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Kitchens: A Design for Life

The way we use our kitchens has changed greatly over the past half century to reflect the shifting nature of our work and domestic lives. Creating a kitchen that is fit for purpose has been a concern of kitchen designers and homeowners for years – but how has kitchen design responded to the different purposes we’ve used our kitchens for over the years?

Kitchen designers in the 1950s sought to present their kitchens as standardized, utilitarian visions focused solely on productivity in the preparation and cooking of food. The famous ‘standard kitchen’ – until that point, the extent to which kitchens were furnished with appliances had varied wildly – provided hot and cold tap water, a kitchen sink, a refrigerator and an electric stove.

Even in the 1960s – when new shapes and designs were possible as plastics and other man-made materials became widely adopted – designers focused on the kitchen as a place for cooking.

Although the modern kitchen may retain cooking as its central use, many of the homeowners we spoke to see the kitchen as ‘the heart of [their] home’ – a place for socializing, hosting dinner parties and working from home as much as for food preparation. As an independent kitchen company we’ve found ourselves increasingly designing multi-purpose kitchens.

One of the easiest ways to create a multi-purpose kitchen fit for use in 2013 is a kitchen island. It provides an excellent food preparation area, as well as an ad-hoc bar for the serving of food and drinks. They allow home cooks to interact with guests while preparing food.

Islands can be small or large, and are available in a range of colours and shapes, which can be mixed and matched to create something unique and visually stunning.

U-shaped is another design that is increasingly popular at the moment. With at least three different work surfaces, the shape is ideal for designating different areas for different purposes. For instance, lowering one of these surfaces creates an ideal area to prepare food with younger members of the family.

Many professionals find their kitchen a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the rest of their home, and it is not uncommon for the kitchen to become an ad-hoc workspace. Once again, U-shaped designs are ideal – although if you’re going to be perched on the end of a work surface then you’ll need to make sure that your laptop has access to electrical sockets for when the battery is running down but the emails aren’t! There are a number of recessed, pop-up sockets that are ideal for fitting into a work surface for this purpose.

The kitchen in 2013 is used for different purposes than those of our parents and grandparents. It’s therefore more important than ever to think ahead and be honest about what you may or may not use a kitchen for when planning it. Most kitchens can be adapted after having been built but it is always best – and cheapest – to accommodate this work in the original plan of the kitchen.
Second Nature is a leading independent kitchen company based in the UK. Their expertise has been rewarded with multiple awards from within the kitchen design industry.

1 comment

  1. I like this 'design for life' concept. I mean kitchen should be designed in a way that it should reflect your life style.