Austria, London and Shropshire
By Linda Parker
July ended with a trip to Austria to have a tour of several of the Blum factories, and a visit to the open-air opera to see Turandot. It was a wonderful and inspirational experience that went a long way to distracting the team from the 32-35 deg temperatures which we had dealt with for a few days.
Having heard about some of the latest developments from Blum, it was great fun to see everything in reality. I am still completely captivated by the cleverness of the four-drawer corner unit. Seeing the showroom display with a fully-stocked corner cabinet, I’ve come to the conclusion that it should be illegal to allow anyone to design a kitchen that doesn’t include one of these transformational fittings. See the details on the website here >>
The Space Corner by Blum, pure genius.
After Austria, a quick flying visit to London to check out some more kitchen showrooms and furniture stores for ideas and colour scheme inspiration. One of our favourites is still Humphrey Munson, the colours and finishes they work with are always extremely well thought out, and every single one of their installations has a serene and sophisticated air. Simple colour schemes are the best, shown here in their Nickelby kitchen in pale grey, white and natural timber, see more at www.humphreymunson.co.uk
I’ve also been able to look at some of the upcoming ranges available at West Elm and will be making another visit to the store in the next few weeks to have a proper look at this leather sofa and dining chair. I particularly like the colour scheme. Dark blue and brown isn’t an immediate go-to colour scheme, but it works beautifully here. If all goes to plan I’m hoping to track down a 10 to 12 seater dining table and would like to amass an eclectic collection of dining chairs … which will hopefully satisfy the current antique and salvage market obsession. You can never have too many chairs, can you …
Looking at potential accessories and fittings is a great way to lose hours of your life, as long as you don’t mind looking at least five hundred web pages showing tiles … only to be discombobulated when the tile sample arrives because it’s too shiny or too dull. There’s no excuse for not having a good old look at everything on display in the DIY sheds (Wickes, and B&Q, for your nearest branches). On-line selection processes are, of course, a good idea, but no substitute for real-time store visits where colour, feel and texture is vital. So far I’m very impressed with the efficiency of Tile Mountain and Johnson Tiles with their sample ordering systems … looking forward to when the samples land on my desk.
One of the kitchen gadgets I’ve fallen for is the SensioPod Bluetooth speaker, which I’m hoping will transform the new kitchen. We’ve all gone through the various stages of exasperation and irritation trying to find phone chargers, leads and speakers which end up tangled in the kitchen kipple drawer… (Kipple is a word used by the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, in ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’. It’s the book that inspired the film Blade Runner, and kipple describes the sinister type of rubbish which simply builds up without any human intervention). Anyway, life is destined to be far more elegantly organised with the SensioPod, which is a pull up socket with Bluetooth audio and two USB ports for charging phones, tablets etc, as well as two standard three-pin sockets.See more details here and take a look at the lighting section for a host of other clever kitchen (and bathroom) lighting solutions. I’m also rather distracted by the very desirable lighting collection from Stilnovo, in particular these wall lights. I think we’ll have to find a space for them somewhere.
And last, but not least, a couple of kitchen must-haves that make life just that little bit easier, and a very appealing summertime recipe from Rangemaster. For a simple summer treat, try a salmon tart, which looks pretty, and is easy enough to make for picnics or dinner parties. Visit www.rangemaster.co.uk for further ideas. The potato ricer from Kuhn Rikon is an admirable replacement for the old aluminium one I destroyed in the dishwasher. This is the latest whizzy version, which has two stainless steel disks to produce two grades of texture, each making the most wonderful mash. From a healthy-eating point of view it means that much less butter is needed to get the texture just perfect. So that’s a win-win situation. Have a look online here for the ricer, it’s a bargain at around £19.95. My other recommendation this month is a set of bamboo tongs from Pebbly Natural to grab crumpets, tea-cakes and bagels which, without fail, seem to get stuck in the toaster. A little treat at £4.99, buy online here at www.phakitchenessentials.co.uk These have also got an integral magnet on the closed end, so the tongs can be attached to the exterior of the toaster for safekeeping. It’s the little things that make us happy.