Kitchen Planning: Still Thinking About It…


There’s a general feeling that ‘lockdown mode’ regarding interiors and exteriors means ‘planning mode’… although many design studios and independent retailers are still operating online, there’s little installation and real-life building work going on. Exceptions of course are homeowners able to DIY and trades who are working on their own in empty rooms! So this month we are continuing with our kitchen planning suggestions and advice …

Painted Shaker kitchen, Higham Furniture 

For many of us, a new kitchen nearly always includes an island, such an addition is most definitely the way forward, and makes a kitchen feel useable, sociable and of course, very on-trend. We consulted Tim Higham, of bespoke kitchen makers Higham Furniture for his take on the kitchen island.

The key to a sociable, easy-use kitchen is an island, which is practically mandatory in a new kitchen today. It’s not a particularly new idea – large traditional kitchens in grand houses always had a vast kitchen table in the middle of the room, which basically served the same purpose as an island. Butcher blocks and island trolleys have recently been popular too, but the vast majority of kitchens we’ve created over the past few years have included an island. We’ve also created kitchens with two islands.

An island is a fitted piece of furniture, fixed into position, and is generally used as a cooking/prep surface or, if it includes a sink, then it’s the washing-up/prep space. One of the elements that direct these design decisions is the choice of cooking appliances. If the cooker of choice is a range model, then that will generally be installed along a wall. The island is usually positioned opposite, and will often be the best place for the sink – so that the chef can take pans off the hob, turn around and use the sink for draining the vegetables or pasta without walking around or across the kitchen. Conversely, if the hob is going to be a separate entity, we often position it on the island, with the sink/wet prep space along the wall behind. It’s all to do with the ergonomics of movement around the kitchen, plus of course the important safety issues regarding carrying hot pans and trays for minimal distances. An induction hob looks particularly sleek and impressive when positioned on an island, especially if paired with a downdraft extractor.

All the important appliance, electrical and plumbing decisions need to be made whilst the design of the island is being finalised. Services that in older kitchens run around the perimeter of the room will need to be brought into the centre of the room, which can involve more building/construction works.

Ultra-contemporary islands often feature total surface cladding, which provides a completely seamless look – with any drawers or cabinets positioned on the unseen side of the island. Above, the new Khalo from the Dekton by Cosentino Avant Garde collection. It’s surface material made from glass, porcelain and quartz using an innovative ultra-compaction process which means it has UV, scratch, stain, and thermal shock resistance and is produced in large format slabs (up to 320 cm by 144cm) so can be used for a huge variety of facades, cladding, work surfaces and wall panels. Khalo has a high-shine, polished finish and distinct patterns. A good choice as a contrast with dark floors and cabinets.

Another design option from Dekton by Cosentino, this time we’re presenting you with Laurent, inspired by natural stone and with a dark background which has gold vein highlights. An unusual design which would suit a very dramatic and sophisticated kitchen … perhaps in a large open plan space that extends into a living/dining space.

No new kitchen will be complete without a new set of taps … we’ve often mentioned boiling water taps (which we consider an absolute necessity!). Many kitchens have two tap ‘stations’ now … often a prep sink with a regular hot-cold tap with a spray head, and then main sink with a boiling/filtered water tap. Take a look at the Zedra electronic touch-activated mixer tap from Grohe – touch the spout once with your wrist to switch the flow on, and touch again to switch off. It has a tall spout for ease of use when you’re busy prepping, and a pull down spray hose too. So, if you’re planning to create a two-tap kitchen, take a look at the options from Grohe, which also include filtered and sparkling functions.

If you’re slightly bored with grey or beige cabinets and a bit apprehensive about black or midnight blue for the new cabinetry, why not go completely off-piste and consider a vivid colour instead. We have several suggestions for you … above is the Bieller in Moss Green from the Schuller.C collection at InHouse Inspired Room Design.

For a ray of sunshine colour pop for the new kitchen what about this brilliant.  Bieller in Sunny Yellow, again from Schuller.C collection at InHouse Inspired Room Design. It’s cheerful and welcoming and will definitely make a unique style statement.

Blush is the new pink, it sits well with dark grey or black, and works really well with gold, copper and brass finishes too. This is one of our new favourites – it’s Pastel Rose combined with Lava Black from the Schuller.C collection at InHouse Inspired Room Design, as before.

Staying with the idea of perfectly pink schemes, we wanted to bring you some glorious design and colour ideas from interior designer Laura Butler Madden. She’s recently redesigned her home in Menorca, and chose the Phoenician 4360 Sink Mixer with White Porcelain Lever Handles and Rinse in Gold, from Perrin & Rowe. The choice of gold is a super contrast with the white cabinets, which are painted in Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball, and the pink and white tiles, sourced from Artisans of Devizes.

And finally, it’s the time when we bring you some shopping ideas, in the knowledge that ‘not going out’ may have meant that there’s a good excuse to explore some ‘staying in’ treats, here are a couple of current favourites. Above, if you’ve a passion for pressed glass, which is pretty easily found in antique markets and bric-a-brac shops in normal times, we would like to direct you towards these Bobble Glass mugs and plates from Rockett St George. And below, also from Rocket St George, we’re rather keen on the Three-Tier Pyramid Shelf Unit, which could be a good investment if you’ve streamlined your kitchen and could do with a bit of extra space for everyday items that need to be easily at hand. We also thought it would make a great art trolley for the kids, or a fabric/sewing/knitting trolley for anyone getting up to speed with creative crafts during lockdown!

Next time, we will bring you some gorgeous ideas for summertime outdoor living…


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About Linda Parker

Interiors & Lifestyle Writer and Content Provider, who is currently extremely keen on rationalising storage spaces and decluttering her home to accomodate the ever-expanding collection of house plants...

  Email:  Linda Parker


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