Back in 2014, I clicked on one of those Facebook quizzes that asked, "What's Your True Kitchen Personality?" Sucked me in right at the title, it did, especially when sponsored by Martha Stewart. No surprise, I was deemed Chef Extraordinaire. I looked at this picture and really could envision myself cooking here. And moving that backpack out of the way. And wondering how she got those things to stick on a stainless steel fridge without leaving some icky residue (magnets don't really work). How old is that pasta in the glass jars? Okay, stop: That's how my mind works, as I size up houses on Broker Tour. I try to head for the kitchen first, as many Realtors do, but not to find the food: I look to see how the kitchen fits the house, how others mingle and linger or breeze right on through to another room. What potential does it have for entertaining? Are the counters for show or could I roll out ravioli for 20 on that slab? Have they got the cook's triangle going on, or has the stager hidden the fridge in the pantry to make the kitchen appear larger? Would my clients be happy in this kitchen? What was meant to be cooked in this kitchen?
Yes—what was meant to be cooked in this kitchen? I grew up in two houses, one with a great kitchen/eating layout, and one meant for preparing maybe a bowl of cereal (although, to her credit, Mom did bang out some amazing meals from this tiny galley kitchen). The other kitchen was much squarer, with a few stairs leading to the stair landing or back down into the living room. That became the perch for most anyone who came to see what you were whipping up, yet stay out of your way. Next to the kitchen was a charming breakfast nook, which led to the dining room that had a buzzer on the floor right about where my father’s big toe landed, that when pressed by said big toe would buzz through the swinging door, through the breakfast nook and into the kitchen. OMG, I loved that buzzer. I thought it was one of the coolest parts of the house (and there were many).
Geez! Back to the kitchen. That kitchen was meant to cook something from the sea, since the sea (ocean) was really the front yard (figure that one out). An aluminum pot to host live lobsters; a cast iron skillet for mussels; small bowls of drawn butter. And fresh tomatoes, with something. Anything. We had the best fresh tomatoes, and there’ll be more stories about them.
What does the kitchen above long for? I’m guessing not a lot of deep frying on that stove—things are a bit too white, close together, and the hood is way up there. Chili, either. Something more elegant. Something…actually no, elegant doesn’t really fit here. Initial glance maybe, but not really. Not with the backpack, tennis racquet and sage green walls. I’m thinking more along the lines of comfort food, with a twist. A roast chicken with garlic smashed potatoes; a big batch of chocolate chip cookies or maybe a lemon meringue pie. Now what kind of person would cook this? And my thinking goes full circle: Which of my clients belongs in this house? Yep, based on what they should be cooking in the kitchen.
A kitchen is key. It’s key to getting a good price for your house (or negotiating it down), key to entertaining (or saying, “honey, let’s go out”), and key to being the heart of the home. What’s in your hearts should be represented by the kitchen you get (or envision, as renovations come into play here, too). A happy bachelor whose idea of a great kitchen is a large bar area? I’ve seen that too (other things were cooking there…)
Follow along with me, as I test out this theory on Tour!