While I was eating out yesterday, my friend S. and I talked about how our kitchen layout influence the way we entertain at home. She suggested that I should write a piece on my best design tips for an entertaining-friendly kitchens. Here is my top 5 list.
Good ventilation in the kitchen
Open kitchens are great because they allow you to enjoy the party while you are prepping the food and cooking. But it is a nicer experience for your guests if you have and use an excellent aeration system.
I say use because I know people with huge restaurant hoods in their kitchens that do not use it because they are too loud. Honestly, a restaurant hood is often too powerful for the average house kitchen. Hoods are a status symbol that seduced many men. I recommend an efficient less noisy hood model and to always put it on when you are cooking. Whenever you can, open the windows to keep the air fresh.
Work triangle and several prep areas
If you like getting help from your friends while you are cooking, design the work triangle to account for it. You do not want to always bump to each others. Make sure to get more than one preparation station and ideally, a second water station with a small sink.
I am glad that scullery rooms are making a comeback. They are so practical. A scullery is a must for people that entertain often lots of guests for dinner or cocktail parties. Instead of one large kitchen, I suggest you split it in two to make place to build a scullery room. By adding this extra room, you will be able to maintain all the times a streamlined and uncluttered main kitchen space.
Use the scullery room to hide your bulk of food platters when you are hosting a cocktail dinner. If you hire some service staff for your party, they can work from the scullery. Make sure to include a place to wash the dishes. The best thing about a scullery is that it hides the mess and the noise.
The next best after a scullery is a serving pantry. Put you wine cellar in the serving pantry instead of under the kitchen cabinet. It will be better placed. Use the serving pantry to store all your entertaining gears – dinnerware, serving ware, glassware, cutlery and linens. If your guests are giving you a hand, the serving pantry simplify the instructions. You save time and energy.
You do not need a separate room for having a serving pantry. That is what makes it different from the modern day scullery room. Depending on the configuration of your house, custom made build-in floor to ceiling closed cabinets are great for that purpose. The idea is to concentrate the storage of your entertaining equipment in a single place.
The ultimate bar station
Ideally, the bar station should be outside your kitchen but close by your kitchen. Otherwise, the next best thing is to set it is outside of your work triangle (fridge, sink and stove). You can have a custom made wall unit with a preparation surface and a bar sink. Undercounter refrigeration units have come a long way. The beverage center neatly stores your soda pops, water bottles, juices, beers and coolers. Beverage centers are also popular in the media room.
An automatic ice maker is a must. If you often entertain large groups all day long, take a look at a stand-alone ice maker machine that can produce up to 30 pounds of ice a day. High end appliance manufacturers produce very functional undercounter refrigeration units in all design styles. So you will find one to match your taste.
The beauty side of my story is these kitchens from the Danish-based manufacturer Boform. I like their style a lot.
For more ideas before building or renovating your kitchen, I suggest you visit a blog dedicated to kitchen design. The blog of Susan Serra, a Certified Kitchen Designer, is full of practical tips and design ideas. She has a section on Scandinavian kitchens, one of my favorite stuff on The Kitchen Designer blog.
Picture credits: Web site of Boform
Link: Scandinavian Kitchens and Independence Day! Published on The Kitchen Designer blog
susanJuly 5, 2007 at 12:07
You’re right on target with this advice, it is really very insightful, and thank you for the link to my blog. With a little planning, entertaining from the kitchen, as you mention, can be seamless (of course we know the party often ends up IN the kitchen!)
At Home with kim valleeJuly 5, 2007 at 14:33
Thanks Susan, nice comments coming for an expert like you please me ever more.
My parties are always in the kitchen. Since we got the Nintendo Wii, some guests tend to move naturally to the living room. Now we have two crowds.
bea at La tartine gourmandeJuly 9, 2007 at 09:50
Oh how I love these ideas and kitchen designs. Sigh, one day!
kitchen design remodelingFebruary 8, 2011 at 10:10
Thanks for the great tips!