It's been said that, "all good parties end up in the kitchen." I can't vouch for that, but I can say that a good party starts in the kitchen. What constitutes a party is up to you. It could be a dinner party for the new neighbors, a must impress spread for the new boss, a pizza party for the winning team, or simply dinner on a Wednesday night. Whatever it may be, make sure you have the space. That's why I suggest that in hunting for a new home or a summer rental, start in the kitchen and go big.
Though I don't own a house, the first room I am drawn to when I am in someone else's house is the kitchen. In all of the places I rented, from Southampton to Woodside, the kitchen was the room I was most concerned with. Believe it or not, I once took an acting job that had me driving around the country in a glass house with a fake kitchen! My first task when I was in the cube: convert the fake kitchen into a real one. It was a M.A.S.H. unit kitchen, but that tiny toaster oven and hot pot cranked out some great meals for my traveling buddies and me.
In the course of my cooking demonstration business, I see many homes and many kitchens. I also hear many stories from homeowners about the trials and tribulations of remodeling. It's rare that someone is remodeling the kids' playroom or extending the den. Rather, I find that more often than not, it's the kitchen that gets the upgrade. This begs the question, "Why don't people just build a huge kitchen in the first place?" I had an uncle whose love of cooking grew over the years; coincidentally, our bellies grew as he got better and better. Though Uncle Johnny had a large house, from his perspective, its kitchen was on the small side. It seemed like he was always getting the kitchen worked on or planning the next great remodel job to blow out a wall or set up a fire safe barrier that could accommodate a professional grade Viking stove. He didn't have a crystal ball when he bought the house and probably looked at the kitchen as a functional place that would suffice. However, the lesson learned is that cooking and food aren't just functions of life, they are ways of life.
Growing up in a two-bedroom apartment with Mom, Dad, and too many siblings to mention, we always felt crowded. Luckily for us, the largest room in the house was the kitchen. I'll never know if the architect who designed our building was a foodie at heart, but throughout the building, all the apartments featured oversized kitchens. My mother routinely cranked out service for nine in that yellow-wallpaper-dressed kitchen. The best part about it was that it was big enough for us all to eat together. Nowadays, new buildings seem to add a mere suggestion of a kitchen. A space small enough to fit a toaster and a sink is considered a kitchen. That just won't do.
The kitchen is the space where you nourish the kids, feed the soul, check the homework, do the science project, hold family meetings, and romance your loved one with a special meal. Why would you skimp on size? Look into your crystal ball, it's saying "Go big."