Kitchens play hide and sleek- The Wall Street Journal

Kitchens play hide and sleek

High-end appliances go behind closed doors, making room for art and Web surfing.

By Anjali Athavaley of The Wall Street Journal
After Lisa Gilmore, 50, and her husband, Merle, became empty-nesters, the North Barrington, Ill., couple decided to renovate their kitchen and tailor it for two.

Working with Chicago kitchen designer Mick de Giulio last spring, they knocked down the wall that separated the kitchen and dining room. De Giulio concealed the dishwashers with cabinetry and encased the refrigerator in a wooden armoire with art hanging from the back. And they added a “keeping room,” an area adjacent to the kitchen with comfortable couches and a fireplace. The name refers to a cozy parlor near the hearth in Colonial-era houses.

That seating area is “where we have our meaningful conversations,” Lisa Gilmore says. “We do pretty much everything in there.”

For years, kitchen designers have been treating high-end appliances like trophies, making a stainless-steel and glass refrigerator, or a range in a shiny color finish, the room’s focal point. Now, more homeowners are veering in the opposite direction, hiding kitchen bling behind wood panels or underneath countertops. The resulting look — streamlined, uncluttered, often with LED lighting and a mix of stone and wood finishes — marks the next phase in the kitchen’s evolution from cooking and eating hub to flexible multitasking space.

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images: Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio

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