No longer relegated to the back wall of the house, with a window over the sink to watch the backyard activity, today’s kitchens are moving to the center of the floor plan. Embracing their place as the heart of the home, these rooms are now being built to be seen and used—for more than just cooking. Pantries have been added to keep the mess at bay, and islands have been enlarged to seat several for intimate conversations or casual meals. Check out these bright ideas and more from eight great kitchens.
Bright Idea EAT AT THE CHEF’S TABLE
You have to pay big bucks to eat in the kitchen of a fancy restaurant, but this expansive island is large enough to accommodate your immediate family or a group of close friends. Invite them to sit nearby and enjoy their conversation while you prepare their meal in an intimate setting. Warm woods on the island frame, and the floating shelf make the space feel especially welcoming and balance the cool tones of the cabinetry and the granite that serves as a backsplash in this crisp kitchen.
Builder Sterling Homes Interior design/furniture Designs on Madison Appliances The Appliance Loft Countertops Cabinet & Granite Depot Cabinets Madison House Cabinetry
Bright Idea TAKE THE CENTER OUT OF THE ISLAND
If you have a galley-style kitchen that might not have room to accommodate a center island, consider placing one off center, somewhere where it still works as a space for after-school snacks or buffet center. It will keep guests a few steps away from the working area of the kitchen, allowing the chef in the home to work with plenty of elbow room. Yet, everyone—whether they are at the stove, the island, or the nearby table—can be involved in the conversation.
Kitchen design and construction J.S Brown & Company Cabinets Schaad & Sons Countertops Cambria
Bright Idea DRINKS ARE IN THE HOUSE
Dedicated beverage centers are finding their place in many of today’s homes with open floor plans. Coffee stations, refrigerators for soft drinks and temperature-controlled wine coolers move the flow of traffic away from the working part of the kitchen and invite guests to serve themselves. Open shelving above the appliances provides space for glassware and other bar items.
Builder Clemens Companies Interior decorator Molly Dulea Countertops Distinctive Marble and Granite Cabinets Breezy Hill Woodworking Hardwood Sherrill’s Flooring Community Union Village
Bright Idea SEE THE DRAW TO DRAWERS
Drawers have proven themselves to be valuable real estate when it comes to kitchen cabinetry. Specially designed inserts provide perfect placement for, not only flatware and utensils, but also for dishes, pots, pans and more. Plus, appliances are wisely taking advantage of these spaces as well. Fisher & Paykel introduced its dishwasher drawer 20 years ago, and microwave manufacturers are following their lead. This kitchen has a bounty of six drawers and a pull-out microwave all conveniently located in the center island.
Builder Ashford Homes Appliances Custom Distributors, Inc. Cabinets and countertops Sims-Lohman
Bright Idea PERK UP THE PANTRY
Pantries are seeing a lot of love these days. They have become a stylish extension of the kitchen, with similar cabinetry and countertop surfaces. When equipped with a sink and dishwasher, they can be used as a sort of “messy” kitchen where meal prep or clean-up takes place, or they can store groceries and countertop appliances which just might make the kitchen feel a bit less like a kitchen—which works well for open floor plans as we see in this home.
Builder Wieland Builders Interior design Interiors821, LLC Selections Wieland Builders Appliances Custom Distributors, Inc. Cabinets and countertops Profiles in Design Windows Pella Windows & Doors Cincinnati
Bright Idea ADD WARMTH WITH WOOD
While many of the kitchens we are seeing these days feature white, off-white or soft gray cabinetry, a sure-fire way to warm up these classic neutrals is by adding natural elements to the space. By balancing its crisp look with a walnut island countertop and a dramatic waterfall edge, this room stays true to its minimalist nature but adds an inviting layer of warmth. While, this mid-century-style kitchen may be on the small side, its impact is mighty.
Kitchen design and construction Haus Studio Appliances GE Cafe Oven, Bosch refrigerator and dishwasher Countertops Cambria Smithfield
Bright Idea GIVE IT SOME GLOSS
Subway tile has been a standard in kitchens for decades, but homeowners wanting to make a bit more of a splash are adding a bit of color and shine to this backsplash staple. In this case, cornflower blue tiles with a glossy finish run from the perimeter countertops all the way up to the ceiling. The soft blue adds to this kitchen’s calming color palette which includes custom-stained, quarter-sawn white oak cabinetry. Displays in lighted upper cabinets add to the glow.
Kitchen and interior design Auer Kitchens Countertops Cincinnati Stoneworks Cabinets Quality Custom Cabinetry Tile Sonoma Tile from Hamilton Parker Plumbing fixtures Ferguson Pendants Lighting EFX Appliances Thermador from The Appliance Loft
Bright Idea GO FOR A DRAMATIC EFFECT
Showing the flip side of an all-white kitchen, these black cabinets indicate a bold confidence that lives within the homeowners who made these selections. While it appears to be a daring choice, black is a color that never seems to go out of style. Partnering the ebony hue with bright white countertops, a white tiled backsplash, and statement pendants makes the space both luxurious and inviting. Light wood on the floors adds a layer of softness to the crisp space.
Article by Karen Bradner
Article originally appeared in February 2022