what is a gourmet kitchen

What is a Gourmet Kitchen? Regular to Royal Upgrade Guide

Are you currently in the process of constructing a new home or contemplating a full-scale kitchen renovation?

If so, you’ve likely come across the term ‘gourmet kitchen.’ You’re probably asking yourself, ‘What is a gourmet kitchen?’

I spent nearly a decade selling and designing new homes for a national home builder, and while there aren’t any rigidly defined rules, I can provide insight into the difference and luxuries as well as whats included and how to compare a regular kitchen to a “gourmet kitchen’.

What is a gourmet kitchen?

A gourmet kitchen features high-end appliances, efficient ventilation, strategic lighting, luxury design elements, top-quality materials, and innovative storage solutions, all orchestrated to create a visually appealing, highly functional, and convenient culinary space.

What is a gourmet kitchen

If you’re anything like me or the new home buyers I work with, you likely have more questions. You may wonder, “What exactly defines top-tier appliances?” or “What is considered ample storage space for the size of my home?”

You might even question how all of this relates to the home’s price point. After all, high-end appliances in a $440k home will likely differ significantly from those in a $4.5 million property, right? You’re absolutely correct. But don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

In this post, I will demystify the concept of a gourmet kitchen across various price points – entry-level, mid-range, and high-end luxury.

By the end of this post, you’ll know precisely where your dream gourmet kitchen fits into this spectrum. Furthermore, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions about your kitchen design selections with ease.

This post is all about defining what is a gourmet kitchen at every price point.

Regular kitchen

The National Association of Realtors states that the average entry-level homes in the U.S. generally fall within the $300k to $400k range.

standard kitchen configuration

Standard kitchen layouts

In the realm of residential design, the idea of a gourmet kitchen vs a regular kitchen can differ from person to person. However, let’s establish some universal benchmarks to guide our discussion.

Consider the typical starter home in the U.S., which ranges from 800 to 1500 square feet.

Nestled within, you’ll likely find a compact kitchen you can expect

  • 100 square feet in size or a 10×10 layout
  • Approximately 12 cabinets a combination of upper and lowers
  • 30 sq. ft of countertop space

If you have an L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen, you may be able to incorporate a kitchen island or peninsula.

For further clarity on different kitchen layouts, refer back to my previous post dedicated to this topic.

Major kitchen appliances

To provide a more concrete understanding of a gourmet kitchen appliance package, we’ll reference Whirlpool, a versatile brand spanning various price points, as our guide.

This industry leader delivers a diverse selection of appliances under their main Whirlpool brand, the mid-tier KitchenAid, and the luxury Jenn-Air.

Regular kitchen appliances

standard kitchen appliances

Here we have an example of an entry-level package of kitchen appliances.

  • 30″ slide-in range with a temperature management system
  • 29″ over-the-range microwave with steam and sensor cooking
  • 24″ 5 cycle dishwasher w/ 13 place setting capacity 51 noise level
  • 20.5 cu ft freezer top standard depth refrigerator
  • 29.5 wide Under-mount stainless-steel 50/50 sink 9″ deep
  • Ventilation is provided by a recirculating fan built into the microwave.

Now, while these appliances are undoubtedly dependable – proficient at preparing meals, cleaning dishes, and preserving food – they can also be a bit sluggish, somewhat limited, slightly noisy, and not exactly sleek, falling just short of what most would consider a gourmet kitchen.

