Well-designed kitchen keeps dining, cooking areas separate


November 20, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: We're about to remodel an old country house. The kitchen seems to be the single most important space for our family of five. The plan is to combine the original, fairly large kitchen with an adjoining dining room. But we do like the idea of retaining a somewhat separate area for special meals. How can we best create this sort of spatial arrangement?

A: Sliding panels, trellis-like partitions and even floor-to-ceiling picket-shaped wooden poles can all serve as effective dividers in a space like yours. But since you're remodeling the house, give some thought to the way the merged room is to be configured. Specifically, the kitchen area could be laid out in an L or a U shape, with the cabinets installed on the perimeter wall.

The photo shows a single large space with clear divisions for working and eating. The center island, which here contains a range as well as a counter-height preparation and eating space, might be replaced in your own case by a sizable table and chairs. You could also include an L-shaped counter, with storage compartments below it, to separate the kitchen space from a more formal dining area.

You may want to camouflage the preparation area by placing cabinets above the L-shaped counter. They could be either open-fronted or enclosed with glass doors. This is a logical and convenient place for storing dishes and serving pieces.

The material for the base cabinets and counter can be the same as what you choose for other work surfaces in the kitchen. Alternately, you might prefer something more decorative, such as colorful tiles or, budget permitting, a marble top. This counter is then ready to be used as a buffet as well as a work surface.

More than just a functional layout is illustrated in the photo, which is taken from the book "Kitchens and Baths" by PBC International.

Please note some of the decorative features, including the tile work above the stove as well as on the counter tops. Notice, too, how the dropped soffit helps delineates the different room sections while acting as a frame for the textured ceiling.

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