The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« Kitchen Professional Range Love | Main | Happy Thanksgiving! »

Inspiring Eat-In Kitchens

Do you need a formal dining room for your Thanksgiving dinner for a small group? No! Over the years, I've had one long table, as well as multiple tables, and I'll tell you what is best: it's whatever works! And, if that means eating in the kitchen, so be it. Here are inspiring eat in kitchens good enough for today's main event, the Thanksgiving meal. Images from Desire To Inspire and the (departed) House & Garden. Enjoy!


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Reader Comments (5)

Recently we've been designing a lot of "flexible dining rooms". They're adjacent and open to the kitchen, so they function similar to an eat-in kitchen or a breakfast nook. Then we design built-in moveable panels, pocket doors or other devices that can be used to separate the dining room from the kitchen. For those occasional special dinners, the room can be separated from the kitchen and made as formal as one wants to make it.

One of our least favorite parts of designing houses is creating a formal dining room that MAY get used twice a year. What a waste of space and tax dollars (SF = Property Taxes).

Certainly, there are people who love to formally entertain and houses that "deserve" a very special dining room, but I think the "formal dining room" is a remnant of times gone by, much like the "formal living room".

Hope you're enjoying your turkey...

November 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMark R. LePage, AIA

Mark, thanks very much for your insightful thoughts. It's funny, I had an open dining room at one end of the kitchen, enough beyond so that it could be closed off if desired. At one point I thought of Shoji screens and at other times I thought of open shelving pieces which would hold decorative items and serve as a divider.

Just recently, we ended up putting the table in our second den, and putting the large sectional sofa at the far end of the kitchen...a completely open, 11x40 space.

Now, the dining table has a home, but it may be better to take the table apart and use the new dining room for, still, another purpose, maybe a study of some sort...

I completely agree with your thoughts about the dining room and living room. I've also always made the point about property taxes. All rooms should be used!

November 24, 2007 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

@Mark, I'm really glad to see that some in your profession are moving towards designing homes around the way people actually live. The formal dining and formal living room are such a waste of space for most of us.

Whenever I think of formal dining rooms I'm always reminded of that scene from the first Tim Burton Batman film where Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) and Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) sit at a ridiculously long table and Wayne remarks that he doesn't know if he's ever even been in that room before!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDamon

We have an open kitchen with a dining area next to it. The dining table is the hub of the home. We eat, read, talk and play games there, we can overlook the deck and the pond, it’s inside and outside at the same time. And with a bunch of candles, special place mats, napkins and flowers it becomes a beautiful "formal" dining area for entertaining.

That’s the norm here in Germany, as well as in Scandinavia. Having formal living and dining areas would be ridiculous, not only because energy prices are high - REALLY high, so that you better use every room you have - but also because they absolutely make no sense in today’s informal lives.

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Damon, I totally agree. It is becoming obvious that now our home may be becoming too large for us, now that 2 of three kids have moved out. We used to have two dens on the first floor on opposite ends. Plus a dining table in a sort of semi formal but contemporary open area. We recently moved the sectional from one den into the end of the kitchen and put the dining table in the den, but I'm sure we're going to rarely use the dining room. Maybe I'll make it into a study!

Connie, I had that exact configuration until a month ago (read just above.) Yes, it can transform easily into an elegant area. Your right, come to think of it, I don't think any of my family in Denmark has a formal dining room, I never realized that! It may be a somewhat formal area, but it dous double duty as every day dining. Yes, one cousin in Denmark has a formal dining room, I now remember!

November 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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