Neale Whitaker on what your kitchen says about you.
Perhaps no room in the house works quite as hard – or reveals so much about us – as the kitchen
Ihave a theory that kitchens speak volumes about their owners. Some – let’s call them honest kitchens – are genuinely ﬁt for purpose, serving actual needs and cooking requirements. While others, the more aspirational ones, suggest the lives we would like to lead if only we had the time, the requisite number of friends to impress and – let’s face it – the ability to use half the gadgets.
I still haven’t ﬁgured out how to use my new oven (fortunately my partner David has) and as for the oven clock… let’s just say it’s still daylight savings at our house. Butler’s pantries have taken things to a whole new level. Originally intended as discreet, practical spaces to deal with the kitchen overﬂow, they’re increasingly seen as the engine room, while the main kitchen becomes an extension of the living “zone”.
That trend is reﬂected in a new report from Australian kitchen manufacturer Freedom Kitchens (freedomkitchens. com.au). It talks of the current popularity of the “anti-kitchen”, one with appliances concealed and integrated to blend into a “seamless, luxe living space”.
Trends, however, are never absolute. Every yin will have its yang. While the kitchen-cum-living-room might be gaining momentum, a parallel trend for open shelving and glass-fronted cabinetry proclaims more traditional values. Not quite Nana’s crockery cupboard, but close. Other trends in the Freedom report include dark kitchen cabinetry in “new neutrals” such as French Navy and Green Slate; textured stone benchtops; matte black open shelving; and splashbacks that extend to the ceiling, often with artisanal tiles.
When David and I moved into our new home, we knew we wanted a kitchen that landed somewhere between country and cool. We also knew it would receive a daily workout – we’re several kilometres from restaurants, supermarkets or Uber Eats. And while – OMG – it doesn’t open to an outdoor deck, our kitchen is nevertheless the true heart of our home.
We have opted for grey Shaker-style cabinetry, a generous island bench, Silestone benchtops, deep butler’s sinks, brass taps and oversized wicker pendants to loosen things up. And yes, our butler’s pantry earns its keep with a second dishwasher, microwave and a generous fridge. It’s not a kitchen that pushes any design envelope; in fact it looks as if it’s always been there. And that’s precisely why we love it. It’s honest.
Neale Whitaker is co-host of Foxtel’s Love It Or List It Australia on Lifestyle, and a judge on Nine Network’s The Block.
“I still haven’t ﬁgured out how to use my new oven (fortunately my partner has)”
THE NEW BENCHMARK (from top) Dark cabinetry has emerged as a popular choice in kitchens, as seen in this one by Doherty Design Studio; a cafe-style creation with open shelving by contestants on The Block last year; Green Slate has recently been named as a dominant colour trend by Freedom Kitchens.