The Kitchen Evolution
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Growing up in a family that loves to cook, I have so many great memories in my mother’s kitchen. The clanking noise of pots and pans mixed with the aroma of spices is a daily dose of sensual joy. Being an avid fan of my mother’s and aunt’s cooking, I find myself frequently shooed out of the kitchen when I try to watch over their shoulders. It is not that they did not want to share their culinary secrets, but it is mainly because the kitchen is small, and it can get really tight in there. That was in the 70s and 80s, where kitchens are merely places to prepare food and cleanup, thereby closed-in by walls so it is out of sight, who wants to see mess right?
The kitchen has evolved so much since those times. The family home life has greatly changed. It has become a hub, the heart of modern homes for the modern families that are on the go. It has become a meeting room, an entertaining and socializing place where guests gather, a chef’s staging area, an office, and so much more. The kitchen’s multi-purpose has brought incredible changes in how it is designed. Such changes include different choices in finish materials and appliances to answer to its need for functionality and a more open layout.
If your home was built in the 1980s and earlier, chances are your kitchen may be due for a much needed facelift, an update, or re-design. I have scoured informative materials and spoken to industry experts to get information on how the modern kitchen has evolved since then. In designing any room there are three important factors to consider namely: functionality, mood, and harmony. It is very important to get to know the family and their needs. Questions I like to ask are the size of the family, ages of its members, do they entertain a lot, preferences in style, and their lifestyles. Are they always on the go? Do they prepare and cook their food a lot at home? What kind of kitchen equipment do they have? The ultimate goal is to give them a kitchen that is highly functional, efficient, and gives them enjoyment after all, they are the ones who will be brewing coffee and cooking meals in that space every single day.
What is the Latest on Kitchen Design
BIGGER IS BETTER
The modern kitchen needs more space. This may involve removing non-bearing walls to give it a more open space in order to accommodate perhaps an island or give room for bigger appliances. It serves as the hub for the family and place to entertain guests who are gathered around to enjoy wine and hors d’ oeuvres, therefore we need ample space to make everyone comfortable. This space preferably opens into the dining room and family room for a more inviting inclusive atmosphere.
To showcase the new, improved, and eye-pleasing kitchens, the choice of cabinetry is crucial. I put great emphasis on kitchen cabinetry more than anything else because they are the focal point of the kitchen. It must be functional and efficient but retain the style and mood the homeowner wants to create. Traditional or contemporary, simple or ornate, rugged or pristine? Does the homeowner want bold and eye-catching hardware? What kind of wood or laminated cabinet doors do they care for? Once that is determined, the next step is to design for functionality. In order to achieve this goal, cabinetry must have deep cabinets with pull-out drawers, a tall cabinet or two, adjustable drawers to accommodate small appliances, easy to clean, and not to forget durability. They need to be designed and installed with flow in mind to allow ease of movement. What about color? It all depends on how long the homeowner intends to live in their home. If they are looking to sell the house down the road, it may be best to stick with the neutrals to appeal to potential buyers. White cabinets are always the go-to color however, black is making a big come back especially if the flooring is of lighter color. For those who are living in their forever home, the choices are boundless. They can go with bold colors as they please or even a mixture of two-colors for their cabinetry. I highly suggest bringing samples into their homes just to see how it will work out before making a purchase. What may look great in a showroom, may not necessarily look great in their home.
Durability can never be compromised in a kitchen countertop. A good solid countertop is a must. The countertop being the most used finish material in the kitchen also needs to be easy to maintain. Tiled countertops is a no no for me. Whether it is a busy kitchen or a hardly used kitchen that 4x4 tile and grout lines are the thing of the past. They require so much maintenance or otherwise expect your grout to turn multiple hues as time passes by. Modern kitchens have a lot of choices for countertops which include natural stone such as granite, engineered stone, quartz composites, stained concrete, or recycled aluminum counters for a more professional looking kitchen. Choosing the right countertop depends on how the homeowner is going to use that kitchen. Natural stones are beautiful as no two countertops will be alike. However, it will require maintenance and re-polishing down the road. It is also not considered environmentally friendly as it is a resource that will be depleted. Marble countertops are never good for a busy kitchen as it shows water spots. The mostly used countertop these days are the quartz composite and engineered stone. They are almost maintenance free and its simplicity makes it easy to work with when it comes to designing contemporary kitchens with straight lines, and muted neutral color scheme.
Today’s busy and connected family need space where they can store and charge their devices such as cell phones, tablets, and computers. Many cooks opt for voice-activated controls and touch-free appliances not because they are cool, but it saves them time and the convenience they provide like sending messages for needed grocery items, reminders for their children’s after school activities, or connecting with their family members as they cook. Refrigerators with digital displays are in demand nowadays. Faucets have come a long way as well. Homeowners can opt for faucets that have motion sensors. These touchless faucets are quite amazing. They help in preventing the spread of germs and bacteria and are easy to clean as finger marks are kept to a minimum if any.
Did you know that a kitchen pantry is one of the most desirable features for a homebuyer? If you have the space, why not incorporate a pantry in your kitchen. It need not be fancy but a good paint and some shelvings can do the trick. To make it stand out, you can opt to install a glass door. As stated earlier, the modern family’s most valued resource is their time. The less trip to the grocery store, the better it is for the family. With seemingly endless tasks, the kitchen that allows them to spend less time on chores and spend more time with family is always a plus.
Last but not the least, is the flooring in your kitchen. Flooring products have evolved so much that homeowners need not sacrifice beauty for durability. Kitchen flooring can range from the easy to maintain vinyl to natural stone. Vinyl is no longer your grandmother’s linoleum sheet goods. Luxury Vinyl Planks have made a splash in the design world for its durability and ease of maintenance. Waterproof, rugged, and attractive, busy families are starting to appreciate this product. For those who prefer real wood, nothing can compare to its classic beauty however, be prepared for its upkeep. Water and wood do not mix and should you have a water leak, hardwood will be damaged. Stone and ceramic tile are still good choices for a kitchen floor. It is durable and very easy to clean and water proof. The bigger the tile the better as it requires minimal width grout lines and gives an impression of a bigger space.
Remodeling your kitchen is a worthwhile endeavor. According to Remodeling Magazine the average return on investment for mid-range to upscale major kitchen remodel is about 59-61%. What is more important than this is the enjoyment of a very important space in your home. The space where everyone gathers to nourish their bodies and nourish their souls, a bigger and better version of Grandma’s Kitchen.