For those who love to entertain, a kitchen that can handle volume but also carries design appeal is essential to a home. Formerly a utilitarian space hidden behind four walls, kitchens have morphed into the entertainment hub of the house. Everyone from family members to formal party guests tend to congregate here while food is prepared and enjoyed. All but gone are the days when the host or hostess would disappear behind closed kitchen doors, reappearing only to direct guests to a meal served in a designated dining area. In fact, the act of cooking for a large group has become part of the party itself as guests gather around an island, cocktails in hand, chatting with or even helping the host. Sure, big dining rooms are still a draw in many homes, but residences with multipurpose kitchens truly have what it takes to entertain in style.
Below are nine such properties with spectacular kitchens that more than live up to their expectations.
McLean, Virginia Emanating opulence at every angle, this elegant Virginia estate is a dream property for anyone who loves to open their home to family members and friends. Room after luxurious room, the six-bedroom residence offers character in spades. Its classical Italian essence is displayed in arches, columns, marble, limestone, and carved moldings throughout. The showstopper kitchen, designed by renowned chef Savino Recine, owner of the Washington, D.C., restaurants Primi Piatti and Finemondo, is an epicurean’s fantasy. The stove, custom made in France by Molteni, has multiple burners so several dishes can be prepared at once for large parties. The exhaust hood was designed by the Danish company Abbaka, and there is even an authentic wood-fired pizza oven. The package is completed by the marble countertops and backsplash and the spacious pantry, breakfast bar, and eat-in space.
Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa Situated in the heart of one of South Africa’s most prodigious and beautiful wine-producing valleys, this modern farmhouse is a host’s dream. The immense formal living room has a wood-burning fireplace, and a 20-seat dining area opens onto a covered terrace surrounding the outdoor pool. Cooking for such a large crowd is made easier thanks to the generously sized open-layout kitchen with a center island. The home also boasts a full catering kitchen with a walk-in refrigerator. A 14-seat breakfast room opens onto another lounge/terrace that overlooks a courtyard with a reflecting pool and floating island deck.
Beverly Hills, California This sleek Beverly Hills mansion makes entertaining large groups a breeze. Thanks to everything from the huge living room/screening room to the infinity pool, guests at this house are always treated to a luxurious stay. The kitchen matches that ethos in scale and concept, boasting a state-of-the-art Bulthaup design that can accommodate prepping for any type of event, even a large catered celebration. Meals can be enjoyed right in the kitchen—where a wall of glass provides magnificent views—or in the formal dining room with fireplace. A transparent wine cellar creates an art installation of stored bottles and simplifies the selection process. Newly built in 2016, this abode is a natural fit for its trendy neighborhood.
Savannah, Georgia With a name inspired by the nearby Wilmington River, this grand Savannah retreat offers panoramic water views and scenic landscaping. While the home sits on a high bluff and boasts 300 feet of deep-water frontage, it imparts a private, secluded feeling thanks to its gated entry and long driveway. Hosting parties here is a treat, especially with the large gourmet kitchen and butler’s pantry, both of which call to mind the lavish entertaining of the antebellum South.
Vero Beach, Florida Were it not so inviting and comfortable, this International-style Vero Beach compound might be mistaken for a museum of modern living. Its 18,000 square feet of interior space connect seamlessly with its outdoor surroundings, with walls of glass offering breathtaking ocean views and a floor plan that—although open—clearly delineates areas for everyday living and entertaining. The enormous kitchen has a wood-fired pizza oven and opens onto a wraparound terrace surrounding an infinity pool. The appliances are, of course, top of the line and include a 60-inch-wide BlueStar range. An additional catering kitchen provides even more capacity for large-scale entertaining—and with eight bedrooms and eight full bathrooms, there is plenty of room for overnight guests.
The Old Rectory
York, England This sumptuous Georgian estate—a Grade II listed property—is nestled into a bank overlooking the Coxwold-Gilling Gap, a valley that separates the Hambleton and Howardian Hills. While elegant period details abound throughout this house, prominent architectural elements include high ceilings as well as large windows that provide magnificent views of the gardens and grounds. The home serves as a graceful place in which to entertain with its Smallbone of Devizes-designed kitchen with a center island, four-door AGA oven, granite countertops, and Miele appliances. The pantry—also by Smallbone—leads to an additional catering kitchen, and a pleasant orangery provides dining and seating areas as well.
Fun and Games
Franklin, Michigan A DesRosiers Architects custom build, this Bloomfield Hills-area residence offers 10,000 square feet of luxurious living space that includes a 20-foot-high glass-ceiling foyer and a glass-walled great room overlooking the grounds. The kitchen is sized and outfitted for entertaining, with the additional full catering kitchen affording the ability to host an event on a grand scale. The home’s lower level has a home theater, billiards room, exercise room, jacuzzi, steam room, and hot-air sauna plus a full wet bar. The landscaped yard is spacious enough for a pool, tennis court, or basketball court.
North of Auckland, New Zealand This impressive hilltop retreat masterfully designed by Ian Krause serves up majestic views of the surrounding countryside from nearly every room. The sleek kitchen—appointed with high-end appliances as well as granite countertops and a butler’s pantry—opens onto a terrace and outdoor grill area. An entertainment “wing” of the house stands at the ready to become a game room, home office, or teen lounge with its own bar and kitchenette.
Penthouse in Paradise
Honolulu, Hawaii This contemporary two-story penthouse is like a dreamhouse in the sky. With ocean and Diamond Head views from every angle and generous living spaces throughout, it is made for those who like to entertain. The main kitchen features upscale finishes such as Peruvian glass tile on the backsplash and granite countertops, and a walk-in pantry has a wine refrigerator with storage for 100+ bottles. Other appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Asko dishwasher, and Wolf range and oven. The upstairs kitchen is outfitted with stainless-steel countertops, teak cabinets, and double dishwashers plus a gas grill and a bar that seats nine. Taking the party outside is a delight thanks to the dining patio and deck with both covered and open seating. Should the weather turn inclement, the dining room provides a fine indoor setting with its Swarovski crystal chandelier, built-ins, and art niche.