It is more than just a design

July 24, 2021Guest blogger

The kitchen revolves around the range.

One of the best kitchens I’ve ever spent time in was in South Minneapolis. It all revolved around our friend’s large industrial stove against a wall that seemed to stretch and groan as it warmed up. I remember the heat spreading and the rich spicy scents coming out of that hardworking range, culminating in some of my favorite weekend days ever.

This kitchen wasn’t big, and it wasn’t built with a designer or new appliances, but it had a heart. Peder and Mary’s kitchen was welcoming and full of activity all day with lots of cooking, talking and sharing. Their cuisine created community and family, and as long as you were there, you belonged.

You were asked to help out and that meant you learned along the way how cooking is a process. It is experiential in nature. I learned how to cook my first quiche there and how to roast lamb on the grill. Peder also taught me how to build Adirondack chairs from scratch during those days 25 years ago, and they still sit in my backyard today.

From time to time, I walk past the old stucco and wood Tudor and peek out on the back deck where we hand cut all those boards for the Adirondack chairs. Who knows if the kitchen still has all the warmth of an old log cabin? Are they grilling lamb or hot mutton stew? If only those walls could talk, they would tell stories of a decade of love, life and lots of satisfying meals.

Device selection

Make sure you choose exactly the appliances you need to create the meals of your dreams. In the case of Peder and Mary, that central point on the industrial stove made sense. It has been used often and at full capacity. Ask yourself how you like to cook and spend the money on appliances where it makes the most sense. Consider researching the Convection and Dual Fuel options. If you can, try a friend’s or neighbor’s kitchen or hob to actually experience the difference between gas and electric heaters.

Think of your refrigerator as a food storage system, because that’s what gives you the most value for your dollar. Ask yourself how well does that refrigerator keep food fresh? Stainless or not, keeping grocery shopping for next week is really what it’s all about. Don’t be afraid to add drawer refrigeration to a pantry or island or extra beverage refrigeration to expand your prep and entertainment workspaces.

A lifestyle choice

Bake or fry? Do you cook multiple recipes at the same time? Really examine how you use the appliances you may need. More features aren’t always needed.

Appliances don’t last forever, so think about how long you will stay in this particular kitchen and how long you will be using these appliances. Ten years is a long time in the world of design and twenty years are an ancient cuisine. Most home ownership lasts long enough for the owner to complete a kitchen remodel, so think about resale value as well.

Remember that a kitchen is all about creativity and having the tools and space to bring these elements together. It doesn’t matter if you are a serious cook or not. Peder and Mary’s cooking was not large or pretentious; he was simple and well designed for their lifestyle: he was hardworking and had a lot of heart.

Read more about CliqStudios tips on how to make small kitchens look big.

What’s your favorite cooking memory? Tell us your story by replying to this blog post!

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