Small gourmet kitchen lighting

Boasting a combination of general, task, and accent lighting, a 10×10 kitchen generally requires around 4 to 6 light fixtures for adequate illumination. This typically includes

  • 2 to 4 overhead recessed lights positioned about 6ft apart based on the layout
  • 2 to 3 additional lights in the form of task lighting or natural light

Materials and finishes

In an entry-level kitchen, priced from $300k, potential buyers would typically anticipate

  • solid surface countertops, such as granite or Corian
  • 36″ upper wall cabinets with partial overlay cabinet doors
  • A decorative backsplash may or may not be included
  • The flooring may be ceramic or porcelain tiles or vinyl flooring

Small gourmet kitchen organization and storage

Entry level kitchen features

In an entry-level kitchen, practicality takes center stage. Anticipate simple storage essentials such as

  • Roll-out bins for waste bins
  • Easy reach base cabinet corners
  • Basic hardware

Gourmet kitchen

As per the U.S. Federal Reserve, the median home price across the country stands at $440,330.

gourmet style kitchen

The kitchen depicted here offers an ideal illustration of what most national home builders consider a gourmet kitchen design.

This demographic is frequently termed as ‘move-up buyers in the market for a kitchen that offers a dash more sophistication and a few more features than an entry-level home.

  • The median kitchen is approximately 200 sq ft or 12×16
  • 20 to 30 cabinets and drawers
  • Up to 50 Sq. feet of countertop space

Gourmet kitchen appliances

whats included in a gourmet kitchen

The major kitchen appliances showcased here hail from KitchenAid, a brand that represents a notch above the Whirlpool sister brand.

  • 36″ 5-burner cooktop
  • 36″ wall-mount 3-speed canopy hood
  • 24″ dishwasher with 3rd rack, sensory wash cycles, stainless interior, and 44 noise level
  • 30′ combination EVEN-HEAT™ convection wall oven and 1600-watt convection microwave
  • 36″ 22 cubic feet counter depth side by side refrigerator with PrintShield™ finish
  • 29″ under-mount single bowl stainless steel kitchen sink 9″ deep
  • Ventilation is achieved by pulling air from the edges and directed to the outside

Materials and finishes in a gourmet kitchen

Our median-priced homebuyer has a keen eye for detail and they’d likely be anticipating elevated kitchen materials and finishes.

  • 42″ Full overlay cabinetry with a tall crown
  • Decorative end-panels
  • 3cm granite or quartz countertops
  • Full-height tile backsplash
  • Single bowl kitchen sink with pull-down sprayer
  • Porcelain tile floors or engineered wood flooring, luxury vinyl

Gourmet kitchen lighting

gourmet kitchen design

Gourmet kitchen lighting at this price point should include

4 to 6 overhead lights approx 6ft apart per plan

2 to 3 pendant lights depending upon island length

under-cabinet lighting

Gourmet kitchen essentials

Gourmet kitchen essentials

There are certain essentials every gourmet kitchen must possess to facilitate seamless cooking, cleaning, organizing, storage, and navigation. One must-have feature is wooden cabinet organizers, like pull-out double waste baskets for efficient trash and recycling separation.

All base cabinets, excluding the corner ones, should house double pull-out drawers; the corner cabinet is an ideal spot for a rotating lazy Susan.

It’s a no-brainer to have cutlery tray dividers, and with the microwave and oven relocated to the cabinetry, deep pot, and pan drawers can conveniently nestle under the cooktop.

For a busy chef where timing is crucial, dovetail-constructed drawers with soft-close enhancements contribute to a smooth and effortless kitchen experience.

Luxury gourmet kitchen

A luxury home, as reported by the Institute for Luxury Homes, is $1.3 million, with a minimum threshold of $912,500.

Luxury gourmet kitchen

In looking at this mid-century modern kitchen you might think you are seeing double. Nah, that’s all a part of a luxury gourmet kitchen design concept. Two of everything!

