Everyone ends up in the kitchen

Our daughter and son in law are out for the weekend, along with their dog, Max. We're trying to introduce our new cat to their dog, and we can't figure out who's scared of who. The cat hissed once, the dog barked and barked (but his tail wagged, so did he want to play?) This was the weekend's excitement. Luckily, the dog is a small 25 lbs so they're on fairly equal territory. Random kitchen images follow (not of this weekend).

I think the best times of the weekend are definitely centered around meals and cooking. Cooking dinner, we break out the wine, always. Someone is at the (indoor) grill, someone is chopping something, and someone else is hanging out at the table chatting, casually on a laptop, whatever. The music is on. After a super busy week of demanding jobs and obligations of various sorts, I'm convinced that there are pieces to our kitchen design that help dissolve those working stresses real fast.

See family and friends VERY relaxed! 












 A recipe to de-stress in the kitchen:

  • large windows to bring in nature and soothing sights
  • a heavy duty, wide, pull out butcher block (from a drawer) to easily expand counter space as well as allow two people to work together, one on each side
  • something soft - we have a raised up sofa as part of our eating area, wonderfully cozy, conducive to hanging out
  • speakers to bring in the music
  • variety of lighting, including a dimmer over the table
  • room to roam, not a crowded or cramped plan
  • large enough dining area to, again, not feel cramped
  • good food, good wine, good conversation
  • love

I'd LOVE to know what makes your kitchen people friendly, conducive to relating. Please do tell!