Assess how well your own kitchen functions this holiday
It happens every year—you host a memorable, family gathering; every room is decked out with your favorite holiday decorations; you’ve made a crackling fire; and appetizers are spread out ready for sampling. Where do all of your guests end up? You got it… the kitchen. The well-known expression “the kitchen is the heart of home” is never truer than during the holidays. Since food is central to most festive occasions, your guests spend much of their time in the kitchen visiting with you as you finish the final preparations of your meal.
As you host your family gathering this year, pay close attention to the functional use of your space. Use these design considerations to determine whether your kitchen can use an upgrade—perfect for entertaining.
A Kitchen Fit for Festivities
The challenge for many homeowners is configuring their kitchen to accommodate a house full of guests a few times a year, while serving their immediate family needs the rest of the year. This holiday, pay close attention to how much space you have. If it is becoming an issue, square footage can be added with a new room addition. You may also be able to reconfigure your existing space to increase efficiency and room flow without adding an addition.
Before any work is started, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in your kitchen space. If you entertain all the time, a larger open concept kitchen might be ideal for you. If you host large gatherings two or three times a year, adding a large center island with additional seating might be the perfect solution. Create a “must-have” list for your new kitchen and keep those priorities top of mind as you plan your ideal working space.
Seating is a premium when you entertain large groups. If your kitchen doesn’t currently have an island, consider what it might be like to have one. An island creates additional seating and more surface area for prepping and serving. In fact, a popular trend is to have two islands in the kitchen – one for cooking and food preparation and the other for seating and serving. If you have a L- or U-shaped kitchen, an island can also eliminate the “dead end” space where people can end up “stuck” in the back of the kitchen.
Tiered counter heights on an island or a long counter are also a great way to create additional space for guests. Your family or friends can visit you in the kitchen without interfering with the food preparation or cooking process. It can also give your guests an area to place beverages and eat hors d’oeuvres, while concealing food that is being prepped on the other side.
Flow and Function
When you’re working in your kitchen this holiday, consider how you use your space. Are you in easy reach of all the kitchen appliances and supplies you need to complete your holiday preparations and finish your holiday meal? Do you have to maneuver around guests to get from one end of the kitchen to another? When you evaluate your kitchen space, consider the kitchen “work triangle,” which is a concept used to determine efficient kitchen layouts. The work triangle makes up the primary tasks in a home kitchen that are carried out between three points—the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator. Something as relatively simple as moving the sink to a more central location can make a huge difference in the efficiency and flow of the space.
Is there an empty wall near your kitchen or eating space? If you find yourself maneuvering around your guests in your kitchen, you might consider installing a custom side bar. This will create a natural place to set up a beverage bar or appetizer area for your guests to congregate while they are waiting for you to serve them. It’s also a great place to store additional beverages and glassware.
Speaking of storage, when you do a lot of cooking and entertaining you tend to have a plethora of kitchen supplies, i.e., glassware, pots and pans, dishware, cooking utensils, special holiday dishes, linens, etc. Consequently, storage becomes an important consideration to your kitchen plan. How easy is it for you to access your special holiday dishes? Are your chaffing dishes tucked away behind your pots and pans or are they on a shelf buried deep in the garage? As you rethink your kitchen, consider ways to maximize your storage space.
Walk-in pantries are a great option for storing holiday items that are used just a few times a year. If you don’t have space for a walk-in pantry, custom cabinetry can go a long way to maximizing your kitchen space. Custom cabinets can double or triple your storage by not only leveraging floor space but also areas up high. Instead of installing cabinets one or two feet from the ceiling, you can run them all the way to the top of the ceiling.
Appliances that Enhance Entertaining
There are some great products on the market today that can help a host or hostess pull off the perfect party or family gathering. Consider these appliances to enhance your entertaining experience: Warming Drawer, Cappuccino Maker, Convection Oven, or Ice Maker. A secondary dishwasher, refrigerator or freezer placed adjacent to the main kitchen area can also help with quick, easy clean-up and extra storage.
For questions about remodeling a kitchen in your home fit for entertaining, contact Riverside Construction today!
Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.
We also schedule complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.