Saturday, September 27, 2003

Kitchens command more respect

By Michele Day
Enquirer contributor

Kitchens are gaining even more respect in the home, says Joan Kohn, an HGTV personality who will lead a seminar at 1 and 3 p.m. next Saturday as part of the Greater Cincinnati Kitchen, Bath and Design Show at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington.

"Kitchens are leading the way in terms of style," says Kohn, whose new book is It's Your Kitchen: Over 100 Inspirational Kitchens (Bullfinch Press; $40).

"Now when people go to buy a new home, they're looking first at the kitchen. The kitchen is not only where the family is nurtured, but where people are entertaining."

The shift in priorities has led manufacturers to produce kitchen products that are beautiful, as well as functional, she says.

Cabinets come in rich woods such as cherry and maple; countertops are covered in expensive stones, such as granite, and appliances come in sleek metals, such as stainless steel.

"The trend is for the machinery to become works of art," Kohn says.

Homeowners also are emphasizing more architectural features, such as skylights and double windows, in kitchens, she says.

"One trend is to eliminate upper cabinetry and replace it with windows so that the kitchen has stature," she says.

She gives an example of one of her neighbors in a Chicago high-rise.

When the building was built in the 1920s its kitchens were tiny spaces in the back of the apartments, where only the maids visited.

But when her neighbors remodeled, they tore out the old kitchen and moved the stove, refrigerator and ovens to a new room so that their kitchen window would look out onto a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan.

"They've acknowledged the way we're living today," Kohn says. "There's no longer a maid in the kitchen in the back or mom locked away behind closed doors.

"People want the kitchen to have the best possible view and to be open to their living and family room spaces."

Kohn will sign copies of her book 7-8 p.m. Friday at Eastgate Borders Books, Music and Cafe, 4530 Eastgate Blvd., 943-0068.

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