However, the latest centre of domesticity to win the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association awards has the fun stuff proudly on display and the workstation tucked away from sight.
In fact, kitchen designer Robyn Labb transformed an area dedicated to function into a structure reminiscent of an exhibit one may expect to find in a contemporary art gallery.
The dramatic point of difference is the diving board cantilevered from the kitchen bench.
“I have used the concept before but not at a 90-degree angle,” say Robyn. “It creates a social gathering place.”
The luxurious charcoal marble wrapped completely around the bench creates impact, but it made it difficult for people to sit around the area. The diving board was a creative solution. It’s made from 30mm solid oak timber, supported by a steel frame. Robyn assures people the structure is strong enough for a person to stand on.
Highly polished stainless steel covers drawer fronts and reflects glimpses of the blonded French oak flooring.
Above the cooking hob extra cupboard space is hidden behind sleek white panelling. Each cupboard door lifts up and is supported with gas struts. Power points are concealed in drawers on the island and on the walls at the end of the adjacent bench.
An elegant minimalist appearance is achieved by housing food preparation tools, bulk storage and utensils in a scullery. However, rather than being a dark and cramped space, this kitchen workshop is well lit and a welcoming environment for a culinary whiz. The main family fridge is in the scullery, preventing the large appliance from dominating the social area.
Of course, it’s all very well looking good but it’s also essential a kitchen design incorporates functionality.Robyn says the simplicity of the kitchen married with the structural and technical aspects may have contributed to its prize-winning status.
Former homeowner and developer Adrian Rowan renovated the Herne Bay villa, reverting it from four flats back to a single, high-end dwelling.
He has frequently worked with Robyn and she understood his request for a kitchen with stacks of impact.
“Located in the living and dining area, the kitchen was the main feature and meeting point of the house,” says Adrian. “It makes quite a statement.”
When using the kitchen, the Gaggenau appliances impressed him. “I know they’re more expensive but they’re great to use. You can cook your fish fingers with them very easily.”
Adrian says it was satisfying to know that the kitchen was recognised at the top of the design awards, although he avoided getting too involved in the competition.