Are London's Kitchens Vanishing?
Mon 27 Jan 2014
Kitchens are shrinking dramatically in size and prominence in new London homes and conversions, according to the latest research from estate agents Marsh & Parsons.
Falling victim to the changing eating habits of modern-day Londoners, kitchens now account for a smaller proportion of the total living space in new build developments and conversions in the capital than ever before. Today's London residents are eating out more - up to an average of four times a week in 2013. This fuelled a boom in the London dining scene last year, with a new restaurant opening for every day of the month at its peak.
Only half of a typical Londoner's total weekly lunches and dinners are now prepared in kitchens at home. And as the average size of UK new builds gets smaller, it is the kitchen which is bearing the main brunt of this fall in square footage.
* Example 1 : A two bedroom flat in a Barnes development comes with a kitchen of 6.5 sqm (or 70 sq ft). This is merely 7.9% of the gross internal area of the apartment and roughly half the size of an average car parking space.
* Example 2 : The kitchen is equal to only 7.3% of the property's entire internal area in a two bedroom, two bathroom Albert Embankment apartment in Prime Central London. At just 6 sqm (65 sq ft), this shows kitchen size has shrunk by a third since the 1960s, when the average British kitchen in a post-war new build was 8.8 sqm (95 sq ft).
As a result, over a third of residents in new build developments report they don't have enough space for everyday kitchen appliances such as toasters or microwaves, or to invite guests over for dinner in their home.
Charles Holland, Lead Director of Residential Developments and Investments at Marsh & Parsons, comments:
"The whole way we socialise as a city is changing, and marginalising the kitchen as the traditional hub of the home. Aware of the changing lifestyle of our capital's young professionals, developers of the latest London apartment blocks are prioritising living space, bathrooms and nearly all else over kitchen size.
Londoners today are increasingly following in the footsteps of New Yorkers, preferring to eat out and meet friends in a restaurant than host dinner parties. As such, kitchen size is no longer as important to many young professional buyers, and is often at the bottom of the pile in property wish lists".
Marsh and Parsons have identified that among new build properties coming onto the market, separate kitchens are increasingly rare - with open plan kitchen-diners generally the norm.
* Example 1 : A two bedroom flat in a renovation of a former Victorian hospital in Clapham provides only one large open plan reception space to act as combined kitchen, dining and living area.
* Example 2 : A one bedroom apartment in a modern riverside development in Pimlico incorporates a modest galley style kitchen into a single reception room.
Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, comments:
"With less and less time spent preparing meals in the home, we are starting to see the kitchen completely disappear as a room in its own right, and instead being subsumed into the wider living and dining space. Once a means of space-saving in tiny apartment blocks, combined kitchen-diners are now necessary for many house-hunters, and much more practical than a separate kitchen.
Looking to the future, it begs the question whether the London kitchen is about to do a disappearing act on us altogether, or whether it has already ceased to exist as a must-have space?"