Hidden appliances

To Hide the Kitchen Appliances or Not?

We often convert one thing into another, such as a closet into an expanded bathroom or an unfinished basement into a multi-functional space for multi-generational living. Still, a closet is a closet. It does not pretend to be something it isn't. Likewise with a bathroom. It serves the purpose of a bathroom, no matter how it is improved or how lovely it appears to the eye of the owner.

The kitchen is a different animal, however. Food is stored and prepared there as always, but now the kitchen takes on different roles: a place to eat, to congregate, to pay the bills, to charge your electronic devices, tackle homework, and so forth. The square feet dedicated to a kitchen has expanded as well, from the cramped basics to culinary school productions that overlap other living areas. Which design principles apply to this versatile space? Hide the appliances or leave them exposed? Is a kitchen still a kitchen?

I loathe the affectation of disguising refrigerators and dishwashers with a cabinetry panel. You are in a kitchen; everyone knows you are in a kitchen. That you own a refrigerator should come as no surprise. I love the honesty and simplicity of appliances.”
— Madeline Stuart

Even though we use kitchens differently these days, we like to see the symbols of the kitchen as a reminder of its first purpose. A kitchen is defined to some extent by the appliances. Concealing them behind cabinetry seems labored, especially if the owners use the kitchen as a kitchen rather than as an art object. We sometimes see amazingly crafted cabinetry covering all the appliances in a high-end kitchen, and just as we are enjoying the sleight-of-hand trick, our eyes fall to the inevitable La Cornue or Wolf range (no pricy kitchen can exist without one of these!). 750 pounds or more of hulking stainless steel. Naked. Massive. The magic show is over. A kitchen is still a kitchen.        



Remodeling and Home Design