Masculine Design Takes Center Stage in Kitchen Renovations.
A cook’s kitchen is designed to merge function with style, and to accommodate the lifestyle of its chefs. When the chef is a man, as is often the case, his tastes and preferences will likely take center stage in the design of the space. But are they all that different from a woman’s?
“There are common elements to all kitchens, regardless of gender,” says Richard Dickson. “However, when we design a kitchen for a man, there are certain practical considerations—the height of cabinets, counters and shelves may be higher; the size of handles may be thicker. Men often prefer a color palette that is darker and more neutral, and appliances and fixtures that have a clean, modern look.”
Masculine styling is not just about neutral colors and minimalist design, although it does trend toward that aesthetic. When Richard Dickson knows a kitchen is going to be used by a man, he also wants to know how often the client entertains, and if he shares the job with other family members.
Both Robert Latek and John Denny, whose kitchens are featured in the accompanying photos, agree that a large, open workspace is the most important feature in a kitchen. Cooking is a social and collaborative process for many men. They want guests and family to feel right at home sharing their space and joy of cooking.
“Cooking is very relaxing for me. It’s how I unwind after work,” says Robert. “I also love to entertain, so I wanted the space to be inviting and welcoming, and to blend seamlessly into the other areas of the house. I want to be able to see everything from this island. I call it my chef’s table.”
Robert collaborated closely with the team at Dickson Development to draw up plans that featured a sleek, modern, minimalistic look with highly customized details, such as built-in drawers that fit everything. “There’s less to dust! I wanted this space to be easy to clean,” he says.
His kitchen also features many conveniences, such as open shelving, double wall ovens and ample space for high-tech gadgets and appliances.
John Denny also wanted a welcoming yet functional kitchen. “I always dreamed of having a restaurant-quality kitchen. I grew up in a family of cooks. My grandfather ran a restaurant,” he says. “I think of myself as a professional chef wannabe.”
He is one of a household of chefs. “I am the passionate cook in the family. It’s part of my family lore. But my wife and kids like to cook as well. We love to do it together.”
The kitchen was designed with that collaborative spirit in mind. John requested that the kitchen include a few “work stations” so everyone could prepare meals together. The main work space is a combined butcher block and granite island.
The Denny kitchen also features a professional stove and easy access to his main cooking tools. A substantial cutlery set is built into the wall right alongside the oven, and an expansive rack of pots and pans hangs over the kitchen island.
“We take time to understand how every kitchen will be used and by whom,” says Dickson. “We have certainly noticed over the past decade that as more men are doing the cooking, whether it’s for themselves, their families or their guests, they have stronger opinions about kitchen design.”
This influence has been far reaching. Recent kitchen trends including flat-front cabinetry, contrasting color palettes, and bolder, more contemporary looks clearly reflect a man’s taste. Men today not only want to be seen but heard when it comes to the kitchen.