Kitchen Design Coach: An Entertainer’s Kitchen

You know you love cooking for large gatherings. But did you know that there’s more to designing a party-primed kitchen than installing a large multi-purpose island? Follow designer Mona Ross Berman’s advice: take this kitchen design trend to the next level by asking yourself these four questions.

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The ceiling’s exposed beams and white planks are old-fashioned architectural elements that make guests unsure whether this kitchen is brand new or a remodel—which is exactly what Berman wanted. Meanwhile, arranging the range and sink so that they’re almost directly across from each other allows the chef to turn from one task to the next with ease (Photo: Bill Horin Photography).

1. Do you spend more time prepping, cooking or cleaning? Since your island will be where you chat with your guests, equip one side of it with all of the appliances and tools you’ll need for your most time-consuming task. Here, Berman situated the range on the island instead of in a corner to allow the chef to transfer straight from prepping to cooking without having to turn her back to her guests. Tip: If you rarely cook hot meals, don’t worry about installing a range hood; since a range hood limits your aesthetic options, Berman recommends you omit one if possible.

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Photo: Bill Horin Photography

2. Do your guests like to cook, too? If they do, don’t line one side of the island with bar stools, instead provide all four sides with drawers and double-sided cabinets so that your guests can access the utensils they need to pitch in. If they don’t, clearly divide the work and leisure zones, as in this kitchen. Concentrating all of the kitchen’s storage space onto a single wall of cabinets enables the chef to take a minimal amount of steps to reach any tool and decreases the chances of any guest getting in the way.

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With simple French-style pleats and a yellow band along the lead edge, the linen-cotton drapes add a vertical element to offset the long horizontal table (Photo: Bill Horin Photography).

3. Do you serve wine or other spirits with dinner? If you do, plan ahead for a both a tall cabinet or wine rack in your kitchen to store it and a sideboard or wet bar in your dining room. And remember, alcohol is a diuretic. If you host large gatherings, it would be prudent to include an easily accessed powder room adjacent to your kitchen or dining room, as shown here.

4. Do you do your dishes by hand, or do you rely on your dishwasher? If your family considers clearing the table a team effort, consider surrounding your sink with a long counter for stack, wash and dry stations. But if you just load everything in the dishwasher, Berman suggests you ignore even one of the most basic kitchen adages—always put a window above a sink—and use that space for more storage.

For more kitchen design advice from Mona Ross Berman, keep reading our next posts.

by Elaine K. Phillips

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