The Kitchen is King
When it comes to designing or redesigning your home the area that will undoubtedly have the biggest impact is your Kitchen. As lifestyle patterns change the Kitchen is the space where increasingly people spend most of their family time, the true hub of the home. Most people now want their kitchen to be more than just a place of cooking and cleaning, they want comfortable seating areas with a TV, dining spaces that can transition from pre school breakfasts and homework through to entertaining friends on a Saturday night or family at festive occasions. In addition they would like to have study and work spaces in tandem with lots of storage, a minimal look and counters. This need for flexibility of space and the requirement for so much to take place in it has meant the family kitchen has significantly grown in size, long gone are the days the kitchen was a small back room in the house.
So how to design a thoughtful space that will evolve with you and your family and stand the test of time? First things first start with the budget- knowing how much you want to spend will quickly help you sort out the right kitchen supplier for you. If you haven’t already, pull together some images of kitchens you like which have colours, materials and appliances you like. Once you have shopped around and selected a company to work with, sit down with a kitchen designer to get the plan sorted. A good layout will be the backbone to the success of the project. Speaking with Ed Rhatigan of Rhatigan Hick, he shares my belief that the earlier you can get a good kitchen designer involved with your architect or designer (if you have one) the better. You will end up with a more integrated design and can see off potential design clashes down the line. From here it is important to get the basics right, to plan an effective work triangle ensuring cooking, fridge and wash up are within unobstructed reach of each other. Select sensible materials and don’t forget small appliances that can end up taking a lot of counter space. For everything else here are some of my top tips to have in mind when planning your ideal kitchen space…
- Use nooks and crannies to create seating, storage and bookshelves. This will create character in your kitchen. http://www.woodaledesigns.com
- For lighting you will need both task and decorative, and getting the balance is critical for the space to work efficiently from dawn to dusk – use dimmer switches so you can control the mood. Task lighting should always be positioned directly above the counter. Mullan Lighting has some fabulous island counter lighting options. https://www.mullanlighting.com/en/pendant-lights
- When choosing surfaces and materials be practical – as beautiful as a Carrera marble counter top can look it does not wear well and will need constant treatment – companies such as Silestone and Corian create incredible quality composites that look as beautiful as the marble but are infinitely harder wearing and will stand the test of time. millerbros.ie have a great selection.
- Maximize storage space, opt for full height larder press or if you have the space a walk in pantry off the main kitchen. If you can start early work with your architect to recess storage into walls to give you lots of storage whilst retaining a minimal clean look. http://www.rhatiganandhick.ie/
- Pocket doors are another great idea – they are a great way to hide away appliances and create a streamlined look when entertaining Bulthaup do a stunning streamlined unit option. http://www.hanoverquay.bulthaup.com/en
- IKEA also has a host of fabulous organization tools for your kitchen (just search for IKEA Kitchen Hacks on Pinterest!) my favourite pieces are the kitchen trolleys especially the Raskog and Stenstorp that work with both traditional and contemporary kitchen styles. http://www.ikea.com/ie/en/
- My old German teacher always said organization is the key to success and no more so than in your kitchen. I love the craft paper roll dispenser from http://www.lambdesign.ie. Great for writing recipes, must do lists, keeping the little ones entertained with crayons when you are cooking- even using the paper to wrap presents.
This article was first published in The Sunday Times – Inspired Home Supplement 12.11.17