Wet and dry kitchens are common in larger homes in Singapore. This concept is starting to catch on in Melbourne and the rest of Australia. However, if you mention wet/dry kitchen to your builder or new house sales consultant, your request is likely to be met with a confused look.
Australians tend to have extra kitchens in the form of a ‘butler’s pantry’ or an outdoor kitchen. Both concepts are worth exploring as well, so that you can have the best of east meets west to suit all sorts of cooking styles.
Let’s explore each of these options.
Dry Kitchen / Open Plan Kitchen
An open plan kitchen is most commonly found in Australian homes. Australians love open plan living which is great for entertaining and for keeping an eye on the kids. In a country where having a live-in helper is almost unheard of (other than au pairs), most parents have to multi-task when they are home, performing household chores or cooking while keeping an eye on the kids who may be playing or watching TV in the living room or doing their homework on the dining table, under the watchful eyes of their parents.
Unfortunately, open plan kitchens are not great for Asian cooking, which can often create strong aromas (eg. a pot of chicken curry simmering over the stove) or smoky fumes (eg. frying char kway teow on a wok burner) which may end up coating surfaces all over with a thin film of oil. Simply enclosing an open plan kitchen with a wall may impact on your property value as a large section of the population may be turned away by the lack of an open plan kitchen.
Butler’s pantry came about as there are Australians who use a butler’s pantry only once a year, eg. Jews who use that kitchen once a year only to cook Passover food. Kosher food for Passover cannot contain any leavened products. Passover food cannot be cooked in pots and with utensils used for regular kosher food (without first “Kashering” those pots or utensils usually by special boiling or flame treatment) and so a separate Passover kitchen with only Passover ingredients, food, pots, utensils, stove, oven etc.. is found in homes of wealthier Jews.
However, in some Australian floor plans, the butler’s pantry is fully enclosed without any windows for ventilation. This makes them rather unsuitable for Asian-style cooking.
Wet Kitchen / Enclosed Kitchen with a Window
If you are able to work with your builder to incorporate a wet kitchen that suits your style of cooking, it’s worthwhile doing so prior to construction. Once your house is built, it would be difficult to re-visit this concept as plumbing and gas fitting will be trickier to hide within existing plaster walls.
Here’s an example of an existing floor plan which you can modify slightly to create a wet kitchen.
Original Floor Plan: Metricon Berkshire
With this floor plan, you could consider installing a door to the pantry and a window where the fridge space it, moving the fridge space to the opposite wall. A sink may be installed next to the window space, while a stove may be installed along the wall perpendicular to it.
Barbeques are a big part of the Australian lifestyle. On many public holidays during summer (other than total fire ban days), you will find that many Australians will fire up their ‘barbie’ for some ‘snags’. The Australian barbeque is quite an impressive piece of equipment, some of which come with gas stoves that you may place a wok on. You can attach portable gas canisters to the barbeque. However, you can also request your builder to cater for various points (gas point, waste water point, water point and electrical points) in your alfresco area, so that you can connect a rangehood, sink, tap and gas barbeque to create an impressive outdoor kitchen.
In the colder months or windy days, it may be trickier to cook outdoors. To be able to enclose your alfresco area, you can install café blinds (clear plastic blinds) or glass sliding doors.
Glass sliding doors: https://www.optiscreen.com.au/multi-stack-sliding-door-gallery/
Some builders are open to modifying their standard floor plans while others are not. It is important that you check with your builder before paying a deposit.
Let us know how you go with your kitchen modification experience!
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