Creating a Family-Friendly Kitchen(page 1 of 2)

Add features like accessible food storage, durable surfaces and an open floor plan

RX-Press-Kits-P1_Grothouse-Lumber-Company-Flat-Grain-Walnut-Countertops-1_s4x3 The Grothouse Lumber Company

While gourmet and entertaining kitchens certainly can be outfitted with family-friendly features, some households focus entirely on creating a space that works for the hectic daily lives of everyone who lives there. This means accommodating children who might fix their own after-school snacks, a parent who needs a space to organize meals and activities, and even pets that eat in the kitchen. (After all, their food and treats need to be stowed away somewhere.)

Interestingly, many homeowners plan kitchen remodeling projects around their holiday plans, says Nancy Divita, showroom manager at Trevarrow Inc. “That’s the time they want to show off their cooking because it brings joy and validation,” she says. So if keeping side dishes warm while the turkey roasts is typically a pain, they might justify installing a warming drawer, for example. But keep in mind as you choose features for a family kitchen, the real value comes from space planning and cabinetry features that improve how the kitchen functions every day.

Gallery: Family-Centered Kitchens

And, remember those children grow, and a kitchen remodel should last at least 10 years. “You want the kitchen to be adaptable so it will work for having kids around the house and empty nesters,” says Mary Jo Pierce, principal, Mary Jo Pierce Inc.

Before you begin your kitchen renovation, seriously review how you use your current kitchen and set goals for your remodel. This way, you can stay on track as you make important decisions about floor plan, appliances, cabinetry and more.

See Kitchens Built for Families

Questions to Ask:

  • How many children do you have, and how old?
  • How does each family member use the kitchen?
  • Do children prepare their own snacks and/or meals?
  • What about pets?
  • Who hosts the family gatherings, and how large are these events?
  • Do you cook for family gatherings (or order take-out, rely on a caterer)?
  • How many family members cook in the kitchen at one time?
  • What is each person’s role in the kitchen? (For example, dad cooks on weekends, mom makes everyday meals, children prepare their own breakfast, etc.)
  • Describe a day in the life of your kitchen. What works? What doesn't?

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