Kitchen design with hosting in mind

After each gathering, you may notice the kitchen is inevitably where most people end up during parties. While you may appreciate the company, if you’re a frequent host you know a kitchen that is not designed for hosting means you’re tripping over your best friend with a blazingly hot tray right out of the oven or almost slicing a crocheted flower right off grandma’s new sweater as you try to squeeze your cutting board onto an already cramped counter.

Hosting doesn’t always have to be a Tetris game of cramped spaces and close calls. If a kitchen is designed with hosting in mind, you can transform your hosting experience into one that has enough room to invite loved ones to comfortably pull up a chair while you work your hosting magic. Here are six ideas to consider if you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen space and your own hosting experience.

For extra counter space

Counter space is the critical factor when it comes to being able to host comfortably. One way to provide more counter space is by incorporating a kitchen island — or two. Kitchen islands give you the space to spread out and get organized which will make prepping, serving, and dining a breeze. And islands don’t just give you and your food space, it also gives your guests somewhere to sit comfortably, and safely, out of the way.

For a homeowner in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, a double-island in the kitchen was critical for keeping Kosher and non-Kosher food preparation separate. Having two kitchen islands also allows them to use their front island for serving and entertaining and their back island for prepping and cooking.

Traditionally, a butler’s pantry was used to store fine china, silver, linens, and family heirlooms. Now, in more recent times, butler’s pantries are not only used for this kind of valuable storage space but also as a particularly useful area while entertaining guests. Butler’s pantries, as well as wet bars, free critical kitchen counter space and are also the perfect area to stage a buffet or drink station that will keep guests from wandering into the kitchen.

Packed with storage space, we designed this butler’s pantry for a homeowner in Greenwich, Connecticut who wanted to create a natural flow between their kitchen and entertaining spaces.


A delicious meal has its own kind of magic and, sometimes, seeing the mess and stress that comes with preparing the meal diminishes it. Afterall, there’s a reason why you don’t see the kitchen in most upscale restaurants. If you’re looking to replicate a fine dining experience at home, then an auxiliary kitchen may help you create just the right ambiance. An auxiliary kitchen tucks the real mess around the corner from the party so you can host in your spotless main kitchen. And, when using caterers, an auxiliary kitchen allows them to work out of sight and keep guests’ imaginations going.

Tucked away from the main entertaining area, this auxiliary kitchen was designed for a Greenville, Delaware homeowner who didn’t want the mess of cooking to distract from their events.

Another way to conceal cooking messes and preserve the magic of a meal is with a pantry. While a pantry is conventionally used to add much needed storage near the kitchen, it can also be used to hide bulky appliances like ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers. When you need to tuck a mess out of sight, contain cooking odors, or separate these spaces, all you have to do is close the door.

The discreet pocket door to this pantry separates the kitchen workspace from the rest of the kitchen in this Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania home


A kitchen fireplace was traditionally where you’d find pots filled with bubbling stews and soups, meat slowly roasting on a spit, and bake kettles covered in hot coal and slowly baking an assortment of cookies, cakes, and breads. While modern appliances allow us to prepare our food much more easily, having a fireplace in the kitchen is still a charming reminder of history that will make any guest feel at home.

The large kitchen fireplace in this Marshallton, Pennsylvania residence creates a cozy atmosphere and charming reminder of a time when food was cooked over a fire.

When you are hosting a small number of guests, the kitchen can be an excellent entertaining space. All you need is a soft seating area that will help set a welcoming and intimate tone. Whether you choose soft chairs or a padded breakfast nook, these touches add a layer of warmth that will envelop your guests like a comforting hug. The added benefit of hosting in the kitchen is that it is usually one of the brightest rooms in the house with lots of windows and wonderful views.

The deep cushions of this breakfast nook create an intimate meeting nook with a beautiful view over a vineyard in this Marshallton, Pennsylvania home.


While there is a certain amount of pressure that goes with hosting an event, you deserve to enjoy the experience just as much as your guests. And in order to comfortably enjoy hosting in your home, your kitchen needs to be designed accordingly. Adding even just one of these ideas to your kitchen can elevate your hosting abilities to a whole new level — and allow you to enjoy every moment of it.

Grand Opening in Doylestown

In April of 2021, Period Architectureproudly announced the opening of a second office location in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. With commissions in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and throughout the eastern seaboard, Period Architecture has remained a committed steward of the landscape and vernacular architecture since its founding in 2010. 

“Bucks County is a treasure of Pennsylvania. With a flourishing portfolio in Bucks County and the surrounding areas, it only made sense to open a second location in Doylestown, the heart of the region,” said Co-Founder and President Joseph Mackin.

Specializing in new homes, additions, renovations, barns, and buildings with enduring designs tailored to each distinct client, Period Architecture has grown from a three-person practice into an award-winning architectural firm with residential and commercial commissions along the east coast and beyond.

“Doylestown and the surrounding region of Bucks County has such a rich history and incredible community environment. We’re excited to begin our story here and look forward to engaging directly with local partners, craftsmen, and clients in the area,” says Co-Founder and Vice-President Jeffrey Dolan.

Located at 22 S. Main Street in historic downtown Doylestown, Period Architecture’s new office officially opened April 1st.

Contemporary Farmhouse Living Inspired by the Past

Nestled amidst rolling hills, babbling creeks, and a quilted tapestry of verdant farmland just west of Philadelphia sits Chester County, Pennsylvania, site of the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brandywine and the Valley Forge encampment. It’s an area that still boasts many 18th-century buildings and farmhouses that provide a look into the lifestyle and architectural vernacular of the country’s earliest days. 

