Ray Wiese, president and chief designer of The Wiese Co., in Sherborn, Mass., believes beverage stations are more than just a fad. “Convenience is ruling over bling,” he says. “The beverage station is not yet a kitchen staple, but it is one trend that will have stability because it has multiple uses and grows with a family much like a mudroom.”
First, contractors and designers must determine who will use the space and why, Wiese says, pointing out that beverage stations “shouldn’t be added gratuitously because forcing it could ruin the ergonomics of a good kitchen design.” He suggests morphing space by focusing on a combination of today’s unique undercounter appliances, such as single-drawer dishwashers, microwaves, and dual temperature control refrigerators that cool a variety of beverages.
The homeowner of this remodeling project in Wellesley, Mass., enjoys serving good wine and often entertains up to 50 guests at once. Wiese designed the beverage station to the left of the kitchen where the owner can serve wine and coffee without bothering the cook. Concealed in the cabinet to the far left is a microwave, a toaster, and other small appliances, as well as a full coffee center.
Cherie Brown, a kitchen designer with Kitchens by Kleweno, in Kansas City, Mo., says that beverage stations aren’t only for adults anymore. More homeowners are requesting children’s beverage/snack stations in their kitchen remodels.
The self-serve concept is the same as in adult beverage stations: accessibility for the user without disruptions to food preparation in the kitchen.
While many adult beverage stations include a sink, undercounter refrigerator, ice maker, coffee maker, and beverage and glassware storage, Brown’s company is taking the children’s space to new levels.
Stemware and adult beverages move up out of reach of small hands, and an undercounter drawer houses refrigeration for juices and sodas. Pull-out drawers with compartments hold treats and glasses.
Often the designer will add a separate microwave drawer for quick, convenient heating of frozen snack items as well as providing a sink at a lower counter height to give kids easy access to drinking water.
Interior designer Kim Dreiling of Kitchen Creations, in Denver, receives most of her beverage station requests from wine lovers. “Many already have a wine cellar in another part of the home but want an alternative,” she says.
When Dreiling remodeled this kitchen for a friend who likes to entertain, she included two kitchen beverage stations outside the work triangle to help house a substantial amount of bottles, bar ware, and gadgets.
One center looks out into the great room and has a dual-temperature unit to store both white wine and chilled drinks. On the opposite side of the kitchen near the bay window is a casual seating area next to a full adult beverage station. The cabinetry includes pull-out drawers designed to hold red wine and liquor bottles, glassware storage systems, and utensil organizers.
When space is limited, these designers recommend building beverage stations in unused butler’s pantries and islands or creating a beverage station as a bridge between kitchen and living area.
—Cindy Carroll is a freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo.