Kitchens have become so central to family life, it’s hard to remember a time when they were strictly Mom’s domain, with Mom laboring in solitary confinement. Apart from all the domestic activities that take place there these days, party guests invariably gravitate to any kitchen bigger than a shoebox, so it’s wise that we’re now designing them as gathering places from the get-go.
One kitchen featured in this issue is quite literally the center of the home, with living and dining areas as satellites on all sides. Architect Barry Price designed the streamlined space, and because the kitchen itself has no walls, it was a challenge to photograph. Ken Gabrielsen, who knows his stuff when it comes to architectural photography, was so carried away by the possibilities, I had a hard time persuading him to leave after I was sure we had the shots we needed. “Wow, look at it from over here,” he kept saying, setting up for yet another aspect. “It’s like a beautiful woman. Every angle is a better view.” One interesting point about that particular kitchen is that despite its openness and industrial-chic, contemporary elements, it has a cozy, inviting feel.
Price’s own warm and inviting kitchen is also featured in this issue, as well as one in Rockland County that was cleverly remodeled by designer Maggie McManus. Both are more traditional spaces with considerable charm, and both blend seamlessly with the architecture of the homes they’re the center of. As for inviting bathrooms — they don’t come much more luxurious than the one you’ll see on page h28.
Finally, as the year creeps inexorably through crisp autumn to frigid winter, many of us are increasingly concerned about high heating costs. I was surprised to find that replacing the 150-year-old windows in our drafty house was actually not a cost-effective move — tighter storms and sealing the zillion air leaks was wiser. How to make your home energy efficient is a sprawling topic, but there are some fairly simple things you can do to help keep heating costs down. I hope you’ll find our story on the subject useful. There’s still time to batten down the hatches before the real cold comes.