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Is Your Kitchen Making You Fat?

by habituallychic

02 . 08 . 10

I’m sure a lot of people are thinking about their diets again after consuming chips, chili, buffalo wings, and beer while watching the Super Bowl this weekend. One nutritionist recently advised her clients to “close” the kitchen after dinner which entails shutting the door and turning off the lights. Kind of hard to do if you don’t have a kitchen door and even harder still if your kitchen is open to every other room in your house! I’m not really a fan of open kitchens because if you entertain, you can’t close the door and hide the mess but what if seeing the kitchen all day also causes people to gain weight by always tempting them to eat. There is no “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with an open kitchen. Maybe we should be not just be designing kitchens from an aesthetic stand point but a health one as well. Just some food for thought (pun intended). What do you think?

Ruthie Sommers in House Beautiful
Aerin Lauder in Elle Decor
Frank Roop

Katie Ridder

Stella Tennant

Domino Magazine

Miles Redd

House Beautiful

Steven Gambrel

Tim and Helen Schifter

Katie Lee Joel by Nate Berkus

Nancy Bozhardt


Steven Gambrel

Kate Spade

Kristen Buckingham in Elle Decor

Roman Williams

Jenna Lyons

Francois Halard
Steven Gambrel

Top Image: Jonathan Berger in House Beautiful

Comments Closed

  1. Karena February 8, 2010 | 2:16 am

    Okay heather great pics, I love the Nancy Bohardt and the Frank Roop especially!

  2. Simply Luxurious February 8, 2010 | 2:28 am

    I’ve never thought about the open layout of a kitchen being a culprit in derailing our healthy habits, but in some respects there’s some validity to it.

    Lovely pictures, each and all. I especially enjoyed Steven Gambrel’s fireplace and Kate Spade’s breakfast nook.

  3. Susan February 8, 2010 | 2:31 am

    As a kitchen designer, I think yours is a fascinating concept linking the subliminal message of an open kitchen to a desire to eat, just fascinating!

    The trend in kitchen design is definitely toward more open kitchens, as more “life activities” are happening in our kitchens. It’s becoming more of a social space than ever before as well.

    I don’t know of any studies done surrounding this issue, but it’s a great question! Beautiful collection of images!

  4. Kelly Green February 8, 2010 | 2:39 am

    Great selection of photos Heather. I always tell my children that the ‘kitchen is closed’ after dinner (and pudding) and we only go back in to turn the d/w on. My fave image from all those photos is ‘unknown’!KG

  5. Christina February 8, 2010 | 2:42 am

    Heather, I agree with you in terms of preferring a closed kitchen. We always had eat-in kitchens growing up and I never liked having our holidays in the midst of the cooking mess. I’m happy that our current kitchen is it’s own room and we dine in a dining room.
    Worse than having a kitchen that’s open for eating 24hrs a day is that final cleaning and closing up of the kitchen for the evening only to find that someone in the house has gone and made a snack and left a dirty counter and dishes out and ruined that “magazine-clean” kitchen feeling that I love to wake up to in the morning!!

  6. sketch42 February 8, 2010 | 2:45 am

    I never thought of that!!! My kitchen is half open and half closed, the part that is closed is the section with the ovens, stove and sink so when I have people over that is all hidden. The part that is open is an island with stools, the glasses cabinets, and the wine fridge. Its awesome. I derail bad habits by not buying shitty food. I only buy really awesome snacks like dark chocolate with sea salt! YUM! So rich I can only eat a little bit…

  7. mAdi*cakes February 8, 2010 | 2:45 am

    omg! love this post. Im going to culinary school after bible college so the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house to me. I dream of my perfect kitchen as my family is underway of designing our dream house. MM this inspires me :] I want an open kitchen. I think it would help to be able to close the kitchen but it still takes will power. But interesting point of view. :]

  8. Caroline February 8, 2010 | 2:54 am

    It’s an interesting thought that a closed kitchen can help you control your eating. But I’ve always hated them. When I entertain, I don’t want to hide the mess – I want to be a part of the group and not miss out on the conversation. Hard to do so when you’re in a separate, closed-off room. Interesting debate!
    Anyway, great collection of shots.. I loved many of the kitchens you’ve featured!

