One of the biggest trends to come out of January’s Maison et Objet fair in Paris is the utilitarian look, which works especially well in kitchens. Think monochrome appliances, stainless steel worktops and sinks, bare brick walls, reclaimed wooden flooring and pared-back accessories.
This style is all about bringing it back to basics and letting the materials speak for themselves. For the backdrop, use white gloss handless cabinets, vintage-style freestanding units or grainy timber cupboards and team with a glass-topped table or wooden trestle and huge statement pendant lighting.
Here’s how to get the look in your own home without having to spend your weekends trawling through architectural salvage yards – though I can highly recommend them on a rainy afternoon!
Mercury’s Ash Black 1200 range cooker is the perfect centrepiece with its stainless steel trims, chunky controls and cast iron pan supports. It has two electric ovens, separate grill, five gas burners and soft-touch storage drawer, making it the ultimate cook centre for amateur chefs and home bakers alike (www.mercuryappliances.co.uk)
Introduce a splash of colour with a few carefully chosen accessories on the worktop. Wesco is the place to go for retro-style bullet bins, scales, knife blocks and breadbins. Their latest Living Colours collection includes lime green, lemon yellow and orange as well as blackberry, blue, almond, pink, red, silver, graphite, chocolate brown and black (www.wesco.co.uk)
Tiles can play a huge role in creating a utilitarian feel in the kitchen. My absolute favourite are these Diamante brick-effect ceramic wall tiles from Topps Tiles, which measure 10cm x 30cm and come in five colours – navy, cream, mocha, teal and white. Inspired by the London underground stations of the 1900s, this extra large bevelled edge linear brick tile is a more generous take on the much-loved classic and is sure to be around just as long (www.toppstiles.co.uk)
Sebastian Conran has designed a new range of kitchen utensils that fit beautifully with this theme for simple, functional chic. Universal Expert embodies his signature qualities, combining style and modernity with practicality and ease of use. This essential kitchen kit is made from natural materials – smooth wood, sleek stainless steel, glass and robust ceramic – for a natural, organic feel (www.johnlewis.com)