It’s been a long time since the kitchen was a corner in a home, separated from the fun. We’re all used to kitchens being the hub of your living and an entertainment area in their own right.
Balancing functionality with the need to integrate the kitchen in your open-plan living takes finesse and consideration. The best results blend form and function in equal measure.
Mim Fanning, of Mim Design, says: “We always consider proportion, placement, flow and use.”
Taking a zoned approach will help with decision making: “Use finishes and details to define different areas and create interest,” advises Romy Alwill of Alwill Interiors. Zones carrying out different functions can be your cue for use of the materials.
Consider the practicalities of use. Alwill believes you should always “work from big to small … think about tall storage versus short storage, versus under-bench storage versus open shelving, and the proportions of each.”
She adds, “Think about … how you want to interact with others”.
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Think about inside the drawers and cupboards to increase functionality. Designing around or retrofitting space-saving storage solutions will give the best use of space and add functional elegance. Hafele’s tandem pantry in anthracite is my food storage star, and Le Mans II system makes best use of those blocked-in corners, where a void would languish in the corner stuffed with things that are too hard to reach.
Your drawers can get an upgrade by the insertion of a few cool boxes and dividers, mine coming from the Kessebohmer FineLine range (available from hafelehome.com.au).
Bold moves win
Form is clearly just as important. Fanning saying “it is important to think beyond the rectilinear form of an island bench”, a statement supported by Alwill, who favours “curved edges for island benches”.
Alwill is loving metallic finishes, marbles and textured cupboard fronts and is enamoured with butler’s pantries, seamless cooktops and integrated appliances. Fanning is using a lot of custom handles at the moment, which she says “is like creating built-form jewellery”.
Both experts mirror my choices in my own recent renovation. Risks in a bold design can elevate kitchens from purely functional to pleasantly sculptural.