Magazine article Sunset

Dividing Up an Open-Plan Kitchen

Magazine article Sunset

Dividing Up an Open-Plan Kitchen

Article excerpt

Varied ceiling planes and built-in cabinetry separate rooms

Even when an open plan is exactly what you wanted, at times you might wish the three parts of a common kitchen, dining, and family room felt more separate. For instance, when you're sitting down to a nice dinner, do you really want to see that pile of dirty dishes you'll have to face when the meal is over?

A novel solution took shape in architects Celia Karian and Jim Novosel's kitchen in Berkeley. Through careful variation of both ceiling planes and cabinetry, they created partial dividers that differ markedly depending on the room one faces from the kitchen. Toward the casual family more, the division is almost nonexistent, but toward the formal dining worn, cabinets were added to provide separation by obscuring direct views between the rooms.

Between the kitchen and the family room, counters run 40 inches deep, creating an informal seating area on the family room side for casual meals or for the guests who invariably congregate around the kitchen. Above this counter, a 6-inch-wide ceiling section drops down 2 feet to draw a line between the two rooms. …

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