Friday, February 18, 2011

Ban the Boob Tube

Photo Credit:
There was a time when adding a television to the kitchen was impractical and nearly impossible.  Today, televisions are much smaller, flatter and some even feature the added functionality of WiFi internet access or a video security system.  Adding a television to your kitchen design is simply a matter of making a shelf, and plugging it in.

But really, should you?

The kitchen television has been my nemesis for a long time.  Typically I’m asked to design something similar to a microwave cabinet to house the TV.  I’m not a fan of the microwave shelf either, but using cupboard space for something that contributes nothing to the function of a kitchen just doesn’t make sense.  I don’t buy the “I’ll use it to watch cooking shows” argument.  No programme on FoodTV shows you how to cook step-by-step and waits for you to perform the task at hand.  By the time you’ve creamed the butter and sugar, Anna Olsen is pulling the cookies out of the oven.  You have a PVR and can pause?  Good luck getting the batter out of your remote control.

Photo Credit:
So what about mounting your television on the wall so it won’t use up space?  Assuming you have wall space that is in comfortable sight of where you’ll be cooking (remote at the ready), you’ll still need to run power and cable.   If you have a digital box, PVR or Blue-Ray player, you’ll need to mount that as well.  Brackets exist that can hold all this in place, but do you really want your kitchen looking like a sports bar?  Find a piece of art, and leave the television in the living room, or better yet a media room where it’s designed to go. 

There have been a number of attempts to implement televisions into standard kitchen appliances in order to deal with the space issues.  The most basic is a fold-down flat-screen that mounts underneath your upper cabinetry.  Leaning on your countertops 4" away from the screen is not my idea of comfort.  Then there's still the issue of cabling.  A number of refigerator came on the market in the last 10 years with screens in the door; some even had cameras!  Not sure what the thinking was here ... perhaps so you wouldn't miss any of the game when you went for a beer?  But my all-time favourite, and I've seen at least three of these, is the ingenious hoodfan-television!  Do I even need to go over the safety issues I have with this?  Many of these Franken-Visions have been discontinued by their manufacturers.  The rest should be.

If you’re still determined to get your TV fix in the kitchen, consider these other options.
  • In a kitchen that is open to a family room, consider mounting the television in a place it can be viewed easily from the kitchen.
  • Use your laptop.  In addition to searching for great new recipes or reading useful spaces, you can use a product like Apple TV to stream PVR'd programmes to your laptop.  When you leave the kitchen, so can the laptop.
  • Luxurite.  The ONLY acceptable solution I've seen to the “TV in the kitchen” dilemma.

Better idea?  Turn off the TV and invite some friends or family into the kitchen and cook up a storm.  That’s going to be much more interesting than anything on TV.


Crissy said...

My opinion? The kitchen is not the place for a TV! It's a place to cook & to socialize, not zone out. :)

Arne Salvesen said...

Opinions are always welcome ... especially those that agree with mine!

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