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Exploring Real Estate Terminology: What's a Kitchenette
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Exploring Real Estate Terminology: What's a Kitchenette

While Scientists, Doctors and Economists often get accused of speaking a foreign language that sounds like English but sounds incomprehensible, those in real estate have been accused of something similar but no less negative. They stand accused of using euphemistic words such as Kitchenette and cosy in a bid to avoid common words with negative connotations. In this series, we will explore common real estate words and what they mean.

Today we will explore the word Kitchenette;

Now we all know what a kitchen is although, as someone who grew up in rural areas, I often think of it as a separate thatched building where you light fires and prepare meals. They have the very same purpose in urban areas although they tend to be separate rooms rather than an entirely separate building as is the case in rural areas.

So what in the name of Ludwing Mies is a Kitchenette? Well, the etymology(origin and history) of the word is rather self-explanatory. It comes from the word kitchen with the French after-fix -ette appended to its end. The after-fix is often used to refer to something small. Hence a kitchenette simply refers to a small cooking area/space rather than a separate cooking room.

Since we are talking about the kitchen we might as well look at where the word kitchen comes from. It’s not clear where the word comes from; some sources insist it’s a modern-day variation of the old Dutch/Germanic word keuken which means to cook. Other sources say it comes from the Latin noun coquina with the same meaning.

As for the origin of the word kitchenette itself, it was used around the 1920s in America to refer to cooking areas in small apartments. Even here in Zimbabwe it is often used in listings pertaining to flats and apartments. Usually, so-called bachelor pads that have a single bedroom, a small living room area and a toilet also come with these kitchenettes. One awesome feature of most listings involving kitchenettes is that they come with fixed appliances. This often includes a stove, some cleverly fitted cupboards and even a mini-fridge. This makes them perfect for couples and single people who might not have these items yet.

Although some kitchenettes are considered separate rooms most of the time they are just spaces adjoining the living room. Where they constitute a room it is a tiny room that can hardly accommodate two standing people. The word compact comes to mind whenever I hear the word kitchenette. While they are small they are very useful and adequate considering the apartments they are often found in. A kitchenette is often used to describe a cooking area of less than 7.5 square metres.

Why might you prefer a kitchenette over a kitchen?

Again remember what I said about kitchenettes being mainly found in flats and apartments where space is limited. In cases like this you have to judiciously use the space you have available. You don’t want a large sprawling kitchen you never get to use. It would make little sense to have a very large kitchen in a house with one bedroom that is aimed at a single person.

Not only would a kitchen be a waste of precious real space, it would mean more maintenance as well. You will have to clean and tidy this large kitchen which again for a single person would be an onerous task. Add to that the fact that a large kitchen means more expensive appliances you will never get to use. You can already start to see the benefits of a kitchenette. It would mean less cleaning, less maintenance, less installation costs, less wastage of space and ease of access as it tends to be a space rather than a room.

I hope you have learnt something. See you in the next instalment.

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