That the kitchen is the heart of every home isn’t likely to change, but the way this space is decorated and defined is undergoing a new phase of evolution here in Chicago. Where the focus was once on flashy steel stovetops and refrigerators with bare-all glass doors, Chicago homeowners and kitchen designers are now gravitating toward treatments that effectively “hide” all common kitchen appliances.
The most popular means of hiding appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators and trash compactors is to make them blend in with surrounding cabinetry. In one of his recent remodeling projects, Chicago kitchen designer Mick de Giulio built a wooden armoire for a couple’s refrigerator and with the doors closed, one would never suspect what was inside. Of course certain items, like a stovetop, cannot be concealed this way on account of the heat they give off. But even then, there’s an answer.
“Integrated” appliances are designed in a way that makes them blend into existing décor – no more flashy, reflective finishes. Sub-Zero offers a line of refrigerators, freezers and wine storage units that can be purchased with wood or steel door panels, while Jenn-Air boasts a line of built-in appliances with various finishes that make them “disappear.” All-in-all, both hidden and integrated appliances create a more open, relaxing kitchen environment, conducive to studying, family chats and social engagements.
In conjunction with this trend, Chicago homeowners are also clearing their kitchen counters of small appliances like coffee makers and stand mixers. Why not store these items in the cabinets below? Because regular use is cumbersome when you have to haul things up to the counter every morning. Instead, kitchens are being remodeled to include hidden storage space at counter level, usually covered to look like a backsplash and sometimes featuring retractable doors.
Amongst those kitchens trending toward a chic, seamless look, is another feature known as the “keeping room.” This is usually a small room adjacent to the kitchen with minimal furniture and, often, a fireplace; it’s intended to serve as another “arm” to the main space that allows people to avoid kitchen traffic without being cut off from the activity inside. In many cases, this type of space can be created by knocking down a wall between the kitchen and main dining room.
Whether you’re remodeling or designing new, there are a range of touches that can be included in your Chicago home kitchen to create an updated, streamlined space. This will not only afford you a comfortable new place to gather, it will serve you greatly should you decide to sell in the future.