TOP KITCHEN DE­SIGN TIPS Valu­able ad­vice from an ex­pert

Whether you’re re­fur­bish­ing or plan­ning a new kitchen, in­te­rior de­signer Candice Koller shares her ad­vice

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

Founder of CW In­te­ri­ors, Candice Koller re­cently added a kitchen­de­sign arm, CW Kitchens, to her con­sul­tancy. “We’ve al­ways worked on kitchens, but re­alised there was a niche for de­tailed plan­ning, de­sign and in­stal­la­tion. A well-de­signed kitchen is such an en­dur­ing in­vest­ment. It’s im­por­tant to get cer­tain key things in place right from the start.”


“Be­fore you even think of dec­o­ra­tive fea­ture light­ing, give care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion to func­tional light­ing,” ad­vises Candice. “This is of­ten an af­ter­thought, but it’s es­sen­tial to bud­get for a proper light­ing plan.”

Things to con­sider in­clude the an­gle of your task light­ing (try to avoid work­ing in your own shadow), as well as the cov­er­age of the area that’s il­lu­mi­nated. “Think about the lu­mens of your cho­sen lights, which will in­di­cate the ac­tual spread or bright­ness, as op­posed to the amount of en­ergy used (watts).”

Where you have cup­boards above a work sta­tion, Candice sug­gests un­der-unit light­ing. “Above kitchen islands, a group of pen­dants is an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive to low-en­ergy LED down­lights that are used in the rest of the ceil­ing. Keep it to a max­i­mum of three to avoid a clut­tered ef­fect.”


“If you’re ren­o­vat­ing, new coun­ter­tops are a guar­an­teed way to trans­form a dated kitchen,” says Candice. “The ben­e­fit of plan­ning a kitchen from scratch is that you can cre­ate an en­tire mood board, from tops and cab­i­netry to splash­backs and f loors. On the whole, I find that pale coun­ter­tops made from quartz com­pos­ites just look cleaner. For longevity, I tend towards calm, neu­tral kitchens, with ac­cents of tim­ber and painted islands to add in­ter­est.”

If you like the look of deep, gen­er­ous coun­ter­tops, con­sider the 20mm op­tions which have a front over­hang of 40mm – a far more cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion.


“Keep­ing the mess and clut­ter out of sight is def­i­nitely first prize. Where space per­mits, in­clude a dou­ble sink, dish­washer and wash­ing ma­chine in a sep­a­rate scullery. Al­low for plenty of land­ing space, plus stor­age for lesser-used items such as food pro­ces­sors or large vases.”

In more com­pact or open-plan spa­ces, Candice rec­om­mends giv­ing the scullery area as much at­ten­tion as the rest of the kitchen. “Treat this space as part of the room, ex­tend­ing the mood, ma­te­ri­als and pal­ette all the way through. The re­sult will be far more co­he­sive.”


“Much like wall tiles and paint colours, f loor fin­ishes are a very per­sonal choice. I tend to avoid tim­ber lam­i­nates, as they’re wa­ter sen­si­tive. Vinyl lam­i­nates are bet­ter, but you need to invest in the best-qual­ity prod­uct you can af­ford,” says Candice. If you’re opting for tiled f loors, Candice ad­vises against highly pol­ished fin­ishes, which can lead to slip­ping.

“Also, think about the grout­ing pat­tern, which will ap­pear ‘busier’ when smaller tiles are used across a large ex­panse. On the other hand, where spa­ces are very com­pact, don’t choose such large tiles that you end up hav­ing to cut them down.”

If a con­crete screed f loor suits your de­sign, Candice ad­vises us­ing a rep­utable in­staller with a proven track record. “These f loors are not patch­able, so you want to avoid any cracks as far as pos­si­ble.”


“In­cor­po­rat­ing a gen­er­ous, full-length pantry goes a long way to cre­at­ing a user-friendly kitchen. It just makes sense to keep your dry goods in one area,” says Candice. She sug­gests in­clud­ing top shelves above the gro­ceries – ideal for stor­ing items like big bak­ing ap­pli­ances, while sav­ing on counter space.

“If your de­sign in­cludes a pas­sage­way or screen­ing wall, line the back of the wall with open shelves – the per­fect place to keep larger crockery.”

Candice in­cludes nu­mer­ous draw­ers where pos­si­ble, of­ten in lieu of cup­boards. “Draw­ers are not just for pots and pans – they’re bril­liant for ac­cess­ing ev­ery­day crockery and glass­ware. I also in­cor­po­rate stor­age space in kitchen islands – it’s a su­perb space saver.”

Candice added a bulk­head to the slab above the is­land to con­ceal all the elec­tri­cal wiring. In ad­di­tion to the ceil­ing down­lights, pen­dants from Eurolux add a dec­o­ra­tive touch. The is­land in­cludes stor­age space and a break­fast bar.

THIS PAGE, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: This ren­o­vated kitchen orig­i­nally had beige gran­ite coun­ter­tops and very dark cab­i­nets. To lighten and freshen the whole space, Candice added quartz tops from Eez­i­quartz and painted the cab­i­netry white. Glass­fronted cab­i­nets dis­play favourite crockery and glass­ware. Three metal pen­dants from CW In­te­ri­ors com­ple­ment the pale tones.

THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: By us­ing the same wall tiles, tim­ber shelves and coun­ter­tops in the scullery, it blends seam­lessly with the rest of the kitchen. Sil­ver ap­pli­ances add to the sense of co­he­sion. In this town­house kitchen, Candice paired sim­ple floor tiles from Tile­to­ria with mar­ble-look her­ring­bone wall tiles from Dou­glas Jones.

THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Placed above the hob, a tim­ber cup­board and shelves add vis­ual bal­ance to this com­pact kitchen. The coun­ter­top is from ProQuartz. Ac­ces­sories add a vis­ual el­e­ment to cus­tom-made tim­ber shelves, all by CW In­te­ri­ors.

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