A wonderful thing happens to your kitchen when you become an empty nester: This former chore room transforms into an entertainment space. For years these 55-plus buyers were trying to keep up with their kids' insatiable appetites or picky palettes, which certainly influenced (or limited) their cooking options.

Shiel Residence, 8059 Hollyridge Road, Jacksonville, FL  32256.  Renovation by Deryl Patterson, Housing Design Matters, Inc.  904-237-8557.
Johnson Pictures Inc. New lifestyle demands new kitchen features

Suddenly the kids are gone, and after the shock wears off, the 55-plus buyer realizes they now have time to enjoy cooking. They discover an “inner gourmet.” Without having to worry about whether the kids are going to like a new dish, they can be more daring. Once their newfound cooking skills are mastered, they can’t wait to share them with friends and family.

How can the kitchen facilitate this change in lifestyle? Let’s start with an entertaining island where folks can converse or help out while the hosts create a masterpiece (or at least try, right?).

The kitchen also should include the latest cooking gadgets and appliances. Want a perfect wine pairing with those fabulous creations? A wine refrigerator is now a must. Dedicated cooking means older buyers are using the microwave less while the oven and cooktop are being used more. The pantry just has to get bigger, and more storage is necessary. The solution to all of this is found in a fully redesigned kitchen complete with a messy kitchen, power pantry, and a second refrigerator.

Many home buyers don’t know what they want until it is right in front of them. Appealing to the empty nester’s inner-gourmet allows them to envision the possibilities, and those possibilities are endless. Make time to tour the BUILDER Taylor Morrison NEXTadventure home for more kitchen design ideas at the International Builders' Show by registering now.