Often that vernacular takes the shape of the American farmhouse. Designed to accommodate a lifestyle focused on putting down roots—both figuratively and literally—the farmhouse is utilitarian yet aesthetically pleasing, spacious yet cozy, classic yet endlessly fresh, and built to last while changing with the seasons.

It’s here in Greater Philadelphia that Period Architecture has dedicated itself to uniting architectural traditions of the past with contemporary lifestyles and technology. Throughout its decades of building and renovating period homes across the eastern U.S., several patterns have emerged as a roadmap for capturing the essence of farmhouse style. These six principles are the foundation upon which any home—old or new—can foster a timeless, authentic farmhouse aesthetic that takes its cue from history while rising to the demands of modern living.


Authenticity is central to the farmhouse aesthetic. Every detail is carefully considered to ensure that it feels appropriate to the home’s history, environment, community, climate, and architectural language. It’s why Period architects look to precedent to inspire similar functionality and charm that apply today. First, the American farmhouse is intricately tied to its geographic region. A new farmhouse, much like its historic predecessors, should feel born from and carved into its surroundings to complement, rather than overwhelm, the landscape. One of the ways Period Architecture accomplishes this is by preserving as many of a property’s mature trees as possible. It’s also important to consider the harmony of the home and land as a whole. Take into consideration, for example, the curve of the drive as you enter the property; the angle at which you happen upon a small, stone spring house; or the relationship between a rustic barn looming in the distance and the grand main house.  

Establishing a sense of time is also key to authenticity. A farmhouse should tell a story by creating the impression that it was built in phases over time; historically, as a farming family succeeded and grew, their house grew too. Other methods for instilling history into a newer farmhouse are to use archetypal features like a farmhouse sink in period-inspired kitchens and bathrooms; use deep windowsills and interior walls to create the illusion of the thick, solid stone walls of yesteryear; select historically inspired paint colors; incorporate raised-panel and carriage-house-style doors; and incorporate natural materials indicative of the area and period in which the home might have been constructed.


Before cross-country transport of materials started in the mid-19th century, people lived strictly off the land and repurposed as often as possible. Today, organic and salvaged materials serve a three-pronged purpose: to give a nod to the past; create instant warmth, character, and charm; and honor the environment through reuse. Consider the following organic and salvaged materials for your farmhouse:

Stone and brick. Farmers of the past harvested stone from their fields to use as a sturdy and inexpensive building material. In modern farmhouses, locally harvested or salvaged stone and brick is used for facades, fireplaces, floors, cornices, and quoin (large cornerstones classic in stone homes).

Wood. With trees aplenty, farmers once cut lumber from their property and hand hewed beams to provide structure to their homes. Wooden boards and beams reclaimed from old barns make regular appearances in the homes Period builds in the form of furniture, millwork, cabinetry, siding, floors, roofing, and more. 

Iron. Used most often for hardware—think strap and latch hinges, box locks, and shutter hardware—as well as lighting, there are still many companies and artisans that hand-forge their ironware using the time-tested methods of days past.


In the days before modern machinery, every detail of a home was crafted by hand. The time, money, and skill it required to accent a house with decorative millwork and other architectural details showcased the wealth and success of the homeowner. Today, classic styles of decorative millwork in kitchens and bathrooms, on staircases and balusters, and in the form of casing, trim, cornices, and other interior and exterior detailing harken back to those days. Dormers and porches are also staples of early farmhouse style. Traditionally, porches were purely practical spaces created to keep the interior of the home clean, where muddy boots and soiled clothing from long hours working in the fields could be removed before heading inside. Dormers also once served a utilitarian purpose—to increase usable space, sunlight, and air circulation in the steep-roofed top floor of a home.


Perhaps the most endearing aspect of farmhouse living is the nostalgia it inspires for a time when life was lived in close connection with nature, rather than technology. When siting a Period Architecture home, they pay close attention to environmental factors such as how they can utilize southern exposure to create sun-drenched spaces and the way the wind travels across a property. The Dutch door, for example, originally designed to let refreshing breezes in while keeping farm critters out, is very much still a celebrated feature of today’s farmhouses, both for its aesthetic value and its role as a bridge between the inside and outside. Similarly, open and covered porches, verandas, gardens, and outdoor fireplaces enhance and extend the amount of time one can spend enjoying the fresh air.


Historic appreciation and reproduction takes the best of the past and makes it work for today’s world. Shutters, for example, which were once used to protect windows and provide security on the first floor (solid or paneled) and ventilation on the second floor (louvered), are mostly decorative features today. Modern composite “woods” have similarly replaced some natural woods in today’s farmhouses, as they lend a comparable look and warmth but are longer lasting, lower maintenance, and rot- and bug-resistant. And where the fireplace was once the chief home-heating element, there are now central and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Combined with energy-efficient windows, insulation, and state-of-the-art home automation technology, modern homes can bring the best of new advances to the farms of yesteryear. 


The most alluring feature of the farmhouse is also the most fundamental: its inherent comfort, livability, and family-centered appeal. Period modifies and maximize traditional layouts to accommodate modern family living by reworking servant quarters and kitchens into functional mudrooms; modifying traditional center halls and closed kitchens to create convenient, open floor plans; and incorporating master suites with luxurious closets, bathrooms, and views. Laundry rooms and extra storage are added where they never existed in the past. Stair halls, butler’s pantries, and mudrooms become key support spaces.

From quaint, historic stone homes to modern, sprawling country estates, the farmhouse is an enduring beacon of authenticity, family roots, and provincial pride that beats on in the hearts of all who find a sense of home—and of self—on the winding dirt roads of the great American countryside.