We dive into the world of kitchens to ensure you are getting it right – the first time
The kitchen plays a central role in the house, and has evolved into a multi-use space where we cook, eat, entertain and even relax. It is critical that the design, colours and textures found in this space tie in with the rest of the home. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t make a statement with surface materials, just that you need to consider the way the space interacts with the rest of your interior.
Your kitchen should be a user-friendly, efficient and enjoyable space in which to relax and work. There are three important points to bear in mind when planning this work space:
+ Keep the distances short: create the shortest route between frequently used items.
+ Get the ergonomics right: there is no need to put extra strain on your body.
+ Take advantage of hardware and products designed to help you make the most of your kitchen space.
Think carefully about how you plan on using your kitchen. There is no point in it looking great if it isn’t practical or doesn’t suit your lifestyle and family needs.
The working triangle has long been a key consideration when it comes to planning and designing our kitchens. Emerging from efficiency experts who tracked the average housewife’s steps in the kitchen, the working triangle identified a natural pathway between the fridge, oven and sink. The distance between the three points of the triangle, and how easy it is, or isn’t, to reach them is still a measure of kitchen efficiency some seventy years later.
The sides of your working triangle don’t have to be equal, but experts suggest that the total distance between the three points should range from 12-23 feet. For example, your sink might be four feet from the fridge, the fridge eight feet from the oven, and the oven only three feet from the sink: making a total of 15 feet.
Today we are often building or renovating our kitchen space to include secondary workstations – within the primary kitchen or tucked away in a scullery. In these instances take care to ensure your triangles don’t create a collision course should both workstations be in use at once.
HANDY HINT: Install lights inside your cabinetry so you don’t have to hunt around in the dark for small items.
While the space you have for your kitchen will often dictate the shape and layout, it is essential that you engage the experts to ensure you are not only maximising your space and creating an efficient kitchen, but that you are creating a layout that will suit your needs and those of your family.
‘A home should work from the inside-out and the outside-in’, explains Nick Yardley from Yardley and Foster. ‘Adding value and style to your home, the kitchen is an essential space to get right – and, it is critical that you, and your designer, not only look at the kitchen itself, but the home as an entirety. Our role as architectural designers is to look at the space as a whole – to visualise possibilities and opportunities to optimise your space.’
Charlotte Neale from Palazzo Kitchens & Appliances is quick to agree. ‘While ultimately you, the client, will have the final say and lead the way through the different stages of the design, a kitchen designer offers an extra set of trained eyes to notice things that you may not.’
While your tapware needs to be in proportion with your sink, like everything in the kitchen this is a balance of design and functionality. A modern design generally lends itself to more angular taps, while rounder taps are ideal for more traditional designs.
The Buddy Collection designed by Plumbline and made in Italy offers an exciting opportunity to create a unique kitchen space. The simple, perfectly proportioned design is available in twelve stunning finishes, and is the epitome of stylish design and functionality.
The benchtop is one of the most used, and visible, surfaces in the home – so it is imperative that it not only functions as it should, but projects your desired look. Often defining the workspace of the kitchen from the living or dining area, your benchtop can dramatically influence the colours, textures and accessories that then fill the rest of the space.
For Tom Molloy from Artisan Stone, it is essential that you know what you are buying. ‘Ask yourself whether the product is a recognised brand? Does it come with a meaningful warranty? Is it a quality product? Is it going to suit your needs?’ Learning about the care and maintenance of the product you are buying is also essential. For example, what cleaning products can you use on it?
‘Like all things, investing in good quality advice and service is the key to success. Be sure you are dealing with a professional stone fabricator with a good reputation. Visit their showrooms and see for yourself their level of service and professionalism.’
HANDY HINT: The ideal height for your kitchen benchtop is 10-15cm below the elbow. This should be taken from the person in your family who uses the kitchen the most.
+ Stone remains the ultimate in desirable benchtop finishes. With many colours and finishes available it suits both classic and contemporary tastes. Granite benchtops remain a favourite for those who want the elegant look of natural stone; engineered quartz stone, like Caesarstone, has evolved to meet the performance and colour needs of today's market; and marble offers striking colour and dynamic veining.
+ Solid surface benchtops are made of a solid plastic block so the colour and pattern are consistent throughout.
+ Timber benchtops are not as popular as other materials, but are fabulous for creating a rustic feel in the kitchen and are often incorporated into the island or ‘butcher’s block’.
When it comes to technology in the kitchen, consumers are becoming savvier – conducting more research about what is right for their kitchen.
‘The kitchen is the hub of our home, and recent changes in design trends and consumer priorities have driven the growth of the kitchen market’, says Barnaby Thompson, InSinkErator New Zealand General Manager. ‘Consumers’ preferences have forced innovative kitchen designers to add new convenient and most importantly silent technologies to their portfolios.’
Barnaby puts the rise in demand for InSinkErator food waste disposers down to growing discernment from consumers. ‘The quietest on the market, our InSinkErator disposers can grind pretty much any food waste’, he shares – ‘which means your fantastic kitchen stays clean, hygienic and free of odours.’
‘We are also seeing the demand for our Instant Hot Water systems increase. The InSinkErator Instant Hot Water Taps offer the convenience of filtered nearly boiling water, as well as cold, at the touch of a lever, and are one of the most compact units on the market.’
Thanks to Plumbline we have a Buddy Kitchen Mixer Straight Spout with Pull Out Spray in the Brushed Brass finish to give away. Valued at $899, it will be the icing on the cake in your new kitchen. To enter, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and postal address and you are in the draw. Entries close 12 December at 3pm. Winner will be drawn at random and contacted via email. No correspondence will be entered into. Only one entry per email address. Kitchen mixer suits mains pressure only.