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Do you have a cooking-only kitchen?


Dianabanana
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I have a cooking only kitchen, which I like because I'm shy and use it as an excuse to hide during big gatherings. It's big enough for one or two other people to crowd in and pretend like they're going to help me cook. Sometimes it's nice to have a space where smaller conversations can occur.

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Well, we spent two hours there going over every detail, and it's beautiful and in amazing condition, but, incredibly, I think we have decided against it. Mr. Banana has been making his point about the kitchen--every time I'm in our kitchen and say something to him, he says, from his seat in the living room, "That right there? I never heard that," or "Just now you would have had to walk through the dining room and into the living room to say that," etc. Not only that, but we suffered through a traumatic kitchen renovation just five years ago and neither one of us can face another, and it would take a major renovation of the type that we wouldn't be able to afford for quite some time in order to make the kitchen in the new house work for us. I lived for ten years with a truly crappy kitchen before getting my nice new one and I don't want to go back!

I do feel very conflicted about it, though. If I were ten years younger, there's no way I'd give up a chance to buy that house.

Anyway, thank you all so much for your sharing your perspectives on the kitchen, it was very helpful to me.

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This is a great discussion and I've really enjoyed reading people's comments as I follow it.

I've hesitated to chime in because we're looking at moving ourselves -- from a cooking-only kitchen into a place with a massive 1950s open kitchen with a cooking area, an eating area, and a "Florida" or "three-season" room all in a row, plus a formal dining room around the corner cut off from the kitchen. In short, I'm looking at the exact opposite move.

And I fantasize about it daily, especially when I'm closed off in the current kitchen, unable to hear or see anything going on with the rest of the family. For me, it's become a quality of life issue, not just for special events but for daily living: I don't want to be cut off from the family I'm laboring to feed!

We also went through the renovation conversation and realized that (1) we couldn't get much more space moving into the yard somehow and (2) the wall between the K & DR has so much going on in it (chimney, load-bearing, custom corner cabinets) that we can't really do much beside cut out a 2'x2' hole. So I join the chorus saying get yourself a diagram to find out what, if anything, is possible to do long-term. At least then you know your options and limitations.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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A cooking-only kitchen would be an absolute deal-breaker for me. . . . I missed out on all the early "can-wait-to-tell" gossip and felt more like the hired help than the hostess as I slaved away alone . . .

I agree with this completely.

Our kitchen and dining room are open to each other, but we just went to considerable trouble to remove the walls that isolated the kitchen and dining room from the rest of the house. Despite the fact that we are not yet finished (and may not be finished for a while . . .), I smile every time I glance up from the cutting board and see the living room, the family, and the fireplace.

Our house is pretty small, but open sight lines make a space feel much larger.

We are pretty informal when we entertain, so I don't worry about a few dirty pots and pans. Cleaning as you cook keeps things manageable, and one can hide a lot of dirty dishes in a large, deep sink.

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When I was young and growing up, almost all of the kitchens were "cooking-only." The only ones that were not were called "country kitchens" and were big enough for a table in the middle. Nobody had a kitchen that opened into a living room. Or a dining room either, for that matter.

My experience was that everybody wound up in the kitchen anyway, standing around, leaning against the cabinets.

I am still not a fan (at all) of the "open concept" kitchen that opens into the living room and I actually prefer a separate formal dining room as well. I loathe sitting in a nice living room, or elegant dining room, and looking at dirty dishes and pots and pans and utensils and other bits of assorted cooking debris sitting around on the kitchen countertops and piled up in the sink, all of it fairly shouting out for somebody to come clean it up. But we've had several houses with the kitchen/family room combination and I think that's ideal. To me, the informal aspects of a family room blend well with the working kitchen.

Obviously I have no idea as to the floor plan of this house but wonder if the kitchen is on an outside wall, as it most likely is, is there space on the lot to add a bump-out and make a family/hearth/TV room there?

Personally, judging from your description of the house, I'd be far more inclined to expand the kitchen into a larger informal area and combine those two instead of knocking out a wall and ruining the historical and gracious ambiance of what sounds like a lovely and elegant home.

________________________

I agree completely with Jaymes, and can only add that even the quietest fridge and dishwashers are still far too loud to welcome into my relaxing area.

Ray

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  • 4 months later...

There's an interesting article in the New York Times today about the evolution of kitchen design - moving from being a place for servants or of female exile, to being the center of the entertaining and hub of the house in more modern designs.

I'm somewhat notorious amongst friends for loving cooking but always living in places with tiny kitchens which they regard as terrible. But I kind of like not having to run all over the room to get everything together for a dish.

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Five months later . . . the teenagers across the street from this house have formed a good old-fashioned heavy metal band. Every time I walk past lately, it's like a military psy op in progress on that block. So that's some consolation.

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