Published at Wednesday, October 17th 2018. by Dominique in Kitchen.
In the days before electricity changed everything in our lives, family kitchens in modestly sized homes were large but simply appointed rooms. They contained a solid fuel heat source for cooking (a fireplace or a coal or wood stove) and a built-in sink, with or without running water. Everything else was a piece of furniture. The icebox was elegantly made of wood, as were the central dining/work table, cupboards, pie safes and pantries. The family kitchen was the central work/social place of the home too where family members, sometimes in the company of friends performed most domestic chores and socialized with each other.
As an Architect, I try to utilize the best means of design to make a house more efficient and well utilized for the square footage. In this article, I'm dealing with kitchen design, and how to make it more efficient in use and storage, make it feel more open than a standard kitchen, but do it in a smaller size (square footage costs money).
On the other hand, the family room, or the social area of the great room is designed in a completely different way. Typically, a beautiful empty room is created and then it is furnished. Instead of lining all the walls with horizontal bands of built-ins (and there are exceptions to this i.e. Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie homes) the wall spaces are interrupted with vertical elements like windows and doors or focal points such as a fireplaces. The walls of the room are separated into vertical segments instead of continuous horizontal bands. At blank wall areas and in the middle of the room, eclectic pieces of furniture create seating arrangements, while the wall-hung artwork and sculptural collectibles on display determine the room's personality. But the wall, floor and ceiling colors and textures permeate between all of these vertical elements acting as the 'glue' that holds the whole design theme together.
Keep your ceilings tall by putting in scissors trusses. You can make your walls 8 foot tall, but by adding the scissors truss (peak at 13 to 14 feet) will give you lots of visual space and a less confined feeling. And get a skylight in the kitchen. The opening for a skylight can be much bigger than the skylight itself. Get the opening from the peak of the ceiling to the edge of the wall, and locate the skylight near a perpendicular wall so it will disperse the light throughout the kitchen. Put some \"niches\" in your tall walls above the 8' line for greenery, or statues. Put \"puck\" lights in these niches for accent lighting.
Other clients think the \"traffic corridor\" kitchen concept \"clogs\" up the kitchen with unnecessary and unwanted people. Count me in the \"keep-the-unnecessary-people-out-of-the-kitchen\" category. I like to keep the kitchen open and inviting, I just don't want the extra bodies while the meal is being prepared. By keeping the extra bodies out, the kitchen can be smaller and more efficient, meaning fewer steps between the refrigerator, cooktop and sink.
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