Kitchen's done but is so, so, so very noisy
I'd love to know if anyone has had this experience and if so what you did to solve the problem.
We just finished a kitchen renovation that involved all new cabinets, countertop, sink and faucets. The layout has pretty much stayed the same, though we moved the fridge to a hallway. We had a "kitchen warming" family celebration the other day for about 35 people and it was unbelievably noisy. I was bothered by how loud the house has become when all those voices are talking at once and I had 4 or 5 others tell me it was very loud for them too. We are not a quiet family when we get together but the noise level has never been so harsh before. I can't help but think I might have caused this by some of the reno changes. I didn't notice it being louder when it has just been us or smaller gatherings but this big one (which we do three or four times every year) was almost unbearable.
I don't think we increased the amount of hard surfaces but we did change the type of hard surfaces with the biggest change being the removal of a laminate counter top and the installation of soapstone. Could the laminate on its particleboard base have absorbed sound better than the soapstone?
What do you think might reduce the impact of the changes? We have a very private yard so I don't have drapes or curtains on any of the windows. This area has one small window and four floor to ceiling windows forming sliding doors with full side lights but those windows have been there for decades. I thought maybe hanging drapery panels anyway might absorb sound. I also though about replacing my peninsula stools with upholstered ones. I'm not sure what else might help in a kitchen.