A striking two tone kitchen mixing grey and green. Note the functional level for storage below the cooktop.
We spend more time in our kitchens than ever before as the move to open plan living takes hold. Homeowners are now looking for a seamless transition between living areas and their kitchens. But how can we achieve this? hipages decided to find out and caught up with Colin Wright, designer and manager for Porcelanosa Kitchens in Surry Hills. Colin has an impressive CV that includes projects around the world for high profile celebrity clientele, including David & Victoria Beckham and Jamie Oliver.
What design trends are you seeing right now for kitchens?
“The introduction of textures is helping to create a smoother transition between kitchens and living spaces. For example, combining and co-ordinating satin veneers with gloss lacquers or stainless steel with stone allows us to integrate various living areas without making the kitchen look isolated or the space as a whole becoming dominated by an oversized kitchen.”
Is there currrently a strong colour trend for kitchens?
“The trend is more for textures than for colour, with white still proving to be the dominant choice, although black and grey are coming through in Europe. Combine any of these neutral colours with some stunning timber veneers for a truly luxurious feel and as I mentioned earlier, to introduce textures. This trend facilitates the potential for integrating within the home, with neutral dominance allowing splashes of colour that can be personalised.”
What finish is most popular for kitchen cabinetry?
“I would say matte veneers. Whether combined with gloss or satin colours, the matte veneers feel so opulent and warm. We have an amazing collection of timber veneers in our product range with an exceptional quality of finish.”
And for splashbacks?
“Glass! Coloured, gloss, satin, patterned, fused, mirrored - so many options and so practical. Some great effects can also be achieved through LED or fibre optic lighting.”
What do I need to consider when designing a kitchen?
“Think about what the kitchen means to you as an individual or family. How does it integrate with the rest of the house? Who uses it? When? How? Remember that the kitchen is far more than just a place in which to cook. It has evolved into a multi-functional living space and its place in our homes is so different to what it was over 50 years ago when the ‘working triangle’ was first developed! Note how you use it and how that experience can be improved. However, don’t just focus on it looking good, it must work as a practical space or it will disappoint for years to come.”
And when it comes to appliances?
“The choice of appliances can be just as personal as the choice of colours and finishes and there is so much available with such a wide range of prices and quality. First of all, decide what is most important to you which is where you should focus your budget. If you are a serious cook then perhaps this focus should be on the cooker and/or cooktop. The final choice depending on what you cook and how you cook it. If you are a large family then refrigeration may be a priority, considering capacity for frozen and refrigerated storage, as well as maybe a drinks/ice dispenser. Whatever your preferences, start with a budget and get the best that you can in order of priority.”
What mistakes do people make when installing a new kitchen?
“I have had many clients who have started out on their design journey with a brief provided by friends and family when really their own personal needs and tastes are often quite different. It is easy to be influenced by others but with such a major investment it really is worth taking the time working with a professional kitchen designer in order to develop a design brief that suits you as an individual. I prefer to spend a couple of hours with my clients before even considering the design. I take time getting to know them and understanding what elements would create the perfect kitchen in their home. Another big mistake is the design of kitchen islands. Whilst these can be very practical and a perfect division between kitchen and living space, these are often designed too big and therefore creating an obstacle, or too small and becoming insignificant. Consider movement and proportion in order to get this right.”
Tell us about surface options...
“Engineered stone is very popular right now, as is stainless steel. Glass can look amazing in the right settings, although I feel Corian can be a little lifeless if overused. Personally, I love natural surfaces such as granite or marble, particularly the more unique finishes. We have a stunning granite island in our showroom, 50mm thick and 3m long, with a brushed and textured finish that creates a rustic appearance which also further highlights the natural crystals that are within the stone. Very tactile and a complete contrast with the stainless steel breakfast bar that sits adjacent.”
Engineered stone seems to be everywhere – why is it so popular?
“They generally have a great range of consistent colours and they are also very practical for a kitchen environment. For example, Smartstone doesn’t need sealing as the composites used in its fabrication provide maximum protection, making it stain resistant to red wine, coffee, tea, liquid food colouring etc.”
How long have you seen this demand for engineered stone?
“I probably first saw engineered stone in the UK about 1998 and have witnessed its growth ever since.”
What colour options are there with this product?
“The Smartstone range has approximately 30 different colours and patterns, including probably the purest white finish I have seen on the market.”
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