Respected trend watchers have written about the attributes of the new clients and their families we will serve in the New Year. I’m also seeing a change occurring in requested planning layouts for Great Room kitchens, and an evolution that may well be leading to a two-kitchen home in the future.
First, what do I mean about new types of families? Post-recession, kitchen and bathroom designers are serving four distinctively different types of clients and family structures today. Here is a brief overview of these diverse consumer groups:
- Generation Y consumers enjoying a casual lifestyle – preferably, in an open space with a well-organized kitchen tucked in a corner. The term “family” for Generation Y can mean one person, a traditional two-person union or just about any other combination of folks living under the same roof. This age group embraces multi-generational family living, as well.
- Young families age 34 to 49 make up Generation X. This new “family” may be a blended one: having toddlers and teens in the same house. An aging parent or relative might share their home. Once again, a casual lifestyle in an open space is preferred; however, when this family entertains they want some way to manage the pre-dinner prep, and the post-dinner clean up.
For these two younger client categories, the definition of “cooking together” is changing as well. One part of the meal might be made at home, with other elements of the feast brought in from well-vetted gourmet take-out services. These groups also enjoy sharing meal prep by family members cooking together, or having all guests bring a contribution for the meal. For that reason, extra storage and warming space is a must.
- The Baby Boomer generation is also interested in an open space living/kitchen area, because these homeowners want to accommodate children with grandkids! Typically, this group has a traditional host and hostess (preparing most of the meal at home), but they are tired of a Great Room kitchen where elegant entertaining is not possible with stacks of soiled dishes within sight, or cooking aromas lingering in the air.
- Seniors, our last group of clients, may be downsizing in square footage – but not in the joy of life. They struggle to find enough adequate storage to house their lifelong collections, as well as have an area planned to allow them to age in place gracefully.
Over the past several years, I’ve noticed an intriguing trend emerging: the two-kitchen home. Talented designers are creating gathering kitchens that are separated from secondary prep or clean up stations concealed from view.
Families that entertain frequently are clamoring for walled-off prep kitchens to support catering pre-dinner needs, as well as clean-up-focused, pantry-type separate kitchen spaces.
These forward-thinking designs are resulting in a dramatic change taking place in the way large, spacious kitchens that are part of a Great Room gathering area are being planned.
EVOLUTION OF THE GREAT ROOM
For some families, a return to an appreciation of a separate formal dining room is emerging. As reported in the New York Times, some families who have grown up in a Great Room (open-space kitchen) are now searching for a home that has a kitchen separate from the living spaces. The main reason? These homeowners oftentimes like to cook, they enjoy having people over for dinners and parties…but after the meal is completed, they want a separate space to place soiled dishes so they are not sitting on an open counter.
So, how can we take the Great Room openness out of the Great Room kitchen? “All open” is not what families really want. The working part of the kitchen needs boundaries, a way to be concealed or separated.
By subdividing large rooms into open – yet separate – zones of work, share, play, dine, etc., we can have a “great kitchen” in a “great room,” and this seems to be different than the Great Room kitchen of several years ago.
The concept kitchen seen (where?) offers valuable design solutions for these types of new spaces.
When faced with such a challenging space, wise designers add a series of new questions to better understand how the idea for a “two-kitchen home” can be tailored to the way the family lives and cooks.
- Does the family typically invite friends over for casual meals? Perhaps people visiting will bring a contribution to share? Appliances to reheat or keep food warm might be appreciated.
- Is the family socially active? The kitchen might be used for catered events; therefore, a warming area for the caterers that is out of sight from gathered guests is much more important than a separate cooking area.
- Does the primary cook like everyone helping them in the kitchen just before a meal is served, or prefer to have all prep work done so that when guests arrive they can take off their apron and join in the fun? If so, the separate area needs extensive counter space and refrigeration.
- In addition to cooking, it is important to ask about beverage and food shopping habits.
- Lastly, find out how comfortable the family is with the idea of extra steps or extra motions necessary to walk into or to open and close doors in special workstations away from the general kitchen.
Following is a series of carefully crafted spaces that inspired me.
CASE STUDY 1
In this first case study, a South Carolina designer created a similar separate “scullery kitchen” layout, with a twist.
CASE STUDY 2
In our second case study, another Southern designer was challenged by a typical ranch floor plan with many small rooms that did not encourage gathering.
CASE STUDY 3
In our next solution, the kitchen is segmented into the primary gathering space and a back-up work space by creating an island that has a full wall behind it. Because the powder room is in the back area, the pantry is a separate, enclosed space.
CASE STUDY 4
The same designer – he is based in the Washington, D.C. area – transformed a very typical large kitchen with an island into a more functional space that works better for a family that needed a place to serve as a “mud room” as the family enters from the back door, as well as a secondary sink area.
Our last floor plan (see image 6) reflects another reason consumers may be intrigued with the idea of a “two kitchen” home: the ability to have the kitchen working and gathering area part of an outdoor living space.
Kitchen designers are going to be challenged by both large and small kitchen spaces in 2015…and beyond. In addition to the large kitchens we have studied in this article, very small second kitchens are also being requested.
- Innovative new home designers are incorporating a flex space that can be outfitted as a “home within a home.” These locked off, apartment-sized living spaces often contain a simple coffee station or a complete kitchen for guests, aging parents, returning children or other individuals living with the family occupying the main house.
- Clients are interested in separate entertaining areas, a place to escape (the “man cave”), even a mini-kitchen or coffee station in the owner’s bedroom.
- Lastly, consumers are requesting separate cooking areas (just off the main kitchen) that provide an extra level of management of noise, aromas, equipment storage or storage areas for aromatic specialty cooking.
Whether this second cooking area is large or small: successful kitchen designers take the time to question the consumer, survey all construction and mechanical limitations … and make sure to discuss the budget for these additional work areas during the initial planning phase.
This article has been excerpted from a webinar I presented on November 18, 2014 that was sponsored by Jenn-Air and hosted by Kitchen & Bath Design News Magazine. You can attend the full one-hour webinar (NKBA, AIA and NARI CEU-approved) by visiting www.jennairCEUcourses.com – or – www.forresidentialpros.com/jenn-airwebinars.
I would also like to thank the following talented designers who shared their work in this article.
- Jonas Carnemark, CR, CKD, CARNEMARK, Bethesda, MD, CARNEMARK.com. Photography by Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography, Washington, DC, www.hdphoto.com
- Jonas Carnemark, CR, CKD, KONST Kitchen Interior Design, Bethesda, MD, http://www.carnemark.com/konstsiematic.com. Photography by Anice Hoachlander, Hoachlander Davis Photography, Washington, DC, www.hdphoto.com
- Eddie DeRhodes, DeRhodes Construction L.L.C., Charlotte, N.C., derhodesconstruction.com
- Bryan Reiss, CMKBD, Distinctive Design, Mount Pleasant, SC, distinctivedesignllc.com