It’s the heart of the home and getting the design right relies not just on the individual parts, but how it fits with your family, within your budget and to your tastes.
John Lorych, owner of Smith & Smith Kitchens, has been in the business for more than 40 years and has developed a keen sense of what makes a kitchen work.
Number one on his list is the aesthetic and design quality.
“The most important element is how it looks. I think people are happier and work more efficiently in a space that looks as good as possible,” he says.
Natural timbers in the kitchen can take a very modern and high-tech design while giving a soft, organic feel.
Modern veneers often look just as good as the real thing while requiring less maintenance than timber.
Either way, the result is an aesthetic in keeping with the popular Scandinavian style.
Pair timbers with matt finishes and clean lines to maximise this look.
Keep the flooring choices in mind when selecting the main materials for surfaces in the kitchen, as a theme will unify all areas
John says that the days of matching your kitchen design to the era or style of the home are gone.
“There are three main branches. Those who prefer a very modern kitchen, those with more traditional tastes such as Hamptons style, which is more detailed and intricate, and then the industrial style,” he says.
More and more, the kitchen is at the back of the house opening onto the backyard, so a renovation can be very modern, or any style at all, regardless of the actual period of the home.
It’s very much about expressing exactly what you want, rather than being dictated to by any other factors.
A white kitchen will never date and can be successful in any space. The addition of dark features makes for a pleasing contrast that creates impact.
Size and budget shouldn’t be a barrier to great kitchen design either.
“Don’t assume that bigger is always better. It’s often not the case and if I had the choice, I’d often go with more living space than kitchen space. It all comes down to good design and planning.”
A well-designed, modern kitchen should deal with issues such as dead space, and John is a proponent of eliminating corners wherever possible.
“Look to try to void a corner, and opt for deep drawers either side instead. Otherwise, use carousel fittings inside so the whole contents of a corner cupboard can be easily accessed.
“Islands are a great way to deal with corners, too.”
Lighting is another way to add efficiency and personality in one.
“The pendant over the island trend is very effective when hung at the right height, and makes a style statement often right in the centre of the space, so it’s important to choose well and, if necessary, spend the money for the ones you really like,’ says John.
Using the splashback as a feature element is also something that comes in cycles.
Glass has been popular for several years, but there has been a product development recently that has meant more can be done in this area.
“The development of new grout that is easy to clean and doesn’t stain is a small but highly efficient new addition, meaning ceramic tiles are again very popular for splashbacks,” says John.