The Evolution of American Kitchen: From Galley to Gathering Space (cont.)

Today, what comprises a good modern kitchen depends on use, preferences, personal style, and functionality. As families got busier and more dual-income households work multiple jobs while children juggle demanding school schedules and extracurricular activities, balancing time with family is harder. However, the kitchen has become the centerpiece of a home, a space that adapts to family needs. As dining rooms are turned into game rooms for the kids or home offices, kitchens are transforming for more functions. Everyone gets to share in cooking duties, not just mom.

The modern kitchen is more open and designed to “connect” the room to the rest of the house and make it more inviting. It’s the age of the “trophy kitchen,” a time to show off recipes, update one’s foodie blog, entertain guests, and perform group chef activities. Popular counter tops are stone. Flat screen TVs built into key areas allow one to watch Food Network or reruns of Julia Child.

Design, materials and color depend on taste and affordability. Some designers opt for neutral colors and stainless steel for a sleek, industrial look. Those who like a more rustic style choose warm wood-tone finishes. Seating could include a large picnic style table with a bench or bar stools arranged around an island, the latter stocked with drawer space for table linens, utensils and cookbooks. S-hooks show off cooking utensils, sauce pots, frying pans and crock pots. Back splashes may be made of mosaic tile or brick.

Overall, the modern kitchen is designed as a space for gathering, celebrating, relaxing, reflecting and organizing. It’s a place where kids do homework under an adult’s watchful eye, where families share food prep and cleanup duties, and where one does crossword puzzles over a cup of coffee.

If you miss the nostalgia of the kitchen’s past, add an antique phone, retro microwave, or vintage art pieces that celebrate a favorite era. Regardless of how the kitchen transforms in the future, it’s up to you to add details that reflect your taste and lifestyle.