A surprisingly hot topic in Kitchen Design; it seems that even now there is still an ongoing debate. So, does an open plan kitchen/living area work?
Many of our clients have gone down this route and have never looked back. It’s an opportunity to create a more expansive hub of the home than a kitchen only room; it promotes a more social family life and people tend to linger more in space like this than disappear to separate rooms around the house.
There is of course the practical side to consider – when juggling a Christmas dinner for 14, it might be best for all to be able to shut the door on screams of dismay when the turkey just doesn’t quite fit in the oven. Also there is the associated mess that comes with being ‘creative’ at dinner time, and nobody wants to look upon a mountain of dirty dishes and every utensil that you own strewn across the kitchen worktops. Especially while sitting down to a family meal.
With that said we have always felt that, as long as you plan it carefully, there should be no reason why an open space like this shouldn’t work. We use a few tricks to help maintain that look of heavenly domesticity. Cabinetry with bi-folding or pocketing doors that can conceal many appliances or clutter quickly and discreetly – out of sight out of mind. We wont tell anybody!
Appliances can be hidden from view – many of our clients want their cabinetry to appear like furniture in an open plan space.
Even the kitchen sink can be hidden away!
Small appliances which tend to clutter our kitchens can be stored within worktop standing cabinets for easy access.
One thing to take a bit more time over and budget for are appliances; most importantly the noisy ones! Choosing a quiet dishwasher with a quick cycle is perfect if you are a regular dinner party host; it can be working away in the background, quickly and quietly doing all the heavy lifting whilst you cue up that vintage Elton John LP.
A dream scenario would be to have an adjoining utility room for laundry; again the key is that low decibel rating.
Last but by no means least: cooking smells can be a real concern. Spending a little extra on a good extractor is worth it’s weight in gold and, if you can vent to the outside, then all the better. A ceiling extractor is one of the most popular choices as it can be coloured to blend with your ceiling and is available in a variety of finishes including glass and stainless steel.
When it comes to open plan kitchen/dining/living areas, we’ve had enough feedback to know that with a bit of careful planning, it’s exceptionally effective in bringing a more social atmosphere to the working home. Hopefully some food for thought if there’s some doubt about knocking down that wall – but go on, just do it!