Practical Kitchen Design Advice

August 29, 2014
Practical Kitchen Design Advice

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If you are contemplating a new kitchen at your home, it really helps to find someone to guide you through the process who cares as much about the look of the end result, as how well it works for your family.

Robyn Davis, from Great Indoor Designs is just that person.

Robyn has been in the kitchen business for nearly twenty years and together with her team over 50 years of experience in the industry.

When you talk to her about her insights and tips on kitchen design, this experience shines through.

We spent some time talking to Robyn about the current trends in kitchen design, and her top tips for getting the best kitchen for your family.

Robyn, tell us about the trends you are seeing in kitchen design?

There is a definite trend towards people spending more on their kitchen.

Things that only seven years ago were considered luxury are now standard on many kitchens.

Most people will be looking at stone benchtops, soft close drawers, and making a feature of their splashbacks, where these might not have made the budget previously.

The important thing for us though, is to include the features that make the kitchen right for each customer, rather than just including a checklist of must-have items.

What trends are you seeing in surfaces?

There is a really strong trend towards shinier surfaces rather than matte finish . Some really interesting new laminate products have come on the market that replicate the look and gloss level of a 2 Pac finish, but are much more resilient and won’t chip and mark as easily as 2 Pac.

We are suggesting people choose a lighter colour palette if they want a high gloss finish, as it makes cleaning and maintaining the kitchen a lot easier.

What trends are you seeing in design?

Without doubt the biggest single trend is towards more drawers and fewer cupboards in new kitchens.

Drawers make it easier to find and access what you store in your kitchen.

Drawers are definitely a great design feature for older people and those with disabilities, as they are much easier to access items..

For some people, drawers make so much sense that they won’t even put in a tall pantry cupboard.

Instead, the kitchen will be designed around storing ingredients close to where they are going to be used in drawers, Blum soft-close of course.

Do lots of drawers mean a bigger kitchen?

Not at all.

It’s all about understanding the customer.

So, with every kitchen that we design we go out to the customer’s home and talk to them about how they use their kitchen.

If they are wanting to move to all drawers then we’ll work through where the drawers can be placed, what size they are, and what changes this would mean to the way they currently store and find things.

Ultimately, we need to make sure there is enough storage in the new kitchen to accommodate everything that needs a home!

Blum and Hafele have some innovative products for inside the drawers.

Everything including the kitchen sink

While it’s not something that many of us think about – Robyn suggests thinking about what you actually wash up in your kitchen sink.

With just about every kitchen having a dishwasher installed as standard, what you might end up washing by hand are the larger items like baking trays, large cooking pots etc.

So, make sure that the kitchen sink that you install is the right size to allow for easy washing up of these larger items.

Often a larger single bowl might work better than a double sink with two smaller bowls.

While we are on the kitchen sink, Robyn also likes undermount sinks with stone – simply because they make cleaning the benchtop much easier.

SHOP NOW: Kitchen Sinks

Choosing a Benchtop

Engineered stone benchtops are definitely the bench top of choice, and for most of Robyn’s clients the decision is about colour rather than material.

If you choose a reputable brand of engineered stone like CaesarStone for your benchtop then there are basically no drawbacks – yes engineered stone are a little noisier, but they won’t stain, don’t damage easily (you are more likely to blunt your knife than mark the benchtop!), and they are even resistant to some heat.

SHOP NOW: Kitchen Benchtops

Cooktops and Steam Ovens

Everyone has a different cooking style, so when Robyn is planning a new custom kitchen, be prepared to think about how you cook.

When it comes to choosing a cooktop, think about how many elements you use at a time?

Do you like cooking with gas? Electricity? Or a combination?

If you are thinking about installing a steam oven in your new kitchen, will this take over some of the cooktop workload?

Robyn has seen a trend back towards 600mm cooktops when steam ovens are installed, and this can free up valuable bench space.

The steam oven can really do a lot of the cooking that was previously done on cooktop burners, hence you may consider reducing the cooktop size and theorfore gain more valuable space.

Induction cooktops are gaining in popularity, but ever practical, Robyn suggests thinking through a couple of key things before committing to the purchase.

Induction cooktops are an energy efficient cooking method, but they do have specific energy requirements, so it’s important to consider your electrical wiring.

Depending on the age of your home and the distance between your kitchen and your mains power connection, you may end up needing the wiring replaced to support the electricity needs of an induction cooktop.

Induction cooktops also require more space below them, as they do radiate heat downwards.

SHOP NOW: Cooktops

SHOP NOW: Steam Ovens

How about fridges – any changes there?

The fridge is often the appliance that people won’t automatically update even though they are getting their kitchen updated.

To make sure the new kitchen we design is as future proofed as possible, we suggest people look at the fridge they might buy next.

We then make sure that there is sufficient space for the newer model.

Fridge models are definitely getting taller, so we make sure we allow for these.

SHOP NOW: Fridges & Freezers

Are there any other kitchen trends or special requests by clients that you are seeing?

If people are doing a major reno and there are structural changes happening as well as the new kitchen, there is growing interest in including a butler’s pantry in the lay out.

The modern incarnation of the butler’s pantry seems to be all about storage – a spot for the second (and maybe third!) dinner set, the bigger kitchen appliances that aren’t in every day use, and serving dishes etc.

But like everything, we think it’s really important to work through how you are going to use the space.

For some people, the butler’s pantry is the opportunity to hide-away all of the mess & clutter of the high use daily items like the toaster and kettle, or to use it as a preparation area.

Given that very few of us have an actual butler, you need to think about where it is you want to spend your time – in your beautiful new kitchen or on your own in the pantry?

So do you think people are getting bolder in their colour choices for their kitchens?

White kitchens are always a favourite, but it really does depend on your personal taste and, more importantly how long people are going to stay in their home.

If you’re planning to stay in your current home for another 10 to 15 years then choose exactly the finishes and colours you love for your new kitchen and don’t worry about how it might affect the resale value of your home.

A lot of prospective purchasers will be looking to replace a kitchen over 10 years old.

But if you are thinking of selling your home within 5 years then it’s probably best to choose a neutral palette, as neutrals definitely have the better resale value.

Tell us about the process people go through when they come to you for a new kitchen?

The key part of designing your new kitchen is for us to come and visit you at your home.

When you are having a custom kitchen made, you have the opportunity to get exactly what you want and exactly what suits you.

We come out and talk to you about what you don’t like about your current kitchen, what you do like, and what you need in your new kitchen.

Be prepared to answer lots of questions!

The best part of Robyn’s job?

Robyn and her team love helping people get the kitchen that they really want, the kitchen that suits their family and the way they cook and entertain.

When a client, or their children, comes back to her for another new kitchen or maybe a new bathroom, laundry, entertainment unit, office or wardrobe this is what Robyn finds most satisfying.

And yes, if you’re in Brisbane, there is definitely still time to get Robyn or one of her fantastic team, to design you a beautiful new kitchen just in time for Christmas!

Thanks so much to Robyn from Great Indoor Designs for sharing her insider tips on things to consider when planning a new kitchen.

Shop Kitchens: Great Indoor Designs

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