Yorkshire Life : 2020-10-01

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PROPERTY The heart of the home Kitchens are no longer a room solely reserved for cooking up a storm – instead, they’re multi-functional spaces that are fast becoming the focus of any modern day abode Ellie Fells WORDS: P erhaps it’s the place where the family gathers together at the start of each day, a room where visitors are welcomed, a homeoffice, or even a make-shift school during lockdown. Whatever role your kitchen plays, the likelihood is it’s used for far more than just cooking. Indeed, for most modern households, the kitchen is well and truly the heart of the home. ‘Life currently means that the need for a space where a family can enjoy precious moments together is more important than ever. I believe that a kitchen in which it’s a delight to spend time can only help to enhance the quality of family life,’ states renowned kitchen designer, and founder of Ledbury Studio, Charlie Smallbone (ledburystu­dio.com). However, this hasn’t always been the case. There was once a time when kitchens were completely separate from the rest of the household. This originates from the days in which wealthy families would have servants, so the kitchen was designated as a place for cooking and cleaning and was therefore kept firmly out of sight. Although it did gradually become part of the main home, up until the mid 20th century it was very much a space for the ‘woman of the household’, whilst any entertaini­ng took place in the living room or dining room, an idea which is of course far outdated today. Since then, living habits have changed hugely: an increase in leisure time and disposable income, combined with a rise in cooking shows on television from the 1940s, meant cooking gradually became an activity for everyone to take part in. This change was reflected in the evolution of open-plan kitchen designs, which really flourished during the 1970s and 80s, and in the increasing popularity of features like integrated seating areas. Today, kitchens are often the piece-de-resistance of a home: they’re a way to showcase interior style, with designs ranging from a sleek, minimalist­ic look through to rustic country kitchens with exposed beams and flagstone floors. Tables, sofas and television­s are also common features, allowing the kitchen to serve the functions of a living room and dining room too. Open plan kitchens are of course commonplac­e, but interestin­gly in 2020 kitchen designers have seen an increased demand for ‘broken-plan’ kitchens too. This is essentiall­y a room that is divided up into separate areas with a barrier, such as a bookshelf featuring the latest cookery books or a storage unit. ‘Today, when designing a kitchen, it is completely usual for us to be asked to prioritise specific areas for displaying items, to consider room flow in terms of accommodat­ing social events held within the space,’ Charlie says. LEFT: The Cheshire Kitchen by Ledbury Studio 154 Yorkshire Life: October 2020 Š

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