Should You Split Your Kitchen in Two For Easy Entertaining?

plan & design
From the Staff of Know Your Home/Photography Sources: Wooton Construction, Heather Hungeling Design Blog, Traditional Home Magazine

With the trend for more open concept entertaining spaces in recent years, kitchens became stunning showpieces, but they lacked practicality. Taking out walls, adding windows for more light, and creating larger islands is great for entertaining, but where can a host hide small appliances and the mess left behind by party preparations? Davey Wooton of the Planning & Design Team at the Home Project Center says, “practical storage and counter space have now become scarce in open concept design so certain trends have been gradually gaining popularity.”Davey says that some homeowners will move toward chopping up the main living area back to a separate kitchen, dining, and family room. With other homeowners, the trend will be splitting the kitchen space into two separate rooms.

According to Davey, “the larger of the two rooms will be the beautiful kitchen to entertain in. The second smaller space will become an area to do cooking prep, cleanup, and house all the small appliances that you don’t necessarily want out in the entertaining kitchen.” These extra spaces just off the kitchen are known by different names, like the back kitchen, the scullery, or the prep kitchen. In some instances, the room can be as simple as a larger than usual butler’s pantry. “No matter what you call them, these rooms are created to give support to the main kitchen. You want the room to be adjacent to the entertaining kitchen without it being in plain view of any guests,” says Davey. She goes on to say, “we can even design hidden doors to match the kitchen cabinetry to hide the fact that a scullery even exists.”

Although the term conjures up episodes of Downton Abbey, for this article, we will call it a scullery. Under the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a scullery is a room for cleaning and storing dishes and cooking utensils and doing messy kitchen work. Depending on the square footage you have available, the scullery can house whatever your space will allow. Davey says, “at a minimum, the room would typically include easy access to your small appliances like your stand mixer, rice cooker, or food processor, for example. Usually, deep open shelving would accommodate prepping bowls, extra dishes, and stemware alongside pantry staples.” “The design plan may include a full-size sink, refrigerator, and a dishwasher if space allows,” Davey continues.

“When renovating your kitchen, a smart design might take advantage of little nooks, crannies, and unused space next to your current kitchen to carve out a scullery or butler’s pantry,” says Davey. She goes on to say, “One of our clients who often entertains decided that having a separate space for cleaning the dirty pans and dishes that go along with dinner parties was a big priority. We were able to take space from an outdoor utility closet, an indoor closet and re-arrange a spacious laundry room to create a scullery that included a large kitchen sink, a dishwasher, and a wine cooler. A wall of floor to ceiling cabinets, open shelving, and upper and lower kitchen cabinets completed the space. ”

In recent years, homeowners wanted a gorgeous open kitchen to entertain family and guests, only to find out that being that open has a few flaws. Entertaining suddenly became a mad dash to clean and put away prep bowls, pans, and trays before any guests arrived. As always, kitchen design is rooted in functionality and usually is the driving force for changing home trends. Davey says, “it’s a balance between having that great open flow for gathering and socializing and hiding the mess that entertaining causes.”Perhaps making the entertaining kitchen a little smaller and adding lots of storage, a sink, and a dishwasher to a secondary kitchen space could be the best of both worlds and the key to solving the open concept dilemma. If you want to learn more about redesigning your kitchen, check out Davey Wooton at the Home Project Center. Visit the website at



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