Popular Kitchen Features
Photo By: Copyrighted by Susan Gilmore
Photo By: Peter Rymwid
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Kitchen design has reached a new level of integration. The quiet incorporation of the kitchen into the home's primary living and entertaining rooms provides homeowners with far more flexibility in their lifestyles. Integrated and concealed appliances allow the kitchen to enhance rather than intrude into other spaces. Clean structural lines coupled with sleek color palettes enable the space to establish a distinctive identity without overpowering the surrounding rooms.
This area usually includes an under-counter refrigerator and wine refrigeration as well as a coffee makers ranging from simple single-pot machines to larger units capable of making espresso, latte and cappuccino. This functional destination within the kitchen typically houses stemware, coffee cups, silverware, cream, sugar and tea, and it sometimes has a smaller bar area.
Rounded, organically shaped islands and countertops carve a smooth-flowing traffic pattern throughout the room, while an appropriately placed arch brings an overall softening to the more angular fixed features typical in a kitchen.
Creative Use of Space
Fixtures once confined by location can be incorporated into kitchen designs in almost limitless ways. This freedom in the use of space allows designers to create design-driven room plans rather than those driven by necessity and space solutions. Appliances that are stacked and positioned within islands contribute to functionality in the kitchen by bringing together task space and the right appliances.
A seemingly simple detail such as the use of a soffit along the ceiling or a width of wall space surrounding inset cabinetry can call out the item being framed as a focal point while also providing visual balance to the room. The thickness of a countertop edge outlined by a higher countertop acts to highlight a unique material used in the surface. Balance in design isn't achieved only through the use of simply symmetry; portions of a room can be treated as a piece of art, with a frame indicating its presence.
Island tops, countertops and partial walls can be customized to the task performed there and to the needs of the homeowners. Pairing lower desk and prep areas with higher breakfast-bar surfaces provides convenient task-specific spaces, which fosters a greater level of family interaction in the kitchen. And varying heights seen in the edge of a wood bar top or granite countertop serve as a beautiful counterbalance.
The impact of Japanese design can be seen very subtly in clean lines, open spaces and neutral color palettes with bold splashes of color in select areas. More visible Japanese influence can be seen in a single strong anchor piece of Japanese origin. Such cultural effects are not just additions or decorations to a design but deeply embedded as primary ingredients.