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October 2018

Gather Around: The Kitchen As A Social Center

1st Oct, 2018 | Filed under Articles, Blog

It wasn’t too long ago that the only thing you did in a kitchen was prepare the next meal. Think back a couple decades and you might remember sitting in the living room while someone put the finishing touches on dinner in another part of the house, disconnected from the rest of the family. The distant sounds of pots clanging were all that was noted. And the kitchen was small and box-like in most cases.

Nowadays, the kitchen is more than a kitchen. It’s the social hub of the home, with all the amenities and features needed to entice friends and family to gather around and chat. Yes, a meal is being prepared, but it’s not hidden from sight. It’s happening right in the middle of all the buzzing activity.

“The modern home has an open floor plan, so it only makes sense that the kitchen becomes less an afterthought and more an integral room with a multitude of functions,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs Inc. in Eugene, Ore.

More than ever, the goal is to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house and the means to do that depend on the desires of the homebuyer. From breakfast bars to large island work centers, the two homes below emphasize the social kitchen. The one thing that is similar for both kitchens is that they are not confined to one small space.

The kitchen becomes the home’s headquarters.


The Pacifica: Versatility and Social Living

Here is a craftsman bungalow with room to spare and then some. At 4,090 square feet, the Pacifica (30-683) is designed for a view with grandiose windows bringing in natural light and the outdoors.

There are three ample bedrooms, a generous secondary living space, a bonus room and a three-car garage. But the heart and soul of the house is the kitchen. A long, raised eating bar opens up into the great room with its vaulted ceilings and large fireplace. By connecting the two rooms in such a way, the kitchen is less a workhorse and more an extension of the living area.

“It’s all about versatility here,” said McAlexander. “You don’t want to block the kitchen off but you also don’t want to limit its features.”

Giving it a reason to be a part of the fun means the ample eating bar and the open L-shape of the kitchen let’s guests wander around and through it with ease while keeping everyone together. Countertops and kitchen storage -- including a large walk-in pantry -- are not ignored in this design, but rather made to blend with the great room.

“What’s great here is that you are not limited,” said McAlexander. “You are getting the best of everything while also creating a social space that is unique and spacious. Have a party, mingle with friends while you mix up an appetizer, or just be a part of the action as it happens in the great room when family is home.”


The Brookhill: Escape to the Kitchen

Another way to extend the use of the kitchen is to make it an extension of the dining area. In this case, the Brookhill (30-963) utilizes a huge work island that anchors the kitchen, which opens into the dining room.

The result is a dining area that is larger than it first appears.

“You walk into this house and you are surrounded by windows and natural light,” said McAlexander. “And then you have this great room that flows effortlessly into the dining area and kitchen. That huge kitchen island is basically a giant second table. Gathering with friends for holidays and big meals has never been so easy.”

Counters, cabinets and appliances wrap around three sides of the kitchen. The dining room opens up onto a partially covered patio, making the gathering space versatile, too. Combine this with the open floorplan that melds the kitchen, dining and living areas into one well-lit space and it’s the best of everything.

“It’s an ideal environment for families who enjoy bringing people together,” said McAlexander.

And that is essentially the purpose of the modern kitchen. It is not a workhorse or a forgotten cave in the back of the house. It is an integral piece to the home design puzzle -- a social hub.

As seen on Newswire

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