Open kitchen, dining, living spaces offer great versatility for the way we live today
Friday, June 23, 2017
The modern kitchen is all about having space to cook, eat, entertain, gather as a family and relax. Therefore, the average kitchen project has become so much more than simply upgrading old cabinetry and appliances. The big appeal is for the kitchen and cook to be part of the action when entertaining and, on a day-to-day basis, for the whole family to be together. In this time- of fast paced living, it’s a real advantage to be able to offer help with homework while preparing the evening meal – and to be able to keep one eye on tots and teens while managing other tasks. People have become generally less formal and so are more willing to share cooking, dining and relaxing areas. When throwing a dinner party, it’s seen as sociable to cook and entertain at the same time.
ASSESSING THE OPTIONS
An expensive extension is not the only option for gaining more room. A first step should always be to see if there’s potential in the space you already have – a little-used dining room, part of a hallway, a garage. It’s worth calling in the professionals at this early stage as a trained eye will see solutions you simply won’t.
Whether you’re using an architect, interior designer or a design and build company, it’s important to get your kitchen designer on board as early as possible. ‘Commission a kitchen as soon as you can so that the designer can work in harmony with your architect. Wiring and plumbing especially needs to be planned from a very early stage. Demolition and ducting, in particular, can be a headache to get right in an open-floor plan.
It’s hard enough to picture a new kitchen in an existing space but imagining a whole new room can seem impossible. The truth is, you’ll only get a true sense of the space when the walls come down. Architect’s drawings and designer’s CAD (computed-aided design) images will help give a feel for the area and what will fit and where. Your designer will assess it in a range of ways, from how traffic flows to best view points and aesthetics, as well as practical considerations such as the position of existing services such as power and plumbing. It’s quite common to discover that ceiling and floor heights between adjoining rooms are significantly different, even though they appeared the same when the rooms were separated. So plan ahead and measure up to prevent a small project becoming more complex than anticipated.
IN THE KITCHEN
The rise of the open-plan layout has had a huge impact on cabinetry design. What used to be a simple choice of base and wall units has exploded into hundreds of choices – from tall cabinets to provide maximum storage and appliance housings, to islands that double as seating areas and floating units that blend with living-room furniture. Paradoxically, layouts have got simpler. The old stalwarts of galley, double-galley, U- and L-shaped were designed to maximize storage and cut down on the distance travelled from sink to fridge to stove – the work triangle. These days, we’re used to seeing huge banks of storage with a parallel island not only defining the zone of the kitchen but creating a double galley and maintaining that triangle.