2000s Archive

Living Kitchens

Part 1

continued (page 2 of 2)

None of these kitchens is particularly large, yet Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen or more can readily be prepared in each. Indeed, big kitchens are deceptively difficult to plan. The late James Beard once illustrated this: Asked by restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman for help with the kitchen in his new Brooklyn house, Beard sized up the chosen room and declared it “too big.” He spun around like a top, flapping his long arms, saying, “That’s how big a kitchen’s walk-around space should be. If not, you’ll spend the rest of your life on roller skates.”

The decision to build or renovate a kitchen is, like marriage, not to be undertaken lightly. This room is certainly the most complex, and usually the most expensive, in a household, with a price tag that can compare unfavorably with a Testarossa’s. And you can’t test-drive the kitchen.

In the next five segments of this series—covering everything from bare-bones utility kitchens for the saucepan-averse to showplaces fit to welcome off-duty professional chefs—I will point out design snares and solutions. I’ll walk you through the steps of creating a livable kitchen, whether you are doing it up because you love to cook or because then you’ll have to learn to cook; because it is Action Central in a brimming family life or because you wish to woo the love of your life with eggs Benedict; because you need to cater to your caterers; or simply because a house without one has no hope of being a home.

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