As we’ve all shifted to spending more time in our homes, the flow of your house has become more critical than ever. Your kitchen and living space need to be flexible enough to account for working at the island during the weekday, hosting on a Saturday evening, and getting some heavy cooking done on a Sunday afternoon. It needs to be open enough for people to move about freely, while homey enough that you actually want to spend time in it.
As a result, bolder, warmer designs are in. Open floor plans, while not banned completely, increasingly have design elements that create a sense of function for different parts of the home.
This recent Vienna home re-design by Nadia Subaran at Aidan Design and interior designer Sally Steponkus is a prime example. The kitchen and living room flow easily into one another. Movement from one room to another is intuitive. But the final effect isn’t one of clinical same-ness. You can still get the classic experience of kids in the living room working away on homework, while parents get dinner started over in the kitchen.
Crafting a great flow can be as technical as it is artistic. Case in point: the fridge almost always creates traffic jams. It’s the place where nearly everyone working in the kitchen has to go at some point, plus anyone looking for a pre-dinner snack.
Aidan Design’s solution was to break up the fridge from the freezer, through what’s called modular refrigeration. In this case, the fridge fits in slimly left of the sink where it’s always within easy reach. The less-frequented freezer is moved to the lower traffic area at the front of the pantry.
And speaking of the pantry, walk-ins like these are worth the space commitment if you can swing it. The cabinets contain the regular suspects, while your otherwise-easily disarranged spices and obscure ingredients are kept in control in the deeper space.
Crowd control in the kitchen transitions into a livable flow between the kitchen and living room. The mid-sized island in the kitchen provides plenty of seating, without putting you in the middle of the traffic. A dining room sits by new sliding glass doors to the backyard, so additional entertaining space is always at hand. A home bar is tucked into the corner of the living room, so guests can refresh their drink without heading into the kitchen unnecessarily.
All the ingredients for the perfect night are there. But even with a crowd, no one’s going to feel cramped.
A perfectly laid out space is only worth it if people want to be in it. And that’s where style can prove essential.
The kitchen’s look manages to feel dynamic and relaxed at the same time, thanks to a combination of bold patterning and a restrained palette. The centerpiece, a large backsplash with sketch-like chevrons, creates lots of movement without straining the eyes. The island sink purposefully appears to be of a piece with the countertop, creating a minimal yet relaxed feel.
It’s an approach of warmth-through-form that carries through to the cabinets, a relative of the Shaker so subtle they’re elevated into a whole new style. The result feels simple and immediately distinctive at the same time. (They’re taking off with the agency’s clients in general.)
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