“Her friends come to visit just to see her kitchen!” That’s what Sara told me as I was interviewing her about her Mother-in-law Genny’s concealed Mini-kitchen in her in-law apartment. Of course that’s certainly not a reason for selecting a YesterTec mini-kitchen, but we’ve heard similar comments like that before.
After a couple years of using the kitchen, a piece of the refrigerator door’s hinge had broken, so Sara called me and the good service representative at Liebherr sent out a technician with a new part and fixed the problem. We were both very impressed and thankful for the excellent (free) service. Anyway, I thought to ask Sara about giving me a short interview about the mini-kitchen and her in-law apartment and she agreed.
Genny’s in-law apartment was being converted from Sara’s master bedroom in their island home north of Seattle. The kitchen was to be placed just inside the only access door to the apartment and the utilities were already roughed in when I got the first email from Sara. After researching smaller appliances for smaller kitchens on the internet, Sara had used the keywords ‘compact kitchens’ to find us. They had seen how we can conceal kitchens inside pieces of furniture and had decided to call us. After initial information, pricing and questions were exchanged, they opted to move forward. “It was a big decision due to the investment, but it was the right one” Sara admitted.
So we changed our standard design to fit the location of the utilities (we can’t always do that but in this case it worked out) and they ordered their Hampton’s Cherry 8 foot wide mini-kitchen with a full height 9.3 cu.ft. Liebherr refrigerator, we call it a Master Kitchen. If there is enough space, this piece is ideal for a primary kitchen that can cook anything. So while we were building the kitchen in our shop, they finished the renovation and when the kitchen arrived, it only took her contractor a day to install it including all of the electrical and plumbing work.
As the entry to the kitchen was actually a wide hallway, they had room to create a storage cupboard just opposite the master kitchen in the same styling and color as the kitchen. So the reason for selecting a hidden kitchen is more apparent as they did not want a messy kitchen in view as the first impression when entering the in-law apartment. And the fact that our kitchens SAFELY hide all of the ‘hot’ appliances from view (using our U.L. Listed technology), a YesterTec mini-kitchen was just the right fit.
Turns out that Genny usually eats her evening meal with the family, but all other meals are prepared in her kitchen. She loves to bake cookies in her convection oven and her grand children love to eat them. Sara indicated that having Genny around and yet so independent has truly enriched the lives of all the family members. I’ve read several articles in the Trade magazines about multi-generational living and they almost all say that it really does work better when there is some autonomy for the elder family member.
And that goes for the younger 25 to 34 year olds who are moving into their parent’s homes for various reasons. In fact in a recent study, about 23% of groups over 85 and the younger group just mentioned are living in multi-generational households. Back in the 1940’s, 63% of the older generation was living with their children. I can remember several times in the 1950’s when we were living with my grandparents and to this day those days are some of the best memories of my young life.
The point here is this: with so many people living in one room apartments in multi-generational homes, having a kitchen that does not always need to be exposed is a desirable choice. Sara and Genny know that and we are truly happy that we could help them!
But what about all those tiny new urban studio apartments that are soaking up so many headlines? In other headlines, municipalities throughout the nation are finally changing their antiquated zoning regulations to be inclusive of ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units). Wouldn’t some of these one-room-living units benefit from being able to control the exposure to a messy kitchen? In fact ANY room that needs a kitchen but also functions in other capacities is a prime candidate for a safely concealed kitchen. That’s our thinking anyway.
Thanks so much for spending a little time with us,
David Beer, President
YesterTec Design Company