REN­O­VA­TIONS FOR JOY­FUL COOK­ING SMART DE­SIGN EL­E­MENTS A RECIPE FOR SUC­CESS

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Laura Al­bu­lario

IN­VEST­ING in a new kitchen is well worth a few weeks of mess, dis­rup­tion and take­away din­ners.

Whether it’s a hideous colour, fall­ing off its hinges or burst­ing at the seams, a dodgy kitchen can take the joy out of cook­ing and make it more of a chore than it needs to be.

Con­versely, to­day’s low-main­te­nance fea­tures make clean­ing up a breeze and a clever lay­out will give you a place for ev­ery­thing.

BLEND­ING IN

A shiny, all-white kitchen has long been the de­fault choice, but kitchen de­sign is now favour­ing a more lay­ered look, com­bin­ing var­i­ous tex­tures, fin­ishes and colours.

Po­liform se­nior de­sign con­sul­tant David Cross at­tributes the shift to to­day’s kitchens be­ing part of open-plan liv­ing ar­eas.

“The ob­jec­tive is to make them look less like a kitchen and more like free­stand­ing fur­ni­ture,” he says.

“We’re mov­ing away from one mono­lithic sin­gle colour theme that makes the kitchen look enor­mous from the sofa.”

Jenny O’Con­nell of Free­dom Kitchens says pop­u­lar colour choices in­clude matt black, grey and warm tim­ber grains.

“De­sign­ers use colour block­ing to de­fine spa­ces such as up­per and lower cab­i­netry, or to high­light an is­land,” she says.

Shiny sur­faces are also be­ing ditched in favour of low-main­te­nance brushed, matt and tex­tured fin­ishes.

Cross says: “It’s about the prac­ti­cal­ity – we don’t want to see wa­ter­marks and fin­ger­prints.”

WORK­ING THE LAY­OUT

No mat­ter how good it looks, a kitchen plonked in a space with no thought to its func­tion­al­ity will quickly lose its shine. The old kitchen tri­an­gle, with sink, stove and fridge within easy reach of each other, is a good guide, but can be over-sim­plis­tic, Cross says.

Pantries and fridges should be side-by-side to make it eas­ier to un­pack gro­ceries and source recipe in­gre­di­ents in one spot, he adds.

Also think about the parts of the kitchen that need to be ac­cessed from other rooms, such as the fridge and bin.

SPACE SAVERS

Com­pact kitchens pro­vide the ben­e­fit of ev­ery­thing within easy reach, and some clever de­sign tricks will max­imise ev­ery inch of the avail­able space.

“Ev­ery sin­gle cab­i­net has to work harder,” Cross says. “You get about 40 per cent more space out of a drawer com­pared to a cup­board be­cause it comes out to you; you lose a lot of space down the back of cup­boards.”

Con­sider a drawer be­neath the cook­ing space to house pantry items, rather than clut­ter­ing up your kitchen with a tall pantry unit. “If your back bench is too short, re­mov­ing the tall pantry unit will give you more prep space — make it a hor­i­zon­tal pantry in­stead,” he says.

EAT­ING IN

Com­bin­ing the func­tions of a kitchen and din­ing room is another way to save space. Drop part of your bench down to ta­ble height to cre­ate a com­fort­able din­ing nook within the kitchen, Cross sug­gests.

Al­ter­na­tively, park your din­ing ta­ble against your is­land bench and only pull it away when you have a large group over for din­ner.

O’Con­nell sug­gests adding “con­nec­tiv­ity cen­tres” to kitchen seat­ing ar­eas, where iPads and lap­tops can be plugged in.

To­day’s kitchens com­bine tex­tures, fin­ishes and colours (above) and use draw­ers to max­imise stor­age (above left). Pic­tured is the Phoenix kitchen from Po­liform, po­liform.com.au/kitchens.

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