While not all of us are lucky enough to be invited to Stanley Tucci's house for a weekend feast, Robert Downy Jr. is – and he gave us a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the actor-turned-chef's kitchen. More specifically, his second kitchen.
Although we have been impressed by the sheer scale of Stanley Tucci's modern kitchen before, Oppenheimer actor RDJ offered another glimpse into a previously unseen area of the space. What we thought to be a pantry actually seems to be a utility kitchen, something that is definitely needed when hosting 12-star-studded dinner guests.
These back kitchen additions are not exclusive to celebrity hosts, however, and designers have seen a sudden and drastic increase in interest in these utilitarian work spaces – and for good reason.
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Giving an in-depth overview of the actor's kitchen, from his extensive Le Creuset pan collection to overflowing yet organized cookbooks, to bright kitchen decor, Robert Downey Jr. seemed to hide in the Tucci's side kitchen, giving us our first glimpse into the madness behind the method, so to speak.
Deceptively hidden away using the same paint color as Tucci's kitchen cabinets, the side kitchen is more than just your regular pantry, offering additional cooking and prep space to allow any chef to be a little messier away from the eyes of important guests, points out Mike Serafino, owner and designer at Heartwood Kitchens.
'One of its uses is often for appliances, from small ones like stand mixers, microwaves, and toasters as we see in Stanley Tucci's space, to full-sized wall ovens and secondary refrigeration (beverage fridges and drawers),' Mike explains.
'Utility kitchens are great for overflow storage and to take “pressure” off the main kitchen. We’re in a minimalist phase in some ways – with people looking for things to get rid of for a minimalist kitchen and wanting open, clean, uncluttered counters. Side kitchens as an alternative to traditional utility rooms are a great way to achieve this.'
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A small kitchen off to the side can also be helpful if you have help with preparing for a party, adds Madison Popper, interior designer and founder of Chill Casa. 'As an additional cooking space, if you’re having help during a party, everything can be prepped in the utility kitchen without distracting the guests.'
Such modern utility room ideas can be executed in two ways, Madison says.
'The two designs I have seen with a utility kitchen are either an open room connected to the kitchen with an archway or the new creative way is to hide it behind a false cabinet door in your kitchen as Tucci has in his. It’s like a secret room you have to find. The kitchen is always the most used room in the house so just like the more the merrier, the bigger amount of kitchen space, the better.'
When planning a utility kitchen, it is also important to ask how it relates to the main kitchen from a location and storage standpoint to make it truly functional, reminds Mike Serafino, kitchen designer. The room needs to flow easily from the main cook space so it is not difficult to get to and offer additional kitchen storage to make the extensive addition worth the effort.
'We often take bigger risks in these spaces to add decorative pops like powerful tile and/or wallpaper, cool doors like antiques, and pocket French ones,' Mike adds. 'The utility matters first, but it’s easy to make a real statement with a side kitchen.'
Tucci seems to have played his utility kitchen relatively safe, carrying the kitchen paint color through and focussing on expansive storage, but there is some interesting framed art above the door for a pop of personality.
Although becoming more popular in kitchen remodels nowadays, Mike Serafino, kitchen designer, warns that they may not be for everyone:
'This kind of addition is best for multi-cook families, especially if baking is a larger part of their cooking plans and families with kids that are starting to prepare their own meals, warming leftovers, making breakfasts like toast and cereal.
'They may also appeal to anyone that entertains many times a year with lots of guests. A second sink and dishwasher have a huge impact on the efficiency of throwing a great party! These spaces can hide the mess from the main kitchen and control flow through and around the main kitchen.'
Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven Dish in Oyster |
Was $419.95, now $336 at Amazon
Stanley Tucci's Dutch oven is made from enameled cast iron to deliver superior heat distribution and retention while cooking. Its easy-to-clean and durable enamel resists dulling, staining, chipping, and cracking – for statement cookware that looks good for longer.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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