How to futureproof your kitchen
PUBLISHED: 09:10 08 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:10 08 August 2014
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You're ready for a new kitchen and you know what you want - but how do you make sure it will still work in ten years' time? Interiors Editor CAROL BURNS gets future proofed
The kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home, the place where people naturally gravitate, and as such is it often the room we spend the most money on creating.
Perhaps you are looking for classic look, something clean, light and airy – but something that can still give the wow factor. Inline Kitchens director Ian Thomas says this is where calling in expert designers can help.
“Whether our client is looking to stay in their home for six months or six years they want their kitchen to last the test of time and still look good in 10 years time,” he says. And of course they can do that. “We have many customers who fully embrace a current trend, who are happy to change their kitchen when the trend changes,” he adds. But most of us are looking for a lasting relationship, even if we want to ring a few changes fabrics, accessories and unique finishes, such as brightly coloured splash backs. ‘Fabrics and accessories are a wonderful way to give a natural kitchen an on-trend look,’ adds Claire Feasby, Inline Kitchens in-house interior designer. ‘I have many repeat clients who give their kitchen an annual refresh with new accessories and colours, and even with new scents.’
New trends include slab-style doors, sprayed and woodgrain doors, but high gloss, shiny kitchens are increasing in demand as well as contemporary natural coloured units.
Most of us are familiar with techie touches: touch control drawers, wok burners and up and over cupboards - check out Siemens teppanyaki hob which is designed for searing meats. My head was turned recently by Quooker boiling tap – the death knell of the humble kettle. But how about a spot automation?
The connected kitchen is the future: a smart home would not be complete without smart appliances to make domestic life easier. Technology is constantly being developed and the next generation of kitchen appliances has arrived at the new Applied Automation’s new showroom in Plymouth (appliedautomation.co.uk).
You can engage ‘party mode’ so the built-in fridge increases its ice production and adjusts for heavy use, optimise performance and energy use with holiday modes for when you are away and receive alerts from your smart oven when it has reached the optimal pre-heat temperature for your roast.
Control4 is one of the user friendly systems on the market that gives you control of all the technology in your home using a single remote, phone or tablet.
With integrated TVs, sound systems and lighting you can create a range of moods in your kitchen. With the touch of a button set the lights, start the music and set the room temperature for when you are entertaining guests, relaxing or cooking up a storm. The specialists at Applied Home Automation install systems that provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience. The system can make everything in the kitchen and across the whole house work together. With intercoms around the house you can call the kids and flash the lights in their room when it’s time for dinner, you could even turn off their TVs from your touchscreen downstairs. The possibilities are endless!
Expert view - Let there be light
Lighting design is often overlooked but it can make a huge difference, especially in a room you expect so much from. Bright lights for food preparation may need to become soft and seductive for socialising and eating.
Chris Watts of South West-based Chris Watts Lighting Design advises using lighting to enhance your space, whether your kitchen is an airy, modern room with clean lines and minimal clutter or a more traditional country style farmhouse look, the lighting needs to work in the space on several different levels.
• Practical – lights need to be in the right position and bright enough to work by.
Lighting should illuminate work surfaces without creating shadows.
• Architectural features – you’d be surprised how lighting can create an illusion
of space and depth, or accent particular areas in a room.
• Mood – being able to adjust lighting levels or highlight particular areas can
make the space feel very different depending on how you’re using it.
‘I have always approached each design by firstly listening to the client – how do they use the space, what does it mean to them, how do they want to feel and is there anything they especially like or don’t like about it, says Chris. ‘The result – a lighting scheme that works with your other design elements to create an inviting environment to work, entertain and relax in.’
Expert view – window dressings
The windows in most rooms are a centrepiece, but in kitchens they can often be forgotten. While curtains can seem de trope or even impractical – too many of us settle for a rubber backed roller blind or nothing at all. Interior designers Barnes of Ashburton offer a few tips.
1. Choose a Roller blind in a moisture resistant fabric for a kitchen window situated by a sink.
2. Roller blinds are an excellent way of adding blocks of colour or pattern to a kitchen
3. Vertical blinds are cheaper alternative to curtains for large patio windows and much more effective at controlling the light.
4. If you want to ‘soften’ the look of a window with blinds and privacy isn’t an issue, then sheer fabrics are perfect! They gently filter the light without blocking the view.
5. When it comes to fine-tuning light control, Wooden Venetian blinds are by far the best. Available in a wide range of colours and wood finishes, both corded and taped.
6. Gliding Track Shutters are ideal for large modern windows. With their discreet track system and smooth operation, shutter panels glide effortlessly, creating privacy and light control when it is needed. And when not in use, the system stacks back allowing you to enjoy your view.
7. Use ceiling mounted sliding panels to create a room divider between cooking and eating areas or between dining and living areas.
8. Curtains are impractical in a kitchen; they waft around and get in the way! Roller blinds are a much better option as they’re discrete, slim fitting and suit the modern lines of today’s kitchens.