THE MULTIFUNCTIONAL KITCHEN: The heart of the home
The kitchen has long been the heart of many homes, not just a place where meals are created, but a place to feed the mind, body and soul of the family. Regardless of its size or decor, the kitchen is a warm and inviting place. It’s like gathering around a campfire – a bonding tradition as old as civilization itself. The difference is, now the campfire is a shiny glass-ceramic hob, and you can follow a recipe on your screen while you cook!
A Place to Connect
For many, the kitchen is the soul of the home, the room where we can connect with good food and good company and a place where happy (and sad) memories are made. Who doesn’t yearn to reclaim the feelings of comfort and joy of eating and cooking in the kitchens of our families?
A Sense of Nostalgia
Hand-me-down utensils lurk in kitchen drawers, stained cookbooks and holiday souvenirs line the shelves and piles of mismatched crockery all conjure up emotional memories of family, friends and shared experiences around the kitchen table. Ever thrown a party and discovered that all of your guests naturally congregate in the kitchen? Home is where the heart is as the saying goes, and the heart of the home has definitely made its way to the kitchen.
A Multifunctional Space
Throughout the pandemic, with many working routines adapting to a remote model, the typical home has become more multifunctional than ever before. However large or small, homes have had to adapt to an abundance of new, different demands. The kitchen has become a space for multitasking, where we cook, eat, work, exercise, home-school, relax, and enjoy our passions. The kitchen table has become hotly contested real estate, a place for interactions that involve more than just preparing food.
Many believe that this new reliance on the home will persist after the pandemic subsides. As homes begin to play greater roles in our daily lives, they will necessarily need to adapt to accommodate more activities and services. Based on current trends and the concepts that have arisen during the pandemic, it will be interesting to see the ways home design will change following COVID-19.
“Open kitchens will be the heart of the home again, and the room used most frequently, so the importance of layout and large windows will be key, not only for natural light but for natural ventilation and view.”
Creative Director, Millier (Architecture and Interiors Studio)
For decades, kitchen layouts have increasingly begun to flow into the main living areas. This evolution laid the foundation for completely open-plan kitchens as we know them. People were (and still are) spending more time in the kitchen, so designers and architects are constantly adapting to accommodate the shift in the use of space.
A Shared Living Space
Here at Malone Architecture, we are seeing a trend toward clients asking for what we call a ‘kitchen- family room’, the hallmark of which is a big, unencumbered work surface flanked by comfortable seating. We are seeing more demand for larger kitchen islands with integrated seating, as well as integrated banquette seating and desk areas within kitchens. These spaces now need to be multi-functional for eating, entertaining, kids’ homework or zoom calls. Whether it’s at table height or counter height, this is a dedicated area for people to congregate around, do work around, and connect around.
Architect’s perspective of the role of the kitchen
This trend may be tied to the fact that more cooking demands more preparation space, but we suspect it is more likely to be linked to dreams of large family gatherings in the future, when the pandemic has passed.
More than anything, clients are looking to transform their kitchens into relaxing spaces that indulge the urge to linger, whether it’s an alcove for leafing through a good book or an intimate seating area for morning coffee with a partner or friend.
Space for armchairs or an additional sofa in the kitchen is increasingly seen as being important. Throughout the home, large, the trend is for comfortable sofas and armchairs to take precedence over smaller, daintier pieces as they need to accommodate more family members at one time.
“As architects, we are looking to create fluid, multi-functional living spaces where the whole family can interact in harmony. A greater degree of flexibility and adaptability will be required to host the vast array of activities that our clients envisage for their new kitchens. Here at Malone Architecture, we have already begun to explore approaches to this with the introduction of adjustable walls and screens to transform open-plan areas into dedicated spaces – the kitchen has become a highly designed ‘cocktail bar’ within the living room and is a centrepiece of the design of any modern home.”
Keith Malone, Founder & MD of Malone Architecture
Planning for the future – add value to your home
With the kitchen pretty much universally valued as the most important room in the home, it makes sense that your kitchen can impact on how favourably potential buyers view a house. Not only could it be the difference between selling your home or not, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a new kitchen can add 4% more value to your home and is a major factor in any purchasing decision.
Thus, you’ll do well to ensure your kitchen has a modern design, is fully equipped and has a good layout as these considerations can add value immediately.
Let Malone Architecture help make your kitchen the centrepiece of your home. Our team of skilled design specialists and space experts provide complete design and consultation services to help make your vision come to life.
To get started, call us on 020 8793 5135 or use our contact us form and we’ll be in touch.