    Caroline of Red Glasses

  9. Fiona February 8, 2010 | 3:00 am

    That is a fascinating viewpoint about open kitchens/eating more. Modern kitchens being designed to be open plan and encourage everyone in the family to hang out there perhaps goes hand in hand with the growing obesity problem. I plan to shut the kitchen after dinner this evening! (since it’s open plan though, all I can do is turn off the light).

  10. Vanessa February 8, 2010 | 3:21 am

    Beautiful kitchens! Have always loved the one Nate designed and the blue one from Domino. Interesting question but still love open concept kitchens.

  11. Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury February 8, 2010 | 3:34 am

    Love the Shifter, Bozhardt and Unknown kitchens. I can’t close my kitchen but I can put the yummy stuff away and not leave it out on the island. Cookies left on view get eaten so much faster than cookies tucked away in the pantry!

  12. The Countess of Nassau County February 8, 2010 | 3:38 am

    Interesting premise.

    I don’t display food anywhere except a fruit bowl. I see lots of magazine kitchens that display lots of foods in plain sight – pasta in open drawers and jars, fruit bowls, clear glass cookie jars, etc.

    I guess you could at least raise the counter so if you are sitting at the breakfast bar you can’t see the into the whole kitchen.

  13. honey living February 8, 2010 | 3:40 am

    i love every single one of these kitchens. amazing selections!

  14. Marija February 8, 2010 | 3:52 am

    I love the notion of a small prep kitchen to contain the mess/food stuffs/clean-up and a larger kitchen open to the main hang out area for serving, final prep, entertaining and enjoying! Daydreaming….

  15. KSK February 8, 2010 | 4:02 am

    Love this collection of kitchens! I know what you mean about open kitchens however, people inevitably end up loitering there, so I think the best design is one that’s easy to move around in and like others have mentioned, one that incorporates an area to hide the mess. Which is why I think double dishwashers are pretty awesome 🙂

  16. Kay* February 8, 2010 | 4:12 am

    oh some BEAUTIFUL kitchens pictured here! 4 have gone into my inspiration folder.

  17. Lindsey Lou! February 8, 2010 | 4:28 am

    I love these open kitchens. I have a teeny-tiny closed kitchen in an apartment that used to be a classroom in a school. I love to eat. But what’s helped me out with junk food is the fact that I don’t keep junk food or really anything that I can eat absent-mindedly in my home. It’s much easier. Granted when I do feel peckish, I get irritated that the only snack food I have is cheese or lunch meat, but that’s better than tater chips, I reckon!

  18. Faux Fuchsia February 8, 2010 | 8:21 am

    Fabulous kitchen photos! My kitchen isn’t making me Fat. It’s the Universe constantly directing me to bake cakes and consume carbs! Must develop some Will Power!

  19. She Wore It Well February 8, 2010 | 9:23 am

    I adore open kitchens with big windows.. which makes you want to be in the kitchen! Bliss.

  20. Jeanne February 8, 2010 | 9:32 am

    You read my mind…I needed this. Thanks!
    Jeanne 🙂

  21. Carol Ann February 8, 2010 | 10:15 am

    Love the Black Kitchen/House Beautiful…interesting post!
    During the super bowl I emptied my bedroom closet and purged…while watching Sarah’s House 2… I stayed away from the eats in the other room and had just coffee…good thing too, some of my pants are alittle tight…(a few to many boxes of gifted to me christmas chocolates)…no snacks for me for a few weeks or months! sigh…

  22. Annie@A View On Design February 8, 2010 | 10:59 am

    what a fantastic collection of different styled contemporary kitchens – love it!

