The Heart of Today's Home: The Kitchen

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home – today especially, that feels so true. With children and adults all home during the spring and summer covid months, our kitchen has been constantly occupied, with the island as our hub. Clover, our Vizsla, has been thrilled with the sheer quantity of snacks that inevitably find their way to the floor. Luckily, she gets double the walks these days! In older homes, kitchens were typically smaller, separated and removed from the rest of the home. It was a contained space used almost exclusively for cooking that could be closed off to conceal the mess. Dining rooms and living rooms were situated nearby for family and friends to eat and congregate. Over the last 20 years or so, kitchens started to be designed as living spaces; they became larger and thought of as an additional space for entertaining. I can’t think of a client who has asked for a floor plan or a renovation that separates the kitchen from the living spaces. Most clients, when renovating, are focused on “opening up the kitchen” and “creating a space where we can live and eat. ”

Family-friendly spaces for gathering have fast become a specialty; one of my favorite to tackle was my own. 14 years ago, we purchased a 1960’s home that was previously owned by my husband’s grandparents. In a way, they were ahead of their time as they had placed in the kitchen a small table where they would eat breakfast and read the morning paper. When we moved in, we eliminated the louvered doors that separated the kitchen from the dining room as a start to open things up, and eventually we were able to do a true kitchen update.



Before: our dated little kitchen with a small breakfast table. But look at those windows! Nothing but potential.


During: Tearing down the wall between kitchen and dining will open up the space and create room for the must-have…an island! I kept the sink at the windows, truly my favorite part of our family hub.


After: This eat-in kitchen area used to be part of the formal dining room. Taking down the wall allowed us to open up the space. Creating this built-in window seat adds essential storage and an cozy spot for gathering. We maximized the space and increased function, all while maintaining the cottage charm.





Sarah Hayes Design | Full Service Architectural and Interior | Chevy Chase, MD

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