Cooker hoods have become one item in the kitchen that you can really make a statement with. Top-of-the range statement hoods can cost well over £1000 so be careful when buying something that looks similar but costs a lot less – they’re usually badly made. As a rule try to stick to one of the better known brands – if there is one item in the kitchen that is prone to breaking down it’s the hood. As a designer I’m not particularly excited about having an “out-there’’ cooker hood as they tend to date pretty quickly and it’s an expensive item to change once the trends move on. So, often I think it’s best to go for a concealed/integrated or canopy hood – telescopic hoods are really smart as they only project into the room when in use and are otherwise inconspicuous.
Huge American fridge freezers are one of the most common design mistakes made. They take up a lot of room and as much of the freezer storage space is taken up by an ice making machine, they are not that practical either. One of the contributors on the show even had the fridge freezer in their living room because it wouldn’t fit it in the kitchen! Choose a fridge that is the right size for your kitchen and provides you with the storage you need.
Because more and more of us are staying in our homes and making improvements rather than moving, you can afford to put your personal stamp on your home. For that reason, be brave and embrace colour. Everything from bright pink to cool blues will work in a kitchen, you can even go for an all-white, glossy kitchen if you want that modern, minimal look. Be bold and you’ll be thrilled by the results.
If there is one thing you must do when you are re-designing your kitchen it is to measure up properly and produce a scaled plan of the room – quite often simply by doing the maths and working out the optimum combination of base units you can gain extra storage space. Allow for opening space on your plan, make sure cabinets will fit beneath windows and always position tall cabinets at the end of your worktop. Start with the basics of kitchen design. Work to the traditional triangular layout of a food prep area, fridge and sink, all within easy reach of one another. It still applies to modern kitchen layouts.Be very careful where you position tall units as they can cast unwanted shadows – in corners or at the end of a worktop run is best, but even better is between two walls, in a “niche”. When in a niche a neat trick is to use panelling or studwork around the tall units to give the impression of recessed units.
You don`t need full sets of knives and cookware. A stockpot, a ten-inch skillet, and a two- or three-quart saucepan will cook most of the food you want to eat. Likewise with knives: after a chef`s knife or two, a paring knife, and a bread knife, any additional cutlery is just showing off. The trick is to make sure what you do have is of high quality. One really well-made knife is an investment that will last a lifetime, and it`ll help you love to cook more than you ever imagined. When choosing appliances, if space is limited, consider under-counter refrigeration and smaller dishwashers. My twenty-four inch stove recently kicked out a meal for thirty people. It is possible. Embrace the ideas of emptiness and space.
If you can’t physically make a kitchen bigger by knocking through to another room, there are small changes you can make to ensure you’re getting to most from the space you do have. Simple things like replacing your cupboard door fronts with thinner designs or choosing smaller appliances that fit under cupboards or easily inside them. Get rid of freestanding appliances such as fridges and install under counter fridges and freezers. This means you can give yourself more worktop space in the area which was previously taken up by a free standing appliance.
Fencing is another great way to frame an outdoor room. Latticework, bamboo, weathered barn wood or even shrubs can create a stylish boundary for your outdoor living space, and once you have these "walls" in place, you can explore decorating them with artwork that`ll stand up to the elements.
It is traditional to position your sink below a window and this works well, more important for me is that there is plenty of worktop space on both sides of the sink, so dirty dishes can be queued up whilst clean ones are draining.
A ten-dollar quart of paint can transform a kitchen by adding color to a backsplash or accent wall. Really beautiful linen kitchen towels make a statement. It`s the little things that warm a space most, not the appliances or the layout or the material of the countertops.
Moving a boiler is normally a pretty expensive job and whenever a boiler is in the kitchen it’s certainly a design hurdle. Concealing the boiler within a wall unit is a neat solution but you should always discuss the ventilation issue with the manufacturer of the boiler if you intend to box it inside a cupboard - as it needs airflow to run safely. Also, bear in mind that standard wall units are not normally big enough to house it so you’ll either need an oversized unit or your kitchen fitter would need to create one for you on site.
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