The saying, “the kitchen is the heart and soul of every house,” is one of those adages you can’t really appreciate until you see it in action. But of course, it makes perfect sense. The kitchen – whether indoors or out – is a natural focal point for nearly every facet of a home’s activity.(After all, I’ve been preaching about this for years to our clientele.) It is so true that no longer is it the cook’s domain – simply an appliance haven of fridge-oven-sink. The kitchen has become the nucleus of the house – the hot spot for socializing, eating, or just hanging out. It’s where you pop in for a snack and a chat with the kids, where you sit with your laptop and read the morning’s headlines, and where you spend hours crafting a holiday meal (or at least opening take-out containers) with those you love. Call it the family room with food – the kitchen is undeniably the it locale.
This weekend, my wife and I spent Saturday evening ensconced in the most basic of home-entertaining practices: we had friends over for dinner. It was a beautiful Southern California evening, the outdoor pizza oven was hot and ready for everyone’s make-your-own creations (mind you, after 4-hours of prep, feeding it aged almond-wood to get the refractory clay surface to 650 degrees Fahrenheit – no Domino’s one hour or less delivery here!) After transforming our backyard dining table and furniture into an al fresco oasis – all we needed was hungry diners. As the evening progressed – our guests assembling their pies, me standing guard at the pizza oven – I realized that although everyone was well fed, we hadn’t actually touched our outdoor table. All the eating, cooking, and socializing hovered around our outdoor kitchen and never budged. We all seemed to bring the chairs over and line them up in front of the kitchen. It was oven-to-mouth… oven-to-mouth…times ten pies. Even later, when the night cooled off and dessert rolled around, our ambition to gather in our indoor dining room (around a table custom-designed for its space, no less, and one that we like to use as often as I can) was thwarted as we found ourselves perfectly cozy in the kitchen, draped over counter-tops and stools, casually sipping coffee, eating sweets; definitely not missing chairs-with-backs for even an instant.
Home design is an ever-evolving art, one that’s always shifted with our culture to reflect new priorities. Now, it’s apparent more than ever that our homes crave centralization – a hub from which we can extend all the reaches of our lives: family, work, entertainment, technology. And of all the rooms to assume this role, the kitchen has emerged as the overwhelming victor. It has morphed from “utilitarian” to “meta-functional,” and now requires a specific toolkit of products and design elements to support its new part in our home life.
Note to homeowners: When considering the kitchen, think beyond food, beyond dishes and glassware, beyond size and ease of cooking spaces. Instead, embrace the kitchen as the new horizon of home-lifestyle composition and acknowledge the infinite possibilities it brings with it.
And note to designers, dealers and manufacturers: Don’t underestimate the importance of developing and creating products that truly make a difference in the way the end-user lives and experiences day-to-day activities. Designing spaces and creating environments where our clientele can appreciate the things in life that really matter such as enjoying friends and family – while creating memorable experiences as often as possible – long after their remodel or new home is complete. In doing this, our livelihood becomes more than a point of sale for our products or services, rather it becomes one of the most rewarding parts of our professional lives.