Centuries in the Making: The Glory of the Modern Kitchen

Homebuilders are survivors. We are bred to adapt, transform, and move forward with the wisdom of the past and a vision for the future. So despite the hurdles facing housebuilders today, we continue to do the work we love of building homes for people to thrive in and cherish. 

Our central mission at Palo Verde Homes has always been to build quality homes that last and speak to beauty and functionality. So we thought we would pay homage to one area of the modern home that matters a lot to homeowners. The custom kitchen sets the stage for the rest of the design—it is central, defining, and inspirational for the rest of the floorplan. So what makes a modern kitchen? 

The dominant philosophy surrounding the modern custom kitchen is one of beauty and functionality. The goal is the creation of a space that is beautiful, functional, and lends itself to the needs of the contemporary lifestyle. Before World War I and at the dawn of the 20th century, the kitchen was still very much seen as a part of the home that should be tucked away and hidden behind the family room, accessible only when necessary.

The kitchen transformation throughout the 20th century showcases changing societal values, technologies, and even family dynamics. From the development and advancements of the icebox to the refrigerator, the older ovens to multiple burner cooktops, to microwaves, kitchen islands, dishwashers, and more. 

The Four Defining Features of a Good Kitchen Design 

A cursory look online will lead to hundreds of 2020 kitchen trend articles that highlight popular colors, appliances, and styles. There will be a lot of talk about smart appliances and no-touch faucets. And while these details are certainly desired and take the kitchen to the next level, the central component of a functional kitchen is its layout and distribution. 

In the 1980s, as suburban homes grew in square footage, this gave way to a much more open layout, which allowed for the use of kitchen space as eating or hang-out spots. This allowed for more room and the ability to move around the kitchen. Here are the four main features to consider for your modern custom kitchen. From there, the details follow. 

#1 Kitchen Layout and Design 

The kitchen is no longer delegated to one person preparing a meal. Today’s kitchens are multi-cook and multi-purpose rooms. Designers think of kitchens today as having several ‘zones.’ It’s a reflection of how kitchens today are used in different ways and by more than just one person. Different kitchen layouts include: 

  • The galley kitchen: This is ideal for smaller spaces and is often used in apartments or condos. When designed well, it can be used effectively in bigger homes and lead to a breakfast room or extra dining area. One of the great advantages of galley kitchens is the cabinet and storage space created. 
  • The L-shaped kitchen: This is an effective and smart design that maximizes space but also eliminates kitchen traffic. The design can be effectively implemented in smaller and medium-sized kitchens. 
  • Horseshoe kitchens with kitchen islands: A horseshoe kitchen will also create plenty of storage and cabinet space while enhancing the functionality of the kitchen. The kitchen island can be used as the sink/dish area, leaving open the rest of the surrounding space to the placement of appliances. 
  • The peninsula kitchen: This is a great way to implement the kitchen island feature while closing off space. It provides an option for an eating area on the counter for a to-go breakfast or allows for extra preparation space for ingredients. This layout is a mix between the horseshoe kitchen and the l-shaped, taking the best of both worlds and combining it. 

These are only a few of the possibilities in layout. There exist many combinations and fusions between some of these popular choices, but a custom kitchen can be spaced out in whatever way the client wants. 

#2 Cabinets and Storage Space 

Part of what enhances a modern kitchen’s functionality is the way that it allows for space to be used. Storage space is a big asset in kitchen design because it removes the need to have things ‘stored’ on top of the cabinets and so much of the minimalist design is to avoid clutter and promote the wise use of space. The cabinets tend to have less ornamentation and have a sleek design that matches the modern appliances of today. The material ranges widely depending on the kind of look you are going for. Popular material today for cabinets includes:

  • Wood
  • Plywood
  • Medium-density fiberboard 
  • Polyester 
  • Melamine 
  • Wood veneers
  • High-pressure laminate 

#4 Countertops 

Another unifying element of the kitchen is the countertops and next to the layout itself and the cabinets, these three elements will create a cohesive design for the entire kitchen. The countertop material also tends to define the tone but complements any kind of kitchen layout. While some materials go in and out of vogue—granite was the go-to in the 90s— the 2021 homeowner has more options than ever before. The most sought-after materials for your kitchen countertops include:

  • Granite
  • Soapstone
  • Marble quartz
  • Solid-surface materials
  • Laminates 
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Some woods and/or butcher block material
  • Stainless steel

#4 Appliances 

A kitchen wouldn’t be one without the major appliances and range hood. The range hood might seem like a small detail, but it has become a prominent feature in today’s custom kitchens. Today’s appliances have really come a long way from the simple appliances in the late 70s and early 80s. The modern-day refrigerator is almost unrecognizable from its 1900 predecessor the ‘icebox.’ Today’s automated-energy-efficient-and automatic dishwashers look very different from the early precursors in the early 60s and 70s.

As these four main features are designed and arranged, the rest of the kitchen comes together. That’s when people think about adding smart elements, kitchen color, flooring, etc. 

Get the Glory of a Modern Kitchen with Palo Verde Homes

Your kitchen defines your home in so many ways. It will welcome guests, family, and provide an intimate setting for those closest to you. It’s more than just a room, it’s a lifestyle. With many options to choose from, we’re confident Palo Verde Homes will build the kitchen of your dreams. 

Interested in finding the right kitchen layout and material for your new home? Connect with us today and find out more about our modern designs. 

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