Plug and Play Kitchens / by Michelle Linden

Jacob Jensen

I'm trying to decide what I think about the preponderance of pre-fab designer kitchens that are now available. On the one hand, as a designer/architect I tend to think that I can design a kitchen of equal or greater aesthetic quality... and likely for a similar construction cost [these pre-fab kitchens are not cheap]. However, I realize that the money spent on fees due to the time required to provide such a highly refined design might mitigate any savings or aesthetic value I could provide. This is obviously the biggest benefit of these pre-fab kitchens... Teams of designers have worked for years to detail every minute feature of these kitchens in order to provide the consumer with the most elegant and functional solution possible. Assuming you concede that the product provided by these design houses is an appropriate and optimal solution, the next problem is attempting to integrate it into the whole house design. These kitchens provide such a strong design statement, and the sizes are generally so specific that it almost requires that the rest of the house be designed around the kitchen. With the exception of an empty loft, few homes can handle these kitchens as is... So the question is, should the kitchen come first and the house be designed to handle it? That's not really how I would suggest designing, but I don't see many other options if you'd like to integrate one of these kitchens. Any thoughts?