Building a Smarter Kitchen
The way designers plan kitchens for clients will be different moving forward. Everyone is spending more time at home. Restaurants are not as accessible as they were, and everyone seems to have had at least one zoom cocktail party. A blend of generations living under one roof, children learning virtually and work from home situations have changed everything. While we will no doubt adapt to a new normal, making the most of our home will remain a high priority.
What does “Home” mean to you.
Ideally “home” is about a great deal more than mere shelter. At its best, our home is a reflection of who we are. It accommodates our priorities and enhances our lifestyle. That is truer than ever these days when it comes to the kitchen.
What does that mean for kitchen design beyond 2020?
Let’s explore some ideas for better storage options, multifunctional spaces, better organization, additional food storage and preparation ideas.
Have you been buying in bulk these days? I think that this trend of shopping and storing food in bulk will continue. We always work to include smart pantry storage in every kitchen design. Pull out storage makes items accessible to everyone. Closets will hold larger items or bulk items. And remember this: storage areas do not necessarily have to be located in the kitchen but should be accessible to replenish kitchen needs.
You are on an important meeting call when the kids decide they need a snack and can’t reach the plates or the food. One of the many reasons dish drawer storage has become a standard in the kitchens I design. These handy drawers can hold more than just dishes. How about the plates and the snacks together? They are accessible to the whole family and allow some independence. Planned right, this design can adapt and evolve as your family gets older, too.
Go Hands Free Touchless Faucets
With additional handwashing, the whole family may be touching faucets and faucet handles much more often. Touch free faucets are an easy install and are good looking. The older institutional look has given way to higher design style and, of course, eliminates the transfer of germs. Easy on, easy off.
Portable sanitation stations
When I first started bringing groceries into the house at the beginning of the pandemic, I was washing everything in the garage before bringing it into the house. All my cleaning items were kept together in my favorite accessory: a removable caddy for cleaning products under the sink. Everything you need is in one portable container. Whether you are cleaning items in a nearby bathroom, in the garage, on the porch or in the kitchen, having everything in one place is a real time saver.
Extra refrigerator and freezer space are a true luxury. If you can find the space for a small beverage refrigerator for grabbing a quick drink for work-at-home folks or the kids it takes stress off cold food storage. Just as bulk buying and its benefits (savings, organic options, convenience) bring with them additional storage needs, extra refrigeration and freezer space should be considered. Smart planning puts this essential storage out of sight but not inconveniently out of the way.
Small Appliance Storage
Smaller appliances are often neglected or an afterthought in kitchen designs. That is a real miss as small appliances can add annoying clutter to countertops and mismatched storage areas if not thoughtfully planned for. Designated spots for coffee and tea makers make a real difference. A place for mixers and blenders that can be hidden from view when necessary but easily accessed are important features you want in a kitchen where you’ll be spending any significant amount of time.
Growing herbs at home has taken off. More than a trend (home-grown herbs are as old as cooking itself), this simple enhancement provides multiple benefits: fabulously fresh ingredients (you really do taste the difference), bringing the outdoors into your space and the wonderful environmental karma of live plants in your kitchen. Open shelves or dedicated counter space for at-home hydroponic gardens are growing, pardon the pun.
The Café Kitchen
If you are working from home, you will want a spot to sit with your computer during your coffee break. If this is not currently part of your set up, trust me, you’ll love the flexibility. Additional outlets with USB ports, strategically located, are a must especially if you want to eat lunch away from your desk but need to stay connected. Strong broadband connections will be needed, too, if you like to wander while you work.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
While the full ramifications of the worldwide health crisis are still unfolding, one aspect of its impact is clear: we have an increased focus and new perspective on our homes and the way we live in them. Although lifestyles are changing, some things are constant. Take the time and effort to plan your home’s critical spaces wisely – especially your kitchen. The payoff in terms of daily comfort, simple joys and a home suited to serve you and those you love well goes beyond measure.
Looking for more ideas to make you home more livable for everyone in the family? Check out my blog Easy to Add Living in Place Ideas for your Home
Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD is a designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, Family Circle, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books. Her Blog “Tips for the Trade” has appeared in digital form on Sivanaspirit.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.