  23. Sherri Blum, CID February 8, 2010 | 12:23 pm

    With a kitchen as beautiful as these, I would have a difficult time closing the door, for sure! I see why people want to stay…and eat!
    My husband is building our cabinets from scratch in his “spare time”…taking a year, but they will be perfect for us when done. In the meanwhile, we have no doors and the food is constantly in sight. Yikes!

  24. Teresa Hatfield February 8, 2010 | 1:40 pm

    I am drawn to Miles Redd and Kate Spade! I love everything they do.
    Does Miles Redd have a book?
    I had light blue kitchen walls in my house, so I am also drawn to the kitchen of Aerin Lauder. She has a beautiful home. Period.
    I love this post.
    By the way, if you shop daily like many of the French do, you cut down on most of the “junk” food.
    I try to, but somehow always have lbs to lose, lol!
    Great post!

  25. CB February 8, 2010 | 2:18 pm

    As someone who likes to cook and dislikes an audience while doing it, I am a h u g e fan of the not-so-open kitchen. I also think it is a tad more, oh, I don’t know, glamorous to spare guests the gory details of how their meal came to be, and lends an effortlessness that makes guests relaxed. (So does having a menu that is mostly make ahead and “leave alone”..but that is another comment entirely.)

    Happy Monday.


  26. Brilliant Asylum February 8, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    Wouldn’t it be great if the “closed off kitchen” concept took hold again? Thanks for pointing out the positive aspects for not having a ginormous “family room kitchen”. I may be in the minority, but I love my little galley!

  27. MyLittleHappyPlace February 8, 2010 | 2:26 pm

    I think it’s certainly worth considering. There’s probably also some color psychology to think about as well – red tends to promote appetite, cooler colors, less so.

    Great post and collection of kitchens!

  28. Mom on the Run February 8, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    I live in a house built in 1964–we moved from a new house to this one and I love being able to close off the kitchen. There’s absolutely no reason for people to be in there when I have a perfectly lovely den, living room and sunroom in which to gather. In fact, on holidays, I close the pocket doors so everyone will stay out. The first thing I noticed when moving from a big open plan house to one with more defined rooms was the lack of noise in this house. My 4 children were young then and the difference was startling…much more peaceful than the open free for all where you could hear every word spoken all over the entire house, upstairs and down. I’m in the minority here, too, I’m sure.

  29. Linda in AZ * February 8, 2010 | 2:49 pm

    *** I lovvvvve it when dinner is over (meals are always pretty simple nowadays… it’s an “age thing”, I guess!) & clean-up is a breeze! Everything’s in the d/w or wherever, in minutes, then the huz, dawg & I are free to do “whatever” or “nothing”… After 42 years & no kids, I think we’ve BOTH become “dependent” on that relaxing, free time together… I know I just love it!

    We’re blessed w/ quite a large, open kitchen space & high ceilings~~~ it’s also all open to the family room & the kitchen eating area, w/ magnificent views of the pool, desert & city lights below… even from each space… delicious!!!

    Annnnd, after 38 years in the military (& 28 moves), it’s “payback time” (for me, as my DH puts it! Grins!), and he’s done a beauuutiful job~~~ he’s a WONNNNNDERFUL “YES” man now, & has kept his word on giving me the stars and STILL gets in alot of golf n’ hunting & car racing! I guess I’m admitting to being totally spoiled, but as they used to say about E.F.Hutton, “I earrrrrned it!”~~~ (And so did my DH!)…

    Everything IS “open”, but designed so the granite “food bars” are juuuuuust high enough to hide any “REAL” yukky “mess” til later~~~ and IF it (any mess) shows, I’ve LEARNED, F*I*N*A*L*L*Y, that the world won’t stop BECAUSE of it!!! ~~~~ (Oh how I WISH I’d realized THAT when I was younger, & hope today’s younger folks learn that NOW!!!)