  • Luxury kitchens can range between 400 and 700 sq. ft
  • 25 to 23 kitchen cabinets and another 20 to 30 drawers layout dependant
  • 80 to 140 sq ft of counter space depending upon the layout

Luxury kitchen high-end appliances

In this luxury gourmet kitchen appliance example, we’ve featured appliances from JennAir. As Whirlpool Corporation’s luxury line, JennAir is their competitive answer to other high-end brands such as Wolf and Viking.

luxury gourmet kitchen appliances
  • 48″ Commercial Dual Fuel range with griddle and convection double ovens
  • 48″ Professional wall-mount hood with dual lighting levels
  • 24″ Dishwasher-Built-In quietest dishwasher noise level DBA 39!
  • 48″ Panel -ready Built-in side-by-side fully flush aka integrated refrigerator
  • 30″ Built-in Microwave with speed cook and convection full-color LCD screen
  • . Ventilation is provided by a 48″ hood with a velocity blower and 10″ exterior venting
  • Brass pot-filler and faucet to coordinate with brass knobs on range

Luxury material and finishes

luxury gourmet kitchen design

The discerning luxury home buyer, having journeyed through the phases of starter and move-up homes, stands ready to realize their dream kitchen. Well-informed by past experiences, they demand high-end materials and custom features like pot fillers and a gas range.

  • 42″ cabinets plus 18″ second-tier cabinets
  • 3″ built-up edge natural stone, butcher block, or quartz countertops
  • Full-height countertop backsplash
  • Apron front or granite composite sink with luxury faucet
  • Full-wrapped panel islands
  • Porcelain tile, hardwood flooring, natural stone

These cabinets are typically plywood, with dovetail construction and soft close enhancements. For more on luxury cabinet brands and construction read my previous post.

Luxury gourmet kitchen lighting

In a luxury gourmet kitchen, lighting involves thoughtful planning and strategic pre-wiring, all arranged during a comprehensive meeting with your contractor.

Besides standard fixtures, a luxury kitchen design often incorporates an added layer of custom accent lighting. This personalized illumination can be achieved in a myriad of ways, a few of which we’ll be exploring next.

  • Strategically placed LED strip lights beneath floating shelves
  • Puck lights subtly incorporated atop glass-stacked cabinetry
  • Elegantly designed wall-mounted sconces for an aesthetic touch
  • Upper and lower cabinet lighting to enhance visibility and ambiance
  • Task-oriented custom lighting in range hoods for efficient cooking

Luxury kitchen must-haves

gourmet kitchen must haves

In luxury homes, the demands for gourmet kitchen features intensify. Built-in cabinet organization systems become standard, offering homeowners unmatched convenience and ease of use. Cabinet doors yield to drawers, promoting easier storage and access.

Order and aesthetic appeal take precedence, with each item having its dedicated spot, ensuring clean sight lines and optimal organization.

Is a gourmet kitchen worth it?

From a financial perspective, absolutely! Kitchen remodels typically generate a 60% return on investment.

Furthermore, the superior convenience and efficiency that come with well-organized cabinets and smart storage solutions cannot be overlooked. Time-saving features in appliances such as express wash dishwashers, convection ovens, and double ovens are additional bonuses.

So, considering the functionality, aesthetic appeal, cost-effectiveness, and design enhancements, I’d affirm that upgrading to a gourmet kitchen is a mutually beneficial decision.

Final thoughts and conclusion

gourmet kitchen dream home

To conclude, a ‘gourmet kitchen’ is a unique blend of high-end appliances, efficient ventilation systems, strategic lighting, luxury design elements, top-notch materials, and clever storage solutions, all designed to create an elevated cooking and dining experience.

The specifics will undoubtedly vary, depending on your budget, home’s value, and personal needs.

However, don’t forget that upgrading your kitchen is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Even if you’re starting with a basic kitchen, you can gradually incorporate elements from higher-end designs.

For instance, a regular kitchen could be enhanced by adding a stylish backsplash, upgrading the faucet, or replacing cabinet hardware.

Similarly, a mid-range gourmet kitchen could be elevated with additional cabinet organizers or decorative trim on the kitchen island.

The journey to a gourmet kitchen doesn’t have to happen overnight; it can be a gradual transformation, allowing you to enjoy the process of crafting your dream culinary space over time.

Remember, the heart of your home deserves a touch of gourmet elegance. Make it yours, one upgrade at a time!

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