Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Julep Lane Project
Why You’re Going to Want A Prep Kitchen In Your Next Home
It’s funny how we’ve gotten here…this point at which we now need a prep kitchen.
We’ve been craving open floor plans for decades now. Every home improvement show on TV has the designer or homeowner knocking out most of the walls in the main living space to create these spacious and flowing open floor plans. Homeowners also wish to increase the number of windows in their kitchens, which then leads to not having quite enough places for practical storage. The result of all of this openness is that convenience has often been in conflict with our desire to create kitchens that we want to actually “live in.” We have gladly accepted these trade-offs as part of the updating process…until we realized that we have nowhere to put the toaster.
We’ve also finally arrived at a place where we find ourselves feeling burdened by the need to have our kitchen be pristinely displayed at all times – but particularly while entertaining. (If you want to read a really cynical article about how women have just created more work for themselves by going along with this modern movement of open-concept living, read The Curse of the Open Floor Plan, by The Atlantic.)
The solution to this pickle is the prep kitchen. It allows us to have all of the openness and beauty that we desire in our main kitchen while giving us an extra work/storage area that’s a bit more out of sight.
When I explained to my husband what the topic of my post was going to be this week, he said: “oh, right…it’s just like the rule about a gentleman’s handkerchiefs…one for showy and one for blowy.” Ha! I hadn’t heard that one before. I’m still giggling over that one, but no, I am not advocating that you have a “show kitchen” and then another “real kitchen” behind that. My suggestion is much more practical. A prep kitchen, in its simplest form, can just be a place to have quick and easy access to your countertop appliances that you’d like to have sitting out, but not necessarily on display. If you throw in lots of open shelving, a sink, and a refrigerator – you now have a basic prep kitchen that can take your kitchen design in all sorts of exciting directions.
Here’s a little sample plan that I mocked up to help you get started thinking about your prep kitchen. You’ll notice that I included two openings to the prep kitchen from the main kitchen for easy access no matter where you are. The food pantry is located in close proximity to the kitchen, while still being close to the refrigerator and freezer for easy unloading of groceries. I’ve included a concealed area in the prep kitchen to set out all of your countertop appliances, as well as provided another sink and dishwasher for heavy clean-up. Finally, I added an extra refrigerator/freezer, a wine cooler, and a 36” wide wall oven, which makes the space ideal for cooking for a big crowd (and I’ve positioned those items so that they are close to the butler’s pantry). The main kitchen features a large island, a whole bank of windows over the main sink, a wide feature range hood, 30” refrigerator, 30” freezer, and a 30” wall oven housing for everyday use. This kitchen layout offers great flexibility to my imaginary homeowner!