Be very careful of the quality when it comes to magic corners as some can be a bit flimsy and whatever you do don’t overload them with heavy items like mixers or blenders. An easy mistake to make with corner units is to forget the corner post that comes with them – this is very important as it prevents the door handles from bashing into each other – so when ordering your base units make sure whoever you are purchasing it from knows that you need a corner unit as opposed to a standard base unit and ask for a corner post! You also need to allow for the width of this corner post when working out the best combination of base units.
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.
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.
These are a great idea for both base and wall units as they do help to maximise space – but traditional corner units can also be a nightmare as you can easily forget what’s hiding away at the back of them and you constantly have to pull everything out just to get what you want. So, wherever possible use a carousel fitting inside or one of my favourite magic corners!
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.
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.
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