Monthly Archives: August 2015

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Blog – August 2015

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Joey is a 16 year veteran of the industry and has been with Deslaurier since 2003. Joey holds a degree from Queen’s University in Kingston and a Diploma of Interior Design from Algonquin College in Ottawa. She specializes in custom homes, and is privileged to have 3 submissions for this year's GOHBA awards.

 

The Return of The Closed Kitchen

 

I read an article a year ago asking the question, “Are closed kitchens making a comeback”? The concept of the article intrigued me. I have been a kitchen designer for 16 years and, for the majority of those years, my clients have, almost exclusively, asked me for an open-concept kitchen. When clients are renovating older homes they want to remove walls;  when they are building a new home the kitchen is often open to another room in the house.

The current reasons behind this are varied, but are mainly due to a change in family dynamics and how we currently use our homes. My Grandmother’s house had a very small kitchen. It was designed for the woman of the home to prepare a meal solo for her family. After, they would sit down in the dining room and discuss their day. Now women and men both work outside the home and the meal preparation is often done together. Our lives are busier and parents are often preparing meals while helping kids do homework or listening to piano practice. Clients have been asking me for years to design a space that allows them to work in their kitchen and keep an eye on their kids in the family room.

Almost invariably, when designing with clients, they ask me for the same things. They would like a kitchen large enough for a minimum of two people to cook.  They would like to be able to prepare dinner while visiting with guests or helping kids with homework. Sometimes they like to see the TV in the family room while preparing the meal. Often the island serves the dual purpose of a table as well as a work surface. The idea of the open-concept kitchen has become a hugely popular phenomenon.

In the article, the dissenters made various points:

*”I don’t like the cooking smells wafting through the entire downstairs of my home.”

*”I don’t like to walk in and see straight through to my kitchen.”

*”I am not good at multi-tasking and become stressed when guests watch me attempt to prepare a meal.”

*”I had my open-concept kitchen when my children were young and I am ready for some privacy.”

*”It is distracting trying to watch TV in the family room while the dishwasher is running in the kitchen.”

In my experience, the only clients who have rejected the idea of the open-concept kitchen are the ones from older neighbourhoods and are living in century homes. They are more preservationist in nature and like to nurture the history and tradition of the separate dining room and closed off spaces.  In my own home the kitchen is open to the dining room. For most of the year I love it.  But, for the big holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I would love to sit down and not look, or think, about the mess in my kitchen.

In kitchen design we talk about trends. We all remember the 80’s and the popularity of the melamine doors with the oak rail. We see trends come and go. In my experience, designing hundreds of kitchens over the years, the ‘trend’ of the open-concept kitchen is not going anywhere fast…