What makes a kitchen memorable is what happens in it, and we should be doing everything possible to not only sit down and eat together, but to also cook together. Start with something really simple like having an extra chef`s knife around for eager sous chefs. For full-on remodeling projects, think about how you want the space to flow and accommodate a gaggle of helpers: maybe a custom center island on wheels? My budget version of that is felt pads under the legs of my small butcher block that allow me to slide it out toward the living room and get people chopping onions or greasing ramekins. This gives me room in the kitchen proper to accomplish the more involved acrobatics of throwing a serious dinner party.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your patio is poolside, consider teak furniture, which is highly water resistant. Speaking of which, for great durability and water resistance you might consider powder coated metal furniture, which can last for years without scratching or fading.
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.
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.
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