The rise of the kitchen: a guide to kitchen design
Ahh – the humble kitchen… the casual hangout, the homework station, the dumping ground – the heart of the home.
The last 10 years have seen the kitchen rise from the lowly back room to the showpiece of the home. Gone are the days of the closed in, poorly lit space – nowadays if your kitchen isn’t pride of place and sporting the granite bench, stainless steel appliances, multiple sinks or the token trendy fruit bowl and faux fruit then one can only assume you are not keeping up with the Jones’ (or should that be Kardashians?)
But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s not forget the neighbours that go hand in hand with the kitchen. There’s the butler’s pantry (butler optional), the slightly less fancy walk in pantry, and the ever increasing popularity of the “outdoor kitchen,” loaded with all the necessities like the outdoor fridge, the tepanyaki bar and the pizza oven.
Thankfully, there are some experts out there that know a thing or two about kitchen design and today is your lucky day because we’ve compiled a few helpful hints for designing the perfect kitchen:
- RELATIONSHIP IS KEY. If you do nothing else – this point is essential. Think about the location of your kitchen and its relationship with other rooms in your house. Do you entertain a lot? Consider how your kitchen flows to the alfresco. Like to watch TV while preparing dinner? Make sure your TV position relates to your preparation area. TIP: One of the most important relationships that often gets overlooked is the connection between the kitchen and laundry and in particular the kitchen and the garage (Guaranteed: next time you’re lugging groceries from your car to your kitchen you will understand the significance of this point!)
- FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. The title says it all. There is no point having a flash kitchen full of all the latest products if it doesn’t function well. It’s time to say goodbye to the U shape kitchen (with that oh so useful corner storage where everything seems to be just beyond arm’s reach) and say hello to the long, linear stylings of the galley kitchen. If this type of design is more your thing, ensure that you don’t go overboard with the distance between your benches. Trust me – less is best. The cooking hub (cooktop/oven/sink) trio needs to work in conjunction with each other. No one likes walking a marathon with a hot dish in hand so be sure to consider how these appliances relate to each other. Then there’s the issue of storage. Minimal storage space might look great and, well- “minimalist” – but it sure isn’t practical. One word people: Tupperware!
- ORIENTATION IS IMPORTANT. This is not an urban myth. Orientation is key to any space you plan to spend a lot of time in. East orientation is great to capture the morning sun but if you’re after all day enjoyment north to north east is where it’s at.
- FLEXIBILITY. This is my single most important design philosophy. While there is a time and place for purpose built spaces (think fully fitted out media room), one of the most underrated features of a home is its ability to flex and adapt to its occupant’s needs. The kitchen, while first and foremost is for food prep, also takes on many other functions in its day to day life. The use of the “breakfast bar” or island bench can become quite limited if it features a cooktop or a sink (and dirty dishes) so consider locating these elsewhere in order to free up the preparation and/or serving bench.
So – thinking of building or finally getting around to that kitchen reno? In case you haven’t yet realised – YOUR KITCHEN IS IMPORTANT!