People swearing by “The kitchen is the heart of the home” mantra, splurging on granite tops, large appliances, and ample storage spaces might shudder at the idea of a skinny kitchen with shrunken appliances that make their over-the-top kitchen islands look like they need to go on a diet. But the new generation of people defining the real estate market is also setting new standards in kitchen design and functionality. Who wouldn’t enjoy cleaning their ovens in a couple of sweeps?
It’s hard to believe that the self-proclaimed foodie generation, snapping pictures of each meal, describing their dining experience in length on social media, are going for less cooking space. This, however, doesn’t mean that food as a cultural benchmark is going anywhere. It’s just that our attitude towards preparing and enjoying it is changing. Who wouldn’t rejoice at the idea that you have less space to mess up with food splatters and leftovers?
More and more people are giving up on kitchen space for the sake of versatility and more entertainment options. What’s more, the smaller sizes of everything in your kitchen predetermines the ease of cleaning – oven, fridge, stove tops, kitchen tops, you name it. Also, fewer square meters by no means mean limited functions. The fully-equipped micro kitchen with high-end appliances takes preparation, cooking and washing in its stride. It serves perfectly younger couples or empty nesters who are downsizing from suburban houses seeking the easy maintenance of smaller urban flats. These are people who don’t do weekly stocking up on groceries but rather shop for fresh produce in small quantities two or three times a week. These are people who don’t have time to spend copious amounts of time to clean a huge cooker every month or so. This gives them the freedom of deciding whether they want to eat in or go out and what they’d like to prepare if they cook dinner themselves. A rising tendency among the so-called millennial generation – people aged 18 to 34, is a view towards cooking as a range of options to eat out in globally influenced restaurants or the juice bars and communal kitchens in their buildings. Preparing the daily meal is no longer a daily chore. It is a choice, which makes it more fun, inspiring and desirable. Home-cooked meals are healthy and authentic, but prepared on a whim.
Hygiene maintenance of the kitchen has been mentioned already once or twice, but as it is one of the dominant factors that determines whether or not a person is inclined to cook at home. Basically, there is the nagging sensation that when you cook a lot on the regular basis, you will have to clean after yourself, too. Stove tops, kitchen work tops, sinks, oven – cleaning will take a lot of your time and effort. There are possibilities to hire professional cleaners instead – an actual example from Slough oven cleaning technicians shows that a stove washing session would take several hours for inexperienced people to finish it. A smaller kitchen, though, will take less time to clean and it will be more efficient and budget-friendly to maintain.
Flats designed with well-equipped mini kitchens that have been squeezed down to make more space for entertaining and for bigger bedrooms are being sought by young people who can afford boutique living and food. If once kitchen tables and dining tables were the focal points, nowadays they’re being replaced by micro kitchens, fully operational in just a few centimetres, either adjacent to eating areas or merged into larger spaces. Various solutions such as chopping boards covering the sink and hot plates are utilised to create additional counter space. Hideaway kitchens may measure less than 2 metres in width while still offering a larger preparation area and ample storage, which can be discretely hidden behind folding doors.
With more high-rise apartment buildings built, demand for compact kitchen appliances is also on the rise. City dwellers are now looking for stoves who are smaller in size by six inches compared to standard appliances, dishwashers at 18 inches width and drawers containing fridges. Easier to fit, easier to clean, too. Sales of smaller convection ovens has seen a rise by 65 percent in the past five years. In small apartments where the kitchen and living space are often one room, there is a need for the kitchen to disappear after use. There are now kitchen systems that can transform into a sideboard when not used. Different modules allow people to tailor their space according to their individual requirements and provide the perfect kitchen for all purposes. There are different modules – from a mini-kitchen with just one sink and some storage space to kitchenettes with, for instance, a fridge and two cooking zones, or cooling drawers than can be both a fridge and a freezer to a fully equipped eat-in kitchen with an extensive range of amenities.
Innovative high-tech concept of a 180° revolving functional kitchen design offers all amenities of a traditional kitchen occupies less than 2 square metres. In this small space, there is a storage capacity equivalent to 12 cupboards and cooking, cleaning, and refrigeration integrated in a single item. This kitchen creation allows for versatility in home décor as it can be positioned anywhere in the room, be it in a space-saving spot in the centre, in angled corners or recesses.
For years, tiny kitchens have been something apartment dwellers in metropolises like New York, Paris and Tokyo have had to cope with, rather than opt for. But the micro kitchens of today are the choice of demographic groups such as the millennials and baby boomers whose food expenditures give in only to their rent. Even countries with exceptional traditions to cook at home, such as UK and its small regions – Slough, Maidenhead, Windsor to name a few. Although they could easily afford much larger and fully-equipped kitchens, their culinary preferences are shaping the kitchen design on a small scale.