Ingrid is referring to the stringent, formula-based philosophy of Modernism having a hold on the design world for the best part of a decade, and although an enthusiast of clean lines, she feels this formula has been overdone.
“It’s time to soften the look by using texture and timber to add more interest to the kitchen.”
With Ingrid’s thoughts in mind it is clear that varying the use of products such as glass, timber, stone and cabinetry naturally adds textural interest while extra features such as framed doors and negative detailing will highlight various design elements.
Benchtops – the most dominant horizontal surface in a kitchen – allow much opportunity for visual impact and exploring the host of choices, which range from textured stainless steel to composite stone surfaces, can also provide texture.
The most successful kitchens are those designed specifically for the way the end user cooks, eats and entertains. Ingrid says don’t wait for the design magazines to dictate how a kitchen should look; while it’s nice to be up with the trends, the fact that we can go from Minimalism to Baroque in one year sure is the perfect signal that absolutely anything goes.
However, while not slaves to trends, it’s nice to take a peek at the glossies now and again and they’re full of butler’s kitchens – the perfect solution for those with large open plan kitchens and a little extra space behind that can be commandeered to keep the main kitchen clear of visual clutter. However, these do require extra space, extra budget, extra plumbing plus an organised cook.
Kitchen design has become more involved as our lifestyles have become more sophisticated. Now a multi-functional space, different activities are juxtaposed and need to co-exist smoothly for a successful design. Kitchens are more democratic, too. It’s no longer mother’s domain, because these days there are often several keen cooks in the one household.
With more people using the kitchen at various times during the day, sometimes at the same time – for example, teenagers preparing breakfast, Dad at the espresso machine, and someone else cooking – that’s a whole lot of activity going on.
A kitchen should be a pleasure to work in, so analyse the limitations of the existing layout and how changes would allow better flow. If you know what doesn’t work, that’s a start, and will usually be enough for a designer to go on.