The pandemic and the restrictions that came with it has proved that an open kitchen allows for easier multi-tasking with ‘work from home’ becoming the norm. Kitchen counters or more suitably kitchen islands have become the centre of one’s universe. Domestic work in the kitchen is now close at hand, even while conduction professional assignments. Open kitchens are usually furnished with a with a small dinning suite that readily allows you to set up your laptop or computer, and stack your files, mobile charging docks etc, and create an office on the go. Its all happening here, hammering out emails and attending meetings over zoom. The open kitchen not restricted within four compact walls allow better access to other parts of the house, importantly interacting with family and other inmates. Supervising your domestic help, or minding kids and pets is easy as much as it is more than a handful. With a small TV set, you can find yourself rooted to the spot!
Under normal circumstances on the other hand, an open kitchen has been all about a modern and aesthetically appealing spaces, reflecting your taste which visitors get to see. Leaf through a few glossy magazines and you can find your inspiration there for your smart, functional and trendy kitchen design. Invest one time in some swank cabinetry and practical fittings, unique and attractive backsplash, modern utensils, and efficient hobs and chimneys. A kitchen counter often doubles up as a bar counter or food station. Get an attractive colour and right material for the counter top. You are now set to open up your private space to your guests. The concept of an open kitchen involves blending the décor of the living cum dining room with the colour scheme and aesthetic of the kitchen. Or to add some excitement to your parties, introduce alfresco dining by matching the look of your kitchen with the outdoor areas of your home. Entertaining takes on a different meaning!
The easiest way to arrive at this combination – kitchen design and living room, is by extending the flooring of the living room into the kitchen. The eye sees a seamlessness with the use of the same floor tiles that merge the two spaces. Apart from that, choose the same wood finishes for both these rooms. The same colour of wood finishes of the living room should appear in the kitchen – on surfaces like the cabinets, drawers etc to create a cohesive whole. Look for elements that can be used or matched to craft a oneness.
A huge plus is that while cooking for guests, and getting food ready for service, you are able to join the party simultaneously. So, no missing out on socialising, no walls to restrict view of friends and family, nor does it confine you within the kitchen, cutting you off from the rest of the house, and visitors. Visiting friends and family often join in and help with food preparation which an open kitchen encourages.
An open kitchen exudes positive vibes with better natural light and ventilation, and gives a good feeling of spaciousness.
ADJUSTMENTS TO BE MADE: In an Indian household, planning for an open kitchen needs some changes to be made in the way one uses the kitchen, especially cleaning up after cooking and storage. While we leave washing dishes (a huge pile generally) and cleaning up for our domestic help to manage, we can create a design that can make a kitchen look clutter free. Smart storage solutions that look good from the inside just as much as it does from the outside. The utensils and dishes all have a place and need to be put away, accordingly.
Cooking styles too, with the use of spices and oil to fry and cook, we need to take care of the vapour and the strong aromas that are released during the cooking process. Here, investing in a hob and chimney with a powerful suction function can drive vapour and strong kitchen smells away, instead of letting them spill on to the living room and its occupants.
And what does one do with the usual kitchen noise – spluttering, whistling of the cooker, grinding of the mixer grinder? It can’t be so much fun for conversations and social interactions taking place through all this! There is a solution here too. Either food preparation and cleaning up need to be timed before guests arrive, or use a sliding door that is transparent that can be opened and closed when required. Also, a transparent partition or door will allow natural light to come through and effective ventilation when kept open. Consider covering up the area used for washing, or the food preparing counter, for a neater look. And if you still want some privacy in an open kitchen, place the sofas and seating in the adjoining living room such that guests sit with their backs to the kitchen.
WATCHPOINT: One needs to be mindful about looking into the conveniences of elderly parents or visiting relatives. Do you then have a dining area that is more private for the seniors?
Conclusion: Are open kitchens then suitable for Indian homes? For sure, if you want it to be the centre of your universe!
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