Before & After: Midpeninsula kitchens go from dated to ultimate entertaining spaces | News


The kitchen is the heart of the home — it’s also senior designer Gloria Carlson‘s favorite room to remodel. She’s […]

The kitchen is the heart of the home — it’s also senior designer Gloria Carlson‘s favorite room to remodel. She’s helped many Peninsula homeowners reimagine their kitchens to make the space not only beautiful and functional but also a place for entertaining friends and family. Carlson, an award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) who joined Harrell Design + Build in 2013, shared the following tips on how to turn a dated kitchen into an entertainment hub as part of our “How To” series by Harrell Design + Build.

From cooking to entertaining: How to design a kitchen to match your lifestyle

Everyone entertains in different ways, so designing a kitchen for entertaining and fun is very much an individual endeavor. Each kitchen is distinct, centering on the homeowner’s personality, lifestyle, hobbies, personal design aesthetic and cooking/entertaining style – that’s why no two kitchens are ever alike.

Understanding a client’s entertainment style is paramount to producing a finished product that fits the person’s lifestyle and preferences. I typically start the design process by asking a few key questions to help me understand the way a homeowner lives and entertains:

How do you cook and interact in the kitchen?

Does one person cook everything and then clean?

Does one person prep while the other cleans?

Will two or more people be cooking together?

How do you want to live?

When you entertain, how many people typically come to a gathering?

How do you want to interact with guests?

Do you need flexible seating space for both intimate and large groups?

Are you a ‘participatory’ entertainer?

Some people are “participatory” entertainers, meaning they enjoy having gatherings where friends and family are involved in the preparation of the meal.

For these people, a kitchen should be designed to provide plenty of workspace for meal prep and clean up, as well as ensuring there is adequate room for people to move freely throughout the kitchen.

Often a spacious island is part of this type of entertaining kitchen remodel.

Do you like to cook while entertaining?

Other people prefer to cook alone but want to have an inclusionary, yet distinct, gathering area that allows guests to interact with them while the food is being prepared. Sometimes they simply want seating nearby for easy conversations with guests, and sometimes they are looking for something more specific.

For a client who loved soda fountain drinks, for example, we created a separate bar area and serve-yourself beverage center with a soda gun, icemaker and vintage bottle cap backsplash that was a big conversation piece.

This custom entertainment space connected to the kitchen, creating the ideal blend of separation and interaction, enabling the host to cook in peace yet entertain and converse with their guests.

Do you prefer to use the kitchen more for gathering than cooking?

Others want their kitchen to be a showpiece, a beautiful place to gather and entertain, yet they don’t plan to use it for cooking. These spaces take ambiance, flow of people and ample seating into consideration.

Many people hold gatherings that revolve around sports. Having a television in the kitchen area or nearby with an area for guests to eat and watch the game is key. Other homeowners want flexible spaces where they can add or remove tables and seating based on the size of the group they are hosting.

Other things to consider when designing your kitchen for entertaining

Is there efficient storage to house kitchen tools?

Is there considerable counter space to set out food, especially buffet-style meals?

Are your countertops made of durable and low-maintaince materials, such as quartz?

Are there ample, flexible seating areas (bars, peninsulas or islands)?

Do you have space for an island? Many clients would love an island in their kitchens, but an island must fit the space. Squeezing in an island can result in a cramped, less functional and desirable layout.

And remember, remodeling one’s home can be stressful, so try to make the process as fun as possible.

Harrell Design + Build is a full-service residential remodeling company based in Mountain View.

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