Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Whether you’re an aspiring chef or occasionally hire one, a showstopping kitchen is quickly establishing itself as a clutch play for selling a luxury home. As reported by realtor.com, homes that tout a “killer kitchen” or “luxury kitchen” sell 8% faster than similar-sized homes in the same ZIP code.
What qualifies a kitchen as "gourmet"? Case Architects & Remodelers describes it as “a state-of-the-art culinary setup that’s equipped with a large range of special features, appliances, and accessories that make cooking gourmet, exotic, and specialty foods from scratch in your own kitchen a reality.” Across the board, gourmet kitchens have a few common features: top-of-the-line appliances, custom cabinetry with storage solutions for days, and miles of shining stone countertops.
Here are 5 features that make homes with gourmet kitchens desirable.
Functionality and The Kitchen Triangle Theory
Functionality is one of the main attributes in a gourmet kitchen. The triangle kitchen, also know as the working triangle and the golden triangle, was first introduced in the twentieth century as a guideline for creating a certain distance between the three main kitchen work stations: the sink, the stove and the refrigerator.
The rules to a practical kitchen triangle:
The three elements (cooktop, sink, and refrigerator) must be laid out in a triangle pattern, between 4 feet and 9 feet apart.
The total length of all three sides of this imaginary triangle must be no less than 13 feet but no more than 26 feet.
Cabinets, islands, tables, and other partial-height obstacles must not stick into the triangle more than 12 inches.
The theory represents the traffic in the kitchen, creating a rotational movement between the tasks of cooking, chopping/peeling, and storage. While this theory might sound limiting, many kitchen layouts can accommodate the triangle — large open kitchens with islands can carry out the triangle, as seen in Palm Beach property 230 N Ocean Blvd, along with U-shaped, L-shaped, and closed off galley kitchens.
The 90-year old concept has miraculously stuck due to the multitude of benefits including convenience, proper counter space, minimizing foot traffic and increasing productivity.
A Spacious Island
Any professional will tell you that you need more than the typical counter space for cooking your favorite meals. Designed particularly for "lots of cooks in the kitchen”, islands create multiple work stations and allow the whole family and guests to participate if you are entertaining. Choosing premium materials and sturdy surfaces for countertops and island is important — Quartz or marble surfaces, as seen in this townhouse at 112 Congress Street, are man-made, do not require sealing, are less porous than natural stones like granite, and therefore have better stain-resistance and durability. Available in a wide range of designs, these products are backed by a warranty while natural stone generally is not.
Gas range. Not everyone prefers them, but by and large, a gourmet kitchen typically uses gas to heat the oven and cooktop, as gas has a reputation of cooking more evenly, without “hot spots” on the stove. A six-burner gas cooktop— maybe even two of them — with plenty of room for large pots and pans or a dutch oven, and a double oven, one with convection cooking are the foundation to a 3-Michelin-star worthy meal.
Microwave and warming drawers. The microwave drawer is an alternative to shelf-mounted microwaves or freestanding units that take up counter space. And the warming drawer, well...it keeps food warm, but without drying it out like the oven might or breaking down the molecular structure as would happen with a microwave reheat.
Spacious, high-performance refrigerator and freezer. You’ll find low-profile, barely noticeable options for the clean-lined minimalist, or stainless steel beauties that say, “I’m up for a challenge.” The optics of high-end appliances will vary, but the functionality requirements are consistent. Realtor.com says, “while there's still no standard definition of what a ‘chef's kitchen’ includes...most frequently associated with one: an oversized fridge (it's even better to have a separate fridge and freezer).”
Heavy-duty dishwasher. A dishwasher needs space to store at least a 10-piece place setting. If you find yourself entertaining a lot, investing in two dishwashers might be a good idea. That might take the form of a dishwasher drawer, says Food Network. Gourmets might consider a point-of-use dishwasher placed near a bar sink or entertaining area to manage dirty glassware while reserving the main dishwasher for pots, pans and dishes.
Ventilation. We listen to The Kitchn when they say a heavy-duty range hood is a must in any foodie’s kitchen. Bacon and eggs certainly smell good when ithey're cooking for breakfast, but you don't want the smell sticking around long after breakfast is over.
Natural light is, of course, the most desirable of all lighting sources in a kitchen, and if you have stunning ocean views, you wouldn’t think twice about nixing upper cabinets in favor of more windows. But cooking and entertaining still happen after sundown. The Kitchn by Grundig notes that “Lighting is crucially important in a foodie’s kitchen, so getting it right can be make or break. Natural light is best during the day, but you can mimic the appearance by opting for natural lighting colours in artificial bulbs.”
With recessed under-cabinet lighting, adjustable pendants, monorail fixtures at the tip of the lighting iceberg, the design options are endless. The owners of this Miami home show that by combining the right color scheme, unique tiles and accessories in the kitchen, you can create the kitchen workspace or entertaining ambiance you need at any time of day.
The triangle isn't the only thing in the kitchen that is strategically placed. One of the most admired features in a gourmet kitchen is the ample amount of storage space and the luxury of staying organized. More than 80% of prospective home buyers indicated a walk-in pantry in the kitchen is either a must-have item or a desirable item, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).