The Living Kitchen

Taking the strictly functional kitchen to strictly fun...

After being repeatedly asked to design kitchens that were not only functional but that also included elements of the most livable areas of the home, designer Heather Garrett figured it was time to devote some energy to a new solution. She has partnered with CKS Millwork to create a single source for interior design and custom cabinetry, ideal for clients looking to blur the line between kitchen and living room. The result: The Living Kitchen by Heather Garrett.  “The Living Kitchen project is really ideal for families that are looking to remodel their kitchens all together, streamlining them with the living space,” Garrett suggests. Her clients Lynn and Logan Toms offer the perfect example of the trending concept. “The kitchen was a U-shape with a bar that opened up to the breakfast area,” Garrett recalls. “The problem was no one

The problem was no one ever sat in the breakfast area – they sat at the bar, which isn’t relaxing. So, it just didn’t make sense for them.” Garrett started by gutting the kitchen and adjusting the ceiling heights to seamlessly merge the two areas. She exchanged the breakfast table for a sofa and club chair and added a wooden coffee table. She also recessed a television flanked by sconces because, as she puts it, “let’s be real about the TV; that’s going to happen with the children hanging out in the kitchen.”  CKS Millwork created a 5-foot by 8-foot island made of dark walnut reclaimed wood and created a lengthened overhang so people could sit at the bar. “This flowed naturally with the new morning room, allowing family to eat at the bar and retire to the couch,” Garrett explains.

 After six months of renovation, Garrett and the Toms had completely torn out the kitchen and replaced all of the cabinets and all of the appliances. They added molding to keep a balance between modern and traditional, installed a wine fridge into the wet bar, and went up and out with tile covering the walls. The result was a practical and livable space that functioned as a true living kitchen. “This kind of space is considered a trend, but it’s a trend that’s becoming a standard. It’s got longevity,” Garrett says.  “At the end of the day, I know it has longevity when the Toms’ daughter told me that they live in that space day and night,” Garrett says. “That’s the whole point – it’s serving its purpose.”