The kitchen that ate the formal dining space


Husna Rahaman’s article in Bangalore Times.

THE new kitchen breaks boundaries and makes its way into the dining room. Time was when dining room design was formulaic. A chandelier, prefer- ably crystal was centred over a rectangular table surrounded by chairs with padded seats and high backs. A massive free- standing sideboard stood against the wall like a HOME silent, reliable butler.
The formal dining room was a stage set where the drama of the evening was played out. It was precisely this stiff upper lip Victorian attitude that was depicted by Mr Cameron when he showed Rose and Jack rejecting the high brow formality of the dining room in favour of the foot stomping party of the lower deck, half a century ago. Today the formal dining room is a more contemporary version of its predecessor, and has its unique high- style appeal. However, an emerging and useful room of present day liv- kitchen - a casual eating room that is part of a kitchen. This is the 'result of living in a hurry.
Gone are the professional domestics of yester year that supported elegant entertaining, besides which most people prefer casual dining anyway. This shift is being felt in the hotel industry as well, with hoteliers observing a trend steering away from fine dining in favour of the casual chic. In the last decade, basic kitchen principles have been redefined due to new values. Cooking is now a participatory sport. The new age attitude is, "Listen, Rose, as long as you are standing there, would you mind passing the pepper?" When the candles are lit and there is an aromatic stew bubbling on the fire, few spaces are as inviting as eating in a casual and elegant extended kitchen.

  • To do this, if you are building a new home, provide for an invisible kitchen where the heavy duty washing is done, to make your visible kitchen neat and hospitable at all times.
  • If you have an apartment, try scooping a corner with a cafe style table or if space is a constraint. even a high counter with sleek bar stools serve the purpose nicely. *Colour is an effective element and can be used in furniture accents and architectural detailing. A bold splash of your favourite colour on one key wall can add that much needed makeover with little cost and effort. Today's palette of colour has broken from the "fashion fixation" of the 80s. Being individualistic is the order of the day - if you like blue then it's right for you.
  • Glass tables make the room look lighter and stone is very low maintenance, doing away with the need for tablecloths.
  • Hanging colourful pendant lamps bring focus to the table and highlight the meal.
  • Concealed lighting under wall cabinets is a wonderful way to discreetly light counter surfaces.
  • Modern storage and display is frequently integrated into the architecture in the form of niches and alcoves.
  • Carts on castors and lightweight trolleys provide surfaces for food and drink. The recipe is changing- the old one required a stove and a refrigerator, to which one added running water.
  • To this, now add a generous dash of warmth and creativity for a hub that is truly the heart of a home.