in her Manhattan apartment which she prefers to her big kitchen.
Americans Love Big Kitchens
"Magazines and television programs feature "dream" kitchen renovations, while fancy catalogs sell thousand-dollar sets of knives and equally expensive sets of cookware. Among families that can afford it, the dream kitchen may go unused, while the family dines in a restaurant, all the while expressing a level of food knowledge and sensitivity they've garnered from hours spent viewing "home cooking" television shows. The kitchen in such a case may find its best use for snack and sandwich preparation, for reheating meals prepared outside the home, for occassional holiday or social entertaining. Life in the USA, America Eats, Elliot Essman 2007.
Ironically, the supersizing of the American kitchen is happening at the same time Americans are experiencing a a substantial drop in home cooking. Since 1993, the percentage of American households cooking even once a day has fallen markedly. According to a survey by the Department of Energy, the decline in home cooking can be seen in households of all sizes. "Americans find that in their world of multitasking and daily time crisis, food preparation at home becomes more of a chore, less of a pleasure."
(I've also noticed that as American kitchens have increased in size, so has America's problem with obesity. This is just an observation - I'm not drawing any conclusions. But it is an interesting parallel.)
So why am I telling you all this about big kitchens? Because although Americans may think bigger is better, small kitchens will always win any 'throw down' as Bobby Flay fondly calls a head-to-head competition.
How is this possible? In smaller kitchens, food preparation and cooking are the priority. Form follows function. This is not a family room, entertainment center, study and cooking area rolled into one space. Small home kitchens work because they do not try to be everything to everybody.
Let's look at the basics of pulling a small kitchen together.
|Appliances||Start with the standard kitchen appliances—a refrigerator, stovetop, oven and dishwasher. Treat the sink as a kitchen appliance. I like stainless steel for the small kitchen. It reflects light and opens the space visually. Form a triangle between the refrigerator, stovetop/oven and the sink. Put the dishwasher next to the sink and you have an efficient work area. This is your kitchen foundation. My kitchen is tiny; eight feet by eight feet (including countertop space) and this triangular arrangement works wonders.|
|Cabinets||Choose your cabinets after deciding on appliances. Why? Appliances are the foundation of your kitchen, build the cabinets around them. Natural woods or painted cabinets work equally well. Just keep the look simple and clean.|
|Countertops||Choose a countertop that compliments your cabinets. Granite is my favorite countertop surface and is worth the cost. Engineered stone countertops are also good options. Concrete countertops have become a popular option, but I think they are too porous and require too much upkeep.|
|Lighting||For kitchen lighting, the best choices are recessed canisters in the ceiling and over work areas. Also make sure to have lighting under the cabinets. Kitchen work demands good light.|
|If there is space, I like to keep a small freestanding cabinet by the kitchen entry. This is nice for extra storage.|