Doesn't it feel as though everyone is extending their kitchens? A combination of the 'improve, don't move' mentality and changes in how we live, socialise and relax, kitchen extensions and renovations are at the top of every homeowner's list!
In older homes, kitchens were utilitarian; Smaller, segregated, and removed from the main social areas. They were designed to be contained and used almost exclusively for preparing and cooking food, with the ability to be closed off, concealing any cooking mess. Instead, a greater focus was placed on dining and living areas which were considered of greater importance, being spaces to welcome guests. They had the luxury of space, style, and comfort.
In the late 1990s, Jamie Oliver was filmed feeding his friends and showing the comfortability of preparing and serving food in front of guests. It demonstrated that the art of cooking was, and still is, a key element to the ritual of entertaining. It was a defining moment for a generation of cooks, architects, and interior designers.
How our Kitchens have changed
This new way of entertaining and feeding family and friends shifted our cultural and social attitudes towards the kitchen. Recognising that our kitchens have never been sedate, quiet spaces. They are full of excitement, energy, aroma and texture. Our hosts and family members, who can be found cooking up a storm, are doing so out of a desire to fill our bellies with hearty meals, and gather loved ones around the table to socialise.
Over the past 30 years or so, we have begun appreciating these qualities and embracing them in our day-to-day lives.
We desire larger spaces, designed to accommodate family and friends. Encouraging them to get involved in the experience of cooking as an interactive, theatrical performance. This requires a reinvention of the kitchens previously habituated.
Newer homes have led the way in this evolution, designed with large, open-plan kitchen/dining rooms. These modern spaces were becoming something that every homeowner dreamt of possessing.
Gradually, older homes began adapting to meet these new standards of living, with kitchen extensions and altered floor plans. They often opened up to other spaces within the home, such as living rooms, orangeries, and garden rooms. These larger, more versatile spaces now featured islands, breakfast bars, and carefully-positioned furnishing to create a visual separation of each zone, whilst maintaining a natural flow for those coming and going.
The idea of the kitchen as a living space was becoming increasingly popular. Not only as an improvement to our lifestyles and relationships but also for an increase in resale value.
What may a kitchen of the future look like?
The kitchen is ever-evolving. Driven by the advancements in kitchen technology and demand for time-saving appliances, in addition to changes in how we choose to work and spend our free time, we can certainly expect our kitchens to continue to adapt.
With more and more wifi-enable appliances, controlled by smartphones or fully automated systems. Dishwashers hidden behind cabinet doors and downdraft hob extraction fans that vanish at the touch of a button. Will we see the kitchen shrink back?
Perhaps to a wall of cabinets containing hidden electronic appliances, and a single kitchen island/dining table…