Is an Open Kitchen For You?

For centuries the Kitchen was just a work space. Often hiding in the back of the house, cut off from the rest of your home. But many new Kitchens are stepping out from behind the wall, and becoming part of the view when you come through your front door.

Just like everything in life, the decision to open up your Kitchen, or keep it separate is a personal choice.  Let’s examine some of the pros and cons for both the open Kitchen and the traditional closed off Kitchen.

Open Kitchen

Removing walls between the Kitchen and adjacent rooms is a great way to create an open feel within your existing space.  Choosing an open Kitchen adds space to your home without changing the footprint – which saves you money! 

Open KitchenOpen Kitchens provide you with more social time. They allow you to stay in contact with your family and guests and to interact with them while you’re preparing a meal or cleaning up the Kitchen.   

Removing a wall will open up your view of the rest of the house so you can enjoy more of your home more of the time.  Young parents will appreciate being able to see their kids while they cook and do other household duties.   

An open Kitchen also benefits from more natural light after you tear down some of the walls.  The light from the dining room or the living room, which usually have large windows, can fill your Kitchen with sunlight.

Opening up your Kitchen also gives you the option of adding an island.  Sometimes, closed off Kitchens do not offer the space required for an island.  By removing a wall, you can add an island that will give you extra storage and a place for guests or your kids to sit while you are in the Kitchen. 

If you plan to stay in your home late into your life, or take in your aging parents, opening up your Kitchen creates a better traffic pattern, or fewer obstacles to navigate.

Traditional Closed Off Kitchen 

More walls mean more cabinet storage, countertop work space, and room for appliances.  Keeping the traditional Kitchen allows you to have more storage and work space.   

A traditional or closed off Kitchen makes it easier to hide or contain messes. With busy schedules, we don’t always have the time to keep the Kitchen neat and tidy.  Keeping it closed off from the rest of the home helps you to look like a better housekeeper to guests entering your home. 

By keeping your Kitchen separate from the rest of your home, you can also contain the noise.  Noise from appliances or clanking pots and pans won’t travel as far with extra walls to can help contain and limit noise.

Factors Affecting Your Decision

Your decision to open up your Kitchen is personal choice; however, there are some other factors that may play into that decision.

If the wall you wish to remove is not load-bearing and doesn’t hide plumbing pipes, it’s a relatively simple task for a contractor to:

  • Demolish drywall and studs
  • Reroute electric lines
  • Patch flooring
  • Patch and paint the ceiling where the wall was attached

However, if your plan includes taking down a load-bearing wall, it is not as simple, but definitely doable by a professional.     

Another factor to consider is what is behind the walls.  After drywall is removed, you may discover plumbing water and drain lines, electric cables, low-voltage wires for intercoms, doorbells or sound systems, HVAC supply or return air ducts, and even dryer vent piping. All of these things would have to be rerouted to take down a wall.

This job is best done by a full-service remodeling company. Gehman Design Remodeling has seasoned employees who know how to do the demolition and deal with all the things that need to be relocated.

One More Option

You don’t have to take down the entire wall to get a more open feeling.   A half wall will open sight lines and bring in more natural light while still defining the different spaces.  Half walls can also serve as an island to provide extra storage or serve as a bookcase or shelving. 

If you need help deciding what works best for you, or imagining what an open Kitchen would look like in your home, our team of design consultants can help.  Please feel free to call us at 215-660-5635 for a free consultation.

Kitchen Pain Points









The first thing that comes to mind when you think of pain is physical injury, or maybe emotional pain.  But… have you ever considered your kitchen may be causing you pain? 

When homeowners are considering remodeling their kitchen, it is typically because something about their current kitchen “pains” them.

So what are these dislikes that pain homeowners to the point when they say, it’s time to remodel?  Let’s take a look at the most common pain points:

Organization: Everyone would like to improve accessibility to appliances throughout the kitchen. They also want ways to reduce the amount clutter on countertops.

Supplee, Kitchen (2)

  • One solution is an organization station, which can be utilized in an end cabinet to incorporate a clever space for keys, a notice board for family and to-do lists, as well as stowaway slats for magazines and cookbooks.
  • Clear off countertops and maximize corner-cabinet space by installing a two-tiered carousel, or lazy Susan. This helps you to keep both often-used and rarely used items tucked away but within easy reach.
  • Having a paper towel drawer frees up some more counter space. The towels are easy to reach and out of sight.
  • Try adding hinges and a convenient tray to the false drawer under your sink for an extra place to hide cleaning essentials.
  • Kids love playing in the kitchen while you work, so look for clever options like toy drawers in your kitchen island, which can hold everything from crayons to puzzles.

Cleanliness: Homeowners want products, surfaces, materials, and appliances that are easy to clean and maintain.

  • When it comes to material, think smooth (no cracks, crevices, texture, or other places for dirt to accumulate), stain and water repellant, a pattern, earth tone in color (food colors), durable, and not glossy.    The more of these features a material has, the easier it is to keep clean looking.
  • A great way to see how well a countertop disguises daily messes, is to test out a counter sample using food crumbs and some common liquids
  • Consider soft close doors and drawers.  This allows you to close the door and drawer by just bumping it closed when your hands are dirty.
  • When searching for a cooktop, look for removable controls, sealed burners, and black grates that can go in your dishwasher.

Space:   Having more room is always high on a wish list.  Adding cabinets, pantries, and islands are typically how more space is achieved.

Gehman Kitchen (5)

  • There also are many options for making the storage capacity within the cabinetry more efficient. Among the most popular are the drawers for pots and pans that roll out from the cabinet.
  • Adding an island to your kitchen allows for more storage space, additional seating, and it’ll keep you in the middle of the action while you prepare meals.
  • If the shelves in your pantry don’t hold enough items, consider getting new shelving installed. Shelves that are deeper or wider can accommodate more. Instead of only using one type of shelving, vary the storage throughout the pantry. Pullout drawers and varying height shelves can give flexibility for housing small kitchen appliances and varying sized boxed goods.





Product Design: Homeowners want improved products and features those products offer. Many appliances, materials, and products were originally installed to save costs and people want to upgrade.  When you’re ready to upgrade appliances, you may want to take advantage of new or improved ideas since the last time you bought.

  • A sleek induction cooktop has no open flames and generates heat directly into compatible pots or pans, making it more efficient than gas.
  • Digital temperature controls on your refrigerator will display the actual temperature and the temperature you set.
  • Hot-surface warning lights are an important safety feature on electric ranges and cooktops because the surface can remain hot long after an element has been turned off.

 Noise: Too much noise from appliances and products in the kitchen are constant problems for homeowners.

  • Designing your new kitchen with appliances covered in integrated doors that match your cabinetry is an easy and smart way to reduce noise. Your dishwasher will be just as functional, and blends in nicely when closed.
  • Trash compactors and disposals should be installed with a perimeter strip-type gasket or with rubber spacers to isolate vibrations.
  • Mount exhaust fans outside the house and secure the ductwork by boxing it in tightly with plywood. Use rubber mounts to install the fan to reduce noise generated from vibrations.
  • Large, heavy appliances, such as refrigerators, transfer their vibrations to the supporting floor, creating additional noise. These vibrations can be isolated from the floor by placing pads of rubber underneath the appliance’s legs or corners.
  • Soft close kitchen cabinets close gently and physically can’t be slammed.
  • If noise is a concern, consider staying away from stone flooring. A stone floor will make the  room much more prone to echoes

Are any of these points paining you?  When you’re ready to discuss remodeling your kitchen to cure what pains you, please call us at 215-660-5635 for a free consultation.