    Life’s just TOO SHORT to worry about those “lil’ things” that really DON’T MATTER!!!~~~ I SERIOUSLY doubt anyone’s going yo write “She left a messy sink after having company once” on your gravestone… I think they WILL, however, remember the night they “realllly had a greaaaat time at your house!”…

    Hugs to all~~~
    Lina in AZ *

    (P.S. Heavens!! I hope I wasn’t too “preachy” or anything~~~ Pleeeeease forgive me if I WAS/AM! I am recovering from a broken back (in two places) & subsequent back surgery December 18th, so have been laid up for 4 months~~~ guess “THE MEDS” turned me into a “chatty Cathy” this a.m.!!! Pardon!!!)

  30. Julie February 8, 2010 | 2:56 pm

    Absolutely agree with you. I wrote an article a while ago about how obsessed is this generation with having huge open kitchens. I also opt for a more private kitchen. Love this post.

  31. Decorno February 8, 2010 | 3:25 pm

    Interesting idea… but I think that using smaller plates is a good first step. (Seriously.)

    We have an old school, closed-off kitchen and it’s the best. Now when dishes are piled high, we can just close the door and think about it after people have gone home. I love open kitchens… but only at other people’s homes. 🙂

  32. mespetites February 8, 2010 | 3:56 pm

    I have always hated open kitchens for multiple reasons: Invariably you will leave an espresso machine out that no one wants to see, you will have clutter, and let’s face it, polishing my counters daily is not reality. Two words – dirty dishes. Lastly, who wants to smell what you have cooked up two hours past dinner?

  33. cynthia - thedailybasics.com February 8, 2010 | 4:50 pm

    I’ve been an editorial magazine editor for 15 years and I was drooling over EVERY SINGLE kitchen you chose! Excellent taste and real Eye Candy!!

    Thanks for putting those together!

  34. fairmaiden February 8, 2010 | 5:07 pm

    I love my open kitchen. An open kitchen won’t make you fat if you only have healthy food in the pantry and frig…fruit on the counter to nibble. Coming from one whom has a B.A in Foods and Nutrition (and a few extra lbs. I’d like to lose!) tee hee…just saying…it’s all about choice and most of us want to enjoy life a bit, which includes yummy foods.

  35. RLG February 8, 2010 | 5:21 pm

    Wow. I think you’re the first person who has EVER said that they don’t like open kitchens! I couldn’t agree more! It’s hard for me to concentrate on the task at hand with three little people playing and screaming in the kitchen. I once walked through an open house in my old neighborhood in DC and fell in love. The kitchen was smallish and just off this enormous dining room. Very old school. Built for cocktail parties and caterers no doubt. The dining room is where people should be! Not under my feet and in my way. Cheers! xoxo

  36. cynthia - thedailybasics.com February 8, 2010 | 6:14 pm

    The last two comments on not liking open kitchens are great. In my travels scouting/producing kitchen shoots, I have seen the trend going toward kitchens away from family rooms. I did it in my own home when we remodeled few years ago. It is definitely a trend. It is called “this is my space”.

  37. Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life February 8, 2010 | 6:27 pm

    Seeing that I live in NYC and my kitchen is IN my living room, no chance to shut a door here!

  38. Åpent hus February 8, 2010 | 7:45 pm

    a lot of nice sollutions and styles here. thank you! 🙂

  39. Trina February 8, 2010 | 8:52 pm

    Hi Heather, Great pictures and interesting idea to ‘close the kitchen.’ We don’t have doors to close per se but I do like the idea of turning off the lights. As always, love your blog. Trina

  40. Laura [What I Like] February 8, 2010 | 8:57 pm

    Oh that Steven Gambrel image is just absolutely to die for!! I could never have a closed kitchen…I love to cook and if my kitchen was in a separate room I’d never seen anyone when they came over to eat! A bit too Cinderella for my taste…

  41. The Polished Pebble February 8, 2010 | 9:16 pm

    Interesting idea and the collection of photos was excellent.

