The Perfect Entertainer’s Kitchen

white kitchen cabinetry with small island

What’s the key to a perfect entertainer’s kitchen? One that works as well for the chef as it does for the guests? According to Normandy Designer Laura Barber, AKBD, an island or peninsula that separates the two is essential. “It doesn’t seem to matter if you have a 10” x 10” kitchen or a 20” x 20” kitchen. Everyone stands right there,” says Laura. She adds, “Creating some separation between the workspace and those who aren’t actively working is important in a successful kitchen.” 

Walnut Cabinets in a Mid-Century Modern Wet Bar

Laura also recommends designating a drinks station to draw people away. “Put your coffee bar or wet bar to work.  A dry bar or even just a cleared-off countertop also work well as a place to set up glasses, ice and easy grab-and-go drinks,” she says.  

Laura also likes a floorplan where the kitchen is open to the dining room for entertaining. “While it doesn’t have to be completely open, having a kitchen that flows into the dining room is excellent for entertaining. People can spread out across the two rooms without feeling like they are missing something,” says Laura. When you do have guests, consider placing appetizers or another drink option on a sideboard to tempt even more people away from the workspace.  

“So often, dining rooms go unused, but if they are open in some way to the kitchen, the space becomes inviting,” Laura explains.  

Vertical tray storage in the kitchen

Another thing to think about is storage. Being able to access your place settings, glassware and serving pieces will keep stress down for the host and helpers. “Adding vertical storage for trays and serving platters makes it easy to pull them out when you need them and tuck them away when you don’t,” says Laura.  

“If entertaining is important to you, we design to help you enjoy your time preparing and serving food and to enable your guests to enjoy your efforts. Bringing people together can seem effortless with a little planning up front,” says Laura.  

If your kitchen isn’t quite up to the task of entertaining your family and friends, you can set up a time to talk to Laura about transforming it into the home to which everyone wants an invitation. Check out the Normandy Remodeling photo galleries for kitchen ideas that might inspire your idea entertainer’s space. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more projects, ideas and tips.  

Centered countertop in spacious kitchenMulti tone kitchen with cooktop in the island and wall ovens

Unexpectedly Great Spots for Heated Floors

Tiles in a hexagon shapeMidwestern weather is unpredictable, but one thing about living here is certain. There will be chilly mornings and evenings when the comforting warmth of a heated floor makes everything a little better. Heated bathroom floors are the gold standard, but why stop there?

Other spots in your home can be improved upon by adding the understated luxury of heated floors. Both high traffic areas and private spaces can benefit from this detail. Some of favorite rooms for toasty toes include.

The Screened Porch

Screened porches have evolved into pretty phenomenal spaces with outlets for TVs and solid masonry fireplaces. Adding heated floors will get you another month or two out there when the weather cools,” says Troy Pavelka, Normandy Remodeling’s Director of Design.

As we’ve adapted to different weather patterns and different ways of entertaining over the past couple of years, it’s possible you’re hosting football watch parties and even serving Thanksgiving dinner on the screened porch. Heated floors help make your porch a destination on all but the coldest days.

The Mudroom

A heated mudroom floor is an unseen luxury you will appreciate on cold and damp days. It also provides a couple of big benefits.

First, it keeps the room warm, creating a welcoming atmosphere when you walk in the house. It’s important to plan for this with a space that typically adjoins a chilly garage.

Secondly, a warm floor lets you toss wet hats and gloves right on the floor to speed drying, which is a true life hack for busy families.

Mudroom with cubbies and a space for a dog crate

Even your canine family member will appreciate returning from a walk to the paw-soothing warmth of a heated mudroom floor.

Bedroom Over a Garage

Speaking of the potentially chilly garage, unused space over the garage can be transformed into dreamy bedrooms or family hangouts. Either will be more comfortable with the addition of heated floors to counteract the chilliness of untreated air below.

“Extending or creating a primary suite above the garage is a fairly common addition, and it’s the perfect time to incorporate heated floors,” says Troy.

The Basement

The big decision is deciding the level of finish you want. “We see it two ways. The first is finishing the basement to match that of the rest of the house. This happens when it’s a true extension of the living space and you expect it to get more use,” says Troy.

Finished basement with bar

There are some amazing basements out there, complete with wine caves and mini fitness centers, home theaters and performance spaces. Adding heated floors will keep everyone comfortable as they enjoy these unique spaces.

If you’re wishing for toasty toes and inspired to add on or renovate a level of your home, you can set up a time to talk to a Normandy Designer. Click through the Normandy Remodeling photo galleries for more ideas or follow us on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.


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