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The Social Kitchen

September 01, 2016
The Social Kitchen

The evolution of the kitchen is a fascinating subject. It was once a place used only by cooking staff (if you were wealthy enough), or used by house wives who slaved over the family’s daily meals and then have to tirelessly clean up after them.

Thankfully today's kitchen has evolved to become the social hub of the home where friends and family (including husbands), come together to cook, to drink, to chat and even carry out other daily tasks such as catching up on personal admin, or flipping through a favourite mag with a cup of coffee.

Children and teenagers are spending a lot more time in the kitchen drawing, painting or finishing up homework. They are even excited to help out with preparing food which is great as cooking is an essential life skill that helps kids to develop their creativity and motor skills.

The Social Kitchen

It doesn’t matter how fancy one’s formal living or formal dining spaces are, when friends or family visit everyone seems to gravitate to the kitchen. So what has inspired this shift from the couch to the cook top?

Modern technology, access to a smorgasbord of food varieties and the popularity of cooking shows such as Jamie Oliver’s has taken cooking from being a repetitive chore to an opportunity to get creative. Along with the popularity of social media channels such as Instagram or Facebook one can now showcase and share their cooking creations.

Of course it is the actual physical evolution of kitchen design itself that has impacted most on the way we interact with the space and each other. Once a closed off room at the rear of the house, the kitchen is now proudly positioned centrally at the heart of the home.

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Influences from glossy magazines saw kitchens develop into luxurious, uber fancy, show kitchens – all about state-of-the-art appliances, sculptural range-hoods and finishes that exemplified vast amounts gloss, sparkle and shine. However, the ‘show’ kitchen has now evolved into the ‘social’ kitchen which conveys a much more relaxed and welcoming appearance.

Today’s contemporary kitchen now reflects a more casual, laid-back aesthetic that looks effortlessly chic. With the influence of styles such as Scandinavian, Hampton’s and Industrial, kitchens have taken on a much more raw and natural appearance. They have become light, airy, open-plan spaces that are acknowledged for their clever use of space, ample natural light, multi-functional use and customised hand-made furniture. Materials are natural or earthy and colour palettes are more neutral and muted.

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Sightlines are left open without visual obstructions which allows spaces to borrow from each other. Many new kitchens encompass a dining table integrated into the bench top that can double as a home-office work space. It’s this kind of versatile design flexibility that encourages a great deal more social interaction within the home.

Many households have embraced a causal lifestyle and as such, the kitchens of today are fast becoming shared family spaces that also permit dining and lounging within the same area. This concept allows the whole family to spend time together whether the task at hand be cooking, working, relaxing or socialising.

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Consider adapting your kitchen to create a multi-functional shared living / dining space that will encourage social interaction. To help you we've curated a collection of our favourite kitchen furniture and accessories that fit perfectly within today's contemporary casual aesthetic.

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