An Open Kitchen

By Heidi Powell

In days past, kitchens were seen as something to keep hidden. Once a purely utilitarian space, kitchens have transitioned from being something kept completely separate from the rest of the living space to being the focal point and main gathering space of a home.

This project highlighted just that: the homeowners wanted a social kitchen where several cooks of different generations – including an avid baker – could work together comfortably. They also wanted a gathering place for their growing family and frequent out-of town guests. Working closely with the homeowners, we designed and built an efficient but social kitchen that meets their needs beautifully.

The key to this kitchen design was creating multiple work stations for different tasks around a large central island, with plenty of room for non-cooks to be included in the gathering space. However, the existing space was a simple galley kitchen – too small to accommodate separate task areas. In addition, the homeowners felt that adjacent rooms were poorly laid out and didn’t meet their needs. Our home designers developed a comprehensive plan to remove walls and reconfigure the existing entry, den, dining room, and family room. This provided room for a spacious kitchen and dining area for multi-generational gathering.

One of the modifications we made to make the workspace easier for multiple users was to place two sinks in separate workstations on either side of the kitchen. This important feature allows multiple cooks to work efficiently without wasted steps or awkward traffic jams waiting for the sink to become available. The larger cleanup sink with a pull-down faucet was placed in the “traditional” sink location, while the smaller prep sink is located between the cooktop and the double wall ovens. It’s a perfect spot for filling a vegetable steamer or grabbing a cup of water while making bread dough.

These homeowners were also partial to the look of an all over white kitchen. While this can be beautiful, it presents a challenge when it comes to creating focal points and interest. White custom cabinets and white Silestone countertops in the new kitchen created the bright, clean feeling the clients craved. This look was given depth by a Brazilian cherry hardwood floor and a dramatic backsplash running around the perimeter of the kitchen.

This kitchen is unique in its beauty and clean lines, but any kitchen can be transformed into a more open space that is well suited for family gatherings. Sometimes this involves removing walls, as we did with this kitchen, and sometimes it might just be a reorganization of the floorplan for better flow. Both beautiful and functional, the ideal kitchen is the focal point for the family’s home and the perfect place for family members to gather and work in tandem.

Heidi is co-owner of Powell Construction in Corvallis, OR
Connect with Heidi @ 541-752-0805