Kitchens tend to be one of the hardest rooms to design. They are also amongst the most expensive and labor-intensive to build. The kitchen is generally for utility, but is also a central gathering space in most homes, so creating a design that fulfills both of these purposes can be a challenge. Function is the driving force, yet comfort must be taken into account as well.
When designing a kitchen, decide in advance what you’re going to be doing in each area and that will determine where you place the appliances. You’ll want dishwashers near the sink, landing space—in other words, countertops—beside the sink and the refrigerator and the stove. It doesn’t make sense to put a stove next to a wall, or a cold refrigerator next to a hot stove. It’s always pleasant to have a window over the sink. And don’t forget a pullout drawer for trash, with recycling bins.
“When I’m watching a movie like Gosford Park or Sabrina or the latest English-country-house saga, I can’t wait for the camera to move out of the drawing room and into the back-of-the-house. That’s because what I really want to see are the kitchens and the baths.”
-Michael S. Smith
In the House on Mapleton Drive, the kitchen was previously designed as a commercial grade kitchen. For the renovation, the objective is to transform it into a functional yet intentionally designed space, especially since it will be one of the busiest and most personal rooms in the house. Given its grand scale—including the 18-plus foot ceiling height and the 5 foot diameter, off-center skylight—it’s critical that utility, comfort, and style are all balanced appropriately.
But of course, the best-laid plans…
During the deconstruction process, the team found beams that were located lower in the pathway of the new construction, which was inconsistent with the original set of plans for the house. As any good renovation story goes, with each discovery the domino effect comes into play. When adjusting or redesigning happens, the approval of everyone from the designer to the structural engineer is vital to ensure a seamless design execution. As new layers of the home begin to peel away, keeping the plans (and your vision) flexible is the key to a successful outcome.
One final note: Not everyone’s kitchen is the size and scale of the one in the House on Mapleton Drive. It’s a good thing to be reminded that size isn’t everything. In fact, if you ask a professional chef they will probably tell you that a small kitchen is much more efficient than a large kitchen. And it can also be elegant as well.
Photography by Romy Reiner