Kitchen designers are a lot more affordable than you might think. If you want to get it right and get the best kitchen for your needs (and budget), hire a professional who can work all that out for you. You can create an almost bespoke kitchen by taking a kitchen off the rack and changing small elements such as handles and cupboard door fronts.
Outdoor fireplaces are great gathering places for friends and family, and they can be a valuable addition to any backyard, deck or outdoor living space. Ultimately, the outdoor fireplace that`s right for your home`s exterior space will be one that reflects your personality and your goals for fireside fun. The first consideration when deciding on an outdoor fireplace design is whether your outdoor fireplace will be portable or permanent. Portable outdoor fireplaces obviously provide for virtually unlimited choice in terms of placement in your backyard or on your deck, and they now come in a number of different designs and finishes to suit just about any style of outdoor living space.
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!
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.
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.
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.
A permanent outdoor fireplace can add a real hint of luxury to your backyard or deck. Built-in or permanent outdoor fireplaces tend to require more extensive construction and are therefore generally more expensive than freestanding outdoor fireplaces. Common materials for freestanding or built-in outdoor fireplaces are stone, stucco, tile and brick. You`ll have plenty of designs to choose from, and matching your backyard or deck`s overall design shouldn`t be a problem. Outdoor fireplaces should always be located away from any potentially flammable items like trees or shrubs, and you should always use a spark guard and flame-resistant fire mat when your fireplace is in use. Also, be sure to check with your local fire department regarding their outdoor fire codes before installing your outdoor fireplace.
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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