The kitchen isn’t just for cooking up a storm— this gathering place deserves to be as stylish as the rest of your home
Make this culinary space a gathering hub as stylish as the rest of your abode
No longer solely a functional room in which to prepare food, the kitchen is now used for dining as well as a stage for entertaining. Even with limited space it’s possible to create a practical area that’s sexy and inviting—it’s essential, particularly for a kitchen that’s part of an open-plan design. Sydney-based interior designer Greg Natale says the kitchen should be treated the same as the rest of the home when it comes to design creativity and therefore “deserves stylish pieces of furniture and decorative touches, just like every other room”. Elements that can help achieve this include a kitchen island, decorative lighting, panelling on the cabinetry and integrated appliances that are concealed neatly behind doors, all of which ensure a seamless look. “When you’re working with the limited space of an apartment, the kitchen is inevitably close to everything else—so it really needs to look like part of the living space,” says Natale. Ed Ong of Singapore’s The Kitchen Society emphasises the need for creating a kitchen that is not just functional but one you enjoy using: “If you are an avid cook, the kitchen should be designed and organised to serve you well.” For instance, open shelves keep recipe books within easy reach, while decorating your kitchen space.
For finishes, a hot trend at the moment is the use of subtle textural differences that give depth in order to break up the monotonous nature of surfaces, according to Daniele Brutto of London-based Hub Kitchens. “There’s a move towards using natural, exotic stones in contemporary kitchen designs,” she says. “We are now starting to experiment with this natural look on stark, clean modern cabinetry—with amazing results.” Frank Leung of Via Architecture in Hong Kong concurs; he says that little can beat stone, or ceramic contrasting with metal and timber, for understated elegance in a kitchen. “We’re seeing a lot of cool stone surfaces matched with warm timber or glass with copper accents, such as the Miele Artline in Graphite Grey and my favourite, Vincent Van Duysen for Dada,” he says.
Old-fashioned whites or stainless steels just aren’t where it’s at for kitchens right now. Natale says many people are increasingly choosing black because it provides a dramatic effect, and works beautifully in classic or contemporary spaces. In addition, he says coloured cabinetry is becoming a hot trend, with inky blues and sage greens as top choices. “They bring a new depth and vividness to kitchen designs,” he says. “I like Supernatural blue and Banksia green, both by Dulux.” Meanwhile, metallic taps in materials such as brass and rose gold are on-trend for the glamour and luxe gleam they bring. His favourite brands are Smeg and Miele for “their quality and performance levels, combined with a slick aesthetic”. Eggersmann, Dada and Poggenpohl are some brands that offer elegance, good proportions and attractive finishes, according to Leung. For taps and faucets, he opts for Dornbracht because the quality and design are timeless, while elegant appliances by Gaggenau and Miele are “the result of years of experience in engineering high-quality products”. When it comes to seating, banquettestyles in linen fabric are a good choice because they wear well and have a casual yet chic feel, according to Natale, who likes leather upholstery because it always appears sophisticated, and is a practical choice. He frequently uses fabrics from Schumacher and leather from Spinneybeck.
WITH THEIR UNIQUE TEXTURES AND PATTERNS, NATURAL MATERIALS ADD INTEREST TO ANY KITCHEN
RIGHT Organise cookware by hanging them above the island, as seen in this kitchen by Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design OPPOSITE PAGE Pastel kitchen cabinetry pairs beautifully with metallic accents on the appliances, highlighted with lighting from Gubi; use open shelves to display pretty porcelain plates, such as these chic finds from Wedgwood (available at Heap Seng) and Supermama
LEFT TO RIGHT Splurge on timeless accessories, such as a gleaming Alessi Cha kettle, and cool cutting boards from Ferm Living; mix rustic, unfinished wood cabinetry with contemporary furnishings for a dynamic look