New residential buildings in Manhattan are taking a cue from prewar apartment design and reverting to enclosed kitchens, says New York Times contributor Kaya Laterman.

Buyers have expressed interest in separate cooking and entertaining spaces, and many designers are answering to the request by creating sliding panels or pocket doors that allow owners to control how they use the space. “For someone who isn’t sure if they want an open or closed kitchen, pocket doors are a great feature,” said Edward Yedid, a partner of Grade New York, an interior design and architecture firm.

In a recent survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, 70% of 450 respondents (composed of kitchen and bath designers and suppliers) said they used pocket doors as part of a kitchen remodeling or new construction project in 2015. The extra wall space created by enclosing a kitchen can also open up more design options, and leave more room for storage and counter space.

Bryan Cho, an executive vice president of the Related Companies, said his company had not built a residential building with a closed-kitchen floor plan since the 1990s. But demand for larger rental apartments for families was high, he said, so Related included 45 three- and four-bedroom apartments in the Easton, a high-rise rental at 205 East 92nd Street with 230 units. All these larger units will have closed kitchens. “I think some people are attracted to a more formal way of life, so maybe the trend is shifting between having a big open space to cook and entertain to having some separation,” Mr. Cho said.

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