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How One Designer Makes the Kitchen the Heart of the Home

Jenny Komenda created a space that works for both family gatherings and casual entertaining.

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As a designer, Jenny Komenda knows a thing or two about creating a kitchen that’s not only expertly decorated, but efficient

“I love cooking and I love being in the kitchen,” says Komenda. “Anytime the kitchen can function really well but also be a beautiful place where your guests or your family can congregate—that’s the goal with any kitchen I design.”

Her secret weapon? Appliances that take a lot of the arduous work out of day-to-day kitchen tasks and allow the homeowner to focus on what really matters: making the kitchen the heart of the home. Relying on functional appliances, like the Bosch French Door Refrigerator and Bosch Electric Slide-in Range, Komenda created a space that perfectly transitions from a casual family meeting place to a room that can easily accommodate entertaining.

This is in part due to the fact that all appliances seamlessly blend into the design of the space. In Komenda’s whitewashed kitchen, a neutral color palette and natural wooden elements keep the space looking clean and modern. Stainless steel appliances add to the contemporary feel, rather than detract from the decor.

Aside from style, opting for appliances that every member of the family can use is key when designing a room that inevitably serves as the central part of the home. For Komenda, this means including her kids in everything from cooking to the post-meal cleanup.

“My oldest is 12, and she helps with the cooking and preparing food at the stovetop. The Bosch slide-in range is an electric cooktop, which is great for kids because it’s super easy to clean and it’s safe,” says Komenda. “I feel much more comfortable with my kids making eggs for breakfast with this stove than when we had a gas range.”   They can be involved with cleanup, too, thanks to the Bosch Benchmark Series Dishwasher that makes washing dishes a cinch because the MyWay™ Rack can easily fit larger & deeper items like cereal bowls, freeing up extra space for pots & pans in the bottom rack. By delegating out duties to various family members, you can ensure everyone participates and the kitchen is both efficient and a place where people want to gather.

“Have a spot for everyone to do something,” recommends Komenda. “For example, we designed this bar stool area so people could be a part of whatever’s happening, but also be out of the way.”   This advice comes in handy when considering the entertaining aspect of the kitchen. If you play host frequently, you already know the importance of a carefully thought out kitchen. Instead of relegating the room to just a workstation, encourage guests to hang out there: Put out appetizers, pour some wine, and foster a cozier, more informal atmosphere by having friends pitch in to get everything ready.

As for maximizing efficiency and minimizing stress when you play host, Komenda has one key trick: “Martha Stewart taught me many years ago that you should always clean as you go! It’s such a daunting task to make a meal and then, after you’re tired from cooking, have to clean up. But if you’re cleaning as you go, the prep area always stays tidy and it makes you more excited to be in the kitchen.”   Choosing the right appliances can facilitate this. The whisper-quiet Bosch Benchmark Series Dishwasher runs silently in the background, so as to not interrupt your guests. And the Bosch French Door Refrigerator’s two-drawer freezer and retractable shelf help keep all your food organized and easy to store so you can find every ingredient at the exact moment you need it. This way, you can wow all your guests with an impressive spread and not have to miss out on the social aspect at the same time.

“I like having people with me in the kitchen when I’m cooking,” says Komenda. “They can help or sit at the bar without getting in each other’s way. It’s nice to have a lot of people there standing around and eating.”     Which definitely sounds like our kind of dinner party—why have a stuffy dining room setting when a well-designed kitchen is so much more inviting?

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.