Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Stellar Contents - by Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing

Neale Whi­taker ex­am­ines the lat­est trends in kitchen de­sign.

There was a time when, if I’d said “let’s talk kitchens”, you might have turned the page, quick sticks. What was there to talk about? You had an is­land bench and some in­te­grated ap­pli­ances. Prob­a­bly a mi­crowave, a hand­ful of dust-col­lect­ing gad­gets du jour and some­thing tricky to clean that made pretty or­di­nary cof­fee. Not so to­day. Kitchens hover just south of Poké­mon Go and north of turmeric lat­tes on our ob­ses­sion spec­trum. Prada, Burberry, Dior, Gagge­nau, Miele. Spot the odd names out? There aren’t any. We’re talk­ing kitchen cou­ture.

“Kitchens sell houses” is the mantra real-es­tate guru John Mcgrath drummed into me when we judged The Block to­gether. While pow­der rooms and walk-in wardrobes have ar­guably joined the list of de­sir­ables, it’s still largely true. A great kitchen will add value to your home, but our de­sire to per­son­alise it has never been stronger. Take a look at the Kitchen and Bath­room pages in the lat­est is­sue of Vogue Liv­ing. From bronze-clad cup­boards to raw-steel bench tops and cop­per sinks, it’s the most eclec­tic and in­di­vid­ual col­lec­tion of kitchens we’ve ever pub­lished.

So what’s on the kitchen check­list for 2016? Ev­ery sec­ond year, the Eurocucina fair in Italy runs con­cur­rent with Mi­lan De­sign Week. Think of it as kitchen Fash­ion Week. The ma­jor trends that emerged this year will in­flu­ence kitchen de­sign for sev­eral years.

White is back from style Siberia – which has to be good news – while all the colour ac­tion is now in shades of blue (teal in par­tic­u­lar), chalky olives, tau­pes and greys. Bench tops are ei­ther pen­cil-thin or plat­form-thick and there’s an in­trigu­ing range of quartz sur­faces that mimic other ma­te­ri­als, such as Dek­ton Tril­ium (my favourite), which looks like ox­i­dised metal. The clash of metallics with aged tim­ber or poured con­crete is de­sir­ably on-trend, and af­ter years of soft-close, han­dles are back, big time. Morocco-based Popham De­sign kick­started a trend in hand­dec­o­rated, en­caus­tic tiles that shows no sign of abat­ing, adding a joy­ful, ar­ti­sanal con­trast as ei­ther floor­ing or splash­backs.

But the deal-breaker is the butler’s pantry. A real-life butler may be the stuff of a priv­i­leged past, but his spirit lives on in these spa­ces that are de­signed to do a kitchen’s heavy lift­ing. If kitchens sell houses, butler’s pantries sell kitchens.

STYLE FILE White kitchens are back, while hand­crafted tiles are also on-trend.

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