10 Kitchens That Are The Hearth of the Home

12/08/2010 10:44 pm 22:44:47 | Updated May 25, 2011

Kitchens are truly the hub of a home. They are the focal point. Whether you are an amazing cook or are only great at just warming up take out, it is the room where everyone congregates. No matter the size of your kitchen, there are design elements to keep in mind when creating your dream kitchen. And then there is the magic triangle of the appliances that is talked about. A well laid out kitchen has easy access and flow between appliances: your sink, stove/oven and refrigerator.

But, what do you consider elemental? Is it a space where you can still be part of the family or guests as you are preparing a meal? Does a child do his homework nearby or do you need an area for a home office? And where is the kitchen positioned in regard to the other rooms of the house. Is it open to a great room or a dining area? Does the design flow, fitting in with the adjacent spaces? There are many decisions to be made before embarking on a kitchen renovation or having a kitchen designed in a new residence.

I cannot stress the importance of working with a professional. When I was part of a small group designing four test kitchens for a lifestyle magazine and a demonstration kitchen for TV, I was amazed at the number of decisions to be made not only with design style, appliances, kitchen flow but also hinges, hardware, lighting, flooring and all the basics. The most important ingredient, as with anything in life, is keeping a sense of humor about everything (no matter what)!

10 Kitchens That Are The Hearth of the Home

Let me share with you just a few anecdotes that I have been privy to: A dear friend had his kitchen totally renovated only to find that his dinner plates didn't even fit in the designated cabinet; An open kitchen to the dining area - optimum for making the space sociable to all--created an embarrassing moment for the inexperienced cook who dropped half the dinner on the floor with the guests seated at the dining table in full view!

Two personal experiences that highlight my cooking "acumen" when just out of university still remain with me today. I keep them in mind when planning my own kitchens. I was cooking a 26-pound turkey so decided to invite a group of friends over. Since I didn't have a large enough pan, I bought a disposable one. I had cooked the bird in sherry and when I went to take it out of the oven, the juices were up to the top. Everyone wanted to help me get it out of the oven. At that point, I knew the pan couldn't even hold the bird let alone contain the juices. I pleaded with my well-intentioned friends to go back into the living room (and out of sight) while I took a baster and drained as much of the fluid as possible. Another "moment" was when I couldn't get a knife to cut a spaghetti squash in half to cook it so I put it in the oven to soften. I had been out for a run so went to shower, totally forgetting it only to hear an explosion coming from the kitchen. The oven had blown open and spaghetti squash was everywhere. My kitchens are now tile or anything that can be easily scrubbed! My dining area is also not in clear view of the kitchen.

Here are some insights and some wonderful kitchens by very talented and creative designers. May their insights give you inspiration and ideas for your own kitchen.