Traditional Family-Friendly Kitchen

Designer Jennifer Gilmer creates a kitchen designed for the whole family to use as well as for entertaining large parties.

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Designer Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens & Bath Ltd., uses arched doorways to open up the kitchen to the family room, creating an easy flow between the two space for large gatherings. A steam oven and wine cooler help turn the kitchen into a go-to center for pleasurable cooking and entertaining. We caught up with Gilmer to see how she created an open concept kitchen without adding any square footage.


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Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

To have a kitchen space that connects well with the family room and is open and easy for entertaining.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

The homeowners did not realize what a difference it made to not only open the kitchen space into the family room, but also to open up the desk area. Widening that wall made the three spaces feel like one, making it possible for the homeowners to socialize easily while in the kitchen. Traffic flow is also much better, especially when entertaining.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

Actually the end result could not be better than what we envisioned. The clients got an open space and they did not lose any storage.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The biggest obstacle was to make sure the openings of the kitchen and the desk area look right. Creating an arched opening helped to connect the two openings even though they are different sizes.

What lessons did you learn?

The lesson learned was how the kitchen started to look open and larger just by widening the doorways. We were able to solve the clients' problem of not being able to entertain while in the kitchen without increasing increase the square footage of the space. To create a better flow and connection between rooms, you don't necessarily have to make them bigger.

What are the "hidden gems"?

There are quite a few hidden gems in this kitchen, including the double-sided glass cabinet that serves as crystal storage. No wall storage space was lost, in fact, we found a way to elegantly display the client's prize possessions. Creating a smaller island perpendicular to the big island added a neat place for guests to hang out and enjoy a glass of wine while the homeowners were busy in the kitchen. The small island was also the perfect spot to add a steam oven and a wine cooler.

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