The Expanding Kitchen The Expanding Kitchen

As today's kitchen has grown in importance, it has also grown in size. Many kitchens today include an adjacent entertainment area.

The area can be as elaborate or as simple as space will allow. Its planning requires careful consideration and extensive discussion between you and a designer. Often the homeowner has a visual image in his mind of the complete project, and the designer must balance the client's ideas with good taste and attractive functional space usage.

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For example, will the area be incorporated into the kitchen? If so, the placement of a second sink in the kitchen must be carefully selected when it will supply water for multiple activities. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the second sink should be placed in the mixing center of the kitchen. When guests arrive, most food preparation has been completed and the cook is now centering his or her activity around the cooking area. The bartender can then station himself or herself in the mix center without disturbing the cook. Such a design should also place the bartender near the refrigerator for ice.

If the entertainment area will be a separate center, then it should be located where guests will gather in the home. The family room or living room seems to be the most popular selection.

The most important elements of this area include a sink with at least a cold water faucet. Adding a slide-out towel bar under the sink will prove most useful. In addition, an icemaker or under-the-counter refrigerator should be installed.

Types and sizes of beverage bottles normally purchased by the homeowner will determine what kind of liquor storage cabinets will be designed. A roll-out shelf with an insert designed to received the different size containers is a handy way to keep the most used bottles.

Utensil storage for stirrers and cocktail napkins, as well as glass storage, are also necessary. Open glass shelving with brackets can be very attractive, and decorative lighting will accent the storage. If you're planning a full bar, then a mix area and a seating bar will be necessary to design.

Reprinted with permission from the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

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