Property Trends: Hidden Kitchens
Over the last century or so, the kitchen has evolved from an outhouse scullery to the grand ‘hub of the home’. But as we edge further into the new millennium the kitchen space has taken on some surprising new characteristics.
Property Copywriter, Louise Mitchell, reveals what she’s been noticing in some of Melbourne’s finest homes.
Once functional, practical and packed with visible features and appliances, the traditional kitchen seems to be disappearing behind a cleverly designed guise of sleek panels, concealed cabinetry and ever-expanding butler’s pantries.
So what are the elements that are often ‘hidden’ or altogether gone in contemporary kitchen design.
With the increase in size and function of butler’s pantries, most of the general appliances we need to cook a meal or keep food fresh are housed within these utility rooms or integrated behind custom-built cabinetry. Dishwashers, fridges and even ovens and induction cook-tops are barely detectable on first glance of a modern kitchen.
2. Cupboards, drawers & doors
In an ultra-contemporary kitchen, doors concealing large appliances and even the entrance to the butlers’ pantry are accessed by lightly pressing on sleek wall panels. Clever cupboards and drawers with no handles have fingerprint sensors that allow them to open and close in a smooth manner. Even oven doors are perfectly streamlined and handle-free in the latest kitchen designs.
3. Power outlets
With most of the appliances relegated to the butler’s pantry and everything else hidden behind panels, you won’t find any visible power points or electrical cords in today’s super-smart kitchen. Wi-fi has taken over, and voice recognition or apps are able to remotely operate everything electronic. There may be one central touch-pad or portal which is all that is required to automatically order your groceries, cook a meal, play a tune or brew the perfect coffee.
4. The window over the kitchen sink
Once the cornerstone of kitchen design, the window over the kitchen sink was based on pre-dishwasher family-living, when most kitchens were at the rear of the house, overlooking the backyard. Now the sink can go just about anywhere – often it’s integrated with the dishwasher into a central island, or tucked away in the butler’s pantry. An emerging trend is for the sink be concealed altogether beneath slide-away benchtop panels and combined with ‘pop up’ tapware – so it’s only visible if and when needed.
Using the butler’s pantry for food preparation leaves the ‘kitchen proper’ as more of a sleek servery, with not a crumb to be seen. Another clever element is a sliding screen or partition that can conceal the cooking and food preparation area when entertaining, or just when you don’t want to look at a mess. No more frantic cleaning just before guests arrive, just slide the screen or shut the butler’s pantry door and everything is perfect!