On any given weekend across America, friends are gathering around large kitchen islands to snack, chat, and visit with each other. But that was not always the case. Over the last 50 years, cooking has become a social gathering and kitchen remodels have reflected the cultural change. Modern designs, social dynamics, and the advent of cooking shows and channels have allowed the average dinner party to transform into a gourmet cooking affair. Homes are accumulating gourmet pots, pans, and other kitchen accessories and the kitchen has become the heart and soul of the home.
America’s first kitchens were relegated to the rear of the home and tended to be closed off from the rest of the home. Now that socializing around food preparation has become the norm, kitchen designs and renovations have evolved.
The Path to the Modern Kitchen
In the early 1900s, wealthy homeowners typically hired cooks and servants to prepare meals for the family and the kitchen was designed as a service type area. Located in the rear, behind the main living area, the kitchen was used strictly for utilitarian purposes.
With the industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class came the efficient kitchen design that was popular within working class apartments. The small kitchen space was optimized to reduce meal preparation time and to lower the cost of kitchen construction. Kitchens still existed strictly as a place to prepare food.
The Usonian home design, established by Frank Lloyd Wright, became the suburban home design of choice and introduced the concept of open floor plans. Spaces began to flow and the kitchen was eventually incorporated back into the overall design of the home. Open plan kitchens became the desired kitchen remodel choice for women, as they no longer wanted to be confined to the kitchen.
When Julia Child began to appear on TV in the 1960s, she convinced average people that they could prepare gourmet meals. Homeowners quickly realized that they wanted a gourmet kitchen remodel to match their new found skills. It is common today for dinner party guests to join the hostess in the kitchen. Families routinely gather around the kitchen to hang out or cook together. Opening up the kitchen to the living space allows for families to commune more easily.
What Does This Mean for Kitchen Design?
The kitchen is now regarded as the heart of the home. It is the place where meals are created with love, families discuss their days, and friends cook together. Glasses of wine are shared across kitchen islands and good news is shared. Kitchens are no longer just for cooking and design elements in kitchen remodels are reflecting the change. Our modern day kitchens are filled with energy and the design elements are establishing kitchens as complete living spaces. A few necessary elements to complete a modern kitchen are:
• Large seating area
• Functional layout
• Flow into adjacent rooms
• Multiple work spaces
• Organizational systems
• Upgraded surfaces to include counter tops and cabinets
Owning an older home does not prevent homeowners from designing and enjoying an open concept kitchen. Typically kitchen remodel specialists are able to remove a wall or two, extend counter and cabinet space, add an island with some seating and create a modern kitchen that will be the heart and soul of any home.