The kitchen is more than just a place to cook – it’s the hub of life in the home.As well as food preparation, the kitchen is where we gather and talk about our day. It’s where we work from, sit and sip a coffee or wine with friends and where we celebrate special occasions. It’s also one of the places in a new home where buyers can express their own personal tastes (literally!) and add flavours of their own identity. It’s no wonder that home buyers place such emphasis on having a great kitchen, says Cameron Kusher, REA Group’s executive manager – economic research. “When people are buying or looking at homes, the kitchen is one of the most likely rooms that they fall in love with,” Cameron says. “So, it’s pretty important you have that high-quality kitchen that people are going to like cooking in and congregating in as well.” Here are some of the elements that go into making the kitchen the centrepiece of modern home life.
Out of the shadows
The kitchen wasn’t always the centre of household social activity that it is today. Traditionally, the kitchen was a small, quiet room tucked away out of sight. While it was once a utilitarian room hidden away, the kitchen has shifted to being physically the centre of the home as well as part and parcel of the living, dining and alfresco areas. “Kitchens are open and more integrated now,” says Keith Fuller, senior designer at Porter Davis Homes. “We think more about how to better accommodate family and friends and think of the kitchen as an additional space for entertaining.” As a result, Keith says that modern kitchens are designed to be fluid living spaces. “In that shift, they seamlessly connect with the dining/living area to create a natural flow for those coming and going,” he says.
Islands in the stream
The modern kitchen has to wear many different hats – it has to be functional as well as social. The island bench is a core component on which these functionalities rest upon. It allows food preparation to take place at the centre of the kitchen, instead of on the fringes. While configurations have changed over time, today’s island benches can be smart wired with USB and extra power connections, hidden storage and even integrated wine fridges. They’ve evolved on top too, with seamless rangehood options, built-in stove tops and sinks, and of course, stylish material options, including marble and on-trend terrazzo. But it’s not all about adding extra bells and whistles. Keith says one of the key factors to picking the perfect island bench is thinking about how the space feels when it’s being used. “Where are you looking? What are you seeing? Where is everything in relation to where you sit and do those things?” says Keith.
Not just a second thought
With so much out on show, kitchens often include a must-have secondary storage space – the butler’s pantry. “Maybe it’s come full circle,” says Keith. “As the kitchen has come out from being tucked away and it’s brought itself open to the world, we just need somewhere where we can hide a bit of our mess.” Perfect for entertainers, butler’s pantries, walk-in pantries and galleries neatly hide away all the working elements that can detract from a beautiful looking kitchen. They can house a microwave, have coffee making facilities, operate as a secondary cooking space or simply work as an extra place for food and groceries storage. They’re design statements, too, made popular by television reality renovation programs like The Block, with fittings and fixtures that match the style of the larger, showpiece kitchen
Like everything else, kitchen design does not stand still. Trends change, style preferences evolve, while new tech and appliances continue to emerge. And, when it comes to new kitchen gadgets, there’s plenty on offer. “There are smart fridges that link to your phone, so you can check if you need milk or eggs while you’re in the supermarket,” Keith says. Tap sensors glow red when it’s hot and blue when it’s cold, while pyrolytic ovens have evolved to help you cook the perfect meal. “There’s always amazing, quirky things in the market,” says Keith. “But when they are price driven, they can take a bit of time to become mainstream.” Also, when it comes to kitchen design, often the more expensive the fitting, the harder it can be to replace. But if you spend your money wisely, you’ll have a strong performing residential investment for the future, says Cameron “I think a really good kitchen Is a really important piece, both when you are buying but also for the resale value down the track,” he says. Original article appeared on realestate.com.au