    But…. I really feel a kitchen seperated from the rest of the house is sort of an “upstairs-downstairs” attitude, keeping the staff where they belong. The other problem is every one wants to be in the kitchen, whether cooking or just having coffee or a glass of wine. The open kitchen concept keeps it real. Why try so hard to hide the spaghetti sauce. Since I’m the chief cook and bottle washer in my house I can use the company too.

  42. Chic Coles February 8, 2010 | 9:47 pm

    Unfortunately I have to walk through the kitchen to get to my bedroom (New Orleans rented houses aren’t configured very well) so it is sometimes hard to resist snacks. Otherwise, I think it is a good idea to have a closed kitchen policy…turn off the lights and you won’t be tempted (at least I would try…)

  43. the NEO-traditionalist February 8, 2010 | 11:14 pm

    First of all, these are all GORGEOUS kitchens. Jenna Lyons being my favorite. Second of all, I don’t think it’s my kitchen making me fat—I think it’s my lack of will power and fondness for the cookie jar ; )

  44. the Inveterate Optimist February 8, 2010 | 11:35 pm

    What an arresting title! And a fascinating idea… Passing this along to friends for a t.o.d. tIO x

  45. RJA February 9, 2010 | 1:22 am

    Love this post. What inspiration for some beautiful kitchens. Favor the white, crisp kitchens.

  46. Henley on the Horn February 9, 2010 | 1:47 am

    What gorgeous kitchens. I think you may have a point!

  47. Zesty Nest February 9, 2010 | 3:08 am

    I’ve always felt like the design of a house should work for the people living in it. So that’s a very interesting thought – design for a healthy lifestyle. I actually prefer a large open kitchen. Ours is semi-closed off and everyone just ends up piling in there anyway! I love the Kristen Buckingham kitchen you picked out. And I love your blog!

  48. Jennifer February 9, 2010 | 4:34 am

    Great ideas for kitchen renos! Some very interesting floor coverings.

  49. lulu February 9, 2010 | 5:23 am

    open plan houses are awful- some are worse than others. some are so open, there is no way to decorate properly. there is no privacy. they are so noisy. despite what anyone thinks, they are tacky as hell. as for people saying they need an open plan kitchen to entertain, maybe 5% of the people who say this actually do, but you know the other 95% who say this really need the open plan kitchen so they can see their giant tv that’s in the “great room” from every room in the house. besides, how many people do you have over when you entertain? if the party is large, people break down into small groups to talk. you won’t have a party of 40 people having one conversation. if it is a smaller dinner party, you can still move back and forth among your guests as you move from the kitchen and the dining room. i don’t understand where this concept of a person needing to talk to every guest all at once comes from. moving between the kitchen, dining room, and living room has always given me a chance to circulate among my guests and allowed us to break down into groups, move around and re-group. people will drift in and out of the kitchen.

  50. lulu February 10, 2010 | 6:11 am

    the tragedy is, people buy old/historic homes and knock out all the walls, then when this trend has blown over, and i hope to god it has blown over, there will be no period homes left with their walls intact. they will all be empty shells. maybe people will leave a hint of the wall, like the frame of an archway (like the top half of a picture frame)- the suggestion that there was a division between two spaces at one point. but there is no going back. you can reconstruct, but it’s never quite right. it’s just not the same.

  51. Brittany Stiles June 9, 2010 | 4:12 pm

    I was searching the blogosphere for kitchen inspiration and this was pretty much a one stop shop. Awesome post. Thanks!

  52. tinefis January 15, 2011 | 9:27 pm

    I had never thought of this, but as soon as I read this post I thought: That’s right! How many times a day don’t I make an extra turn in to the kitchen area, cause…it’s there! We have a very open-planned house, and although I like it, I can see why a closed kitchen would be a good idea.