Kitchens with Pro-Style Amenities
Style and Stainless Steel
Multiple large compartments add up to plenty of well-organized cool storage. Professional-grade refrigerators take significantly more floor space than standard fridges, but if you're big on having plenty of fresh produce and cold beverages, the ability to organize and set separate temperatures makes this appliance worthwhile. Choose a model with a window on at least one door, and store the most-used items there -- so you'll know when you're running low on milk.
For anyone serious about cleanup, a restaurant-style sprayer meets the challenge. Again, space is a factor: Be sure the sink meets the challenge as well—deep and wide—with enough counter depth to allow the sprayer to swing. Cooks who do "put food by" tasks, such as canning, pickling, or making jam, will appreciate the functions and reach of this heavy-duty sprayer.
Two drawer-style dishwashers flanking the sink make everyday and special-day cleanup easier and pro-kitchen efficient. For special occasions with lots of cleanup, load pots and pans in one drawer, glassware and plates in the other. For everyday use, leave clean dishes in one dishwasher and take them out as needed. When dishes are dirty, simply deposit them in the other dishwasher.
Convenient Beverage Station
A beverage station keeps all-things-drink organized and handy. If the budget allows, include a small dishwasher for glassware and a sink for fresh water and rinsing cups. If space allows, add an icemaker and a small refrigerator. People big on entertaining will get the most benefit from a beverage station: Guests can gather here before dinner, and the bartender and cook won't be jockeying for counter and sink space.
Bake, Broil, and Zap
It's easy to see how having two ovens and a microwave would be a lifesaver for big holiday meals. But even day to day, having standard, convection, and microwave ovens makes cooking and baking a breeze. Having the right tool for the job -- just like a pro -- ensures every recipe cooks as it should. Speed-cooking ovens are popular for this arrangement.
Chef-Friendly Work Surfaces
Every good chef knows that cooking requires plenty of elbowroom and counter space. Avoid crowding a kitchen with appliances to the detriment of work surface. Choose the most durable surface that fits in the budget, because eventually someone will spill something that stains, slice food without using a cutting board, and set a hot pot on the counter. A durable surface will tolerate these and other kitchen sins with nary a mark.
Pro-Style Prep Sink
A good prep sink is an affordable pro-style luxury. Adding a built-in cutting board, deep bowl, and garbage disposal or handy compost bucket makes prepping food less of a chore. In multicook kitchens, install a prep sink between the refrigerator and the stove so one person can be rinsing and cutting while another is cooking. Dedicate a drawer nearby to knives, peelers, and a vegetable scrubber or two.
Heavy-Duty Range Hood
Cooking can create moist, heavily scented air that can overwhelm a kitchen -- and possibly the rest of the house. Draw the steam, heat, smoke, and smells from cooking out of the house with a heavy-duty range hood that vents air to the outdoors. Talk to a kitchen designer about adequate ventilation. The size of your kitchen and range or cooktop along with the type of cooking you do are factors in selecting the right range hood.
Well-Planned Kitchen Lighting
Dining by candlelight may be delightful, but cooking requires plenty of lumens. That's why the best kitchens have layers of light. Good task lighting at the range or cooktop and in prep areas makes cooking easier and safer. Recessed ceiling lights create pleasant ambient lighting. And stylish glass pendants over the eating space add restaurant flair and put well-cooked meals in the best light.
Pot fillers are de rigueur for pro-style kitchens but can add a distinctly industrial look. Kitchen designers recommend making a drawing of the backsplash including the pot filler so you know what it will do to the look of a fancy tile backsplash. And while the pot filler fixture isn't necessarily expensive, installing it can be pricey because there's plenty of plumbing involved.
Nothing can compare to the flavor of food cooked over a wood fire. Moving that experience indoors with a combination fireplace/wood stove is the ultimate pro-style feature. In this chef's kitchen, a stone fireplace was designed for three modes of flame cooking: a swing arm holds cast-iron pots, and additional hardware allows for flat or rotisserie grilling. Pizza and bread ovens are other popular wood-fire kitchen amenities.
Pro-Style Kitchen Sink
Splashy shiny faucets get all the attention, but the duo isn't complete without a pro-style sink. Choose a deep, wide bowl with flat sides and gently curved corners and edges. These features provide the maximum usable space and ease of cleanup. Think beyond the bowl: slanted and slotted drainage areas that flank the bowl confine water to a specific space, preventing splattering all over the counter.
Open Storage for Accessibility
Every kitchen pro knows the efficiency of having everything in plain sight: no digging through drawers, no flipping through cabinets. For cleanliness and durability, stainless-steel shelving is paramount. But when using it in your home, tone down the industrial look by adding personal touches. Try adding pretty canisters labeled with their contents, or do as these homeowners did and add a collection of sweet ceramic animals.
How many burners do you need? For big meals, one more than you have -- or so it seems. With six burners and a griddle, you'd be hard-pressed to max out this king of the kitchen cookers. In addition to sheer capacity, professional-grade cooktops and ranges have burners that can handle everything from slow simmering to high-speed searing, and tiny pots to huge pans.
Dedicated cooks enjoy the process of making a meal, and that includes chopping, slicing, and dicing. If even the biggest cutting board is confining, add a real hardwood butcher-block top to the kitchen island. Sturdy and beautiful, the warm wood gets a patina with age, and chop marks are just reminders of great meals. Occasionally apply a coat of food-grade mineral oil to lengthen the life of the surface.
Built-In Wall-Oven Tower
Kitchen designer Janice Pattee helps her clients maximize the use of space (and minimize steps) by putting built-in appliances such as ovens in a tower, when possible. The savings in installation by grouping several electric appliances frees cash as well as floor space. Consider using the savings to add a warming drawer -- a favorite of professional cooks -- so everything gets to the table at the same temperature even if mealtime has been delayed.
Well-Planned Kitchen Pantry
Enthusiastic home cooks often end up with a large collection of ingredients, many of which may be used in only one or two favorite recipes. The containers of rarely used spices, flours, and other shelf-stable ingredients can get lost behind their everyday cooking counterparts. A well-organized pantry could be the answer. To get the most of every square inch, talk to kitchen designers. They've got solutions for every storage dilemma.
Sleek and functional, a smooth steel backsplash won't allow food splatters to cling or stain and never loses its uber-cool appeal, which is why you see it in industrial-strength cooking spaces. Perhaps the only other reasonable use for this space is to keep cooking utensils near, a must for the enthusiastic home chef.