The Evolution of Today’s Kitchens

Today’s kitchen have become much larger and diverse. Homes have more open floor plans with “Great Room” concepts that blur the lines of kitchen, dining, and living areas. Thus, gone are the days of one cook in the kitchen. Today’s kitchens and great rooms host a myriad of activities all happening at once – cooking, homework, socializing, TV is on in the background, kids playing, etc. Additionally, people these days often congregate in the kitchen during parties; and meal prep is a much more social occasion.

This has led to the evolution of kitchen design, layout, and functionality. The “work triangle” was the industry standard in kitchen design for years. According to the NKBA website, the work triangle is defined as an imaginary straight line drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator, and finally back to the sink. The work triangle isn’t without its flaws though. One of its problems: It assumes that a kitchen will only have three major work stations and one person cooking.

As kitchens get larger, have additional features and contain more than three workspaces, the regular triangle isn’t always practical. These days, we’re seeing a lot of kitchen designers deviate from the standard work triangle with a much broader approach. Designers are now creating “work spaces.” Coffee centers, baking hubs, charging stations, drink centers, homework stations, etc.

For example, a baking work center will house a mixer and Cuisinart behind an appliance garage for easy access. Baking ingredients stored and organized in upper wall cabinets with the use of spice racks. Measuring cups and mixing bowls stored in under counter cabinets. Peg drawer systems are useful when organizing these items. Then, across the kitchen by the cooktop maybe you create a “meal prep station.”  Tiered cutlery drawers and chopping blocks with knife trays help keep frequently used items organized and at hand. The use of butcher-block countertops in areas like this can not only be practical, but a great aesthetic focal point to the kitchen. Adding an additional sink, paneled dishwasher drawer, and trash pullout will keep the space self-sufficient and functional.

Creating “work centers” like this allows multiple people to carry out separate tasks at the same time without disrupting each other. “We haven’t completely dismissed the standard work triangle in our kitchen designs at DeWils, but we definitely take into account more than one person will be working at one time in the kitchen,” says Bill Trusty, CKD DeWils Industries.

Kitchens are unquestionably the heart of the home, and the kitchen design industry is ever evolving. As home dynamics change with multi-generational families living under one roof, people staying in their homes longer, remodeling instead of selling and moving, and aging in place options becoming more accessible, kitchen design will continue to evolve to accommodate these changes. And then… there’s the possibility of our kitchens evolving into a Jetson’s style that cooks and cleans up all on its own! A girl can dream, can’t she?

Author: Katie Zahorski, AKBD DeWils Industries

Katie has a degree in Interior Design and has been working in the kitchen and bath industry for over 8 years. She specializes in new construction. She has designed award winning kitchens in both the Street of Dreams and Parade of Homes. Katie pays special attention to the small details and enjoys making her client’s dream kitchens a reality. She takes pride the relationships she has built with her builders and  homeowners.