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Real estate listings as a matter of course spotlight how many bedrooms and baths a home has. But there may come a day in Los Angeles’ high-end residential market where the number of kitchens is prominently listed as well.
“On more than 50 percent of our projects, our clients are demanding two kitchens,” says Mauricio Oberfeld of high-end SoCal builder Dugally Oberfeld of a trend that has taken off in recent years and has only accelerated during the pandemic: “There’s been a very strong push for two kitchens.”
Homeowners usually use one kitchen as a showpiece and family-friendly area, and the other serves as a prep kitchen. Compass’ David Kelmenson currently has a listing for an 11,600-square-foot, seven-bedroom and, yes, two-kitchen home in Pacific Palisades. On the market for $11.995 million, it includes a family kitchen — “your everyday place to make cereal or toast,” says Kelmenson — and a prep kitchen located down a short hallway. “It’s the workhorse if [the owners] are cooking Thanksgiving or they have a private chef or caterer come in.”
“The prep kitchen is really more geared toward entertaining, so if they were having another family over, somebody could be cooking there, and it could be completely separate from the main kitchen of the house,” continues Kelmenson. “There’s also people who have live-in help or they have someone who comes in a certain number of days a week to cook for their families, and they can cook in the prep kitchen. The family is hanging out in the family area, and they want a little separation. You can leave the prep kitchen kind of a mess and be in the family room and not see it. If you are doing that in your main kitchen you are walking by the pots and pans.”
Typically, houses with two kitchens are being built in the $10 million-plus range of the Los Angeles market. “You can only really do this when you are talking about larger homes — 10,000 square feet or more — on a bigger lot,” says Kelmenson. “Houses that can afford the space are being designed with prep kitchens.”
While the trend isn’t new, the pandemic drove the demand into much higher gear over the last year and a quarter, because, Kelmenson says, “people want more things under one roof. It’s more COVID-driven than anything. Over the last year, doing everything in the home has become essential. What I’m seeing is that my clients want to contain as many things inside the house as they possibly can, so a lot of people are adding swimming pools and gyms or double at-home office space. They want to do everything at home.”
Oberfeld is the builder of a new 11,500-square-foot, six-bedroom contemporary home in the Bird Streets neighborhood of the Hollywood Hills — listed for $29.95 million — that likewise has two kitchens. There’s a lower-level prep kitchen that connects to the “show kitchen with a dumbwaiter,” he says, on the floor above. Both kitchens are sleekly built featuring Poliform designs and Gaggenau appliances. The upstairs kitchen, he adds, “almost looks like a beautiful bar; everything is tucked away and really clean.”
One other thing that has fueled the two-kitchen trend is open floor plans in contemporary homes. “So when you have one kitchen that is open to the living room and the dining room and the family room, there is really no privacy and there is really no shielding from the noise,” says Oberfeld. With the addition of a second kitchen to the floor plan that is “somewhere hidden in the back” then “if you have staff, the staff will be cooking in that kitchen and washing dishes and there is noise isolation. You can have a super quiet dinner in the dining room without really hearing anything.” Adds James Harris of The Agency, who has the listing on the Bird Streets house, “Where the real work gets done is downstairs where you have a double oven, double sink, a massive island and the whole nine yards. Why make a mess upstairs when you can do it downstairs and spread out?”
Oberfeld underscores that “we are seeing a tremendous uptick in this trend. When the trend started, the chef’s kitchen was a very small, closet-like kitchen. That has shifted more and more and the chef’s kitchen has grown.” He adds, “For those of us who can’t stand to see things messy, it really allows you to have the upstairs kitchen super clean and the lower kitchen can have all these appliances out and exposed.” Beyond the two kitchens, the Zoltan Pali-designed hillside house also includes a 60-foot retractable skylight; a cascading water wall; motorized glass pocket doors that define indoor-outdoor living; a 106-foot, infinity-edged pool with Baja shelf and heated spa; a media room; and an in-home wellness spa with sauna, steam room, massage room, gym and saltwater floating pod.
Another current Los Angeles-area listing with two kitchens is 416 N. Altura Road in Arcadia, listed with Douglas Elliman’s Daniel Carrillo for $2.965 million. The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath includes a large open kitchen, a separate butler’s pantry and a separate custom wok kitchen.
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