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The heart of the home is getting a lot more love.

Kitchens have gotten ever more elaborate over the past several years, since the pandemic forced people to spend more time there. These days, luxury residences not only have custom cabinetry, bespoke backsplashes and top-of-the-line tools, but features like extended pantry and prep spaces, two of every appliance—preferably hidden—and adjacent wine cellars.

“A great kitchen can sell a house, and it’s not necessarily so much because of its functionality. It’s almost as much because of its beauty,” said agent Andrew Buss with Hilton & Hyland/Luxury Portfolio International.

The kitchen has usurped the living room as the focal point of the home, he noted. But the kitchen’s growing role as a place to gather and relax—maybe over a glass of wine and a butter board—is putting pressure on hosts to not let the dishes or mess pile up. As a solution, many new or updated luxury homes are offering multiple kitchens so people can entertain in the front, while prep and clean-up are reserved for the unseen spaces.

“They really are focusing more on making all of their spaces both more functional, but also more attractive,” said Lindsay Barton Barrett, an agent with Douglas Elliman in Brooklyn, New York. “If you move from the kitchen to the living room and, instead of walking out the door, you’re working from home, you don’t want to see your coffee machine or your dirty dishes.”

Behind the Scenes

To that end, pantries, sculleries and even so-called appliance garages have become must-haves.

“People really fall for a pantry,” Ms. Barton Barrett said. “I see people gravitating a little bit more toward full-length cabinets wherever they can or if they can tuck something away or convert another closet into a pantry, that’s a big deal. … Any developer who can find space for a pantry will do that, and I think it pays off.”

That’s the case in Seattle, as well, where many homeowners are looking for “sculleries” where they can park all their appliances. (Otherwise known as an appliance garage, according to Ms. Barton Barrett.)

“A scullery is a word for a dirty kitchen on a naval ship,” said Max Rombakh of Windermere Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International in the Seattle area. You have a scullery off of the kitchen that has another dishwasher, another fridge—everything except for an oven.”

Mr. Rombakh recently had his own home designed, and made sure to include a very large scullery, he said.