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Banquettes and Other Kitchen Originals

You’re in a swank kitchen design studio where Miele, Wolf, Sub-Zero and other luxury brands rule the showroom. The kitchen specialist is making suggestions for remodeling your kitchen. With a quick sketch, she suggests creating a banquette to put against the wall. A banquette is a cozy built-in booth seating area with a table and moveable chairs on the other side. It’s a trend you’ll be seeing a lot more of, thanks to the kitchen’s importance as a dining area, homework station, and entertaining area.

Banquettes are fun. Think about it – when you go to a restaurant and are asked “Table or booth?”, you pick a booth, right? Banquette booths can be kitschy like mid-century design, or they can be glam and elegant, like the romantic enclaves in toney restaurants. A banquette can bridge cooking and dining in an attractive way that’s more interesting than a dinette set. As a built-in, it can add value to the home.

So what else can raise your kitchen to the next level? Here are more ideas that the kitchen specialist may show you:

The invisible refrigerator. For a modern seamless look, nothing beats “integrated refrigeration,” which means the refrigerator and freezer are set side-by-side into wall cabinetry. You can increase the functionality with a refrigerator drawer conveniently located out of cooking lanes to provide juices, sodas and water to thirsty kids.

The dishwasher drawer. You may have wished plenty of times for a second dishwasher. Many luxury homes have them, so you can appreciate the cleverness of having a dishwasher hidden in one of the kitchen drawers. They’re ideal for smaller loads and can save water and electricity. Dishwasher drawers are half-size dishwashers with full-size power that can be conveniently located at top drawer height. They can be used as an additional dishwasher, or used in a tiny kitchen space, or double versions can take the place of the standard dishwasher. Less bending over also makes dish drawers a comfortable option for many homeowners.

Workstations. The traditional work triangle saved extra steps in the one-cook kitchens of the past, but today’s busy families and friends want to prepare meals together. Kitchens are designed now with designated food preparation areas for chopping, mixing, cooking and washing, allowing busy family and friends to meal preparation a fun bonding activity.

Beverage stations. Like refrigerator drawers, beverage stations adjoin the kitchen, so choose the appliances you want to install around your favorite drinks, including Vitamix smoothie makers, wine storage, juice bars, and cocktail mixing. Stations aren’t just for cold drinks; you can also install multi-function coffee machines that make any hot drink you want, including steaming milk for your coffee.

Induction cooktops. Induction cooking has grown in popularity because they’re countertop flush, easy to clean, and they’re energy-efficient. What’s new with them is that instead of

designated cooking areas, you can set a pot or pan down on any area and start cooking. Induction heats up quickly and cooks evenly. Plus, they look great.

Steam ovens. Steam is emerging as the popular alternative to microwave ovens. Steam allows more nutrients to remain in food that higher heat may destroy such as vitamin C and folate. Food is more moist, eliminating the need for fatty oils and can be reheated quickly and easily without drying out and toughening. Cooking with steam is far faster than with traditional ovens. New advances allow food to brown, when needed, and to come with other cooking modes such as the convection oven which cooks food at a lower temperature than a traditional oven.

These innovations abound in high-end kitchen design and can make your kitchen a luxurious joy to use.