By Linda Parker
I’m just back from the KBB show at the NEC in Birmingham … ooh the glamour! Thank goodness I don’t need to make any more kitchen decisions just yet, there were soooo many clever ideas and designs to look at …
Brand new kitchen concept, Frames by Franke, due to be launched soon
These designs really made my jaw drop … this was the UK launch of a new collection – Frames by Franke, a brand new concept that encompasses Franke ovens, hoods, hobs, sinks and taps. All have a streamlined look, proportional matching styling, and a simple elegance that is perfect for today’s working kitchen-living-dining-entertaining areas. There are too many wonderful things to mention; including six ovens which are available in both black glass and ‘champagne’ glass – which is designed to work with the latest timber, neutral and brown tones that are hugely popular for cabinets and surfaces. Well worth a look for anyone at all who is planning a perfect kitchen and in the position of needing to choose all the appliances, sink and taps in one go.
Turn your kitchen hi-tech with Midway Hanging Rail storage modules, lighting and chargers by Sensio
We’re all aware that it’s the details that separate one plain white handleless kitchen from another. Whether you’re thinking about internal drawer details and pull-outs (such as those from Blum) or the little storage and make-life-easier details to streamline the kitchen, it’s well worth a look at some of the amazing new items available from Sensio. Turn a plain kitchen into a multi-coloured party room with in-cabinet, under-cabinet and plinth lighting that can be controlled from a smart phone. There’s also a new range of Midway storage modules that will come in a range of colours as well as black and silver and suspended from a hanging profile that accommodates a flexible LED strip. And one of the coolest things we spotted was the Kitchen Qi Wireless Charger – a wireless charging pad that will charge a Qi enabled device.
The new Althia pull out spray tap from Abode
The range of pull-out spray taps from Abode included the Althia model, which is extremely neat and compact; although those professional style slinky, springy taps look wonderful, they can be quite overpowering in a smaller kitchen – after all they were originally designed for professional kitchens. The Althia, shown here, has a contemporary look and pared-down, slim-line hose and compact nozzle. Perfect for smaller, fuss-free kitchens.
The Columba synthetic inset sink by Carron Phoenix
Whilst it’s very often a natural instinct to go for a stainless steel sink, there are many, many synthetic and composite designs around which are equally as hard-wearing and can add a welcome change of colour and texture in an otherwise plain scheme. The new Columba models from Carron Phoenix are particularly good value – from £164 for a 1000mm single bowl design, in either Graphite or Arctic White. One-and-a-half bowl designs are also available. And if your kitchen is particularly compact, have a look at the range of chopping boards which fit on top of the sink to provide more prep space.
The new Lucente kitchen in Anthracite high-gloss, from TKC
The Lucente kitchen is one of the best value handleless kitchens we’ve seen, with smooth-running, high-quality cabinetry in a good range of colours and styles. It was interesting to see it ‘in real life’ at the KBB show; colours available include Aubergine and Burgundy if you’re planning a ‘statement’ kitchen, as well as a host of soft shades in the cream and neutral bands.
Consider panels from the Bushboard range for walls for both kitchens and bathrooms
Although I’m a huge fan of ceramic tiles for kitchen (and bathroom) surfaces, I’m increasingly drawn towards the concept of panels, especially for splashbacks and showers. The main reason is that I’ve seen too many kitchens and bathrooms that look stunningly beautiful when the tiles are first installed, but which can all-too-quickly look the worse for wear. It’s not just down to cleaning, it’s down to the hardness of the water, and whether or not the kitchen or bathroom is particularly steamy or prone to condensation. Avoid those kind of issues by specifying panels for hard-working areas. This is a True Scale Antique Marble laminate (also available as a work surface) by Bushboard.
Karonia launched three new colours at KBB, and also re-introduced their range of Orello sinks.
The Mistral range of 25mm deep solid surfacing, designed specifically to work in harmony with existing colours and materials used for kitchens and bathrooms. Lunas (shown here) is inspired by natural stone shades; take a look also at Polaris, a sparkling bright white and Orion a deep charcoal with proportionally larger sparkling elements.
There are very often some entertaining diversions at trade shows … it was a joy to see Ruth Hinks, UK World Chocolate Master in action on Franke’s stand at KBB. And yes, that edifice is all made from chocolate and yes the chocolate lollipops we tasted were out of this world!
SPRING & EASTER CELEBRATIONS
We can’t resist tiny coffee cups at the best of times, but these a Gear4 Espresso Bluetooth speakers – and in appropriately Easter-ish shades too! The handle/clip means it can be attached to a pocket or jacket if you’re out and about, or it can just look pretty and cool in the kitchen. The speaker provides up to four hours playback time when fully charged, and they’re from £19.99 each, from Amazon.
And finally, Easter treats … we love the Caramel Sea Salt Easter Egg, £7.95, from Seasalt Cornwall; a set of four Garden Bees egg cups, £12, from The National Trust and last but not least, the exquisite hand-iced, Faberge-inspired Easter Egg biscuits, £35 from Biscuiteers