as Command Center”, columnist Marni Jameson suggests seven ways to make your kitchen more livable, see his 7 ways below.
•Treat it like a living space. Kitchens should look like extensions of living and family rooms. Hang ornamental mirrors, artwork and chandeliers; add cabinetry that looks like furniture
•Soften up. To offset a kitchen’s hard surfaces, add upholstered benches, easy chairs and pillows. They invite people to do what they do in the kitchen anyway — hang out. If you add an upholstered bench or build one in for table seating, beware: This won’t work if your table has four legs, because getting in and out could reduce your ability to have children. Only put a bench with a trestle table.
•Make way for a laptop. In the past four years, the number of people using laptops in their kitchens has almost doubled, from 6 percent in 2006 to 11 percent in 2010, according to the RICKI survey. Thus, a laptop station is a must and great to have when checking a kid’s game schedule or searching for a recipe online.
•Install a nerve center. Today’s kitchens must have a dedicated place where household members can plug in televisions and laptops, dock iPods and recharge cell phones, says Zaveloff.
•Open the access. Kitchens should ideally be situated adjacent to mudrooms, dining rooms and family rooms. These spaces should share flow and connection. If the door between the kitchen and family room is small, remove the door, widen the opening and add casings or an arch. In the dining room, plan sightlines so guests feel connected to the kitchen but can’t see the dishes.
•Think activity zones. Besides cooking and casual eating, create zones for homework, the laptop, media entertainment, and a little business — all activities that now happen in the kitchen.
•Pull up to the island. Nine times out of 10 a kitchen island is where neighbors settle in to visit, or kids pull up for a chat. “People connect in the kitchen,” says Zaveloff. “A certain comfort happens in there. You just can’t get the same feeling in the living room.”
We’d of course add beautiful and vibrant Big Chill appliances to the list of must-haves for a livable and loveable kitchen.