Today’s kitchens are no longer isolated rooms created to prep the essential ‘three squares’ each day. They have morphed into the hub of the home –the center of household activity. Kitchen design has had to evolve as well, requiring a whole-home point of view. “We’ve gone from simply designing kitchens that work well, to making sure they work with our client’s lifestyles and all the spaces which surround the kitchen that are part of everyday life,” says Jamie Lawrence of Elite Cabinetry in Naples, Florida.
Working closely with his wife Carol, Jamie begins the process by spending time with clients to get a true feel for how they live life, and how the kitchen and adjoining spaces will be used as part of that lifestyle. It’s no longer just about preparing food, but who’s preparing what type of food and with whom. Today, function dictates form. How will the meal be served? Where will it be eaten? Is the family formal or informal?
“We take time to talk to our clients about how they enjoy life at home. Are they gourmet cooks spending a large amount of time preparing and cooking, or is the kitchen more of a social hub? What kind of entertaining do they do – how often and for how many? Are the kids still at home or occasional visitors? These are just some of the questions we typically ask,” describes Lawrence.
Once the homeowners’ lifestyle is defined, the kitchen can be designed to incorporate the proper cabinetry and appliances to meet their specific cooking and lifestyle needs. For example, will valuable space be used for an island big enough for two gourmet cooks, or would that space be better used creating a large sit-down counter for guests to gather? Appliance choices must be based on how the kitchen will be used; how big a refrigerator; how many ovens; how important is wine; are there special electronics needs? Then the cabinetry can be designed to accommodate these functions.
Once the core needs of the kitchen are satisfied, the surrounding rooms need to integrate with the kitchen to function in harmony. Since most kitchens are open to a family room or great room, the entertainment center should be positioned with proper visibility to the working and guest gathering areas. All of the peripheral rooms should relate intuitively to the hub of the kitchen. Careful attention should be paid that the adjacent rooms support this harmony.
Another important consideration is whether there is a butler’s pantry or if food will be taken directly to the dining area for more formal gatherings. The cabinetry should be designed to function accordingly. “We view these conjoined rooms as integrated spaces that need to function together. Otherwise, homeowners will be making compromises to the way they live their lives,” states Lawrence.
Once the cabinetry for each room has been designed, the style and finishes have to be determined. “We work closely with our clients and their interior designer to make sure the kitchen cabinets and all the built-in cabinetry are in harmony with the overall look the homeowners desire,” shares Lawrence. “Nothing we design should steal the show.”
When looking for a cabinetry design professional, look for one that will take the time to understand your lifestyle, so your kitchen and surrounding areas will function well and look beautiful. These careful considerations will maximize your enjoyment for years to come.
Written by Channing Spano
5435 Jaeger Road.,
Naples, FL 34109