The Crucial Kitchen

The Crucial Kitchen

Once of a single purpose, the kitchen has evolved into so much more

Have you ever wondered which room in your home you could least do without? There are arguments to make for the bathroom, certainly, but another room serves to be equally (if not more) important for a variety of reasons – the kitchen.

It’s the hub of the home where the majority of activity takes place. Throughout the world, it’s where the meals are prepared that fuel the minds and bodies of countless people. It’s where we gather. Not a day goes by that we don’t have to get something from the fridge. Heck, even our pets’ feeding bowls are here.

The kitchen. The room’s importance may vary in relation to its size, but it has become a traditional gathering place. In older homes, the kitchen was much smaller, separate and even removed from the home. It was used exclusively for cooking, and the idea was to have it as a standalone so that messes were not visible and odors non detectable. Dining and living rooms would accommodate the family while they ate and aesthetics were created there. Bottom line, kitchens were no frills – strictly utilitarian.

Today, it’s hard to imagine a kitchen closed off from the home that is used for cooking only. We think of it as an open room, a big part of our everyday lives. Older folks may recall the days when their mothers shushed them out of the kitchen as dinner was prepped and cooked. It was her workspace. If the children weren’t to be included in the work, they certainly were around to lick the beaters and to salivate at the preparation of holiday meals. In fact, memories like these are likely cherished worldwide. Kitchens were never calm places. They weren’t where one would go to relax. They were always filled with activity, energy and aroma.

In homes of medium and larger size, the kitchen could fit a table big enough to seat a family for breakfast – it was common for them to eat together. Dinner was often served in the dining room where the family typically met for the last time of the day before going to bed and restarting the daily routine. Back then, a family meal was something of importance. You couldn’t get out of it easily, everyone’s presence was expected. Sadly, today’s busy families simply find it difficult to find the time to sit together, and it is unfortunate.

But something else gradually changed. Over the past two decades, kitchens evolved into living spaces and they hosted more activity than ever, not just limited to meals. New homes incorporated larger kitchens, and they became areas commonly used to entertain family and friends. Now, kitchens are designed to open up into other rooms, with large tables and islands serving as staples of the expansion. A lot more consideration was given to the room’s design and functionality. It was suddenly normal to think of the kitchen as a living space, an idea that would have been considered crazy just decades before. Older homes found their kitchens being remodeled in record numbers. For the sake of lifestyle and resale they were altered and enlarged to reflect what had become the dominant trend.

It’s a room that has evolved to be so much more than it once was. It’s the family living space. The cooking area is thoughtfully planned, and the dining area is large enough to fit the family. Everybody ‘hangs out’ while food is prepped, cooked and served. With these modern designs, little preparation needs to be done when hosting parties. Guests are automatically accommodated and the host barely has to change a thing in their routine. It’s like a built-in casual lifestyle, much to the pleasure of all involved.

Today, the size of a kitchen is not given a second thought. The only time it doesn’t feel right is when it is too small. The need for a large productive kitchen is genuinely recognized as it is the most important room of the home. Realtors certainly believe as such. Resale values are profoundly impacted by the kitchen. Obviously, its location and functionality are aspects that are considered as well. How well old kitchens have been updated, streamlined, and improved is another factor that is often looked at.

Buyers who are shown a small kitchen in an older home will almost certainly have ideas for renovation. They might be thinking about a remodel expansion or even a wall removal, because there is just no reason to have a small kitchen in the present day. The fact is there is currently much less emphasis being put on the living or dining rooms. The kitchen has become the center of everything. The layout, design and functionality get more attention and have more time invested in them than perhaps any other room in the home. Of course, living rooms are still important, but recent reports indicate that use of dining rooms has decreased to a minimum.

The truly inspiring aspect of the kitchen is that it is ever-changing and new innovations are always being developed. Reflecting our modern busy and diverse lifestyles, the evolution of the kitchen revolves around humanity. Of course, appliances are keeping up the pace as well, with new improvements being introduced all the time. New products, designs and concepts emerge from the marketplace daily, and developers are becoming more environmentally conscious, and their green attitude is now incorporated into today’s homes. It’s this type of advancement that continues to make the future of kitchens exciting and worthy of observation!

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