For many, the kitchen is a hub of activity; from frenzied morning breakfasts to after-school snacks, from everyday dinners to festive entertaining. What you need is a space to help manage the flow cleanly and efficiently. What you want is a space that's chic. Food trends expert Dana McCauley, danamccauley.com, has been watching the latest in cool kitchens and offers some ideas on how to enhance the space, making it both sensible and stylish.
Style at Home: How can homeowners achieve both function AND fun in terms of kitchen design?
Dana McCauley: That's a tough balance to achieve. One of the trends that look great but aren't functional is having a lot of open shelving. Not only do plates and other items get dusty and greasy on open shelves but you have to constantly be editing and tidying the space to avoid a cluttered look. One of the tips I like to share is that function be considered first and design second. Choosing appliances that look great but have sound usable design is key. For instance if you like to entertain and want to make foods ahead, buy a full depth refrigerator that can accommodate a tray of canapés or a whole layer cake. Likewise, think about how many steps it will take you to get from your equipment to the food to the preparation area. Even a big kitchen can lack functionality if you are wasting a lot of steps and time.
S@H: What's the latest in "greening" your kitchen? And is there a single green material or appliance, which gives the most bang for the buck?
DM: I love that designers and manufacturers are using more bamboo to make counters, cutting boards and tools. Bamboo grows much more quickly than hardwood yet it has a lot of the same advantages as woods such as oak or maple. Sean Ruck who also contributed to the Kitchen Aid Kitchens for Cooks trend report points out that lower energy and water usage appliances are also becoming more available and helping consumers to save both money and resources.
S@H: Kitchens have always been a hub in the home - how are they reflecting the many ages and interests of those who spend time there?
DM: In her essay the Ageless Kitchen PJ Wade points out that wider access ways to accommodate walker and wheel chairs, adjustable counter top heights and ergometric features such as levered door handles are making it not only easier for people of all ages to congregate in the kitchen but to cook in it as well.